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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Popera Cosmic, France


Popera Cosmic - Les Enclaves. 1969 CBS.

I've had this on cassette forever, and totally forgot about it until recently. This is a very early William Sheller effort, and is pretty close to an exploitation album (there's even a cover of 'Batman' for crying out loud!). But it can't be written off so easily, as there are many experimental, avant garde, and flat out interesting rock segments that are way ahead its time for 1969. Also sung in French which was still unusual for the rock scene in those days. I actually think this would do well in the reissue market - especially with DJs who love to sample vintage sounds.

Priority: 3

Friday, July 30, 2010

Surgery, Germany *** REISSUED ***


Surgery - Übermorgen. 1980 private.

Yet another unknown German fusion album from the late 70s and early 80s. File along with the "German M" groups like Moira, Mosaik, Munju, Missus Beastly and Morpheus. Some pretty hot psychedelic guitar, especially on the first side. Superb unison melodies with the sax and electric piano. Can get to be a bit breezy on Side 2, though some of it reminded me of Ash Ra's "Correlations" in the guitar work, oddly enough. On Garden of Delights Coming Soon list.

Reissued by Garden of Delights Dec, 2010

Priority: 3

Thursday, July 29, 2010

UHF, USA


UHF – Timeless Voyager. 1981 Rofer Music.

At CD Baby, there's an album you can buy from a Chicago band called The Seiche ("1979 Seiche Demo"). When listening to UHF, I was reminded of The Seiche. At its core, both bands are heavily influenced by late 70s Rush, minus the epic aspirations. More of a streamlined approach, similar to how Rush would emerge themselves, but with a rawer edge that is to be expected on a private production. But Florida based UHF take it one step further by adding a bit of a metal component. There's a certain riffing style that identifies it as such, though it doesn't fit comfortably into what is generally known as heavy metal - even for the early date. In fact, it wouldn't be a reach to compare UHF to Manilla Road at this 1981 stage (again, minus the more grandiose compositions and themes). And it's not just hard rock and metal, but a very strong progressive component can be found, with unusual meter breaks, and well placed keyboards. This is one of the best new-to-me albums I've heard in a long time. Great stuff.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Schwarzarbeit, Germany



Schwarzarbeit - s/t. 1979 private.
Schwarzarbeit - Traum oder Wirklichkeit. 1982 private.

Good ole Schwarzarbeit. I bought the second album well over 20 years ago, and was surprised to find out that it's still without a CD issue. And that's because of Musea's issue of their 3rd album "James Gordon's Story", which I also bought at the time of release (1994/1995). So now I've finally heard the debut, and I can say that Schwarzarbeit are remarkably consistent. The key word with Schwarzarbeit is "almost". They're almost very good. The debut starts off with a pretty awful vocal number only to be followed by 8 well done melodic rock instrumentals. The second album is similar as is their final album (only released on CD). Schwarzarbeit are the kind of group that is nice to have in the collection, but not one you'll pull out with any kind of regularity. There's always something better to listen to. But it could be worse. It's almost great.

Priority: none

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ken Ramm, Canada


Ken Ramm - Dragon. 1981 private.

A very fine, and professionally produced, early 80s instrumental fusion album. And, lo and behold, the entire FM team is playing on this, which should give this an instant built-in audience. Ramm apparently had the right connections, or a lot of money, as this sounds more like a major label release, than an obscure private.

Priority: none

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfume Azul Do Sol, Brazil


Perfume Azul Do Sol – Nascimento. 1974 Chantecler.

Obscure, but no less satisfying, Brazilian psych/freak/hippie band in the Tropicalia tradition of Os Mutantes. Being 1974 and all, the band throws in some more musically challenging pieces, along with the hyped up fuzz. Good album - thanks to Progczar for the tip.

Priority: 3

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Foehn, France


Foehn - Faeria. 1985 private.

About 15 years ago, I decided to sell this LP from my collection and put in my first Creativity and Chaos record sale list. I used a description that compared Foehn to a mix of Zeuhl and late era new wave pop bands like Swing Out Sister. The customer who bought it, wrote back to tell me that he agreed completely with that comparison and it's why he bought it. Now in 2010, after hearing it again for the first time since, my opinion has changed little. Though I did forget how much fine guitar is present on here, an instrument that can sometimes be underutilized in the Zeuhl world. A good album, that I appreciate more now that ever.

