Monday 29 November 2021

Italian Composer Maurizio Fabrizio in 4 (Azzurri, Movimenti, Primo, Personaggi)












It's worth looking at the second album cover with its gorgeous surreal painting of the dove being pulled by levers.

From discogs (this is with reference to his masterpiece, the second album Movimenti del Cielo)

Very few people know Maurizio Fabrizio, a character who has almost always acted in the shadows, in the service of the likes of Angelo Branduardi, Renato Zero, Patty Pravo and many more famous Italian music figures. A multifaceted composer and arranger, also an author of musicals and soundtracks, who took his first steps with project Le Particelle and the duo Maurizio & Fabrizio, before devoting himself to the aforementioned musicians during almost the entire '70s decade.

In 1978 he released his second solo album, "Movimenti nel cielo", an entirely instrumental LP where symphonic scores blend with rock music, especially with the longer tracks, which are separated by shorter intervals fulfilled with strings and keyboards. There are also acoustic sections ("Episodio Lunare"), funk-ish moments ("Sputnik Suite") and atmospheres recalling the early Alan Parsons Project in the two pieces of the same name ("Danza delle stelle") located in the opening and closing parts of the album.

This is an LP released out of time compared to the golden years of progressive rock, but it nevertheless manages to retrieve its aura, and is therefore worthy of attention by all fans of the genre.

Listening to the other 3 albums he was intimately involved in it seems he eschewed the progressive spirit for the most part, saving it all for this one magically wonderful progressive album that as mentioned above combines everything we love in one miraculous whole.  Most similar maybe to Claudio Dentes' Panterei album, assuming you know that one.

On the track called Sputnik Suite I think just everything I love turn up including the electric guitar riffing funk and orchestral elements:



Il Sole is equally a perfect composition:




Saturday 27 November 2021

The Neglected Hudson Brothers

 



If you know these guys at all it would be thanks to their 'megahit' So you are a Star, seemingly self-referencing in a totally non-ironic way, typically enough for the seventies, in fact you could even say it's a little charmingly boastful. Discography here, and that song came out in 1974.  There are those who find that song annoyingly too Beatles-like, which is for sure a strike against them, but then again who wasn't in that period in time. Hopefully this youtube link works for that song.  Reading into their story which you can do on wikipedia in an exhaustive article, it's clear they were 'teenybopper' type artists, but I figured I should at least do the honour of listening to all their songs to see if there were more gems like their big hit in there, and sure enough, in their first album there were quite a few. Thereafter though it really tails off quickly as they seem to go through one phase after another like a pinball machine, from Beatles-influence, well earlier it seems they were influenced by America (the band), then soul and then disco of course. Each style they're able to imitate perfectly which adds to the cloyingness of course. I hate to get negative because you never know when an artist might read a review like this but for example in the second album they imitate John Lennon in solo career (e.g. Plastic Ono Band) and elsewhere Beatles circa 1965 like Drive my Car style and that really is annoying, since this is almost a decade later.

Back to that first album though, regarding which wiki has little to say:

On Decca Records they changed their name to Everyday Hudson in early 1970, releasing "Love Is the Word" (#32634). For the release in spring 1971 of "Love Nobody" on Lionel Records (L-3211), their name was shortened to Hudson. This name was also used in 1972 after switching to the newly re-activated Playboy Records, with the release of "Leavin' It's Over" (originally "Leave and It's Over", the song was mislabeled by Playboy, and it has never been corrected) (P-50001), Billboard Bubbling Under Chart #110. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1972.[5]

Someday


Little Old Man



The other thing I found highly amusing about these guys is the way their album covers are like a photo-summary of the chapters of the seventies from start to finish as you can tell from their hairstyles, a phenomenon we've seen so many times before here on these pages with the long hippie hair giving way to short cuts, even mustaches, passing through that three-piece suit Bonnie and Clyde / Great Gatsby trend:


Check out those hippies...



Is that a kkk guy in there??? wow



They seem to have predicted the Saturday Night Fever craze.


Anybody remember 'The Sting' movie?



Oh, Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kotter!
 Welcome back, Horschach, right?



Wow it seemed like the good times would never end... but they did, right in 1980.
wait, who is the 4th guy?





Thursday 25 November 2021

Coyote 1972, lossless







Similar to Truck posted earlier, or the great Dr. Music in its earlier vocal period, wonderful songwriting plus some progressive touches, or the other great point of reference for me is the US Sand band, which I love so so much. Info here, samples:

Fly:


Musicians:





Monday 22 November 2021

Neuschwanstein's recent Fine Art album








I'm sorry, but I hate to say it's just a dreadful cover...

I've never liked this band famous for the 1978 Battlement LP but to my complete shock they came up with a third album in recent years that surpasses the previous material, a rarity indeed, perhaps the first time I've experienced something like this.

