Tuesday, 31 May 2011


While many seem to think of this debut as a rather mediocre effort (in Pohjola's standards), I truly believe it is his second best album, after the brilliant Harakka Bialoipokku. Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva was my introduction to Pohjola, and thus has some nostalgic values as well. That is not the reason why I rate this album so highly, though. It is amazing how coherent this album is, considering the age of the main performer. Pohjola, still a member of Wigwam at this time, did this album at the age of 20. I'm fully aware of the fact that this is not the most original album to walk the face of earth - The Zappa-esque leanings are quite evident, but the indisputable quality of the compositions here still manages to stun me. Admittedly, Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva is hardly flawless. The album opener "Metsonpeliä" starts promisingly enough, but soon becomes rather tedious when we have to listen to Pohjola's bass solo for five minutes. He's a fine bassist, no doubt, but this part of the song seems rather pointless, if you ask me. The classical leanings are strong, especially if you listen to the pianos - which are one of the main instruments here. The compositions are full of subtle, little details that'll surprise you time after time. While the music is complex, it becomes surprisingly catchy and easy on the ears by the time you've listened to this album for the 5-10th time. The only thing that slightly bothers me about this album, is "Nipistys". Now, don't get me wrong, it is one of my favorite Pohjola compositions, but the version here is much inferior to the one Wigwam used to play on their gigs. In many ways, this is Pohjola's most complex and ambitious album. It is not a success in every level, but it is a mightily fine effort from one of the pioneers of Finnish progressive music. Strongly recommended to anyone interested in the jazzy side of prog. For those who've heard Pohjola's compositions in Wigwam - if you liked those, I bet you'll love this one. I know I do.PEKKA POHJOLA Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva music reviews and MP3 ( Review from progarchives.com)

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Metsonpeliä ~ Capercaillie games (10:33)
2. Virtojen kiharat ~ Curls of streams (5:28)
3. Armoton idylli ~ Merciless idyll (3:47)
4. Nipistys ~ Pinch (3:32)
5. Valittaja ~ Complainer (10:22)

Total Time: 33:42

Line-up / Musicians
- Pekka Pohjola / bass, violins, piano, final organ
- Jukka Gustavson / organ, piano
- Reino Laine / drums
- Risto Pensola / clarinet
- Pekka Pöyry / soprano sax, flute

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Bram Stoker - Heavy Rock Spectacular (1972)

Who were BRAM STOKER and the mysterious T. Brodson who composed all the tracks? This enigmatic 1972 release was recorded for Woolworths generic Windmill label and recorded presumably by session players to cash in on the early seventies success of bands like BLACK SABBATH,ATOMIC ROOSTER and BLACK WIDOW. The BRAM STOKER moniker evokes macabre gothic atmospheres, and so does their music with tracks like "Blitz" conjuring up a doom laden sound. The LP "Heavy Rock Spectacular" is a true lost pearl of original prog, dominated by moody Hammond organ that owes much to keith Emerson's influence. There are NICE overtones too with their own "Fingals Cave" whilst the sounds on "Poltergeist" seem to come straight from a gothic 'Hammer Horror'.BRAM STOKER  music, discography, MP3, videos and reviews from progarchives.com.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Born to be free (3:43)
2. Ants  (3:48)
3. Fast decay (3:49)
4. Blitz (5:33)
5. Idiot (4:28)
6. Fingal's cave (7:42)
7. Extensive corrosion (4:19)
8. Poltergeist (4:35)

Total Time: 37:57

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Can - Monster Movie (1989)

Almost everything I like about CAN can be seen in purest form here; the head-on meeting of avant-garde minimalism and raw acid rock experimentation. This album brings to mind both the DEAD & Prankster collaborations of the Acid Tests, as well as the VELVET UNDERGROUND in full "White Light" mode...but "Monster Movie" has an additional element, an intangible vibe that separates it from even the best of the psychedelic era's explorations. I suppose you'd call it...progressive.

