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PYTHAGORAS

Symphonic Prog • Netherlands


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Pythagoras biography
The Dutch formation Pythagoras was rooted in a Dutch record shop named Moonlight Records in The Hague in the late Seventies. The owner was drummer Bob De Jong, he had played in bands like Key, Pine-Apple and he also was a studio-drummer for the Dutch label Phongram. One of the frequent visitors of Moonlight Records was keyboardplayer Rene De Haan who told enthousiasticly about his plans to make synthesizer music. His room in the house of his parents was loaded with musical equipment like the Korg MS 20 and Trilogy synthesizer, a digital Roland piano, a Solina string-ensemble and a Firstman 1024 digital sequencer. The 'musical veteran' Bob was positive about 19 year old Rene his ideas and this led to the release of the album Journey To The Vast Unknown in 1981, a private pressing of 500 copies. Bob send a few promo LP's to some known DJ's like Wim Van Putten (famous LP-Show, great for progrock freaks!), Skip Voogd and Frits Spits. Within a very short time Bob the post box in his record ship was flooded with letters from synthesizer freaks, hundreds from all over the country! They had reacted on the contact-adress that the DJ's had mentioned in their radio programms. The album was re-released a few times and eventually it sold at about 5000 copies, an incredible result for a private pressing by an unknown Dutch duo playing synthesizer music!

In 1982 Pythagoras released their second LP entitled After The Silence, the music is more close to symphonic prog, due to the use of a Mellotron by Rene and the contributions by a wide range of guest musicians Nick Blaser (violin), Martin Knaap (bass), Carolien Krul (flute) and especially Arjen Lucassen (known from Ayreon) on guitar/bass pedals and Michel van Wassem (from Dutch Genesis-inspired group Plackband) on the Novotron. The label WEA arranged the distribution and soon the 500 copies were sold out and WEA asked for an option to make a third Pythagoras LP. Unfortunately this never happened although Pythagoras performed a few times on stage, along with synthesizer player Pieter Koerts. The Pythagoras disbanded and Bob and Rene went their own way. Rene played with Cloud Nine and then went to the Art Academy, he succeeded to become painter and graphic designer (he designed the covers for Dutch band Sjako). Between 1991 and 196 he joined the band The Blue Man Can.

The two albums by Pythagoras sound totally different and a bit simple but very tasteful: the first is cosmic oriented synthesizer music and their second is a wonderful blend of some spacey synthesizer - and classical music with bombastic symphonic rock featuring Arjen Lucassen (who later got fame with his Ayreon project) delivering a Gilmourian guitar solo and Michel Van Wassem (who recently plays in the new Plackband line-up) with some majestic Mellotron eruptions. Both albums are still not available on CD.

E. Neuteboom courtesy

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The Correlated ABCThe Correlated ABC
Musea 1983
Audio CD$20.34
So it goes (Anne; 1983) / Vinyl single [Vinyl-Single 7'']So it goes (Anne; 1983) / Vinyl single [Vinyl-Single 7'']
Import
Vinyl$5.10 (used)
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PYTHAGORAS discography


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

3.09 | 6 ratings
Journey to the Vast Unknown
1980
3.09 | 15 ratings
After The Silence
1982
3.70 | 8 ratings
The Correlated ABC
2011

PYTHAGORAS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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PYTHAGORAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 After The Silence by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.09 | 15 ratings

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After The Silence
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The aftermath of ''Journey to the vast unknown'' was so strong a few thousand copies were additionally pressed to fullfill the needs of the requesting market.Towards a second album the duo of Rene de Haan and Bob de Jong worked in a more professional way.Guest musicians were recruited so the project could sound like a normal band, among them a young Arjen Anthony Lucassen on guitars and bass pedals and Plackband's keyboardist Michel van Wassem on Novotron (a variation of the Mellotron).Also Nick Blaser paricipated on violin, Martin Knaap on bass and Carolien Krul on flute.''After the silence'' was recorded between September and December 1981, released in 1982 and distributed by WEA in a clear move towards a better selling result.

The new Pythagoras album was split in seven movements, the first three capturing the first side of the LP.Unlike the expectations the production remains quite muddy, typical of an underground than a professional album, and the music is grounded in the field of Electronic Prog with obvious tendencies towards more symphonic textures.De Haan's spacey synthesizers are still the driving and undoubtful force, but the strong use of dual keyboard soundscapes like the Mellotron/synth combination and the intelligent use of downtempo guitars now remind a lot of PINK FLOYD or even compatriots FOCUS with a bit of KING CRIMSON in the more orchestral passages.The second side is more balanced and propably slightly better than the first.The fourth movement is a grandiose Electronic Prog opus, like the synths of KLAUS SCHULZE meet the ethereal Mellotron of TONY BANKS, while the fifth is characterized by the mournful opening violin work of Blaser, followed by an intense Orchestral Prog with guitars, keyboards and bass in the forefront, before the powerful, cinematic outro covers it all with de Haan's unbelievable work on Mellotron and synthesizers.The short sixth part is highlighted by Lucassen's melodic CAMEL-esque solo, giving birth to the peak of the album, the 6-min. long ''Grand finale''.Excellent balance between keyboards and guitars follow the flute-driven intro in a depressing movement, also including pessimistic violin tunes, but the result is absolutely wonderful.

