Exposé Online banner

Pancake — No Illusions
(Garden of Delights CD 167, 1979/2012, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-06-08

No Illusions Cover art

Pancake started life as the psychedelic band Nyrvana Pancake, releasing a single in 1973 (“Open Your Eyes” / “Lonesome Boy”), then in 1974 with a new bass player, decided to shorten their name to Pancake and move in a more symphonic progressive rock direction. During the mid-70s, amid seeming endless personnel turnover, two full length albums Roxy Elephant and Out of the Ashes were released. Prior to the release of the third album, No Illusions, there was another major turnover leaving only founding guitarist Walter Negele and drummer Hans Derer to put together a whole new lineup, which included keyboardist Uli Frank, bassist Ralf Scheibe, and most importantly singer Biggi Zmierczak, the first time that Pancake had a female vocalist. Along with the changes came a group rethink, moving to a less symphonic, more edgy and guitar-oriented sound. Other keyboard players were featured during the recordings, but their tracks were mostly removed in favor of Frank’s. The new sound was definitely still very progressive, with two of the new album’s six tracks (“Dream Delta Land” and “Autumn Leaves”) being multi-part suites clocking in at around nine minutes each, both exceptionally superb. The new prominence of guitar gives the sound a bit more crunch while Zmierczak’s vocals are excellent, if a bit understated in the mix. “No Touch of Illusions” is a strong and straightforward title cut with a memorable refrain, opening the second side of the original LP. Also worthy of note is the five-and-a-half minute “Fire and Rain Song” that has a catchy verse and refrain alternating with more progressive guitar-driven moves, fading out at the end. Album closer “I Try” is more moody and pensive compared to the others, but a powerhouse nonetheless, with a strong keyboard driven melody. There are six bonus tracks, the first three are 1980 demos for the band’s fourth album (featuring the same lineup as No Illusions) that never got past the demo stage (though eleven cuts were recorded and are still in a vault somewhere, a possible future Garden of Delights release?), showing a more streamlined rock approach. In the spring of 1981 the band went into the studio one last time to record another album, this time with German lyrics. Zmierczak left the band mid-session, and was replaced by singer Alix Koch, previously with a band called Frame. The album was completed, but never released. Which brings us to the last three bonus tracks, taken from a Pancake reunion concert in June 2002, featuring Negele, Frank, Derer, Biggi (now Zeisel), singer Rainer Röhm (from the Out of the Ashes lineup) and other musicians. These include a great version of “No Touch of Illusions,” as well as covers of 60s standards “Hey Joe” and the Troggs' “Love Is All Around.” The six tracks that comprise the original No Illusions are arguably Pancake at their best.


Filed under: Reissues, 2012 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Pancake

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Voyage 34: The Complete Trip – History: In 1992, Porcupine Tree was a little-noticed solo project of Steven Wilson. The first album had made little splash on the progressive psychedelic scene. Wilson decided to bring a little less...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues