Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Out Of Focus - Four Letter Monday Afternoon CD (album) cover


Out Of Focus

Jazz Rock/Fusion

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really.

I would like to say that the reputation of this album being Jazz-rock/fusion is much exaggerated . Sure the band was expanded and added up a temporary full brass section, taking in as a permanent member a second wind blower, but only the second disc can be seen (with the 48+min track divided into three parts) as real Jazz-rock flavoured disc. The sky-lit artwork is a cool but sober artwork for such a superlative work, again released on the now-legendary Kuckuck label.

The first disc starts off with the masterful L S B (17 + min) full of their usual interplay with some very pastoral moments between the flute and the guitar and organ. Only in the last five minutes are sung. The second track is a bonus on CD and is rather folkish as the last track of disc 1. Third comes on of those numbers with an infectious groove coming in soon and being repeated to the end but ever subtly changing and again the vocals come in late in the tune in the form of a great scat (Tsajama) being speeded up as the song is veering towards the end. Black Cards is another gem bringing you back to their second eponymous album.

The second disc is the reason why this does not get five stars. Only one tune on this album, spread out in three movements, with themes repeating themselves, adding up more and improving as they go along. Fascinating, brilliant and adventuresome, but too long and does not stand numerous repeated listenings. They might have made it more succinct into one side of vinyl as they had much more material from those recording session (will not be released until 2002) and some stuff that might have given this disc the full marks it disserves. On this album the jazz intonations are often reminiscent of a brass rock ensemble like Chicago or The Flock and If, than jazz-rock ala Mahavishnu or Weather Report.

A real must-hear, if you do not know the band, start with the previous and work either way, moving on to the excellent two posthumous albums after the official releases of the times. Aside from sometimes being a little self-indulgent, they had a flawless albeit short career, not making a single weak number. There are not too many band, that can be said the same..... What an awesome band they were, said Dag-Erik Asbjornssen. I can only nod in full agreement.

Report this review (#30598)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Four Letter Monday' was the third album by "OUT OF FOCUS" and in sharp contrast to their previous two, expanded to an 11-piece group, adding an extra guitarist as well as a full brass section. This double album features the 2 side long epic track Huchen 55 (parts a, b and c) which is an amazing track and worth the admission alone. The rest of the album plays out covering quite a range (at times I hear early CHICAGO and sounds of BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS). This wild album really hits all the right buttons for me and covers quite a nice large geography. from psychedelic moods to all out krautrock instrumental excursions to Canterbury jazz rock to dark minimalism. The band sound very progressive and this is a highly experimental album full of great guitar, drum , bass and organ with a wild mix of brass thrown in. This album is somewhere in the SOFT MACHINE - NUCLEUS - CARAVAN - COLLOSEUM school of prog rock, but stands out for me as a great album.
Report this review (#30599)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Totally abandoning tries to make accessible songs (to most of listeners), guys from Out of Focus, on their third, double and last official album, recorded in 12 days, after making "one small step forward" on second album, made "two big steps backward" on this one, making it a complete improvisational. Only two short songs from CD1, "When I'm Sleeping" (a bonus one) and "Where Have You Been", are "normal", very fine ones. While "Black Cards" sounds like being from previous album, the long "L. S. B." (with its shocking beginning) and "Tsajama" are finally something that we can call jazz-rock, even free jazz-rock, introducing many session musicians, trumpet as significant instrument, and vocal improvisations. And CD2 with 48 minutes jam session? CD2 is something that's 30 years ahead of its time, but not speaking in terms of quality or visionary, but in terms of 90's and 00's habit of expanding single records from 70's with second CD with some forgotten material found on some dusty shelf. After this record, keyboardist left and formed another fine progressive band, SubjectESQ (later Sahara). Out of Focus has recorded more material, but it saw light of day many years later.

While I recommended their first and second album to each and every one progressive music listener, this one is only for Out of Focus, free jazz-rock and improvisational music collectors.

