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Asia Minor

Symphonic Prog

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Asia Minor Between Flesh And Divine album cover
4.16 | 386 ratings | 41 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nightwind (6:23)
2. Northern Lights (7:45)
3. Boundless (3:00)
4. Dedicace (6:11)
5. Lost In A Dream Yell (7:42)
6. Dreadful Memories (3:00)

Total Time: 34:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Setrak Bakirel / lead vocals, guitars, bass
- Eril Tekeli / guitars, flute
- Robert Kempler / keyboards, bass
- Lionel Beltrami / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Setrak Bakirel

LP W.A.M. ‎- WAM 101 (1980, France)
LP Rainbow 45 Records ‎- R45R 0011-1 (2016, Turkey) Remastered by Andreas Kauffelt

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4035.AR (1991, France)
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE 091518 (2009, Japan) Remastered by Tohru Ohta

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ASIA MINOR Between Flesh And Divine ratings distribution

(386 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ASIA MINOR Between Flesh And Divine reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
5 stars Maybe one of the best in '80s. The second ASIA MINOR album shows a very consistent band (musicians from Turkey and France) approaching to CAMEL style, but adding deeper and darker intimate atmospheres, remaining some moments of PINK FLOYD or the French band PULSAR. The listener will enjoy every second of magnificent melodies, great instrumental sections and a very good vocalist (he sings in English). One of those albums where all tracks are highlights. Excellent!
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars One hell of an album ! Mainly instrumental although most numbers are sung the Backbone of this band is french but the two frontmen are of Turkish origin and this is the main asset of the group . Overtones of Near-eastern music make for delicious prog but they stay discreet and are certainly not overpowering the rest .
Review by loserboy
4 stars Deeply rooted in the vein of the best CAMEL, ASIA MINOR blend rich atmospheric filled progressive/symphonic rock with floating flute, guitar , drums and bass. Setrak Bakirel's voice is superb and remains quiet and serene throughout which seems to fit the music flawlessly. Musicianship here is very rich and songs are well constructed and offer nice variation and instrumental interplay. "Between Flesh & Divine" is superbly well recorded and offers excellent sound repro and speaker seperation. Highly recommended prog!
Review by lor68
4 stars In the middle between Camel and Edhels, with hints of the romantic sound by Ange (but in a darker mood), this band produced a couple of fresh albums since 1979/early eighties, even though a bit derivative. Nevertheless their imprinting was quite personal and strong as well. The melodic lines of flute are always convincing, expecially enriched with the music colours created by an aggressive guitar and the Mellotron keyboard as well, sometimes resembling the dark style of Pulsar...I think of the rhytmical section, getting a major impact on the listener by hearing- I suppose- the re-mastered version of this album and I believe they could be fascinating for a wider crowd of fans within the symphonic rock genre, also regarding of a few good progressive bands in the eighties, often too much derivative. Their line-up was composed also by Turkish musicians and was more remarkable in comparison to the majority of the neo prog bands in Europe (except on some tinny keyboards tunes- anyway a few ones). As for all these reasons, I hope listening to a cleaner version of this album, but I don't know whether a remastered version by Musea exists or not (let me know about it!!)

If you like the most experimental albums by Camel (e.g. "The Snow Goose" or "Moon Madness"), but in a darker vein,you have to buy this album...otherwise you can anyway check it out at least!!


Review by Proghead
5 stars Masterpiece of prog rock in an era where you least expect it: the early 1980s. 1979's "Crossing the Line" was their debut, but "Between Flesh and Divine" is regarded as their best album. ASIA MINOR was a French band consisting of Turkish musicians playing mid to late '70s style prog in the vein of many of your favorites: CAMEL, FOCUS, KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, even PULSAR. The instruments consists of vocals (in English), guitars, flute, bass, drums, and keyboards (Elka Rhapsody string synth, electric piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Minimoog).

On the opening cut, "Nightwind", the band starts off sound deceptively like OZRIC TENTACLES, but that's just for a few seconds, before you know what you're listening to is symphonic prog. Here you get some great guitar and flute work, and some atmospheric passages. Here the vocals are very much like CAMEL's Andy Latimer (not to mention the flute). "Northern Lights" starts off rather mellow, heavy on the string synths, with some space Minimoog to go with it, but then the music gets more energetic, with the end part resembling GENESIS. The rest of the album is of the same high quality, and I very highly recommend this album. Great stuff!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As some fellow reviewers have stated before me, 'Between Flesh and Divine' is a masterpiece of the prog genre, as well as Asia Minor's top achievement. This album is one of the best things that came out of France (though 3 quarters of the band were actually Turkish) in the symphonic prog area. As quartet now, the fourth member Robert Kempler handled the duties of bass player and keyboardist, which gave the band the opportunity to expand their sonic potential with a more prominent addition of synthesizers, organ, pianos, and even occasional layers of mellotron - all this in 1980! Of course, the electric lead guitar and the flute are still the major features in the instrumental passages, being in charge of the solos and the main melodic lines. Beltrami's drumming is still as polished and energetic as on the band's debut album, displaying his jazzy vein under the guise of a rock- oriented attitude. The sound production is more refined, which makes every instrument show itself clearly amidst the band's overall sound. The contrast between the strong passages and the soft ones is handled more naturally, which allows the band to go deeper into their Camel-esque explorations, without letting go of their penchant for Asian-based exotic textures. The repertoire has a somewhat accentuated tendecy towards the creation of serene ambiences, locating the rockier passages in the shape of gently incerpted interludes or preambles. Tracks 1, 2 and 4 are the best examples of this clever arrangement strategy, and may I add that I consider them their best tracks ever, specially 'Dedicace', which is catchy, yet keeping a typically progressive sophistication. 'Nightwind' kicks off on a vibrant ethnic mood, ultimately leading to a main body set on the standard of spacey-driven symphonic rock, not unlike Pulsar or "Moon Madness"-era Camel. 'Northern Lights' states a more pronunced atmosphere of introspection, generally speaking, while the aforementioned 'Dedicace' brings a solid dynamics that fuses the heritages of Pulsar, Focus and Pink Floyd in a sort of way that only teh guys from Asia Minor can. 'Boundless' is a beautiful ballad, a not too long passage of melancholy. That same melancholy resurfaces in a more eerie context during the almost 8 minutes of 'Lost in a Dream Yell': the intensity incarnated in the extended flute solo is like an evocative dream made of musical matter. You have hear it to believe it... It is long but never tiring, it bears a free-flight attitude yet it never gets meandering; the eerie keyboard layers sustain the overall mood quite effectively, with the guitar arpeggios and moderately energetic drumming filling the source of tightness. Finally, 'Dreadful Memories' is nothing but a jam construed from a simple chord progression on guitar, with the bass and drums following, and an increasing number of keyboard layers subtly being summoned in: its abrupt ending makes it the perfect coda for a perfect album. I just wish it wasn't so short, or at least, that the album as a whole would last a bit longer thatn it actually does. It wouldn't take long before the bloody blade of 'musical differences' beheaded Asia Minor's career, while they were preparing material for a following album that was never to be.
Review by Prognut
5 stars A Truly Masterpiece!!! An Essential album in your Progressive Rock collection.

They fall right between Camel and Edhels. This Turkish/French Band, created a Symphonic Masterpiece on "Between Flesh and Devine". Not very complex, but took me several spins to GRAB ME and has not let go in quite awhile. The Instrumental passages are beautiful, and Setrak Bakirel's voice is just great!

With flute, and guitar solos that will rip your heart out. I have to congratulate MUSEA for the re-released of these albums, you have done it again!

A winner, and probably one of the best 10 best in the 80's!!

Review by Progbear
4 stars A fine album. Starts with an in-your-face intricate motive expressed on keys and guitar and doesn't let up until the very end. Contrasting are more somber passages with acoustic guitar and flute. The band are very canny, alternating the intense and soft passages in just the right balance.

It's not a 100% perfect album. The English vocals are rather ill-advised-I've heard much worse lyrics, but the singer's English diction is pretty poor. It's a minor complaint, though, as the vocals are far from bad, though they're rather incidental in the grand scheme of things. On the whole, an excellent album. Buy without hesitation.

Review by NJprogfan
4 stars If you're looking for an early 80's symphonic album that DOESN"T sound like it's from the 80's, here it is! Fantastic band that sounds like Camel in Italy with Ian Anderson playing the flute. What freaks me out is the band is from France with Turkish players and a lead singer that has a German accent! The singing may not be the strongest, but the playing is top-notch; with the flute out front, excellent guitar-work and subtle keys. Although flute-player Tekeli has been influenced somewhat by Ian Anderson his playing sounds more Italian, (PFM, etc.). All songs are outstanding with the exception of "Boundless" a lyric-heavy ballad. Otherwise, a definite 4 star album from the symph- dead 80's era. Neo it's not!
Review by Kotro
4 stars One of the many proofs to detractors that the 80's did provide excelent music is this amazing second album by French/Turkish act Asia Minor. Throughout it's 35 minutes it will catch your attention like few albums do, with its intricate guitar, flute, and keyboard harmonies, shifting between slower gentle melodies and heavier, faster-paced section led by some fantastic guitar and drums.

A comparrison to Camel is inevitable, but you also get influences from French Symphonic and, of course, slight hints of eastern european/oriental music, especially when the flute takes the lead role.

Vocals are often kept short, and that might be a good think, because it's one of the week points of this band. The second weak point of the album is actually a compliment: it is just too short. Immense sadness filled me when it reached its end so fast.

Another sadenig thing was the conditions on which the band called it a day. I read in the liner notes of the album that lack of recognition, both criticaly and commercialy, was the main cause of the band's demise. Not to tarnish other great acts of french musical scene, but I believe we would have been better served had Asia Minor got the attention they deserved back then. A solid 4-star.