Priority: none

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ocean, Germany


Ocean - Melody. 1981 Tonstudio Bieber.

This came as a big surprise, as most of these small German presses from the early 80s are best left alone. And with a moniker like Ocean, a band name that must have been used 269 times by then, the word "generic" couldn't slip my mind. Until I put the disc on that is. If you're looking for references, "Symphonic Pictures" era SFF isn't a bad place to start. It's not quite in that league, but it's not like the world is filled with similar albums to SFF's debut. Plenty of mellotron (including the much loved choir). Maybe Odyssee's "White Swan" is another good check point. On the same label as Nanu Urwerk. This one for certain should be reissued by Garden of Delights or Musea. Both labels would enjoy success with this title.

Priority: 3

Friday, July 23, 2010

Momentum, USA

Momentum - Introducing Brad Carlton.1980 J.B.C. Records
Momentum - Scintillation. 1983 J.B.C. Records

"Scintillation" is a pleasant surprise given the late date. Excellent guitar fronted fusion with loud, almost psychedelic leads - very much at odds with most 1983 recordings. One beautiful flute driven piece as well. A couple of funky sax laden tracks to sit through, but both contain fine melodies to offset the trendiness.

According to longtime Gnosis collaborator Bogdan, Momentum apparently has a debut album from 1980. Thanks for the info!

(5/29/14 update): And a special thanks again to MM, who provided us with the Scintillation album, we now have a copy of Momentum's debut that Bogdan mentions above. And it becomes clearer why these albums have such a strong guitar presence. Brad Carlton is indeed that player, and he is also a guitar teacher (in fact he has a nice set of instructional videos on YouTube that budding guitarists can learn from). I personally really appreciate Carlton's tones, giving both of Momentum's albums a strong mid 70s feel. Once again, there is some dated early 80s styled funk jazz to sit through, but one is never too far away from another cool biting fuzz guitar solo. There's some nice piano work too. Both come highly recommended for fusion fans.

Priority: 3

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MacArthur, USA



MacArthur - s/t (aka The Black Forest) (USA) 1979 private (RPC pressing).
MacArthur - II (USA) 1982 private.

(see comments first. Looks like the date is considerably later than originally thought.)

Not too many bands out there with a 9 year interval between albums, at least if we're talking 70s and 80s (today, as progressive rock has moved more into the realm of a hobby business, this has become a more common occurrence). But Saginaw, Michigan's MacArthur kept plugging along looking for their big break. They certainly didn't have a chance with "II", an album way too progressive for the time and place. In fact, it's considerably more adventurous than their first album - and once again MacArthur confounds everyone. I'm not sure I can find another quick example where a band's 1980's album is more progressive than their 70's output - especially in the prog rock heyday of 1973. MacArthur is lead by Ben MacArthur, an excellent guitarist, with imagination to burn. When I started collecting in earnest in the mid to late 1980s, MacArthur "II" was still an album you could buy new at list price. The debut was extremely rare even back then. Despite what you may see on the internet, "The Black Forest" is a bootleg LP reissue of the debut, not a separate album. At one time, Syn-Phonic was going to reissue these, but that's doubtful now.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leucozyt, Germany


Leucozyt – Rockjazz. 1981 private.

Starts off with a big fat disco beat, and had me wondering if I'd fallen into YET ANOTHER funky fusion album from Germany. Not this time - it was a red herring, as Leucozyt play a more melodic instrumental jazz rock with sax, flute, and guitar leads. Very nice album, that downplays the era's requisite funky business (though that component remains present). Neat cover.

Priority:3

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

News: Wounded Bird reissues Macondo album


Here's one I've had in the collection for years, but forgot to add to the CD Reissue Wish List. I don't have to worry about that now! Macondo is a fine example of the Latin rock craze of the early 70s, spearheaded by the success of Santana. It's not quite at that level (or even Chango or Dakila for that matter), but still a fine representation of the style.

Iviron, Germany


Iviron - s/t. 1981 Silent Sun.

Unusual fusion album with many disparate ideas. Iviron constructed their album more in an early 1970s exploratory style, though the sound was more relevant to the late 70s / early 80s time frame. There's a real sense of adventure here (a lot of East-West references), and even a touch of the psychedelic. A very interesting find. Also has some mellotron, not a common sound for the date. Album was released as a full length 45 RPM, which had some popularity back then (Klaus Schulze's Innovative Communications did this quite a bit in the early 80s).

Priority: 3

Monday, July 19, 2010

First Light, Australia


First Light - s/t. 1978 MFS (Music Farm Studios).

First Light is a mighty fine instrumental jazz rock effort. Sunny in its approach, with some fine guitar leads, at times reaching a Santana like intensity, but falls just short (sadly). Some nice ensemble unison runs with sax, flute, electric piano, and the female voice on side 2 gives it a Northettes feel, that adds points. Back cover says: "Mellotron and special effects kindly supplied by Aleph". Solid effort. File next to Crossfire and Mackenzie Theory. A natural choice for Aztec I think.

According to a good friend of this site, we have it on authority (someone who knew the band) that 1978 is the correct release year.

Martin from Germany tells us: "FIRST LIGHT from australia is the band formed by ALEPH drummer Ron Carpenter. He also plays with AC DC in 1974 and COLD CHISEL in 1978. Release date must be 1979 i guess."

Priority: 3

Sunday, July 18, 2010

News: Wolfgang Dauner's Knirsch to be reissued by HGBS Musikproduktion


HGBS Musikproduktion is a label I'm unfamiliar with, but judging by their website it looks like they have quite an operation going. And no better place to be introduced to the label than via an Et Cetera album!

Nobuhisa clarifies for us: "HGBS stands for the MPS founder Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.

This reissue is done by the same guy behind the Promising music MPS reissue series (apparently rights for some of the MPS titles are not held by Universal but by HGB-S's family and this one is a start of the reissue program on them)."

Thanks again Nobuhisa!

Chakra, USA


Chakra - s/t. 1979 Brother Studio.

Commercially oriented progressive rock album, very typical of the late 1970s American scene. The sound is more commonly found in the Midwest, but there were traces found on the left coast with bands such as Jester, Bounty and Harlequin Mass. Plenty of complexity to satisfy most progressive rock fans, but there's a distinct AOR song craft at play here. "Going For the One" / "Tormato" era Yes was a major influence on these bands. A bootleg exists.

Priority: none

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Didier Bonin, France



Didier Bonin - L'Arbre Verre. 1979 private.
Didier Bonin - L'Air Lumiere. 1983 private.

A very obscure artist from France who released these two introspective, tranquil instrumental albums. "L'Air Lumiere" has wordless voice and a bit more fire in the electric guitar work, making it the more desirable of the two. Both featuring quite a bit of acoustic guitar and electronics, and are overall very pleasant outings.

Priority: none

Friday, July 16, 2010

Agamemnon, Switzerland


Agamemnon - Part I & II. 1981 private.

Similar to other slow moving German/Swiss symphonic groups of the day like Waniyetula (known by most folks as Galaxy on LP), Albatros, early Faithful Breath and Indigo. According to the liner notes of the LP, there was supposed to be a Part 3 & 4, but guess they lost interest in ol' Agamemnon!

I bought this from Eurock back in the late 1980s, when they were carrying a lot of these obscure German and Swiss albums. I didn't know any of the names at the time, but I tried a few anyway. Garden of Delights has been pretty successful in getting these types of albums out, though they haven't jumped into the Swiss symphonic scene just yet.

Priority: none

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aum, Brazil


Aum - Belorizonte. 1983 Bemol.

At first hearing, Aum seems like a typical late 70s/early 80s fusion group that were a dime a dozen in those days. Then come the guitar solos, which are full of energy, complete with the compressed fuzz tone one would expect to come out of France at this time. Definitely a cut above the ordinary instrumental fusion album.

Priority: none

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Didier, Germany




Didier - Cptn. Coffee. 1981 private.

Incredibly obscure jazz rock album. Like the Moira "Reise Nacht Ixtlan", Didier's sole album sounds like something from another era - primarily 1973-74. Psychedelic fuzz guitar, driving bass, echoed German narration, atmospheric piano, tricky meters with sax breaks ala Soft Machine. Other than a couple of ebay auctions, I can find no information about this album on the internet, which I received via CD-R through a friend of this site.

Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bronin Hogman Band, USA


Bronin Hogman Band - s/t. 1975 Gamut.

