ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

Kracq (Holland) - Overall View


Prolusion. KRACQ is a very obscure band from Holland. They recorded three albums in 1978 and 1979, all of which were never released before. Thankfully, they're out now and can be ordered from the Polymnia label (check Related Links below the review). The second and the third Kracq albums, "Mixed Emotions" and "Cellar Tapes", are placed on one CD.


- 1978/2004 - "Circumvision" ******
(51 min, Polumnia)


1.  Summer of My Life 7:08
2.  Day In Day Out 5:13
3.  Somewhere in the Evening 5:29
4.  Y 5:17
5.  Cobweb 1:05 
6.  Y-II 2:05
7.  Opening the Gate of Noise 0:10
8.  Put up the Organized Fight 4:29
9.  Crimpse 0:20
10. To a Square 5:40
11. Intercaps 0:10
12. Partnership 3:42
13. Crimpse-II 0:30
14. Keep Control 8:07
15. Encounter 0:10

All tracks: by Kracq.

LINE-UP:

Jos Hustings - guitars; vocals
Bert Vermijs - piano, clavinet, synthesizers; vocals
Twan van der Heijden - bass; percussion
Cees Michielsen - drums & percussion

Synopsis. Already judging by the contents of the band's first album, it becomes clear that Kracq was one of the most interesting progressive groups formed in the second half of the seventies. Above all, it's due to their rare and original music, which is genuinely inspired, and the high caliber of musicianship by all of the band members. Though partly, it's also because they sometimes use counterpoint and polyrhythmic structures, which at the time were adopted only by the proponents of RIO and related experimental outfits. Well, the latter features are present only on the first six tracks, but these form no less than half of the album. The opener Summer of My Life is the only song among them and is brilliant throughout, including the vocal-based parts covering about a third of it. The music is a really unique, both highly intricate and intriguing Symphonic Art-Rock with RIO-like tendencies and ever-changing arrangements. The instrumentals Day In Day Out, Somewhere in the Evening, Y, and Y-II (2, 3, 4, & 6) follow the principal compositionally stylistic aspects of Summer of My Life, though Y contains also distinct elements of classical music, provided by piano, and Y-II those related to Prog-Metal. Among the notable particularities of the first two tracks are solos of acoustic guitar inventively interwoven with basic textures. Cobweb (5) is too short to define its stylistics precisely. Nevertheless, consisting of eclectic interplay between solos of synthesizer, guitar, and bass and those of various mallet and metallic percussion, this is a RIO-like entity rather than something different. The remaining five instrumentals, located on all of the further oddly numbered tracks, are just exceptionally brief to be considered music. I don't know why these snatches of effects, etc, have been included here, but, fortunately, they don't mar the overall impression of the album. All the tracks that really form the second half of the recording are songs: Put up the Organized Fight, To a Square, Partnership, and Keep Control (8, 10, 12, & 14), each representing Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of progressive Hard Rock without noticeable deviations towards experimentalism. While being more accessible than any composition from the first half of the album, each of them, nevertheless, contains enough turns and twists to continue keeping the listener's attention. In any case, "Circumvision" is a really remarkable album. I believe it will be deeply appreciated by any expert in Classic Symphonic Progressive, and not only.

VM: April 19, 2004


- 1979/2004 - "Mixed Emotions & Celled Tapes" ******
(75 min, Polumnia)

1.  Introspection 13:30
2.  Fight 5:27
3.  Appendix 1:59
4.  Adapted Letter 12:18
5.  Charlotte's Blues 8:49
6.  Slow 6:08
7.  Beautiful Sun 12:05
8.  Visions & Reality 13:52
9.  I Can't Find It 1:25

All tracks: by Kracq.

LINE-UP:

Jos Hustings - guitars; vocals
Bert Vermijs - keyboards; vocals
Charlotte Rutten - lead vocals 

Synopsis. Hey, anybody in the mood for a cheesy muzak with loops-&-tapes-&-drum machines and other push-button techniques! I doubt that you read these pages, but in any case, you won't find it on this output. False alarm, in short! No drum machines and, proper, drums, too. A light percussion is available, but only on one track. For their second and third albums KRACQ (a trio now) has gone far beyond the ground of traditional Progressive Rock, using only synthesizers, electric and acoustic guitars, vocals and vocalizations, but in a way you have never heard before, you may believe me! With no affectation and absolute inattention for then-typical trends in recording (1979 after all), on their follow-up outing Kracq presented an unbelievably original slab of psychedelically avant-garde Space Rock with still a rather strong inclination towards RIO-like forms, and also those of experimental Electronic Rock and some touch of the other musical disciplines: a guitar and symphonic Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Space Metal. Well, all these are familiar terms, but they combined here the most marvelous way I could've expected. So I can say with assurance that this Dutch band was one of the very first bearers of Fifth Element. The music is both extensive and dense, eclecticism goes hand in hand with hypnotism, and all of this is throughout, even though one may think that all these said things are absolutely incompatible. Vocalizes and vocals are delivered in such a unique way as no one other band did before or later, ever. The amazingly extraordinary singing by Charlotte Rutten, which, sometimes, is not unlike the moan or howl of a ghost, is soaring over the strange, somewhat otherworldly musical landscapes built by very eccentric, yet, immediately perceivable (at least on a sensitive level) interplay between synthesizers and guitars. Fight (track 2) is the darkest place in this world of surrealism and the other flying unearthly entities:-) Partly due to overdubs, the parts of keyboards slightly dominate over those of guitar on most tracks, and those are especially rich in odd and related features. However, Charlotte's Blues and Slow (5 & 6) feature very few keyboard sounds and are based almost exclusively on the parts of electric and acoustic (or semi-acoustic) guitars, including the overdubbed ones, that are as quirky and queer as just everything on this CD. Generally, the album is very picturesque and is imaginative enough to catch up the brave listener by the wing of adventure and carry him away to the world of fantastical music.


Conclusion. Kracq is one of the most wonderful bands existed at the time of Progressive's decadence, and now it's clear why nobody has ever been interested in releasing their music but them themselves. The sound quality is far from excellent, but I believe this factor won't prevent the profound and open-minded Prog lovers to enjoy this exceedingly intricate, but really thrilling musical experience. Both CDs are highly recommended.

VM: March 20, 2004


Related Links:

Polumnia Recordings


[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


куплю чиллер