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TRACE

Trace

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars By many a almost forgotten group with good roots in the far more known Focus. Listening to Traces debut-album even today brings many good feelings to vibrate. Maybe not so demanding as Focus could be, but more of a salute to one of prog-rocks roots, classical music. The way Rick van der Linden moves through a melody : floating, attacking, but never really resting, has always intrigued lovers of the big and wonderful sound coming from his keyboards. In fact no matter what his playing this seems to lift the music further and further. But this is no van der Linden solo-album. Not at all. The sound coming from the rhythmics by these three musicians are tight, warm and produced with a clear, fat sound. Perfect collaboration. Listening to the first track Gaillarde sets the beat perfectly and follows to the very end of this incredible good album from 1974.

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Send comments to Zaragon (BETA) | Report this review (#7302)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first trace(pardon the pun) of dutch keyboard master Rick Van der Linden. After his long stretch with Ekseption (Dutch prog/pop/orchestral outing) He founded Trace...a keyboard powered trio in the vein of ELP. There are traces (sorry)of ELP and indeed of Nice....some hints to Focus without the fabulous guitars of Akkerman....however the main man was/is Van der Linden... A master of the keyboard ...as this record shows!! Its beyond believe power trio keyboard master piece!! Hear ye hear ye of little faith..this is by far the GREATEST Keys, Bass & Drum outfit there is/was...yeah i know you love ELP (so do i!) but this.. is by far the most wonderfull thing happening in the progworld of keyboards!! Track nine shows just how great the drummer is!! The rest speaks for itself....hammond/moog/synthesizer a plenty. And the compositions are just GREAT...blended with classical (in fact)themes!!! Now i know that there are someone outhere (Hi Maani) who probably doesnt like this. And maybe im biased..iwe owned this record on vinyl...and i love it!! So there you have it....its a five star (Ohhh no not again) review!!! And this cd comes with 2 extra tracks (apparently their singles) as bonus!! If you love ELP/Ekseption and Solution...then youīll absolutely adore this TRACE with their first outing!! What can i say? I Just love it!!! Five stars? Ohhh yes!!! Of course!!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#7303)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Birdcorps@yah
5 stars Inspired, skillful, excellent musicianship, fire, what more can you want? This is really Rick van der Linden at his best, in the company of equally adventurous musicians, Jaap van Eik on bass, and Pierre van der Linden on drums. Excellent adventurous arrangements of classical music (as well as a traditional folk tune), and of course original music from Rick. In addition to the original release two tracks have been added: tabu and the single version of progression. This definitely is a release you do not want to miss.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7304)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
bonzo1969@lib
3 stars Add another half star. A power trio that wanted to leave a "Trace" in rock history but failed to reach such an achievement, and mainly because there is not a real gem in this first effort. Their technical ability is great, being these three men the most celebrated dutch musicians of the '70, and everybody who likes keyboard driven rock in the vein of ELP will enjoy the Musea reissue (which includes a and b side of the Philips 7" that in 1974 anticipated the release of the album). The music, however, is exactly what you can easily expect, Focus meets Ekseption, without a real development. An enjoyable addiction to your prog collection, but not really a masterpiece.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7305)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rick van der Linden became famous for his virtuosity on the keys; this first album from Trace clearly demonstrates what a wizard he was on the keys. Yet, even more than that, Rick knows how to use the right sound in the right place, he has his own method of colouring his music, and it makes his music very recognizable.

The emphasis on this first, magnificent album from Trace is on the 'wild' element. It feels as if, after leaving the band EKSEPTION, Rick is caught in an explosion of creativity, and this resulted in a unique, daring, adventurous album. The album he made with EKSEPTION ("Trinity") which preceded this first one with TRACE pretty much is like a prelude to his one, having two larger pieces on it, and it concludes with a finale similar to the one on this album. Rick uses a lot of different instruments, he even uses a vacuum cleaner to play the bagpipes(!) in the track "The escape of the Piper". He incorporates themes from classical composers like Bach and Grieg to en even greater degree into the music, it all flows effortlessly and in a natural way. On the track "Once" he completely turns loose on the Hammond in a Jazz frenzy, in other tracks like "Gaillarde" and "Progression" he turns the Hammond into a ferocious predator. And throughout the entire album Rick shows his impeccable skill in arranging the music.

