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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News: Esoteric's 2011 June-Aug schedule

I'm a little late on the June announcements, but some pretty cool stuff in this batch.

Some of what caught my eye: Earth and Fire's "To the World of the Future" is a good choice and hasn't been on the market for years. This is really the first proper reissue of the album.

Socrates "Phos" is an interesting choice. Reissued a couple of times by Vertigo in Greece, I'll be curious what Esoteric will add beyond the usual excellent liner notes of course.

It's good to see Esoteric diving in the Italian reissue market a bit deeper. There's almost no classic Italian progressive album that hasn't been reissued (and our list has a few scattered about - but the great ones have already been done - in multiple formats). However, many of the Italian greats are still limping along with poor mastering. BTF has gone back and done a nice job with a lot of the old Vinyl Magic CDs - and added some liner notes as well. Acqua Fragile is a good band to tackle and I've been looking for a nice reissue of "Mass Media Stars" myself. Hopefully they don't stop at just the English language Italian groups.

Even more exciting for me is to see Aardvark's sole album get the royal treatment. There's been a "common" copy reissued many times - and I own the Japan mini that is taken from this source. I'll keep the mini for the cover, but it would be nice to know more about the band and to hear a properly done reissue. I personally love this curious organ freakout album, with quaint, almost Canterbury-ish psych tunes thrown in.

And finally the two CD set of Tangerine Dream's "Atem" looks most promising, as that second disc is: "This Esoteric reactive edition is expanded to include a bonus CD of a previously unreleased forty minute live performance given by Tangerine Dream at the Deutschlandhalle in Berlin on November 29th 1973 and features a lavishly illustrated deluxe booklet with new essay."

Here's the announcement from Vicky at Esoteric:

"June
Lol Coxhill-Ear of the Beholder-with contributions from kevin Ayers, Mike Oldfield and David Bedford
David Bedford-Nurses Song with Elephants (featuring Kevin Ayres and Mike Oldfield)
CCLR--s/t (new studio album with Bernardo Lanzetti of PFMs band with Steve Hackett as guest.)
Bill Nelson-Northern Dream (Bills 1st ever album)
Dave Brock and the Agents of Chaos-Agents of Chaos
Earth and Fire-To the World of the Future
Acqua Fragile-s/t (Italian prog with bernard Lanzetti)
Acqua Fragile-Mass media Stars

July
Aardvark--s/t Excellent Deram Nova album.
Tudor Lodge-s/t--lovely classic folk rock album with great new artwork
Richard Wahnfried and Arthur Brown-Time actor(Richard Wahnfried is Klaus Schulze)
Arthur Brown and Vincent Crane-Faster than the Speed of Light
Speedy keen-Y' Know Wot I mean (voice of Thunderclap Newman)
Soft Machine-Tales of Taliesin (lovingly packaged anthology of the Harvest Years)

August
Tangerine Dream-Atem (2Cd)
Tangerine Dream-Underwater Sunlight
Socrates-Phos
Jack Bruce-Out of the Storm
Speedy keen -Previous Convictions"

News: Achim Reichel to reissue remainder of catalog in 2012

Thanks to a ProgressiveEars note from Charles at progressiverock.com, we learned that Achim Reichel will reissue his other excellent works including Echo, 3, IV, Autovision and Erholung in 2012. This is according to a note on Reichel's Facebook page.

We'll be sure to keep an eye on this one. We still haven't seen the CD issue of Gunther Schickert's "Samtvogel" yet (though the LP did come out). Unrelated? Sure, but it reminded me of it all the same.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

AMA, England



AMA – Not Blobs. 1988 Poultry Productions PP6
AMA – Liveloudandlumpy. 1988 Poultry Productions PP8
AMA - Genuflex. 1989 Poultry Productions ??. These were all pressed on cassette originally. The date of Not Blobs is based on the catalog number. Genuflex is listed 3rd as that's how the Freeman's from Ultima Thule have it ordered. Given that Liveloudandlumpy is from November 1988, I'll surmise this one is from 1989. But it's only a guess.

