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1973 Albums

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See See The Sun > Kayak

August, 1973
United States
Capitol Records
0
Hailing from the Dutch city of Hilversum, Kayak was another of the Netherlands's favorite sons, led by keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel and drummer Pim Koopman. Classical music students, the pair first teamed up in 1967, picking up vocalist Max Werner and guitarist Johan Slager along the way. After signing with EMI Harvest, Kayak released their debut album See See The Sun in 1973. "Reason for It All" kicks off, revealing a classically-inspired progressive with a sprite, driving tempo and rich harmonies; yet it's the instrumental section that reveals the band's power. "Lyrics" is off-center enough to save it, while the following "Mouldy Wood" offers a little dissonance at its core. "Lovely Luna" drifts ever so gently, graced by Werner's unique voice and Cees van Leeuwen's powerful bass, culminating in a big orchestral finale. "Hope for a Life" is a potent rocker, again showcasing the group's harmonies. Both great writers, Koopman and Scherpenzeel were at their peak when their romantic tendencies combined with a harder rocking edge, such as on "Forever Is a Lonely Thought." Propelled by a few singles, including the barrel organ-led "Mammoth" b/w "Ballet of the Cripple," the album was successful in the band's native Netherlands. Kayak's second album, Kayak, would see its material turned lighter as formula set in, save for the interesting "Trust in the Machine." Their third album, Royal Bed Bouncer, saw a switch of labels to Phonogram in Europe and Janus Records in the US. With Bert Veldkamp now on bass, the album scored another Dutch Top 40 single with "Chance for a Lifetime" b/w "My Heart Never Changed." The US release of their 1978 album Starlight Dancer contained only a pair of tracks from the European version, opting instead for several songs from their previous release, The Last Encore, and a tacked-on, near-hit single, "I Want You to Be Mine" b/w "Irene," which hit No. 55 on the US Billboard chart. Personnel changes then hit the band, with the arrival Edward Reekers on vocals. Kayak would continue until 1982, releasing several more albums; but their progressive days were far behind them. Werner had success as a solo artist in the early 80s.

2nd > Agitation Free

September, 1973
Germany
Vertigo
4
Agitation Free remained busy after recording their debut album, appearing in the cultural program for the 1972 Munich Olympics as well as touring France for a few months in 1973. Guitarist Stefan Diez deputized for their second album, titled 2nd; it also saw release on the Music Factory label. "First Communication" opens the album. With its guitars in unison, it offers a sound that has more similarities with the improvisations of American Southern rock than with the German krautrock of the day! Never mind though—the ensuing "Dialogue and Random" is pure electronic bliss. The following two-part "Laila" offers more of the band's wonderful jam-band rock; again, the dual guitar interplay of the second part is sublime. The lucid journey continues on "In the Silence of the Morning Sunrise;" Paced by a metronomic drum, the light melody reveals more of the band's close interplay, draped in Michael Hoenig's ever-present synths. "A Quiet Walk" goes acoustic, while the closing "Haunted Island" is a rare vocal number from the band. Following the album's release, the group kept busy with radio broadcasts and touring; but by 1974, the band had run its course. After a farewell concert, Agitation Free broke up, and a final record, Last, was released in 1976 by the French label Barclay. Though one of the more musically accessible bands of the era, Agitation Free's records were, for a while, interminably difficult to find. But the story has a happy ending: Hoenig went on to work with Tangerine Dream before forging a solo career, while Lüül Ulbrich would join Ashra towards the end of the decade and also foster a successful solo career in the 80s.

