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Jane Fire, Water, Earth & Air album cover
3.43 | 109 ratings | 12 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fire, Water, Earth & Air
2. Fire (You Give Me Some Sweet Lovin')
3. Water (Keep On Rollin') (16:57)
4. Earth (Angel) (5:20)
5. Air (Superman)
6. Air (Let the Sunshine In) + The End (10:53)

Total Time 33:10

Note: Some track durations are aggregated

Line-up / Musicians

- Klaus Hess / lead vocals, guitars
- Werner Nadolny / organ, piano, Strings synth, Moog
- Martin Hesse / Gibson Thunderbird bass, backing vocals
- Peter Panka / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Dierk Pape

LP Brain - 1084 (1976, Germany)
LP Brain UXP-727-EB (1977, Japan)
LP Brain, Polystar 22S-34 (1981, Japan)
LP Brain 5318094 (2009, Europe)

CD Brain ‎- 831 748-2 (?, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JANE Fire, Water, Earth & Air ratings distribution

(109 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JANE Fire, Water, Earth & Air reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars As it was evident with the previous and uninspired album Lady, Jane was clearly running out of ideas as a "prog'n roll" act and decided to shake themselves awake by turning into a more progressive unit. Such a move, however courageous it might be , is not only risky but fairly common as this was a sort-of-fad that a few band did in those days in Continental Europe (I am thinking of Birth Control, but many more).

I said risky , because one band does simply not become progressive on command and therefore may lose their credibility and show their limits. Jane certainly fell in that category IMHO, because they simply did not have enough inspiration for it. I want for first proof of this , this very weak concept of the four elements punctuated by wind , running water, fire noise to invoke those elements . Apart from a weak outside artwork sleeve and a slightly better inside gatefold drawing, everything transpire lack of inspiration. Even their good musical skills seem to be ampered by the restraint of more complicated song structure and genral lack of enthusiasm (IMHO but onr should have no problem seeing my point - they just seem to go through the motion).

By all means , do not let my incisive remarks let you think that the excellent Jane musicianship is AWOL, this is still a worthy Jane album , just not one of my fave. I would recommend prospective progheads who would rather not investigate their early hard-prog carreer to start with this one and then Heaven & Hell.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Great equipment: Gibson guitars, Ludwig drums, Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer and Gibson Thunderbird bass. Great sound: special 'Dummy-Head' effects. Great music?

Most of the seven compositions contain a slow rhythm featuring lush Hammond organ waves, Moog synthesizer flights, lots of bluesy howling electric guitar runs and melancholical vocals. I won't conclude that on this LP Jane make memorable, inventive or original progressive rock (understatement for precarious progressive bluesrock) but to me their sound on this album is often pleasant and sometimes even moving. Especially the interplay between the guitar and keyboards like in the highlight "Air (Superman)" with echoes from RAVEL his "Bolero". And in 1975 it was hot to present yourself with sophisticated technical ideas (inspired by PINK FLOYD's "Dark side of the moon") so the Dummy-Head effects were a fine bonus in those days. Conclusion: a nice album but I prefer the better renditions on the 2-live-LP "At home live" that was released a year later.

By the way, if you want to witness this Jane 30 years later on DVD, buy the 2- DVD "Krautrock meeting" delivering an excellent 30 minutes performance with veterans Peter Panka and Werner Nadolny, what a warm and inspired gig!

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

After flirting with blues rock, then straightforward rock including some ''soul'', JANE came back at doing what they are the best at: playing melodic prog rock played with emotions and big heart with some spacey athmosphere and majestuous guitar performances. So with their fifth studio album FIRE WATER EARTH & AIR we are sent back to the moods of TOGETHER full of organ tapestry, heart warming guitar sounds that move you deeply.

I am sure that the return of the original keyboardist WERNER NADOLNY helped the band to go back to their roots , find again this sound that made JANE a pleasure to listen to with their first 2 albums . FIRE WATER EARTH & AIR is not the definitive symphonic/space album, not even the best of the JANE catalogue but all the ingredients are present for us to enjoy this journey.

The title track is a 17mn ''epic'' with all the JANE characteristics we love: slow start, a great melody, the organ omnipresent, melancholic moody vocals and of course the moment of grandeur belong to the wonderful playing of guitarist klaus HESS who can play so melodic, so refined first then getting loose and bringing a lot of energy to the song with blistering riffs and great solos . The second side stays in the same spirit than the first one like on the great track AIR (SUPERMAN) with it's nice intro riff followed by this beautiful melancholic melody backed up by a haunting organ soundscape. JANE at its best!

