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MOIRA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany


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Moira biography
This German jazz-rock band is a real mystery: even their label SCHNEEBALL are confused as to their origins and whereabouts. To make matters worse, the band's two albums feature two totally different line-ups. If ever you come across their first album titled "Crazy Countdown" (1977), consider yourself among the lucky few as it has long been out of print, although its title track can be still be found on a 1997 SCHNEEBALL double-disc compilation CD titled "Ein Komet ist ein schmutziger Schneeball". What we do know about MOIRA is that their original formation consisted of six musicians from Munich, the best known being EMBRYO's tenor sax Edgar Hofmann. The band's second album features keyboard player Martin Ziegler, guitarist Gino Samele, drummer Eberhard Bronner and bassist/flutist/vocalist Michael Stoll.

This second album, titled "Moira (aka Reise Nach Ixtlan)", is also a mystery, albeit for a different reason. Indeed, it is hard to believe it was recorded in the mid-80's, a time when almost many rock bands were abusing those new electronic drums and tinny sounding digital keyboards. For this album oozes Moog and funky Hammond organ like the good old albums of the 70's. It also features excellent guitar jamming and jazz drumming, good bass playing, lots of grungy, acid guitar that gives the music a clear kraut psych flair, and an interesting variety of moods.

Recommended to fans of EMBRYO, NUCLEUS, MISSUS BEASTLY and DZYAN.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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MOIRA discography


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

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

3.53 | 7 ratings
Crazy Countdown
1977
4.92 | 3 ratings
Moira (aka Reise Nach Ixtlan)
1984

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

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

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

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

MOIRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crazy Countdown by MOIRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.53 | 7 ratings

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Crazy Countdown
Moira Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MOIRA were an obscure German band who released two albums with this being the debut from 1977. Interesting to have Butze Fischer on board playing drums as he was part of EMBRYO, GURU GURU and MISSUS BEASTLY. Also we get Edgar Hofmann playing sax and flute and he also played with EMBRYO. And not to be outdone Geoffry Ramos who plays percussion here also played live with EMBRYO. The leader of this band though is guitarist Jorgen Kanwischer and he composed all the songs and man he can play acoustic guitar incredibly well sounding classical much of the time but thankfully he plays electric guitar as well.

"Papa Jefrey" opens with relaxed flute, guitar and atmosphere before it changes to an "island" vibe a minute in. Not into this section at all but then pulsating keys arrive 3 minutes in as the acoustic guitar is played in the classical style. Percussion and organ standout before 5 minutes then electric piano leads 6 minutes in followed by guitar a minute later. "Crazy Countdown" is my favourite track by far. It opens with percussion and the sound of many people speaking like at a party. It doesn't kick into gear until 1 1/2 minutes in and it's fairly jazzy here. I like this! The guitar takes the lead after 2 1/2 minutes and he's lighting it up pretty good. Some nice bass as well then the keys replace the guitar before 4 minutes but the guitar returns late.

"Smile" has these sparse sounds with not much going on. We get a melody that starts to slowly appear before 2 minutes with flute and picked guitar. It's building a minute later. "Mata Meme" has slow paced sax, a beat, electric piano and bass to start but it's the dissonant sax that impresses. The tempo picks up before 3 1/2 minutes to a jazzy KRAAN-like groove. The guitar arrives before 5 minutes with prominent bass as the sax returns late. "Gemni" is all about the acoustic guitar and it's impressive but not enjoyable for me. "Always Later" is guitar and percussion mainly along with other sounds that come and go as this song meanders along sounding like an improv really. "Spain Mandala" ends it in a catchy and uptempo manner. It's picked and strummed acoustic guitar early but thankfully the electric guitar starts to light it up over the drums, bass and keys.

A good record but like the foggy album cover I feel like I must be missing something because it's all over the place and there's just not enough enjoyment for me to give 4 stars.

