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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Noa, France *** REISSUED ***


Noa - s/t. 1980 private

*** Reissued by Soleil Zeuhl March 2011 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: none

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Noa, Japan


Noa - Tri-Logic. 1987 Pam.

In the 1980s there were a lot of Japanese progressive bands flying well under the radar (a few examples would be Nishin, Dada, Heretic, Saisai Koubou, Orpheus, Picaresque of Bremen - and many more). Noa would have to be considered in this group of bands. Musically a strong guitar fronted fusion/King Crimson hybrid, with typical 1980s era sounding keys. I've seen one Heldon reference in researching, but I don't hear it myself. Good album and worth seeking out.

Priority: none

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ose, France


Ose - Adonia. 1978 Egg.

Electronic progressive album with Richard Pinhas guesting on guitar, though not as dark as Heldon. A fine album that has so far escaped reissue. A good one for Soleil Zeuhl or Captain Trip.

Priority: 3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Psynkopat, Sweden


Psynkopat - Har Vi Någon Stil. 1978 Mistlur.

Primarily heavy progressive fusion mixed with experimental bits and a dollop of humor. If that sounds familiar, then yes, Psynkopat are indeed influenced by "Waka Jawaka" era Frank Zappa. The highlight of the album is the instrumental work, which remarkably manages to stay focused, with some fiery guitar - again emulating Zappa at his best. The sophomoric goofball elements drag it down considerably though. Other Scandinavian references are Storm (Sweden) and Dr. Dopo Jam (Denmark).

Priority:3

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

News: Horrific Child's very rare album coming out on Finders Keepers!


Finders Keepers is a London based label that specializes in albums with cult like followings. Mostly in the psych / funk / avant garde realms. For us at the CD RWL, they are most known for their reissue of Jean Claude Vannier's excellent "L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches". And to date, the label has been flirting with what must be considered the ultimate figure of the "cult-like following": JP Massiera. We've covered many of his albums on these pages. And no album from the master has the reputation of his Horrific Child "L'Etrange Monsieur Whinster" opus.

Our description found on the original page: "Horrific Child - L'Etrange Mr. Whinster (France) 1976 Europa. Where would the music world be without Jean-Pierre Massiera? It certainly would be a more dull place without him. Everything he was involved with can only be described as obscure. And now he's the undisputed king of the 1970's Euro oddball chase. And of all the albums he did, Horrific Child remains his most sought after, and arguably most eccentric release ever. The musical realization of a psychotronic B-Movie classic. If this were a movie, it would be on at 3:00 in the morning, on your cities' last standing UHF local station. "L'Etrange Mr. Whinster" defines Massiera's niche in life. Insanely great cover is begging for a Japanese mini-LP release."

The label says: "Part rock album, part experimental album, part imaginary horror soundtrack, L'étrange Monsieur Whinster is a psychedelic pop audio show, flowing naturally from one surprising sequence to the next. Horrific Child was the creation of one Jean-Pierre Massiera, also the composer behind the Les Maledictus Sound project from 1968. Les Maledictus Sound were an inventive, high-brow concoction of lounge-style instrumental mod big band music, with heavy brass, plucky bass and fuzz guitar. Horrific Child is certainly the logical stylistic next step from that record, evidence of the composer's having survived several years beyond the psychedelic era."

It looks like it's coming out on both CD and LP. Rarely do I take the LP reissue option, but I might in this case. Or both. It appears it will have two bonus tracks as well.

Resan, Sweden


Resan - s/t. 1973 Epic

Moved to UMR

Priority: 3

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Syncrisis, Germany



Syncrisis - Reflections In Musical Power. 1981 private.
Syncrisis - Sunny Crisis. 1982 Inside.

