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Symphonic Prog • Denmark

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Ache biography
The seeds for ACHE were sown in the early 60's via the Danish beat group THE HARLOWS. When HARLOWS Torsten Olafsson (bass), Peter Mellin (organ) and Glenn Fischer (drums) were joined by former MCKENZIE SET guitarist Finn Olafsson in 1968, ACHE was born.

They spent the next two years working on an extended piece called "De Homine Urbano", which was released as programme music to an experimental "rock ballet" in 1970. Released on the Philips label the same year with an accompanying single of non-album tracks, it netted positive reviews in the Danish press. ACHE's "rock theater" created something of a sensation in the rock underground, and "Green Man" followed in 1971. The next major ACHE project, by a revised six-piece version of the band, was a conceptual work called "Pictures From Cyclus 7", written in collaboration with lyricist Bo Lillesöe in 1975 and released one year later.

Ache have remained active on and off, albeit sporadically, ever since. Their only other major work (i.e.: not counting singles and compilations) has been "Blå som altid", a folk-oriented album released in 1978.

Why this artist must be listed in :
They're important to the history of Danish progressive music.

This Danish band was founded in '68 and featured Torsten Olafsson (bass and vocals), Finn Olafsson (guitar and vocals), Peter Mellin (organ and keyboards) and Glen Fisher (drums and pecussion). They made two albums: "De hombre urbano ('70) and "Green man" ('71). The music is similar to the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (JULIAN'S TREATMENT, RARE BIRD, BEGGAR'S OPERA, ATOMIC ROOSTER), the German Krautrock (early JANE, ELOY, RAMSES, TRIUMVIRAT) and Dutch masters EARTH & FIRE (their early, con-commercial era). In 2000 both albums were released on 1 CD entitled "Ache: De hombre urbano + Green man". The music is based upon splendid keyboardplay (many floods of Hammond organ) and some fiery electric guitar. The first album contains two 'side-long tracks', the atmosphere is typically end Sixties and early Seventies with lots of solos and long, exciting interplay between guitar and keyoards, like jams. The second album includes shorter songs but the climates are in the vein of the first LP. If you listen to this CD, it's incredible that the magnificent keyboardplay is delivered by an unknown Danish musician!

Why this artist must be listed in :
This is very inspired and powerful Hammond organ driven early progrock.

Erik Neuteboom

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Buy ACHE Music

De Homine Urbano/Green ManDe Homine Urbano/Green Man
Free 2007
$28.97 (used)
Green ManGreen Man
Esoteric 2012
$47.92 (used)
Fade AwayFade Away
Dead City Records 2017
$15.54 (used)
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ACHE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.46 | 62 ratings
De Homine Urbano
3.29 | 50 ratings
Green Man
3.45 | 35 ratings
Pictures From Cyclus 7
3.17 | 19 ratings
Blå Som Altid

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

ACHE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ACHE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 23 ratings
De Homine Urbano + Green Man

ACHE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Shadow of a Gipsy
5.00 | 1 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings

ACHE Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 De Homine Urbano by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 62 ratings

De Homine Urbano
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "De Homine Urbano" is the monumental 1970 debut by the Danish prog band, Ache. The album includes only two songs, each taking up one full side of the album. The title track was conceived when the band met ballet dancer Peter Schaufuss in February of 1969. Schaufuss told the band that he was looking for a group that could produce a "beat ballet", essentially a rock music piece for a ballet. Ache agreed to take on the project and from February to the single-day recording in June, the band worked together with Schaufuss in creating his new ballet music, which he wished to introduce at a competition in Moscow in July of the same year. Originally no release was planned though an EP was suggested. However, the ballet was a success and both the dance performance and the music received praise, and sometime after a full album was planned with an older piece from 1968 being worked onto side two. The album was finally released in 1970.

This band caught my interest because they were Danish and my family background is Danish. I don't know many Danish bands and so I wanted to give these guys a chance. Without a listen, I ordered the album.

The progressive rock movement is said to have originated in the mid-sixties with bands like The Beatles, Frank Zappa, and The Beach Boys. Side-long epics also emerged around this time with Love covering a whole side of vinyl with one song in 1966. As the psychedelic years intervened, not only did more bands attempt side-long tracks but the concept of a piece composed with parts like a symphony or suite began to attract the sense of a musical challenge for some bands. It's no surprise to discover then that the music on this 1970 album was actually composed partly in 1968 and partly in 1969.

