30 November 2011

Secret Oyster - Sea Son (1974)

"Secret Oyster, the great danish jazz-rock-fusion combo recorded four LPs in the seventies. My personal favourites of them are Straight To The Krankenhouse and this one - Sea Son. But - in my modest oppinion - the greatest musical masterpiece of Secret Oyster ever - Karsten Vogel's longish and aspirative way to Imaginary Nirvana - Mind Movie - is the second track on this Sea Son LP...uh! And Palle Mikkelborg, nowadays very well-known danish jazz-trumpetist played trumpet in the last wonderful track called Paella. All in all - this item is juicy, athmospheric, psychedelic jazzrock at its finest!" - Rainer Rein - ProgArchives

- Claus Bøling / acoustic & electric guitars
- Kenneth Knudsen / piano, Moog synthesizers
- Jess Staehr / acoustic & electric basses
- Ole Streenberg / drums, percussion
- Karsten Vogel / alto & soprano saxes, organ

1. Oysterjungle (2:57)
2. Mind movie (9:14)
3. Pijamamafia (6:07)
4. Black mist (3:40)
5. Painforest (5:40)
6. Paella (8:23)

Bonus Tracks
7- Sea son (5:25)
8- Alfresco - pt1 (5:39)
9- Alfresco - pt2 (2:07)

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29 November 2011

Saint Just - Saint Just (1972)

"SAINT JUST's debut album did not appeal to me at first, but I soon fell in love with its music. The group released two albums around 1973-74 that featured progressive music that had nothing in common with the other Italian prog groups of the time. Rather this band's music mixed psychedelic influences with an electro-acoustic progressive folk sound that sounded rather dated for a 1973 release. On top of that, the group had a female singer with one of the strangest voices around. And, that unique voice took me a few years to appreciate. If you can imagine an Italian female singer (influenced by the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE) who sings in a style that has a bit more in common with the high-pitched female vocals found in Chinese and Vietnamese classical/folk music then you might have an idea of her style.Yes, this style isn't for everyone, but give it time and you'll be rewarded by both the music and Jane's singing. The music, as I mentioned, seems influenced a bit by psychedelic music and progressive-folk. The recording tends to sound home-made and reminds me a bit of recordings by early AMON DÜÜL II ("Phallus Dei"-era). The tracks feature laid-back jamming from acoustic guitars, bass, and piano. Once in a while you also hear an electric guitar solo and drums. The cool thing about the band is that they knew exactly when to throw enough dark dissonance to throw the music off in another direction. Overall, if you're looking for something different yet progressive SAINT JUST might be what you're looking for. " - Steve Hegede - ProgArchives

- Jenny Sorrenti / vocals
- Antonio Verde / classical guitar, bass
- Robert Fix / saxophone
- Mario D'Amora / piano, organ
- Tony Esposito / drums
- Gianni Guarracino / electric guitar

1. Il Fiume Inondo (10:43)
2. Il riveglio (6:16)
3. Dolci Momenti (3:16)
4. Una Bambina (8:02)
5. Trister Peota di Corte (6:19)
6. Saint Just (3:58)

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28 November 2011

Genesis - Live From Belgian Tv

Procol Harum - Exotic Birds And Fruit (1974)

"There are a lot of people who'll champion the Grand Hotel album, but as far as I'm concerned, it is Exotic Birds And Fruit that is the most complete album in the latter half of Procol Harum's career. In fact, I'd say this album is the best one outside of the classic first trio of albums.One of the reasons for my unqualified seal of approval is the absolutely gorgeous As Strong As Samson, which is a heart-breaking, nihilistic song of beauty. "Psychiatrists and lawyers/destroying mankind/driving them crazy and robbing them blind" sings Gary Brooker as Chris Copping turns in his best ever organ solo ... another tearing, searing, yet emphatically melancholic piece. B.J. Wilson's drumming is top-notch on this one, rolling us all the way to heaven and back again. Every little nuance of this perfect, perfect song melts me. When Gary sings "there ain't no use" as the tune fades out, you know he's right.Aside from that brilliant track, Exotic Birds is an engaging, occassionally challenging hotch- potch of quality tunes. The band rocks out on Nothing But The Truth, Monsieur R. Monde (a reworked blues tinged-treatement of a track was first pencilled-in for the Shine On Brightly album) and Butterfly Boys (which starts off quite weak but is redeemed by some scorching work from Mic Grabham). It does a bit of a polka on the Balkan-influenced Beyond The Pale, it broods its way through the slow-burning epic The Idol, it pulls its hair out on the truly avant-garde The Thin End Of The Wedge (featuring all kinds of grim, spoken-word antics from Brooker), it winks and laughs through the playful Fresh Fruit. As for the stately New Lamps For Old (yes, stately in a Homburg/A Whiter Shade Of Pale kind of way) it is vintage PH. My version of album has the muscular B-side Drunk Again thrown in as bonus track and this "party" song doesn't detract from the quality of this fine album.
Even if I do feel that the one majestic song dwarfs the rest of the album, and I wouldn't say that this album catches Procol at its proggiest, this is still a very, very strong effort. " - Trotsky - ProgArchives