This truly is an excellent album, and for this reason I awarded it with a fully deserved 5- star rating.

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Send comments to JK2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#7306)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Listening to Trace's first album, it's like a war. Notes sprawling and tearing up your inner ear like bullets fired straight out of a smoking machine gun.

Lightning Bach style, super tight bass/drum interplay. It's Emerson Lake & Palmer...but without the gigantic ego, the lyrical bullcorn and the awful by-product filler that every album's filled with.

Some bands are just TOO COMPETENT to write a page of history (and therefore, being understood) and Trace is one of the leader in this sad but mind-boggling category maybe with Echolyn or Par Lindh Project.

In fact, the product is purely an exercise, so it's not accessible and therefore, dispensable. In no way these guys thought they would carry on or reform on day on the sake of making a few dollars. Because this band probably made some money by doing marathon concerts. Hard working, not physically attractive (Rick van der Linden looks like an anorexic Leif Ericksson) and ridiculously perfectionnist...dude, this record is tough to swallow and needs time to digest to full appreciation.

This is a major kick in Rachmaninov's...er, piano I guess.

Dedicated to all the Raiders of the Lost ARP....

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#7307)
Posted Monday, November 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Dutch keyboard-wizard Rick got worldwide recognition with the 'classic-rock formula' from EKSEPTION but he wanted his own band to work out his own ideas. He founded TRACE with bass player Jaap van Eik (CUBY AND THE BLIZZARDS, The MOTIONS, SOLUTION, LIVING BLUES) and drummer Pierre van der Linden (TEE SET, BRAINBOX, FOCUS), a real Dutch supergroup. TRACE sounds like the Dutch equivalent to early ELP but Rick has a wider array of keyboards, including Hammond B3 organ, Hohner clavinet and pianet, ARP - and EMI synthesizers, harpsichord, Solina string-ensemble, Mellotron and church organ. He even used the sound of a bagpipe. The music on the eponymous debut album is a treat for fans from bands like The NICE, ELP, TRIUMVIRAT and early LE ORME. It delivers exciting, often sumptuous, keyboard driven symphonic rock: the mainly instrumental music is loaded with virtuosic keyboard runs, swirling Hammond organ and majestic Mellotron, supported by a powerful and propulsive rhythm-section. The Musea CD-release contains two bonustracks ("Progress" and "Tabu") and the history of Trace with nice pictures. Recommended to all progheads who want to be blown away by 'keyboard pyrotechnics' in the vein of Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz or Toshio Egawa (from GERARD).

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#7308)
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
alpacagonzale
4 stars I have to say this album was my first impression into the prog rock world. Trace made a before/after point, because it moved me to know other areas of music, more espectacular in the treatment of the instruments and the virtuosity on them. With that i began to listen more carefully to Pink Floyd, Yes & ELP, because they were now a reference of any intention to know this beatiful world of musical expression.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#7309)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars On first hearing this album many eons ago, I was stunned. How could anyone this good be ignored. In the heyday of prog when the likes of Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd etc. were getting all the headlines Rick and his crew went almost unheard. This album is a milestone in virtuosity and entertainment. Rick lets rip on every instrument within his reach. Whenever I play Gaillarde to anybody they instantly become Trace fans. With touches of Mellotron, Moog and harpsichord it's Rick's Hammond that holds court on this album. And it's not only Rick that keeps the ball rolling. Jaap and Pierre (ex-Focus) do a damn fine job as well. And a I can still hear Rick shouting at them during Gaillarde to this day...

