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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random, USA


Random - Nothin' Tricky. 1977 Hell Yes Productions.

I received this tip from my Gnosis friend Lev back in the summer. You can download their entire album from the band directly.

Random are a very interesting avant progressive band from Illinois. Starts off with a disco(?!) track, but you know it's a head fake from the beginning. Mostly the band goes for a chamber music sound, with all sorts of other styles mixed in, most notably jazz. Highly inventive for 1977, and one has to presume Henry Cow were an influence here.

Priority: none

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Columbus Circle, USA


Columbus Circle - On Saint John's Eve. 1976 Pharoah (PHA-105)

We still have a few great ones coming in from Midwest Mike, The AC and Strawbsfan, but wanted to get this one out there. This was a recommendation from Moe Curly this past summer, and now I've finally heard it.

Columbus Circle are a very interesting group from Connecticut. Side 1 is a bombastic serious symphony with rock elements thrown in. Almost like a proto-Art Zoyd if you can imagine that. Side 2, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite and features a more simplistic horn rock sound with female vocals, organ and guitar. The second side of the album is about half a dozen years too late on the pop scene, but I found it the more enjoyable portion. Really strange, almost anachronistic album. Worth seeking out!

Priority: 3

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apprentice, USA


Apprentice - Rough Draft. 1982 Mainstream Records (not the Mainstream Records presumably)

Another good one sent in by Mike. Apprentice could be classified as a straight ahead fusion album, but it has just enough of an edge, especially in the 70's inspired guitar work, to add it here as a featured item. There's no mistaking its 1980s heritage though, especially noticeable in the thin sounding synthesizers, warm bass tones and slick production qualities.

I'm probably going to be peppering more of these types of albums into the main blog as I revisit them. Many are sitting in the main list, but haven't been featured here yet. There seems to be an ever growing audience for late 70s and early 80s fusion. Perhaps its time has come.

There's an excellent review over at Prog Not Frog

Priority: none

Updated post: The Search Party

So a quick glance over at what Vincent is up to at Lion Productions shows that The Search Party is indeed going to be reissued soon! Cool. Look for it in 2012 maybe?

Here's our original feature.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Smoke, USA


Smoke - Everything. 1973 MPS. Released only in Germany.

Here's another one that found its way to my door recently. We haven't focused much on the early 70s jazz / jazz-rock here, but I thought this one crossed the line nicely to our interest area.

"Everything" is a varied, but super cool atmospheric jazz rock album. Freaky in the MPS tradition, though group is California based (rather than German as is often thought). The bass clarinet piece recalls Lard Free on I'm Around Midnight. Speaking of which, lots of great midnight lounge organ sounds. No other album like this one. A kozmigroov classic.

Since this one is on MPS, we can only hope that it ultimately gets reissued with the others from the label (the current reissue series goes in fits and starts).

They have another album from 1970 that I understand to be different (more jazz influenced), though I haven't heard it.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Toshiyuki Miyama & His New Herd, Japan *** REISSUED ***


Toshiyuki Miyama & New Herd - Tsuchi No Ne (Nippon Densetsu No Naka No Shijou). 1973 Columbia.

There are other albums by the New Herd, but for now, I'll just list this one.

It's been reissued in 2012 by Columbia!

Entry moved over to the UMR.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Mannheim Rock Ensemble, Japan *** REISSUED ***


The Mannheim Rock Ensemble - Rock Of Joy. 1971 Columbia.

*** Reissued by Nippon Columbia Dec. 2012

While still working through the Midwest Mike stack, I also recently heard from another county: The Alaskan Connection. And he's back with another batch of insane rarities. And most of them are from the mysterious early 70s Japanese underground.

As we stated last year at this time, I feel no other country is harboring more hidden treasure than Japan. Rock Joint Biwa and Toshiaki Yokota's Primitive Community were the highlights from Heavyrock's stash last year. Who knows what this batch will bring, but the first one I heard (this entry) was a lot of fun anyway, though not something we're dying for a CD reissue or anything. The instrumental psych rock sections are excellent though, and the album as a whole is better than you might think at first glance. The AC's hysterical notes below explains the album far better than I ever could. Take it away AC!