From Manchester, New Hampshire comes Bronin Hogman Band, yet another American group who mix AOR rock with plenty of progressive rock moves. The guitar and organ/Moog work is particularly well done. I detect a slight southern rock influence which belies the group's origins. With the right breaks, Bronin-Hogman could've been a household name. File alongside Hot Flash and Fairchild. Not too many albums have a football helmet on the cover. I've also seen 1974 and 1976 as dates for this album, but 1975 seems to be the consensus. At least 3 former members have a web presence - can anyone confirm?

Priority: none

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cool Feet, Luxembourg


Cool Feet - Burning Desire. 1978 Pallas.

This is one of the most expensive of the many underground albums out there. Regularly fetching 4 figures, it's not too hard to understand why Cool Feet has such a reputation. Blindfolded, you could swear you were listening to some newly unearthed private hard rock album from the US Midwest, say Toledo, situated perfectly on the road from Ohio to Michigan. It has that small dive bar vibe, as patroned by Local Number union members. A 4 piece, with dual guitars and a gruff vocalist, Cool Feet pretty much delivers kickass hard rock from start to finish. There are a couple of stinkers to endure, as they gave at least a little lip service to their commercial aspirations. Though for me the big surprise was the early Scorpions influence, primarily from "Fly to the Rainbow" through the "Virgin Killer" albums. Truth be told, there aren't that many continental European hard rock bands in this style (Belgium's Kleptomania and Vacation also came to mind), and certainly less that remind me of primo era Scorps (though without the Uli Roth psychedelic influence unfortunately). Word down at the soup kitchen says that the album was apparently slated for a CD release on Garden of Delights and LP reissue on Amber Soundroom, but one of the members put the kabash on it. There's a built-in audience for this album, and you know who you are.

Priority: none

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fluence, France


Fluence - s/t. 1976 Pole / Tapioca.

Lead by Pascal Comelade, Fluence's album is a long, minimalistic, organ and synthesizer journey with occasional, but massive, fuzz guitar from Richard Pinhas (Heldon). It's this latter element that makes the album worth seeking out, though overall it can be a bit of a snoozer at times. Like most albums on Pole, it suffers from a poor pressing, so perhaps a masters CD reissue would do wonders for this interesting piece of cyclical electronic music. Would be a nice companion piece to the Besombes' albums.

Priority: 3

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Michel Moulinie, France


Michel Moulinie - Chrysalide. 1978 Crypto.

Musea had this on their "coming soon" as far back as the late 1990s. Never did come out.

Here's our review from the Unencumbered Music Reviews blog:

Primary instrumentation: Acoustic and electric guitar, bass, violin

Instrumental

Tracks (* - highlights):
1. Le Ballet des Mouches
*2. Les Cordes de la Mar
*3. L'Echo de L'Acier
4. Le Philtre d'Echordus
*5. Lente Course

One man show Moulinie crafted his sole work for the Crypto label in 1978. Perfect for the time and place, Moulinie's work is similar to other like minded French underground artists such as Phillippe Besombes and Richard Pinhas. The use of acoustic guitar gives the recording a warm touch, that can be missing from the more clinical works of the era. I would guess that Moulinie was quite familiar with some of Mike Oldfield's classic works at this stage. The violin (or as it is credited "guitare violin") has a haunting, almost mellotron-like sound. On 3) and 5), Moulinie experiments with sound on sound techniques, that recall Manuel Gottsching on "Inventions For Electric Guitar". A very beautiful album, and one that has no peer in terms of sound and execution.

Priority: 1

Friday, July 9, 2010

News: Aqaurelle's two albums to be reissued by Belle Antique in August



Following the exciting news regarding True Myth, we've also learned that Belle Antique is reissuing both the Aquarelle albums. I've been waiting for ProgQuebec to reissue these, and it could very well be part of their plans, but in the meantime, we do know they'll be coming out in Japan on the mini LP format.

We reviewed Aquarelle for Gnosis in 2006. I hadn't yet featured them here, so they beat me to it!

News: True Myth will be released on Belle Antique in August


Generally Belle Antique licenses from other labels, so not sure if there's a jewel case coming out elsewhere, but for now we at least have our first legitimate reissue of True Myth. One of the great ironies is that True Myth was the first all digital recording in Canada. Yet it had never moved past the LP stage. Not only that, but this will be released as a mini-LP with the exact gatefold cover of the original!

We featured True Myth last December.

Northwind, USA

Northwind - s/t (aka The Woods of Zandor). 1974 private.
Northwind - Distant Shores. 1977 unreleased.

