Looking at the music of Dutch rock band Focus, started in the late sixties by Thijs Van Leer (b /31/03/48) with Jan Akkerman (b 24/12/46). Van Leer still performs and records under the name today (official site here). Akkerman's site here.




Track by track 23 Anonymus 2

Archive number: 23
Title: Anonymus 2
Main Album: Focus 3
Track number: 8 (CD version, 7 on the LP)
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Olympic Studios 'B', 117 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 9HL
Length: 26' 19”
Composer: Thijs van Leer, Jan Akkerman, Pierre van der Linden
Musicians: Jan Akkerman – Electric guitars (Gibson Les Paul Customs?); Thijs van Leer – Hammond organ, Flute; Bert Ruiter - Bass; Pierre van der Linden – Drums
Producer: Mike Vernon
Engineer: George Chkiantz
Label: LP – Imperial, Polydor, Sire CD – EMI-Bovema, IRS, Red Bullet Date of recording/release: July 1972/November 1972 CD - 1988, 1993, 2001
Alternative version: This is a development of the track Anonymus that appeared on the first album and that can also be heard in the background on the Ramses Shaffy album Sunset Sunkiss.
Notes: The longest track Focus were ever to record (on the original vinyl it took up the whole of one side of a disc and continued on to the next side), the piece can be divided into three main parts (00:00-06:17; 06:18-19:03 and 19:04-24:46) followed by a sort of coda (24:47-26:19).
The band begin together with a staccato statement of the main theme. The guitar quickly-plucked leads. At 01:01 a rasping flute takes up the lead and is backed first by the band's fourfold repetition of an 8 or 9-note riff (modified slightly from the original one in Anonymus). The flute grows increasingly breathless until at 03:24 the organ comes in to take up the lead. At 05:23 they slip into a repeated descending riff and at 05:59 the 8-note riff is again repeated until all goes quiet. Around 06:18 a solo bass quietly takes up a slow melody that is explored alone, picking up pace from 07:41 and being joined first by a strummed or chugging electric guitar (08:12) then snares and cymbals (08:50). The bass, backed by rhythm guitar and drums, continues to build and explore these funky rhythms until the organ finally returns at 11:37 (was van leer on a toilet break?) and it is time for Akkerman, whose restrained guitar has been growing ever more sonorous, to move from rhythm to lead, which he does with aplomb. By this stage the sound is quite heavy but still melodic. It is pretty much a live presentation. At 15:19 an 'alarm style' is hinted at and at 18:33 this comes in with a strong echo as, with the help of the drums, the section is concluded at 19:03. Without a break, the 8-note riff comes in again (19:04) as we are led towards the track's long (and technically impressive) drum solo. Full band and drums alternate briefly then the solo comes in at 19:24, lasting to 23:45, when bass and organ quietly return with the riff. Lead guitar takes it on briefly at 24:10 but by 24:47 the whole thing has ground to a halt. A coda immediately follows as the band play the main theme as at the beginning. This time Akkerman is even quicker until, at 25:31-26:11, a grand reprise-style finale brings us almost to the end. The job is completed with a brief, final, abrupt and comically fast conclusion (26:12-26:19). The whole piece is mostly live and full of enthusiasm. At various points enthusiastic shouts from the band can be heard (eg 06:22, 19:13).

No comments: