Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Canterbury Scene

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zyma Thoughts album cover
3.95 | 68 ratings | 14 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy ZYMA Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Thoughts (8:19)
2. Businessman (12:33)
3. One Way Street (8:04)
4. We Got Time (3:43)
5. Wasting Time (9:39)

Bonus tracks on 1998 CD reissue:
6. Law Like Love (7:04)
7. Tango Enough (6:01)

Total Time 55:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Dorle Ferber / lead & backing vocals, violin, flute, percussion
- Tim Pfau / guitars & vocals (6,7)
- Günter Hornung / piano, Fender Rhodes, Minimoog, harpsichord, organ & synth (6,7)
- Meinrad Hirt / flute, Hohner D6 clavinet, Hohner String, violin (4), backing vocals (absent from 6,7)
- Bodo Brandl / bass
- Udo Kübler / drums, lead & backing vocals, vibes, marimba, bass drums, congas, hand bells

Releases information

Artwork: Udo Kübler

LP Z-Productions - 0381978 (1978, Germany)

CD Garden Of Delights - CD 026 (1998, Germany) All tracks extracted from LP in the absence of master tapes of any recording, including 2 bonus tracks from 1974 double LP "Proton 1" VVAA compilation

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ZYMA Thoughts Music

More places to buy ZYMA music online

ZYMA Thoughts ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ZYMA Thoughts reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars Zyma was a 5-piece band coming from the area around Heidelberg/Mannheim and started their career doing progressive hardrock which is examplified by the two bonus tracks added on the CD re-release of this album here. Well, the material from the original vinyl is quite different from those ones that is a wonderful blend of folk, jazz and rock in the best Canterburian tradition. Especially the voice of the female singer which is sometimes slightly reminiscent of Annie Haslam contributes a strong folk touch to their music. Overall it's dominated by excellent Rhodes piano play accompanied by flute and violin. All musicians exhibit a great virtuosity on their instruments and the sound moves back and forth from light, swinging jazz over driving jazz rock to sometimes slightly experimental avant-garde. "We got time" is more a playful medieval folk rock piece but the remaining four tracks are absolutely flawless, highly diversified and truly amazing. Despite all virtuosity and playfulness the music on here stays throughout the album comprehensible,melodic and enjoyable. The two blues-tinged and harder-edged bonus tracks are not quite as brilliant but by no means a complete failure. Apart from the fact that they're suffering a bit from too much hiss in the vocal mix they're offering a nice addition and can't narrow the overall good impression of this album at all.

As a summary I can say that this represents a brilliant example of Canterbury-styled progressive rock coming from Germany and I'd highly recommend it in particular to any lover of this sub-genre.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A very rare but strong 'Canterbury' release from Germany. Very pleasant, inspired and technical, Zyma cultivates the musical schema developed by Soft Machine and others but stresses the funniest and most optimistic emotional dialogue of it, thanks to very enthusiastic melodies and catchy improvisations. The opening track illustrates it perfectly. Mostly a jazzy rock composition punctuated by female voices and fantasist interludes. "One way street" is one of my favourite tracks, a kind of abstract prog-psych jazz with a very long, very strange hippie-like introduction. The rest of the tune represents a positive jazz rock excursion with some discreet folk accents due to the pastoral, dancing flute lines. Certainly not a personal favourite but quite interesting and recommended for those who like relaxing hippie-rock jams.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow,. There is very Brittish sounding and good, laid back hippie jazz-rock with some quite experimental phases found from this record. Long tracks build up from only few themes, which are explored trough long jam passages. The keyboard driven sound with a lady singer and jazzy rhythm section with few visits of violin brings to me associations of some early Curved Air songs, though the overall quality of Zyma's music is in my opinion mostly better, focusing to more compact amount of elements. There are no hit-songs included, and there is also male vocals present. Also a slighlty down-to-earth & hornless version of Soft Machine could be one way to describe the music with a comparison.

