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Recent NEWS on future reissues and archival releases!

FAQ for the site (updated 11/28/2010).

The Original CD Wish List is the main list and is continually updated!

Here's a list of what I consider the greatest albums still not on CD.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Announcement of new Record Store Webshop and remaining Housekeeping items

First off I want to share the great news. Long time friend (over 25 years) and fellow music collector Jeff Nintzel and myself will be starting a joint venture online. We both have way too many albums (though we're still buying too!), including many extras, and it's time to part with them. Many rare progressive, psychedelic, hard rock, jazz, and metal  LPs and CDs will be featured. Best part is we aren't going to gouge on the prices. We're not giving away anything either, but the prices will be fair. And we have "good goods" as my dad used to say. All carefully maintained like two fanatic collectors would tend to do.

Stay tuned to this blog for further announcements. I will send the link over and there will be an explanation of how it will work over there.

So a few things to talk about since I suddenly shut the blogs down a couple of weeks ago.

1. It turns out to have a been a great decision for me personally. I thought I might have some regrets, but I don't. Unplugging from the daily chatter was a much needed break for me.

2. A big Thank You to my most loyal readers who sent me kind and encouraging e-mails.

3. Many folks asked that I keep this blog alive just for the News. I won't be updating this blog much longer (though everything will stay up as promised). Instead, I'm going to maintain a CD Reissue Wishlist on Rateyourmusic. It will be like our main list (the Original CD Wish List) here. And I will have a section for News. I will send an update once that is up and running as well. I may or may not add commentary to the albums, but will keep the Priority system alive. The maintenance of that list should be much easier than what I was doing here.

4. There were about 11 items from The AC's last submission that I didn't get a chance to publish. I will do so now - and they will be the posts between here and when I signed off.  I have still yet to hear them, but since he put a tremendous amount of his own time into these, I must publish them as is. Many I'm still looking forward to hearing myself! I won't have extra commentary or a Priority set for it, but I will eventually hear them and you will see the Priority in my RYM list.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Minoru Muraoka & New Dimension Group, Japan

Minoru Muraoka & New Dimension Group - Lupus (Japan, 1974, Victor)

Shakuhachi master and band leader Muraoka recorded scores of records over the years, covering all kinds of ground, with a focus on integrating the traditional Japanese shakuchachi flute into modern western-style music. His most interesting period (from a rock/jazz listener's perspective) unsurprisingly coincided with the experimental New Rock boom in Japan circa the early/mid 70s. His most well-known works are from earlier on in this timeframe, when he released albums like "Osorezan" and "Bamboo", which have long been popular with the rare groove/DJ crowd. But after this he developed a darker, more experimental streak, releasing a string of albums with his New Dimension Group where he started to twist and mutate traditional Japanese music to his own ends, leading to fascinating efforts such as "Jigen" (1972) and "So" (1973). However, these were still probably too traditional to catch the ear of many prog/psych listeners. This all changed in 1974, when he unleashed "Lupus", a live concert hall recording (as many of his works were) that takes his earlier concepts and finally goes off the deep end with them. The eponymous side-long first track is an immense piece of hybrid far eastern psych/prog/jazz-rock which, aside from the hypnotically pulsing electric bass, amazingly consists of nothing but traditional Japanese instruments and drums, although you'd scarcely know it. Everything is put through the fuzz/wah blender, creating sounds and textures more reminiscent of electric organ and fuzzed out guitars. It starts out tranquilly, but then builds and builds in intensity, climaxing in a totally frenzied freakout conclusion that will leave your brain in a puddle-like state. Awe inspiring. The second side is unfortunately much more traditional, consisting of three shorter pieces, although the quality is still high. But that first side... Wow. Deserves to be much more well known.

I think it's fitting to end the CDRWL blog with an insanely rare Japanese album as submitted by The AC. I can assure you that I would not know any of these were it not for his continuous research!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Skeptical Eye, Canada

Skeptical Eye - The Devil's Playground (Canada, 1984, Puretone Records)

Bizarre homemade Christian prog/psych anachronism out of Belleville, Ontario. You know when a Christian-themed LP has track titles like "Tortured From Inside" that it's probably something beyond the ordinary, and that's certainly the case here. Psych guitar and organ, ineptly performed prog breaks, off key male and female vocals (including a children's choir section that seems to have been done by a group of random local school kids who couldn't sing at all) weird and disturbing sound effects, spacey Pink Floydian sections, and even a weepy ballad and terrible blues rock jam. Yet, it all flows together somehow as a cohesive concept work. I think. I don't really want to know, to be honest. A few keyboard tones aside, the whole thing sounds like it was recorded about a decade earlier. And as far as the amateurism level is concerned, I'll paraphrase myself from the Rhea review I did here a few years back: To put it in Canadian progressive terms, these guys make VIIth Temple sound like Rush in comparison. Very rare, but perhaps that's for the best? Completely demented.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fractals, England

Fractals - Fractals (UK, 1986, Surface Records)

Obscure little instrumental jazz-rock/fusion offering from the lean years of the genre. The main hook here is that the rhythm section consists of Jerry Soffe and Frank Hockney, formerly of cult favorites Red. Like other releases of its ilk from the mid 80s, there is no attempt whatsoever to hide its all-digital "modernness" (ironically now much more dated than the earlier analog tones), but if you can get past that it's actually a solid album. Sedate jazzy pieces alternate with more driving, progressive-minded tunes, which keeps things interesting. Hard to track down, as it seems this was only distributed in their local Oxford area during the band's relatively brief existence,  but worth a look for hardcore genre fans.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Early Times, Japan

Early Times - Second Album (Japan, 1976, Early Times Records)