The music sounds very much 1969. The fuzz-toned guitar, the organ, and the drumming style are unmistakably psychedelic-influenced 68/69 early epic prog. The CD notes describe the band's music as, "more melodic than The Nice, ballsier to some degree than The Moody Blues, sweeter-natured than King Crimson or Van Der Graaf Generator and more hot-blooded than Pink Floyd". To my ears, the music sounds a lot similar to Nektar's debut "Journey to the Centre of the Eye", some Vanilla Fudge, or like Dionysos' "Le grand jeu" without the blues side. In a way, the sound and style is very common for the time.

I enjoy the sound of the music very much and some parts of both compositions are quite delicious for a fan of psychedelic rock. That this band was already writing such long songs with multiple parts earns them credit points and that side one was written for a professional ballet dancer's competition entry says that these Danes were really serious about making music that was more than five minute fuzz-toned rockers. A lot of effort went into composing these two tracks with different parts of movements in mind.

Where the album loses me is in its overreaching efforts to be symphonic or like a ballet. In a couple of years' time, we would get sonically awesome epics like "Close to the Edge" or "Supper's Ready" that are much more memorable for their parts. This album still wears the stardust of the nebulous cloud of haze and visions that came with the psychedelic years. The sound that was to come would be less tripping and more focused and clear, combining memorable melodies with historic instrumental moments.

For those with an open mind, a keen liking for music of 1969 and psych, or seeking music on the cusp of proto-prog and classic prog, this album is worthy of inspection. For those who prefer classic symphonic prog, this album mind still have too much of the psychedelic sound to it, in spite of the grand efforts made to achieve these two tracks. A few months later, Ache would go on to release "The Green Man" which was a more normal album with a collection of shorter songs. I haven't heard it yet but I've got it in my sights. My intuition says to give this album 3 stars but at the same time acknowledging that this album captures like a snapshot an important phase in the progression of progressive rock.

 De Homine Urbano by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 62 ratings

De Homine Urbano
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars Review nº 233

Ache - De Homine Urbano

The first rock ballet and pioneer prog rock at Denmark, Ache's debut is an inventive worthy album. Their sound sometimes could remind you other bands, but their ideas and organization were somehow original. Homine Urbano was made of 2 side-long tracks. Seems the hammond organ totally leads the band. What's really interesting about the album is the B-Side instrumental piece, Little Things, an experimental suite distorting The Beatles' "Every Little Thing She Does". It's a psychedelic rollercoaster of melodic variations running around throug acoustic, aggressive, jazzy, fuzzy guitar plays and even Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times" riff at the end. A nice listen to anyone's into hammond rock as ELP.

 De Homine Urbano by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 62 ratings

De Homine Urbano
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars `De Homine Urbano' is the debut work from vintage progressive rock related band Ache, hailing from Denmark. Originally recorded as a soundtrack to an experimental rock-opera in 1970, it should come as no surprise that the music here has numerous lengthy flowing instrumental sections, as well as little in the way of vocals to distract from that. Split into two side long pieces, the band present a rough-around-the-edges take on symphonic prog, somewhat along the lines of early classical influenced bands such as The Nice, but never as fancy or sophisticated. Instead the band charges through a frequently heavy, wild and more reckless extended work, with just a slightly sloppier and dirtier edge to the sound, and it's all the more addictive for it. With plenty of fuzzy organ workouts, delicate piano moments and varied ragged percussion, it's a fascinating work that reveals its strengths over repeated plays.

Considered a ten-part suite, the eighteen plus minute title-track offers a colourful range of instrumental passages with just a few vocal moments thrown in as well. Spiralling organ that grows and retreats back and forth in urgency, delicate bass, snapping drumming and dirty distorted lead guitar introduces the piece. Admittedly the band let themselves down a little when one of their main repeated guitar/vocal melodies throughout this piece is ripped straight off the Beatles track `Every Little Thing', or more accurately the Yes cover take that appeared on their debut album, but it only shows up in one or two spots, with other brief nonsensical lyrics taking on a freeform rambling quality. Piano is gentle one second, jagged and psychedelic the next, the cascading electric guitar driving and bluesy one moment, jazzy guitar licks soon after. The Hammond organ is constantly deliciously scratchy, sometimes along the lines of the early Eloy and ELP albums, and the drumming is always sprightly and full of spontaneity. All of these are worked through a range of tempo changes back and forth, with an effective use of grandious reprises for dramatic build. Especially nice is the subdued finale with tinkling ambient chimes, droning organ and soft hand percussion with a victorious electric guitar solo (sounding very much along the lines of early Genesis!) is especially pretty.

