Arabs in Aspic

Karisma Records announces details of three back-catalogue re-releases from Arabs in Aspic.

ARABS IN ASPIC are no newcomers to the prog scene, having  been at  the forefront of 70’s inspired progressive rock and proto-hard rock for fifteen years. Based in Trondheim, Norway, the band’s roots can be traced to the Golden Era of rock, with a sound that is a mix of loud, heavy guitars and drums, 12 string acoustics, funky bass and percussion, screaming Hammond organs, soft Rhodes, Mellotrons and 70’s Synths, topped with plentiful vocal harmonies.

With seven full-length albums to their name, the lineup of Jostein Smeby on Guitars + vocals, Stig Jørgensen on Organs + vocals, Erik Paulsen on Bass + vocals, Eskil Nyhus on Drums + cymbals and Alessandro G. Elide on Percussion + gongs, include, within their sound, aspects of classic rock, funk, pop, prog, heavy rock, bossanova, and a capella.  

Arabs In Aspic - Thor Egil Leirtrø

When ARABS IN ASPIC signed to Karisma Records for the release of the band’s seventh full-length album “Madness and Magic”, it was the labels intention to also release the entire ARABS IN ASPIC back-catalogue. With the first three albums having been released in 2021, Karisma is now ready to release the next three albums on the 1st December, not only as individual albums, but also as a limited edition box set which comes just in time for Prog fans wishing to give (or receive) something special for Christmas.

First up we have “Pictures in a Dream”, ARABS IN ASPIC’s fourth album, originally released in 2013 on Black Widow Records. The band’s love of experimenting with sounds and recording methods is at the forefront, along with some rather unconventional use of microphones to capture the sound in the studio itself, rather than directly from the source. For example nine microphones are used on the Hammond organ alone. The inevitable result of this was the need for a lot of tweaking, and not so much control, and very much a different kind of sound for 2013.

 

Arabs in Aspic - Pictures in a Dream CD

The re-release itself is based on all of the original recordings, but everything has been re-edited and remixed from scratch, thereby removing some of the pitfalls that came with having so many microphones in the room. Some of the vocals/lyrics have been replaced with lyrics from the archives, along with some new ideas, and a few instrumental overdubs, rendering the album even better than its predecessor.

Remastered  by Jacob Holm-Lupo (WHITE WILLOW, OPIUM CARTEL, SOLSTEIN etc) “Pictures in a Dream” also sees the band changing the song sequence to make a new listening experience that creates quite a different mood. 

Arabs in Aspic - Pictures in a Dream vinyl

“Pictures in a Dream” will be available in CD, Digital and Limited Edition Blue/Yellow Vinyl formats. With artwork by Julia Proszowska, and RUPHUS vocalist Rune Sundby guesting on two songs, tracklisting is as follows:

  1. Rejected Wasteland / Pictures in a Dream (feat. Rune Sundby)
  2. Let Us Pray
  3. You Are Blind
  4. Felix
  5. Ta et steg til siden
  6. Difference in Time
  7. Lifeguard@sharkbay
  8. Prevail to Fail (feat. Rune Sundby)
  9. Hard to Find
  10. Vi møtes sikkert igjen

Next up is the fifth album from ARABS IN ASPIC “Victim of your Father’s Agony”, which first saw the light of day in 2015, again on Black Widow Records, and which has now also been re-edited and remixed from scratch, with a change in the song sequence and instrumental overdubbing, and once again Jacob Holm-Lupo can be found at the remastering helm. It is possibly the band’s most diverse to date, due to the large numbers of songwriters on this particular release. 

Arabs in Aspic - Victim of your Father’s Agony CD

This new version of the album starts with a short instrumental inspired by the band’s first concert in France which took place at sunset, 300 meters from the most beautiful beaches of the Atlantic and in front of 2000 ecstatic prog nerds. “One”, is an oldie that didn’t quite fit on the previous couple of albums, but has been a staple in their live shows since 2009.