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Send comments to stanbrook (BETA) | Report this review (#66280)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars How not to think of Trace as an extension of Rick van der Linden's old band Ekseption? Rather hard, as Trace holds very many similarities (or same flaws if you wish) than the previous group had. For those not familiar with Ekseption, you might think of Trace as a cross between ELP/the Nice and Focus, with some rather dangerous commercial and aesthetics dangers. Trace can be seen as a supergroup of sorts, as each member (all virtuoso at their respective instrument at that) came from well-known Dutch groups: Rick vdLinden from the afore-mentioned Ekseption, Jaap van Eik from a lengthy Blues career and Solution and Pierre vdLinden (no relation) from Focus. As Ekseption and Focus had quite a commercial success, Trace's career was widely publicized in newspapers (even the serious general press, since these musos were paying their dues/homage to serious higher culture, giving them a very wide audience) and this made their success almost guaranteed.

Their debut album is a clear call to everything the three musicians had done prior to Trace's creation: creating a rock template for reworking of classical oeuvres (yes even Focus was often guilty of this) that seemed to be a Dutch specialty throughout the 70's. I always have a hard time not speaking openly of ripping-off/plagiarizing the classical composers, and there is clearly a dimension of this present in all three Dutch groups. Does it mean that the musicians lacked of ideas of their own? Well maybe yes, since I do not find the same "flaws" in groups such as ELP or its forerunner the Nice: clearly Emerson (past his earlier years) had enough "balls" and ideas to actually transform the classical oeuvres which he re-worked to the point that the reworked- themes gained a life of their own.

My general feeling is that Trace is generally less guilty of this stealing of classical oeuvres (much less than Ekseption or, later, Sky but not any less then Focus, though), and therefore I regard Trace better than its forerunner. Compared to the previous Ekseption, Trace is much more purposeful and personal in their renditions, but also write more their own material. Sometimes dangerously close to Muzak still (but again not quite as much as you-know-who-by-now ;-), it is hard to call Trace's music groundbreaking by the time this album was released. Just like with the previous group, there is also a jazz dimension, which can be at times enhancing the classical themes, but at times cheapening them also, to the point that some became almost ridiculously close to the afore-mentioned Muzak.

If you like instrumental KB pyrotechnics from Emerson, Lord or Van Leer, than Trace's debut album will be the thing for you. For my part, I consider Trace's albums not quite as insufferable as Ekseption or Sky, but will probably never choose this album to spin, if I am given a wide choice.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#79936)
Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Often compared to ELP just as German band Triumvirat were because of similar instrumentation ( keyboard array/bass/drums ), Holland`s Trace appeared at the zenith of the progressive rock mid-seventies glory years. While there is no doubt fans of ELP will eat this up right away and critics will be quick to write this off as an ELP copycat band there are essental differences which must be considered here.

At first it might sound a lot like Focus because of Pierre van der Linden`s distinct stylings and sound until Rick van der Linden`s keyboard explolsions really start to fire off with dazzling speed and time fluctuations with no vocals to get in the way on this one. But forgoe any notion that this will be a go nuts Rick band as both Van Eik on bass and Van der Linden on drums had been involved in the Dutch rock music scene since the late sixties and acquit themselves superbly with a tight rythmn section performance. We even get to hear a drum solo from Pierre which is quicker and not as tedious as the one found on the Focus III album.

As with many progressive rock keyboard players in the 70`s Van Der Linden, who was classically trained, raids some classics and also adds some jazz and rocks it out a little more than his contemporaries with seemingly boundless energy, much more so than the albums he made with his previous band Ekseption. No horns or saxes here, just pure electricity flowing from his arsenal of Keyboards and effects.Just about every keyboard available to the prog keyboard player at the time can be heard on this masterpiece at one time or another.

A great variation on the keyboard-wizard/drums/bass theme wil have any 70`s keyboard freak drooling like a komodo dragon.

