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ASIA MINOR

Symphonic Prog • Turkey


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Asia Minor biography
One of the many fantastic, obscure European progressive bands to be unearthed and made available to the prog-buying public is ASIA MINOR, who only released two very small-time albums in the late '70s. This band took a more unusual twist on the genre popularised by CAMEL, with a mostly instrumental rock (what lyrics there are, are sung in a strangely accented English), with folk and ethnic influences, featuring much flute, guitar and keyboards.

The two albums are "Crossing The Line" and "Between Flesh and Divine", the latter one is absolutely essential. Whereas the similarly dreamy French progressive PULSAR drew on PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON influences. Excellent and original, indispensable for all lovers Progressive rock.

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Crossing The LineCrossing The Line
Musea 2003
Audio CD$14.00 (used)
Between Fresh & DivineBetween Fresh & Divine
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$37.16
$39.94 (used)
EzgilerEzgiler
Akkiraz Muzik
Audio CD$24.15
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ASIA MINOR discography


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

3.53 | 78 ratings
Crossing The Line
1979
4.23 | 220 ratings
Between Flesh And Divine
1980
4.10 | 12 ratings
Landscape Pictures In Rock
1988

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

ASIA MINOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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ASIA MINOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Thai Divone

4 stars Asia Minor is a unique band. It is a small one, not widely known, and this one feels so? I would have said mine, but it is not right. And yet, there is something in their music that is closer to me that many other bands. Perhaps it is the middle-eastern sound, or perhaps it's the way I found them, going through long lists in dark hours, when I had the time, when I was younger than today. But this band, and especially this album, is one of those that shaped me, that made me what and who I am.

If I had to describe their music, it will be a combination of Genesis, Camel and early King Crimson, with the addition of some middle-eastern influences and a great rhythm section. The music is complex, but not too much, feeling a little bit like the connection, the missing link, between Mirage and Moonmadness to Marillion's Jester.

Nightwind opens with a great bass-drums line, accompanied a little bit later by a very nice guitar and keyboards duet. 44 seconds and it starts to change, adding some great solos by the guitars, keyboards and an amazing flute. 1:48 and we're changing again, and around the 2 minutes mark words enter. The song becomes much slower, much calmer. The bridges between the verses are made by some amazing flute lines. 3:40 and we're changing again, getting into shape, moving rhythmically forward. Very Camelish transitions. 4:46 and we're changing again, getting back to a slower pace, moving towards the ending section. It feels grandiose, but so right. The guitars take the lead in this section, and it is just amazing.

Northern Lights opens with some ethereal keyboards, a little bit pastoral, a little bit spacey. Flute enters at 39 seconds. A soft fingerstyle guitar accompanies it all. 2:08 and all is changing, a new musical world enters. Electric Guitars take us through a new journey. And yet, I always feel during those moments the real star is the drummer, who is just mind-blowingly amazing. 3:43 and we're changing to a lot softer section, with vocals entering around the 4:35 mark. 5:14 a guitar-based bridge, and then the vocals return 20 seconds later. A nice guitar solo takes us to the end, playing over a little fingerstyle riff.

Boundless then starts, a short ballad. A little bit simple, yet so very beautiful. Unlike the rest of the songs in here, this one is very classic-rock in terms of structure, with a verse-chorus thing, and a long middle 8 as an outro.

Dedicace, on the other hand, reminds me a little bit of Ashes are Burning in terms of the bass line, but just a little. The flute, though, is unique and amazing. It goes all rock-y at around 1:15, with the drums yet again amazing. 1:54 and we're changing again, transitioning towards a different rock-ish sound. And at 2:48 vocals enter, and they're sung like their on fire. It reminds a little bit of Lady Fantasy. 3:22 and we're changing again, going to a more gentle sound, before picking a different pace at around 3:52. The guitar riff beneath the vocals is no less than brilliant. 5:03 and we're picking the pace again, back to the rock-ish sound, back to the Lady Fantasy like sound. Then it almost too abruptly ends, at around 5:58, leaving us with a lone Hammond note.

Lost in a Dream Yell is so ethereal, starting with some stormy SFX and then going slowly towards strong (but not heavy) notes by the bass accompanied by a great electric guitar lead and a nice keyboards arpeggio. The drums are just precise, making the sounds just when needed, with no beat to waste. 2:20 gives us a new spacey line, before going almost silence for a few seconds. The stage is cleared for the SFX and fingerstyle guitar, only to serve as a background to an amazing flute solo. The drums are soft, and a little bit march-ial. Different instruments share the stage with the flute, each time a different one taking the stage for a few phrases.