Syncrisis were led by guitarist Titus Köstler-Philipp, and his superior technical playing on "Sunny Crisis" is featured throughout. Similar to other German fusion bands at this time like Lindwurm, but with more emphasis on the smoking guitar. I also hear some of the same type of sounds as on the Red album (1983 UK - also featured on these pages), which may be the first time I've ever said that. With the technical, and fast, playing on the guitar, one can't help but to compare "Sunny Crisis" to Al Di Meola's best work like "Elegant Gypsy" or "Casino". The debut "Reflections in Musical Power" isn't quite as successful. Here Syncrisis trades in on some jazz fusion cliches like swapping guitar/keys solos, breezy tropical themes and the requisite tedious drum solo. Would be nice to see both of these on the same CD. Köstler-Philipp is still playing today and his latest group is called Dokapi.

Priority: 3

Monday, January 25, 2010

El Trio (Lapouble / Lew / Cevasco), Argentina


El Trio (Lapouble / Lew / Cevasco) - Todo En Su Medida y Armoniosamente. 1974 Music Hall.

Highly inventive, and primarily instrumental, guitar trio with fuzzy electric and some well placed acoustic bits. The two tracks with female vocals are the highlights, and add to the jazzy psych allure of the material. Like a looser, more improvisational take on the second El Reloj album.

Priority: 3

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Virgin's Dream, Germany


Virgin's Dream - Sophisty. 1980 Elm Records.

A few years ago, I received a package from Rolf Trenkler, former leader of Virgin's Dream. It contained a CD compiled from unreleased demos called "The X-Tapes" and dated primarily from 1972 (and I reviewed it for Gnosis). But there was no mention of this "Sophisty" album (maybe because he wasn't on it)! In fact, I see no similar members between the 2 albums. A similar thing happened with the band Moira, and yet there was a tie-in, just not on album. So this certainly could be the same band. The Krautrock-Musikzirkus website lists them together, as a band from Essen. But the history provided is strictly from "The X-Tapes" era. In any case, I never knew of its existence until a good friend of this site recently provided me with a CDR burn. Virgin's Dream, on "Sophisty" at least, are very much a product of the late 70s and early 80s German fusion scene. Perhaps a bit more tropical, and funky, than most. Comparisons to Michael Borner's Sun or some of Syncrises' work wouldn't be out of line. As usual, the guitar work is exemplary, a trademark of the time and place.

Priority: 3

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vildkaktus, Sweden




Vildkaktus - Tidsmaskinen. 1970 MNW.
Vildkaktus - Vindarnas Vagar. 1971 Polydor.
Vildkaktus - Natten. 1973 Ljudspår.

The first two albums are like a Swedish Crosby Stills and Nash, especially around CSN's debut. Which means some jazzy sections, that adds flavor to an otherwise bland dish. Also some peppy Yes-like progressions circa "Time and a Word". Lyrics in Swedish add an exotic vibe (for us English speakers anyway). Nice album cover on "Vindarnas Vagar". A couple of swell albums here. I haven't heard "Natten", but gather it's similar.

Priority: none

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tamarisk, England *** REISSUED ***



Tamarisk - s/t. 1982 private. Cassette only release.
Tamarisk - Lost Properties. 1983 private. Cassette only release.

*** Both reissued on CD by the band in December, 2012. ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seedog, Germany


Seedog - We Hope to See You. 1974 Delta Acustic.

On a label most known for two highly regarded avant Krautrock albums - Code III and Sand - Seedog couldn't be more different. This album has a poor reputation, most likely a reaction to the fact its not anywhere near the same style of the two aforementioned bands. It's not Krautrock in the traditional style, yet many of the elements are present: Soaring flute, long tracks and loud guitar solos. It would be passable as an album on Brain, perhaps a companion piece to albums by Cornucopia, Lava and Satin Whale. "We Hope to See You" is song oriented, with way too many vocals in accented English. But its surprisingly listenable with a chugging acoustic guitar driving the generally happy tone of the album. Had Agitation Free added a multitude of vocals after their "Second" album, then I could imagine Seedog coming from that. And, as it turns out, a former Agitation Free member indeed is a member of Seedog. Much better than I expected.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alain Renaud, France



Alain Renaud - s/t. 1975 Disjuncta.
Alain Renaud - Out of Time. 1976 Disjuncta.

