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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aurora Borealis with Mitch DeMatoff, USA

Aurora Borealis with Mitch DeMatoff - s/t. 1982 Red Hot

Here's one I've been sitting on for a looooong time. The AC sent me a CD-R all the way back in April of 2012! Once I heard it, I set about obtaining my own LP. As we learned from Landress-Hart, once an album gets into the CDRWL, the value can rise significantly. Not all albums of course, but ones like Aurora Borealis do! So I didn't want to miss out, because I quite enjoyed the music. I found one immediately, but the seller never responded. Then came the summer, and buying LPs here in Texas is extremely risky due to the oppressive heat (if the package gets any extended exposure to the sun, the vinyl will warp quickly). So I decided to wait until the Fall (still in 2012). And then.... I forgot all about it! The AC reminded me once again about it recently, and this time I did secure the album (in fact, it's the photo above). So onto the music....

The AC described it to me as: "Obscure fusion platter from this (presumably) Los Angeles based group led by keyboardist DeMatoff. Largely excellent high-flying instrumental fusion in the classic RTF mold. The last couple of tracks in particular are absolutely blazing, one of which features a guest spot by Bunny Brunel. Strongly recommended to fans of stuff like Proteus, Spaces, Apprentice, etc.". And really that's all there is to say. I could throw in perhaps Child's Play as another reference, an album we featured recently here. As well as Momentum, Genre, and others of its ilk. It's on the border of fusion and progressive rock. It starts more in a typical early 80s jazz rock mode, but as The AC notes, it really picks up from there. There's some smokin' guitar leads here!

Priority: 2

Monday, December 15, 2014

News: Materia Gris reissued on CD from Fonocal

Materia Gris - Ohperra Vida de Beto. 1972 Harvest (Argentina)

This one fell though the cracks mainly because I didn't realize it wasn't on CD already! I had the reissue LP (legit?) for many years and decided to move it out a few years back. And hadn't really thought about the album again. But now we for certain have a legit CD from the respected Fonocal label of Argentina, and they've added a few bonus tracks as well. It's a decent psych influenced / early progressive album. Certainly an album I would buy again if the right opportunity comes along.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sound Creation, Japan

Sound Creation - Progressive Rock. 1971 Teichiku
Sound Creation - Rock Fantasia. 1972 Teichiku

I've been sitting on "Rock Fantasia" for awhile. This came via a tip from Laser Ken a couple of months ago. I've only heard one side of the album, but it's really quite an amazing side! We've been talking about the early 70s Japanese underground for a few years now on the CDRWL. It's amazing to me just how many treasures there are to be found over there - and they are all ridiculously obscure. In the last few years, we've seen CD reissues of these gems - always limited and expensive. But they've been worth the time, money, and effort for me at least. Perhaps this will be another title we will see? I hope so...

Here is the description that came from the dealer that was selling this (and where I got the sound clip, which is no longer available.... however for the clever amongst you, do a Google search and use the cache feature...).

"The monster Japanese progressive psych LP...!!!! Same series of "S.Tanaka - British Rock Live" LP by Teichiku label. Pink Floyd type progressive rock music. The arranger is Yusuke Hoguchi! He is the leader of People - Ceremony"Buddha meet rock"!! Sound Creation is a secret band. All band member's names are hidden. The inside of the sleeve has liner notes. Even the reviewer of the liner notes does not know it. However, I think the band is same of "Buddha meet rock."...! Because the arranger is Yusuke Hoguchi... If it is right, the guitarist is Kimio Mizutani!!!! This LP is really rare, so Pokora's book does not list this LP yet." 

Well there you have it. When he says "Pink Floyd type progressive rock music", he means "Ummagumma" era. This is the good stuff. Space rock with a psychedelic freakout backdrop provided by no less than the legendary resident freakmeister himself: Kimio Mizutani.

Priority: 1 or 2 (if it's like the track I heard, we'll go Priority 1... but for all I know Side 2 is a choral piece, or children's music, or God knows what. The Japanese albums from this period are crazy like that. Even if that's the case, it's worth a CD for the one side which is over 20 minutes long).

The AC has also chimed in regarding this band with his usual expertise on the Japanese scene: "As you suspected, it was your typical exploitation studio project that was so common at the time in Japan. It was indeed another Yusuke Hoguchi-led session (People, Mannheim Rock Ensemble, etc.), and was actually the second Sound Creation LP. The first one was also released on Teichiku (in '71) and was called (wait for it...) "Progressive Rock"! (scan attached). Anyway, both of these were basically covers/arrangement albums, but given the psychedelic "New Rock" makeover. As you might expect, the side that the dealer featured is the more interesting of the two. And both LPs, while they have their moments, are rather patchy. Other LPs of this ilk that are still not too well-known include the aforementioned "British Rock Live in Japan", a couple of the "Warner Beatniks" LPs featuring Kimio Mizutani and even one or two of the later, lesser-known Love Live Life records. Again, most of this stuff is fun but inconsistent, and not always as shockingly rare/expensive in Japan as certain dealers catering to western collectors make them out to be."

Monday, December 8, 2014

News: Garden of Delights to reissue Panko album soon!

