Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Racconto D'Inverno - Arpia (2009)

Arpia are an Italian prog band from Rome that have been active since 1984. The present line up features multi instrumentalist and composer Leonardo Bonetti (vocals, acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards), Paola Feraiorni (vocals), Fabio Brait (acoustic guitar) and Aldo Orazi (drums). "Racconto d'inverno" is their third album and it seems to mark a change in the musical direction of the band. It is conceived as a long acoustic suite where melancholic musical landscapes are drawn by male and female vocals. The rhythm section is never invasive, acoustic guitars are omnipresent, there are not spectacular solos but the music perfectly fits the mood of the lyrics and flows away describing with notes what Leonardo Bonetti described with words. In fact "Racconto d'inverno is not only a musical work but also a novel. They're like two faces of the same coin. It's very difficult to appreciate the mood and the atmosphere of this album without knowing what it's about.

The main sources of inspiration for this opera were "Stalker", a 1979 science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and "Raconto d'autunno", a novel by the Italian writer Tommaso Landolfi (1908-1979). According to Leonardo Bonetti it was impossible for him just to put in music and words the work of Landolfi and he decided to write his own novel to shape his feelings in a better way. The result in my opinion is very good and I enjoyed both book and music.

The plot is settled somewhere in the mountains of Northern Italy, not far from a border, during the period 1943-1945. After the Italian army disbanded, Northern Italy was poisoned by the conflicts between Nazi-fascists and bands of partisans... "Crime and Pride / Our lady the Black Death / Is marching without pain...". Desperation, death and hunger are the background for this work that tells the story of a desperate man, running away from this gloomy country looking for an escape. The fugitive arrives in a tumbling down villa built upon the ruins of an ancient abbey, a kind of labyrinth haunted by a strange presence... A man tries to help him to cross the border but they are trapped in winter weather and have to come back to the villa. Here dreams and reality melt while hope and love come out under the shadows of an impending death.

The titles of the tracks are just like the titles of the chapters of a book. The tracks are not separate entities but movements of a long suite while lyrics recall the story narrated by the book evoking images and feelings. The contrast between male and female vocals is the strength of a bold and complex album with a peculiar "unplugged" rock sound. ARPIA Racconto d'inverno music reviews and MP3

On the whole, an excellent album.

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Epilogo (2:41)
2. Giù nella forra (1:47)
3. Casa di blu (0:58)
4. La guida (1:28)
5. Cosa dice quella porta chiusa (0:53)
6. Dimmi chi sei (2:30)
7. Cosa dice quella porta schiusa (0:53)
8. Fame che ride (1:18)
9. Ladri e stranieri (4:49)
10. Soldati! (2:01)
11. Un lupo (3:29)
12. Canto antico (2:38)
13. Casa non mai vista (2:23)
14. Cristo guarito (3:10)
15. La lettera (1:52)
16. Gli scantinati (3:56)
17. Requiem (2:29)
18. Nessuno muore mai (1:37)
19. Non sono morto (2:21)

Total time: 43:05

Line-up / Musicians
- Leonardo Bonetti / vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
- Paola Feraiorni / vocals
- Fabio Brait / acoustic guitar
- Aldo Orazi / drums

Popol Vuh - In Den Garten Pharaos (1971)

.this is an album for the ages. The crowning achievment for Popol Vuh, and one of the greatest examples of the sounds of transcendence inherent in Krautrock. The first piece, also named In den Gärten Pharaos, is a magnificent exploration of electronic ambiance and ethnic percussion, it has such texture and power that everytime i listen to it i get lost in my own thoughts. It really gets you there, on the shores of the mighty Nile gazing upon the glory that was Giza. The second movement, the cryptical Vuh, is a mysterious ambient track, i cannot help to get an ominous feeling of awe as my mind drifts through the astro-planes that this piece holds within. Images and scenes of the ultimate ascendancy of the old egyptian ways, beyond death and through the stars to be one with the mighty Ra. Dammit, i got all poetic again...nevertheless HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. POPOL VUH In den Gärten Pharaos music review by MonolithicAngel

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. In den Gärten Pharaos (17:37)
2. Vuh (19:48)

Total Time: 37:25

Line-up / Musicians - Florian Fricke / Moog synthesizer, organ, Fender electric piano
- Betina / cymbals, production
- Frank Fiedler / Moog synthesizer, mixdown
- Holger Trülzsch / African & Turkish percussion

Popol Vuh - In den Gärten Pharaos (In den Gärten Pharaos)

Popol Vuh - Vuh (outro)

Download Mp3

Brainticket - Alchemic Universe (2000)

A bit of a disappointment this one. Everything sounds too clean and programmed. Quite similar in some ways to Tangerine Dream's 'Underwater Sunlight' from '86. Still, at least there's the sexy vocals of Carol Muriel to cheer me up. Aahh... Carol with her straight hair...

There's no comparison in any shape or form to previous Brainticket albums. This is an almost entirely electronic affair and it's just too damn clean cut for its own good. The adventurous experimentation has long gone leaving a rather straight forward run of the mill album. It's nice enough and could be suited to late night listening. Nothing audibly offensive or out of the blue.

Just scrapes 3 stars by the skin of its teeth simply because I love electronics. BRAINTICKET Alchemic Universe music review by Dobermensch

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Life's mirror (8:10)
2. Transformation of a stream (10:14)
3. Within Venus (5:40)
4. Alchemic universe (10:31)
5. Relics'n roll (12:28)
6. The subspace between (3:36)
7. A dream's reflection (7:11)
8. Time (2:09)

Total Time: 59:59
Line-up / Musicians
- Lance Bunda / words
- Carol Muriel / vocals
- Joel Vandroogenbroek / keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, flute, vocals

Monday, 29 August 2011

Robert Schroeder - Cream (2010)

How should one describe a music such as CREAM ?
CREAM one must simply have heard and experience. The fact that on a CD with the title CREAM, nothing else should have to be expected then the absolute CREAM of Electronic Music, that even the artist himself in such a way designates his new and thus 21st solo work. Of course the 6 titles of the 68 minutes long CD are designated enough as CREAM de la CREAM of the EM, particularly because Robert concentrated contentwise here on traditionally long EM tracks, and this produced also in the style of the typical EM with strong influences of the so called Berlin School style.