The nineteen minute flip-side `Little Things' might just be even better! Full of confidence and tasteful playing, it constrasts beautiful passages with more intense and suspensful emotional moments. There's a darkness and creeping unease throughout the piece that makes for even more of a statement of intent and a display of the band's abilities. It opens with marching drums over prancing organ that brings some lovely fanfare pomp, with some lovely fleeting blissful acoustic guitar moments too. The piece suddenly heads in a darker direction, with unexpected nightmarish stalking piano and somber organ drones, the bass thicker and more menacing throughout. Fiery jazz fusion electric guitar runs spliced with hypnotic middle-eastern ambience burst forth, the entire band playing with rambuctious and thrashing power, but listen carefully to the expertly executed build with creeping piano, punching repetitive bass and chiming guitars over rising and falling Hammond crescendos in the final minutes. Powerful drumming drives the melodic and more upbeat finale home, the band breaking in and out of a tornado of swirling noise.

Initially somewhat underwhelming on first impression, the debut Ache album quickly wins over listeners with it's energetic playing and ambitious arrangements. Although a rarer LP, it can now be easily purchased on an affordable CD backed with the also superb second album `Green Man'. Fans of early Hammond heavy albums by bands like Eloy, Grobshcnitt and Jane, as well as those curious of a dirtier take on music similar to The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer should investigate this one right away. It's an addictive album in need of a little more exposure and more listeners to enjoy it!

Four stars.

 De Homine Urbano + Green Man by ACHE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.14 | 23 ratings

De Homine Urbano + Green Man
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'De Homine Urbano + Green Man' - Ache (60/100)

I've said a fair bit about Ache's first and second albums in their own respective reviews, and I've recommended both, albeit for different reasons. Whereas De Homine Urbano was an enticing debut with an intriguing 'rock ballet' angle to it, Green Man succeeded as a more conventional effort. Stylistically, the two albums feel quite different from one another; it's surprising really, considering the two albums both came out in 1970. The particular details of each album may be left to their respective reviews; looking at the two together, we get a taste of one of the many early 70's progressive acts that could have 'made it', but didn't. The quality is certainly here, but especially with the streamlined style on Green Man, I've left feeling like the band's potential wasn't exploited well enough.

De Homine Urbano bit off more than it could chew to be certain, but those weaknesses could have been worked on, bringing the organ-dense brand of symphonic rock to uncertain heights. The nineteen minute title track of that album in particular sounded mysterious and pleasantly dark, and even if the album's second half wasn't as sound, it still stands as one of the first progressive rock compositions to hint at what the style was capable of. Before the end of the year was through however, Green Man was released and presented an Ache that had succumbed to the trends of the time- pop melodies, a psychedelic tinge and blues-influenced riffs were their new staples. Even then, Green Man was a more solidly presented album, but it never did anything with the potential I heard on the debut.

Both albums are worthy pieces of early progressive rock, but neither are excellent and both face a share of issues. Put together, their respective qualities would have probably ended up making a great album. I suppose the closest we're going to get to that is this compilation.

 Green Man by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.29 | 50 ratings

Green Man
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Green Man' - Ache (61/100)

Say what you will about the notion of a 'rock ballet'; Ache were onto something interesting and - dare I say - unique with their debut LP, De Homine Urbano. Though decidedly less successful or promising than its operatic counterpart, Ache innovated the rock ballet, and a Danish ballet company even staged the nineteen minute piece; from what I've read, the performances were great. Moreso than that, Ache had a firm grip of symphonic prog at least a year before the style hits its peak. The bottom line is that, in spite of the debut's issues (of which there were several), Ache had a promising foundation from which to explore and develop their sound.

...and what do they go off and do? With Green Man later in 1970, we hear Ache receding to a far more conventional and period-appropriate heavy psych rock. The band's second album solves my biggest concern with the debut (an uneven structure) but it's come at the cost of their unique edge. In the end, the albums roughly equal one another in terms of quality, although that quality is derived from fairly different avenues.

While De Homine Urbano was impressive for its scope and ambition, Green Man offers a less problematic set of songs- quite a far cry from the pseudo-classical compositions from before. Instead, it sounds like Ache are trying to sample a range of other artists' styles, most notably Procol Harum, The Nice, Yes and Deep Purple, even The Beatles at times. Though the time between the release of this and De Homine Urbano was only months, the quality of their execution has increased notably. Green Man enjoys a fine blend of heavy organ and guitars, much like the first pair of Yes records.

