Brainbox — Mythology
(Centertainment, 1972/2013, 3CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-30For most, and certainly for myself up until I was enlightened by this three-disc set, Brainbox was just some band that Jan Akkerman and Pierre Van Der Linden were in before the formation of Focus, and their one self-titled album (and especially the side-long track “Sea of Delight”) received some occasional airplay on US underground FM radio in the early 70s. That’s only a small part of the story, though, and this three disc set tells the whole Brainbox story, including all the singles, b-sides, demos, and the aforementioned long player, up until original singer Kaz Lux and several other band members quit the group in the early 70s, leaving the band’s manager to build a new band around remaining bassist Andre Reijnen. Of course by that time Akkerman and Van Der Linden were already long gone, now making waves with Focus. All the material from the eponymous LP is here, although some of its songs are split amongst the first two discs in the set, amid the band’s many singles, presented in mono and stereo versions when both exist. Some of the band’s best work is from the period after Akkerman left, when new guitarists Rudy de Queljoe, and later John Schuursma stepped in to take his place, creating a five-piece Brainbox with two guitarists. The 1971 de Queljoe penned instrumental “Mobilae” (presented in both single and demo versions) has to be one of the finest pieces the band ever produced. But there are many more gems to be found here among these three full length discs, including alternate versions of singles and album tracks (including a 29-minute version of “Sea of Delight”) and much more. With a 20-page booklet with exhaustive liner notes and many rare photos, Mythology is the definitive historical artifact covering the best years of this unsung band.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.