Naturally, after over 30 years experience Robert knows the tools of the goose skin producing elements and Schroeder has used the trick box of his experiences. He has produced an album that offers very positive surprises by analogue sequences, sound surfaces, harmonies, melodies and emotions. Finally an album with long tracks between 8 and 17 minutes. The feeling of the good old genuine Electronic Music becomes fully effective here.
CREAM is truly EM, as we expect and like, well balanced first-class EM with varies passages, surprised atmospheres, traditional and modern electronic sounds and music with goose skin effect.

Sylvain Lupari of âgutsofdarkness.comâ has found the right words to describe the music of this wonderful album:

Hummmâ¦! Robert Schroeder's musical adventures are rich, both in tones and varied rhythms where the funky flirts with the groovy on heavy percussions surrounded of a universe full of synths with rich tones. A mixture of kinds, rich and smooth as the cream de la Cream; the 22nd solo album of the mythical German synthesist. An at once heavy and limpid album, so much notes and details are finely chiseled on sweet and stormy rhythms. Tempos broken, interrupted and wrapped by synths which separate their pads to mold choirs, mists and angelic breezes among voices, vocoders and murmurs of all genres. An album with mesmerizing intros and varied rhythms, hammered by heavy electronic percussions, as bongo and conga style. In brief a powerful album with ambivalent rhythms which cross periods and musical styles of Schroeder, and this since "Paradise" in 1983.

Arpeggios skip awkwardly on "Magnetics" opening. They espouse a delicate line of bass which molds a discreet funky rhythm on fine percussions, while beautiful mellotron pads float slightly above this atmosphere sieved by cosmic sound effects. A little as everywhere on Cream, Magnetics pours and moves in rich and unctuous sound cream where various instrumentations come to enrich its minimalist and hypnotic structures. Synths flow with abundance and nuance there, mixing skillfully the sweet vocalizes, melodious solos and ethereal pads which glance through a soft rhythm sometimes shaken by scattered percussion strikes and keyboard keys which gossip as a galactic duck.

"Groove Electronically" is a very beautiful track with its notes of piano which are spreading in a cosmic ambiance where whispers, very plaintive synths and sound effects hatch this strange ethereal intro. Hesitant pulsations light finely the tempo, trampling on the romantic series of these minimalist piano notes. Percussions tumble down and increase the rhythm of a notch. But Groove Electronically remains secretly delicious in spite of this full array of percussions and tones with colorful forms which break out on a constantly evolving tempo of which cadenced contrasts can be hear under strata of a shrillness and spectral synth, percussions rolls, hatched keyboard keys and a tempo which gallops under undulations of a wandering synth such as crystalline prisms which hoot between brief and delicious solos. A tempo rich in tone which dies away in the notes of this piano so delicious even if minimalist. The world of Schroeder is complex and harmonious. On each of Cream tracks, the German synthesist sprinkles quantity of instruments which kick away thick clouds of tones as intriguing as attractive.

So "The Zong" starts with heavy metallic sounds, as monsters robots of The War of Worlds. Percussions unfurl with strength, but remain indecisive, while others more nuanced forge a soft rhythm livened up by a fine bass pulsation and encircled by a synth with extraterrestrial waves which hoot at once pleasant and childish laments. The rhythm became heavier and more intense; The Zong evolves in an ambiance of the carnival with a mi funky and mi groovy tempo which zigzags on circular keyboards keys and among glaucous pulsations. A world of strongly diversified rhythm which is wrapped by a synth with foggy pads and wandering choirs.

"Funky Spacetrip" is very representative of its title; a big cosmic funk with vocoder, strong percussions and a tempo vaguely wavy accompanied by a magnificent synth whose lines are subdividing to create a rich atmosphere where solos go alongside ethereal pads. A very rich track which is near "Groove Electronically" structures.

Languishing and sensual, "Foaming Waves" is simply captivating with its soft rhythmic which flows as a graceful exotic dance under soft foggy pads. Suggestive and daring, Foaming Waves embraces almost the textures of an electronic and cosmic blues, on a cadence which increases gradually the pace with its subdivided chords beneath a synth with delicious laments. A great track from which the musical intensity keeps increasing, bringing us near "Paradise" and "Time Waves" era with smooth synth solos which flow under pulsations of an enticing bass line.

Hesitating piano notes, sensual murmurs and sensual pulsations open "Simply Cream". Bongo percussions unfurl on a languorous rhythm, between funk and groovy, coated by magnificent strata of a foggy mellotron. The synth there is suave, the rhythm suggestive and keyboards draw fine hatched lines, crowning a catchy synth melody and Simply Cream disentangles such a sensual hymn in a shape of musical retrospective of the first 5 tracks of Cream.

Rich, Cream is! Rich in sounds and tones of any kinds and in diversified rhythms, Robert Schroeder handles his synths with an incredible address and makes us discover a rich sound fauna where reliefs are as much feel as hear. A pure marvel where we are riveted to our loudspeakers so much the rhythms, atmospheres and ambiances are finely cut and returned to us with a surgical precision. A beautiful, rich and unctuous cream which dilutes very well in the universe of dreams where the music of the 80âs, with the technology and the sonorities of today, floods our ears with soft, suave and stormy rhythms unique to Robert Schroeder's world.

Written by Sylvain Lupari & synth& MP3 Robert Schroeder - Cream - Download Music

Friday, 26 August 2011

Ashra - New Age Of Earth (1977)

Between the years of 1974-79, Manuel Göttsching could do very little wrong in my eyes - whether it's creating a Berlin school masterpiece out of just a tape recorder and a Gibson SG, or forging out some of the most beautiful music ever to come out of the German electronic scene. That's where this album fits in.

Basically, if you like Virgin-era Tangerine Dream, you'll love this album. Maybe not at first, but you will eventually.

"Sunrain" and "Deep Distance" are the sort of pieces you'd expect to hear: sequenced, almost ambient and somewhat catchy (but in a good way). "Ocean of Tenderness" and the essential "Nightdust" are more laid back, ambient and relaxing.