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Send comments to Vibrationbaby (BETA) | Report this review (#80528)
Posted Tuesday, June 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...

After EKSEPTION released their sixth studio album ''Trinity'' in 1973, keyboardist Rick Van Der Linden was forced to leave the band.Not a wise decision,as EKSEPTION had a downfall in their career,while Van Der Linden decided to form a new band the same year,initially called ''Ace''.He auditioned drummer Peter De Leeuwe (ex-EKSEPTION), but he found him lacking in technique,so he recruited ex-FOCUS Pierre Van Der Linden for the drum kit.Bassist of the band was self-taught musician Jaap Van Eik,who had also played with Dutch jazz/rock masters ''Solution''.In May 74' the band recorded their self-titled debut at Soundpush Studios in Blaricum,which was finally released in September by Phillips.

From the very first moments you can easily understand why Van Der Linded was searching for musicians with high technical background,as the arrangements here are sometimes very complex .Gone are the straight jazzy horn sections of EKSEPTION and now the compositions of Van Der Linden remind of E.L.P. more than ever.''Trace'' is filled with the keyboards of their founder,with lots of mellotrons and organ attacks throughout,mostly in a classical orientation.There are also lots of moog synth acrobatics and effects,while the music ranges from organ-driven DEEP PURPLE-like classical adaptions to improvisational,highly complicated interplays between keys,bass and drums.Van Der Linden doesn't stop here.His beloved piano pops up here and there,while a few harpsichord and Horner clavinet echoes make the sound even richer and proggier.What I mostly like in ''Trace'' is some superb,dreamy and melodic organ passages,showing why Van Der Linden is considered one of the best keyboardists in the prog league.The two other musicians join the club in their own way.The jazzy background of Van Eik helps him accompanying Rick's keyboards quite easy, while Pierre Van Der Linden was very familiar with the jazzy/symph style from his previous service on FOCUS.

''Trace'' is an acclaimed work for anyone into keyboard-driven/classical prog music,which is balanced between melody and complex themes.Really essential,while not that original!

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#155087)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I hold ELP responsible for a lot of things. That includes bands like TRACE. But where ELP were both innovative and had a "nasty" bite, TRACE just copies them and then adds some more organs. The result is everything ELP is not.

I am not a big fan of EKSEPTION, to say at least. They were just copying some classic music works and giving it their own identity. TRACE is doing more or less the same here. But they have removed the rock element and most of the jazz elements from the ELP sound. There is no guitars here, no vocals and no madness in the sound. This is, and Keith Emerson's organs is why ELP worked so well. Without it, TRACE (and EKSEPTION) becomes muzak. Elevator and shopping mall music, in other words.

When that is said, the opening track Gaillarde is pretty good. At least, TRACE tries to make this album more than just elevator music. The music is pretty heavy too. There are elements of jazz here. There are traces of creative thinking in the music. The musicians skills is pretty high. The ELP adoration pieces makes my heart sing. But these pieces alone does not save this album. Most of the music is a too much background noise for me. I soon turn my attention to other things.

This album is by no means a waste of time. But ELP or TRIUMVARAT, it is not. It is still a fairly good album with some potential. I will listen more to it in the coming years.

3 stars (barely)