Whew! A bit of relief here. It seemed Germany's best reissue label had disappeared into the ether without notice. This is the first we've heard from them since 2013. We had first announced that the Panko album had been added to their "Coming Soon" list back in Sept of 2012. So this is welcome news - and Panko is something I'm most interested in hearing what they will do with it. I just have a cassette dub (like everyone else I presume), and sonically it's pretty rough. Hopefully we'll see an improvement like we did with the Cosmic Circus tape. The music is outstanding, as would be expected from 1971 Germany. See below for label's description.

In addition to the Panko announcement, they are wrapping up their commitment to reissue Virus' "Thoughts" on CD as well. This will include the two bonus tracks that were also on the Long Hair LP reissue from last year. They're very short, so not worth getting for that alone, but I wouldn't mind upgrading my old Bernhard Mikulski CD from 23 years ago, and checking out their history section (which was also a nice addition to the LH LP).

GoD is also continuing to reissue their back catalog on LP, and they have a few titles selected. One curious one is the first Eela Craig, which they did in conjunction with Amber Soundroom about 10 years ago. I bought that one immediately, and it looked like a great investment, but it appears it may lose its value now with the new reissue (except for those that collect Amber Soundroom reissues I guess....). Oh well, I'm not selling mine in any case.

Still no word on the Missus Beastly "Space Guerillas" and Sunbirds "Zagara" reissues that were imminent two years ago. Hopefully they're still on the docket. I would love to get CDs of both of those.

Here's GoD's description of the Panko album: "Panko from West Berlin (not to be confused with the much later East-German band Pankow) musically reminds of Xhol Caravan or the early Embryo. The band mostly played long jazzy instrumental pieces, dominated by flute and alto saxophone, at times interrupted by mainly English vocals and some follies. The band existed from the late sixties 'til the end of 1972. During its active career the group didn't release any material, although they definitely had much potential. In 1983 their drummer (at last) released the cassette 'Weil Es So Schön Perlt'. This tape featured live recordings of good sound quality, dating from June 1971. Now here's a great CD-edition of that tape, enriched with two bonus tracks."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

News: Guerssen to reissue MacArthur's debut album!

Really good news here. We heard from Ben MacArthur recently, via the comment section on this very blog, and he informs us that Guerssen will be reissuing their debut on both CD and LP in the coming months! For years it was presumed the album was from 1973, but about 3 years ago, we were informed it was from 1979. I'll be a first day buyer!

Monday, December 1, 2014

News: Audio Archives releases archival Wooden Lion album

Typical. Nothing interesting for weeks, and in comes at least two interesting releases on the same day (still researching here). I know nothing about this one beyond the hype sheet provided by the label. Sounds good on paper anyway! Label screams:

"One of the rarest previously unreleased heavy psych album from the early '70s UK underground by the original five-piece band. Painstakingly re-mastered from the only surviving acetate, you get long, tripped-out tracks with an early Hawkwind feel, toughened by dark vocals that combine to make this a cosmic-doom classic. Highlights include the atmospheric 'Ice Maiden', the spaced-out 'She Paints Strange Pictures' and their notorious tour de force, the lengthy three-part 'McAlistairess Phantoms'.

Plenty of rare band shots, items of memorabilia and detailed sleeve notes included in this long lost forgotten classic."

News: Pseudonym reissues 1973 Dutch folk pop psych album Mayfly

On the fringes of what the CDRWL typically covers, but I thought many of you would be interested in this announcement. Nice to see Pseudonym pressing on, and we can only hope they'll eventually tackle some of the more obscure Dutch rarities that remain without a CD reissue.

Label says: "Like the insect that gave them their name, the Dutch group Mayfly existed for just a short while before disappearing. In their brief lifespan, though, they recorded one truly magical and timeless album, along with a handful of singles, all beautifully crafted and imbued with beguiling atmospheres and melodies. Formed in the late 60s in the northern coastal town of Bergen, Mayfly recorded their self-titled album for Ariola in 1973, working with Wally Taxs producer Martin Duiser. The album now sees its first ever CD reissue, dynamically remastered from the original master tapes. The original cover artwork has been expanded into a deluxe digipak and booklet featuring rare photos and liners notes by Mike Stax with input from the original band members. The album is an enticing blend of folk-rock and psychedelic pop with shades of the Idle Race, the Kinks, Fairport Convention and the Beatles. This reissue features nine bonus tracks, two demos, the non-LP singles Orphan Girl, Skew-eyed Jimmy, Quite A Surprise & Signed By The Time plus two alternate 45 versions of the groups first single, that jaunty, Ray Davies-inspired Blue Sofa. Folk-rock, Psychedelic Pop. Exclusively restored dynamic 24 bit remastering from the original master tapes. Deluxe digipak gatefold sleeve. 16 page booklet including rare archival photos & memorabilia. Rare archival photos included. Liner Notes by Mike Stax / Ugly Things."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

News: Nadavati's sole album to be reissued on Soleil Zeuhl soon!

Well this one certainly caught me off guard. We learned from Wayside's mailer today that Nadavati's sole album "Le vent de l'esprit souffle où il veut" will be reissued on CD soon. Certainly not typical fare for the Zeuhl biased label - but an album I'm very grateful they are reissuing and I will be a first day buyer! Our prior feature here.