- Gary Brooker / lead vocals, piano
- Alan Cartwright / bass
- Chris Copping / organ
- Mick Grabham / guitars
- Keith Reid / words
- Barrie James Wilson / drums
+ B.J. Cole / pedal steel guitar

1. Nothing But the Truth (3:13)
2. Beyond the Pale (3:03)
3. As Strong as Samson (5:05)
4. The Idol (6:38)
5. The Thin End of the Wedge (3:44)
6. Monsieur R. Monde (3:40)
7. Fresh Fruit (3:05)
8. Butterfly Boys (4:25)
9. New Lamps for Old (4:07)
10. Drunk Again (4:31)

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Le Orme - In Concerto (1974)

"This is the first live album in the Italian Progressive of the Seventies. I think its quality recording isn't so good, almost amateurish sometimes, but the level of the tracks is surely very interesting. Album include some old hits, like "Sguardo verso il cielo" and "Collage", but the long "Truck of fire" too, an unpublished and dramatic piece showing intense vocals parts by Aldo Tagliapietra and a great works of keyboards. Anyway, Le Orme confirm here their ability in expanding old and news compositions with a very personal touch blending melodical tunes and adventurous prog-rock, really impressive for a trio. It's an excellent live performance and a must-have for all the Italian Prog fans." - Armapo - ProgArchives

- Aldo Tagliapietra / vocals, bass, guitar
- Toni Pagliuca / keyboards
- Michi Dei Rossi / drums

1. Truck of Fire (Part 1) (17:30)
2. Truck of Fire (Part 2) (4:45)
3. Sguardo verso il cielo (4:15)
4. Preludio a era inverno (5:15)
5. Era inverno (6:45)
6. Ritorno al nulla (4:25)
7. Collage (fragment) (1:00)
8. Collage (2:58)

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27 November 2011

Jakszyk, Fripp And Collins (A King Crimson ProjeKct) - A Scarcity Of Miracles

Bo Hansson - Lord Of The Rings (1972)

"No amount of Lord Of The Rings soundtracks or versions will depict the very nature of Middle earth more accurately than Bo Hansson's version. This album oozes themes around Elves, Hobbits, Black Riders, The Grey Havens, Lothlorien and so on. The simplistic organ and guitar sounds together with basic percussion make this concept album an aural delight. Looking back I can see why the Charisma label snapped this Swedish artist up. He is no doubt the most underrated artist of the progressive rock genre.If one had never read the book, Hansson would have reached some place inside you with the feel of this album. As a whole the complete work is essential listening but to highlight certain tracks listen to ' Flight To The Ford', ' The Ring Goes South' and ' The Old Forest' How could Hansson depict a world so completely and so accurately? Listen and you will begin to understand the genius at work. " - Chris S - ProgArchives

- Bo Hansson / organ, guitar, Moog synthesizer, bass

-Guest musicians:

- Sten Brgman / flute
- Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone
- Rune Carlsson / drums, congas

1. Leaving shire (2:47)
2. The old forest / Tom Bombadil (3:42)
3. Fog on the barrow - Downs (2:28)
4. The black riders / Flight to the Ford (3:48)
5. At the house of Elrond / The ring goes South (4:23)
6. A journey in the dark (1:07)
7. Lothlórien (3:22)
8. Shadowfax (0:50)
9. The horns of Rohan / The battle of the Pelenmor fields (3:58)
10. Dreams in the houses of healing (1:50)
11. Homeward bound / The scouring of the shire (2:11)
12. The grey havens (4:56)

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Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale (1973)

"Edgar Froese's Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is unsurprisingly similar to the music found on Phaedra and Rubycon by Tangerine Dream, of which he was one of the founders.The title-track is very slow and serene, and creates a great airy atmospheric dreamscape that kicks off with the sounds of the jungle. It's very relaxing, and the way the first half of the track drones and builds up the the second half of steady electronic pulsing that leads to an end of drifting melancholy is very effective in drawing the listener in."Maroubra Bay" is remarkably sinister and gloomy for its name, but after a few minutes of experimental sounds, another steady electronic pulse is brought in from the background with soaring mellotron and additional keyboard sounds caress the listener, and eventually are coupled with the sounds of the ocean waves washing upon the beach.This Edgar Froese solo album's cover art, title, and music all make a fairly convincing mental image of its subject matter, which I didn't originally think that anyone from Tangerine Dream would be able to pull of. This really is a great album, and is a fantastic choice of material to listen to rather than post-Force Majeure Tangerine Dream, especially if you're looking for more of the dark and airy atmospheric delight from Phaedra and Rubycon." - Colorofmoney91 - ProgArchives

- Edgar Froese / keyboards

1. Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (16:28)
2. Maroubra Bay (16:57)

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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti - A Classic Album Under Review

25 November 2011

Neu! - Neu (1972)

"NEU's debut album would have to go onto my desert island pick (although I think by now I am bringing a million albums with me!). This is Space Prog at its finest. This was NEU's first album and truthfully sounds as if it could have been released last year! Take all the soft psychy aspects of ASH RA TEMPEL and add the mid-era FLOYD guitar sounds and you are not far off of what you can expect here. For those unaware of this band let me help you digest it. This 2 member band make the noise of a band of Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger left KRAFTWERK to pursue their own musical endeavors. NEU's music grooves... and really equally fuses rich analog electronics with soaring guitar aspects. Their music generally wanders about but always manages to come back to help develop and expand on their themes. Their music is warm yet very electronic without ever sounding electronic. Quite obviously after listening to this album you will hear just how influential this album has been. Let me offer up one immediate and outrageously stolen parts from this old album... Track 4 could almost have been lifted directly off this album and put on the plastic fake new PINK FLOYD album "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" ...yes a deliberate steal for sure... the rowing of the boat... the electronic imaging and the eerie English Channel feel... oh well... life is all about the argument of the "taste and tasting". But seriously this album has been referenced by a vast number of musicians as one of their more influential albums. This gem has been kindly preserved in its newly re-mastered version with some nice tones and clearly defined images. Like so many other excellent German albums, this was one produced in Conny Plank's famous underground basement studios. A grand album...! " - Loserboy - ProgArchives

- Klaus Dinger / Japanese banjo, drums, guitar, voice
- Michael Rother / guitar, deh-guitar, bass, double bass

1. Hallogallo (10:07)
2. Sonderangebot (4:50)
3. Weissensee (6:42)
4. Im Glück (6:52)
5. Negativland (9:46)
6. Lieber Honig (7:15)

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22 November 2011

Oregon - Distant Hills (1974)

"One of the early classics, if rather Towner top-heavy composition-wise. I prefer this version of the title track to the Solstice remake. Canyon Song is inspirational in this genre - truly timeless. Essential for an understanding of the group's development from unpolished Paul Winter Consort days to the heady exoticism and maturity of the Elektra era." - Tawn - ProgArchives

Ralph Towner - Guitar, Piano, Trumpet
Collin Walcott - Clarinet, Piano, Conga, Drums, Marimbas, Sitar, Tabla, Tambourine
Glen Moore - Bass, Flute, Piano, Violin, Guitar (Bass)
Paul McCandless - Horn (English), Oboe

1. Aurora (Towner) - 7:42
2. Dark Spirit (Towner) - 5:50
3. Mi Chinita (McCandless/Moore/Towner/Walcott) - 6:57
4. Distant Hills (Towner) - 6:30
5. Canyon Song (Towner) - 4:59
6. Song for a Friend (Towner) - 5:19
7. Confession (McCandless/Moore/Towner/Walcott) - 6:23

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21 November 2011

Tangerine Dream - Atem (1973)

"One of the three best studio albums by this band for me along "Zeit" and "Rubycon"!
The title track opens with the entering of howling voices, repeating melodic mantra of drums, and here with better productrion quality than their two previous recordings. This is much more concrete and aggressive music than their early albums, and there is a huge dramatic tension in this surreal composition. After a climax the sounds move to an enchanting calm space filled with musical shadows and radiant shimmering objects. Slowly new elements start to creep in, there are huge masses near the quiet space, affecting it from a distance like a gravity of a collossal giants, not absorbing the calm space immetiadly. There are exceptional tiny details in the larger tonal themes creating a very physical presence, which morphs as more opressing and frightful realm of shadows later. Also the atonal moments have decreased to quite small amounts, and in some parts there is a strong "cinematic" feeling, bringing mostly visual visions for me. "Atem" is certainly one of the greatest compositions of this band I have yet heard! Fitting the title name, "Fauni-Gena" starts with birdlike voices and tender flute sounding melody. Later stronger melodies emerge accompanied by whispering human voices, and the tension grows stronger. Then in "Circulation of Events" a distressing wall of troubled sound is brough alive. Rather than MIKE OLDFIELD's "Tubular Bells", I would have used this as a horror movie soundtrack! The last track "Wahn" is a collage of voices similar which were used in PINK FLOYD's "Piper at The Gates of Dawn" album, drawing a beautiful conclsion with flute sounds. This is not a very long track and it's easy to skip if the vocals sound feel irritating. It's also unable to ruin the magnificient impression of this wonderful piece of art! " - Eetu Pellonpää - ProgArchives

- Edgar Froese / Mellotron, guitar, organ, voice
- Christoph Franke / organ, VCS 3 synth, percussion, voice
- Peter Baumann / organ, VCS 3 synth, piano

1. Atem (20:25)
2. Fauni-Gena (10:43)
3. Circulation Of Events (5:49)
4. Wahn (4:31)

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14 November 2011

Stefano Testa - Una Vita Una Balena Bianca E Altre Cose (1974)

"Finnforest(Jim Russell) should be proud for having a lot to do with bringing Stefano Testa back into the public eye.I'm certainly proud of him, especially after reading the excellent interview(a must read) on this site.Lots of great information in that interview which sheds some light on the man and this album.This record happens to be a concept album about this author who's about to commit suicide in this hotel room.The music looks at four moments in the writers life that he looks back upon before he dies.This is an all acoustic affair with the guitar being the most prominant instrument.The vocals are very good and in Italian. "Una Vita" is the over 16 minute long opening track.Soft flute to begin and the mood brightens when the acoustic guitar joins in.Vocals a minute in.The sound gets fuller and the tempo picks up after 2 minutes. Some Anderson-like flute after 6 minutes and the vocals get more passionate.Female vocal melodies after 7 1/2 minutes then we get a calm. It turns pastoral after 10 minutes.Just a beautiful section.Another calm follows until the acoustic guitar and drums change that.Great section here with vocals.Some organ before 14 1./2 minutes before it ends as it began with solo flute. "Risveglio" features piano and vocal melodies before flute takes over.Vocals and piano follow.Strings before 2 minutes and the vocals are great. "La Ballata Di Achab" is more uptempo with a good beat.Expressive vocals too.It settles with strings before 1 1/2 minutes(moving passage) then picks up again as contrasts continue. "Notturno" simply sounds gorgeous with the acoustic guitar,flute and vocals.An emotional track. "Difficile Chiamarti Amore" has some more backing female vocals,acoustic guitar,bass and vocals.Why is this so moving? "Il Dio Sulla Ferrovia"is more of the same with vocals and acoustic guitar.Bass and drums join in.The tempo picks up 3 minutes in with flute. "Ninna Nanna" features acoustic guitar,soft vocals and other sounds.Cool track. I may bump this rating up in time. This is a special album. " - Mellotron Storm - ProgArchives

- Stefano Testa / piano, guitar, vocals
- Portici / lead guitar
- Marco Coppi / flute
- Alberto Monpellio / moog synthesizer
- Cosimo Fabiano / bass
- Ottavio Corbellini / drums

1. Una vita (16:09)
2. Rrisveglio (3:35)
3. La ballata di Achab (Moby Dick) (5:22)
4. Notturno (4:00)
5. Difficile chiamarti amore (2:50)
6. Il Dio sulla ferrovia (5:04)
7. Ninna nanna (2:41)

