With a firmly established reputation for welcoming some of the finest Prog and Rock acts, both long-established as well as new, to its roster, Norway’s Karisma Records is also making a name for itself by taking some of the legendary, and long-unavailable recordings of its established artists and making them once again available to fans. And, declining to take the easy route, the re-releases are often either re-mixed or re-mastered (in this case by Jacob Holm-Lupo), and in formats not previously available.
Next up in its catalogue of re-releases come three albums from ARABS IN ASPIC, a band that has been in the forefront of 70’s inspired progressive rock and proto-hard rock in Norway for the past fifteen years. The three re-releases in question will be “Progeria”, “Far Out in Aradabia” and “Strange Frame of Mind”, all of which will be available in CD, Digital, Black Vinyl and Limited Edition Coloured Vinyl formats.
2003’s mini-album “Progeria”, was released as a CD only, and was the first outing for ARABS IN ASPIC, which, at this point was as a mixture of the psychedelic space rock akin to Hawkwind, and the heaviness and darkness of early Black Sabbath. At the time of “Progeria’s” release the band had released several demo and was very active in the live scene in the Trondheim area. Their rehearsal space was located in the Hells Angels club house in Trondheim, much to the consternation of the local police!
Released in 2004, again in CD only, “Far Out In Aradabia” saw ARABS IN ASPIC becoming bolder and more adventurous with their song writing sound. Having enlisted a keyboard player, the band’s musical inspirations had become broader as well, and ARABS IN ASPIC started to venture more into the realms of progressive rock. It is interesting to note that the last track on the album was a 65 minute studio jam, which was eventually edited down to 19 minutes. “Far Out In Aradabia” was also the first album on which Julia Proszowzka did the artwork, and she has worked with the band ever since.
By the time “Strange Frame of Mind” appeared as a CD in 2010, ARABS IN ASPIC had recruited Hammond virtuoso Stig Arve Jørgensen on keys and backing vocals after seeing him perform FOCUS’ “Hocus Pocus”! “Strange Frame of Mind” is very much an album that serves as a bridge between early ARABS IN ASPIC, and the band they are today.
In addition to the individual re-re releases of each of the three albums, Karisma Records will also be releasing a Limited Edition LP box set titled “I-III”. Aside from all three of the albums in an exclusive “Aspic” coloured vinyl, the box will include a slip mat and a 12 page booklet with stories and photos from the early days of ARAB IN ASPIC.
All three albums and the box set (which is limited to 300 copies) will hit the streets on the 18 June, are now available to pre-order from:
US Webshop: https://karismarecords.aisamerch.com
Today, only Jostein Smeby on Guitars and Vocals and Eskil Nyhus on Drums and Cymbals, remain from the original ARABS IN ASPIC lineup, which now also includes Stig Jørgensen on Organs and Vocals, Erik Paulsen on Bass and Vocals, and Alessandro G. Elide on Percussion and Gongs. Despite rather modestly saying of themselves that they “play music”, dive deeper into ARABS IN ASPIC and you will find that the music the band produces includes a multitude of aspects of classic rock, funk, pop, prog, heavy rock, bossa nova and a capella.
A video of Arabs in Aspic live can be seen at https://youtu.be/v3jekw2m19c