News: Rudiger Lorenz's "Invisible Voices" reissued on Anthology

Thanks to a note (and photo) from regular contributor Eric, we learned that synthesist Rudiger Lorenz's debut LP from 1983 (who had one cassette prior) "Invisible Voices" has been reissued on CD from the Anthology Recordings label, which is the first time we've come upon the imprint. I admit to being woefully ignorant regarding Lorenz's work, but it's clearly within scope of the CDRWL. I couldn't make heads or tales out of the label's description, but I did find this review online that is more telling: "As rosy-fingered dawn cups Holbeck in its hands and thumbs open the new day's crack, I'm starting another mammoth review-a-thon with the gorgeous new age kosmische sounds of this meditative-yet-bustling reissue from full-time pharmacist/part-time synth wizard Rudiger Lorenz, which originally came out in 1983 (as did I).

It's a timely reissue, since so many of the current crop of synth explorers are so in thrall to the late '70s/early '80s sound. I've not encountered Lorenz's music before today but it's very impressive - lushly constructed synth meditations full of graceful drones and robotic pulses and softly unfolding melodies that to my ears falls somewhere between contemporaries JD Emmanuel and Tangerine Dream, but more melodically restless than either - in fact the latter's soundtrack work on films like 'Near Dark' often comes to mind because the nine pieces contained here are fairly succinct despite the "new age" nature of the softly trickling synth tones.

I get the feeling that the individual tracks are supposed to evoke the atmospheres of certain places. 'Out of the Past' has some staticky whooshes and a striding melody like Vangelis's beach run music from 'Chariots of Fire', 'New Atlantis' has strange dramatic space-swells, stumbling drum machine and a robotically processed female-voiced monologue. Sometimes the time and place he's trying to evoke is hinted at by the titles, such as the blissful 'Summer with Sonja' or the slightly Kraftwerk-esque 'Flight Over Greenland'. All in all it's a very enjoyable album, full of varied moods, easygoing melodies and vintage synths."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

News: Cybotron's debut to be reissued on Dual Planet

The Cybotron camp is quite active lately, and it was only a matter of time that the debut album would see the light of day. Thanks to a note from CDRWL friend Achim, we learned that Dual Planet intends on reissuing Cybotron's Clear Light of Jupiter debut on both CD and LP in November. Very good news!

The label also tells us to look for "Colossus" next year. The latter had already received a legit CD on the INAK (In-Akustik) label close to 25 years ago (I have it myself) - but the CD is very hard to find these days. However, as I research this title, it turns out to be an incomplete reissue, missing close to 10 full minutes off the original, though it does include a rare single. I never knew that until now! (And I have the original LP too - I should have known better). So the Dual Planet version will most assuredly be the de facto one to own, and I'll be certain to upgrade.

Dual Planet also promises to issue other unreleased material. So plenty of good news coming out of Australia.

Here's the label's description of Cybotron: "Part Man Part Machine, Cybotron was the synthesis of progressive rock and electronic music experimentation. Conceived by pioneers of the Australian electronic underground, Steve Maxwell Von Braund and keyboardist Geoff Green, together they produced a series of mind-altering cosmic albums throughout the 1970s which set the tone for the Minimal wave and electronic post punk scene of early 1980s Melbourne. Part Tangerine Dream, part Ash Ra Tempel, Cybotron channelled the spirit of Krautrock to create their own unique brand of throbbing Komische electronica rivalling the futuristic vision of their German counterparts. Dual Planet present the long awaited reissue of this landmark Australian recording. Issued as an exact replica of the rare 1976 Clear Light Of Jupiter LP, remastered from the original master tapes and includes new liner notes."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cathedral, USA (archival)

Cathedral - Epilogue. 1979

One type of album I haven't featured on the CDRWL in the past are archival works (studio / professional live recordings) that have yet to be issued on CD. I don't have too many of these, but the few I do have are mostly excellent. And perhaps other than Tortilla Flat's "1973 SWF Session", Cathedral's follow up to "Stained Glass Stories" is the best of the lot. The sad tale here is that the album was set for release, and then the band backed out. Both Rockadelic and Syn-Phonic had designs for a LP/CD release as far back as 1990. And this was when I was fed an advance copy on cassette (no track titles or album cover). To be clear, what I do have is definitely demo quality (including some rough live material from "Stained Glass Stories"), and maybe that was the issue from the band's perspective. Or perhaps there were higher quality tapes that I wasn't privy too. In either case, the album's release fell though, and I'm forever grateful to have received the crumbs, if that is indeed what this copy is. Musically, one can hear the band tighten the ship a bit from their debut, though it's still what one would call all-out progressive. Sort of like taking Yes' "Close to the Edge" and handing it to Gentle Giant for further arrangement. When the band reformed in 2007, I pointedly asked about this release on a public chat forum. Their response? None. They purposely ignored me. I tried again, but they had no intention of engaging on the topic, so I gave up my quest. I've heard varying accounts as to why the album never saw the light of day, but as you might suspect, it's all of a personal nature. The tragedy in all this is that the music is absolutely brilliant. One does wish they'd all have a few beers, and reconcile. It appears that won't happen though. Tragic, I think, is the appropriate word to apply here.

Priority: 1

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News: Probe 10 reissue on Lion imminent!

We've announced this prior, but given that it's coming out about 8 months later than expected, it's worth restating. Personally, this is near the top of my CD want list, so I'm quite excited about it. I did manage to pick up the original LP in the last year thanks to Midwest Mike. And the CD is going to be housed in a mini-LP jacket with a color booklet!

