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Ache iTunes Tracks

Ache


Formed 1968 in Copenhagen, Denmark, two of its founder members, organist/ pianist/ vocalist Peter Mellin and drummer/ percussionist Glenn Fischer, starting off in mid-60s beat group The Harlows. Bassist/ vocalist Torsten Olafson, having joined The Harlows, in 1967, and his brother guitarist/vocalist Finn Olafson (from McKenzie Set) completed the original ACHE line-up.
Their first album DE HOMINO URBANO (1970) {*7} was released along with a single ‘Shadow Of A Gypsy/ Over The Fields’, which would later appear on their second album. The beautifully atmospheric A-side showcased perfectly the classical rock style epitomised by groups like PROCOL HARUM, with mature guitar playing in the manner of ROBIN TROWER and wonderful Hammond M3 accompaniment. It earned them a silver disc in Europe. The set itself is reckoned to be the first rock music written specifically for a ballet featuring two long instrumental pieces, the title track (the ballet piece) and ‘Little Things’ on side 2. Both pieces were instrumental with short vocal parts sung in English. There were some similarities in their music to bands like BEGGAR’S OPERA, RARE BIRD and TRIUMVIRAT, with striking interplay between Finn Olafsson’s Rickenbacker guitar and Peter Mellin’s Hammond.
1971’s GREEN MAN {*8} was more song based, diverse and musically advanced, with seven tracks including an extended version of THE BEATLES’ ‘We Can Work It Out’ and a group composition entitled ‘Working’, that would extend to 20 minutes in length on live recordings. Finn Olafsson swapped the Rickenbacker guitar sound for a Fender Stratocaster and Les Paul, but retained the ROBIN TROWER influence.
ACHE’s third album, PICTURES FROM CYCLUS 7 (1976) {*7}, retained the nucleus of Mellin and Olafsson, and introduced new members Stig Kreutzfeld (vocals, percussion), Johnnie Gellert (vocals, percussion, rhythm and acoustic guitars), Steen Toft Anderson (bass) and Gert Smedegaard (drums). A single was also released: ‘Expectation / Still Registering’, the former the album closer and an excellent piece of symphonic melodic prog with strong multi-part vocals; the latter with nice synth lines and guitar arpeggios, again capitalising on the group’s vocal strengths. The album began deceptively poppy in a way that made one think of CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, however brooding piano arpeggios and guitar/organ interchanges soon changed the mood. ‘Still Hungry (Vampire Song)’ was top class melodic prog with nice synth and guitar; and also more melodramatic piano and organ.
Mellin departed to be replaced by Per Wium (keyboards/vocals) and the group released its first Danish language album BLA SOM ALTID (1977) {*8} on the KMF label. The record showed that the group had lost none of its inventiveness and progressive inclinations; in places similar to the music of CAMEL at the time with a great Hammond sound, intricate interplay, an arresting flow of ideas and acoustic folky interludes taking more of a leaf from JETHRO TULL perhaps.
In 1978 a picture sleeve single ‘Slaraffenland / Trådt Ud Af Skyggen’ was released. Sung in Danish, the A-side was a retrograde step in a pop direction symptomatic of the times, although one can still hear the musical prowess and playful streak of the group in the break, while the B-side, at over 6 minutes, was long for a 45, however it showed the group had lost little of its ambition with mazy blues guitar runs lifting the music which was more heavy rock than pop. The FINN OLAFSSON BAND – with all the original Ache members – recorded a 1983 album entitled VOELG SEIV? {*5}. ACHE re-formed briefly in 2003 with Johnnie, Finn, Peter, Per, Torsten, Gert and Steen; plus backing singers: Maria Olafsson and Anne-Line Gantzler; one release a year later for Olassongs: `De Skaeve Dromme’. In essence, ACHE was one prog band not to be missed.
© MC Strong/MCS Phil Jackson/PJ May2018

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