"So, during the boom days of the great Japanese New Rock gold rush, many, many exploitation albums were released. Major label bosses, stacks of yen gleaming in their eyes, would corral a well-known studio/jazz musician, sign him to a contract and tell him something like "Here, go and get a bunch of your weirdo hippy friends and record a rock album! What? Original material?! Are you out of your mind? Just do a bunch of show-tunes or something. The kids will love it! By the way, you have 2 days to knock this one out, so I better not see your face outside that studio until Monday! Now get lost!". Well, I don't know if that's how these conversations ACTUALLY went, but it is how I like to imagine them. In any case, most of these things were completely silly and utterly forgettable, as you might imagine. But a precious few times, a mystical thunderbolt appeared from the heavens and struck these poor bedraggled groups of talented musicians with a type of divine inspiration (or temporary insanity), and something magical was born. Well, maybe I'm getting a bit carried away here, but... Anyway, the infamous People "Buddha Meet Rock" is one such example, and here is another. Nobody's certain who actually played on this thing, as despite the extensive liner notes related to the classical pieces themselves, there are no musicians credited anywhere ("Musical credits? Who needs those?! Now take your damn checks and get outta here!"). However, it's almost a certainty that some of the usual suspects were on the job, meaning Akira Ishikawa on drums, Kimio Mizutani or Ryo Kawasaki on guitar (I'm going with Mizutani here based on style), and of course the one and only Yusuke Hoguchi and his magical exploito-organ to really get the party rolling. So, what we have here is obviously rock exploitation covers of classical music. But to leave it at that would never do this album justice. No, you just can't properly understand the true beauty of classical music until you've heard it played as crazed early 70's Japanese psych/prog full of blasting fuzzed-out wah-wah guitar solos, vintage organ assaults, and a fat, thumping rhythm section (including the wholly incongruous but oddly effective use of congas). There's even a couple of more mellow tracks, backed by a real string quartet, for you fussy types that might want to listen to some "real" classical music. Whatever, man. All things considered, this is probably one of the most entertaining albums you'll hear (or not hear, as the case may be) any time soon. Of course, it should go without saying that this thing is rare beyond belief, only a few copies known to exist, almost totally unknown, yadda yadda yadda. ("How did it sell?! Don't make me laugh! We decided to print up around 50 copies, but we gave most of them away to the secretaries at the office Christmas party, and... What's that? You want one copy to show your wife and kids?! What do you think this is, a charity?! Now get back in the studio and don't let me see your mug again until next Friday!") Sadly, an album of this ilk is unlikely to ever see a legit (or even non-legit) reissue, but the People album did, so hope springs eternal! (maybe...)."

Priority: none

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tony Palkovic, USA



Tony Palkovic - Deep Water. 1980 Deep Water Records.

And, as you'll see below, guitarist Tony Palkovic has a couple of other 1980s albums. I've only heard this title.

Throwing this one out there for you fusion fans who are looking for new items to uncover. Mike sent this along with the batch, and it's definitely worthy of consideration. The one element of Palkovic's music I enjoyed is the heavy use of electronic-music styled synthesizer within the usual guitar fronted jazz rock instrumental setting. The guitar tone is a bit too light for me to sink my teeth into, and it's not exactly a tear-up session ala Bill Connors on "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy". But that's not the purpose of the album I'm sure. Apparently Palkovic is an artist who has received great praise from the guitar playing community. The below segment is taken directly from Palkovic's own website. Best I can tell, none of his 1980s works are available, and the original LPs currently sport a high price tag.

"Praised by the prestigious Guitar Player and 20th Century Guitar Magazines, Tony Palkovic has performed in clubs and concert halls including the BET television network... He studied music and film for six months at Columbia College in Chicago before transfering to Berklee College of Music in Boston where he spent the next four years finishing with a Bachelors Degree in Composition... After graduating, he started leading his own band playing jazz-fusion in the Midwest, but eventually moved to Los Angeles which has been his home since 1983... In 1980, Palkovic released his first album "Deep Water" which made many Top 10 lists for airplay on Jazz Radio stations all over the U.S. , Canada and eventually in Europe. This led to the recording of his second album "Every Moment" following the same path in '83, "Born With a Desire" in ’85...

...If you haven't yet heard Tony Palkovic's brand of music, you don't know what
you're missing - Guitar Player Magazine"

Priority: none

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pollen, Belgium


Pollen - Ry d'Oxhe. 1978 Beo.

Another album I sold from my first Creativity & Chaos mail order catalog in 1995. And like The Machines Have Landed, it was something I didn't have a copy of. So Mike sent it along with the others. It's not something I regret selling, but it's good to have for the archives.

Pollen's sole album is an odd combination of Dylan-esque street folk, depressing blues and dramatic Ange inspired progressive rock - all sung in French. A bit outside my interest area, but there's some challenging and compelling music to be found here. Worth seeking out for a couple of listens.

Priority: none

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wolfgang Duren, Germany


Wolfgang Düren - Eyeless Dreams. 1980 WPL.

Back in the 1980s, there used to be a really cool store here in Dallas called The Record Gallery that stocked all sorts of European imports, with a strong slant towards the avant garde. Electronic music was one of the specialties of the owner (who now lives in Portland and still sells on ebay). It was here that I discovered bands like Ashra, Heldon and many others. Oh, and he sold original art paintings as well - thus the name of the store.

I remember seeing Wolfgang Düren's sole album back then, but there was just too much for me to still discover, and this one looked a bit synth-poppy to be honest. But it's nothing of the sort. Mike sent this along as he thought I'd enjoy it, and as usual he was right.

Eyeless Dreams is a solid entry for those into 1970s Berlin School sounds. Sequencers and synthesizer solos are the order of the day. Lots of Klaus Schulze, some Adelbert von Deyen and even a little Kraftwerk. Since I'm fond of the genre, this is an easy one for me to recommend.

Priority: 3

(9/29/2012 update: I now own the original LP. As such, I've attached the correct cover which is silver - not white. As well, there isn't a date anywhere on the LP itself. It's generally attributed to 1980, however the only notes I could find on the internet is that it was recorded in the late 1970s. )

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mike Warren + Survival Kit, USA


Mike Warren & Survival Kit - Please Yourself First. 1978 Dobre Records.

Ah, we found a little more gold here. Maybe not as exciting as the Werkhoven (for me), but this one is almost certainly going to put the fusion fans in a lather.