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#219636)
Posted Wednesday, June 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars This is another of those famed Dutch Masters , a prog supergroup featuring the indubitable talents of Rick van der Linden of Ekseption fame , a raging multi-keyboardist in the Emerson/Wakeman class , drummer extraordinaire Pierre van der Linden (no relation) fresh from leaving Focus right after their "3" album and hitherto unknown monster bassist Jaap van Eik. "Gaillarde" explodes straight out of the Ekseption school of "classical music played with rock instrumentation:, the Hammond organ smoking with elegant flair , the synthesized walls of sound simply invigorating , symphonic prog at its loftiest and most majestic. A stunning opener. "Gare le Corbeau" is a glittering Jaap van Eik bass blast; as if to clearly show that he belongs in the company of greats, infuriated drumming and the mellotrons ablaze. "Gaillarde" comes in for a dazzling revisit, the glorious main theme reaching for the heavens, without question a peak of statuesque pomposity, a fabulous fanfare that captivates at first and then gives way to a shatteringly fleet organ solo that drenches and satiates. There is a rare dash of harpsichord that highlights their attention to detail work, a rousing suite that should be considered as masterpiece material and revered as such. "The Death of Ace" is a decidedly more somber affair with brooding piano, mellotron washes and synthesized melancholia all combining to arrange a romantic, more poignant musical composition, the Mini-Moog solo a pert reminder that it could be a talkative method of expression. The choir mellotron adds that magical touch of genius. "The Escape of the Piper" is perhaps best described as "Speed-prog", a fine example of torrid technical bravura on piano, bag-pipe organ (emitting a Scottish feel) , booming bass and machine-gun drumming from the ex-Focus master percussionist. It doesn't last long but it does its damage. "Once" is a Hammond fest that would make the Emersonian emperor pale in jealousy, the bass pounding forcefully with jolly bashing from Pierre , displaying a trio virtuosity that is jaw-dropping! Much like their compatriots in Focus, Finch and Golden Earring, the musicianship is absolutely first rate primo stuff! Mind you, the tradition lives on as Dutch prog still glows brightly today. The ironically titled and 12 minute epic "Progression" (okay everybody laugh!) is inherently more of the same pulsating symph- prog we all should adore , as it represented a major current that disrupted the rock scene with such devastating aplomb, an intricate classical-infused composition that has elegance, power, sweat and brains. The true definition of prog back then, fusing the dense conservatory discipline of classical erudition with the brutal thrust of a bass and drum foundation, a collision of legendary timelessness that was still at its fetal birth in 1974. True pioneers indeed. What becomes immediately apparent is the joyful exuberance of playing such devilish music (check out the clavinet solo, pffff!) and the overall sense of delirious control, a few Thijs van Leer organ snippets thrown in but showing off considerable synthesizer abilities as well. The rollicking, almost funky piano really lays down some serious buoys, organs blowing through the clouds, bass oars pumping to the solid beat, frolicking in the sonic delirium. The 2 part "A Memory" basks at first in thunderclaps and gently howling winds, the propulsive organ threatening like some impending storm (like the tornado brewing outside as I write), some whooshing tones on the synth that seem to corroborate the tempestuous atmospherics. "The Long Past" has a drum solo as an entrance point, a percussive archway that hustles fervently, proving what many knew already that Pierre was a massive drum giant and hence full member in the court of the Crimson Drum. Boom-boom tchak! A brief return to the "A Memory" for a final whimsical salute. "Final Trace" is a diminutive, ā propos ditty that has no pretense other than to show off a lyrical side, away from the rage and fury previously displayed, a gentle interlude with a wee butterfly/hummingbird synthesizer solo, a rousing church organ rounding out the arsenal and the seamless finale. "Progress" flickers with a ribald clavinet exhibition, lightning fast in passing the torch to the rambling organ, the two-timing bass and the thrashing cymbals and toms keeping the boosters fully fueled. The clavinet resurfaces with a vengeance, repeating the initial theme one more time, a vivid lesson in keyboard artistry. "Tabu" is the last nail in this mega monument, a finger fest of analog keyboards, hyperactive bass and intricate drumming, each emoting with utter conviction. A must-have for fans of symph, technical, classical, jazz and rock instrumentals. Amazing! Frankly as a whole , better than any ELP album .5 microphones

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#229656)
Posted Monday, August 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars While the star of this show is Rick Van Der Linden and his insane talent on the keyboards, the bass and drumming are also performed by virtuosos. This trio lays down an instrumental trail of fire with their endless solos, bombast and flash. You would have to be crazy to give less than 4 stars (hi Hugues) to this album, a record that has received it's inspiration from the great Classical composers of the past.