Mooney is Can's version of Syd Barrett; his voice is unmistakable, he's headed for a breakdown, and his early contributions are dismissed by many fans. Sure, I prefer Damo's energy, but this album just wouldn't be the same without Mooney's ragged wail. Many rockers have expressed romantic desperation, but none have approached the level he reaches on "Mary Mary" or "Outside my Door". Orgiastic, playfully dark, and unabashedly honest, this is the Krautrock version of bands like COMUS- wonderfully primal, especially compared to the idealized realms and complicated structures of typical prog.

Instrumentally, CAN's albums have rarely been a venue for highlighting the members' respective virtuosities, and "Monster Movie" is no exception. It's more about what you can do with sound than about how well you can play; CAN has nothing to prove, except that they can sound like nobody else before or since...and the best part is that it's all real; there's an immediacy and unbridled feel that most avant-garde lacks, as well as a compositional restraint that owes more to impeccable musical understanding than lack of chops. They could make a tape loop rock, and that's really saying something.

Even if you ignore the historical details (this album started the career of one of the most unique and influentual bands in rock, as well as the entire subgenre of Krautrock), this is a wonderful album. It bashes the preconception that anything avant-garde can't be fun, or that anything fun has to be silly. The music here is equally suited to drugged-out dancing, contemplative appreciation, or getting full-on naughty. Five stars is a bit too much, even for fans, because CAN just isn't for everyone ( at their best, and they had more to offer than just this album)...but "Monster Movie" should be thoroughly enjoyable for anyone who doesn't have too many preconcieved notions of what music should be. CAN Monster Movie music reviews and MP3 review from progarchives.com.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Father Cannot Yell (7:01)
2. Mary, Mary so Contrary (4:16)
3. Outside my Door (4:06)
4. You doo Right (20:14)

Total Time: 35:37
Line-up / Musicians
- Holger Czukay / bass
- Michael Karoli / guitar
- Jaki Liebezeit / drums
- Irmin Schmidt / keyboards
- Malcolm Mooney / vocals

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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Djam Karat - Collaborator (1994)

"Collaborator" is just like the title implies a musical collaboration between DJAM KARET and some friends and guest musicians. The guest musicians sent Djam Karet some incomplete musical fragments on DAT, and DJAM KARET put them together and more sounds and textures to the material. The musicians who sent Djam Karet their music was Marc Anderson, Jeff Greinke, Walter Holland, Loren Nerell, Steve Roach, Kit Watkins (HAPPY THE MAN, CAMEL) and Carl Weingarten. The final result is atmospheric, ambient electronic music, which has the typical DJAM KARET sound. The album became "#10 Album Of 1994" in Deep Listenings magazine. This isn't a real DJAM KARET album but everyone who's familiar with the more ambient DJAM KARET will surely like this CD as well. Review from progarchives.com.

Great band great album from this sadly under appreciated group.
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Solar Flare (3:16)
2. Gondwanaland (4:26)
3. The Anointing Of The Sick (6:53)
4. The Day After (12:31)
5. Foreign Lesion (4:10)
6. The 17th Karmapa (2:57)
7. Moorings (6:47)
8. Cliff Spirits (3:57)
9. Submersion (5:49)
10. Food Chain (8:14)
11. Salt Road (6:01)
12. The Fearful Voice (6:38)

Total Time: 72:33

Line-up / Musicians -

- Gayle Ellett / 7 string electric guitar etc
- Mike Henderson / 6 string electric guitar, keyboards etc
- Henry Osborne / 6-string electric bass, bottled bass, etc

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Richard Pinhas - Rhizosphere ( 1977 )

Richard Pinhas actually recorded two albums while Heldon was still alive. But although closely related to the music developped in Heldon , the music available on those first two solo albums , it is clearly of a lesser interest than the group's. It is also much less aggressive as the guitars are very subdued, and the electronics layers of synths are a little too present, making his solo albums more experimental but also has an unfinished feel to it, compared to the group .

