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3 stars This is the debut album of Ekseption, where Rick van der Linden (reknown for his virtuosity on the keys) presents the formula that was to make Ekseption one of the most successful Dutch bands of it's time: mixing classical music with rock and Jazz. Thus the 5th of Beethoven, Khachaturian's sabre dance, Bach's famous Air, De Falla's ritual fire dance, Gershwin's rhapsody and Saint-saens's Dance macabre are mixed with Jazz and rock influences in the famous unique cocktail that was so characteristic of Ekseption: the dominant keys of Rick on piano, Hammond and synth together with trumpet and sax, supported by Cor Dekker's skillful bass playing and Peter de Leeuwe on drums. Besides the classical reworkings you will also find three covers from other rock artists as well as one composition written by the band. The quality of the audio is typical of the late sixties: 'limited', compared to today's recording technology. It's an album of a band just starting out with their own unique formula that was to be at the foundation of their success.
Report this review (#32835)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The cover you see here is the American cover, which is obviously different from the Dutch, but still released on the same label, Philips. The songs are all the same. To this day, this is the only EKSEPTION album I have, I hadn't got around to getting their other albums to give a real solid opinion of this band. What I do know is the band wasn't known for a steady lineup, and most people lost interest in the band after keyboardist Rick van der Linden left in 1973 to form TRACE. It seems no matter who was in the band, bassist Cor Dekker was the one constant. This was their first album, which consisted of covers of classical (which they were best known for), one original, and more. They do a cover of Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony", entitled "The 5th", which actually became a hit. This is basically a rock version of the famous Beethoven composition, with organ, guitar, bass, drums, and horns. The song starts off with the famous symphony version (sounds like a recording sampled from a real symphony orchestra), but then quickly changes to a rock version. They do a cover of JETHRO TULL's "Dharma For One", which is quite a bit tamer than the original, not so aggressive. They even include the proper, Ian Anderson-like flute where needed (just like the original). "Little X-Plus" is a band original, and a nice piece with some jazz influence and nice use of flute. "Ritual Fire Dance" is a nice number complete with horns, some '60s sounding guitar. They also cover George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", which is truly the album's high point. There's also Bach's "Air on G String", which is the song that PROCOL HARUM borrowed for their hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale". This of course, is the Bach composition done EKSEPTION style, with harspichord from Rick van der Linden, and horns, and you won't mistake this for Procol Harum.

EKSEPTION is one of those bands that don't have much middle ground, you either dig the band or you don't. It all depends how much you like the idea of a band "rocking the classics". I still think this is much better than what Apollo 100 done (Apollo 100 was a British group who gave us the hit "Joy", which was a pop take on Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", and most of the rest of the stuff they did was rock versions of classical songs, and in my opinion, not as good as what EKSEPTION did).

If you do enjoy the music of EKSEPTION, this is a nice album to own.

Report this review (#32836)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars REALLY: 4,55

The debut album of the Ekseption is already a masterpiece. You listen to the version of "The 5th", "Sabre Dance", "Rapsody In Blue" and "Dance Macabre Opus 40" and will not be able not to stay surprised from the genius of Rick Van Der Linden capable to rewritten these masterpieces of classic music. One of the first album of adult prog is also of the better aged.

Report this review (#62349)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ekseption won a record deal while participating in the Loosdrecht Jazzconcours. The recordings they made for this album, however were rejected. To come up with something new they decided to mix classical music with pop music. They recorded The 5th, released it as a single, and it finally became a huge hit in the Netherlands. Now they could record the debut album and it consisted of covers, except for one track, Little X Plus. The music on this album is what makes Ekseption both loved and hated for. On it you'll find reworkings of well known tunes from the classics. It is not very original, but the keyboard playing of Rick van der Linden really stands out. Essential in the Ekseption sound is also the brass sound of trumpet and sax. For me the best track of the album is the Jethro Tull cover Dharma. It has a good flute solo by Rob Kruisman, the drum solo in the middle however takes some of the fun away. Air is also a good track with the keyboard parts that sound like a harpsichord to me. The album was recorded in a studio with only four tracks and this is one of the reasons it doesn't sound particularly good. This was a very successful album, but I don't really like it. I think the best Ekseption albums were the second and third.
Report this review (#75465)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not going through the tracks. Just ill make it short this time. Ok, mostly covers of classical music with organ or piano and a brass section. A little improvisation here and there, but overall pretty uninspired.

Overall rating: 2 STARS


Report this review (#132629)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I knew Ekseption for the first time was sometime in mid seventies. It was quite obvious at that time that local radio station in my country took the artwork as their icon. So I was then curious to know about the band and finally got the version of this album where I was hooked with the cover of Jethro Tull's "Dharma For One". I was reall satisfied with it and also the fact that the cover The 5th of Beethoven. The music of Ekseption is basically classical based but they successfully managed to blend the elements of jazz-rock into their music. They made the record due to their winning prize of Loosdrecht jazz festival in 1968 where the keyboard player (the famous Rick van der Linden) to make a debut album. Phillips was interested with them and this album was released in 1969.

It was quite strange knowing that once they released this debut, through the single with "The Fifth", the market did not react spontaneously until three months later when this single became a selling item in record stores. On the album Classic in pop (a French album) the song Ritual Firedance is replaced by Adagio and the song Dance macabre opus 40 is replaced by Italian concerto.

Overall, this is a collection of legendary tracks from Ekseption's interpretation of some classic heros plus their own creation "Little x plus". Those of you who want to trace back the 70s music, this should be one of them that you need to have.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#158245)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The band EKSEPTION started as a Rhythm and Blues band, having their start under some different names for the band since the late fifties (The Incrowd, The Jokers). By the mid sixties the name of the band was changed to EKSEPTION, with trumpet player Rein van der Broek (who died in May of this year) being the only musician who was present in all the recordings that this band released during its existence. They first released three singles between 1966 and 1968 influenced by the Rhythm and Blues music style. It was with the arrival of keyboard player Rick van der Linden in 1968 that the band, also influenced by seeing a concert that THE NICE played in Holland, decided to change their musical style to a musical style with a mixture of influences from Jazz, Rock and Classical Music. They became more famous doing arrangements to Classical Music pieces with all the musical influences that I mentioned before. They also composed some musical pieces (mainly composed by van der Linden), but without doubt they were considered more as arrangers and performers of Classical Music pieces. Van der Linden became the main arranger in this band, sometimes with very good results, until he left the band (or was forced to do it) in late 1973.

This first album from EKSEPTION was recorded in 1968-69. It has several musical arrangements of Classical Music pieces (Beethoven`s 'The Fifth', Khatchaturian`s 'Sabre Dance', J.S. Bach`s 'Air', Falla`s 'Ritual Fire Dance', Gershwin`s 'Rhapsody in Blue', and Saint-Saens`s 'Danse Macabre'). Of all these, I think that the best musical arrangements were done for 'The Fifth', 'Air', 'Ritual Fire Dance' and 'Danse Macabre'. In my opinion, the band (particularly van der Linden) did better arrangements for musical pieces which were composed by J.S. Bach. In fact, they recorded more arrangements for musical pieces composed by J.S. Bach than by any other Classical Music musicians. All the arrangements had some Pop influences to be played in the radio, a thing that maybe was suggested by the producers of their albums and /or their record label. So, some of them ('Sabre Dance', 'The Fifth') sound a bit commercial for my taste.

This album also has 'Dharma', a musical piece previously composed and recorded by JETHRO TULL as 'Dharma for One', which also has some flute playing and a brief drums solo. 'Little x Plus', a musical piece being credited as composed by the band, with some Jazz influences, and 'This Here' and 'Canvas' , both Jazz covers.

In this album the band used a bit of electric guitars, a thing which did not happen again until their last albums from 1974-75. Their next album, 'Beggar Julia`s Time Trip' (1970), also included one musical piece with guitar (an arrangement of Tchaikovsky`s 'Concerto', which also was released in 1969 as the B-side of the 'Air' single), which makes me thing that 'Concerto' was really recorded for their first album but was included in their second album.

As a whole, this album now sounds a bit dated. But the band had very good musicians. The recording and mixing are very good, but also showing a bit the passing of time and the changes in recording technologies.

This album was also later released under the "Classics in Pop" title in France, with "Ritual Fire Dance" being replaced by Albinoni`s "Adagio" (from their second album), and with "Danse Macabre" being replaced by J.S. Bach`s "Italian Concerto" (also from their second album). The cover design is the same, only adding the "Classic in Pop" title to the cover.

Report this review (#1447072)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

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