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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Grodeck Whipperjenny, USA


The Grodeck Whipperjenny - s/t. 1970 People.

The Grodeck Whipperjenny were a Cincinnati based group, who also happened to be the backup band for James Brown during this period (and thus the album was released on Brown's People label). Without Brown at the microphone, the band obtained a chance to extend their compositional abilities. Not surprisingly, there's plenty of killer fuzz guitar fronted funk, but here it's mixed with an almost European progressive rock take on the Jefferson Airplane! So you get a mix of bands somewhere between Stark Reality and Sandrose or Julian's Treatment. Excellent album. Boots exist. They also have a second album under the James Brown that I haven't heard.

Priority: 2

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guruh Gipsy, Indonesia


Guruh Gipsy - s/t. 1975 private cassette.

Incredible progressive rock album with strong Yes overtones combined with the local Gamelan musical tradition. This album avoids the lounge music trap that many of their brethren suffer from. The best vintage progressive rock from Indonesia. Interesting to note that Guruh Gypsy were formed by the son of Soekarno, the former president who was ousted by the ruling president of that time, Soeharto (thanks to the comment below!).

Guruh Gipsy recently came out on LP by Shadoks, making its debut in that format. Like most albums from Indonesia, Guruh Gipsy's album was originally released as a cassette. I would expect to see a CD from Shadoks in the next few years, as they usually follow their LP issues in the digital format.

Priority: 2

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Norman Haines Band, England *** REISSUED ***


The Norman Haines Band - Den of Iniquity. 1971 EMI Parlophone

*** Reissued by Esoteric, October 2011 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hydravion, France ***REISSUED***



Hydravion - s/t. 1977 Cobra
Hydravion - Stratos Airlines. 1979 Carrere

*** Reissued by Cleopatra (USA) in 2016 as part of the Philippe Besombes Anthology ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kvartetten Som Sprangde, Sweden


Kvartetten Som Sprängde - Kattvalls. 1973 Gump

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Light, Netherlands


Light (Formation) - The Story of Moses. 1972 Barclay (also 1972 Brain).

Originally released in France as a single sleeve. Shortly thereafter it was licensed to Brain / Metronome in Germany and issued as a gatefold. The group is actually known as Light Formation per the historical liner notes on the back of the LP (I have both the Brain and Barclay originals and it's on both). The label on the original Barclay version calls them Light Formation as well, but the Brain label has it simply as Light.

Musically this is a grand scale attempt at interpreting the Biblical story of Moses. The vocal / narration segments recall the similarly minded Salamander of "Ten Commandments" fame. Fortunately most of the album is instrumental, with most of the musical sections handed over to the organist who does a splendid job of melodic soloing. Concerning the instrumental sections, same era Earth & Fire comes to mind. Plenty of flute, guitar, bells, etc... to augment the keyboards. A fine album, and the gatefold Brain version of the cover would make for a wonderful Japanese mini-LP.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Michel Madore, Canada



Michel Madore - Le Komuso a Cordes. 1976 Barclay.
Michel Madore - La Chambre Nuptiale. 1979 Egg.

The debut is a rather intense affair, with an instrumental wall of sound keyboard approach (and Madore has quite an impressive layout of analog keys), strumming acoustic guitars and an active drummer. Sometimes an accompanying instrument will solo, such as a violin. Strong release that recalls at once Klaus Schulze's more rock oriented works such as "Moondawn", along with Mike Oldfield and early Duncan Mackay ("Chimera"). One that hopefully ProgQuebec will release in the future.

I'm not as keen on the second album as it's a mite slow going with a pile of thin sounding polyphonic synthesizers to sit through. All the energy of the debut is lost here.

Priority: 2 (on the strength of the debut)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Memoriance, France



Memoriance - Et Apres. 1976 Europa.
Memoriance - L'Ecume Des Jours. 1979 Philips.

Relatively well known French progressive rock band, who are similar to other groups of the era like Atoll, Pentacle, Carpe Diem, Pulsar and even Shylock. There's a slight psychedelic air on the debut, whereas the second is a full blown concept album.

For years, this was on Musea's "coming soon" list, but it never materialized. Perhaps Belle Antique of Japan will pick this out of their archives, similar to what they did with the Speed Limit albums. Or maybe Musea will start the reissue engine themselves. We can hope?

