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 82

Archive number: 82
Title: Beethoven's Revenge (Bach-One-Turbo-Overdrive)
Main Album: Focus (1985). Also a single b/w Who's Calling?
Track number: 5
Genre: Progressive Rock Instrumental
Studio: Studio Spitsbergen, Zuidbroek, Groningen, The Netherlands (mixed at Dureco Studios, Weesp, The Netherlands)
Length: 18' 40" (10' 43")
Composer: Jan Akkerman
Musicians: Jan Akkerman - Synthesiser Guitar, drum machine, Acoustic Guitar; Thijs Van Leer – Keyboards inc synthesisers, Flute; Ruud Jacobs – Acoustic Bass; Fairlight programmed by Ed Staring.
Producer: Ruud Jacobs with Jan Akkerman, Thijs Van Leer and Theo Balijon
Engineer: Emile Elsen, Jan Akkerman and Theo Balijon
Label: Mercury (Phonogram)/Vertigo
Date of recording/release: Recorded 1985 Released LP/CD -1985 CD – 1989.
Alternative version: My Pleasure on Akkerman's solo album Heartware provides the core of this piece
Notes: This track appears in its fullest form on the CD. The orginal vinyl had an edited version that lacked around 8 minutes of the original. The title references both the 19th Century Romantic composer Beethoven and the 1970s Canadian rock band Bachman Turner Overdrive. Focus had produced long tracks previously but they were composite tracks. This track has several elements but is really more akin to a long jam session based around Akkerman's My Pleasure than anything symphonic.
The introduction (00:00-00:32) uses a strong beat and a scattered keyboard effect before a choppy guitar takes up the lead (00:33-01:02). A whistful, synthesised flute sound comes in next (01:03-01:37) before a new rhythm is introduced led by harp like sounds (probably from the keyboard but possibly the guitar) in 01:38-02:13. The flute like melody then recurs (02:14-02:45) before we break into the very catchy guitar riff that carries the piece (02:44-03:29). Another catchy section follows – probably on the keyboard this time (03:27-03:41). It is then the turn of the guitar again (03:42-04:10) before the original catchy guitar riff and succeeding section are repeated (04:10-04:25; 04:25-04:39). We then move in to a more minor key for the next section (4:40-05:09) before the flute-like, romantic style returns (05:10-05:39). A percussive guitar with bell-like sounds breaks across this for another fresh section (05:40-06:13). A section from 06:14-07:33 first harp-like then flute-like comes next on the extended version, edited out on the shorter one. In 07:34-08:10 the percussive guitar with bells returns and is followed by the catchy guitar, etc (08:11-08:23) then a quieter section with an organ sound (08:23-09:51) and the catchy guitar again (09:52-10:06). In 10:07-10:19 the catchy piece is repeated with a flute sound before another fresher section (10:20-11:26) with a struck harp sound (at 10:40, 41 and 10:49) plus a Spanish guitar. In 11:27-11:54 the synthesiser's pitch fluctuates rather. At 11:55 the double bass comes in as the main theme is attacked at length with an oddly pitched guitar. A large chunk of this final section is (helpfully) cut from the final guitar-led jam (from about 13:22). The band are still going as the music fades.

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