Another completely new name for the CDRWL, Warren's sole album is a fine mix of typical late 70's fusion (side 1) with a more ferocious side 2, bordering progressive rock and even includes some psychedelic guitar. Progressive rock laced fusion with acid guitar is one of my favorite mixes. And this has to be the only jazz rock album I've heard that uses timpani extensively. Overall a mixture of Pierre Moerlin's Gong, Colosseum II, Randy Roos and Frank Zappa. I'm sure the latter was a major influence and one hopes Frank's outlook is the inspiration behind the title of the album. Otherwise, a rather unfortunate choice of words.

In looking for the album, it appears there's already some buzz about it in the jazz rock collecting world. It's easy to see why, as this one separates itself from the norm of the day. I could see Modulus going for this one.

Priority: 3

Monday, December 5, 2011

Henk Werkhoven, Netherlands


Henk Werkhoven - Orphical Positions. 1982 VMU.

I'm reporting from down here in the mine, and we already struck gold! The Midwest Mike stash has already paid off.

Prior to Mike sending this over, I'd never even heard of Henk Werkhoven. But once I saw the album cover, I was intrigued. After hearing this once, I bought an LP on the spot. You can read about Mr. Werkhoven here. Another one of those Renaissance guys, constantly in creativity mode, yet few know who he is or what he does. As you read the bio, you could come away thinking this is a new age album. Couldn't be further from the truth.

Basically "Orphical Positions" is good old fashioned instrumental progressive rock lead by flute, violin and guitar (acoustic and electric), along with exotics like sitar. A crack rhythm section keeps the proceedings moving along at a crisp pace. At once I'm reminded of Camel's "Snowgoose" and Rousseau's"Flowers in Asphalt". But I also hear Anthony Phillips, Kenso, Flairck, Coda and Verdaguer. A very fine release, and definitely a new discovery for the CDRWL.

Apparently this is one of those albums reissued by the Dutch company Fonos. Basically you can walk up to the Fonos offices, hand them your LP and they'll go off and make a custom CD (or CD-R? I'm not sure). And of course they'll make a handful to sell to others to cover costs. And they'll obtain the rights first. It's a totally legit operation, but not the kind of CDs we want to see here (master tapes, liner notes, bonus tracks, etc...). This would be a perfect fit for a label like Musea.

Priority: 2

Sunday, December 4, 2011

White Wing, USA


White Wing - s/t. 1976 ASI.

I recently got back into the Asia (Rapid City, South Dakota) albums that were diligently reissued on CD by Michael Piper / The Wild Places back in 1995. While reading the liners, I had forgotten that the precursor to that band was White Wing, an album I heard way back when and completely forgot about (didn't even have it rated anywhere). So I asked Midwest Mike to send along a copy to revisit. Of course he has it! Mike has everything (well just about!).

There's nothing really special about White Wing. It's pretty much a mix of hard rock and AOR styles with some good organ runs and mellotron strings. Recorded in the same studio as the Minnesota group Cain, and there are some similarities regarding the hard rock aspects. Not at the same level as the successor band Asia, especially Armed to the Teeth, but an album worth hearing a couple of times for certain.

Priority: none

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Machines Have Landed, Canada


The Machines Have Landed - Part One. 1981 North Shore Records.

The Machines Have Landed (aka Machines) is an interesting mix of spoken word, space rock via the mid 70's Pink Floyd lens, and early 80s synth-pop. Somewhat like the Body Album from England, mixed with the Human Adventist Concept and FM. I had this album years ago, and sold it. Not something I'm actively looking for someone to press on CD, but an interesting artifact all the same. Special thanks to Midwest Mike who gave me a chance to hear this album for the first time in 16 years!

Priority: none

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Search Party, USA *** REISSUED ***


The Search Party - Montgomery Chapel. 1969 Century.

Time to crank up the CDRWL engine again! It was a nice little break, as I spent the last 6 months or so putting focus onto my existing LP & CD collection, rather than on the continuing dig through the rarity mine (with some exceptions of course). But I've got my pick ax and hard hat, and we're ready to be dropped into the shaft.

Midwest Mike has just sent me a pile of rarities on CD-R. And fusion fans of this blog know that no one has the jazz rock obscurities like Mike! So lots to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Before I start on that stack, I have a psych relic to cover off on first. I've heard about The Search Party ever since the 1980s when I first started receiving progressive and psych rarities catalogs. Even then, this album was off the charts rare and expensive. I never did bother to seek it out, figuring it was another over-hyped Christian psych album (you won't see me use the term over-hype very much, but with Christian psych, it truly does apply). So finally last week I heard the album. Oh wow, this really is good. No wonder everyone made a fuss years ago. My kind of atmospheric , doomy psych with Voxx organ, acoustic guitars, haunting male/female vocals and occasional fuzz guitar outbursts. About the only comparison I could think of is the brilliant Music Emporium album, on their more cosmic tripped out tracks.

Excellent then, I said to myself, now I need to buy the CD. What? There isn't one? Oh sure, I saw the usual suspects in the pirate world. But nothing that was confirmed legit. Now, there is a legit LP on the Void label, but no one it appears followed his lead for a CD. That's crazy! Where is Sundazed when I need them? As an aside, the Century label is not some boiler room operation, but rather a mainstream Christian music label from Los Angeles.

Obviously, I should have been on top of this one years ago. The Search Party therefore is making its long awaited debut today.

