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Asia Minor - Between Flesh And Divine CD (album) cover


Asia Minor


Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 295 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Featuring members from Turkey, France and the UK, yet based in Paris, Asia Minor were one of those fascinating progressive rock groups who created highly-original music yet, unfortunately, existed at exactly the wrong time to make any lasting impact or commercial in- roads into the notoriously fussy 1980s music industry. The group's second full-length studio effort after 1979's interesting-yet-flawed 'Crossing The Line', 'Between Flesh And Divine' was produced and released independently, without record label support, and initially issued only in France, Italy and Belgium, with a few copies somehow finding their way to both Turkey and the USA. Of course, by the time of 'Between Flesh And Divine's 1981 release, punk-rock had been and gone, and new wave groups such as The Cure, New Order, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were starting to dominate both the critics favour and the lucrative charts alike, leaving little room for expansive and experimental groups such as Asia Minor, who preferred lush instrumental verve over crude trend-setting. Infuenced by, amongst others, British art-prog exponents King Crimson, symphonic high-kings Yes and many of the wonderfully-talented mid-decade Italian groups - such as PFM, Maxophone and Le Orme - Asia Minor were, sadly, very much a group borne into the wrong decade. Ten years earlier, and who knows what would have happened, as 'Between Flesh And Divine', despite it's low-budget, independent status, has, for it's type, proved both a critical success and a steady seller. Prog fans have long known about this album's intelligently-structured melodies, beautifully-wrought tracks and complex instrumentation, and tracks such as the crisply-conceived 'Nightwing', with it's deep-toned, cyclical bass-lines, stabbing keyboards and uplifting closing guitar section, and the stirring album-closer 'Lost In A Dream Yell', have since been heralded as true classics from progressive rocks wilderness years and precursors to the neo-prog boom that closely followed. The group themselves was four- strong for the recording of 'Between Flesh & Divine', featuring Setrak Bakirel(vocals, guitar), Lionel Beltrami(drums), Robert Kemplar(keyboards, bass) and Eril Tekeli(guitars, flute). All four members were highly-capable multi-instrumentalists, often doubling up on instruments to fill out the group's sound. This of course made playing live a real difficulty, and the band's independent status meant that what gigs they did play were usually sparsely-attended. However, despite the lack of interest shown in the band(who failed to get a proper record deal throughout their existence), the quality of Asia Minor's music has shone through the ages and has, thankfully, been preserved by the French label Musea, who re-released the album during the early-1990s. Since then, of course, progressive rock has seen a steady rise in popularity, and 'Between Flesh And Divine' has rightfully been re- assessed as a genuine near-masterpiece. Those who enjoy the non-English-and American side of the genre, from the great Italian groups to the likes of Bahrain's Osiris and Canada's Harmonium, should find a wonderfully-diverse album filled with expertly-woven symphonic sounds that make Asia Minor's sadly-truncated career all the more surprising. If only the group had existed ten years earlier then who knows what wonders they could, and would, have produced. 'Between Flesh And Divine' is indeed a remarkable slice of European progressive rock that should prove an excellent addition to any collection. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 4/5 |


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