V.A. - Proton 1. 1974 Germany
On the vaunted Kerston label (Gaa, Tyll, Epidermis), Proton 1 features five bands over a 2 LP set, of which Sun and Zyma recorded albums many years later. Zyma managed two albums actually.
1. Zyma - Law Like Love 7:02
2. Zyma - Tango Enough 6:02
3. Andorra - I've Been Waiting 7:10
4. Andorra - Mr. Congresman 2:47
5. Andorra - On My Way 4:29
6. Penicillin - Das Kleine Zahnrad 2:51
7. Penicillin - Die Fledermaus 4:39
8. Penicillin - Für Elise 6:07
9. Nexus - Always Fluffy 3:08
10. Nexus - Plexus 4:41
11. Nexus - Ignis 7:55
12. Sun - Leisure 10:44
13. Sun - To Celia 8:35
1) & 2) are from Zyma and are both excellent. At this stage they have a female and male vocalist, and the music is hard hitting bluesy post Jefferson Airplane rock, similar to Joy Unlimited and Frumpy. Much rawer than their later, more refined Canterbury efforts. One can only hope there is a full canister of tape here for a future reissue. I'd love to hear a whole album of Zyma at this stage of their career.
3)-5) are from the band named for the obscure tiny country between Spain and France. Musically speaking, sadly no ethnic elements are present. 3) is a decent straightforward acid rocker with nice guitar work. 4) is a short CSN/Byrds like rural folk rock number. 5) is the highlight of Andorra's set, and features a nice groove with some excellent guitar soloing and shaker percussion. This track recalls Missing Link, Nosferatu and early Epitaph. Andorra show enough potential, that if an archival release presented itself, I'd be most interested.
6)-8) features Penicillin, the odd group out in this bunch. They're basically a German language, commercially oriented, bluesy rock band. 8) is an instrumental classical rip similar to Ekseption, Trace or Amos Key. Other than some decent Hammond organ work, overall there's not a lot to grab hold on here. Weakest band on the set, no doubt.
9)-11) moves us into the jazz rock realm with Nexus. The addition of flute and sax to the palette makes for a more interesting ride. 9) has vocals and is the catchiest of their three tracks. 10) is the highlight of the entire Proton set and is an absolutely wonderful instrumental jazz rock piece. 11) is more atmospheric with electric piano, electric guitar (featuring an excellent wah wah solo), sax and flute. Nexus are a very mature band at this point, and another group that I hope has more in storage for a future archival issue.
12) & 13) are for Sun and somewhat maintains the jazz flavor set forth by Nexus. 12) is the longest track on Proton 1, and has a few different movements between jazz, bluesy rock, moody folk and progressive sections. Vocals and Hammond organ are fairly dominant here. A thoughtful piece. 13) breaks out the violin. Flute and acoustic guitar accompany along with harmony vocals, before breaking into heavier movements. Sun are definitely the most progressive minded of the bands present on this set, though not as mature or professional as Nexus or Zyma. Much different than their rather breezy fusion album from 1980. Another archival set that one hopes is sitting idly by waiting for a reissue label to release.
Overall, definitely a set well worth seeking out.
At one time I owned the original LP. I should have held onto it, but was looking for more things back in the 90s and needed the capital.
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