Best known as the keyboard wizard of the venerable Hungarian rock band Omega, the solo work of Laszlo Benko is by comparison virtually unknown beyond the confines of Eastern Europe. A curious offering of keyboard based electronic music, it can be likened at times to some of Tangerine Dream's mid-seventies material such as Rubycon or Ricochet albeit with a more light-hearted, zany touch much more along the lines of Kraftwerk minus the vocals or even some of Vangelis' seventies work. Prefering shorter formats rather than longer multi-dimensional compositions favoured by many progressive electronic artists, it is worth a brief glimpse into his musical contributions and developments within Omega in order to better introduce his solo work.
This remastered two-fer combines guitarist Mel Brown's second Impulse release from 1968, The Wizard, with Blues for We released the following year. The Wizard is a straight-ahead soul-jazz date picking up where Chicken Fat left off with a few originals alongside funky renditions of “Ode to Billie Joe” and Pee Wee Crayton’s R&B hit of the late '40s “Blues After Hours.” Blues for We relies more on an interesting selection of cover versions ranging from “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Son of a Preacher Man” to the bubblegum staple by the 1910 Fruitgum Company “Indian Giver” and Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore,” which was the theme of a BBC television drama. Brown’s guitar work on both sessions is fluid and greasy, as are the funky drum licks, but occasionally, the arrangements drift into superior background music. New liner notes are absent, but the original packaging – front and back cover art and liner notes – remain intact.
1.From the dark depths of the past, comes the tale of the first wizard of Illeniel. Daniel Tennick lived simply, a young shepherd with few troubles and little to occupy his mind, until the warden appeared. Daniel’s power awakens, and he finds himself hunted by the servants of the cruel and uncaring forest gods. …
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