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars Essential overlooked band from France (rooted in Turkey), ASIA MINOR played CAMELish Prog with native Turkish undertones and dark and melancholic atmosphere (reminding me of early MARILLION to some extent). Both albums were rather short but utterly brilliant - this one actually is flawless. For admirers of above-mentioned bands and bands like CARAVAN or ATLAS it's a Must. Other Prog-lovers must do themselves a favour and definetely check this one out. I got it by 5$ by a Russian license and it's a worthy one! Extremely recommended!!!
Review by kenethlevine
5 stars This is one of my favourite albums, and, even though it is too short and the last cut, "Dreadful Memories", is a waste, it gets 5 stars, because the rest is so exceptional, both for sheer quality and also for the fact that it appeared in 1981, and we all know what most of the prog "greats" were doing in 1981. Wondrous swirling prog a la King Crimson (both ITCOCK and Red) meets Camel, with a bit of authentic Turkish ethnicity thrown in, resulting in a style which I call Asia Minor. Lots of angularity in harsh guitars but also intensely melodic as brought out by the lead guitars, abundant woodwinds, and occasional mellotrons and other keys. The vocalist sounds a bit like Andy Latimer but a bit stronger and with barely a trace of an accent. Although these guys were based in France, you get none of the histrionics characteristic of French prog. This is the result of a band playing together as a team.

"Nightwind" kicks things off strongly with an almost fusion-y beginning, the organs and bass providing a backdrop for the guitars before the flute makes its first appearance, carrying an airy but muscular tune. With so many changes in tempo, nothing feels forced. The middle vocal section is mellow and features unusual but compatible flute accompaniment. Note this flute is nothing like Tull whatsoever, much more classically inspired and more like what you got on the first few KC albums in "I Talk to the Wind" and "Cadence and Cascade". When the band takes over it is led by more flutes and percussion and this is where you get the whirling dervish feel. One last quiet segment and then the mellotron choir kicks off the closing theme. Perfection in six and a half minutes.

"Northern Lights" is just as good, with the structure of the opener turned on its ear. Here we start gently with electric piano to which gentle guitar and flutes are joined. Silence, then more dark sinister guitars, before the wonderful vocal segment begins, supported by ethereal lead guitar and mellotron, which ultimately end the work.

Then a gentle short song, "Boundless", with quite a hook for the chorus. This could have racked up some airplay even on AM radio a few years before.

The next two songs return more or less to the style of the two opening tracks. "Dedicace" contains yet another lengthy opening dominated by flute, bass, drums, and KC styled rhythm guitar themes, before the vocals join in. It contains more vocals and is the only song where the vocals are actually fast paced for part of the piece, although again a slow dreamy section in the middle. The organ playing here is particularly noteworthy. "Lost in a Dream Yell" again shifts components around and is mostly vocal for the first few minutes before ceding to one of the most extended and rewarding instrumental passages that ultimately closes the CD for all intents and purposes. The flutes and massed drums, along with fretless bass (I believe) never fail to move me, whatever else I may be thinking of while listening. Asia Minor is not background music, even if it can be intensely relaxing.

So the great stuff is only 31 minutes of so in length, but it is of such high quality that its scantness can be forgiven. While it would have been best not to include the final track, its presence at the end is far less of a disruption that had it appeared in the middle. This CD comes with my highest recommendation for those who love symphonic prog with many textures and shades.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The debut album ("Crossing The Line") of this Turkish / French band was rather promising and even if prog was not really a prominent genre at the time, "Between Flesh And Devine" was almost condemned to remain an obscure witness of these progless days.

Fully symphonic and very much reminiscent of the early seventies, this album will full your ears with wonderful melodies. Mostly instrumental, keys as well as flute are on the front line. The opener "Nightwind" is a very good example.

Noticeable influences range from the early Genesis '("Trespass"), Camel, Focus and to a certain extent the symphonic KC. "Northern Lights" holds those elements. It is the longest song of this short album. The structure goes from peaceful and subtle music to harder and almost aggressive riffs. Vocals remind me at times the band "Ramses" (Germany). Very soft.

"Boundless" is probably the only blunder in their (short) career. Mellow and naïve. Vocals here are pretty awful. Fortunately, it is the shortest song of the album. As long as "Dedicace" remains instrumental, there is nothing wrong with it but vocals are, again, weak. This song is very much in the Camel mood (vocals were not their stronger side either).

The Turkish roots from Setrak and Eril, are not to be found on this album. Which is a pity. It was part of the charm of their debut album. Some Oriental flavour would have been welcome.

"Lost In A Dream Yell" shows the contradiction I have already been referring to : brilliant instrumental passages (mainly flute) and flat vocals. The closing number will be a bit repetitive and little inspired.

Some very good stuff here, but some average as well. Three stars.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very similar to classic Camel, and to a lesser degree, early Steve Hackett, Asia Minor should please fans of either, especially those who liked their sound but craved denser compositions. While consisting mostly of music, there are lyrics for each piece (with one brief exception), and though I generally prefer songs to instrumentals, here I cannot say the same. The vocalist has a very lazy-sounding voice, as though he were half-asleep when the recording occurred, and his accent is extremely prominent, making each performance unfortunately somewhat cabaret. At times it is so conspicuous ("Lost in a Dream Yell"), that I honestly had to research the lyrics to determine if what I was hearing was in fact English. My biggest criticism of the album is that it's quite repetitive.

"Nightwind" Opening up with some spunky bass work in 3/8, "Nightwind" is a good representative of what this album is. Layers of electric guitars and synthesizers build until only a piano and flute remain, which serve as a brief introduction to the lyrical section. Setrak Bakirel's lifeless vocals contrast with the more vibrant second instrumental section, which features a heavier rhythm section and Jethro Tull-like flute work. The final instrumental section is fairly repetitive, but well-written and certainly not unpleasant.

"Northern Lights" Dreary synthesizer and a melancholic melody played on the flute introduce a more sinister and energetic passage, which is reminiscent of some of the darker pieces from Hackett's third studio album. Soon the heavier moment passes, leaving a more subtle section in 7/8, over which the vocals finally enter.

"Boundless" This song is as short as it is simple. Here, Bakirel's accent stands out the most. Over a simple chord progression, the instrumental section in the end relies on repetitive synthesizers harmonizing with one another.

"Dedicace" The bass guitar stands out as it had on "Nightwind," but the flute is still very much in the spotlight. The music also relies on heavy synthesizer work. The sudden introduction of heavily-strummed acoustic guitar makes me think of the similar section of ELO's "Fire on High."

"Lost in a Dream Yell" An atmospheric opening takes over, very similar to the beginning of Yes's "South Side of the Sky." The music is more minimalistic than on other tracks, relying on a clean electric guitar and synthesizer. Gentle flute takes over halfway through, and a marching snare drum rises up eventually, building to a fuller sound.

"Dreadful Memories" The only completely instrumental track on the album, the final one is the heaviest bit of music here, based around a gritty electric guitar and bass sharing the same riff. Organ jumps in thereafter, only serving to thicken the sound. The trouble with this piece, terse though it may be, is that it is utterly repetitive. The main riff is played throughout, and even the keyboard work fails to bring much variety.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. Well I very much enjoyed their debut but this is even better. This is darker and more melancholic and they've added mellotron to the mix, although string-synths are more plentiful. To quote the liner notes: "Despite the rather moderate reception given to it's first album the group remained convinced of the originality and quality of it's music and decided to record a new album without making so much as a single concession to commercial interests.The idea was that a second album would help the group assert itself and increase it's credibility with concert organizers once it had two albums to it's name". If anything this second record is even less commercial sounding than the first. I so admire their convictions especially since this was back in 1981 when this second album was released.

"Nightwind" opens with bass and percussion as drums and a full sound follows. Flute after a minute. A calm before 2 minutes as vocals arrive, lots of flute too. It kicks back in at 4 minutes then settles again. Uplifting before 5 1/2 minutes with mellotron and some nice guitar. "Northern Lights" might be my favourite track on here. A mellow and melancholic intro is replaced by an uptempo section led by the guitar after 2 minutes. Keyboards take over for the guitar. It settles before 4 1/2 minutes and vocals join in. Great sound here, so uplifting.The emotional guitar soars 7 minutes in as mellotron washes in over and over. "Boundless" is a laid back track with vocals. Lots of synths here.This singer has an accent but his voice is amazing.Tasteful guitar after 2 minutes.

"Dedicace" is led by flute and drums early. Bass then strummed guitar after 2 minutes. Organ follows then vocals. Fantastic sound 5 1/2 minutes in. "Lost In A Dream Yell" is in the running for my favourite song with "Northern Lights". It opens with thunder and rain. Keys and vocals join in. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes as rain continues to fall with gentle guitar. Brilliant ! This is so sad and emotinal. Flute comes in as the rain stops and marching drums join in.This simply goes on and on, but it works. I can't explain how moving this is. "Dreadful Memories" opens with dominant drums, bass and guitar before organ then mellotron joins in. The mellotron is at it's best right here.

This is more mature than the debut and a minor classic in my opinion.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"Between The Flesh And Divine" is a beautiful little gem.

Asia Minor is one of those obscure and unfairly underrated from Europe, that have incredible potential and talent, technically speaking, and even with enormous songwriting talent. Released in 1981, the same year of the release of the enormous "Moving Pictures", so of course this was left in the shadow of the gigantic Rush masterpiece.

The style is typical symphonic prog, with highlighted keyboards and guitars. The beautiful use of the flute is another characteristic of the band. The atmospheres sound always desperate, haunting, and emotional like rarely a prog band is able to do, and everything is accompanied by Satrak Bakirel, one of the most underrated vocalists abroad.

The first two tracks are amazing, enigmatic, with desperate atmospheres and beautiful melodies. The highest peak of the album, no doubt. After, everything seems to go down a tune, all the tracks are pretty good and sometimes great, but none of them can top the first two tracks, not even close. "Dedicace" is great, but sometimes it gets pretty forgettable, as well as the third track "Boundless", the weakest song off this album. "Lost in A Dream Yell" reaches a pretty high level, and it's the only one that can come a little close to "Nightwind" and "Northern Lights", because of it's beautiful keyboards and great vocals. "Dreadful memories", is the conclusive track, in my opinion a little boring and forgettable as well.