Vive La Trance > Amon Düül II

September, 1973
United States
United Artists Records
3.6
After the creative summit of 1971-1972, change was in the making for Amon Düül II. Before a tour of the UK in the spring (a session was recorded for the BBC in May), Lothar Meid and Daniel Fichelscher departed, the latter for Popol Vuh. Peter Leopold returned, and multi-instrumentalist Robby Heibl later arrived to help complete the ensuing album, Vive La Trance. Sporting 11 individual tracks, the band left the instrumentals of their previous albums behind for something far more concise and, perhaps, even more commercial. "A Morning Excuse" opens, revealing a clean production centered on the guitars of Chris Karrer, John Weinzierl and Heibl; "Fly United" follows suit. Renate Knaup offers falsetto on "Jalousie," and "Mozambique" (dedicated to Monica Ertl) retains the long-form AD2 over its long fade. But the second side, especially on tracks like "Dr," the plain-rocking "Pigman" (dedicated to Olaf Kübler) and the easy "Manana," are mediocre at best. "Ladies Mimikry" sports a fine bass from Weinzierl and more sax from Karrer, but ultimately disappoints. The album would be the band's last with United Artists, and also the last with Kübler, though not before an excellent compilation of singles, Lemmingmania, was released in 1975. AD2 then signed with Nova (Telefunken-Decca) in Germany, and even inked a deal with Atco Records for the US and UK. The band's next record, Hijack, released in 1974, continued the trend towards proficient but conventional rock by mimicking different types of music. 1975's concept album Made In Germany was pared down to a single album for US release; but despite the grand intention, AD2's best days were behind them. Withstanding far too numerous personnel changes to mention, the band would continue to release records until the early 80s, yet just offering (more or less) mainstream rock.

Melos > Cervello

September, 1973
Italy
Dischi Ricordi S.p.A.
3.5
Another band from Napoli, Cervello (Italian for "brain") saw their debut at one of Italy's many and well-attended "pop" music festivals. Formed in 1970, the band that recorded their debut consisted of vocalist Gianluigi Di Franco, guitarist Corrado Rustici, saxophonist Giulio D'Ambrosio, bassist Antonio Spagnolo and drummer Remigio Esposito; almost all were under the age of 20. Entitled Melos after the Greek island, the album was recorded in the summer of 1973 with Osanna's Danilo Rustici (Corrado's brother) and Elio D'Anna producing, and was released on the Ricordi label. Both the band and the album are unique, forgoing keyboards and instead using flute and electric sax as a replacement; these instruments are immediately recognizable on the opening "Canto Del Carpo." Gentle melodies, supported by acoustic guitar and playful vocal harmonies, dominate the music which is firmly rooted in the rock progressivo Italiano tradition. "Trittico" and "Euterpe" are both achingly beautiful. Di Franco's voice is strong and passionate; however, the ace in the hole is Rustici's John McLaughlin-inspired electric guitar. "Euterpe" erupts when the drums crash in, and Rustici's guitar solo reveals a considerable and emerging technique. "Scincione" (T.R.M.)" offers a chaotic fury, typical of the band's harder rocking moments. The record was released with an elaborate gimmick cover (a die-cut tomato can); and although it's now considered one of the crowning achievements of RPI, the album didn't sell well, and the band broke up. Rustici would join Osanna for their 1974 album Landscape Of Life, then moved on to both Uno and Nova with his brother and D'Anna.

Faust IV > Faust

September, 1973
United Kingdom
Virgin
3.5
Faust were uniquely German; and, in all likelihood, were the antithesis of the aesthetics of British prog rock. In fact, Faust's raison d'être had more in common with post-modern art than anything remotely romantic; however, their relative success (courtesy of Virgin Records) was tightly tied to the progressive era. Their first two albums for Polydor, both produced by Uwe Nettelbeck, were instant krautrock classics, though not easy listening by any stretch. Richard Branson signed the band to his Virgin label and released The Faust Tapes album for a ridiculously low price (that of a single, 49p). Coupled with a tour of the UK with Henry Cow (and Peter Blegvad from Slapp Happy in tow), the album sold a reputed 100,000 copies. Their next album, IV, was recorded under the auspices of Virgin's The Manor Studio and offered more of Faust's music to progressive audiences. The album's opener, the relentlessly churning grind of "Krautrock," is a brazen tribute to their Teutonic sonic heritage; it's simply astonishing. "The Sad Skinhead" offers reggae, but not really, just as the beauty of "Jennifer" hides something more sinister underneath. "Giggy Smile" breaks open with a classic riff, yet quickly dissolves into frenzy before returning to the same riff, albeit sideways. Throughout, the album explores composition and musicianship with a healthy dose of revisionism, with the band's unique brand of psychedelia in equal measure. Like Neu!, Faust's legacy would attain mythical status in the ensuing decades. This however was their final release, as they would break up in 1975 after aborted sessions at Giorgio Morodor's studio in Munich.

