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Ruphus - Let Your Light Shine CD (album) cover

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

Ruphus

Heavy Prog


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ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Ruphus takes yet another stylistic turn on this, their third album. While their 1973 debut approached more of a classic progressive mold ala Yes or (dare I say) ELP, their second emphasizes vocals and bass a tad more and comes off sounding like early neo-prog. This one comes off as an experiment in jazz-fusion with a smattering of new-age sheen, particularly on the opening "Sha ba wah" which reminds me a whole lot of the seventies one-hit wonder known as Silver Convention (remember "Fly, Robin Fly"?).

Gudny Aspaas is back on lead vocals and is the only vocalist other than a few very minor backing bits supplied by the remaining (male) band members. This is a good thing as she has a very warm voice that seems to blend in with the music quite well. The one thing worth noting on this album though is half of it is instrumental, and when Aspaas does sing she quite often offers only wordless vocals so some of her charm from the band's debut is lost here.

That said, "Corner" is an instrumental consisting of a fairly simple piano progression on which the guitarist Kjell Larsen and percussionist Thor Bendiksen build. This one seems like it's about to take off at any given time but never really does, and in the end is a pleasant but unremarkable piece of music. Same goes for "Second Corner" (another instrumental) although Larsen does offer a thread of interesting guitar riffs throughout the middle portion that are quite jazzy and would have sounded even more so had they been played by brass instruments instead of guitar. Bassist/flautist Asle Nilsen, who had a dominant presence on the band's second album, is more subdued on this one except for a few places like on this song where his playing is quite lively and takes center stage toward the end.

Aspaas returns on the title track which sounds an awful lot like the opening song except a bit longer and with more bass. "Grasse" is a brief interlude that sounds more like a sound check, and then the band kicks into their closing "Brain Boogie", yet another fusion number which is mostly instrumental and drags on for a bit too long at more than nine minutes. At some point I began to picture the open-air, free-form jazz concert scene from 'Spinal Tap' although in this case the music would be better placed in a lounge setting.

This is an okay album I suppose, although it did nothing for me personally and I don't really get the impression the band spent as much time and effort on it as they did either of its predecessors. Fans may find this record worthy, but even though there's nothing substantially wrong with it, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in particular either. That's what is known as a two star album in case you're keeping score at home, and recommended only to fans of the band who may not have heard it yet.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#298856)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars It's time for Ruphus to turn the lights down to a low smooth setting and get their freak on! A much different offering than their more traditional proggish approach, this album incorperates lots of jazz and smooth funkish vibes into their prog rock (distorted guitars, hammond organs, the usual), resulting in an interesting but not exactly stellar release.

The opening track actually reminds me a bit of the title track from Renaissance's Prologue album...not as fast, but the style of singing and the general prog meets jazzy approach to the music gives "Sha ba wah" at least enough similar aspects to be possibly inspired by that Renaissance track. The musicians are certainly talented, and the soloing is quite good if not mind-blowing, while Gudny sings like a young and rather unpolished Annie Haslam. A pretty endearing start. The rest of the album bounces around between shorter ditties and longer jams, with the title track being the most memorable for me since it's the only song here with actual lyrics. It's pretty catchy too, and despite the length it flows by pretty well although I should say it's somewhat similar to the opening track musically.

"Corner" sounds like an instrumental take on a Pablo Cruise song with a severe case of "progitis". Clearly this tune is for the proggers who want to show their lovers what tiiiiime it is before gettin' buzzay to a strange time signature on a leopard skin rug (or maybe a rug with a big picture of that Tarkus tank on it). The smooth grooves are followed by the "Second Corner", which is another instrumental with a faster jazzier vibe...gettin' jiggy to this could result in a sprained ankle or something. Be careful tiger.

"Brain Boogie" incorporates lots of funkiness to the prog rock and has a wild chorus with Gudny bustin' out some orgasmic notes without lyrics getting in the way of her controlled caterwauling. You gotta dig the name of that song too.

I found the album kinda fun as a whole, although some of these short numbers really don't add anything except album length. This certainly isn't essential, even by the band's standards, but if by some utterly deranged reason you want to mix prog with your sexual conquests, here is a soundtrack to a night of prog passion. Groovy.

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Send comments to Prog Sothoth (BETA) | Report this review (#447629)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After indulging in unabashed Yes worship on Ranshart, Ruphus change their style again - but not, alas, reverting to the more original sound that their debut album showcased. Instead, they throw themselves into slick jazz-rock. Let Your Light Shine is essentially a smooth fusion album with hints of funk, and it doesn't really convince; it borrows a lot from more accomplished fusion pioneers and doesn't really add anything to the genre, and the compositions usually outstay their welcome appreciably.

The basic problem with Ruphus seems to have been that they were a technically proficient group who had no real clear idea of what a Ruphus album was meant to sound like, and as a consequence kept changing styles between albums, sticking with no particular sound for long enough to really master it. My overall recommendation is to stick to their debut album, which at least has them playing a style that they appear to actually care about rather than a sound they're mimicing for commercial purposes.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#548525)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Brilliant musicianship!

I have this habit of randomly selecting an entry, an album listed on PA, then read the reviews. Today it happened to be this work.

I was greatly bemused by the low ratings as - from memory - it is a fine album. Dusting off my old copy has confirmed that indeed, it's quality offering. Pure Jazz-Rock of a better variety. Largely keyboard driven with fluid and professional input on guitars and competent rhythm section. Comparisons with Brian Auger, Robin Lumley (Brand X), Return To Forever, electric Herbie Hancock , Gary Boyle (Isotope) spring to mind. So what's wrong here?

For a Heavy-Prog outfit to deliver such quality Jazz-Rock with ease, surely is a sign of great talent. Unfortunately the female singer is spoiling some of the efforts. She has a reasonable voice most of the time, not unlike Gail Moran, Flora Purim with a touch of Ursula Dudziak. Still, I wouldn't miss her presence and the good thing is that much of the album remains instrumental.

The compositions, the delivery would please any Jazz-Rock fan immensely and merit 5 stars from me. Sadly, the vocals take some shine away and bring to mind again that "less would have been more". Still, a solid 4 is appropriate.

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Send comments to BORA (BETA) | Report this review (#1009952)
Posted Friday, August 02, 2013 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars 1975 should be marked as the year of changes for Ruphus.Rune Ostdahl would remain for the band only for the ''Ranshart'' release and Gudny Aspaas was asked to rejoin.In the meantime the album was poorly received by the press, despite its fully progressive sound, propably due to lack of personality, while keyboardist Hakon Graf had already started working with guitarist Jon Eberson in the Jazz Fusion band Moose Loose.Bringing his experiences back to Ruphus he faced the warm reception of the rest of the band, deciding to call Terje Rypdal for the production of their third album.''Let your light shine'' was recorded at the Rosenborg Studios in December 1975 and released early during the following year on Polydor.

Forget about the past of the band and consider Ruphus to be a reborn Prog act, because the progressive content on ''Let your light shine'' is often overpowered by the enthusiasm of the members for their new direction.For the most of its part the album comes as a combination of ethereal Jazz Fusion and soft Progressive Rock with strong Nordic and Canterbury influences, they do sound a bit like the jazzier side of FOCUS, but there are no Hammonds or Mellotron in here, instead the music is layered by delicate synth and piano entries and Kjell Larsen's smooth guitar plays.Gudny Aspaas was asked to return, but she is rarely found in a heavily instrumental album.But when she enters the scene, be sure to get prepared for some efficient and dreamy wordless vocals in the vein of Annette Peacock, as heard in BRUFORD's albums.The compositions are fairly jazzy-oriented, lacking the freedom of Jazz though (propably a good thing), with the band choosing to surround the jazzy solos and interludes with mellow progressive tunes, breaks and textures.Some great flute parts by bassist Asle Nilsen in a light Canterbury vein and excellent drumming by Thor Bendiksen.The 10-min. farewell ''Brain boogie'' is a beautiful piece of relaxed Jazz Fusion with discreet funky vibes, nice electric piano, calm instrumentals and some notable COS and RETURN TO FOREVER comparisons, possibly the highlight of this effort.

''Let your light shine'' just prooves how talented this band was.They changed direction in short time and they could play Fusion music with efficiency and passion.Very nice collection of jazzy and progressive instrumentals with an ethereal atmosphere.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1368646)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2015 | Review Permalink

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