Saturday 27 February 2021

Italian drummer Tullio de Piscopo, from 1976 to 1983


I was surprised that the Vol. 2 is missing online, despite the 'high popularity' (haha) of the first fusion masterpiece, which was called Sotto e n'coppa, and appears in the database under the 'Revolt Group' moniker.  Probably everyone knows that work already, and it's really wonderful, ranging over a variety of emotions and styles including straight progressive but also the energetic fusion you'd expect from 1976 backed by some pretty militaristic, machine-gun drumming, consider the awesome title track which employs diminished chords for that highly dramatic prog affect:

Also take a look if you haven't already at the verso for that one, the third LP from the top, where he pretends to be peeing against a wall.

Vol. 2 is inevitably not as good as the well-known Sotto, illustrating once again for us the common sense principle that the best albums tend to be the best preserved or remembered, though this does not in any way preclude us from completing these discographies, since randomness seems to play a large part in these losses too.  The first track:

The artist's discography is here, and those probably are the only two worth hearing, nonetheless, I threw in, for the curious, the disappointing jazz album from 1978 with Luis Agudo where he this time appears in a quintet in the database.  Equally disappointing is the 1983 Acqua which pandered in the end to songwriting and commercialese.  

Mention must also be made of the remarkable collaboration he did with our favourite Rocchi in the 1981 Metamorfosis.  This library (?) one is a real gem and should be well known to everyone already, I think, due to its involvement with Oscar Rocchi.

Thursday 25 February 2021

Michael Fennelly in 2 (Lanechanger 1974, Strangers Bed 1975)

For a nice change of pace, two hard rock album from this relatively unknown artist who was guitarist and vocalist for Crabby Appleton, a band that released two albums as well in the early seventies.

Although not proggy at all, the energy and composition are above average for sure for this type of 'ordinary rock' release.

From the 2nd album, Dreamer

Tuesday 23 February 2021

One-off brilliance Both Hands Free from 1976


From the musically magical year of 1976 one of my favourite fusion albums of all time again, probably already well enough known not to need more exposure.  First of all that cover is just awesome and unbelievable. I'm reminded so vividly of all those pulp sci-fi novels I gobbled up in my childhood.  In their imaginations those writers came up with just about every imaginable crazy situation philosophy and astronomy could ever dream up in this heaven and earth, Horatio. Virtually nothing you can today come up with hasn't been thought of already in the past minds of those authors, although still writers are replicating the same concepts first created a lifetime ago.

But back to the music. The depth of invention here is just stunning.  There is emotional resonance and variety in the fusion that just makes it ne plus ultra, one of a kind, unique like so many other masterpieces, the aforementioned Steps, Sway, etc. (haha).



Monday 22 February 2021

Klan, unreleased, limited time only

From discogs:

Polish rock band fronted by artist / singer Marek Alaszewski. They have reformed at least once since.

Probably they are well known for the Mrowisko album, which I guess most everyone has a copy of.  This CD constitutes unreleased material spanning a long range from the early 70s to twenty years later and was released not so long ago, so will only be limited time posted.  Anyways, I recommend you buy it as it's such welcome music for the prog-minded thirsting for original ideas and creative musical thoughts.  The track called Tryptyk reminds me so much of those great masterful and poorly known Eastern European bands like Panta Rei (Bartok), Experimental Q, etc.:

I threw in Mrowisko for those who haven't heard it.  Look at that beautiful painting they chose for the cover!

Sunday 21 February 2021

British singer Murray Head in 5 albums from 1972 to 1983

From wiki:

Murray Seafield St George Head (born 5 March 1946)[1] is an English actor and singer. Head has appeared in a number of films, including a starring role as the character Bob Elkin in the Oscar-nominated 1971 film Sunday Bloody Sunday.[1] As a musician, he is most recognised for his international hit songs "Superstar" (from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar) and "One Night in Bangkok" (the 1984 single from the musical Chess, which topped the charts in various countries), and for his 1975 album Say It Ain't So. He has been involved in several projects since the 1960s and continues to record music, perform concerts, and make appearances on television either as himself or as a character actor.

Here's a remarkable songwriter I hadn't heard of, whose voice sounds considerably like old favourite Colin Blunstone (his 1st album One Year gets my vote as the most underrated masterspiecial (ouch) ssw album, ever), or perhaps even Nick Drake's hoarse and slightly breathy singing.  Discography here.

Ruthie, from the first album Nigel Lived (1972):

From the second album which came out much later in the year 1975, called Say it ain't so, Never Even Thought:

Now take a look at the photograph gracing the cover of the third album, Between Us, which came so much later in 1979-- it's outrageous how beautiful the composition could be in these old record covers. Honestly, it almost brings me to tears especially when I listen to my teenagers screaming at their mother, recalling the way they were at that age.  But have a look at what happened when it was released as CD in the UK: ouch.

As if these producers were completely stripped of any kind of artistic sensibility.  Replaced by those computers we've been told over and over again will take all our jobs one day perhaps?  Immune to our viruses, they will have their own wonderful new viruses I'm sure.

Anyways the music deteriorates a little as we move forward, nonetheless, the still gorgeous and emotional (very Blunstone-like) ballad called  Sorry I love you:

From the fourth album, Voices (1980), Children only Play:

The fifth album is a live one, and the sixth unfortunately has pandered to the eighties jumpy-drum machine trend, abandoning the folky singer-songwriter style and has almost no track to redeem the unfortunate fashion of the times.

Friday 19 February 2021

Dick McGarvin's 1974 Peaceful (USA)

Wow, that's gotta be the best cover we've seen in ages, and so perfect for the kitty-addled internet of today with its short-attention-span addiction to memes. 

Not a heck of a lot of information about this artist in the database, seems this was his only release and it came out in 1974.  Musically very similar to the US post of Wally Short's Turquoise that I loved so dearly, but perhaps not as impressive overall, similar textures, mood, and overall gentleness as befits the title (and cover art).  The track called Nova, for e.g.:

Whilst the title track is really rhodes-lovely:

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Library composer Bernard Lamastre in 4 albums 1984-1986

From discogs:

Régis Raymond Justin Marie Charles Delaye

Both Kush (Quiet Earth) and Lamastre (Quiet Animals) are remarkably adept composers on the 1986 Quiet Times and in fact sound very much the same, surprisingly.  I thought the whole album was written by just one person so I was surprised it was a collaboration.  Quiet Earth (Kush):

Quiet Animals (Lamastre):

The Secrets album I found disappointing, being a bit too generic horror-movie style simplistic.  Here and there some nice composed passages, eg the string quartet piece, but mostly drony and one-note.

Same goes for the other two thrown in here, not masterpieces at all.  Seems the Quiet album was the one opus magnum.  Perhaps someone can clarify.

Traquenard from Cocktail (cowritten with Briffa) shows he was capable of great compositions:

Monday 15 February 2021

Ray Russell's Brave New World! from 1985, by request

There are two versions of this, well I should say there are two titles with the same name one of which (this one) has an exclamation mark at the end.  Discogs info here.  The other one (database info here) was posted earlier with the first big set of Ray Russell material and was for me disappointingly generic orchestral music with hardly any redeeming ideas.  Notice the 2 LPs have different material, or at least, I think they do, but I didn't pay attention very closely to the latter entry so possibly someone will duly correct me and thanks in advance for that unnecessary task.

Anyways the music here is far more creative and original and I guess as well it adheres to the concept of the silly Huxley book, mandatory reading for every high school kid I guess throughout the world, like The Catcher in the Rye.  I'm always amused by the fact these authors imagined our dystopian future as a techno-communist state when in reality it should be obvious by now our future is more similar to the 'failed states' of Somalia, Russia, and Venezuela, in others words, extreme autocracy always on the edge of anarchy, or picture a country in which Trump was leader for 20 years and allowed everything to deteriorate except his riches and private army.  I just pray this will not be seen here in my children's lifetimes.  Of course, if you are a Venezuelan: too late.  The dystopian future is already here.

Track 3 as sample:

Any more Russell worth seeking out? I admit I've enjoyed hugely some of his albums in the last little while.

Sunday 14 February 2021

Polish composer Wlodzimierz Nahorny in Heart (1968), Jej Portret (1970) and Zapach Psiej Sierści (1980)

From discogs:

Polish jazz musician and composer, born 5 November 1941.

Both a sparse bio and a sparse database set, yet without a doubt this gentleman must have produced more music in the period because the material from early on, 1970's Portrait and 1980's OST Zapach etc. are just phenomenally beautiful and compare favourably with the great Italian soundtrack music writers.

Check out how absolutely lovely the track "I'll be back" sounds:

One of many versions of the theme song from the 1980 OST:

Lovely, emotional, and very competent.

Anybody have/know more?