Not to be confused with the contemporaneous Early Times String Band (a Japanese 70s folk-rock ensemble that has become slightly better known due to a couple of reissue/archival releases), this incredibly obscure album was the second effort of a local Sapporo based group. Their first is so rare that, while it must exist, has apparently never been glimpsed a single time by even the most hardcore Japanese collectors after all these years. All that aside, what we have here is a very interesting anachronism that sounds more like an underground Japanese take on early 70s British proto-progressive styles than anything else. Even the Monty Python-esque cover art seems to point in that direction. It kicks off with with an extremely cool horn rock-ish affair, featuring vintage organ, electric piano, funky percussion and psych guitar backed by a female chorus to great effect. This is followed by a lengthy proto-prog style guitar/organ led jam that slowly builds in intensity, with some great soloing. The rest of the first side then kind of puts on the breaks, with a couple of slow blues rock pieces that still have a very palpable early 70s UK feel to them. The second side starts with another gradually building instrumental jam, that eventually hits an awesome groove while the soloing breaks out overhead, before slowing down again into a more pensive mood. We then reach the real climax of the album, with the nearly 13 minute long final track. Building slowly once again (a hallmark of theirs, it seems), this starts out in a jazzy/bluesy horn rock mode, then builds in intensity as the soloing picks up and the vocals join in again, ending in a long crescendo of bluesy psych guitar soloing over the horn rock/proto-prog style jamming. Great stuff, and the whole album has a very loose, underground sound and vibe that is just flat out cool.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kosuke Ichihara & Love Live Life, Japan

Kosuke Ichihara & Love Live Life - Datsu Nippon Minyou - Now Sound '75 (Japan, 1975, Victor)

The common misconception of Kosuke Ichihara's group seems to be that Love Live Life were a regular, comprehensive band in the Japanese rock scene, a la Flower Travellin' Band and the like, but that's not really the case. Ichihara came from a jazz background, and even the seminal "Love Will Make A Better You" was really more along the lines of the typical "band leader and revolving cast of studio hired guns" scenario that for the most part dominated the output of Japan's New Rock explosion. So it should come as no surprise then that their trail afterwards becomes more diverse and obscure. Most well known in the west is obviously the quirky "Satsujin Jissho", but around the same time there were also entertainingly silly exploitation cash-ins like "Rock In Bacharach", "Rock In X'Mas" and other less notable studio sessions and collaborations. But perhaps the most interesting of this little known latter-day output is "Now Sound '75", an attempt to cross traditional Japanese "minyou" folk songs with the then-rising genre of jazz-rock fusion. This concept had already been done umpteen times by this point in other styles, some of which have been covered on this very blog (Toshio Tanioka, Dosojin, etc.). However, as the title indicates, the difference here is that the "sound"  was very "now", as in funky mid 70s instrumental fusion. The traditional themes are woven in smoothly to create atmosphere in a well-produced set of tunes that would have made a good soundtrack for a classic Japanese cop/detective show. Oddly enough, I'm also reminded a bit of the contemporaneous French fusion sound. Smooth and funky, but with enough atmosphere and instrumental acumen to hold your interest. Recommended to fusion fans, and I'd wager it would also go down a storm with the rare groove crowd. Unfortunately, one of their harder titles to find.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Rollsplytt, Germany

Rollsplytt - Flappergranny (Germany, 1982, Private)

All instrumental prog/fusion with a distinctly early 80s sound, but not in the way that you might expect. It's as if a 1982 British synth-pop band decided to take a break between albums and do a prog side project or something. The copious synths, sax/flute, as well as the guitar and bass lines just have that certain sound, as do the very "bouncy" (for lack of a better word) and straight forward rhythms that propel this lengthy (almost 50 minutes) and well-produced album along. There are some definite fusion touches (mostly of the Weather Report variety), but I'd label it more as "funky synth-driven instrumental prog" than full-fledged jazz-rock, if that makes any sense. It's quite consistent, and has some real period charm, which won me over in the end.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Xebec, USA

Xebec - Studio & Live (USA, 1975, Private)

Xebec are one of America's many "lost" progressive rock bands of the 1970s. They existed for a few years in the fertile prog underground scene of the upper midwest (Grand Rapids, Michigan in this case), but only managed to release one virtually unknown EP before packing it in and going their separate ways. However, like many such bands, there is more unheard material sitting in the vault, so to speak. The studio tracks consist of one instrumental original and a very intriguing cover of Touch's seminal "Seventy Five", given a mid 70s midwestern prog makeover. The lengthy and fairly well recorded (though a bit rough in spots) live set consists of a few originals and a number of covers, this time including Yes, Genesis, and Gentle Giant, but once again sounding so distinctly midwest prog as to almost become their own unique entities. The originals are a mixture of very Yes-inspired progressive songs and a couple of more experimental instrumental tracks, including an alternately spacey and aggressive 9+ minute number that's pretty amazing. Back in the heyday of US prog reissues/archival releases, I could have seen labels like Syn-Phonic or Shroom putting this material out, but these days I'm not sure it would fly. Regardless, this stuff is pure gold for those interested in this particular time, place and style.

This one sounds right up my alley!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Zthurehz, Sweden

Zthürehz - Zthürehz (Sweden, 1981, Sill Y)

Swedish prog obscurity that's somewhat marred by occasional incursions of early 80s new wave and even some reggae influences. Also perhaps a bit too vocal oriented, at least for my tastes. Unsurprisingly, they fare better on the longer pieces, where they're able to stretch out a little more musically. Some of that typical Scandinavian melancholy also helps the cause, but the general amateurism doesn't. Worth a listen for genre deep divers, but otherwise nothing too special.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Holocausto, Puerto Rico

Holocausto - Aleluya (Puerto Rico, 1974, Discos Roka)

This Christian-themed underground Latin American rarity is an interesting blend of progressive, psychedelic, hard rock/proto metal and latin rock styles.  Heavy riffing, organ/keys, flute/sax and impassioned vocals battle it out over a set of relatively concise but atmospheric and thoughtfully constructed tracks, where the undeniably cool "aura" of the whole thing helps to make up for the somewhat primitive execution. Great cover art as well (both front and back). However, the sound here could really use a good cleaning up, as it's hard to even hear some of the more interesting instrumental details at times. It seems the band themselves were working on doing just that a few years back, but I'm not sure if this is still an ongoing effort. Lets hope so, because this one is definitely worth it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Naniwaya Tatsumaru & Warner Beatniks, Japan