Starring Rosi > Ash Ra Tempel

October, 1973
Germany
Kosmische Musik
4.666665
Guitarist Manuel Göttsching, with bassist Hartmut Enke and the intermittent Klaus Schulze on drums, founded Ash Ra Tempel in 1971, after purchasing Pink Floyd's sound equipment in London. The trio had previously worked together with Conrad Schnitzler in Eruption. They released four albums of exemplary krautrock, combining blues influences with Jimi Hendrix pyrotechnics in freak out-style playing. The album's side-long tracks were mostly improvisational, and drew some similarity to the early Guru Guru albums. Ash Ra Tempel further collaborated with on-the-lamb acid-guru Timothy Leary for another album, and participated in Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's Cosmic Jokers sessions, from which tapes would be pilfered for a further series of albums. But by 1973, after a farewell concert in February, Schulze and Enke departed. Göttsching continued, now with Rosi Müller and producer Dieter Dierks on bass. It's not surprising then, that Starring Rosi presents a change to the Ash Ra Tempel formula. "Laughter Loving" opens with a "space whisper," yet unfolds to reveal a sprite instrumental that recalls Agitation Free's contemporary work (read: American Southern rock). Gone are the feedback and freak out, and in their place is a clean guitar tone, with journeyman drummer Harald Grosskopf supplying the quick beat. Müller offers some hippie prose as Göttsching strums away on the ensuing "Day-Dream;" while the brief "Cosmic Tango" does just that. The second side's "Interplay of Forces" is another track that features Göttsching's remarkable guitar playing, this time with a conga-enhanced rhythm. Similarly, "Bring Me Up" closes the side, offering another potent rocker—again with a little Latin influence, for good measure. Though the album would be the last (sort of) for Ash Ra Tempel, Göttsching kept busy, plotting his next course of action.

For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night > Caravan

October, 1973
United States
London Records
4.625
Violist Geoffrey Richardson jumped aboard Caravan in late 1972, while bassist John G. Perry joined after the Australian tour. They were two significant additions to the band, as both musicians would impart a significant influence on Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan. The band hired Dave Sinclair for a tour in the spring; but by the time they entered the studio to record their fifth record, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, Sinclair had returned as fulltime keyboardist. Pushed by a hard-driving guitar riff and punctuated by Sinclair's classic organ solo, the album's opener, "Memory Lain, Hugh," is a great return to form. Jimmy Hastings's flute and the stately horn arrangements help segue into the second section, "Headloss," and the band never skips a beat. Richardson's viola is well suited for the music, and his "Hoedown" reflects his new addition; however "C'Thlu" is a big departure, sounding more like Cream than Caravan! The second side contains several more compositions from Hastings that present a new, harder edge. The highlight is the stretch that begins with "L'Auberge du Sanglier" ("Wild Boar Inn") and runs through "A Hunting We Shall Go (Reprise)." Propelled by Perry's strong bass lines, the closing sections features Martyn Ford's powerful orchestration, augmented further by a rare synthesizer solo from Sinclair. Just after the album's release, the orchestra joined Caravan on stage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which resulted in the excellent Caravan And The New Symphonia record. It would be the only release for the band in 1974; and once again, neither album would chart, despite both being two of the strongest in Caravan's catalog.