Priority: 1 (for Et Apres)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alain Markusfeld, France





Alain Markusfeld - Le Monde en Etages. 1970 EMI.
Alain Markusfeld - Le Son Tombe Du Ciel. 1971 EMI.
Alain Markusfeld - Le Desert Noir. 1976 Egg.
Alain Markusfeld - Platock. 1977 Egg.

"Le Monde en Etages" is a great psychedelic, proto-progressive type album. Has some of those unique French touches that penetrate most albums from there (effected vocal styles, weird sonic changes, experimental bits). Not to mention the sublime Hendrix styled guitar. Excellent.

More exploratory and adventurous than the debut, "Le Son Tombé du Ciel" is perhaps Markusfeld's finest work within a creative period that spans throughout the 1970s. He continues his love affair with Hendrix, and the psychedelic blues rock numbers on here prove it. But there's a new dimension added, one that is based in experimentalism, jazz, and folk. These latter elements show up in the incredible pleasant atmosphere, rather than as dissonant noise. In fact the last track 'Eve' is immensely beautiful, the female wordless voices taking you to a different world. This latter track seemingly the blueprint for the Lourival Silvestre "Fiction Musicale" album that would come along a few years later. Overall, an album that is very French, and I mean that as a high compliment. The album is housed in an incredible textured (single sleeve) cover and would be an excellent Japanese mini-LP candidate.

 After 5 years of silence, Markusfeld reinvented his career as primarily a fusion guitarist, but with far more melodic interplay than that might first imply, which I consider a major plus.

His last couple of albums (not listed) are of less interest.

Priority: 1 (based on the strength of the first 2 albums)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Micah, USA *** REISSUED ***


Micah - I'm Only One Man. 1971 Sterling Award

*** Reissued by Shadoks, 2013 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lethe, Netherlands


Lethe - s/t. 1981 M.M.P.

Following my post yesterday on Mirror, here's Lethe, the second incarnation of the band.

Lethe's album starts off rather inconspicuously with a classically oriented oboe, acoustic guitar and piano piece. But, just as Mirror before them, the band launches into a sophisticated, but highly melodic progressive rock form. And while Side 1 is good, side 2 is an absolute clinic on how to combine complexity and yet still maintain a strong melodic backbone. This is the album that Camel never made after "Moonmadness". Astounding album really.

Priority: 1

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mirror, Netherlands


Mirror - Daybreak. 1976 private.

One of the true European rarities that I was fortunate to hear as early as 1992 or so, and then eventually traded my way into an LP copy a few years later. Sometimes it's hard to be objective about big ticket items such as this. On one hand there's a tendency to say it's great, just because it's rare as hens teeth (though the internet has mitigated this effect somewhat). Then, on the other hand, there's the temptation to state all of these rarities are just amateurish wannabees, and the only reason it's a rare private release is because they weren't good enough to sign to a major. Of course, as with most things, the truth is found on a case by case basis, and the generalities rarely apply.

With Mirror, knowing full well my sympathies weigh heavily in favor of a positive outcome, and trying to be as objective as possible, I still feel it's a strong album based on merits alone. It certainly isn't a flashy release, and the compositions aren't going to win any Conservatory awards. But what they lack in academic pedigree, they make up for in naive sincerity. Mirror bring that intangible known as atmosphere, that certain something that special recordings possess. Make no mistake, "Daybreak" is seriously flawed, but that's part of its charm. Even in my most cynical musical moments, I find albums like this refreshing. A tier 1 album. Mirror evolved into Lethe, and even managed to improve on a similar methodology. I'll feature Lethe tomorrow.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

News: Canamii's Concept to be reissued in October!


Following Fresh Music's wonderful CD reissue of Duncan Mackay's "Chimera" comes news that Canamii's "Concept" album will be reissued this October. Canamii is probably South Africa's most overt attempt at symphonic progressive rock, right down to the Roger Dean-esque album cover. This will replace the shoddy bootlegs currently available.

Thanks to Mike M for the heads up!

Moira, Germany



Moira - Crazy Countdown. 1977 Schneeball.
Moira - s/t (aka Reise Nach Ixtlan). 1984 private. (We have a very convincing case for 1981 here. See comments.)

Both of these would be ideal for a label like Garden of Delights or Sireena. There's been quite a bit of debate around the second album, and anyone from Alan Freeman to Christian Burchard have no idea of its origins.

