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Monday, February 6, 2012

News: Modulus to reissue fantastic new discovery: Phase - Midnight Madness!!!

And here it is, as hinted for some days now, the second of 3 monster albums we're reporting on from our latest dig into the rarities mine! And this is the first time in CDRWL history where the post coincides with an announcement of a CD reissue!

Phase - Midnight Madness. 1979 Red Mark - QCA. (aka Fusion Quartet - Comprovisations. 1981 Happening.)

This is the final album from the original November batch that Midwest Mike sent in. It was the one he was the most enthusiastic about, as he knew it was a great discovery. So good in fact, it created a firestorm behind the scenes. And thus its delay in getting this posting out.

It's almost hard to believe an album like this can remain completely unknown until 2012 (neither version is listed in RYM (like many of our titles, Isabel has been kind enough to have now added these to RYM!) - and I just added it to Gnosis). Especially considering there were two full pressings of it with local distribution in a large metropolis area like New York / New Jersey. And with the locale in mind, it didn't take long for Modulus owner Ken Golden to track the band down. They're practically in his backyard! And it's official: Phase will be Modulus' 3rd release after Het Pandorra Ensemble and Randy Roos (BTW - those two now have a street release date of March 25).

So let's get Ken's quick summary of the background first: "Phase was keyboardist's Regan Ryzuk's band and they were based out of Montville, NJ. Two years later Regan released it under the Fusion Quartet "Comprovisations" title. It's a very good album that I think will floor a lot of people and it deserves to be more widely known."

Now let's get some impressions of the music. MM says: "Instrumental progressive jazz rock of the highest caliber. From the very start this album explodes out and doesn't leave you with much room to catch your breath! Top notch musicianship with fiery solos of bass, piano, Moog and electric guitar. Odd and complicated time meters with killer trade-offs as well as incredible unison sections. This sometimes reminds me of Iceberg, a bit of Return to Forever and the Italian band Nova (at their peak). As mesmerizing at it is amazing! I believe once this gets known it will become a future rarity. Highly recommended to jazz rock, fusion and progressive rock fans."

The AC was brought into the action as well. He picked one up immediately and had this response: "Killer album! Really complex and edgy for a private fusion LP of this sort, almost getting avant-progish at times. I think the fact that the keys player uses a regular piano rather than a Rhodes also lends to this impression. Guitar gets quite ferocious at times, too. Love the ultra-technical music geek notes on the back of the sleeve! Wonder whatever happened to these guys? They really were top-notch players."

So I think those comments sum it up well. It's smoking fusion first, instrumental progressive rock second. A great mix of instrumental dexterity, with complex compositions and ferocious playing. RTF meets Kenso; or Iceberg meets Transit Express for a more obscure reference.

An amazing find.

And it will be on CD this year!



Ken Golden said...

Regan was a huge prog fan in the 70s. Keith Emerson and Chick Corea are an influence and you can hear it in many of the compositions. When we met he was recounting his memories of seeing PFM at Central Park in NYC back in 1974. This is going to be a fun album to work on.

esoterico said...

The 1981 re-issue (vinyl) is still available, from therecordlink.net, for $15 + shipping. I just ordered a copy.


Tom said...

Nice score Bogdan! :-)

esoterico said...

I just missed an original pressing of the album. Someone had it listed on their web site (not ebay). Fairly cheap, I think. The guy emails me back "Just sold it this week". That's a nicer score...Your friend AC maybe?
Once I saw the cover of the second press, I remember seeing this at a record fair here in NEW ENGLAND, a couple of years back. Never bothered, as I thought it was free jazz, which I don't care for.

Tom said...

That was probably me :-) (if it was in the US. The AC bought his in the UK).

Anonymous said...

This has just been released by LaserCD.

Tom said...

Thanks for the comment and letting me know

In this case, I did already buy it and it's here (and it sounds great)! I usually don't announce the albums once they get released... however, I will put a feature post on Unencumbered Music Reviews very soon!