The songs flow as logical and pleasant entities, and the experimental freak out moments are also logical components, not jokes out of the context. All of the tunes are very good, though maybe the most wildest experiments like song "One Way Street" weren't a highlight for me, though not irritating experience either. CD version has some bonus tracks, which have heavier guitar/keyboard riffs than the original release songs. Sound quality is also little poorer, though song are otherwise good, containing also dramatic and moody phases and creating interesting tunes for listening if you like the record otherwise.

This album is very relaxing listening experience, and I would warmly recommend it to anybody liking the early 70's jazzy Brittish prog sound, as though the time and place of it production, it really fits to this style and aesthetics with surprising accuracy.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Funny, that's it, feeling somewhat old and weary, like something that you know from your past, was long forgotten and is here now. Or at least that's impression it makes on me, as I wasn't there when this was released (my father was, therefore I can enjoy this one). Looks like Canterbury comes to Germany. Wild in heart, fast paced in rhythm, its calm and shady (like oasis is providing shade) atmosphere reminiscent those of for example Gryphon (We Got Time). It's from German, but members were either interested in Britain, or it's been some kind of parallel evolution. But not at all times, because in first moments with this album, I felt like listening Zeuhl music (choir style of singing), also this type of drum&bass (it sounds terrible, it reminds this style of doom that's popular today, but this style is actually based on strong bass and prominent drumming).

Well, it's also nice funk music (again, just something).

4(-), oh yeah.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Well it definitely hurt to read the news this morning that Francois Cahen (MAGMA / ZAO) passed away yesterday. I listened to ZAO's "Osiris" album this morning after listening to this record by ZYMA that i'm about to review, and I was overwelmed by Cahen's keyboard work all over again. If there's one thing that lifts my spirits though it's music, and this ZYMA album called "Thoughts" did that and then some. I still can't get over how good this record is.The compositions, vocals and instrumental work are inventive and outstanding. While this German band is listed under Canterbury (a rare thing) they really combine several styles including Zeuhl, Jazz / Rock / Fusion and Krautrock. For me this is a Jazz / Rock / Fusion hybrid and they implimented a lot of great ideas in creating this masterpiece. Lots of Fender Rhodes and growly bass, while the highlight for me is the drumming. Unreal ! A fair amount of violin is used while the guitar and flute seem to be used sparingly. I really enjoy the female vocals and the way she sings those wordless melodies.

"Thoughts" opens with female vocal melodies with drums and bass that brings Zeuhl to mind right away.This made me smile knowing this is a German band. It then settles in with vocals, intricate drumming, bass and Fender Rhodes. So good. Piano to the fore 3 minutes in. It turns spacey with synths 4 1/2 minutes in then the violin joins in as the intricate drumming and synths continue. Bass too.Vocals are back before 6 1/2 minutes. "Businessman" is an interesting track. It has a very spacey intro that ends before 2 minutes then intricate drumming, bass and Fender Rhodes kicks in and builds.Vocal melodies and some distorted keyboards follow. Male vocals before 5 1/2 minutes. I cannot get over how good the drumming is here. Piano to the fore before 7 minutes then violin after 8 minutes.This is so intricate and there's so much going on.Too good to be true.

"One Way Street" opens with female and male vocals. Funny lyrics here with some very cool vocal arrangements. Inventive. It turns experimental in that Krautrock style and spirit before 2 minutes. She's screaming in the background. It kicks back in at 3 minutes to an uptempo rhythm with male vocals.Violin after 4 minutes then silly vocal melodies come in followed by flute.

"We Got Time" is uptempo with flute, female vocals and a beat. When the vocals stop the violin leads then the violin stops and the vocals lead as they trade off. "Wasting Time" opens with female vocal melodies as the bass and drums join in. Drums to the fore 3 minutes in then piano and violin join in as well. Male and female vocals arrive as the drums pound. Piano and drums then lead as they jam in a relaxed manner. Nice.