"Gailarde" opens with keyboards followed by a full sound with the keyboards leading the way. Mellotron comes and goes. The organ comes in later and rips it up. "Gare Le Corbeau" is led by the bass and drums pretty much throughout. "Gaillarde" sounds really good until it changes before 2 minutes as the keyboards start to lead and the tempo picks up. Mellotron 3 1/2 minutes in. "The Death Of Ace" is the first really quiet section. Drums before a minute with mellotron and a full sound follows.The tempo continues to shift.

"The Escape Of The Piper" is uptempo with piano early. Rick even plays bagpipes on this one. "Once" is one of only two tracks without mellotron on it. This is uptempo with keyboards and bass standing out. "Progression" features plenty of tempo changes and even a clavinet solo or two. What a track. "A Memory" opens with what sounds like wind and electronics. Mellotron and synths follow. "The Lost Past" is basically a drum solo from this former FOCUS member. "A Memory" is powerful before it settles before a minute to end it. "Final Trace" is the other track without mellotron. Lots of organ and some heavy bass in this one. It does settle before 2 minutes with synths.

For fans of keyboards and ELP. And while I appreciate both there's just too much of both for my tastes.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#255077)
Posted Tuesday, December 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I heard about Trace, in 1974, the fact that caught my atention was the presence of drummer extraordinaire Pierre Van Der Linder in the line up. Focus was one of the first dutch prog bands to become popular in Brazil. So almost everything related to Focus ended up being released in my country, at least until the late 70īs. so it was not hard to find this LP and the bandīs follow up Birds in the music stores then. Birds became quite popular among progheads and I can remember that I heard it quite often when I was 16 or 17. But only recently I had found the bandīs debut CD to buy. And I was not really thrilled with it, even after repeated spins. See below.

I didnītn know then that Trace was really a kind of supergroup, with all the three members being quite famous in Europe before joining forces. Keyboardsman Rick Van Der Linden (which I thought at the time was Pierreīs brother, but latter I found out they have no relation) was from Ekseption and is the driving force here. The guy is simply terrific with the keys, his technique is absolutely superb. But bassist Jaap Van Eik is also a master on his instrument and together with the former Focus drummer they produced one of the most powerful and versatile rhythm sections ever. So why just 3 stars? The main issue here deals with originality and songwriting (or lack of both). There is nothing in Trace you havenīt heard before and better. Besides the record is totally instrumental, which demanded even stronger songwriting skills, something they were not quite able to come up with. The results are one CD that seems to be showing great musicians doing some technical exercises, rather than playing real songs.

Rickīs playing seems to be a sum of the great ones that came before him: Keith Emerson (mostly), Rick Wakeman (clavinet and mellotron use) and This Van Leer (some melodies). And yet he was not capable of rounding it up into a personal style. Ok, it was only their first, but judging him by his previous experience and his tremendous skills, I was expecting much more. Not that the tracks are bad, on the contrary, they are nice, but the deja vu feeling is overwhelming for 1974: ELP, Triunvirat, Focus, you name it, came first. And those bands did it with more bite, more style and with better hooks.

Conclusion: if you donīt mind the aforementioned shortcomings and specially if you are a fan of keyboard driven trios, then you should give this CD a chance. To me is a bit of a deception, sounding too much like a copycat. Their follow up Birds (with Ian Mosley taking up the drum stool) would be much improved. Rating: something between 2,5 and 3 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#296835)
Posted Monday, August 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Trace - s/t (1974)

Ok, your going to have this party and you invited all your sympho-prog buddies. How to make a good party AND listen to progressive rock? Well, the answer my friends, put on your cd/lp of Trace.

