Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF) — The Collected Works of Schicke Führs Fröhling
(Laser's Edge LE 1017/18, 1993, 2CD)
SFF — Symphonic Pictures
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1001, 1976/2010, CD)
Schicke Führs Fröhling — Sunburst
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1002, 1977/2010, CD)
SFF — Ticket to Everywhere
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1004, 1979/2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01
During their brief yet productive career from 1976 to 1978, the trio of Ede Schicke (drums), Gerd Führs (keys), and Heinz Fröhling (guitar, Mellotron) produced three outstanding albums on the German Brain label. Later, Schicke left the fold and Führs & Fröhling went on as a duo to record another three records before calling it quits around 1981. The subject of this two-disc compilation is the first three albums (Symphonic Pictures, Sunburst, and Ticket to Everywhere) recorded by the original trio. Their music was a powerful mix of keyboard-heavy electronic oriented symphonic rock, although they do offer diversions from that general description on many cuts. There is plenty of experimentation and a lot of unique ideas to be found here – together with influence from folk, jazz, classical music, and of course the German electronic pioneers. The three albums are presented in their original playing order: the first two occupy disc one, and the third album and fifteen minutes of live bonus material fill out the second disc.
Highlights of the first disc include the 17-minute "Pictures," a musical journey from the heavy to the pastoral and serene and back again, with plenty of changes in mood, texture and dynamics along the way. "Autumn Sun in Cool Water" (originally on Sunburst) is a breathtaking melodic track of shifting moods with periodic outbursts of guitar and drums, soaring ever higher each time; there is no way one can listen to this track and not be totally captivated by it. "Troja" is an energetic track that allows Fröhling ample room to show off his chops on both the acoustic and electric fretboard – with a haunting group driven passage in the middle – one of those tunes that won't leave your mind alone for days after hearing it.
Disc two kicks off with "Open Doors," a lively melodic tune using piano, synthesizers and acoustics to achieve a degree of jubilance filled with passion and energy – something that SFF never seem to be short of. "Here and Now" builds strong electronic rhythms and counterrhythms on top of an acoustic guitar foundation, with synths adding melody over the top – and contains some of the album's only vocals. Among the bonus tracks is a four minute "Every Land Tells a Story," a track which would later be expanded to nearly an entire album side on the first Führs & Fröhling album, Ammerland. This two disc set is an absolute must-have, and definitely one of the most welcome reissues of the past year.
Related artist(s): Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF)
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more