Tuesday, April 25, 2006
He’s arguably one of the All -Time Top 5 drummers. (make your list of the other four and send them to me if you want).
What makes this album an absolute masterpiece (and believe me it is not an exaggeration to call it a masterpiece) is the line–up that Trilok build to play with him:
Ralph Towner, founder member and virtuoso guitar player of Oregon, where Trilok spent sometime after the demise of Colin Walcott.
The very crazy Mr. Don Cherry on the Trumpet.
The ubiquitous Shankar and his exquisite violin.
The incredible Jonas Hellborg, true inheritor of Jaco’s legacy, the extraordinary.
Daniel Goyone on keyboards and with them all…
The respectable Ms. Gurtu, that is Trilok Mother herself, queen of Indian chant. Shobha Gurtu. (Listening to Shobharock, first track of this album, is a musical experience difficult to forget.)
The musicians get on a frantic ride over Trilok’s drumming like a multiple lightning jumping between massive clouds. The album is in fact an organized storm of great ideas brought to life by great performers.
What makes Trilok’s performance on drums so special is that he can create beats that otherwise would have seem impossible for our western ears, and he creates them on western drums, bringing us a heritage of centuries transformed into dazzling new and swirling rhythms.
There’s no waste in this album
Every track is interesting and stays under your skin for quite a long time.
This deserves a very good and careful listen.
Keep Listening !!!
Monday, April 24, 2006
The Psychedelic Rooster band - "Barlynez, a psychedelic rooster" @ 320 (Hypnotic and deep dark electro-psych)
This sitation has two sides. The wrong one is the invasion of tons of bad, easy made music. The right one is the release of great works like this, which Doktor Gnomegang has kindly sent us for publication in this blog.
The Psychedelic Rooster Band, produced by (or maybe a brainwave of...) the Doktor himself, has made a deep trip inside the farthest side of collective consciousness and from there, this dark, dense collection of sounds were taken to the surface.
The general flavor of the album is trippy, slightly oriental, rock influenced, nocturnal and dreamy. But it is not a cold an intellectual album. On the contrary it is highly emotional and it achieves what was meant to be achieved: an eulogy for lost friends, which is the same as an eulogy for lost loves, lost feelings, lost lives. It has a faint sad and beautiful flavor or maybe that's just my perception because the album is so rich that you might find something else inside its sonic laberynth.
The Psychedlic Rooster Band doesn't try to be "trendy". The synth sounds are creepy, vintage, abrassive. Like the sound of a ripping soul.
Not for heart fainted.
For the rest of us, highly recommended.
Keep Listening !!!
Guitarist Gary Boyle really shines here, bringing together elements of Indian music (he was born in India originally), jazz, Hendrix and John McLaughlin with a tart, biting tone yet still having a unique warmth. Former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper lends his distinct fuzz-bass sound to the proceedings and gives the songs a lot of extra bite and grit as well as being quite melodic in his own unique way. Drummer Nigel Morris seems to have found a precarious balance of technique and soul as he propels the tunes at a brisk pace, really LISTENING to the other musicians as opposed to just showing how fast he could play. Lawrence Scott provides understated keyboard support (mainly on Fender Rhodes) but doesn't seem to feel comfortable going out on the edge as much as the other musicians do.
If you enjoy a well balanced diet of melody, dense harmonies, fiery instrumental work and the FUZZIEST bassist in prog, give this a spin! Highly recommended for fans of jazz fusion.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Moğollar is one of the pioneer bands in Turkish rock music for about 30 years and one of the founders of Turkish ethno rock music (or Anatolian rock music). The major goal of the band is to prove that folk music has a multi-layered soul and folk music's dynamism is very close to pop music's dynamism. The band members (Aziz Azmet, Cahit Berkay, Taner Ongur, Engin Yorukoglu and Murat Ses) tried to fuse the technical aspects of pop music with the melodies of ancient Anatolian folk music in late 1960s and early 1970s.
