Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Magma - Theusz Hamtaahk - Trilogie (2001)

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Theusz Hamtaahk 1er mouvement : Theusz Hamtaahk (35:00)

1. Malaẁëlëkaahm

2. Sëẁolahẁëhn Öhn Zaïn

3. Diëümb Iëẁëlëss Dölëhn

4. Zeuhl Ẁortz

5. Gorutz Ẁaahrn'

6. Tü Lü Lï /ë Üi Dü Wïï

7. Sé Lah Maahrï Donsaï

8. Slibenli Dëh Theusz

9. Zortsüng

2. Theusz Hamtaahk 2er mouvement : Ẁurdah Ïtah (48:36)

1. Malaẁëlëkaahm

2. Bradïa Da Zimehn Iëgah

3. Manëh Fur Da Zëss

4. Fur Dïh Hël Kobaïa

5. Blüm Tendiwa

6. Ẁohldünt Miëm Dëẁëlëss

7. Ẁainsaht!!!

8. Ẁlasïk Steuhn Kobaïa

9. Sëhnntëht Dros Ẁurdah Süms

10. C'est la vie qui les a menés lá!

11. Ëk Sün Da Zëss

12. De Zeuhl Ündazïr

3. Theusz Hamtaahk 3er mouvement : Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh (48:51)

1. Hortz Fur Dëhn Stekëhn Ẁest

2. Ïmah sürï Dondaï

3. Kobaïa Iss Dëh hündïn

4. Da Zeuhl Ẁortz Mëkanïk

5. Nebëhr Gudahtt

6. Mëkanïk Kömmandöh

7. Kreühn Köhrmahn Iss Dëh Hündïn

8. Da Zeuhl Ẁortz Ẁaïnsaht

9. Kobaïa

Total Time: 132:27
Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Vander / drums & vocals

- Klaus Basquiz / vocals & percussion

- Philippe Bussonnet / bass

- Benoit Widemann / keyboards

- Patrick Gauthier / keyboards

- Gabriel Federow / guitar

- Didier Lockwood / violin

- Stella Vander / vocals

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ozric Tentacles - Paper Monkey (2011)

Ozric Tentacles Paper Monkeys album cover
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Attack Of The Vapours (5:22)
2. Lemon Kush (6:15)
3. Flying Machines (6:26)
4. Knurl (6:08)
5. Lost In The Sky (7:20)
6. Paper Monkeys (7:17)
7. Plowm (7:52)
8. Will Of The Wisps 10:42)
9. Air City (3:53)

Total Time: 81:15

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Art Zoyd -Le Champ Des Larmes (2006)

Art Zoyd Le Champ Des Larmes album cover

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Fleuve-Bruit 1 (3:38)
2. Tenebrae
3. Eclats de souffle (3:02)
4. Tam-Feu (2:26)
Incendium / GC_Sub (3:17)
6. Fleuve de Pluie / Fleuve-Bruit 2 (6:51)
Achéron _ le Fleuve Obscur (9:16)
8. Murmur Fulminis / Totem 1
9. Abundans Civitas (5:02)
10. Laetitia / Totem 2 (2:28)
Sepulchra / Fleuve-Bruit 3 (3:33)
12. Styx _ le Fleuve Noir (18:32)
Le chant de la Méduse (2:26)
14. Egressus / Totem 3 (6:26)

Time: 72:14

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Colloseum II - Strange New flesh (1976)

Colosseum II Strange New Flesh album cover
This debut album of a newly reformed band was truly a progressive rock band to the corner! The music is a blend of jazz rock fusion in the vein of RETURN TO FOREVER ("Romantic Warrior" album, especially), GONG as well as classic rock music in the vein of JAMES GANG ("Bang", "Straight Shooter" albums, especially) and also TRAPEZE - Glenn Hughes era (Medusa album, especially) or TOMY BOLIN ("Teaser" album, especially) or collaboration work of Carmine APPICE, BOGART and Jeff BECK, or FRUMPY. But of course there are plenty of prog elements of their own that cannot be compared with others. The vocal quality of MIKE STARRS is similar to GLENN HUGHES with a more jazzy style. I find that each track has a very unique music style so that I need to comment one by one.

The opening track "Dark side of the Moog" blew me at fist listening. It has a dazzling and powerful keyboard / moog works combined with stunning guitar fills by Gary MOORE. Honestly, it was this track that cause me to buy the CD due to our local classic rock radio station M97 aired "The Dark Side of The Moog" sometime in 2000. This track has a full of energy and frequent changing tempos. The first half of the track is an upbeat, fast tempo music that reminds me to AL DI MEOLA early works ("Racing with the Devil .."?). When it reaches the middle of the track, suddenly the mmusic changes to a moderate tempo. Overall, I can sense bits of RETURN TO FOREVER and GONG. It's a powerful and uplifting instrumental track. The solo keyboard is really fascinating - played in a high speed and combined with great electric guitar. This is the DON AIREY and GARY MORE collaboration - their instruments dominate the track.

"Down to you" is a mellow track with melodic guitar fills. The music is heavily influenced by a blend of classic rock, jazz and classical music. It has a dazzling keyboard in the vein of Chick Corea plus unique voice of Mike Starr. It's definitely an enjoyable track.

The music then moves to an upbeat "Gemini and Leo" track - an interesting track whereby the music is heavily influenced by jazz, funky and rock; it reminds me to a song "Superstition" performed by Carmine Appice, Bogart & Jeff Beck; not in terms of similarities, but more on the nuances and energy. Even this track is much more energetic. MIKE STARR singing style in this track is really superb. For those of you who love classic rock, I assure you that you would definitely enjoy this track. The bass line by NEIL MURRAY is also excellent. At the concluding part of the track you will find an interesting short piece with a nice harmony. This track is killer!

"Secret places" is still performed in similar vein as previous track in relatively moderate tempo. I find the electric guitar solo is more in the vein of classic rock music but the singing style is in jazzy and funky style especially when it is accentuated by keyboard sounds. Overall, this track is composed in one tagline melody with moderate changing tempo.

"On second thoughts" intro almost reminds me to the intro of "Mean Mistreater" of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD - a classic rock band of the 70's. It has different melody though; in fact the music is totally different. It's a mellow and nice track with soft electric guitar touch at the opening part. Again, MIKE STARR singing style is excellent - accompanied with keyboard based music . This track is relatively popular in my country as it sometimes was aired in local classic rock radio station, M97. The electric guitar solo during interlude is fascinating. This track reminds me to "This Time Around" by Deep Purple. They are not the same but they s hare similar "nuances".

The concluding track "Winds" is really fabulous! This is really the final ecstasy of overall enjoyment pleasure listening to this album in its entirety. Opened with a fantastic solo drumming of Jon HISEMAN that reminds me to BILLY COBHAM (especially in the intro of "Stratus" where he collaborated with TOMY BOLIN) or STEVE GADD. Hey, I have been listening to the CD of this album eleven times before I write this review and I had no experience of getting bored even a little bit. And this track deserves high mark as it concludes overall presentation of the band in excellent manner. You name it, any instrument and vocal line performs excellently in this track. The bass line is so dynamic, accompanied with punching keyboard work and filled with electric guitar work plus .. dazzling drum works by Jon Hiseman. Mike Starrs voice is so powerful!!! Oh my friend .. I'm so speechless on how how should I comment about this wonderfully crafted track! BTW, I'm writing this review while listening to this track and it really moves up my emotion, positively! It's a very energetic and soulful track!

