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Day Of Phoenix - Wide Open N-Way CD (album) cover

WIDE OPEN N-WAY

Day Of Phoenix

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.62 | 20 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Wide Open N-Way" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish psychadelic/progressive rock act Day of Phoenix. The album was originally released on vinyl through Sonet Records in 1970. "Wide Open N-Way" was reissued in 1979 as a double LP along with the band´s second album "The Neighbour's Son (1972)". It´s since been re-released both as a single CD and as a double CD set with "The Neighbour's Son" in more recent years. Day of Phoenix was formed in 1968 and initially included one of the most prolific musicians on the experimental part of the Danish music scene of the late 60s/early 70s in Cy Nicklin (Pan and formed Culpeper's Orchard).

Day of Phoenix initially started out as a blues rock band but after Cy Nicklin left their style took a more experimental and psychadelic turn. The music on "Wide Open N-Way" is a combination of west coast psychadelic rock and semi-progressive rock with a touch of jazz rock. The music is guitar driven and the two guitarists Karsten Lyng and Ole Prehn compliment each other brilliantly throughout the album. Hans Lauridsen´s vocals are pretty strong and as a plus the Danish accent is actually not that obvious (which is something that can´t be said about many Danish bands singing English language lyrics in the 60s/70s). The rhythm section with drummer Henrik Friis and bassist/pianist Erik Stedt (also a member of Danish psychadelic rock act Beefeaters) are also very capable musicians (Erik Stedt sadly died in 1971 and Day of Phoenix disbanded for a while).

The music is generally pretty dark and with three out of five tracks on the album which feature a playing time exceeding 10 minutes there´s lots of room for long jamming guitar solos. The music is well composed but sometimes suffer a bit because of the experiments. Sometimes the experiments are successful but other times they just don´t work that well. The greatest highlight is "Mind Funeral" but the other two lengthy tracks "Wide Open N-Way" and "Cellophane #1 & 2" also stand out.

The album is produced by Tony Reeves (Colosseum, Greenslade) and received quite a bit of attention as a result of that. That´s not to say that the music isn´t of a high quality because it certainly is but the choice of producer was definitely wise. The sound production is organic and very well sounding. There are a couple of technical playing errors featured in the music. Something which probably would have been fixed on a more modern production. Maybe it was a money issue or limited studio time but it gives the album an unpolished quality that you don´t hear often in music today. It´s quite charming really.

Overall "Wide Open N-Way" is a good quality release by Day of Phoenix, and anyone into guitar driven West Coast rock with progressive leanings are recommended to give it a listen. Along with contemporary artists like The Young Flowers, The Savage Rose, Beefeaters, Alrune Rod, Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe, and Steppeulvene, they held the Danish flag high on a rock scene that unfortunately didn´t notice them outside the borders of their homeland (at least not enough for them to break through outside Denmark). So while "Wide Open N-Way" isn´t a perfect release by any means, it´s still an entertaining and occasionally intriguing listen, and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating isn´t all wrong.

A little related background info from the Danish scene (and Cy Nicklin) for those who have an interest in that:

Cy Nicklin who was British had started his music career in the Danish based folk duo Cy & Maia with Danish singer Maia Aarskov whom he had met at a dinner party in 1965. The duo later became a trio and was renamed Cy, Maia & Robert, when Danish based French musician Robert Jean Francis Leličvre who had deserted the French army in 1962 and lived in political exile in Denmark, joined the two. Cy & Maia recorded the single "Portland Town/Chickens Are Coming" in 1966 and it was the only recording they made as a duo before Robert Leličvre joined them. Cy, Maia & Robert recorded their debut album "On the Scene" in 1966 and their second album "Out of Our Times" was released in 1967. They also released three singles in that period in "Green Rocky Road/Harvest of Hate (1966)", "A Church Is Burning/Take a Look Inside (1967)", and "Cheers Dears/Natural Man (1967)". The latter was recorded using the Maia & Full Limit monicker. Cy Nicklin and Robert Leličvre also played guitar on Scottish folk singer Alex Campbell's 1967 album "Alex Campbell At the Tivoli Gardens". Cy, Maia & Robert split up in November of 1967.

Robert Leličvre then went on and recorded an album titled "Alliance (1968)" with Scottish folk singer Iain Campbell and then went to England where he recorded a solo album "The Hare (1968 or 1969)" and was signed by Polydor as a songwriter and studio musician. Robert Leličvre came back to Denmark in June of 1969 where he teamed up with Cy Nicklin again (who had just left Day of Phoenix with whom he had recorded the single "Tell Me /I Think It's Gonna Rain Today (1969)") and formed the folk/rock band High Crossfield. That band later evolved into the progressive rock act Pan whose sole self-titled album "Pan (1970)" is widely considered as one of the most important progressive rock ( proto-prog) albums in Denmark. Robert Leličvre sadly suffered from depression and took his own life in August of 1973 (Pan disbanded in 1972). Cy Nicklin had left the band before the recording of "Pan (1970)" and formed Culpeper's Orchard who is also considered one of the most important bands on the Danish progressive rock scene.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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