Brainstorm - Smile a While. 1972 Germany
CD reissues: 1996 Musea (France); 2005 MALS (Russia); 2009 Lion (USA)
LP reissue: Think Progressive
Fashion Pink were a band from Baden-Baden, in southwest Germany, not far from Strasbourg, France. Before recording their debut album Smile a While, the group suffered a debilitating road accident, which lead to a band name change - and Brainstorm was born (named after the business technique of "brainstorming" of all things). Their brand of music was clearly influenced by Soft Machine, in that legendary period between "II"and "III" (think Noisette here), and it's a brilliant blend of sophisticated progressive jazz rock, mixed with a whimsical psychedelic pop streak that is irresistible. They were clearly Germany's answer to the nearby French Genius Hans of Moving Gelatine Plates. The title track then goes off into Krautrock land just to ensure we don't forget the influential psychedelia aspects of the early 70s, similar to how Eiliff would do on occasion. So basically in the world of Ashratom, it's absolutely the perfect type of album. Sophisticated, edgy, melodic, memorable, and oh yea, it rocks hard too.
Presumably I don't need to explain why I haven't pursued an original LP of this... (though I wouldn't pass it up if I was offered one at a good price). The Musea CD is the first official reissue and features a nice sound (though there is some scratchy dropout here and there on the title track and 'You are What's...'), with excellent historical liner notes, photos, and 3 superb bonus tracks (which I believe were also on the Fashion Pink SWF Sessions later released by Long Hair (and also comes highly recommended)). The notes above actually came from the 2009 Lion release that I sourced for comparison. I was hoping for a different presentation, but other than a layout tweak, liner note grammar fixes, and a bit of extra verbiage, it is basically the same in every way (including not fixing the sound flaws), and was fully licensed from Musea. Not a necessary addition if already owning the Musea copy, so off to the sell bin it goes. But if you don't own it, be sure to nail the Lion copy as the other is OOP. Interesting to note that the only native reissue of this album is the Think Progressive LP.