12/17/11 note: OK, it looks like Lion Productions (USA) will be reissuing this in 2012! Alright! (and said reissue happened in early 2013)

Priority: 2

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

News: Sireena to reissue Mythos "Quasar"


I think this is an inspired choice from Sireena."Quasar" was originally released in 1980, and for my tastes, their best album since "Dreamlab". Unfortunately the followup "Grand Prix" is a major let down. Not sure if Sireena will even bother with that title, but it will remain the only Mythos without a CD after "Quasar" is released. Date is tentatively scheduled for March, 2012.

We featured Quasar here.

News: EMI Japan to reissue Chronicle album


An interesting choice coming from Japan. Look for the mini-LP reissue this December.

Here are my notes, published only in the main guide: "Another one of those Japanese albums that's hard to find info on, given different Anglicized spellings to the original Japanese. Very similar to their "Like a Message From the Stars" album (1977) that was originally released on the US based All Ears label. Basically it's Japanese balladry mixed with lightly sprinkled Pink Floyd space rock. Similar to later era Far East Family Band or Flower Travelling Band."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

News: Aztec working on Steven Maxwell von Braund album


This morning I wandered over to the website of Australia's Aztec Music, and saw that they are "currently working on" Steven Maxwell von Braund's (Cybotron) solo album. Excellent news for those of us who like pioneering Berlin School styled electronics. Here's our review.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

News: Black Widow to issue archival Spettri album


Caught this one while surfing. Don't know anything about it, but it could be interesting!

Black Widow (Italy) says:

"SPETTRI is an Italian band that sees the light of day in Florence in 1964. In those years, the “italian beat” is highly on. The original members are: Ugo and Raffaele Ponticiello (brothers, voice and guitar), Giuliano Giunti (bass guitar) and Ubaldo Palanti (drums) but the latter is soon replaced by Mauro Sarti.
They soon release some 45 r.p.m. records during the early Beat. The sound is amazing and their performances are great. The group is the very first one in Florence who decides to use “100 watt GRS” guitar amplifiers, a real revolutionary choice, since that powerful sound was still unknown until then.
In 1968, Mauro Sarti leaves the band. Giorgio Di Ruvo (a former member of The Players, a rhythm and blues group) and Alessio Rogai (keyboards) join the group. In 1970 he leaves in favour of Stefano Melani. Giuseppe Nenci, bass guitar, is part of the group for a short time in 1970. In 1971, the Ponticiello youngest brother, Vincenzo, takes the place of Giuseppe Nenci.
In 1970 their music is changing. The whole music scene is changing too: the Beat is off. On stage, they perform rock band covers (Spirit, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple...). Their rehearsals are very creative original experimental works. They draw inspiration from bands they listened to in that period. Bands like the ones mentioned before and like King Crimson and Colosseum, for example, strongly influenced every single member of the group. That new kind of music is soon labelled “Avant-garde” : the same sound we call “Prog” today.
Their concept album is really special: all their lyrics are written by Ugo Ponticiello. The lyrics deal with a man who tries to find his way by a spiritualist séance. He gives himself up to the metaphysics and the afterlife to pursue a reason to live. All alone, he leaves a real terrible nightmare where he finally finds his way but it’s brutalized by the evils of modern society.
The musical part is a rock suite: electric and bass guitars, drums and an hammond organ. These instruments coexist in a new perfect experimental rock sound. The group includes this composition in their live performances. During their countless live concerts in the most important Italian pop festivals in Tuscany and Latium, they play side by side with the most influential bands of the genre.
This suite is composed in 1970/71, recorded in 1972 and it is an unpublished work because it was never released up to today. Since 1975 on, some new music tendencies and the growing public indifference to refined music have led the group to different music choices and their original project has been held over until...now, 2011."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fungus, England


Fungus - Premonitions. 1973 private (demo only)

Fungus issued this one demo album, released in a plain white sleeve. It's about 38 minutes long and the music is a mix of progressive rock and electronic oriented music. Fungus is post Second Hand / Chillum and pre-Seventh Wave - and the music seems to be the transition from one style to the other. It's an orchestral oriented progressive rock, with long instrumental electronic journeys. A ridiculously rare artifact that is near impossible to find.

I've had this on tape for close to 20 years. I gave it to a friend a few years ago without realizing its historical importance, and I didn't make a copy for myself. When Gnosis friend and colleague Jim H. started pestering me for a copy, I knew I'd made a mistake. Unfortunately my friend had misplaced the tape - and it took 3 years to find! But after an exhaustive search through his home - he found it! So here we are. Not the greatest album I've ever heard, but a nice one for the UK progressive style as found on the Dawn or Transatlantic labels.

Photo is courtesy of Popsike.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

News: All 3 Placebo albums coming on CD!




P-Vine, a very respected Japanese label, will be reissuing the Placebo albums on mini-LP. Look for a December 21 release. Not sure if there's a European/US release in conjunction, but great news all the same. These albums are classics in the jazz rock / progressive / kosmigroov space.

Wow!

We featured Placebo here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

News: Arcangelo to reissue Ragnarök's "Fjärilar I Magen" in November!


Arcangelo, the CD label for Japan's Disk Union record shop, has announced their intention to reissue Ragnarök's "Fjärilar I Magen" in the mini-LP format on November 9th. Now this is interesting, because in general Arcangelo works in conjunction with other labels that do the initial reissue. But Fjärilar I Magen has never been reissued to date. And I have not seen any other announcement associated with this release (for the record they are also reissuing the first Ragnarok - which was done by Silence many years ago). And that's the other part of this story: Silence usually doesn't license out any of their catalog. Recently there was an exception with the Psykofon label concerning Handgjort. So either Silence is indeed behind this, or the band obtained the rights themselves, or a mystery label is behind it. Time will tell I guess.

