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11.12.08

Aera




Aera - Turkis - 1979 - Erlkönig

Aera released about six albums from the mid-70s onwards. The music is mostly progressive jazz rock fusion with an ethnic flavour, and reminiscent of Nucleus, Embryo, or Dzyan, with less sophistication. Throughout the album, there is good strong flute and saxophone playing, and very good spacey guitar. Not a groundbreaking album, but very enjoyable. Try and find their "Humanum Est" album which is a better Aera album, and an excellent example of early German seventies jazz rock fusion. Check out their "Live" album on this blog.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 - Fetzenotto (Oldemeier)
2 - Pfiffe (Oldemeier)
3 - Dracula (Steinke)
a) Teen Clown
b) Park Und Elfe (Sarg Und Nelke)
c) Teen Clown Goes Downtown
4 - Annettchen (Steinke)
5 - You Need Some Speed (Steinke)
6 - Türkis (Steinke)
7 - Siebert (Oldemeier)

MUSICIANS

Klaus Kreuzeder - Soprano & Alto Sax, Lyricon
Matz Steinke - Bass, Percussion
Lutz Oldemeier - Drums
Freddy Setz - Drums, Organ, Percussion, String Ensemble
Helmut Meier-Limberg - Percussion

Guest Musicians:

Muck Groh - Guitar (2)
Achim Gieseler - Piano, Fender Piano, Hohner D6, Moog, String Ensemble (3,5,6)
Locko Richter - Bass (2)

N.B: This album and the 1980 "Live" album, were released on a double CD set in 2004 on the German Erlkönig label.

ABOUT AERA

After leaving the flute-centered Ihre Kinder in 1972, guitarist Muck Groh formed the jazz-rock Aera. Similar in sound to mid-period Embryo, Aera relied heavily on flutes and saxophones.
The band's first album, the all-instrumental Humanum Est, was entirely written by the guitarist. However, by the time of their second album Hand Und Fuß (1976), the musical leadership of the band had switched to wheelchair-bound saxophonist and flautist Klaus Kreuzeder, who included vocals on some of his songs. Although the group disbanded not long after their sophomore effort, Kreuzeder reformed the group in 1978 and released four albums before ending the group for good in 1982. © Geoff Orens (AMG)

Aera were a jazz rock group founded by guitarist Muck Groh after he left Ihre Kinder in 1972. In 1974 they recorded Humanum Est at the local Studio Hiltpoltstein in Nuremberg. It was released on the Erlkönig label, operated by the Ihre Kinder's manager Jonas Porst. The six tracks included on the album were all written by Groh. The musical quality was acceptable, but little of their material can be described as better than just 'good'. On the improved second album Hand Und Fuß (1976) the band had changed considerably: the driving force of the group was now Klaus Kreuzeder, who was confined to a wheelchair and paralyzed in both legs. Teske was replaced by Lucky Schmidt, previously the drummer of the legendary early seventies group Wind. Another new member, Christoph Krieger didn't make much of himself on the album. This time some tracks included vocals, but again most of the material was instrumental jazz rock fusion - fairly good, but lacking a bit of invention. Apparently Aera disbanded after this, but was reformed by Kreuzeder in 1978. They managed to release quite a few albums during their lifespan, but none of them are really essential listening. Merely interesting for the jazz enthusiasts. © Dag Erik Asbjørnsen (from Cosmic Dreams At Play - A Guide To German Progressive And Electronic Rock)

Aera come from the great tradition of Bavarian/South German jazz-rock oriented progressive bands like Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, etc., with a style unique to that area.
The band was formed by wheelchair bound saxophonist Klaus Kreuzeder (once an early member of Ex Ovo Pro), originating as a highly inventive fusion band, with strong percussion, driving rhythms and lots of space for solos from guitar, saxophone and flute. Whilst fronted by Muck Groh (ex-Ihre Kinder) they recorded two albums: Humanum Est which presented a most proficient instrumental band with a strong identity, with multi-tracked guitar riffing and near on ever-present wind solos, and then Hand Und Fuß, which was a touch more varied, due to the addition of violin and with Lucky Schmidt dealing more forceful rhythms in a jazzier concoction. As happens with most bands, Aera lost many members to other groups, and the third album Türkis, saw a big change in personnel, with wheelchair-bound Klaus Kreuzeder taking over as leader. Fronting a more symphonic band featuring lots of keyboards and also multi-percussives from almost everyone involved, a new Aera sound was forged. Interestingly, being touted as a German Brand X or Turning Point, there were rumours of a UK tour, and an LP release on the Gull label was announced, but unfortunately this came to nothing, no doubt due to changes happening in the band. In fact, it was a big change in focus, as the Live album, recorded with (ex-Embryo regular) Roman Bunka, was an odd follow-up indeed. Roman's songs didn't really hit-off with the Aera style, especially with a funky focus to the music. And then, Too Much lost the magic even further. It seemed like the rot of the late-1970's was setting in. But, all was not lost, finally, Aera got their act back together with Akataki, which saw another change in style, partly a step back to the energy of Hand Und Fuß, though the high-tech setting of Achim Gieseler's computer keyboards against a heavy jazz-fusion base led to unusual and often startling results. Whilst being Aera at their jazziest, it's also their most experimental and shows a band still striving for the ideals set a decade before. What happened to Aera after this is unknown, though most members have moved on to other projects. Klaus Kreuzeder is now (since the Summer of 1996) working in the jazz duo Sax As Sax Can. Following the recent Aera reissues, a new version of the band, debuting live in July 2006 under the name Neue Aera, are comprised of: Muck Groh (guitar, etc.), Wolfgang Teske (drums), Locko Richter (bass, saxophone), Jonas Gruber (bass, guitar), Helmut Meier-Limberg (percussion), Theo Jörgensmann (clarinet). © Steven Freeman & Alan Freeman (from The Crack In The Cosmic Egg, Encyclopedia Of Krautrock, Kosmische Musik, & Other Progressive, Experimental & Electronic Musics From Germany)