Here's a couple of reviews for the album: "This masterpiece crawled up my spine like a kundalini snake and proceeded to take the top of my head off. Probe 10 are unquestionably linked to a very specifically American form of proto-prog-into-jazz-rock synthesis of the precise sort Elektra Records used to specialize in, from Tim Buckley's Starsailor to David Stoughton's Transformer. Toss in trumpet fanfare laden acid psych straight out of the C.A. Quintet songbook, the riotously melodic and dense brassy arrangements of McLuhan... and...well...hold on to your hookahs!" -Mutant Sounds 

"Unique jazz-rock album with major space-rock vibes. You have to love the way the bass counters the effects-laden guitar solos and heavy fuzz. Considering how many loner folk and hard rock private press albums came from the same time period, discovering something this ambitious and unusual is a real kick. Most of the time, it sounds like the world's best exploito-jazz record, Herb Alpert filtered through Pink Floyd and Quiet Sun." -Acid Archives

For my own deranged review, see my UMR entry.

Monday, September 1, 2014

News: Havenstreet's very rare album "The End of the Line" to be reissued on Sommor

News coming out of Spain is that Sommor Records will be reissuing the very obscure 1977 album from Havenstreet. This was one of those albums, that after first hearing about it, I turned every stone over looking for a copy. Finally I got a chance to hear it in 2005 at Meister Dirk's pad. What a disappointment. Of course I'd been told it was a Canterbury like record, so my expectations were not set properly. It's not Canterbury at all (except maybe the vocals which vaguely recall Richard Sinclair). But it is a folk rock album - and that genre has many fans. So I think this title will be well received by those who love obscure folk rock. I've heard many people praise this record, beyond collectors looking to profit. I had this one only in the main list prior.

This double CD will feature two unknown cassette releases as well as rehearsals for the album proper and a lost 4th album from 1979. These collectively will be known by the title "Perspectives".

This is the CDRWL's first encounter with the Sommor label, but it appears they are in the Guerssen circle. All looks above board to me. Here's the label's description:

"The genesis of Havenstreet goes back to 1969, when Phil Ridgway and Jeff Vinter played in The Gas, an experimental psychedelic band heavily influenced by Barrett-era Pink Floyd. The two friends started to write songs their own songs, ending up as a folk duo. With the offer to record some of their material at a friend’s studio, they recruited more musical friends…so Havenstreet was born. The influences had expanded now to bands and artists such as Peter Hammill, Strawbs, Traffic, Procol Harum, Stackridge, Keith Tippett, Bert Jansch…In the early-mid 70s they recorded a couple of albums which circulated as private cassettes among friends and relatives. In 1977, Havenstreet released “The End Of The Line”, a self-released album in a private edition of 250 copies. It was collection of very English songs with evocative, literate lyrics and a stunning progressive folk-rock sound. It featured one of the earliest known tributes to Syd Barrett on the song “When the madcap meets the world”. 

This expanded double set reissue of Havenstreet’s sought after album includes: 

*The original “The End of the Line” album from 1977. 

*A new album called “Perspectives” which presents the best tracks from the privately pressed cassettes The Autumn Wind (1974) and Transition (1976) plus rehearsal recordings for The End of the Line (1975/1976) and previously unreleased recordings for the group’s projected fourth album (1979), which was never completed. These amazing tracks range from electric acid-folk to Barrett-esque psych-pop, pastoral folk and Caravan styled prog-rock. 

*16-page LP-sized booklet with photos and detailed liner notes. Remastered from the original master tapes. 

“Attractive songs combine with relaxed, amateurish male vocals and intricate lyrics to form a coherent work with a clear personality. Stylistically it’s reminiscent of melodic, rural-prog-rock like Caravan or Hatfield & The North, with occasional flute and sax ornaments. A few tunes with full guitar-rock setting betray a possible Richard Thompson influence”- Patrick Lundborg (Galactic Ramble) 

“…Combining the back-to-basics acoustic feel of the nu-folk generation with a swirly, psychedelic vibe, ”The End of the Line” could actually be an album that was made in 2014. But this album was privately released in 1977. Now finally remastered and brought into the present, the retrospective feeling is amplified and should appeal greatly to fans of 70s folk and progressive music. This reissue is a must have even for the lucky few who own an original copy of the album as it comes with a bonus disc, ”Perspectives”, that compiles non-LP tracks from 1974-79. The quality of the extra material shines through…” – Michael Bjorn (Strange Days Magazine) 

Tracklist: THE END OF THE LINE: German Castles - When The Madcap Meets the World - Old Ways and Schooldays - Music in the Night - Suspended Animation - The H.S.B Song - Yesterday Was Summer – Rain - The Castle - Out of the Fireglow - The Keeper of the Tower - The Photograph - After Time 

PERSPECTIVES: Aftermath - Falling Leaves In Autumn - Fat Old Engine - Family Laughter - Just An Illusion – Klok – Damascus – Grasshopper - Your Not Being There - The Ballroom Of Despair – Aftersong - Village Vespers"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Update: Fireballet reissues to obtain release in the US on Inner Knot

Much more information has surfaced regarding the reissues of Fireballet since we last reported on it. Thanks to a note from TheH this morning, and a further discussion with Laser Ken, we have learned that the Fireballet albums will be coming out in the US in September on the King Crimson specialist label Inner Knot. And, as it turns out, band member Jim Cuomo's wife runs Inner Knot, so now it's all making sense. As far as production goes, it was remastered by Larry Fast, so it should sound fantastic.

