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Alaska Range - Castles In The Air / Daybreak CD (album) cover


Alaska Range


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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Except there's more information than you can find by browsing normally (a browse that comes with unsatisfying low results as it is), Alaska Range is a 7'' band, meaning these two singles are literally the only music this trio has made and released. Whether this comes as a weird thing or not to you, it was certainly a personal surprise to discover that a band from the 70s is made out of only 7 minutes of rock - 7 minutes which, in addition (and easy to understand why, when listening), aren't fantastic or of any sensibility.

If you can put humor in how things stand, talking about Alaska Range's essential qualities isn't that silly anymore. How can you call progressive a one-off mini record? How can you appreciate the seriousness of the work by this band, when it looks like a purely accidental group? How can you enjoy the music when it barely last more than a second? Questions like these can find a deeper tone once Alaska Range offer no satisfaction of being a regular band, and its place in the genres is loosely acceptable based on the little there is to hear.

Objectively, this double-single 7 record isn't ultra-rare, but ultra-short. The best and - I think - only way to grab hold of it is on a Psychedelic Gems Vol. 2 compilation. Castle In The Sky and Daybreak aren't 20 minutes (side LP) epics, as much of the German heavy 70s rock got us used to, but short songs, almost good for the radio, still carrying an either more personal either more muddily sound. Robert Eggli seems to have gone playing with Tea more into the early 70s, otherwise there's nothing we can find out about the other two musicians. Inconclusive is also how the trio formed and with what sort of expectations, visions or schedule - case, if gong all the way to make a band with a name of its own and a fix on a specific style, one would certainly try to play more than two short takes.

The two pieces are fortunately different, which doesn't mean however that the 4.11 minutes Daybreak has more bran than the 2.51 minutes Castle In The Sky. Both vaguely introduce mixed impressions of soft psychedelic, rather strange blues, a Doors-like mood, bit of pop-psych Floyd and even less of Jethro folky-flute (better said something from between Tull's late blues and early folk-ish rock, still nowhere near having its pulp and savour...only the flute line). A mix during the middle of Daybreak conveys a symph-like harmony, but it's well insignificant, as both pieces resume to a shape of a smoky, tad too poppy or regularly rock-rhythm-ed song. Vocals add lyricalness, not in a complete way, and don't sound like anything too fantastic. The experience, overall, is short and unlikely to echo in your mind afterwards, which is why it is almost impossible to give it thumbs up. A full album should have undoubtedly existed, after this couple of singles, if not even after.

Again, except there are mentions of extra music/material which we've missed, this 7 disc is the only thing this band has made. If let's say the two songs were of good quality and interesting flip, it would have been a bit of a problem to decide whether to appreciate the quality of the music or sanction the puniness of the product. Since, however, the work is unimportant, so goes, unconditionally, Alaska Range's description.

Report this review (#165106)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
2 stars Yet another band which was eliminated by the military! ALASKA RANGE's members had been forced to join the army in 1971 whereas they had produced only one 7'' vinyl with two songs. Having a promising start - Roland Eggli was soon honoured to be the best drummer in Switzerland for example - ALASKA RANGE had just begun to proceed the transition from rock n' roll and blues to krautrock. But then the band's story ended suddenly - what a pitty.

Castles in the air is a typical 60s tune which reaches for something new and remembers me at the early period of Jethro Tull (the flute) and Steamhammer (the bluesy mood). Daybreak is closer to krautrock with suitable psychedelic guitars comparable with early german bands like DROSSELBART for example.

That's all! Seven minutes are sadly not enough to give a reasonable analysis of this band. For collectors of early psych and kraut music this is an interesting find anyhow as a part of a compilation which was released by the Garden Of Delights label.

Report this review (#165256)
Posted Friday, March 28, 2008 | Review Permalink

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