Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF) — The Collected Works of Schicke Führs Fröhling
(Laser's Edge LE 1017/18, 1993, 2CD)
SFF — Symphonic Pictures
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1001, 1976/2010, CD)
Schicke Führs Fröhling — Sunburst
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1002, 1977/2010, CD)
SFF — Ticket to Everywhere
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1004, 1979/2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01
During their brief yet productive career from 1976 to 1978, the trio of Ede Schicke (drums), Gerd Führs (keys), and Heinz Fröhling (guitar, Mellotron) produced three outstanding albums on the German Brain label. Later, Schicke left the fold and Führs & Fröhling went on as a duo to record another three records before calling it quits around 1981. The subject of this two-disc compilation is the first three albums (Symphonic Pictures, Sunburst, and Ticket to Everywhere) recorded by the original trio. Their music was a powerful mix of keyboard-heavy electronic oriented symphonic rock, although they do offer diversions from that general description on many cuts. There is plenty of experimentation and a lot of unique ideas to be found here – together with influence from folk, jazz, classical music, and of course the German electronic pioneers. The three albums are presented in their original playing order: the first two occupy disc one, and the third album and fifteen minutes of live bonus material fill out the second disc.
Highlights of the first disc include the 17-minute "Pictures," a musical journey from the heavy to the pastoral and serene and back again, with plenty of changes in mood, texture and dynamics along the way. "Autumn Sun in Cool Water" (originally on Sunburst) is a breathtaking melodic track of shifting moods with periodic outbursts of guitar and drums, soaring ever higher each time; there is no way one can listen to this track and not be totally captivated by it. "Troja" is an energetic track that allows Fröhling ample room to show off his chops on both the acoustic and electric fretboard – with a haunting group driven passage in the middle – one of those tunes that won't leave your mind alone for days after hearing it.
Disc two kicks off with "Open Doors," a lively melodic tune using piano, synthesizers and acoustics to achieve a degree of jubilance filled with passion and energy – something that SFF never seem to be short of. "Here and Now" builds strong electronic rhythms and counterrhythms on top of an acoustic guitar foundation, with synths adding melody over the top – and contains some of the album's only vocals. Among the bonus tracks is a four minute "Every Land Tells a Story," a track which would later be expanded to nearly an entire album side on the first Führs & Fröhling album, Ammerland. This two disc set is an absolute must-have, and definitely one of the most welcome reissues of the past year.
Related artist(s): Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF)
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
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