Certainly one of the more obscure bands from the vast Gunderground, Moira were a fascinating progressive fusion collective formed by veterans of the Krautrock scene including Edgar Hoffman (Embryo) and Butze Fischer (Missus Beastly, Guru Guru, Embryo). Both their albums were recorded for the Schneeball label, the record consortium setup by members of Embryo and Missus Beastly. Musically, Moira fit snugly into the label’s distinct school of fusion and are part of the German “M” scene of jazz rock groups (Morpheus, Missus Beastly, Mosaik, Munju).

For the debut, “Crazy Countdown”, Moira explored many of the areas that were popular at the time, including Latin-tinged jazz fusion (“Para Jofrey”, “Spain Mandala”), Eastern meditation journeys with sitar and flute (“Smile”), acoustic seriousness (“Gemini”), acid cosmic space rock (“Always Later”), lounge funk (“Mata Meme”), even post-Miles Davis intense jamming (title track). During this era, the band were clearly lead by guitarist Jorgen Kanwischer, who is credited with scoring all the compositions as well as being the sole instrumentalist on “Gemini” and “Always Later”.

Six years later the group had completely changed hands (see below for more explanation) and actually took on an older, more retro sound when absolutely no one was doing that in 1984. In an era when every band had the most tin-sounding, Casio-like, digital keyboard and every guitarist was going for the pig-squeal guitar hero motif, could a band possibly put an album out with Hammond organ, Moog and wah-wah guitar as its main ingredients? Sounding like a long lost recording from a smoky club in Hamburg, the band let loose with an unpretentious instrumental jazz rock album not found since the glory days of 1974. A truly astonishing release that beats their already excellent debut in every way. The title track opener is a side long exercise in organ, analog synth and guitar jamming with some incredible jazz drumming and a mighty fine bass player. This is followed by the short "Oase," a flute, drum and percussion piece that would not have been out of place on Yatha Sidhra’s album. Side two opens with "Kristall," a more fusion oriented piece with some dirty organ and guitar shredding. "Einsame Schatten", the only track with singing, follows with a blistering sequence that recalls the early Toto Blanke works. This track continues paradoxically with a funky jazz bit with German vocals recalling Embryo's "Bad Heads and Bad Cats" in their most silly mood. This section would be the album’s only misstep. The too short closer "Resume" recalls the ending of Virus’ Revelation album complete with echoed German recitation and acid guitars.

There’s been quite a bit of debate about this second album and its origins/authenticity. Anyone from Ultima Thule’s Cosmic Egg professors to Schneeball label owner/Embryo icon Christian Burchard have shrugged their shoulders and said “no idea?”. But the label clearly says Schneeball with a yellow background. The catalog number of 0025 was presumably used by polit-rockers Hammerfest on Hier Bei Uns, though careful steady shows that album was also on the Maulschnauz label, causing even more confusion. Then there was the small matter that neither album shared similar members. However there is a link: Some copies of Crazy Countdown come with a detailed Moira newsletter. The then current lineup of the band (1978) had already evolved and included one Eberhard Bronner on drums, who is in fact on Reise Nach Ixtlan.

12/11/10 update: The mystery remains unsolved.

Both are absolute must owns for the serious Krautrock fusion collector.

Priority: 1

News: San Michael's (pre Kaipa) album to be reissued on Belle Antique


On September 25, Belle Antique of Japan will be reissuing San Michael's debut album for the first time ever. San Michael's is Hans Lundin's (organist for Kaipa) first group. They also mention reissuing a second album called "Nattag", which I'm guessing is an unreleased album, since there's no mention of it anywhere, including the Swedish rock encyclopedia.

Not really an essential album, but one I think fans of early Swedish blues rock may enjoy. Here's our original entry for this title:

"San Michael's - s/t (Sweden) 1971 California. San Michael's is a typical early 70s song-based organ rock band with Swedish vocals, with an occasional creative instrumental to keep it interesting. Most notable for featuring Hans Lundin (Kaipa) on organ, though this isn't anywhere near the progressive rock sound of his next venture."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Het Pandorra Ensemble, Netherlands *** REISSUED ***


Het Pandorra Ensemble - III. 1978 Disaster Electronics

*** Reissued by Modulus, summer 2011 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Monday, August 17, 2009

Panta Rei, Sweden


Panta Rei - s/t. 1973 Harvest.