Back in the January / February time frame the Alaskan Connection had shared with me quite a few very rare psychedelic albums from the 1980's English underground (only one was listed in Gnosis and no entry on RYM or anywhere else). Some of these were from the "festival scene" and others were just private garage operations. The Poultry Productions label is an example of this latter movement, and perhaps most known for the multitude of Rancid Poultry albums (update coming soon). I told him at the time that I probably would get to these by the summer. And here we are!

AMA can quite simply be described as long and improvised, primitive sounding guitar-bass-drums psychedelic instrumental music with a muddy production. The kind of group that makes Tangle Edge sound like Conservatory students with an academic pedigree. A little of this kind of music goes a long way. Probably the "Improvised Drop Outs" sessions from Tangle Edge are the best reference here. It has a hypnotic effect as background music, but close inspection reveals all sorts of cracks, lines and warts. Like going to a dark restaurant and appearing on the surface to look beautiful, only later to be exposed in the bright lights to demonstrate the ugly truth. Personally I like the raw intensity of the recordings, though probably not enough to lobby for a reissue. Perhaps the cassette format is perfect for these kind of recordings in that, like the medium itself, it's old and creaky.

Start with "Not Blobs" if you're curios, as that one has an inkling of compositional acumen at least.

Thanks again goes to the AC for these incredibly rare recordings!

Priority: none

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Updated post: Garden of Delights Coming Soon list

Nothing too major to report here, so I decided to update the post from January.

Take a look!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Syncope, Canada



Syncope - s/t. 1980 private.

A very obscure LP from Quebec, where scant information can be found on the internet. I hear a mix of way-past-its-sell-date horn rock, late 70s fusion, complex progressive rock similar to Opus 5 / Pollen and even a little downer blues rock. The more I hear it, the better the album gets. The horn rock angle is really weird given the 1980 date, especially since it's of the 1969 Chicago / BST variety.

If you do decide to go surfing the web on this one, what you will find is fellow Gnosis colleague Sean Trane's excellent analysis of the album, which I'll quote here: "Hiding behind a poetic musical dawn artwork (see the full artwork PA's site), this septet is a very brassy affair, presenting a bit like a Quebecois version of Chicago through seven tracks ranging from four to six and a half minutes and one splendid mini-epic nearing eleven minutes.

The aptly-named septet develops some excellent syncopated prog-enhanced brass-rock, that sounds very Quebecois, not least through the relatively accent-less duo French vocals (often close to Opus-5), bar the swingy blues Bleu d'Hull track, which sticks out a bit too much from the rest of the album. Indeed the four tracks of the opening side sound like a calm and thoughtful version of Chicago or a less-kitschy Lighthouse without being derivative, the main difference being in the double vocals and an uncompromising songwriting. The flipside opens on the album's centrepiece, the instrumental self-titled mini-epic lasting almost 11 minutes, often running quite complex and even symphonic (grandiose intro on a church pipe organ), but never needlessly so. After an average mainly-sung track, the album closes on two splendid tracks, the first Cible (target) sounding like a brassy Opus-5 song, while the amazing instrumental finale of Rage features some wild Spanish-sounding horns that draws chills in the back of the neck. What an awesome way to finish an album.

If you'll make the exception of the sung-swing-song closing the A-side that ruins its cohesiveness, the album is a very impressive, filled with often-superb brass-rock that is probably more brilliant than the early Chicago classic albums."


Trane really nails it here! This one is a real grower, and I've raised the priority one point over the last 3 listens.

Priority: 2

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kashmir, Switzerland




Kashmir - Alarme! (aka Je Suis...). 1979 Kiswell. (Je Suis... was the original private issue)
Kashmir - Histoire Cruelle. 1982 Kobold.
Kashmir - Les Reflets du Lac. 19??.

Here's a group that I had forgotten about in my original CDRWL. Years ago I had the LP version of "Alarme!". It was fairly decent, but not enough to keep and I moved it in an ebay auction.

Based on a comment from StrawbsFan, I checked the album out again, and I found it to be slightly better than I remembered, but still not something I'd be willing to stump for to a CD reissue label. Basically it's similar to other electronic duos like Eden (France), Jonathan (Germany) and maybe even Space Art.

