Exposé Online banner

Ramses — La Leyla / Eternity Rise
(Sky CD 32, 1978/1993, CD)

by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-03-01

La Leyla / Eternity Rise Cover art

This CD release collects the first two of three albums by this German band led by brothers Winfried (keyboards) and Norbert (guitar) Langhorst. The band's music is in the spacy symphonic mould, comparable perhaps to Eloy or other mid-to-late-70s German bands, but these albums are better than most of the Eloy that I've heard — and I've heard lots of Eloy — I think because Ramses is a bit more original and has more sonic variety. The band's debut, La Leyla, was co-produced by "sound-wizard" Conny Plank and Jane guitarist Klaus Hess. With this release, they have already proven themselves more sophisticated than Jane. Winfried's keyboards act as the sort of musical significator, shimmering analog synth leads placed atop whirling Hammond organ and rich Mellotron/Stringensemble pillows. Drummer Reinhard Schroeter nimbly adapts to the shifting tempos, while Norbert's guitar emanates from the sonic keyboard sea with wailing solos. Herbert Natho is the vocalist, his range is mostly low- to mid-range tenor, but his voice can occasionally get surprisingly high. You may like him or you may not; he's never especially annoying, though, and I can't think of anyone to compare him to. He simply doesn't sound like anyone else but himself. On occasion (as on "Someone Like Me" or the title song from La Leyla), he is joined by Winfried singing harmony, who possesses a ghostly, quasi-female falsetto. This adds to the dark, minor-chorded tone of the album.

Eternity Rise begins unremarkably with the string-laden ballad "City Life." But soon we're treated to more rhythmically/melodically refined fare as "Only Yesterday" and the instrumental "Agitation Play," which are easily as good as anything from the first album. In fact, the eleven-minute title song may well be the band's finest of all, the motival organ-led finale is truly breathtaking. In all, this is a highly worthwhile purchase for those who enjoy Novalis, Grobschnitt, Eloy et al. Ramses are easily on a par with their peers and helped pave the way for bands like Epidaurus and Anyone's Daughter. They didn't deserve to be as overlooked as they were.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 6, 1993 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Ramses

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Kings' Boards – This compilation disc features a single cut from each of five budding young Japanese synthesists, who are backed by various members of White Fang, Seilane, and Social Tension. The backing support is...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues