Eloy: Floating (1974)
I believe that our mission here at SOT and most notably PPC (where I have been relegated for the most part; voluntarily I might add) is to inform our readers of the many great finds they can make while browsing the record stores or shopping online. It would be easy to just be the umpteenth site to praise Close To The Edge, for example; but I'd rather choose more obscure discs and make them come across as if they were the best things ever recorded. I find this much more stimulating and challenging. I must, however, choose bands which have had an impact on the progressive music scene.
Eloy is a band which have had an illustrious career and have been considered one of Germany's finest for years. Known most notably for their more esoteric , almost New Age space prog of the early '80's; the band's earlier outpourings may not get the recognition they deserve. I am here to remedy this situation. In 2000 ,Harvest Records (division of EMI) remastered 3 of Eloy's best records: Inside (1973), Floating (1974) and the highly acclaimed Power and the Passion (1975). All 3 are worth picking up, but I will concentrate on my personal favorite Eloy disc : Floating.
I begin by warning those of you familiar with only the post Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes band: This is not your father's Eloy. The band being featured here is a quartet consisting of: Frank Bornemann- vocals, guitar; Manfred Wieczorke – organ, guitar; Luitjen Jansen- bass; and Fritz Randow- drums. They operated much more as a band than "The Frank Bornemann Show" we've been accustomed to in latter years. The music presented on this disc is much harder and edgier than the pastoral sounds of Planets or Metromania. Let's dissect this puppy tune by tune and see what we get..
"Floating"- 3:59- An up-tempo instrumental piece (aside form the occasional chanting) which warms us up and gets us in the mood. Already , you will hear a much rawer and harder edged band, as the track showcases drummer Randow and organ player Wieczorke, over a pounding bass line.
" The Light From Deep Darkness"- 14:35- The song begins gently, with Frank Bornemann's patented voice and existential lyrics.; then the track kicks into gear. Filled with excellent Hammond organ courtesy of Mr Wieczorke, the song twists and turns in an almost psychedelic kaleidoscope of sounds . Again, the heavier aspects of the band are at the forefront with power chords (!) from Frank Bornemann . The closing Hammond section is absolutely riveting as Manfred Wieczorke rips through the notes, over a droning, hypnotic bass line; in some of the angriest playing ever recorded by this band.
"Castle In The Air-" 7:13- Another gem. Some of the finest ever prog from Deutschland . A trippy guitar intro launches us right into this complex piece. Frank Bornemann then speaks ,more than sings , the brief lyrics before the song veers into a completely different direction and a psychedelic beat creates a backdrop to a progressive orgasm. Frank Bornemann shows off some of his chops on his axe as his voice signs along to the track's main melody line. A song to showcase the band's ability to flat out jam (not a trademark of Eloy to be sure).
"Plastic Girl" – 9:07- Another slow beginning while Frank lies down the vocals. We're soon plunged into another forays of licks exchanged between guitar and organ ,accentuated by great drum fills . We're also treated to another Hammond assault courtesy of Manfred Wieczorke (are you getting the hint that I like this guy yet ?) and some decent guitar work from Frank Bornemann who probably jams more on this disc than every other Eloy disc combined.
" Madhouse" – 5:15- The album closer. No new ground being trampled on with this track. The first 2 minutes are reminiscent of the previous track. It then kicks into gear with a fantastic jam session. A pounding drum line creates the perfect bottom-end to a powerful guitar excursion/outro by Mr Bornemann .
On these re-mastered versions, we're treated to some bonus material. In this case, 3 live versions of Eloy classics from yesteryear are featured. Unfortunately, they all sound absolutely horrific.
This disc may not have broken any new ground, but I feel it's a testament to a band which was in a metamorphosis ;balancing a post-psychedelic sound with a harder edge, while developing the distinctive Eloy sound of latter releases. If you enjoy a truly '70's sounding jam band with progressive overtones than you've just stumbled onto a diamond in the rough.