Wednesday, 26 April 2017

American Cathexis came back in 1985 with a Tonal Vision





https://www.discogs.com/Cathexis-Tonal-Vision/release/5552882

One vocal track, a commercial compromise "radio friendly unit shifter", the rest instrumental mildly smooth fusion, plus a couple of total throwaways (calypso, or just garbage-o) make this a tad disappointing in comparison to its predecessor from the early eighties.  I think everyone has heard their 1982 masterpiece of sung fusion, information here.  In fact it came as quite a surprise to find out the band released a follow up, presumably their only other output.  It's clear it's the same band from the occasional chord changes here that sound quite reminiscent of the ST album.

First track (Pyrogliphics, by Jim Kuster):





It's not quite as pyro-dazzling as one would have hoped, after the extreme explorations of Herbie Hancock and others in the fusion wilderness, right?

The last track I found to be quite endearing as pianist Jim Kuster, here performing alone, really mashes together his classical education, with strong hints of Ravel and even Liszt, with a yearning to leave this earth on the fusion mothership:





Entitled Requiem - For Richard J. Kuster.  What do you think?  I go back to their first album and think how glorious the fusionary future seemed back then-- until that bloody British new wave and I want my MTV completely threw complex music under the (double decker) bus....  but it wasn't their fault.  Of course after achieving the summit of complexity, art has to fall back down to simplicity, we are only ordinary humans.


Monday, 24 April 2017

Cassidy's Music from our Hearts to Your Ears (1977)




A random shot in the dark LP purchase of approximately 10 USD off ebay from the late 70s, admittedly with a gorgeous of-the-times cover painting, turns out to be a magnificent paean of classic 70s soft rock with both female and male vocals-- it can't get any better than that, folks.  It just can't.

The two-gendered singing is along the lines of the magnificent triad of Waterfall albums I posted earlier, perhaps less folky, more electric, but with the same gentle and spiritual beauty of songwriting.  First example, consider track A3, Fellina:






Note the (tasteful) addition of flute and strings to the instrumental in the middle section of the song.  Clearly the production is also exemplary.  Not too much schmaltz, but enough variety with the addition of trumpet, sax, etc., to make everything just a bit more than homemade Michaels crafts.
The naivete of the lyrics as always just breaks my heart especially when I have to go to work to endure the daily assault of the current radio stations' incessant "I'm in love with your body" uh, 'song,' if such it can be called.  After which we once again are tortured, Gitmo-style, with "you got to move it move it-- you got to move it move it--" Appropriately to the foregoing, track A4 is called Got to be Strong:





This is not a perfect masterpiece, being marred by some quite ordinary by the numbers commercial songwriting, and bluegrass throwaways.  But it's really on a par with for example famed classic Blackberry Winter.

An absolutely delightful slice of lost 70s Americana, like a well-built car, I cannot take credit for this but instead must give effusive, profuse, and incessant thanks to my friend who is able to smell out gemlike rare albums like an Italian truffle hound-- pardon the comparison....

Oh yes, Make America Great again...

Very little info to be found online, here is some.

And don't forget--
you saw it here first.




Friday, 21 April 2017

Graziani 's a Dumane... a demain...







Highly in-demand French folk presumably dating from the early 70s, check the price of this baby here, it turns out this is an odd mix that intersperses a great deal of talk with the music.

The 'psych' folk of A Dumane:





From the blurb on the back:

A Dumane. C'est le croisement du texte et des synthetiseurs... C'est le carrefour d'un nationaliste corse et deux musiciens français... 


This one looks interesting too, anyone know it?

Many thanks again to the help of my friends, without whom this blog would be virtually and in reality impossible, for bringing these fascinating rarities to our attention...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

David Friesen and John Stowell: Star Dance; Waterfall Rainbow; and Through The Listening Glass











Bassist David Friesen made quite a few albums back in the day with a very Oregonian feel, thanks to the frequent use of not just modern classical influences but also added string quartet, oboe and soprano sax textures.  There is a quite a bit of 'filler' (for me) bass solo material to wade through in these but here and there some true delights shine through, and these are far far less known than Ralph Towner and Collin Walcott's group.  (Incidentally I just recently heard their bassist Glen Moore's 1979 album Introducing which is also incredibly well composed.)

The towering Ralph Townering of Star Dance from Friesen and Stowell's first, 1976 album of the same name:





Note the scoring of oboe and clarinet with string quartet.

More of the same plus more chamber instruments on the Wedding Dance from the second album featured here:





From the final collaboration album, Opening Out:






Obviously, christian themes permeate.






Monday, 17 April 2017

David Rosenstein's Hot Spots, from 1988







Sadly, it seems the last installment's brilliant Icarus flew too close to the sun with his wax wings, despite his father's warnings, and crashed on this album, which is merely or exactly as described, smooth jazz, of the kind I've reviled on this blog before.

Here compositional credits are attributed to David Bernbach, John Grunt, and William Bodil, with the orchestra conducted and arrangements by Rosenstein.  Note that the great Rainer Bruninghaus is on keyboards somewhere in here-- hard to tell.

Very little information on David here.

First Track:









Friday, 14 April 2017

David Rosenstein's Icarus from 1986





Another marvellous unknown library record full of interesting fusion, it really reminds me of the earlier Phil Moon one -- but sadly it's not as good.  Can we expect more at this late stage?

The track called Desolation I (which amazingly was written by our old friend Manfred Schoof):






For Schoof fans like me, you will happily note he was responsible for some of the best compositions on this record.


And everyone, have a very good Good Friday!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Coste Apetrea's Airborne, from 1989




It's always surprising to dig so deep into the muck of the eighties and come out holding a lost prize.  Well, you might have to polish it quite a bit to give it valuable status.  But for tired ears there are some real reasons to operate normally.

There is no reason to introduce Coste, recall he worked with infamous (and brilliant) Swedish RIO band Samla Mammas and in the later 70s to 80s with guitarist Jukka Tolonen.

Alicante:





I don't think you could come up with a better and more poetic track title than Unidentified Flying Sadness:






I actually found most of his earlier solo material quite disappointing, lacking in punch and inventiveness, though I know I'm in the minority with that opinion.




Monday, 10 April 2017

(Belgian) Lilith from 1986

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In the mass of bands with the same name, here is the information for this one-off.  Laid-back fusion with the inimitable European intelligence, sophistication, and style, again.

Side one is a bit simplistic, but the second features some really nice moments, note the gorgeous flute of Et Si (and if):





Of course the flautist / saxophonist is Steve Houben, who has played on some notable albums, perhaps the best known for the prog/fusion fan is 1974's Open Sky Unit.  I'm not familiar though with his solo albums, anyone with information please post.

The composition of Un Peu Triste appears to combine Ravel's whole tone impressionism with the soprano sax explorations of the highest caliber Euro-fusion:






According to the above page link, the compositions are by pianist Claudine Simon, who has no other LP to her credit.  Also, note that mixing and 'direction' credit is given to an old old friend, Michel Herr (his masterpiece recall was Good Buddies).  I posted his albums in response to a request some years back, somewhere in the comments section and I don't remember where, and am eternally grateful for the commentator who brought that artist and album to my attention!






Friday, 7 April 2017

Noco Music with Engel, 1982






I went through the discography in detail in the past, here and here.  There is a bit of information there on the artists, more here I suppose.  Data on this release is here.

The preternaturally gorgeous track called Musik, similar to others on their masterpiece Evasion:





Obviously, I can upload the remainder of their oeuvre if desired.  I have them all (as LPs) now, perhaps some I've sold, no matter, the Rip Remains the Same.

For me the best album was the ST one from 1987 which has very little trace of the eighties in it, for as we know, in France the decade took a long time to arrive (perhaps because it landed at the notorious Charles de Gaulle airport).  I've listened to some tracks on that one hundreds of times, like La Descente du Rhin, or their dedication to Friedemann.






Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Frank Ricotti in 1981's Vibes (Library)




Starting with what is surely one of my all-time favourite library records, in this next series I'll bring up some of my old favourites (i.e. not new rips), but hopefully there will be material new to you.  If not, please go ahead and throw in some requests in the comments section.

This artist's name is more famous I suppose for his involvement with Albuquerque which I talked about way back when (1971's First Wind).  At that time I bought the vinyl, which wasn't cheap, to rerip because an incomplete and scratchy mp3 was circulating, which drove me crazy.  At that time many years ago I don't think I mentioned what a great songwriter the latter was in his (unfortunately only 2) solo albums.  Anyone who hasn't heard those has no idea what fantastically warm and beautiful seventies songwriting he's missing (by using the male pronoun I know I'm not so much sexist as realistic about those who love fusion and prog, apologies to those who don't know their gender/don't have one, and have been legislated out of their bathrooms).  And in fact I can upload those if anyone asks, as well as the earlier collaboration.

But back to the matter at hand.  This library record called Vibes I have always thought has some beyond outstanding progressive moments, as you can ascertain from the polytonal dissonance of Claustrophobia:





If memory serves me well (actually it's the other way around now the majority of the time), there is a lot of filler on this album to get through. But also some real pearls.

Turning our attention now to Frank's discography, note that he performed in Hymas' Aspects of Paragonne (remember that one?), and that he had two albums called Jingles (a word I usually steer well clear from), around the same time as this one, followed by a slew of others in the 80s.  Anyone out there know if they are any good?  (Perhaps a comment from library master Mr.  (?) could be the order of the day here.)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A lost 1984 former USSR soft rock gem: Teatroni from 1984 in a fresh rip [plus lossless]




Another gorgeous cover painting again, right?  Brings me back to those old eighties record stores downtown where my friends and I loved to browse, gaze at the amazing covers and wonder at all the beautiful music inside we'd never hear for lack of cash.  Today we have no such scruples of course, though the feeling of tenderly touching those 12-inch cardboard paintings is missing, in compensation the ease with which we can explore the novelty of music from all over the world never ceases to amaze me.

It's always difficult in the database to find these records due to their tendency to be hidden by the cyrillic alphabetization.  But finally here it is.  Note the abstruse reference to the title and band name:

Вокально-инструментальный Ансамбль Телевидения И Радио Грузии* ‎– გაუფრთხილდით სიყვარულს = Берегите Любовь

Usually it's called in English Teatroni whence the artist name becomes obvious.  This discography is not complete, and I thought they made other records back in the day, as far as I remember not as good as this one. but the expert obscure beasties would know better here.  Note that one member performed in the ne plus ultra progressive fusion band Arsenal (a band which never ceased, and will never cease, to amaze me, perhaps we could call it The Leningrad Hermitage of fusion bands).

The lushly gorgeous laid back like a chaiselongue opener:





Notice the 'tropical classical' influence in B2:





And the nice chord change on B3:





I'll include a lossless since this record turned out to be so less scratchy than the previous rip, presumably from obscure beasties (just like with Anor).