Monday 30 August 2021

Guido Basso in the 1970 library Love Talk

I don't remember why I bought this, noticing it didn't yet exist online in digital format.  Information can be found here.  You never know with these libraries, occasionally they can be interesting, and as everyone knows I have a taste for this very wimpy easy listening style.

The final track is composed by our well-known Doug Riley-- remember he was in the Canadian band Dr. Music featured here before, their album Transcription turned out to be not only popular but a very impressive piece of later fusion, full of interest and rare as hell, I'm so glad I found, bought, and ripped that LP.  His contribution is called Marion's Theme From the Megantic Outlaw and features some really nice chord changes and an original theme:

Saturday 28 August 2021

Fuse One, in three albums from 1980 to 1984


An all-star band founded by producer Creed Taylor (CTI Records) in 1980. The original band (featuring Will LeeRonnie FosterJeremy Wall and Ndugu) did a sold-out tour in Japan, where their debut album sold over 150,000 copies and yielded the hit "Double Steal." The second incarnation recorded the acclaimed Silk album in 1981, featuring George BensonEric GaleStanley TurrentineWynton MarsalisTom BrowneStanley ClarkeMarcus MillerSammy FigueroaDave Valentin. The third and last Fuse One project, Ice, recorded in 1984, included John TropeaLarry CoryellSteve GaddDave Matthews (3)George YoungRonnie CuberCliff CarterWill Lee et al.

From the first eponymous album, the beyond-lovely track called Friendship which was written by a man called John McLaughlin-- hey that name sounds familiar:

From the last, A Lonely Smile, by David Matthews:

As always, so many thanks to those who point me in the direction of these albums I had never heard before!

Thursday 26 August 2021

Judy Roberts by request (3 albums)

From the first album (1979) called Judy Roberts Band the track called Dandelion is really lovely:

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Keith Emerson's OST albums of the early 1980s

This is a guy who, for sure, doesn't need any introduction here, so here's the introduction:

British musician and composer. Born November 2, 1944 in Todmorden, Yorkshire, England, Keith Emerson is best remembered for his role in the groups The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Emerson died on March 11, 2016 by suicide at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, USA aged 71.

Throughout the years, Emerson has consistently won the Overall Best Keyboardist award in the annual Keyboard Magazine Readers' Poll, since the magazine's debut in 1975 and holds a seat of honour on their advisory board. He was recently honoured at The Smithsonian Institution, along with Dr. Robert Moog, for his pioneering work in electronic music.

Imagine such a genius dying in this manner... can you believe it?  Part of the 'deal with the devil' artists make to create great art is the extreme and inevitably negatively tuned emotions, as I've talked about many times before, like with Lenny Breau, or my favourite songbird Radka Toneff with whom I so identify.

This is some of the best music I've heard in ages (and by that I mean in the last week), as good as any in the library style we have heard so much of throughout the lifespan of this blog. I admit I never would have imagined Mr. Tarkus being capable of such ingenious compositions, elaborate orchestral arranging in the entire dramatic range of loud and soft as befits these soundtracks, and funky dynamic and exciting material resembling maybe Francis Monkman in his best passages as on everybody's old favourite The Long Good Friday, (one of the most downloaded albums on this blog being the reason I say this), or the underrated 1970s Herbie Hancock OSTs Death Wish and The Spy, etc.

I checked out the first 6 albums which all came out in the early 1980s and without a doubt the first, 1980's Inferno, is the best, by a long shot.  Subsequently in 1981 with an unpromising name like Honky you can bet that we have a throwaway, I don't know what possessed me to even listen to it unless it was late at night and I was half asleep.  Then as you progress more deeply into the 1980s (hopefully in waders to avoid getting your whole body covered in mud) you'll note the gradual introduction of those classically nauseating sounds like digital drums, casio keyboards, jumpy and choppy rhythms, etc., all of which were absent from Inferno.  Turning our attention to imdb as we (btw who's we?) always do, I can see it's a Dario Argento movie--I used to just love his stuff.  Great director / filmmaker.

First track and titular track off Inferno:

Those who are looking for ELPic material will be disappointed though, this is a whole different kettle of fish, fresh and unstinky at least until you get to the later ones.  Here and there you can detect flashes of the old style, which recall became hugely unpopular even by the end of the decade, e.g. the title track to Nighthawks:

Sunday 22 August 2021

The masterpiece Astre Foresight from 1981 USA

Again, a wonderful cover drawing.

Note the umlaut on the e which advertises the 'progressiveness' of the band:

Astrë was a progressive rock band that existed from 1978 to 1984, although they were best remembered for the classic trio lineup that was active in 1981-1983.

