Monday, 17 October 2016

Sloche - J'un Oiel (1975)



Fantastic canadian band whose sole 2 albums are classic Gentle Giant styled music with just as much  exemplary musicianhip. This is their first album.

Together with Maneige and Et Cetera, Sloche is part of the Quebecois Holy Trinity of 70s Prog. Their debut album is an outstanding musical work that fairly deserves all the good rap that it usually gets in the Internet. Definitely, Sloche is one of those many unsung prog heroes that most prog collectors only got to know through CD technology and WWW merchandising. Their music tends to be a bit more bombastic that their aforementioned fellows, while keeping a similar fusion-oriented vein as Maneige; meanwhile, the dual keyboard layers provide a symphonic feel every now and then. The fusion facet is clearly influenced by Return to Forever and Weather Report, albeit less pompous than the former and a more uplifting than the latter. I observe some Kerry Minnear and George Duke influences on both keyboardists, but generally speaking, it must be stated that Sloche never gets derivative. The optimistic spirit that is generally spread all throughout "J'un Oeil" allows the complex compositions receive a certain air of catchiness, and also gives a frontal freshness to the musicians' intricate interplaying - structural sophistication and warmth, all at once. 'C'pas fin du Monde' kicks off the album as a proper sample of the band's style, displaying an attractive intensity and a healthy variety of moods expanded along the succession of different motifs. Things get more solemn in 'Le Karême d'Eros', which starts with a 3 ½ minute majestic piano solo, until a brief chorale enters along with the whole instrumental ensemble; the sung parts are accompanied by a series of voices of people partying, acting as a funnily disturbing chorus, and so the solemnity is over. But not the seriousness, as the alternate solos on synth and guitar show: things can only get better with a piece like this, specially when the string synth layers go fading out while a spatial Moog effect drags in to announce the entry of the funk-jazz closing section. Brilliant! The title track is the shortest and catchiest one, keeping things uplifting and a bit gentler. and gigantic as well, since it is the most Gentle Giant-like piece in the album. The same gentleness is carried out by the last two numbers, albeit they're a bit more complex: 'Algébrique' and 'Potage aux herbes douteuses' contain the biggest dose of funky colours in the album, but always keeping a constant loyalty to the overall fusion-prog essence of the album. In conclusion: a masterpiece. Review from Progarchives.com


Songs / Tracks Listing

1. C'Pas La Fin Du Monde (8:45) 
2. Le Karême D'Eros (10:40) 
3. J'Un Oeil (4:41) 
4. Algébrique (6:23) 
5. Potage Aux Herbes Douteuses (7:05) 


Line-up / Musicians

- Caroll Bérard / acoustic & electric guitars, percussions, vocals
- Réjean Yacola / piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, clavinet, celesta, Mini-Moog, percussions, vocals
- Martin Murray / Hammond B3, Mini-Moog, Wurlitzer, Solina, saxophone, percussions, vocals
- Pierre Hébert / bass, percussions, vocals
- Gilles Chiasson / drums, percussions, vocals 
Total Time: 37:34


Friday, 7 October 2016

Electric Orange - Misophonia (2016)


Fantastic krautrock music from this ever progressing band whos music always grabs you, much like the music of 'Can'. Would have to agree that this is probably their best overall album since 'MORBIUS'

As someone who remembers the classic era albums as new releases, I firmly believe some of today's 'retro' bands rival their Old Masters in quality and, paradoxically, originality. And this new Krautrock release from the 21st century's leading practitioners of the sub-genre is a prime example. I simply haven't heard a more beautiful Krautrock album since 'Future Days' in 1973. It doesn't sound like any other Krautrock exemplar, but this is definitely, definitely Krautrock.
Nothing has impressed me more about Prog Archives than the 'hit' status accorded to Electric Orange's excellent 2014 release 'Volume 10'. This is testament to the open-minded cultural vision of fans on this site. The only thing that has held me back from reviewing 'Volume 10' is the fact that my own rating would drag down its consensus score (slightly). Well, with 'Misophonia', Electric Orange have taken an artistic quantum leap - and it has the 'Wow!' factor I look for in awarding 5 stars. Their best album since the brilliant 'Morbus' of 2007 - and musically the two albums hardly sound like the same band. As others have said, Electric Orange never stop progressing.
Krautrock is not everyone's cup of tea, and I would not pretend there is any special musical cleverness required to appreciate this off-the-wall sub-genre. Really it is more a question of one's psychological state. But if you enjoyed 'Volume 10', you should love 'Misophonia'. And these albums are all on Bandcamp to hear - there is no excuse to avoid checking them out.
Verdict: A 21st century Krautrock MASTERPIECE.Review from Progarchives

Songs / Tracks Listing 
 1. Organized Suffering (18:09)
2. Bottledrone (11:48)
3. Demented (7:51)
4. Misophonia I (8:58)
5. Shattered (4:40)
6. Misophonia II (1:19)
7. Opsis (5:25)
8. Misophonia III (17:36)

Total time: 75:46

 Line-up / Musicians -
 Dirk Jan Müller / Farfisa compact, Hammond, Erebus, Solina string ensemble, MU modular synthesizer, Roland system 1
- Tom Rückwald / electric bass, fuzz bass, synthesizer bass, bottle bass
- Dirk Bittner / guitars, zither, mandolin, trumpet, phonofiddle, congas, bongos, cajon, voice
- Georg Mohnheim / drums, percussion, cymbals, beerbottles on carpet


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Steven Wilson - 4 and One Half (2016)






Yet another good album from Porcupine Trees main man. Most tracks seem to me though to follow the now over familiar Steve Wilson song style ,which is my only criticism here. To be honest it's not until we get to track 5 do we get into something more progressive/inventive and memorable. 'Vermillioncore' is a powerful instrumental with King Crimson styled bass. Now an whole album of this! would have been GREAT! 'Don't Hate Me' is an excellent, if unecessary reworking of one of Porcupine Trees best songs, with some female vocals and closes the album. Worth checking out for the tracks mentioned! SC&E

Steven has come back, with six easy-to-soak songs upon the newest album "4 1/2". Actually, I'm not so familiar with his creation until now enough to discuss his music style or album itself, but his previous album "The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)" has amazed me a lot ... anyway, I could listen to and enjoy "4 1/2" with fresh feeling, whether "The Raven ..." is fantastic or not. Able to mention this album should sound like his straight attitude for pop / rock, not so innovative nor novel though. Indeed the first shot "My Book Of Regrets" has a couple of variations scattered along with his soundscape, but his music basis sounds consistent from the beginning to the end ... Various phrases squeezed can be heard as a mass of rock. This mass cannot be divided into pieces (pop and anti-pop) ... can you?
"Vermillioncore" is another heavy and cool starshine around him. Tight but distorted vibes kick us away. Her vermillion would be attractive, mysterious, and poisonous ... that could kill us swiftly only if we touch this, I imagine. Such an obvious risk and benefit he might launch via this track. Aye for him, rainy Sunday might be a colourful day, I guess through "Sunday Rain Sets In". To run and hide our heads should not always be needed under the Sunday rainy sky, but be careful to get drastic shower or dreadful thunder / lightning sometimes attacking us ... he says upon this colourful stuff. Quite simple but enjoyable. And yes, "Year Of The Plague", almost a solo track by Steven, is one of my favourite songs. We must get immersed in river-flowing-out-like rhythm prints and dreamy, heartwarming melody lines ... he might show something veiled in his inner meditative world for grabbing our serious, sincere reaction in front of the song out.
And as a result ... I suppose all of his sincerity for music would be expressed over the last song "Don't Hate Me", that sounds of kaleidoscopic appearances. Sometimes quiet, sometimes violent (Theo's freakout saxophone is pretty effective), sometimes depressive, and sometimes enthusiastic ... and every vision repeats over and over on a regular basis. This atmospheric tide formed by Steven Project cannot be avoided at all. Every rock fan can enjoy this fantastic rock dish, I'm sure! 

  A surprise, in-between interim bridge-between album from workaholic master composer maestro mixer masterer overachiever extraordinaire Steven Wilson!
Jumping in, I'm caught by both stylistic and technical change from recent material - the 36--minute effort finds (forgive the phrase) Wilson at his solo work's most "accessible" and what I find to be the closest to the famed Porcupine Tree sound. Out are most of the avante gardish-ish jazz jam-isms we found on his seminal Raven that Refused to Sing album and to a lesser degree found on Hand Cannot Erase (though that album certainly was more "mainstream" and less jazzy). That should come as no surprise since a majority of the material here was cut from Hand Cannot Erase.
Not being a big fan of jazz in general, this, in this humble listener's opinion, is a good thing...
Highlights-
The album opener "My Books of Regrets" is a lovely nine-minute suite that, after 10 or so listens is really growing on me.
"Happiness III" is a wonderful gem, hummable and would have fit in nicely into of the lighter material we found in 2000s-era Porcupine Tree album.
"Year of the Plague" (dark, the listener can easily tell it's the only track here from Raven) and "Sunday Rain Sets in" (from WIlson's latest) are both lovely instrumental tracks- not the best he's done but great nonetheless.
Yet another vocal-free jam, "Vermillioncore" reminds me a lot of "Bornlivedie" (especially around the 2-minute mark) from one of my all-time favorites Signify.
A perfect Wilson/Ninet Tayeb duet re-imagining of 1999 Stupid Dream's "Don't Hate Me" closes the album (of course it does) finding Wilson and his solo-career comrades perfectly replicating and expanding upon the dreary 17 year-old classic. Theo Travis effortlessly replays his saxophone solo that I've always loved in this song too.

 Songs / Tracks Listing
1. My Book of Regrets (9.23)
2. Year of the Plague (4.15)
3. Happiness 3 (4.31)
4. Sunday Rain Sets In (3.50)
5. Vermillioncore (5.09)
6. Don't Hate Me (9.34)

Total Time 36:42

 Line-up / Musicians 
- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass guitar
- Guthrie Govan / lead guitar
- Nick Beggs / bass guitar
- Marco Minnemann / drums
- Adam Holzman / keyboards
- Theo Travis / saxophone, flute
- Ninet Tayeb / vocals


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