Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Group 1850 - Dream of the Future


Short bio:
Group 1850 was a psychedelic rock band from the Netherlands, considered by many to be one of the finest acid rock acts Europe has ever produced. The band was founded in 1964 in Hague, using the name Klits, renaming themselves Group 1850 in 1966 when their debut single, "Misty Night/Look Around", appeared on the tiny Yep label. Though few copies were pressed, it established them as one of Holland's most original bands (alongside the Outsiders and Q65) and they soon signed to Philips. More singles ensued, in a highly psychedelic vein, including the brilliant "Mother No-Head".

Their debut album, "Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth", appeared in late 1968. The album's concept is incomprehensible, but its superb songs and musicianship have ensured its lasting cult reputation, and it has been called one of the most truly psychedelic albums ever recorded. A UK release did not help the band gain a footing outside Holland, and Philips dropped them soon afterwards. Their next album, 1969's "Paradise Now", appeared on the Dutch Discofoon label in 1969 and was only marginally less acid-influenced than its predecessor. The band were sporadically active through the 1970s, especially notable were another excellent single, 1971's "Fire/Have You Ever Heard", and  the largely instrumental album "Polyandri" in 1975.

My introduction to Group 1850 was the track "Mother No-Head", one of the stand out tracks which appeared on the compilation album "The Rubble Collection 5" released in the early 90s. I heard nothing else by the band until I bought the reissue of their first album on CD, which came out on the Pseudonym label in 1997. Not really knowing what to expect, I wasn't too impressed by the first couple of tracks (I'm still not a great fan of those 2 songs which is why they don't appear on this anthology) but the rest of the album is mostly excellent. I say mostly because track 3, the 13+ minutes of "I Put My Hands on Your Shoulder" was partially ruined (for me) by the 5 minutes of spoken word/phased drum solo in the middle of the song. I've taken the step of removing that part from the song, which I'm sure some of you will find quite unforgiveable! Sorry, but I prefer my edited version.

The bio states that "Agemo's..." is "one of the most truly psychedelic albums ever recorded". Not sure about that statement, I can think of several other albums from the 1960s that are more "truly" psychedelic. Personally, I think the 2 albums afterwards are better, "Paradise Now" has no weak tracks whatsoever so it was tough choosing which tracks to include here. "Polyandri" saw the band evolving into a more progressive rock sound, but for me has a couple of weak tracks. A shame this was their final studio album, it would've been interesting to hear how much further they would have evolved with future releases.

All of the tracks featured here can be found on the excellent 8 CD box set "Purple Sky: The Complete Works and More" which was released in 2019. As well as the 3 studio albums it also incudes 2 live albums, plus 2 CDs which features all of their singles plus various demo recordings & outtakes. An added bonus is the solo album recorded by Peter Sjardin recorded in 1969 but not released until 1982. As usual origin of each track & year of release is tagged in the music files and in the download file. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Mother No-Head (3:24)
2. Frozen Mind (3:38)
  3. Refound (3:04)
4. ?! (6:55)
  5. Fire (2:28)
6. Pumping Up the Rubber Trees (3:11)
7. You Did It Too Hard (2:10)
8. Sun Is Coming (So We're Calling You) (2:59)
9. I Know (La Pensee) (3:10)
10. Hunger (4:55)
11. Dream of the Future (2:32)
12. Cages (5:17)
13. Zero (3:28)
14. Reborn (3:04)
15. Lonelyness (2:01)
16. We Love Life (Like We Love You) (4:27)
17. Silver Earring (4:10)
18. Have You Ever Heard (3:33)
19. I Put My Hands on Your Shoulder [short version] (7:32)
20. Friday I'm Free (2:52)
21. Thousand Years Before (4:31)

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