Naniwaya Tatsumaru & Warner Beatniks - Keiantaiheiki (Yoshitatsu Kyounobori) Rock Roukyoku Rock (Japan, 1971, Reprise)

Another of the many "New Rock" era attempts at a cross-cultural fusion between rock and traditional Japanese music, in this case roukyoku, a type of narrative singing usually accompanied by the shamisen. Tatsumaru barks, growls and whines out the running monologue, alternating between sly humor and extreme agitation as the text calls for, accompanied by his tsugaru-shamisen strumming/thrashing and occasional heavy prog/psych outbursts, or more cinematic sounding backdrops of strings, flute, etc. The rock sections come courtesy of the Warner Beatniks, which was just another name for the "usual suspects" studio crew of Yusuke Hoguchi, Kimio Mizutani, etc. It's a fairly interesting experiment, but does have some serious drawbacks. The main problem being that the rock bits tend to kind of jump in and out rather quickly, making for a somewhat disjointed sound, and leaving the listener to sit through lengthy sections of traditional unaccompanied roukyoku narration and shamisen plucking. Which is fine if you're a dedicated fan of the style, but will probably try the patience of the more general prog/psych listener. It's an expensive item these days (more so once it gets into the hands of hyperbolic western record dealers than in its native Japan), so I feel a "buyer beware" is in order here, despite my own general amusement with it. Great sinister cover art, duplicated in even more evil looking red on the back. As a side note, the sleeve states this is the second release in the "Bikkuri Series" ("surprising series"). If memory serves correctly, the first was the thoroughly ridiculous (but entertaining) "Rock Christmas Rock", which as you might have guessed is an album of rocked-out Christmas songs performed by the Warner Beatniks and featuring one of the most hideously eye-scarring record covers in human history.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union Orchestra, Japan

Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union Orchestra - The Rock Seasons (Japan, 1972, Toshiba-Express)

Late saxophonist and band leader Takahashi appeared on about a million different recordings in his heyday, but seems to be most known outside of Japan for some of his mid 70s work on the Three Blind Mice label. From my perspective however, his most interesting work might be this obscure set recorded with his Tokyo Union big band during the height of Japan's "New Rock" era of major label experimentation. There's some kind of seasonal/elemental theme going on here, but it's not too relevant honestly, as what we're presented with is a fun sequence of instrumental electric big band/jazz rock pieces that are propelled along by melodic sax/flute, tight horn charts, groovy bass lines and even the occasional fuzz/wah guitar lick. Lacks the depth and atmosphere of a contemporaneous work like Toshiyuki Miyama's "Tsuchi no Ne", but is quite an entertaining listen nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The CDRWL is Signing Off!

Hello everyone. After spending a wonderful weekend in the Colorado mountains, I realized perhaps it was time to become a private collector again, and refocus my free time energy elsewhere, other than these blogs and rating sites.

I cannot thank the contributors to this blog enough for everything they have volunteered without asking for a single thing, except requesting the reissue itself! Especially the AC and Midwest Mike, two incredible gentlemen who are solely responsible for keeping this blog going many years ago. And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank all the other contributors who have been wonderful in their support. Too many to name,but you know who you are!

Of course everything will be left here for research and documentation, and if I reconsider my position at a later date, this blog will reopen for business!

Friday, October 23, 2015

News: Sfinx debut album reissued by Soft Records

Here's the other news item from Achim. This is one of those albums I thought may have been reissued in the past, but no, this is the first legit CD for the album. And it comes from the superb indigenous Soft Records label. As an aside, I have a few of their CDs here to review for Under the Radar, and we have a couple there already (Survolaj, Talitha Qumi) that we've raved about in the past.

I haven't heard this album in ages. I don't even have a copy here, so I'll need to dig around for one. I see I have a rating for it, but I've just removed those as it's been way too long to be fair.

Our RYM friend Apps79 says this about it: "Sfinx came in life in Bucharest around 1963, found by three high school students and friends, drummer Cristian Valica, bassist Corneliu "Bibi" Ionescu and singer/guitarist Octav Zemlicka.Among their early members was also organist Idu Barbu, but the crucial point comes in 1967, when violin player and student Dan Andrei Aldea joined the band, he was destined to become the band's leader and an accomplished multi-instrumentalist.Several members would come and go over the span of the next 7-8 years, Sfinx'es fame though was on the rise, writing music for the film ''Nunta de piatra'' and releasing a first single in 1972.A second EP follows in 1974 at a time, when Ionescu and Aldea were surrounded by ex-Mondial drummer Mihai Cernea and a second guitarist, Dan Badulescu.Their ex-keyboardist Idu Barbu helped them during the recording sessions of their debut ''Lume alba'', which was released in 1975 on the Electrecord label.

You shouldn't expect by a band from Romania, a country with limited tradition in Progressive Rock, to break new grounds, but Sfinx appeared to be more than just a talented band on ''Lume alba'', exploring music fields that were almost forbidden for other groups.They played a mix of straight Hard Rock with some supporting poppy tunes, but I also encounter lots of folky influences and spacey, Fusion touches in their sound.The standard-structured tracks are rather of limited interest for fans with no access to the Romanian language, containing lots of punchy guitars, catchy choruses and dynamic grooves, which are sometimes surrounded by discreet keyboard sounds.But there are also tracks in here that are surprisingly good and beyond their time regarding the Romanian Rock scene.For example ''Sinteza'' is powered by great electric solos and a marching rhythm section, accompanying some impressive Moog synth solos with a slight spacey underline or the title-track, which sounds extremely trippy with its wordless vocals, background bass lines and soaring synth lines.''Muntele'' is very interesting as well, some of the guitar parts recall KING CRIMSON at their mid-period, the Hard Rock leads are still in evidence, but the semi-symphonic synths, the powerful breaks and the changing climates add a personal aura in this piece.''Calatorul si copacul'', the opening track is a nice attempt in Folk/Pop with great violin work by Aldea, while the swansong of the album, ''Om bun'', is a beautiful piece of archaic Prog Folk with a slight Medieval atmosphere, featuring poetic voices, traditional flute lines and light bass work.

That's what should be called Art Rock.Not groundbreaking by any means, however ''Lume alba'' remains a hidden gem of versatile Eastern-European Rock music with multilpe influences, likely to satisfy all lovers of flexible listenings.Recommended."

News: Rocket Robert reissued by Got Kinda Lost

CDRWL contributor Achim turned in a couple of news items yesterday. I was not familiar with this album prior, but it looks intriguing for sure. Got Kinda Lost is yet another sub-label from the outstanding Guerssen group of Spain.

Guerssen says: "Those who’ve dirtied their fingers searching high and low for analog synth nuggets can rejoice at the arrival of under-the-radar synthesizer maverick “Rocket” Robert Moore. Less a reissue than an exhumation—what with a scant, hand-screened 142 copies produced in 1982 that circulated little outside the confines of Oregon state—Rocket Robert drifts in the backward-looking sounds of early synth innovators, while equally mining the kraut-tinged moments of punk-era instro synth explorers and the first breaths of synth-pop, rather than carrying similarities to the “New Wave” that was then talking hold of the masses. Issued by Moore’s own Salem, Oregon-based Future Records in 1982, his eponymous debut is simultaneously light-hearted and shot-though with ominous oscillations and offers up a darkly-throbbing, other-worldly vibe that is sure to ensnare synth-heads, beat-diggers and those searching the margins of the private-press alike. Got Kinda Lost Records is over the moon to allow this singular, unique album another chance to shine. RIYL: Delia Derbyshire, Fad Gadget, Mort Garson, Gershon Kingsley, Martin Rev, Morton Subotnick, etc. First time reissue of this under-the-radar synth nugget, with original master tape sound. Recorded in 1982 while having more in common with ‘60s analog synthesizer innovators or ‘70s German followers of the flame, providing the album an “out of time” quality. Includes two previously unreleased spaced-out-electro-pop songs from the album sessions. Insert features informative liner notes by Dave Segal (Staff Writer for Seattle’s alternative weekly The Stranger), culled from interviewing the artist and rare photos from Robert Moore’s archives. LP housed in an old-school-style tip-on sleeve. CD edition features a full-color insert with many images not featured in LP edition. "Unclassifiable outsider synth-damage not unlike Bite-era Bruce Haack and Damon Edge of Chrome collaborating, or weirdo proto-new wavers like Ghostwriters, Pulsar, Todd Tamanend Clark, or a non-operatic Klaus Nomi. Better yet, imagine a Grandmaster Flash-obsessed Kluster retreating into a stoney basement with Richard Pinhas—if that makes no sense, you're on the right path." - Steven “Plastic Crimewave” Krakow (Galactic Zoo Dossier)"

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shotgun LTD, USA

Shotgun LTD. - s/t. 1971 Prophesy

This title came up a couple of times recently while doing some research, and I found a copy over on Youtube to check out last night.

Shotgun LTD is one of those albums I passed over dozens of times in my crate digging years of the 80s and 90s. That looks to have been a mistake. Even though it's not a masterpiece, it's a fine example of North American hard rock, with blues and even a slight rural underpinning. The three track sequence on the first side starting with 'Against the Wall' is simply fantastic, and there's more than a nod to the Hammond organ / electric guitar based proto-prog sound here. Hard to imagine anyone who enjoys the latter genre not being impressed with 'Number Two'. After this, the album's momentum begins to slow considerably, and by side 2 there are couple of stinkers to endure in 'River of Hope' and 'Feelin' Bad'. All in all though, a fine discovery after all these years. Would make for a nice reissue, perhaps with some relevant bonus tracks to kick it up a notch.

Hilarious cover too, as the band and their "presumed" pregnant girlfriends are gearing up for a "shotgun wedding".

Priority: none (borderline 3)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

News: Baumann/Koek to be reissued on Bureau B

I have to admit I'd never heard of this one before. But CDRWL contributor Eric sent it over, and it indeed does look like something we'd be very interested in. Bureau B continues to be the leading light for all things German Electronik.

Label data: "Baumann/Koek is another hitherto undiscovered treasure of German electronic music, the only album by the electronic music pairing of Wolfgang (not Peter!) Baumann and Ata Koek, both from Kempten, Bavaria. It was mixed in Conny Plank's studio and distributed, without a label, by the duo themselves in 1978. The music owes much to the Berlin School: layered sequencer patterns, swirling chord tapestries, a computer beat here and there. Oriental elements or hints thereof add a particular charm to Baumann/Koek, available now for the first time on CD (+vinyl and download)."