Selling England By The Pound > Genesis

October, 1973
United States
Charisma
4.88889
Although released in July as a budget-priced album, the performances on Genesis Live were priceless; the record rose to No. 9 on the UK album charts. Live albums had started to appear during the early 70s, ostensibly to fill the album-per-year requirement most labels demanded. Of course, other than earning an easy buck or two, they also gave bands a breather to jump-start the creative process or fill a vacant role, and often served as a bookmark in a band's development. For Genesis, it closed the chapter that began with Trespass. If our boys from Charterhouse made one big artistic leap in their recording career, it was with Selling England By The Pound; all that the band would accomplish in the future now seems plausible from here. It's instantly evident on the lead track "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight." While the band paces through several changes in tone and tempo, the production holds throughout, and the slow fade reveals a new precision from the band. Throughout the album, the compositions offer a substantial maturity: both "Firth of Fifth" (with Tony Banks's proud piano introduction) and "Cinema Show" would feature prominently in their later stage repertoire. Steve Hackett's "After the Ordeal" (co-written with Mike Rutherford) is unique territory for the band; however, Hackett's elegant guitar solo on "Firth of Fifth" remains his classic contribution to the album. Genesis even had a near hit-single in "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" b/w "Twilight Alehouse" (it reached No. 21 in the UK). The album's musical highlight, though, is the epically constructed and superbly executed "The Battle of Epping Forest." The band would go on record proclaiming that they were happier with the track without Peter Gabriel's gang account sung on top of it—writing on the wall? The album was Genesis' first unqualified success, rising to No. 3 in the UK and to a respectable No. 70 in the US. Like the changes in Hackett's facial hair at the time, the band was coming out of their cocoon: readying themselves for even greater triumphs.

Contaminazione > Rovescio Della Madaglia, Il

October, 1973
Italy
RCA Italiana
4.5
Coming from Rome, Il Rovescio della Medaglia ("The Other Side of the Coin") was founded in 1971 by guitarist Enzo Vita, bassist Stefano Urso and drummer Gino Campoli, with Pino Ballarini eventually joining on vocals. Their debut album, La Bibbia, was a live recording from late 1971, and very much a heavy rock album. Vita's guitar playing was rugged and hard-riffing, and the band quickly developed a reputation as a premier live act. Their second album Io Come Io was released the following year; it continued where the first had left off, with Urso's bass now competing in volume with Vita's guitar. Adding keyboardist Franco Di Sabbatino and collaborating with Argentinian composer Luis Enrico Bacalov, RDM made the switch to the symphonic; and like Osanna and New Trolls, ushered forth a classic, Contaminazione in 1973. Like Bacalov's other collaborations, the concept was simple: contaminating classical music with rock, here taking on "short preludes and fugues" from J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. "Ora Non Ricordo Più" bursts open, revealing a mix of playful keyboards and a substantial rhythm underneath. It's rock progressivo Italiano of the highest order. "Il Suono Del Silenzio" continues the push, but "Mi Sono Svegliato E.. Ho Chiuso Gli Occhi" reveals the concept more prominently, with the strings playing counterpoint to Vita's guitar, and Bacalov arrangements in full swing. "Scotland Machine" and "Alzo Un Muro Elettrico" show just how powerful the combination can be, as does the closing "La Grande Fuga." The album was re-recorded in English and released the following year in the US on the Peters International Cosmos label. Unfortunately for the band, their gear was stolen; and despite efforts to resuscitate RDM, the band effectively collapsed.

Photos Of Ghosts > Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

October, 1973
United States
Manticore Records
4.857145
PFM released their second album, Per Un Amico ("For a Friend"), in late 1972, and saw it rise to the top of the Italian hit parade—partly due to heavy touring at the time. The band signed to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's newly formed Manticore label to seek their fortune outside of their native Italy. Pete Sinfield was brought on as lyricist and producer for the resulting Photos Of Ghosts, the group's first English-language album. Basically a remixing of their second album, it did feature two songs not on that album: The high steppin' "Celebration" is reprised from their first album ("È Festa"), while the quiet instrumental "Old Rain" is altogether new. Both "River of Life" and the title track highlight the attention to detail that PFM bring to their compositions. "Il Banchetto," the only track sung in Italian, features some delicious synthesizer lines from Flavio Premoli; while "Mr. 9 'till 5" is positively electric. Whether the English lyrics add or subtract to the original music is open for debate (I like it). Not surprisingly (with Sinfield collaborating), the album has a gentler, more reflective mood than its Italian counterpart. PFM's skill in arrangement takes another step forward, although some foreign influences persist (notably Gentle Giant). PFM held their debut concert in the UK upon the album's release, followed by their first tour outside of Italy in support of Sinfield (and Mel Collins). The album even entered the lower reaches of the US Top 200 album chart.

