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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oniris, France


Oniris - L'Homme Voilier. 1979 Barclay.

One of those albums that received a Japanese LP issue in the early 1980s and has yet to see a CD reissue. Strong ties to Ange, Mona Lisa, Grime, Synopsis, Trefle etc… this is the dramatic French vocal symphonic rock we all know and love. The kind of album you could count on Musea to have reissued in the early 1990s. Not sure why they didn't.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nemo, France



Nemo - s/t. 1973 Agave.
Nemo - Doin' Nuthin'. 1974 Agave.

A mix of funk, rock, jazz fusion. First album has more vocals and recalls to mind Santana in places (the best parts actually). "Doin' Nuthin" is mainly instrumental. Good stuff overall and features Francois Breant, who later had some success as a solo artist. Both albums are similar in their eclectic style.

Priority: none

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ma Banlieue Flasque, France


Ma Banlieue Flasque - s/t. 1979 Celluloid.

Excellent album that pulls from a variety of sources such as Moving Gelatine Plates, Komintern (minus the politics) and Frank Zappa. Complex and melodic. Perhaps more jazz influenced than the three references above, but this one should have wide appeal in the reissue market.

A few years ago there was talk of Musea reissuing this, and then a couple of years ago the band resurfaced on MySpace, but as of yet no CD has been announced.

Priority: 2

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jester, USA


Jester - s/t. 1978 private.

The name alone will no doubt draw snickers from long time critics of progressive rock. And while today a jester is certainly one of the more trite cliches of the movement, in 1978 it hadn't necessarily played itself out yet, so it would be a natural choice for a young band to pursue a moniker such as that. Musically, this Long Beach, California based band were very much a product of their time and place. Like a lot of bands in the late 70s, they decided to hedge their bet by putting one foot into complex progressive rock compositions, and the other into the safer waters of commercial album oriented rock. Unfortunately the latter puts off the former, and the targeted radio audience never materialized. Thus an album such as this finds itself on an obscure list on the internet, only read by deep divers and obsessionists like your humble author. When in progressive rock mode, they remind me most of the 80's California band Drama, but with less fusion elements. Also, the locally produced Bounty EP would be a good reference. But be prepared for some cringe inducing moments when they reach for the charts. I've seen two covers for this - one blue and one red. Not sure which is the original, or if they were both released at the same time.

Priority: none

Thursday, June 24, 2010

News: Garden of Delights latest releases



This batch includes the rare second album by Radio Noisz Ensemble, originally released only as a cassette. Also another archival Guru Guru release, this time a Wiesbaden concert from 1973 (they previously issued one from 1972). And finally, a another reissue of Embryo's "Surfin'", first done by Disconforme over 10 years ago and long out of print.

"The Radio Noisz Ensemble, successor of the folk group Emma Myldenberger, came from the Weinheim an der Bergstrasse area and released its only LP, 'Yniverze' (Ubu Muziek UMS 01), in 1982. It was compared to works of the Third Ear Band, Between, and Tri Atma. 'Odiszee-Parck'(Ubu Muziek UMS 03), appearing only as a small cassette edition, followed in 1983. The music on this album is of a significantly freer style, more unwieldy and harder to digest than its predecessor; less meditative. The CD was drawn from the master tape. The cover motif is the same as the one used for the cassette, the only difference being its coloured design - like the concert poster of a quite similar make - instead of black and white. Once again the oboe is the leading instrument, and also the remaining instrumentation, featuring English horn, zither, double-bass, violin, flutes, etc. is quite unusual."

"Guru Guru played in the Wartburg, a Wiesbaden hall, on September 17th, 1973. It was one of the gigs recorded by Xhol (Caravan) acquaintance Muck Krieger. His recording equipment was then state-of-the-art: an Uher tape recorder CR 124 and two Revox microphones for the stereo sound, the equipment he had used the year before (CD 'Wiesbaden 1972'). The result has turned out satisfactory, although the occasional singing sounds slightly thready and reverberant. That is partly due, however, to the live sound reproduction during the gig. With its 37 minutes, 'Ooga Booga' leaves a lot of space for free improvisation. 'Round Dance' and ;Das Zwickmaschinchen' are from their fifth LP, 'Don't Call Us', which had just been recorded at that time. Thus, Muck Krieger's supply of Guru Guru material has been exhausted. "

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Horizont, Sweden


Horizont - s/t. 1977 CBS.

