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Schicke & Führs & Fröhling - Sunburst CD (album) cover


Schicke & Führs & Fröhling

Symphonic Prog

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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After a terrific beginning with "Symphonic Pictures", its follow-up "Sunburst" placed itself in the demanding position of showing what SFF had to offer next to the prog audience. and it did a brilliant work at it! Being a bit less intense than its predecessor, "Sunburst" is a proof that SFF was still capable of sowing and reaping excellent musical ideas, all of them germinated in diversity and ultimately integrated in a cohesive way. Performances, as usual, are solid and impressive, always keeping up with the pace and melodic demands of each particular compositions: Schicke, Fürhs and Fröhling are classy musicians who serve for the band as a whole, never trying to steal the limelight or challenge each other - instead, they prefer to interact fluidly in favour of a shared complementation and mutual support. The catchy opener 'Wizzard' finds the band exploring the realms of jazz fusion with ease, quite vivaciously due to the rhythm pattern's funky cadence: a recognizable, uplifting main motif is the key to get in touch with the track's mood. It kind of reminds me of "Rain Dances"-Camel-meets- "Romantic Warrior"-RtF , although I'm only mentioning these bands as a reference for the listener: anyway, a special mention goes to Fröhling's spectacular leads. The jazz factor is later reiterated on 'Driftin'' and '1580'. The former pretty much follows in the opener's footsteps, albeit incorporating and added touch of symph stuff; the latter contains a featured presence of grand piano and acoustic guitar, conjuring the distant melancholy of lonely people holding on for one last drink in a pub during the final moments of nighttime. 'Artificial Energy' is a showcase for the trio's mysterious side: somber guitar leads (very Frippian, indeed) soar above an ethereal background constructed by guitar arpeggios, subtle keyboard layers and soft percussion. I wouldn't have minded if it were a bit longer. 'Autumn Sun in Cold Water', 'Troja' (my personal fave from this album) and the playful closure 'Explorer' are more closely related to the previous album's overall spirit. 'Autumn Sun' conveys dreamy ambiences, primarily sustained on the featured use of keyboard leads and textures, properly complemented by guitar solos; 'Troja' starts with a mid-tempo first section, mainly based on a clever use of diverse motifs and its consequent variations, while the second section goes for a more Wagnerian road, portraying an ever-increasing energy that, near the end, seems to conjure images of conflict and drama. General diagnose: yet another SFF masterpiece, though not as brilliant as the preceding one.
Report this review (#35026)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars SFF - Schicke Fuhrs and Frohling are back with another album! They offer in this record some great melodies! I totally like it! Their technique is lovely, and they play beautifully! This album will certainly blow your mind if you dig this symphonic sound from the seventies! RECOMMENDED!
Report this review (#35226)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I do agree with what colleague Collaborator Cesar Inca said that this is a brilliant work by SFF as follow-up of their debut album "Symphonic Pictures". For me personally, it's hard to believe that a band that originally played cover of Deep Purple under the name of Spektakel and finally evolved into this kind of fusion like music. I tend to use the term "fusion" instead of "jazz rock fusion" on purpose. To my ears, the music of SFF is far away from "jazz" category even though they have some elements of jazz. Their music is rather exploratory in nature and it sounds to me that they don't want to get "hooked" into one category of music. One thing for sure, their music is basically instrumental outfit with many rock and experimental endeavors.

The opening track "Wizzard" clearly indicates what SFF music is all about. It has all components of rock music and a bit of jazzy elements even though not that heavy. The music is dynamic with more than one time tempo changes. This is quite usual to any bands under the banner of prog, but the band has taken it into different level. The other song that represents good example of how fusion would sound like by combining energy and music textures is "1580" the album concluding track. This is probably my best favorite track of this album. It has an energetic music flow and good improvisations. In fact some nuances of spacey music are also embedded in the music of SFF. One thing I forgot to mention when I reviewed quite a number of Ozric Tentacles albums was that the components of SFF music are there as well in Ozric music. The difference is on the intensity of "spacey" nuance where Ozric put more emphasize on it.

"Sunburst" is an album with tight composition and strong song writing by each member of the band. Yes, fans of jazz-rock fusion music would adore this album, I believe. Keep on proggin' ..!

Report this review (#120977)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars The mellotron isn't as upfront as on their debut, and there's even one song ("1580") without it. They have a guest bass player on this one as well.

"Wizzard" is perhaps my favourite track on this album. This is an uptempo song with some excellent drumming, guitar and mellotron. "Autumn Sun In Cold Water" is a good song with prominant drumming. "Artificial Energy" is a pastoral song with lots of atmosphere and some good guitar sounds. "Driftin'" reminds me of IONA at times with lots of mood and tempo changes.

"Troja" is another favourite of mine with some good guitar that comes and goes. Mellotron comes in after 3 minutes and the song has a powerful ending. "1580" opens with piano as drums, moog and piano melodies come and go. "Explorer" opens with electronic sounds, and it's 3 minutes before the song really kicks in with lots of mellotron.

As good as this is it still pales in comparison to their debut "Symphonic Pictures". I still recommend it though as it's very well done. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#137666)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hugely impressive instrumental progressive music, 23 Jun 2010

This review is from: Sunburst (Audio CD Esoteric Reactive 2010 Reissue) This was the second SFF album, and preceded the Fuhrs/Frohling duo work `Ammerland'. Like the debut `Symphonic Pictures' this also calls at all stations from the reflective bongo driven `Artificial Energy' featuring some very Jade Warrior styled guitar, to heavy fusion influenced material very obviously influenced by Mahavishnu. There is a fabulous range of instrumental colours and tempo changes throughout the album. It is always very tightly composed music and never veers off into indulgence and extravagant solos. There is a trace of King Crimson here and a little Patrick Moraz there, but this is really very confident music by musicians who could hold their own.