Well, what should I say with this album - especially having reviewed track by track? It's a masterpiece, my friend. Yeah .. it's a masterpiece! I don't mind to be blamed as being so naïve, but I TRULY believe that this album has been UNDER-RATED. It should have been considered as a LEGENDARY PROG ROCK album. The rationales are: it has very strong and tight composition, well structured melodies, optimum balance between melody and improvisation, great musicianship, excellent performance and .. excellent production. So, it's a FULL FIVE STAR rating for this album. I assure you that if you listen to this album, you will definitely give at least four star. It's impossible that you would rate less than 4 star, impossible! The band would not allow you to rate this album less than 4 star as they have produced a masterpiece album! Yes, I'm a neo prog lover and this kind of prog is actually not in my cup of tea. But, I have to be honest and fair that this album is wonderful! I can't wait to review the other two albums: "Electric Savage" and "War Dance" that I have in my collection as well. Oh man .. life is so beautiful with this kind of great prog music as this band has produced. COLOSSEUM II
Strange New Flesh music reviews and MP3 Recview from progarchives.com

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Dark Side Of The Moog (6:17)
Down To You (9:05)
3. Gemini And Leo (4:48)
4. Secret Places
5. On Second Thoughts (7:30)
6. Winds (10:23)

Time: 42:02

Track listing of Castle 2CD remaster (2005):

1: (67:16)
1. Dark Side Of The Moog (6:17)
2. Down To You (9:05)
Gemini And Leo (4:48)
4. Secret Places (3:59)
5. On Second
Thoughts (7:30)
6. Winds (10:23)
7. Castles Version 1. (previously
unreleased demo 1975)(11:09)
8. Gary's Lament (previously
unreleased demo 1975) (7:00)
9. Walking The Park (previously
unreleased demo 1975) (7:05)

Disc 2: (79:01)
1. Night Creeper
(previously unreleased demo 1976) (3:46)
2. The Awakening (previously
unreleased demo 1976) (11:43)
3. Siren Song (previously unreleased
demo 1976) (6:55)
4. Castles Version 2. (previously unreleased demo
1976) (5:00)
5. The Scorch (previously unreleased demo 1976) (4:39)
Rivers (previously unreleased demo 1976) (4:27)
7. Interplanetary
Slut (previously unreleased demo 1976) (5:32)
8. Dark Side Of The
Moog (BBC session, In Concert, June 1976) (9:00)
9. Siren Song (BBC
session, In Concert, June 1976) (12:13)
10. The Awakening (BBC
session, In Concert, June 1976) (15:46)

Total Time: 146:17

Friday, 14 October 2011

Omega - Time Robber (1977)

Not quite as great as there "Hall Of floaters" ( i much prefer the hungarian vocals) but this is very majestic and melodic sounding on the whole, especially on the title song. You'll find hints of Floyd and PFM with nice guitar and moog sections throughout.

An excellent album from Omega.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Time Robber (12:43)
a) House Of Cards Part I
b) Time Robber
c) House Of Cards Part II
2. Invitation (5:42)
3. Don"t Keep Me Waiting (7:20)
4. An accountant's Dream (3:40)
5. Late Night Show (6:30)

Total Time: 35:55
Line-up / Musicians
- Janos Kobor / lead vocals, percussion
- Laszlo Benko / organ, Moog synthesizer, vocals
- Tamas Mihaly / bass, vocals
- Gyorgy Molnar / guitars, 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar
- Ferenc Debreceni / drums, percussion

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Porcupine Tree - Recordings (2010)

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Buying New Soul (10:24)
2. Access
Denied (3:35)
3. Cure For Optimism (6:11)
4. Untitled (8:53)
Disappear (3:37)
6. Ambulance Chasing (6:32)
7. In Formaldehyde
8. Even Less (13:55)
9. Oceans Have No Memory (3:06)

Time: 61:52
Line-up / Musicians
- Steve Wilson / vocals, guitars,
- Colin Edwin / bass
- Chris Maitland / drums,
- Richard Barbieri / keyboards

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Popol Vuh - Nosferatu (1978)

Popol Vuh Nosferatu  album cover
This POPOL VUH album is part of the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu" movie. Funny but some of these songs don't sound like they would belong in a vampire movie.Lots of Eastern and Indian passages and some uplifting songs as well. There are six out of these ten tracks that are dark and spacey and give an eerie and haunting mood.No drums on this one as Daniel is confined to acoustic and electric guitars only. "Mantra 1" is an Indian flavoured tune that opens with sitar that comes and goes while another ethnic instrument is played in the background.These are repeated over and over. "Morning Sun" is a Fichelscher composition and the only song that Florian didn't help create.An acoustic guitar melody is played over and over throughout.A joyful and uplifting song. "Venus Principle" is another Indian styled song with sitar and percussion early.Guitar comes and goes briefly each time. "Mantra 2" is rather melancholic and dark,quite haunting. "On The Way" really sounds like mellotron choirs but is apparently really a male choir.Very haunting and dark indeed. "Through Pain To Heaven II" opens with a humming sound that builds quickly.Guitar comes in around a minute and comes and goes throughout.I really like the guitar here as it gives us a brighter,uptempo sound compared to that dark humming that continues throughout.Cool song. "To A Little Way" features Florian on these lonely sounding synths throughout. "Zwiesprache Der Rohflote Mit Der Sangerin" opens with sitar before a melody comes in before a minute.I like it! The electric guitar is fantastic! "Die Nacht Himmel" is very spacey and dark with synths reminding me of "Zeit" by TANGERINE DREAM. "Der Ruf Der Rehrflote" continues the same mood from the previous song only it's not as loud.Very dark and lonely though. I like this one a lot.I like the variety and the contrasts of good and evil,dark and light. I don't know if Florian could make this all dark and eerie even if he was asked to.It's not what was in his heart and soul.Thanks for the light Florian. POPOL VUH Nosferatu music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Mantra I (6:14)
2. Morning sun rays (3:20)
3. Venus principle (4:39)
4. Mantra II - Choir (5:22)
5. On the way (4:49)
6. Through pains to Heaven II (3:37)
7. To a little way (2:32)
8. Zwiespräche der Rohrflöte mit der Sängerin (3:42)
9. Die Nacht der Himmel (4:03)
10. Der Ruf der Rohrflöte (3:21)

Line-up / Musicians - Florian Fricke / piano, moog
- Daniel Fichelscher / guitar
- Ted De Jong / tamboura
- Al Gromer / sitar

Popol Vuh - Nosferatu - Weinen und Lahen

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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Gong - 2032 (2009)

Gong 2032 album cover
Wow. This album far exceeded hopes or expectations. Having said that, it is the first Gong material since 1975 to involve all the most creative and accomplished Gong members (in my opinion), albeit without Pierre Moerlen sadly. That team always has for a long time had the potential to return together to produce top notch recordings as they had rarely, if ever, failed to do so in the past.

Compared to all the other post-Trilogy output, the key for me is the return of Hillage, for his superlative guitar riffs and the soaring fortification of the cosmos these can provide. Despite the years, Allen sounds as fresh, insane and articulate as ever, whilst Hillage plays with an enhanced focus and precision and is meatier here - whilst somehow embracing many of his signature riff sequences from the past.

I would rate this album as five stars were it not for two aspects: Firstly, I miss the complexity and brilliance of Pierre Moerlen on drums and percussion. Without him 2032 can rock solidly where appropriate, but it does miss out on those special little flourishes, especially on quieter or transitional passages where he could turn the tempo on its head or intertwine with Didier Malerbe's jamming on saxophone. So its a bit leaner and less multi-dimensional in that respect, but in all others the musicanship, compositions and content are as rich as ever.

Secondly, some of the ravings of Gilli Smith, although no-doubt good for you in the right measure, are likely to scare small children or lead to use of the skip button. I am using a new Genre tag for "Yoni Poem" of "Weird Shit"..i have quite a lot of Prog that probably qualifies as such (in a nice way), but nothing to match that. After repeated plays, i would rate about half the tracks as standouts and with each listen more get added stars. I remember it took me a number of plays to get into some of the Trilogy (Flying Teapot in particular), and the same applies to this album. My current favourites include Escape Control Delete, Waccy Baccy Banker (with great lyrics and an unexpected nod to "No Future" by the Sex Pistols perhaps), The Year 2032 (with musical references to Pot Head Pixies from Flying Teapot), Guitar Hero (Hillage & Didier at best), The Gris Gris Girl (some pastoral Allen+flute, plus more Hillage) and Portal (Hillage and Didier at best again).

The first three tracks are also strong and provide a great opening sequence, including an updated fusion of styles including, for a brief period, some rapping by Allen on City Of Self Fascination. How To Stay Alive is another highpoint, with some great floating spacy passages that would not have been out of place on You. Theres a video on youtube for a shortened version of this track. GONG 2032 music review by Dragontrouser

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. City Of Self Fascination (6:04)
2. Digital Girl (4:23)
3. How To Stay Alive (8:06)
4. Escape Control Delete (7:58)
5. Yoni Poem (2:09)
6. Dance With The Pixies (4:37)
7. Wacky Baccy Banker (8:21)
8. The Year 2032 (5:39)
9. Robo-Warriors (3:00)
10. Guitar Zero (4:55)
11. The Gris Gris Girl (6:29)
12. Wave And A Particle (2:05)
13. Pinkle Ponkle (4:359
14. Portal (7:08)

Line-up / Musicians
- Daevid Allen / vocals, guitars
- Gilli Smyth / space whisper
- Steve Hillage / guitar
- Miquette Giraudy / synthesizer, vocals
- Mike Howlett / bass
- Chris Taylor / drums
- Theo Travis / saxophone, flute

Gong - The Year 2032

Gong The year 2032

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Art Zoyd - Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'infer (1985)

Art Zoyd Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer album coverIf I were in charge of organizing a ballet, one of the very last bands on the planet whom I would think of for scoring it would be Art Zoyd. Still, it's diversity that makes this world a better place. Roland Petit, who knows a hell of a lot more about ballet than me, did indeed do just that, immediately after seeing the Zoyd perform on television. As will probably be guessed by those already familiar with this band, the music may not always be 100% dark, but it can be counted on to be 99.9% uneasy. As this album demonstrates, the band is no less than masterful with subtle arranging and a penchant for building slow-burning tensions that might unceremoniously be pulled out from beneath the listener at a moment's notice.

The first composition, "Sortie 134 - Part 1" is a classic representation of what the band is all about, displaying a strong Bartok and Stravinsky influence and also musique concrete elements (e.g., the sampled children's laughter). The climax features Zaboïtzeff's doomed vocals getting drowned in a sea of organ lurches, piano stabs, chiming clock noises, and a 1-2 percussive pounding.

If you think the polyrhythmic activity of King Crimson's "Thrak" was challenging, then sink your flimsy teeth into "Cryogenèse - Rêve Artificiel." Two particular sections come to mind. One is right at the beginning, with accented notes against a (required...believe me) metronome ticking away. Seventeen beats in, the first accented note occurs. This is followed 10 beats later by a double-accent, then a single accent 9 beats after that, and a double accent in-between the 9th and 10th beat after that, before the cycle repeats. Then there's the section that begins at 4:56. Here the metronome clicks off a 31-beat cycle, with accents on the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 12th, 16th, 21st, and 24th beats. After one of their trademark lengthy, dynamic buildups with triplicate polyrhythms and sinister organ chordal washes, the music suddenly gets flushed and the 31-beat pattern played over with a five-beat lag, before everything is eventually overtaken by various animal sounds, lawnmower-like drones, and asthmatic breathing. See why I wouldn't think of this band to score a ballet?

For the most part, the "Io" and "Mouvance" pieces constrain themselves to one theme with a firm use of repetition; thus, they are more immediately accessible. Out of these, I am particularly taken with "Io 1," a simple utilization of the Leading Whole Tone scale (C-D-E-F#-G#-A#-B-C), combined with other-worldly trumpet from Soarez. If Miles Davis had sat in with Univers Zero, this undoubtedly would be what the resulting music would sound like. The brisk rippling of keyboard notes on "Mouvance 2" are effectively contrasted by the neurotic staccatos that open up "Mouvance 1."

After these short pieces forming the middle of the album, "Cryogenèse" (the return of the dreaded metronome!) gets magnificently revisited, by its end overloading the listener with a pure sense of dread. The album closes with a coda ("Sortie 134 - Part 2"). Not awful by any means, but with its drum machine and jarring, techno feel, it represents the least of the moments on this disc.

Overall, though, the music on Le Mariage du Ciel et de L'Enfer is terrific and ranks among Art Zoyd's best work. Texturally, it is an optimal balance between their increasing incorporation of electronic timbres in the 1980s with their earlier, more organic period. The music also balances their level of compositional sophistication that easily holds its own with contemporary classical music, while at the same time being reasonably digestible for new listeners. This album represents an excellent inroad for those interested in exploring Art Zoyd's output. I don't know how the ballet was received, but from the picture shot included in the CD, it looks pretty wild and I would have loved to have seen it. Incidentally, Petit also hired another prog-related band in the early 70s to compose and perform one of his ballets (hint: their name ended in "-oyd," too). Ground and Sky review - Art Zoyd - Le Mariage du Ciel et de L'Enfer

This was released as a double album back in 1985 and was the music for Roland Petit's ballet called "The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell".It's hard to believe this was used as music for a ballet,although Petit was known for his theatrical productions.He apparently saw ART ZOYD on television and so contacted them about doing this.I must say i feel very fortunate to have this cd as it is the last of their chamber music period before they went heavily into electronics.This is the only one of their early period that is not out of print yet,and it's one of their best.I got my copy at "Wayside Music".What's it sound like ? Well my favourite place to listen to music is in my truck on my hour drive to and from work. I listen to the longer cds like this on my way home because i can take my time and go the long way.I've been listening to this all week at work and one customer gave me a hard time about it saying i should have Christmas music on instead of this depressing stuff,i decided to let him live.So tonight on the way home in the dark i had a careful listen to this recording.The closest reference in my opinion is UNIVERS ZERO,in that this is very intense and dark.This is more minimilstic and experimental but every bit as good,in fact i like it better than UNIVERS ZERO's early works. "Sortie 134(Part 1)" opens with a lot of tension as dual piano melodies and trumpet lead the way before it calms down and we can hear children laughing.Some violin and piano before a full sound comes back 3 minutes in that comes and goes.A change before 6 minutes as we get lots of percussion and piano.Vocal melodies before 8 minutes.This is intense!Great track ! It ends with children laughing again as it blends into "Cryogenese(Reve Artificiel)".The sound of a metronome ticking can be heard as trumpet blasts and piano comes in.A change 3 minutes in as the metronome stops and the trumpet and piano continue.Again this is so intense.Another change 5 minutes in as metronome returns with piano.I'm reminded of UNIVERS ZERO 6 1/2 minutes in.Trumpet a minute later.Actually an outbreak of trumpet 9 1/2 minutes in goes on for a minute.It becomes so intense and unrelenting.Another change 14 1/2 minutes in as some strange sounds replace the trumpet.Sounds like synths 16 1/2 minutes in as the piano stops.What a ride that was. "Io 1" features sax melodies that are at time dissonant. "Io 2" is eerie and haunting.A cool rhythm with sax comes in that stops and starts.I like this one. "Io 3" opens with almost a pulsating sound as violin comes in.It stops and then continues but this time piano is added.It stops again and restarts.This part is kind of spooky.Vocal melodies join 4 minutes in. "Mouvance 2" incorporates these wonderful piano melodies.A full sound before 3 minutes. "Mouvance 1" features more piano but it's more aggressive.Trumpet comes in tastefully as we again have two pianos being played.The intensity is removed as the song settles down.Violin comes in as piano quietly plays on. "Cryogenese(Les Portes Du Futur)" opens with outbursts of piano.Percussion comes and goes.Organ and trumpet 1 1/2 minutes in.The outbreaks come back.Violin 3 1/2 minutes in.Vocal sounds.Metronome comes in.Organ 7 minutes in.The rest of the song is fantastic ! One of the best part of the album.It has more of a melody with trumpet blasts,piano and organ. "Sortie 134(Part 2)" has a good beat, and the children laughing are back.Vocal melodies and speaking as well.Great ending to this album. When i finished listening to this i thought to myself "Was that just a bad dream i had ?" ART ZOYD have just been put near the top of my favourite Rio-prog band list.Get this record !! ART ZOYD Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Sortie 134 - Part 1 (11:00)
2. Cryogenèse - Rêve Artificiel (18:12)
3. IO 1 (3:51)
4. IO 2 (2:15)
5. IO 3 (5:15)
6. Mouvance 2 (3:34)
7. Mouvance 1 (5:54)
8. Cryogenèse - Les Portes du Futur (14:30)
9. Sortie 134 - Part 2 (3:48)

