Saluki were a Norwegian maximalist rock quintet of the mid-1970s.

Members: Freddy Dahl (vocals, guitar), Peter Berg Nilsen (vocals, saxophone), Kjell Rønningen (keyboards), Sverre Beyer (bass), Bjørn Jenssen (drums)

Frontman Dahl had the most active background, first as a member of Junipher Green on their classic double-platter Friendship (1971), followed by time with the George Keller Band and a brief, unrecorded stint with Ruphus.

Securing a deal with adventurous upstart Compendium Records, Saluki dropped their lone, homonymous longplayer in 1976. The painterly strokes of the album art invoke the impressionistic impulses of the band’s five players.

Amidst the morning sounds of birdsong, “Autumn” launches with a crisp piano fugue that folds into a sax-woven, cymbal-laden section that ushers a winding set of verses. As the track progresses from vibrant to tumultuous, Dahl urges birds of the area to take refuge from advancing inclement weather. A sudden stroke of lightening gives way to a diffuse ivory sequence courtesy of guest-pianist Even Stormoen. As the storm passes, the track thematically recapitulates.

Chime-engulfed, billowing woodwinds herald “Hidden Path III,” which develops over the following two minutes with trinkets of bass, droplets of Rhodes, and a double-up on brass amidst swarming cymbal sustain. The bass emerges evermore punctual, finally locking this track into a closed cadence around the 3:25 mark. From here on out, pile-driving toms, hyperactive Moog,  dueling brass, and fluid fretwork alternately circle a brisk rhythmic structure in D-minor.

On “The Awakening,” Rhodes and sax fill out a bottom-heavy, syncopated rhythmic structure in G7. Harmonized sevenths indent the four/five progression on the chorus. Lyrically, the album’s cover art is referenced in the “materialize before my eyes” refrain.

Elephantine brass highlights the major and minor thirds of the circular-octave bass loop on the E-centric “Come Down” — a syncopated workout that oozes with clavinet fills, wah wah runs, and Moog confetti amidst further sax/trumpet trade-offs.

Organ serves as the vehicle of choice on “Take the Road Across the Bridge,” where dominant fifths on the root of A-major fuel the tracks initial velocity. Galloping  rhythms are juxtaposed with minor modalities along the lyrical sections, interspersed with tactile breaks from each of the band’s soloists. Collectively, the members speed across the percussive-laden mid-section with scat-sung, sax-filled abandon.

An ominous gong-sustain heralds the low-note, rain-soaked intro of “Love to the Sun,” where a haunted, harmonized chant slowly gives way to the beaming rays of Rønningen’s lustrous keyboard arsenal. Eventually, the song blossoms into a percussion-dense, synth-swept, bass-driven rejoice of the ecosystem.

The quiet, chorus-laden plucks of the Dahl-dominated “Uranus of Cancer” — co-written with Junipher-contact Bjørn Saastad — are slowly enveloped by the frontman’s lyrical fretwork and tenor sustains as the rest of the band become evermore pronounced in the span of six-plus minutes. The piano/vocal interlude “Fantasy Suns” rounds out this set.

Dahl would remain the most active following Saluki’s split, lending his vocal and instrumental talents to assorted local acts (Holm CPU, Repeat Repeat), singer/songwriters (Kai Eide, Mikkel Magnus), and a slew of female performers, including Anita Skorgan, Anne-Karine Strøm, and Alexandra Naumik Sandøy.


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