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Grobschnitt - Solar Music - Live CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.56 | 199 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This more like it for me. The previous GROBSCHNITT, "Rockpommel's Land" I am seriously divided over. I do like the fact it's a very solid, well-produced and well- performed album, but I have a real difficult time stomaching the lyrics about a kid named Ernie and a giant magical bird named Mariboo, which I thought was a bit infantile for me. Luckily their following album is nothing like that. "Solar Music - Live" was basically a live rendition of the second disc from "Ballermann" (their second album). The album itself is divided in to seven movements ("Solar Music I", "Food Sicore", "Solar Music II", "Mülheim Special", "Otto Pankrock", "Golden Mist" and "Solar Music III"). One major difference is this is almost twice as long. Having not heard the original from 1974, I can't tell you what are add-ons, what has been altered, and what are the original themes. What I do know is this piece has been a live staple for the band, and it's certainly gone through a lot through the years, and this version was recorded in April 1978. It's quite strange to see a band record a live album dedicated to just one piece (just try to imagine JETHRO TULL releasing a live version of "Thick as a Brick", which I think was included on a recent CD reissue of that album as a bonus cut), most live albums, as you know basically has the band playing the hits (that is, if the band had any hits, which these lesser-known prog rock bands generally didn't have) and fan favorites, add on extra guitar and drum solos the originals didn't have so each band member can stroke their egos. But it was wise to see GROBSCHNITT released "Solar Music - Live".

At first listen, I didn't get it, I don't expect many of you to get it at first, it require several listens. This album is largely instrumental, and if you been put off by Stefan Danielak (Wildschwein) and his singing, you'll be happy to know he only does a couple minutes of singing near the beginning. Other than that, it's largely guitar that dominates, although some keyboards do suface (like the Minimoog, Elka Rhapsody, Hammond organ, electric piano, even a little Mellotron). Many of the guitar solos have a strong PINK FLOYD feel to it, and in fact this is the GROBSCHNITT album I most highly recommend to PINK FLOYD fans (whereas the likes of "Rockpommel's Land" and "Jumbo" I'd recommend for YES fans). Every now and then, the band inserts their Germanic sense of humor, and even martial music is included here and there. Prog rock after 1975 has been often frequently criticized for being overly dependant on synthesizers (many times I don't personally have a problem with that, after all, one of my favorites is ELOY's "Ocean", which is very synth-based), for those put off by the over-dependace on synthesizers from prog rock of this era will be glad to know that the keyboards here are toned down in favor of guitar on "Solar Music - Live".

Knowing that this is 1978, prog rock was on the decline thanks to the rise of punk and disco, it's nice to see GROBSCHNITT put out such a wonderful album in that era, but then I noticed that the German prog scene continued making many great albums even at the end of the '70s and beginning of the '80s.

After several listens, I am totally sold on this album, this is one album I'd even recommend to those who are not a GROBSCHNITT fan. Great stuff..!

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |


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