Total Time: 68:19
Line-up / Musicians - Patricia Dallio / electric piano, grand piano, keyboards
- Gérard Hourbette / viola, violin, electric piano, grand piano, keyboards, percussion
- Jean-Pierre Soarez / trumpet, percussion
- Thierry Zaboitzeff / cello, bass guitar, voices, tapes, keyboards, percussion
- Didier Pietton / Soprano saxophone

Art Zoyd - Sortie 134 - Part 2

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Popol Vuh - Das Hohelied Salamos (1975)

Popol Vuh Das Hohelied Salomos album cover
As usual with POPOL VUH we get a lot of pleasant and beautiful music delivered with a lot of care from Florian Fricke.Florian plays piano throughout, while Daniel Fichelscher provides the percussion and guitar.What makes this especially beautiful are Djon Yun's vocals.Also some guest tablas and sitar are added to the mix. The album opens dramatically with heavy drums as those lovely female vocals come in.They come and go throughout. A great sound after 2 minutes.Tasteful guitar 4 minutes to the end. "Du Schonste Der Weiber" features some excellent guitar and vocals.Some tempo shifts as well.Guitar takes the lead after 3 minutes. "In Den Nachten Auf Den Gasson" has vocals and a more serious mood. "Du Sohn Davids I" opens with vocals,guitar and piano that build in the intro. "In Den Nachton Auf Den Gasson II is an instrumental that is more urgent sounding,not as laid back as the rest of the album. Der Winter Ist Vorbei" features vocals,percusion and sitar, with guitar coming later. "Ja,Deine Liebe Ist Suber Als Wein" has some gorgeous guitar in it as vocals join in. "Du Sohn David II" takes a while to get going with sitar playing sparingly.Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes as guitar and drums join in. "Du Tranke Mich Mit Deinen Kussen" is a great track to end it.The guitar is pretty amazing and what a finish to the song! Wonderful meditative music from the master.One of their best. POPOL VUH Das Hohelied Salomos music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Steh auf, zieh mich dir nach (4:40)
2. Du schönste der Weiber (4:32)
3. In den Nächten auf den Gassen I (1:36)
4. Du Sohn Davids I (3:01)
5. In den Nächten auf den Gassen II (3:47)
6. Der Winter ist vorbei (3:45)
7. Ja, deine Liebe ist süsser als
wein (3:37)
8. Du Sohn Davids II (4:45)
9. Du tränke Mich mit deinen Küssen (5:28)

Total Time: 35:11

Line-up / Musicians - Florian Fricke / piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & elelectric guitars, percussion
- Djong Yun / vocals
+ Alois Gromer / sitar
- Shana Kumar / tabla

Popol Vuh - Improvisation (1971)

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Renaissance - Scheherazade and other Stories (1975)

Renaissance Scheherazade and Other Stories album cover
British art-rock exponents Renaissance have a fairly complicated history. Kick-started by former-Yardbird front-man Keith Relf in 1969 after he had tired of a lifetime of the blues, the group have since undergone several line-up shifts, resulting in a completely different set of musicians for 'Scheherazade And Other Tales', an album widely-considered the group's magnus opus. After Relf's departure(to join hard-rock group Armageddon), keyboardist John Tout and guitarist Michael Dunford took over the group's reigns and brought in the talented and classically-trained singer Annie Haslam, a move which proved to be the real masterstroke. However, despite these changes in personel, Tout, Dunford and Haslam stayed true to Keith Relf's original ideal of translating classical styles into a modern rock setting and creating music that was complex and sumptuous. Joined by Terrence Sullivan(drums) and Jon Camp(bass), the first Renaissance album produced by this line-up was 'Prologue'. This, in turn, was followed by 'Ashes Are Burning' and the superb 'Turn Of The Cards' before 'Scheherazade..'. was released following a highly-successful US tour in 1975. Featuring just four songs, including the eponymously-titled and rather epic 24-minute closer, the album proved a big success in both Europe and the USA, and showed the group performing at the peak of their formidable powers. The album starts with the beautifully-judged 'Trip To The Fair', a song which allows both Tout and Haslam to excel; Tout with some gorgeous neo-classical piano and Haslam showing off the full five octaves her voice is capable of. The shorter, sharper 'The Vultures Fly High' is probably the closest thing on the album to a rock-song, with Dunford's guitar flourishes embellishing Tout's dominant keyboards with slightly more aggressive lilt, whilst the ethereal-balladry of 'Ocean Gypsy' again showcases Haslam's unique and operatic vocals. The album's raison d'etre, however, is the powerful, epic and intricate odyssey 'Scheherazade'. In this ambitious re-telling of the old 1001 Arabian Nights tale, Renaissance throw off any shackles that may have checked their artistic ambitions and head full-throttle down concept avenue, in the process creating one of Progressive Rock's enduring musical suites. The song is split into 8 sections and takes the listener down all kinds of art-rock alley-ways, running the gamut from darkly-introspective piano-solo's, glistening orchestrations and haunting, Haslam-sung melodies. After this, and partly because of their success, the group would start to take a more commercial turn, eschewing the long, winding compositions in favour of simplier material and, during the 1980's, slimming down to a pop three-piece. Despite their move away from 'classical prog', Renaissance are fondly remembered for a clutch of wonderful albums that culminated in this radical masterpiece. Haslam's voice is genuinely stunning, and backed by the musical ambitions of her musical cohorts, has created an endearing art-rock classic. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010 RENAISSANCE Scheherazade and Other Stories music review by stefro

Songs / Tracks Listing

 1. Trip To The Fair (10:48)
2. The Vultures Fly High (3:07)
3. Ocean Gypsy (7:05)
4. Song Of Scheherazade: (24:52)
a) Fanfare (2:37)
b) The betrayal (4:55)
c) The sultan (2:46)
d) Love theme (2:29)
e) The young prince and princess as told by Scheherazade (4:04)
f) Festival preparations (1:07)
g) Fugue for the sultan (2:12)
h) The festival (2:12)
i) Finale (2:30)

Total Time: 45:52

Line-up / Musicians -

 John Tout / keyboards, vocals
- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Jon Camp / bass, bass pedals, vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic guitars, vocals

Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning (1973)

How come these guys are a progressive rock band, and some of these songs stretch to over 10 minutes, but it never seems like standard progressive rock, or at least the typical assumption of your generic prog band? Oh, maybe it's the fact that, even with having just six songs on the album, it still feels like a truly captivating landscape, and how their flights of fancy are always augmented by truly ingenious melodies.