The only probem with FIRE WATER EARTH & AIR is that it lasts only 33 mns even short by the standarts of the times (1976) when it was possible to put well 40mns of music on a LP. You are going to tell me, better 33mns of good music than 80 mns of fillers and that the way i think. Lets's enjoy this album as there is nothing to ''press forward'' as would put it our greatest reviewer ZOWIE ZIGGY!

Also the vocals are still not the best in the world as HESS and PANKA cannot be mistaken for G.LAKE or D.BYRON but they do a decent job, definitely not worst than their predecessors.FIRE WATER EARTH & AIR is good simple symphonic music played by skillfull musicians with no pretense, just having fun with what they are doing. If you are into ELOY or early PF, JANE is for you!I would have liked to give 3.5 stars so will be 3 stars: a good melodic prog album!

3.5 STARS.

Review by ZowieZiggy

One thing is for sure. We won't get the awful vocals from Gottfried Janko on this release. This breaking news can only be a stunning and positive fact for the "Jane" fans. A great relief, indeed!

This very short and conceptual (?) album is a good trip back into Jane's catalogue. Some hard-rocking parts combined with some more spacey ones to illustrate the theme of the essential elements shared on this planet are the ingredients for this good "Fire, Water, Earth & Air"album.

The long and introductory suite is one of the attraction of this record. Mostly instrumental, it provides some excellent guitar moments, but keys are essential. Either as a backing or as a leading role one. These organ sounds have always been a T for the band, and they remain so for this recording.

IMHHO, the highlight of this album is "Earth". An emotional crescendo song in which vocals (!) do have a major role. Their combination with these guitar sounds are so emotional... A ground breathing song in which the whole band is playing at his max. Great, great and great. That's all I can write about it.

Last couple of songs mixed together are maybe weaker but by no means do they need the "press forward" button as nicely mentioned in Febus's good review.

This album is worth seven out of ten IMHHO. Just falling out the four star rating.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Jane was basically a psychedelic hard rock band that enjoyed jamming and just generally having fun. This was evident on the first couple of albums that, despite their release date, were really products of the previous decade. After the failed power blues trio experiment with "Jane 3" and a supposedly partial return to form with "Lady" (which I have not heard), they decided to explore Floydian soundscapes and cosmic/progressive rock in general. After all, it was 1976 and prog had stood the test of time and was in it for the long haul, right? That's another story.

Even though the tracks are longer than ever, Jane is more restrained here than on "Here we Are" and especially than "Together". They go more for mood setting and buildups, in their typical somewhat clunky fashion, and in it works extremely well on parts of the opening suite as well as "Earth(Angel)". Even their visitation upon Ravel's Bolero is worth a few yuk yuks on "The End". Yes, they do rock out, but it's generally more listenable than previously.

If you want something equally or more proggy and much more refined, go with the follow up "Between Heaven and Hell", but "Fire Water Earth and Air", does have all the basic elements in its primordial soup.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars A purist (and what else is a true Proghead if not an Apollonian purist?) might tell you these guys had no business sitting at the Progressive Rock banquet table. If you listen to their albums leading up to this 1976 epiphany, you won't find a band in the Symphonic Rock or Jazz Fusion or Avant- Garde tradition (and certainly not from the more seditious culture of Krautrock). But at least they tried. And unless we're misleading our children it's the effort that counts, isn't it?

For this album, the band's most ambitious to date (ambition being a relative term for such an earthbound collective), Jane raised its PINK FLOYD banner higher than ever, with the tempos, the melodies, and especially the vocals all but screaming, "Wish We Were There". Jane might have started life as a gang of rock 'n' roll delinquents, but they fell eagerly in step with Progressive music trends in the mid '70s, and better late (almost too late, in 1976) than never.

Clearly the band members had done some homework, and learned their lessons well. The album opens with an actual Classical Rock fanfare, en route to an extended Klaus Hess guitar solo: quintessential Jane, and still exhilarating. And it's a concept album too, recalling Peter Sinfield's employment of the four Platonic elements in his lyric for the KING CRIMSON tune "In the Wake of Poseidon", with each 'movement' cued, somewhat obviously, by the appropriate sound effect.