Alain Renaud played on some of the early Heldon albums, and his sound on these albums (especially the debut) is somewhat similar. The first album features long drifting cosmic pieces of electronics and guitar. Not as menacing or as immediate as Pinhas' works. I've had the first Renaud album since the mid 1980s, so I have a sentimental soft spot for it. "Out of Time" is a completely different affair. Here, Renaud mixes instrumental rock fusion with some vocal oriented tracks (extremely ill advised I must add) that have me coiling in despair. There is one longish electronic piece similar to the debut, that's quite nice. A reissue of the first, with a couple of bonus tracks taken from the second would be ideal.

Priority: 3 (for the debut)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pancake, Germany *** REISSUED ***


Pancake - No Illusions. 1979 Blubber Lips

*** Reissued by Garden of Delights, January 2013 ***

Moved to UMR

Priority: 3

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ocean, USA


Ocean - Sunrise. 1982 Ocean Sound Records.

A nice mixture of early 1980s fusion and 70s style horn rock. Definitely anachronistic for the era. I never tire of hearing trumpet in a rock setting, and this one rocks out more than you'd expect. Some excellent guitar solos. File alongside the Genre album from New Mexico. The label is from Cincinnati, though we've been told the group was from Los Angeles. Not to be confused with any of the myriad of bands named Ocean.

Another classic from Midwest Mike!

Priority: 3

Sunday, January 17, 2010

News: Long Hair reissues Dzyan's debut PLUS an archival SWF recording



Long Hair has done it again. The French/German label continues its roll, and reissues the much sought after debut by Dzyan. There was a reissue back in 1999 on the Rock Fever label out of Germany. I wasn't ever entirely sure if it was legit or not, but there was just enough evidence to presume it was, so I never included it in the Wish List. Not sure if Long Hair addresses the situation on this reissue, but nonetheless the Rock Fever issue is long OOP, and this will most certainly represent the definitive issue. I plan on buying it again anyway. It doesn't appear it will contain bonus tracks.

Even more exciting, at least for me, is the announcement of a 1972 SWF Session titled "Mandala-SWF Session 1972", and according to the label most closely resembles the debut album - which is probably my favorite of the 3, though this would put me square in the minority (I like them all in any case).

Long Hair says "Dzyan recorded 3 albums between 1972 and 1974. Each album they released was quiet different. After the release of the first album the line-up changed and Eddy Marron was the new guitarist. The SWF-session reminds a lot to their first album. Dzyan played a slightly jazzy form of progressive rock with flashes of Zappa's Hot Rats and even some VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR saxophone- fronted diversions. These radio studio recordings are even more rock oriented then the first album recordings. There are five titles. 4 new compositions and a longer (11:00 minutes) and different version of probably the best title from the first album "Dragon Song". Steels Electric/Daddy Groove is a 15 minutes suite, very inventive and with great guitar playing by Eddy Marron. ZAZ has a great ethnic feel produced by fine Zaz (Turkish stringed instrument) also played by Eddy Marron and oriented rock rhythm patterns. Finally "Resurrection" was part of a one hour suite, Dzyan sadly never recorded. This recordings are among the best ever recordings at the SWF session studio. Remastered from the original master tape. Fine booklet with a cover painting by Helmut Wenske (never used before on a cover), band story, photos. A definitely must have! "

Napalis, Netherlands


Napalis - s/t. 1976 Negram.

Another interesting band on the Dutch Negram label (Finch, Crypto). Napalis are a pretty standard European fusion band with all the usual trappings (sax, electric piano, guitar). However, the sell point here is the ferocious pace and ripping guitar solos, a purposely more edgy sound than is typically heard from the era. One of the better albums in the mid 1970s fusion genre. Cool cover too.

