Home Hear Absolute Elsewhere Finally Open Their ’70s Playground

Absolute Elsewhere Finally Open Their ’70s Playground

The ’70s U.K. prog supergroup unearth their long-buried sophomore album.

Absolute Elsewhere invite you to the long-delayed grand opening of their vintage Playground — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

Featuring former or future members of / contributors to King Crimson, Gang Of Four, Re-Flex and more, the short-lived ’70s U.K. prog supergroup’s previously unreleased sophomore album is finally seeing the light of day — nearly 50 years after it was recorded and then unceremoniously shoved aside by the arrival of punk.

The back story: Absolute Elsewhere’s lineup included keyboardist Paul Fishman, bassist Jon Astrop, guitarist Phil Saatchi, with Bill Bruford on drums. They were signed to Warner Brother Records in 1976 by none other than Derek Taylor, the former Beatles publicist and manager of Apple Records. The band quickly made two prog-forward albums, moving the needle on experimental sound and pushing the boundaries of the genre.

Their first album — In Search Of Ancient Gods — was entirely instrumental, written and conceived by Fishman, who enlisted Astrop, Saatchi and Bruford for the recording. Combining progressive rock with electronic music, the album has gained a cult following since its release. In keeping with its title and the zeitgeist of the times, the LP was a musical interpretation of Erich von Däniken’s famous books — in fact, the band were approached directly by the publishers to make the album. One review at the time decribed it as “Heldon meets Crimson and Alan Parsons with tons of Mellotrons.” More recently, it was sampled for the title track to Future’s album We Don’t Trust You.

The followup Playground, collectively conceived by Astrop, Fishman and Saatchi, was recorded with Andrew McCulloch on drums — like Bruford, a former member of King Crimson. The album was intended to be very different to the previous one in that it featured songs, big soaring melodies and complex arrangements, allowing the group to explore their abilities as multi-instrumentalists and fully exploit the range of possibilities in the recording studio.

Unfortunately, the album was recorded at the same time as the sudden and dramatic arrival of punk. Thanks to the changing tastes of the listening public and record labels, Playground went unreleased. For many years it remained buried in the studio vaults. But this year, it rediscovered, compiled and lovingly mastered for release. Now it can be revealed in all its intended progressive glory for all true connoisseurs of experimental and atmospheric music.

Fishman went on to form the new wave band Re-Flex (The Politics Of Dancing), enjoying a lengthy career as a composer, producer and session musician with PiL, Elton John, Sade and more. Bassist Astrop was a member of The Group and X-Effects, and contributed to notable releases by Gang Of Four, Samantha Fox and others. Guitarist Saatchi was also in X-Effects, and has released a series of solo albums. Both Bruford and McCulloch have had distinguished careers with a myriad of artists.