"Nightdust", taking up the whole second half, is a must-hear. During the first 15 minutes, you're suitably chilled out and then MG comes in with an absolute pearl of a guitar solo. MG has always been great at balancing synth and guitar very efficiently, and this last section is a prime example. If you've heard "Exposure" by Robert Fripp, it's effect is similar to Fripp's effect on Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood" - somewhat eery, but remarkably effective.

Nothing short of excellence. ASHRA New Age Of Earth music review by coldsun

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Sunrain (7:26)
2. Ocean of Tenderness (12:36)
3. Deep Distance (5:46)
4. Nightdust (21:52)

Total Time: 47:40
Line-up / Musicians
- Manuel Göttsching / keyboards, synthesizer, guitar

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Renaissance - Turn f the Cards (1974)

Through the years there have been many, many great female singers, with powerful, angelic voices, Barbra Streisand, Grace Slick, Nancy Nevins (Sweetwater), Celene Dion, Enya, and some of my current favorites, Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Floor Jansen (After Forever), Vibeke Stene (Tristania) and Loreena McKennitt to name a few. However, to my mind, none have ever topped Annie Haslam when she was with Renaissance. Haslam's voice had a magical quality and a smoothness that few others had. Though she had no formal training, her voice, seemed to me, to be the most perfectly pure and the the most purely pretty voice of all. Perhaps it is good that no one messed around with her voice, when you are on top, any change is downhill. But I digress too much, let's get to Renaissance and their beautiful music.


"Running hard towards what used to be Losing ground in changes sliding endlessly Reaching out for mirrors hidden in the web Painting lines upon your face inside instead"

I'm sure many of you are familiar with them but for those of you that know little of Renaissance, let me edify you. The Phenomenon of Renaissance was originally started by ex Yardbirds, Keith Relf and sister Diane. Renaissance created a unique niche in the 70s with their exhilarating, passionate brand of progressive, neo-classical rock with historical, folk tendencies that preceded and is somewhat akin to New Age music. Although it is somewhat common today for many European and some American bands to borrow classical melodies even symphonies to be blended with rock or heavy metal, Renaissance was the first band that I can remember doing that and none, in my opinion, have done it any better. Annie Haslam is the pre-eminent vocalist of her time, with a five octave range and a compelling emotional ability to reach the listeners, she is the most important cog in the Renaissance juggernaut. But this melding of talented artists was a symbiosis, evidenced by the fact that Haslam's solo career has floundered. the members of Renaissance seemed to feed off each other and were not as good separately. The Michael Dunford-Betty Thatcher writing team intermittently produced enough strong material to keep Renaissance fans happy, and the production, while recording for Capitol, was top notch.


"Changing moods and stranger feelings In my dealings with the world Faces that I've seen before am I sure Or has my brain turned

Thinking about things I don't understand Thinking about things I don't understand"R

It's hard to believe this album is almost thirty years old, so I guess many of you reading this weren't even born yet. That doesn't mean the music is dated though, this music is like traditional architecture it gets better with age. In fact Renaissance are constantly getting new and younger fans.

With Turn of the Cards, the Annie Haslam fronted version of Renaissance changed its technique slightly and as a result Renaissance really hit its apex. After keyboard dominated albums Prologue and Ashes are Burning the band went with a more orchestral sound and their next two albums, Turn of the Cards and Scherazade excelled and became two of the greatest albums of the 70s "progressive rock" movement.


For me, with Turn of the Cards, Renaisance was at their apogee. The preceding and succeeding albums were also very good and worth consideration but this album was their pinnacle. ENAISSANCE Turn Of The Cards music reviews and MP3 Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Running Hard (Dunford / Thatcher) (9:37)
2. I think of You (Dunford / Thatcher) (3:07)
3. Things I Don't Undertand (Dunford / McCarty) (9:29)
4. Black Flame (Dunford / Thatcher) (6:23)
5. Cold Is Being (Dunford / Thatcher) (3:00)
6. Mother Russia (Dunford / Thatcher) (9:18)

Total Time: 40:54
Line-up / Musicians
- Jon Camp / bass, vocals
- Michael Dunford / acoustic guitar, vocals
- Annie Haslam / lead vocals
- Terrence Sullivan / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- John Tout / keyboards

Friday, 19 August 2011

Richard Pinhas - Chronolyse (1978)

Second solo album from the future ex-Heldon leader, Chronolyse is a surprisingly accessible album that was recorded in the summer of 76 (and therefore BEFORE this solo debut Rhizosphere) but not released until 78, around the demise of Heldon. Indeed Chronolyse sees the Heldon members of Didier Batard (bass) and François Auger on drums and percs: the result is a very Tangerine Dream-like soundscape and if it wasn't for Pinhas' typical guitar, you could almost believe that you were in Berlin. Coming with B&W televised artwork, this album was released on the Cobra label and has been reissued on CD in the early 90's on the excellent Cuneiform label.

Opening on the seven variations of the theme of Bene Gesserit, we are in a typical TD/Schulze mid-70's realm where the sequencers are now fully developed and provide some rhythm and the whole thing is much less brutal than the Heldon material. The seven pieces pass by fairly quickly, each providing a different ambiance, but all are the result of Pinhas alone on his Moog, as is the Duncan Idaho piece that fills the rest of the album's A-side, well in the .same sonic galaxy. This first side is well recommended to Rubicon, Blackdance and Stratosfear fans.

