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.

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20180616

Complete Jan Akkerman


We hear that a 26 CD Jan Akkerman set is being released next month. UK pricing is around £99. Wouter Bessels, who compiled, annotated and mastered the set in collaboration with Jan, kindly put some background info online elsewhere. He says
The booklet will be substantial, yes, to say the least. 66 pages. A biography by yours truly, with several pages of photos from all eras of Jan’s career – including several previously unpublished shots, followed by an album-to-album breakdown, featuring full credits (including never before published facts about who played what on particular albums) and Jan’s own memories about the 23 studio and live albums, taken from recent extended interviews I’ve done with Jan. In addition there’s a cd featuring his personal selection of Focus tracks, with some pre-Focus stuff added (Johnny and His Cellar Rockers, The Hunters and Brainbox) and a cd full of previously unreleased stuff such as basic tracks from “Angel Watch” and “Stingray” (both without string and woodwind overdubs!) and the original demo for “Crackers” recorded in the Summer of 1975 with Pierre van der Linden on drums. That particular demo was recorded during rehearsals for the 1975 Japan/Australia tour of Focus for which Pierre temporarily rejoined the band.
Regarding the mastering: I have been working for almost a year to transfer the analog 2-track tapes – or digital safety copies in some cases – for most of the albums up to 1993. Expect some flat transfers (as some were very good and did not need to be enhanced – less is more), expect some carefully dynamically remastering on some albums (eg. the 1977 guitar in bed album – which sounds pretty hollow and too bright – I have carefully corrected that), a few needle drops (as some mastertapes have disappeared and/or were untraceable) and for the rarities cd: a variety of sources, from 2-track DAT, cassettes to 2-track analog / 2-track digital. ‘Subsequently all cd-masters were checked and prepared for production by Peter Brussee of QPoint mastering in Hilversum (The Netherlands) – no additional EQ’ing a.o. was done during that final process. I can honestly say that Jan’s back catalogue is now fully future proof!’

20180503

Thijs on Radio 2

There was a brief interview with Thijs van Leer on Radio 2 yesterday evening. You can access the clip here.

20180314

Focus X Pie Chart


Chart showing the proportion of the album taken up by each track

20180307

Death of Hans Cleuver

We are sorry to hear of the sad passing of Hans Cleuver. Boen in Indonesia in 1947 he was a co-founder and first drummer for, Focus. From a musical family, Hans Cleuver drummed for the band during two periods - 1969-70 and 1997-98. He was also personal manager to both Thijs van Leer and Jan Akkerman at times and ran the multi-award-winning Cleuver Drumschool in Den Haag/the Hague. He was the husband of singer Bojoura and father to their children who include the drummer Emilie Cleuver.