Among the tracks on the first side are some short themes but minimalisticly repeated and we are not far away from Eno or JM Jarre. Side 2 and its sidelong track is rather calm and constant but also unremarkable.

if the average proghead is really interested to further his Heldon-type of music searh , I would advise them to look at Ice Land or East-West, once Heldon had folded and Pinhas could tuirn all of his energies towards his solo work! Only the respect I have for the man will make give him the third star on this scale. RICHARD PINHAS Rhizosphère music reviews and MP3 ( Review from progarchives.com )

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Rhizosphere Sequent (4:50)
2. A Piece For Duncan (5:41)
3. Claire P. (4:47)
4. Trapeze/Interference (6:48)
5. Rhizosphere (17:51)

Total Time: 39:57
Line-up / Musicians - Richard Pinhas / synthesizer, guitar
- Francois Auger / drums (5)
Get Rhizosphere Sequent

Richard Pinhas "Rhizosphere Sequent" & "Toward Belfast"

Richard Pinhas Trapeze Interference

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ash Ra Tempel - Friendship ( 2000 )

How many bands did join together after a very, very long break and performed?

Very, very little I have to say. I am of course biased with this AST album as I have been with some great KS oeuvres.

Because the man released not only musical jewels in my opinion. This was truly Art.

This work is of course a little behind the masterpieces of the seventies, but it is sill soooooo pleasant and moving. I have to admit though that the "dance" feel which can be smelled for a long part of the initial song ("Reunion" - total of over thirty minutes) is not always sounding great to my ears. Still, there are some great guitar part from Manuel of course, but as a whole I can't really be thrilled with this "Reunion" track. Quite good but nothing exceptional.

"Pikant" has little flavour to my taste. But of course, I am married to a Mexican person for almost twenty five years. So, I would have expected some more "spices" here. But the song is a long continuation of fine music after all (nice acoustic guitar play for sure). But I am really missing some gorgeous moments as we have met a long, very long time ago.

What comes next is pure grandeur, beauty and wonder. Some might say (accordingly) that the great Floyd is behind (SOYCD) but how could one resist to such an ethereal beauty, such a great song. The title track ("Friendship") is fantastic to my standards.

This is just a formidable moment of prog music. A fantastic combination of Kraut, Psyche, and Prog Electronic. At the end of day: a superb moment of music. HUGE (yes, in capital). The moving beauty of the guitar sounds being played are just PHENOMENAL. What else can I say about this sublime track? Nothing, I guess.

I just can recommend this wonderful piece of music to you. It will be a wonderful time of your musical life for sure. This track is of course worth of a five star award in my opinion. Almost half an hour of "friendly" and magnificent moments. What a fabulous closing pearl!

Close your eyes. Be ready. And listen. And enjoy.

A global four stars thanks to "Friendship" of course. ASH RA TEMPEL Friendship music reviews and MP3 ( Review from progarchives.com)

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Reunion (30:40)
2. Pikant (21:40)
3. Friendship (26:30)

Total Time: 78:50

Line-up / Musicians - Manuel Göttsching / guitars
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers, percussion

Get Friendship

Ash Ra Tempel - Pikant (Friendship)

Ash Ra Tempel - Reunion (part 1)

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Monday, 9 May 2011

Birth Control - Hoodoo Man ( 1972)

"Hoodah Man" was BC's third, their most famous and best-selling album not only due to its daring funny artwork. They've been accused those days by UK magazine Melody Maker being No. 1 copyists but we all know well that progressive rock music coming from Germany hadn't been taken really serious by British press and had been tagged with the disdainfully meant label Krautrock (not exactly what we understand nowadays by this). Certainly it might be true that they were using elements of famous hard and psyche rock bands from late 60's/early 70's but one has well to admit that they combined all those influences quite well with some other more progressive ones. Thus we get offered here some music based on harder-edged blues rock with plenty of organ sound, some jazzy pads (as in "Suicide") and a couple of synthesizer sections like in "Buy!", "Kaulstoss" and their ever lasting staple hit "Gamma Ray". But to be honest though containing actually a highly entertaining and enjoyable mixture this album cannot be considered as relevant in terms of Prog as their later jazzier album "Backdoor Possibilities" but for those ones preferring a slightly heavier sound it was certainly more exciting than "Plastic People". In many parts, especially in the church-organ enclosure in the title track the music here sounds however admittedly rather dated and not really suitable for repeated listens rather just good enough for a very occasional spin.

