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The CD Reissue Wish List blog has been discontinued as of October 2015, as it had served its initial purpose.

Please click on the following links for:


CDRWL Priority 1

CDRWL Priority 2

New CDRWL items and/or new notes on items previously featured here.

CDRWL LPs for sale

Saturday, December 27, 2014

News: Zanov to begin reissuing back catalog!

More good news coming at the end of the year (and thanks to my readers for the heads up here). According to Zanov's Facebook page, he will begin a reissue campaign starting with his third album from 1983 called "In Course of Time". Zanov posts: "As I have many requests to release my vynils albums on CDs, I have started a project to remaster and release a limited edition of "In Course of Time", first quarter of 2015. If you are interested, please like this message. It will help me to decide how many I should manufacture.". So there you go. I've somewhat shunned Facebook over the years, so I do ask those of you who have an account, to run over there and "Like it". It's for a good cause! :-)

Of course, all of this activity is due to the return to the studio for Zanov. Today we have a dual posting with Under the Radar, to celebrate his first new album in 31 years!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Crystal Circus, USA (archival)

Crystal Circus - untitled. 1968 All-American

Here's another title that comes from the CD-R revisit project. I had started to enter this into the CDRWL about a month ago, when I began to discover that the album had never actually been released. After some research, it turns out I was correct. So like the Cathedral "Epilogue"album, this will be another archival release that we're requesting a CD for.

Ah, I can hear you already clamoring to get to your keyboard and write me a note. "No, Tom, you're wrong about this one. I've seen it and it has a title!" And indeed you have, I would respond. Which is why I hadn't even thought about the album much until last month. The working title of the album is "In Relation to Our Times", and it was released/named by Akarma.... for the first time ever in 2001. Dare I need say more? There is a demo copy that they got their hands on - and released it, without anything else other than a noisy tape and a nice cover. As far as I know this wasn't even pressed on wax initially. And if it was, no more than a handful were pressed. There's never been one for sale that I've ever seen in 25 years of pouring over rare catalogs.

Of course if the music wasn't very interesting, none of this would matter to me. But it is! Crystal Circus is one of the very rare bands from the 60's that really does remind one of Strawberry Alarm Clock (and both bands are from the Los Angeles area). As we've noted before, many dealers try in vain to make comparisons to the great SAC, only to have one scratching their head later and asking "Have you actually listened in full to"Incense and Peppermints" or "Wake Up... It's Tomorrow" before?". Crystal Circus has that same type of vibe, with wonderful harmonies, 60s sunshine naivete, and some great psych rock moments sprinkled throughout. Of course, it's not even close to the peaks of SAC, but anything within range of that great band is worthy of a proper issue.

Priority: 3

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

News: Avalanche coming out on CD from Guerssen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's Christmas Eve. It was already a festive evening, and I was off to bed... when I saw a little blurb come across the computer. NO WAY! Years and years and years of hoping this one would come out, but the band had always resisted. And now, it is official. I even bought an original LP at top market prices presuming it never would get a reissue. I suppose at this point, I probably never will sell that LP, but I can't wait to get this one on CD (and for vinyl heads, it is also getting pressed on wax).

Guerssen says: "Absolute masterpiece when talking about progressive / psychedelic folk-rock from Europe. Dutch band Avalanche was formed in the early 70s and recorded their only album in 1979. “Perseverance kills our game” was released as a private edition of 500 copies, which were only distributed among friends and relatives. Despite being a home-made project (the album was recorded in just one day!) the result was stunning. Totally early 70s sounding electric folk-rock with flute, piano, bass, drums, and killer fuzz guitar. Mostly instrumental with a few vocals in English. It alternates delicate acoustic passages with devastating fuzz leads, sounding like Fairport Convention jamming with early Ash Ra Tempel. The album closes with an extended 11 minute track on which guitar player Daan Slaman starts playing leads like a madman, creating layers and layers of liquid acid-fuzz guitar. It has to be heard to be believed! First ever LP / CD reissue, done in cooperation with the original band members. Insert / booklet with rare photos and liner notes by Richard Allen. Carefully remastered from original vinyl (the masters were destroyed long ago) using state-of-the-art equipment, resulting in stunning sound quality." 

This was one of our Priority 1's... Perhaps the best Christmas present for many of us, eh? :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rudy Perrone, USA

Rudy Perrone - Oceans of Art. 1981 Heartstring Music

Here's one that goes under the heading of "oversight". I've had this on cassette, and later CD-R, for as long as I've been dubbing such things. In fact, this is on the same CD-R as the Cathedral - Epilog that I featured a few months back. That would be CDR #1 in my catalog. LOL.

In any case, I recently bought the LP (what you see above). It's a very rare album and the vinyl is near mint. And you can see the cover - a VG I would say.

Rudy Perrone was the original guitarist for Cathedral, and not surprisingly the music possesses some of the same sophisticated progressive rock you would expect. Of course, this being 1981, there are plenty of nods towards more current trends, and a bit of AOR as well. The music is lighter, with acoustic guitar playing a major role. A very good album that improves with each listen.

Priority: 2

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Aurora Borealis with Mitch DeMatoff, USA

Aurora Borealis with Mitch DeMatoff - s/t. 1982 Red Hot

Here's one I've been sitting on for a looooong time. The AC sent me a CD-R all the way back in April of 2012! Once I heard it, I set about obtaining my own LP. As we learned from Landress-Hart, once an album gets into the CDRWL, the value can rise significantly. Not all albums of course, but ones like Aurora Borealis do! So I didn't want to miss out, because I quite enjoyed the music. I found one immediately, but the seller never responded. Then came the summer, and buying LPs here in Texas is extremely risky due to the oppressive heat (if the package gets any extended exposure to the sun, the vinyl will warp quickly). So I decided to wait until the Fall (still in 2012). And then.... I forgot all about it! The AC reminded me once again about it recently, and this time I did secure the album (in fact, it's the photo above). So onto the music....

The AC described it to me as: "Obscure fusion platter from this (presumably) Los Angeles based group led by keyboardist DeMatoff. Largely excellent high-flying instrumental fusion in the classic RTF mold. The last couple of tracks in particular are absolutely blazing, one of which features a guest spot by Bunny Brunel. Strongly recommended to fans of stuff like Proteus, Spaces, Apprentice, etc.". And really that's all there is to say. I could throw in perhaps Child's Play as another reference, an album we featured recently here. As well as Momentum, Genre, and others of its ilk. It's on the border of fusion and progressive rock. It starts more in a typical early 80s jazz rock mode, but as The AC notes, it really picks up from there. There's some smokin' guitar leads here!

Priority: 2

Monday, December 15, 2014

News: Materia Gris reissued on CD from Fonocal

Materia Gris - Ohperra Vida de Beto. 1972 Harvest (Argentina)

This one fell though the cracks mainly because I didn't realize it wasn't on CD already! I had the reissue LP (legit?) for many years and decided to move it out a few years back. And hadn't really thought about the album again. But now we for certain have a legit CD from the respected Fonocal label of Argentina, and they've added a few bonus tracks as well. It's a decent psych influenced / early progressive album. Certainly an album I would buy again if the right opportunity comes along.

Monday, December 8, 2014

News: Garden of Delights to reissue Panko album soon!