I'm getting ahead of myself, which is a shame, because my head's been in a trip for the past half hour or so. This is some damn good music, no matter what you call it, and even if that's a subjective opinion, I don't care. These melodies actually speak to me, and in the land of pomp, pretentiousness, and side-long jams that don't go anywhere (Here's looking at you, Gates of Delirium), there's a lot of rich subtlety, here. the album starts off with a really whimsical, tantalizing display of pianos rocking your boat with Haslan's superb singing abilities. Now, if you're reading a Renaissance review, you're sure to have heard of this woman's vocal prowess, and I can't help but play into it, because she IS a vocal maestro, and it really adds a heap of necessary charm to the world that Ashes Are Burning tries to create.

Not a single song, no matter the length, falls off into the realms of boredom. No, this is one even record, if there ever was one. It's kind of like a beautiful, angelic yin to Jethro Tull's rough, dirty yang. They play a lush, poppy style of intricate progressive folk, which makes these yokels a bright contradiction in my book. I love contradictions, especially Let It Grow, which is simply put, a lush pop masterpiece. The main melody is awe-inspiring, and how it morphs at the very end, and actually grows on the theme, is an essential journey for any discerning music lover to take. It's just really fantastic, I don't know what to say. The vocal chanting at the end rules me, I'm at this song's proverbial beck-and-call. That isn't to say the other songs aren't good. Holy elfin smoke grenades, this is a mystical album, and it's honestly, sincerely pretty, the whole way through. So many folk style instruments run together to form breathtaking aural landscapes, and they all ride under the winds of miss Annie's cherubim fawning.

Carpet of the Sun is another phenomenal, succinct song, with harmonious string accompaniment, but who cares? Prettiness! Subtlety! The gorgeous singing! I'm floored, I really am. Why are there so many memorable melodies? Like the grand piano introduction to the Harbour, that makes me drift off to an old shore bar, someplace, with ships sailing in to the dock on the horizon. When I hear this I can almost feel the ocean breeze twirling through my hair. By the way, I've got really long hair. How is that pertinent to this review? It isn't! Gee, aren't these songs immaculate? Now, this album isn't perfect. What album is? Sometimes the songs don't really jump out at you, and the diversity isn't much anywhere to be found, exactly. It's all a pretty similar trip. I'm nitpicking, though. It's a vastly memorable trip, and the whole record bubbles over with angel chorus prettiness and nectarine serenity. Or, it's just great music. Maybe the title track goes on for a bit too long, but it's all so beautiful anyway, that it doesn't matter, not one bit.

Speaking of said album title closing track, I don't give a rat's behind if it's twelve minutes, it's worth that, and more. A plethora of progressive bands tried making songs that stretched all the way to next week, and most of these were usually done for the sake of length and sprawl. This, however, has a majestic build up that has to be seen...er, heard to be believed, with sweltering solos from all the different instrumentalists, culminating in the entire album's climax in one of the only electric guitar solos, and it rocks hard. I do think that some of the passages could have been trimmed from the first and last songs, and it would have effectively poised the album as a more economical affair, but let our sugary sweet angels spread their wings a little, mac. They never did nothing to you, did they?

I can't help myself from spewing epithets like "pretty" "beautiful" "gorgeous", and "just friggin' great!". Ashes Are Burning is this, and more. It's downright romantic and bashful, without being shy. That's another contradiction for you, so stuff it! These melodies are gargantuan, though, even from the small touches like the organ solo in the middle of the album closing title track, or the sheer breadth of sound the band attempts to take on, succeeding all the while, with passionate piano/acoustic guitar interplay, wrapped in Haslan's silky sweet cooing. Stop me right now, and get this album. It's a shimmering winner. And... for you folks out there with a prejudice 'gainst women vocalists....go suck your damn Iron Maiden or something, I'll take my beauty with extra sugar, please. RENAISSANCE Ashes Are Burning music review by Alitare

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Can you understand (9:49)
2. Let it grow (4:15)
3. On the frontier (4:53)
4. Carpet of the sun (3:31)
5. At the harbour (6:50)
6. Ashes are burning (11:24)

Total Time: 40:42
Line-up / Musicians
- Jon Camp / bass, vocals
- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Tout / keyboards, backing vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic guitar
- Andy Powell / guitar (6)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Solstice - New Life (1993)

Solstice is not a very prolific band as they have recorded only four studio albums throughout their 30 year existence (including the most recent one being released this year). Formed in 1980, this British band is basically a one-man project with the only constant member being guitarist and composer Andy Glass. This does not mean that this is a one-man show, however. The people Glass has around him here are as competent as he is and the sound is that of a full band rather than a guitarists' solo album. Apart from electric guitars, violin, bass, drums and female lead vocals are omnipresent. There are also some keyboards, but they are never to the forefront of the sound.

New Life from 1993 is the second Solstice album coming almost ten years after their debut from 1984. You might see this as a result of putting priority on quality over quantity, or you could see the band as a victim of the unfavourable climate for progressive music in the 80's and 90's. Whichever way you see it you cannot accuse Solstice of compromising their musical vision for popularity, as neither the present album nor the debut sound anything like products of their time. Rather, they have opted for a rather 'timeless' sound that clearly draws on the classic Prog-era without coming across as 'retro'. Like with the debut, bands that come to mind while listening to New Life are Renaissance (primarily from the latter half of the 70's), Yes (in their more 'relaxed' and less complex moments) and perhaps Kansas (in their less hard-edged moments). The Mike Oldfield similarities that were evident on the debut, on the other hand, seem to be somewhat relaxed here in favour of a more Dixie Dregs-like approach on some passages. In some respects this second album by Solstice is even better than the first one; it has a slightly more powerful guitar and drum sound and the voice of new lead vocalist Heidi Kemp is not as distractingly similar to that of Jon Anderson compared to Sandy Leigh who sang on the debut. But overall, I find this album slightly less enjoyable and less memorable than Silent Dance. But New Life is still a very enjoyable album that I'm sure will please anyone who liked the debut.

Other things that strike me while comparing the two albums is that the sound of New Life is less diverse; it has less acoustic guitars, less keyboards and less 'exotic' elements. Also, the bass guitar is a bit less powerful here. The songs on New Life are not incredibly complex, and while this is hardly easy-listening it might perhaps appear as such if you just came from listening to Yes' Relayer album or some intense and complex Jazz-Rock/Fusion. If you like Silent Dance, New Life is recommended for sure - a good companion to that first Solstice album. SOLSTICE New Life music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Morning Light (3:46)
2. Guardian
3. The Sea (6:52)
4. New Life (4:54)
5. Pathways
6. Journey (10:03)

Total Time: 41:20
Line-up / Musicians
- Andy Glass / guitar, programming,
backing vocals
- Marc Elton / violins, backing vocals, keyboards
Heidi Kemp / vocals
- Craig Sunderland / bass
- Pete Hensley /

Solstice - Pathways

Solstice play New Life for HRH The Queen

Solstice - Morning Light

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Jade Warrior - Jade Warrior (1971)

Jade Warrior's self-titled debut album showcases members of the psychedelic July inspired by the mystique of the orient. Despite a few minor flaws of new band finding its niche, its members produced a unique album in the height of early progressive rock acts.

The blend of flute, acoustic guitars, an array of percussion instruments and a distorted guitar present themselves in almost every track along with Glyn Havard's Ian Anderson-like vocals. However, the instrumentation provided by Tony Duhig and Jon Field is most prominent, emphasizing both the soothing and spontaneous qualities of nature. For some the disruptive distorted guitars may seem detrimental to the compositions but their presence is appropriate.

The instrumental highlight of the album is the solo percussion sequences. Each one creates wonderful atmospheres, similar to those performed by the contemporary percussionist Yas-Kaz (albeit fifteen years earlier). The mellow flute, reminiscent of Quintessence's Raja Ram, intertwines well with the percussion and acoustic guitars.