Cahit Berkay, Taner Öngür and Engin Yörükoğlu reformed the band in 1993, and were joined by keyboard player Serhat Ersöz. Murat Ses is dealing with other projects and...read more here
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Head Shop - Selftitled w 7 Bonus Tracks @ 256 (good u.s heavy psychedelia) Kindly submitted by Al Go Rhythm
CD reissue from the original mastertape, including bios, photos and 7 bonus tracks of this classic US '60s expolito-psych album that goes totally over the top. Crammed full of distorted acid guitar and weird effects (choirs, backwards bits etc.) this is like a bit like Vanilla Fudge but much more extreme... Tracks like "Listen With A Third Ear" and "Prophecy" are particularly mind disturbing. CD contains 7 bonus tracks. This is fantastic psychedelia.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Balanescu Quartet - "Possesed"  @ 256 (Great string quartet Kraftwerk Tribute... and something else)
Kraftwerk were indeed pioneers of robotic music, although I have always believed that the robot attitude was a disguise to tell us exactly the oposite. The man machine is a warning, so humankind awakes and stop acting as a collective blind automat. But that's sociology and music is what concern us here so...
I know that in the last 20 years an epidemics of string quartets and even more strange pseudo classical contraptions have invaded the planet. We have the Tool String Quartet Tribute, We have Apocaliptyca playing Metallica, We have (thanks God) Soldier String Quartet playing Elliot Sharp, we have Quintorigo in Italy doing a kind of Pop no one else dares to do, we have the omnipresence of Kronos... yes, we have all kind of classical hybrids trying to merge one and for all the Classical and the New. I am a fusion freak (all kind of fusion, not only jazz-rock) so I believe they all have succeded in one way or the other.
What makes this Balanescu Quartet album so special though is that no one in his right mind would think about a re-interpreting a Techno-Pop band with a classical string quartet. Only Alexander balanescu is crazy enough or bold ennough.
The result is superb. It makes us think about what makes a song become a Good Song.
It is good when it sounds great played by a full orchestra, or played at your aunt's piano, or by yourself half drunk at the beach, or by the local band at the next corner's bar. If it sounds good in all those ocassions, then it is good.
That's the lesson Balanescu and his friends taught us.
What an idea.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
West India Company & Lalala Human Steps - "New Demons"  @ 256 (Excellent hindu-space-rock-fusion)
After that, they dissapeared and resurfaced in 1989 inside EG label, (yeah the same label that managed the King Crimson catalogue). New Demons is the album they published for EG and for Lalala Human Steps, a dancing troupé whose headqarters were located in London at the time.
This incaranation of West India Company was esentially a trio: Stepehen Luscombe, Pandit Dinesh and Peter Culshaw. Later they added another singer (the beautiful and stunning Priya Khajuria) and a recruited a group of session musicians to record the album and also to play in Lalala Human Steps shows, which I actually never saw, but which was supposed to be a futuiristic mix of ancient ritual indian dance and eclectic contemporary choreogaphies.
We'll never know what the dance show was like, but musically this album is an absolute masterpiece. From the very beginning the track Shankara trasports us to a possible India, surrounded by its sights, sounds, smells and godesses. Then we're suddenly taken to outer space and beyond... out of this Cosmos and into another one, a universe populated by dancing Devas, and a million dazzling Vishnus and and a trillion evanescent Shivas. We stay there until the end of the album, until we complete an overwhelming journey to the future of ritual music.
A total ethno trip.
This album is highly recommended.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
5UU's - Hunger Teeth  @ 320 (Adventurous and fantastic experimental rock / RIO) Kindly Submitted by BlackwatchPlaid
I'm not the first to suggest this album as an intro to RIO for the symph fan. The suggestion is made constantly on rec.music.progressive, usually accompanied by a reference to vocalist Bob Drake, and how much he sounds like Jon Anderson of Yes. Personally, I don't hear the similarity nearly as much here as I do on his solo album What Day Is It?. The two singers might have similar ranges, but they only sound the same on occasion; Yes fans might hear something familiar in the more stripped down, melodic sections of "Geronimo," or the opening of "Opportunity Bangs," but Anderson wouldn't be caught dead singing the way Drake does at the end of "Well...Not Chickenshit" (nasal and pinched) or "Glue" (distorted and out of tune).
For me, what makes Hunger's Teeth a good starting point is simply that it's fairly accessible, but without sacrificing any of the juicy stuff that makes RIO fun. While many of the original RIO bands wrote extended instrumental compositions, these are really rock songs, only one exceeding six minutes in length. They are generally vocal oriented (but not lyric oriented, which is good, because Kerman's lyrics leave something to be desired), and most have passages of relative consonance amid the noise and atonality. Many of the tunes are more chromatically modal than they are truly atonal. Certain familiar textures from symphonic prog show up occasionally, like the digital piano figurations in "Well...Not Chickenshit," the almost lush textures at the end of "Roan," and the almost satirical use of that symph cliché, the Heavily Accented Chord, on the word "offspring" in "Opportunity Bangs." As those of you who have read my profile know, I'm not much of a symph fan, so the fact that I love this album is a testament to the fact that these elements are not overdone, and probably not even intentional.