Whew! A bit of relief here. It seemed Germany's best reissue label had disappeared into the ether without notice. This is the first we've heard from them since 2013. We had first announced that the Panko album had been added to their "Coming Soon" list back in Sept of 2012. So this is welcome news - and Panko is something I'm most interested in hearing what they will do with it. I just have a cassette dub (like everyone else I presume), and sonically it's pretty rough. Hopefully we'll see an improvement like we did with the Cosmic Circus tape. The music is outstanding, as would be expected from 1971 Germany. See below for label's description.

In addition to the Panko announcement, they are wrapping up their commitment to reissue Virus' "Thoughts" on CD as well. This will include the two bonus tracks that were also on the Long Hair LP reissue from last year. They're very short, so not worth getting for that alone, but I wouldn't mind upgrading my old Bernhard Mikulski CD from 23 years ago, and checking out their history section (which was also a nice addition to the LH LP).

GoD is also continuing to reissue their back catalog on LP, and they have a few titles selected. One curious one is the first Eela Craig, which they did in conjunction with Amber Soundroom about 10 years ago. I bought that one immediately, and it looked like a great investment, but it appears it may lose its value now with the new reissue (except for those that collect Amber Soundroom reissues I guess....). Oh well, I'm not selling mine in any case.

Still no word on the Missus Beastly "Space Guerillas" and Sunbirds "Zagara" reissues that were imminent two years ago. Hopefully they're still on the docket. I would love to get CDs of both of those.

Here's GoD's description of the Panko album: "Panko from West Berlin (not to be confused with the much later East-German band Pankow) musically reminds of Xhol Caravan or the early Embryo. The band mostly played long jazzy instrumental pieces, dominated by flute and alto saxophone, at times interrupted by mainly English vocals and some follies. The band existed from the late sixties 'til the end of 1972. During its active career the group didn't release any material, although they definitely had much potential. In 1983 their drummer (at last) released the cassette 'Weil Es So Schön Perlt'. This tape featured live recordings of good sound quality, dating from June 1971. Now here's a great CD-edition of that tape, enriched with two bonus tracks."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

News: Guerssen to reissue MacArthur's debut album!

Really good news here. We heard from Ben MacArthur recently, via the comment section on this very blog, and he informs us that Guerssen will be reissuing their debut on both CD and LP in the coming months! For years it was presumed the album was from 1973, but about 3 years ago, we were informed it was from 1979. I'll be a first day buyer!

Monday, December 1, 2014

News: Audio Archives releases archival Wooden Lion album

Typical. Nothing interesting for weeks, and in comes at least two interesting releases on the same day (still researching here). I know nothing about this one beyond the hype sheet provided by the label. Sounds good on paper anyway! Label screams:

"One of the rarest previously unreleased heavy psych album from the early '70s UK underground by the original five-piece band. Painstakingly re-mastered from the only surviving acetate, you get long, tripped-out tracks with an early Hawkwind feel, toughened by dark vocals that combine to make this a cosmic-doom classic. Highlights include the atmospheric 'Ice Maiden', the spaced-out 'She Paints Strange Pictures' and their notorious tour de force, the lengthy three-part 'McAlistairess Phantoms'.

Plenty of rare band shots, items of memorabilia and detailed sleeve notes included in this long lost forgotten classic."

News: Pseudonym reissues 1973 Dutch folk pop psych album Mayfly

On the fringes of what the CDRWL typically covers, but I thought many of you would be interested in this announcement. Nice to see Pseudonym pressing on, and we can only hope they'll eventually tackle some of the more obscure Dutch rarities that remain without a CD reissue.

Label says: "Like the insect that gave them their name, the Dutch group Mayfly existed for just a short while before disappearing. In their brief lifespan, though, they recorded one truly magical and timeless album, along with a handful of singles, all beautifully crafted and imbued with beguiling atmospheres and melodies. Formed in the late 60s in the northern coastal town of Bergen, Mayfly recorded their self-titled album for Ariola in 1973, working with Wally Taxs producer Martin Duiser. The album now sees its first ever CD reissue, dynamically remastered from the original master tapes. The original cover artwork has been expanded into a deluxe digipak and booklet featuring rare photos and liners notes by Mike Stax with input from the original band members. The album is an enticing blend of folk-rock and psychedelic pop with shades of the Idle Race, the Kinks, Fairport Convention and the Beatles. This reissue features nine bonus tracks, two demos, the non-LP singles Orphan Girl, Skew-eyed Jimmy, Quite A Surprise & Signed By The Time plus two alternate 45 versions of the groups first single, that jaunty, Ray Davies-inspired Blue Sofa. Folk-rock, Psychedelic Pop. Exclusively restored dynamic 24 bit remastering from the original master tapes. Deluxe digipak gatefold sleeve. 16 page booklet including rare archival photos & memorabilia. Rare archival photos included. Liner Notes by Mike Stax / Ugly Things."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

News: Nadavati's sole album to be reissued on Soleil Zeuhl soon!

Well this one certainly caught me off guard. We learned from Wayside's mailer today that Nadavati's sole album "Le vent de l'esprit souffle où il veut" will be reissued on CD soon. Certainly not typical fare for the Zeuhl biased label - but an album I'm very grateful they are reissuing and I will be a first day buyer! Our prior feature here.

News: Rudiger Lorenz's "Invisible Voices" reissued on Anthology

Thanks to a note (and photo) from regular contributor Eric, we learned that synthesist Rudiger Lorenz's debut LP from 1983 (who had one cassette prior) "Invisible Voices" has been reissued on CD from the Anthology Recordings label, which is the first time we've come upon the imprint. I admit to being woefully ignorant regarding Lorenz's work, but it's clearly within scope of the CDRWL. I couldn't make heads or tales out of the label's description, but I did find this review online that is more telling: "As rosy-fingered dawn cups Holbeck in its hands and thumbs open the new day's crack, I'm starting another mammoth review-a-thon with the gorgeous new age kosmische sounds of this meditative-yet-bustling reissue from full-time pharmacist/part-time synth wizard Rudiger Lorenz, which originally came out in 1983 (as did I).

It's a timely reissue, since so many of the current crop of synth explorers are so in thrall to the late '70s/early '80s sound. I've not encountered Lorenz's music before today but it's very impressive - lushly constructed synth meditations full of graceful drones and robotic pulses and softly unfolding melodies that to my ears falls somewhere between contemporaries JD Emmanuel and Tangerine Dream, but more melodically restless than either - in fact the latter's soundtrack work on films like 'Near Dark' often comes to mind because the nine pieces contained here are fairly succinct despite the "new age" nature of the softly trickling synth tones.

I get the feeling that the individual tracks are supposed to evoke the atmospheres of certain places. 'Out of the Past' has some staticky whooshes and a striding melody like Vangelis's beach run music from 'Chariots of Fire', 'New Atlantis' has strange dramatic space-swells, stumbling drum machine and a robotically processed female-voiced monologue. Sometimes the time and place he's trying to evoke is hinted at by the titles, such as the blissful 'Summer with Sonja' or the slightly Kraftwerk-esque 'Flight Over Greenland'. All in all it's a very enjoyable album, full of varied moods, easygoing melodies and vintage synths."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

News: Cybotron's debut to be reissued on Dual Planet

The Cybotron camp is quite active lately, and it was only a matter of time that the debut album would see the light of day. Thanks to a note from CDRWL friend Achim, we learned that Dual Planet intends on reissuing Cybotron's Clear Light of Jupiter debut on both CD and LP in November. Very good news!