It's like this was custom made for me. Simply outstanding in every way.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I knew the band only couple of months ago as a friend of mind told me about this Canterbury outfit when I told him about The Tangent and Khan. The name itself did not ring me a bell at all as this is actually a vintage album and by that I knew nothing about it. When I spun this album for the first time it really blew me away and I did not believe that the 'unknown' (at least to me) is actually an excellent collaborative work among the members of the band. I don't see any dominance from the view point of the music even though I can hear many keyboard work as well as violin. The first two to three spins I thought I would give an approximately four star rating. Unfortunately it grew on me and I really enjoy the music this band plays in this album from opening track to the end. It deserves a five-star rating, for sure.

The album title track "Thoughts" (8:19) at the beginning of the album clearly indicates the musical quality of the band members as the music flows nicely with excellent female vocal. The track is basically not complex, composition-wise, but definitely it's not mellow pop style as there are many jazz rock components. The second track "Businessman" (12:33) is truly a masterpiece as the music is built around simple structure but it's very rich in textures. It seems like a simple composition at the beginning. But when I observe while he music flows I can see the great combination of bass, drum as well as guitar. While the third track "One Way Street" (8:04) there are parts with avant-garde piece. There are segments that remind me to the style of Gentle Giant plus unique vocal work - this time is predominantly male vocal. The short track "We Got Time" (3:43) brings back the female vocal work with excellent violin solo supported by good supporting music. The concluding track "Wasting Time" (9:39) brings us nice jazz rock fusion with excellent keyboard work, fabulous violin and excellent female vocal. ' Overal, this is a masterpiece that no one can afford to let it go.... Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars German group from the region of Heidelberg/Mahhheim, formed in 1972 by drummer Karl-Heinz Weiler, who would join Nine Days Wonder the next year under the pseudonym Hyazintus.The rest of the team were Bodo Brandl on bass, Günter Hornung on keyboards, multi-instrumentalist Meinrad Hirt and Tim Pfau on guitars.Drummer Udo Kübler was Weiler's replacement in 1973.Hirt would be replaced in 1974 by female singer/flutist/violin player Dorle Ferber and the new formation would participate in the Kerston compilation ''Proton 1'' with two tracks.In 1976 Pfau leaves the band and two year laters Hirt would rejoin Zyma for the recordings of the debut ''Thoughts'', privately released in 1978 in about 1000 copies.

Zyma proposed an elaborate and refined Progressive Rock with extended room for instrumental workouts and an expanded instrumentation with violins, flutes and varied keyboards in the process in an amalgam flirting with Teutonic Progressive Rock and Canterbury Prog/Jazz-Rock at the same time.All lyrics were delivered in English with both male and female vocals and someone could easily confuse the group as being a British one.''Thoughts'' consists of five, mainly long tracks with some very good interplays and numerous solos of impressive technique blended with more mellow vocal moments, when Zyma's sound obtains an obscure folky flavor.The long instrumental passages though have a very jazzy/Fusion-esque vibe akin to bands like BRUFORD or NATIONAL HEALTH, while there are also plenty of spacey textures with atmospheric keyboards, more in the vein of German bands.The album is characterized by its dominant work on keyboards, featuring long electric piano jams and cosmic synths, the melancholic violin themes, the melodic flutes and the strong dose of Canterbury-flavored interplays.

The Garden Of Delights CD reissue contains as bonus the two tracks recorded by the group in 1974 for the ''Proton 1'' compilation.''Law Like Love'' has nothing to do with band's later sound, it's more in a Heavy/Psych/Prog vein with strong female vocals and evident bluesy influences on the guitars, while ''Tango Enough'' is more consistent and closer to the style of ''Thoughts''.This is again energetic Psych/Prog Rock, but this time the use of synths and violins make it quite rewarding, though the vocal parts sound quite psychedelic.

A trully accomplished group with a very sophisticated style at a time, when producing trully proggy efforts wasn't really recommended.''Thoughts'' will find a nice place in the collection of any fan of diverse and adventurous Progressive Rock with long instrumental parts.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Outstanding recording engineering and sound clarity to support great performances from all musicians, great vocals from both Greg Lake-like male vocalist Meinrad HIRT and Amanda Parsons-like female vocalist (and violin, flute and percussion contributor), Dorle FERBER. The keyboard work from Günter HORNUNG is top notch throughout and the bass work from Bodo BRANDL also stands out.

