Ring Van Möbius come from Kopervik, which is situated on the west coast of Norway, and they are about to unleash their debut album Past The Evening Sun. The band is a sort of power trio, consisting in this case of Hammond organ, bass and drums. Their music has a healthy dose of nostalgia to it, taking inspiration from the Seventies prog rock bands such as Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and ELP. I can also hear some elements of the great Atomic Rooster in their sound.
The band appear to have a strong focus on analogue equipment, original instruments and studio techniques, using their recording space, Spectral Tape Studios, as an instrument to help create their “weird and wonderful musical universe”. On their Facebook page the band describe themselves as “progressive rock straight from 1971, but made today”. There is very little information to be found on them, indeed on the same Facebook page all three band members are given Van Mobius as their surname, thus fostering a little mystery about them.
The album consists of three tracks, and in true Seventies prog tradition begin with a twenty one minute track, followed by two further tracks at five and eleven minutes respectively. Throughout the album there is a warm and organic feel to the sound; the Hammond Organ providing pulsating rhythms, cut with stabbing runs and yet at the same time providing carefully constructed melodies, all of which are ably supported by the excellent rhythm section.
Opening track Past The Evening Sun begins with the Hammond providing driving rhythms, the bass and drums holding it all down before the saxophone arrives. It is here that things take on a jazzy vibe, led by the excellent sax playing, things then settle for the arrival of the vocals. It is on this track that the band appears to share the same sense of adventure that Atomic Rooster were noted for. The song ebbs, flows and pulsates throughout its twenty odd minutes, appearing to pass very quickly. The bands influences are notable throughout, at times there are touches of early King Crimson and at others the music gets that jerky and unsettling feel associated with Van der Graaf Generator. Indeed the vocals of Thor Erik Helgesen at times appear to have been influenced by Peter Hammill’s style of delivery. All that being said it is definitely their own sound that they have created here, the quality of the playing is top notch and the song’s twenty-one minutes pass in a flash.
The next track, End Of Greatness, is the shortest, beginning with some atmospheric keyboards supported by heavy but perfectly placed cymbal work, which leads us into a more gentle song than the opener.
The third and last track, Chasing The Horizon is a perfectly paced song, the opening reminiscent of ELP at their best, but this thought is short lived as the pulsating rhythm begins to draw you in. The careful melody is cut with some stabbing organ runs, the bass and drums driving things along, adding to subtle changes in the music quite effortlessly. Again the vocals have a heartfelt quality to their delivery, reminiscent of Hammill, but distinctly in Thor’s own style.
The main focus does appear to be the Hammond organ and keyboards, but let us not overlook the contribution of the bass and drums which tirelessly and skilfully drive and hold everything together. I have found this to be a very interesting debut album, unashamedly retro and nostalgic for the prog sounds of the Seventies, but there does appear to be some freshness in the writing and delivery. They have used their influences carefully to help develop their sound.
A debut album that shows a lot of promise, and I will be interesting to see where their second album will take them, worth investigation if you like retro sounds in your music.
01. Past The Evening Sun (21:39)
02. End Of Greatness (5:53)
03. Chasing The Horizon (11:55)
Total Time – 39:28
Thor Erik Helgesen – Hammond L100, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet D6, Moog Satellite, Korg MS20
Håvard Rasmussen – Fender Bass VI, Effects
Dag Olav Husås – Drums, Timpani, Percussion, Effects
Karl Christian Grønhaug – Saxophone
Record Label: Apollon Records
Country of Origin: Norway
Date of Release: 25th May 2018
Ring Van Mobius – Facebook