Northwind were a Detroit area progressive rock band that is another fantastic representation of the Midwest music scene of the era. Hints of commercialism abound, but the group cannot resist the tricky compositions, while wailing on all that fat analog gear. Bands like Surprise, Starcastle, Ethos and Albatross are all good reference points. These albums are available for free on the band's website, but I for one would love to see a full blown CD production with liner notes, photos and a more detailed history. "Distant Shores", the stronger of the two albums, was never formally released, and the debut only existed as a white cover demo, that bootleggers later renamed "The Woods of Zandor".

Priority: 2

No need to supply cover scans in this case. A good opportunity for a CD label (or the band themselves) to provide a unique cover, that hopefully won't be a cheap photo shop job.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Proyecto A, Spain


Proyecto A - s/t. 1970 RCA.

At the meeting point of psych and progressive rock. Surprisingly sophisticated for an album from Spain during the Franco era (especially as early as 1970). Lots of fuzz bass and guitar, along with a horn section. All the album tracks are planet names, and it seems to be a concept album of some sort about Roman gods. Probably Spain's first progressive rock album, pre-dating Maquina and Pan y Regaliz. Nice gatefold cover.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sway, Italy

Sway - s/t. 1973 CPT.

Led by pianist Sante Palumbo, Sway is an excellent album heavily influenced by early 70s Miles Davis, even without the presence of trumpet. Throughout, the album features wah wah guitar rhythms and tribal drumming. The first side is a bit looser, with some shrieky sax, drum solos and some piano noise bits. But Side 2 contains 'Mad' which is absolutely sublime. The sax is traded in for flute, there's an actual melody line carried throughout, and the guitar fuzzes out some wonderful solos. CPT (Cipiti) is the same label that released the rare debut by Le Groupe X. Thanks to Midwest Mike for this one!

There is a reissue - but it's a classic "gray area" type. That is, it does seem to have band permission, but there's more to the story I presume.


Priority: 2

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trefle, France


Trefle - Reflet. 1979 private.

From the Ange school of French progressive rock. More of an underproduced effort, recalling Grime or the first Synopsis album. One of the better examples of the style, with impassioned vocals and fine guitar work. The atmosphere here is rich. All the songs are short but segue nicely into each other.

There's no date listed anywhere on the album (cover, label, lock in groove, insert). 1979 is the traditional date given though RYM and a couple of other places have it listed as 1978. We'll just have to wait until more data surfaces on this great release.

Like the Oniris we just listed, a good album that Musea would've typically reissued in the early 1990s.

Priority: 2

Monday, July 5, 2010

Versylus, USA


Versylus - s/t. 1982 Why Me? Productions.

New Jersey based group who put out this "hedged" progressive LP and held out hope that the AOR/commercial songs would take hold and send them to the big time. That strategy never did work. The progressive cuts are nice, showing an almost neo approach to the early Genesis sound (guessing here that the band probably wasn't aware of what was going on in the English underground at this time). There's also some nice Gentle Giant chorus-counterpoint bits to grab hold of. Pretty decent for a self produced album. I think there were no covers - just released in generic white sleeves.

Priority: none

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To Be, Germany


To Be - s/t. 1977 Brain.

Latin rock / fusion that capitalized on "Borboletto" era Santana, but came a bit late to find its audience. However, the beatdigger crowd has gone nuts for it in recent years, sealing it as probably the most sought after "multi-colored / orange" Brain release. A bootleg exists.

Priority: 3

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sanctuary, USA


Sanctuary - s/t. 1971 Veritas.

Kansas based progressive rock group, with remnants of psych, somewhat typical of the US rock scene of 1971. They take the unusual course of covering Yes'"Time and a Word", plus an Edgar Winter Group composition stretched to 20 minutes. Some folky bits and lots of mellotron for fans of the style. One gets the impression they're a Polyphony type group (though Polyphony's album is far better than Sanctuary), where the best material still sits in a vault somewhere, just dying for an ambitious US reissue label to release them.

Priority: none

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Patch, Australia


Patch - The Star Suite. 1977 Harvest.

Features four long, slow, and drawn out instrumental soft rock pieces with the expected titles of Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Pretty relaxing actually, so a good one to finish the evening off with. Definitely not dull, and it's clear the compositions were thought out. I could see Aztec reissuing this one day.

Priority: none