Monday, 14 October 2019

Crossection, 1979




Wow, look at all that writing on the back.  I gotta admit usually that much blurbing is not a good sign in terms of the musical contents.  Nor is it...  a good sign...
A soul-funk album this time, along the lines of the very popular old post Cosmology.
The soft track called Annika is just so lovely:





For those who don't want too much wimp in their coffee here's the very black Don't Cross the Street:
(I meant black coffee, of course)




An important lesson for any American black man who sees police across said street.  Or, for that matter, any American black man minding their own business at home in their own apt eating ice cream and watching TV.

Information here.



Saturday, 12 October 2019

Terry McDonald's Street State of Affairs, 1980






A one-off LP from this sax player who also composed and produced.
Here we have a pretty unified mix of post-bop, comtemporary jazz, acoustic jazz, backing electric guitar giving a fusion feel.  The music is usually pretty advanced, perhaps like Herbert Joos but minus any orchestra, like Part of Art.

Some gorgeous progressive songwriting appears on the closer called Namib's Song:





Friday, 11 October 2019

Alpha Omega 1976, by request




I've often mentioned this guitar-based instrumental fusion album in this blog.  It's a point of reference because it just 'hits all the right notes' for me, musically.  Information is here.
It's the creation of John Bellamy.  The old review:

I am very happy to present this new rip of Alpha Omega, an album whose style is impossible to pin down, in fact I would say it's sui generis. You might even call it chamber fusion, to make a new genre. It always reminds me of Italians Orch. Njervudarov's brilliant classic. Especially the first song's riff really recalls the angularity of their album. Notice that although Steve Maxwell plays all keys, the composing (which is the ne plus ultra of this work) is credited to John Bellamy. I don't find much information about him at all, I would like to know if he composed more or if this is his one-off masterpiece. Another good point of reference would be the midnight madness phase did, or fusion quartet comprovisations, very composed jazz rock incorporating a lot of orchestral-style elements. When I listen to some of his guitar riffs, they are so chromatic and fast I have a lot of trouble following the notes, of course I'm not a professional musician, but I have no problem with standard radio fare. Consider for ex. the title track, starting with a dzyan-like guitar riff repeated in different keys, then the bass keeps going up and down by minor seconds as the others riff on top. I guarantee no other fusion record from the period has such an oddball chart. It sounds improvised, but I doubt it is. Or consider the track Dawning, with perhaps the oddest melody in all fusion history, played by a guitar and a sax an octave apart, sax with great wah-wah effects. Only in the last acoustic song do we get some more 'conventional' songwriting, with its straight-up E minor.
Or consider the first track, after the drum solo, the re-intro guitar riff is first played a minor 3rd above on the keys, but then again he plays it a minor 2nd above-- I'm like, "Could it be--?" is it a mistake? it couldn't be, it's the same riff but a half-tone above. Totally against any god-fearing compositional rule there. Then near the end of same song, he plays a D octave up in the pattern: duh dee duh duh dee, a dead giveaway that he had a classical education, which almost of all them did back then, of course. I want to thank master shige again for this incredible-sounding new rip, despite the slightly scratchy record, I love you bro (and your work). And finally, I won't even get into the crazy guitar solos Bellamy plays, which are so off the blues scales or any scales they are functionally atonal in the Arnie Schoenberg way.
And I would love to say, John Bellamy, if ever you read this, please comment and tell us more! I love this work of yours.

Obviously, an interruption in the series of American fusion albums, which we'll return to shortly.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

David Pritchard, 1978 and 1979, and Contraband, 1971












Love the space bird hatching on the top collage, at once so silly and so profound.  Perhaps a premonitory reference to Mahavishnu's Birds of Fire?  But above all, part and parcel of the seventies, that hopelessly naive and naively hope-filled period.

The Contraband band made one stunning all-instrumental fusion LP with the typical Bitches Brew references, full of high energy and almost atonal passages, most similar maybe to the Australian Quasar's two LPs (Nebular Trajectory and Man-Coda).  Also perhaps similar to the (also Aussie) Alpha Omega I have raved about so much on this blog.