The label also tells us to look for "Colossus" next year. The latter had already received a legit CD on the INAK (In-Akustik) label close to 25 years ago (I have it myself) - but the CD is very hard to find these days. However, as I research this title, it turns out to be an incomplete reissue, missing close to 10 full minutes off the original, though it does include a rare single. I never knew that until now! (And I have the original LP too - I should have known better). So the Dual Planet version will most assuredly be the de facto one to own, and I'll be certain to upgrade.

Dual Planet also promises to issue other unreleased material. So plenty of good news coming out of Australia.

Here's the label's description of Cybotron: "Part Man Part Machine, Cybotron was the synthesis of progressive rock and electronic music experimentation. Conceived by pioneers of the Australian electronic underground, Steve Maxwell Von Braund and keyboardist Geoff Green, together they produced a series of mind-altering cosmic albums throughout the 1970s which set the tone for the Minimal wave and electronic post punk scene of early 1980s Melbourne. Part Tangerine Dream, part Ash Ra Tempel, Cybotron channelled the spirit of Krautrock to create their own unique brand of throbbing Komische electronica rivalling the futuristic vision of their German counterparts. Dual Planet present the long awaited reissue of this landmark Australian recording. Issued as an exact replica of the rare 1976 Clear Light Of Jupiter LP, remastered from the original master tapes and includes new liner notes."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cathedral, USA (archival)

Cathedral - Epilogue. 1979

One type of album I haven't featured on the CDRWL in the past are archival works (studio / professional live recordings) that have yet to be issued on CD. I don't have too many of these, but the few I do have are mostly excellent. And perhaps other than Tortilla Flat's "1973 SWF Session", Cathedral's follow up to "Stained Glass Stories" is the best of the lot. The sad tale here is that the album was set for release, and then the band backed out. Both Rockadelic and Syn-Phonic had designs for a LP/CD release as far back as 1990. And this was when I was fed an advance copy on cassette (no track titles or album cover). To be clear, what I do have is definitely demo quality (including some rough live material from "Stained Glass Stories"), and maybe that was the issue from the band's perspective. Or perhaps there were higher quality tapes that I wasn't privy too. In either case, the album's release fell though, and I'm forever grateful to have received the crumbs, if that is indeed what this copy is. Musically, one can hear the band tighten the ship a bit from their debut, though it's still what one would call all-out progressive. Sort of like taking Yes' "Close to the Edge" and handing it to Gentle Giant for further arrangement. When the band reformed in 2007, I pointedly asked about this release on a public chat forum. Their response? None. They purposely ignored me. I tried again, but they had no intention of engaging on the topic, so I gave up my quest. I've heard varying accounts as to why the album never saw the light of day, but as you might suspect, it's all of a personal nature. The tragedy in all this is that the music is absolutely brilliant. One does wish they'd all have a few beers, and reconcile. It appears that won't happen though. Tragic, I think, is the appropriate word to apply here.

Priority: 1

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News: Probe 10 reissue on Lion imminent!

We've announced this prior, but given that it's coming out about 8 months later than expected, it's worth restating. Personally, this is near the top of my CD want list, so I'm quite excited about it. I did manage to pick up the original LP in the last year thanks to Midwest Mike. And the CD is going to be housed in a mini-LP jacket with a color booklet!

Here's a couple of reviews for the album: "This masterpiece crawled up my spine like a kundalini snake and proceeded to take the top of my head off. Probe 10 are unquestionably linked to a very specifically American form of proto-prog-into-jazz-rock synthesis of the precise sort Elektra Records used to specialize in, from Tim Buckley's Starsailor to David Stoughton's Transformer. Toss in trumpet fanfare laden acid psych straight out of the C.A. Quintet songbook, the riotously melodic and dense brassy arrangements of McLuhan... and...well...hold on to your hookahs!" -Mutant Sounds 

"Unique jazz-rock album with major space-rock vibes. You have to love the way the bass counters the effects-laden guitar solos and heavy fuzz. Considering how many loner folk and hard rock private press albums came from the same time period, discovering something this ambitious and unusual is a real kick. Most of the time, it sounds like the world's best exploito-jazz record, Herb Alpert filtered through Pink Floyd and Quiet Sun." -Acid Archives

For my own deranged review, see my UMR entry.

Monday, September 1, 2014

News: Havenstreet's very rare album "The End of the Line" to be reissued on Sommor

News coming out of Spain is that Sommor Records will be reissuing the very obscure 1977 album from Havenstreet. This was one of those albums, that after first hearing about it, I turned every stone over looking for a copy. Finally I got a chance to hear it in 2005 at Meister Dirk's pad. What a disappointment. Of course I'd been told it was a Canterbury like record, so my expectations were not set properly. It's not Canterbury at all (except maybe the vocals which vaguely recall Richard Sinclair). But it is a folk rock album - and that genre has many fans. So I think this title will be well received by those who love obscure folk rock. I've heard many people praise this record, beyond collectors looking to profit. I had this one only in the main list prior.

This double CD will feature two unknown cassette releases as well as rehearsals for the album proper and a lost 4th album from 1979. These collectively will be known by the title "Perspectives".

This is the CDRWL's first encounter with the Sommor label, but it appears they are in the Guerssen circle. All looks above board to me. Here's the label's description:

"The genesis of Havenstreet goes back to 1969, when Phil Ridgway and Jeff Vinter played in The Gas, an experimental psychedelic band heavily influenced by Barrett-era Pink Floyd. The two friends started to write songs their own songs, ending up as a folk duo. With the offer to record some of their material at a friend’s studio, they recruited more musical friends…so Havenstreet was born. The influences had expanded now to bands and artists such as Peter Hammill, Strawbs, Traffic, Procol Harum, Stackridge, Keith Tippett, Bert Jansch…In the early-mid 70s they recorded a couple of albums which circulated as private cassettes among friends and relatives. In 1977, Havenstreet released “The End Of The Line”, a self-released album in a private edition of 250 copies. It was collection of very English songs with evocative, literate lyrics and a stunning progressive folk-rock sound. It featured one of the earliest known tributes to Syd Barrett on the song “When the madcap meets the world”. 

This expanded double set reissue of Havenstreet’s sought after album includes: 

*The original “The End of the Line” album from 1977. 

*A new album called “Perspectives” which presents the best tracks from the privately pressed cassettes The Autumn Wind (1974) and Transition (1976) plus rehearsal recordings for The End of the Line (1975/1976) and previously unreleased recordings for the group’s projected fourth album (1979), which was never completed. These amazing tracks range from electric acid-folk to Barrett-esque psych-pop, pastoral folk and Caravan styled prog-rock. 

*16-page LP-sized booklet with photos and detailed liner notes. Remastered from the original master tapes. 

“Attractive songs combine with relaxed, amateurish male vocals and intricate lyrics to form a coherent work with a clear personality. Stylistically it’s reminiscent of melodic, rural-prog-rock like Caravan or Hatfield & The North, with occasional flute and sax ornaments. A few tunes with full guitar-rock setting betray a possible Richard Thompson influence”- Patrick Lundborg (Galactic Ramble) 

“…Combining the back-to-basics acoustic feel of the nu-folk generation with a swirly, psychedelic vibe, ”The End of the Line” could actually be an album that was made in 2014. But this album was privately released in 1977. Now finally remastered and brought into the present, the retrospective feeling is amplified and should appeal greatly to fans of 70s folk and progressive music. This reissue is a must have even for the lucky few who own an original copy of the album as it comes with a bonus disc, ”Perspectives”, that compiles non-LP tracks from 1974-79. The quality of the extra material shines through…” – Michael Bjorn (Strange Days Magazine) 

Tracklist: THE END OF THE LINE: German Castles - When The Madcap Meets the World - Old Ways and Schooldays - Music in the Night - Suspended Animation - The H.S.B Song - Yesterday Was Summer – Rain - The Castle - Out of the Fireglow - The Keeper of the Tower - The Photograph - After Time 

PERSPECTIVES: Aftermath - Falling Leaves In Autumn - Fat Old Engine - Family Laughter - Just An Illusion – Klok – Damascus – Grasshopper - Your Not Being There - The Ballroom Of Despair – Aftersong - Village Vespers"

Monday, August 11, 2014

News: Fireballet reissues to obtain release in the US on Inner Knot

Much more information has surfaced regarding the reissues of Fireballet since we last reported on it. Thanks to a note from TheH this morning, and a further discussion with Laser Ken, we have learned that the Fireballet albums will be coming out in the US in September on the King Crimson specialist label Inner Knot. And, as it turns out, band member Jim Cuomo's wife runs Inner Knot, so now it's all making sense. As far as production goes, it was remastered by Larry Fast, so it should sound fantastic.

The official blurb on Facebook says: "We here at Inner Knot are proud & excited to announce the long awaited release dates for Fireballet's "Night On Bald Mountain"… newly remastered by Larry Fast… August 25th for Japan & Sept 16th in the USA… stay tuned for info on when to pre-order!"

We also have learned that the band was unsatisfied with the "Two, Too" cover (if I said that was understandable, it would be a gross understatement I think), and so expect new artwork for that as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

News: Both Storm (Spain) albums reissued by Arabiand

Achim also let us know that both Storm albums have been reissued in a double CD set known as "Lost in Time" on the Arabiand Rock label. I was following the label intently for awhile, but it seemed they had stopped activity. So it's nice to see they are still in the game. This CD has been co-released by Musea as well.

The first Storm album was reissued by Lost Vinyl nearly 20 years ago, but the second never did get reissued. I've had "El Dia de la Tormenta" in the main list for some time thanks to Midwest Mike's CD-R contribution a few years back. I held it back from its own post since it's a bit out of range for this list (more of a straight forward hard rock album), though it's more progressive than the debut actually.

News: Atmospheres / Clive Stevens now on CD

I had a few folks mention this one to me - including Gnosis Mike and Achim - while I was on vacation these past two weeks. I flat out just wasn't aware of this title, though it's obviously more well known amongst fusion fans, and as you can see by the label above, it's loaded with marquee talent.

The label is ESC who specializes in fusion. Their advert for the album goes on to say: "Saxman / keyboard player Clive Stevens from Bristol, England, was among the earliest to explore the nexus of jazzrock and electric jazz in his two 1974 albums. And both releases, “Atmospheres” and “Voyage to Uranus” have stood the test of time. “Atmospheres” was finished in one day with no rehearsals in New York City. This was a super session of the highest level with bassist Rick Laird and drummer Billy Cobham's only recording together outside John Mclaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra.

The world class guitarists Steve Khan and John Abercrombie feeding off of each others' incredible talent, Ralph Towner on electric piano/ring modulator in awesome form and Harry Wilkinson added later on percussion.

The raw power of the session was electric, beyond belief. So don't expect to hear something mellow, this is dark, sometimes scary music for those late nights. Still compelling after all these year, something like a blast from the past.

“Atmospheres” is being re-released now after 40 years, first time on CD. Some of the compositions came from Clive’s original band in London called "CAPARIUS"."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Roland Hollinger, France

Roland Hollinger - Bardo Thodol. 1978 Scorpios

Here's another one from the CD-R revisit project that is being promoted from the main list.

The term Bardo Thodol is more commonly recognized as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Wikipedia summarizes as thus: "The Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. This interval is known in Tibetan as the bardo. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death, and rituals to undertake when death is closing in, or has taken place." So it's safe to assume the album shouldn't be played for laughs... As such, Roland Hollinger's debut album is primarily a haunting and dark electronic music that befits the solemn subject. Some accent instruments pop up here and there like guitar, piano, saxophone, and percussion - but primarily "Bardo Thodol" is a pretty bleak work as you might expect. I would say this is a logical companion to the two Jean-Baptiste Barriere albums from the same era. It's an album worthy of discovery, thus a CD reissue would be nice, especially for an album with these kind of dynamics.

Priority: 3

Hollinger has at least 4 other albums according to RYM (and 6 from Discogs), of which I know nothing about.

Monday, July 14, 2014

News: Fireballet's two albums to be reissued on CD finally! (but there's a but... of course there is)

Thanks to a comment from TheH, we've learned that these two star crossed albums will finally have ended years of absence on the (legal) CD market! Good news right?

Well maybe.

They are being done by Belle Antique of Japan. So there is good news in that these are legit. And they will be housed in the best possible album cover (their mini-LP jackets are superbly made). There is more possible good news that they may sound awesome. Or... they may not. Belle Antique's record is mixed on this front when they are the first to market, and that's because they don't do their own mastering - or at least they don't typically do their own mastering. Meaning they are reliant on the source provided them. Sometimes great (Old Man & The Sea, Speed Limit), sometimes not (Aquarelle, Eloiteron). I wasn't able to find any corroborating evidence on this reissue to research, but I know the source of the news to be valid. I'll buy it anyway and find out - and report back to the UMR site.

They should be available next month. The first album will feature 3 bonus tracks and "Two, Too", will feature... well duh... 2.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cynara, USA

Cynara - s/t. 1970 Capitol

Yet another one from the CD-R revisit project that had an entry in the main list. Nothing extraordinary, but not a bad album.

One of the more interesting American groups from the late 1960's was a Boston based band called Listening, who released one superb album on the Vanguard label. Cynara is the band that formed from the ashes of Listening. Their sole album is an eclectic mix, just as Listening was, but not near as groundbreaking, rocking, or exciting. The first side is pretty much straight up organ rock, while the flip is filled by two long compositions with a jazz piano/organ lounge feel throughout. Yet another USA major label album from the confused year of 1970 that stops short of meeting expectations.

As is often the case with major label albums that have never been reissued, bootlegs abound.

Priority: none

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hungry Wolf, England

Hungry Wolf - s/t. 1970 Philips

This one popped up on the CD-R revisit project, and I just had it in the main list prior.

Hungry Wolf's sole album is primarily instrumental pop-influenced soul jazz, with some splendid heavy Hammond organ courtesy of the Mohawks' Alan Hawkshaw. Loosely played electric guitar, simple rhythms, brass charts, and even some vocals which is fairly rare for an album like this. File alongside The Bigroup. The band is related to Rumpelstiltskin and Ugly Custard, the latter of which it is similar to musically.

It's a nice little obscurity, rare as hens teeth in original form, though nothing really that special. Naturally, given its rarity, the album has been often pirated. It would seem that a label who specializes in film library music may pick up on this one - even if that's not the main purpose of the album.

Priority: none

Monday, July 7, 2014

Michael Borner's Sun, Germany

Michael Borner's Sun - s/t. 1981 private

Following on yesterday's Atrium post, I thought I'd pull this one out of the main list - the archives as it were. It did come about via the CD-R revisit project. Like with Atrium, I received this from Midwest Mike - though he sent this one a few years ago, and I just didn't get a chance to give it its own feature.

Michael Borner is a lead guitarist and his band Sun is somewhat dominated by his playing. There's quite a bit of sax too, anything from Coltane-ish squeals to smooth jazz. You can also expect some punchy horns and orchestration too. The fusion on display here is fairly typical for the era - one that possesses a light, sunny, Caribbean influenced tropical sound. Jazz, funk, and yea, fuzak styles are all peppered in as it goes - along with a clear dose of fusion era Santana (and the guitar tones here carry a much needed psychedelic edge). I was reminded of the To Be album on the Brain label, as well as the Surgery album (that was recently reissued by Garden of Delights). A nice record, but nothing extraordinary.

This is a different band from the Sun that released one album in 1980 (and, like Surgery, was also reissued by Garden of Delights in recent years).

Priority: none

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Atrium, Germany

Atrium - Color Seed. 1979 BVB Records

Moved to UMR

Priority: none

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pop Workshop, Sweden

Pop Workshop - Vol. 1 1973 Grammofonverket
Pop Workshop - Song of the Pterodactyl. 1974 Grammofonverket

Moved to UMR

Priority: 2

Friday, July 4, 2014

Clarox, Venezuela

Clarox - s/t. 1982 Mucer

This CD-R came in from Midwest Mike's last set. After he first told me about it, I expected the LP would be housed in a bleached white cover...

Clarox fit squarely in the Latin fusion camp, with electric guitar, electric piano, native percussion, tropical melodies and themes. The guitarist adds a psychedelic edge to his solos, giving the album a much needed lift in places. It's mostly instrumental, though there are a couple of vocal cuts that are to its detriment I'm afraid. Without this element, and perhaps if a bit more edge had been applied throughout, I think this one would have gone a half-point up. All the same, Clarox's debut is a fine album for fans of the Spanish fusion scene like Borne, Guadalquiver, Pegasus, and Iceberg.

Priority: none (borderline 3)

MM also informed me of a second album from Clarox, that he says isn't near as good.

Monday, June 30, 2014

News: Musea is back in the reissue business! Program starts with two Robert Wood albums

I'm not sure I could have better news than this! Francis Grosse has rejoined the Musea team, and they have big plans for many reissues to come. As we have stated many times in the past, no label has ever surpassed Musea in terms of the sheer amount of quality reissues. And they pioneered the right way to do reissues, by obtaining legal rights, working directly with the artists and writing historical essays, printing unique photos, and adding relevant bonus tracks.

Without Grosse, the label has focused on their contemporary roster, and as such have been pretty silent with reissues for the last 7 years or so. There's been a couple of false starts in the past, and I have maintained sporadic contact with Francis throughout. But this time it appears we have tangible evidence that reissues will be released soon!

I have received a sneak preview into what the future holds, and I have to say it is very (VERY) impressive. Not only for straight reissues (many of which are in CDRWL awaiting patiently), but also archival material. Up soon in fact will be an archival second album from one of my all-time favorite French bands. That alone gives me a new reason to live. I can only hope that everything I saw on the list gets released.

The program kicks off with Robert Wood's two Polydor albums from 1976/77. I actually haven't heard these myself, but appears they have a great reputation amongst fans with similar tastes to mine. The gimmick here is that Wood plays electric vibraphone in a traditional instrumental rock setting. Sounds good to me. As a bonus to each, there will be tracks spread across from an unreleased 3rd Polydor album.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The New Age, USA

The New Age - Neptuned. 1980 Microdot

I first found this LP in 1996 at Bananas Record Warehouse in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was in Tampa for some Oracle DBA training (this was back when I actually had applicable skills), and of course didn't miss the opportunity for a little record shopping while I was there. Brought home a nice stack of LPs from that venture (the record store is still active!), of which The New Age (from Atlanta) was a part of. I also hung out with my buddy, newspaper columnist Richard P (still there man?), who was kind enough to show me the Tampa beach music scene one evening.

I thought the record was good - perhaps not great - and my old buddy Heavyrock was dying for a copy at that time. So I dubbed it to cassette, sold him the record, and then off it went to the mists of time. That cassette eventually became a CD-R, and here we are doing the CD-R revisit project, and up comes The New Age. I said to myself that I should just go ahead and get the CD - it's a good progressive rock record. Worth owning.

Then I realized there was a problem with that statement. In 2007, I had announced on the original CDRWL (from my old thomashayes.com site) that The New Age is now on CD, and it goes under the name Jordan Oliver (he apparently wasn't fond of Larry Oliver or The New Age anymore). You could go to CD Baby and obtain a copy. Problem solved.

Ah... CD Baby. I really like the website, and I think they're very good business folks, with excellent customer service skills. But they do one thing that drives me nuts....

.... they do not distinguish between CD's and CD-R's. Even now, you can go to the site and they list it as a CD. Now I don't own a copy, but everywhere else, it's listed as a CD-R - and I just confirmed with an industry friend that it is indeed a CD-R.

Is that such a big deal? I don't know if it's a big one, but it's a deal breaker for me. CD-R's are an inferior product. You can burn them on your laptop, and while most hold up, I've thrown plenty of them away as they stopped playing. Not all CD-R's will run in the various systems out there. I've never had to throw a factory pressed CD away, even ones that are "bronzed" from the 1980s. They still work - and play everywhere.

If these things don't matter to you, then by all means grab the CD-R. It's 100% legit and was released personally by Jordan Oliver.

But as we state in the FAQ, albums stay in the CDRWL until they receive an actual CD. CD-R's do not count. So we're calling for a more professional reissue.

The New Age is not the only album in this state, and there are a few more I'll be adding back in as I go. Some through the collection project and other via this CD-R revisit project.

Oh.... The music on The New Age is a decent classically inspired keyboard symphonic progressive rock work. A sound very much out of vogue for 1980 - similar to 1970 era ELP and, more to the point, The Nice.

Priority: 3

Friday, June 27, 2014

Late Nite Music Band, USA

Late Nite Music Band - s/t (EP). 1982 private

Here's another one from Midwest Mike's last submissions. Prior to this entry on the CDRWL, finding evidence of this album on the internet proved to be impossible (though there's some nice live footage on YouTube that I urge you all to check out - especially if you like to watch white groupies dance...). I have since added the album to Gnosis and RYM, and the photos here will be the only ones out in the cloud as they say.

Late Nite Music Band were from The Bronx, and this EP is their sole release. Musically they fit the late 70s and early 80s American style of instrumental funky fusion. I was reminded of Maine's Franklin Street Arterial from a compositional perspective, though Late Nite Music Band put more focus on guitar, slap bass, and electric piano rather than synthesizer and sax. The last track 'First Meeting' features some fiery psychedelic guitar, giving the album the rough edge it needs. Fortunately, this is one of the songs you can hear the band play live on YouTube. It's pretty cool - check it out.

Priority: none (though if they have more studio archival material such as 'First Meeting' sitting somewhere in a canister, I would bump this up as high as a Priority 2).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bodkin, Scotland *** REISSUED ***

Bodkin - s/t. 1972 West

When I published this, I was under the impression the CD had fallen out of print. Further details have emerged that the CD was repressed multiple times. So it was an unnecessary post I suppose. I have rewritten the entry for UMR.

Moved to UMR

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Felt, USA

Felt - s/t. 1971 Nasco

This entry comes as a result of the ongoing CD-R revisit project. I didn't feature it prior, since there exists a CD from a decade ago on the always gray area Akarma label of Italy. This one, like most of their US based releases, seems to be lacking in corroborating data as to the legitimate source. Rather than question the legality, we at the very least, are calling for a higher quality reissue.

Felt, from Northern Alabama, reminds me quite a bit of another band from the same region: After All (Tallahassee, Florida). Since Felt is two years on, the music has moved to a harder, bluesier rock sound. And so it's not quite as psychedelic and jazzy as After All, perhaps to its detriment. But tracks like 'Now She's Gone' and 'Destination' could have easily fit on the aforementioned album. Hammond organ and guitar are the main lead instruments here, along with the soulful bluesy vocals. Solid album from America's southeast region - an area not as well known for progressive music, and yet many bands did give it a whirl back in the day (and a few of those were on the same Nashville based Nasco Records). And most of those albums are well under the radar.

Priority: 3 

Please note our good friend Spacefreak's comment regarding an LP reissue: "(Felt has been) officially reissued in vinyl by the Greek Anazitisi label in 2012. A deluxe 180 gr vinyl + extensive 4 pages liner notes and containing a 7 inch with new tracks by FELT, on a more typical prog vein."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Child's Play, USA

Child's Play - s/t. 1979 Moonlight Records

Here's another album that arrived from the last CD-R pile sent in from Midwest Mike. I liked it so much, I immediately set out to buy an original copy, and lo and behold a sealed LP was up for auction on ebay at a cheap price. The photo above is indeed that copy (and fortunately the ring wear was only on the shrink wrap - which has now been safely removed and stored into a nice polyurethane sleeve). I've been so busy at work, that the LP arrived over a week ago, and I'm finely able to sit down to get a fresh and proper listen and pen an entry for the CDRWL.

Child's Play are an all instrumental progressive fusion band from Richmond, Virginia who successfully mix melodic and atmospheric composition with kinetic jazz school chops. Piano and electric guitar get the lion's share of attention, and the tracks move at a fast clip, keeping the listener's attention focused at all times. Plenty of excellent guitar solos, with some wah-wah applied to great effect. I really appreciate the psychedelic tones he achieves. The ivory tickling here is very impressive as well. The rhythm section does a great job of holding it all together with some crisp fills and meter shifting. Actual attention is paid to composition as well, so the album is not just a flimsy excuse for non-stop boring solos. For 70s fusion fans, this is a guaranteed hit. File alongside Genre (New Mexico), 3PM (North Carolina), and Momentum (California). Another great find from MM!

Priority: 2

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

News: Merlin's Nose reissues rare album by Gulaab

This one caught my eye yesterday morning right before one of those classic 18 hour work days complete with social events. Trying to catch up here, and wanted to get this news out as soon as possible. I'm not familiar with this title, and apparently it was released only on cassette. The description below, though, looks to be highly appealing to me. I also read one review on RYM that likened the album to Algarnas Tradgard. Since it appears to be a solo album, I'll keep my expectations in check - but it does look intriguing all the same.

The label is Merlin's Nose, which I haven't run into prior. "Ultra-rare lost psychedelic Kraut-Folk from 1979. First time on CD and LP! Taken from the original mastertapes! Gulaab means “rose” in Nepalese language. Gulaab is a German virtuoso on the acoustic guitar who has served three years as an after dinner musician in a luxury restaurant in Nepal to play for an amazing number of well known personalities of the 20th century during the early 70s. A strongly influential experience that shaped his musical expression big time but also let him become an open minded spirit. “Ritt durch den Hades” is the result of his experimentation with sounds, atmospheres and a multitude of styles in traditional music from Latin to Eastern Asian elements. It was first released in 1979, vanishing into obscurity soon after , waiting to be rediscovered by a more open minded generation of music lovers now. Traditionalists be forewarned : This mystic grail of 70s “kraut folk” stands far out from the average folk and singer / songwriter stuff combining guitar harmonies of the highest order with a cosmic drone that backs up the hypnotizing picking and trippy swirls of sounds. This album is in fact more like a musical journey than just a piece of music taking you from secret sacrificial altars in the Andes to the ceremonial places of the ancient Himalayan population with a short stopover for a little “joint venture” in the musical space centers of highly flown out German originators like ASH RA TEMPEL / Manuel Göttsching, POPUL VUH / Florian Fricke, WITTHÜSSER & WESTRUPP, BRÖSELMASCHINE, DOM or DEUTER. Now take a ride through Hades with GULAAB!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

News: Leong Lau and Abbhama now out on CD!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that, after a couple of delays, the Leong Lau CD is now out! As is the Abbhama, that was recently announced. Both are from Strawberry Rain. Be on the lookout for some notes over at Unencumbered Music Reviews in the next few weeks!

Friday, May 30, 2014

News: Braen's Machine and "The Feed-Back" to be reissued on Schema!

Thanks to a tip from Pierre of France, we learned that Schema will be reissuing these two film library classics. The Braen's Machine, in particular, flows more like a  regular album and is one of our Priority 2's! The Feed-Back was a Priority 3! Schema is a well known Italian label from the Ishtar group out of Milan. This is our first encounter with the label, and we get two CDRWL requests at once - wow!