Once again the mighty Mellotron is to the fore and is used widely and wisely. The guitars range from acoustics to electrics and there is a rich array of keyboards including Moog, Clavinet, String Ensemble, Electric Piano, Piano and (ahem) Bassett ! (This would appear to be an organ) The recording by Dieter Dierks is superb by any standards.

The album is concise at 7 pieces in 35 minutes but packed with ideas none of which outstay their welcome. It doesn't have a fragmentary feel at all, indeed it flows together beautifully like a finely crafted piece of furniture. It all adds up once again to some thoroughly enjoyable and accomplished music which doesn't try too hard to impress. This is quality first division 70's instrumental music and should be an essential purchase for any progressive afficionado.

Report this review (#288028)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Sophmore release by this obscure german band from the mid 70´s. Sunburst shows the group leaning more towards jazz rock/fusion (plus some eletronic bits) than to symphonic prog. This time the trio is helped by a guest bass player and generally their compositions are a little more structured and focused than on their debut. And still they are not exactly very good. Again it´s obvious that they are excellent musicians (specially Schickés. brilliant drumming and Fühts nice keyboard work). It is a pity that those guys could not come up with a better repertoire of original songs.

After repeated listenings the result is the same: track after track you expect something to happen and it doesn´t. Not exactly boring, but neither exciting. Good production and absolute no highlights. It is easy to understand why they were never big. Even for 1977 there was plenty of better things to hear, prog or otherwise. A typical case fo good musicians lacking some strong songwriting skills and an identity. This CD is surely for collectors and hardcore fans.

Report this review (#326835)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although it cannot consider this second studio work "Sunburst" from German band SFF in the same level of first "Symphonioc Pictures", nevertheless I consider also worthy of receiving the maximum quotation of 5 stars!!!. An excellent mixture of several styles of progressive music. Besides that in this albun the band counts with the bassist Edward Brumund Ruthe, what provides a more little of "swing" in some musics. Leaving of Track 1 "Wzard" a 'delicious' mixture of techno-music with a jazz-prog, commanded by Heinz Frohling's eletric guitar, going by meditative themes (almost) new age music as in the tracks 2 & 3. In the track 4 "Driftin' " I could identify a certain influence of Gentle Giant, for his syncopated rhythm.The track 5 "Troja" the more eclectic of the album, and maybe the one that more approaches the style presented in the first album. The track 6 "1580" has as prominence Gerard Furhs's acoustic-piano and of Edward Schicke's drums . and finally we have the track 7 "Explorer", that it begins in a style also quite approximate of the new age music and part for a theme that "honors" the music of Yes "Siberian Khatru." As I already spoke before my rate is 5 stars!!!
Report this review (#480162)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ''Symphonic Pictures'' sold no less than 12000 copies and the fascinating following live shows made SFF one of the very succesful bands in Germany.The next year the talented trio entered Dieter Dierk's studio to record the second album.In order to come up with a more spontaneous result they even recruited bassist Eduard Brumund Ruther to play during the sessions.''Sunburst'' was released in 1977 again on Brain label.

Already from the opening tracks it is clear that Schicke, Führs & Fröhling were determined to produce a different style compared to their debut.So ''Sunburst'' ended up as a compilation of diverse tracks with SFF leaving the highly symphonic attitude of the debut for more flexible still quite demanding compositions.A couple of tracks have a strong TANGERINE DREAM influence, being Electronic pieces of hypnotic soudscapes with melodic guitars surrounding and a very spacey atmosphere overall, not quite conveincing yet decent material.The rest of the album is split between Symphonic Rock and powerful Fusion stylings, where Führs' Mellotron shines again along with his synth acrobatics.Nice keyboard breaks and piano interludes are all over the place.These are combined with Fröhling's fiery guitar solos and rhythms, however ''Sunburst'' has a strong felling of improvisation from the very start.The awaited interplays are really good and even a track has a powerful GENTLE GIANT atmosphere due to Führs' dominant clavinet.

Not so tight or grandiose as their debut, but ''Sunburst'' has a lovely atmosphere and you can sure tell these guys were definitely talented.Recommended to fans of keyboard-driven proggy adventures.

Report this review (#816311)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Sunburst" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German progressive rock act Schicke, Fürhs & Fröhling. The album was released through Brain Records in 1977. "Symphonic Pictures (1976)" was to my ears a really well played, well produced and well composed progressive rock album and fortunately "Sunburst" more or less continues down the same path.

The music is fully instrumental and features a semi-jazzy rythm section, vintage synths/keyboards in spades and some nice guitar playing too. There´s a mellow and ambient atmosphere to the procedings, but there are also more dark and dramatic moments on the album like some of the parts in "Troja". The album is well produced featuring a warm and organic sound production and paired with some excellent musicianship "Sunburst" comes off as a quality release. Some of the compositions are slightly shallow/forgettable (as an example I don´t particularly find the ambient and repetitive nature of "Artificial Energy" that exciting), but when Schicke, Fürhs & Fröhling shine, they shine brightly.

I prefer "Symphonic Pictures (1976)" to "Sunburst", but "Sunburst" is still a great album in it´s own right and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#941507)
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | Review Permalink

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