"Rumours persist that Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream is behind the Baumann/Koek project. Indeed, the music might bear a certain resemblance and the song entitled “TD-Mem” might be seen as a clue. But the rumour is just that, a rumour, with no bearing on the truth. In actual fact, Baumann/Koek can unequivocally be identified as Wolfgang Baumann (no, not the MPS record cover artist), born in Kempten in 1950 and his friend Ata Koek (Köktürk, to be precise), born in Istanbul in 1956. Wolfgang Baumann was 15 years old when he learned to play the electric organ. Some ten years later, he had grown tired of the limited range of sounds the instrument offered and he sold it on the spot. Wolfgang and his friend Ata were determined to explore new tones and musical structures— with a synthesizer. Together, they made the trip from Kempten to Bonn with the singular aim of visiting the legendary Synthesizerstudio Bonn, the very same store where Kraftwerk and countless other electronic icons went shopping for their equipment. The duo purchased a secondhand ARP 2600 and immediately began experimenting with the synth. They soon realized, however, that they needed more gear to create the music they dreamed of. Before long they had added an ARP sequencer, a Solina String keyboard and an EKO Compurhythm drum computer to their arsenal. Last but not least, they acquired a four track recorder and were ready to commit their music to tape. Without a record label to back them, they pressed up 1000 copies and paid the production costs themselves. Having recorded all the music on the four track machine at home, the pair went to the expense of booking Conny Plank’s studio for the mix. The album was well received and the Swabian wholesaler Jaguar Records stepped in for worldwide distribution pressing another 5000 LPs. Japan proved to be a particularly popular territory, with radio stations picking up on the record. Sadly, Jaguar Records went bankrupt shortly afterwards. Baumann and Koek were disinclined to take on any further financial risk and decided against a follow-up record. The music clearly references the Berlin School: a hypnotic maelstrom of sequencer patterns and swirling tapestries of mostly minor chords, underpinned at times by a computer beat. What really sets the music apart from comparable productions is the subtle influence of Arabian tonality which saw Ata Koek consciously introduce just a hint of Oriental flavour. If Baumann and Koek considered their “modest” equipment to be a hindrance, their music sounded all the better for it. There is a raw, unpolished quality to the tracks, a clarity which draws the listener closer, far more so than the bombastic productions of contemporaries like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze et al."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

News: Group 1850's Polyandri to be reissued on LP by Pseudonym

Yea. LP. Pseudonym continues the disturbing trend of reissuing albums on LP without the CD (grumpy morning for the CDRWL Tom?). Ugh. At least throw a factory pressed CD in there similar to Twink, Isaiah, Klockwerk Orange, etc...! So like Kvartetten Som Sprangde, Resan (both on Subliminal Sounds), and Mad Curry (Wah Wah), we have another high priority album being ignored for the CD market. That should keep the pirates active at least (GREAT!). Look, if you follow the UMR, you guys all know I love LPs. I collect them to this day, and I will likely buy this just to hear what they do with the sound, and to see the liner notes. I have the original LP as well, and at this point in my life, multiple copies of one album are OK with me. But it sure would be nice to get a legit CD too (I still have the absolutely awful Twilight Tone boot that comes from a scratchy record). Maybe they will follow through with the CD at a later date. We certainly hope so.

Label advertises: "At last reissued on LP (180-GRAM AUDIOPHILE VINYL!), it's the third and final studio album from Holland's ultimate psych legends GROUP 1850! 'Polyandri' was originally issued in 1974, when psychedelic rock had already lost its momentum. That unfortunate timing must be the only reason why this is a somewhat overlooked album, because the music itself is absolutely killer! On offer is a wild fusion of psychedelia, jazz-rock and progressive space rock, at many times dominated by band leader Peter Sjardin's home-built keyboard, The Organizer. There are guest appearances from Barry Hay (Golden Earrings) on flute and well known jazz musician Hans Dulfer on sax. The LP comes with remastered sound, a heavy gatefold sleeve boasting restored artwork, rare memorabilia, pix and liner notes by Mike Stax (Ugly Things)."

News: Krautrock box takes OAS concept to new levels of dumb

Oh for crying out loud, really? When the Original Album Series first sprang about, it seemed like a good way to buy a band's discography on the cheap. Nice little cardboard album covers, sometimes good sound, but at a handsome price. It was a great way to catch up on groups like The Who or Jefferson Airplane, that kind of thing. But then they started doing it for groups such as Catherine Ribeiro/Alpes, an artist who deserves much more care to each album. For the common bands, that's already been done, but not for the more obscure artists like Ms. Ribeiro. But if you don't care about such things, at least you are getting many releases from one artist at a cheap price. I guess it's not any crazier than those Progressive Italia boxes, which sadly remains the only way to get those splendid Sensations' Fix albums on CD.

But this Krautrock box is really ridiculous. What a great selection eh? So well thought out. So what do these albums have in common? They're from Germany. Oh, and they were originally on Telefunken. That's it. Musically they couldn't possibly be any more disparate. Everyone gets so carried away with the Krautrock term - but it should have more meaning than just rock from Germany. Well, whatever. All these have been reissued on CD before, and I think most are OOP. I just wanted to vent...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Updated post: Wolfgang Dauner

After many years, we finally had a chance to hear Wolfgang Dauner's most elusive title, thanks to the AC!

Original entry updated with full notes from myself and the AC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cosmic Debris, USA

Cosmic Debris - s/t. 1980 Non Compos Mentis
Cosmic Debris - While You're Asleep. 1983 Non Compos Mentis

While putting together the UMR feature for Cosmic Debris, I realized I had left this band out of the CDRWL entirely. And it was an original entry from the early 90s! The reason that happened was sometime in the early 2000s I had noticed the band was selling the "CD". Come to find out later that was a homemade CD-R (which, as you all know, we don't count at the CDRWL), and I completely forgot to update my list. So here is its much belated debut on the blog.

As with Ariel, reviews and notes are now going straight to UMR if I own the album in question. So the self-titled debut has much more data over there, including me taking the time to type out a couple of inserts (what I do for history I tell ya...)

Meanwhile, regarding the second album While You're Asleep: I bought this album at the same time, but sold it in the mid 90s. Today I probably would not have done that, but I was in heavy acquisition mode in those days. Certainly it's a weaker effort, that I'm sure of (IMO of course), but I recall it being much more varied than the debut, and it certainly was a fine album. I'll need to hear it again at some point. It would be nice to see both of these reissued properly.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

News: Shadoks to reissue Blueset from Sweden

I ran across this bit of news while doing my monthly research. However, I wasn't familiar with this 1974 album, and waited until last night to hear it. Our trusty aid YouTube came in handy again, and I heard the album in full. I would have tagged this a Priority None (borderline 3), but it's still a fine piece, and my notes below captures (briefly) my initial experience. Shadoks has confirmed they will be reissuing it both on LP and CD, the latter not always a given with the fine label.