Report this review (#80788)
Posted Friday, June 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is my review of ''Four Letter Monday Afternoon''... CD1 opens with L.S.B.(17:37), which is a jazz rocker,with a bit of free-jazz thrown in between the 4:30 and 5:00 mark. At the five minute mark, there are some sound effects which sound like bombs going off,and some flute/keyboard work comes into play between the 6 and 7.5 minute mark. Things pick back up again at almost 8 minutes,and the tempo slows down again at the 10 minute mark.The tempo does not pick up again until about 12 minutes to the song's end. The vocal's do not come into play until about 13:30...The chorus parts seem to soar! A great way to kick off the cd! ''When I'm Sleeping''(4'04) is a steady beat with some keyboard work thrown in. ''Tsajama''(9'23) starts out with a 30 second flute solo before the music kicks in and eventually gains momentum, with some great sax work as well!The rhythm gets heavy during the last 1'23 of the song. ''Black Cards''(9'38) is another great song, which starts out with some flute and drum work, before picking up. ''Where Have You Been''(5'35) is an acoustic ballad. CD2 has the songs "Huchen 55,A (9'19),Huchen 55,B''(14'32) and Huchen 55,C''(24'18),which all begin and end with flute work. The tempo's vary from slow to moderate, and can seem boring at times. But nevertheless..A great cd.
Report this review (#108310)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The reson this band is listed as Jazz / Fusion is because of this double album. As Sean mentions this is especially the case with the second disc which to me has a SOFT MACHINE("Third") vibe to it. They added 6 guest musicians and went in a different musical direction from their first two albums which are very much in the Krautrock sound and spirit.

"L.S.B." opens dramatically with blasting sax and pounding drums before settling down a minute in with sax leading the way. THE DOORS-like organ 3 minutes in. It gets very chaotic after 4 1/2 minutes with lots of brass and loud thunder. A calm with flute 6 minutes in. The tempo picks up with sax again leading the way before 8 minutes. The bass is prominant.The tempo continues to change. Vocals for the first time 13 1/2 minutes in with piano. Guitar after 15 minutes. "When I'm Sleeping" is actually a bonus track and one of my favourites. It's a laid back, smooth song with vocals. Tasteful guitar as sax, piano, bass and drums stand out. "Tsajama" would then be my favourite original song on this double album. A flute intro before a full sound comes quickly. Guitar and organ 2 minutes in are great. They then jam for a while before vocals come in before 6 minutes. Cool vocal melodies follow. The tempo picks up 8 minutes in as vocal melodies continue. "Black Cards" is mellow with flute, percussion and gentle guitar to start. Vocals and sax a minute in. Organ takes the lead 4 minutes in as they just jam. Great section before the vocals come back. "Where Have You Been" is another mellow song with reserved vocals and acoustic guitar leading the way. Flute does join in but that's all. He drops an f-bomb 2 minutes in for good measure.

The second disc is really one song divided into 3 parts. It's called "Huchen". Like i said earlier it's a sort of nod to SOFT MACHINE. In the first part sax,flute and bass dominate. The second part has some experimental passages where we just get flute sounds without any melody. It gets aggressive for the first time before 10 minutes. The guitar goes on for 2 minutes starting at 12 minutes. Then flute takes over and it blends into the final and longest part of the song. Not much in the way of a melody until the guitar comes in before 6 minutes. Lots of sax later as the mood and tempo continues to change and shift. Impressive second disc but not as enjoyable as the first for me.

Check out "Wake Up !" or their self titled release for some excellent Krautrock.This one blends Krautrock with Jazz / Rock quite well.

Report this review (#169223)
Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'll start my review by simply notifuing that I haven't heard the previous releases of OUT OF FOCUS so I can't compare them with this release...Some say that ''Four letter Monday afternoon'' was a big step forward.others say that it was a big step down...But for sure to create a double album with over 90 minutes of music was something unique back in 1972...

The album spins off with ''L.S.B.'' and this track has it all...Jazz rock improvisations,folky flute moments,classic rock influences,even a symphonic touch feel...excellent start...Next comes ''When I'M sleeping'',a beautiful track which lies between classic rock and jazz/blues rock with nice vocals...''Tsajama'' shows another face of the band...weird vocalization with improvisations,a psychedelic feel blendid with jazz/blues.a really strange piece of music...The 2 tracks that close CD 1 are rather weak in my opinion...Clearly influenced by JIM MORRISSON and THE DOORS these tracks seem like a fish out of the water in prog terms...Should fit better in a DOORS album,they aren't bad at all,but they also spoil the prog image of the band...

