Exposé Online banner

Focus and Friends — Focus 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon
( IF003CD, 2005/2016, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-08-14

Focus 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon Cover art

It was in August 1997 that we learned about the reunion of Focus, with original members Thijs van Leer and Hans Cleuver, and bassist Bert Ruiter who played with them from Focus 3 onward, plus new guitarist Menno Gootjes. It was the first time the band had played together since calling it quits in the late 70s after the poorly received Focus con Proby album. By 2002 the band, now with van Leer and some new members (bassist Bobby Jakobs, guitarist Jan Dumée, and drummer Bert Smaak) had released their first new album Focus 8, featuring new material, and touring followed for several years. By 1995 Smaak had left and been replaced by Pierre van der Linden, who had played with the band from their second album onward, which brings us to the genesis of the album at hand. The sessions for Focus 8.5 / Beyond the Horizon were recorded inbetween live dates on the band’s South American tour. It started out as a jam in Niteroi with local musicians Marvio Ciribelli and Marcio Bahia, and ended up in Rio de Janeiro for recording sessions that ended up involving a dozen or more additional musicians and vocalists. From the very first moments of “Focus Zero,” one will know this is Focus, but with a new twist that reflects the involvement of additional musicians (in this case Marvio Cirabelli on second piano, Sergio Chiavazzoli on guitars, and Arthur Maia on bass) and takes on a more jazzy feel that freshens up the band’s sound. On most of the tracks here, van der Linden is double drumming with Marcio Bahia, giving the tunes a far more percussive feel, along with percussionists Flavio Santos and Amaro Junior (all four shine in the seven-plus minute “Millenium”). The drummers get their time in the spotlight on “Talking Rhythms,” which begins as a solo piece for double drums and eventually morphs into vocalizations by the two drummers. Amazing. “Hola, Cómo Estás” introduces singer Marcio Lott as well as female vocalists Mylena Cribelli and Thais Motta who feature on a number of the albums other cuts. “Rock 5” is hardly rock at all, but more an expanded jazzy piece written by Marvio Ciribelli with only bassist Jakobs from the regular Focus lineup involved, plus a number of additional instrumentalists and vocalists, but man, is this molodic tune ever so sweet and unforgettable. All taken, this is a very surprising expansion of the Focus sound, and will be of interest to all fans of the band.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases, 2005 recordings

Related artist(s): Focus, Thijs van Leer

Latest news

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Peter Frohmader - 2001 – Pounding beats, throbbing bass, swirling electronics. Is this latest acid house, acid techno, electro-techno (whatever label you choose) sensation from Germany? No, surprisingly it is a foray into...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues