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MAINHORSE

Symphonic Prog • Switzerland


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Mainhorse biography
The history of MAINHORSE started in '68 but unfortunately, it's not very well documented. The prime mover was Patrick MORAZ, a very talented, Swiss born keyboardplayer. Other members of MAINHORSE were Peter Lockett (lead guitar, violin and vocals), Jean Ristori (bass, cello and vocals) and Bryson Graham (drums and percussion). In 1970 the band signed a contract with Polydor, a year later their eponymous debut-album was released. It remained unnoticed and when success failed MAINHORSE disbanded soon. Drummer Bryson Graham went to play with GARY WRIGHT and SPOOKY TOOTH. In '74 Patrick MORAZ founded REFUGEE and replaced RICK WAKEMAN in YES and in The Eighties he joined THE MOODY BLUES.

The album "Mainhorse" opens with (how original) the song "Introduction": fluent 'heavy progressive' with floods of Hammond organ and fiery electric guitarplay, the sound has echoes from ATOMIC ROOSTER, THE NICE and early DEEP PURPLE. The following "Passing Years" is a slow, bluesy like song with mellow organ and a bit melancholic vocals. Then again 'heavy prog' with swirling organ and biting electric guitar in "Such a beautiful day", the climate evokes THE NICE and QUATERMASS. In "Pale sky" a wailing violin and howling electric guitar colour a bluesy atmosphere, topped by strong Hammond play and dynamic drums. This song features halfway a jam with violin, guitars, electric piano, experimental sounds and a hypnotizing rhythm-section, to end with a sensitive electric guitarsolo and loads of Hammond. Next is "Basia", an up-tempo and catchy song with strong organ - and electric guitarplay, a pumping bass and cheerful vocals, halfway MAINHORSE surprises with a swinging electric pianosolo. The track "More tea vicar" contains subtle changes of rhythm, from soft jazzy to fluent heavy prog with a classical sounding organ (like EKSEPTION), assorted percussion like glockenspiel and fiery electric guitar. The final composition "God" (almost 10 minutes) is the most alternating and dynamic one with many changes of climate with Patrick MORAZ on organ and the 'Klavio-synthesizer' and strong electric guitarwork, it sounds like a blend of THE NICE and ATOMIC ROOSTER. In my opinion this album deserves a second change, it's not very original but sounds powerful and exciting with good compositions. And, most important, this album contains the first impressive steps from Patrick MORAZ as a keyboard-wizard.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

Mainhorse official website

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MainhorseMainhorse
Import
I-Disk / Time Wave 2006
Audio CD$7.95
$12.98 (used)
MainhorseMainhorse
Import
Airmail Japan 2009
Audio CD$32.48
$34.32 (used)
MainhorseMainhorse
Time Wave Music 2011
Audio CD$15.99
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MAINHORSE discography


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MAINHORSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 53 ratings
Mainhorse
1971
2.95 | 5 ratings
The Geneva Tapes
2007

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MAINHORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Geneva Tapes by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.95 | 5 ratings

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The Geneva Tapes
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Swiss Psych/Prog band Mainhorse were formed in 1969 in London,where keyboardist Patrick Moraz and bassist Jean Ristori were in search of band members and found drummer Bryson Graham along with singer David Kubinec of The World of Oz fame through an ad.For financial reasons the quartet flew back to Switzerland,adding drummer Arnold Ott and guitarist Augusto De Antoni in the mix.Three months later Ott got married and quit,Mainhorse Airline continued as a quintet,starting to record their first compositions.Some of these early recordings,most of them being ideas of Kubinec and Moraz,were collected and released in 2007 by ORK Records,as a document of the band's early formation.

This very early sound of the band contains strong 60's psychedelic vibes along with organ- smashed passages with some Classical references and THE NICE are really the greatest comparison here.The overall style is very raw,rather dated and typical of the late-60's Psych/Proto-Progressive style.Here soft psychedelic passages with some doomy drumming and bass are blended with Moraz'es dominant organ parts,with guitarust De Antoni having a distinctive jazzy edge on his playing.A few compositions have an evident rehearsal atmosphere,being more free-structured and improvised in nature. However there are plenty of virtuosic passages in a typical progressive style along the way with Moraz even performing on electric piano on some tracks, which soung a bit jazzy.The majority though of the album still is grounded in a Classical enviroment with the last composition ''God Can Fix Anything'' being an absolute compositional highlight and a nice example of what this band was capable of.

This early formation of the band did not last long.Kubinec found himself with a heart attack in hospital due to the heavy schedule of the band,soon to move back in the UK, and De Antoni also quit dissapointed by this rough situation.Kubinec relocated in former Yugoslavia in late-70's joining the band Stijene.The rest of the band continued as Mainhorse,while some of the tracks presented here made it to the official debut of the band in 1971.

