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DARKNESS TO LIGHT

Sweet Smoke

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Sweet Smoke Darkness To Light  album cover
2.66 | 24 ratings | 7 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Just an empty dream (4:20)
2. I'd rather burn than disappear (4:15)
3. Kundalini (13:25)
4. Believe me my friends (4:29)
5. Show me the way to the war (5:30)
6. Darkness to light (12:51)

Total Time: 44:50

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Dershin / bass
- Jeffrey Dershin / piano, percussion, vocals
- Jay Dorfman / drums
- Marvin Kaminowitz / guitar, vocals
- Rochus Kühn / violin, cello
- Michael Paris / sax, flute, vocals
- Steve Rosenstein / guitar, vocals

Releases information

LP EMI/Harvest 1C 062-29471 / CD Germanophon 941041 (1995) / CD Harvest Rarities 832 6802

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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SWEET SMOKE Darkness To Light ratings distribution


2.66
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
21%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (29%)
29%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SWEET SMOKE Darkness To Light reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Just a Poke", the band's first LP was a kind of cult album during my students days and I can remember the situations when I used to play it for several times in a row on my old turntable. Subsequently I came across this one and, must admit, was quite dissapointed! Instead of side-long jams, "Darkness to Light" brings even 6 tracks. While that was not a problem itself, the quality of these clearly falls short in comparison with the first LP. The shorter tracks bring more acoustic instrumentation and if the overall music is surely pleasant to listen, the tunes are not enough catchy or powerful. The album is filled with Hippie/Indian ideology too much and listening to it 30 years after sounds a bit naive and outdated. "Darkness to Light" is recommended only to SWEET SMOKE fans, while other listeners should stick with excellent "Just a Poke" and equally stunning "Sweet Smoke Live".

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#30399) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 09, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars If you are a Fan of Just a Poke , this one can surprise you but it is definitely in the line previous one. The shorter numbers have not the same feelings as on the previous album , some even have jewish folk flavour to it , but nothing upsetting or weird. However the title track and Kundanili are 12+ min numbers in the same mould as the Poke album and just as exhilarating and certainly make this worth a spin. I have recently seen this one and the previous released on one CD so try to get that one because for mid-price.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#30398) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 10, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So let me acknowledge right away that "Darkness To Light" is not as complete an album as "Just a Poke" , but on its own merit is for me a great little album. I will try not to spend this review in sharp comparison to "Poke" but will offer that the magic of Conny Plank is likely the element that made the difference here. "Darkness To Light" finds its creativity is blending their jazz-rock elements with folk and Eastern tinges. The end result is a raga-like structured album based on 6 songs of which 2 are over 10 mins. The longer songs get into the "classic" "Sweet Smoke" form with improvisations and extended passages.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#38547) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Made in India

Sweet Smoke recorded just two studio albums, this the second one being released in 1972. After finding some success in Europe with their first album "Just a poke", the band expanded from a five piece to seven members and spent some time in India before recording a follow up album. As a result, Indian influences are clearly perceptible on "Darkness to light", which is a more diverse collection than their first release.

This album consist of two of the more familiar longer pieces, plus four short song based numbers. The opening "Just an empty dream" is a reasonably commercial melodic ballad, with similarities to early CHICAGO, and perhaps even a nod to CROSBY STILLS AND NASH. "Believe me my friends" is similar in structure, but more upbeat, almost country at times, the predominant violin offering comparisons with the music of KANSAS.

There are two longer tracks, both lasting around 13 minutes. "Kundalini" is the most vivid illustration of the Indian influences which the band picked up while there, with sitars and Hari Krishna type vocals. As the track develops, it becomes a more orthodox jazz number, with scat singing plus freeform guitar and sax.

"Darkness to light" which closes the album is a rather uninspired affair, which moves through solos by various instruments and chanted renditions of the title. The track is altogether just a bit too loose, and lacking in direction. The other two tracks, "I'd rather burn than disappear" and "Show me the way to the war" are slightly more rock orientated, with starker vocals. They are dull though, with little to distinguish them in either rock or jazz terms.

