Thursday 31 August 2023

Soffgruppen - Greatest Sits, 1975


A classic fusion record for sure, one-off only unfortunately.  From discogs:

Swedish avant-garde and experimental jazz band from Gothenburg.

They consisted of:

Matz Nilsson on electric bass and double bass

Anders Kjellberg on drums, percussion and bells

Pierre Swärd on piano, hammond organ and cowbell

Claes Yngström on guitar

Stephen Frankevich on the trumpet

The usual high energy instrumentals with electric instruments, some meandering free jazz passages unfort., the gorgeous electric piano with vibrato sound we miss so much, etc. Most of the music I see was written by bassist Nilsson, who also played in Hawk On Flight another brilliant fusion band, the more free jazz oriented (and boring) Mount Everest, plus with Janne Schaffer, etc.

His composition called Jag Tanker:

Brilliant stuff, wish there was more...

Tuesday 29 August 2023

More Igor Nazaruk from the uploaded miscellany

When Pipichol uploaded more from him from varied collections I jumped on it instantly as can be duly expected.

You can find that back here, in the comments section, (hopefully still sitting there).  Along with the standard LPs which we know about, and which were recorded in the discogs database, there is a bunch of loose tracks in one of the folders from miscellaneous sources presumably based on the varied sounds ranging from poppish vocal songs to modern classical through jazzier stuff.

Some of this is well worth hearing, here and there.  I was shocked by the advanced sounds of this very progressive piece:

and the wonderful energetic fusion that you can find here:

If only! there was a whole album of similar stuff out there waiting for us to discover/unearth it!

and the modern classical on this track:

Translations? Provenances?
As usual with the cyrrilic alphabet in the way it's impossible to figure out what any of this is. Hopefully some enlightenment forthcoming?

As was the case with Chugonov, what a shame we can't hear absolutely everything he created or alternatively, that he didn't create more!  But it seems we've made a big step in that direction, thanks to his incomparable generosity here.

Sunday 27 August 2023

The requested US AOR Kardaz (1979)

Superb cover art in such a low key lofi way but what about the music? Well it's squarely pop aor & not so hard rock, typical of the mid 70s USA although this came out late in the game.  As usual in these cases there are a couple of nice songs, but a lot of throwaway perhaps wannabe-commercial compositions. The opener Another Faceless Crowd brings back some lovely hints of our old fave Baby Grand with its evocation of the traveling musician's life perpetually on the road:

And Don't Ever Stop [playing this kind of classic rock]:

Friday 25 August 2023

Jaroslaw Smietana's 1 to 4 from 1986

A lovely Eastern European fusion album that was unknown to me until recently. The remainder of his work is a bit too normal jazz. This one does remind me of some of the fusionary greats like Urbaniak, etc. Notice the button of 'f*ckin gonuts' up there. Info here.

Scandinavian Song:

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Risa Potters' 2 from 1970 & 1972, by request

In addition to being a beautiful woman, some incredibly lovely songs can be found on these 2 unknown LPs, and thanks for bringing them to our attention.  Discogged here.

The first one sounds similar to a cross between Mary Hopkin's Earth Song with its highly gentle acoustics and the ever creative Joni in her earliest, guitar-augmented by string quartet phase eg Song to a Seagull or Clouds or, if you know it, the Nico album from 1967 called Chelsea Girl. In other words, very emotional, tender, expressive, and delicate with its arrangements.  The earlier mentioned beautiful Shelagh McDonald is also similar.  (I hope everyone knows her 2  albums! I've loved those so deeply since I first heard them decades ago.)

I think between the 2 of them the first has the most interesting and creative songwriting, perhaps predictably, with the occasional awkward lyric like on Half Woman Half Child in which she actually says, God must have been stoned when he created me. I find that line difficult on so many levels... but consider the amazing Old Man track:

From the second album, My Mistake is simple but highly highly effective, emotionally:

Monday 21 August 2023

Fredera's amazing Aurora Vermelha from 1981


Frederico Mendonca de Oliveira is the Brazilian guitarist responsible for this quasi-masterpiece. He was in famed prog rock outfit Som Imaginario that existed in the early 70s, so we can expect some wonderful things, but this was shocking indeed.

How fortunate we are that there are still undiscovered works like this out there, thanks to the perspicacious searching of others, that can still come to light. Could an AI craft this kind of artwork someday? I am very doubtful since they are bound by their own laws of mediocrity and averages.

Title track, and right from the initial chords you can tell you're in for a treat here with the added minor seconds on top, the strange el. guitar riff, etc. and as is typical in these progressive compositions, at the 2 minute mark, the song totally changes tempo and sound to slow acoustic as the guitar weaves odd patterns of bizarre dissonance in the distance, presumably representing those highly creative coloured rays of light emanating from the nearby star:

This is an aurora I wish I could wake up to every morning every day the rest of my life...

Friday 18 August 2023

Chris Farlowe With The Hill - From Here To Mama Rosa, 1970

From discogs:

Chris Farlowe (born Islington, London, England, 13.Oct.1940) is is one of the great underrated British soul & blues influenced singers.
Farlowe's musical career has one starting point in the John Henry Skiffle Group and other similar bands. In 1962 the first single "Air Travel" was released without much success. Around 1963 or 1964 'The Thunderbirds' were formed and the band included the great guitarist Albert Lee and keyboardist Dave Greenslade. The band recorded five singles on the UK EMI subsidiary Columbia, but none made any impact on the charts. The singer was generally believed to be black.
Success came only after a move to the Immediate label. The label was started by The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Accordingly Farlowe got to record a lot of Jagger/Richards compositions and some of his records were produced by Mick Jagger. Out of 11 singles five had covers of the Rolling Stones' songs on them.
The third single released on Immediate label "Out Of Time" made it to the top.

His music is mostly blues (which holds no interest for me, sorry to say) but there is some progressive material as well, namely this wonderful album which came out in 1970, and even the gatefold art is lovely.

Head in the Clouds:

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Barry Finnerty's early LPs (New York City, Lights on Broadway)

Oh boy, that cover photograph...  Remember Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York?

He made a few albums starting in the early 1980s, information here.

American jazz multi-instrumentalist (guitar, keyboards, bass) & session musician, singer, songwriter, arranger and author.

Born 03 December 1951 in San Francisco, California, USA.

Dawn of a New Day has such a lovely electric guitar based melody and boy does it bring back those fusionary 80s days:

Monday 14 August 2023

Back with the much beloved Ambiance II Fusion and Colours in Spaces, 1986

Everyone loves this band and this missing album has been often requested.  See here and here in the past. This particular LP came out in 1986, it was their 6th and last it seems. Still missing is its predecessor, Come Touch Tomorrow. In addition to being awfully short in length (less then 30 min.) this particular installment has a cover version of the old old standard 500 Miles High.

However, the title track is really ambiently beautiful and atmospheric:

Saturday 12 August 2023

Back to Ambiance II Fusion with 1985's Come Touch Tomorrow, at long last...

Perhaps not as noteworthy as its (4) predecessors which were posted here.  

Discogged here.

The fusion has gotten quite smooth by now with less energy and progressiveness.

Title track is so superbly soft and lovely though:

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Mwendo Dawa, 1979 (Basic Line) and 1981

Swedish modern jazz group who released quite a slew of albums back in the day starting with 1979's Basic Line.

Italian Psalm from 1979:

Serifos from 1981:

Monday 7 August 2023

Golden Avatar (Michael Cassidy) and A Change of Heart

This album came out in 1976, thus before the previous post, and it's very similar, perhaps a little bit less progressive and more basic songwriting. Nonetheless I strongly recommend you have a listen to this, perhaps focus on a few really well written tracks.

Seers of the Truth is truly haunting:

Sunday 6 August 2023

Busy Making Progress aka Beyond Illusion from Michael Cassidy, 1978


That Progress cover drawing is absolutely beautiful, again. What a joy to see such artwork from the times. On the other hand, the alternate photographic cover, a bit puzzling to me...

I came across this totally accidentally and boy am I happy I did, a totally unknown ssw type LP with a lot of progressive ideas with born again Xian lyrics, by Michael Cassidy.  Note that it appeared under his artist name here (named Beyond Illusion) and then again as Busy Making Progress, with the amazing art and obviously ironic title. The music is really inventive with some odd chord changes, interesting arrangements, the usual bag of tricks we expect from musical work that is really in the progressive spirit, not just claims to be that on those dumb reviews.

The first track is quite captivating:

Friday 4 August 2023

Arturo Stalteri, by request

Here's an artist I'm surprised I never heard before given that his stuff is, again, right up my alley. It's similar to the Penguin Orchestra recently posted with the mix of chamber, folky acoustic, touches of electronic and ambient sounds.

Arturo Stalteri was pianist and composer for the 70s Italian prog outfit Pierrot Lunaire, a trio who made two quite different albums, the first folky and the second experimental, neither quite interesting enough, and one thinks if only they had met in the middle for something more accessibly progressive. 

There are surprisingly long gaps in his output, but the next album from 1979 presents a wonderful mix the kind that was lacking in Pierrot, with progressive all instrumental compositions, very similar to two prior Italians posted some time back here on this blog, Maurizio Fabrizio, and Claudio Dentes (Panta Rei).

Note that the 1979 album Andre Sulla Luna presumably references Pierrot Lunaire and divides into two sides, the first being the dream of Andre and the second being Andre on the moon.

From the back's credits it's clear he is also a multi-instrumentalist who played almost everything here. Consider Verso La Realta:

 The beautiful composition called Morceau (French term for a short composition, meaning piece) with its piano plus clarinet plus electric organ is from the next album which came out in 1987 and also references the moon:

Unfortunately by 1992's Syriarise, the music becomes a little less interesting and more ambiently repetitive along the lines of minimal Philip Glass with as well many solo grand piano pieces. Nonetheless some lovely passages are worth hearing.