To call this better than Pythagoras' debut is propably excessive, sure thing is ''After the silence'' is certainly a nice little pearl of Electronic/Symphonic Rock with an old-fasioned, irritating style.Warmly recommended.

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 Journey to the Vast Unknown by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Journey to the Vast Unknown
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have absolutely no idea how this vinyl copy ended up with a friend of mine (he claims he doesn´t remember). . Only now I know this is such a rare record after reading Erik Neuteboom´s review. Anyhow, this is a pity, since I´d like to have Journey To The Vast Unknown on CD. I´m not really fond of eletronic music, but Pythagoras is a different story. After all, this duo comes from Holland, a country where great melodies are the rule on most bands, and this is no exception: the music here is melodic, fluid and quite pleasant. Ok, some parts are a little more dark and abstract, but generally, much more accessible and organic than most artists on that genre (also helped by the fact that they have a real drummer here). I specially enjoyed the long title track with its four distinguished parts. Nothing to write home about, but very good nevertheless, soothing and compelling like some of Tangerine Dream´s most ´conventional´ moments.

An interesting work, to say the least! Rating: 3 stars.

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 The Correlated ABC by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.70 | 8 ratings

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The Correlated ABC
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Dutch band PYTHAGORAS was formed around 1980 when drummer Bob De Jong hooked up with the young and aspiring keyboardist Rene De Haan, their self-released debut LP from 1981 hitting an unexpected nerve with the Dutch audience resulting in the initial pressing of 500 copies eventually expanded to 5000 copies sold and label interest from WEA. Following a slightly less successful second production and a few occasional live performances the band disbanded quietly, the release plans for a third installment never realized. Until 2011 that is, when the remaining material recorded back in the 1980's was given a lavish vinyl release courtesy of the band themselves, while Musea Records issued the CD version.

Pythagoras make a welcome return with this slightly reworked version of material recorded back in the first half of the 1980's. A production of interest to existing fans as well as keyboard and synthesizer aficionados in general, and those who have a deep affection for vinyl releases will also enjoy the lavish vinyl edition, where the album cover can be made into a triangular piece of exhibition art and the full package includes a single, an EP and an LP, in addition to the CD version of the album. The slightly deteriorated sound quality and the distinctly 80's electronic drums are the main drawbacks, nothing major, but at least in the case of the latter an element that will take a bit of effort to get familiar with.

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 After The Silence by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.09 | 15 ratings

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After The Silence
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Arjen Lucassen's debut album, no less.

Well, Pythagoras was not a band he dominated. His soaring guitars is present on two of the seven socalled movements here and I do not think he rate this album as one of his best albums. But we all have to start somewhere.

This is supposed to be a symphonic prog album, but do not get too carried away. This album is as much Genesis clone as I am a basking shark. The music is a mix of space rock, some folk rock, a healthy dosage of symphonic prog, some neo prog and a lot of krautrock. It is not a million miles away from Ayreon though and their fans should check out this album. This album is certainly spacy enough.

The main instruments are keyboards, violins and Arjen's guitar. There is no vocals here. The violins is used for creating a somber mood. The use of the violins here is excactly like My Dying Bride used violins on their more somber albums. I wonder if they got that idea from this album ?

The music is suffering from a bit too much sameness and the lack of variations. The music sometimes feels like funeral dirges and sometimes like the band is on too much LSD and experiences things the listeners cannot hear. But the music is generally good and a worthy listening session or two.

3 stars

Btw. Me too is very surprised that the Pythagoras albums has not been re-released by the many re-releases record labels. They most certainly deserves it and the inclusion of the Arjen Lucassen name/brand should make these investments risk free.

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 After The Silence by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.09 | 15 ratings

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After The Silence
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars The one and probably only claim to fame of this album is that it features a very young Arjen Lucassen on guitar, somewhere around the same time he was putting his first licks down on vinyl with Bodine and well before he would hit the big time with his ongoing Ayreon. Otherwise this is largely a instrumental experiment in keyboard and synthesized progressive meandering that is kind of fun to listen to, but not particularly impressive or complex.

Lucassen’s guitar work here would appear to be heavily influenced by David Gilmour, although some of the heavier parts (and there aren’t many) wouldn’t be out of place on a Deep Purple album. There’s also some flute playing and violin, with the most prominent violin track being in the 3rd movement “Endless Hymn”, which I would also rate as the most impressive track. The 5th movement is also heavy on violin, but here the instrument competes with too many keyboards to be as effective as it is on the earlier track.

Other noteworthy instrumental passages include a synthesized choir section on the 4th movement played by Michel van Wassem on something called a Novotron. I’ve no idea what that is, but I assume it has circuit boards of some sort and a keyboard or two. Steve Hackett played one on ‘Spectral Mornings’, which is the only other time I’ve heard this instrument mentioned.