Admittedly, it's a little uneven, but there are parts that are really impressive, for example, Per Omen Vitam:


As a classical composition alone I think that piece is just brilliant... should be played in symphony halls all over the world... I love how it changes halfway through and proceeds to become very symphonically dramatic or OST by the end.  How can humans write music so brilliant??

There's a mix of real progressive rock (think ELP, etc.), the symphonic style they did earlier, as well as the above sampled chamber music, it's a mixed bag, but for sure 100 percent bona fide progressive... long live prog!



Saturday 20 November 2021

Germany's Rock Sensation Vol. 1, Various Artists

 



Three wonderful tracks make this otherwise relatively pedestrian compilation of local artists worth hearing.  They are all by a band called Fate led by composer Matthias Kaul, consider the classic RIO sound of Track b1, called Justice/Musik zur Arbeit:



It reminds me so much of those other RIOs I've posted before, like Random's Nuthin Tricky or Care of the Cow.  Never mind those endless ReR collections.  I wish there was more music like this out there!




Thursday 18 November 2021

Vince Benedetti, Dwellers on the High Plateau by request

 



Sorry for the poor cover art.  A review from discogs:

Superb modal jazz, McCoy Tyner-like quartet record. The piano by Mr. Benedetti and soprano sax by Andy Scherrer are strong and spirited throughout. I was relatively unfamiliar with all members except for the drummer, Billy Brooks, who played with Tete Montoliu, Booker Ervin, Larry Young and the Paris Reunion Band. It seems that all (?) members teach at a school in Bern, Switzerland. All six songs are great and have a most uplifting vibe. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG





Wednesday 17 November 2021

Nostradamus Aquarium Studio Sessions 1971-1974

 



When it comes to classic prog rock, it doesn't get any better than this one-- at least in certain compositions. This is the real deal, so magnificent to hear with these tired ears. You have here the odd arrangements, including chamber instruments like strings and flutes, varied chord changes, deep emotional breadth, thoughtful ideas and highly original and creative melodies that go into the best of progressive music, a little like my old favourite Iviron which I hope everyone knows as a point of reference.

Really you never know with these studio sessions recovered from the deep past because so often they are totally ordinary krautrock or simplistic 'jazz rock' by which they mean normal chorded conventional songs with a few trumpet passages thrown in or sax solos, and that doesn't make it fusion, not by a long shot.  As a matter of fact you'll notice that on this CD there are some tracks that definitely appear to be like the aforementioned. But the band progressed enormously into the Genesisian style and territory by the later more mature works as sampled below.

Minimal information here.

On the track called The Great Ant with its amazing introduction in chamber style, the melody is about as odd as anything I've ever heard, never mind the wild fantastical entomological lyrics and, as you might expect in these uncommon situations, the song completely changes halfway through:



The Boat has a little bit of that lovely acoustic and thoughtful, meditative Radio Noisz Ensemble sound to it so typical of German progressive but without the ethnic droning:




I'd say it's just incredible.

Sunday 14 November 2021

New Cold Fusion Band Bozon (1980), limited time only







Some of the best music I've heard since our last recent-era discoveries Zopp and Level F (which were already more than a year ago!) this is really exceptionally beautiful progressive fusion complete with that tenderness that chamber ideas from European classical music add to the genre, like some of the best Muffins material in their earliest days.

From the CD packaging / discogs:

The band heard on this CD was Bozon in its final incarnation. Bozon began in the late seventies forging a unique form of jazz-rock in a rehearsal studio (”the space”) behind the Dharma Submarine Shop near the nexus of Market and Van Ness streets in San Francisco. Countless long days and late nights were spent working on complex original compositions that often featured an anarchic sense of humor and “odd” time signatures (with no regard, indeed a disdain for the monotony of the four-four disco beat so prevalent at the time). The diversity of the players’ backgrounds brought a large palette of influences into the mix. Sometimes, this created an overly complicated gumbo of confusion (both for the players and listeners). However, when things did go right, the results could be surprising and sublime. Bozon played a modest succession of rather eccentric parties and gigs, but it was hard to duplicate their sound out of the space. As disco gave way to punk, the handwriting was easy enough to read. The group disbanded in late 1980/early 1981.

The bulk of this CD was originally recorded in 1980 in the space on a couple of Teac 40-4 tape decks and the sound quality was pretty dismal. Almost three decades later this material was transferred into the digital realm (none too soon, as the tape was disintegrating) and, in a laborious process, cleaned up. Two of the pieces were originally recorded in 16 and 24 track analog studios and were also moved into Pro Tools for editing. The goal wasn’t to “re-do” the music, but to improve the sonic quality and present some lost work from an unknown band.

Pretty amazing. And such an appropriate title: 'cold fusion' referencing both the music and the technological story which you can read about here as usual on wikipedia, a fascinating scientific and sociological topic if you recall the original 'discovery' of cold fusion which happened in the late 1980s and which, to my surprise, is still being pursued by oddball scientists here and there throughout the world.

The track called Son of Chuck and Bob sounds very Muffinsish, note the high level of musical virtuosity on display here:



On the other hand, Veins in the Pavement is incredibly adventurous:



This is about as perfect as music can get for me, with the lovely anarchic-dissonant opening chord full of those chromatic minor seconds on that beautiful electric piano (reminds me of Moraz on Yes' Sound Chaser) which builds up to a riff which then goes completely haywire with quasi-atonal passages from everyone including guitarist plus garbled speech from someone in the band, with even a slowed down mysteriously dreamy bridge passage, the closest reference point being some of the wildest zeuhl material such as on the inimitable Xalph LPs I so raved about here.  If you're patient enough to listen through to the end following all the solos you'll note the song closes out with some really lovely chunky chords with the obligatory tritones that make me wish it could have gone on minutes to hours longer. A nice, mysteriously poetic title to the track too. 


Friday 12 November 2021

The Long Awaited Albert Alan Owen's Distinctive Themes, thanks to a commenter

 



Many thanks to the commenter who shared this other long-awaited library from the amazing artist I posted earlier in his keyboards and strings material.

Information is here.  

The music is much more than you'd expect from the late year, with the mandatory drum machines and repetitive thrumming of keyboards, Consider For Bill:


Another one, I've Seen You:





Wednesday 10 November 2021

The long-awaited Gianni Marchetti Iris album

 




I've waited so long to hear this, after the magnificence of Solstitium, followed by the RCA April Orchestra 15 with Over and Equinox, I figured coming in the same period this would also be impressive but unfortunately it's a bit more in the direction of the generic library records with only 4 themes which are exhaustively explored, like the old Baroque variations, in different arrangements.  But here it is...

Sample, second part of Gudrun:





Monday 8 November 2021

Jackie Giordano as Jose Pharos and Paule Giner in 1979's Boucles Rhythmiques, lossless limited time





 

The kind of funky library music that just makes me and probably so many others out there weep with its wonderfully exciting and original sounds and rhythms, it was left off the Giordano collection (which was by no means complete) way back when because it was hidden under the moniker Jose Pharos, a two-off for this alias I guess.  The record's listed here.

The overall library sound of Cap Horn, with the synthesizer swirls, the pumping patterns, the electric piano bashing out chords, plus vibes installed above for the melodic sound, is just so so masterful:




The same goes for the remarkable sound, so wah-wah warm and uplifting, along with that clever chromatic modulation within the verse section, of San Antonio:



Admittedly, the track does go on for a little bit too long for some reason.

The other album of Jose Pharos and from the same year is this one, called Obsession, Catastrophes. Oddly enough it seems uninspired and mostly quite simplistic in comparison as if it were made up of leftover material that was never developed fully, added to which there is some experimental drony electronic material, for example each track usually only has from two to a handful of chords, usually sustained and usually unadorned with extra instruments, whether electric or not.

To this day and probably forever my favourite from him is the miraculously original and progressively written Paysages I.


Saturday 6 November 2021

Philippe Briche plus Olivier Bloch-Laine and Francis Personne In Ovation, 1974

 




This library features the songwriter whose album I posted long ago, Olivier Bloch-Laine's Des Mots who here appears as Lenoeud. It's a very lovely, gentle album with some nice harmonic compositions in the standard mid-seventies style. Francis Personne is this person, while Philippe Briche has some really nice credits to his name-- of note in the progressive dept. is Michel Ripoche's Equinox album, and fusion exploration Synthesis from 1976 not to mention Booz's Dans quel etat jarre.

The exemplary track called Bird Flight then is by both Block-Laine and Briche:



Thursday 4 November 2021

Attila Engin in Turkish Delight, Matao, by request, plus others with his group



















From discogs:

Turkish composer, percussionist and drummer. Born 1946, died in Paranagu√°, Brazil 2 November 2019.

Performed and recorded in Istanbul, before moving to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1974 where he formed Matao and Atilla Engin Group.

Most of his material is with his self-titled group, discography here.  Without a doubt the best LP is the Matao one with its minimal ethnic fusion, mostly intelligent euro-style progressive fusion along the lines of Heavy Joker.  Everyone should already have this one, it's just brilliant, example, the track called Take Care of Your Baby:



That gorgeous electric guitar playing is from Svend Staal Larsen btw, who is this guy.  Apparently.

Following that album however there is way too much ethnic noodling for my taste, with the usual cliches of two-chord songs, minor chromatic arpeggiated riffs that seem so repetitive (think the old French ethnic prog band Asia Minor for point of reference), overlong improvisations.  The track called My Little Chinese Love, for ex., uses a childish voice singing a pentatonic scale--this was a musical cliche in the 19th century, for god's sakes. Luckily that track does develop a bit more with some grandiose fake strings right in the middle.

From the album Memories, Ole Thoger's Ballad:



Oh well, as before, I know there are many many people out there who really appreciate this music much more than I do, as they have so frequently commented to that effect, so this goes out to them.