For me this is about as perfect as music gets, a kind of ideal imago that Plato would imagine in the cave in his world of shadows had he been a prog rock fan, which he most definitely wasn't. That was Socrates.  Anyways, the style could be described as absolutely classic American prog rock along the lines of (among stuff posted here) Gold's No Class Whatsoever, Ariel Perspectives, etc., in the matrix of prog delineated by ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes as apex predators, we are leaning very much into the latter as you can tell from the song titles listed for the album and the last side which is a side-long track with all the subtitles that resemble Close to the Edge. I actually might make the heretical statement this LP is better than any one disc Yes or Rush (also similar) created, but I don't want any angry comments.  Right from the intro wail of the synth leading into the obligatory suspended chords on the hammond, you know you're into something so totally unique and disturbing you better not play it loud so the neighbours or your family members overhear it:

While the track called "Lar-Asia" (is that a misspelling of Laurasia, part of the break up of famed supercontinent Pangaea?) is very KC, obviously Larks Tongues era:

Just listen to that guitarist play!

To all you KC fans out there, I'm sorry I like this more than Larks Tongues in Aspic. It's both tighter, more fully developed, and more dissonant.

The way the band plays it like a symphonic movement is just out of this world awesome.  A masterpiece all day long every day of the week all year round really. Ten out of ten or rather ten out of zero.

Friday 20 August 2021

Air Mail's Prayer for Peace, by request

Typical German contemporary jazz styles, by request, from this Austrian group. Note that Pepl has appeared on these pages before.

Sample track, b2's Pink Monk:

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Danny Graham in ST 1980 and Promotional Copy Only 1981

We can start by agreeing the 1980 artwork is not among the best covers we've seen, and in fact, pretty much you'd think they'd down the commercial hopes of this very interesting artist who sounds eerily like an alternative songwriter from the early 90s about 10 years ahead of his time, recall for ex. that silly 'pushing the little daisies up' song (by Ween) from 1992.  Databased here.

The song called Jennifer gives you an idea:

And so does the Morning Heat Wave which reminds me so much of the other Danny, viz., Kerwin who you might recall I was surprised to have never heard before but who I now love dearly:

In the 1981 album he branches out into some of those Can-like experimental uptempo sounds typical of late 70s German 'art rock' and inevitably the 1980s jumpy style of drumming and choppy guitar playing, not entirely unsuccessfully I'd say.  First track:

Folks like our October Country who love quirky and unusual creative types with a load of interesting if not some fall-flat ideas will love this guy, totally unknown as I think he is.  Not sure if I can guess what kinds of styles people will like but I'd bet on that.

Saturday 14 August 2021

Tucky Buzzard in 5 albums 1971 to 1973 (ST, Warm Slash, Coming on Again, Allright on the Night, Buzzard)

Obviously some very inventive and creative artwork with a high design variety, except the usual band posing very coolly photo with their decolletes.  Databased here.

I love when people recommend artists I had never heard of despite their being right up my alley. It's a nice dirty style of hard rock, grungy even, like old Deep Purple, but with original progressive touches, perhaps like Americans Redbone a bit.

First track of Coming on Again (1971) is such a tour de force of hard prog rock:

This clearly was their masterpiece.  Lovely name for a band, to boot.

And listen to the great riff on Sky Balloon:

Thursday 12 August 2021

Cinderella Search in 3 releases

I guess there are those who like me are left cold by this kind of neoprog albeit performed in an almost ideal way with all the accoutrements of Marillionish (from which the title of the band is derived) symphonic strings, pompous chords, Genesis-insane lyrics on medieval themes or some such, but done without the high creativity of the 70s bunch, and there are those who just love this stuff.  I would point if I were being scientific to the fact there are fewer chords per song, fewer rhythmic alterations, in fact none usually in each song, no dissonance at all, and a minimum of instrumentation including absence of fusion elements, flutes or oboes (except synthetic), etc.  I also found it surprising when relistening to all these that the first record isn't better, coming out so early on in the prog renaissance such as it was.

The track called Snowfall is from the second album:

Database info is here.

A good ex. of a 'rave review' I don't comprehend can be found on (the highly unreliable site anyways) progarchives:

CINDERELLA SEARCH is perhaps one of the most English-sounding Japanese prog bands around. However, don't be fooled by the old MARILLION song title: they don't sound remotely like them even if they do claim being inspired by the band, among others. [--WHAT?? Editor] 
Their music features lots of violin and flute, some Mellotron as well as HACKETT-ish guitars (both acoustic and electric) and BANKS-ian keyboards. Lead singer Akihisa Nakamura, who often dons GABRIEL-esque masks and make-up on stage, has a rather pleasant high-pitched voice and not at all like Peter GABRIEL's. Their self-titled debut album is rather laid-back, somewhat like a mixture of CAMEL for the mellowness and WHITE WILLOW for its organic qualities. Female violinist Junko Minobe experiments with lots of styles here, including Celtic, classical and even a brief flurry of country fiddle. Much more jazzy, their second album "Stories of Luminous Garden" bears some clear UK influences. With its fusion-style violin, electric piano and new-wavy sequencers and drums, the music is energetic, almost bombastic, at times taking on arena rock proportions. Overall, their material never gets boring or predictable. A nice find if you can get your hands on these albums, which seem hard to come by outside of Japan.