There are a few weaker songs which do disrupt the flow of the album. "Telephone Girl" employs weak lyrics and usually merits a skip although the instrumentation is not particularly weak. "Petunia" and "Prenormal Day at Brighton" have overpowering bass drum blasts which make both songs a difficult listen. Otherwise, every other track is well-constructed, especially the extremely catchy "Psychiatric Sergeant."

Overall, this album may not appeal as it ranges from proto-new age compositions to loud electric guitar work. But for those interested in the development of new age music or oriental influence in western music, this album is a necessary addition. 4.5 out of 5. JADE WARRIOR Jade Warrior music review by sidar

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Traveller (2:40)
2. Prenormal Day At Brighton (2:45)
3. Masai Morning (6:44)
4. Windweaver (3:43)
5. Dragonfly Day (7:45)
6. Petunia (4:46)
7. Telephone Girl (4:54)
8. Psychiatric Sergeant (3:08)
9. Slow Ride (2:36)
10. Sundial Song (5:08)

Total Time: 44:09
Line-up / Musicians - Tony Duhig / guitars
- Jon Field / percussion, flutes
- Glyn Havard / bass, vocals

Jade Warrior 'Telephone Girl'

JADE WARRIOR Jade Warrior 01 - 02 - 03

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Monday, 12 September 2011

Amon Duul II - Viva La Trance (1974)

Vve la trance is just like wolf city sounding,it starts with a morning excuse which is a good start to the album which i play twice it just could of been a minute longer i think,another song i like on this is apocaliptic bore where chris karrer sounds brilliant on this anmd the guitar is good sounding to,other songs worth listening to are fly united,im krater bluhnwieder die brume,mozambique,dr,,trap, pig man [a brillant track],manana[sounds brilliant to],and ladies mimikry[i dont really like the start to ladies mimikry but it gets better as it gets going,the cd ive got is the spv revisited 2007 version which has bonus tracks which are ok to have and are good to its a gate fold which is nice to own i got it from ebay same with every other dull album i got which the prices are fair,buy this its another duul must have,i give it 5 stars although i dont like jalousie track number 2,just listen to a morning excuse and apocalyptic bore there the best spongs on this album which will have you hooked everytime. AMON DÜÜL II Vive la Trance music review by davidsporle

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. A morning excuse (3:19)
2. Fly United (3:33)
3. Jalousie (3:27)
4. Im Krater blühn wieder der Bäume (3:08)
5. Mozambique (7:40)
6. Apocalyptic bore (6:38)
7. Dr. (3:00)
8. Trap (3:35)
9. Pig man (2:38)
10. Mañana (3:20)
11. Ladies mimikry (3:18)

Total Time: 43:36
Line-up / Musicians - Robby Heibl / bass, acoustic guitar, violin, vocals
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, saxophone, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, percussion
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Falk U. Rogner / organ, synthesizers
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals

Amon Düül II - Apocalyptic Bore

Mozambique - Amon Düül II (1973)

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Dzyan - Electric Silence (1975)

Dzyan's third and last album, still as a trio and recorded in the Dierks studios and released on the legendary Bacillus label. Graced with a grotesque cartoon-like artwork, the album remains very much in the line of the previous two albums, even if they return to shorter track format resembling their debut album.

Opening with the reflective 9-mins Back Where We Came From, Electric Silence starts very strongly with Giger's marimbas and gongs, preceding Marron's slow increasingly-present guitar wails before Giger takes it over again. By the half of the track, the group is now in full flight with Karwatky's bass giving a Nucleus base on which both Giger and Marron can expand and improvise. Indian music is the main influence of A Day In My Life, just as on the previous album Kabisrain. Closing up the first side is The Road Not Taken (a reference to Time Machine artwork cover?), which is downright dissonant and comes close to atonal music if it was not for Marron's guitar wailing like an Indian sitar.

The flipside starts with an Indian-laced Khali (who'd have thought with such a name, right? ;-), where mellotrons are in the background. The same mellotrons pave the 9-min Earthly Thinking's intro over dissonant wooden block percussions first and steel drums second, then ensues a wide improvisation with only Karwatky staying wise and providing a base, thena drum solo ending in total sonic chaos with both Marron and Karwatky also going nuts. Closing with the album's title track (my fave) where the Mahavishnu Orchestra impressions return, reminiscing of the previous' album title track. Compared with their previous works his album does have a more ethnic feel (mostly Indian), but aesthetically- speaking it is just as Dzyann-esque as their previous two.

Just as excellent as their first two albums, Electric Silence closes Dzyan's recording career with an impeccable album and rounding up a very even discography where all three albums are equal in quality. It would be hard for me to choose just one album, meaning that you'd have to discard two choices as good as the one you've taken. So if anything, I'd suggest you start chronologically DZYAN Electric Silence music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Back To Where We Come (8:57)
2. A Day In My Life (4:03)
3. The Road Not Taken (4:54)
4. Khali (4:55)
5. For Earthly Thinking (9:38)
6. Electric Silence (4:30)

Total Time: 36:57
Line-up / Musicians -
 Peter Giger / drums, percussion
- Reinhard Karwatky / electric & double bass, superstring, Mellotrone, synthesizer
- Eddy Marron / guitars, sitar, Zaz, tambura, mellotrone, voice

Dzyan - Khali [Electric Silence] 1974

Dzyan "Light Shining Out Of Darkness" & "Khali"

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Kerrs Pink - Art Of Complex Simplicity (1997)

A very decent album from a very good prog folk band. Kerrs Pink was an eighties band that really doesn’t seem to have had a long active history, and according to the liner notes this was actually supposed to be a solo album for founding member Harald Lytomt. But he enlisted friend Jan Håkon Skarpsno to pen lyrics for several tracks and eventually decided to release this under the name Kerrs Pink, although only a couple of former members actually play on the record.

Camel fans will love the easy-going, mild approach in most of these compositions. Lytomt crafts rich musical works that blend Norwegian folk sensibilities with some modern instrumentation (guitars, drums, digital keyboards). The music is enriched as well with tin whistles, cello, flute and organ. The result is a truly folksy sound that avoids the all too common trap of becoming tepid strumming and crooning. This is a modern sound but with plenty of the trappings of classic progressive sounds.

Eight of the thirteen tracks here are instrumentals, and even the songs with vocals mostly emphasize the instrumental aspects of the music. The themes are pastoral, often speaking of tender relationships, memories and longing. Not really music for a wild Friday night, but perfect for sitting around the house watching the buds of spring popping up on the plants on your garden. I suppose I’ve revealed what I’m doing at the moment.

All the tracks here meld together well, with a few standing out just a bit for different reasons. “Linger a Bit Longer” mixes fat C3 organ with solid electric guitar and piano chords, while the ten-minute long “Joie de Vivre” is a classic-styled progressive mini-epic with endless transitions and soaring keyboard passages. The opening “Welcome to the Greenest Forest” is a great introduction of soothing keyboards sharpened with wailing guitar that sets the mood for the rest of the tunes perfectly. All in all this is a worthwhile investment of time for the calming effect it has after a rather strenuous week of toil and the complexities of life. Hence the title I suppose.