What about CD 2?...It consist of three lengthy tracks between 10 and 24 minutes which seem like a jazz rock suite,full of improvisations with tons of sax,flute and piano!...The question is:Can anyone listen to 45 minutes of improvisatiob?The answer is yes and no...Yes,because the whole thing seems like heading to somewhere,it's not just abstract music,they seem like complete arrangements with changing moods and climates...No simply because 45 minutes of music improvisations are just too long...

Closing this review I'll rate this release with 3.5 stars and I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves jazz/prog rock or to somebody who wants to broaden his collection with another decent prog rock disc...

Report this review (#182428)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This, the third and final Out Of Focus album, finds the German collective at their very best. It completes their shift away from psychedelic rock into more jazz/free form oriented material and sees the original band expanded here to an astonishing 11 piece force to be reckoned with. A major change to the band's sound is the addition of a brass section which really bolsters the sound into a bright, rich and varied feast for the ears.

On LP it was a double album running over some 94 minutes, and is reissued here by Esoteric's Reactive imprint as a double CD. The original concept is preserved, and the first CD consists of the album `proper'. More interesting though, is the 3 part rolling improvisation `Huchen 55' which occupies the entire 48 minutes of CD2.

Based in Munich, Out Of Focus were a lesser known name in Krautrock circles, but their work stands up extremely well to modern ears. From psychedelic beginnings they end up here as a band determined to explore the furthest reaches of their music. The addition of a multitude of extra players brings to mind at times the original Keith Tippett Group and their subsequent contribution to a short-lived expanded Soft Machine, and whilst it's fair to say that the Softs influence is felt here, these musicians are accomplished enough to over-ride any direct comparisons and to tread their own path.

The original first LP begins with the 18 minute `L.S.B.' which moves through a variety of well constructed changes without ever getting boring, the added instrumentation making a welcome improvement to the Out Of Focus sound. `When I'm Sleeping' somehow manages vocally to conjure up images of Peter Banks era Yes, although the vocal sweetness on display here is rather an exception to the rule. `Tsajama' for example, suffers rather badly from some ill-advised scat vocals, there won't be too many people buying this album for the singing, which like previous OOF albums is somewhat secondary to the music. It's really all about the instrumental interplay, and the rolling, evolving compositions which have never sounded better than here.

The second disc `Huchen 55' is one extended piece which most fully realises the vision. The three sections are woven together and bookended by a recurring thread played on flutes and ushering in open-ended group performances which sound like they come from a jam session which is quite possibly still going on to this day. It probably reflects most what the band was like live with no time restrictions. What is very appealing about it, is that it moves and transforms magically through various satisfying musical evolutions without ever losing momentum or becoming dull. I am reminded of Xhol Caravan's epic work here, music which was elusive, sublime, yet immensely satisfying. It is this disc to which I am likely to return time and time again and I urge you to do so too.

Out Of Focus recorded more material at these sessions much of which was subsequently issued and was found to be of a very high standard too. This however completes the sequence of the three albums issued in the band's existence, and which are all newly reissued by Reactive. For many is their finest hour. `Huchen 55' is one of those pieces you can have on repeat all day as it melts into the room, and for this alone it is unreservedly recommended.

Report this review (#349841)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A super Krautrock band that were full of horns, saxophones, flutes and keyboards creating a wall of sound unlike many of their contemporaries.

Forget the first two albums. This is where it's at. An entirely uplifting and energetic album that doesn't let up for an hour and a half. Despite the English vocals from a Germanic tongue which otherwise might sound really tacky, it had me and my pals singing boisterously in the back seat of a car going on a camping holiday!

The first disc is a real foot stomper in a Germanic Krautrock way with Tuetonic voices and heavy keyboards and bass. The thing that prevents this being a 5 star is the 2nd disc. I think it's the lack of vocals which were so brilliant on the first.

It's still pretty damn good but doesn't have the same playfulness ' as what went before. A superbly clear recording, and one of the best Kraut albums I've heard.

Report this review (#403102)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink

OUT OF FOCUS Four Letter Monday Afternoon ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of OUT OF FOCUS Four Letter Monday Afternoon

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.