For the life of me, I feel like I'm reading a review about something completely different, esp. with the references to Camel and Hackett.  I mean, it's hard to make prog in the old style since what it essentially was made up of was fierce creativity and originality and there's only so much of that to go around, isn't there? At least until the robot AIs start making art?  Then again when I hear a band that really is creative, like Grupo Ramo or Zopp I realize that humans can really generate surprising things if they just put their minds to it-- which the culture today of course dissuades from... Especially in music where the stupidest and simplest songs are typically what sell best.

What do others think?

Monday 9 August 2021

Johannes Faber's Consortium Feat. Billy Cobham, David King, Christof Lauer, Jörg Reiter in 1985, by request

A one-off from this group in 1985 playing contemporary jazz.  Very much on the jazz side of things, with little fusion to make up for the improvisations and lack of electric instruments.

The Billy Cobham composition called Ann in the Fields:

Sunday 8 August 2021

Orchester Ulrich Sommerlatte / Sue Adams / Franz Thon

Here's an addition that just newly came up that I was really looking forward to hearing, last one in the databased (albeit probably incomplete) trilogy.  Chronologically this would appear to be the 1st though given the ELP numbers.  Overall, relatively average library music with all that this implies or entails but a lot of variety with some poppish songs, obviously classical derivations in a nice easy listening arranged style, etc. 

At times the easy becomes a bit too easy especially with those high schmaltzy and sickening strings that were a hallmark of the genre in its most sappy sentimental moments of going up elevator floors hopefully not much further than the 2nd.  As well it seems the side one devoted to Ulrich is superior to the other orchesters.

The interestingly titled Death of a Fly:

Many thanks to the ripper/purchaser, this LP rarely if ever comes up for sale.

Friday 6 August 2021

Canadian Fabienne Thibeault in her miraculous first 3 albums, plus more

This is an artist that is very similar in style, in emotion, in arrangements and songwriting, to Marie-Claire Seguin who I posted for a Christmas present for myself Dec 2020 in all my loneliness if you remember, but not quite as stellarly impressive.  Mind you the music in Fabienne's two albums is consistently gorgeous from beginning to end with the kind of progressive and orchestral touches that just make me weep with joy, but it's a little more generic in some places.  So if by a shocking accident you loved M-C Seguin squared then you'll like this artist.

From 1976, the track Chez Nous (i.e. back to her childhood home) which talks about growing up on a farm or country home (they played in stacks of hay, they found a stray cat with babies, they saw an old bronze cauldron, brings me back so vividly to my own childhood):

At the last verse: 'do you often go back in memory to your old childhood home, today it hasn't been long since there have been children who only have known concrete...'  I'm not even going to pretend I understand how a human being can come up with such beautiful, utterly unearthly, heart-dissolving music, for ex., in the harp passages, the effective chromatically descending chord structure at the end of the verse, the bridge with its surprisingly deep D minor strings passages, the vocalizing that finishes the track, etc.   Incidentally the music is by Pierre Hetu.

The next song if such is possible is even more beautiful, called A Faire La vie:

The powerful undercurrent of deep melancholy is reminiscent of M-C Seguin as well.

The stunning music was written by this gentleman (Pierre Hetu) who primarily worked as a conductor. The full credits for this LP are visible on this page.  I don't see any other musical compositions from his database worth looking for, anyone know anything more?

From the 2nd album, which means 'the life of this hour' in the broken up, unFrenchly, and ungrammatical Quebec dialect, from 1977, a song called Le Grand Monde:

And a song that clearly must have been a hit back in those days--had to have been a number one hit, so catchy and with such a great hook,  called Je Veux qu'on m'aime:

Of course I mean that tongue in cheek, as is always the case...

There are many composers responsible for the beautiful music on the sophomore album, as you can see from the credits, incl. the previous Pierre Hetu who surprisingly is not responsible for the most beautiful songs this time round, seems he ran out of ideas by this time.

From 1978's Gilles Vigneault collaboration and co-written with him called Au Doux Milieu de Nous, L'errante:

By the way for those curious, like myself, songwriting credits can be found on this listing page, thank god for the guy who entered this info.  You can then easily note that the compositions with Fabienne in the credits are far superior to those, invariably simplistic folk, by Gilles (ouch!).  Interesting case where the woman beats the man.

It's important to note (or is it??) that these three albums have been rereleased as CDs though they might be difficult to find, as is so often the case with albums on this blog. I don't know, I haven't checked it out.  I'm not sure what 1978's Starmania is, and after listening to the music I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. I threw in a CD compilation of Thibeault as a wonderful example of how most of  THE BEST MUSIC was left off these stupid comps, and can only be found on the original LPs. Or Cds.