A couple of the tracks are - in my opinion - up there with the best of 's Focus, namely "Indian Summer", "King Kong" and "Who's Calling?
Reply Notify me 2 Helpful. But it's still Focus no matter how you look at it, Thijs van Leer was the only constant member of Focus from when they formed in to when they released Focus con Proby in Jan Akkerman were obviously on their classic albums. So this album is basically Focus updated for the s. They included a bunch of musicians helping them out, so you get s drum machines and Thijs van Leer, luckily still using his flute, but not the Hammond organ, but instead the Yamaha DX This would be enough to cause fans of Moving Waves and Focus III to go running towards the hills if they have an aversion to that '80s sound.
The rehearse together and when the time is right they invite Thijs van Leer to come over and play with them. Van Leer comes over and is so much impressed that they decide to do a few concerts together. In stead of Hocus Pocus they band name is changed to Focus. They play all over the world at several festivals, and start to record an album. By this time Ruben van Roon has left the band because of personal circumstances and is replaced by Bert Smaak.
In the fall of a new Focus album is released. In an album with BBC recordings form is released. On this album tracks are featured that have never been released by Focus before. Even more remarkable is the return of Pierre van der Linden in Focus the same year.
He is replaced by Niels van der Steenhoven. The band is also working on a new album New Skin, which is released at the end of Akkerman was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and showed his musical inclinations early, taking up the guitar while still in grade school. Later on, the two were members of the Hunters, an instrumental group whose sound was heavily influenced by that of the Shadows. He acquired a special interest in the lute while on a visit to England during the mid-'60s, during which he saw a performance by legendary classical guitarist Julian Bream, whose repertoire of medieval works also fascinated Akkerman.
This interest, which broadened to embrace a fixation on medieval England and its countryside, later manifested itself in such works as "Elspeth of Nottingham" from Focus III. During the late '60s, Akkerman, van der Linden, bassist Bert Ruiter, and singer Kaz Lux formed Brainbox, who were good enough to get a recording contract with Parlophone Records. He was involved with an early incarnation of the group Focus, founded by conservatory-trained flutist Thijs Van Leer, but didn't join until after that group had issued its unsuccessful debut album — he took Van der Linden with him from Brainbox and, with Van Leer and bassist Cyril Havermans later succeeded by Ruiter from the original Focus, formed a new group of that name.
With Akkerman's virtuoso guitar work and arrangements coupled to Van Leer's classical influence and his yodeling on their breakthrough hit, "Hocus Pocus" , the new group found a large international audience beginning in , which transformed Akkerman into a superstar guitarist. His solo career actually dated from , though his attempt at a solo album, later titled Guitar for Sale — containing his covers of numbers such as "What'd I Say," "Ode to Billy Joe," and "Green Onions" — was so primitive by the standards of the time that it was deemed unreleasable until Akkerman started topping reader surveys in the mid-'70s.
Profile, released in after he'd begun making some headway with his reputation, also dated from and his days with Brainbox. Akkerman's first real solo album reflecting his music and interests at the time appeared in , in the form of Tabernakel, which was recorded during the summer of that year at Atlantic Recording Studios in New York — having finally acquired a medieval lute of his own, he taught himself to play it and the results comprise more than half of this LP, made up of authentic medieval music and originals composed in a medieval mode.
It was certainly the most unusual record ever to feature the playing of Tim Bogart bass and Carmine Appice drums , as well as soul drummer Ray Lucas. After leaving Focus in , Akkerman began releasing a stream of solo albums, which frequently embraced classical, jazz, and blues, and started leading his own bands.
Much of his work during the s wasn't released officially outside of Holland, but his periodic recordings with Van Leer, coupled with efforts to revive Focus with its two major stars, kept his name circulating in international music circles. This is the sort of thing that Focus should have released after the amazing "Hamburg" experiment, since the band finally suffered from inconsistency and loss of creative energy after reaching such a tremendous apex.
Something is going terribly wrong with a great band when a compilation album "Ship" immensely surpasses a studio effort "Mother" and then, the following album's few highlights are written by newcomers. This "Focus" album conceived by this new encounter of Dutch progressive minds is the definitive testimony of the musical imagination that Focus had still in store but took so many years to take shape and meet its material reality.
So, once you get this album and are treated with the stylish romanticism of 'Russian Roulette' and the lovely, refereshing flavors of 'King Kong', you can almost touch the creative vigor in pure Focus style.
Van Leer remembers his old-time partner's vibe so well that you might bet that he wrote Akkerman's polished guitar lines for 'Russian Roulette' in his sleep; meanwhile, Akkerman seems to have Van had Leer's agile flute playing physically present in front of him while writing 'King Kong'.
Nevermind if the digital keyboards are overwhelming in places or if the use of rhythm computers and an electronic drum kit feels "cold" or "lacks the human touch". The chemistry is there, unhidden, revealing in the wide open, and fueled with authentic creativity. Adding rockier guitar parts both electric and synth guitars and exotic moods, 'Indian Summer' provides a captivating exercise on jazz-rock in its most refined form.
I own both the vinyl and CD versions of this album, so I'm aware that the two long tracks are even longer in the latter edition. On the other hand, the captivating lyricism of 'Who's Calling?
This is romantic, eerie prog rock at its best, Focus-style and all. It might have been entitled 'Focus VI' or something, since its introspective intimacy makes it quite related to the spirit 'Focus V' from the "Ship" album.
Better, way better than what other old 70s prog bands were doing at the time. Report this review Posted Monday, June 7, Review Permalink colorofmoney91 PROG REVIEWER This self-titled reunion album is fantastic and one of my favorites in the Focus catalog for the same reason that it is mostly ignored: it only features two important members of the original band and the music is based much more in jazz-fusion and heavy new age.
I will admit that the percussion often seems cheesy sounding this is an '80s release , but that doesn't detract from the overall musicianship on this album. Definitely different than their previous albums, this definitely doesn't include any of whatever potential accessibility that Focus' earlier releases had, and is definitely less rock and blues inspired. It's fairly straight forward, but still undeniably progressive.
I recommend this only to fans of jazz fusion or new age. As I stated before, this doesn't really garner much appeal to earlier Focus fans. The support musicians are not at all prominent, except for the programming that has practically taken over the role from an effective rhythm section. Also, "Focus" is the album title here and not the band's name. Those - like myself - who are fond of "old" Focus will find some very pleasing material here. Some Baroque lines, jazzy rhythms and convincingly heavy runs on the guitars are present here cloaked in a "modern" approach - courtesy of technology.
Whilst the bulk of the work is excellent, Akkerman just couldn't help himself. Similar to his latest releases, he had to include one very disco-like track and this one runs for nearly 20 mins!
Made easy by looping, drum machine, et al, this is not bad at all, but excessive and wouldn't be missed that much. Some will find it outright horrible and a massive let down.