A great album, no doubt, with some unbelievable moments and amazing melodies. Too bad for those couple of songs, that definitely brings down the album's average. But "Between The Flesh And Divine" is a beautiful little gem that is unfairly obscure.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Asia Minorīs second CD is a great leap forward in terms of quality when compared to their first one, Crossing The Line, released in 1979. What was promising then was now a real excellent symphonic prog work. Although the record is a bit too short (only 35 minutes of running time) it contains probably the best prog stuff ever released by any band in the early 80īs. The music here is simply gorgeous and has nothing of the the groupīs sometimes hesitant tunes on their debut. The songs are stronger, the playing is more confident and even Eril Tekeliīs flute playing is more fluid and personal than before.

It is ok that the eastern elements (brought in by the duo of turkish songwriters), so much evident on Crossing the Line, are all but subdue here, but still the result is beautiful and quite their own. Great analog keyboards lines, very good guitar parts and a creative drummer. Vocals are only average, but sounds good to me. There are no fillers and the production is very good for the time. Asia Minor certainly deserved a better luck, but I guess the timing was not right for a group like this. The prog world lost a very good band when they broke up. I wonder if this France based outfit would return one day and bring us another fine piece of art like Between Flesh And Divine.

A must have for any prog lover, especially if youīre into melodic symphonic progressive music of the 70īs.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I heard the band name long time ago but never got a chance to enjoy their music until I got this album couple of months ago from a friend of mine. I was quite surprised knowing the music was quite captivating. I thought it was a kind of fusion but I kind find a sense of Camel music; so I think the description under symphonic prog is quite OK to me.

The opening track was what made me curious to spin the album in its entirety. It's through the opening track that I thought the music would flow in fusion style. The obvious bass-guitar playing in the opening track that brings the music in fusion style. Having listened to the album in its entirety for more than five times, this is my view based on five components of music composition:

First, is the melody ? i.e. the degree to which the main melody of the song is constructed from a combination of notes. I think this album has a range between moderate to excellent in terms of melody even though some of them are not quite catchy. But it's OK, not all prog compositions require catchy melody (example: Gentle Giant especially the "In A Glass House" album). Second is the harmonies ie. how each instrument contributes in creating sounds and notes. I think this album is excellent in terms of harmonies. I like the flute-work in this album. Third is the complexity of the arrangement i.e. the degree in which the instrument (including vocal) being played by the musicians and how they generate a piece of music stream or segment of the music. This is not quite complex album and I think most people who like music would like this album as well. Fourth is change of style i.e. how the style changes in a song which includes tempo changes and/ or heavy or soft musical sounds. This album is quite balanced in combining different styles. The last one (fifth) is the structural integrity i.e. the degree to which all musical segments, including changes of style, form a cohesiveness of the music as a whole from start to end. This album is quite cohesive in its entirety. The sound production is not quite good but it does not bother a lot as I still can enjoy the subtleties.

It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by stefro
4 stars Featuring members from Turkey, France and the UK, yet based in Paris, Asia Minor were one of those fascinating progressive rock groups who created highly-original music yet, unfortunately, existed at exactly the wrong time to make any lasting impact or commercial in- roads into the notoriously fussy 1980s music industry. The group's second full-length studio effort after 1979's interesting-yet-flawed 'Crossing The Line', 'Between Flesh And Divine' was produced and released independently, without record label support, and initially issued only in France, Italy and Belgium, with a few copies somehow finding their way to both Turkey and the USA. Of course, by the time of 'Between Flesh And Divine's 1981 release, punk-rock had been and gone, and new wave groups such as The Cure, New Order, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran were starting to dominate both the critics favour and the lucrative charts alike, leaving little room for expansive and experimental groups such as Asia Minor, who preferred lush instrumental verve over crude trend-setting. Infuenced by, amongst others, British art-prog exponents King Crimson, symphonic high-kings Yes and many of the wonderfully-talented mid-decade Italian groups - such as PFM, Maxophone and Le Orme - Asia Minor were, sadly, very much a group borne into the wrong decade. Ten years earlier, and who knows what would have happened, as 'Between Flesh And Divine', despite it's low-budget, independent status, has, for it's type, proved both a critical success and a steady seller. Prog fans have long known about this album's intelligently-structured melodies, beautifully-wrought tracks and complex instrumentation, and tracks such as the crisply-conceived 'Nightwing', with it's deep-toned, cyclical bass-lines, stabbing keyboards and uplifting closing guitar section, and the stirring album-closer 'Lost In A Dream Yell', have since been heralded as true classics from progressive rocks wilderness years and precursors to the neo-prog boom that closely followed. The group themselves was four- strong for the recording of 'Between Flesh & Divine', featuring Setrak Bakirel(vocals, guitar), Lionel Beltrami(drums), Robert Kemplar(keyboards, bass) and Eril Tekeli(guitars, flute). All four members were highly-capable multi-instrumentalists, often doubling up on instruments to fill out the group's sound. This of course made playing live a real difficulty, and the band's independent status meant that what gigs they did play were usually sparsely-attended. However, despite the lack of interest shown in the band(who failed to get a proper record deal throughout their existence), the quality of Asia Minor's music has shone through the ages and has, thankfully, been preserved by the French label Musea, who re-released the album during the early-1990s. Since then, of course, progressive rock has seen a steady rise in popularity, and 'Between Flesh And Divine' has rightfully been re- assessed as a genuine near-masterpiece. Those who enjoy the non-English-and American side of the genre, from the great Italian groups to the likes of Bahrain's Osiris and Canada's Harmonium, should find a wonderfully-diverse album filled with expertly-woven symphonic sounds that make Asia Minor's sadly-truncated career all the more surprising. If only the group had existed ten years earlier then who knows what wonders they could, and would, have produced. 'Between Flesh And Divine' is indeed a remarkable slice of European progressive rock that should prove an excellent addition to any collection. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
Review by Warthur
3 stars Showing significant development over their previous album, Asia Minor's Between Flesh and Divine takes a lot of inspiration from classic Camel (from the period between Mirage and Moonmadness) and updates the sound and tightens up the song structure to deliver the prog majesty in accessible, bite-sized chunks. In other words, it's Asia Minor trying the same trick Camel did with Rain Dances of making their music more accessible - except Asia Minor accomplish the job with a great deal more panache than Camel did, retaining enough complex symphonic prog features to appeal to fans of the golden age of prog.

