Thursday 31 December 2020

New Requests: Sway (1973), Musique Pour Le Futur (1971), The Wild One (1969), VA Berlin Fusion (1980), Fowle Foster Briggs (1981)

Note that Honma Express was posted already, back here.  I'm sure we all loved that one greatly.The Sway album is an absolute classic which was written by Sante Palumbo, whose other works, although highly sought after, proved greatly disappointing.  This was his big masterwork of fusion, complex progressive and highly creative music. Everyone who loves prog or fusion should be familiar with this work, and also the very similar British album Steps I've mentioned several times before.

The album Across the Highway by the group Fowle, Foster and Briggs is just Southern hard rock in style, oddly it's described as prog or psych but to me is neither.  So today, it's really a mixed bag.

I will look over the remainder of the requests and see what else I can come up with, some of which look interesting...  Enjoy these...

Wednesday 30 December 2020

North Star not to be confused with Northern Star


The Philly-based prog band North Star started in 1984 with the cassette only Triskelion (rereleased amazingly 4 years later as LP and CD) then followed up in 1985 with a brilliant opus of Genesis-inspired symphonic prog, i.e., the dreaded 'neo-prog' labeled type of music, called Feel the Cold, e.g. the just gorgeous Genesisian track Tomorrow Never Comes

I mean it just hits a home run for me every day, all the way. Almost an insult to call this neoprog which usually implies elaborate and twisted vocal articulations about wizards or goblins on top of simplistic keyboards plus fake strings playing ordinary chords. Instead, this is the real deal, sounding like Genesis had they adhered to the progressive spirit of the early seventies moving on forward a decade, genuinely original.

Years later, perhaps immune to the punishment of being utterly ignored (remember the popular music of the late 80s? prog rock couldn't possibly have been more unfashionable) they produced some more music, starting in 1992 with the Power album, which I found disappointing but others maybe not. Here they really come into that neoprog designation. On that opus though their Meltdown really brings home the dissonance-crammed classic prog rock sound, god bless 'em:

I always found the Michigan-based band called Northern Star easy to confuse though the music is totally different and comes straight up from the 70s, since it combines basic ssw, pop, rock, and occasional lapses into fusion into a really mixed-up whole, kind of like the Sailor LP or so many others of the 'lesser progs' I posted in late 2019 like Chalis, Project Tyme, Grok, Syn Cast the First Stone, etc.  These bands always wanted to have it all I guess, in terms of the best track, it's clearly the Galaxy one, which, truth be told, is one of my favourite tracks from all American prog (along with hundreds of others, as my wife always reminds me):

I love the symphonic quality to the composition here, very dramatic.

Monday 28 December 2020

Shockingly back to Mushi Widmaier with My World [limited time only]

OK, back to work on the blog... but keep the requests coming, if you have any.

I can't post this too long as it appears the artist is entirely behind it.  It is available on some sources online (streaming) though has been difficult to obtain in cd format, and perhaps it's even impossible now.

And that's unfortunate because the music here is really, really beautiful.  It's clearly, without a doubt, the same composer as the one we all loved in Mushi et Lakansyel.  (Of course, it's not quite as good, sorry to say, but it comes close.)  First of all note that it came out in 2006, 23 years behind.  There is the same passionately intense tropical warmth, delicate nuances and original chords and Brazilian-influenced pop songwriting. You can get an idea from youtube, where it seems all or most of the album can be listened to.  I will then refer to the songs as posted there and hopefully they will remain up there for some time for you all to hear, otherwise, I can add links if requested.

The highlight is without a doubt the duet Laren Chandel, available here.  This is really beautiful and of course very romantic music, as you'd expect from a two-sexed duet. Technically speaking, many of the chord progressions used, especially the chromatically descending patterns are quite indebted here to Jobim's more elaborate compositions, like Eu Te Amo or Luiza both of which resemble this song not a little.  Same can be said about the other standout song, Lanmou Sa'a, with just Mushi singing.

I thought the ending of the song To You, Cecci was very reminiscent of Claus Ogerman, shockingly.  The intro is more generically 'pretty piano' style with some very cliche jazz piano patterns, but when he brings in the 'fake orchestra' with (digital keyboard) strings and proceeds to solo with the right hand all around the other instruments, which include some delicate horns in the background to the string section, the composition really takes off.  It's hard to believe he's not influenced here by Ogerman based on the really clever chords the strings are playing behind him and the depth of the different scores given to the instruments (most likely parts improvised by him on the spot though).  Even that high treble clef piano solo is just gorgeously tender and evocative.

A wonderful 'sequel' to the amazing 1983 Kote Ou...  begs to be better known...

Friday 25 December 2020


A few notes about some of these rips/requests.

The Ring - Necromancers CD is just superb, classic prog everyone should know. Oddly it wasn't released back in the day, but only rediscovered/unearthed by Musea in the recent 'prog renaissanance' era. Information here.  Even more odd to me is that the best track is a 'bonus track' (Charnades) though I guess because it's the most 'proggy' or dissonant track, it makes sense it would be an artist leftover.

