Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ruphus - New Born Day (1973 norway, remarkable progressive rock)





Ruphus were one of the most varied Norwegian progressive rock bands in the sense that they often would change their style from album to album, but always within a progressive frame. They started out as a quite big heavy prog band, featuring no less than seven members. On their debut "New Born Day" they had two lead vocalists, male and female. Gudny Aspaas was one of the very best Norwegian female singers in the 70's, possessing a high pitched and flawless voice that had no peer in Norway at that time. 

The male singer Rune Sundby was unfortunately quite the opposite, delivering some embarrassingly weak English vocals that slightly weakens the otherwise good impression of a very solid album. The opener "Coloured Dreams" is rather straightforward hard rock, but things do get a lot more complex and progressive in "Scientific Ways". That track along with "Still Alive" and especially the title-track features some very slight influences from Gentle Giant, but still apparent enough to be detected (at least in my ears). "Trapped in A Game" is Aspaas' definitive moment on the album, a kind of a progressive and grandiose ballad that allows her to display her voice and range in all its impressive glory.

Among the other musicians we find keyboardist Hakon Graf who had a quite powerful organ sound, and some very sparse use of synths (although that would change a lot later). Bassist Asle Nilsen also delivered some atmospheric flute on a few brief passages, the most noteworthy one probably at the end of "Scientific Ways". "The Man Who Started It All" is similar to what Uriah Heep did at the same time, but the closer "Day After Tomorrow" is the longest, most complex and progressive piece on the record, actually sounding a lot like Aunt Mary's "Janus" album from the same year. "New Born Day" is for many people a classic of Norwegian progressive rock. 
Tracks
1. Coloured Dreams - 4:04
2. Scientific Ways - 5:59
3. Still Alive - 4:35
4. The Man Who Started It All - 5:28
5. Trapped In A Game - 6:06
6. New Born Day - 5:43
7. Day After Tomorrow - 8:47
8. Flying Dutchman Fantasy - 3:08
9. Opening Theme - 3:18
All Songs Composed by Ruphus

Ruphus
*Hans Petter Danielsen - Guitar
*Kjell Larsen - Guitar, Flute
*Hakon Graf - Organ, Piano, Vibes
*Thor Bendiksen - Percussion
*Asle Nilsen - Bass, Flute
*Gudnyaspaas - Vocal
*Rune Sundby- Vocal, Accoustic Guitar, Sax

Free Text

3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Mario, I lost this album somewhere? Keep up the good work.

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  2. Fjords, snow... yeah! it the first associations that come to mind about Norway,and it is difficult with this to disagree.
    Probably Ruphusa musicians listening intently to the British art-rock heroes early 70's and found that the entire progressive rock is a pretty cool muse and could be based on this rig up something of their own. How they decided so they did and they recorded their first album debut "New Born Day" in 1973.

    Ruphus The band's "sound" here features bass/hammond organ/guitar interplay, male vocals, and a rather powerful female singer. The bass and hammond playing really stands out on most tracks. Their bassist plays in a style that reminds listeners of Chris Squire, and the keyboardist has a very "hot" Hammond B-3 style typical of the 70s. Once in a while, the guitarist stands out with a riff, solo, or acoustic guitar strumming. But, for some reason, my ears focus in on the bass and hammond interplay over the guitar playing. Once in a while, I also hear other musical instruments such as the vibes, and flute, but the music is similar to other progressive hard-rock bands of the time. Most of the tracks are song-based(with mostly verses, and little to no repeated choruses), and feature some rather complex extended sections. The male vocalist tends to sound average, but the female vocalist really stands out with a charismatic vocal style. She has a powerful, soul-based voice. At first, I have to admit, that it sounded odd to hear "soul" vocals on a prog album, but after just a few listens her style became very enjoyable and simply added a unique touch to the music. In fact, I sort of wish that she sang on all of the tracks. My only complaint here is with the lyrics. The band sings in English(the female singer's English is excellent, the male singer's English is average), but unfortunately the lyrics really date the album, and I mean these lyrics bring the album down a notch. They are so naive that they would fit right in with the stereotypical 60s hippie scene. Album "New Born Day" is nice to listening , but very often used borrowed elements of other bands sounds all too throw in the eye... rather the ears.

    Thanks again Marios for sharing.

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