The diversity of this album is in some ways its downfall. While "Just a poke" was a reasonably well focused jazz rock based album, "Darkness to light" is a crude concoction of unrelated influences, which do not sit together all that well.

Best avoided.

The two Sweet Smoke studio albums, "Just a poke" and "Darkness to light" are now available together on a single remastered CD.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#52472) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars These guys had to have smoked a serious amount of dope back when they were wandering around the European continent and throughout India back in the early seventies. They were sort of a cross between the Grateful Dead and the post-Magical Mystery Tour Beatles, only not as good of musicians as either of those groups. No big deal though, since their fans were likely partakers themselves for the most part and therefore probably shared in whatever it was the band heard in their own music that spoke to them.

The first Sweet Smoke album was really an innovative bit of jazz-meets-wasted-Americans-in-Berlin and consisted in Thick as a Brick fashion of just two tracks with each covering one side of the vinyl. Oh, except for one thing – they weren’t as good as Jethro Tull either. But it was decent music for the period and the long numbers made a great backdrop for weekend indulgences.

This album came close to the end for the band, after they had expanded their consciousness from Germany to India and as a result absorbed some of those influences to go along with their weird style of jazz and psych folk. It all makes for a couple of spacey numbers that stretch out like the ones on the first album. You can’t really tell how much is composition and how much is improvisation, but I don’t suppose that really matters anyway.

The difference with this album is that the band throws in a handful of shorter and more conventional tracks as well for some reason, maybe because they were actually trying to make a living at this music thing. Didn’t pan out though. The problem with the four short tracks is that they don’t gel in any fashion whatsoever. Two of them are sort of cool jazz pieces (“Just an empty dream”, “Show me the Way to the War”); another is a electric folk number with a confusing message (“I'd rather burn than disappear”); and still another (“Believe me my Friends”) sounds like a Mike Pinera blues-rock standard with a violin thrown in as an awkward nod to good taste.

The magic, if there ever was any for Sweet Smoke, seems to have faded by the time this album released. As far as I know all the members of the band ended up returning to the U.S. shortly after this released, and most of them ended up pursuing lives outside of music once their heads had cleared.

“Show me the Way to the War” is a tune that I could see getting included in late night independent college radio playlists once and a while simply because it has some cool jazz bits and the theme is one that college kids with liberal ex-hippie faculty advisors would seem to find worth putting on the air once and a while. Otherwise this one is for fans only, and therefore a two star effort.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#166500) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After their debut album "Just A Poke" these American musicians who were living in Germany decided to take a year off and go to India.That experience comes through on this follow up record "Darkness To Light". The Jazz flavour is all but gone now, and to me this album just doesn't compare to their debut.

"Just Another Empty Dream" is a pleasant tune with vocals. Acoustic guitar, flute and sax all take part. "I'd Rather Burn Than Disappear" is the most memorable track on here. It's a Folk song that tells a story. "Kundalini" is over 13 minutes long and is clearly influenced by their stay in India. The first part is tough going for me with the monotonous vocals. Violin before 4 minutes. It's when the sax comes in before 6 minutes that I start to like what i'm hearing. After 8 minutes it sounds more traditional as drums, bass and guitar arrive. It becomes very trippy after that. Vocal melodies are good. So I really like half of this song.

"Believe Me My Friends" is country flavoured with violin. Don't like it at all. "Show Me The Way to War" is the most interesting song. Samples of gun fire and explosions with lyrics that are anti-war. The chorus is catchy. Some nice sax late. Good song. "Darkness To Light" is the almost 13 minute closer. I really don't like the way this song is arranged during the first half of it. Themes are repeated. I like the guitar after 10 minutes as it becomes jazzy. Some vocal melodies and sax late.

It has it's moments, but too few of them to give it 3 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#176187) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 06, 2008

Latest members reviews

5 stars The underrated "Darkness To Light" is SWEET SMOKE's last studio album. This one has some shorter tracks but I think it's closer to progressive rock genre than their first. The music is more diverse, complex and thoughtfully composed. However, in some parts it still ratains the jazz-rock elemnt ... (read more)

Report this review (#30400) | Posted by terramystic | Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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