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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Third album from this German combo that was entering a more difficult phase, plagued with personnel problem and they had to wait almost three years since the release of their second album. I am not sure about this but the group might have disbanded during this time. By now (79), the Ihre Kinder and Embryo roots were long gone, and guitarist Muck Groh had departed (although he guests on one track), leaving wheelchair-bound saxman Kreuzeder a bit alone at the driving wheel. As he was the only remaining member from the previous two albums, understandably the group sounded quite different, especially that the JR/F scene had gone from jazz rock to jazz-fusion. Still released on the legendary Erlkonig label, this album (sporting a cartoon-like artwork) sounded very different, starting with vocals and yet another shift away from progressive rock towards jazz-fusion.

As said above, the guest musos included old Aera Muck Groh, Missing Link's Limberg and they would be joined for touring and the future next live album by ex-Embryo Roman Bunka. But Aera was now a very percussive group with two full time percussion players and most other contributing some more at a given time, thus giving often a Latino feel to the album, a bit like Pazssport did at the time, although not quite that extensive. The vinyl's first side starts very mildly with two run-of-the-mill fusion tracks that are effortlessly forgotten as soon as you hear their three-piece suite Dracula. Driven by a descending keyboard line, the group plays their heart out with Kreuzeder soloing away. The closing tidbit is also best forgotten.

The flipside doesn't really start much different, with the average opener You Need Some Speed and the closing Siebert (both above the 6-min mark, and enjoyable if not too picky), the highlight is again the longer (title in this case) track. Indeed Turkis has a slight eastern feeling and a great electric piano that does give it the edge over the rest of the album. Isn't it sad to realize that the two best tracks are indeed the most progressive rock ones? It is safe to say that this album is saved by Gieseleer's keyboards, even if the rest of the group are all ewxcellent musicians (Kreuzeder in particular), but the inspiration was not leadig the group towards adventure, but rather commercial safety.

As mentioned above a live album was up next and then the group will endure further line-up shuffles, record ever-increasing commercial jazz-fusion albums (Akataki is still worthy) on another legendary label, Spiegelei. As for the present album, it is an honest JR/F album of the time (but 79 was not the best of times for that style of music) , but we are a far cry from their firqst two albums, which are much better and should be investigated in priority.

Report this review (#131019)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars The band has changed personel-wise with only the sax player remaining from the previous album of 2 years earlier. Although the former guitarist does guest on one track. I would describe the music as fairly light with a funky groove coming through at times. Lots of percussion as well while the sax (often soprano) plays over top. Just not my favourite style of music to be honest.Too bad because these guys can play. I'm sort of reminded of those PASSPORT albums that i'm not too into becaiuse of the lack of power.

"Fetzenotto" has all these intricate sounds then the bass comes to the fore after a minute. Funky stuff right here as the sax blasts. "Pfiffe" is led by guitar and drums throughout.The drumming is so crisp and intricate. "Dracula" is an upgrade with the pulsating organ which gives us an urgent feeling. Some cool guitar before 4 minutes and it leads until before 5 1/2 minutes when the sax returns.The guitar is back a minute later followed by a calm. Sounds come back then it kicks in after 8 1/2 minutes to a funky rhythm. Nice drum section after 10 minutes.

"Annettchon" is a short laid back piece. "You Need Some Speed" has percussion, bass and sax that stands out. It settles some then the keyboards come in at 5 1/2 minutes to end it. "Turkis" is better with a much more prominant sounding bass.The sax plays over top. It settles before 3 1/2 minutes with some growly bass. Sax is back 8 minutes in. "Siebert" opens with drums and bass as the sax joins in. Drum solo 3 1/2 minutes in.The sax is back after 6 1/2 minutes.

3 stars but this just isn't something I want to play.

Report this review (#485491)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars By 1977 Klaus Kreuzeder had found himself all alone in the Aera line-up with the other members following different paths.Muck Groh went on for a solo career and to form Grotesk and Christoph Krieger would appear many years later in Groh's Jazz/Funk project Neue Aera along with the former drummer of Aera Wolfgang Teske.Kreuzeder found some talented replacements like Missus Beastly's founding member Lutz Oldemeier on drums, Cyklus' Matz Steinke and Achim Gieseler on bass and keyboards respectively, Helmut Meier-Limberg on percussion (another one to join Neue Aera later), Freddy Setz on drums and various keyboards with Locko Richter, also from Missus Beastly, guesting on bass and Groh playing guitar in one track of the upcoming album.''Turkis'' was released in 1979 on the familiar Erlkoening label.

Looking on the front cover of Aera's third album already you get the feeling that something different is going on.And the truth is that Kreuzeder decided that the group should take a more Jazz Funk direction with this work, apparently hurting the impressive history of the group.The majority of the tracks feature playful, kinky sax parts, lots of percussion, the more commercial GENTLE GIANT-like clavinet vibes with the funky bass lines leading the way.A complete lifting for Aera, on which the turn of the decade had a huge impact, the Germans abandoned their monstrous Kraut-Folk-Fusion amalgam of the past for a slick and more accesible Jazz Fusion style with no evident links to the German Jazz Fusion scene.They even show some tendency to produce melodic parts in the process, which was very strange for anyone having listened to the early efforts of the band.The title-track still shows hints of the past with some blisterring breaks and the display of atmospheric textures, creating a more flexible sound, but the 11-min. ''Dracula'' is propably the only track to hold the interest of the listener.Semi-improvised Jazz Rock with technical bass work and charming sax parts over a neurotic keyboard rhythm, opening the way for a laid-back Fusion mood with jazzy synths and light organ and yet another nice sax execution by Kreuzeder.

Definitely a dissapointment compared to the first couple albums of the band.Well-played stuff, but sounding very pale and less intricate than both ''Hand und fuss'' and ''Humanum est''.''Dracula'' will save the day, but the rest is standard, percussion-heavy Jazz Funk with no particular highlights.Recommended for die-hard fans of the style...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#1290426)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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