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Eclectic Prog • Germany

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IKARUS played progressive rock that sometimes was in the vein of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. The sound is dominated by emphasis on guitar and organ interplay, but the use of flute, saxophone and clarinet add more color to their compositions. Far from perfect, but listenable enough for fans of 70's prog. A solid, but not essential album.

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Ronin Rhythm Records 2016
$8.56 (used)
Touch the SunTouch the Sun
Earthtone 2001
$1.00 (used)
Second Battle
$27.00 (used)
Breathing CulturesBreathing Cultures
IkarusMusic 2011
Ikarus - Solaris - Pool - 6.25175Ikarus - Solaris - Pool - 6.25175
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Breathing Cultures by IkarusBreathing Cultures by Ikarus
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3.84 | 61 ratings

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IKARUS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by buddyblueyes

3 stars Fly. On Your Way. Like and Eagle. Fly. Touch the sun ... just never wear polyester while you're doing it.

Ok, I embellished Bruce's lyrics, adding some good ole' fashion common sense for the safety of our younger generations. There was a good reason polyester was usurped by other materials for fashion dominance. Take that useful nugget of intel for what it's worth. May you live well and prosper. That aside, my fixation for music came into being around the same time as Piece Of Mind, but as of late, I've had a newfound appeal for locating older, eclectic vintage music. Recently, I've come across new sources for old Prog rock -- rare and lost from the 70s -- many of which never were released on CD. Older, dustbin finds like Ikarus put a smile on my face and a reward in my ears. Greater still, PA has already included many of these long forgotten gems already on this site. Groovy!

Ikarus is a German band with one, self-titled release back in 1971. They are similar to Focus, Colosseum, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Nektar. There's a slight psychedelic vibe in their rock direction, prevalent in many groups at the time -- 70s guitar and horns pairing with organ and synths, coasting on repeated musical themes. There are really nice sonic moments, memorable instrumental melodic lines and vintage atmosphere. The bass guitar also adds some really tasty voicings as well. Those listening to much Djent music as of late (like myself) will be blindsided, forgetting what a shiny strong bass line can even sound like and how it can color and propel the music. :)

A fun find and good for a few listens, one can understand how Ikarus may have gotten the cold shrug amongst the din of other great bands from the 70s. A bigger, heavier sound was starting to emerge from the heavyweight studios across the US and England. A strong emphasis was placed on the emerging rockstar, the centerfold vocalist with powerful pipes. It's hard to imagine this band keeping pace with that Led Zep sound, or coming in late to the marketing money behind such juggernauts as Genesis or Yes ' or any of the big 5 really. Looking back, one could see the writing on the wall for the band, but none-the-less, this is worth hearing at least once in your life.

With more music available to us today, let us take time to remember our past and the lesser-known musical forefathers. Obscured by the sands of time, there is still magic in their works. It would serve the newer generation well to uncover this past, and be mindful of just how far they've come, soaring in flight on the backs of past musicians who broadened the horizons. True, few are great, most are average, but like so many musicians, they were just simply trying to etch themselves into a brief moment in human history. It speaks well of us to briefly acknowledge their dedication and contributions in the pursuit of making the world a better place through music.

Wishful concert pairing (had I been alive at the time): Nektar or Colosseum, with Cathedral or Ginhouse as the opener.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars ...and there's that organ again. I seem to be drawn towards the organ in the same way as moths to a flame. The difference being I love the closeness to the instrument and I am not burned to ashes by it. Rather it lifts my spirit.

Ikarus plays a certain brand of jazzy prog rock, laced with organ and brass. As a result it sounds alot like many european bands of the time. I hear Skin Alley, Hannibal, Steamhammer, The greatest show on Earth, Graham Bond, Focus, Isaiah and others. Pre-dominantly Ikarus holds a very british sound, though being, as you are aware, from Germany. The vocals are all dealt with in the english language, rather than german. I could have wished for them singing in their native tongue. I am quite partial to that and think it adds to the charm. But then again I can fully appreciate the reason for picking english, being, as it were and certainly is, one of the most spoken languages around, familiar to most people.

The opening track, and also the longest, really setting the pace with an intense jazzy beat. It is divided into several sections and is varied. The organ is ('And there he goes again!') beautifully played. Terrific piece that one.

