Tom Hayes 17-Jan-2001 Group 1850 At a Glance

By all rights, the Dutch music ensemble Group 1850 should hold the same mythic stature that Pink Floyd obtained. First of all, Group 1850 represent Continental Europe's first progressive rock band. Their compositions are designed for the trippy effect, organ overlays, relentless throbbing bass, active percussion, spacey and phased voices and, best of all, an acidic guitar tone that uses every bit of studio trickery and tone affectation available at the time.

Clearly a parallel group to Pink Floyd, Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth is taken from the same cloth as Saucerful of Secrets. In retrospect, though, Group 1850's work is more creative which one may expect from a Continental band without any commercial restraints. Sure, there are some pure psych moments to be had - but just hearing the title track should put anyone in awe who can hear this is an historical perspective. There just flat out wasn't anything like this in 1968. The fuzz guitar, the trippy voices, the acid induced phased effects, and the drumming (oh - the drumming). It's a bona fide masterpiece in the field of psychedelic progressive music.

Paradise Now is possibly even better. Now they've managed to lose the trendy psychedelic trappings for a truly creative work. There is a more pervasive ethnic element this time around with wind instruments and hand percussion. It's amazing how timeless this music is 30+ years later. Just brilliant.

One would expect that after 5 years, a band would have changed directions radically. Especially in an era when musical trends changed with the seasons. Perhaps a fusion album? Hard rock maybe? Pop? But not Group 1850. Still going after it with their unique brand of psychedelic progressive music. In fact, Polyandri is more refined and varied - being a primarily instrumental album. This album features an array of sounds from complex prog rock compositions to simple bluesy workouts onto trippy psych organ based excursions similar to their first 2 LP's. Wonderfully out of touch for 1974!

All 3 of the above are essential for the adventurous European progressive listener. Group 1850 also had at least 2 live albums during this period which I have yet to hear.

Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth has been beautifully restored not only on CD but also on LP with the original gatefold 3D cover and glasses by the high quality Dutch label Pseudonym. Unfortunately, Paradise Now exists only as a boot LP and CD (though good quality). Even worse, the only CD pressing of Polyandri is taken from crackly vinyl. Let's hope for quality reissues similar to that given to their debut.

Sjef Oellers 6-April-2001 Agemo's Trip To Mother Earth

Group 1850 is a Dutch band playing 60s psychedelica with elements of West Coast acid rock and early Pink Floyd. Some parts are a bit dated, especially the central "trippy" and/or hilarious part in the 10 minute plus " Put My Hand on Your Shoulder". Lots of "Mother Earth" worshipping and "we should be all together" declamation in Dutch and terribly accented English and German! Nevertheless, this is quite an excellent album in the style mentioned above.

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