Description of Braen's Machine as found on the SoundOhm page: "Milestone Reissue! CD Edition, deluxe digipack and Obi. Initially pressed in very few copies for TV production use only on Umiliani's LIUTO label. A monster rare album with Music by Alessandro Alessandroni and Oronzo De Filippi Produced by Piero Umiliani at the now legendary Sound Work Shop studio in Rome, January 1971. During the '70s, work days at Umiliani's Sound Workshop Studios were hectic; thousands of sessions were held in order to keep up with a very busy Italian movie industry: Hundreds of soundtracks alongside with music library were recorded and released on vinyl in very limited quantities for TV and film production use only. Those LPs are now proper collectors' items, extremely hard to find. Filled with hypnotic bass lines, heavy drums and screaming fuzz guitars "Underground", the first LP of the fictitious group known as Braen's Machine, is one of the rarest and the most expensive of them all, always "reaching" sky high prices throughout the second hand vinyl market. A fast-beat jam with hammond scales and a twin lead guitar theme ("Flying") opens the A Side soon followed by "Imphormal", a classicfunk-beat-meetsfender-rhodes-and-psychedelic-guitar number. The music then switch to "thriller territories" with "Murder" which is based on prepared piano swells and a deeply hypnotic walking bass, reminiscent of the best Morricone's soundtracks for Dario Argento's movies. Two highly percussive songs complete the A Side: "Gap" is an improvised song with guitar and keyboards dwelling over an infectious drum rhythm while a marching snare and a vibraslap effect are the special features on "Militar Police". The mood relaxes slightly on the opening of the B Side with a lazy jazz groove on "New Experience" but the rock influences are soon brought back on the following track "Fall Out". "Obstinacy" is all about keyboards with syncopated rhodes themes and distorted hammond sustained notes whilst the fuzz guitar is back again screaming through the left channel on the last song of the album, "Description". We could happly say that that was the golden age of the Italian music library. But who's behind the name "Braen's Machine"? On the original cover the songs are credited to the composers Braen and Gisteri. Braen was a pseudonym often used by Alessandro Alessandroni, an extremely skilled and versatile musician, and one of Umiliani's closest collaborators. He could write, conduct and arrange, he could sing (ever heard "Mah Na Mah Na"?), he could whistle (ever heard Morricone's "For a fistful of dollars"?) and he could play almost anything: guitar, bass tuba, accordion, sitar and the list grows..... His first album "Alessandro Alessandroni e il suo complesso" (Sermi, 1969), had transformed the Italian library music from orchestral sound beds into the psychedelia we all love; the extremely fuzzy guitars are very "present" on "Underground" too. For a long time Gisteri's real identity was rather mysterious; often wrongly attributed to Umiliani. Gisteri was the pseudonym of Oronzo De Filippi, art name of Rino De Filippi, music supervisor to the Italian public broadcast company (RAI) between the '60s and the '70s. De Filippi composed other notable pieces such as "Riflessi" (Edipan, 1975) and "Nel mondo del lavoro" (Sermi, 1972). De Filippi passed away few years ago but we were able to contact Alessandroni to talk about this LP. Remembering "Underground" recording session as one of the thousands he took part of, Alessandroni told us that this record was produced very quickly, in two days maximum. This was made possible by a team of wonderfully capable session musicians and the creative genius behind the mixing desk; this incredible combination helped to focus on the mood of each track even more. Unfortunately there are no liner notes but Alessandroni's memories and speculations, based on other music tracked in the same period at Soundworkshop by resident engineer Claudio Batussi, led us to identify this as the most probable lineup: Munari on drums, Majorana on bass, Vannucchi on keyboards and Alessandroni himself on guitar. For this reissue the sound has been restored and the cover art reproduced exactly as it was. Thanks to Francesco Argento (at Liuto), Luciano Cantone and Davide Rosa (at Schema) we now have the chance to hold a very faithful copy of the original release and listen back to this long gone masterpiece again. "

Description of The Feed-Back as found on the same website: "CD edition. Long-awaited reissue of this incredible and near-mythical 1970 album, remastered from the original master tapes with superior sound quality, replica of the original RCA LP (in gatefold digipack with additional liner notes) in a limited edition of 500 copies. An insane amalgam of avant-improvisation and motorik krautrock beats that, understandably, has become one of the most collectable LPs ever issued (original copies are impossible to obtain). Just as the first "krautrock" lp's were coming out in Germany, in Italy we had a surprisingly similar counterpart: this album. It consists of three long instrumental tracks, somewhere in between psych-rock, avantgarde jazz and funky jams. The sound is definitely experimental and ostentatiously "underground". None of the instruments involved tries to be reassuring: the guitar is scratchy, the trumpet sounds choked, piano and keyboards are always dissonant and a background of "proto-industrial" noises is present all along the record. The music, anyway, is thrilling. The drum patterns, in particular, are extraordinary: regular, tight, groovy, and incredibly close to the "motorik" beat of Can and Neu!...Mystical, spaced-out free music at its best. "The Group" was not a band of young beatniks. As a matter of fact, it's just a pseudonym for Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, a project of renown soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone along with other important experimental musicians. The rock-focused attitude of the record is quite surprising for  such a team of classically-trained men already in their forties!"

Our feature of The Braens's Machine and The Feed-Back respectively.

Geoffrey Chandler, USA

Geoffrey Chandler - Starscapes. 1980 Unity

Chandler's sole LP is one of those albums that would have played well in a "Planetarium" back in the day. Definitely a fine album in the spacy, cosmic electronic field. Tranquil and calming. On the Unity label, which also released the fine Ojas album from Oklahoma City.

Thanks to MM for this one!

Priority: none

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

News: Third Eye - Connexion reissued on CD by Sonorama

And this news comes from a scanning of Wayside's latest updates. Third Eye's second album has been reissued by jazz label specialists Sonorama. This is the second time we've run into Sonorama (the other was for Joy Unlimited's Instrumental Impressions), and it's obvious from reading their website they are a high quality label that do reissues the right way! If only all labels were so passionate.

For Third Eye - they chose the wrong album. LOL. Of course it would appear that "Connexion" is more in line with the label's own musical outlook, though I do hope they consider the more eclectic debut album as well. I will probably buy this one anyway just to show my support for their efforts.

Sonorama has provided a full history of Third Eye and this album on their website.

This reissue came out in October, so we're obviously a bit late to the party on it.

Our feature of Third Eye here.

News: Yoshitaka Azuma - Moonlight of Asia is on CD from Columbia

This news comes courtesy of an anonymous reader, where we learned that the "Moonlight of Asia" album was reissued last April by Nippon Columbia. He sent us the Japanese info from the label's own website (see comment under entry), but I found corroborating evidence here.

I recently added this title via the CD-R revisit project, and didn't find this CD then when searching around.

Sadly, it appears Mr. Azuma passed away in 2012, according to the same comment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ruben Alexander, USA

Ruben Alexander - Odyssey. 1980 Ribbon Rail

And now for the final submission from The AC's last grouping of splendid rarities. As with yesterday's Bagel O'Fun, I didn't necessarily save the best for last, but it's still worthy of mention. The AC tells us: "Who exactly was Ruben Alexander? Just some kid from Gary, Indiana who played in his local high school orchestra. It seems that he ended up at the university in Bloomington (ed: Indiana University) (immortalized in this era by "Breaking Away"), but like many other young Midwesterners of the day, he was enamored with progressive rock and happened to be a pretty talented musician, so he got together a couple of other local players and decided to record and publish his very own LP. The instrumental palette here is a bit unusual, as he used only an acoustic piano and a couple of classic synths (Moog and ARP), along with a drummer and acoustic guitarist (and it's all instrumental, no vocals). You might expect this to produce a somewhat sedate sound, but that's not always the case, as the compositions tend to be on the dense side, and the drummer and guitarist both play in a very active style. Musically, this exists somewhere between homemade Midwestern prog (you know it when you hear it) and complex classical rock, although the instrumentation and Alexander's original compositional style make it fairly unique. Most of the pieces are quite compact, but the best is saved for last, with the nearly side-long title track, ending triumphantly with those vintage synths soaring off into the horizon in classic symphonic prog style. Cool cover art as well, drawn by none other than Mr. Alexander himself. "Charming" is not an adjective I often use to describe an album, but I think it's fitting here."

