Friday 30 June 2023

Comox and Friends, from Canada 1974


Gotta love that cover drawing, so reminiscent of the times.

This is folky acoustic singer songwriter stuff, quite rare, quite enjoyable in places. Not quite progressive but nonetheless interesting and occas. surprising.  There are 2 artists here, James Papp and Paul Stephens together called Comox, and this is their only release it seems.

The last track a suite called Sunrise, Sunshine, Sunset, is quite entertainingly different, though not out of the ballpark, quite a good run:

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Christy Doran and Fredy Studer in Half A Lifetime (1977 to 1994)

Many luminaries are playing on these tracks along with the great Cristy Doran, eg Dauner, Schoof, Mariano, Van't Hof which are compiled from different sources. 

As indicated here, on the discogs page:

Recording dates and locations:

1-1: April 25, 1994, Radio Studio Zürich, Switzerland

1-2: July 8, 1989, Pilatus-Festival, Luzern, Switzerland

1-3: March 11, 1994, Altes E-Werk, Göppingen, Germany

1-4: October 28, 1979, Limmathaus, International Jazz Festival Zürich, Switzerland

1-5: October 27, 1985, Volkshaus, International Jazz Festival Zürich, Switzerland

1-6: April 21, 1979, Gemeindezentrum Meierskappel, Switzerland

1-7: May 30, 1989, Soundville Recording Studios Luzern, Switzerland

1-8: August 31, 1989, Festhalle, International Jazz Festival Willisau, Switzerland

1-9: January 15, 1993, Jazzclub Allmend, Oberengstringen, Switzerland

1-10: August 27, 1977, Festhalle, International Jazz Festival Willisau, Switzerland

1-11: June 27, 1992, Glass Slipper Club, International Jazz Festival Vancouver, Canada

2-1: January 21, 1984, «CaBaRe»-Club, Zürich, Switzerland

2-2: June 5, 1982, «Mohren», Willisau, Switzerland

2-3: January 15, 1993, Jazzclub Allmend, Oberengstringen, Switzerland

2-4: August 12, 1985, «Sedel» rehearsal room, Luzern, Switzerland

2-5: August 31, 1989, Festhalle, International Jazz Festival Willisau, Switzerland

2-6: October 18, 1992, «Schüür», Luzern, Switzerland

2-7: April 26, 1993, «Stadtgarten» Köln, Germany

2-8: January 31, 1994, «Jazzclub» Hannover, Germany

Most of the music is experimental, advanced, complicated and/or improvised music, with not so much to cling to in the hopes of regularity, familiarity.

The last track, called Quasar:

Sunday 25 June 2023

French recent prog band Syrinx in Reification (2003) and Qualia (2009)

Another seriously impressive more recent release, although please note that their first cd came out already 20 years ago!  This sounds very much like the classic instrumental progressive, very intensely electric, of Arachnoid or classic Shylock, and the later band Philharmonie from their guitarist Lepee.

There is mellotron, intense chord changes, a lot of dissonance and tracks that evolve in all kinds of crazy directions.  Note from discogs, info here:

Syrinx are a French instrumental progressive rock group, formed in late 1999, from Annecy (Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes) France. Syrinx deliberately hid their identity, hence the exact line-up is unknown. To quote the promo CD-Rom with Reification "The musicians of Syrinx come from different bands, some of which are well-known on a national or international level. They work together to attain a common goal which bears the name of Syrinx: thus, the name and career of each musician are unimportant."

Web sources document the band as: David Maurin (2) (guitar, flute), Benjamin Croizy (keyboards), Samuel Maurin (bass) and Philippe Maullet (drums). The first three members also play in the band Nil (8), whereas Philippe Maullet is a much-travelled session drummer.

From the 2003 album, the great dissonant riff plus irregular rhythm of L'Hypostase des Archontes:

From 2009's Qualia, the last track which is coincidentally the shortest, has some wonderfully odd changes, all with that classic French spacey-scifi-spooky prog sound:

Friday 23 June 2023

Brian Protheroe's LPs [Pinball, Pickup, I/You, Desert Road] -- Temp links only


Profile: British singer/songwriter and actor (b. 16th June 1944).

Sites:, Wikipedia

Like all SSW albums from this time period you will get a slightly odd mix of music hall (think "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"), bluesy stuff, imitation pop hits from the 30s, etc., all those  chopped up Beatles pastiches like Uncle Albert with different songs mixed in one, and then some good, normal, typical songwriter compositions. On top of that, bonus, you get some really creative and interesting songs in there too which is why I include this post on this blog.

Apparently the track Pinball was a bit hit in the UK back then, what a surprise, since it seems much too simplistic (the song simply alternates between the two chords of D minor and G7) and the lyrics too downright silly, even made up on the spot, to make an impression on us today. On the other hand he was capable of some pretty inventive songwriting, as witnessed by the oddness, and Richard Sinclair-like self-reflection of  Changing my Tune:

Weeping Will, from the second album Pickup:

From the Third album, Evil Eye reminds me of our old favourite AOR pompers Baby Grand with the chopped chords and weaving electric guitar lines:

While the demo Sail from the more recent CD is worth hearing, without a doubt, with its remarkably unique descending chord change:

To be honest this last CD is much much better than I expected with some really lovely passages, including the new original songs, & just like before the very self-reflective lyrics appear: 
"The old man sits at the piano... the chords in his hand are not what he planned... he remembers when the world had a different tune..."