Brain Salad Surgery > Emerson, Lake & Palmer

November, 1973
United States
Manticore Records
4.5625
Brain Salad Surgery, a euphemism for oral sex (from Dr. John's "Right Place, Wrong Time"), was Emerson, Lake & Palmer's first album on their own Manticore imprint, and came complete with a H.R. Giger cover and poster. It continued the long-standing tradition of covering the classics, opening with a concise rendition of Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem." The adaptation of an Alberto Ginastera piece, "Toccata," is a highlight, featuring Carl Palmer's percussion synthesizers in a surprisingly expressive role. Greg Lake gets his one-per-album allotment of acoustic guitar with the ballad "Still… You Turn Me On," though the song's arrangement steals the show. Spilling over from the first side and filling up the second, the three-part epic "Karn Evil 9" is the album's zenith. A sci-fi saga, it featured lyrical assistance from Pete Sinfield, who changed the working title from "Ganton 9" to a play on the word carnival. "1st Impression, Part 2" kicks off with the classic line "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends," instantly becoming the band's calling card and an FM radio staple. Lake's production is a little heavy on the reverb, but it's chock-full of everything ELP that's either loved or hated. "2nd Impression" shifts the focus from electric to acoustic and from rock to jazz, and is all Keith Emerson. His fluid piano is spoiled only by his slightly brisk, if not forced, tempo. The "3rd Impression" roars back to form, with Lake singing something about man vs. computer, and of course culminating in a big apocalyptical refrain; it's one of the band's most frenetic pieces. Whatever may be said, ELP were very good at their game, and that game didn't get much better than "Karn Evil 9." In hindsight, the album would be the group's last stand. It was a great commercial success, reaching No. 2 in the UK and No. 11 in the US. ELP then undertook a mammoth world tour with semi-trailers of equipment, spinning drum platform, flying piano and a quadrophonic PA. A live document—no less than a triple-album with a title long enough to match—was released in August 1974, and also reached the Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic. At the tour's conclusion, the band took an extended break that would last for well over two years.

(No Pussyfooting) > Fripp & Eno

November, 1973
United Kingdom
Island Records
4.8
Robert Fripp and Brian Eno paired up for this recording more than a year prior to its release. At the time, Eno was still in Roxy Music (but soon on his way to a solo career), while Fripp was busy recruiting for King Crimson. Recorded in Eno's front room, the album's centerpiece is "The Heavenly Music Corporation;" it's Fripp's guitar feed looped-back through two tape recorders. The result? You guessed it: heavenly music. So if you've a liking for those heavy, sustained Fripp guitar solos, or if you're interested in the roots of Eno's ambient adventures, look no further. The second side, recorded a year later at Command Studios, seems more manipulated and dense, but to equal effect. The album also is one of the first releases of "process" music in a rock context, though certainly not the first, nor the last: Eno would create an entire catalog parallel to, and eventually eclipsing, his pop releases. First up for Eno was his Discreet Music in 1975, followed by Music For Airports in 1977. Fripp too would further investigate this territory toward the end of the decade, with his self-described "Frippertronics" technique. In addition, No Pussyfooting was one of the first experimental releases from two (more or less) rock stars, and saw release on Island's Antilles subsidiary. The pair would release a second album Evening Star two years later, but the statement had already been made.

Don't Call Us - We Call You > Guru Guru

November, 1973
Germany
Atlantic
3
For their fourth record, titled Guru Guru and again released on Brain, Bruno Schaab replaced Uli Trepte on bass. Transitional, the album reflects the move toward further structured arrangements, and away from the free improvisation of their earlier works. It featured the epic "Der Elektrolurch," a track named after Mani Neumeier's amphibian alter ego and a highlight of the band's live performances from here on out. Hans Hartmann then replaced Schaab, and the band signed to Atlantic Records. There was little precedent for Guru Guru's music, even by 1973's Don't Call Us, We Call You. "Africa Steals the Show" leads off, featuring a light melody and similarly plaintive guitar lines from Ax Genrich; while its second half approaches conventionality, with a piano now guiding the song. "Round Dance" is next; starting out in mildly kosmische territory, Neumeier and company break into a Shoshone dance before returning to the rock 'n' roll form of the first track. "200 Clichés" also traces rock 'n' roll, and "Das Zwickmaschinchen" ("little pincher") delivers another of the band's quirky melodies. The final track, "Guru Guru Ltd.," is an acoustic affair. Genrich's guitar work had matured from his playing on earlier records, placing him as one of Germany's finest. However, this would be his last jaunt with the band, as creative differences would become insurmountable. Genrich would eventually proffer his Highdelberg super-session with members of Kraan and Cluster in 1975.

Ralf & Florian > Kraftwerk

November, 1973
Germany
Philips
4
Kraftwerk starts and ends with Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. The duo first recorded with Organisation, a band that released one album, Tone Float in 1970, before establishing themselves as Kraftwerk (with the others off to Ibliss). Both Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother (later of Neu!) interned with a Schneider-led band early on, which is well-documented in the video "Truckstop Gondolaro" from German Beat Club television. The duo reunited for their second album, now substituting a rhythm machine for a drummer. This album too stemmed from krautrock tradition, though also touched the avant-garde with psychedelia. With more emphasis on melody, their third album, Ralf & Florian, represents a stylistic shift. The opening track "Elecktrisches Roulette" gets about as manic as Kraftwerk would ever be, but exactly why the melody sounds like the Gilligan's Island theme song is anyone's guess! Schneider's echoed and multi-tracked flute opens the following "Tongebirge," with synthesizers lumbering underneath. "Kristallo" puts a clavinet in one channel, while the other contrasts with a fuzzy pulsating synthesizer. The track ambles along, drifting to silence before fading back into the mix at double-time. Weird. The effervescent "Tanzmusik" begins the second side, with a coy piano riff riding over the "artificial" beat of the rhythm machine. But the closing track, "Ananas Symphonie" ("Pineapple Symphony"), is the sleeper. Full of incredible detail, it evokes a mellifluous aura over its 14 minutes, like a wave-swept beach. The album remains an underrated entry in the Kraftwerk catalog, and perhaps a lost link between prog rock and krautrock. The picture of the duo on the back of the album's cover speaks, as they say, a thousand words. The album was reissued in 1975 by Vertigo Records.

Solar Fire > Manfred Mann's Earth Band

November, 1973
United States
Polydor
4.25
It would be hard to have passed through the 60s without hearing one of Manfred Mann's numerous singles that littered the Top 10 in England—including his most famous "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" b/w "What You Gonna Do," which topped both sides of the Atlantic. But as the South African-born (Manfred Lubowitz) keyboardist entered the 70s, he left the pop world behind, releasing two albums under the moniker Chapter Three. Volume One is an excellent record; brass arrangements outfit its heavy-ish tunes, but it still sounds rooted in the 60s. In 1971, Mann formed the Earth Band with drummer Chris Slade, bassist Colin Pattenden and guitarist and vocalist Mick Rogers. Dubbed Manfred Mann's Earth Band, they churned out four albums in the space of almost two years. Both Glorified Magnified and Messin' (US title Get Your Rocks Off) were solid efforts, illustrating that Mann had indeed assembled one cohesive band. In August, the band scored a Top 10 hit in the UK (and Europe) with "Joybringer" b/w "Can't Eat Meat," a song based on Gustav Holst's "Jupiter" from the composer's The Planets. This concept continued on the ensuing Solar Fire album. An unlikely cover of Bob Dylan's "Father of Day, Father of Night" opens the record; it's an awesome display of prog rock, the stately arrangement evoking the aura of early King Crimson, yet with Mann's organ growling underneath. From here on out, the songs are all group compositions: "In the Beginning, Darkness" rocks heavy over its driving riff, while "Pluto the Dog" gets a little funky. The hypnotic groove of the title track provides an excellent base for Rogers's lead guitar, while "Saturn, Lord of the Ring/Mercury, the Winged Messenger" traverses fusion-inspired realms. Overall, it's a strikingly original album that avoids most of the sins of prog rock, and one that even managed to break into the US Top 100. The Earth Band's next effort, The Good Earth, featured more terrestrial compositions, the instrumental "Sky High" notwithstanding. The album also had the ultimate gimmick: a purchase entitled the buyer to one square foot of land somewhere in Wales!

Remember The Future > Nektar

November, 1973
United States
Passport Records
5
Having road-tested some of the material the previous summer, Remember The Future splits its single title down the album's two halves; the individual track names banded on the vinyl, Nektar offers two song cycles that run continuously. The story revolves around a bluebird and a blind boy, but I won't go there; I'll let Nektar relate that to you. The sprightly opening section, "Images of The Past," bounces beneath Roye Albrighton's rhythm guitar. Immediately, the vocal harmonies hit you: one of Nektar's endearing trademarks. Propelled by Mo Moore and Ron Howden's brisk rhythm, the second section "Wheel of Time" slows the tempo and reveals a little more detail in the arrangement. "Remember the Future" then grumbles and pulses under Taff Freeman's grinding organ. Nektar even get downright heavy on the closing "Confusion," with Albrighton delivering a classic psychedelic lead guitar. The second side again presents another lengthy song cycle. Both "Questions and Answers" and "Tomorrow Never Comes" follow the pattern of the first side: well-polished and highly melodic. But after that, the band gets bluesy and funky for the final few songs. The album was successful in Germany, and even managed to enter the US Top 20 the following summer through radio airplay. This eventually prompted the US label Passport Records to reissue some of the band's back catalog, often in slightly remixed versions. Nektar's next release was 1974's Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse, though that wasn't completely accurate. One side of the album was indeed recorded live at London's Roundhouse, but the other contained excerpts from a jam the band had in the studio after completing their 1973 record. While accurately capturing the spontaneity of the band's performance, both sides reveal the heavier rocking side of Nektar.

Måltid > Samla Mammas Manna

November, 1973
Sweden
Silence Records
5
Lars Hollmer, Hans Bruniusson, Lars Krantz and Henrik Bebben Öberg formed the Uppsala-based Samla Mammas Manna in 1969. Not your typical rock band, even by a long shot, they released their self-titled debut in 1971 on Sweden's Silence Records. Mostly centered on Hollmer's electric piano and organ, it was a mishmash of ideas and lo-fi recording in the keyboardist's chicken house. Subsequently, percussionist Öberg dropped out; and prior to their second album's recording, guitarist Coste Apetrea joined up. Released in 1973 on Silence, Måltid ("meal time") is a hallmark of the band's unique style. Certainly, the album contains inspiration from Frank Zappa and a healthy dose of improvisation; but the root of SMM's compositions lie in Nordic folk tunes—SMM's trick is turning these themes into modern rock. "Dundrets Fröjder" starts with a bevy of ideas, eventually settles down for a verse or two of nonsense lyrics and then rises again into a tight groove, augmented by Mellotron; if only it went on longer. Throughout the album, bassist Krantz and drummer Bruniusson are incredibly tight, driving each musical fragment to the next with ease. "Syster System" flows into the bouncing riff of "Tärningen," which is a veritable display for Apetrea's guitar. "Minareten" closes, and it's another potent exhibition of SMM firepower. Released in 1974, the band's next album Klossa Knapitatet continued where the previous left off, and their next project saw the band record Gregory Allan Fitzpatrick's Snorungarnas Symfoni in 1976. Apetrea split in the mid-70s to work with guitarist Jukka Tolonen and members of Wigwam; and in 1978, the rest of SMM participated in Chris Culter's inaugural Rock in Opposition festival: a movement the band would embrace. Yet with guitarist Eino Haapala now on board, SMM switched their spelling to Zamla Mammaz Manna for another round of albums, again on Silence. By the early 80s, though, Hollmer and Haapala were recording as Von Zamla, yet retiring the name altogether in 1982.

