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AHORA MAZDA

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Netherlands


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Ahora Mazda biography
This delightful Dutch band had its roots in 1965, when Rob van Wageningen (flute, saxophone) and Peter (bass) and Winky Abbink (drums) brothers played together in a band called Free Art Group, along with other musicians. This band played music, mostly inspired by classic and avant-garde jazz musicians, namely, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane.

In 1968, they were joined by Tony Schreuder in bass, renaming themselves Group 67/68, and Peter Abbink switching to guitar. During concerts in Felix Meritis they met Ruud Tegelaar, manager of center Fantasio, who offered them to become the house band in Fantasio. They also changed their name once again to Ahora Mazda, a corrupt version of the chief deity of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda. (Zarathustra religion is also called "Mazdaizm.) The name was suggested by Tegelaar.

The band was known for their long jam sessions, but they recorded shorter and more arranged songs for their self-titled debut (and only) album. The album was recorded in three days and released on May 31, 1970.

During the next year, Tony Schreuder and Winky Abbink had some problems playing and rehearsing. At concerts they needed the help of substitute musicians, like guitarist Jan Landkroon and Michiel Krijnen. Abbink was replaced by Paul van Wageningen, who played drums in Groep 1850. Because of these difficulties and the lack of atmosphere that came with the substitutes the band ceased to exist.

Their music is a reflection of the "spacy" music (as implied by the name of the first track in the album) in Netherlands, yet, they owe more to the Kosmische Music scene of Germany than the symphonic approach of their fellow countrymen such as Focus, and of those which were yet to come, like Kayak and Finch. Though the tracks are relatively short (the longest clocking shortly over 9 minutes), they still retain the "jamming" and "experimental" features, which are landmarks of the kosmische Krautrock sound. The CD reissue adds 5 shorter bonus tracks, which still have the same characteristics.

Highly recommended for psyche/space/krautheads!

Bilek Güler, Istanbul

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4.03 | 44 ratings
Ahora Mazda
1970

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AHORA MAZDA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars A real charmer, cute as a kitten.

This is sadly the one and only album from this Dutch band. Then again, their brand of space rock does not split atoms or are any kind of original.

The songs on this album is put it plainly, based on small simple melodies, children lullabies in fact, and then expanded into jams. The original children lullabies like themes last for a minute and the rest is guitar solos and/or spaced out jams. In between, there are some avant- garde stuff with god knows instruments. The vocals is heavy Dutch accented English.

Although the quality is very good throughout, this album is very charming in it's entirety. Both the naive heavy accented vocals and the melodies is very charming and makes everyone smiles. Which I guess is what this flower power is about, even in Amsterdam. That and these cookies they are selling there (which I off course do not condone in any way). I also like the art work a lot.

In short, this album is as charming as a kitten. Take the quality into consideration too, this is an album well worth adding to your collection of good prog. I am a happy owner of this album.

When it comes to adding a kitten to my household, on the other hand.........

4 stars

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 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars AHORA MAZDA were from Holland and this is their only release from 1970. They offer up a Psychedelic / /Krautrock blend of music with lots of flute. I did think of the Proto-Prog genre a lot too. We get a fair amount of vocals, sax and drums / percussion as well. Oh yeah there's lots of strange effects too.

"Spacey Tracy" is a cool song. I like the lyrics because it reminds me of this girl in high school we hung out with.We called her Spinney. Drums, vocals and flute lead in this catchy track. The last 5 minutes is all instrumental as guitar comes in with drums and percussion. Piano 5 1/2 minutes in. "Timeless Dream" is led by soft flute early and strummed guitar. Drums and vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. "Oranje Vrijstaat" has these odd and different sounds that come and go. Sax is prominant late with lots of atmosphere.

"Fallen Tree" kicks in after a minute with mainly flute and drums. Great sound. Guitar before 4 1/2 minutes and it stays all instrumental until just before 9 minutes when the vocals return to end it. "Power" features strummed guitar, bass and flute early. Vocals 2 minutes in including some processed vocals. Guitar solo before 4 1/2 minutes as drums continue. Nice. "Fantasio" opens with tribal-like drumming. Sax after 2 minutes becomes dissonant. Flute before 5 minutes.

I think this will appeal to fans of the genres I mentioned at the start of the review. This is sort of a rare find to be honest and is worth tracking down.

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 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars This 'Flying Dutchmen' appeared only once, sad to say. They surely have been inspired by acts from the neighbourhood right beside. Hence this album has much of a krautrock effort. The band name is derived from the Persian mythology and indeed you will find some (rare) oriental impressions when listening. Founded by jazz oriented musicians Rob van Wageningen and the Abbink brothers Peter and Winky AHORA MAZDA represented a rather avantgarde approach decorated with weird, experimental moments and fuzzy psych guitars. Here and there flute and sax remember at German band Missus Beastly with Jürgen Benz and Friedemann Josch aboard.

This ingredients are mixed up to a quite irresistible cocktail, which means any attempt will fail to categorize them in a strict sense. Just take Oranje Vrijstraat which puzzles me as no other. On one side this sounds improvised at all cost ... but then I get the impression as if this is totally arranged, provided with a well thought out structure. A jazzy trippy thing where every member is soloing beyond exception, even drummer Winky Abbink. Can't imagine really that this is spontaneously.played. And if they really did .... respect, respect. Never mind, if you're searching for a challenge you've found the right album here.

While Spacy Tracy starts very popular beat alike shaped, quasi referring to their musicals roots, it all develops to something new due to Peter Abbink's incredible fuzzy guitar playing after a while. Next the drummer seems to drive crazy. And then somehow you begin to smell that the first collapse won't be long in coming. So you can say this song describes their metamorphosis from a pop combo to an experimental prog band. An that's it with the following songs in the same way. The band basically serves a jazzy setting but the Abbink brothers are the counterpart first and foremost with psychedelic guitar and unusual virtuoso drum playing.