Priority: 3

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Malon, Argentina


Malón (Juan Carlos Caceres) - "El Camino" "Dale Negro". 1972 Philips (French press) / London-Fontana (US press).

Title is presented just as on the cover. Essentially at its core, Malon is a Latin pop album in the grand Tropicalia tradition as would be more commonly found in Brazil during this period. Like Os Mutantes, Malon will on occasion conjure up the freaky underground with flipped guitar, echoed flute, droning organ and frenzied vocals. Elements of Los Jaivas, Bwana, Modulo 1000 and Santana all pop up here and there, for no other reason than to disturb your Corona advertised beach bliss. For this, we are grateful.

Priority: 3

Friday, January 15, 2010

Galie, Mexico


Galie - 1986. 1986 private.

Heavily influenced by "Snowgoose" era Camel, with flute and acoustic guitar in the center of the instrumental parade. Gotic's "Escenes" is another obvious reference. A bit slicker than their 1981 debut (lovingly reissued in a beautiful black clapboard case). Perhaps a bit too lightweight overall. A fine, if non-essential, release.

Priority: none

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gerardo Batiz, Mexico


Gerardo Batiz - Arlequin. 1982 private.

Very nice, mellow, electric progressive rock album. The wordless female vocals, approaching Zeuhl at times, defines this mature work. Piano and bass drive the music forward, and the contents are highly melodic. At times I'm reminded of some of the "lite Zeuhl" bands coming out of France in the 1980s like Foehn or Musique Noise. I even hear some Joe Jackson, and that's meant as a compliment. For me, it's better than all the aforementioned bands, and comes recommended. Very obscure release.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Claude Leveillee, Canada




Claude Leveillee - Black Sun. 1978 Polydor
Claude Leveillee - Contact. 1972 Barclay

Black Sun moved to UMR

5/9/12 update: Thanks to SF, I also had a chance to hear his 1972 "Contact" album. This album contains majestic orchestral instrumental music with a few rock elements. Predates what Vangelis would ultimately accomplish in the soundtrack market. A bit out of scope for our list, but worth mentioning.

Priority: 3 (for Black Sun)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kha-Ym, France


Kha-Ym - 10' GMT. 1979 FLVM.

Another one of those quirky DIY late 70s French albums. This one is based on primitive tinny digital keyboards, with real drums and a lot of imagination. Not really like any other album, closest might be to those Frenchies who veered towards the New Wave like Lievaux - Transfo or an instrumental SuperFreego maybe. Was scheduled for a reissue on the excellent Mio label, which is now boarded up.

Priority: none

Monday, January 11, 2010

Iris, France


Iris - Litanies. 1972 Sonopresse Connection.

Major label French pop/psych/le progressif. With cool organs, blistering fuzz, and Carnaby Street harmony vocals, Iris fools absolutely no one in trying to make the Hit Parade. But, this being French and all, it still sounds delicious, and references to other like minded crossover acts such as Alice's "Arretez Le Monde", MOTUS and Atoll's "Musiciens-Magiciens" would not be entirely out of line. Beautiful lilac cover art.

Priority: 3

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Heaven, USA


Heaven - s/t. 1969 W.W. Records.

Underground horn rock / psych album with delicious fuzz leads and cool roller rink organ sounds. Nice trumpet and trombone horn charts. Also some standard blues psych tunes as well. Interesting cacophonous freak out ending. This Nebraska band is not to be confused with the brass rock group from England.

Priority: none

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Leticia Garcia, Brazil


Leticia Garcia - Magamaquiaverica em Canturbano. 1984 private.

Very interesting release that is a smorgasbord of styles. Samba, Canterbury, Zeuhl, Chamber, Jazz, RIO, etc... Female vocals (anguished, narrated, softly sung), woodwinds, horns, piano, bass and drums. References include Julverne, Cos, Henry Cow, Noa, Gerardo Batiz, Bandhada, Noetra and others. One of a kind, that's for sure.

