Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Secret Oyster - Sea Son (1974, re-issue 2006)

Here's a(nother poor) review I wrote in 2006.
This time it's about this Danish progressive/jazz rock outfit, Secret Oyster and their excellent 1974 album Sea Son.
I was wandering the other day in a record shop and low and behold, what do I see? Yes, a cd edition of Secret Oyster – Sea Son released this year (2006) by Laser’s Edge. I was delighted and picked it up without hesitations since it is a favourite of mine.
And why is this a favourite? 
Well, if you just listen to it I think you will agree that this is a fine example of a quality jazz-rock/prog-rock album, which demonstrates the excellent musicianship abilities of this Danish band. 

From the moment this starts to the minute it ends you are captivated by the electrifying and mesmerizing guitar sound of Claus Bøhling. Not to say that the others are inferior, not at all. All of them, the bass, drums, keyboards and saxes deliver the goods and more. 
A good example would be the over 9 minute track – 'Mind Movie' which, while being not overly complex or sophisticated, shows you exactly what they know and you can hear how well trained they are. Claus brings out great voices with his guitar in his solo in this track. Listen to this one in full volume to get the best results.
'Pajamamfia' opens up quietly after the previous musical “riot”. But this break does not go on for long, cause after 1:40 minutes you start getting your dish served again. Here you can hear Jess Staehr bass clearly and appreciate his work. However, this track ends too soon for me (it has a fade out and in and out again at the end). 

It seems they like to create this sort of hypnotic musical loop in their tracks ('Mind Movie', 'Pajamamfia', 'Black mist', 'Paella') but it does not mean the music is boring, quite the contrary. As I said in the beginning, it draws you inside their music and makes you move to their rhythm. They don’t just stagnate with this repeating theme, but develop it and add more layers and moves to it, making it an interesting as well as enjoyable listen. Plus, those tracks show their improvisational skills and also their inclination towards the space-rock genre and its psychedelic characteristics. The album is not all fast and packed. You have the more laid back tracks, like 'Rainforest' and 'Black Mist'. They give you another aspect to the band’s compositions – a more relaxed and contemplative side.

The great thing about this release on a cd is that it sounds as if it was recorded yesterday. The sound quality is very good. On top of this there are 3 bonus tracks that go well with the general atmosphere of this album.

An exciting instrumental experience, a recommended album to have in your collection.

You can get the album here.
You can get their 3 other releases for cheap (8$ each, new) here, here and here.

1. Oysterjungle (2:57)
2. Mind movie (9:14)
3. Pijamamafia (6:07)
4. Black mist (3:40)
5. Painforest (5:40)
6. Paella (8:23)

Bonus tracks on the Laser's Edge reissue:
7- Sea son (5:25)
8- Alfresco - pt1 (5:39)
9- Alfresco - pt2 (2:07)

Line-up / Musicians
- Claus Bøling / acoustic & electric guitars
- Kenneth Knudsen / piano, Moog synthesizers
- Jess Staehr / acoustic & electric basses
- Ole Streenberg / drums, percussion
- Karsten Vogel / alto & soprano saxes, organ

Releases information
LP Pan Records XOT 88 035 / LP Peters Internatinal PILPS 9009
cd release by The Laser's Edge LE 1045 in 2006 with 3 bonus tracks

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