Pseudonym's digital re-release is enhanced with five additional excursions where they are crossing their special spaced-out realm, seemingly excerpts from long improvisations which qualifies them for the krautrock category so much the better. Probably recorded live because they were known for offering intriguing hippy-underground gigs. The band's eponymous effort is a sonic adventure. This album sounds ahead of time. A surprising snapshot from this short-lived crew. Absolutely recommended to anyone who is searching for original prog bands with an experimental approach when making the transition to the 1970s.

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 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars Flexibility and relaxation on their face, and inexpressibly seriousness and aggressiveness on another side - AHORA MAZDA should have TWO faces undoubtedly!

The point I'm very surprised is that AHORA MAZDA seem to play relaxed from start to finish, without any prickles or needles on their mind. We can see the fact in Peter Abbink's laidback guitar solo or Rob van Wageningen's graceful flute one. But wait please don't be deceived - ingeniously AHORA MAZDA has set a trap as an album. Above mentioned aside, I feel the most ingenious part should be the rhythm section by Tony and Winky, two skilled but inconspicuous (sorry!) men. Really they can absorb us listeners with comfortably streaming beat and tempo...I wanna say the basis is absolutely their steady rhythm. Magic, they can do. Needless to say on the first track Spacy Tracy, even the simple bass sounds on the next Timeless Dream are heavy and strict, suitable for the rigid ground of this song. Over this rhythm section, a graphic flute, a terrific guitar, and psychic chorus should spread one by one. Furthermore in Oranje Vrijstraat mysterious and spiritual percussion spelling should knock us away deeply to Ahorholic world. I always wonder why such a complex beat can immerse us like an amphetamine. Another impressive part is Peter's lazy and fatigued voices. Indeed his voice may be underevaluated but this psychedelic world do needs his characteristic growlin'. Like a junkie, he goes through songs with his obscurity, especially the fourth track Fallen Tree. This floating atmosphere continues on Power, that has depressive and "indoor" air with twisted horizon. And at last in Fantasio African beats by rising-up-to-the space percussion should keep us holding under MAZDANDELION-coloured psychedelia!

They released this album as their one and only work in 1970 - again surprised. They already have conquered our mind with their trap!

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 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Agemo

5 stars Ahora Mazda was a well known band in the dutch underground scene in the late nineteen sixties. They played long elongated sets with improvised music. It was once described by a critic as "Avant-garde jazz/pop with a rhythm & blues slant" and that is a good description. Influences for the music are Jimi Hendrix, The Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart, but also world music. The latter can be heard, for instance, in their choice of several percussive instruments. Another main feature is the flute, which is wonderfully played by Rob van Wageningen.

On their one and only album, they decided not to play the elongated sets, but more conveniently arranged songs. This doesn't mean you get easy to swallow music. The free form music still exists, as can be heard in tracks like "Oranje Vrijstaat", the most avant-garde of the album or in the second half of "Spacy Tracy" with a long Hendrix-like guitar solo and a very spacy ending. More structured are the haunting "Timeless Dream" and "Power". "Fallen Tree" is the most rocking track of the album with a heavy guitar solo and excellent flute playing. On "Fantasio" several percussion instruments are used.

On the CD reissue five bonus tracks are added. These give away some of the magic from the original album. Although it looks like they are tracks, they a more sort of random chosen parts from a studio session. They may give some insight in how a concert of Ahora Mazda might have sounded like, but for me they are not so interesting.

In conclusion, this is a psychedelic masterpiece from the Netherlands. This album, together with Group 1850's "Paradise Now" (1969) and Surprieze's "Zeer Oude Klanken en Heel Nieuwe Geluiden" (1972) are the top three of psychedelic rock from this country. It is recommended to everyone with a love for some old psychedelic rock. Especially when you want some jazz added to the mix.

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 Ahora Mazda by AHORA MAZDA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 44 ratings

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Ahora Mazda
Ahora Mazda Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This album is a really fabulous psychedelic nugget from the land of the flowers and the windmills. It combines both more close-to-earth flute fronted bluesy jazz rock in style of German Rufus Zuphall and free freak-out improvisational soundscapes with some really cool jazz styled saxophones. These both elements are presented in the funny opening track "Spacy Tracy", telling us a tale of a girl interested in the psychedelic way of life, starting as a mellow groovy rocker later morphing as completely free improvisation. "Timeless Dream" is then a minor key melodic tune, having sadly a quite disturbing fade-out ending taking place in the middle of the song. The two following about eight minutes long songs combine again the freeform improvisations and nice themes, featuring some very good jazz saxophone tunes from Mr. van Wageningen, and also Peter Abbink blows some really good raw electric guitar solos in style of Jimi Hendrix and Manuel Göttsching. "Power" is one of the few mostly constructed songs, containing really weird and scary effects used in the singing verse, creating a very mysterious overall feeling.

The last five bonus tracks are a bunch of excerpts from the band's collective jazz improvisations, which sound sometimes resemble the primitive passages of Syd Barrett's "Lanky", sometimes the cosmic electronic sound walls of Hawkwind. Sadly the excerpts are only cuts, varying in length from under two minutes to over four, beginning and ending from a silent void. I wouldn't have mind hearing some improvisation "mistakes", rather the hearing only glimpses of the grooves. But anyway, I really liked the little melancholic but still laid back feeling of this album, and I would recommend it warmly to anybody liking both 70's psychedelic blues/jazz rock and dreamy impressionistic collective jams. Also the flute melodies are here very strong, so the fans of that instrument might want to try giving this album a listen.

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