1. "Thoughts" (8:19) flows along beautifully, superlatively, for the first four Zeuhlish minutes as choir intermittently exchange support and lead moments with lead singer Dorle Ferber--who sings wordlessly in a vocalese style. Steady, almost funky bass with rock-Zeuhl drumming while Günter Hornung plays on a number of different keyboards. By the time the violin takes the lead, the music has shifted to a more spacious jazz foundation. At 6:20 there occurs a rather radical shift into a kind of West Coast blues-jazz-pop with Dorle singing in English about what's going on in your brain. I like the first third the best. (8.5/10)

2. "Businessman" (12:33) spacey synth and jazzy keyboard opening with delicate cymbal play make it feel as if we're at the dawning of something. Separate drum kit and bass track emerges from 1:30 resulting in a quick-paced Fender Rhodes chord-based foundation over which synths and electric violin (and, later, female vocalese) solo and collectively repeat complex jazz melodies. At 4:15 clavinet and different (arp?) synth take over. Love the bass play throughout this one. Male lead vocal enters at 5:15--with stage musical-like background choral shouts. Raucous piano solo follows the second verse in the fifth minute. Another sound shift at 5:45 while bass and drums continue to play at their frenetic pace. Violin takes another turn alternating with synth sound soli. Rhythm section finally slows down and decays into near stillness in the tenth minute before a varied return occurs at 9:55. More synth soloing over clavinet while drums and bass race to the finish. Pretty amazing display of musicianship! (9/10)

3. "One Way Street" (8:04) oddly weird and, unfortunately, dated, but stands up due to great clarity and cohesiveness among the band members--unified focus. (8/10)

4. "We Got Time" (3:43) sounds like a little flower child pop songs like something from Britain's Sonja Kirsten (CURVED AIR), Lulu or Dusty Springfield. Catchy and upbeat if not wholly prog. (8.5/10)

5. "Wasting Time" (9:39) the centerpiece of the album and a Canterbury epic for the ages! I LOVE FLANGED DRUMS! Awesome bass line, drumming and piano work throughout this classic. One of the best, most definitive Canterbury songs ever. (10/10)

While not totally fitting into the classic Canterbury Scene, the experimental nature of the sound and stylistic choices definitely makes this album a shining example of the Canterbury approach to jazzier pop/progressive rock music.

Review by Warthur
4 stars There's all sorts of reasons offered why the idea of the "Canterbury" scene may be a bit of a misnomer, and one of them is how a range of groups who never even had much connection to the Kentish town managed to nail the style. A sprinkling of European outfits produced compelling work in the style, and to those ranks we can add Zyma, whose debut album teases out the jazzier and folkier aspects of the Canterbury sound. Imagine Hatfield and the North if they were less rock-oriented and one of the Northettes stepped up to become lead singer and you wouldn't be too far away.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars One of a very short list of German bands that eschewed the temptations of Krautrock and looked to the English Canterbury Scene for inspiration ( i believe Tortilla Flat was the only other German band to go this route). The Heidelberg based ZYMA stands out not only for appearing last in alphabetical order on Canterbury lists but also for its unique style of jazz-fusion that it was flavored with heavy bass-driven funk grooves, Keith Emerson keyboard heft and feisty vocal interactions between drummer Udo Kübler and the feminine charm of Dorle Ferber who also played violin and flute. The result was an oddball mix that add those charming Canterbury jazz chord progressions and instantly lovable keyboard warmth.