''The Geneva Tapes'' is a good documentary not only of Mainhorse's first months as an act but also a nice example of the farewell psychedelic scene and the upcoming progressive heydays,being quite similar to bands in the vein of THE NICE, ELP, or BEGGARS OPERA.These particular recordings sound a bit dated but the overall performance of the band hides some decent music secrets to make this album recommended.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Of most interest to Prog fans is probably that Patrick Moraz is playing organ on this album.The guy is flat out amazing, no doubt about that. I really like the guitar on this one too.This is a fairly heavy rocking album from Switzerland and I agree with Hugues that the album cover is pretty bad.

"Introduction" opens with Moraz establishing his presence right away. Man he simply lights it up on the organ here. We do get some ripping guitar at times as well. An uptempo rocker to start. They slow it down for "Passing Years" with floating organ and reserved vocals. A laid back tune with light drums and bass. It does get a little fuller with guitar and piano.

"Such A Beautiful Day" opens with a drum solo then this fuzzed out guitar before vocals and the 60's sounding backing vocals arrive.The guitar and organ come to the fore when the vocals stop.When the vocals return the tempo picks up. Contrasts continue between the vocal and non-vocal sections. "Pale Sky" kicks in with drums, organ and guitar just before a minute. Reserved vocals follow as it settles.The drums and guitar lead before 3 minutes and we get some violin too before 6 minutes. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. "Basia" is my favourite track. It's uptempo with strummed guitar, bass, organ and drums.Vocal melodies then vocals join in. Piano 2 minutes. Guitar after 3 1/2 minutes then that earlier uptempo soundscape returns.

"More Tea Vicar" opens with organ then it settles into a loungy mood. It's building and guitar comes in before 1 1/2 minutes with organ, bass and drums. "God" like "Pale Sky" is over 10 minutes long. It's experimental to start before it kicks in with the guitar outfront before 2 minutes.Vocals before 4 minutes. Is that fuzzed out keys before 6 minutes? Vocals are back. It speeds up during the final minute then ends with an explosion.

A definite heavy organ / guitar album with a strong Proto-Prog flavour.The sound quality is typical from this period I suppose, kind of muddy. 3.5 stars.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Delicious package from a typical but hugely talented heavy symph group that exemplified the craving in 1971 for both loud rawk and real music, and did justice to this band's first inception from two years earlier, the fledgling Integral Aim/Mainhorse Airline. Of course when players as Pat Moraz and Jean Ristori are involved, results will be predictably pleasing. Though some will hear distinct returns of ELP, it must be noted this band was doing the same equally exciting stuff in '69 [available as The Geneva Tapes] when Greg Lake and Keith Emerson were still just flirting with each other and in fact this dazzling outfit may have partly influenced that supergroup, not the other way 'round.

The comparisons are futile though, as this material shows more affection for the kind of let-it-all-out heavyblues of Jeff Beck Group, Faces or Zeppelin, tempered and enhanced by Moraz's commanding organs and Ristori's cello. Spitfire staccato organ riffs for the 'Introduction' with Patrick insisting we "get it together" as the boys tear it up, drawn down by a demifugue before the crashing finish. The songwriting skills of David Kubinec show up in Integral Aim bit 'Passing Years', moody and blue with a heroin John Lennon vocal. Bracing 'Such a Beautiful Day' is more prog than its meager pop arrangement suggests, sewn together with some English Beat, Ristori's overdriven low E, and Bryson Graham's extraordinary big jazz drums filling the place with thunder. Sprawler 'Pale Sky' is a solid centerpiece at ten minutes; bold shifts in time, interesting breaks that verge on space but never quite leave the atmosphere, and pleasant echoes of Steve Miller and a young Greg Lake. Very good up-tempo 'Basia', odd bossa nova 'More Tea Vicar', and 60s hard-psych in 'God' with some nice moments for guitarist Peter Lockett.

One of those records wherein the seasoned rock listener immediately recognizes why it was so good and unsuccessful, and why music that failed to capture a rock market splitting between grain whiskey and good wine can be savored decades later like an aged single-cast bourbon. Recommended.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars This is what Patrick Moraz did before he formed/joined the rest of The Nice in Refugee and then jumped from this sinking ship to Yes and later The Moody Blues.

His hammond organ play comes clean through here and it is obvious that he was a great talent. He was far too big for Mainhorse. It is like David Beckham playing in the US Soccer League. Mainhorse's music is a blend of The Nice (which Moraz later joined under the name Refugee, remember) and Deep Purple, Mark I. The dynamics in Mainhorse's music is very much Deep Purple. The hammond organ and the vocals is The Nice.