The flipside is taken up by the sidelong 30-mins Paul Atreides track, in which the other two Heldon members help out, and allow for Pinhas to pick up his guitar and play us some of his Fripp-inspired solos The live-recorded track starts out much like the other two, with lots of moog, but consistently crescendos to add bass, drums, guitars and loads of Mellotron. But what one has to listen to mostly is Pinhas' low and insidious guitar doing slow painful wailing throughout most of the length of the piece. Despites a few lengths, this is great stuff that should be discovered by all progheads, especially those fascinated with 70's electronic prog. RICHARD PINHAS Chronolyse music reviews and MP3 review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
Variations Sur Le Theme de Bene Gesserit
1. Variation I (2:22)
2. Variation II (2:15)
3. Variation III (1:36)
4. Variation IV (1:44)
5. Variation V (1:35)
6. Variation VI (2:05)
7. Variation VII (4:33)
8. Duncan Idaho (6:12)
9. Paul Atreides (30:23)

Total Time: 52:45
Line-up / Musicians -
Richard Pinhas / synthesizers, Mellotron, guitar
Guest musicians:
- Didier Batard / bass (9)
- Francois Auger / percussion (9)

Richard Pinhas "Paul Atreides" (1/2)

Richard Pinhas - L 'Ethique (1982)

I'm going to quote the Wayside Music site because they say it better than i can. "During a fairly incredible 7 year run that began in the mid 1970's,Richard Pinhas released a large string of influencial albums;7 by HELDON and 5 under his own name,all of which attempted in one way or another to meld(avant-garde) rock music with electronics. "L'Ethique" was his final release of that 12, recorded in 1981 and originally released in 1982.It was his final solo album before his musical retirement throughout the 1980's and it's one of his great "classic period" works.It also features the only studio recordings by the short lived Richard Pinhas Band.This group featured a great cast of musicians who had all previously played in MAGMA.Clement Bailly(drums),Patrick Gauthier (synthesizers) ( also of HELDON and WEIDORJE) ,Bernard Paganotti (bass) (also of WEIDORJE) and Richard on electronics,synthesizes and guitar." I also would mention J. Philippe Goude(minimmog,percussion) and Francois Auger(drums) just because i'm big fans of both.Yes it would be another 10 years until we'd get another album from Pinhas after this one.. "L'Ethique(Part 1) has this electronic beat with bass and percussion as synths join in.The guitar comes in soloing around 3 minutes.It settles right down after 4 1/2 minutes and we get spoken word samples and atmosphere taking over. "Dedication To KC" opens with guitar as drums and bass join in.It turns KING CRIMSON-like before a minute and those angular guitar excursions kick in before 2 1/2 minutes.This really reminds me of BI KYO RAN.Intense stuff.It changes after 4 minutes as the intensity levels off then it picks back up before 5 1/2 minutes. "Melodic Simple Transition" builds and we get an uptempo beat in an electronic soundscape.I like it ! "Belfast" has these different electronic sounds that come and go in a rhythmic pattern.Drums after a minute and bass too.This is so good as those electronics continue.The guitar after 2 minutes is lighting it up. "L'Ethique(Part 2)" sounds great with the guitar grinding away in the background. "The Western Wail(Part 1)" is minimoog crazy early on then the drums join in.This is uptempo with lots going on.Percussion too as the guitar joins in.It settles down before 5 minutes then the rhythm stops before 6 1/2 minutes as we get random drum patterns,guitar and more. "L'Ethique (Part 3)" has these sounds that echo along with samples and atmosphere.It's getting louder and drums join in.It settles down around 4 minutes to a spacey mode. "The Western Wail(Part 2)" is dominated by synths.Beautiful stuff right here. "L'Ethique(Part 4)" is a short elecrtronic piece. "Southbound" is my favourite because they just rock out like a Metal band.The drumming from Auger is relentless as is the guitar from Pinhas.Gauthier is on bass here adding depth.A powerful and intense track. An interesting album where those spacey soundscapes take a back seat as the guitar,drums and bass come to the fore. RICHARD PINHAS L'Ethique music reviews and MP3 Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. L'Ethique Part 1 (6:21)
2. Dedicated to K.C. (6:57)
3. Melodic simple transition (4:14)
4. Belfast (5:00)
5. L'Ethique Part 2 (4:08)
6. The Western Wail Part 1 (7:46)
7. L'Ethique Part 3 (4:48)
8. The Western Wail Part 2 (4:31)
9. L'Ethique Part 4 (1:46)
10. Southbound (6:39)

Total Time: 52:10
Line-up / Musicians
- Richard Pinhas / guitars, synthesizers
- Georges Grunblatt / Minimoog
- François Auger / drums
- Clément Bailly / drums
- Bernard Paganotti / e-bass
- Patrick Gauthier / Minimoog
- Jean Philippe Goude / Minimoog, percussion
- Gilles Deleuze / voice

Richard Pinhas - Melodic Simple Transition 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Berceau De Cristal (1984)

Le Berceau De Crystal is more of a Göttsching solo effort then a real Ash Ra Tempel record. Bass player Hartmut Enke is not in this line-up, neither will you find any drummer. This album was actually a cooperation with Lutz Ulbrich from Agitation Free. It was mainly recorded live in 1975 but you can't hear any audience and the material is entirely original. So in fact, this listens like a studio album.

The music belongs to a completely different realm then the kraut rock of Ash Ra Tempel. This is a progressive electronic album, closer to what Göttsching would release under the of Ashra moniker then to anything krautrock. In fact, there is no rock at all here and people looking for action will have to seek elsewhere. This is one of those 'nothing happens' albums, an album of introvert ambient soundscapes, with lots of delayed guitars, electronics, effects, great compositions and of course tons of atmosphere!

The album is a near masterpiece in the style. Slowly spinning eternal melodies create an abstract and mystical ambience that transcends you to another world. But it's no new age. The music is too compelling and ominous for that. A piece like L'hiver Doux is simply gorgeous and can proudly stand next to Schulze's and Tangerine Dream's best early works. Don't expect bouncy sequencers, apart from a few exceptions, all tracks are created without rhythmic pulse. Only Silence Sauvage and Le Sourire Volé have a sort of dark droning pulse that remind me of Schulze's Blackdance.

This is a marvellous album, it similar to the early works from Schulze and Tangerine dream, be it slightly more melodious and accessible. Also all fans of Richard Wright's keyboard playing on the early Floyd albums should lend their ears. 4.5 stars ASH RA TEMPEL Le Berceau de Cristal music reviews and MP3 review from

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Le Berceau de Cristal (14:10)
2. L'Hiver Doux (12:54)
3. Silence sauvage (5:57)
4. Le Sourire envolé (6:05)
5. Deux Enfants sous la Lune (6:37)
6. Le Songe d'Or (4:25)
7. Le Diable dans la Maison (3:05)
8. ... et les fantômes rêvent aussi (7:08)

Line-up / Musicians
- Manuel Göttsching / guitar, Farfisa organ, rhythm computer
- Lutz Ulbrich / guitar, synth guitar

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Sourire Envolè

Ash Ra Tempel - "Le diable dans la maison"

Download mp3

Friday, 12 August 2011

Ozric Tentacles - Waterfall Cities (1999)

It seems a complaint many people have against the Ozrics is that they don't change much from album to album. I merely have three of their records: Strangeitude, Waterfall Cities, and Spirals in Hyperspace. All of these are very good in their own right, but what people say is true; the Ozrics really haven't progressed much sonically. But because they are a band so refined in their perticular style--adventurous, high- energy, often trance-reminiscent psychedelia--it really isn't something I can detract too much from a specific album rating. Sure, if we could apply a rating to the band as a whole, regarding progression and stylistic experimentation, the Ozrics would definitely not score very high. You may be thinking, and you would be in the right doing so, that because of the relatively little amount of progression throughout this band's none-too- small catelog there may not be much need to get more than a few records from them. I follow this line of thinking, but I'm a big fan of their music even considering their catelog, so I'm probably going to continue on and get more of their highly-regarded albums. But until you find out whether or not the Ozrics are your cup of tea, just check out some of their better albums.

Speaking of the Ozric Tentacles's better albums, I find Waterfall Cities to be the best of the batch that I have my hands on at the moment. Can I say why? I suppose it's the album where all of what I hold valuable in the Ozric's music comes to frutition. Strangeitude and Spirals in Hyperspace are both highly enjoyable, but this album just has more of what appeals to my ears: shimmering keyboard and ambient soundscapes, a driving but not overly "funky" rhythm section, guitar lines with a focus, and usage of ethnic and unfamiliar instrumentation that seems natural and fitting rather than forced. These create a fun, relaxing trip, not so much the "floating through space" sort of psychedelic trips, but rather more like a drive through a foreign, tropical paradise. I picture this as the soundtrack to that vacation i may take one day. It keeps mu spirits up in this mid-winter....

Well, being that the Ozric Tentacles's discography is seen as rather monotonous (in a good way, if that can be imagined), this will probably be my only review for an album by the band. I don't really feel like coaxing out a review that I couldn't properly expand upon, so here's my final say on the band: you can hardly go wrong with Ozric Tentacles if you're a fan of psychedelic, space music, or perhaps even jam and new age. They may not advance much in style from album to album, but the style they maintain is comforting and pleasurable. Waterfall Cities is their best album, but I'd wager you can't go wrong with just about any choice. OZRIC TENTACLES Waterfall Cities music review by stonebeard Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Coily (7:19)
2. Xingu (7:27)
3. Waterfall City (11:03)
4. Ch'ai? (5:03)
5. Spiralmind (11:40)
6. Sultana Detrii (9:17)
7. Aura Borealis (5:40)

Total Time: 57:29
Line-up / Musicians
- Ed Wynne / guitars, synths, tendril manipulations
- Seaweed / synths, whoopz, fizzles
- Zia Geelani / bass, snapiness
- John Egan / flutes, twirlings
- Rad / drum poundings

Ozric Tentacles - Waterfall City (Part 1)

Ozric Tentacles - Coily

Thursday, 11 August 2011

King Crimson - Red (1974)

Wow, KING CRIMSON really knows how to open an album! The first thundering notes of "Red" put it right alongside "Lark's Tounges" (any part) and "Fracture" as a classic KC style sonic blast. The song, and the album overall, is a bit more focused than previous efforts; having pared down the lineup and the chaos a little works well for a closing statement to this version of the band. "Fallen Angel" is a lovely melodic composition, in the same realm as "The Night Watch" or "Book of Saturdays"; the refrain wears on me just a little but I'm always transfixed by Fripp's beautiful, restrained lead playing on this one. "One More Red Nightmare" is less appealing to me, but like "Providence" contains some memorable instrumental moments among the improvisation- largely from the guest players, who sound unexpectedly at home in the mix (Mel I have to tell anyone where else to find him?). This pair of songs is where I sometimes lose a little bit of interest, though, as they do not rise to the standards of the rest of "Red". Forget about the complaints, though, because the album climaxes in "Starless", arguably one of the band's finest works; from an instantly lovely melancholy opening to the minimalist and funky/noisy sections (elements of the "Discipline" era can be heard in their prototypical form) and finally to a short but stirring conclusion, the band and guest musicians are nothing less than magnificent. It is simultaneously the culmination of everything the band has done before and also notably unique among the band's songs. If only the recording quality were a little better...but if you like "Starless and Bible Black" as much as I do, you'll find "Red" full of wonderful moments, a few surprises, and maybe the best KING CRIMSON song ever recorded. KING CRIMSON Red music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Red (6:20)
2. Fallen Angel (6:00)
3. One More Red Nightmare (7:04)
4. Providence (8:08)
5. Starless (12:18)

Total Time: 39:50

Line-up / Musicians - Bill Bruford / drums
- Robert Fripp / guitars
- John Wetton / bass, vocals

- Mark Charig / cornet
- Mel Collins / soprano saxophone
- David Cross / violin
- Ian McDonald / alto saxophone
- Robin Miller / oboe

King Crimson - Red: One More Red Nightmare

Red - King Crimson (Live in Japan) (HD)

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Eloy - Planets (1981)

Second album with the '80s lineup, and the first to record a concept, in this case about the Planet Salta and the inhabitants known as the Ikareens. Originally "Planets" was meant to be a double album, but EMI/Harvest didn't quite like the idea (especially in the early '80s when double albums went out of fashion), so the band was forced to conclude this album the following year (1982) with "Time to Turn". I could not be more surprised with "Planets", especially since the album has often been looked at in a negative light compared to their previous, "Colours". I find little to complain of "Planets", it sounds to me like the band was making a compromise of their new, direct approach they explored since "Colours", and the spacy sound they explored when Detlev Schmidtchen and Jürgen Rosenthal were in the band ( "Ocean", "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes")