The official blurb on Facebook says: "We here at Inner Knot are proud & excited to announce the long awaited release dates for Fireballet's "Night On Bald Mountain"… newly remastered by Larry Fast… August 25th for Japan & Sept 16th in the USA… stay tuned for info on when to pre-order!"

We also have learned that the band was unsatisfied with the "Two, Too" cover (if I said that was understandable, it would be a gross understatement I think), and so expect new artwork for that as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

News: Both Storm (Spain) albums reissued by Arabiand

Achim also let us know that both Storm albums have been reissued in a double CD set known as "Lost in Time" on the Arabiand Rock label. I was following the label intently for awhile, but it seemed they had stopped activity. So it's nice to see they are still in the game. This CD has been co-released by Musea as well.

The first Storm album was reissued by Lost Vinyl nearly 20 years ago, but the second never did get reissued. I've had "El Dia de la Tormenta" in the main list for some time thanks to Midwest Mike's CD-R contribution a few years back. I held it back from its own post since it's a bit out of range for this list (more of a straight forward hard rock album), though it's more progressive than the debut actually.

News: Atmospheres / Clive Stevens now on CD

I had a few folks mention this one to me - including Gnosis Mike and Achim - while I was on vacation these past two weeks. I flat out just wasn't aware of this title, though it's obviously more well known amongst fusion fans, and as you can see by the label above, it's loaded with marquee talent.

The label is ESC who specializes in fusion. Their advert for the album goes on to say: "Saxman / keyboard player Clive Stevens from Bristol, England, was among the earliest to explore the nexus of jazzrock and electric jazz in his two 1974 albums. And both releases, “Atmospheres” and “Voyage to Uranus” have stood the test of time. “Atmospheres” was finished in one day with no rehearsals in New York City. This was a super session of the highest level with bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Cobham's only recording together outside John Mclaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The world class guitarists Steve Khan and John Abercrombie feeding off of each others' incredible talent, Ralph Towner on electric piano/ring modulator in awesome form and Harry Wilkinson added later on percussion.

The raw power of the session was electric, beyond belief. So don't expect to hear something mellow, this is dark, sometimes scary music for those late nights. Still compelling after all these year, something like a blast from the past.

“Atmospheres” is being re-released now after 40 years, first time on CD. Some of the compositions came from Clive’s original band in London called "CAPARIUS"."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Roland Hollinger, France

Roland Hollinger - Bardo Thodol. 1978 Scorpios

Here's another one from the CD-R revisit project that is being promoted from the main list.

The term Bardo Thodol is more commonly recognized as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Wikipedia summarizes as thus: "The Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. This interval is known in Tibetan as the bardo. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death, and rituals to undertake when death is closing in, or has taken place." So it's safe to assume the album shouldn't be played for laughs... As such, Roland Hollinger's debut album is primarily a haunting and dark electronic music that befits the solemn subject. Some accent instruments pop up here and there like guitar, piano, saxophone, and percussion - but primarily "Bardo Thodol" is a pretty bleak work as you might expect. I would say this is a logical companion to the two Jean-Baptiste Barriere albums from the same era. It's an album worthy of discovery, thus a CD reissue would be nice, especially for an album with these kind of dynamics.

Priority: 3

Hollinger has at least 4 other albums according to RYM (and 6 from Discogs), of which I know nothing about.

Monday, July 14, 2014

News: Fireballet's two albums to be reissued on CD finally! (but there's a but... of course there is)

Thanks to a comment from TheH, we've learned that these two star crossed albums will finally have ended years of absence on the (legal) CD market! Good news right?

Well maybe.

They are being done by Belle Antique of Japan. So there is good news in that these are legit. And they will be housed in the best possible album cover (their mini-LP jackets are superbly made). There is more possible good news that they may sound awesome. Or... they may not. Belle Antique's record is mixed on this front when they are the first to market, and that's because they don't do their own mastering - or at least they don't typically do their own mastering. Meaning they are reliant on the source provided them. Sometimes great (Old Man & The Sea, Speed Limit), sometimes not (Aquarelle, Eloiteron). I wasn't able to find any corroborating evidence on this reissue to research, but I know the source of the news to be valid. I'll buy it anyway and find out - and report back to the UMR site.

They should be available next month. The first album will feature 3 bonus tracks and "Two, Too", will feature... well duh... 2.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cynara, USA

Cynara - s/t. 1970 Capitol

Yet another one from the CD-R revisit project that had an entry in the main list. Nothing extraordinary, but not a bad album.

One of the more interesting American groups from the late 1960's was a Boston based band called Listening, who released one superb album on the Vanguard label. Cynara is the band that formed from the ashes of Listening. Their sole album is an eclectic mix, just as Listening was, but not near as groundbreaking, rocking, or exciting. The first side is pretty much straight up organ rock, while the flip is filled by two long compositions with a jazz piano/organ lounge feel throughout. Yet another USA major label album from the confused year of 1970 that stops short of meeting expectations.

As is often the case with major label albums that have never been reissued, bootlegs abound.

Priority: none

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hungry Wolf, England

Hungry Wolf - s/t. 1970 Philips

This one popped up on the CD-R revisit project, and I just had it in the main list prior.

Hungry Wolf's sole album is primarily instrumental pop-influenced soul jazz, with some splendid heavy Hammond organ courtesy of the Mohawks' Alan Hawkshaw. Loosely played electric guitar, simple rhythms, brass charts, and even some vocals which is fairly rare for an album like this. File alongside The Bigroup. The band is related to Rumpelstiltskin and Ugly Custard, the latter of which it is similar to musically.

