Friday 30 March 2018

Happy Easter and German Nimbus (1980) by multiple requests

Here we go, the biggest request of all time.  Happy Easter to all you true music lovers out there!

Posted before where it was written:

I hate to do this to you again Tom but I will simply quote your recent review at this time before adding my own thoughts to your inevitably correct assessment:

Of all the albums in his latest dig, I have to say Nimbus (Germany) is one that I keep hearing about, but never have actually heard. Its reputation is stellar, so does it live up to the "hype" as it were? I use the term hype carefully, but I fear to say that there are many out there who do, in fact, hype this one to me. As in "buy my CD-R... now!" (I don't buy or trade CD-Rs, but that doesn't seem to stop the solicitors of such).  And one can't possibly have a deep dive expedition without at least one Kraut Fusion album, now can we?  "Yet another instrumental progressive fusion rarity from the vast German private press scene. But this one's a cut above the norm, with excellent compositions spiced with a healthy does of progressive rock, keeping things interesting all the way through. The keyboard work in particular stands out. Unfortunately, the sound could do with some cleaning up, which makes a reissue all the more necessary. This is certainly in the top tier for this style, so hopefully one of the German labels will step up to the plate someday."

The music is as The AC describes, a highly melodic instrumental jazz rock album, with guitar and keyboards in the lead. Bands like Surgery, Mosaik, Moira, and Profil are all good guideposts here, and all just as obscure as hell too (though at least the former did get reissued by Garden of Delights

Priority: 3

I probably would have rated it higher, but I have more of a predilection for fusion, obviously.  In order to present a suitable track for sampling I elected to use the fourth track.  The first (Hymn) is a relatively simplistic, perhaps commercially oriented fusion or fuzak track, the second takes it a bit further in a symphonic direction with the summer's evening sound, the interaction particularly of rhodes and electric guitar make for a wonderful interplay, though the invention is not sustained to the end as I felt it should be.  As we often see in these situations, the third track is a throwaway noise thing, luckily less than a minute long.  The fourth is called Forum and it is here that you can listen:

Note how nicely the keys and guitar play together here, a big feature of this record's attractiveness.  Unfortunately, side b comprises the two long progressive and interesting tracks (Living and Sinus), particularly the final one where a kind of Crimsonesque ambition prevails.  Altogether, worth seeking out, and apparently on contacting band members, from where my own rip originated, they are quite open to a release of this work.  Perhaps if there is more clamour for it they will be more convinced?

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Ian Carr's Nucleus in Awakening / Live at the Theaterhaus by request

Hope this is what was being requested.  Let me know if not.  I included this 1980 release which subsequently came out as CD with bonus tracks including part of the other album.

In my opinion this doesn't have the same wildness as the 70s work and the tracks are really overlong.
But it's still worth hearing as indeed is everything they produced.

Monday 26 March 2018

1989 French Avant Garde or RIO band Nptolpqsivrt ‎in Malaise [review only]

This oddly named band made two releases in the later eighties. Check out the name of their trumpeter and composer!  They are basically a chamber orchestra that plays some perhaps improvised, perhaps composed modern classical music with that typical Rock in Opposition sound of slightly jazz-inflected bizarro tunes carried by brass soloists, all instrumental, along the lines of Art Zoyd or Univers Zero, or as my wife often says to me while listening to these LPs in the car, "why does your music have to be weird?"  To those who don't understand, of course, there will never be appreciation, like Einstein's general theory of relativity understood when it came out by only a few people in the world (and even Einstein himself didn't know how to solve his equations except in a few simplified cases.)

A representative and somewhat approachable track is called Massacre by fingernail file:

And other song titles are equally amusing; note in particular there are 3 separate and differing compositions called Malaise.  For example, here's the second one:

And thus we endeavor to understand these Einsteinian musicians and their very odd relativity with the human corpus of musical art.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Puzzlepie "Now", side 2, from 1989 Germany

Now I once again must give thanks to the generous friends who are willing to explore the musical universe out to the farthest depths of temporal and stackable space for these LP finds and their acoustic treasures that few can understand but whose value is absolutely boundless to those very few.

This is clearly an unknown entity as evidenced by the fact the usually haughty rateyourmusic cognoscenti are almost completely unaware (with the exception of one progressive champion), at least to this day, because you can bet that from now on this will change.

Side one is completely generic and conventional in songwriting, all over the place too, commercial oriented to a slight extent, but even so, not even enjoyable in the automaticity of the songwriting.  Suddenly all this changes when you flip over the vinyl and are treated to one of those side-long excursions into musical creativity that was a hallmark of progressive music in the golden age of rock with a mix of song, hammond organ chords, fusion, chamber music flute, electric guitar riffery, and an endless series of ingenious ideas, recalling mostly my pnf discovery from long ago Zauberfinger in its aptly named schizzo-rock.  At my count there are at least 8 different songs here that have been perfectly melded together in the most cohesive and naturally flowing way.  It has the wonderful title of "Twilight in Spin" and the refrain as I understand it is: "Meet me on the river Styx."

For this reason I won't bother to include a whole album here, just the magnificent side 2 which I urge you to put at the top of your playlist, pronto.... and thanks again to those friends who find these things hidden so far away from us...

Credits here, note the music is written by Stefan Karpati with the wonderful singer his wife Sibylle.
Unfortunately this is all they did.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Sui Generis' Nito Mestre moves on after 1977

From discogs:

Immediately after the disolution of Sui Generis (4), Nito Mestre, who still believed folk music had more to give, formed the band under the names of Nito Mestre y amigos (Nito Mestre and friends) who would later evolve into Nito Mestre y los desconocidos de siempre (Nito Mestre and always's Unknowns) thanks to a mention of Maria Rosa Yorio, then Charly Garcia's wife. 
The original formation included Alfredo Toth on bass gutiar and vocals, Rodolfo Gorosito on guitars, Nico Mestre on acoustic guitar and vocals, Rosa Yorio on vocals, Francisco Pratti on drums and Leo Sujatovich on keyboards. 
They debuted on 1977, at Teatro Estrellas and proved that folk rock was still alive and popular. They toured all around the country and neighboring nations. 
By this time Sujatovich was replaced by Osvaldo Caló, and they would release their first, self-named, LP with him. the immense popularity of it labeled them as the top folk band of the times and Nito as the best singer of the nation. 
The relationships between the group members wasn't as good though, and Caló would be replaced by Alejandro Lerner and later Eduardo Zvetelman. until finally stabilizing with Ciro Fogliatta on keyboards, and Juan Carlos Fontana replacing Pratti on drums. 
On 1978 they released their second LP, again self-named,. It wasn't as popular as the first because of the changes in formation and creative stagnation. 
On 1979 the released their third LP, Saltaba Sobre Las numbes (Jumped over the clouds) taking a closer approach to rock, though they were still unable to gain more public. 
On 1980, Toth and Yorio decided to leave the band, and it disbanded soon after. Nito Mestre would never enjoy the popularity he enjoyed on Sui Generis again. 

Obviously, this is the classic folk-rock Argentinian sound with the dynamic composition and delicate acoustic passages that we are so familiar with from the more famous bands like Arco Iris, Aquelarre, and Sui Generis.  I have three from the follow up band which existed as mentioned from 1977 to 1980, but the last album doesn't completely correspond in titles to the database, hopefully someone can explain the discrepancy though it might merely amount to someone being careless with assigning song titles.  Perhaps I'll later buy the last album to complete this band. All not my rips.

Note that there is a clear progression in the music from beginning to end with the first album sounding very much like the folkiest of folks from this country (like the earliest Sui Generis) and the last album approaching the great Spinetta Jade in his early 80s smooth falsettoed pop-rock grooviness.

Thus, from 1977:

And from the end:

Really great stuff.  Hugely enjoyable material here.  Will the seventies wonders never cease?

Monday 19 March 2018

Guatemalan Alux Nahual in 1981, 1982, and 1984

From discogs;

Alux Nahual is a rock group, formed in Guatemala. Its importance in the Central American region has allowed it to be known as a musical proposal, a cultural reference throughout the isthmus. The band was formed in 1979. It was founded by Álvaro Aguilar (acoustic guitar), who accompanied by his brother Plubio (bass) and his cousin Ranferí (electric guitar and acoustic) begin to perform at a small cafe bar in the city from Guatemala. They were integrated to the band Javier Flores (drums), Paulo Alvarado (cello) and Jack Schuster (violin). In their beginnings they played compositions of other bands of the time, like Kansas, Led Zeppelin and Toto, in addition to original proposals with a base of symphonic and progressive rock, with influence of the group of Dutch progressive rock Focus in the melody Bar Rocko Intro Passacaglia Maestosa. 

