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Absolute Elsewhere

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Absolute Elsewhere In Search Of Ancient Gods album cover
2.96 | 88 ratings | 19 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Earthbound (9:10)
- a. Earthbound
- b. Future Past
2. Moon City (4:50)
3. Miracles Of The Gods (11:45)
- a. Miracles Of The Gods
- b. El Endrillado
- c. The Legend Of Santa Cruz
- d. Pyramids Of Teotihuacan
- e. Temple Of The Inscriptions
4. The Gold Of The Gods (2:35)
5. Toktela (1:35)
6. Chariots Of The Gods (10:35)
7. Return To The Stars (9:55)

Total Time: 50:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Fishman / synthesisers, sequencers, flute, electric and acoustic pianos, Mellotron, string synthesisers
- William (Bill) Bruford / percussion
- Phillip Saatchi / electric guitar
- Jon Astrop / bass guitar
- Kim Mackrell /cello (6)

Releases information

LP Warner Brother Record K2 56192 (1976) (UK)
CD Disk Union 7175 (2006)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE In Search Of Ancient Gods ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE In Search Of Ancient Gods reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dick Heath
1 stars I had this album once and played it twice, then gave it away. Frankly it was boring and I had made the mistake in thinking that Bill Bruford presence would make it special. My only regret now is that didn't hold on to that record, since the secondhand market price on the vinyl version is good.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars As for the music , Dick Heath will regret selling his vinyl twice because of the price but also now , he would probably enjoy the music on it some twenty years later. Of course , the presence of Bill Bruford piqued my curiosity into buying this without hearing it first (that does happen once in a while) and I shall not regret it, even if he doesn't play a big role at all. The music as you read the title can only be instrumental and experimental fusion (jazz-rock), but remains accessible to most progheads (IMHO) , the mainman here being Paul Fishman (note that there are no second bassist but a guitar player) providing for much of the ambiances (not always successfully - see the first two short tracks on side 2 - Vinyl version) but once the group gets in stride , the music grooves quite well creating a much enjoyable fusion between Mahavishnu and Nebelnest. on one side and slow spacey music (almost new age) on the other. .

Nothing essential, but it's worth throwing an ear on it. .

Review by hdfisch
2 stars This is obviously one of this stuff from the 70s (and actually there was plenty like this most of them very difficult to get in original nowadays) that might be quite enjoyable together with "1 or 2 pints and one of those old herbal cigarettes" (I like this expression of my Irish co-reviewer). It's a kind of music one really has to be into, as the contradicting reviews show already. Don't conclude from the appearance of great drummer BILL BRUFORD to any ressemblance to his other works. The theme of the album are DAENIKEN's doubtful theories about some visitors from far outer space in ancient years. And actually the music fits quite well to the topic. Very spheric synths, often sounding rather cheap, sometimes almost like an old computer game with many silent sections in between. There are some but very few moments to wake up where one might get an impression of the potential skill of the musicians (especially on side two). Parts on side one remind me of the type of music KITARO has been done, some others are a bit reminiscent of TANGERINE DREAM.

IMHO this album is not really bad, but certainly only interesting for specialists and collectors in this genre. It probably owns some nostalgic value for some people or might appeal to fans of the mentioned artists and music style. 2 stars is a quite fair rating I would say.

Review by soundsweird
2 stars My story's typical: I bought the LP when it came out because of the presence of Bill Bruford and the promise of lots of synthesizers. Kept it for a year or so, then sold it. I remember that one song was pretty good, mainly because of Bruford's drumming (which was uncharacteristically toned down throughout the album). Fishman's synth sounds were very unoriginal, and the compositions likewise. Only for people who like anything prog, or people who haven't heard much prog. Of course, there are a lot of folks in both categories.
Review by progmonster
1 stars Somehow balanced between Dick Heath's and the mighty Sean Trane's reviews, my heart - or is it my mind ? - decided to go in Dick's direction. I'm quoting the one star legend here ; "Poor. Only for completionists". That's it ! Dramaticaly expensive as vinyl or pretty scarce from japanese import, the rarity of the object only made its fame, enhanced indeed by Bill Bruford presence. The latest is here as essential as he was for National Health like you can hear him on "Missing Pieces" : i mean he's not. As far as i can remember, the music recorded here did flow through me like a very atmospheric but dull moment. I don't know if Paul Fishman did actually found the Ancient Gods. As for me, i do agree with the title : Absolute Elsewhere. But not here, for Christ sake !
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars The influence of Bruford on this album (whom attracted me at first) is close to none. He is playing his part on what is Paul Fishman's project. Music is experimental and sounds like improvisions throughout the album.

Reminiscence of Tangerine Dream is there, but with less quality. Lack of passion to say the least. Several tracks starts only after a minute or so ("Chariots of the Gods", "Return to the Stars").

"Earthbound", "Moon City" are very quiet tracks : something similar to "Moonchild" from KC : same kind of impro and goes absolutely nowhere. It is really difficult to put attention from start to finish of this LP. I have tried several times and definitely there is not a lot to remember from this.

Skip this one and keep your money for more interesting stuff. Sorry guys, one star.

Review by kenethlevine
1 stars I have never been a completionist as far as Bruford goes, so I think the reason I bought this back in the 70s, apart from its low sticker price, was because I had loved the film "Chariots of the Gods", and in particular its majestic soundtrack, which enthralled me as a 13 year old. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered a repetitive disc of hackneyed synthesizer themes that sounds more like a cheap porn soundtrack than anything. The best track is probably the first, but it's pretty dispensable even with lowered standards, and what follows is of less interest still.

This really isn't even good enough to compete with most of the new age music that followed a decade or more later. At least that often had some sense of beauty about it. While this might be taken as inoffensive background listening if you are concentrating on something else, my rating is based on the fact that it really is only for the committed collector and has very little to distinguish or recommend it, ie- the compositions, the playing, and the arrangements are all mediocre at best, but more often abysmal. The "progressiveness" is virtually non-existent, as the pieces remain buried in their opening chords, unable to emerge in any meaningful way.

I suspect the high vinyl value in today's market is due to a combination of poor collective memory, an irrational love for all things Bruford, and the likelihood that most outlets had to throw out their abundant excess in much the same way as our crazed mothers disposed of our comic books back in the day. Only our comics actually had artistic merit.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Only thing I originally knew about this album was that it deals with some von Däniken's stuff, and Bill Bruford plays in it (later case was the main attractor). Spacey sounds introduce the mellow bluesy synth rock sound of this record, reminding a slightly more cosmic version of mid 1970's Pink Floyd sounds. The rhythms are not very unconventional, so the drum maestro is not highly in front. Some kind of reference of the sound could also be Alain Goraguer's music from the film "La Planète Sauvage", and some moments of Camel's "Moonmadness" record.

In the songs there is usually some quite simple theme as leading them, and then the solos for melodic harmonies are introduced for supporting it. Though there are longer tracks on the album, they are built from very simple elements which do not construct very ambitious compositions. So quite easy-listening stuff, but not irritating to my ears in anyway, more like some kind of proto-new age record for relaxation and amusement due some sympathetic playful fooling detected from the music. This works also as perfect background music for playing Commodore 64 games (especially song "The Gold of The Gods" for Commodore 64's "Montezuma's Revenge" game). The last song "Return to The Stars" is really great, an open calm aural space with minimal amount of events, just distant harmony.

I would recommend this for fans of vintage keyboard sounds, retrogamers. and certainly all those interested of von Däniken's fantastic books... Well, maybe the album titles referring to them do not have any impact to the music, but in this case I do not see it as any kind of trouble, but actually underlining the deep meaningfulness of this all. But I warn, DO NOT buy this due the famous great drummer included in it! His presence does not make this record anything special, nor does it ruins it, he just IS there. I encourage to try to approach the record without any preliminary demands, if descripted characteristics appear appealing.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Keyboardist and flautist Paul Fishman's 1976 work `In Search of Ancient Gods', under the project name Absolute Elsewhere, is something of a minor classic of both spacey and symphonic instrumental progressive rock of the vintage era. Based on the pseudo-science/alternative history books inspired by the theories of author Erik von Daniken, `...Ancient Gods' enjoys something of a raised profile due to the drumming contributions of King Crimson/Yes member Bill Bruford, yet it still remains fairly obscure and something of a kept secret! Swamped in dreamy and lavish keyboards, the album houses everything from extravagant symphonic multi-part suites, drifting space-music electronics, shorter Rick Wakeman-esque fanfare interludes and experimental psychedelic fragments.

There's spacey whirring synths and glorious dreamy Mellotron-glossed themes aplenty throughout nine-minute opener `Earthbound', laced with a chilled-out Seventies coolness (some of it sounding like a template that French band Air would employ on their classic full-length debut `Moon Safari' in 1998, though it's likely a coincidence) that even calls to mind the fuzzy dreaminess of Bo Hansson's `Attic Thoughts', some laid-back drumming and drifting flute giving the piece a soft pattering of jazzy flavours, and a final run of electric guitar fire bringing a smouldering groove. Trickling subtle sequencer beats pan left and right throughout `Moon City's bleeding deep-space drones, and the near twelve-minute five-part suite `Miracle of the Gods' darts through everything from nightmarish electronic twitches and reprising soaring Mellotron/Moog themes in the manner of Pink Floyd, Novalis, Camel and Pulsar, delicately moving towards ethereal ambient paths and pristine piano ruminations in crucial little diversions.

