Anyone who loves the sound of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, while understandably being put off by their repertoire should check out Steamboat Switzerland. I saw the group live a few years ago and was mightily impressed by the sheer power of their Hammond organ, bass and drums line-up. Possibly more like Egg than ELP to be fair, but also considerably more elemental than any of the UK progsters got close to.Live, I had assumed that the music was improvised and was expecting something different with this album, in which the trio tackle the compositions of Michael Wertmüller, a drummer (though not this group’s drummer). In fact, it sounds much the same as their live set – it’s quite astonishing that these songs were actually composed. The only parallels that come to mind are some of Henry Cow or Magma‘s more complex works, although the different instrumentation means that Steamboat Switzerland doesn’t actually sound like either of those groups.
Highly recommended to anyone with a fondness for the avant-garde/prog interface.