Although formed as far back as the golden prog year of 1972 by keyboardist Günter Hornung, this sextet didn't release its first of two albums until 1978, a few years after the Canterbury bug had waned a bit as the public's appetite for progressive music had suddenly been replaced by simpler pop and punk sounds however make no doubt about it, some bands like ZYMA were hell bent for leather in keeping the classic sounds alive as heard on the band's debut THOUGHTS. Right away from the getgo ZYMA stands out of the massive list of prog bands that populated the 1970s with an interesting concoction of Canterbury influenced jazz-rock but also incorporated heavy doses of folk, classical piano runs and even space rock all within the opening title track alone. The beauty of THOUGHTS is that it is, well, quite thoughtful in how all the musical elements are strewn about in the exhilarating flow of progressively infused rock performances.

The original consisted of five tracks with four of them exceeding the eight minute mark thus leaving a lot of time for thoughtful development of mood enhancing prog workouts including bass grooving jam sessions such as heard in the beginning of the second track "Businessman" which seems to incorporate symphonic prog references in the vein of Renaissance (Annie Haslam has been cited as the most similar female vocalist for Dorle) along with the homegrown jazz-fusion bombast of Tortilla Flat, however what really sets this visionary band apart was the addition of the violin which completely takes things in a different direction. Add to that those crazy symphonic ELP keyboard workouts that incorporate the period piece sounds of the Fender Rhodes, minimoog, piano and harpsichord with some solos getting all wild and crazy and even entering Keith Emerson territory! Oh yeah baby!

After the proggier than thou workout of "Businessman,"One Way Street" takes the listener on a completely different journey with call and response vocals and a complete curveball detour into a sound collage with vibraphones keeping it all focused on a journey. The track is somewhat based on what sounds like a Canterbury piano run but once again there's somewhat of a Renaissance feel as well especially on boogie-woogie piano runs heard on albums like "Scheherazade and Other Stories." Add to that a few Hatfield and the North references and you are dealing with an interesting array of proggy ideas all freewheeling on overdrive! And speaking of Hatfield and the North, no other track on board sounds more like that pioneering supergroup than the closing "Wasting Time" which features Northettes sounding vocals as well as those one-of-a-kind chord progressions however ZYMA implements a very energetic bass groove as well as violin which keeps it somewhat original despite the clear influences.

Overall THOUGHTS is a quite beautifully constructed album even though certain parts are quite derivative of other artists and the album could've been streamlined a bit further into the band's own stylistic approach but in the end ZYMA's debut is quite a beautiful album that makes each track count in terms of creative expression therefore this album is quite easy to listen to as there are so many unique elements added to ensure that THOUGHTS wasn't just a copy and paste album but rather a fascinating construct of influences and idiosyncratic insertions. If you're lucky you own the so far only reissue in the form of the Garden of Delights CD reissue that came out in 1998 which features two bonus tracks which take the band into even stranger territories but it's the original 1978 album that will keep you coming back and ZYMA crafted one of the Canterbury essentials IMHO.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The first thing I noticed about this record spinning it for the first time is how easy it is to discern one instrument from the other. The sound is very clean - it sounds like a Genesis record or, more to Zyma's level, Curved Air. This reminds me somewhat of a Canterburied "Phantasmagoria" ... (read more)

Report this review (#1140358) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Saturday, March 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Zyma was a strange german '70s band. Strange, because their music has little in common with the rest of german prog/krautrock bands of that era. Zyma sound similar to Caterbury bands, their prog elements remind of classic british prog and their distinctive sound also includes jazz influences w ... (read more)

Report this review (#301736) | Posted by DeKay | Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A pleasant Canterbury prog album from this German five piece band. The music is pretty much in the fusion and jazz-rock vein. The music is not particular avant- garde. It is more playful melodic than avant-garde. The pretty good female vocals gives this album it's own identity. So does the use ... (read more)

Report this review (#245998) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Like others bands that compose the best of the Canterburian tradition, Zyma represent the bands from out of U.K. (like Cos, Supersister and Mr. Sirius) who makes a sound so imponent and unique, that has to be call of Canterburry scenne. In this album, the keyboard reminds some passages of Dave ... (read more)

Report this review (#123121) | Posted by Henrock | Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ZYMA "Thoughts"

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.