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GEVECHT MET DE ENGEL

Flairck

Prog Folk


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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars

FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM

How inspired and determined fellow collaborator ClemofNazareth must have been to add this captivating but for non-Dutch progheads a bit elusive Dutch progressive folk band, looking at the painstaking task to add the many albums Flairck released since 1978 and the few reviews I notice until now. After the release of their stunning debut LP entitled Variaties Op Een Dame (1978) the band appeared on almost every famous Dutch tv-programm, we all loved their exciting and virtuosic progfolk and I was blown away during the frequent gigs in my hometown The Hague. In 1980 Flairck released their eagerly awaited second effort entitled Gevecht Met De Engel, it means Battle With The Angel and points at the play between a lady and a gentleman. The sound is in the vein of their highly acclaimed debut LP but even more virtuosic, exciting and well balanced, you can hear that the band has played together for a long period because of the many gigs and rehearsals between their first and second album.

1. Oost-west Express (East-West Express, it speculates on an agreement between Eastern - and Western Europe) (4:49) : The album starts with a wonderful and moving blend of twanging acoustic guitar, pan flute, violin and fretless bass, then shifting moods that range from mellow with melancholical overtones to a cheerful mid-tempo, in the end we can enjoy a swirling panflute solo, what an awesome climax!

2. De Vlinder (The Butterfly, based upon an Irish melody) (7:25) : First a beautiful dreamy part featuring sitar and harp, the folky atmosphere is emphasized by the distinctive sound of the bagpipe. Next Flairck their trademark: a propulsive, very exciting blend of acoustic rhythm-guitar, violin and panflute, the interplay is outstanding and especially the acoustic bass work is a great driving force in Flairck their sound.

3. Voor Antoinette (For Antoinette, a tribute to Antoinette Hensey) (2:08) : This short piece delivers very warm work on 6 - and 12-string acoustic guitars by the Visser Brothers, a wonderful folky sound.

4. De Stoomwals (Steam Engine Waltz) (7:13) : This track alternates between dreamy with twanging guitars/melancholical flute and violin and propulsive with powerful acoustic rhythm-guitar and swirling interplay between flute, violin and bass, very exciting.

5. Gevecht Met De Engel. Like on their first album Flairck arranged one long composition, devided into 3 parts, in my opinion this is Flarck in its full splendor!

Deel I (8:25) : A bit sultry climate with obvious Spanish undertones because of the flamenco guitar and the castagnettes, wonderfully blended with the flute and violin, pretty adventurous progressive folk music. Then twanging 12-string guitars and flute (evoking early Genesis), soon joined by the warm sound of a classical guitar. After an exciting accellaration we can enjoy great interplay between flute and violin, very beautiful.

Deel II (8:35) : This part sounds like a tribute to the world of the Spanish guitar (Tarrega/Sor/Albeniz) delivering wonderful duo-classical guitar and a virtuosic twanging guitar sound. Then breathtaking interplay between the tremolo guitar and moving violinwork (goose bumps!) and in the end flute, twanging acoustic guitars and violin, a very warm folky climate.

Deel III (5:28) : Great interplay and a very melodic sound with Spanish undertones, the build-up is excellent and very exciting, especially the accellaration with flute and acoustic rhythm-guitar and a dramatic grand finale with swirling flute and violin, propulsive bass and rhytm-guitar, topped by the bombastic sound of timpanis, what an awesome composition!

A MASTERPIECE OF PROGFOLK MUSIC... FROM HOLLAND!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#181718)
Posted Thursday, September 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
5 stars I'm not too much of a folk fan but this band from Holland has always been at the top of my folk charts. Their ambitious compositions and instrumental craftsmanship have a drive and timeless quality that could charm folkies, lovers of classical music and progrock fans alike. Next to the brothers Visser on acoustic guitars and Peter Weekers on flutes, the band is completed with Sylvia Houtzager on violin. Her name translates to 'Sawyer' in English so playing the violin must have been her born destination. The band would continue to perform in that line-up throughout the 80's.

Gevecht Met De Engel is Flairck's strongest studio offering and can successfully claim not to have one wrong or misplaced note for its entire 44 minutes of dazzling virtuosity. Each part radiates with playing pleasure, regardless whether it's melancholic and quiet or fast and cheerful. One of the secrets is the perfect interplay between all members. The leading instrument is the acoustic guitar, complemented by dazzling bass guitar and an array of flutes and violin. The arrangements have plenty of breathing space though and never get overcrowded nor bombastic.

While it's difficult to point out any particular standout piece, the main focus of the album is on its 3-part title track, a 23 minute tornado raging through European folk music, ranging from Spanish, Celtic and Eastern European traditions. It's particularly essential as it doesn't feature on any of the official Flairck live albums. If you want to hear it then it will have to be here.

Gevecht Met De Engel is probably one of the best acoustic folk albums ever made. Given its impressive compositions it's nothing short of essential in any prog rock collection. So it's particularly distressing having only one other reviewer on this page joining me in my praise for this masterpiece.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#271247)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Flairck - Gevecht met de Engel (1980) (Fight with the Angel)

Flairck is a traditional and extremely talented Dutch folk band. All members play several instruments ranging from stringinstruments, wind instruments and some other. On their second album Flairck decided it was time to make an up-tempo, instrumental folk album with complex arrangements and a heavy feel. Flairkc is not to be seen as progressive act, of progressive folk act however, they play pure folk without drums and electric guitars. This sound might dessapoint some rock oriented music listeners, but for people who can listen beyond the rocksounds this might be a hell of a gem. Though Flairck is completely akoustic, it still rock's in it's own classic folk way.

Gevecht met de Engel (which translates: Fight with the angel) has two sides representing to parts. The first side has four uptempo compositions, side two has one big concept devided in three parts. Though side two is basically one conceptual song it doesn't have much conceptual feel. This album just has a lot of good folky ideas and melodies played perfectly fitted in well written compositions.

Conclusion. This music is not completely my cup of Tea. I like the rock instrumentation and the drums, which isn't present at this album. And though the music is highly technical and sophisticated, it isn't progressive. It doesn't have that progressive feel of atmospherical sophistication. People who like real folk should listen some samples on PA or on Youtube before they buy music of Flairck. Those who like the classical folk Flairck plays so perfect will find a supurb album! For others this is not per se an excellent additions, so I'll give three stars. People interested in (prog)folk might add one star themselves.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#271560)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars FLAIRCK are a Prog-Folk band out of The Netherlands. They use acoustic instruments including bass, violin, guitars and flute. No drums on this one.

"Oost-West Express" opens with an intricate guitar melody as violin joins in then flute. Bass follows then it settles before 2 minutes. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. Good song except for the final minute. "De Vlander" is more of the same but I like when it gets brighter before 4 1/2 minutes. Great section. "Voor Antoinette" is a short piece filled with acoustic guitar. "De Stoomwals" opens with acoustic guitar then flute and violin join in. The tempo picks up then the bass becomes prominant. It settles back after 3 minutes but not for long.

"Gevecht Met De Engel I" is upbeat to start then it settles with violin, flute and acoustic guitar. It settles down even more as the tempo continues to shift. Great section around 7 minutes. Part II is dominated with acoustic guitar early until after 4 minutes when the violin comes in. Flute after 6 minutes. Part III opens with acoustic guitar before flute and violin arrive after a minute. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in.

Good album but i'm just not into this style of music.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#278985)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Symphonic Prog can only successfully be created with plenty of electric instruments.

Wrong !

On Gevecht Met De Engel, their second album and the follow up to their x million albums seller Variaties op een Dame, Flairck has created an excellent Symphonic Prog album. And that without any Moog, Hammond, Mini-Moog, electric guitar or any other of these electric machines whatsoever. Well, the lamps in the roof, the tea kettle and the studio was very probably run by electricity........ but that's all. Sorry Thomas Alva Edison.

Flairck's use of acoustic guitars, flutes, acoustic bass guitar and violin (but no vocals) is simply superb here and creates both a big sound and a sound that really breathes. Most of all; the sound is really warm enough to heat up a half decent metropolis.