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13 November 2011

Sweet Smoke - Live (1974)

"Unfortunately , my copy is the old one without the bonus tracks and with the Steppenwolf Live cover album where the wolf has vanished and only smoke is left (it's probably sweet , too) but man, is this still enjoyable. You get the same still exhilarating music so fluid as you do from the Poke album and on the longer number of Darkness. However, the only surprising moment is a six minute free-jazz improv halfway through the second number but this is still correct.The newer version of this album actually separates the second track Shadout Mapes/Ocean Of Fears into two different tracks but also adds three new tracks to give more interest. I recently acquired this version and love every minute of People Are Hard and Schyler's Song. The Final Jam is just that a jam and is of lesser interest especially after repeated listening.Please note that I have never seen the sleeve artwork presented above. The copy I own now is derivative of the first edition but with a comic-like drawing of the musicians playing in concert. Half of the liner notes are written in German. Some progheads might have a problem calling Sweet Smoke as prog because of their improvisations and tendency to jam, but almost all of them will agree that this good time music and positive vibration emanating from their music make it a must for everyone. " - Sean Trane - ProgArchives

- John Classi / percussion, sound f/x
- Andrew Dershin / bass, percussion
- Jay Dorfman / drums, percussion
- Rick Greenberg / rhythm guitar, sitar
- Marvin Kaminowitz / lead guitar, vocals, percussion
- Martin Rosenberg / tamboura, percussion

1. First jam (19:15)
2. Shadeout mapes / Ocean of fears (18:02)

Bonus tracks on 2000 release:
3. People are hard
4. Schyler's song
5. Final jam

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Secret Oyster - Furtive Pearl (1973)

".This has to be the greatest band ever to come out of Denmark.A supergroup of sorts with the drummer,sax, and bass player from BURNIN' RED IVANHOE joined by the avant-garde keyboard player from CORONARIAS DANS, and the amazing guitar player from HURDY GURDY.By the way Donovan's song "Hurdy Gurdy Man" is about this guitar player Claus Bohling. This album is one of those great discoveries i come across once and a while that makes the search so worth while.The album cover is from a post card of the mainstreet of the little town where they recorded this their debut record.This really is a blend of jazz/rock/fusion with Claus just ripping it up throughout on his guitar. "Dampexpression" opens with piano that builds as sax and a full sound arrives quickly.The sax and drumming stand out along with the keys. The guitar before 2 minutes lights it up as the bass throbs,more great guitar again after 3 minutes. "Fire & Water" has a nice beat as organ and fat bass lead the way.Guitar comes in very psychedelic-like as the tempo picks up.Amazing sound 3 minutes in.The guitar rips it up before 5 minutes. "Vive La Quelle?" has a memorable,uptempo melody until a calm a minute in where guitar and drums start to make some noise without a real melody.Just raw guitar sounds and random drum patterns.We start to get a melody after 4 minutes.Keys come in and they become dissonant at times.Some good guitar 7 minutes in. The song ends as it began. "Blazing Lace" has a haunting intro before the guitar comes in and takes over.Sax,drums and bass are all here.Love the guitar after 3 minutes. "Public Oyster" is the longest track at almost 11 minutes.This is actually very krautrock-like early,the way the keys and guitar lead the way.The sound starts to build 3 1/2 minutes in.Guitar comes in at 5 minutes and plays over top.Nice.Sax comes in sounding really good as does the relentless drumming.The guitar starts to shine after 9 minutes. "Mis(s) Fortune" is lighter,almost canterbury-like with lots of keys and bass. "Ova-X" opens with sax with not much of a melody as sounds come and go.It's kind of experimental and i like it. This all-instrumental debut from SECRET OYSTER is so impressive.Just a pleasure to listen to. " - Mellotron Storm - ProgArchives

- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums
- Claus Bøhling / electric guitar
- Kenneth Knudsen / electric piano
- Mats Vinding / bass
- Karsten Vogel / alto & soprano saxes, organ

1. Dampexpressen (4:24)
2. Fire & water (5:34)
3. Vive la quelle? (8:50)
4. Blazing lace (4:45)
5. Public oyster (10:46)
6. Mis(s) fortune (1:28)
7. Ova-x (4:56)

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