June 17, 2011

Friday Review: Ammerland

I keep a running list of albums I want to get (creatively titled “Tunes I Want”). I add things to it when I read a review or see an interesting discussion on one of the prog forums about an island. Sometimes, by the time I get around to actually buying stuff, I forget exactly why a particular disc made the list.

I can’t quite remember what went through my head when I put Ammerland on the list, but I think it went like this. It was made by a German duo. It came out in the late 1970s. It involved copious amounts of synth work. The end result, I think I concluded, was probably something along the lines of Tangerine Dream, or possibly Ashra.

It didn’t turn out that way. The two Germans in question, Heinz Frohling and Gerhard Fuhrs, first got together with another guy, drummer Eduard Schicke, and made a couple of albums melding fusion and more symphonic-leaning prog. Inspired by some of the more pastoral bits of those albums, Frohling (guitar) and Furhs (synths and keys) made an album as a duo, Ammerland (named after their home region in Germany).

The result is an unlikely combination that works amazingly well. Frohling lays out various guitar riffs, mostly acoustic, upon which Furhs sprinkles various bits of synthy goodness (with some Mellotron piled on for good measure). The results are light and tasteful, but not dull or twee. Nothing driving or anthemic (no drums on this album), but very interesting. A perfect reflection of their homeland, from all I’ve read. Just look at the cover.

Ammerland, by Furhs and Frohling
Released 1978

1. Ammerland (3:05)
2. Gentle Breeze (5:30)
3. Dance Of The Leaves (2:16)
4. Street Dance (2:29)
5. Sarabande (2:27)
6. Circles Of Live (4:04)
7. Every Land Tells A Story (13:49)
8. Ammernoon (5:05)

Gerhard Fuhrs (synth, keyboards)
Heinz Frohling (guitar)
Edward Brumund Ruther (bass)

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