The album is loaded with great Moog and string synths, done in the '70s style, but since this was the early '80s, some new polyphonic synths (such as the Prophet 5, or something similar) was starting to surface, as demonstrated on songs like "Point of No Return" and "Sphinx". You can be certain the band was still reluctant to let the 1970s go. The album starts off with "Introduction" (nothing to do with another piece they titled "Introduction" from "Power and the Passion"). This is a purely electronic piece, proving that Hannes Folberth could have made some great electronic music solo, but he preferred to be in a band. Fine with me. The music then segues in to "On the Verge of Darkening Lights". Here's all the proof you need of the band merging their new sound with the old. It's still in a more accessible, direct fashion, but they included some great, spacy Moog solos that could've been done by Schmidtchen. "Point of No Return" is mainly a song-oriented piece, with polyphonic synths dominating. There's a heartbeat (likely inspired by "Dark Side of the Moon") that segues in to "Mysterious Monolith". I like the introduction part of the song, and the end part with the atmospheric synth solos.

The second half showed the band was oddly wanting to move back to the sounds of "Dawn". The reason for that was the presence of orchestra on all but one of the cuts. "Queen of the Night" is that prime example. It starts off with a piano ballad, before the band rocks out, then the string synth solo come in. In there are the strings that sound like they came off "Dawn". "At the Gates of Dawn" is a very pleasant instrumental number with spacy Moog and piano, with the strings, once again. "Sphinx" is the only piece on side two without the strings, and is truly one of the album's high points. Stuffed with great playing, I especially like the '70s synths found here. It then segues in to the final piece, "Carried On By Cosmic Winds", with some more great cosmic sounding synths. The orchestra comes in, once again bringing to mind "Dawn"..ELOY Planets music reviews and MP3   Review from

It was 1981, MTV premiered, DURAN DURAN released their debut album, GENESIS released "Abacab", YES ceased to exist, ASIA formed (but no album released until the following year, of course), and ELOY pretended all the unfortunate things to happen in the world of music never happened (like new wave, the emergance of MTV, and old-time prog bands going commercial or ceasing to exist), making "Planets" one of the better prog albums I've heard from the 1980s. Definately the album to start first if you want to try '80s ELOY.

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Introduction (1:58)
2. On The Verge Of Darkening Lights (5:37)
3. Point Of No Return (5:45)
4. Mysterious Monolith (7:40)
5. Queen Of The Night (5:22)
6. At The Gates Of Dawn (4:17)
7. Sphinx (6:50)
8. Carried By Cosmic Winds (4:32)

Total Time: 42:01

Line-up / Musicians - Hannes Arkona / guitars, keyboards
- Frank Bornemann / vocals, guitars
- Hannes Folberth / keyboards
- Klaus-Peter Matziol / basses, vocals
- Jim McGillivray / drums, percussion

ELOY point of no return PLANETS 1981

Eloy Point Of No Return from the Album Planets

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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Art Zoyd - Faust (1995)

Initially I thought that the running streak of the first couple of albums had petered out by the later, more recent era of AZ, but having listened to this one a few times, I have been pleasantly surprised by the powerful material contained in this (I believe) score for a film...If this is not a score/soundtrack, well it sure sounds like it should be one. What we are dealing with is a musical collection so rich in sound and texture and ambience that the individual songs collectively convey a rich tapestry of images. Most are scorched earth and barren wastelands, dark corners; sinister, long, dimly lit hallways with voices echoing from nowhere. The story of Faust is centuries old, and a very potently symbolic tale of man's desire to know all, and the shortcut he is willing to take. In yearning for "the secrets" and pleasures of life, Faust had made a pact with the Devil (actually his representative, Mephistopheles) for said treasures, yet sealed his fate by turning over his soul in exchange, forever damning him. No doubt a strongly Christian, cautionary tale, warning of the road to excess and its damning consequences. I suppose a modern interpretation would be the southern "meeting the devil at the crossroads".

The music evokes the imagery so well in this album, that you feel as if you yourself are descending into the despair of an inescapable fatality.... The music starts immediately into a chilling descent, in the track "down" where the harmonies clash ever so slightly in such a way, building downward glissandi, in such a way that you are not quite sure if the pitch is descending, it is maddening and delirously dizzying- the way the music seems to bend downward, as if the protaganist (you) were being pulled into a descent of frustration, desperation, and madness. I must say this begins the nightmare rather well. This may just be the DARKEST album they have accomplished. Of the longer two songs on here (the rest are shorter segues of textural and subliminal, minimalistic and potently emotional bridges that blend into each other- each one a cliff-hanger setting you up impatiently, even cautiously for the next), Gate Of Darkness 1 is palpable in its building crescendo- erecting the very gates of an entry into the darkest concept imaginable... as if one were staring into a portal that accesses the very depths of a grand and beautifully terrifying hell. It is a curious vista, one which begs you enter it. It does not overstay its welcome. As I write this review, it is the day before Halloween (Samhain), and nothing could be more proper than the ritualistic invocation of the true concept of the once pagan holiday... utilizing dark music to set the scene.

Although for the most part I love this album, I find that a few of the songs unnecessarily repeat a groove or notion. There are however always leading voices over this groove that solo, yet I almost expect the music to follow a more bold classical feel, wherein the individual voices lead their own way, pulling in different sections, yet many of the undercurrents build a gently boiling progression that builds, but at times is almost anti-climactic. To its credit, there are many more exotic instruments used here... very mysterious feeling abound. The music here is more concerned with building an overall brooding feel.

I am impressed that the collective known as Art Zoyd have managed to modernize their sound in such a way that they obviously did their homework, by this I mean they were heavily influenced by industrial and IDM and electronic/experimental acts. The sounds used here are almost Musique Concrete meets drone and dark ambient. There is a lot of texture and implied rhythm and beats, making this more subliminal and slow-moving rather than immediate like most of their other albums. I suppose it helps to have been exposed to the forementioned styles of music- in order to appreciate this album more. They utilize a pounding rain in one track, with rhythmic thunder claps. Another track has a cawing crow. I thought I heard a zither, repeating a haunting arpeggio.