For what it lacks in identity or cohesion, Green Man does offer an engaging variety of material. "Equatorial Rain" is a great piece of heavy psych that lays the atmosphere on heavily from the start. "Sweet Jolly Joyce" is a surprisingly prurient tune with catchy riffs and upbeat hooks enough to explicitly distance this album from the debut. "The Invasion" and "Acheron" are slight returns to form, bringing the focus back on the organs. "Green Man" (the song) is steeped in 60's pop. Closing off the album, Ache offer a cover of The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out". Although this wouldn't be the first time Ache tipped their hat to the Fantastic Four, it's a great example of how a song can be reimagined successfully. Instead of taking the song at face value, Ache make "We Can Work It Out" their own, taking the skeletal frame and chorus and fusing it into a Hammond organ jam that nearly kisses the nine minute mark.

Even if it feels like a disappointing step backwards in many respects, Ache's second album is still pretty good. In abandoning the possibility of further exploring their organ-rich longform compositions, they went for something different. For what it is, Green Man feels more realized as an album, and the songs have benefitted from the sort of improved musicianship that only comes with time. Still, there's no denying the sort of missed opportunity entailed with this album. In my eYes, originality is still miles more important than polish or finesse. Green Man sounds like it could have been done by a hundred other psych and progressive bands from 1970; what more is there to say?

 De Homine Urbano by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 62 ratings

De Homine Urbano
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'De Homine Urbano' - Ache (64/100)

As the album cover might go to imply, Ache's De Homine Urbano was intended as a ballet. With the advent of the first major rock opera the year before (The Who's Tommy) I suppose it wouldn't have been such a surprise for a rock musician to want to appropriate another classical format; of course, while the notion of the rock opera soon evolved into a codified genre of its own, a rock ballet still sounds like a novelty affair. Somehow I've never contemplated the potential association between progressive rock and dancing young women in tights; though I would have met the idea with cynicism at first, Ache have managed to make it work to their benefit; De Homine Urbano is a fine piece of early symphonic prog that gracefully adopts the delicate finesse of a ballet into its stylistic mainframe. It's perhaps a tad unpolished when compared to later works of symphonic prog, but Ache's debut is nonetheless an impressive work, worthy of attention in retrospect.

Like many of the more ambitious progressive rock LPs to come out during the 70s, De Homine Urbano offers up one 'epic' per side, with the music's only interruption being the presumed time taken to flip sides. Of these, only one is the ballet proper; the first side is the album's primary focus, whereas the second piece "Little Things" offers an appetizing-but- less-so second round. Although Ache only intended the first of these compositions to be interpreted through the lens of a ballet, both pieces have lot in common as compositions. Although the title piece is more explicitly stated as being a suite, both consist of a series of micromovements. The organ is the flagship of Ache's sound, with the guitars taking a secondary role, most often as a counterpoint. Although Ache have clearly intended both the title track and "Little Things" to be approAched as epics, they ultimately lack the scope and structure consistent with the better-known prog suites. Instead, the music unfolds often as a series of individually contained ideas; this is especially true with "Little Things", as the title ballet offers a stronger sense of control and focus.

There's absolutely no doubt as to which half of the album impresses me more. De Homine Urbano can and should be checked out for the merits of its ballet centrepiece. As I've mentioned, I find the idea of a prog rock ballet somewhat hokey, but De Homine Urbano goes a long way to make a believer out of me. If you close your eyes, you can imagine the sort of choreographies that may have been set to the music; the fuzz of the organ and distorted guitars seem very out of place in a 'ballet', but the composition itself could have been set to stage quite nicely. There's a notably lessened attention to detail and flow with "Little Things", but it's a fairly satisfying way to conclude the album. The introduction of vocals to the mix is well-intended, but doesn't serve to help the music much. Vocal comparisons to The Nice are aplenty when speaking of Ache, and the reference doesn't go without merit; Ache's second track seeks to blend 60's pop sensibilities with classical repertoire in a similar manner to The Nice. Personally, I might draw comparisons to the would-be sound of Van der Graaf Generator; Ache have a dark and brooding undercurrent running through their sound, and it doesn't feel like Ache have managed to tap entirely into that potential. Musical motifs not-so-subtly drawn from The Beatles' "Every Little Thing She Does" and Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times" haven't gone unnoticed either.

Like so many progressive, and prog-related albums from the turn of the decade, De Homine Urbano sounds like it's torn between the 60s and 70s with its sound. Compared to what else was coming out that year in prog, Ache were pretty forward- thinking for the time; it would be a year before the rest had really caught up to them. As such, De Homine Urbano has earned fair recognition even in recent years. Even so, I cannot help but feel the album is lopsided- the title 'ballet' is excellent, whereas the second half is merely decent. Had Ache put the same time and care into "Little Things", there may have been the workings of an early classic in progressive rock. Still, the album's quite impressive, and comes recommended to any with a penchant for the style.

