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Asia: Archiva 1 & 2

After releasing three albums with John Payne on bass and lead vocals, Asia reentered the studio in January 1996 and found it flooded after a frozen water pipe had burst. While the band lost plenty of gear, a box of old tapes featuring songs that failed to make the cut on the early-Nineties albums Aqua, Aria and Arena survived. After plowing through them, Payne and Asia founder and keyboard player Geoff Downes deemed some of them worthy enough to release later that year on two CDs, sold separately under the titles Archiva 1 and Archiva 2.

Nine years after their original release, InsideOut Music has added the Archiva albums to its catalog of Asia Special Editions, reissuing the title as a double-CD collection with four bonus tracks. Although essentially leftover songs, many of the original albums' 24 tracks are solid. Among them: would-be hits in another time ("Tears" and "Obsession"), decent prog rock ("Moon Under the Water" and "Fight Against the Tide") and some surprises (the Steve Howe instrumental "Ginger," the soulful "Can't Tell These Walls" and "Dusty Road," co-penned by Max Bacon, an early frontrunner to replace Wetton). Of course, there are cringe-worthy moments, too especially the ELO-inspired "A.L.O.," the dated "Reality" and the just plain ridiculous "Love Like the Video."

Nevertheless, Archiva is a highly listenable album that's a must-have for longtime Payne-era fans and other listeners curious about where Asia was at musically in the late Eighties through the mid-Nineties. It has been delicately remastered by Peter van't Riet, and bonus tracks include the single version of "Anytime," a live acoustic rendition of "Open Your Eyes" and an alternate mix of "Turn It Around." Informative notes about each song and an introduction written by's Dave Gallant complete the package. I liked this collection when it was released in 1996, and I still like it today.

Track Listings
Disc One:
1) Heart of Gold
2) Tears
3) Fight Against the Tide
4) We Fall Apart
5) The Mariner's Dream
6) Boys From Diamond City
7) A.L.O.
8) Reality
9) I Can't Wait A Lifetime
10) Dusty Road
11) I Believe
12) Ginger
13) Anytime (edit) (Bonus Track)
14) Open Your Eyes (acoustic) (Bonus Track)

Disc Two:
1) Obsession
2) Moon Under the Water
3) Love Like the Vido
4) Don't Come to Me
5) The Smoke That Thunders
6) Satellite Blues
7) Showdown
8) That Season
9) Can't Tell These Walls
10) The Higher You Climb
11) Right to Cry
12) Armenia
13) Little Rich Boy (edit) (Bonus Track)
14) Turn It Around (ethnic mix) (Bonus Track)

Added: November 14th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link:
Hits: 2790
Language: english

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