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Absolute Elsewhere - In Search Of Ancient Gods CD (album) cover

IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT GODS

Absolute Elsewhere

Eclectic Prog


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Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock Specialist
1 stars I had this album once and played it twice, then gave it away. Frankly it was boring and I had made the mistake in thinking that Bill Bruford presence would make it special. My only regret now is that didn't hold on to that record, since the secondhand market price on the vinyl version is good.
Report this review (#23770)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars My brother bought this album back in 1977 and he wouldn't stop listening to it. Like any other progressive rock group, it takes time to like it fully at first. A good stereo system helps indead, in order to appreciate the tremendous bass, Bill bruford's percussion, and other key instruments. I'm trying to get it on CD when available because to me and my brother is an EXCELLENT ALBUM for that era and a must collector item.
Report this review (#23771)
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars As for the music , Dick Heath will regret selling his vinyl twice because of the price but also now , he would probably enjoy the music on it some twenty years later. Of course , the presence of Bill Bruford piqued my curiosity into buying this without hearing it first (that does happen once in a while) and I shall not regret it, even if he doesn't play a big role at all. The music as you read the title can only be instrumental and experimental fusion (jazz-rock), but remains accessible to most progheads (IMHO) , the mainman here being Paul Fishman (note that there are no second bassist but a guitar player) providing for much of the ambiances (not always successfully - see the first two short tracks on side 2 - Vinyl version) but once the group gets in stride , the music grooves quite well creating a much enjoyable fusion between Mahavishnu and Nebelnest. on one side and slow spacey music (almost new age) on the other. .

Nothing essential, but it's worth throwing an ear on it. .

Report this review (#23772)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can't fault this album (for nostalgic reasons) but would love to obtain a copy in any format as I only have bad quality cassette copy. we always found this album very therapeutic along with a pint or two of beer and the odd herbal cigarette. the LP came with a booklet about von daniken and his whacky theories about aliens who had visited us thousands or even millions of years ago, .....I think he also enjoyed a pint or two of beer and very odd herbal cigarettes. We did not find the album boring but we would play it last thing at night and the next day we would all discuss who stayed awake the longest and what track on the album we got to before we passed out. While we were discussing this we would enjoy a pint or two and maybe an odd herbal cigarette.

Regards

Frank Zappa fan IRELAND

Report this review (#23774)
Posted Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is obviously one of this stuff from the 70s (and actually there was plenty like this most of them very difficult to get in original nowadays) that might be quite enjoyable together with "1 or 2 pints and one of those old herbal cigarettes" (I like this expression of my Irish co-reviewer). It's a kind of music one really has to be into, as the contradicting reviews show already. Don't conclude from the appearance of great drummer BILL BRUFORD to any ressemblance to his other works. The theme of the album are DAENIKEN's doubtful theories about some visitors from far outer space in ancient years. And actually the music fits quite well to the topic. Very spheric synths, often sounding rather cheap, sometimes almost like an old computer game with many silent sections in between. There are some but very few moments to wake up where one might get an impression of the potential skill of the musicians (especially on side two). Parts on side one remind me of the type of music KITARO has been done, some others are a bit reminiscent of TANGERINE DREAM.

IMHO this album is not really bad, but certainly only interesting for specialists and collectors in this genre. It probably owns some nostalgic value for some people or might appeal to fans of the mentioned artists and music style. 2 stars is a quite fair rating I would say.

Report this review (#23775)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars My story's typical: I bought the LP when it came out because of the presence of Bill Bruford and the promise of lots of synthesizers. Kept it for a year or so, then sold it. I remember that one song was pretty good, mainly because of Bruford's drumming (which was uncharacteristically toned down throughout the album). Fishman's synth sounds were very unoriginal, and the compositions likewise. Only for people who like anything prog, or people who haven't heard much prog. Of course, there are a lot of folks in both categories.
Report this review (#23776)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
progmonster
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Somehow balanced between Dick Heath's and the mighty Sean Trane's reviews, my heart - or is it my mind ? - decided to go in Dick's direction. I'm quoting the one star legend here ; "Poor. Only for completionists". That's it ! Dramaticaly expensive as vinyl or pretty scarce from japanese import, the rarity of the object only made its fame, enhanced indeed by Bill Bruford presence. The latest is here as essential as he was for National Health like you can hear him on "Missing Pieces" : i mean he's not. As far as i can remember, the music recorded here did flow through me like a very atmospheric but dull moment. I don't know if Paul Fishman did actually found the Ancient Gods. As for me, i do agree with the title : Absolute Elsewhere. But not here, for Christ sake !
Report this review (#42616)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Three of us guys shared a flat in Shepards Bush in the eary '70s, we had a good sound system with 6 speakers hooked up, we were experameting with all sorts of weird and wonderfull resins and grass, including LSD and used to 'get off' with this record, especially the track where the 'spaceship' lands... I still have the album and play it now and then to remember 'the good ol' days' - would love to get it on CD as the albuim is getting a bit worn out.
Report this review (#68391)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The influence of Bruford on this album (whom attracted me at first) is close to none. He is playing his part on what is Paul Fishman's project. Music is experimental and sounds like improvisions throughout the album.

