Aera — Türkis / Live
(Erlkönig ERL 4309, 1980/2004, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01Last issue I covered the reissue of the first two Aera albums, and now Erlkönig present the band’s third studio effort and their live album. Türkis finds the band almost completely changed during the two years since their previous album, leaving only reedman Klaus Kreuzeder from the previous line-up. Most significantly, guitarist Muck Groh, one of the band’s main attractions, is gone (except for an understated guest appearance on one track), and they decided not to replace him, providing instead more room for Kreuzeder. The musical direction is deflected away from the Middle-Eastern influences and more toward straight fusion. Normally I would count this a loss, but they do it so well I can’t complain. This album can stand up to comparisons with the best Passport had to offer (especially by this time in their history), with solid compositions, great grooves, and hot playing all around. New bassist Matz Steinke gets in some amazing licks, playing a role similar to what Jaco Pastorius did when he was in Weather Report, laying down some serious funk and managing flashy fills and fluid leads within the groove; Steinke is also the primary composer, with drummer Lutz Oldemeier a close second. By November of 1979, when the live album was recorded, the band had recruited two Embryo members, Roman Bunka (guitar and vocals) and Locko Richter (bass). While there’s a certain charm to Bunka’s wailing psychedelic guitar, his vocals are wholly unnecessary, if not exactly unpleasant. Richter’s playing is serviceable, but can’t help but suffer considering the huge shadow of his predecessor. The highlights of the set come from Kreuzeder and the percussion, with as many as three players filling up the rhythms. There are also some freeform moments of noise manipulation – hard to say exactly who’s doing what there. While Live doesn’t add anything significant to Aera’s legacy, it can be seen as a good bonus disc for the purchase of Türkis.
Related artist(s): Aera
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more