Highly recommended!! It's shocking that Brian was almost 80 years old on this last CD (Born 1944).

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Another remarkable recent Finnish band, Uzva from 2000 to 2006 [temp link only]

So little information, discogged here.... 
Again I'm very embarrassed to say I never heard of these guys before.  Obviously there are 100s who are acquainted, however, from rym reviews and collections...

The first album starts a little tentatively in my opinion with programmatic music, no titles to the tracks, exploring some instrumental chamber type compositions that are creative but relatively simple, perhaps like early Camel maybe, except electric instruments are somewhat lacking, carefully explored themes and melodies but with not much energy or creativity (sorry to say).  I found even after repeat listenings there wasn't any one section of this work that held to my memory.

The second though just absolutely blows it away with the full-on incorporation of fusion, in fact the first part of this work is even called Soft Machine, while the third album falters a bit compared its predecessor, though still has some incredibly well composed passages.  

From the second CD, the first part of the Soft Machine suite will absolutely shock you if you haven't heard this band already:

And from the third CD, the Lullaby is sweet but perhaps not as fiercely progressive as one would like:

In terms of more electrified compositions, from the third album, this passage from the Vesikko suite is sure to impress:

Sunday 18 June 2023

[Swiss] Dawn, another recommendation from recent years, with Loneliness (2007) and Darker (2014)

Information here on discogs.  Symphonic prog with vocals similar to the old German bands like Neuschwanstein. However an instrumental track called Brook is about as interestingly, musically and progressively, as it gets, and for the last couple of weeks I've listened to it over and over again:

The Gutterflies instrumental is also wonderful classic prog rock, from the second album:

Friday 16 June 2023

Big Jim Sullivan Band's Test of Time, 1983

Note on the discogs info page, it says 'successor to Tiger band'. 
This surprised me first of all because it came 7 years later, and because I thought the Tiger outfit was not very good, not progressive, and definitely not fusiony, like this release from the artist called Big Jim Sullivan. 
With respect to the latter, he was a session guitarist for the most part, as you can see here

[real name] James George Thompkins

Prolific session guitarist (born 14 February 1941, in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, died 02 October 2012) whose career started in 1959 after meeting Marty Wilde in a coffee bar.
Launched Retreat Records, with Derek Lawrence.
He played on fifty nine number one UK hit singles, and his lengthy career included stints with Tom Jones and the James Last Orchestra.

So far as I know there's nothing further interesting in his own albums which are mostly cover versions or blues songs, but I could be totally wrong.
Anyways this is just a wonderful piece of electric fusion, very similar I think to the later Jeff Beck masterpieces.  A track called Strange:

A track called Sexy Doreen from the second Tiger album has a nice tritonal chord jump:

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Hectic Watermelon - The Great American Road Trip, 2006, by request

Discogged here, for what it's worth. 
Mostly or all instrumental heavy electric guitar-based fusion along the lines of the recent Percy Jones albums. The performance is superbly virtuoso level, and consistently original, but the compositions are not as memorable as one would have liked. As usual in these cases you can hear a lot of Steve Vai influence.

A typical track called Subterranean Rapid Transit, note the heavy metal style fuzzy electric guitar (sounds like dropped d tuning too), and the classic proggy diminished chord arpeggios:

Monday 12 June 2023

Finishing the albums of Israeli Guitarist Gadi Caplan

It seems Israeli guitarist Gadi Caplan made 3 in total of which the first from 2010 I posted here.   After listening to it a few times I found I was a bit haunted by some of the tracks which to be honest, sound very much influenced from the classic prog of the seventies in terms of the addition of chamber instruments and the innovative ideas especially, so I thought to look for the other 2. 

I think from the first one the track called Boni really really recalls those classic progsters in for ex. the French style, like Transit Express, of Opus Progressif fame:

It amazed me to find something like this on a release from 2010! Bringing on the violin in particular is killer...

From the 2nd album, which I felt was a little inferior despite the remarks on rym, the lovely minor second and tritonal arpeggiated guitar dissonances of Frostbite, really, I mean really recall the old classics, but I just never get tired of hearing them:

Not all of the tracks are great on all these, I think in particular with apologies to the artist when he starts singing the composition is not as good, most likely for commercial reasons.

From the 3rd release (marked as no year on discogs) the vocals increase and the quality of the music decreases--in terms of progressiveness of course I am referring to. Here and there are great passages though for ex. Lili's Day part 3 where there is an appearance by what I think is a fake mellotron:

The same effect with the earlier posted Six North btw, those 2 really grew on me after a few listens in this case I think the most apt comparison is to Canterbury style bands, they even quote from a Hatfield and the North composition on the track called Richard.  Great band, great albums.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Alexander Oseichuk's Suite of Moods from 1988 Russia


A. Oseichuk is a composer and sax player, discogged here. This release is here.

As usual it's hard for me to get much info out of the cyrillic alphabet writing placed, perversely, in the database, in order to for ex. find out where else he played, etc. 


Thursday 8 June 2023

By Request, Late Fusion from Percy Jones, Tunnels, and Vic Stevens [temp link only]


This is typical 90s fusion with the digital sounds, slapped bass, meandering electric guitar lines, etc., all instrumental.  I had high hopes for the release which was called Progressivity but was disappointed.
Percy Jones info here, Tunnels here, Vic Stevens (who also featured Percy) here.
Incidentally Percy was in Brand X, but also the fantastic one-off Big Jim Sullivan fusion album from 1983.

Maxwell's Demon:

Tuesday 6 June 2023

By Request, Rebop Kwaku Baah [2 ST, Trance, Flight of the Spirit with Zahara]


From Discogs:

Ghanaian percussionist (born 13 February 1944 in Konongo, Ghana; died 12 January 1983 in Stockholm, Sweden), best known for working with the 1970s rock groups Traffic and Can.

The "Rebop" part of his name (sometimes spelled "Reebop") was given to him by Dizzy Gillespie.

He made that typical 'modal jazz' music that sometimes goes droning on a bit too long for my tastes, and is as well too lacking in fusion to be of interest. However, with the band called Zahara, the music got more interesting.

An international band born out of the late-1970's incarnation of Can. Zahara saw the former Traffic members Rebop Kwaku Baah and Rosko Gee going off and doing their own Can inspired fusion.

Title track from Zahara's Flight of the Spirit:

Monday 5 June 2023

By Request, Manogurgeil from Finland 2007

Info here, on progarchives, and discogged here. Their only release, unfortunately, because this is the real deal, the classic sound of 70s prog rock with all the dissonances, rhythmic changes, odd arpeggiated riffs, one-off chord changes, etc. Surprising again to hear things we've never heard before musically. The first track has female vocals and sounds a little like the Finnish Fantasia I posted here recently, the remainder is instrumental. The album closes out with two noiselike improvised (?) tracks which are not too interesting, sadly. But that's OK given the strength of the remaining large quantity of musical ideas to be digested!

As an ex., a track called Vesikävelijät Valtaavat Altaat:

Note how it starts with a digital keys clarinet playing modern classical style chamber music in no specific key, similar to the sounds of Camel or Egg, Gilgamesh, the Canterburians, then moves into a C riff with the electric guitar and that wonderful raspy hammond organ ca. Mike Ratledge in Soft Machine 3, then moves up again to a riff in D, and closes out with a sped-up playing of those riffs rather than fadeout, all supervised above by crow-like screeching on the hammond-- incredible!

Another wonderful example of their compositional talents can be found in Sydämeni Suljettu Yrttitarha:

Again, the welcome sound of classic hammond organ, layered on top of acoustic piano and electric guitar toned exactly like Hatfield's Phil Miller, a sudden change after 3 minutes to new dissonant riffs plus the fuzzy organ, but pay attention because at 5 minutes we slow down to a ballad with the guitar, this time, singing the melody before as you might expect speeding up to close out the track. Amazing.

Saturday 3 June 2023

By Request, Matthew Ellis 1971

I've loved this album for a while now, it's very very typical early 70s British style ssw, with the added string arrangements, etc. soft but quite nice.

Note the bio:

Born: 23rd October 1948 Northamptonshire, England

Died: 31st March 2009

English musician, editor & author. Michael Cox recorded under the alias Matthew Ellis after being approached by producer Jerry Dane and later recorded an album under another alias, Obie Clayton. Went on to work for Oxford University Press as an editor. His first novel The Meaning of Night went on to become an international best-seller. [For those curious, like me, it's a crime thriller set in Victorian England that came out in 2006.]

Consider the lovely track called Magpie:

I never found the follow up album, called Am I? 

Does anyone have it?

Otherwise I will purchase and rip it for everyone, thanks.

Thursday 1 June 2023

By Request, Patti Dahlstrom's 4 (1972 to 1976)

Again a very beautiful woman indeed.  Like I always say, as beautiful music is, there's nothing like a beautiful woman, for us, well for some of us I should properly say ('stay woke!').

Discogged here. The music is squarely simple singer songwriter, nothing unusual or surprising in terms of melodies, chord changes, or even lyrics, recalling mostly Carole King to me, with its use of grand piano and occas. the guitars. Some quite heartful songs of course. The bio as follows:

American singer, songwriter, and teacher, born March 24, 1947 in Houston, TX. Although her own albums were unsuccessful, some of her songs had been recorded by other artists (particularly Helen Reddy's version of Dalhstrom's "Emotion," a #22 Billboard hit in 1974).

Personally I wasn't crazy about that song. From the third album, When it comes to you is very typical diatonic major chords and in fact with the kind of changes you'd have heard any day on AM pop radio back in 1974 (eg Carly Simon, Olivia N-J, or the Bacharach type songs, etc.):

A track from the final album called Fool's Gold is interesting in the tritonal part of the verse chord structure (in this case, the tritonal C sharp on a G chord goes up to the D or the 5th), then it nicely modulates for the chorus down into D:

A nice track... should've been a hit back in the day?