 Moira (aka Reise Nach Ixtlan) by MOIRA album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.92 | 3 ratings

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Moira (aka Reise Nach Ixtlan)
Moira Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Pink Freud

5 stars This is such a great album that it really needs at least one review on here. I have heard both Moira albums and Crazy Countdown is excellent but this second album is a significant improvement because it's a more cohesive musical statement. Crazy Countdown features a series of shorter instrumental pieces that are good on their own but don't have a consistent sound and so it's more like a collection of musical sketches rather than an album that holds together as a unit. Not so with Reise Nach Ixtlan ? the first three pieces on this album contain some incredible fusion. In terms of comparisons, the music on this album is reminiscent of electric Miles Davis, Speed Limit, or Secret Oyster. Finally, don't be fooled by the fact that this album was released in the mid 1980s ? there is nothing "eighties" about the music. I've read that this album was likely recorded in the 1970s and then shelved for several years, which would explain why the sound is so warm and genuine.

My only problem is that there is a sharp drop off in quality with the last two cuts, mostly due to the vocals on "Einsame Schatten" and the narration on "Resume", but those two tracks only account for about 7 or 8 minutes and the rest of the music is so good that I can forgive it. I would highly recommend this to any fan of 1970s-style jazz fusion.

 Crazy Countdown by MOIRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.53 | 7 ratings

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Crazy Countdown
Moira Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4 1/2 stars really for this highly valuable lost gem created by a bunch of (almost) nobodies!

This was another obscure release from a mysterious 70's jazz/krautrock band which was a kind of melting pot of musicians coming from Munich and as Lise mentioned already in their biography informations about those guys are either non-existing or confusing. Best-known musician was Edgar Hofmann playing with EMBRYO where Butze Fischer was involved occasionally as well (i.e on "Apo-Calypse). Burkhard Plenge is obviously still busy in terms of music as a composer, arranger, producer and as guest keyboardist at some concerts. Jofrey Ramos played Kongas as well on JULIUS SCHITTENHELM's (songwriter, artist and producer for OHR records) album "Aristoteles" but both Rainer Frank and Jürgen Kanwischer did not leave any other trace behind than this sole album here which is most remarkable in case of the latter one since he obviously was a really talented guitarist. But apart from him the musicianship presented by all members on here is absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately I don't have the original album in my hands instead just a vinyl-rip that I luckily found in the huge collection of a fellow music maniac. On this copy each side has been ripped as one file thus I even couldn't tell any titles of the seven compositions since here on PA there isn't any tracklist assigned as well. Nonetheless I'll try to describe briefly what's been offered here on this rare gem:

Side one (19:14) starts with track #1 having a running time of about 8 minutes in a rather relaxed vein with some laid-back jazz fusion though being played quite oddly and highly interestingly for any proghead. Track #2 (ca. 6:15) starts a bit weird with some ambient noises spreading an authentic Krautrock atmosphere but after about 1 1/2 minutes the band starts playing again great jazz-rock, here somewhat more vitally than in the first track and centered around electric guitar and keyboards with great drums/percussion and bass work. The remaining 5 minutes of side one are occupied by great again more laid-back jazz fusion played on flute, electric guitar, bass and drums with some keys added up.

Side two (19:42) is even better than side one containing more free-form jazz/rock fusion with great fuzz guitar and awesome sax playing by Edgar Hofmann best examplified in the first track having a running time of about 6:45 minutes. Second one contains some four minutes or so of extraordinary jazzy acoustic guitar bringing guitar heros like DI MEOLA or McLAUGHLIN into one's mind. Absolutely stunning morever if keeping in mind that the player was more or less a complete nobody. In the third track (about 5:00) we get to hear some more brilliant soloing this time on electric guitar combined with really strange and odd percussion,flute and sound effects. The remaining 3 ½ minutes are occupied with the last track which consists of some great driving jazz-rock not that far away from NUCLEUS to name just one reference point.

I guess the material on "Crazy Countdown" had been recorded already a few years before its actual release since it's sounding a bit inappropriate for the year of 1977. But anyway I'd consider it a real lost gem and an absolute worthy addition to any Prog collection. I didn't have the chance so far of getting hold of the second album listed here which has been done with a complete different line-up and had been released also by independent label SCHNELLBALL but possibly hasn't to do anything with the first one. I read a very positive review about it saying that it's jazz-rock as well with a strong psyche and Krautrock touch. Obviously even weirder for 1984 as year of release. Thus I can just advice any lover of rare obscure AND excellent jazzrock to grab a copy whenever he/she comes across a vinyl assigned with this band's name.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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