Interesting album that gives a head fake early, before revealing what they are truly about. For most of Side 1, Horizont play a mix of straight ahead rock (with Swedish vocals) - but with a directness that wouldn't be out of place in 1981 - and more thoughtful progressive rock instrumentals. Side 2 turns on their progressive influences, especially the Hammond and guitar work, and is quite good. It would seem that the band needed to compromise a bit to get released on CBS. This is a borderline Priority 3 release. They have a second album that I haven't heard, though presumably it's even more commercially oriented.

Interesting to note that while browsing the CD booklet of the Atlas "Bla Vardag" album, APM had announced their intention to release a Horizont archival album. That indicates to me that the best material was never released during the day, and the album above was indeed a compromise. Of course, that's pure speculation on my part, as APM's CD never did see the light of day. Does anyone have a copy of this?

Priority: none

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good God, USA


Good God - s/t. 1972 Atlantic.

Philadelphia based jazz rock band, that sounds more European than American. Heavily indebted to instrumental Zappa, Good God's album sounds like many groups from Germany, Denmark and France. Maybe a little too much unhinged sax work for my liking, but still plenty to enjoy here. They cover Zappa's 'King Kong' and John McLaughlin's 'Dragon Song', both of which perfectly fit their style. It had been years since I sold my LP copy, but this listen demonstrated that the album is better than I remembered. Nice album that a high profile reissue label would benefit from.

Priority: none

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fireballet, USA ***REISSUED***


Fireballet - Night on Bald Mountain. 1975 Passport.
Fireballet - Two, Too. 1976 Passport.

Fireballet are one of those bands that many would like to see a reissue of, beyond the usual progressive rock collector community. And there's been talk of it for years, even various band members have popped up in chat boards to discuss it. But it's tied up legally somewhere along the chain. One of the best US prog bands to appear on a somewhat major label.

Despite multiple announcements in the past (including one last year), the Fireballet's sadly remain unissued on CD (legit that is). I've been holding back publishing this entry, because of these announcements, but it doesn't appear a reissue is going to happen anytime soon. The good news is, for those that still have their turntable hooked up (and after all, everyone should anyway ;-) ), finding original LPs of these albums on ebay is easy and cheap.

***Both albums reissued by Belle Antique (Japan) and Inner Knot (USA) in August/September 2014

Priority: 2

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Docmec, Switzerland


Docmec - Objet Non Identifie. 1976 Javeline.

First side is live, and demonstrates the band's clear Genesis influence. Here they recall the similarly minded Kyrie Eleison. Side 2 is in the studio, and is more original, with plenty of introspective quieter moments. There's more of a French influence here, and I hear elements of Pentacle and Orion on these tracks. Overall a nice period piece, though by no means exceptional.

Priority: 3

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chetarca, Australia


Chetarca - s/t. 1977 Atlantic.

Like many bands from Australasia, Chetarca seemed to have a fondness for boogie rock. And if you can get through the first few minutes of the opening couple of tracks, then you'll be rewarded with some truly progressive music, featuring dual keyboards and a host of exciting ideas. Similar in some ways to the New Zealand group Airlord. A perfect candidate for Aztec.

Priority: 3

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blow Out, Norway


Blow Out - s/t. 1977 Compendium.

An excellent example of the late 70's all-things fusion era. Typical with no surprises, but superbly executed and is worth seeking out. Highlights include some fuzz bass and exquisite electric lead guitar.

Priority: none

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Andreas Aarflot, Sweden


Andreas Aarflot – Det Rivna Pianot. 1978 Manifest.

Obscure keyboardist Aarflot put out this one very fine fusion album with many differentiators to the norm. These include a strong classical component (pipe organ, strings), sweet female vocals sung in Swedish, wonderful flute solos, and a strong dash of the Canterbury (melody, structure). Excellent album.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Astre, USA


Astre - Foresight. 1981 private.

Horrendously under-produced music from Tulsa, OK, but a superbly complex progressive rock album lays behind the mess. A clean recording may take the grime off of this gem.