When they also gets the music right and creates some really brilliant pieces of music like the De Vlinder and the twenty two minutes long title track opus, divided in three parts like a proper symphonic prog opus, you know you are listening to something really special. The music is very complex at times too and it ebbs and flows from really powerful to very silent at times.

In short, this is the album symphonic prog and folk prog fans should find as their common ground. The standard of musicianship is also excellent throughout too. There is a couple of minor gripes I have got with this album, but it is still a great album in my view and probably Flairck's best album....... to this date, that is.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#336826)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like on their 1st album, this outstanding acoustic band from Holland once more presents a brilliant mix of classic, folk, rock and prog music with technical mastership. "Gevecht met de Engel" is maybe the best of their three early masterpieces, including the follower "Circus".

East to West Express" features powerful rhythm-work by the Visser brothers on guitar and bass, laying the ground for superb interplay of pan-flute and violin ( A Flairck Trademark). After a romantic middle section it 's getting rocky again, with a great pan-flute solo by Weekers. "Butterfly" starts slow and spacy, with flute, sitar and oriental flair, then it speeds up with violin-shredding by Houtzager (being more than an adequate replacement for Judy Schomper by the way). On intro and outro Peter Weekers shows a trick by blowing a continuous flute phrase without taking air, possible because of a special way of breathing. "For Antoinette" is a short but nice solo piece by Erik Visser on 12-string guitar. "De Stoomwals", a Weekers composition, is my favourite on this album. Again it 's starting slowly but soon builds up with a wonderful flute theme and violin interplay. Then the band goes up-tempo, performing some powerful variations. Once more bass and guitar are really rocking, while Weekers and Houtzager supply staccato melodies before coming back to the main theme. In a tricky middle section all four players combine single notes to weave an almost "Giant-like" arpeggio.

It would go to far for me to go into detail with the last piece, the 23-minute title track, written by mastermind Erik Visser. It just blows away all doubts if Flairck plays progressive music at all. Complex themes, time changes, classic influences, odd rhythms, variations, moods, virtuosity, it 's all there. Besides that, the acoustic sound and the folkish melodies make "Gevecht met de engel" a very unique album, and Flairck a very unique band.

P.S. For reasons nobody will ever understand, Polydor changed the album title on early copies outside Holland to "The Lady 's Back". Maybe they hoped it would sell better in english, maybe they liked the idea to refer to the cover art as well as to the first album. But for me the even bigger sin is to "translate" the title of the center piece into "Some funny symphony"! Angels don 't go with money, or what?

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Send comments to Ijon Tichy (BETA) | Report this review (#402417)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars The first album of Flairck was unique in its own way and quite succesful, receiveing three music awards, among them an Edison one.For their second work the Visser brothers recruited new female violininst Sylvia Houtzager, while they also changed the recording home, heading for the Dureco Studio in Weesp.The second album carried the title ''Gevecht met de engel'' (''Battle with the angel''), although its English version was named ''The lady's back''.Both versions were released in 1980 on Polydor.

Another impressive amalgam of Folk and Chamber Music, resulting a charming acoustic Fusion album, was the proposal of the band, although this time the symphonic references are more pronounced, making Flairck something of a European equivalent to MANEIGE, despite the different traditional references.Flairck sound more romantic and sensitive, performing four mini-suites on the opening side and a 22-min/three-part epic composition on the flipside.The album is a storm of flute/violin interplays with references to Classical and Medieval periods, characterized by nice breaks from dramatic segments to soft soundscapes and sweet melodies.The long title-track sounds like a Classical suite performed on acoustic guitars, flute and violin with absence of drums and focusing on stretched individual executions, sometimes lasting a bit too long.However the instrumental depth and superb, melancholic atmosphere are definitely surprising.The opening side actually sounds more progressive, as most of the pieces contain extended instrumental interactions and plenty of shifting climates with some fantastic executions, while the epic piece is more romantic in nature with a more mellow mood.

This acoustic ensemble was pretty original and ''Gevecht met de engel'' is a beautiful work of Folk/Fusion with dramatic instrumental textures and attractive interplays.Strongly recommended, even if you are not a fan of totally acoustic music...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1157208)
Posted Friday, April 04, 2014 | Review Permalink

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