“Italian Class” started as an instrumental called “The Turk and the Italian Restaurant”. With no proper Italian vocabulary, the band cobbled together bits and pieces from the most well known Italian nursery rhymes and  performed the song live at a festival, where some found it brilliant, and others were offended or embarrassed on the band’s behalf! “Sad Without You” is about the sudden realization that you’re eventually going to lose your loved ones, whilst “The Flight of the Halibut” features no less than 16 lead guitars in unison.

Arabs in Aspic - Victim of your Father’s Agony vinyl

With artwork by Julia Proszowska, “Victim of your Father’s Agony”,  will be available in CD, Digital and Limited Edition Blue/Yellow Vinyl formats, and tracklisting is as follows:

  1. Saint-Palais-sur-Mer Part 1
  2. One
  3. Italian Class
  4. God Requires Insanity
  5. Saint-Palais-Sur-Mer Part 2
  6. Sad Without You
  7. Flight of the Halibut
  8. Tv3
  9. Victim of your Father’s Agony

And then we have what will be the sixth and final re-release, “The Magic of Sin”, which was originally titled “Syndenes magi” and was a turning point in the career of ARABS IN ASPIC. After “Pictures in a Dream” and “Victim of your Father’s Agony” the infrastructure of the “new Arabs” was set. They had lots of songs ready to go, but, after attending a spectacular KING CRIMSON gig in Oslo, the band decided that their new material wasn’t up to par, and they had to do better.

Arabs in Aspic - The Magic of Sin CD

Returning to his home in Trondheim, Jostein Smeby wrote what was to become the 12-minute song “Syndenes Magi”. He called up cover artist Julia Proszowska and asked her to write down some keywords for a concept album. She delivered an excellent selection of keywords about anxiety, which inspired the composition of the rest of the album. Originally written in English, countless attempts to make the vocals blend in with the music failed and Smeby tried to write a verse in Norwegian instead, and there it was!  Re-writing the rest of the lyrics in  Norwegian, “Syndenes magi”  was released on Apollon Records in the fall of 2017, and received a lot of international attention, despite having only Norwegian lyrics.

Regarding what has now become “The Magic of Sin”, which was once again remastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo in his Dude Ranch Studios, Jostein Smeby commented:

When it comes to the remix of the album, that is the hardest project we’ve ever done. We were really happy with the record – so if it was going to get remixed, then the result had to be even better. The band wasn’t entirely in agreement about a remix at all, but the composer had some unfinished business regarding English lyrics.

I tried singing the original English lyrics again. And it sounded just as bad as last time. What do you do then? Well, you delete all the Norwegian vocals and work until it gets better. Working with the remix and remaster of «The Magic of Sin» has taken more than twice the amount of time than writing, recording and mixing the original version took.

Obviously, since “The Magic of Sin” is something of a very special album to the band, for so many reasons, its new release also merits something a bit special, so, aside from the usual CD and Digital formats, the album will also be available in the form of a limited first pressing of the LP version in orange/black vinyl which comes in a unique tri-fold cover revealing more of Julia Proszowska’s striking cover art. If its  combined with the original  “Syndenes Magi” LP, all five panels of the painting will be visible.

ARABS TRIFOLD FRONT Karisma Records announces details of three back-catalogue re-releases from Arabs in Aspic.

Tracklisting on “The Magic of Sin” is as follows:

  1. The Magic of Sin
  2. Down in Darkness Pt 2
  3. Down in Darkness Pt 3

All three albums will also be available as a Limited Edition Box Set titled “IV – VI”

Arabs in Aspic - IV​-​VI box set

All  versions of all the albums can now be pre-ordered from:

karismarecords.no/shop
karismarecords.indiemerch.com (US shop)
arabs.bandcamp.com

ARABS IN ASPIC’s next live appearance will be on the 11th November alongside Dark Essence Records artist LUMSK at the Verkstedhallen & Lobbyen in Trondheim

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