CD Review – Wobbler – I-III Box Set

Throughout its history Wobbler has always been a band that managed the fine musical balance between nostalgia and something more creative and innovational. This box set gathers together the band’s first three albums. They were well received by the progressive rock fraternity on original release and this compilation highlights how subtly the band progressed. The group describe the release as; “These albums are what we refer to as “the Morten years”, since Morten Andreas Eriksen was our guitarist on these first three albums, and a very important part of what we were about. “Hinterland” and “Afterglow” also features Tony Johannessen on vocals, making the third album, “Rites at Dawn”, a sort of a transition album between the old Wobbler and the new Wobbler, as it features Andreas on vocals. Musically, these albums are quite diverse. They show different aspects of Wobbler; being the roots of what eventually became “From Silence To Somewhere” and “Dwellers of The Deep”.”

The band formed in 1999 in Norway with the intent of revisiting the musical expressions of the prime progressive years of 1969-1974, but to try and achieve this without lapsing into imitation of particular bands. So, the inspiration came from King Crimson, Yes, ELP, PFM, Gentle Giant and so forth, and the use of instruments often associated with that era such as mellotrons, Hammond organ, and mini moogs amongst others. This undoubtedly gave the music the required nostalgic feel, but the bands own innovations made it something more unique.

Hinterland was originally released in 2005 and showed a band capable of creating epic long form- tracks. The title tune is a substantial one, vying with the likes of ELPs Tarkus for its ambition and near impudence. Afterglow (quite aptly) followed in 2009 and proved to be equally ambitious but more resourceful, being somewhat more schizoid than its predecessor. It still had sumptuous epics to thrill committed prog listeners. To many, the band’s third release Rites At Dawn of 2011 is the best of this trilogy. It is dramatic, more focussed but ultimately as expansive as its predecessors. It slips with ease into psychedelia and can become quite trippy at times. It is more colourful and developmental too, and portrays better sonic values.

Repeated listenings to Wobbler prove to be something of a mercurial affair. Sometimes the nostalgia is overwhelming and the spirit of early Genesis or Yes is summoned up, at others the more innovative side will be to the fore and provide a more open-minded atmosphere. What Wobbler have come up with is to take the symphonic prog template and show that you can fill it with endless colourings and patterns that builds in to an endless fractal kaleidoscope of infectious sound.

This release is available in a number of formats, either as individual releases in both CD, Limited Edition Vinyl formats, as well as a three-album, limited edition box set.  The box set will be a limited edition, one-time pressing, and will include exclusive coloured vinyl versions of all three albums, along with a slip mat and an illustrated booklet.

Hinterland:

1. Serenade for 1652 (0:41)

2. Hinterland (27:47)

3. Rubato Industry (12:45)

4. Clair Obscur (15:37)

Total Time 56:50

Afterglow:

1. The Haywain (0:55)

2. Imperial Winter White (15:02)

3. Interlude (2:32)

4. In Taberna (13:10)

5. Armoury (3:00)

Total Time 34:39

Rites at Dawn:

1. Lucid (1:40)

2. La Bealtaine (7:52)

3. In Orbit (12:30)

4. This Past Presence (6:14)

5. A Faerie’s Play (5:19)

6. The River (10:04)

7. Lucid Dreams (2:19)

Total Time 45:58

Line-up / Musicians

Hinterland:

Tony Johannessen – lead vocals

Morten Andreas Eriksen – electric & acoustic guitars

Lars Fredrik Frøislie – glockenspiel, clavinet, Mellotron, Hammond, Minimoog, grand piano, harpsichord

Kristian Karl Hultgren – bass, alto & tenor saxophones

Martin Nordrum Kneppen – drums & percussion

With:

Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / flutes, backing vocals

Ulrik Gaston Larsen / theorbo, baroque guitar

Pauliina Fred / recorder

Aage Moltke Schou / percussion

Afterglow:

Tony Johannessen – vocals

Morten Andreas Eriksen – electric & acoustic guitars

Lars Fredrik Frøislie – piano, Mellotron, Hammond C3, synths (Minimoog, ARP Pro Soloist & Axxe, Solina String Ensemble, Stylophone), Hohner clavinet, electric pianos (Rhodes MKII, Elkapiano 88, Roland EP-10), vocals, producer

Kristian Karl Hultgren – acoustic & electric basses

Martin Nordrum Kneppen – drums & percussion, crumhorn, recorders

With:

Sigrun Eng / cello

Aage Moltke Schou / percussion, glockenspiel, vibes

Rites at Dawn:

Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo – vocals

Morten Andreas Eriksen – electric & acoustic guitars

Lars Fredrik Frøislie – Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond C3, piano, synths (Minimoog, ARP Pro Soloist & Axxe, Korg CX-3, Solina String Ensemble), Rhodes MKII, Hohner clavinet, Wurlitzer, cembalo, Marxophone, backing vocals

Kristian Karl Hultgren – bass, saxophone, glockenspiel

Martin Nordrum Kneppen – drums

With:

Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / flute

Hanne Rekdal / bassoon

Release date: 28th January, 2022

Label: Karisma Records

Formats CD, Digital, Vinyl Box Sets inc. Ltd Editions

https://www.wobblerofficial.com/

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1 Comment

  1. I almost got some Wobbler. Ordered 2 LPs on line but both were warped when they arrived so back they went. That box looks great, but is very expensive, given the only extra is a mat. Fingers crossed for some markdowns!

    Like

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