Priority: none

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Feed-Back, Italy *** REISSUED ***


The Feed-Back - s/t. 1970 RCA Italiana(released as "The Group". Official band is known as Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza)

Moved to UMR

Priority: 3

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eik, Iceland


Eik - Speglun. 1975 private.

This has to be the darnedest album I've ever heard. The first 3 tracks are.... abominable. I mean, it's worse than you can imagine. It's patterned after the USA's mid 70s funk and disco movements. One can only imagine a bunch of pasty uptight white guys from Iceland trying to pull this off. A complete embarrassment for all involved. Track 4 is a soft instrumental folk piece, followed by a pretty decent hard rock meets progressive long track 5 that closes the side is pretty good fashion. This leads to side 2, which is frickin' brilliant. Not just good - but seriously great! Some of the best symphonic progressive rock from Scandinavia, and better than most of their second, and highly recommended, album "Hrislan og Straumurinn" (which was reissued on CD years ago). I'm not sure I can think of another album that is this much Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Deja Vu, Germany


Deja Vu - Cosmic Zack. 1977 private.

A very obscure release from Germany circa 1977. Typical of many private releases from late 70's Deutschland, Déjà Vu attempt a Novalis style of progressive rock. The primary instrument is electric guitar and is accompanied by electric piano, sax, flute, bass and drums. There are also vocals with a traditional heavy Teutonic accent (some in English, some in German). Fortunately, side two eschews the vocals for a more energetic instrumental approach. Musically, the band plays a safe, straightforward and somewhat jazzy (especially side 2) progressive music with some well done guitar/sax work. File along with Credemus, Poseidon, Eden and a host of other German bands from the late 70's/early 80's (many featured here on this list).

Priority: none

News: Esoteric Jan & Feb 2010 releases

From Vicky Powell:

"
Cave of Clear Light -3Cd Pye and Dawn anthology with fab artwork. This was originally going to be a project by Mark for Universal in the same series as legend of A Mind, Spirit of Joy etc and is to the same standard with the usual clamshell box.

PFM-2 CD anthology-River of Life (Manticore Years) with some unreleased—track listing etc on website and also on Amazon

Pekka Pojhola-The Mathematicians Air Display
Pekka Pojhola-B The Magpie
Wigwam-Nuclear Nightclub
Wigwam-The Lucky Golden Stripes and Starpose
Jackson heights-The Fifth Avenue Bus
Jackson heights-Ragamuffins Fool
Jackson heights-Bump N Grind

Feb titles as follows

Crazy World of Arthur Brown—needs no introduction, fab remastered reissue(2CD) with a whole Cd of bonus material and a Phil Smee extravaganza on the artwork

Hawkwind –Sonic Attack (atomhenge) 2CD with wealth of bonus material
Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come-Galactic Zoo Dossier—plus bonus material.
Ken Hensley-Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf
Ken Hensley-Eager to Please
Hawkwind-(Atomhenge) Alien 4
Ramases-Glass Top Coffin
Wigwam-Fairyport
Wigwam-Being
Wigwam-Live Music from the Twilight Zone"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Site news: UME featuring great CD reissues of the past

On our sister site, we're featuring great CD reissues that have already been done. While on this site we discuss albums that still could use a CD, I thought it would be appropriate to call out the great reissues of the past. And truth be told, the best albums are already on CD! Not ALL of them (as is quite evident from this site alone, much less elsewhere), but a great majority are. We're also featuring great progressive rock albums from the modern era as well.

It's a work in progress, and there are literally thousands of albums to choose from, so it should give us a lot of material to cover the next few years at the very least!

Canzoniere Del Lazio, Italy




Canzoniere Del Lazio - Spirito Bono. 1975 Intingo.
Canzoniere Del Lazio - Miradas. 1977 Cramps.
Canzoniere del Lazio - Morra 1978. 1978 Intingo.

"Miradas" is an album I owned back in the early 90s, sold a couple of years later, and totally forgot about it until a friend sent me a fresh copy. It's better than I had remembered.

Ethnic folk group Canzoniere Del Lazio produced this one radically different album when compared to their other work. Very percussive, with an African flair, Canzoniere Del Lazio let loose with this mighty fine fusion album, not too far from what Area was doing at the time or perhaps the Bella Band, both acts on the Cramps label as well.

"Miradas" was reissued on CD by Mercury in 1994, but is long OOP and could use a repress.

Update 12/9/2010: I pretty much presumed "Miradas" was Canzoniere Del Lazio's contribution to progressive rock, and was under the impression all of their other albums were pure Italian folk. But that wasn't correct at all (their early albums are indeed just Italian folk), and "Morra 1978" is a very fine fusion effort, taking the reins of "Miradas" and running it into another dimension. Violin and saxophone are the main solo instruments, with percussion and female vocals continuing to play a large role in their sound. Well worth pursuing, and would like to see this one come out on a label like BTF. I also have been told that "Spirito Bono" is worth seeking out as well. (2/15/11 note: And yes indeed, it is. A bit more experimental folk, but a very interesting listen)

Priority: 3

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bib Set, Sweden


Bib Set - It Wasn't Meant to Happen. 1969 Ton I Ton.

Moody and heavy progressive rock set, with loads of fat Hammond organ. Slight blues influence, especially in the affected vocals and quite a bit of jazzy sequences including a couple of lifted parts from famous jazz sessions. A nice surprise this one especially given the early date. Thanks to reader Alberto for the heads up!

Priority: 3

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Abrial Stratageme Group, France


Abrial Stratageme Group - Mannderly. 1977 Sonopresse.

Imagine Ange as a hard rock group, or a French Blue Oyster Cult, and you have a pretty good idea of what we're dealing with here. Also reminds me of the Rictus album that's also in this list, though this one is much more professionally done. Vocals are in French and have that psychotic touch that I find highly fascinating. Very heavy guitar sound for the early date. A couple of ballads, and one 8 minute progger round out the contents. Interesting album!

Priority: none

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Autumn Breeze, Sweden


Autumn Breeze - Hostbris. 1979 BG Records.

I probably shouldn't like this album as much as I do. It's very amateurish, but there's a magnetic charm about it. Comparable to other female vocal lead symphonic bands coming out of Germany during this time like Werwolf, Rebekka, Eden and Credemus. The Swedish language adds points too (I love the language in song). This would be a good choice for Transubstans.

Priority: 2

The band has released this on CD-R and as a download. Neither count as fully reissued by the CDRWL standards, but they are obviously 100% legit at least!

Friday, January 1, 2010

News: More info on the Dear Mr. Time - Grandfather reissue


We first mentioned this reissue on November 1. Now its shaping up to be a great reissue. Label Wooden Hill states the following:

"First-ever official reissue of Essex-based band Dear Mr. Time's highly-regarded and much sought-after psych/prog concept album Grandfather. Heavily influenced by the Moody Blues and early King Crimson, Grandfather was recorded in mid-1970 and issued by the tiny Square Records in February 1971, but was only pressed in a total quantity of 1000 copies. This definitive release is taken from the original master tapes, and adds five superb home demos recorded around the same time as the album by guitarist and chief songwriter Chris Baker. It tells the group's story for the first time, and includes many previously unpublished photographs."

Bull Angus, USA



Bull Angus - s/t. 1971 Mercury.
Bull Angus - Free For All. 1972 Mercury.

Upstate New York group who are quintessentially American in their approach. A mix of hard rock, bar band and proto progressive. One of the best at the style, far more advanced than most groups in this bag. Boots exist for both.

Priority: 3