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Rebekka - Phoenix CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.94 | 59 ratings

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4 stars In an age when trends seem to change overnight and communication is instantaneous, it's a little bit charming and quaint to look back on a time (not really that long ago) when the world-wide web, cell phones, reality television and international corporate media didn't exist. Hard to believe that was the case even in 1982. What does that have to do with Rebekka and this album? Well, how else can one explain a band playing decidedly progressive symphonic rock with heavy folk and world influences on instruments that were more common in the late sixties (tamboura, marimba, tabla) - in 1982? These guys simply didn't the message that this sort of music was supposed to have been dead and buried long before.

The opening track of this album will instantly take old prog fans back to a much slower and more artistically vibrant day, circa maybe 1971 or so. These guys were throwbacks even when they first released this album nearly thirty years ago. Hard to imagine what the heck their label was thinking, but I'm glad today that they were given the chance to commit these songs to vinyl back then. It's also kind of funny that the band's debut song would be titled "Swan Song", which of course generally refers to a band's grand finale recording or performance. This is a highly acoustic tune with all the sort of tempo shifts and lazy unfolding one would normally expect on a recording several years prior.

But don't get the impression these guys were completely out-of-touch. They were certainly familiar with electricity, as evidenced by some great guitar-playing by Hubert Schneider, particularly on "Lithpas" and "Floating Dawn". His style was undoubtedly influenced by seventies progressive rock, as was the lush keyboard work of Peter Laubmeier (mostly piano). And Martin Schneider-Weldert delivers some outstanding saxophone work on "Odyssee" and the long, lazy closing epic "Lotos", which sounds to me like something the band was inspired to write after a few late-night sessions of Robbie Basho record- spinning. The finishing touch comes from the warm, vibrant voice of Marion Weldert, who delivers beautifully feminine German vocals tastefully rationed to maximize their effect throughout the mostly instrumental music.

As with many of the recordings reissued by Musea in recent years, this is truly a lost gem. The album cover is misleading, and the time of release would generally lead one to assume this was more of a neo-prog album than anything else. But after a few spins the beauty of the music begins to unfold, and repeated listening will uncover the many layers of the craft these artists put into their music. And that's the mark of true progressive music that made the seventies such a wonderful time (and continues to inspire discovery by a new generation even today). Easily four stars in my opinion, and very highly recommended to prog fans of all stripes.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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