Reminiscence of Tangerine Dream is there, but with less quality. Lack of passion to say the least. Several tracks starts only after a minute or so ("Chariots of the Gods", "Return to the Stars").

"Earthbound", "Moon City" are very quiet tracks : something similar to "Moonchild" from KC : same kind of impro and goes absolutely nowhere. It is really difficult to put attention from start to finish of this LP. I have tried several times and definitely there is not a lot to remember from this.

Skip this one and keep your money for more interesting stuff. Sorry guys, one star.

Report this review (#104615)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
1 stars I have never been a completionist as far as Bruford goes, so I think the reason I bought this back in the 70s, apart from its low sticker price, was because I had loved the film "Chariots of the Gods", and in particular its majestic soundtrack, which enthralled me as a 13 year old. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered a repetitive disc of hackneyed synthesizer themes that sounds more like a cheap porn soundtrack than anything. The best track is probably the first, but it's pretty dispensable even with lowered standards, and what follows is of less interest still.

This really isn't even good enough to compete with most of the new age music that followed a decade or more later. At least that often had some sense of beauty about it. While this might be taken as inoffensive background listening if you are concentrating on something else, my rating is based on the fact that it really is only for the committed collector and has very little to distinguish or recommend it, ie- the compositions, the playing, and the arrangements are all mediocre at best, but more often abysmal. The "progressiveness" is virtually non-existent, as the pieces remain buried in their opening chords, unable to emerge in any meaningful way.

I suspect the high vinyl value in today's market is due to a combination of poor collective memory, an irrational love for all things Bruford, and the likelihood that most outlets had to throw out their abundant excess in much the same way as our crazed mothers disposed of our comic books back in the day. Only our comics actually had artistic merit.

Report this review (#123815)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Composition/Creativity: 18/25 The concept is interesting, if not particularly inspiring. It was certainly more in keeping with the times (1976) than it would be now. Compositions are not particularly well structured, a bit too meandering.

Musicianship: 17/25

It is a bit hard to tell just what the capabilities of the players on the album (besides Paul Fishamn) are.

Production/Sound: 22/25 Just what you'd expect ca. 1976.

Overall Effect: 18/25 In spite of some shortcomings I rather like this record. It has a nice peaceful vibe and the tracks Earthbound and Chariots of the Gods are particularly good.

Total Score: 75

Letter Grade: C / 3 Stars

Report this review (#176854)
Posted Monday, July 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Only thing I originally knew about this album was that it deals with some von Däniken's stuff, and Bill Bruford plays in it (later case was the main attractor). Spacey sounds introduce the mellow bluesy synth rock sound of this record, reminding a slightly more cosmic version of mid 1970's Pink Floyd sounds. The rhythms are not very unconventional, so the drum maestro is not highly in front. Some kind of reference of the sound could also be Alain Goraguer's music from the film "La Planète Sauvage", and some moments of Camel's "Moonmadness" record.

In the songs there is usually some quite simple theme as leading them, and then the solos for melodic harmonies are introduced for supporting it. Though there are longer tracks on the album, they are built from very simple elements which do not construct very ambitious compositions. So quite easy-listening stuff, but not irritating to my ears in anyway, more like some kind of proto-new age record for relaxation and amusement due some sympathetic playful fooling detected from the music. This works also as perfect background music for playing Commodore 64 games (especially song "The Gold of The Gods" for Commodore 64's "Montezuma's Revenge" game). The last song "Return to The Stars" is really great, an open calm aural space with minimal amount of events, just distant harmony.