To give a short impression of what this Dutch super-group has to offer: key-bass-drum symphonic prog with use of many classical pieces played as if they were a rock'n-roll outfit that was given the goal to destroy the building they were playing in. The atmospheres are really that of an up-tempo raging rock band, but instead of harsh guitars and screaming vocals, Trace uses its insane technical possibilities and compositions to completely surprise you with a bulk of energy seldom seen in prog.

Keyboard player Rick van der Linden is known from Ekseption and is absolutely (perhaps along with R.J. Stips) the top of keyboard players in Holland, if not the world. He uses piano's, organs (with that great ELP sound), choir and violin mellotrons and of course the mighty moog. Famous drummer Pierre Van Der Linden of Focus and Brainbox fame is given a cart blanche to show everything he has and I must say it's a truly inspired performance throughout. His drumming is perhaps my favorite element of the record. The great surprise is however Jaap Van Eik of Cuby and the Blizzards fame (great Dutch blues- rock band which you should check out!). His bass playing is perfect, with an awesome technique, amazing speed and great harmonic findings. His jazz-bass on 'Once' is a blessing. This makes up a three-part super-group I was speaking of.

The sound of Trace is very professional and the recording is perfect. Perhaps one of the best of seventies Dutch prog. The style of Trace has of course a lot to do with ELP. Some elements of the band's style and sound could hardly called original, but the way they play classical influenced prog with it's amazing technical achievements and rockin' sound is really something new. Furthermore this debut has no bad moments, no songs and no vocals (oh wait a minute.. during chaotic moments one can sometimes hear primal screams haha). It is a very concentrated effort.

Conclusion. Ok what do we have here: super-group, perfect use of classical music material, a truckload of fun, great solo's and high quality throughout. I know this will not be one of the most original key-oriented prog records, but I still want to give the full five star rating. Trace get's away with hyper-technical prog by showing how funny being pretentious can be. It's rock'n roll mentality is a true winner. Four big stars for the Trace debut. I surely hope it won't take me as long to find a vinyl copy of their second album!

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#300434)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album by a great babd. But in my opinion "Trace" is not a masterpiece... Also if the music was masterpiece.

Aged well or not well? ...Hmmm... I do not know. Because Trace was a trio in the vein of The Nice, ELP or Le Orme but in my opinion most Rock... Too Rock and symphonic. With too organ in first line. That is OK, of course. But... Ok, but... Or maybe, in my opinion the music have too magic but not too atmosphere as The Nice, ELP or Le Orme. Not because Rick van der Linden (organ, various keyboards), Jaap van Eick (bass) and Pierre van der Linden (drums) are not capable of giving emotions, but because they have given birth too energetic and Rock compositions. Not problem, in my general view, only that this fact went to the expense of symphonic element. For me, in a correct view, "Trace" remain a good album, great I think. But the problems that I have explain are essential to my correct vision.

Production, mixing and writing are superior to the media, of course and the sound is... A dreaming sound. But, also if great, "trace" is not a masterpiece.