The end result sounds remarkably like the then-current neo-prog groups in the UK, making the album an interesting missing link between the symphonic bands of the golden age and the upcoming neo-prog wave, but the shortcomings of the production hamper the sound a little and the album ultimately doesn't quite hit the heights either of the older acts that inspired Asia Minor or the coming acts who would follow in their footsteps.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Other reviewers have remarked on the sound and feel of this album being like a combination of early 70s GENESIS and CAMEL and I couldn't agree more. This is beautiful and often sophisticated music very close in feel and mastery to the models it seems to wish to emulate or perpetuate. The drumming is often worthy of superlatives while the keyboard player shows excellent instincts in playing mostly in a support role (but a very important support role, à la TONY BANKS).

"Nightwind" (8/10) opens instrumentally feeling much like an early 80s pop song (PAYOLAS "Eyes of a Stranger") before turning into a fairly sophisticated 'lost Genesis' song. Great drumming in an odd time signature with excellent support synths, moving bass, and flute lead. New section begins at 1:48--a vocal section that is quite reminiscent of 70s CAMEL. Beautiful and versatile flute playing. 5:20 Keyboard entrance end section is very reminiscent of TONY BANKS/GENESIS

"Northern Lights" (8/10). The first 2:06 are quite calm and pastoral. Then all GENESIS/CAMEL breaks loose with a very up-tempo section. At 3:45 all sound drops out to be replaced by a new section of delicate electric guitar picking and electric keyboard. At 4:38 a foreign-accented male voice enters to sing in English as the tempo picks up a bit (drums and bass join in). Fuzz guitar solo. Return of vocal. Voice is like ELOY's FRANK BORNEMANN's singing with BRYAN FERRY's phrasing--the way he down-slides the endnotes of a phrase or word.

"Boundless" (7/10) is a three-minute gentle ballad--singing from the start, ending with a drawn out, easy, repetitive electric guitar solo.

"Dedicace" (8/10) begins with the bass sound more familiar from RENAISSANCE over which a breathy flute is dancing. At 1:20 there is a very CAMEL-esque shift to a mid-tempo 'controlled jazz' section. 2:15 acoustic guitar stums beneath fuzzy electric guitar, keyboard organ while bass and drums join in at a fairly quick pace as singer comes in singing in higher register than previous songs. Very "Lady Fantasy" feeling. 3:25 totally shifts to bucolic GENESIS section. Classic GENESIS transition stuff. Return to vocal with half the freneticism of the former section (sans acoustic guitar strumming). Another repeat of the slow instrumental transition to the fast strumming acoustic guitar section with singing to sudden end.

"Lost in a Dream Yell" (9/10) begins with rain sounds, a few single random notes from treated guitar with vocal being most prominent feature--the bareness of which really makes obvious the awkward foreign accent. So ELOY! Rain and piano with electric guitar arpeggios interplay irregularly behind vocal until 2:40 when guitar arpeggios are left alone for half a minute while rain fall sounds gradually fade and synth strings and mellow flute join in. Slowly from far in the background, military drumming patterns begin to emerge and move to foreground. All the while flute continues to lead with beautiful melody. Really awesome drumming to tune into--four minutes of it! Song ends with same pattern playing out.

"Dreadful Memories" (7/10) begins with an odd, almost spy-theme music led on a DICK DALE-like bass line over which haunting synth chords are washing in and out. Song ends with a weird cut out and echoed synth fade.

