Bauhaus - Stairway to Escher. 1974 Italy
CD issue: 2003 Akarma
LP issue: 2013 Akarma
Comparisons to Perigeo are about right, and that’s definitely where the Italian band Bauhaus built its campfire from. But whereas Perigeo seems to get stuck in slickly polished fusion hell, Bauhaus have a much more raw sound and energy about them that is completely endearing. What I particularly enjoy is the nimble guitar playing, but with a raw biting fuzz tone. The ensemble playing is highly melodic (sax, electric piano, guitar), another great quality. Fantastic rhythm section as well. Sometimes the group will go in no mans land, as the jam will hit a dead-end road and they'll just grind their way through it. Since it wasn’t really meant for release to begin with, hard to fault the final product too much. Other reference points are fellow Italians Napoli Centrale and the German outfit Out of Focus on Four Letter Monday Afternoon. All clearly looked to Soft Machine and Nucleus as inspiration here. If any of these bands set off your iPhone Fusion Want app, then by all means investigate Stairway to Escher.
Akarma's track record on reissues is clearly checkered, but this archival release is nothing but first class. Fully authorized with band participation and fantastic liner notes - all housed in a wonderful hard bound digi-pak. Great sound of a live concert recorded in Rome, May 1974.