Panta Rei are a difficult group to describe. On the song front, they are relatively weak. It appears they're going for a US West Coast psych sound mixed with a dash of Wishbone Ash thrown in. But the instrumental sections, with emphasis on guitar soloing, is absolutely extraordinary. And fortunately the last 70% or so of the album is primarily instrumental. Closest band I can think of when they're in this type of jamming mode is the Dutch group Cargo, who are one of my personal favorites. I'm sure it's the dual guitar setup that makes me think of this. Last track's ethnic approach gives off a whiff of Kebnekaise as well. As an aside, definitely not an easy cover to look at.

I've been expecting Mellotronen to reissue this for years. Maybe one day they will. Multiple bootlegs exist.

Priority: 2

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Alain Buro, Belgium


Alain Buro - Fume, C'est du Belge. 1975 Omega.

Multi-instrumentalist Buro leads this interesting Brussels based rock group. Primarily in the singer-songwriter tradition (vocal heavy), all in French, but with breaks that recall the progressive rock masters. Hard to avoid comparisons to groups like Ange and Mona Lisa, though Buro's work is more straightforward than that might imply. Hints of folk and even AOR can be heard.

Overall a nice record, that will appeal to fans of French language rock.

Priority: none

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pinguin, Germany


Pinguin - Der Grosse Rote Vogel. 1971 Zebra.

One of the first bands on Achim Reichel's Zebra imprint for Polydor.

Flute/electric sax/organ/guitar with complex rhythms and superb vocals (in German) define this still criminally unknown prog record. Even has one experimental Ohr style Krautrocker. File along with Ikarus, Prof Wolfff, Nosferatu and Murphy Blend.

Bootlegs exist. This is one that would do well in the reissue market I think. I could actually see Esoteric taking this one on for their Reactive footprint.

Priority: 2

Friday, August 14, 2009

Placebo, Belgium *** REISSUED ***




Placebo - Ball of Eyes. 1971 CBS
Placebo - 1973. 1973 CBS
Placebo - s/t. 1974 Harvest

*** All 3 reissued by P-Vine, December 2011 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plat du Jour, France


Plat du Jour - s/t. 1977 Speedball.

Simply, a super album. Great throbbing bass, fuzz guitars, organ, sax, madcap vocals and deep grooves. It's so VERY French in sound but with an almost Italian progressive approach to songwriting. Takes a few spins to penetrate, but the end result is fantastic.

Priority: 1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Polyphony, USA *** REISSUED ***


Polyphony - Without Introduction. 1971 Eleventh Hour

*** Reissued by Gear Fab, July 2011 ***

moved to UMR

Priority: 1


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Red, England


Red - s/t. 1983 Jigsaw.

This was released amongst all the other New Wave of British Progressive Rock albums (now known as Neo Prog). But Red were nothing like IQ, Twelfth Night, Marillion, Haze, etc... nor were they like mid period King Crimson ala their name. Nope, this is a very strong instrumental fusion oriented album, with some early 80s keyboard sounds. What separates this album from the pack is the ferocious guitar playing, and the outstanding melodies. I bought this on LP in London when it came out, and it's still one of my favorites.

Priority: 1

Monday, August 10, 2009

Catherine Ribeiro, France *** REISSUED ***


Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis - s/t. 1969 Festival.
Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - No. 2. 1970 Festival.
Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - Le Temps de l'Autre. 1977 Philips.
Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - Passions. 1979 Philips.

*** No.2 Reissued as part of a box set released by Mercury in 2012 ***
***The remainder were reissued as part of a 9 CD box set from Mercury in November 2015 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Claudio Rocchi, Italy


Claudio Rocchi - Essenza. 1973 Ariston.

Some of the Rocchi albums are out on CD, but this, his best album IMO, is still elusive. On "Essenza", the first track has phased voices, tablas, droning synthesizers (similar to Battiato's early work) and a little child's voice reciting something in Italian. This reminds me of Picchio dal Pozzo on their debut and sends chills down my spine. Other tracks have flute, sax, organ, piano and quite a bit of acoustic guitar strumming. Rocchi sings in a very unique way, though not that dissimilar from others of his ilk in the 1970's Italian songwriter scene. In fact, parts of this remind me of Sergius Golowin's album with an obvious stoned vibe (the phasing has a lot to do with this perception).

