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(40:44, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Coloured Dreams 4:05 2. Scientific Ways 6:00 3. Still Alive 4:36 4. The Man Who Started It All 5:27 5. Trapped in a Game 6:08 6. New Born Day 5:42 7. Day After Tomorrow 8:46 LINEUP Asle Nilsen - bass, flute Hans Petter Danielsen - guitars Kjell Larsen - guitars, flute Haakon Graf - organ, piano, vibraphone Thor Bendiksen - percussion Gudny Aspaas - vocals Rune Sundby - vocals, guitars, saxophone
Prolusion. Norwegian band RUPHUS were among the first progressive rock bands in Norway that made something of an impact. The band was formed in 1970, and in their initial phase they explored many different varieties of progressive rock, going from hard progressive rock at the onset to a more refined variety of jazzrock in the final stages of the band. "New Born Day" was their debut album, and was initially released in 1973.
Analysis. One of the interesting aspects of listening to albums that are old, this one is just a few years shy of being 50 years old, is to hear how well they have kept up with the ravages of Father Time. Some albums are very much a product of their day, fitting in perfectly with the mood of a specific era, but then coming across as aged and as relics when revisited later on. Others have more staying power, and a select few comes across as being timeless. For this specific reissue, the album has been given a proper remix, which I'd guess have ironed out a few time typical details of the kind that doesn't age all that well, and perhaps also given the sound in general a nice shine and polish. Be that as it may be, while the music is undeniably a product of it's time, this isn't an album that is this shape and form have lost all that much of it's redeeming qualities. Charming is perhaps the best word I can use to describe this time capsule from way back when. This is a band that sounds like they were very much up to speed with what was going on in rock music at the time. They most certainly knew their Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull, and probably Atomic Rooster and and Gentle Giant as well. A tiny bit that may or may not have been a nod in the direction of Steppenwolf too, cue opening cut Coloured Dreams for this specific reference. Those intimately familiar with the sounds of the early 70's can probably toss in many more potential influences as well. This is a band that know their way around contrasts and counterpoints, if by chance or by plan may well be a question to explore of course. If they did so because others did it, or because it was a planned cause and effect manner in which to build up their songs, or of this was done to highlight the specific talents of the band members. Another case of this may or may not be important questions, but the end result is undeniably intriguing. Guitars and the good, old organ is the foundation throughout, be it in more majestic excursions or gentler, atmospheric laden sequences. At times with a sharp psychedelic touch by the guitars in particular, which is very much in line with the era the album comes from. A few jazzier touches sneak in here, and some pastoral details here, up to and including a flute detail or two the band should credit Ian Anderson for. And on top of all this and more, we have the vocals of Gudny Aspaas. A powerful singer, belting out the words with passion and at times raw emotion, in an almost strikingly controlled manner. Not at all tame, but not truly wild either. Feral is, perhaps, the best word to use here. The combinations with lead male singer Sundby sits very well too, and the latter is a good quality singer too when it comes to that. Not by far as striking, but a singer that knows what he is able to achieve and sticks to that. Which, in my book, is always a good thing.
Conclusion. This is a good album, and one that hasn't lost all that much with age. It is very much a product of it's time and it's era, but still strikes me as good music that Father Time has been rather kind with. If hard, organ and guitar driven progressive rock of the early 70's is something you appreciate, then this is an album that merits an inspection for sure. And I'd wager a guess that this remixed version of the album will give the superior experience as far as enjoying the best qualities of this album is concerned, as the task has been handled by someone with a very good ear for sound indeed.
Progmessor: February 24th, 2019
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