Actually, it is the interplay between accessibility and inaccessibility that makes this album really interesting. While most of the songs are quite likable at first listen (assuming you're used to highly chromatic, dissonant music), they don't fall into the trap of being overly clear, which means that it takes many listens to uncover everything that's going on in the music. Many songs contrast downright pretty passages with all-out noisefests; the most obvious example is "Geronimo," which ranges from a subtle combination of quiet vocals, percussion and electronic organ to total polyrhythmic chaos. "Truth, Justice and the American Way," too, precedes the rhythmically displaced but fairly tuneful rock of its final section with something that can only be described as an extremely nasal, atonal Beach Boys with digital keyboards.
These contrasts are really the result of the spirit of playful experimentation that pervades the whole album. Sometimes the band seems to be just trying things out, which gives us Drake's barbershop song about barbers, "The Shears," and a short minimalist electronic piece by Thomas DiMuzio called "Mangate." This willingness to try a lot of different things gives Hunger's Teeth a wonderful textural variety, unlike the other album from Kerman/Kumar/Drake lineup of the 5uu's, 1997's Crisis in Clay. At the same time, Kerman's compositional style is very distinctive, so it holds together nicely, even when Susanne Lewis takes over to sing the last two songs. Her style, much less emotional than Drake's, fits perfectly on top of the dissonant rock-out of "Traveler Waits for No One," and the album goes out with a bang.
Lineup:Sanjay Kumar - keyboards, etc. Dave Kerman - drums, guitars, keyboards, etc. Bob Drake - vocals, basses, guitars, violins, etc. with: Susanne Lewis - vocals James Grigsby - guitar, vibes, bass Michelle Bos - utensils, penny fountain, skydiving ocarinas, metal tables, creaks, blue rocks
This review was written by Alex Temple [October 2001]. Read here:
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Fuzzy Duck - "Fuzzy Duck"  @ 256 (Exceptional early prog rock) Kindly Submitted by BlackwatchPlaid
This LP is a highly coveted classic piece of U.K. underground progressive rock and psychedelia; it was originally issued in a scant pressing of five hundred copies in 1971. Actually, you will be hard pressed to find a vinyl copy now as well because Akarma seems to be the only label appreciative of this fine work.
The album reached celebrated standing by association, as it featured bass player Mick 'Doc' Hawksworth (Five Day Week Straw People and Andromeda), and keyboardist Roy 'Daze' Sharland (Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and Spice). Also Paul Francis (drums) and Grahame White (guitar) contribute largely to the effort. An interesting note is that the electric cello and the cricket bat are played by Hawksworth. Who knows how the hell one would play the cricket bat...well, you know it was the sixties, it was open and free and an anything goes attitude prevailed.
First of all, you have to just love the cover, what great period artwork. It looks like something straight out of the San Francisco/Haight-Ashbury scene of the sixties. It's so totally hippie, you have to love it. The music is very advanced for its time. The sound quality is fair. If it was remastered once again and brightened up a bit the entire LP would be astounding. Regardless of my focus on detail regarding the sound, I think this was an excellent album. The best example of where this group was at formatively is the track "In Our Time." The entire album is exceptional, as are the bonus tracks. Comparisons with Camel and Wishbone Ash will be inevitable once you give this a really good listen. If you like driving guitars and the pumping Hammond organ, this will be your cup of tea. This is early prog-rock at its best.
Mick 'Doc' Hawksworth - bass, electric cello and cricket bat
Roy 'Daze' Sharland - keyboards
Paul Francis - drums
Grahame White -guitar
Total Time: 54:21
Saturday, April 15, 2006
In 1981 and 82 they travelled accross half India and played with the famous Karnakata College of Percussion. They also joined fellow american sax-adventurer Charlie Mariano, and extraodinary singer Ramamani, from Bangalore.