After a couple of years Flores retires and they contact the drummer Pablo Mayorga while the brother of Ranferí, Orlando, who also plays drums, joins Alux. For some years they played with two drummers, something unusual in a rock band. The prestige of the band rose quickly, and in 1981 they manage to record their first record production under the DIDECA record label. This first production was the one that opened the doors to the national rock in the radios. At that time there was no knowledge about the movement of rock in Spanish that occurred in Argentina and other places in America, so Alux Nahual became the first commercially recognized band, rock in Spanish in Central America.

Sample from the second album:

El Mensaje del Mago.

Influences are exactly as mentioned, though I would add this is very typical South-Central American folk sympho-prog, with mixed acoustic and electric passages and very very light progressiveness, far less than a comparable band (in sound) we all know with initials MIA.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Pomp rockers Baby Grand in 1977 and 1978

Database info here.

Note the wonderful cover painting of the first album that recalls a famous cartoon-like European artist (someone can remind me?) and the reference to the fruit-faces of Arcimbolo in the second.

For all those who love rock, let's salute these (3 to 5?) guys. Hugely enjoyable, well-written and well-played AOR pomp rock with not too much excess testosterone nor over-the-top vocal showmanship from this band from Philly.   They remind me a great deal of Ambrosia, but much more diluted in the progressive element.  Still, the songs are really strong.  Worth a few hours total of listening pleasure for anyone with two ears and a rock 'n' roll soul I would think:

Note how the F minor chord very cleverly segues down to an F major 7 in the piano intro.

From the first album, listen to the blissfully crafted 70s pop-rock with the hammered out piano chords, the syncopated bass pumping them along, the arabesque-like electric guitar licks weaving in and out and for a guitar solo in the middle, the tape played backwards Beatles-style, just so perfectly professionally done altogether:

"Yes, now you're in the spotlight, Caroline,
and is it all that you thought it would be?"

Too bad they only made two!

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Monday 12 March 2018

Marie Rottrová in 1981, Muž Č.1

Curlier hair, and disappearing eyebrow lines, as we get into the 80s.

On this page, which features full credits for this record, you can see we have a mixture of apparently fresh Czechy slav stuff and rock covers, including an old favourite of mine from my soulful days, Aretha's composition Call Me.  There is a great deal of variety with soul, ballads, a hilarious disco opus called Playboy-- all of which serves to emphasize there is something, or rather many somethings, for everyone to enjoy in here.  Listen to the gorgeously powerful and intense musical yelling, track b4, composed by Jiri Urbanek, a bassist who clearly was closely associated with this singer:

Would love to know what that song is all about.
A good album, slightly diminished from the 1977 ones from earlier, but still worthy.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Marie Rottrová with Pěšky Po Dálnici in 1977

Very, very beautiful woman.
This album, coming in the same year as the preceding installment, sounds of course very similar, with its mix of all-American soul, pop-rock, chanson-style (e.g. Piaf) singing, and perhaps occasional slight fusion material.  The closer, with its heavenly 70s chord changes, just makes me want to cry:

Nothing like that is ever made anymore.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Marie Rottrová 75 with Plameňáci/Flamingo

Another very beautiful woman, as you can see from The Great Google, however, not much info on discogs:

Czech vocalist, songwriter, TV presenter. 
Born November 11, 1941 in Ostrava (former Czechoslovakia). In the late 1960s nicknamed “Lady Soul” in Czechoslovakia. Mother of Martin Kučaj (1963) and Vít Rotter (1965). Her first husband was Vlastimil Kučaj.

Presumably well known in her home country, her music is fully unknown on the outside, to our great loss, and hers.  At least until now.

This particular record, one of many she put out in the period, reminded me a little of my old favourite and great discovery, Uschi Bruning with the great Gunther Fischer Band, though it's not as incomparable.  One track that is comparable though is this one called Čas Motýlů:

Wild, huh?  But not all songs are as good.

We have here a mix of soul, pop-rock, and fusion-like tracks, mostly sung, some instrumentals from the backing band, with its double name.  Regarding the latter,

Czech soul/funk/pop group. Formed in 1966 in Ostrava, led by Richard Kovalčík until his death in 1975. During this first period the group’s lineup was essentially identical to the nucleus of the Ostravský Rozhlasový Orchestr, and many recordings performed by the latter could have been actually credited to Flamingo. 1975–1977 led by bass player Jiří Urbánek. Disbanded in 1989 after keyboardist and 3rd leader Vladimír Figar’s death. Between 1973–1987, due to communist censorship issues, they were mostly credited as “Plameňáci” (Czech for “flamingos”), while serving mainly as backing band for vocalists Marie Rottrová and Petr Němec.

I've included the much more primitive 1971 album infected with cover tunes from more famous soul singers which they made together.  More to come from Marie later.

Monday 5 March 2018

Jacques Thollot 1971-1996 [limited time]

This was requested and because the artist is one of my all-time favourite composers in the progressive sphere I got onto it right away.

From discogs, briefly:
French jazz drummer born October 9, 1946 at Vaucresson, France. He died on October 2, 2014 at Mainneville, France.

Despite being a drummer, he composed most of his albums and played keyboards on Cinq Hops, clearly his masterpiece-- which was reissued to CD btw.  The early albums feature a great deal of the experimental noise and free improvisation that was so popular in those days, not too much drum solos or rather purely percussion tracks, but later when the music is more composed, it's absolutely sublime, well worthy of replacing the old tired works of Bartok, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg (which are so similar, minus the jazz/rock element) that are over-played in concert halls at the expense of brilliant new material from artists such as Thollot.  For those who follow the blog, the brilliant Jean-Luc Chevalier I featured numerous times before is very similar, but Thollot stays closer to his classical education roots.

This is my favourite song by him, which so perfectly mixes the classical chamber tradition with the aforementioned jazz/rock (magma style):

(On the Mountain, for Michele, from Cinq Hops.)  I'm always stunned at how these brilliant composers can take something as simple as the three first notes of the A major scale as in this song and transform them into something so brilliantly original by not just playing them, but playing with them.  Of course later in the song he shows his skills in adept chord changes.

And note that he played with Tony Hymas, whom we've seen before of course a few times here, in the 1990s.  From this period we have A Winter's Tale from his quartet, and Tenga Nina.

In the later albums the ambitious composition featuring mixed half-tones and whole tones or tritones is still present, but dare I say it, watered down a little by the generic jazz genre it's being promulgated with, and lacking that intense insanity that is typical of a young musician's creativity (like they say of mathematicians, whose best work is always before 30...)  Nonetheless, the old spark of crazy is still present in the closer of 1996's Tenga Nina, called L'au Dela (i.e. the afterlife):

I should also mention this stunning library album sure to make everyone salivate who haven't heard of it, and even those who have, called Hypnose, from 1974, featuring one track by Thollot (sheerly brilliant again), plus Jannick Top, Teddy Lasry, and others.  Obviously highly recommended to everyone.  

Friday 2 March 2018

Kathryn Moses Part 2: 1979's Music in my Heart [limited time]

A flautist who appeared with Ted Moses in his quintet and moreover presumably was married to him, I brought you her first work 48 hours ago.  (Oddly enough, she wasn't in Ted's 1978 record that I posted way back when on these pages.)  I mentioned then her propensity to start a track with what sounds like a university compositional exercise before moving on to a more completely commercial offering.  On Youtube you can hear the delicate, modern classical operatically sung start to the title track, which after only one minute (!) degenerates into by the numbers scatty jazz.

On the other hand a track which sounds completely lifted from a Ted Moses album (as I said last time, this composition is by her, despite the fact Ted wrote identically sounding music for his own albums) is called Should be ancient history:

Otherwise we are again dealing with a mixed bag situation here, as is so often the case with these 'unknown' artists, with some commercial pandering, some lovely harp work on the last track, some tasteful arrangements, and some very TV-friendly flute diddling (on the first track).

I would like to draw your attention as well to a wonderful song that really got under my skin, called Love to See Your Smile, which really was worthy of becoming a hit on AM radio back in the day:

It's commercial too, but so adorably sweet.