I don’t have any other recordings from the band, although it might not make much difference since this doesn’t seem to be in the vein of the group’s earlier work. But as an elaborated solo recording (which it what it seems to be), this is a well-crafted effort that should appeal to most prog folk fans and probably a lot of lovers of classically-styled prog music in general. Four stars might be just a bit of a stretch but I’ve found this to be a soothing repose over the past few weeks I’ve played it since picking it up, so I’ll go with that for now. Well recommended to like-minded souls. KERRS PINK Art Of Complex Simplicity music reviews and MP3


Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Welcome to the greenest forest (6:23)
2. Lady of the Lake (2:52)
3. The Hero of the Chivalry (4:03)
4. Fearful Heart (4:09)
5. Never Land (4:20)
6. Lina (2:36)
7. Affinity (8:33)
8. Guiding Light (3:30)
9. Celestial Heavens (3:03)
10. Linger a bit longer (6:46)
11. Days Past (2:15)
12. Joie de Vivre (10:00)
13. A Final Greeting (6:35)

Total Time: 65:05
Line-up / Musicians
- Harald Lytomt / acoustic and electric guitars, bass, flute, vocals, keyboards
- Jan Haakon Skarpsno / drums, keyboards, arrangements (1, 7 & 12)
- Thor Einar Wiik / drums
- Jonny Klemmetsrud / drums
- Knut Ragnar Lie / drums, vocals
- Jostein Hansen / bass
- Per Oeyvind Nordberg / keyboards
- Freddy Ruud / keyboards
- Bjoern Teig / Hammond C3 organ
- Fritz Hunstad / Hammond C3 organ
- Toore Johansen / tin-whistles
- Erik Hageler / vocals
- Geir Morgan Jahren / vocals
- Heidi Drengsrud Jahren / vocals
- Cecilie Ljunggren / vocals
- Tormod Gangfloet / viola
- Liv Frengstad / cello

Kerrs Pink Live 2002 - Sirrus

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Birth Control - Backdoor Possibilities (1976)

Though being usually overlooked and considered inferior to the previous one "Plastic People" (which couldn't fascinate me a lot I've to say) "Backdoor possibilities" had been BC's best and most versatile work and their only one in fact being relevant in terms of Prog (at least for me). Their first couple of albums had been more in an organ-driven hard rock vein with progressive tendencies being quite good and nice to listen but anything really exciting nor original. Then they changed their style significantly on "Plastic People" towards a sound based more on classical Prog mostly denying their hard rock roots. That one was certainly more appealing to most Prog fans than the previous albums, at least to those preferring a more mellow and gentle sound. Though musicianship and the line-up had been admittedly impressive there that one could never fully convince me. But what a big surprise, here with this album here in review things are completely different. Unlike the previous one this one manages to keep my attention starting from the very first sound effect of "One First of April" until the final note on "No Time To Die". This concept album offers really interesting tracks, more complex and fragile they've ever done covering most divers influences by jazz and classical music. There are plenty of tempo shifts on here and rocking electric guitars are alternating with Spanish acoustic ones, slightly Canterburian or Zappa-esque jazz sections with groovy synthesizer ones. Of course what BC presented here can't be called other than derivative and it wasn't anything unique or original but still this album stands for me as their best work and in fact the only one by them worth giving 4 stars though I doubt it could be considered really an essential addition. BIRTH CONTROL Backdoor Possibilities music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. One first of April: (7:41)
i) Prologue 2:32
ii) Physical and mental short circuit 3:58
iii) Subterranean escape 1:11
2. Beedeepees: (8:34)
i) Film of life 5:37
ii) Childhood flash-back 0:52
iii) Legal labyrinth 2:05
3. Futile prayer (5:55)
4. La Cigüena de Zaragoza: (8:17)
i) The farrockaway ropedancer 4:28
ii) Le moineau de Paris 2:24
iii) Cha cha d'amour 1:25
5. Behind grey walls (6:53)
6. No time to die (6:10)

Total Time: 43:30

Line-up / Musicians
- Peter Föller / basses, vocals
- Bruno Frenzel / guitars, vocals
- Zeus B. Held / keyboards, Tenor sax, tubular bells, vocals
- Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, lead vocals
+ Michael / additional percussion

Birthcontrol - The farrockaway ropedancer.

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Focus - Moving Waves (1972)

This Netherlandish progressive masterpiece is one of the most hard rock progressive album made during that era: indeed Jan Akkerman's incisive and razor electric guitars are omnipresent: pure hard rock solos a la Led Zeppelin, and barely less timid aggressive riffs. The drums are restless, very complex and fast. The keyboards mostly consist in organ, mellotron, piano and harmonium. The intensely yodeling of Thijs Van Leer on "Hocus Pocus" is LEGENDARY: you are going to want to sing it! "Le clochard" has a beautiful floating mellotron in the background and impressive & relaxing acoustic guitar parts that should impress Steve Hackett himself. The peaceful and rhythmic "Janis" contains mellow flute parts a la Camel. The lead vocals on "Moving Waves" remind me early King Crimson. "Focus 2" is an OUTSTANDING very progressive track: Jan Akkerman "dances" with his melodic electric guitar: it seems that the other instruments follow his partitions, creating very structured and pleasant melodies through rhythm & air changes.

On side 2, the epic "Eruption" is a REAL progressive masterpiece, sometimes comparable to Jethro Tull's "Thick as a brick": the same organ sounds, tons on drums, very melodic bass, straightforward hard rock electric guitars; there are some intensely floating mellotron & backing vocals parts; there is a part which was composed by the Netherlandish fusion band Solution, coming from the "Divergence" album; there is a poignant & melodic piano part, accompanied with electric guitar and flute; the drum solo is absolutely impressive, having a bit the Neil Peart's style.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! FOCUS Moving Waves music reviews and MP3

Side 1
1. Hocus Pocus (6:42)
2. Le Clochard (2:01)
3. Janis (3:09)
4. Moving Waves (2:42)
5. Focus II (4:03)
Side 2
6. Eruption (23:04)
-a) Orfeus, Answer, Orfeus
-b) Answer, Pupilla, Tommy, Pupilla
-c) Answer, The Bridge
-d) Euridice, Dayglow, Endless Road
-e) Answer, Orfeus, Euridice

Total Time: 41:41

Line-up / Musicians -
Jan Akkerman / solo & acoustic guitars, bass
- Cyril Havermanns / bass, voices
- Pierre van der Linden / drums
- Thijs van Leer / organ, Harmonium, Mellotron, soprano and alto flute, piano, voices

Focus - Moving Waves

Focus - Tommy

Focus - 8

25 years without hearing from Focus except from some compilations and then here we are presented with Focus 8. Its absolutely wrong to say that the brand name Focus was "used" for comercial advantages. Focus 8 is not about revival of a Dinossaur for the sake of the money. Its about a mans passion for music, Thjiis van Leer has this passion. This album has Focus writen all over it. For historical reasons most of oldtime Focus compositions and harmonies was made by Thjiis van Leer. Yoddling, handclaps, flutes and lots of wonderful Hammond riffs fill this recording to the rim, and all oldtime Focus fans can easily reconcile with Focus. As for the line-up, Jan Dumeé replaces the other Jan (Akkerman) with grace and many die-hard fans did recognize the fact that Akkerman was dispensable. Dumeé dd a wonderful job on the guitars, carrying Focus to a new dimention giving Focus the magic that fans always loved; Hammond-Guitar tunes blending jazz and classic music with a Rock approach that characterize Progressive Music. Bobby Jacobs fills in with quite powerful bass lines as in "Rock And Rio"and sometimes delicate as on "De Ti O De Mi". Drumming is executed just as Pierre van der Linden did in old Focus. Bert Smaak is perfect in most of his lines, maybe a bit too "heavy" on the more powerful tunes. Rock and Rio is a hard rock version inspired probably on Hocus Pocus, Tamaras Move has Focus III and House Of The King elements, Fretless Love has downgeared Sylvia cords. Hurkey Turkey is fresh and mingles Rock and Jazz with wonderful guitar and Hammond tunes in perfect harmony. The Title Track mellows out a bit with smooth guitar on piano and bass layers. Sto Ces Raditi...has absolute brazilian rythms with flutes, accoustic guitars as intro, where the song evolves to a bossa nova where the band seems to have a cool time enjoying the tune. Neurotika is another hard prog tune with lots of energy again with Hocus Pocus inspiration. Brother is a blues inspired tune executed first at a mellow pace, but builds up to high energy performance, again with a superb Hammond undertone. Blizu Tebe is the follow up of Brother, mellow and relaxing with unbelivable guitar playing by Dumeé. Flower Shower is the last tune of Focus 8 and believe me, its hilarious ! a minuette which demostrates that Focus dont take themselves too seriously. Its a "must have album" by those who really love Progressive Rock and needs to get away from mainstream revivals of dinossaurs. FOCUS Focus 8 music review by sclemche