A very nice listen that would definitely be an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. Solid four stars.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Am I listening to Camel? Well, there's certainly enough here to deceive you that it is. Many a reviewer point that out and I agree. On the other hand I would like to express my view that besides the Camel- infused music there's enough originality to make this album a truly exciting, beautiful, enjoyable listen, or indeed listens. Asia Minor delivers in 1981 a collection of songs by all standards dated when released. It's certainly not in the time, it's by no means neo-prog. I'd classify it as late seventies symphonic in the vein of (guess who?) Camel circa "Nude". But sometimes dated means nothing when concerning the quality. Asia Minors "Between flesh..." is a fantastic journey through beuatiful symphonic prog of the best kind. Sweeping, dreamy and full of nice changes in tempo and mood. The last song is a short but excellent, abrupt ending to this masterful release. It's true that the singer has a voice of special qualities. I can't decide what I think about it. Is he good or simply not that good? Actually, I think his voice is a part of the whole picture. Still... Anyway, it's a great album and I truly recommend it!
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Top notch second album named Between flesh and divine from this Turkish-France band Asia Minor issued in 1981, and what an album this is for that period, really this kick ass all the way from start to finish. Imagine you listen to Camel in their most inventive period with some turkish influences, overtones that in the end fits perfectly in the symphonic prog atmosphere. This is a solid album that sets the standards from generations to come, specially as one of the reviewers said tht Asia Minor is the missing link between the symphonic bands of the golden age and the upcoming neo-prog wave. Very well played instrumental passages, there are more then with voice so only a joy for me and for my ears. Truly great album with melancholical voice. Strong pieces, all, no weak moments here. A gem of an album that needs attention from all serious prog listners. 4 stars easy, a fine cover art that at close look seams like the map of european side of Turkey of course in drawing format. Very nice music like the visual content. recommended
Review by Menswear
4 stars Well I'll be damned!

Wow, just before the coming of 2013 I step upon this album, which to me from the exterior, seemed obscure but ultimately unattractive. Once again my poor judgement tricked me again, I discovered another treasure...that many discovered before me it seems!

Asia Minor is serving us a delicate album, with contrasts of nightly atmospheres to bright light to more tormented segments. I always thought 'darker' progressive rock is the best, with King Crimson in lead. Well, this band is giving us a good serve of 'dark' music but sprinkled with tasteful flute, energetic and clever drums, Robert Smith guitars and silky smooth keyboards...yummers!

The inevitable Camel comparison is audible, but the band is clearly showing it's true colors most of the time with their moody and eerie sound, a perfect album for a snowstorm. I frankly thought of Solaris with their Martian Chronicles as the first influence, but...wait! This record was made 3 years before Solaris! If you appreciate this band, check out for Singularity as their nowadays counterparts...oh and why not Eloy at the same time!

Oh little album, you maybe have an ugly exterior, but your heart is gold.

Contenders for best lost gems of all-time.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lovely one from this unassuming Turkish foursome, rich in flavor and of complex ingredients, sincere to a fault, and pious in their intention to do credible symphonic rock as that of Renaissance or Genesis. The group is also branded as a Camel clone-- in sound maybe, but not content. There is more going on here, the material has a greater concentration, as if the band knew they'd only have a couple records to say what they wanted to. It is, in a sense, Romantic Prog.

The main influences here are guys like Ravel, Vivaldi, Copland, as evident in lilting 'Nightwind' and pastoral eight-minute 'Northern Lights' layered with flutes & keys, the piece moving into harder territory and significant progression, expansion and development. Somewhat flat 'Boundless' is not helped by the tortured vocal, but decent arena-rocker 'Dedicace' reflects a dying era of rock/fusion in 1980, weird 'Lost in a Dream Yell' is unsettled and directionless but in a very Syd Barrett kind of way and probably too long at over seven minutes, and fun Surf/Psych 'Dreadful Memories' provides some needed relief.

A brilliant try at one of the most difficult modi operandi to compete in, and a fine record of lush symphonic rock executed with care.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Between Flesh And Divine" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Turkish/French progressive rock act Asia Minor. The album was released through W.A.M. (the band's own label) in 1980, but it has since seen a couple of reissues, among others through Musea Records. Asia Minor was a relatively short lived act who only released two full- length studio albums before calling it quits (this album and "Crossing The Line" from 1979).

Stylistically the music on "Between Flesh And Divine" is predominantly instrumental progressive rock with the occasional vocal part. They often sound very similar to early- to mid 70s Camel. Sedated dreamy vocals, light fusion oriented drumming, flute, guitars, bass, and keyboards. Asia Minor are generally very well playing, and it's one of their greatest strengths when their music occasionally enters a territory tread by others before them. In other words they are not the most original sounding act out there, but they compensate well by delivering their music with great skill and passion. The material is well composed too, and Asia Minor are clearly very skilled musicians and composers.

"Between Flesh And Divine" features a very well sounding production, which reeks organic warmth. Asia Minor definitely still lived in the 70s on this release without a thought or a care of the digital sounds of the 80s.