The second side opens with two shorter interludes, `The Gold of the Gods' and `Tokleta', the first a whimsical and slightly kitsch synth fanfare, the latter a mysterious and softly melancholic Moog reflection. Two ten minute workouts close the album, first `Chariots of the Gods' opens as a subdued and melancholic Rick Wright-like piano reflection before revealing relaxed jazz/funk grooves, and `Return to the Stars' is a slowly revealing Tangerine Dream-like expansive distortion-laced ebbing electronic drone that is completely seductive, enveloping and deeply immersive.

Although there's some conflicting little passages and a few questionable production choices here and there (the pretend `stuck vinyl' fade-out halfway through `Chariots of the Gods' is a bit of a cop-out, and the little pieces that open the second side are somewhat out-of-place distractions!), `In Search of Ancient Gods' is mostly full of exquisite and grand instrumental symphonic music crossed with experimental and atmospheric electronics, with several truly jaw-dropping moments for lovers of lengthier keyboard and Mellotron-drenched grandiosity. This successful fusion of styles makes for an album that is so close to being an absolutely classic symphonic/chill-out/electronic crossover work, one well deserving of renewed attention for its own merits far beyond the contribution of a legendary drummer alone.

Four and a half stars.

(Thanks for Bruce Jenkins of the superb music blog Vinyl Connection for hooking me up with an LP copy!)

Latest members reviews

5 stars No one talks about these records anymore. And it's a shame, because in this case we have the brainchild of the one (16 years old at the time !) Paul Fishman who wanted to make the music behind Erich von Daniken's books (indeed the sleeve is like one of all those books) and ended up with this magnifi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1258605) | Posted by PROGNATURE BEAST | Sunday, August 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Featuring Bill Brufford on drums, In Search of Ancient Gods doesn't sound like Yes. Actually, Absolute Elsewhere was a project by Paul Fishman, the brainchild who wrote it all. He plays almost everything here (synths, flute, pianos, mellotron...), but drums and guitar. The album is very ecl ... (read more)

Report this review (#1057052) | Posted by VOTOMS | Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an album I didn't know at the time. Like much of the Italian prog music, I never saw it in the shops over here. It's not too bad an album. I actually have the impression that the French band "Air" found some inspiration here from "Earthbound/Future past". The music varies from mellow ... (read more)

Report this review (#712012) | Posted by Lieven Van Paemel | Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Absolute Elsewhere was just formed to put music behind the story written by Eric von Däniken, a Swiss author known for his claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human presence on earth (his ideas are mostly rejected by scientists and academics ...but who cares...the story behind ... (read more)

Report this review (#583663) | Posted by Robert Beriau | Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars what can i say about this AMAZING album??? the first time i hace this in my hands was when i was 12 o 13 years old :-P remember those PETROLEUM discs????? XDD it sounded interesting quite a bit because i have hear some old great YES stuff...and i wanted to hear anything related to YES...need ... (read more)

Report this review (#427364) | Posted by andrez067 | Sunday, April 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very nice album. Very balanced and calm and I really apreciate this work. To me, this album is not in Jazz Fusion family that I realy apreciate to, but is in Psichedelic Space Rock vein. The works of keiboards create a space melodic atmosphere, and the guitar, made the synergy of all power of ... (read more)

Report this review (#229362) | Posted by João Paulo | Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Composition/Creativity: 18/25 The concept is interesting, if not particularly inspiring. It was certainly more in keeping with the times (1976) than it would be now. Compositions are not particularly well structured, a bit too meandering. Musicianship: 17/25 It is a bit hard to tell j ... (read more)

Report this review (#176854) | Posted by Trademark | Monday, July 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Three of us guys shared a flat in Shepards Bush in the eary '70s, we had a good sound system with 6 speakers hooked up, we were experameting with all sorts of weird and wonderfull resins and grass, including LSD and used to 'get off' with this record, especially the track where the 'spaceship' ... (read more)

Report this review (#68391) | Posted by | Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't fault this album (for nostalgic reasons) but would love to obtain a copy in any format as I only have bad quality cassette copy. we always found this album very therapeutic along with a pint or two of beer and the odd herbal cigarette. the LP came with a booklet about von daniken and hi ... (read more)

Report this review (#23774) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My brother bought this album back in 1977 and he wouldn't stop listening to it. Like any other progressive rock group, it takes time to like it fully at first. A good stereo system helps indead, in order to appreciate the tremendous bass, Bill bruford's percussion, and other key instruments. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#23771) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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