Anyway, great news as this album has many fans including me. This gives me hope that maybe one day we will see the first Flasket Brinner album after all!

We featured Ragnarok almost exactly two years ago today.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

News: Belle Antique to reissue Old Man & The Sea


More exciting news out of Japan! As some of you may recall, I featured this album earlier this year, only to find out it was reissued legit - except hardly anyone knew about it. Belle Antique is the house label for Marquee, so I checked with my friend and Gnosis colleague Nobuhisa - who tell us: "We are going for the original mix + we'd have the bonus track appeared on the legit CD. According to the band, the original master is gone, so this will be from a clean copy of the original vinyl. Tommy Hansen has done the mastering." That works for me! And Old Man & the Sea is the perfect album for a mini-LP. The original LP is a typically great early 70s major label package - with a cool gatefold cover.

So unless you own the very obscure Dunk label version (which most of us never saw even when it was released), the Belle Antique version is the way to go!

Updated post: Genshi Kyodotai

Nobuhisa has provided some more great news concerning the Think label that is reissuing the Genshi-Kyodotai.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

News: Garden of Delights releases archival Guildenstern


Garden of Delights comes up with what looks like another archival winner! Between them and Long Hair (and others like Sireena), the pot seems endless. I hope so anyway.

Label says: "Guildenstern were founded in the Hessian town of Rüsselsheim in the spring of 1976 and played some keyboard-dominated progressive rock in the style of bands like early Genesis, early Yes, Camel, or Eloy. The band didn't release anything, but some recordings with a satisfactory sound quality have been preserved: eight tracks recorded in the rehearsal room, as well as three pieces from their rock opera "Life's a stage", recorded live in Flörsheim on September 29th, 1979. They are now to be heard on the Guildenstern CD. All tracks - most of them instrumentals - were written by the artists themselves. Some of them are played on a doubleneck 12-string guitar. Guildenstern keyboarder Bernd Scholl has meanwhile released a lot of LPs and CDs with electronic music and has become one of the leading planetarium musicians in Germany."

GoD also reissued Embryo's "Bad Heads and Bad Cats", which was previously done about 10 years ago on Disconforme. They included the same 17 minute bonus track + added an excellent track from the 1975 Vlotho festival, which we wrote about in the UMR last year. I'll definitely pick up this version eventually, though it won't be a high priority as the Disconforme version that I own is quite excellent as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

News: Genshi-Kyodotai coming out on CD!!!!!!!


First it was the startling announcement that the Rock Joint albums were coming out (on Sony). Then came the amazing news that the Laurence Vanay albums will be on CD & LP (On Lion - early next year most likely). Then Ken Golden of The Laser's Edge starting a new label called Modulus and the first album will be none other than Het Pandorra Ensemble. Followed by Garden of Delights releasing their best reissues in years with the debut by Sunbirds and Missus Beastly's 3rd album. Then the jaw dropper that the first Eider Stellaire is finally coming out on CD.

It has been an incredible year for truly obscure albums getting the legal digital treatment.

But this has to take the cake.

Holy cow. It was only last December that this album was still shrouded in mystery, only whispered about in the dark walls of a Knights Templar monastery. Then came Heavy Rock's tape that I used for my blog entry, closely followed by Toshiaki Yokota himself uploading it (see Prog Not Frog for more details). And now it will be made available to all. Of course, Japanese presses like this are tough to get as they aren't carried by the usually progressive rock suppliers. You can usually obtain CDs such as this from HMV or Amazon Japan. And sometimes Dusty Groove can bring them over stateside. We'll see. Street date has been set for October.

Nobuhisa of Marquee tells me "It is planned to come out from THINK label. They mainly deal with reissue of Japanese Jazz obscurities, and for most case the actual pressing are done by the major labels that still own the right for them (like Wounded Bird or Esoteric) so they should be totally legit."

A wealth of riches I tell ya.

9/29/2011 update:

Nobuhisa has provided even more fantastic information. Thanks again!!

Website for the label is here.


"The Think! Label is part of the Disk Union group and they operate under their Jazz division.

Along with Genshi-Kyodotai, they would release

Tousha, Suiho : Yugen No Sekai
* a major rarity that features Noh-Kan and Shinobue (sort of Japanese traditional Flute and recorder) player Tousha collaborating with an electric Jazz / Rock band (Inomata Akira and Sound Unlimited).
Mizutani Kimio plays the guitar. An ambitious record that contains side long suite titled "Concerto For Shino Flute & Rock Band: 1st Movement - 2nd Movement - 3rd Movement" though not totally successful.

and other two titles which I haven't heard.

Sato Masahiko Trio : Transformation 69/71
Freedom Unity : Something

Sato would be Straight Jazz with Free leaning (I've heard few of his albums from the same period / similar personnel). Have no idea on how the Freedom Unity sounds like."

I've said it before and I'll say it again here - Japan is harboring the most undiscovered music from the 1970s.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

News: Esoteric to reissue The Norman Haines Band Den of Iniquity in October!


This is news I've been waiting on for some time. Vicky had told me well over 3 years ago that they were waiting "for clearance" to reissue this gem. And it makes sense, of course, that Esoteric would reissue it since they had already tackled the Locomotive album, a group that Haines played in. Even though the album had been reissued legit prior, on the very obscure Shoestring label in the early 90s, I never saw a copy of it - even back then. So now we will all have a chance to own this excellent album!