In the song Pact, you feel as if the deal is sealed with the appearance of dark minions crawling on the floor towards you, branding your soul as you sign in blood. Although a short movement, the track Irruption is a clanging, pounding, demonic and metallic (in the sense that it sounds like a punishing heavy metal track, yet more industrial) passage that I wish they would have fleshed out more. It is intense and very driving. Dies Irae (day of wrath) is another favorite song, once again evoking the essence of an apocalyptic embodiment. Essaim, which is basically a word for a swarm of insects, constructs that very notion. It is like a manifestation of a plague. I actually imagined more of a "lord of the flies" sort of image, like the coalescence of flies, constructing the devil himself. It is a very rousing track. Accelerando is, just as the title suggests, a song that builds from a slow pulse of chimes in the fore with bass thump in the back, the rhythm of the chime multiplies exponentially every couple of measures and then subsides; then the bass takes its turn... the song ebbs and flows in the fashion.... building building building and releasing (etc.) As stated, many of the tracks are withdrawn and scared, quietly

Overall I would say that this album utilizes the ambient and chilling elements that make Art Zoyd so engrossing... I imagine that experimental Norwegian act Ulver has listened to this band at length... as they use some of the same tricks of suspense and impact through layering and building. This is the french equivalent of a horror soundtrack, although not cheesy. Its unfortunate that more people have not given this one a chance. I find that I enjoy horror movies quite a bit for the score... the way it manipulates your emotions and lends a real sense to the scenes that flash by, without which you would probably laugh at implied horrors. This album is oozing infection and erosion. ART ZOYD Faust music review by avalanchemastercrawling...

Art Zoyd - Gates of Darkness I

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Down (5:23)
2. Gates of Darkness 1 (8:10)
3. Flask (2:44)
4. Plague (1:49)
5. Faust (3:31)
6. Marais (2:10)
7. Parole (1:36)
8. Pact (3:25)
9. Bruissement (3:21)
10. Essaim (1:40)
11. Irruption (0:31)
12. Gates of Darkness 2 (4:01)
13. Pavan (4:02)
14. Dies Irae (3:57)
15. Procession (2:09)
16. Easter (2:26)
17. Marthe (1:44)
18. Games (3:46)
19. Intrigues (3:38)
20. Accelerando (11:51)

Total Time: 71:54

Line-up / Musicians
- Patricia Dallio / keyboards, samplers
- Daniel Denis / percussion, keyboards, samplers

- Gérard Hourbette / keyboards, percussion, samplers
- Thierry Zaboitzeff / cello, bass guitar, vocals, keyboards, samplers, percussion

Robert Schroeder - Computer Voice ( 1984 )

In 1984 another two other Schroeder's releases from the baptism were lifted. On the one hand, the publication of the production PARADISE as compact disc (LP release 1983) which was with it the first Schroeder's CD, and on the other hand the publication of his 6th solo production COMPUTER VOICE, as a LP and as a CD.

COMPUTER VOICE is a kind of chronicle of Schroeder's present music creating, a fusion of his best titles published till then (new admissions) with new compositions and new sound. Also COMPUTER VOICE is a degree wandering between experimental, spherical electronics and rhythmical pop music.

The music magazine SPOTLIGHT (issue 10 / 84) called Schroeder once appropriately as a musical chameleon.

Guest's musicians by the COMPUTER VOICE admissions were the guitarist CHARLY BUECHEL and the bassist MICKI MEUSER (Ideal, Ina Deter). Review from The Musc of  Robert Schroeder


Robert Schröder- Computer voice

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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Siddhartha - Siddhartha (1998)

4.5 stars.A big thankyou to Windhawk for adding this band to our site.SIDDHARTHA are a psychedelic band from Turkey who i became acquainted with some years ago through James Unger's(loserboy) web-site.In fact if you look SIDDHARTHA up on MySpace you'll see James' review of this album under the heading "Sounds Like". The songs were written and composed between 1993-1998.The dreamy male vocals are in English,and there is a female singer on one song as well.I think the lyrics to the first track really tells us what this band's music is all about. "Power of psychedelia lies behind it's ability to let you take a trip to your innerself,through experiencing new ways,discover hidden areas in your mind and feel the pleasure of illumination coming through music that's gently stroking your soul". The spirit of Krautrock is alive and well in this album.The music is relaxing,trippy and spacey but there are some passages where the band jams with intensity and the guitarist lights it up. "A Trip To Innerself" opens with spoken words as spacey sounds come and go.Drums and a fuller sound come in as the guitar cries out.It becomes fuller after 4 1/2 minutes with some outstanding guitar.A spacey calm before 6 minutes.Drums return and the tempo picks up after 8 minutes and the sound builds.Here we go! The intro to "The Explorer" sounds great with the bass and drums leading the way in a psychedelic haze.Vocals a minute in.Love the gentle guitar after 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar is ripping it up a minute later.Themes are repeated.Check out the guitar 6 minutes in! "Desert" is a cool track with intricate acoustic guitar melodies and reserved vocals.Great sound! "Kervin" has a good rhythm with organ.Guitar 1 1/2 minutes in trades off with the organ.The percussion is prominant 2 1/2 minutes in to the end. "Baroque" is such a beautiful track.Very intricate and melodic.It changes before 2 minutes to become heavier and darker.It gets pretty intense 3 minutes in and then returns to the original melody with a more prominant guitar line. "Nervous Breakdown" opens with psychedelic sounds that come and go.It settles 2 minutes in with spacey winds.It kicks back in before 3 minutes with some excellent drumming.The guitar is leading the way 4 1/2 minutes in.It calms down before 6 1/2 minutes before the guitar is at it again.Nice. Intense after 8 minutes with yelling and laughing before it settles with dreamy vocals.Gorgeous section.Organ 9 1/2 minutes in and then the guitar lights it up after 10 minutes and goes on and on.So emotional! "Beyond Destiny" has this slow swirling melody.The vocals before 1 1/2 minutes remind me of the Norwegian band THE USE OF ASHES.The guitar winds it out after 4 1/2 minutes.Piano later.Amazing track! Great lyrics as well. "Distant Cry" is a beautiful PORCUPINE TREE-like song with reserved vocals,piano and tasteful guitar.It does get fuller. "OM" is trippy and spacey with female vocals.Piano 3 1/2 minutes.Organ before 6 minutes as the sound builds.Some male spoken words come in briefly.It stops 9 minutes in and then a hidden track appears before 12 minutes.This one has an ethnic feel to it at first then it settles.Some prominant guitar and organ late. If i had to pick my top three they would be "Nervous Breakdown","Distant Cry" and "A Trip To Innerself".A must for psychedelic fans out there. SIDDHARTHA Siddhartha music reviews and MP3