In 1983 they relocated to Morocco and there with the help of producer and friend Sultan Abdessalam Akaaboune, they released "Sahara Elektrik"and album like no other the world had seen before, an audacious intrution in a world forbidden to western man. An album that has proven to be extensively influential along the last two decades, not only opening the ears of western rock listeners to middle eastern music but aslo helping some arabic artist to penetrate the western world, notably the now famous Cheb Khaled, Chaba Faddella, Rabi Abou Khalil, Safy Boutella and many others.
In 1984, John Peel, the most influential radio DJ of all time, plays Dissidenten in his radio show,. Soon afterwards they get to hit the independent music charts in France and Italy, and surprinsingly, Canada. That year they release their second album, "Life at the Pyramids", another success, although the music is far from being commercial pop.
In 1985 they toured USA and Canada and from that tour the publish "Live in New York" which is an incredible live album (and which I should post here in the future)
1986 was the year "Arab Shadows" was published, being this album a compilation of their earlier studio work, and a good start to get into this explorers musical imagination.
I will not tell the story of Dissidenten during the 90's and afterwards. I'd rather invite you all to buy their albums and find out more of this pioneering ensemble's music. It is highly recommended.
In times like these impregantes by intolerance and misunderstanding. In an age of blatant distrust between the west and the middle east. In these times of opressions and aggressions, is when we need music more.
We need more music indeed , more art, more philosophy and less bulletts and political bullshit.
We need more 1001 Nights, less Mein Kampf.
We need Dissidenten.
So be a nomad now.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Bodkin - "Bodkin"  @ 256 (Excellent and rare organ driven prog) Kindly submitted by BlackwatchPlaid
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Akarma Records
Here's another early 1970's progressive/hard rock gem from the U.K., finally seeing the light of day after almost thirty years. Bodkin were a five piece ensemble led by the formidable talents of Hammond Organ player Doug Rome, who at the age of 21 at the time of this recording, proved that he could keep up with the heavyweights of the time. Some of those names are Jon Lord, Keith Emerson, Ken Hensley, and Vincent Crane. In fact, this CD is so oozing distorted organ sounds, one might think that some long lost Uriah Heep or Atomic Rooster album was playing.
The opener is a two part suite called "Three Days After Death" that contains plenty of raging Hammond and complex and heavy guitar work. At just under seventeen minutes long, the band really gets to cook on this one. Another strong song is "Aunt Mary's Trashcan" featuring a snarling guitar riff to go along with some evil Hammond chords. While I would not call this metal, it's not quite prog either. Plenty of time changes and rampaging solos abound, and the band plays with such conviction that it's hard not to shake your head and take notice. The lead vocals of Jeke Huim are quite strong, especially on the mind numbing closer "Plastic Man."
Fans of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Uriah Heep, Atomic Rooster, and Collosseum would be well advised to check into this scorching set of Hammond drenched craziness
Mick Riddle - Lead Guitar
Doug Rome – Keyboards
Dick Sneddon – Drums
Bill Anderson – BassZeik Hume - Vocals
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Moondog -"Moondog"  @ 256 (Unique, cheerful and beautiful late XXth century classical compositions)
He was never bitter about being blind. In late 50's he appeared in New York city as an eccentric figure, a man with a long beard, dressed as a Viking, claiming for the return to our ancestral roots, against the fake “values” of our modern world.
He transformed himself into something different from the rest of us. Into Moondog the poet, Moondog the pagan, Moondog the composer, Moondog the man in 6th Avenue who challenges society in a playful, rich way.
Although he had recorded a few works during the 50’s it was during the 60’s when he got to be known and admired by his peers and by a new generation that understood his anti-stablishment position much better.
By late 60’s he was a cult figure, probably not a world-famous one but known and celebrated by the likes of Janis Joplin (who covered one of his “rounds”) or James William Guercio (producer of the band Chicago, who “discovered him in 1969 and the guy who produced the album I am posting today)
About Moondog’s work allmusic.com says:
“His music, constructed of direct musical gestures and built mostly from pure modal themes expanded by sophisticated counterpuntal techniques, would now receive the avant-garde label of"minimal or pattern music but this sound has characterized his music since the late 1940's, and is thus a precursor of this postmodern compositional style. In New York, Moondog began to meet legendary jazz performer-composers, such as Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, and to incorporate jazz inflections as well as humorous philosophical couplets and environmental sounds into his recorded compositions”
In 1974 Moondog left for Germany where he spent the last decades of the century producing a solid body of extraordinary compositions, edited in several marvellous albums, unfortunately not easy to be found today. (I’ll post some in the future if asked).
