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View Poll Results: How good is this album?
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Mediocre 2 20.00%
Good 0 0%
Very Good 7 70.00%
Brilliant! 1 10.00%
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Focus - Moving Waves (1971)

This thread is for discussing Focus' album Moving Waves! It was the PFAC Homework Assignment for Week 26, but of course anyone can join in the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tore
Focus - Moving Waves (1971)



This is the second album by Focus. It spawned a peculiar hit song, Hocus Pocus, which featured yodeling and crazy facial expressions from singer/keyboardist/flutist Thijs Van Leer. This release lifted them them to the height of their popularity in the early 70s and Jan Akkerman was voted the world's greatest guitarist in 1973 by readers of the UK magazine Melody Maker.

The album is known for being somewhat experimental but having achieved popularity nevertheless and contains among other things the 23 minutes long epic "Eruption" which is an adaptation of Jacopo Peri's opera Euridice, which tells the tale of Orpheus and Euridice.

So let's listen to some Focus!
So what do you guys think?
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's quite funny how the hit Hocus Pocus is really not a good representative of what you find on this record at all! After listening to the album a few times, I have to say I really like it. I usually skip Hocus Pocus because I've long since tired of it (although it is good and quirky admittedly) and just enjoy the rest. Le Clochard, Janis and the title track Moving Waves are all brilliant songs I thought. None of them are attention grabbers like Hocus Pocus, but they're just thoroughly pleasant. Janis is another brilliant example of how awesome the flute can be in rock music .. I love it!

Eruption is also a pleasant affair, I think, but it's very hard to remember anything afterwards. I think I've listened through it about 3 times now and I still don't know how it goes except it was enjoyable when it was on. I might have to get back to you guys on that one.

I still felt I could rate this as a 5 out of 6!

Listening to this inspired me to hunt down Jan Akkerman's solo album Profile
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i have heard it twice. i like hocus pocus, but nothing else stood out. however i did hear it in a car so i should probably hear it on my headphones at some point. may have missed the flute you talked about. i always get annoyed listening to stuff i know well in a car. perfect example is yes - long distance runaround. it destroys the bass in that. along with some of the more intricate guitar work. i am just running a stock civic CD player(don't get me started on the radio signal ipod accessory) from 7 years ago.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One of the defining trademarks of prog rock is musical virtuosity and with that being said you'd be hard pressed to find a band more technically accomplished than these guys.

But Focus don't fit the stereotype of elitist muso bores, they have always had a great sense humor.

Though the big gag song here, Hocus Pocus which is their biggest hit, isn't really definitive of the overall sound of this album or the band's sound in general. Just because they are dutch men who like to use flutes and yodeling they are by no means a novelty band.

Focus were always a music first band, they rarely bother with lyrics and mostly stick to instrumental material, when their songs do have vocals they tend to be used like just another instrument, and that being said the stuff Thijs van Leer could do with his voice was incredible, my favorite Focus song is Round Goes the Gossip off of Focus III and the range of his voice there is almost impossible to believe at first.

Anyway. Moving Waves is an excellent album, though you will be disappointed if you expect to find anything else like Hocus Pocus, it's a very mellow, pastoral record.

Hocus Pocus is the big hit and if you haven't heard it you simply haven't lived. It's famous for Akkerman's kickass hard rock riff and Van Leer's yodeling, and goes off into many unexpected places, with solo passages consisting of flutes, whistling and Van Leer doing sh*t so weird with his voice that there's no way to describe it. It's one of the band's only "hard rock" songs but it's hard rock with the Focus twist.

Le Clochard is a nice acoustic guitar solo from Akkerman. Janis is dominated by gorgeous flute work. The title track is a lovely little ballad with a very "breezy" feel to it. Focus II is a jazzy instrumental in a similar style to Sylvia, which would be the band's other big hit and features some lovely flourishes from every member of the band especially Akkerman.

However the best track and one of the band's finest achievements is the 23 minute Eruption which in the grand tradition of prog epics goes through a wide range of styles and moods and features some of the best musicianship you'll ever hear anywhere.

Jan Akkerman is one of the guitar gods of prog and up there with Fripp, Howe, Latimer, Hackett and many Focus fans would argue that he surpasses even those, at least in technical abillity I'd have to agree, he is one of the most technically gifted guitarists I have heard to date. But he isn't inaccessible, and he is adept at several styles and a master of arpeggio.

Van Leer's keyboard prowess almost rivals Wakeman, Emerson and Lord, he might not have the same legendary status as those, but he's really damn good. Great flautist too.

As for the rhythm section, Pierre van der Linden is a mad drummer (who can match Carl Palmer in intensity) and yes Eruption has a drum solo but it's not a boring one. Cyril Havermans's bass work never takes a lead role and he lacks the virtuosity of his bandmates but he provides solid backing nontheless, however he was sacked only a month after this album's release and Bert Ruiter proved to be a much more skilled bassist and a better fit for the group.

Overall this album is highly recommended and makes a solid introduction to Focus, though Focus III and Hamburger Concerto are even better.

Last edited by boo boo; 07-11-2010 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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^^^Totally agree. You took the words right out of mouth. Very Good.
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This was one of the more disappointing prog albums I purchased a few years ago when I was digging deep into the genre. Never got past 3 listens to it.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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very good...but well not brilliant lol
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boo boo View Post
One of the defining trademarks of prog rock is musical virtuosity and with that being said you'd be hard pressed to find a band more technically accomplished than these guys.

But Focus don't fit the stereotype of elitist muso bores, they have always had a great sense humor.

Though the big gag song here, Hocus Pocus which is their biggest hit, isn't really definitive of the overall sound of this album or the band's sound in general. Just because they are dutch men who like to use flutes and yodeling they are by no means a novelty band.

Focus were always a music first band, they rarely bother with lyrics and mostly stick to instrumental material, when their songs do have vocals they tend to be used like just another instrument, and that being said the stuff Thijs van Leer could do with his voice was incredible, my favorite Focus song is Round Goes the Gossip off of Focus III and the range of his voice there is almost impossible to believe at first.

Anyway. Moving Waves is an excellent album, though you will be disappointed if you expect to find anything else like Hocus Pocus, it's a very mellow, pastoral record.

Hocus Pocus is the big hit and if you haven't heard it you simply haven't lived. It's famous for Akkerman's kickass hard rock riff and Van Leer's yodeling, and goes off into many unexpected places, with solo passages consisting of flutes, whistling and Van Leer doing sh*t so weird with his voice that there's no way to describe it. It's one of the band's only "hard rock" songs but it's hard rock with the Focus twist.

Le Clochard is a nice acoustic guitar solo from Akkerman. Janis is dominated by gorgeous flute work. The title track is a lovely little ballad with a very "breezy" feel to it. Focus II is a jazzy instrumental in a similar style to Sylvia, which would be the band's other big hit and features some lovely flourishes from every member of the band especially Akkerman.

However the best track and one of the band's finest achievements is the 23 minute Eruption which in the grand tradition of prog epics goes through a wide range of styles and moods and features some of the best musicianship you'll ever hear anywhere.

Jan Akkerman is one of the guitar gods of prog and up there with Fripp, Howe, Latimer, Hackett and many Focus fans would argue that he surpasses even those, at least in technical abillity I'd have to agree, he is one of the most technically gifted guitarists I have heard to date. But he isn't inaccessible, and he is adept at several styles and a master of arpeggio.

Van Leer's keyboard prowess almost rivals Wakeman, Emerson and Lord, he might not have the same legendary status as those, but he's really damn good. Great flautist too.

As for the rhythm section, Pierre van der Linden is a mad drummer (who can match Carl Palmer in intensity) and yes Eruption has a drum solo but it's not a boring one. Cyril Havermans's bass work never takes a lead role and he lacks the virtuosity of his bandmates but he provides solid backing nontheless, however he was sacked only a month after this album's release and Bert Ruiter proved to be a much more skilled bassist and a better fit for the group.

Overall this album is highly recommended and makes a solid introduction to Focus, though Focus III and Hamburger Concerto are even better.
Great writeup about a band who I still listen to 38 years after I bought their lp's in the early 70's. It seemed that when Hamburger Concerto was released in the Summer of 1974 and when Atco records signed them, they would be in the company of the elite progressive bands. Sadly that didn't happen. Hamburger Concerto sold ok but not great, Mother Focus didn't even make a blip on the screen (at least with the radio stations in my area anyway) And by the time Focus Con Proby was released in April of 1978, I could sadly see the end coming.
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