Upon conclusion "Between Flesh And Divine" is on most parameters a high quality progressive rock release featuring high level musicianship, a great organic sounding production, and well composed material. Asia Minor's downfall was most likely releasing progressive rock albums in the late 70s/early 80s, and the fact that they don't sound particularly original. The latter affects my rating slightly, but especially fans of Camel's early- to mid 70s releases are recommended to give "Between Flesh And Divine" a listen. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Three turkish men went to France to make very british music, diversity before it was mainstream I suppose. In reality Setrak Bakirel and Eril Tekeli were international students back in the seventies and settled in Paris where they formed a band aptly titeled Asia Minor together with fellow turk ... (read more)

Report this review (#2712340) | Posted by Phipz-97 | Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like a better Neo-prog: 8/10 Emotive, atmospheric, melancholic, delicate, but also technical and well performed, ASIA MINOR's 1980 release plays a mellow homage to the 70s prog rock with their lush symphonic style. The band is heavily influenced by CAMEL, as observable by the long instrumenta ... (read more)

Report this review (#1783890) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Monday, September 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Second album from Asia Minor, released in 1980, more known than 1979's Crossing The Line, and more advanced. Released in such a time that prog was in descent, it's quite brave and quickly gets high titles. Unfortunately, few people know this, even fewer in Turkey. Fortunately, it was reissued in ... (read more)

Report this review (#1695739) | Posted by ctasan | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Asia Minor is a unique band. It is a small one, not widely known, and this one feels so? I would have said mine, but it is not right. And yet, there is something in their music that is closer to me that many other bands. Perhaps it is the middle-eastern sound, or perhaps it's the way I found the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1326173) | Posted by Thai Divone | Friday, December 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some years ago, I managed to get this album and it was an excellent buy. Asia Minor, a band from Turkey produced a magnificent album entitled Between Flesh and Divine, which style is pretty similar to the sound of Camel, even the voice of Setrak Bakirel resembles to Andrew Latimer. The album i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1012805) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A group of Turkey with a turkish accent singer singing in English in 1980, does not seem very attractive. If we add that initially sounds like a good copy of Camel, better let go. Big mistake! No one should lose these 34 glorious minutes in the history of our beloved progressive path. Between ... (read more)

Report this review (#938600) | Posted by sinslice | Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my very favorite albums. Very emotive, melodic, progressive, atmospheric, melancholic and dynamic. Very solid album. Others have complained about the vocals but I personally greatly enjoy them. Similar to Camel, Anyone's Daughter, King Crimson, Agitation Free, Genesis, Jethro Tull and some fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#214720) | Posted by listen | Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a near perfect Symphonic Prog album in my view. Very under-rated, it is sad that this masterpiece is not more widely recognized. The band creates very melancholic dreamlike atmospheres and features sad airy flute and chilling synthesizers as their dominant instruments... all held together ... (read more)

Report this review (#201770) | Posted by AdamHearst | Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another one of these fantastic French prog bands that fell into oblivion for reasons other than pure musical qualities. Asia Minor's second album "Between Flesh and Divine" (not "Devine" as the page title says) is recognized as their best opus, and there's a reason for that. I'm not too fond of ... (read more)

Report this review (#138750) | Posted by Nao/Gilles | Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 3.5 Actually rounded up. I really like this album but I feel it's a bit too one-dimensional. Very Camel-like but not quite as good. I love the flute in the first song. In fact the first song is worth the price of the CD. The songs grow on you and are very atmospheric. It's just a BIT too derivi ... (read more)

Report this review (#129696) | Posted by dalt99 | Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a masterpiece!! A brilliant Turkish/French band form the early 80's but isn't NeoProg!! Inffluenced by Camel and Jethro -amongst others- the sound of every song of this album is totally symphonic, starting with the jazzy intro of "Nightwind" and ending with the heavy guitar of the last ... (read more)

Report this review (#77621) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This beautifully balanced French progressive album is a study in subtle dynamics. With all instrumentation blending together evocatively and creating lush atmosphere, either a mourning flute or rich and fluid guitar will improvise over top of a bed of busy percussion and lush mellotron, leaving ... (read more)

Report this review (#60089) | Posted by wooty | Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very,very good album close toCamel.There is great instrumental playing nice vocal melodies and complex tunes.Flute,great electric guitar,keys,and a fantastic drummer are the elements for a this album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#43590) | Posted by | Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is absolutely a surprising album from the earlier 80īs, in general a bad time for prog music, though excellent time for trash like disco, punk and new wave... Wonderful music, good and soft vocals, long instrumental passages with excellent performances of all musicians. I loved particular ... (read more)

Report this review (#40251) | Posted by Asiostygius | Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A prog rock band starting at the tail end of the '70 doesn't seem to have much appeal. Instead this album is absolutely excellent. They have a soft, melodic side that reminds me of Camel, but with a darker, melanchonic atmosphere. A big surprise. ... (read more)

Report this review (#18861) | Posted by | Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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