I would recommend this for fans of vintage keyboard sounds, retrogamers. and certainly all those interested of von Däniken's fantastic books... Well, maybe the album titles referring to them do not have any impact to the music, but in this case I do not see it as any kind of trouble, but actually underlining the deep meaningfulness of this all. But I warn, DO NOT buy this due the famous great drummer included in it! His presence does not make this record anything special, nor does it ruins it, he just IS there. I encourage to try to approach the record without any preliminary demands, if descripted characteristics appear appealing.

Report this review (#201809)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very nice album. Very balanced and calm and I really apreciate this work. To me, this album is not in Jazz Fusion family that I realy apreciate to, but is in Psichedelic Space Rock vein. The works of keiboards create a space melodic atmosphere, and the guitar, made the synergy of all power of this album. The drums are nothing special but the necessary to made all calm music and space. I like this work. I think that we can listen a really Progressive album of the best of 70 years. If you don't like calm music you don't like this. Not for metal fans but is a album for who like the Progressive melodious music of 70 décade. 4 to 4.5 stars.
Report this review (#229362)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars what can i say about this AMAZING album???

the first time i hace this in my hands was when i was 12 o 13 years old :-P remember those PETROLEUM discs????? XDD it sounded interesting quite a bit because i have hear some old great YES stuff...and i wanted to hear anything related to YES...needless to say, the grat Bull Brufford played drums on this album

it was like and ENDLESS circle....the more i hear this album, the more i wanted to read about Erich Von Däniken books....and the more i read, i wanted to keep listening this album

Starting with EARTHBOUND, is just an amazing SPACE VOYAGE (no drugs needed XD) with all the mellotron sequences....back to earth with MOON CITY and its prog sound

MIRACLES OF THE GODS...retakes the amazing and LONG journey (11:49 MIN) throug space with tons of mellotro, synthesisers and sequencers

THE GOLD OF THE GODS...man...this reminds me CLOSE ENCOUNTERS...the part when they make CONTACT :-P

TOKTELA take you to another lavel with meoldic and peacefull mellotron sounds...to bad this song last just 1 and a half inute :-(

CHARIOTS OF THE GODS...amazing SPACE SOUNDS along with melodic and depressive piano notes...the bass solo lines put some heaviness the the song and the drums add some progressive sound to the song along witht the forth and last part of the song...VERY prog...

RETURN TO THE STARS...space sounds, synthesysers, sequencers...this one reminds me the beginning of XANADU´s RUSH

NO VOCALS WANTED or NEEDED for this album

one of my very very fav prog albums

Report this review (#427364)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Absolute Elsewhere was just formed to put music behind the story written by Eric von Däniken, a Swiss author known for his claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human presence on earth (his ideas are mostly rejected by scientists and academics ...but who cares...the story behind the facts was good !).

The music had to be in such context, and sometimes melodies with deep «background sentiments» and fewer notes is much more inherent to similar writings than fast «riffs».

From my view, musicians on this album were of great talent. Melodies are appropriated and well played. I discovered (at that time) Phillippe Saatchi, on electric guitar, who played really nice lines. Saatchi was a jazz guitarist and I can assure you his play was not that easy as it could looks at first.

Of course the presence of Bill Bruford add a special tempo and mood to this album, but overall it still is a really nice piece of «vinyl» to keep in a collection.

Report this review (#583663)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an album I didn't know at the time. Like much of the Italian prog music, I never saw it in the shops over here. It's not too bad an album. I actually have the impression that the French band "Air" found some inspiration here from "Earthbound/Future past".

The music varies from mellow strings to now and then darker passages. Everyone seems to drewl by the name of Bill Bruford here... He's a decent drummer true, but this is not HIS album. I didn't really know what to think at first hearing but music holds together well. Beautiful flute, good bass..

I always loved Von Dainikins books, I think I read them all at the time and the music quite fits them. And the artwork is just too beautiful!!! A 4 star.

