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Eloy - Floating CD (album) cover

FLOATING

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.75 | 421 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Masterpiece album from the golden era of prog.

My obsession with Eloy began here and I believe it is the best album from the band. An instant masterpiece to my ears, I must have heard certain tracks from this over 20 times in the last month. This is psychedelia drenched space rock at its best. The first track I heard from this album is 'Castle in the Air' and it was enough to draw to me to the entire discography of the band. Admittedly, not everything that Eloy puts their hand to is gold, but on this album they had the Midas Touch and could do no wrong as far as I am concerned. It is difficult to review an album that I adore so much as this but this may be the most gushing praise ridden review I have written. I get chills everytime I hear it. It is little wonder that prog aficionado Greg Walker reveres this album as his absolute favourite.

It begins with the stellar funkadelic psych of 'Floating'. A massive crunching Hammond blazes away along a wandering bassline and punctuated percussive beat. Bornemann's guitar chimes in and we are on our way. The vocals are loud and bombastic in the opening section and then it switches time sig to a very fast tempo before breaking into a pounding drum beat. There is a psychedelic tranquillity that takes over, with cymbal splashes and shimmering organ, until it returns to the main theme. A great opening number to kick things off.

The epic of the album is the 14 and a half minute 'The Light From Deep Darkness' that opens with a serene guitar phrase and Frank Bornemann's inimitable vocals. Suddenly a loud staccato blast of organ and guitar with dollops of drums and bass begins to resound. A time sig locks in dominated by power organ and then a wonderful keyboard solo by Manfred Wieczorke. The bass of Luitjen Jansen is effective pulsating out a rhythm and those drum accents of Fritz Randow are compelling. It sounds like vintage Uriah Heep and Deep Purple in places, only very distinct as only Eloy can be. At about 6 minutes Bornemann flys off into a guitar riff and then it calms considerably with tranquil measured playing and very soft vocals. It builds at about the 10 minute mark until it unleashes into some incredibly psychedelic wah-wah reverb on guitar. If this is not enough, a massive organ sound follows that simply blazes away until this epic is concluded suddenly. This is certainly Eloy at their best and puts many of their material in the 90s to shame. A must for psych prog addicts and prog aficionados.

'Castle In The Air' is my favourite Eloy track and this is due to Bornemann;s incredible guitar riffs and the way it locks into some hypnotic rhythms and allows a myriad of keyboard and guitar solos to unleash a barrage of psychedelic space rock paradise. I remember I first heard this on a prog compilation from Prog magazine and I had to grab the cover to check out who were these fantastic musicians. I was delighted to discover it was Eloy as I had heard so much about them but had not been as impressed with "Ocean". I am delighted to discover their heavier psych side and this track encompasses everything that is great about them. Bornemann is brilliant on guitar and vocals here but I love how the track switches time sigs and feel effortlessly. Bornemann uses scat style mimicking the melodic guitar line and it works. The track includes spoken narration, a trademark of many Eloy albums, and some dynamic trade offs between organ and guitar. The bassline is astonishing on this and in fact all musicianship is virtuoso so I can never tire of this. The riff at 3:20 is wonderful and the percussion is a real drawcard, played masterfully throughout, especially the drum soloing at about 5 minutes in. There is so much passion injected into this composition it makes one rather perplexed as to the type of material that the band churned out in the 90s that was so inferior to this it is like it is from another planet. It is great how this song returns to the main theme at about 6:20, reminding us that we are still on the same song that has diverted considerably over its generous running time. An absolute masterpiece song on every level.

'Plastic Girl' is a long song at 9 minutes in length so I hoped it would deliver and I was not disappointed. The shimmering Hammond sound is present as is a building guitar phrase. Bornemann's vocals are thin and frail but I can take that as the music is so mesmirising. The organ is loud and proud drowning out everything. There is a lead break that takes over eventually and it soars beautifully creating an inferno of psychedelia. At 5 minutes the sig changes into a flowing rhythm and more dramatic organ washes. At 7 minutes we are back to the motif that began this masterful track, and it is a pleasant reminder of the satisfying melodies. I am in awe at how amazing the musicianship is on this album. It is simply a tirade of jaw dropping prog.

'Madhouse' is more of the heavier side of the band especially with the aggressive guitar phrases and high energy cadence. The guitar distortion is agreeable and Bornemann is at his best on vocals; "madhouse of desolation, the day seems bewitching, madhouse, night time nearing, madhouse, lights appearing, the day turning night into day, drifting slowly away with the music". The lead break is searing over a scratchy rhythmic passage. The heaviness is well above average for the band who are more into a symphonic ambience on most of their albums. Eloy know how to rock and they do it masterfully on this brilliant track. After some more guitar work there is a drop out of the main theme and the drums dominate with a fast paced percussion solo that is off the scale. The twin guitar solo that follows is wonderful and once again this is a treasure to my ears. So for me this album is prog perfection in the peak of the golden years of prog.

There are three excellent live tracks to supplement the original album on the remastered version. The songs include the 5 minute 'Future City', 8:11 'Castle in the Air' and 3:31 'Flying High'. All are terrific live examples of Eloy. There is a considerable amount of jamming and heavy guitar on 'Future City', the version of 'Castle in the Air' is dynamic and fuelled by fast guitar riffs similar to the studio version and definitely played brilliantly, and finally 'Flying High' includes grinding Hammond, psych guitars and sporadic free form drumming. I like the way it rocks with a fast tempo and although the live songs are raw it is great to hear more of Eloy at the peak of their powers.

Overall, this is one of the greatest albums of 1974 in a strong year for prog. Every track is compelling wonderful virtuoso musicianship and there is never a dull moment. A definitive masterpiece, "Floating" is one of the best albums I have discovered over recent years and my collection would be impoverished without it.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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