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. A Trip to Innerself (10:29)
2. The Explorer (6:58)
3. Desert (3:34)
4. Kervan (4:28)
5. Baroque (4:00)
6. Nervous Breakdown (12:03)
7. Beyond Destiny (9:04)
8. Distant Cry (6:44)
9. Om (16:05)

Total Time 73:25
Line-up / Musicians
- Özgür Kurcan / vocals, guitars
- Ege Madra / guitars
- Ulas Akin / bass
- Volkan Yildirim / keyboards
- Orkun Öker / keyboards
- Kaan Sezgin / drums
- Nil Karaibrahimgil / vocals
- Kerem Özyegen / vocals
- Neslihan Engin / keyboards
- Berke Özcan / percussion
- Serkan Yilmaz / percussion 

Brainticket - Voyage (1992)

Back in 1973 after the release of Celestial Ocean, BRAINTICKET had pretty much disappeared. Eventually, around 1979 Joël Vandroogenbroeck resurrected BRAINTICKET, but this time, as an all-instrumental keyboard/percussion-dominated outfit with no guitars. Being the early '80s, there were no record labels willing to release this stuff, so Joël Vandroogenbroeck simply released this privately. "Voyage", being an early '80s recording, sounds suspiciously like a 1976 recording. Nothing '80s sounding here, the clavinet, Fender Rhodes electric piano Mini Moog and lots of other electronics and percussion dominate here!

The album simply consists of two side length cuts, all improvised, and the music turns out quite impressive. I heard somewhere that when Purple Pyramid reissued "Voyage", they accidentally used the music for the previous album, from 1980, called "Adventure", for this disc. If that's the case, that explains why Voyage sounds like it was released before "Adventure", even though it was released after. I have to get the LPs of both albums to know if that is true. But regardless, BRAINTICKET, in the early '80s, somehow forgot the '70s was over, and this album ends up being the most '70s sounding album I've heard from an early '80s release. Fascinating album, and if you like analog synths, you'll like this

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Voyage Part 1 (19:07)
2. Voyage Part 2 (18:06)

Total Time: 37:13

CD bonus tracks:
3. Skyline [Analog 1970] (8:10)
4. Underworld Paths (7:20)
5 .Nebula (4:45)

Total Time: 57:28
Line-up / Musicians 
- Hans Deyssenroth / keyboards, synths, computer
- Barney Palm / drums, percussion, strange sounds
- Wilhelm Seefeldt / synths, computer
- Joel Vandroogenbroeck / keyboards, flute, guitar, vocals

Fusioon - Fusioon (1972)

One of those artwork sleeves that symbolize the music style best, but this is doubled by the band's name - the other one that does equally good is Nucleus's Elastic Rock recorded almost three years before. The first chapter of this standard prog quartet with the Camp brothers at bass and KB is actually fairly accessible (well compared to the other two later albums) and IMHO, is maybe the one I prefer because of its naiveté.
This record is a mostly instrumental one (a few scatting one the opening track), but this does not hamper the enjoyment of the music: they have a fairly unique sound and the music has some very subtle Spanish overtones but not in the Flamenco  the classical influences peak here and there, most notably in Negra Sombra (Dark Black). Apparently all of the tracks are covers of traditional songs (6 of 8 tracks) all adapted/arranged by Manel Camp and the other two being penned brealm. Their sound oscillates between Isotope, Wigwam (the Gustavson and Pohjola compositions), Focus or Finch, Sloche (or fellow Quebecois Maneige) and countrymen Iceberg. If the jazz colours are the main characteristics of the album,y other writers. The odd flute, sax and clarinet (actually un-credited) but drummer Arisa is the one playing them (says D-E Asbjornsen) and bring touches of brilliance. The superb piano may even ring reminiscence of Chilean Los Jaivas in their more symphonic moments and with the organs, ELP comes to mind.
Certainly worth the investigation, especially if you enjoyed the better-known two later albums. Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing 
1. Danza Del Molinero (4:33)
2. Ya Se Van Los Pastores(5:16)
3. Ses Porqueres (3:13)
4. Pavana Espanola (3:01)
5. Negra Sombra (3:44)
6. En El Puerto De Pajares (4:13)
7. Rima Infantil (3:37)
8. El Cant Del Ocells (4:15)
Total Time: 30:52

Line-up / Musicians
- Santi Arisa / drums
- Marti Brunet / guitar, synthesizers
- Jordi Camp / bass
- Manel Camp / piano, keyboards

Monday, 1 August 2011

Robert Schroeder - Timewaves ( 1986)

Robert's eighth recording was also released on CD with a long bonus track "FLOWMOTION". The first side of the LP is a bit too commercial for my taste, using rather dated samples and drum sounds. Flipping the record, however, there is a return to form on the Neuronium-esque seventeen-minute track "THE MESSAGE" which moves between cosmic, melodic and rhythmic phases recalling Paradise and Brain Voyager. The final track "IMAGINE" sees sequenced basslines and (vastly improved) drum programming supporting Schulzian synth solos. Review from The Music of Robert Schroeder

Robert Schroeder - Pgasus (1990)

Pegasus is atypical of Schroeder's latterday work; in fact it's not quite like any of his work. Recorded as a separate project in 1982 and released some years later, it was originally issued in 1990 without his permission. But it's out there now and a wonderful thing it is too - a 40 minute futuristic epic with long drones, bubbling sequencer passages and slowly developing themes. It's as if Schroeder is paying tribute to early 80's Tangerine Dream, a task for which he is better qualified than
most. - Robert Schroeder

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