Report this review (#712012)
Posted Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Featuring Bill Brufford on drums, In Search of Ancient Gods doesn't sound like Yes. Actually, Absolute Elsewhere was a project by Paul Fishman, the brainchild who wrote it all. He plays almost everything here (synths, flute, pianos, mellotron...), but drums and guitar. The album is very ecletic, including symphonic / electronic suites, trippy and atmospheric songs and some cheesy moments, but the spacey mood of the album wasn't that bad for me, as many other reviewers have been describing along the years. This is a concept album, inspired by Eric von Däniken books and theories about supposed aliens that came down to earth in distant ancient times. I'm not a believer, but I totally agreed that Däniken works are great material to study and write a conceptual suite about it, since I wrot a song with a similar concept (Protoculture), but influenced by a theory from a sci-fi series.. For sure, you will find a big s booklet together with the music, full of quotes and stuff, and pics from places that Däniken claims prove his ideas. My favorite moment of the album is the short analog synth solo The Gold Of The Gods, and the hypnotic progression of Chariots Of The Gods. Absolute Elsewhere's one shot "In Search of Ancient Gods is not an essential album, but the SCI-FI development together with the enjoyable suites and rarity level to find this piece nowadays, make this one a valuable album for any progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#1057052)
Posted Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars No one talks about these records anymore. And it's a shame, because in this case we have the brainchild of the one (16 years old at the time !) Paul Fishman who wanted to make the music behind Erich von Daniken's books (indeed the sleeve is like one of all those books) and ended up with this magnificent symphonic-alien soundrack. I've read the complaints of fellows reviewers about Bill Brufford's undistinguished involvment, but I find them pointless. Brufford was a hired hand here, the music would be the same even without his presence. The keyboards are the dominant force played very creatively from Fishman himself and in a very melodic manner. Synthesizers, piano, mellotrons e.t.c. go in and out with a logical sequence which could be found only in the best Tangerine Dream music of the period (1976) but the more symphonic approach will please Camel fans too. This is the best chill-out music I've heard so far. For full effect, listen to it alone in the dark or better still, in a very distant place. Magic stuff.
Report this review (#1258605)
Posted Sunday, August 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Keyboardist and flautist Paul Fishman's 1976 work `In Search of Ancient Gods', under the project name Absolute Elsewhere, is something of a minor classic of both spacey and symphonic instrumental progressive rock of the vintage era. Based on the pseudo-science/alternative history books inspired by the theories of author Erik von Daniken, `...Ancient Gods' enjoys something of a raised profile due to the drumming contributions of King Crimson/Yes member Bill Bruford, yet it still remains fairly obscure and something of a kept secret! Swamped in dreamy and lavish keyboards, the album houses everything from extravagant symphonic multi-part suites, drifting space-music electronics, shorter Rick Wakeman-esque fanfare interludes and experimental psychedelic fragments.

There's spacey whirring synths and glorious dreamy Mellotron-glossed themes aplenty throughout nine-minute opener `Earthbound', laced with a chilled-out Seventies coolness (some of it sounding like a template that French band Air would employ on their classic full-length debut `Moon Safari' in 1998, though it's likely a coincidence) that even calls to mind the fuzzy dreaminess of Bo Hansson's `Attic Thoughts', some laid-back drumming and drifting flute giving the piece a soft pattering of jazzy flavours, and a final run of electric guitar fire bringing a smouldering groove. Trickling subtle sequencer beats pan left and right throughout `Moon City's bleeding deep-space drones, and the near twelve-minute five-part suite `Miracle of the Gods' darts through everything from nightmarish electronic twitches and reprising soaring Mellotron/Moog themes in the manner of Pink Floyd, Novalis, Camel and Pulsar, delicately moving towards ethereal ambient paths and pristine piano ruminations in crucial little diversions.

The second side opens with two shorter interludes, `The Gold of the Gods' and `Tokleta', the first a whimsical and slightly kitsch synth fanfare, the latter a mysterious and softly melancholic Moog reflection. Two ten minute workouts close the album, first `Chariots of the Gods' opens as a subdued and melancholic Rick Wright-like piano reflection before revealing relaxed jazz/funk grooves, and `Return to the Stars' is a slowly revealing Tangerine Dream-like expansive distortion-laced ebbing electronic drone that is completely seductive, enveloping and deeply immersive.

Although there's some conflicting little passages and a few questionable production choices here and there (the pretend `stuck vinyl' fade-out halfway through `Chariots of the Gods' is a bit of a cop-out, and the little pieces that open the second side are somewhat out-of-place distractions!), `In Search of Ancient Gods' is mostly full of exquisite and grand instrumental symphonic music crossed with experimental and atmospheric electronics, with several truly jaw-dropping moments for lovers of lengthier keyboard and Mellotron-drenched grandiosity. This successful fusion of styles makes for an album that is so close to being an absolutely classic symphonic/chill-out/electronic crossover work, one well deserving of renewed attention for its own merits far beyond the contribution of a legendary drummer alone.

Four and a half stars.

(Thanks for Bruce Jenkins of the superb music blog Vinyl Connection for hooking me up with an LP copy!)

Report this review (#1680946)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | Review Permalink

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