Priority: 3

Monday, June 14, 2010

C. B. Busser, Switzerland


C. B. Busser - Movies. 1978 Musk Project.

Busser was the keyboardist for the blues rock group Whipping Post, a band who took the unusual step of mixing Allman Brothers southern rock with mellotron. "Movies" is his debut solo album, and like so many solo albums, it's a disparate mix of styles that lack cohesion. About half the tracks are bombastic choir mellotron driven numbers, that will have fans of the instrument drooling at the mouth. Otherwise there's a mix of blues & folk numbers and other miscellaneous styles. Like many artists in the 1970s, I'm sure Busser wanted to prove, probably to himself, he had more range in his repertoire. A decent album, but only about 20 minutes of truly interesting material (for me anyway). Features a nice gatefold cover.

Priority: none

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Credemus, Germany


Credemus - s/t (aka Auf Dem Weg) 1984 Werola.

Christian symphonic rock with female vocals like Eden, Werwolf, Gloria's Children or maybe Sweden's Autumn Breeze - though Credemus isn't as consistent as those groups. This is one of those albums I bought from Eurock back in the late 1980s. Pretty scarce nowadays.

Priority: none

Saturday, June 12, 2010

News: Niagara CDs coming out on Made in Germany Music!


Suddenly we have quite a bit of news to report. Made in Germany Music (aka Fresh Fruit) is the label taking on the "La Vie Electronique" Klaus Schulze series (Vol. 5 & 6) as well as some of the recent Grobschnitt collectives. It appears they may have inherited some of the SPV Revisited line.

They are reissuing the entire Niagara catalog in one 3 CD set. That's good news for hardcore fans, though not preferable for me, as the first and last albums are percussion only, whereas the second album "S.U.B" is a fusion classic.

We've already featured the album here. Now if only Garden of Delights, or now perhaps MIG Music, will release the two Sunbirds albums, Klaus Weisse's greatest musical achievements!

News: Nosferatu to be reissued by Long Hair


I don't typically announce albums that have already been legitimately reissued, which is one reason these pages aren't filled to the top with the latest Esoteric reissues, even though I adore the label.

However, I do like to call out new reissues of albums I really enjoy, and the original CD was legit, but not very interesting otherwise.

And Nosferatu is absolutely one of my favorite non-cosmic/experimental German rock albums from 1970. I've already featured them on my Unencumbered Music Reviews site, and it's interesting that I made this note: "Ohrwaschl was one of the original reissue labels of the early 90s. They broke in by reissuing most of the Kuckuk label, and progressed from there. All are unfortunately straight reissues with no info, bonus tracks, etc... But the sound is great. No complaints, but all of these could certainly use an upgrade.". And here it is!

It doesn't look like it will have bonus tracks, which is a pity, but it does feature unique liner notes written by the band and some photos. And I'm certain a wonderful sound.

Drops, Denmark


Drops - s/t. 1976 Hookfarm.

Of the multitude of obscure fusion albums released in the mid 1970s, Drops is definitely in the top tier of that bunch. Foregoing the temptation to add US styled funk seems to be the separator, while the band focuses more on melody and composition rather than pointless solos. 5 piece group with all the requisite instrumentation (sax, flute, el. piano, synthesizer, guitar, bass and drums). While certainly not at the level of the best German fusion groups like Embryo or Missus Beastly, Drops is well worth considering especially if your tastes run more towards jazz than rock. Features two members from Thors Hammer. Drops is on the same label as Fred Israel and Buki-Yamaz (already featured here).

Priority: 3

Friday, June 11, 2010

News: Next two batches of Italian box sets (Vol. 5 and Vol. 6)

Last year, we covered the first two box sets coming out of Italy. The primary interest was the first time reissues of Sensations Fix "Portable Madness" and "Finest Finger". These boxes have been widely panned by the progressive rock buying community, for the poor mastering job: heavily compressed and very loud. I bought them both anyway, and I have no issues with the sound. I own the original vinyl of almost all of these albums (at least of the first two boxes), and many of them just aren't that great to begin with, and I have mintish copies in most cases. It's a subjective argument of course, and I tend to stay out of the discussion, because I'm sure technically those that are complaining have a good point. I didn't even bother to listen to the Jumbo's, Latte E Miele's etc, because I already own them on CD and I had no intention of selling them. I bought them for the Sensations Fix, and I was pleased (though I would have chosen they were issued separately).