Esoteric says: "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce a new remastered edition of the 1971 album by THE NORMAN HAINES BAND, the legendary "DEN OF INIQUITY". Soon after recording the iconic album "WE ARE EVERYTHING YOU SEE" with his band LOCOMOTIVE, Norman departed the group to found this heavier outfit. Joining the keyboard player were guitarist NEIL CLARK, bassist ANDY HUGHES and drummer JIMMY SKIDMORE. One of the most sought after releases of the Progressive Rock era, "DEN OF INIQUITY" was the only album recorded by the band and was a dark and heavy affair with superb compositions that included a reworked version of "Mr. ARMAGEDDON" (previously recorded by LOCOMOTIVE), the excellent title track and the epic thirteen minute long 'RABBITS'. Issued on EMI's Parlophone imprint in 1971, the album was available for a few short months before being deleted. An excellent keyboard dominated Progressive Rock album, this Esoteric reissue has been re-mastered from the original master tapes and includes six bonus tracks, taken from the singles issued by Parlophone and the rare track 'I REALLY NEED A FRIEND'. The reissue also includes the single version of 'RABBITS', previously unreleased on CD."

We featured this album a couple of years ago.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Window, USA


Window - The Empyreal Ballet. 1978 Cottage Records.

So here's one I've been wanting to post about forever. I had a cassette of it from long ago, but without info. Usually a simple Google search will find me an album cover and other data. Except in this case, it was as if the album didn't exist. I couldn't find anything about it anywhere. I asked Midwest Mike, The Alaskan Connection and others, but no one seemed to know anything about it. When that happens, I begin to question the tape markings. Was it mislabeled? Was it ever actually released? Did I get a demo album way back when?

Then, about 2 weeks ago, I received a note out of the blue asking if I was interested in knowing more about the album (it's in the main list and I was asking for info). Of course I said yes! But that trail seemed to go cold as I never heard back - until today, but he had already sold it! On a whim, I decided to Google it again - and lo and behold - there it was, sold on ebay just 3 days ago! So I have to figure it was the same gentleman. That's pure speculation, but whatever, the ebay auction had photos and some info! So thank you to the ebay seller (blind-boy-records) - and if it's the same person who contacted me - thanks again!

So it appears Window are a San Francisco / Bay Area based group, and they released this one very good progressive rock album. Honestly, I was certain I was going to find out the band were from Illinois or Missouri, because it does indeed have that Midwest progressive rock sound, especially apparent in the vocal sections. The mix of complex progressive rock, piano jazz-rock and AOR FM radio ambition only cements the comparison. Excellent electric / acoustic guitar work, flute, tuned percussion, with a horn section and complex rhythms is what you'll find on "Empyreal Ballet". Curiously for a band of its type, there are no keyboards (beyond the piano of course).

Priority: 2

Friday, September 9, 2011

Notice: Ragnarok (NZ) albums available on CD-R

As regular readers of the CDRWL know, we don't count CD-R's as completely reissued albums. However, that doesn't stop us from letting you know about them! Going forward, I will only announce CD-R's if the band themselves are releasing it in this format.

A tip from an anonymous reader earlier this week pointed me to a Youtube with an e-mail address on how to order their "CD". That lead me to a friendly discussion with Ragnarok member Andre Jayet. I made a few suggestions on having their album pressed by a quality and honest label, and so we'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

But in the meantime, if you would like to obtain legitimate homemade CD-R's, here's the instructions on how to do so:

"The CD’s are CD-R. (Ragnarok, Nooks and Ragnarok Live). There are some liner notes inside. The bonus tracks can be found on the live CD-R.

There is a Facebook page (Ragnarok New Zealand) Where you will find unpublished pics, info, comments and some video.

Orders for the CD-R’s are taken from this email site (ragnarok.nz@gmail.com).

Each CD-R is $NZ20.00 plus post’n’package."


We featured Ragnarok about a year ago.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

News: Modulus to release Randy Roos "Mistral"!


While we await the first reissue on the Modulus (Laser's Edge) label - Het Pandorra Ensemble - we now have official word on the second release: Former Luna guitarist Randy Roos "Mistral" album. Regular readers of the CDRWL will note that Midwest Mike had actually sent me the LP of this excellent fusion album last winter. And here it is already on CD!

We featured the album back in February.
Excellent news for American fusion fans, who like a little progressive rock thrown into the mix! Another excellent choice for a reissue from Ken.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

News: Rocket Records reissues Woodoo and Lemon


As always, Rocket Records continues to reissue some of the most obscure records from Finland (I keep hoping for Nimbus and Sepi Kuu). Today's announcement are two albums that were originally on the UFO label.

For Woodoo, which we featured in December of 2009, my review stated: "Terribly rare album from Finnish rock-jazz-vocal group. Lots of hand percussion drives the rhythms while sax takes the lead lines. Vocals in Finnish dominate. This one has a nice groove to it, despite the heavy reliance on vocals. Can be trance inducing. Short album, well under 30 minutes. Worth seeking out for a few listens."

Apparently this was reissued about a week ago, so you should be able to order it direct from Finland now.