Blueset's album is mostly straight up blues rock, though special mention goes to 'Vibrationer I Folkton'*  which sounds like Kebnekaise on a bender. I'll drink to that! 

* - It's a 4 part, 13+ minute track, so definitely worthy of mention.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ariel, USA

Ariel - Perspectives. 1985 Little Misters

I've had a few people ask me about this title in the last couple of months, and honestly I had no idea what it was. There's an aural copy on Youtube, so I finally got around to hearing it, and I was immediately intrigued. I was about to report on the album here, when I found an original going for a reasonable price. I snapped it up, and heard the LP last night for the first time. This is a great one folks - I'm very impressed by it. Definitely an album from the 80s though, so if you're a dyed-in-the-wool 70s addict (which I can sometimes be myself), then this may not be your cup of tea. All the same, the fiery psych oriented guitar alone might sell you.

While awaiting for the LP to arrive, I found someone who knew the band, and it's been confirmed they are from the Chicago area. There's no info on the LP regarding their origin.

As many of you know, I've been slowly adding my collection to the Unencumbered Music Reviews blog. For a long time, I've held back the CDRWL items since I already have them here. But UMR has a different focus which includes release details. So lately I've been adding everything I own over there, including those without reissues. Of course it will take forever, but that's the plan :-)

Starting with this post - for any LPs I actually own - I will cross post with the UMR. And that's where you find my music notes for these albums. These days, most of the albums we report on for the CDRWL, I will have no hope of owning because they are way too obscure or expensive. So this blog will still be the primary source for non reissued albums.

UMR entry for Ariel - Perspectives

Priority: 1

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Man Made, Canada

Man Made - s/t. 1971 Good Noise

I first ran into this title by way of Marquee magazine's (Japan) expose on rare Canadian progressive rock way back in 1990 or so (I still have the issue). My friend from Tokyo translated the review, and quite frankly it didn't sound all that great. For years I'd see the name pop up, but usually without much fanfare or recommendation. All the same, I was most curious about the side long track that opens the album. Recently I was doing some cross referencing, and there was Man Made. I wonder if the album is on Youtube? And it turns out it is (not in full, but all the tracks are there individually). So after all these years, I finally heard it. No surprise here, the album is indeed somewhat middling.

The side long namesake track is definitely the highlight though. The first half is slow blues coupled with atmospheric space rock. The Hammond organ in particular is quite good. About halfway, there's a really cool jazz rock break, and this is followed by some fine flute work. Odd in that no flute is credited anywhere (see back of LP). There are "horns", but I've never heard anyone call a flute a horn. If the whole album were like this, no doubt its reputation would be stellar. Side 2 is very disappointing, and is typical 1970 era North American styled straight rock with blues, gospel, country, and boogie undertones. 'Keep on Moving' is energetic at least, with a semi interesting compositional model, but otherwise the remainder is a complete snoozer.

Despite the music, kudos goes to the artwork - most certainly as representative of the traditional male mindset as one will ever find.

There's at least one pirate floating about. Not sure this one needs a reissue, but it's certainly not without merits.

Priority: none

Thursday, September 24, 2015

News: First 9 Catherine Ribeiro albums to be reissued in a box set

Thanks to an anonymous tip on our blog, we learned of this box set coming from Mercury. Details are scant, and it would appear the album has been announced before it was ready to be released. The above scan is the clearest one I could find, and comes from amazon.fr, but the entry has been removed (but captured on cache). The tip pointed to a blurred copy on amazon.de. I could not find any other data, beyond what is obvious on the box cover. This of course would close the book on Ribeiro in the digital world. I'm still hoping for individual releases, since I have 4 of the above on CD already (from Mantra in the 90s). Maybe I will ultimately give in. We'll see. This is the second box set from Mercury in recent years, the first one featured albums 2 through 5. Anyway, great news for Ribeiro fans, especially for those of you who do not own any of her CDs prior.

CDRWL contributor Achim informs us: "I just received the new Ribeiro + Alpes box set. This is actually quite nice. It comes in a sturdy box, with the 9 CDs in LP-like cardboard sleeves (as in the 4xCD box released in 2012) and also has a booklet with biographical notes and some photos. All in all great sound; no bonus material. I bought it from amazon.fr for 30 Euros."

Last update: October 27, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Advancement, USA

The Advancement - s/t. 1969 Philips

Another title from the CD-R revisit project. There is a "gray area" reissue out there, but we're calling for a better one.

No question that The Advancement are a bunch of jazzers trying their hand at the hip psychedelic sounds of the day. But in the end, they come across as a bunch of clueless squares. Because if they could have let loose on the foundation laid, this would have been an album for the ages. As it stands, The Advancement remains a fine album of instrumental jazz/rock without one notable standout track, including the usual call-outs like 'Stone Folk' and 'Fall Out' which of course feature the only fuzz on the album. Potential unrealized - though worth hearing and owning for certain.

Priority: 3

Friday, September 18, 2015

La Kabala, Peru

La Kabala - s/t. 1970 RCA

This title came about from the ongoing CD-R revisit project.

La Kabala is a mix of late 1960s swinging soul jazz, cruise ship styled loungers sung in Spanish, and an occasional Santana electric guitar outburst to keep everyone on their toes. Flute and roller rink organ fill the other lead roles. Opening and closing tracks are best, with the latter featuring some cool seductive female vocals. Much debate continues to ensue on the origin of the band. Most folks point to Peru, given that the majority of the pressings have emerged from there. However Mexico stubbornly remains in the discussion, and even Americans apparently hanging down south. Perhaps it really is only an exploitation album - without the proper distribution to really call it that (economically speaking). Whatever the case, a fine album, that doesn't require much thought to get into. Very much the perfect tropical vacation album - circa 1970.

