Scaramouche — Scaramouche
(Musea FGBG 4121.AR, 1981/1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01Here is another one of those total obscurities that Musea has a knack for unearthing, others in recent memory being Flyte, Ivory, and Tibet — one-shots that came and went before most ever knew they existed. This German five-piece existed from the late seventies, recorded this — their only album in 1981, and then promptly broke up after sales didn't measure up to expectations. It's an all too familiar story. Scaramouche's sound is a more commercial sounding progressive, owing influence to Floyd, Genesis, definitely Grobschnitt, but also blending pop, blues and funk into the mix as well. In the end, much of what they do ends up reminding of Machiavel in their early period, but without the reliance on Mellotron and the heavy symphonics, and a greater allegiance to pop structures. Lead vocalist Holger Funk is mixed a little low most of the time, but his style is roughly comparable to a Jon Anderson with just a bit more fortitude. Whatever vocal shortcomings exist, they are more than made up for with some excellent multi-tracked harmonies. Lyrics are in English, which Funk handles respectably. The rest of the band plays solid and tight, balancing skillful progressive tendencies with bluesy-rock sensibility, especially on tracks like "Find Me," "A Cloud in the Sky," and obligatory ten-minute magnum opus "Isn't It Real," although the album's best track, "Only Tail the Bait," may in fact be the least typically progressive of the lot. Initially I wasn't that excited about this album, but after a few listens certain parts began to grow on me, then others, it was a slow process being completely won over by it. Others may take to it more readily. I'd recommend it anyone into the style of bands like Machiavel and Grobschnitt, who don't mind their prog mixed with some tasty mainstream influences.
Related artist(s): Scaramouche
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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.