It seems that Esoteric Recordings have found a new source with some hidden gems. Recently they released two albums from Ache, a Danish band formed in 1968 that recorded two progressive rock albums in the seventies. Denmark isn't a well-known country as far as progressive rock is concerned. However, since Esoteric re-released two Danish prog rock albums maybe more unknown bands like Ache hail from this country.
Well, I've never heard of Ache before until I received the albums De Homine Urbano (1970) and Green Man (1971). At the time, the band's line-up consisted of Torsten Olafsson (bass, vocals), Finn Olafsson (guitar, vocals), Peter Mellin (organ, piano) and Glen Fisher (drums, percussion). Ache first came to the attention of the public in Denmark with their debut De Homine Urbano, meaning 'about urban man'. This piece of music was the first rock ballet ever, performed in 1969 by the Royal Danish Ballet Company in Copenhagen. The original vinyl album contained two pieces of music, on each side one. The A-side featured the title track divided into ten parts. The track on the B-side was called Little Things. Both pieces contain approximately nineteen minutes of music mostly inspired by bands as The Nice and Iron Butterfly. I guess that Dutch band Ekseption could have been an inspiration as well. I even heard touches of The Zombies with Rod Argent behind the Hammond.
The music they composed was mainly based on Peter Mellin's powerful Hammond organ sound and the fluent guitar playing of Finn Olafsson. He both played the electric and the acoustic guitars. The two pieces on De Homine Urbano mainly contain large instrumental parts on which both musicians could show off. However, the band also used their vocal capabilities rather well. The voices of the Olafsson brothers are both worthwhile listening to. The band also had the talent to write good songs for the album features rather melodic compositions.
This also applies to their second album Green Man released in June 1971. It continued the musical style of their debut. The album contains seven shorter compositions including the Lennon-McCartney song We Can Work It Out. They covered this song a bit like Deep Purple did on The Book Of Taliesyn (1968). This version has more organ parts than the original one. The other tracks are more song orientated than the material on their first offering, but again, as I said before, all worthwhile listening to.
Both albums have been released on CD before, but these reissues by Esoteric Recordings have been newly remastered and feature a booklet that fully restores the original album artwork and including information about the band. Those who love the music made by the above-mentioned bands have two pleasant sounding albums at their disposal. Hopefully Esoteric will dig up more strong releases from the Scandinavian area.
*** (Both) Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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