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Mainhorse - The Geneva Tapes CD (album) cover

THE GENEVA TAPES

Mainhorse

 

Symphonic Prog

2.95 | 5 ratings

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Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Before Patrick Moraz released the Mainhorse LP in 1971, he and bassist/cellist Jean Ristori founded one of the most significant groups in prog rock history. In the summer of 1969, the two left Switzerland for England in an effort to form a new band. They found it in drummer Bryson Graham and singer/songwriter David Kubinec (World of Oz). Initially calling themselves Integral Aim - then Mainhorse Airline - and supporting acts as Free, Canned Heat and Humble Pie, the band did early symphonic psych-rock with better musicianship than the Nice, less freaked-out space explorations than Egg, and did it a full year before anyone had ever heard of ELP. Moraz's vibrant organ and Ristori's classical foundation led the way and came together with Kubinec's songwriting talents beautifully for these ten tracks recorded in a Swiss basement studio. Kubinec would later suffer a heart attack and the original line-up dissolved, and Patrick Moraz would go on to work with other prog greats, some of the key music from this period making it on to 1971's 'Mainhorse'. But these early sessions give a taste of the group's true potential and exposes a shadowed corner of the progressive underground to the light of day, giving fans a priceless missing link in prog's evolution. Opener 'Overture and Beginners' is an explosion of late 60s energy tempered by musical discipline, powerhouse rhythms and wild organ runs. 'Blunt Needles', a startling look at drug culture, clips with jazzy street life and a ghostly church organ. Drowsy Beatles impression 'The Passing Years', funny jazz-pop of 'Make it the Way You Are', very prog 'Pale Sky' at 7 minutes complete with Eastern-style acoustic interlude, savage psych bit 'Directions for Use' and pastoral 'A Very Small Child'. 11-minute 'God Can Fix Anything' is enormous, almost Who-like, and ends things convincingly.

Bursting with fresh ideas and technical virtuosity rarely seen in its time, 'The Geneva Tapes' is a revelation, finally giving these guys their due and answering the question of what this band sounded like in its earliest incarnation. Mandatory for anyone with a taste for prog in its youth, a great record and a great piece of history.

Atavachron | 3/5 |

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