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Rock & Rio (3:27)
2. Tamara's Move (5:17)
3. Fretless Love (6:08)
4. Hurkey Turkey (4:15)
5. De Ti O De Mi (6:30)
6. Focus 8 (6:19)
7. Sto Ce Raditi Zwota (5:26)
8. Neurotika (3:47)
9. Brother (5:39)
10. Blizu Tebe (6:38)
11. Flower Shines (5:41)

Total Time: 59:07

Line-up / Musicians - Jan Dumée / guitars, vocals
- Bobby Jacobs / bass
- Thijs van Leer / Hammond organ, flute, vocals
- Bert Smaak / drums

Focus - Neurotika

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Focus - 3 (1973)

With the release of the bands third album in 1972, Focus accomplishes a massive achievement for symphonic progressive rock with a double LP that reveals the real musical potential of the band. The music that radiates from this work of art speaks loudly, incorporating a wide selection elements within itself that make it impossible to pinpoint the brilliance of the music to one single aspect. would seem impossible to believe that 4 musicians with ordinary rock instruments could produce such richly textured music. With these ordinary instruments they manage to compose music that, when listened to briefly, causes no deep impressions. However, if listened to attentively, it is possible to extract a wonderful mixture of talent, creativity and spontaneity.

For this album, the band eliminates lyrics completely, allowing themselves to focus on instrumental elaborations, and long, colorful jams. The lyrics, as in most cases, change a songs dynamics, given that they cover up the instruments, attracting a spotlight to the words that forces the instruments into second hand. Without the limitation of lyrics, the music was set free in a sense. But it is not solely the absence of lyrics that makes this album deserve attention . This so called musical freedom allows underlying aspects to rise above ground into the deserved spotlight, unleashing all the instrumental power that the band could muster into a beautiful symphony that transpires loads of musical feeling, exploring a variety of musical universes and emotions. Another fundamental thing that must be spoken of when this LP is mentioned, is how well the musicians are tuned in with each others wavelengths. It feels as if they were all aiming for the same musical target, and with the clear skill and dedication that each composer possesses they easily hit the bulls-eye. For each fragment of each track, the instruments seem perfectly teamed up with each other to produce those heroic, happy, catchy, beautiful and wonderfully harmonic, point and counterpoint melodies, that Focus is so famous for. This album demonstrates how they are skilled at capturing and transforming the abstract musical energy floating around their heads into a masterful sculpture.

Focus hit the right key on the organ for this album. FOCUS 3 music review by EMLonergan

Songs / Tracks Listing Side 1
1. Round Goes The Gossip (5:12)
2. Love Remembered (2:50)
3. Sylvia (3:31)
4. Carnival Fugue (6:09)
Side 2
5. Focus III (6:05)
6. Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers! (14:03)
Side 3
7. Anonymous Two (Part 1) (19:28)
Side 4
8. Anonymous Two (Conclusion) (7:30)
9. Elspeth Of Nottingham (3:15)
10. House Of The King (2:23)

Total Time: 67:09

Line-up / Musicians -
Jan Akkerman / solo & acoustic guitars
- Bert Ruiter / bass
- Pierre van der Linden / drums
- Thijs van Leer / vocal, organ, piano, alto flute, piccolo, harpsichord

Focus - Focus III

Focus - Focus 3

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Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring (2007)

Now this i like alot,its got porcupine tree doing wat they do best it might be an ep but its a good ep for that matter,the first track is kind of porcupine tree like there gone into another world not weird like just porcup[ine tree doing it if u understand wat i,m going on about lol,next track normal is a brilliant track and is sentimental of foabp like an earlier version of it kind of the same but i bet this is one of the first versions of the song or retryed again and is a good song to but the song is alot like sentimental which that track i love alot so its a welcome on here,next is cheating the polygraph which is so porcupine tree like foabp and if youve got foabp you must get this for this anmd the next song to,next is what happens now is i think the best track on the album everything on this track is porcupine tree at there newest sounding just like foabp,if you own foabp get hold of this to as its a must have not as good as that album but it is an ep if it was a proper album i reckon it would be just as good as foabp i give this 4 stars buy tjis if you enjoyed foabp. PORCUPINE TREE Nil Recurring music review by davidsporle

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Nil Recurring (6:08)
2. Normal (7:07)
3. Cheating the Polygraph (7:06)
4. What Happens Now? (8:23)

Total Time: 28:00
Line-up / Musicians - Steven Wilson / vocals, guitars, piano, keyboards
- Richard Barbieri / keyboards and synthesizers
- Colin Edwin / bass guitars
- Gavin Harrison / drums, percussion, tapped guitar

porcupine tree nil recurring

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Friday, 9 September 2011

Popol Vuh - Herz Aus Glas (1977)

This is one of several soundtracks POPOL VUH did for Werner Herzog the famous German movie producer. As philippe mentions in his review, POPOL VUH didn't make music for movies.This was music Florain had already recorded and kept at home in a box.Florian was long time friends with Werner, having actually acted in the latters first feature film in 1967.As Florian relates "Sometimes he(Werner) came to my house and he asked me "please open your box" the one in which i kept my tapes from my productions.When we are listening to music,sometimes he lifts his finger and says "this part of your music would be great music for a film." And so that's in part how the process would begin for POPOL VUH's music being used in a Herzog movie. My attitude in listening to POPOL VUH is completely different to when i listen to other recordings.The reason for this is because i know Florian makes music for the heart. And i know he's genuine when he talks about his music as being a way for love to felt and experienced.I can testify to that truth personally. "Engel Der Gegenwart" begins with sitar sounds coming and going without much else going on.It's 3 minutes in before we get a melody,and it gets even better after 5 minutes when the guitar and drums become more prominant.This song seems to go from sad to happy. "Blatter Aus Dem Buch Der Kuhnheit" opens with sitar once again as the lead instrument as guitar is strummed.This is quite enjoyable. "Das Lied Vo Den Hohen Bergin" is very Indian sounding with the dominant sitar and percussion throughout. "Huter Der Schwelle" is one of my favourites.This is much fuller sounding and check out the guitar 3 minutes in. "Der Ruf" is another amazing song.There's something uplifting about this one.It's like light is shining out from the music,or is it love? Very warm and emotional. "Singet,Denn Der Gesang Vertreibt Die Wolfe" features drums,guitar and sitar that stand out,but they all work together as one in this wonderful track. "Gemeinschaft" is another moving song with some warm flute early.The last four songs are very especially heavenly. A solid 4 star album.This is meaningful music without words.They aren't necessary. POPOL VUH Herz aus Glas music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Engel der Gegenwart (8:15)
2. Blätter aus dem Buch der Kühnheit (4:17)
3. Das Lied von den hohen Bergen (4:08)
4. Hüter der Schwelle (3:45)
5. Der Ruf (4:41)
6. Singet, denn der Gesang vertreibt die Wölfe (4:30)
7. Gemeinschaft (3:47)

Total Time: 33:23
Line-up / Musicians
- Florian Fricke / piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / guitars, percussion
- Mathias von Tippelskirch / flute
- Al Gromer / sitar

Popol Vuh - Das Lied von Den Hohen Bergen

Popol Vuh - Engel der Gegenwart

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