The music has a lot of guitars (think Mr. Blackmore) in addition to Patrick Moraz's excellent use of a hammond organ. The album has the feel of Proto-Prog/Symphonic Prog from the late 1960s and early 1970s. A positive in my book. The songs are not that good though. But despite of the ghastly artwork (which has banished this album from my living room for good) this is a good album. Regard it as a must-have if you are more than average interested in The Nice/Refugee. This album deserve the recognition it was denied when it was released.

3.25 stars

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 The Geneva Tapes by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.95 | 5 ratings

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The Geneva Tapes
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Before Patrick Moraz released the Mainhorse LP in 1971, he and bassist/cellist Jean Ristori founded one of the most significant groups in prog rock history. In the summer of 1969, the two left Switzerland for England in an effort to form a new band. They found it in drummer Bryson Graham and singer/songwriter David Kubinec (World of Oz). Initially calling themselves Integral Aim - then Mainhorse Airline - and supporting acts as Free, Canned Heat and Humble Pie, the band did early symphonic psych-rock with better musicianship than the Nice, less freaked-out space explorations than Egg, and did it a full year before anyone had ever heard of ELP. Moraz's vibrant organ and Ristori's classical foundation led the way and came together with Kubinec's songwriting talents beautifully for these ten tracks recorded in a Swiss basement studio. Kubinec would later suffer a heart attack and the original line-up dissolved, and Patrick Moraz would go on to work with other prog greats, some of the key music from this period making it on to 1971's 'Mainhorse'. But these early sessions give a taste of the group's true potential and exposes a shadowed corner of the progressive underground to the light of day, giving fans a priceless missing link in prog's evolution. Opener 'Overture and Beginners' is an explosion of late 60s energy tempered by musical discipline, powerhouse rhythms and wild organ runs. 'Blunt Needles', a startling look at drug culture, clips with jazzy street life and a ghostly church organ. Drowsy Beatles impression 'The Passing Years', funny jazz-pop of 'Make it the Way You Are', very prog 'Pale Sky' at 7 minutes complete with Eastern-style acoustic interlude, savage psych bit 'Directions for Use' and pastoral 'A Very Small Child'. 11-minute 'God Can Fix Anything' is enormous, almost Who-like, and ends things convincingly.

Bursting with fresh ideas and technical virtuosity rarely seen in its time, 'The Geneva Tapes' is a revelation, finally giving these guys their due and answering the question of what this band sounded like in its earliest incarnation. Mandatory for anyone with a taste for prog in its youth, a great record and a great piece of history.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Scratch the surface of early-seventies progressive rock and underneath all the classic albums and famous musicians you will find a series of lesser-known bands and artists who failed to hit the big-time but still managed to create all manner of excellent prog. Dig a little deeper and you'll find MAINHORSE, a little-known European prog-rock group who produced one excellent album and introduced the world to the enigmatic swiss-born keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who would later on find fame with both YES and THE MOODY BLUES. The eponymously-titled MAINHORSE debut was released to little fanfare in 1971 after the group had signed with Polydor Records 12-months previous, but dis-banded soon after the completion of their one-and-only album. It's a genuine shame, because it's a wonderfully constructed and highly-original seven-track album that was made at a time when groups such as YES, ELP and GENESIS had yet to find true international success. Moraz(Organ, Keyboards, Vocals) was augmented by Peter Lockett(Guitar, Violin, Vocals), Jean Ristori(Bass, Cello, Vocals) and Bryson Graham(Drums), who would later play with SPOOKY TOOTH. Moraz was the groups figurehead, composing and writing most of the music, whilst Peter Lockett contributed most of the lyrics and vocals. The style of music was un-ashamedly progressive, with multiple-keyboard and guitar solo's showing off both Moraz's and Lockett's skillful playing styles. It's also impressively original, with the group creating a unique twin-instrument attack and at the same-time avoiding sounding quite like anyone else either since or before them. But for all Moraz's brilliantly-handled moments on either the Keyboards or the Organ, it's the beautiful Passing Years, a mainly guitar-led piece which is the stand out-track with Lockett's Gilmour-esque finger-picking floating over the deliberately mysterious lyrics, creating a moment of thrilling beauty. Quite how MAINHORSE failed to make the grade will always be a slight mystery as more-and-more puzzled listeners stumble across this unique record due the groups affiliation with Moraz. One suspects that if the Swiss piano-wizard had not been involved then the album would have been consigned long-ago to the bargain basement bucket(or even deletion), but thankfully MAINHORSE is at last receiving the respect and admiration it has always deserved.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Turion

4 stars Only one album, and it was so promising...

This is a pretty good one, with only 2 songs being not-so-good ( the second and the sixth ) and the rest average-good. I like this is good, but non-essential, yet I feel it is a good addition to any music collection. This is a 3.5 stars for me. The album starts brilliantly with a furious keyboard run, really sets the bar high for the rest of the album. The 2 long songs really shine on this album; the choruses stick in your mind and the long instrumental passages are perfect.