Nevertheless I'm proud to own the original edition on vinyl with the famous gatefold cover and though I wouldn't recommend this album to any Prog fan as an essential one I still consider it a nice show-piece for collector's of early 70's hard-edged progressive music in particular. BIRTH CONTROL Hoodoo Man music reviews and MP3 ( Review from progarchives.com )

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Buy! (7:10)
2. Suicide (6:16)
3. Get down to your fate (7:58)
4. Gamma ray (9:44)
5. Hoodoo man (8:25)
6. Klaustoß (2:40)

Total Time: 42:13
Line-up / Musicians -
 Bruno Frenzel / guitar, vocals
- Bernd Koschmidder / bass
- Wolfgang Neuser / keyboards, vibraphone
- Bernd Noske / drums, percussion, vocals

Birth Control - Hoodoo Man

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Amon Duul II - Carnival In Babylon ( 1972 )

As ADII continued their usual chaotic way with constantly shifting line-ups (including the returning of a few older members), the group's sound naturally kept on changing. CIB is indeed the logical continuation of TDL, but in all logic, CIB belongs to ADII's second era/trilogy, while TDL can be linked to the group's first period/trilogy. Indeed the musical emphasis is now shifted on much tighter songs (all things relative, this remainig ADII) which are noticeably shorter and only two of them above the 7-mins mark. Graced with a carnival paper exotic bird over a setting sunset, the inside gatefold sporting a group shot in somekind of botanical gardens, but clearly inclined to represent some tropical forest under the Equator or other (as the title indicates). The for-now septet (quintet on the pictures and at release time with a UK tour on hand) also included guest Rogner (who signs all the lyrics, too) and saxman Kübler; the group recording the album in late 71 (intended originally as a double album) in their Munich hometown.

As hinted by the title and artwork, this album delivers at times an exotic feel through some ethnic folk tracks: All The Year Rounds & Tables Are Turned are both Knaup-sung and making me think of the Yeti folk tracks lost on that album. Some other tracks, like In Uruk are still hovering the psychedelic 60's and some superb descending lines over a quite-intriguing guitar solo ending the track. The longer-but-trimmed Hawknose Harlequin and the bass-driven and organ-underlined Shimmering Sands are two of the albums most memorable tracks, while Kronwikl is the album's better known track and also sporting a good bass line.

Although I've only ever seen or heard the Mantra label release of this album (and to be honest I've checked the Captain Trips version), I'm sure there are more recent releases offering some bonus tracks, most probably an extention of Harlequin, trimmed from 40 to 10 minutes to fit in the single lp or more of the same. If this album doesn't seem to click in directly, you might want to try the previous Lemminos and the next Wolf City and you'll find the Carnival does sit quite well between thes two albums AMON DÜÜL II Carnival in Babylon music reviews and MP3 ( Review from progarchives.com)

Songs / Tracks Listing

 1. C.I.D. In Uruk (5:30)
2. All The Years 'Round (7:20)
3. Shimmering Sand (6:33)
4. Kronwinkl 12 (3:52)
5. Tables Are Turned (3:34)
6. Hawknose Harlequin (9:48)

Total Time: 36:37

Line-up / Musicians
- Danny Fichelscher / drums, congas
- Karl-Heinz Hausmann / keyboards, electronics
- Chris Karrer / acoustic & electric guitars, violin, Soprano sax, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Peter Leopold / drums, tambourine
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- John Weinzierl / acoustic & electric guitars, vocals

+ Joy Alaska / backing vocals
- Olaf Kübler / Soprano sax, door
- Falk U. Rogner / organ
Download Carnival In Babylon



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