Dreadful Memories opens a little bit like the soundtrack for a James Bond movie (or at least, that's what it reminds to me), picking a nice pace before keyboards join around the 49 seconds mark. It's a little bit repetitive, a little bit "not-going-to- anywhere", but after all those great composing achievements, it's nice to get something simple for a change. It is not a great track by itself, but it is the perfect fit for this album.

And so the album ends- perfectly, but way too short. So, is this album an essential addition? I don't think so, but one can't wrong go wrong with this album though. So? 4 stars and a half, rounded down for being non-essential.

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lovely one from this unassuming Turkish foursome, rich in flavor and of complex ingredients, sincere to a fault, and pious in their intention to do credible symphonic rock as that of Renaissance or Genesis. The group is also branded as a Camel clone-- in sound maybe, but not content. There is more going on here, the material has a greater concentration, as if the band knew they'd only have a couple records to say what they wanted to. It is, in a sense, Romantic Prog.

The main influences here are guys like Ravel, Vivaldi, Copland, as evident in lilting 'Nightwind' and pastoral eight-minute 'Northern Lights' layered with flutes & keys, the piece moving into harder territory and significant progression, expansion and development. Somewhat flat 'Boundless' is not helped by the tortured vocal, but decent arena-rocker 'Dedicace' reflects a dying era of rock/fusion in 1980, weird 'Lost in a Dream Yell' is unsettled and directionless but in a very Syd Barrett kind of way and probably too long at over seven minutes, and fun Surf/Psych 'Dreadful Memories' provides some needed relief.

A brilliant try at one of the most difficult modi operandi to compete in, and a fine record of lush symphonic rock executed with care.

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars Some years ago, I managed to get this album and it was an excellent buy. Asia Minor, a band from Turkey produced a magnificent album entitled Between Flesh and Divine, which style is pretty similar to the sound of Camel, even the voice of Setrak Bakirel resembles to Andrew Latimer. The album itself is a delight to hear, every song possesses a wonderful symphonic combination. I like the use of the flute in the songs, an instrument which remarks the beauty of the music. My favorite tracks in this album are Northern Lights, Dedicace and Lost in a Dream Yell, each one containing excellent musical arrangements. A must for every prof fan!

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

5 stars A group of Turkey with a turkish accent singer singing in English in 1980, does not seem very attractive. If we add that initially sounds like a good copy of Camel, better let go.

Big mistake! No one should lose these 34 glorious minutes in the history of our beloved progressive path. Between Flesh and Divine is a treasure that deserves to be unearthed.

Some bands have edited hours and hours of music, and do not reach the magnificence of this work impeccable, just over half an hour. I enjoy this cd for 15 years thanks to the reissue of Musea Records, unmissable.

Highlights? Everything, every song, every instrument. Voices not detract from this work, and flutes are outstanding.

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Well I'll be damned!

Wow, just before the coming of 2013 I step upon this album, which to me from the exterior, seemed obscure but ultimately unattractive. Once again my poor judgement tricked me again, I discovered another treasure...that many discovered before me it seems!

Asia Minor is serving us a delicate album, with contrasts of nightly atmospheres to bright light to more tormented segments. I always thought 'darker' progressive rock is the best, with King Crimson in lead. Well, this band is giving us a good serve of 'dark' music but sprinkled with tasteful flute, energetic and clever drums, Robert Smith guitars and silky smooth keyboards...yummers!

The inevitable Camel comparison is audible, but the band is clearly showing it's true colors most of the time with their moody and eerie sound, a perfect album for a snowstorm. I frankly thought of Solaris with their Martian Chronicles as the first influence, but...wait! This record was made 3 years before Solaris! If you appreciate this band, check out for Singularity as their nowadays counterparts...oh and why not Eloy at the same time!

Oh little album, you maybe have an ugly exterior, but your heart is gold.

Contenders for best lost gems of all-time.

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Top notch second album named Between flesh and divine from this Turkish-France band Asia Minor issued in 1981, and what an album this is for that period, really this kick ass all the way from start to finish. Imagine you listen to Camel in their most inventive period with some turkish influences, overtones that in the end fits perfectly in the symphonic prog atmosphere. This is a solid album that sets the standards from generations to come, specially as one of the reviewers said tht Asia Minor is the missing link between the symphonic bands of the golden age and the upcoming neo-prog wave. Very well played instrumental passages, there are more then with voice so only a joy for me and for my ears. Truly great album with melancholical voice. Strong pieces, all, no weak moments here. A gem of an album that needs attention from all serious prog listners. 4 stars easy, a fine cover art that at close look seams like the map of european side of Turkey of course in drawing format. Very nice music like the visual content. recommended

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Am I listening to Camel? Well, there's certainly enough here to deceive you that it is. Many a reviewer point that out and I agree. On the other hand I would like to express my view that besides the Camel- infused music there's enough originality to make this album a truly exciting, beautiful, enjoyable listen, or indeed listens. Asia Minor delivers in 1981 a collection of songs by all standards dated when released. It's certainly not in the time, it's by no means neo-prog. I'd classify it as late seventies symphonic in the vein of (guess who?) Camel circa "Nude". But sometimes dated means nothing when concerning the quality. Asia Minors "Between flesh..." is a fantastic journey through beuatiful symphonic prog of the best kind. Sweeping, dreamy and full of nice changes in tempo and mood. The last song is a short but excellent, abrupt ending to this masterful release. It's true that the singer has a voice of special qualities. I can't decide what I think about it. Is he good or simply not that good? Actually, I think his voice is a part of the whole picture. Still... Anyway, it's a great album and I truly recommend it!

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 Crossing The Line  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.53 | 78 ratings

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Crossing The Line
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars You have to feel for Asia minor. Active during arguably the lowest point of progressive rock's forty-five year history, this was a group who produced fine, melodic and highly-intelligent music at a time when nobody cared for such things. As a result, the history of this multi-national outfit proved to be unsurprisingly brief. Formed in Paris sometime during the late 1970s, Asia Minor featured members plucked from France, Turkey and Britain. Unable, due to their achingly unfashionable style of music, to seal any kind of record deal the four-strong group took the bold step of self-financing and self-producing both this 1979 debut release and 1981's highly-praised follow-up 'Between Flesh & Divine', a move which gave the musicians genuine artistic freedom but also fundamentally limited the record's potential commercial reach due to the lack of any kind of distribution deal. And despite the positive critical reception garnered both both albums - in particular 'Between Fleszh & Divine' - Asia Minor's career was over barely three-and-a-half years after it had begun. Obviously, one truly wonders what might have happened if the group had been around during either the genre's early peak or it's 21st century rebirth, yet thankfully they haven't been forgotten. Both albums have been reissued by the French Musea imprint, thus the group have enjoyed a well-deserved second life in the CD age. Recorded during 1979, 'Crossing The Line' is a less polished affair compared to it's well-respected follow-up, yet despite slightly muddy production values the graceful melodies still shine through. Very much a formative piece which allowed Asia Minor to hone their craft in preparation for 'Between Flesh & Divine', 'Crossing The Line' features nine carefully-composed tracks that mix a distinctly arty European sensibility with British-style symphonic flourishes, the group cleverly utilising synthesizers, acoustic-and-electric guitars and founding member Setrak Bekiral's un-flashy vocals in a crisp and clear manner that for the most deliberately eschew excessive musicianship. Highlights include opening piece 'Prelude', which opens the album on a suitably grand note, the throbbing bass thumps of the short-and-sweet 'Mystic Dance' and finally, the lushly mysterious mini- epic 'Vision'. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Between Flesh And Divine  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.23 | 220 ratings

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Between Flesh And Divine
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Other reviewers have remarked on the sound and feel of this album being like a combination of early 70s GENESIS and CAMEL and I couldn't agree more. This is beautiful and often sophisticated music very close in feel and mastery to the models it seems to wish to emulate or perpetuate. The drumming is often worthy of superlatives while the keyboard player shows excellent instincts in playing mostly in a support role (but a very important support role, à la TONY BANKS).

"Nightwind" (8/10) opens instrumentally feeling much like an early 80s pop song (PAYOLAS "Eyes of a Stranger") before turning into a fairly sophisticated 'lost Genesis' song. Great drumming in an odd time signature with excellent support synths, moving bass, and flute lead. New section begins at 1:48--a vocal section that is quite reminiscent of 70s CAMEL. Beautiful and versatile flute playing. 5:20 Keyboard entrance end section is very reminiscent of TONY BANKS/GENESIS

"Northern Lights" (8/10). The first 2:06 are quite calm and pastoral. Then all GENESIS/CAMEL breaks loose with a very up-tempo section. At 3:45 all sound drops out to be replaced by a new section of delicate electric guitar picking and electric keyboard. At 4:38 a foreign-accented male voice enters to sing in English as the tempo picks up a bit (drums and bass join in). Fuzz guitar solo. Return of vocal. Voice is like ELOY's FRANK BORNEMANN's singing with BRYAN FERRY's phrasing--the way he down-slides the endnotes of a phrase or word.

"Boundless" (7/10) is a three-minute gentle ballad--singing from the start, ending with a drawn out, easy, repetitive electric guitar solo.

"Dedicace" (8/10) begins with the bass sound more familiar from RENAISSANCE over which a breathy flute is dancing. At 1:20 there is a very CAMEL-esque shift to a mid-tempo 'controlled jazz' section. 2:15 acoustic guitar stums beneath fuzzy electric guitar, keyboard organ while bass and drums join in at a fairly quick pace as singer comes in singing in higher register than previous songs. Very "Lady Fantasy" feeling. 3:25 totally shifts to bucolic GENESIS section. Classic GENESIS transition stuff. Return to vocal with half the freneticism of the former section (sans acoustic guitar strumming). Another repeat of the slow instrumental transition to the fast strumming acoustic guitar section with singing to sudden end.

"Lost in a Dream Yell" (9/10) begins with rain sounds, a few single random notes from treated guitar with vocal being most prominent feature--the bareness of which really makes obvious the awkward foreign accent. So ELOY! Rain and piano with electric guitar arpeggios interplay irregularly behind vocal until 2:40 when guitar arpeggios are left alone for half a minute while rain fall sounds gradually fade and synth strings and mellow flute join in. Slowly from far in the background, military drumming patterns begin to emerge and move to foreground. All the while flute continues to lead with beautiful melody. Really awesome drumming to tune into--four minutes of it! Song ends with same pattern playing out.

"Dreadful Memories" (7/10) begins with an odd, almost spy-theme music led on a DICK DALE-like bass line over which haunting synth chords are washing in and out. Song ends with a weird cut out and echoed synth fade.

A very nice listen that would definitely be an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection. Solid four stars.

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 Crossing The Line  by ASIA MINOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.53 | 78 ratings

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Crossing The Line
Asia Minor Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Turkish band formed in Paris around mid-70's as Asia Minor Process by three Turkish emigrants, guitarist/flutist Erik Tekeli, guitarist/singer Setrak Bakirel and drummer Can Kozlu.In 1976 Kozlu was replaced by Lionel Beltrami, the name was shortened to Asia Minor and the band started recording its first tracks, mixing Classic Prog with some Turkish ethnic sounds.In three tracks the band was helped by Grime's keyboardist Nicolas Vicente.With no particular interest in their work by labels, Asia Minor self-released their debut ''Crossing the Line'' during the spring of 1979 on their own Ware of Asia Minor.More recently the album was re-issued in CD and vinyl formats by Musea Records.

A good album indeed, ''Crossing the Line'' is often an exciting mix of melodic Progressive Rock with a CAMEL-esque edge and the darker aspects of the style, somewhat in a KING CRIMSON vein and add some deep ethnic tunes here and there.The sound is led by the guitars and flutes with long instrumental parts and professional interplays between the two instruments in a Symphonic style.The rhythm section (with Bakirel providing the bass lines) is pretty dynamic with often deep bass lines and the great drumming of Beltrami.The keyboards remain unfortunately mostly in the background, having a very thin sound.However the dominant guitar and flute parts will reward you: nice melodic hooks, folky heavy flute drives and a nice amount of breaks and battles offer series of fascinating moments.Vocals are sung in English without signs of an annoying accent but also in Turkish in a couple of tracks, the later being outstanding Progressive Rock pieces.Only a couple of flaws are detected, the one being the aforementioned thin-sounding keyboards, the other being the mediocre production overall, an evident fail regarding many prog albums around late-70's.

''Crossing the Line'' is a pretty strong release of Classic Progressive Rock by a talented band, which failed to attract around the (wrong) period of its release, but ended up to be a winner through sands of time.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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