Priority: 2

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saga, Sweden


Saga - s/t. 1974 Sonet

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1

Friday, August 7, 2009

News: Duncan Mackay's Chimera out on CD!!!


This is BIG news for the CD Reissue Wishlist, and one of our Priority 1 wishlisters. Fresh Music, who are based in South Africa, and have already provided us with most of the great South African progressive rock releases (Freedom's Children, Abstract Truth, etc..), have released "Chimera" on CD with a 7 minute bonus track from 1990. It is our opinion that "Chimera" is the single greatest progressive rock album from South Africa. The picture is the CD cover and a slightly altered rendition of the original surrealistic LP cover, which I'm fortunate enough to own thanks to a good friend of this site.

Awesome.

Gunter Schickert, Germany *** REISSUED ***


Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel. 1974 private. Also 1975 Brain (green label)
Gunter Schickert - Kinder in der Wildnis. 1983 YHR (cassette). 1987 Auracle (cassette and later CD-R).

*** Samtvogel reissued by Important in 2013 ***
*** Kinder in der Wildnis reissued by Bureau B November, 2013 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1

Thursday, August 6, 2009

News: Swiss group Circus to have debut album reissued (NOT!)



Sadly this did not happen :-(

Finally! According to their website, Sireena Records of Germany, the same label that recently reissued the debut Sky albums by Octopus, Shaa Khan, and Harlis, amongst others, will be releasing the debut album by the Swiss prog group Circus in October. Decoder reissued "Movin On" in 1992, fell quickly OOP, and there hasn't been another legit reissue of Circus' four albums since then. So this is great news for fans of the band (like myself). Hopefully Sireena will go about reissuing the remainder of their catalog, including a reprint of Circus' recognized masterpiece "Movin' On".

Scope, Netherlands



Scope - s/t. 1974 Atlantic.
Scope - II. 1975 Atlantic.

Exactly the type of instrumental progressive rock I like. Has a slight jazz edge, and rocks hard with plenty of great guitar, Rhodes and flute solos. Like a cross between Finch, Secret Oyster's "Sea Son", Bill Connors era RTF, and the Swedish band Energy. Both albums are smoking hot!

Ken at the Laser's Edge tried to reissue these awhile back, but ran into some brick walls.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sensations' Fix - Franco Falsini, Italy *** REISSUED ***







***06/10 Update: All of these are now available as part of 6 CD sets (Vol. 1- Vol. 6) of various Italian progressive rock albums. Not ideal, but technically they've been reissued***

Sensations Fix - s/t. 1974 Polydor.
Sensations Fix - Portable Madness. 1975 Polydor.
Franco Falsini - Cold Nose. 1975 Polydor.
Sensations Fix - Finest Finger. 1976 Polydor.
Sensations Fix - Boxes Paradise. 1977 Polydor.

How can it be that while most of the Italian progressive scene has been reissued, that most of the Sensations' Fix catalog has been ignored? Legal reasons I'm sure.

One of the best progressive space rock bands ever and "Portable Madness" sees the band at their pinnacle.

Along with Achim Reichel, Franco Falsini and troupe are probably the band that we receive the most requests for a reissue.

Polydor was successful in getting out their second album "Fragments of Light" (a low budget, bare bones reissue if there ever was one, so a new reissue would be most welcome), before Phonogram put the kibosh on progressive rock reissues. That was in 1994!

Until very recently, I didn't even know that Sensations' Fix had a self-titled debut album. Apparently it was a promo and not sold through stores (even though it does sport a unique cover as shown). It's a little more underproduced than the others, but unmistakably has the Sensations' Fix space rock sound. Much of the material represents earlier versions of songs that would later show up on "Fragments of Light".

I feel there's a distinct downward turn on "Boxes Paradise" and that's as far as I'll go for a reissue request. Completist's would probably be interested in "Flying Tapes" (1978), "Vision's Fuigitives" (1978) and "Antidote" (1980) as well.

I personally feel that "Portable Madness" is the single greatest album still yet to be reissued on CD legitimately.

Priority: 1

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sepi Kuu, Finland *** REISSUED ***


Sepi Kuu - Rannan Usvassa. 1980 Help

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1

Monday, August 3, 2009

Session, Finland *** REISSUED ***


Session - Unikuva. 1974 EMI/Odeon

*** Reissued by Rocket Records, August 2010 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 1