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
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more