 Green Man by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.29 | 50 ratings

Green Man
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ache's first steps into this Symphonic/Proto-Prog Rock style they performed were more than encouraging.From January 70's and until the spring of the same year ''De Homine Urbano'' had been performed in different occasions as a Rock Ballet/Opera at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in a show that included classically educated dancers and a psychedelic lightshow.With the confidence at high levels the group moved on to a second album the following year.It was entitled ''Green Man'', again featuring the promotion of Phillips.

Ache left aside the sidelong suites of the debut for the sake of shorter and more flexible compositions, however their style was more or less the same as in ''De Homine Urbano''.They still sound extremely similar to BEGGARS OPERA and THE NICE in a Proto-Symphonic Rock style with strong Psych overtones, which included massive organ waves and a powerful rhythm section, while the vocal parts evoke the style of PROCOL HARUM.Their sound was unbelievably energetic and dynamic regarding the time of the album's release with the guitars of Finn Olafsson supporting constantly the keyboards of Peter Mellin in pounding rhythmic parts.A couple of compositions like ''Shadow of a Gipsy'', which even became a great hit, or the eponymous track still retain a late-60's feeling with even stronger psychedelic vibes along the lines of PROCOL HARUM, featuring melodic organ textures and guitars and choir-like vocal lines.The general style is not actually competitive for today's standards and the new Ache album seems to lack any killer moments, though the talent of the group is more than evident

Good release, fans of early-70's British Progressive Rock will love this album, though the band was Danish.The monster organ moves and the overall very passionate sound is the biggest achievements of ''Green man''.A bit dated yet recommended.

 Pictures From Cyclus 7 by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.45 | 35 ratings

Pictures From Cyclus 7
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by gr8dane

4 stars If there is melodic rock,how about melodic prog?

If you look past the first track, which sounds like a bad attempt on a Beatles sounding single,there is indeed some very catchy music to be had here. The harmony vocals are strong,with a very crisp guitar and some great keyboards plus the a great rhythm section.Yes the music and singing/lyrics do become a wee bit twee on occasion,but the greater parts far outweigh the twee. As mentioned Styx could be a reference if you like their Equinox and Crystal Ball albums,which I happen to do.

The song 'Roses' which you can hear here on Progarchives is very good example of this album in general.It moves gently around between different moods.Nice

I can't really add more that has not already been mentioned except that I might be a touch generous,so between 3 and 4 *'s.

 De Homine Urbano + Green Man by ACHE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.14 | 23 ratings

De Homine Urbano + Green Man
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A very nice and cheap way to get two Ache albums for the price of one.

Ache was a very good band who operated somewhere between ELP, jazz/rock and space rock. Both these albums is very good.

De Homine Urbano = Two tracks, thirty seven minutes. The rosy smell of symphonic prog. To be more precise, the type of symphonic prog touched by Keith Emerson. ELP ? No. This is far more The Nice than ELP. But it is not quite The Nice either.

Green Man = References to the likes of Deep Purple, Beggars Opera, The Nice and The Beatles. Unfortunate, Ache have included a pretty substandard version of their song We Can Work It Out. The rest of the album is filled with Hammond organs and distorted solo guitars. But mostly Hammond organs and the guitars is just used to add textures. The drums and the bass is excellent too. The vocals is good. The music is pretty hard at times. But it also slows down and becomes Beatles like on several occasions.

In short; this is a two for one album worth checking out if you can find it.

3 stars

 De Homine Urbano by ACHE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.46 | 62 ratings

De Homine Urbano
Ache Symphonic Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars De Homine Urbano is an early progressive rock album from Denmark, firmly rooted in the heavy psychedelic rock of its time. There are some progressive ambitions hanging about but they aren't always fully explored.

The instrumental title track is an excellent piece of early organ driven symphonic rock with a very natural rocking sound, close to bands like Focus and the Nice, and it should sure please fans of those bands. The piece is engaging all the way through, only the finale part, which mainly consists of the riff Deep Purple also used on Black Knight, is a bit disappointing. The second track is an improvisation around Every Little Thing She Does from The Beatles and it doesn't offer much thrills. The flat vocals and the drawn out instrumental extensions are rather dull.

De Homine Urbano is a promising but not entirely convincing career start that doesn't immediately motivate me to investigate this band much further beyond this. Not bad but for gem-hunters only.

Thanks to progbear for the artist addition.

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