FLAME DREAM: "Strange Meeting".Part One "Caleidoscope" "Strange Meeting". part two
From FLAME DREAM "Out in the Dark"
Vertigo Phonogram AG
Released: 1981 Label: Phonagram/Vertigo Cat. No.: LP 6367 016 Total Time: 41:17 Reviewed by: Tom Karr of www.progressiveworld.net April 2005
Switzerland's best symphonic progressive rock band of any consequence,Flame Dream released its third album, "Out In The Dark", in 1981.
Recorded at Patrick Moraz's legendary "Aquarius" studio in Geneva and surpassing 1979's excellent Elements, it is a classic of European progressive rock.
Amazingly, in continental Europe, brilliant, classic progressive rock music was still being produced with little regard for the prevailing winds of disco, new wave and punk.
Flame Dream had hit it big in Europe with release of "Elements", and were mounting huge, headlining tours of the continent every year for months at a time, hitting the road in five semi trucks and a crew of eighteen.
The band had even commandeered the Eden Hotel in Weggis, just across the Statter See from Lucerne, and set up for rehearsals in the historic building. Before hitting the road to promote Elements, the band decided to add a guitarist to their line up, and, on the advice of Brand X keyboardist Robin Lumley, Flame Dream picked up young Los Angeles guitarist Dale Hauskins.
After finishing high school in California, Dale decided to jump into the deep end of the pool and set off for London and its burgeoning prog/fusion scene. He haunted jam sessions at Rod Argent's keyboard shop for two years and had struck up friendships with Lumley, Peter Gabriel and Allan Holdsworth, among others.
He had obviously paid attention to Holdsworth, as Hauskins also displays the same fluid, legato style as his mentor, with phrasing that owes a strong debt to Coltrane.
The music on Out In The Dark continues in the same vein as on their preceding albums, with rich, keyboard heavy compositions by vocalist/wind instrument player Peter Wolf (son of the noted Swiss classical pianist and brother of classical/avant-garde composer and pianist John Wolf-Brennan) and keyboardist Roland Rockstuhl.
The album is divided into the first, the "Sun Side," and the second, the "Dark Side," and, although lyrically the "Sun Side" does deal with warmer, more upbeat sentiments, the music that accompanies the lighter side of the album is, with the exception of the opening tune, "Full Moon," overall the darker of the two sides. Side two, the "Dark Side" overflows with up tempo meter and bright themes.
The music begins with "Full Moon," a cross between UK and Supertramp, and the most poppy sounding track the band will give us this time. It is followed by one of my favorite cuts, "Nocturnal Flight," five and a half minutes of absolute symphonic joy.
The tune favors the late 70's style of Genesis, with keyboard work reminiscent of Tony Banks, and features a wonderful guitar solo by Hauskins. Side one ends with the brilliant title track, "Out In The Dark."
Beginning with a melancholy theme, we segue into a lovely melody on Peter Wolf's flute that sounds much like the intro to Hackett's guitar solo in "Firth Of Fifth."
This turns onto some of the most nimble piano lines ever recorded and the piece develops an almost Italian flair before returning to it's opening motif.
Side two begins with "Wintertime Nights," which boasts some more great Tony Banks-like keyboard work. "Strange Meeting (Part One)" is another Genesis influenced tune, moving moodily across its stark landscape and exploding into brisk lines from Ruckstuhl's synthesizer. It is chased by "Caleidoscope," a herky-jerky instrumental that bursts with syncopated keyboard and sax lines, and at times comes across as Gentle Giant-lite. The album's final track, "Strange Meeting (Part Two)," is not a separate track at all, but a continuation of "Caleidoscope" with the imposition of the two main themes from "Strange Meeting (Part One)."
This is a great album, with high caliber musicianship constantly grabbing your attention, very well conceived and developed themes and wonderful production by John Acock, who handled most of Steve Hackett's solo albums. The similarities to Genesis are, with the exception of a couple of synth solos, entirely compositional, and no one is trying to emulate the "sound" of Genesis, as many other bands have certainly done.
Coming late to the game as they did, Flame Dream were, perhaps, not the most innovative band that ever was, but they carried on with true symphonic progressive rock long after many of the genres innovators had turned to pure pop sounds.
Bassist Urs Hochuli, who also produced all the album artwork for Flame Dream.
About Out In The Dark: Track Listing: Full Moon / Nocturnal Flight / Out In The Dark / Wintertime Nights / Strange Meeting (Part One) / Caleidoscope / Strange Meeting (Part Two) Musicians: Peter Furrer - Drums, Percussion, Tapes Urs Hochuli - Bass, Bass Pedals, Voice Dale Hauskins - Guitars Roland Ruckstuhl - Keyboards, Sequencer, Vocoder Peter Wolf - Voice, Wind Instruments
"Calatea"(1978 Philips Phonogram AG)
"Elements"(1979 Vertigo Phonogram AG)
"Out Of The Dark"(1981 Vertigo Phonogram)
"Supervision"(1982 Vertigo Phonogram) "Travaganza"(1982 Vertigo/Phonogram)
"8 On 6"(1986 Vertigo/Phonogram)
"Rock Made In Switzerland"(1981 Ariola compilation)
"No Where To Go"(45 1980 Ariola) Flexi disc Extract from "Out in the Dark"(Germany,no label,1981,flexidisc without picture sleeve from the german POP Magazine.)
"Race My Car"(45 1983)
"In The Heat Of Night"(Vertigo 1986)
"Out Of Control"(Vertigo 1986).
"Strange Meeting" is a poem by Wilfred Owen. It deals with the atrocities of World War I. The poem was written sometime in 1918 and it was published in 1919 . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Meeting_%28poem%29
- Progressive Rock