Among his many fans we can count people as diverse as Phillip Glass, Charles Mingus, Peter Hammill, Elvis Costello, Wim Mertens and the members of the great folk ensemble Pentangle.
In 1989 Moondog returned briefly to America for a tribute in which Glass himself asked him to conduct the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, which he did in a rather unusual way: by sitting at one side with the musicians and beating a tympani.
He want back to Europe after that and recorded two albums in Peter Hammill’s studio in Bath, England: “Sax Pax for a Sax” and “Big Band” both extraordinary exercises in modernity.
It is said that his last years were very happy. He died, peacefully in Germany while listening to Camille Saint-Saens, in 1999.
His music is the soundtrack a nicer, better, happier world.
Ladies and gentleman, it is for a me a great honor to present to you all, Moondog
Monday, April 10, 2006
Laszlo Hortobagyi - "6th All-India Music Conference"  @256 (Incredible futuristic ethno-dark-electro-ritual music)
I took the following paragraph from Mr. Hortobagyi's website:
"Imagine this world...
>> Where the high-structured system of the European polyphon music enters into combination with the Asian polyphonic technique of the musical time,
>> Where phrases of a Baroque organ is building according to the classical Tâla system and a composed matrix variations of the Tintâla Bass in Madhya Laya, where the traditional Sitâr (of Gâyaki Ang) compositions of the North-Indian Kirânâ vocal-school are performed as a polyphone harpsichord (or harpsitâr) concerto accompanied by psychedelic reggae bass.
>> Where the orthodox Slavonic Church's vocal service is supplied in the construction of the classical indian Dhrupad style (Ábhog, Sanchâri etc.)
>>Where the repetitive Gamelan music follows the construcûon of the instrumental râga-s of India (Álâp-Jhór-Jhâlla) and recalling the spirits of the classical electronic rock concerts in Jâva,
>> Where "God's Army" the Eastem Church choir segments appear in the high-bridged Chakradâr-Tihâi triplex construction of the cadence in the Indian Tâla system."
I hope this words help to define El Horto's music. Anyway I must add that he is not only strange but also mad.
Hortobagyi has spent the last 30 years creating the music of a world that never existed but might exist in a parallel universe. A complete Musical History of a Parallel Earth. A planet , where east and west mixed somewhat differently. Much deeper.
Hortobagyi, a hungarian composer and music theoricist, has travelled extensively accross India and the middle east collecting and breathing the intoxicating vapors of an inmense musical and ritual heritage. He is nowadays professor of ethno-musicolgy at the University of Budapest, and adviser of Musical Technology for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Due to his privileged position he has access to what probably is the biggest eastern music collection in Europe. He uses this and many other resources wisely.
Being a man capable of moving freely in the boundaries of the spiritual planes and the technological universe, he lives way ahead of our present. He dwells in the future.
Finally, I must repeat Hortobagyi is a madman. Why do I say so? Because he gives his music away for free in his website. Yes. FREE. All his incredible albums. Including the extremely acid cover art. A treasure that is waiting there for you to collect.
Do yourself a big favor and go here , then hit "disco" and start a trip thru the cracks of existence, where the Ancient Gods lurk, or maybe not, maybe it is just a trip inside our hidden soul. Wherever it might be , Hortobagyi is there and he has many gifts for you.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Savant (Kerry Leimer) - "The Neo Realist at Risk"  @256 (Extraordinary Eno influenced experimental electro ambient, maybe)
The cause of this tragedy is that the distribution of Leimer's album during the 80's was really limited due to the fact that he was a rabid independent artist, doing everything thru his own label named Palace of Lights (or simply PoL).
Under that label he published other very interestings electronic and forefathers of ambient like Marc Barreca or Roy Finch.
Under the pseudonym "Savant", he created The Neo Realist, an album in which Eno influence is very obvious, but that influence doesn't go as far as imitating some of Eno's biggest bundlers (Music for Airports, arggg..!). He doesn't get as antiseptic or cold as Eno gets sometimes, at least not in this album.
Be warned, if you felt attracted by the word "Eno" at the begining of the post and you like the drier side of Eno or if you are looking for glacial and icy sounds that will leave you untouched... well ... this is not what you want. But if you want weird and phlegmatic experiments with synths and spoken word, crazy rythms à la Bush of Ghosts, schizoid moments impregnated with subtle noise... well then.... this excellent album is definetaly your Holy Grail.