It's a nice little obscurity, rare as hens teeth in original form, though nothing really that special. Naturally, given its rarity, the album has been often pirated. It would seem that a label who specializes in film library music may pick up on this one - even if that's not the main purpose of the album.

Priority: none

Monday, July 7, 2014

Michael Borner's Sun, Germany

Michael Borner's Sun - s/t. 1981 private

Following on yesterday's Atrium post, I thought I'd pull this one out of the main list - the archives as it were. It did come about via the CD-R revisit project. Like with Atrium, I received this from Midwest Mike - though he sent this one a few years ago, and I just didn't get a chance to give it its own feature.

Michael Borner is a lead guitarist and his band Sun is somewhat dominated by his playing. There's quite a bit of sax too, anything from Coltane-ish squeals to smooth jazz. You can also expect some punchy horns and orchestration too. The fusion on display here is fairly typical for the era - one that possesses a light, sunny, Caribbean influenced tropical sound. Jazz, funk, and yea, fuzak styles are all peppered in as it goes - along with a clear dose of fusion era Santana (and the guitar tones here carry a much needed psychedelic edge). I was reminded of the To Be album on the Brain label, as well as the Surgery album (that was recently reissued by Garden of Delights). A nice record, but nothing extraordinary.

This is a different band from the Sun that released one album in 1980 (and, like Surgery, was also reissued by Garden of Delights in recent years).

Priority: none

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Atrium, Germany

Atrium - Color Seed. 1979 BVB Records

And here's the final submission from MM's latest batch of CD-R's. Just when you thought you'd heard every German funky fusion band from the late 70s and early 80s, in flies yet another one - this time its Heidelberg's Atrium. Color Seed starts off in caricature fashion, with funky bass, 4/4 rhythms, flat vocals in English, and...... hand claps (oh, really, this is ghastly stuff). Yea, get down baby. Track two 'Southern Breeze' then sends us on our expected island vacation, and here we have an upscale sophisticated soft tropical number with wordless voice. Excuse me sir?... sir! Can I get another Mai Tai please? What? Oh sure, with the umbrella is fine.... Right. Track three gets us back into the darkened lounge for more funky business. I do like that they use trombone, an instrument not represented near enough in jazz fusion. Next song reintroduces vocals, but this time in German. Hmm... some nice psychedelic guitar tones, synthesizers, and organ here. Over a disco beat mind you, but maybe we're getting somewhere now. What will Side 2 bring? OK, this is more like it. Psych guitar, electric piano, and more complex meters. And then the next one adds in a bit of progressive rock (you can see where this is going can't you?). Time for the longest track 'Quasimodo Man', coming in at a full 7 and a half minutes. This one is a bit more typical hard edged fusion, with some trading licks of psychedelic guitar and synthesizer. 'Snail Bait' closes the album and brings us back to the island to ensure the party doesn't stop... or get too weird. 

Sort of a night and day album like Eik's "Speglun", but I'm afraid in this case, the highs aren't quite enough to justify a CD (for me anyway)

Priority: none

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pop Workshop, Sweden - International

Pop Workshop - Vol. 1 1973 Grammofonverket
Pop Workshop - Song of the Pterodactyl. 1974 Grammofonverket

It was over 8 years ago when I first received a CD-R for "Song of the Pterodactyl". If that were their only album, it most assuredly would have been part of my initial series of postings in 2009 and '10.  But I wanted to hear their debut album too, before compiling a post. Midwest Mike was kind enough to send it over twice - but unfortunately they ended up being the wrong albums (someone else is helping him dub these from his collection, and mixed them up accidentally). Meanwhile I was trying to secure my own copy via ebay, and would you believe I finished in second place... twice! It seemed my destiny was not to hear this album at all. Fortunately MM stayed with it - and the third time was a charm. And so, after a many year delay, we are able to finally present Pop Workshop.

On the same label (Grammofonverket) as the much recommended Ibis album, Pop Workshop are clearly a band operating in the raw jazz rock category (rather than fusion). Founded by two prominent Polish jazz members on keyboards and sax, Pop Workshop - over the course of both albums - features marquee name players such as guitarist Janne Schaffer, drummer Tony Williams, and bassist Mads Vinding. This is definitely music of the underground, and fans looking for slick fusion will have to look elsewhere. I would say Ablution - another international band based in Sweden - is probably the closest comparison here. "Song of the Pterodactyl" adds in the more trendy Herbie Hancock "Headhunters" era styled funk to great effect. Both are very good albums that are in dire need of a CD reissue.

Priority: 2

Friday, July 4, 2014

Clarox, Venezuela

Clarox - s/t. 1982 Mucer

This CD-R came in from Midwest Mike's last set. After he first told me about it, I expected the LP would be housed in a bleached white cover...

Clarox fit squarely in the Latin fusion camp, with electric guitar, electric piano, native percussion, tropical melodies and themes. The guitarist adds a psychedelic edge to his solos, giving the album a much needed lift in places. It's mostly instrumental, though there are a couple of vocal cuts that are to its detriment I'm afraid. Without this element, and perhaps if a bit more edge had been applied throughout, I think this one would have gone a half-point up. All the same, Clarox's debut is a fine album for fans of the Spanish fusion scene like Borne, Guadalquiver, Pegasus, and Iceberg.

