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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Symphonic Metamorphosis, USA


Symphonic Metamorphosis - s/t. 1971 London.

Fascinating nine piece horn rock band formed by (then) active members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The horns are exquisitely performed, though the rock sections are a tad more restrained and pedestrian for a band with these kind of quals. Still, the guitar and organ work is efficient. The vocal harmonies have a 60s vibe to them. Worth seeking out for a listen or two.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ole G. Nilssen, Norway


Ole G. Nilssen - World of Dreams. 1976 Apollo.

Future Solaris member Nilssen put out this one incredibly obscure album before he himself disappeared into the ether. I've had this one on a curiosity list for well over 10 years, and finally in 2009 I had a chance to hear it, due to a good friend of this site. So was it worth the effort? Rarely is the answer yes in these cases, and "World of Dreams" is no exception, but this is a mighty fine album for certain. Light years better than the subpar Solaris "Misty Morning" album. At its core, "World of Dreams" is a soft rock vocal album. But there are long sections dedicated to instrumentals, and its these sections that are clearly progressive rock influenced, with 1970s era instrumentation. Like a lot of soft rock, the songwriting is better than average, and Nilssen possesses a fine voice, and so the combination is highly appealing, even if not consistent. One I'm glad I finally heard.

Priority: none

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Total Issue, France


Total Issue - s/t. 1971 United Artists.

One of the earliest French progressive rock albums. Has that loose jazzy quality that recalls Moving Gelatine Plates with flute and fuzzy guitar leading the way. Not as Canterbury influenced nor as consistent as MGP, but still a very strong early effort. There's also a fair amount of acoustic guitar / flute based SSW material, but arranged in a progressive manner, similar to how the Italians would do. Album is mostly sung in French (a rarity for rock bands in those days), with some English tracks, which are more commercial but all thankfully short. A natural choice for Musea to reissue.

Priority: 3

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Totty, USA


Totty - s/t. 1977 Our First Record.

The Totty Brothers of Tulsa, Oklahoma provide us with a strong hard rock entry, complete with a mixed up Christian-score-with-chicks message. And just how many righteous men have gotten religion for a chance at a piece of sweet ass? Hmmm-mmm, homeboy know! No matter though, 'cause this delivers the goods in the layman's sense - solid distorted guitar fronted hard rock. Pre NWOBHM, but with that same take no prisoners attitude. File alongside Truth & Janey / Poobah. This is the good stuff.

The kind of album that would've been reissued by Monster and probably will be by Rockadrome in the future. Their second album is straight AOR music and not worth mentioning. boots exist.

Priority: 3

Thursday, March 18, 2010

News: Sireena to reissue the Curt Cress Clan album in May.


Germany's Sireena, along with Garden of Delights and Long Hair, continues to give us hope that some of the more obscure German albums will eventually see a reissue.

Our original entry about the album said: "Curt Cress Clan - s/t (Germany) 1975 Atlantic. Hot funky fusion from Cress' mid 70s band. Typical jazz fusion of the era, something we've heard 100s of times before, but perfectly executed. A safe bet if you're a fan of said style."

Os Mundi, Germany


Os Mundi - Latin Mass. 1970 Metronome

One of the earliest examples of what we now call Krautrock. Nice organ and guitar leads, with the added gimmick that they sing in Latin (years later, this idea was picked up by the Italian group Deus Ex Machina). Still has a holdover 60s psych rock sound, making it somewhat unique for German rock.

Currently only boots exist.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TOuCH, Germany


TOuCH - Traumwerk 1. 1980 private.

Nice example of Berlin School electronics mixed with rock elements, primarily in the form of real drums. Not as dynamic as Wolfgang Bock's "Cycles", but some of the sequences are inventive and the album holds up well to modern ears. The group owns a large palette of keyboards, not uncommon for the genre. Band name stands for the two protagonist's "Tom und Charly".

Priority: 3

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Third Quadrant, England


Third Quadrant - Seeing Yourself As You Really Are. 1982 Rock Cottage.

Released a few months prior to the New Wave of Progressive Rock movement (aka Neo Prog), Third Quadrant's debut album arrived just a tad early to receive the press and distribution it needed to survive. It's considered one of the major rarities from the era, along with the Airship label groups like Protos and Gemini. Musically it's fairly under produced, but does possess a strong mid 70's Genesis to late 70's Pink Floyd feel. Mellow Records reissued a later album "Layered" over 15 years ago, but never did tackle this one. Not essential, but nice to have from an historical perspective. I've read from the band's bass player that there are 2 albums prior to this one, but not sure if they were on LP, cassette or just on their own personal reel to reels.

Priority: none

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Think, New Zealand


Think - We'll Give You a Buzz. 1976 Atlantic.

A mix of mid to late 70s British pomp prog ala England or Nostradamus, combined with some obvious pop moves and the required boogie rock number that all Australasian bands felt obligated to do back then. Great cover would make this an excellent candidate for a Japanese mini-LP. bootlegs exist.

Priority: 3

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mama Bea Tekielski, France


Mama Bea Tekielski - La Folle. 1976 Isadora.