The following track, "Mesentery", is slightly more mellow but also the more psychedelic. There is a dreamy, percussion-driven section which brings to mind Pink Floydian influences. It is a very atmospheric and beautiful piece, which suits the rhythm of the album, givven the fact that it holds both energetic and more dreamy, mellow songs.

"The raven" is the second longest track and is similar to the first one in energy and construction, though slightly more jazzy. It boasts a sort of free form-ish structure which I like very much. Ikarus manages to balance between structure and chaos in a very fine fashion. "The raven" is also made up of several sections.

The final track is very soothing and relaxing. "Early Bell's voice" is a genius way to end this album. Again, it is a dreamy sort of song. I feel like floating, in and out of the bosom of Time itself.

This is one fine album. If you are interested in jazzy prog this is for you. I love the warm sound of brass and organ together. It brings peace to me and when served in this excellent manner I can't help but be overwhelmed by love to the music of Ikarus. This is top stuff. Yes, it might come across as dated, because it sounds very much as the early 1970's. If that is not to your taste I suppose this album won't agree with you. BUT! If you like good old fashioned, vintage prog with a serious jazzyness to it, I suspect you will, at least, appreciate or even enjoy this one. I love it very much.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Hubris and flight

First of all a big thanks to John (Mellotron Storm) for leading this horse to water. I´d like to start off with a bit of history, although a fair portion of our western society have probably heard this fatal and woeful story of misplaced courage and futility. Many of us know the original tale of Icarus. His father Daedalus had built the enormous labyrinth to hold in the terrifying Minotaur. To keep the world from knowing the inner workings of this massive and enigmatic prison, king Minos kept both Daedalus and Icarus captive on the island of Crete. With no chance of escape, Daedalus again proved his ingenuity and by tying feathers together with wax and thread, he orchestrated their airborne jailbreak. Although the father had warned Icarus of the dangers of flight, the son flew too high and too close to the warmth of the sun - melting his wings of wax, and plummeted to his death in the open ocean.

This album mirrors the flight of Icarus through its music, but also in its message. Oh yes, this is one of those... This German band was obviously out to save the rainforest along with the rest of our natural wonders. You can pick this up in the lyrics, which I personally find to be a bit on the saccharine side. Lines like "Mankind what are you doing, Mankind where are you going" and "Save the nature, because it´s a treasure" - doesn´t exactly approach the lyrical heights of a Gabriel, but somehow the record does not fall flat on it´s face like some drugged out hippy with half a mescaline cactus up the bum. I tune the lyrics out, when I listen to Ikarus, and spend my time listening to the fabulous organ playing, the tight drum-work, the funky bouncy bass and the shifts from angular saxophone runs to delightful flute serenading. Oh yes these guys can play. I often think of The Moodies, even though Ikarus probably is much closer to Raw Material and early Van Damme Generator. I think it has something to do with how the mellotron is used. Though sitting comfortably in the back, you are quite aware of this the progger´s best friend, and on here it has that velvety sound, I often get from a Moodies release. On top of this, the second track features some ethereal backing vocals that instantly makes me think of A Question of Balance. The guy playing flute here isn´t that far from Ray Thomas either, and in my book that is no small feat.

So we´ve got some early English symphonics in play here, such as you´d find in The Moodies and Cressida, but furthermore Ikarus has a distinct psychedelic flavour. The music can be lofty and ethereal - floating on air, for then to grow strange extremities and plunge right into some fuzzed out swampy landscapes. The guitar gets more aggressive and growling - the cymbals starts flying and the sax runs free like a tortured mustang jumping out of its pen. On these high notes the music takes on some fusion like qualities, especially due to the sax or clarinet, and I can quite easily picture myself flying on precarious wax wings under a flaming orange skin sun.

The main focus of this record, although released in Germany under the frivolous and structureless Krautrock regime, is by far the song writing. The passages through soft acoustic guitars and sorrow-filled flute harmonies over to cacophonous and slightly Canterburian jazz sections - feel right and true without any birth complications, and they float by effortlessly like round and elegant soap bubbles. Even when the speedometer is high in the red field, there´s an overwhelming balance between the players.

If you´re into The Least we can do is wave to each other, A Question of Balance, Raw Material or either of those 2 Cressida albums, then you should definitely go get this marvellous record, as it sounds like an unlawful and excruciating beautiful orgy of these artists combined.

