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Ardo Dombec - Ardo Dombec CD (album) cover


Ardo Dombec


Eclectic Prog

3.53 | 30 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I suppose this isn't really worthy of 4 stars in some ways, as it's not everyone's idea of Progressive Rock - there's almost nothing pretentious about it, it doesn't go off on a Classical tip, there's a definite focus and direction to the music as a whole, and it's really not a serious album in any way.

Nevertheless, it is very well crafted, and has a serious amount of entertainment value, whilst carrying flavours of popular Prog Rock bands. It would sit well next to Jethro Tull in your collection, if, indeed, the band were called Jerdo Dombec, or something...

I have to confess, I cheated - I wrote that introduction after I'd ripped the cellophane off, examined the tasteless cover, and had written the review as laid out below ;o). I've never heard this before, but was recommended it by a friend who is a fan of Kraut and insists that I don't listen to enough of it (I always say it sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, to his annoyance).

To my utter surprise, it sounds really good - not Prog by any kind of serious definition, but too out there to be anything else. Certainly, more complex than some other stuff I've reviewed recently on this very site, so 4 stars it is.

Spectaculum A set of truly fun(ky) grooves, infused with sax stabs that I would be very surprised if the Hip-Hop community had already exploited to death (if they haven't then keep this one to yourself!). The intial energetic groove is taken back a few gears to something altogether more slinky, before re-asserting itself after a subtle Can-styled strip-back. For fans of the more obscure, there's a passing similarity to Kaputter Hamster here.

There's no holding the grooves back in Supper Time, with quasi-operatic vocals suggesting Arthur Brown. Fun details expose themselves in the music, and the same tempo drop-back technique is used, bringing about a kind of harmonised Doors flavour. A searing dissonant guitar solo scorches its way across the musical landscape, bluffing wildly, but colouring effectively. The band, all the while, providing a some-nonsense, rock-solid boogie.

I'm again reminded of the Kaputter ones in A Bit Near the Knuckle, which is more of the same - solid jazzy, funky grooves, quasi-operatic vocals, time changes, wandering bass lines and fun details in the musical structure. Here, the slower section gets even slower and more laid-back, hinting at Pink Floyd, but with a jazzier, groovy edge and some fun chord leaps - and an even more fun build-up back to the verse. The vocals here are again a cross between Arthur Brown and Jim Morrison, featuring declamations with a core of anger, and the sax dominates proceedings without overpowering them. The solo, particularly is a wicked toe-tapping groove, around which the sax slithers and slides to tremendous effect.

A flute suddenly takes the sax's dominant position for the start of Clean-Up Sunday, a story about a girl halfway between Cinderella and Eleanor Rigby, it seems. Featuring the flute so heavily lends a natural Jethro Tull flavour at some points - but suddenly we drop into the jazziest, funkiest groove so far - around 1:36, and the flautists' vocalisations recall Ian Anderson very strongly indeed - but with something added in the humour department, comical without being ridiculous - a very good job indeed.

Some awesome jazz touches jump out of the groove before it suddenly dies, giving way to an acoustic guitar, which noodles around a little, appears to settle, fades out completely, then gives way to some parallel 5th chanting over tinkly bells, evoking a monastic kind of feel - suggesting the Sunday spirit of the piece, although not for too long. Another groove is laid down on us, with flavours of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, and this grows, bar-by-bar back to the song and the story we've pretty much forgotten about by now!

No real surprises at the start of Downtown Paradise Lost - we're back to the sax dominated texture for an R&B flavoured number about the Red Light District. Despite some hugely emotive outpouring from the singer, and some very enthusiastic kit work from the drummer, there's not a huge amount of excitement to this song, despite its subject matter - although you can clearly hear RAP around 2:25 - to think that rap didn't take off as a genre until at least 10 years later (probably more)!

Here's where the song really hots up, as the story hots up - the music punctuates the action, before dropping into a sultry and suggestive harmonica-topped, hip-shakin' groove. Can't think why they didn't use the sax instead - but it does show up for a turn, before the story is resumed.

Heh - good job I've got a CD, instead of the vinyl (well, you try finding a vinyl copy!), or I might have been fooled by Oh Sorry, a vinyl owner's nightmare.

This is followed by the most progressive piece so far, 108, with a glorious acoustic guitar intro - really, this is how an acoustic intro should be written and played - none of your simple two-chord even-note picking rubbish here - PROPER guitar playing!

I could listen to an album of this, but then the flute joins in and makes it an even more pleasurable listen. OK, the chord sequence IS based around 2 chords here, but it's still fun and interesting, as the flute soars, warbles and chirps beautifully.

The album closes with the rockin' Unchangable Things, which, ironically changes persistently as it progresses over a solid bass groove, before dropping into the sax solo which sounds like it might have been lifted from a Gong album in terms of the overall sound produced. There's then another change to a new groove - and OK, I got the joke in the first sentence. Teutons and their musical jokes, eh?

Monster groove alert around 3:20 - this one's a killer, replete with psychedelic, noodly, wah-drenched guitar solo, which pulls out all the stops to avoid becoming predictable - and largely succeeds.

Despite the English words, a fantastic, fun piece of Krautrock, recalling many of the greats and the obscurites of that genre, but without truly going into full-blown Kosmische, a tremedous work of jazz/funk with wondrous grooves for all to enjoy and nice details in the arrangements to stop Proggers falling asleep.

A real pleasure to listen to and review - and nicely within this particular field of Progressive Rock. I even hung around for the bonus tracks, which are, yes, you guessed it, a lot of fun.

Excellent addition to your collection - although maybe not if you don't like funky grooves (and who doesn't? :o)

Certif1ed | 4/5 |


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