The album may be secondhand Floyd, but Jane was a more unified band in 1976, when the Floyd was already showing symptoms of creative malaise. Jane's music at the time was also far more melodic, if not quite so elemental as the title suggested...diluted perhaps (like a lot of Prog Rock) by too much air and not enough fire. And the lyrics, when audible, never rose above the standard give-me-some-sweet-lovin' plateau of '70s banality. But this was the more consistent of the band's proggier efforts, less self-consciously ornate than its popular follow-up "Between Heaven and Hell". Over the album's 33-minute flow of more-or-less continuous music, the group walked a precarious tightrope between the artless guitar rock of their earlier recordings and the extended Prog cosmetics of the later LP, without ever missing a step.

Having only just heard it for the first time (on the recommendation of a Fellow Traveler in these Archives), I'm standing up for the maligned 3-star rating with a possibly too conservative trio of sympathetic stars here. The album is hardly a classic, but when measured by the yardstick of nostalgia it's still a classic slice of the 1970s.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Although probably more at home playing tough bluesy jamming rock, German band Jane on occasional albums incorporated slight prog, psych and spacerock elements into their chugging rock sound that sometimes delivered decent results. Their fifth album `Fire, Water, Earth and Air' from 1976 is one of their more successful works, still hardly essential but a decent heavy churning space-rocker all the same. There's a strong emphasis on spacey keyboards in much the same manner as numerous other German bands from the time such as Eloy, Epidaurus and Novalis, making it a nice background listen for undiscriminating prog/spacerock fans.

"Fire, Water, Earth and Air come together in my soul" slurs Klaus Hess during the 17 minute opening side-long piece, his voice not unlike a drowsy David Gilmour. Thick Hammond organ, hard drums, searing electric guitar soloing and eerie drawn-out synth washes comprise the piece, a repetitive and plodding track that always retains a lazy sunny warmth. The second passage moves up in tempo with melodic leaping bass moving through fiery drumming, then abruptly falling away into a drifting Eloy-like outer-space drone and later some bluesy guitar wailing. The third section floats on chiming electric guitars and gentle ocean ambience that unfolds beautifully into punchy drumming and fiery guitar grooves over extended synth builds. Thankfully the music is better than the tired and uninspired `Keep on rollin', `she gives me some sweet luvin' every day' lyrics.

The second side opens with the 5 minute breather `Earth', a straight-forward rock track highlighted by a wasted and bedraggled lead vocal with double tracked electric guitar soloing on either side of the speakers. The nearly 11 minute closer `Air and the End' races through a range of slow to mid-tempos sprightly changes, light organ and riffing guitars, but the `Superman, cool again' chorus is baffling! Better is the second half, scorching Hammond, darting Moogs and pulsing bass weave around mellow emotional guitar noodling before ending on a nice shuffling come-down. Really the second side is more or less just the same as the first, making the album safe, predictable and a little forgettable, even if always pleasing and undemanding.

Jane are still not the most exciting of prog-related bands, but they are decent and consistent in the style they work in at the same time. The debut remains far and away the strongest of their works that I've heard, but `Fire, Water, Earth and Air' is a short n' sweet 33 minute hard-rocking cosmic trip that German spacerock fans will likely dig very much.

Three stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Fire Water Earth Air is another dreamy Jane album, but like the length of the album this review will be short. The album is a classic Jane, 33 minutes long but seems much shorter, maybe because there is only 3 songs. The first song is 17 minutes long and has some great guitar work and the vocals ... (read more)

Report this review (#2458724) | Posted by AgeofMadness | Friday, October 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love the combination of bluesy stonerrock and progrock. Jane is a great bluesy spacerock band with less emphasis on the synth and more emphasis on the guitar. Jane sounds somewhat like Eloy (Floating, Inside) but with less organ. Because Jane doesn't have a strong vocalist, the vocals are m ... (read more)

Report this review (#2184891) | Posted by Kingsnake | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Fire, water, earth and air is the second best album made by Jane. Although many thinks this album is different from the rest Jane's albums, I don't think so. It is another long journey in hypnotic rhytm a la Krautrock. It's not so dark as their debut and the former vocalist is missing too. Kla ... (read more)

Report this review (#104998) | Posted by Hejkal | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In 1976 I was a 21 year old keyboard player and first heard Jane on a German compilation album (the song "Comin' Again", probably the most noteworthy song from Jane III, unless you're bothered by guitar tremelo). Something about their sound really blew me away. The sound was firmly rooted in ... (read more)

Report this review (#47802) | Posted by | Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Keyboard player Werner Nadolny sets Jane back on an even keel after the disappointing previous Lady album. Hippies can rejoice in this dreamy let youself be free musical overdose. All the traditional Jane ingredients are here in full force, lagging beat, Gibson Les Paul solos and trippy vocals by K ... (read more)

Report this review (#4042) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Tuesday, April 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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