Het Pandorra Ensemble is an experimental group formed by Dolf Planteijdt that started around 1973 and ended in 1980. At the same time they played in the popgroup Door Mekaar, with this band they recorded the album Voor Mekaar.
The band started with Gert Jan Blom (bass guitar), Roland Brunt (flute), Jean Eble (drums), Marcel Schmidt (percussion) and Dolf Planteijdt (guitar). This line up with two drummers didn't last very long, since Schmidt left soon after the first gig. Drummer Eble was replaced by Wilfred Snellens in 1976. When the band started to record an album, Brunt left, and he was replaced by Dolf's brother Wouter Planteijdt, who had just left the band Speed.In 1980 the band played it's last gigs with tenor and soprano sax player Rinus Groeneveld replacing Wouter Planteijdt.
After the group broke up all the musicians played in numerous bands,
both as member and guest. Roland Brunt swapped the flute and plays in several bands, a.o. De Dijk. Gert-Jan Blom played in bands like
Bauer, Fay Lovski and The Beau Hunks. He is currently artistic producer for the Metropole Orkest. Wilfrid Snellens played in
Black Slacks but sadly died in 1997.
became a well known producer of punk bands, but also played in
Morzelpronk. And Wouter Planteijdt was a member of (a.o.)
Corry & De Grote Brokken, Morzelpronk, Sjardin's Terrible Surprise and
Sjako!. He also appears on the album "A view from the valley" (1985) by Grin.
In march 2012 the album is finally released on CD by Modulus. The album was remastered by Bob Katz from the original master tapes and the album contains several bonus tracks.
Source: album sleeve
Guest musicians: Roland Brunt: flute
LP Disaster Electronics DEI 00975.6 (1978)
CD Modulus MOD01 (2012)
Recorded on 4 tracks Eexterveen, Drente, The Netherlands.
Engineered by Salvatore Tozzi
Bonustracks - are outtakes of the sessie to record the album
Bonustracks - are live tracks recorded in Alpha, Beverwijk, Holland, September 30 1978.
Photography by Mark Morrell (front) and Kees van den Haak (back)
In the studio
Door mekaar: Wouter left, Dolf right (no solos, just written themes)
Kanon pittoresk: whirl and end solo: Dolf
Karotten: long and whirl solo: Wouter, then Dolf
(Dutch Progressive Rock of the Seventies)
Taking Side 2 of King Crimson's "Starless and Bible Black" as a blueprint, Het Pandorra Ensemble went about releasing one of the more bizarre progressive rock album of the era. There's quite a bit of ambient atmospherics, augmented by louder rock sections with compressed fuzz tone Frippian guitar. But unlike the
decidedly atonal Crimson, Pandorra follow the European model of melodic, almost jazzy, progressive rock. This is a one of a kind album, with no regards to any kind of pre-conceived audience. The album cover is not indicative at all of the music within.
See also Zog, their follow up group, who also play an entirely unique music, yet still different from Pandorra Ensemble. These guys were on their own planet. Despite the title, "III" is their debut. Strange lads.
CD reissue wish list
It's a bit hard to believe this music is from 1978. Where the album lands is somewhere between progressive rock(with some mild jazz influence and avant-garde sympathy) and post-punk. There're some problems with consistency, since the middle section has some shorter stuff(also mellower) that should've been shorter(pun-intended). My favorite off this unusual album is the first track.
From the openings chords i can hear clear Canterbury influences, reminiscent of National Health's albums from the same year. These moments are abruptly disrupted in a manner which almost remind me of unplugging a cable. What ensues are like the existential hesitations of the likes of Joy Division, with the melancholic melody on the back while the bass-line keeps soloing away; creating an atmosphere of anxious preoccupation that lasts quite a while; until it eventually ends with a King Crimson'like guitar wail that sounds like smashing a mirror. They've contrasted the melodic aspect of post-punk/jazz with King Crimson's fuzzed paranoia(two guitarists btw), and this combination is working like a charm - abandoning the old prog redundancy - the band is already embracing the future. There's material for you math-rock geeks as well. Check out the crazy, jazzy section and the end of the second track, all of these strange stops-accelerations and often dissonant, distorted chords coalesced with their melodic counterpart. Excellent production as well - their great bass player is always audible in the mix and the dynamic drum fills are even better. I'm very surprised to hear such a strong mix from an obscure band.
A very interesting album for that year, give them a shot if you'd like to have a vague idea how a progressive Robert Fripp would've sounded in 78'. The reissue has some great bonus material as well. This CD reissue on Modulus (USA) is a beautifully packaged gatefold mini-LP, with incredible sound, tons of bonus material, a history, photos, etc... A stunning package - as gorgeous as any Japanese mini-LP. It's worth noting that the original is a single sleeve, so this is an improvement in that category as well. What's even more amazing, is the bonus tracks are even better! Same style of improvised melodic dissonance (how's that for an oxymoron), but perhaps a bit more focused than the album proper. Rare is the case where the bonus tracks exceed the original product.
Surfing The Odyssey