As well, Rocket also plans on reissuing the Lemon "Vanha Vakaa" record in September. Now here's a band that lives up to its name! I compared them to The Partridge Family - but that's coming from my preference for underground progressive rock music. I'm sure the album has many fans back at home.

In any case, it's just great to see Rocket Records cruising along!


Monday, August 29, 2011

News: Eider Stellaire finally being reissued on CD!!!


To say it's been a slow summer on the CD reissue front would be an understatement. We wrapped up April and May with a smattering of exciting announcements. And then it pretty much died. Until this morning. It appears that Alain at Soleil Zeuhl has finally succeeded in getting this beauty out into the open market, after many years of trying. Congratulations to everyone involved! This is a BIG Priority 1 for me (and many others), and will most certainly prove to be a popular reissue.

This is a future announcement. No release date as of yet.

Here's the blurb from Shiny Beast this morning:

"EIDER STELLAIRE - EIDER STELLAIRE (CD/SOLEIL ZEUHL)Christian Vander's post-Magma band Eider Stellaire frequently functioned as the opening act for Magma's concerts in the late '70s and early '80s. This made perfect sense since both bands shared the same sources of inspiration, f.i. the European 20th century classical composers (Bartok, Stravinsky, Orff) and the energy of rock music. Also notable were the importance of the rhythm section and mysterious, wordless female vocals. Eider Stellaire's excellent self titled album from 1981 is still regarded as a masterpiece from the French progressive era and now it's reissued on CD, including a superb 10 minute alternate version of 'Nihil' as a bonus."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rancid Poultry, England (Part 2)






















Rancid Riffs. 1985 Land of Yrx
Leyline Lords of the Motorway Web. 1986 Land of Yrx
Midnight Disendowed. 1986 Land of Yrx
* Delicate Creatures. 1986 Land of Yrx
* Rock 'N' Roll Won't Never Die! 1987 Poultry Productions
* Controlled Exposure. 1989 Poultry Productions
* Lungs Full of Lead (2xMC, 1989) Poultry Productions
HTIABR! 1990 Poultry Productions
* Live In Leads (But Steve Doesn't). 1992 Poultry Productions
* Musicide 19??. ???
* Qaotic Pestilence 19??. ???

All released on cassette originally.
* - Are the ones I've personally heard.

This is probably the single largest entry in the CDRWL, if the sole criteria is number of albums not reissued. I first heard of Rancid Poultry via Audion Magazine in the late 1980s, and picked up Controlled Exposure through their Ultima Thule mail order channel not long after it was released. We featured this album a little over a year ago. According to the Freeman's, Controlled Exposure was probably their most accomplished work, and now after having devoured 6 other titles (including a double album), I would have to agree with their original assessment.

As mentioned back in late January, The Alaskan Connection had a few of these on hand as well to share with me. I knew by the sheer volume of releases, and the type of music that Rancid Poultry play, it would take me some time to fully immerse myself into these recordings (I predicted then that it would probably be the summer before I completed them - and here we are). So I've finally finished them all. Whew! Exhausting is the only word I can come up with to describe the experience.

My review for Controlled Exposure basically stated: "Rancid Poultry came out of the 1980s festival scene, but arrived with some influences out of the industrial movement... ...Good raucous space rock - with some interesting screamed vocals." And that more or less describes all the albums listed here. One correction though to my original review: Even though the band came from the festival scene era, I don't believe they were an actual live act performing at the festivals. I could be wrong, but my impression based on reports is they were more of a "city band" who played in and around small clubs in England.

There's a little bit of history on Rancid Poultry from the Land of Yrx page, which gives us insight into their beginnings (go to the bottom of the linked page). I've only heard Delicate Creatures from this phase of the band, but based on that I think I can safely presume the first 3 albums are not going to be for me I'm afraid. This is Rancid Poultry at their most experimental and noisy, with dare I say, a rancid 80's computer drum sound. By the time of Rock 'N' Roll Will Never Die, the band is clearly leaning in a space rock direction, with more emphasis on traditional guitar, bass, drum jamming and less of the keyboard knob twiddling. It's still quite primitive though. After this comes their landmark Controlled Exposure tape, and we hear a group more focused, with actual compositions mixed in with the jams. Lungs Full of Lead is a sprawling mess of industrial, space rock, progressive and experimentalism. If you want to gain the full Rancid Poultry experience, this may be a good introduction, though it can be frustrating for those of us with (admittedly) more narrow tastes. By 1992, Live in Leads demonstrates a much more professional band, though the bootleg quality of the recording itself leaves much to be desired. As for Musicide and Qaotic Pestilence, there's absolutely no data I can find on them, beyond the covers the AC provided me. Based on sound alone, I'd hazard a guess that Musicide comes after Lungs Full of Lead - though again the recording is a bit primitive. But musically very interesting. Of all the albums listed here, Qaotic Pestilence is probably the closest to Controlled Exposure, except there are no vocals here. This may indeed be the most fully realized Rancid Poultry album I've heard to date. I would suspect this to be an early 90's release.

The band continued on as the prpGROUP (Post Rancid Poultry). You can check them out here. It appears this band has also been quite prolific, with a pile of CD-R's and at least one actual CD. More info here. Plus some reviews of the prpGROUP at Aural Innovations. I've not heard any of these albums as of this writing.

Priority: 3

Friday, July 22, 2011

News: Shadoks latest reissues



An interesting batch this go round, with what looks like a potential monster. These albums are set to be issued in late August.