And since I happen to be a big fan of the old-fashioned acoustic piano, it is a true joy to hear the very talented Mr. Alexander tickle the ivories. The album has a pleasant demeanor throughout, perfect for a sunny afternoon in the park. If I could be allowed to critique, the melodies seem to call upon all too often, especially on the first side, 'Linus and Lucy' (Peanuts theme) and after awhile you kind of want Robb Flynn to jump in and start yelling obscenities over massive slabs of thrash to release the niceness. As The AC says, it's all so charming and well ...  nice. I suspect that since Mr. Alexander grew up in Gary, Indiana, then this would be his personal antithetical response of his own upbringing - as Gary is the pure definition of urban blight, and is now one third the size of its peak 50+ years ago, with many abandoned homes. Of course, Gary was also home to the little known Jackson 5... Anyway, Side 2 does cross over into more classically composed rock territory with some fine synthesizer runs. The latter representing the progressive rock genre almost by itself, perhaps reluctantly so.

Priority: none (borderline 3)

Special thanks goes to The AC for a really fantastic batch of rarities this past Fall. Hope you're doing well up in Alaska, my friend! Next up will be a fresh set of CD-Rs that were just sent in a couple of weeks ago by Midwest Mike. More to come!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bagel O'Fun, USA

Bägel o' Fun - In the Underground Wonderland. 1981 Sparrow Sound Design

Still have two more to report on from The AC's last batch in October, that I have archived here. Here's his take: "This group had their roots in Boston, at the Berklee college, but eventually ended up in Chicago, where this album was recorded. It starts out very promisingly with some energetic, edgy jazz-rock, complete with organ and some absolutely ripping electric guitar. Unfortunately, all the momentum they've built up quickly dissipates, as a lengthy freeform excursion follows which eventually becomes too fragmented and tedious, with lots of obnoxious squawking sax. Then things change significantly yet again, as the last track of side one and much of side two mellows out into a more moody, introspective light fusion. Just when you're starting to nod off, they crank up the power one more time, with another track of aggressive guitar-driven jazz-rock. Oddly enough, the album closes with a dark, experimental percussion piece. The problem here is that these guys couldn't quite settle on one clear identity for themselves. Interesting, but not essential."

And, just as The AC says, the first track is one of those "head raisers". But it appears that their formal training in all aspects of jazz ended up coloring this work in a negative way. For fans of early 70s rock-jazz, late 70's smooth jazz, as well as experimental free jazz, then I suspect this one will resonate. I suppose they were trying to create an underground wonderland, but it's too Art School for general acceptance though.

Two excellent tracks and a lot of - albeit interesting - filler.

Priority: none

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Me (Tom Marolda), USA

Me - Out for the First Time. 1974 Mine

Certainly one of the most odd albums coming from 1970s Weird America. Not so much musically, but more the premise of a loner woodsman from New Jersey (New Jersey?) with a self-deprecating disposition. Marolda now resides in Lost Wages, which seems to be an apt destination for this man with a creative and restless mind.

I was first introduced to this album by our Gnosis friend Lev who described it as such on RYM: "This looks like an outsider folk private press, and a pretty typical Acid Archives fare, but in fact it's so much more than that. Google tells me that Me's mastermind later gained some fame in the band called The Toms (which I haven't heard), and I can easily believe it, given how challenging and musically advanced was his very first, privately released production. "Out for the First Time" is essentially a symphonic prog record, with nods to all the usual suspects such as Yes and Genesis, but also more complex instrumental workouts recalling Zappa and Gentle Giant. Out of the US prog bands of the 1970s, I'd say it would be best compared to OHO. Quite a nice find!"

And a few months ago, The AC lobbed a copy over to me and attached the following description: "This album was the earliest musical project of New Jerseyan Tom Marolda, who later went on to produce a number of more pop-oriented records. It's generally seen as a solo effort, but there were actually a number of other musicians involved, rotating in and out on a track by track basis. The highlights are definitely the two lengthy side-opening pieces, both of which are excellent complex progressive rock, featuring notable Yes and Gentle Giant influences, as well as a quirky Zappa-esque sense of humor. Imagine a more laid-back, less explosively virtuosic Yezda Urfa and you're getting pretty close to what this sounds like at its best. The problem is that several of the other remaining tracks are infused with heavy elements of folksy singer-songwriter, old-timey Americana and even some country stylings, which really brings it down a few notches. Also, the production is quite sparse and boxy, although I suppose that's to be expected from such a low-budget, homemade recording. Still, it's a very interesting effort overall, which should certainly be more well known. The album has now been reissued on CD-R by the artist himself. It's fully remastered (which definitely helps to fill out the sound a bit) and comes in a hard case with a replica of the original LP covers. You can contact him via Marolda's own website to find out how to order."

Well, not sure I can add much more than these consistently insightful gentlemen have. The progressive tracks most certainly do recall Gentle Giant and Yes - and sure, there are a couple of places you might think he was emulating The Rockford Files theme song. Yea.... it's Weird America. And worthy of a real CD (not CD-R) with perhaps some more progressive oriented bonus tracks that are no doubt stored in the woodshed somewhere in Mad Men land.

Priority: 3

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yoshitaka Azuma, Japan *** REISSUED ***

Yoshitaka Azuma - Moonlight of Asia. 1981 Nippon Columbia

***Reissued by Nippon Columbia, April 2013 ***

Moonlight of Asia is an early all-instrumental work by future video game composer Azuma. Somewhat similar to same period Kitaro, and a precursor to what Motoi Sakuraba would accomplish later in the decade. He has other albums from this period (Asian Wind, Far From Asia), which I'll guess to be in a similar vein. I was later advised that his other (3) albums are much more laid back and that Moonlight of Asia is the more progressive rock influenced of the bunch. Not to be overlooked is the fine analog synthesizer work - especially some of the fat Moog sequencer runs. A good one for fans of late 70s electronic music. Details for this artist in English are scarce.

Priority: none

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hammerhead, USA

Hammerhead - Ingenius Crimes. 1974 private

Here's another find from the incomparable AC. I have no idea how he continues to find stuff no one else is aware of apparently. He introduces the album as thus: "First of all, yes, that is the actual spelling of the album title. Who knows why. Anyway, this oddity was apparently the work of a California based commune band, which is really all that seems to be known about it. The style here is very hard to describe, but my best attempt would be: jamming hippy rock and garage psych meets UK jazzy proto prog. Sounds weird? It is. There's lots of nice melodic sax and trippy flute, while the guitar hovers somewhere between jazz-tone and garage rock, with just a couple of fuzz outbursts to liven things up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vocals are wasted sounding and amateurish, and the recording quality is pretty weak. But the distant, echoey sound and overall strangeness sort of produce a haunting vibe at times, particularly on the side-long "Love, I Need You", which is definitely the highlight of the album. Unique, but very rough around the edges."

Not sure I can add much here, other than I found this title highly appealing. I think the low-budget nature of the recording, along with the flute and sax, give it an otherworldly cosmic edge. The fluttering flute, in particular, adds quite a bit of exoticism here when cross-pollinated with the low budget recording technique - almost like a Zambian or Nigerian fuzz rock band mixed with early 70's Ohr/Cosmic Couriers era Mythos. The strummed electric guitar reminded me of Rush's "Caress of Steel" - so there's an out of the blue reference. Perhaps too much sax for an underground recording such as this - sort of defies the mood. Definitely have to agree with the AC's unique reference.

I should also note that the album was never issued with a cover. The one above was added by a dealer who bought out the stack in the 1980s or 90s.

Priority: 3