Continuing on with the cd reissue ashratom series, here's another one where the wishlist was spot-on as the british say, or straight-up as the the g-dawgs say:
" Very obscure German group who released two albums in 1974, of which neither have much in common with each other. Ingo Werner is the only member on both, suggesting that Baba Yaga, in reality, are nothing more than a pseudonym. The debut is their song oriented album, performed by a 5 piece standard rock band (including copious use of mellotron), whereas “Collage” is the experimental underground outing recorded by the duo of Werner and Nemat Darman. This review covers the debut, and after listening to the first four tracks, could easily be confused with any similar era UK melodic prog rock effort (Fantasy, Still Life, Cressida, etc…). Even the English language vocals, usually a disaster for pre-metal German groups, are executed flawlessly here by Bernd Weidmann. Ingo’s former band, My Solid Ground, provides another musical reference, though Baba Yaga is not quite as doomy or heavy. And there certainly isn’t a highlight track like ‘Dirty Yellow Mist’ to rely on. However, from the fifth song on, the proceedings get considerably more interesting. Starting with the instrumental ‘Rebekka’, which itself is a beautiful piece with mellotron, acoustic guitar, bassoon and piano. ‘Turdus Merula’ follows, a bit darker in tone, and is yet another powerful instrumental track with mellotron (as a featured instrument, rather than just embellishment), percussion and piano. ‘Intoxication’ is similar but adds a rocked out mid-section that includes a wonderful psychedelic guitar solo (and sounds as if inserted from another jam session). Closing out the album is ‘La Tombeau’, a dark instrumental piece featuring organ, ‘tron, piano and percussion. It’s interesting to note that it appears Werner is handling all of the instrumental work on these four tracks, perhaps revealing that in fact, there wasn’t enough material from the five piece unit, and he appended these songs to fill the album. ‘Homage A’ appears to be a limited group effort, minus the vocalist and duo of guitarists. The odd track out on the back half of the disc is ‘Powerful Hand’, which would’ve fit nicely with the opening quartet of cuts. "
To this I would add that, having had the "misfortune" of hearing Collage first (I think it was posted by mutantsounds sometime back I'm sure the links are still alive) I was told the first album was sorely disappointing. Of course, by our low standards today, it's a masterpiece! There are all the requisite elements of the prog we love: mellotron, diminished chords and tritones, dissonances, odd instrumentals, bizarre lyrics... In my opinion, the end of the second side does approach the interest of Collage. In particular the grand piano solo with elements of Bartok and Keith Emerson in the middle very much harks forward to the brilliant instrumental piano solo in Collage. Tom is dead-on too with his description of the interesting use of the mellotron on this album.
Apologies to the side-long nature of the rip. Perhaps Mr. Morgan will have the time to split these tracks up...