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Jan Hammer - The First Seven Days CD (album) cover


Jan Hammer


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 51 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars First post-MO album from Hammer, and a bit of a surprise move, away from the usual JR/F that we expect from him. While there are jazzy touches on TF7D, this is definitely more of an electronic music album, probably the one that gave him his electronic wizard reputation. Coming with an acclaimed artwork (although I find it completely average and even borderline overly naļve), this is a concept album (Jan disclaims it, but it's tough not thinking of it as such) that relates the Christian genesis of our world, without the religious content. This was his first shot at producing an album, and he did so in his brand new studio at home, somewhere in upstate New York and he plays every instruments on it, which means a wide array of keyboards and drums/percussions.

The album starts on some strong mini-moog, mellotron-filled track In Search Of A Sun, but the following Sun/Light is less enthralling, with the Sun part an unconvincing piano piece, while the Light sounds like it comes from rejected Tomita tapes, although this is not as violent a criticism you would believe (early Tomita s extraordinary stuff). Similarly to Sun, I find Oceans And Continents boring repetitive piano pieces, sometimes interrupted by a clumsy Wakeman or Emerson personification on synths over a bunch of synth layers. Plants and Trees sound like a Debussy piano piece (although Hammer was probably thinking more of Dvorak when writing it).

The flipside starts on the third day and Animals. The anachronic jungle beats might induce you to hear wild animals, but normally there is no humans yet to make these drum beats yet. I find this piece quite clumsy and dated, no matter my previous remark. The People has Jan playing some violin (real? 'cos the guitars on the second track was fake), while Seventh Day returns to the uneventful Sunday of a certain creator already bored of his new toy. Maybe Jan was bored as well.

While I've always respected Hammer's career and achievements, I've often been irritated at how some people make him out to be such a wizard of electronic music and especially at calling this album a masterpiece to be filed among the best. It would be easy to say that somehow Hammer missed the nail with this album, but it's more complex than that!! While TF7D is a good album, we're far away from the Germans, or Isao Tomita, etc. let alone some of the more adventurous Hancock in terms of electronics: Hancock's electronics in Mwandishi and much later with Rock It is certainly a worthy answer to Hammer's Miami Vice (BTW: I find both pieces atrocious piece of 80's crap). While usually hailed as a masterpiece by many, I beg to differ about this album, but I'm one in a small minority... But don't say I didn't warn you.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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