Priority: none (borderline 3)

MM also informed me of a second album from Clarox, that he says isn't near as good.

Monday, June 30, 2014

News: Musea is back in the reissue business! Program starts with two Robert Wood albums

I'm not sure I could have better news than this! Francis Grosse has rejoined the Musea team, and they have big plans for many reissues to come. As we have stated many times in the past, no label has ever surpassed Musea in terms of the sheer amount of quality reissues. And they pioneered the right way to do reissues, by obtaining legal rights, working directly with the artists and writing historical essays, printing unique photos, and adding relevant bonus tracks.

Without Grosse, the label has focused on their contemporary roster, and as such have been pretty silent with reissues for the last 7 years or so. There's been a couple of false starts in the past, and I have maintained sporadic contact with Francis throughout. But this time it appears we have tangible evidence that reissues will be released soon!

I have received a sneak preview into what the future holds, and I have to say it is very (VERY) impressive. Not only for straight reissues (many of which are in CDRWL awaiting patiently), but also archival material. Up soon in fact will be an archival second album from one of my all-time favorite French bands. That alone gives me a new reason to live. I can only hope that everything I saw on the list gets released.

The program kicks off with Robert Wood's two Polydor albums from 1976/77. I actually haven't heard these myself, but appears they have a great reputation amongst fans with similar tastes to mine. The gimmick here is that Wood plays electric vibraphone in a traditional instrumental rock setting. Sounds good to me. As a bonus to each, there will be tracks spread across from an unreleased 3rd Polydor album.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The New Age, USA

The New Age - Neptuned. 1980 Microdot

I first found this LP in 1996 at Bananas Record Warehouse in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was in Tampa for some Oracle DBA training (this was back when I actually had applicable skills), and of course didn't miss the opportunity for a little record shopping while I was there. Brought home a nice stack of LPs from that venture (the record store is still active!), of which The New Age (from Atlanta) was a part of. I also hung out with my buddy, newspaper columnist Richard P (still there man?), who was kind enough to show me the Tampa beach music scene one evening.

I thought the record was good - perhaps not great - and my old buddy Heavyrock was dying for a copy at that time. So I dubbed it to cassette, sold him the record, and then off it went to the mists of time. That cassette eventually became a CD-R, and here we are doing the CD-R revisit project, and up comes The New Age. I said to myself that I should just go ahead and get the CD - it's a good progressive rock record. Worth owning.

Then I realized there was a problem with that statement. In 2007, I had announced on the original CDRWL (from my old thomashayes.com site) that The New Age is now on CD, and it goes under the name Jordan Oliver (he apparently wasn't fond of Larry Oliver or The New Age anymore). You could go to CD Baby and obtain a copy. Problem solved.

Ah... CD Baby. I really like the website, and I think they're very good business folks, with excellent customer service skills. But they do one thing that drives me nuts....

.... they do not distinguish between CD's and CD-R's. Even now, you can go to the site and they list it as a CD. Now I don't own a copy, but everywhere else, it's listed as a CD-R - and I just confirmed with an industry friend that it is indeed a CD-R.

Is that such a big deal? I don't know if it's a big one, but it's a deal breaker for me. CD-R's are an inferior product. You can burn them on your laptop, and while most hold up, I've thrown plenty of them away as they stopped playing. Not all CD-R's will run in the various systems out there. I've never had to throw a factory pressed CD away, even ones that are "bronzed" from the 1980s. They still work - and play everywhere.

If these things don't matter to you, then by all means grab the CD-R. It's 100% legit and was released personally by Jordan Oliver.

But as we state in the FAQ, albums stay in the CDRWL until they receive an actual CD. CD-R's do not count. So we're calling for a more professional reissue.

The New Age is not the only album in this state, and there are a few more I'll be adding back in as I go. Some through the collection project and other via this CD-R revisit project.

Oh.... The music on The New Age is a decent classically inspired keyboard symphonic progressive rock work. A sound very much out of vogue for 1980 - similar to 1970 era ELP and, more to the point, The Nice.

Priority: 3

Friday, June 27, 2014

Late Nite Music Band, USA

Late Nite Music Band - s/t (EP). 1982 private

Here's another one from Midwest Mike's last submissions. Prior to this entry on the CDRWL, finding evidence of this album on the internet proved to be impossible (though there's some nice live footage on YouTube that I urge you all to check out - especially if you like to watch white groupies dance...). I have since added the album to Gnosis and RYM, and the photos here will be the only ones out in the cloud as they say.

Late Nite Music Band were from The Bronx, and this EP is their sole release. Musically they fit the late 70s and early 80s American style of instrumental funky fusion. I was reminded of Maine's Franklin Street Arterial from a compositional perspective, though Late Nite Music Band put more focus on guitar, slap bass, and electric piano rather than synthesizer and sax. The last track 'First Meeting' features some fiery psychedelic guitar, giving the album the rough edge it needs. Fortunately, this is one of the songs you can hear the band play live on YouTube. It's pretty cool - check it out.

Priority: none (though if they have more studio archival material such as 'First Meeting' sitting somewhere in a canister, I would bump this up as high as a Priority 2).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bodkin, Scotland

Bodkin - s/t. 1972 West

(sigh). Bodkin is another album that has recently come up in the CD-R revisit project, and after some thought, I decided to give it an entry into the CDRWL. Like some of my CD-R's, this is an album I once owned (in this case a reissue), but decided to part with it - primarily because it was an inferior product, moreso than a true evaluation of the music itself.

