Thursday, 24 February 2011

Out Of Focus - Not Too Late (1999)

Actually this disc must be considered as OOF's fourth full-blown album, although it was never released until 1999, but was recorded in 74. It is their last known recording session (except for one track in 78), I believe that the band only existed in a sporadic manner from 74 onwards and this might explain why this was not released at the time. Graced with a weird artwork (a painting from the guitarist's wife), this aptly titled album was released on the specialist label Cosmic Egg, a subsidiary of Ultima Thule in the late 90's. By 74, the band had now admitted saxman Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus and guitarist Gohringer into the band as full-fledged members. The disappearance of Hennes Herring, (heading towards Sahara, another excellent German band) and the added second guitarist (making the group now a sextet), however changed the sound slightly but the album stays within the "OOF guidelines" (if such thing ever existed), and the spirit remained progressive since the group's drive to an ever-more jazzy sound was again respected.

Only five tracks (and two of two apparently nameless) again taking a progressive step upwards into OOF's constant march towards jazz-rock, NTL is the first album that can really be called a full blown jazz-rock album, as opposed to jazzy prog/psych rock and brass rock previously. The badly named That's Very Easy is a constantly changing tempoed track where Moran's voice seems to have lost whatever capacities it had to irate some listeners. Less up to front,one must be reminded that the previous double album FLMA was almost instrumental compared to the group's first two albums, but he concentrates on his flute here. X is probably the weakest link on the album, sporting a drum solo towards its end, but other wise it is still a full-out fiery 100 MPH track. The short The Way I Know her is an acoustic guitar track, but unlike their previous songs in OOF and FLMA, here it sounds less folky. Drechsler's other track, Y, starts on a lengthy intro of guitar arpeggios that you could almost imagine on an early Genesis album if they weren't over a sax instead of a flute, before Moran and Ingo take the debate to much higher grounds before Drechsler's goes into a wild searing & soaring solo, and the "brass section" answering it in a Colosseum fashion. The closing Spanish Lines is the album's apex starting out again of a Heckstall-Smith fashion, before the track veers through a succession of superb impressions, everytime stepping up the ladder, bringing the excitement and tension to an unbearable level, then closing it up much the same way they had started it: Kolosseum-al!!!

Just as worthy as their other three historical albums (even if this one is not really as historic for obvious posthumous reasons), NTL is yet another wild escape into the Munich-based group's realm. For some strange reasons, the group will only record one more small session in 77, before folding the next year, some five years after releasing their last album (NTL not counting), but OOF was definitely an awesome group and there are very few grouthat released four such perfect albums, that none of them without so much as a weak tracks throughout their entire works. OUT OF FOCUS Not Too Late music reviews and MP3ps (review from progarchives.com)


Songs / Tracks Listing

 1. That's Very Easy (9:04)
2. X (10:57)
3. The Way I Know Her (3:36)
4. Y (7:51)
5. Spanish Lines (9:11)

Total Time: 41:39

Line-up / Musicians
- Moran Neumüller / vocals, Tenor & Soprano saxes, flute
- Remigius Drechsler / guitars, choir
- Klaus Spöri / drums
- Stephan Wischeu / bass
- Wolfgang Göhringer / guitars, choir
- Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus / Baritone & Alto saxes

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