In total there were four musicians who contributed compositions to Contraband, notably the keyboardist Pete Robinson who wrote all of side b and guitarist Dave Pritchard.  Always on the lookout for fabulous fusion (can never get tired of that stuff) I saw the latter made two records in the glory years of 1978, 1979, expecting something along the lines of maybe the brilliant James Vincent or genius Don Mock.  Unfortunately, we had too high hopes--but similar to the recent case where Auracle's two uncovered two more by John Serry, I can confidently state these two late-era fusion albums will please fans of the genre not just a little.  There are times where he reminds me of the new agey-tendencies of David Friesen who has also been extensively covered here, not always a bad thing, overall the testosterone has declined like so many a middle aged man and we have much less of the high octane electric guitar gain (distortion) and rhodes attacks.   Said man also, not coincidentally, is a bit too desiring of pleasing his wife as opposed to throwing all caution to the winds in atonality, screwing around with any old genitalial availability in the grand old progressive tradition, as for example the first track on 1978's Light-Year, which is called Black Moon:





In my opinion the follow up is a bit better, consider how it opens with the lovely title Hog Futures:





The addition of trumpet reminds me not a little of the great Jeff Tyzik material, again.

Going back now to the original early 70s fusion tokamak explosion of Contraband, the LP is just over-stuffed with great material.  The first track is one of Robinson's:





Oh for those younger, testosteronal days again!


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Project Tyme's Clockwyze, 1984






Another one-off privately pressed proggy fusion album from the US... so many!!
Unlike others posted here, this one is really beautiful from start to finish and bears repeated listening.  As well the spread is quite wide with 80s-style more poppy songs, AOR rock, traditional acoustic prog (think early Genesis) and then of course the mandatory electric fusion element.  I guess it's similar to Ariel Perspectives, truly underrated in my opinion though recall Tom gave that one, deservedly, a priority 1.

I'm thinking this must be a concept album too, it really feels like one.  Not enough patience to sit through all the lyrics.  Information here.

Track a3, B.T.W.C.:





Some really beautiful energy there, got to admit.  Thanks to that double necked guitar up there no doubt.  This particular composition is so similar to other prog-fusion compositions posted here, I'm reminded of Silent Partner's last track, Tom's Luna Sea, etc., etc.




Sunday, 6 October 2019

Andrew Stern's Catch Yourself from 1980




Well, we've seen beautiful cover art and photos on this blog but this one has me scratching my head-- Andrew is turned away from a giant Andrew face like an Easter Island
A one-off LP from this fusion guitarist, in the same cool smooth style as the recent Tony Dupuis, Tony Palkovic, and so many others.  It came late in the day for the genre so it's not as proggy as for example the beautiful Don Mock, or Mike Warren and Mike Santiago.  The two Tonys and two Mikes I should call them.  I should also throw out the names Letizia and Rick Bishop's Mister Hide as others of the same ill ilk that have appeared here.
So you get the idea.  It has some really lovely moments, try track b1, Roof Tops:





or the last track which is such a Soft Step:





Friday, 4 October 2019

Junius Brutus's 1982 Sleight of Hand




Shockingly here's an artist/band that made more than one album, namely, four in total.  Well, more if you include all the others.  All privately pressed of course.  A clear example of overconfidence in the face of presumably constant and incessant rejection, it really should be an example to all of us when we are young men full of testosterone, anxious for the attention of females.

This particular one is from 1982.  Unlike most of what I've featured so far it's mostly 'psych' and really oddly out of the zeitgeist for that reason.  Usually that's a good thing, but unfortunately I detest the style due to its simplicity, and its 60s throwback.  The second last track which is called Candlemaker's Son has a truly bizarre chorus, though:





I understand these vinyls might be worth a lot of money and be costly to listen to, but I'm 100 percent not inclined to throw away my money for the rest of the lot.  And, which is worse, if someone offered them to me for free I would ask for paypal money sent to me for having to listen to them.
Just kidding, it's not that bad or I wouldn't have bothered to include it here.







Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Grok, We Never Sleep, from 1986





Here's another in the long line of fusion albums in the standard 80s style with jazzier and acoustic elements, featuring female vocals.  So it's similar to others I've posted such as Hugo Smooth, Feather Chen Yu, and that other jazzier female-vocaled one that was so requested and so popular, forgot what the heck it was called, for good reason since I personally didn't care much for it... too many albums all sounding the same as my wife would say... too much talk from her every day all sounding the same too... pray she never reads this blog...

Discogs information here.
The track called Don't features a wonderful proggy synth opening, but then descends into more Steely Dan-like hohumness (I've always hated them for being so cowardly in the face of true progressive tendencies instead of sitting on the art rock fence):







Monday, 30 September 2019

Juggular's Balls! (1980)




A happy group of artists by the looks of it, aren't they?  Amused by their non-joke, perhaps?
As you can see, the band's name is Juggular (jugular vein + juggler, presumably) and the title of their sole LP is Balls! with an exclamation mark, like when you're texting and you're a teenager but without the dumb emoticons.  Doesn't happen to readers of this blog I'm sure.  Anyways, the whole is a little silly, but typical of the times, as we all know.  And my wife's comment is probably apposite: 'because they were all stoned in those days.'
What the music is, which is what we're interested in, is smooth fusion, all instrumental, maybe a little like Auracle, with slight progessiveness here and there.  For sure it's good and enjoyable if the style appeals to you, not over the top in commercialese.  A positive point is there's NO song with a hispanic title using those simple 3-chord progressions typical of Cuban or Spanish music.  I'd go so far as to say what the hell is wrong with these people? They didn't include a "Viva Cariba!" song with those out of tune steel drums or a bossa nova song with women shouting "tititi! ariba!"??

In terms of progressive fusion the clear standout is Dragonseed:






With many or a handful of other songs (if you have lost a few fingers) that resemble it in odd originality, making this a clear category 4 (mostly ordinary fusion with one track or a few tracks progressive-ish-- whatever that means.)




Saturday, 28 September 2019

Quasar Light - Experience This! 1981



If you pay attention closely to this blog (about as likely as Hillary running again in the primaries), you might have noticed that Tom Hayes made some comments for the Rantz post referencing this album as similar with the odd mix of all-out progressive outlandish music and commercial songs some of which are sung by a female vocalist (like the first 2 tracks, throwaways for me).  For those who don't know, Tom has been in suspended animation for the last few years after being ordered to  shut down the cd reissue wishlist in preparation for a top-secret government mission to alpha centauri for a large multinational mining company.  It's expected that if all goes well he'll be in the same suspended animation for more than a hundred years for that trip powered by light sails and an ion drive to close to the speed of light.  When he's revived every few years, he reviews a few prog albums.  For this reason I thought it was appropriate to post this album with its multiple references to space travel.  Unfortunately these crazies only made this one album.  Another commenter pointed out that a band member remastered the record and posted it for everyone to download on archive, in one big file.  Thanks to my wonderful friends we chopped this into digestible tracks, found some decent scans online and reassembled this frankenstein robot for your enjoyment.  Note that the LP is not cheap, in the hundred dollar range usually.

Illusion Confusion always shocked me with its tritonal riff and the way they build it throughout the song--it takes real guts to make a rock song this bizarre:




In some ways it foreshadows the glorious death metal days of the later 1990s with bands like Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, who often used bizarre riffs to heighten the anger, the energy, and let's be honest the repulsiveness (to ordinary people) of their music.  In my younger days I really fell for those bands.  I'm not gonna make my usual comments about how appropriate the song is to today's world with social media and their self-created fake news phenomenon.  (Well, it was created by people with their own motives, so I guess it's more a sad indictment of how the high hopes (in the 90s) of a democratic internet have fallen to the bottom of a garbage dump pit.)

I'll quote Tom's review from 2011 (but not in full):

Quasar Light are from Red Lion, Pennsylvania, which sits in the southeast part of the state, in and around Amish country. This isolation in the middle of farm country may explain a few things, as these guys were tapped into something that has yet to be followed up with anywhere else.
...
The first 4 songs on the album sound like some kind of alien pop with nimble hard rock guitar picking and disembodied female vocals. There is no mistaking its 1980's heritage here. 'Don't Ever Leave Me' seems to be heading down a somewhat normal path, to the point of discouragement. Starting with 'Secret of  the Stars', Quasar Light begins to go completely off the rails. This sounds like a off-kilter version of this list Post psychedelic, proto progressive with female vocals. Then Side 2 all bets are off. They were in their own world. Not that it's avant noise or anything so overt as that. No, they're still going strong with actual composed songs. But they're strange, twisted, distorted, and downright complex at times. It's progressive rock from the 6th dimension. There is absolutely no reference here. Based on their location, one begins to wonder if they're Amish on a Rumspringa binge. The only reference I could find on this album was a stream of consciousness rant from the Quasar Light founder. Yea, a surprise that. Underground America at its weirdest right here. A must.

The usually spot-on Apps was not impressed though:

Uneven mix of plain Rock and high-gear Heavy Rock/Punk and Prog from this unknown quintet of double guitars, bass, drums and vocals out of the States.Things are pretty simple to my ears.Side A is the weakest of the two, reminds me of a poor man's Syn: lots of energy in Pop Rock arrangements with some sophisitication but no further surprising moments.Side B offers better conditions for a more enjoyable listening.Guitars offer some great rhythmic breaks, energy is the key factor here with dual leads and attacking vocals in an aggressive style with progressive values and some Crimson-ian extensions.Some sort of demanding Punk if you know what I mean.Approach with caution.

Back in high school when we were all so obsessed with our classic rock albums (at the time they were not called that) we argued forever over certain LPs; some people absolutely hated them and some people absolutely loved them.  I guess Genesis belonged to that category in those days, and I admit I hated them when I was a teenager.  Couldn't stand the pretentiousness, in those days.  Clearly this record belongs to that category.  At least give them credit for being so utterly original and uncommercial.

So thanks to everyone for bringing this one to us: Tom who reminded me, the commenter who found it online, remastered by the band, and my friends for reorganizing it for safe consumption... and as we used to say in high school, I don't give a sh** if you hate it, I love this record.  And see you all on the 'cybernetic killing floor' one day:






Friday, 27 September 2019

US Gryphon, 1975





These guys made one hard rock/basic rock album in 1975 and then disappeared.  Obviously they shouldn't be confused with the British (dragon) invasion of the same name.  Overall, the sound reminds me a lot of my favourite Ambush with a kind of highly competent DIY vibe and all the trappings of AOR and arena rock without the productionary excesses on the part of a gleeful producer or more likely stoned producer (cf. Phil Spector, Beatles' Let it Be).
Nothing progressive to see here, move on if that's what you want, maybe the oddball song called Controller:





Nonetheless very enjoyable for those who love this late seventies style of US hard rock (like me and Tom Hayes).





Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Back to Nothin' Sirius with the 'tax scam album' Atomic Cafe




Well, pretty cool cover and verso art  Downing a beer in the middle of the deep space intergalactic for a round of poker couldn't be bad.

These fusioneer pranksters were featured earlier here, a follow-up with more improvisation and much looser is described as a Baby Grand label tax scam album.  I went over that business here, and here & still find it odd.  Perhaps instead we should ask POTUS about it.  He can probably clarify the whole mystery for us? In a few lawsuits from now that is.  Anyways, the discogs page for the label provides a wonderfully concise summary of the scam, which apparently was very short-lived, not surprisingly:

Baby Grand Records was in full swing releasing scores of eclectic recordings, all designed primarily for one purpose…not to turn a profit! The premise behind the label headed by Ron Fair, an ambitious 20 something pianist, composer/arranger and most of all aspiring record executive who would later go on to become the President of A&M Records and Geffen Records Records...had at its foundation a curious loophole in the U.S. tax laws that allowed wealthy investors to realise a tax credit far in excess of their investment. It was really quite simple; an investor would put up a few thousand dollars to cover the production and manufacturing costs. The album would have a minimal number of pressings issued and an accountant would value the recording at 10’s of thousands of dollars above the costs based on what the investor would have realised, had the record been a commercial success. In this manner, someone could invest say $5,000 and receive a tax credit of anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 as a loss on what he “expected” to generate from his initial investment. In the 1970’s the economy in the States was slamming and there was no shortage of investors in search of tax credits. It is considered that some of the investors actually fancied the notion that this was their entrée into the music business, and others perhaps just liked the idea of supporting the arts.

What is most surprising is that some of these tax scam records were so good (e.g. Ilian).  This one, though, is mostly average.  The fusion is competent but a little led astray by the excess extempore and meandering ideas, with a general lack of good concepts underpinning the music.  In overall texture and sound I think it's most like the Natural Life LPs, but as I said, the actual compositions are missing in action here and there and Rambo hasn't shot his way through to release 'em yet.

The title track gets the ball rolling to break the ice and mix the metaphors:





The punning Nothin' Atoll, presumably referencing the Bikini Atoll (given the overall atomic theme):





A nice addition to our collection I think.  The back credits claim the album was produced by keyboardist Marcus Duke and guitarist Lindsay Gillis along with Bill Dashiell.  Seems awfully sad that all their hard work just went to give a few grand to an idiot investor led by a guy who went on to such (sexual) success later.

A blurb by Lindsay states the following:

"It's like, in the midst of the many vessels exploring the coastline of the mother country, a few set out to link the old world with the new, discover Americas, walk on moons... big deal.  It may not be valid to the mass daytime serial, but at certain times, when no one is listening, who else is there to play to but the moon and the stars." 

Well maybe it's fitting if the moon and the stars are the crooked investors.



Monday, 23 September 2019

Jim Zuzow... Just Around the Corner, USA 1982








Now here's an album so rare I can almost guarantee no one has heard (of) it before.  It might be there's a reason for that, maybe not.  Certainly I could be like other vinyl collectors out there and give it a rave review, blog madly about its merits and then demand something valuable be traded with me alone, for the privilege of a listen.  But of course on this blog we long ago went the other way.  As a result I can guarantee the assessments are brutally honest, for the most part, with a lot of records turning out to be trash, often the most expensive ones.  Conversely, tons of 10 dollar LPs wind up having the most absolutely magnificent contents (I think especially of the recent Austrian Peter Wolf).   And this one if you google it could have been found on ebay for a price under ten bucks, once.  Presumably the same guitarist appears on a more recent CD (on the usually comprehensive discogs) but not this earlier privately pressed LP.

Anyways, moving on to the music, we have some light guitar-based fusion and compositions, all instrumental, highly proficiently played I might add, the best track perhaps is Summer is a Lady's Song:





At least to give you an idea of what we're dealing with here.  I guess it's somehow similar in lightness to the late Ratzer material I've posted here.



Friday, 20 September 2019

Chakra (1979)








One of many bands of the same name, obviously. they released only one album in 1978.  You may already be familiar with it, hopefully I might add, but if not it should be a real surprise.  It hits all the right notes so to speak when it comes to the US prog department, with the usual symphonic, spacey sounds, the dissonances, the varied atmospheres and the overall concept-like feeling.  I'll just borrow the review from progarchive, it being Friday night and all:

Chakra biography
Chakra are an American Symphonic Prog band hailing from Orange County, Southern California in the late 70s. Their sole album was a self-titled album released in 1979, consisting of 8 tracks that were dominated by instrumental passages and atmospheric keyboards. The 5 piece band consists of keyboardist, Nigel Redmon, drummer, Tom Maxwell, bassist, John Ugarte, guitarist, Mark Blumenfeld, and vocalist David Lamb. The overall sound is similar to early Genesis or especially Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer. The distinct classical quality in the music is virtuosic especially the grand piano flourishes of Redmon. The lyrics are based on Christian themes and are overall uplifiting and majestic in tone. The band should appeal to fans of Lift, Pentwater, ELP, and Yes.

What's actually not referenced above is the darker atmosphere that permeates overall, as evidenced by the last track called Finally:





Especially unique is the use of chopped or staccatolike chords with the keyboards strings, completely at odds with the usual sustained chords strings are employed for.  Here the digital percussion, at least in my opinion if not Tom Hayes', really adds to the song  by giving it that robotic feel.

