Het Pandorra Ensemble - III. 1978 Netherlands

Taking Side 2 of King Crimson's Starless and Bible Black as a blueprint, Het Pandorra Ensemble went about releasing one of the more bizarre progressive rock albums of the era. There's quite a bit of ambient atmospherics, augmented by louder rock sections with compressed fuzz tone Frippian guitar. But unlike the decidedly atonal Crimson, Pandorra follow the European model of melodic, almost jazzy, progressive rock. This is a one of a kind album, with no regards to any kind of pre-conceived audience. The album cover is not indicative at all of the music within (though the back cover is far more interesting). See also Zog, their followup group, who also play an entirely unique music, yet still different from Pandorra Ensemble. These guys were on their own planet. Despite the title, III is their debut. Strange lads.

What's even more amazing, is the bonus tracks are even better! Same style of improvised melodic dissonance (how's that for an oxymoron), but perhaps a bit more focused than the album proper. Rare is the case where the bonus tracks exceed the original product.

Personal collection
LP: 1978 Disaster Electronics
CD: 2012 Modulus (USA)

The CD is a beautifully packaged gatefold mini-LP, with incredible sound, tons of bonus material, a history, photos, etc... A stunning package - as gorgeous as any Japanese mini-LP. It's worth noting that the original is a single sleeve, so this is an improvement in that category as well.

My own history of this album goes back to the early 90s. I had befriended a well known Dutch dealer circa 1992 or so. He recorded for me on cassette many obscure Dutch albums, including this one, all of which became favorites quickly. In 1996 I made a blockbuster trade with another well known European dealer, that landed me a pile of albums. Every one of them I still own and cherish. Het Pandorra Ensemble was one of those albums. The cover itself is very misleading, giving off a whiff of punk or glam rock. But it's nothing of the sort, of course. The rather artsy sketch on the back cover is more indicative of the contents within.

1 comment:

  1. Great, great album!!!

    The reissue arrived today. Can't wait to rush for the extra tracks. Very nicely done Ken!


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