Dedicato A Frazz > Semiramis

November, 1973
Italy
Trident (2), Trident (2)
4.75
Semiramis was another Italian group that forged a substantial legacy based on one recording. Formed in Rome in the early 70s by the brothers Zarrillo—keyboardist Maurizio and vocalist Michele—the band also featured bassist Marcello Reddavide and drummer Memmo Pulvano. Like Cervello, they were all teenagers at the time. Also a guitarist, brother Michele joined in 1972, replacing the band's original vocalist. Then Semiramis earned a slot at the Festival pop di Villa Pamphili in Rome, held in late May 1972. Spread over three days, the festival featured dozens of RPI groups—including Banco, New Trolls and Osanna, along with Hawkwind, Amon Düül II and Van der Graaf Generator—playing to a reported 100,000 plus audience; yes, it was the Italian Woodstock. Adding drummer Paolo Faenza and keyboardist Giampiero Artegiani, Semiramis then signed to Trident Records and recorded their debut album, Dedicato A Frazz, which was released in 1973. "La bottega del rigattiere" ("The Junk Dealer's Shop") opens the album, revealing a dense rock progressivo Italiano. Layers of keyboards, vibraphone and guitar fill the soundstage as the song shifts through several themes. "Luna Park" jumps off frenetically before settling down, while the ensuing "Uno Zoo Di Vetro" ("A Glass Zoo") is the opposite; it scuttles its gentle beginning for something downright metal, shifts gears for a resplendent finale and then sideswipes again with a sideways solo vibraphone finish. You get the point: Semiramis pour everything into the mix. "Dietro Una Porta Di Carta" ("Behind a Paper Door") offers more of Michele's heavy guitar, while "Frazz" shifts violently between themes. The album stands as one of the most original and exciting displays of RPI, but it wasn't to last: Weathering further lineup changes, the band broke up after a final performance at the Villa Pamphili festival in 1974. Michele Zarrillo briefly joined Il Rovescio della Medaglia before forging a successful Italian solo career in the 80s.

Fandangos In Space > Carmen

December, 1973
US
ABC Records
4
Born in Los Angeles, California, David Clark Allen and sister Angela were raised on Spanish music, as their parents operated a club on the Sunset Strip. In the early 70s, the pair met another kindred spirit: dancer Roberto Amaral. With a vision of combining flamenco music with rock, they formed Carmen with former The Gods and Toe Fat drummer Brian Glascock. However, it took moving to London and catching the attention of the glam world for the band to take flight. It's no wonder, as their live show featured dancing of Angela and Amaral's flamenco dancing on a specially amplified stage: a feat of aural and visual spectacle. Glascock did not make the trip, but Carmen added his brother John on bass—he had recently departed Chicken Shack after a brief stay—and recruited drummer Paul Fenton. It was through Fenton that the band gained management and, most importantly, a recording contract with Regal Zonophone. With Tony Visconti at the helm, Carmen recorded their debut album, Fandangos In Space, in 1973. As the spirited "Bulerias" attests, the band present a rousing, well-crafted hybrid of (you guessed it) Latin music and progressive rock. Despite a few dips, the album powers through; "Looking Outside (My Window)" and the title track are the highlights. Carmen enjoyed success on the touring circuit, recording again with Visconti for 1974's Dancing On A Cold Wind before returning to the US in 1975 to open for Jethro Tull's War Child tour. But when the band decamped to a farm in Long View, Massachusetts to record a third album, The Gypsies, things quickly fell apart. Management vanished with their money and Fenton was injured in a horse riding accident. Glascock subsequently left for Jethro Tull, while Allen eventually left the music business in the early 80s.

Inside > Eloy

December, 1973
United States
Janus Records
4
From Hannover, Eloy formed in 1969, taking their name from sci-fi author H.G. Wells's Time Machine. As with many German bands at the time, Eloy covered English bands, which had considerable influence on their music. Oddly enough, the band gained a recording contract by winning a talent contest. Their hard rock debut, sung in English (as were all their albums), was a private release, but constant touring led to a deal with EMI. For their second album, Inside, guitarist and vocalist Frank Bornemann had taken control of the band's musical direction as, unsurprisingly, it took a turn to the sci-fi and the progressive. Combining the bluesy riffs of early Jethro Tull and the psychedelic jams of Pink Floyd, the album is still quite a statement. The first side is comprised entirely of "Land of Nobody" and features the excellent organ work of Manfred Wieczorke. Fritz Randow and Wolfgang Stocker's plodding rhythm section are new for the album, but Stocker wouldn't last for another. The second side features three shorter tracks that further highlight the band's unique combination of both hard and progressive rock. Bornemann's voice is "like Ian Anderson with a German accent" and something you either like or (more than likely) don't. Recorded while Bornemann simultaneously produced the Scorpions second album, their next album, Floating, followed in much the same direction. Both created some stir in the US, but unfortunately their record label Janus went bankrupt. Eloy, however, would soldier on.