Priority: 3

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Horizonte, Argentina

Horizonte - s/t. 1977 Music Hall
Horizonte - Señales sin Edad. 1979 Music Hall

Here are a couple of albums I owned on LP over a decade ago. They were in the usual ramshackled shape, common for the country of origin. So when the CD arrived (both albums on one CD), these albums were an easy decision to let go to auction.

Except... (any guesses what comes next?)

Yea, the CD is a pirate edition. I hate when that happens! A few years ago, I got rid of it too, once I found out this dubious fact. And I didn't think the music warranted keeping a bootleg CD. On a recent revisit, perhaps I was a bit hasty there.

Horizonte are cut from the same cloth as Los Jaivas. So time to break out the pan pipes with your progressive rock! There are plenty of segments that are much more indigenous folk influenced, while others are clearly rooted in 1970s progressive rock. In this way, they also recall fellow countrymen Anacrusa. Of the two albums, Señales sin Edad maintains more highlights, but is more inconsistent than the debut, so they both grade out roughly the same. Horizonte are definitely worth another look... and deserve a proper reissue.

Priority: 3

Friday, August 28, 2015

Houston Fearless, USA

Houston Fearless - s/t. 1969 Imperial

Another title from the CD-R revisit project.

Houston Fearless were a standard issue late 1960s styled heavy blues psych band, with gospel, folk, and pop trimmings. There is some exceptional fuzz soloing, coupled alongside wicked Hammond licks, that makes it an overall worthwhile listen. Guideposts are the usual suspects like Cream and Iron Butterfly. The first 6 tracks are quite good, excepting the lame 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'. Then it completely implodes from there, as the band tries different musical styles, hoping something will stick. Of course, none of it does. A decent genre piece, though nothing more.

Worth noting that, despite the moniker, the band were from Los Angeles. It would appear the odd name is based on this film manufacturing company who were based in LA at the time of the album's release.

Priority: none

Sunday, August 23, 2015

News: Berits Halsband to come out on CD soon from Musicbazz!!!

Wow! Not sure we can receive better news than this. With Avalanche finally getting reissued, we are down to the very last of my Gnosis 14's not to be on CD. And Berits Halsband is one of them. One of my favorite discoveries from the early 2000's period, and still a great unknown. My full review can be found on the UMR site

Musicbazz is the Greek label responsible for the fine Pete and Royce LP and CD released a couple of years back. They are also the parent label to our good friend Spacefreak and his label Cosmic Eye. Thanks to him and reader Gal for the notification of this great news. The album will be reissued in both LP and CD formats.

One more great one reissued! YEA!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fragile, Germany

Fragile - Lonely Preacher / Our Song. 1974 Rittberk

Great - another band named Fragile. Like Touch, Time, and Drama, it's a moniker that has been heavily used, and hard to research.

In any case, we have another serious rarity here provided by The AC. Technically this is a 7" single, but it's 33 RPM, and the length of an EP. The AC tells us: "Extremely obscure EP (just over 15 minutes) of what I would feel comfortable labeling as "heavy prog", a genre description that I usually find to be overly vague. However, in this case it really fits. Swirling wall-of-sound organ collides with heavy, crashing guitars over a fat, thumping rhythm section. It's from that netherworld where progressive rock, psychedelia and hard-rock/proto-metal had a meeting of the minds before heading off in their own directions. The vocals are fitting and more than decent, but most of the space is given over to heavy riffing and instrumental jamming. The vast majority of new discoveries that come out of Germany are from the seemingly bottomless (some would say tiresomely so, at this point) well of the late 70s/early 80s private press boom, so it's refreshing to occasionally be reminded that the deeper waters of the original prog/krautrock scene have not yet completely run dry. This is excellent stuff that I believe would have a wide appeal, so hopefully one of the German reissue/archival labels will track these guys down and find some additional tapes of similar quality sitting quietly in one of their attics, just waiting to be dusted off."

I also found the music highly appealing. Very much the sound of Germany during 1974, but with an added complexity moving it more towards progressive rock and less the traditional hard Krautrock sound. Probably tracks closest to the obscure band Metropolis or even a bit like the archival Spektakel I suppose. This is just the type of band that Garden of Delights has been so successful in mining, and perhaps they will find a canister of great music for a full archival CD. Or at the very least, this will find its way onto one of their famous compilations. Great stuff.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

News: Finchley Boys "Everlasting Tributes" to come out on CD this year!

Recently we featured the Finchley Boys via the CD-R revisit project. A comment appeared on that post this morning from band member Garrett Oostdyck, who brought us this good news: "We really do plan on having a CD release this year (2015) There will be a few never heard tracks. I know the bootleggers don't have them yet as the tapes have been lost for 46 years." 

Great news for hard rock and heavy blues fans! I certainly will be picking one up when available.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hobo, Croatia

Hobo - s/t. 1975 Jugoton

Another title that came up via the CD-R revisit project.

Hobo's sole work is a commercially oriented rock album that includes some fine violin, Moog, and piano giving it a progressive feel. The almost seven minute 'Srebro' is the highlight, and predates what their neighboring Igra Staklenih Perli were about to embark on, with their own take on the early Pink Floyd psychedelic/cosmic sound. Though sadly, this is the only track of this nature found on the album. The strong presence of violin, and the way the compositions are structured, recalls Kansas at the same juncture. Clearly these bands were operating on a parallel mindset as Hobo could not possibly have known of Kansas at this point in time. Good album all around, with some quality songwriting and progressions found within.

We have to suspect (or hope anyway) that Hobo has some unreleased material that is far more progressive than what is found on this LP. They are far too talented to have been satisfied with the overall commercial approach. One can only hope a CD surfaces with copious bonus material reflecting such.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mandrill, USA

Mandrill - Mandrilland. 1974 Polydor. 2LP set
Mandrill - Solid. 1975 United Artists
Mandrill - Beast from the East. 1976 United Artists

Since we're already operating outside the margins of the CDRWL, I thought this would be a good time to sneak in one of my favorite bands: Mandrill. Their first 4 albums (all highly recommended) were reissued on CD in the late 90s by Collectables. These are their next 3 albums, which I dutifully picked up on vinyl over the years (they're relatively easy to find and inexpensive). Each one is slightly lesser than the one before. By the time of We Are One, Mandrill will have transformed into a full blown disco act. Not bad by any means, but that's too far out of bounds for our list.