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#386177)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Trace was Rick van der Linden's supergroup whilst he was taking a break from Ekseption, and the ELP-alike lineup is a hint as to the musical approach taken - keyboard-dominated, with regular borrowings from classical music standards (though they aren't so reliant on classical covers as some ELP clones are). The compositions are light, breezy, and whilst they're a bit forgettable they're at least entertaining. Whereas ELP would split their efforts between super- complex serious business pieces and dumbed-down novelty tracks, Trace steer a middle path, finding a decent compromise between complexity and accessibility which makes the album a fun listen, though I can't say there's much material here to keep me coming back again and again.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#529096)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Formed by ex-Ekseption keyboardist Rick Van Der Linden after his departure from the group and belonging to the same symphonic sub-genre that houses the likes of Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Nice, Refugee and fellow countrymen Focus, the Dutch trio Trace produced three albums during the mid-seventies, skilfully marrying complex classical themes, modern rock ingredients and a hint of jazz fusion to create a vibrant and mainly instrumental sound steeped in the traditions of early progressive rock. Whilst, ultimately, they failed to generate the same levels as interest and commercial gain enjoyed by Focus and, to a lesser extent, Ekseption, Trace nevertheless did leave behind an intriguing sonic legacy that showcases just what superb individual musicians they were. Most of all, however, Trace are a reminder of the vast and wonderful world of 1970s European progressive rock and the many exciting and obscure groups still waiting to be discovered by those willing to look hard enough. The trio's debut album, 'Trace' was Recorded at Soundpush studios in Blaricum, Holland, during the spring of 1974 and issued on the Dutch arm of Phillips. The line-up for the album saw Rick Van Der Linden(keyboards) augmented by his brother Pierre(drums) and Jaap Van Eick(bass), with Rick composing the bulk of the material. The album starts promisingly, with Rick's ever-shifting keyboards weaving an attractive melody on the toe-tapping 'Gaillarde' before morphing into brief-but-entertaining Van Eick-penned 'Gare Le Corbeau', one of only two tracks on the album not written by the older Van Der Linden brother. Highlights, however, appear further on, as the fiendishly jazzy 'Once' makes way for the album's twelve-minute centrepiece 'Progression', a classically-spiked organ-led rocker that skims carefully through several interconnected sections, in the process showing off the trio's excellent interplay. It's a marvellous track, and one filled with an array of moods and textures, charting a course which takes in a dazzling keyboard beginning, a soothing, almost psychedelic central section and a driving, drum 'n' bass-inflected denouement. Very much an album for those who dig ELP-style histrionics or the slightly smarter sounds of 'Hocus Pocus'- era Focus, 'Trace' is an impressive album from a talented trio. They arrived probably a little too late to the symphonic prog party, their brief-but-bright career is well-worth checking out, with follow-up effort 'Birds' featuring more helpings from the same classical-prog bowl. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#787075)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rick van der Linden's departure from his original band he co-found in 1968, Ekseption, to form Trace seemed really worth it as in here with his new band he could explore his musical talents widely as he feels that this is his band supported by other musicians Jaap Van Eik (bass, guitar) , Pierre Van Der Linden (drums). The band was originally named as ACE but since there was British band with the same name they changed the name to Trace.

Well yeah, this album is much more dynamic - at least on keyboard side - where Rick really plays his keyboard the way he really wants it. For me personally it's really great because I can sense the nuances of ELP music with much more classical music touch presented by Rick van Der Linden. Take for example the excellent opening track "Galliarde" which is basically from 3rd Part of the Italian Concerto BWV 971 in F Major by J.S. Bach and traditional Polish dance, arranged by Rick van der Linden. If you follow the music right from start to end it's a very dynamic one where you can hear dynamic and inventive keyboard work by Rick van Der Linden backed with jaw-dropping drums work with great energy. And it's not only that....you can hear the powerful bassline which also followed with bass guitar solo - remembering to the composition of 'Improvisation' from Ekseption 'Trinity' album. I really admire this sort of music as this refers to the classical music but performed in jazz-rock style by Trace.

Overall, the composition is really well rounded with its main roots on classical music and then expanded into jazz-rock fashion that finally forms Trace music. The melody flows nicely from track to track, stemming from the original classical music - but the changes of tempo and style do not cause the music being off-tracked as it all form as one cohesive whole. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#911888)
Posted Saturday, February 09, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The sounds, the glorious sounds. My mind's panties melt for these insatiable tracks. What more can be said but that one can find little more satisfying use of an hour than ramming their mind in and out and in and out of this album again and again till collapsing in a coma of ecstasy. What good are words, really? None can be found on this album yet it's still considered a full album and not a "rating only". This music needn't be sullied with a slobbering of word by myself or any man, woman, or child no matter how robust. Good, 100, so, overall, excellent album.

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Send comments to manofmystery (BETA) | Report this review (#1127695)
Posted Wednesday, February 05, 2014 | Review Permalink

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