Bump 2 is the CD issue of the archival LP they released roughly a year ago. I still haven't heard it, though it does have a good reputation (though I never cared much for the actual 1970 release).

Question Mark is a pretty good psych rock band from Nigeria, circa 1974. Their sound isn't too far from other African psych outfits that you will hear from Nigeria or Zambia. Shadoks had issued this on LP back in 2007. Here's our blurb from the Original CD Reissue Wish List: "One of a handful of interesting African rock albums. This one is in the same genre as B.L.O., Witch, Chrissy Zebby Tembo, etc... Features some nice old organ sounds, a lot of scratchy fuzz and 1960s psych style melodies. Better than most Sub Saharan African albums I've heard - closest comparison would be the Nigerian band Ofege."

What really caught my eye is their LP reissue of Estrella De Marzo. I'd never heard this title from Bolivia before, but anything that compares to Wara and especially Climax is going to garner interest from me. Hopefully it's not hype, because the following description from Shadoks has my name all over it: "Most do not know much about music from Bolivia, like us. What's flashing our minds are the Andes, La Paz and flute music by Indios. But there are some great rock & underground bands such as Wara, Climax and most of all Estrella De Marzo. This album (still unknown to most collectors) is not only special because it's from an country not many listeners know much about. This album is so great, so much underground, so unique and well crafted, that it goes into a strong competition with most "classic underground releases" from South America. If you are in to wild fuzz guitar ala Zappa, and if you like Kissing Spell from Chile, beautiful vocals with strong lyrics and great beats , you will love this album. The early Pink Floyd has also influenced this album. For us it was one of the big musical discoveries for this year. Every track is great, high spirit progressive underground rock, as good as it can be. This album "A Los Ninos Con Amor" (to children with love) was recorded in 1974 with, keyboards, guitars, drums, bass & vocals."

And finally we have an archival release from the American expatriate King George Clemens. I haven't heard the 1968 album proper, though this claims to be more in line for what us underground heads prefer. We shall see. Label says: "King George Discovery - Peace Of Mind, was recorded in Sweden in 1968 with the US musician King George Clemens on guitar & vocals. A close friendship to Jimi Hendrix, who toured also Sweden in 1968, dropped many tracks from the release plan when the band was recording an album which also came out that year. All tracks who where competing with the music of Jimi Hendrix was not released, until now. A collector from England found the unknown tracks who where pressed only as a demo LP for the band. What a great find. Some tracks where placed on youtube and collectors where starting raving about this album. It is soo good, the guitar work is amazing, as psychedelic as it can get. We could release this album in cooperation with King George Clemens and we are proud to have this treasure released on vinyl and later onto CD. It's just great! One of the most important release this year for sure!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beyond, USA


Beyond - Music and Beyond. 1980 Tuhlottesound.

Here's an album my buddy Jeff turned me onto years & years ago. And to be honest, it never really grabbed me. Until now. As usual, he was right all along, and it's really a very good LP worthy of recognition.

Generally you'll read the group is from Texas (mainly due to an error in the Acid Archives book). But actually they're from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the management of the group is from Coffeyville, Kansas (on the border with Oklahoma). Jeff met the drummer years ago and confirmed the data. So I suspect various members are from the NE OK, SE KS area.

Dec 2013 update: OK, I now have the vinyl of this. The record is officially on the Tuhlottesound label (one word) and is based in Copan, Oklahoma - which is north of Bartlesville, Oklahoma near Coffeyville, Kansas as stated above. The album was further mastered in Dallas in 1980 so that would be the final release date.

The music is a mixture of classic hard edged arena rock and all-out complex progressive rock. A little heavier than the usual Midwest progressive rock sound that we've featured extensively with a small to non-existent keyboard presence, but in reality Beyond were under the same influence as other groups from the region. Converse to tradition, Side 2 is the more commercial oriented part of the album, and it leaves one with a slightly bitter taste at the end (which is why I think the album never resonated with me prior). The complex songs do recall Astre, another Tulsa based group. Some fantastic acid guitar throughout, with some fuzz bass, and even some jazzy tuned percussion. A very cool relic from America's heartland.

Thanks again goes to Moe Curly for the reminder on this one.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quasar Light, USA


Quasar Light - Experience This. 1981 Jet Eye.

One of the absolute funniest reviews I've ever read concisely stated the following: WTF is this? That got a belly laugh out of me. How many times have I felt exactly like that? Who knows, but no album I've heard in the last few years qualifies that expression more than Quasar Light.

WTF is this indeed. I don't even know where to begin. Umm... yea, it's like... OK. No more like... yea, that.

The first half of the album is like an alien pop album with hard rock guitar and disembodied female vocals. And no mistaking its 1980's heritage. So far, so bad - to be honest. But then this thing starts to go off the rails. In the weirdest way possible. Not that it's avant noise or anything so overt as that. No, they still are going strong with actual songs. But they're weird, twisted, distorted and downright complex at times. It's progressive rock in the 6th dimension. There is absolutely no reference here. Band is from the York area of Pennsylvania and one has to suspect that they're Amish on a Rumspringa binge. The only reference I could find on this album was a stream of consciousness rant on MySpace from the Quasar Light founder. Yea, what a surprise that.

Do I want to see this reissued? Yea, I kinda do actually. It's just too unique to ignore. Underground America at its weirdest right here.

Special thanks goes to Moe Curly for the tip on this one.

Priority: 3