Exposé Online banner

Trace — Birds
(Musea FGBG 4176.AR, 1975/1996, CD)

by Mike Ohman, 1997-02-01:

Birds Cover art

Often unjustly dismissed as "Rick van der Linden's post-Ekseption band" or "Ian Mosley's pre-Marillion band," Trace certainly deserve to be remembered for what they actually were rather than for from where its members came from/went to. Birds is definitely the better of the two albums currently available, especially the untitled suite which took up all of Side 1 of the original LP. This flows in much the same way Focus' "Eruption" or "Hamburger Concerto"; a bunch of little pieces strung together to form a cohesive whole. There's a bit of sailing Akkerman-esque guitar on the opening and closing bits (entitled "King Bird"), otherwise it's van der Linden's keyboards all the way. From the opening pipe-organ blast, you certainly know what you're in for with this album: brassy Mellotrons, squealing synths, rapidly arpeggiating harpsichords. Sure, this is "look-how-flawless-my-technique-is" keyboard prog in the tried-and-true Emerson mold, but I've yet to hear it done as well. The rest of the album, while not bad, doesn't quite match up. Mostly it's covers of Bach and Bix Biederbecke, familiar stuff for Ekseption fans, but done with far greater exuberance than Ekseption ever managed. The best of these is "Opus 1065," based (very loosely) on Bach's "Concerto for Four Harpsichords and Strings in A Minor," which features a superb guest appearance by Darryl Way on violin. The remaining originals are of no great consequence: two light jazzy pieces and "Trixie-Dixie" (van der Linden playing around with an Optigan, a children's toy chord organ). The Musea CD version for some reason exchanges Side One and Side Two in playing order. It also appends two good bonus tracks. The first one, "Birds," is a re-recorded single version of "King Bird." Keyboard prog fans, don't miss this one.


by Henry Schneider, 2016-03-17:

Birds, released in 1975, was the second album by the Dutch progressive band Trace. This CD reissue contains the complete original album plus two bonus tracks, "Birds" and "Tabu," which were only released on a single. Birds is an interesting excursion through classical, jazz, and progressive music. It contains two interpretations of Bach compositions, some excellent violin work by Darryl Way reminiscent of Bartók, and an excellent performance by Rick van der Linden (ex-Ekseption) of Bix Biederbecke’s jazz piano classic "In a Mist." Other points of reference are Soft Machine and Focus. Pierre van der Linden, Rick’s brother and Trace’s first drummer, was also Focus’ drummer. Ian Mosley, who replaced Pierre on drums for Birds, is now Marillion’s drummer. Birds is a masterpiece of progressive rock from the seventies that stands head and shoulders above today’s neo-progressive releases. Don’t pass this one by.


Filed under: Reissues , 1996 releases, 1975 releases

Related artist(s): Darryl Way / Wolf, Trace

More info

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kurgans Bane - Camouflaged in Static – On the basis of this, their third disc, Kurgan’s Bane needs something extra. Perhaps they don’t want it but there it is. Camouflaged in Static seems a somewhat naked disc, occupying a place...  (2006) » Read more

Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns - It's a Love Cult, The Stix & In the Fishtank – After hearing the name Motorpsycho for a few years, I was pretty curious to actually hear the band. I did not expect an album of such variety, that combines intensity and subtlety and a wide range of...  (2005) » Read more

Black September - Black September – Black September is a four piece from Trenton led by keyboardist Michael West (of "God Sex Money" fame), the instrumentation consisting of violin, sax, and drums, with bass duties shared by...  (1996) » Read more

Venegoni & Co. - Rumore Rosso – Arti e Mestieri's original guitarist, Gigi Venegoni put his own band together and released two albums in '77 and '79, both on the Cramps Label. The first of these was Rumore Rosso, a more...  (1995) » Read more

Greg Segal - A Play of Light and Shadow, The Old Familiar Place & Tales of Today – With his own studio and plenty of time on hand to play and experiment, all kinds of things can be committed to tape (or whatever medium), some fully arranged, some more like embryonic fragmentary...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues