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It started for me in the latter years of the 70's when I and a few select friends of mine were discovering the treasure troves of virtually unheard-of music that was European progressive music (unheard-of in the sheltered confines of the central United States, anyway). Having heard the name of Rupert Hine as producer--and liking his work--it was doubly-intriguing to see his name come up as the frontman & vocalist/keyboardist of a little band called QUANTUM JUMP, of whom some of you truly fortunate ones might be familiar. If for whatever reason you who are reading this choose to read no further and opt to check out QJ, by all means, do so now. Their uniqueness, precision as musicans, and their love of the weird and the absurd and the humorous in music set them far, far apart from their league of contemporaries. The JEM import records catalog, in a semi-successful attempt to describe them, said something to the effect of, "Imagine a cross between Frank Zappa and Steely Dan." Not TOO far off the mark, yet falling painfully short of describing how utterly wonderful their music was. So: go check them out, faithful readers, and then come back here.
Fast-forward to 1986, the heyday of the MTV era, and the debut of Thinkman's first album/cassette, THE FORMULA...and its winning, very catchy and even very danceable hit, "Best Adventures." Loved the video, loved the song, ran out and bought the cassette, loved it to death, played it to death...
...and here I am, 21 years later, rediscovering Thinkman and preparing to order it on CD. It COULD be a fair speculation that this could be what Quantum Jump might have sounded like, had they stayed together for more than 2 fantastic albums (QUANTUM JUMP and BARRACUDA), & yet Thinkman does indeed claim a place of its own. Rupert shares vocals with at least one other member of the band (I wish I could say who, but there were very few liner notes with the cassette), and continues his songwriting partnership from his QJ days with Jeannette Obstoj. The music is energetic as all get-out, the vocals varying between manic, calmly enthusiastic and pensive, and a good share of the 8 songs have to do with urging the whole of humanity to THINK, MAN! :o) One thing I love about some of these tracks (and, incidentally, there's not a dud on the entire release, IMHO) is their praise of all of us as a race of beings capable of rising to the levels only attained (so far) by the likes of Einstein, particularly "Legend," "The Ecstasy of Free Thought," and the indescribably inspiring closing track, "There Shines Our Promised Land." Those titles alone should serve to inspire, wouldn't you say?
As with Quantum Jump, it's regrettable that this fine amalgam of musicians had a short life span, but what they gave us in this release is a collection of tracks that not only is a showcase of what was truly good about the music of the 80's, but also a glowing, loving offering to all music lovers that, I believe, was intended to gently remind us of what we are capable of achieving in our lifetimes, if only we would. Look deeply into, enjoy, and even DANCE to the great, great music of Thinkman.