It has been said that Brooklyn's Mandrill were too progressive rock to be funk and too funk to be progressive rock. And that's just about exactly right. In fact the 2LP sprawling set of Mandrillland may be their peak at the progressive rock style. And on the flip side, Beast From the East is giving off major clues the band is clearly heading for more commercial territory, though there's still some great funk/prog to be heard.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

One St. Stephen, USA

One St. Stephen - s/t. 1975 Owl

In the late 90s, I bought a large collection of CDs and LPs. One of those CDs was One St. Stephen's sole album. But it's an obvious pirate, and unfortunately that's all there is in regards to a CD. There is, however, a legitimate LP reissue, similar to The Finchley Boys that we recently featured, on the Greek label Anazitisi. And the artist is very happy with the final product.

The gentleman behind One St. Stephen is Don Patterson, who seems like quite the Renaissance Man. There is a tremendous amount of data about him in the webosphere. I highly recommend the It's Psychedelic Baby interview as the first place to start your research.

Musically the album is influenced by Jim Morrison and The Doors, and is a very anachronistic sound for 1975. Perhaps similar to Phantom's Divine Comedy in that way. I should note that the idea that One St. Stephen sounds like The Doors is hotly contested in some quarters. OK, then...

Priority: 3

Monday, July 20, 2015

Colonna, Italy

Colonna - s/t. 1980 Harmony. Also 1980 Box (Germany)

Another album that probably sits outside the margins of our list. But what a cover, eh? I received this CD-R from Midwest Mike years ago. Worth featuring I think.

Colonna is one Maurizio Colonna, who is today recognized as one of Italy's finest Spanish guitar players. This is his debut album, which naturally enough prominently features Colonna on the acoustic Spanish guitar. His exemplary playing is augmented by vocals, Moog synths, and rock/disco beats. He has many more albums which I've not heard to date. This one sports a pretty cool cover (a flying bull and a spaceship), and I could see this falling prey to the Italian progressive rock collector, though it has no stylistic similarities whatsoever. Well done for what it is. I'll include it here for those Italian prog treasure hunters, so they know what they're getting into. Also worth noting the exceptional supporting cast: Roberto Colombo, Tullio De Piscopo, Mark Harris (Napoli Centrale), Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM, Acqua Fragile) and bassist Ares Tavolazzi (Area).

Priority: none

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Charlee, Canada

Charlee - s/t. 1972 RCA

The second cover is from a 1976(!) US reissue. Not quite sure the story behind that, but in any case, both issues are pretty rare these days.

This is another CD-R revisit project post. I think I left this one off mainly since it's on the margins of our scope. But it's a very fine hard rock album and well worth a CD reissue. There are a couple of pirate versions out there naturally.

It's been often said that Frank Marino, at the dawn of his career, heavily copied Jimi Hendrix. More than likely, though, he was also influenced by fellow Montreal resident Walter Rossi and his band Charlee. Listen to the first 3 Mahogany Rush albums and compare to Charlee, which was recorded only a year earlier. Many parallels can be found. Frank eventually forged his own style and became one of the all-time great hard rock guitarists. No telling what Rossi could have achieved had he not chosen a career as a session musician. Good hard rock / psych album.

Priority: 3

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Skywhale, England

Skywhale - The World at Mind's End. 1977 private

So here's the final of the "we thought it was on CD, turned out it was on CD-R" type of entry.  And this one hurts the most, because it's my favorite of the lot. I'd been crowing about this one on CD ever since it came out in 2006, and delighted many other fans with this news. And then our good friend Spacefreak pointed out what should have been obvious to my eyes: It's a CD-R. "Please don't tell me that!". Of course he was right. Sigh. This was another one of those CD Baby "CD's". They really did a disservice by not telling the truth about them being CD-R's. I can only blame myself though, as I should have been more careful when researching / inspecting. It is a legit CD-R from the band, so it's not a total loss. We just prefer factory pressed CDs. I'll of course keep the CD-R until which time (if) a regular CD comes out. They need to remaster it anyway, as it wasn't the best of jobs to begin with.

As for the music, Skywhale is one of the rare non-Canterbury UK fusion albums that sound more in line with what was happening over the Channel in places like France, Denmark and Germany. For those that likes chops and melody, with plenty of good time signatures to keep it all interesting. It knows to stop at the point where the solos begin to drag. A must pickup for anyone who likes bands such as Carpe Diem, Secret Oyster, or Munju.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Steinzeit, Germany

Steinzeit - Geburtstag. 1982 Absurde Geburten

As General Burkhalter might say "Ve-dy IN-TER-REST-ING Klink!". The AC has a wild one for us today.

"Imagine if you took the caterwauling female vocals and general angst of Gutura, but then replaced the atonal no wave guitar scree with some fragmented, twitchy kraut jazz instead. That's about the only description I can come up with for this underground German oddity. Production wise, this sounds like it may have been recorded in the same basement/crawlspace/broom closet that Buchenfeld used. I was kind of fascinated at first, but as time wore on found it increasingly irritating. Interesting, but will most likely have a strictly niche appeal."

I didn't read The AC's notes until the day after, but I can tell you the very first band to enter my mind, and it never left, was France's Gutura, who we've featured in the past here on the CDRWL. I must have been in a good mood, because the production didn't bother me in this case (broom closet lol). Twisty kraut jazz indeed, with spastic yet enunciated yelping from our crazy gal. And some fine mid 70s Crimsonish guitar. Odd album for sure, but one I found quite arresting. I suspect I'm the niche in this case. A good one for my tastes!

Priority: 2