Monday, 15 April 2019
Xcranieum' s Moodgraft, USA 1991 -- cassette only
As I've said many times before, I don't think you can go wrong with a bizarre cover drawing like that one. It reminds me a lot of the surrealists' random-drawing process of the early 20th century called cadavre exquis which is what it may be is. Doesn't matter, the point here is that the musical contents, which is what drew us here like moths to a streetlight, or hungry dogs to a bone, or scavenging crows to a rotten carcass, are just as surprisingly interesting and inventive.
From the seller's online blurb:
Artist: Xcranieum (but see Other Info, below) • Album Title: Moodgraft • Format: Cassette • Label: Nub-Tones Music • Country and Year of Release: USA, 1991 • Inlay/Cassette Grade: M-/Plays Perfectly
Here’s an odd one but it’s pretty great, too. The first side contains the Xcranieum Moodgraft album (about 24 minutes worth of music). The information on the inlay card is for this group, and, as stated above, the music is prog rock with fusion touches. This is supposed to be a one-sided cassette, so I was surprised to see that the label on the B-side is not blank but says Surfaces – This State… I have no idea who the band Surfaces is (could be Xcranieum using another name for all I know) but I can tell you that they are mainly electronic with some prog rock touches—and they’re outstanding. This side lasts maybe 27 or 28 minutes, I think.
It's not exactly the commonest album on the tawdry rateyourmusic, which to me is a good thing. On the other hand, the work of including database information including artists' names has been done on discogs, to our happy surprise. Thus, for what it's worth, the Xcranieum group seems to comprise Greg Gunthner (bass), Phil Williams (guitar), John Wells on keyboards plus drums, plus 2 others for percussion credits. And artwork is by J.M. Levine.
The first and title track:
Notice that in typical prog rock fashion halfway through, the song completely changes direction and tonality, slowing down to a whisper and carrying on in a more discernable A minor compared to the quasi-atonal arpeggiated opening or first movement.
Altogether reminds me the most of the Radio Piece III group posted not long ago.
The second side must be the same band, toning it down and creating a Tangerine Dream-like side-long piece that drifts a bit but overall seems too soporific to compare to the stunning first side's work.
Thanks again to my wonderful friends who search out these rarities, like the most expensive and savory white truffles, dug deep from out of the ground. Beautiful find.