Loose Ends features the all-out proggishness that makes this record clearly a category one 'area 51' thriller;






Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Mark Smoot's The Attic from 1988





This is the only release under his name, as is the case for most albums in this little 3-month US road trip, though note that he was a member of multiple subsequent bands.  Odd too is the late year for this style of progressive rock, though I would have to lump into the category III division, with mostly rock.  So some passages resemble the previous Artificial Intelligence, for sure some songs are throwaway (in the commercial direction that is, for the record industry, they are the exact opposite of thrown away), on the whole, a very odd vibe permeates, perhaps due to the fact that he was full of youthful energy and went in too many directions.  And that he was a little crazy too, maybe.  Consider the fourth track, After Hours:




I guess relatively disappointing is the way he doesn't develop that track following the initial dissonances.

Rare, perhaps not essential in Tom Hayes' priorities, but nonetheless a missing piece of the late 80s American style prog puzzle, as mutant sounds would've said, and repeated.


Monday, 16 September 2019

Artificial Intelligence EP, 1984




These guys, who made only this release, remind me a lot of US progmasters Babylon with their basis in Genesis-inspired symphonic later prog with electronics and synths galore, so also a bit of crazy Mars Everywhere.  All with chords and melodies that are really, really whacked-out.  What a shame they didn't make any more for us to hear.

It's true, "You'd better sit down" to listen to this track:






As for the title of the band, I've spoken endlessly about the current unthinking scientific attitude that 'one day robots will take over the world,'  much of that amplified by extreme overhype on the part of silicon valley dorks and geeks.  And it may be true that one day we won't have to scour the past for great prog rock, a computer program will generate endless amounts of it for the purposes of our drug-like perpetual satisfaction.  An infinity of it on demand, much like the current situation with regards to video-game-addicted people.  Add to the threat of robots, the allure of said games, social media addiction, loss of jobs to automation, modern-day voluntary slavery with the 'gig economy,' and the future sure looks bright, doesn't it?  Except for the people designing those AI programs, right?  It's so similar to the hard work of nuclear scientists (so much hard, hard work), to bring us the atomic bomb and then the thermonuclear devices of which there are still thousands lying around the world, with more to be built.  Progress so often feels like driving at a hundred miles an hour on a road towards a cliff and being unable to steer.  At any rate, as others have pointed out before me, it should really be called "artifical stupidity."
Not so stupid is the craftsmanship behind these songs though.  In fact, it makes my jaw drop to hear it again.








Friday, 13 September 2019

Tony Dupuis's Night Visions 1978




Another in the long line of US-styled fusion albums with progressive elements, the never-ending category IV, this is very similar to the Tony Palkovic 2: Deep Water and Every Moment.  I guess while I'm at it, I could also call up resemblances to Mike Santiago, Don Mock, and Mike Warren with the relentlessly electric guitar-based energetic fusionary explorations.  Having said that, this album may be slightly deficient in the intense creativity dept. compared to those aforementioned but for those like me who can never get enough of this stuff, it sure is satisfying to hear.

So the album starts with the lovely synthesizer composition called Morning Song:





before proceeding posthaste into the smooth fusion section of the record store, like a teenaged shoplifter, for In Flight:





That one sounds a lot like the recent Tyzik stuff actually.  Btw thanks for drawing my attention to him, I have never heard his material.




Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Larry Groupe's With an Accent from 1975


Larry Groupe - With an Accent


Analogously to the situation with Doug Lofstrom, who made the fabulous "Music" album then went on to produce a huge body of work as a serious composer, Larry Groupe made this one very early progressive album in the mid seventies before scoring (in both senses) a huge number of presumably commissioned soundtracks and other works for TV, documentaries, and movies.  Note as well that this album is not included in that particular listing though it appears in the more progressive-oriented rateyourmusic.  I would also assume he's not too proud of his earlier venture into progressive, DIY music, the way we are here in a kind of inverted pyramid of desirability or contrarian personality: the more oddball and bizarre the music the more appealing to us here, the more generic and popular, the less.

The album is made of 4 longish pieces all of which I'm going to guess are wholly performed by the artist, the overall sound is similar to the progressive pieces from Evergreen State artists, with a lot of Yes influence, composed passages using only guitar and piano, slightly odd singing.  There is nothing complex about the arrangements which usually use just the standard rock quartet.  On the other hand highly nonstandard are the melodies, chords, and ideas, nothing at all like the typical Rolling Stone-reviewed album.

As sample I'll use root 2 which is just the shortest of the 4 pieces:





Rare as hell too, right?

I don't know about you but I can never, ever get enough of this stuff.
And the fact that my wife will just never understand that.




Monday, 9 September 2019

Air Craft - So Near, So Far





A beautiful cover for a truly beautiful album full of peace, harmony, and good licks like wholesome vanilla ice cream.
Simple database info here.  Note that it's labelled as new age and was released in 1985 but still has enough of the progressive element to entertain us thoroughly.  The song titles: Pentacle, Wilderland, Spirit of the Waterfall, Valley of the Lord, pretty much tell the tale here.  It reminds me a little of the work of Lenny Mac Dowell whom I love dearly  especially in the album Balance of Power.
As is consistent with the New Age genre there is never any hint of a dissonance or tritone to upset the birkenstock-wearing 'crunchies' and their neurotic coloured hair dyes.  The track called So Near, So Far is what really reminded me of Lenny:






On the other hand the classical musical education shines through on a track (and only on the track) given the title of the ancient seventies term "Thingamajig:"




A good album, which I will presume to be totally unknown out there.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Nothin' Sirius's Monkey Business




Another nice category IV 'fusion with progressive moments' album, dipping its toes quite a bit into the lofty category II (pure progressive throughout), there are zappaesque elements here and there, especially in the last track called Bolshoi Blues Waltz, available here on this page.
Information (sparse) here.




Thursday, 5 September 2019

Trumpeter / Conductor Jeff Tyzik from 1980 to 1985










As mentioned by a commenter, these albums resemble the two from Serry-- at least, superficially.  They are very much cutting edge fusion as you would have expected in the year 1980, very light, approachable, commercial, lacking the muscle of electric guitars and the dual-instrument riffs of the past and completely without the emotional depth of Euro-fusion.  Not a lot of progressive either, we're not talking James Vincent here.  On the other hand the first album features quite a few good tracks and interesting compositions, with a couple more (i.e. fewer than the first) on the second, and then virtually nothing listenable as we move farther into the eighties approaching the decade's halfway point just past the Orwellian non-starter, though he didn't give up on making music past that point as you can see from his discography.

There is an oddly complete bio, almost bookish and nonwikipedian on discogs, which begins as follows:

Born in Hyde Park, New York, Jeff Tyzik first fell in love with music at the age of eight when he saw a drum and bugle corps march by in a local parade. "For my ninth birthday, I said, 'I want a bugle!'" recalled Tyzik. But when he opened the case, he was crushed. "It wasn't a bugle. It was a cornet!" 

He quickly forgot his initial disappointment, however, and began studying cornet with a teacher who had performed in the Goldman Memorial Band in the 20's. He immediately excelled. "I was always extremely serious about music, even at a young age. I was frustrated with the other kids when they didn't take it as seriously as I did." recalled Tyzik, adding, "I've always given all of my energy to anything I'm passionate about." 

Tyzik's teachers and friends began pushing him to audition for the Eastman School of Music. Tyzik recalls, "Eastman was a pivotal place in my development because I was exposed to legends there, like Ray Wright. When I was a kid, once in a while my mom would take me to Radio City Music Hall where Ray was the conductor of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. I met Ray years later when he was a professor of jazz studies at the Eastman School and I was a student. He became a mentor to me. He knew volumes about music and the music business. He treated all of his students as professionals. What I do today, I directly link to my studies with him." 

Moving on to the music, from the first album the standout track is The Farthest Corner of my Mind, which also served as the title of a compilation later in 1986 (after only 4 official records!), which you can hear here:




From the 2nd, Circe, here.