So, as mentioned above, if I had a reissue already, why place it here? Well - good question, and perhaps not an easy answer will follow. Some of you are most likely expecting me to say "because they are all boots, that's why." But that's not the case here.

The first photo is the actual LP. It was not issued with a cover - or if it was - only a plain white sleeve. The story goes then that a West German dealer in the 1980s bought the remaining stock, and created a cover for it to make it more attractive to potential buyers (second and third photo - though the label itself is different making that story seem a bit suspect). In 1989, the German label Witch & Warlock debuted their catalog with a CD reissue of the album (4th photo). Ah, but you say, I know Witch & Warlock is a pirate concern. Perhaps they ended up making poor decisions, but they didn't start out that way. Witch & Warlock are in fact the same guys behind the German Oak album. And I think we can safely presume they did not bootleg their own privately released album. To this day I own that version of the German Oak CD, and it's without question authentic and most certainly the best copy to possess. The next CD on the label was Dom's Edge of Time, and while I later upgraded to the Second Battle versions (LP and CD), it's pretty apparent from the short notes on the CD that the members knew each other. Most everyone accepts this version as legit (though the sound wasn't improved upon at all). This was followed by an archival German Oak album, and then finally they decided to try their hand at needle drops and foregoing obtaining legal permission. Those things are just so tiring after all... (confession: I still own their CD version of Diabolus and patiently await for a legit version to surface). Anyway, before they reissued their own album, they reissued three albums from Scotland including Soho Orange and Tentacle - both of these being archival releases. Most websites consider these to be legit. And it makes sense, when you consider the German connection to the Bodkin album, as mentioned above.

Problem is... that CD version is near extinct. Foolishly I did not buy it at the time (1989-1990), though I'd heard the album and had easy access to it. By the time I did got off my arse (2001?), all that was available was the Akarma releases. Once I saw the absolutely amazing multi-foldout LP cover that opens up to a cross, I had to have that version (5th photo). It seemed my patience had paid off. This most assuredly is the definitive edition right? Wrong! What an utter disaster of a reissue. A needle drop (fine), but with skips and scratches. C'mon, really? How stoned do you have to be? I eventually parted with it... and so that's why it's only on CD-R here at Casa Ashratom.

There is a legit LP that recently surfaced from England on the Acme label (2012). I wouldn't have high hopes for a sonic revelation, but it's probably the only way to own the album at this point. Unless...

...unless someone reissues it again on CD. Legit that is....

Priority: 3

Oh, the music you ask? It's been well documented, so I didn't feel the need to describe... but basically it's heavy organ rock with long tracks and plenty of jams including guitar - one of the better pure Hammond driven albums out there.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Felt, USA

Felt - s/t. 1971 Nasco

This entry comes as a result of the ongoing CD-R revisit project. I didn't feature it prior, since there exists a CD from a decade ago on the always gray area Akarma label of Italy. This one, like most of their US based releases, seems to be lacking in corroborating data as to the legitimate source. Rather than question the legality, we at the very least, are calling for a higher quality reissue.

Felt, from Northern Alabama, reminds me quite a bit of another band from the same region: After All (Tallahassee, Florida). Since Felt is two years on, the music has moved to a harder, bluesier rock sound. And so it's not quite as psychedelic and jazzy as After All, perhaps to its detriment. But tracks like 'Now She's Gone' and 'Destination' could have easily fit on the aforementioned album. Hammond organ and guitar are the main lead instruments here, along with the soulful bluesy vocals. Solid album from America's southeast region - an area not as well known for progressive music, and yet many bands did give it a whirl back in the day (and a few of those were on the same Nashville based Nasco Records). And most of those albums are well under the radar.

Priority: 3 

Please note our good friend Spacefreak's comment regarding an LP reissue: "(Felt has been) officially reissued in vinyl by the Greek Anazitisi label in 2012. A deluxe 180 gr vinyl + extensive 4 pages liner notes and containing a 7 inch with new tracks by FELT, on a more typical prog vein."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Child's Play, USA

Child's Play - s/t. 1979 Moonlight Records

Here's another album that arrived from the last CD-R pile sent in from Midwest Mike. I liked it so much, I immediately set out to buy an original copy, and lo and behold a sealed LP was up for auction on ebay at a cheap price. The photo above is indeed that copy (and fortunately the ring wear was only on the shrink wrap - which has now been safely removed and stored into a nice polyurethane sleeve). I've been so busy at work, that the LP arrived over a week ago, and I'm finely able to sit down to get a fresh and proper listen and pen an entry for the CDRWL.

Child's Play are an all instrumental progressive fusion band from Richmond, Virginia who successfully mix melodic and atmospheric composition with kinetic jazz school chops. Piano and electric guitar get the lion's share of attention, and the tracks move at a fast clip, keeping the listener's attention focused at all times. Plenty of excellent guitar solos, with some wah-wah applied to great effect. I really appreciate the psychedelic tones he achieves. The ivory tickling here is very impressive as well. The rhythm section does a great job of holding it all together with some crisp fills and meter shifting. Actual attention is paid to composition as well, so the album is not just a flimsy excuse for non-stop boring solos. For 70s fusion fans, this is a guaranteed hit. File alongside Genre (New Mexico), 3PM (North Carolina), and Momentum (California). Another great find from MM!

Priority: 2