Mama Bea's debut album is clearly indebted to Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes' early 1970s works, but honestly this is much more dense, and truth be told, completely unhinged. Perhaps it's Ribeiro's Portuguese heritage verse Tekielski's Polish background, but there's something far more disturbing going on with "La Folle" than anything Ribeiro coughed up (literally). While Ribeiro is far from an easy listen, she still comes across as the mysterious troubled damsel in distress. Perhaps it's her runway-fashion-model looks, but Catherine seems to be reaching out for help while still dominating all that is around her. With Mama Bea, she delivers 100 ragged nights of booze, pills and rock and roll. She has both the look and the attitude. The cover of her smoking a cigarette, with a face that says that she's had just about enough of this crap, is priceless. And so she takes out her frustrations on this recording. There are times when it would seem more appropriate that the medics come in and hustle her off to safer pastures. Meanwhile all the earmarks of a classic underground album are going on in the background, with plenty of psychedelic guitar, rumbling bass (a trademark of the French scene) and pounding percussion. It's all a bit unsettling, but it's also too real to ignore. A real grower if I ever heard one.

Priority: none

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tau, Germany

Tau - s/t. 1981 private.

Simply put, Tau play a symphonic rock style, with bits of humor spread throughout. The progressions are very much out of the early Genesis school, and Tau could be considered contemporaries of Ivory or even Neuschwanstein. But there's also a strain of late 70s Grobschnitt found throughout, both in the zaniness and even in the AOR moments. Sung in German, which is unusual for this type of prog rock. Lots of mellotron for an 80s album. Not a monster or anything, but fans of neo progressive rock are likely to really enjoy this one.

Priority:3

Monday, March 8, 2010

L.S. Bearforce, Germany


L.S. Bearforce - s/t. 1983 Up Art.

As anachronistic as they come. 1983 was the last year anyone would expect an early 1970s style free form jam session, like early Guru Guru and, perhaps more pointedly, the 1974 Uli Trepte & Guru Guru album. But Lotus Schmidt (the L.S. reference) apparently was a huge fan of albums like "UFO" and "Hinten" and convinced the Guru Guru guys (Mani and Uli) to go in with him on the album. Perhaps released 20 years ahead of its time, as it would now be hailed as a retro classic today. Features both Mani Neumeier on drums and Edgar Hoffman (Embryo) on woodwinds and violin. It was even recorded by the original Ohr producer Julius Schittenhelm. Pressed on white vinyl. If there was ever a 1980s album that still needs a reissue, this is it!

Priority: 1

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tantalus, Germany


Tantalus - Sitting in a Dream. 1980 Srilanca.

Generic, but tasteful, symphonic progressive. Elements of Camel and Pink Floyd abound. Nice keyboard and guitar leads, and mediocre vocals. Pretty much what you would expect from this era of German symphonic rock. File next to Shaa Khan, Fly and Indigo.

Priority: none

Saturday, March 6, 2010

News: Long Hair to reissue Amos Key archive material


It's been a little slow on the news front of late, so it was with great excitement that I saw the latest gem from Long Hair. Amos Key's album "First Key" is still not on CD, so maybe Long Hair will pick that one up as well. In the meantime, this CD certainly looks intriguing!

Amos Key - Keynotes: The Lost Tapes SWF Session 1973.

Long Hair says: "For the first time on CD: The radio session of classical rock influenced great German krautrockers Amos Key. Amos Key owed great debts to Bach, Beethoven and Schumann, adding a heavy krautrock twist to a music closely resembling the Nice or Egg, full of angst and weird psychedelic and space-rock touches (Freeman Brothers: In A Crack In The Cosmic Egg). Amos Key lived in Munich and consisted of great organ-player Thomas Molin, congenial bass-player Andreas Gross and superb drummer Lutz Ludwig. This fairly competent outfit recorded the radio sessions before they released their famous and very rare album "First Key" in 1973 on label "Spiegelei". Sadly bandleader and organ-player Thomas Molin passed away in the 90ies but bass-player Andreas Gross tells the band story in a very vivid and funny way. 24 pages booklet contains also a lot of unseen photos. Sound is perfect; remastered from the original tape. Don't miss this superb item."

Not sure the term "fairly competent outfit" is the way I'd advertise it... LOL.

Laura, France



There's quite a few albums that I've had on my original list from 2003, that I've never added descriptions to. I'm going to try to make an effort to get to some these albums before May. Laura is the first in this series. I'll try to remember to note these as I go along.

Laura - s/t. 1980 Laura Records.
Laura - Colis Postal. 1981 Laura Records.

The debut is a high energy, very expressive album, with lots of dual female/male vocals excitedly sung over complex progressive rock music. While the keyboards clearly represent their era, they're still played with verve. And the guitar tone is the typical compressed fuzz tone that the French are so wonderful at producing. "Colis Postal" sees the band trying their hand at more commercially oriented material with mixed results. The debut, though, is a must hear and would make for an excellent reissue from someone like Musea or Soleil Zeuhl - the latter perhaps reflecting some slight references to the style.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sincerely P.T., Germany


Sincerely P.T. - s/t. 1973 Speigelei.

What an interesting album. Starts out in typical Euro jazz territory with some soft Rhodes and horns but gets freakier and freakier as it goes. Plenty of wiggy fuzz keys and exotic stringed instruments. The P.T. stands for Peter Trunk (who plays bass) and he surrounds himself with an all-star cast of underground Kraut jazzers including Sigi Schwab on guitar (Vampyros Lesbos, Embryo), Jasper Van't Hof (Pork Pie) on keys and Curt Cress on drums amongst many others. I'd say Schwab has the most influence here musically speaking. Finds the middle ground between horn rock, Krautrock and Euro fusion. Good one, the type of album that one would normally find on MPS.

Priority: 2

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pi Corp, USA


Pi Corp - Lost in the Cosmic Void. 1973-1976 / 2001 Rockadelic.


Moved to UMR

Priority: none