Lucassen makes his presence known on the 2nd movement, and then seems to take a back seat for the most part until the 6th movement, which is where he gets a bit heavier and more along the lines of Ritchie Blackmore with somewhat shorter sustains and more chord progressions than Gilmour was known for. At this point the music seems to take a turn away from space rock and more toward heavy prog, although the dominance of the various keyboards keep it from turning into a full-fledged hard rock album at any point.

The ‘Grand Finale’ 7th movement predictably emphasizes mellotron choir and violin after a brief rhythmic buildup, and a typically bombastic finale that ends abruptly to close the album.

I’m a little surprised this hasn’t been picked up by one of the major progressive reissue labels. The only place I know of to get it is from the Korean mini-LP company Media Arte, who released it earlier this year, most likely only because Lucassen’s name is in the credits.

This is a mildly interesting album if you’re into seventies keyboard-driven spacey prog, or if you want to hear what Lucassen sounded like before he hit the big time. Otherwise you probably won’t be too interested. The music is well done though, even if the production is a bit amateurish, so three stars is not overly generous. And that’s what we’ll go with for now.

peace

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 Journey to the Vast Unknown by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.09 | 6 ratings

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Journey to the Vast Unknown
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The story of this Dutch band from my hometown The Hague is both an incredible as a very personal one. Pythagoras was rooted in a Dutch record shop named Moonlight Records in The Hague in the late Seventies, the owner was drummer Bob De Jong and I was a regular visitor of his shop. Another frequent visitor of Moonlight Records was keyboardplayer Rene De Haan, I met him soon and he told me enthousiasticly about his plans to make synthesizer music. It turned out that he lived only a few streets away from me, eventually this led to a visit at his home by me. The 'musical veteran' Bob was positive about 19 years old Rene his ideas and this led to the release of the album Journey To The Vast Unknown in 1981, a private pressing of 500 copies. Bob send a few promo LP's to some known DJ's like Wim Van Putten (famous LP-Show, great for progrock freaks!), Skip Voogd and Frits Spits. Within a very short time Bob's post box in his record shop was flooded with letters from synthesizer freaks, hundreds from all over the country and even Belgium! They had reacted on the contact-adress that the DJ's had mentioned in their radio programms. The album was re-released a few times and eventually it sold at about 5000 copies, an incredible result for a private pressing by an unknown Dutch duo playing synthesizer music! That music on Journey To The Vast Unknown is very melodic, often compelling and hypnotizing featuring slow rhythms with a warm string-ensemble sound, pleasant synthesizer flights and slow but powerful drum beats, it reminds me of Klaus Schulze his early work like Moondawn and Timewind. Some tracks deliver nice work on sequencers, choir-Mellotron and deep bass sounds evoking 74-77 Tangerine Dream. If you like cosmic oriented synthesizer music, this LP (I hope it will be released on CD) is worth to check out.


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 After The Silence by PYTHAGORAS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.09 | 15 ratings

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After The Silence
Pythagoras Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In the late Seventies I used to visit a record-store named "Moonlight Records" in my hometown The Hague. One day the owner drummer Bob de Jong told me that he had founded a duo with synthesizer player René de Haan and made an electronic oriented LP entitled "Journey to the vast unknown". This album was played on a national radio- programm and within a week he had received hundreds of requests for that debut-LP! This album is the second and final effort from the duo Pythagoras, it's far more progressive and symphonic.

1 - After the silence

1st Movement: This is a typical electronic atmosphere intro featuring soaring synthesizers, very spacey. 2nd Movement: First a bombastic eruption with lush Mellotron and organ, then soaring keyboards as an introduction to a very Gilmourian inspired, often howling and fiery guitar solo from ... guest guitarist ARJEN LUCASSEN (known as the brainchild behind AYREON). The final part contains a slow rhytm with a bombastic climate delviering pleasant drumming. 3rd Movement: On the Mighty M400 Mellotron René de Haan plays majestic choir- Mellotron waves, wonderful blended with spacey synthesizer flights and in the end some moving violin-Mellotron play.

2 - After the silence

4th Movement: PLACKBAND keyboardist Michel van Wassem plays the choir-Mellotron sound on a Novotron, impressive! 5th Movement: This part features soaring synthesizers and string-ensemble, then a bombastic eruption with choir-Mellotron and soft drum beats, in the end we hear the sound of waves and a great build-up , VIVALDI-inspired violin soli. 6th Movement: First a swinging rhythm with lush keyboards and fiery electric guitar riffs, then a dreamy climate with melancholical Mellotron and violin. 7th Movement: The atmosphere alternates from spacey with synthesizer sounds and choir-Mellotron to a slow rhythm featuring slow but very moving guitar runs with bass- pedals and choir-Mellotron, WONDERFUL!

This album sounds a bit simple and amateurish but if you like moving, 24-carat symphonic rock with lush MELLOTRON and you want to hear the early prog work of ARJEN LUCASSEN, this is an interesting, very warm album!



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Thanks to The Symphonic Team for the artist addition.

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