I didn't report Box 3 or 4, as nothing of interest really caught my eye.

Thanks to a tip from reader Mike, Volumes 5 and 6 are coming out on June 24. Volume 5 has a bunch of obscurities that we've reported here (and I need to update). But the real gem here is Volume 6, that has the rare first Sensations Fix as well as Franco Falsini's "Cold Nose". I will be certain to buy that volume.

Progressive Italia Gli Anni '70 Vol. 5 (6CD) - available from June 24

CLAUDIO PASCOLI – NAIFUNK
MAURIZIO ARCIERI – TRASPARENZE
SENSATIONS’ FIX – FLYING TAPES
CLAUDIO DENTES – PANTAREI
MAURO PELOSI – IL SIGNORE DEI GATTI
MADRUGADA ‐ INCASTRO
Digital remastered sound!

Progressive Italia Gli Anni '70 Vol. 6 (6CD) - available from June 24

FRANCO FALSINI – COLD NOSE
MAURIZIO FABRIZIO – MOVIMENTI NEL CIELO
PANGEA – INVASORI
CARLO SILIOTTO ‐ ONDINA
PUEBLO – PUEBLO
SENSATIONS’ FIX – SENSATIONS’ FIX

Entheogens, Sweden


Entheogens - Gnostic Mass. 1995 Xotic Mind.

Prototypical effort from Xotic Mind, forefathers of Subliminal Sounds, now famous for discovering psych indie hero Dungen. "Gnostic Mass" contains three long instrumental tracks with acoustic/electric guitar, flute, hand percussion and sitar. Overtly psychedelic, almost too much so. Similar to the Adam albums also listed here. Other than The Word of Life and a couple of S.T. Mikael albums, most of the Xotic Mind catalog of the 1990s remain unissued on CD.

Priority: 3

Thursday, June 10, 2010

News: Gunter Schickert's "Samtvogel" to be reissued soon?


In what has otherwise been a real slow year for reissue news, it was great to see this comment from reader Achim in my last posting for the Francisco album. Schickert's "Samtvogel" is one of the last of the "biggees" to yet see a CD reissue. Important Records is the chosen label for the CD (Wah Wah for LP). Important doesn't usually get involved with reissues, and there isn't any details on their website (nor Wah Wah's), but since the gentleman behind the band Holy Sons is directly involved, I'm excited to see this news!

More info here and here

Francisco, USA


Francisco – Cosmic Beam Experience. 1976 Cosmic Beam.

True organic cosmic rock from California. He prides himself on not using electronic instruments and many of them are self built. Haunting sound, and typically one of a kind album that could only come from the American underground. Shades of Cosmic Debris and Children of One are present, as is some of the earlier Popol Vuh work - ironically in their electronic phase. Generally tagged with the New Age label, though if this is what New Age music really was, then I'd be a huge fan!

Priority: 3

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jean-Philippe Goude & Olivier Cole, France


Jean-Philippe Goude & Olivier Cole - Jeunes Années. 1976 Saravah.

Keyboardist Goude is a recognizable name to many progressive rock fans for his participation with that most bombastic of Zeuhl groups - Weidorje. Prior to that project, he had teamed with percussionist Olivier Cole and released this one highly inventive keyboard / drums duo album. Rather than a series of organ/drum overload tracks, Goude focuses on moodier Rhodes and acoustic piano pieces, and utilizes his one synthesizer sound for his aggressive solos. There's a slight electronic music aesthetic applied throughout. A nice record, that has slipped under the radar. After Weidorje, Goude released the more overt Zeuhlish "Drones" album which Musea fortunately reissued many years ago. From there, Goude began to focus more squarely on incidental music geared for TV and films. I once had "Meli-Melodies" on LP, though it wasn't a cohesive album, like most library albums.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yves Hayat, France


Yves Hayat - A Conversation Between East & West. 1976 Music DeWolfe (UK release).