The George Grunblatt K-Priss album is a masterpiece of the French keyboard zeuhl style, the later style, when it became far more accessible.  Note that a bad and old mono rip was circulating online and was the only thing you could get your hands on-- up until now, or at least I think.  This rip is stereo and is fresh and sounds wonderful.  I was going to post it in this blog last year until I saw it was rereleased only 3 years ago (but only to LP).

The Estructura albums are classics I guess, as is E.A. Poe, though it's not as good as the really good Italians, and Yvosky's Dos Mundos is also classic. The one-off French Madrigal's School of Time LP is, in addition to classic, also, some of the most eerily Queen-like rock music you'll ever hear, complete with the patented triad-harmony-voices guitar lead playing Brian May mastered so completely.

Hermann Szobel is one of the best piano-based prog albums ever made, ever, but I think the artist hates it when his work is 'pirated' online, so be careful with that one: better delete it the minute you get it.

Horn On The People's Side is a fantastic album, but does anyone have a better rip?  I have the old one that sounds terrible but the music clearly deserves better.  The also Canadian Drama Loneliness album from 1979 I must say really grew on me, it resembles very much the fellow Canadian band Terraced Garden but transplanted into electronic with no guitars, or a very dark version of the German band Luna Set. Note that this artist was also responsible for the well-known ep 7th Temple Under the Burning Sun.

Finally, The Sea for Yourself-- thanks a million to OC for sharing this one completely out of left field and knocking out a homerun and making me acquainted with it. As I said, it's brought me no end of joy and happiness because I listened to it mostly after the lockdown period in March, particularly the instrumentals written by Richard Henn And Co. These range all over the different emotions and are so beautiful I just can't believe there isn't more to discover in his oeuvre.  It's just perfect music, combining electric instruments into wonderful ideas, similar maybe to the best of the Screamin' Gypsy Bandits stuff, remember back here.  And the cover is just magnificent too, again, sadly putting to shame the CD era garbage-- maybe all the covers of the last 35 years.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Some favourites in different genres from within this blog...

The above is a painting/collage that I bought long ago and sits hanging above my turntable-computer set up and that, obviously, resembles the room full of books and records plus CDRs, DVDs, and backup hard drives it looks down upon.

Many many years ago, perhaps decades, perhaps in the nineteen fifties, the commenter asked me for my favourite blog posts.  It's a hard task to carry out, for the usual reasons: I barely remember what I did a week ago, what would you expect going back the 7 years I've done this crazy thing? But of course the biggest problem is that, as my wife said, it's the same album I just keep collecting over and over again.
Nonetheless it sure makes sense to close out this year of 2020, that so many have already said deserves to be entirely forgotten and erased from humanity's collective memory.
The other problem is that I've been more busy with work this year since the pandemic began and for this sadly I count myself lucky when I hear so many stories of people who have suffered through the opposite, particularly all those in the artistic and hospitality industries.  And no I don't work for and the (new) emperor of the world Mr. Bezos currently with ownership of 70% of the milky way galaxy.

I will go by categories of which chamber prog (classical music-influenced prog), not surprisingly, is the longest.
It would be nice if people would assemble their own list of favourites, not necessarily from out of this blog, but secondly, post their final requests to close out the year.  More on that at the end.
I give you links back to the blog, but if there are missing uploads obviously I will repair and reup anything.  I don't mind having functioning links for all the music here, which will last hopefully a while, by god's grace, or rather, by the gods of silicon valley's grace.

Don Mock's Mock One-- his speed of light was hugely underrated, I enjoyed that one immensely as well:
Mike Santiago Entity:
and the other Mike, Mike Warren and Survival Kit (posted in comments below)
Aussie First Light:
and Aussie Alpha Omega:
Gulgowski's Soundcheck:
Of course, all the myriad and incomparables of Jun Fukamachi (multiple posts exist all over the place):
Impressionistic Masahiko Satoh a close second:
Fellow Space Traveller James Vincent (possibly the most referenced artist in my blogposts):
German Nimbus, the most wanted album of the decade:

Michel Madore
(And his Banana masterpiece which was ripped for pnf in the past)
The Three Simon and Bard:
College Kid Peter Berkow:
Fred Taylor's Court of Circe (note artist's appearance in the comments!):

GENRE GRAND FUNK ROCK (i.e. not necessarily prog):
The best of 'em all Baby Grand:
Ambush, my personal favourite:
Starbound Lady's Kickin' still:
Astoundingly prolific Raul Porchetto (really, prog):
Daddy Warbucks, the tax scam man:
Crazy nuthead (turned preacher, recall) Karlos Steinblast & No. 1 hard rock:
Frank Robson's Two:
Fish Co., the most underrated unknown pop album ever made:
Sand's astounding West Coast rock (note artist appearance in comments!):
The Exceptions - Simply Us, simply unparalleled:

Level F (note the artists' commentary!):
Ginga Rale Band, of course:
Mo's First Time:
Genre's Commercial Success:
Gerardo Batiz's multiple oeuvres:
Tommy Korberg plus Stefan Nilsson in Blixtlas (below).
An beautiful and ancient old post, Wisse Scheper Topaz:
Melisma's Like Trolls (note again artist-related comments)
And might as well include the two from Marie-Claire Seguin, though some will object:

Doug Lofstrom's Music:
Peter Wolf's Tutti:
Joxifications, see below
Marco Antonio Araujo, RIP:
The wonderful commenter who found Nuevos Aires's 3:
Iviron (pnf) see below
Roger Kellaway's Cello Quartet, one of my favourite albums of all time, see below
Claus Ogerman in review:
Thanks to the commenter who drew my attention to the recent CD Across the Crystal Sea which has brought me no end of joy in the last few months!
Rafiq Babayev, note there are 2 posts:
Yuri Chugonov, wow thanks a million to the guy who posted those!! Truly the single most underrated composer I've ever encountered:
Igor Nazaruk's Forest Awakens (pnf), see below
Igor Brill's 3:
Lothlorien's 2:
Marcia Meyer:
Albert Alan Owen's Keyboard and Strings Music
And a big surprise for me, not knowing anything about this, having only known his jazz efforts: Keith Jarrett's masterful progressive fusion orchestral work Luminessence (1975), see below.

Modern Sound Quartet's 3:
Gianni Marchetti (multiple posts), of course:
Oscar Rocchi and Magic Keys, of course:
The two from Marco Persichetti:
Luciani's Aspetti della Natura:
Jean-Pierre Bouquet's Classique et Moderne, see below.
And of course, all the myriad of April Orchestra from 1 to 1095, which you can still look up if you forgot them.

An unclassifiable favourite is Haitians Gerald Merceron and Mushi Widmaier, who appeared multiple times here, but especially for Merceron's masterpiece in 1979:
And Mushi's lovely and beloved masterpiece from 1983:
This LP was rereleased, thank god, just after it was last seen selling in the hundreds of dollars.
I bought a copy for 60 euros back then in 2015.

And this Xmas I'm going to do something I've never done before.  I'm going to ask you to post requests and this time I will try to fulfill as many as I can: gods of prog, selfish vinyl collectors, and lossless lovers be damned.  Well, it may turn out I'll chicken out here and there, in order not to annoy those powers that be who have been so generous with me in the past. 
So I guess this will be on a case by case basis, as the corporate people love to say. We'll try to onboard as many of you as possible and empower you all so reach out to me to connect for some face time so we can leverage this post and I'll give 110 percent so we're all on the same page on improving our metrics on best practices and everyone really just try to think outside that box Because that box, of course, is completely empty.

Merry Xmas.  OOPS sorry I meant Happy Holidays.  
Oh well: it is what it is.

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Ciato & Ciato - Ballate con Noi, Italy 1977


A library record that is a bit generic and a bit all over the place, but that has some nice moments.  There are Italian soundtrack (e.g. Morricone-like) theme songs in minor keys, upbeat bluegrass tunes, silly rocky stuff, the kinds of library compositions we've seen a million times before on other records.  Here are there the composer is able to pull it together for some flashes of brilliance, most of all on a track called Tu Chi Sei:

The music was written by Arnaldo Ciato.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Guitar Workshop in L.A. with Buzzy Feiten et al., 1988


Information for this totally unknown release can be found here on discogs.  When I heard the music of Buzzy Feiten in connection with the Full Moon posts (and here) I snooped around to see what else he did and this looked interesting on the basis of some youtube samples.  It's typical instrumental US electric guitar-based fusion from the late 80s with some very slick production arrangements but also some really nifty riffs and cool ideas.  The virtuoso quality shines through beautifully.  Other than Buzzy you can see the guitarists in question are session guitarist Jeff Baxter, session musician James Harrah, and Teddy Castelucci (also a film composer).  All except Harrah contribute music in conjunction with keyboardist D. Garfield.  The latter is also credited as arranger.

The Roppongi track features Baxter and was composed by him plus Garfield and Y. Kojima and, thankfully, has little to no pentatonic scale in it:

I love the bio on discogs for Buzzy:

American singer / songwriter, lead and rhythm guitarist, session musician, producer and arranger. Feiten is also a luthier, having originated the patented Buzz Feiten Tuning System and later designing and producing solid-body electric guitars under the 'Feiten', 'Buzz Feiten', 'Supernova', and 'Supernova Future Vintage' logos. At this writing (late 2019), he is the Principal at Supernova Guitar Research, a.k.a. Buzz Feiten Guitar Research. Feiten has also recorded on the Electric Bass and the French Horn.

And for those like me who love electric guitars with a passion and grew up with Jimmy Page playing Gibson, the news of their bankruptcy was a real shock this year. Because, inevitably, the headlines attributed this to 'rock is dead.'

Lovers of electric guitar will enjoy this completely unknown release.