Shortly thereafter, StrawbsFan also shared with me the very rare second album 'Histoire Cruelle". I had remembered seeing this in rare LP catalogs, with a prohibitive price tag and I'd left it on a curiosity list forever. Until it dropped off. That was a mistake, as I hear this second album better than the debut. It is, however, not an easy album to describe. 4 listens in, and I'm not sure what I can tell you here. It's a mix of Tangerine Dream styled electronic, new wave synth pop, keyboard heavy progressive rock with fat fuzzy guitar leads and early Klaus Schulze styled dirges. There's a lot here to discover, and I think it could be a grower. Reason enough to warrant a CD.

Very little data can be found on "Les Reflets du Lac". I recommend you check out Mutant Sounds for their "Alarme!" entry, and read the comments section from Raphael who states he is the son of the founder of Kashmir - and has some fantastic information. Still I have to wonder if this third album was actually released? Anyone know for sure?

Thanks again to StrawbsFan!

Priority: 3 (for Histoire Cruelle)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

News: Vos Voisins to be reissued by Prog Quebec in November!


I've been sitting on this news for some time, having first caught wind of it in early January. And in fact, I do recall their being a premature announcement in early 2010. No matter, as we now have an announced release date from ProgQuebec of November 1, purposely after Halloween because of the track "Le Monstre de la Main".

Our feature of Vos Voisins here.

The topic came up in Progressive Ears for the announcement of the blues rock group Offenbach's double album "Tabarnac" (which you can order now).

Also noted is an October 4th release of a new album by ExCubus, a 1970's vintage group that PQ first introduced to us a few years ago.

And perhaps most exciting is that PQ is still working with Sony on reissuing Michel Madore's "Le Komuso a Cordes" and Franck Dervieux's "Dimension M".

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Catch Up, Germany *** REISSUED ***


Catch Up - Catch Up 2: Birth of the Second Life. 1976 Calig.

*** Reissued by Production Dessinee in June 2012 ***

A few years ago, Crippled Dick Hot Wax reissued the debut by Catch Up under their "rare groove" series. It's a superb album, one that grows on repeated listens, with a mix of dirty electric keyboards, woodwinds and a slight funky undertone. I didn't realize Catch Up had a second album until very recently, and was surprised to learn it is of a similar quality to the first album - and it's not on CD. Not sure why CDHW didn't see this one just as worthy as the debut, though maybe it just didn't sell well.

The quality of Catch Up's second album isn't quite as apparent as the debut, and it takes awhile to assimilate the various styles present here. "Birth of the Second Life" starts off with a funky, disco-ish instrumental that recalls perhaps bands such as MFSB. This leads to a Hammond organ and piano driven track with an Andalusian theme. Followed by a moody horn and keyboard jazz track. And so it goes. Until the last 3 tracks, where Catch Up really take it up a notch. There are great Moog and organ solos, deep bass grooves, timeless melodies, and the closer that features tripped out female narrative bits against atmospheric keyboards and tuned percussion that instantly recall the early 70s Krautrock masters. A really fine album.

Priority: 2

Monday, June 6, 2011

News: Long Hair to release another Papa Zoot Band archival album


This is Long Hair's second archival release for the Papa Zoot Band. I thought the "Last Concert" from 1978 was pretty good, though this one sounds better to me honestly. We'll see! As always, Long Hair does a fantastic job on both sound and with the informative booklets.

Label says: "Great lost band from Frankfurt, Germany. In 1973/ 1974 Papa Zoot Band played all over Germany, mainly in clubs but also on festivals (German Pop Meeting) 1st and 2nd February 1974 in Essen, Grugahalle. Titles 01 - 04 were recorded live at SWF-Studio U1 in Baden Baden on April 13, 1973. The titles 05 - 10 were recorded at "Bunker", the bands rehearsal room in Frankfurt. The band played a very melodic sound but with a sense of drama comparable to Nektar, Eloy or Jane. Outstanding 20 minutes titles "Fly away" could be a long track by Pink Floyd of the Meddle/ Wish you were here/ Animals-Era. Characteristic for the bands sound are especially the swirling organ sound played by Ex-Nosferatu organ-player Tammy Grohe. These recordings show Papa Zoot Band during there best period. Hard to believe, that there was no record company to give them a contract. The sound of the CD is brilliant. All titles were remastered from the original master tapes. CD comes with comprehensive booklet and rare photos. Secret tip! A must have for all lovers of the genre."