French music library album that mixes sitar, tabla, electric/acoustic guitar, drums and Moog/clavinet based electronics. Excellent and a nice companion piece to the Yves et Alain Lorentz "Espaces 2" album. Hayat apparently released a must own album, as considered by rare groove DJs, under the guise of Droids (1978). I haven't heard the latter.

Priority: 3

Monday, June 7, 2010

Leland, USA



Leland (Yoshitsu) - s/t (aka This is My World). 1976 private (1978 Contempt).

The second press is the most known, but apparently the 1976 issue has a unique track. Though sold as a psych record, and that may be true when listening to some of the splendid solos, this is pretty much a hard rock album in terms of structure, content and vocal style. Leland's voice reminds me of a known mid 70s hard rock band, but I cannot seem to place it. Sort of high pitched, with a tint of anger. Decent enough album that was pretty easy to find 15 years ago, but has become quite collectible in recent times.

Priority: none

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mother Yod, England


Mother Yod - s/t. 1997 Prescription Drug.

The first album offered from the one time experiment/series known as the Prescription Drug label. This one at least gives hints to its 1997 date, with a decidedly post-rock sound mixed with the overt 70's Krautrock underground aesthetic that all of the label's groups possess. Only duffer track is a short vocal folk piece (which sounds too much like the duffer vocal folk pieces on REAL Krautrock albums!) Heavy use of analog instruments per recipe, with emphasis on processed keys and fuzz bass. Electronic percussion sounds more modern, though I think they're going for the Klaus Schulze 1973 ("Picture Music") variety of that sound. Neat use of choral voice (not mellotron). Not quite at the high standard of Ohr Musik and Quad, but pretty close. Good album.

Priority: 3

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jerry Novac, USA


Jerry Novac - The Fifth Word. 1970 Embryo.

Despite being on Herbie Mann's Embryo label, Novac's album was more in the vein of the burgeoning progressive rock movement, mixing in psych and jazz. Plenty of swell organ work here. Not a hard album to find on LP, but would make for a fine CD reissue.

Priority: 3

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jackie Orszaczky, Australia


Jackie Orszaczky - Beramiada. 1975 Real.

Naturalized Australian citizen Orszaczky (RIP 2008), most known as the bass player for the Hungarian band Syrius as well as the Australian group Bakery, put together this fine progressive, sometimes funky, fusion album with the guitarist from Blackfeather. A good choice for Aztec.

Priority: 3

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Psi, Germany


Psi - Horizonte. 1977 Bacillus.

Released right in the middle of the Kraut fusion boom of the late 1970s. Psi definitely evokes Kraan, Munju, RMO, Missus Beastly, etc... Apparently Psi impressed someone high up, as their sole album was on the high profile Bacillus label, besting many of the private presses of the era. For me, there are a couple of things that separate Psi from the pack. One is the fantastic rhythm section, propelling the tracks forward at an exciting rate. The other is the terrific production. Clearly a big budget was behind the recording. Recommended to fusion fans who enjoy a high amount of melodic content.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Il Rovescio della Medaglia, Italy


Il Rovescio della Medaglia - ..Giudizio Avrai. 1988 private (1975 recording).

Here's one I totally forgot about until rummaging through my vinyl collection. It's a live demo recording taken after the band had slimmed down following the "Contaminazione" sessions. All instrumental, it's pretty much a loose space rock jam with plenty of keyboard and guitar solos. Closer in sound to the raw debut "La Bibbia" than the bombastic classic Italo-prog of "Contaminazione". Not a great recording, but certainly listenable. For the general progressive rock buying public, I would think this holds more historic, rather than music, interest. Strange the band self-released this when they did, though I do know it was specifically for the Japanese market, which is where my copy came from. Originals came in a brown gatefold cover, some with an embossed felt logo.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Swegas, England



Swegas - Child of Light. 1970 Trend (released in the UK & France).
Swegas - Beyond the Ox. 1971 BASF.

Nice mix of horn rock, Brit-Jazz, progressive rock and even some jazz improvisation. Definitely not the typical simple blues based horn rock album. Closest to Brainchild, though not near as infectious. "Child of Light" features a nice Swingin' London gatefold cover. Very good albums, especially the latter.

Priority: 2