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Minotaurus - Fly Away CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 64 ratings

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3 stars Fly me to the moon...

First of all a big thank you to the mellotron lord(John) for introducing me to this album. It is much appreciated, and I´ve spent many a nights playing this whilst looking at the ceiling in amazement. I expect a lot of symph heads around here will relish this German 1978 release, as it combines some deliciously played songs with loads of analogue synths, mellotrons, emotional guitar solos and a serene feel to it, that during the following decade sadly was compromised by studio recordings that basked in Fisher Price plastics and an unholy hunt on "noise" and everything that pointed towards vitality and humanity in the sound quality of our most beloved art form.

Although this was made in the final chapter of the 70s, and the symphonic get together with verse-chorus-interlude-solo-verse-chorus-chorus-solo(s) had been done lord knows how many times, there´s really no getting around just how fluid and vibrant this album feels. The musical history buff, could easily get away with accusing a fair deal of the Neo-prog performers to have robbed Minotaurus off their soundscapes, suave textures and tonal serenity. In fact I´ll go out on a ledge and claim this particular record, along with Babylon´s self-titled, as the first 2 proper releases of said "style". Well, even so - I really couldn´t care less, because what matters, is not the shape of the Roman nose, but rather the green gooey substance it holds imprisoned.

Minotaurus were actually formed in 1972, and played together up until this album was recorded, when the group lost of its guitarists and silently withered away without so much as a tiny splash resonating in the vast musical oceans. So one album in 6 years as it turns out... What one should take away from this information is, that during what seems to be a somewhat longish embryonic state of being, Minotaurus obviously developed some remarkable chops - taught how to play together as a band - and first and foremost got to know the ins and outs of each member. This comes across, when you start listening to Fly Away almost immediately. All the pieces fit perfectly together, and there´s a sense of professionalism in the craftsmanship, that you normally only get from bands who´s been playing together for years on end. Debut? Surely not...

If any of you guys are into early Marillion, Novalis, Camel, Anyone´s Daughter, Atlas and a handful of other melodic symphonic acts which frolic in sweet laden artistries, then you should probably be placing your order for this little gem right about now.

Fly Away contains some beautiful guitar solos, that sit quite comfortably at the table of those emotive string bending wizards such as David Gilmour, Andrew Latimer and Steve Rothery. Combined with a wide variety of hammond organs, mellotrons, synths and other keys that fertilize the ground on which these musical acrobatics take place - huge towering symphonic sun flowers continue to grow upwards reaching for whatever - and melody, verse and soul all put together amounts to a rather stunning venture into music with wings of eiderdown and German wool. The German wool here is procured by Peter Scheu and his slightly accented vocals, that in time will win over even the most recalcitrant fighter of "properly English sung music". I´ve frequently thought of Eloy and Grobschnitt during my listens of Minotaurus, and not only because of the obvious Germanic shadings within the vocal delivery, but more so on account of the recurring psychedelic themes that open up in the music. It´s a subtle thing though, and if you´re not paying attention it will pass you by like the smell of a feminine bowel leakage. Underneath the melodies and structures, a decisively spacey expression oscillates and without any flamboyant gestures or bombastic use of semantics - slowly and comfortably continues to diffuse into the music. Either done with small snippets of percussive features like chimes, or the early Camel like elevator synths, that unlike elevator music doesn´t come off as muzak, but rather sounds like big organic sweeps of bouncy leads that melt through the other instruments and create a wobbly and bubbly psychedelic atmosphere.

Are you a fan of any of the mentioned artists, and haven´t spent all of your money on Christmas presents or indeed that brand new excavator that you´ve been meaning to buy for the last 20 years, then I warmly suggest you go for this sweet and melodiously laden German affair. 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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