It is obvious like an armadillo in high heels, that Ikarus´ sole album compares the way of the civilized world with all its ghastly iron structures, poisonous secretions, chainsaws, bulldozers, greed and throw away culture to the flight of Daedalus´ hubris struck son Icarus. We have flown too close to the sun, and now we must pay the ultimate price. As much as I think this is some hippie nonsense, I often wonder how close to the edge we as a global society can challenge the fragile balances of our ecosystem, and for that this album deserves a bit of credit, although I certainly don´t get this from the lyrics. No, if you want fragility and emotion, that speaks about the wonders of our world - be that the ruby red eye of the mystical viper or the infinite heights of the red wood trees, there is tons upon tons of stirring and soulful music within this release to quench your musical and imaginative thirst.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars IKARUS were an early 6 piece Krautrock band who sang in English and featured sax, flute, clarinet, organ, piano and some strings besides the usual instruments. They just released this one album back in 1971, and it's interesting reading the lyrics to see how much they cared about the enviroment back then.

"Eclipse" hits the ground running as vocals come in. It settles after 1 1/2 minutes and the sax starts to lead the way as organ, bass and drums continue. Some solo acoustic guitar 3 minutes in. It's building. Vocals return as it settles once again. It kicks back in after 4 1/2 minutes. Themes are repeated. What a fantastic song ! Nice organ / bass section 8 minutes in. Strings after 9 1/2 minutes. Check out the emotion in the vocals 13 minutes in. It ends with the sounds of nature that blend into "Mesentery". It kicks into gear but the vocals are laid back here. The vocal melodies that come and go give it a sixties feel. Nice. Flute comes in. It turns spacey 4 1/2 minutes in as drums continue. Strings join in as well.

"The Raven (Including Theme For James Marshall)" is led by organ and sax early, drums are prominant 1 1/2 minutes in. The organ and sax are back. A dead calm 2 1/2 minutes in then it turns into a haunting mood. Flute comes in. Vocals before 4 minutes. It's raining after 7 minutes. A brighter mood follows. Cool. Piano 10 minutes in with strings to follow. "Early Bell's Voice" opens with piano as organ, drums and bass follow. The tempo picks up. The sax leads the way when it settles after 2 1/2 minutes. Psychedelic vocals join in. Normal vocals 5 minutes in as bass, drums and organ support. It turns dissonant late to end it.

A solid 4 stars.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Real Gem of the 70s!

You wanna hear the true sounds of the seventies? Get this album! Oh yes, this album is a perfect example of how the 70s music sounds like. Musically, you might refer this band to something like Colosseum, Mountain, Steve Marriott, Mahogany Rush, Eloy or even King Crimson. The opening track "Eclipse" (15:25) is so captivating and it brings you back to the glory days of the 70s! I'm sure if you were really there in the seventies, you would definitely say that this band is representative of that era. My memory brings me back even to Canadian band Moxy where the music is also similar to this one. The most interesting part of this track is its walking bass guitar sounds that circumvent the whole musical stream of this song. So stunning bass playing and it's quite dominant! Of course there are lots of mellotron sounds augmented with acoustic guitar fills. The organ solo in the middle of the track at approx 7:40 is also very nice and it's so 70s! I love this track wholeheartedly man! It's so cool, so powerful!

"Mesentery" brings the music into rough style in relatively fast tempo with percussion, bass, guitar, organ and vocal line. The intrusion of flute that follows after first vocal verse is truly brilliant. The flute style is like Ian Anderson but the music is like a classic rock music. It's really a nice composition. Bass guitar still gives its inventive contribution to the song.

"The Raven" opening seems like early King Crimson music. It's relatively complex opening with some jazzy touch and excellent rhythm section, using soprano sax as solo. After immediate break at approx minute 2:30 the music continues into avant-garde exploration with powerful flute work. It's really a treat for those who love classic rock with flute sounds. When the vocal enters the music turns into a bit of blues influenced style with excellent organ work.

The concluding track "Early Bell's Voice" is a mellow track with soaring organ work and still a dynamic bass guitar work. Piano sound enriches the song, combined with stunning guitar and brass section. Hen vocal enters the music in the middle of the track, it reminds me to the music of Colosseum.

