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Trace (Netherlands): Trace

Album Notes

This is the first release by the Dutch group Trace, formed in 1973 by keyboardist Rick van der Linden (previously the leader of Ekseption) with drummer Pierre van der Linden (from the group Focus) and bassist Jaap van Eik (with various groups). As expected, van der Linden's keyboards pretty much dominate the session, which is a decent effort by progressive rock standards. "Galliarde" blends part of Bach's "Italian Concerto in F major" (BMV 971) with a traditional Polish dance that originated in the 13th century. This piece incorporates a small pipe organ, a Hammond organ, and a mellotron. It segues into van Eik's "Gare le Corbeau" (primarily a feature for electric bass) before returning to a reprise of "Galliarde." Grieg's "The Death of Ace" (from his "Peer Gynt Suite") begins with a piano solo by the leader, before the tedious mellotron returns to simulate a mournful choir; van der Linden's synthesizer playing also leaves a lot to be desired on this track. Among van der Linden's originals on this record, "The Escape of the Piper" blends a touch of jazz with a whimsical inclusion of bagpipes; while "Once" features the keyboardist on organ in an up-tempo blues groove, as well as a bit of electric harpsichord and a good bit of musical humor. Less successful is "Progression," which is a bit long and bombastic, or "The Lost Past," which is an extended drum solo by Pierre van der Linden. While Trace followed up this release with two additional recordings before disbanding, this is their best record. ~ Ken Dryden


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