Some days I find myself falling into a youtube suggested videos rabbit hole. Some days it goes well and I find a few new bands I enjoy and other days I end up in the dark corners of the site that should not exist. One of the good days led to the discovery of Trace, a Dutch prog rock band from the 1970′s. Their music is primarily instrumental and completely fantastic. Rick van der Linden plays the keyboards and holy hell what talent he had. He was inspired by by Keith Emerson and started the band Ekseption who played modern interpretations of classical music by Beethoven, Back and Tchaikovsky. He later moved on and formed Trace which is closer in style to much of the Prog Rock of the 70′s.
Their second LP Birds was released in 1975. I have listened to this album a few dozen times and it never gets old. I will admit it has parts that I am not too keen on mostly because it feels boring and nothing more than filler. Most of the boring happens in the song “Opus 1065″. It is listenable if only for a nice violin and piano duo about 5 minutes in otherwise I can leave it. Most of the rest of the album consists of short 1-3 minute tracks with classical and jazz influences throughout. “Bourree” is the opening track and if you want to hear what I meant by “what talent he had” check that out first.
Birds is anchored by an imposing 22 minute track titled “King bird” (which on the vinyl was listed as 7 tracks on side one). This is another song that showcases van der Linden’s ability which I would say is on par with that of Wakeman and Emerson from the period. It is also the sole song on the album with lyrics, nothing special about them nor anything bad. It’s is a great example of what I love about prog rock, a hand full of songs in one track stitched together in a way that makes audible sense but I fear is wizardry and I will never possess the skill to do myself.
Maybe I should come up with a rating system but for now I will just say if you enjoyed ELP or Yes check out Trace, you can listen on youtube and buy cd’s on Amazon.