Overall, this is a real gem of the seventies that most of you like the classic rock / prog music would love it very much. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by Proghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In my never-ending pursuit of little known prog rock albums, here's another one worth checking in to. This German band (not to be confused with any other band called IKARUS, like the one who released Touch the Sun) released this one and only album in 1971. Often regarded as one of the first progressive jazz-rock albums to come out of Germany, to me, the music is actually simply progressive, but does have lots of great sax work (from Jochen Petersen). Because of the presences of sax, as well as Hammond organ, the comparisons to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR can't be avoided. But unlike VdGG, the band also included strings on a couple of the cuts, and there's some Krautrock tendencies included (the occasional spacy passages remind me a little of TANGERINE DREAM's "Alpha Centauri").

But the one thing the band isn't so great on are the lyrics. It sounds like they had problems grasping the English language, so the first song, expressing the band's concerns for the environment ended up writing lyrics that literally go: "Save the nature/It's a treasure". That has got to be some of the worst lyrics I have ever heard, and it's too bad it has to be a song protesting environmental destruction. The rest of the album features more or less lyrics that make little sense, except for one song using a poem from Edgar Allen Poe. Lyrics aside, this album demonstrates all that's great of early '70s prog rock, and if you like that stuff, get yourself this album.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the unique album made by a rather obscure german little band. This album delivers very imaginative progressive/ jazz compositions with a touch of space rock feelings ("Mesentery", Early bell's voice). The opening track offers a captivating, powerful and epic jazz/ rock tune brightly excecuted with full of electric organ arrengements...'Mesentery' is more a dreamy piece of space-rock with some cool jazzy accents...The atmosphere of this album is really orientated to 70s german rock with its totally free musical experience. A fascinating journey through Ikarus universe.
 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars IKARUS were Germany's pioneers of progressive jazz-rock fusion whose one album IKARUS is treasured amongst music fans world wide. Thanks to the folks at Second Battle you and I can now enjoy this classic album. This band blend the heavy musical molasses of KING CRIMSON with the organ led rock fusion sounds of fellow German bands VIRUS and OUT OF FOCUS... and toss in just a pinch of SOFT MACHINE. The album consists of four long tracks with emphasis on guitar and organ interplay, but the use of flute, saxophone and clarinet adds more color to their compositions. Third track "The Raven" opens up with a very much pro ZAPPA'esque introduction before retiring into the land of organ-space rock. Band was comprised of Jochen Petersen (guitar, sax, flute, clarinet, vocals), Wulf Dichter Struntz (organ, piano), Manfred Schulz (guitar, vocals), Wolfgang Kracht (bass, vocals), Lorenz Kohler (vocals) and Bernd Schroder (drums, percussion). Complete with mellotron, space excursions and long tracks this album will certainly please your ears.

 Ikarus by IKARUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.84 | 61 ratings

Ikarus Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Sole album from an early 70's German (from Hamburg I think) sextet Ikarus, whose reputation as a pioneer of jazz-rock is a bit over-done. Let's just say that they're a typical prog group with symphonic and jazz influences, a bit ala Crimson. Lead by multi-instrumentalist Jochen Petersen (guitars & winds), the group develops a wide soundscape in just four tracks (the shortest being well over 6 mins) that goes as far as electronic twiddling and string arrangements.

The 15-mins Eclipse starts out blues-like with a big guitar riff, but soon evolves into excellent phases of instrumental interplay, while Kohler's voice and accent being rather convincing, but the lyrics (not necessarily his when reading the credits) are not quite so. The opening track is quite interesting with its multiple movements including the organ-filled Scyscraper over symphonic layers (incl mellotrons) and ending in electronic birdsongs and other bruitist stuff. The following Mesentery is the weakest track of the album and disappears in a kosmic and spacey interlude before returning via string layers. The flipside opens on TV or Radio jingle ?like riff, which is the start of the other epic, the 11-mins Raven where Petersen's wind instruments soar, then suddenly (abruptly) morphing into a psych/space improv in its middle section before climbing back gradually via a an heard-elsewhere riff (Heep's Gypsy Woman) and ending in footsteps. The closing track (sung by guitarist Schulz) Early Bell's Voice is a strange trip through ether-modified soundscapes where the organ dominates until disappearing into a knell tolling its madness. Strange ending.

This was to be their only album (now very rare and expensive as a vinyl), most of the members continuing their musical foray, but not necessarily in prog circles, with leader Petersen becoming a record producer later in the decade after passing through Cornucopia. While I wouldn't call Ikarus essential to your collection, it is surely good enough to earn a spot in it and therefore deserving its fourth star.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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