Sunday, November 04, 2007

Avalanche - Perseverance kills our game (Kraut/Prog) {Netherland} [1979]

On the mostly instrumental Perseverance Kills Our Game, Avalanche achieves all that makes a low-budget production endearing. First of all, the playing is true to the heart - an intangible that is subtle though very recognizable for those who hear these type of recordings on a regular basis. The musicianship here is superb though hardly symphony orchestra quality. And there is a real intimacy that surrounds the atmosphere - as if you're in the room while they're recording. And perhaps the fact that Avalanche have six full-time members helps keep the album from the one-dimensional nature of most private releases.

Side one is primarily a folk rock affair with wonderful acoustic guitar, piano, bass, drums and sparse (one track), but well done vocals. The real highlights, though, have to be the gorgeous flutes (various types) and the soaring and spiritual electric guitar work. For pure haunting folk, "Cola-tik" is the embodiment of melancholy whereas the progressive folk rock number "Maiden Voyage" displays the band's talent with extended compositions.


While the opening side is excellent, there is no foreshadowing of the brilliance to be found on the flip side. It moves beyond folk rock to a more complex prog rock sound and climaxing at the end of the album with a psychedelic space rock sequence not found since the glory days of Krautrock and bands like Ash Ra Tempel. "Transcendence" starts this side with serene piano and is augmented by bagpipe and flute. Then a powerful electric guitar enters to play the same beautiful melody. The tone gets noticeably louder until there's a dramatic break. Here, Avalanche display a ferocity that is a complete contrast to the delicate and mellow nature displayed so far. A soft, two-minute acoustic ballad is inserted to calm the nerves before the massively powerful "Oblivion" enters. This 11-minute plus opus is the high water mark for folk rock.
As on "Transcendence", the composition opens softly with a stunning acoustic guitar melody which is then offset by some dire sounding flutes followed by harmonium. It's just unbelievably pretty yet somehow very sad. Just when you're ready to cry, the electric rhythm guitar begins a simple, jazzy pattern. The bass and drums follow shortly thereafter creating a head-moving groove. Entering unannounced is a twin guitar attack which begins to pulverize your senses. The sound is heavy and acidic like that of Manuel Göttsching, and the playing has the same soul the Ash Ra guitarist has. The solo contains a number of original melodies within that add to the special quality. And this goes on for close to seven minutes to solidify one of the most intense and beautiful guitar solos in rock history. The album ends at the peak of the solo; one almost wishes for another 15 minutes to be found from the same tape. What a trip through the emotions!

(Thomas Hayes; http://thomashayes.com/albums/avalanche.htm)

Tracklistings:

01/ Lodalientje (03:55)
02/ Cola Tik (02:47)
03/ Hymns on wind and water (05:17)
04/ Maiden voyage (06:56)
05/ Glumsick for 20 fingers (01:18)
06/ Transcendence (for Leo) (07:11)
07/ Image of long gone by (02:29)
08/ Oblivion (11:14)

Lodalientje:

link in comment

9 comments:

Lefouauflingue said...

download link: http://tinyurl.com/327hrh
great album, enjoy this good time :o)

Elektrolurch said...

thank you so much, this is so great...is there more of this band? i really,really love it

mamcorreo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mamcorreo said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

really nice one. Any chance of a higher bitrate copy?

Lefouauflingue said...

to Elecktrolurch: i've two other releases from Avalanche: "Mountain" (1974) and "Same" (1976)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Fantastic. Definitely deserves the 10.3 on Gnosis. Thanks for posting songs on the main page - it makes it much easier to see what's worth getting. I wouldn't have downloaded this based off the genre, but the description and the sample track convinced me.

Furious Monkey said...

Really good cake. Thanks a lot.
I love this sometimes folky kind of stuff.
To Lefouauflingue: I thought Avalanche had only one album...?
Look:
Avalanche was a project by multi instrumentalist Jan Blom. With the help of a few other musicians they recorded an album. It was recorded with the help of a technician on only four tracks in a school in The Hague. 500 copies of the album were released. Although there were plans to record another album, the band ceased to exist.
Maybe you're confusing with something else...?
Anyway, thanks again!
-
Arlo
P.S. (Oh yeah, decided to get a blogger account P: Might upload some of my stuff on my blog...)

Anonymous said...

The band Avalanche was from a small village in Holland, Moordrecht. The started as a band who played on Protestant Church ceremonies. Their keyboard player Rob Dekker became a vicar himself. The record was recorded in Moordrecht and Den Haag in a few recording sessions. The material was freshly written shortly before recording and influenced by the French guitar player Dan Ar Bras. The band heard some of his music shortly before they went into the studio and decided to change their musical direction into a more folkish style. The recorded this one album and than vanished into musical history....

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