This albums deserves more attention, it's a really good album and the sound of the instruments is pretty good, though slightly dated...

There is a similarity in the sound with Deep Purple, mainly because of the keyboards, of which this album is full of. The singer's voice is not bad at all either, which is another strong point for this album. Definitely worth a listen to everyone who enjoys good proto-prog / rock.

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Trotsky
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Mainhorse is a one-off proto-prog band best known for being the starting point for Patrick Moraz's fascinating career. The sole album reveals a Deep Purple Mark I/The Nice fixation, both in terms of Peter Lockett's lead vocals and the kind of keyboard-driven storming hard rock (although there's a hint of the Hocus Pocus bridge at one point) on offer. While it's arguable that for most prog fans, the main reason to listen to this would be to hear Moraz in Jon Lord like mode, I do believe Mainhorse to be original enough to be worthy of investigation on its own right, particularly if you are partial to the 60s acid rock scene.

Most of the shorter tracks like Introduction, Such A Beautiful Day and the jazz-tinted Basia are essentially heavy blues rock numbers, with Lockett's guitar freak outs involved in exchanges with some classical organ touches from Moraz (a nifty electric piano solo in Basia as well). Elsewhere the moodier Passing Years is an excellent dreamy acoustic track, while the instrumental More Tea Vicar starts off with some nice glockenspiel before another guitar freak out takes over and some appropriately "churchy" organs brings the piece home.

The real highlights of this album however are the two 10 minute epics Pale Sky and God. The former begins life as a mellow piece featuring Jean Ristori's cello and Lockett's violin that is held together by Moraz on organ. A burst of aggression ushers in lengthy, worthy acoustic guitar and electric piano solos ... it's all top stuff. God which is slightly less focussed a composition, moves from an atmospheric Gothic intro to an anthemic electric guitar jam and then another churchy vocal part ... "God is high above me" sings Lockett before a series of thrilling yet cleverly low-key solos dominate the song. Once again it's not just Moraz's keyboard that shines.

At first I used to categorise this album alongside Quatermass' only effort, thinking it only truly essential if you're into the keyboard playing of Lord and wanted to hear someone else doing a passable imitation. I've now come to appreciate it on its own terms ... it is a lost masterpiece of psychedelic rock with more than its share of progressive moments. Take the trouble to track this one down and then to let it grow on you ... you won't regret it! ... 71% on the MPV scale

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by Dan Yaron

4 stars I second all my fellow reviewers. Mainhorse's record is fantastic! It's a great addition to any prog music collection.As it seems, this great record was recorded in 1971, and its production isn't really good. However, they play and sing some fine progressive rock like Yes and Gentle Giant. Patrick Moraz does a fine job in this one. Recommended!

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 Mainhorse by MAINHORSE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.76 | 53 ratings

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Mainhorse
Mainhorse Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I wonder how many Yes fans are aware of the historical fact that once Patrick Moraz playes in the band Mainhorse? Anyway, on this album the 'Swiss poodle' delivers an impressive Hammond organ sound. The first song is "Introduction", it features fluent 'heavy progressive' with floods of Hammond organ and fiery electric guitarplay, the sound has echoes from ATOMIC ROOSTER, THE NICE and early DEEP PURPLE. The following "Passing Years" is a slow, bluesy like song with mellow organ and a bit melancholic vocals. Then again 'heavy prog' with swirling organ and biting electric guitar in "Such a beautiful day", the climate evokes THE NICE and QUATERMASS. In "Pale sky" a wailing violin and howling electric guitar colour a bluesy atmosphere, topped by strong Hammond play and dynamic drums. This song features halfway a jam with violin, guitars, electric piano, experimental sounds and a hypnotizing rhythm-section, to end with a sensitive electric guitarsolo and loads of Hammond. Next is "Basia", an up-tempo and catchy song with strong organ - and electric guitarplay, a pumping bass and cheerful vocals, halfway MAINHORSE surprises with a swinging electric pianosolo. The track "More tea vicar" contains subtle changes of rhythm, from soft jazzy to fluent heavy prog with a classical sounding organ (like EKSEPTION), assorted percussion like glockenspiel and fiery electric guitar. The final composition "God" (almost 10 minutes) is the most alternating and dynamic one with many changes of climate with Patrick MORAZ on organ and the 'Klavio- synthesizer' and strong electric guitarwork, it sounds like a blend of THE NICE and ATOMIC ROOSTER. THIS ALBUM CONTAINS THE FIRST IMPRESSIVE STEPS FROM PATRICK MORAZ AS A KEYBOARD-WIZARD!


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