Epidaurus - Earthly Paradise. 1977 Germany

If there's ever an album that is misunderstood, it's this one. Naysayers are a fact of life in the progressive rock world, and boy do they line up to skewer this baby. They hyperventilate in their glee to scream "overrated!", "overhyped!", "over-everything-I-hate-about-progressive-rock-collectors-even-though-I-am-one!". Favorite target of course is vocalist Christiane Wand. She sings soprano, which sounds a bit disorienting at first, but actually adds a certain amateur charm. Her total impact? About 4 minutes of the disc - all on Side 1. Yep - that's about it. 4 minutes. And her wordless voice is quite enticing, further adding to her value. You'd think by reading many reviews she was all over this thing like Diamanda Galas.

So even if her rather strange voice is not according to your taste, there is close to 30 minutes (it's a short album anyway) of high quality instrumental dual keyboard-driven progressive rock. The album is loaded to the gills with mellotron, Moog, organ, flute, Taurus pedals, active rhythms, the works (no guitars though). It has a very fat sound that I find highly appealing. In fact in some ways, Side 2 could work well as an excellent example of Berlin School sequencer based electronic rock (think Schulze's Moondawn, Wolfgang Bock's Cycles, or You's Electric Day) - especially the track 'Mitternachtstraum'.

Don't let the wet-blanket crowd get you down. This one is truly a gem.

Personal collection
CD: 1991 Penner
LP: 2010 Garden of Delights

This is release number #1 for the famed Garden of Delights label (then known as Penner), and is considerably weaker from an archival perspective (sound is great!) than later reissues. There's a very brief bio, all in German, and one fuzzy photo - and that's it! They were to improve dramatically as a label from here though. I bought the CD shortly after it was released and was the first time I'd ever even heard of the band! I've also owned the Resurrection LP reissue which is definitely a high quality job, but ultimately decided to sell it as the overall package isn't that much of interest. No regrets. Years later I did pick up the Garden of Delights LP version, and this time they've expanded the biography greatly. Worth owning both I think. Original LPs are quite rare and expensive.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Joe O'Donnell - Gaodhal's Vision. 1977 Ireland

Joe O'Donnell's debut is a much unheralded album, but it's quite good. All instrumental fusion driven by O'Donnell's e...