Kerry Leimer is half retired from music making, but he re edited his albums in CD format in a new incarnation of Palace of Lights, so I encourage you all to buy his albums here:
You'll be rewarded with a lot of good music, a hidden treasure done by a secret visionary. By the way, there're some mp3's there that you can download for free.
Leimer says in his website that he tried to make a rock album with this one, but fortunately, he failed utterly and we got something else. Something that sounds really fresh even 25 years later. In a way, we can say that this album was decades ahead of his time. It feels really contemporary.
Believe me, you need this album.
>>>>Link deleted by kind request of Mark Jung of Palace of Lights but it's ok..because you MUST have this album so... buy it! And the other PoL albums too!
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
After that, we all had all kinds of intoxicating beverages and when we were all really out of our heads, our beloved Chairman declared that we could start the seminars and speeches on our favorite subject which is:
"What the heck is prog rock anyway?"
Followed by the mindboggling new and never explored before...
"What's wrong about Dream Theater?"
Which was received with certain eskepticism by the general public, but which didn't cause as much controversy as the final forum:
"Neo-prog makes me puke. Period",
by that radical who call himslef The Herbalist,
fundamentalist and dangerous guy and his accomplice, one mysterious person who hides behind the aliases of Fred, Rolf and even worst and more obscene and blasphemous names.
There were demonstration all over the planet against us, or supporting us, we're not sure. (see the intensity of the images)
It ended badly, with much uproar, riots and looting. I don't think we'll ever be invited again to that city-city. Herr Seebaer spilled bitter tears but at the end declared himself satisfied with the results and received the keys of the town, so he could leave and close the door behind him.
We should have thenext (XXXVIIIth) Meeting at Nahavanda's Temple in southern India, or in The Holy land under the proctection of Lord Ran. It will be much better than this disaster we have just witnessed and described for you all, ladies.
God bless you good people. The rest... sod off.
And remember, keep your children away from weird music.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Angelo Branduardi - "Highdown Fair"  @320 Exquisite Italian Folk / Lyrics translated by Pete Sinfield
Highdown fair is the english version of a compilatory album that contains the best of the first decade of his career. The original title in italian was "Alla Fiera dell'est" which is also the title of one of his most famous songs, reminiscence of a children's medieval tune. In fact the middle ages (and its imaginary insertion in our times) is one of Branduardi's notable obssesions, as women, as sanctity (he dedicated an albun to the Saint Francis of Asis), as the simple life of peasants, thiefs, charlatans, magicians, gypsys, card readers, theatrical troupes, and a million more characters that populate the european collective consciousness.
No wonder Pete Sinfield was chosen to translate a man who is part poet, part trobadeur, part beggar and part philosopher.
Branduardi is still composing touring and playing. A living legend whose creativity and freshness increases with time.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I am sure that after you download this work you will want to know about Laan. Be prepared to find very scarce information. He has a very simple website in which he seems more concerned about his family life, than about his music. He also seems to be totally unaware that he released a great album 25 years ago. It looks like (at least that's what I got from altavista translator) he spent the 90's doing music for commercials and now he is a music teacher and a loving father.
If it were only for this album Bran Laan deserves Heaven. If Heaven for him is being with his children, wife and dog and doing nothing but playing in family picnics that's ok with me. I am grateful enough for this album and you'll be too.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
In Masterless Samurai, Kitajima combines traditional Instruments of Japan (Koto, Sakuhashi, Sho) with a western jazz-rock ensemble thus obtaining excellent results. The album is immersed in the serenity and poetics of the Samurai, but it also expresses a brilliant and explosive vitality, in rythms, epic moments like the sonic background of multicolored swordsmen spinning and fighting around their destiny.
Masterless Samurai can also be seen as a concept album inspired by the traditional story of the Ronin,(17 samurais that had lost their master in the hands of a traitor and whose only purpose was to recover their dignity to be able to die with honor). I have never tired of listening to this album. I recommend it to those who like prog and fusion with exotic touches. An excellent and very much forgotten work.
"Playing the Foole in Wonderland" was recorded during the 1975 Gentle Giant tour. That same year the "Official Playing the Fool Live" was recorded and edited.
This recording (of great sound quality) shows Gentle Giant at the peak of their energy level on stage. They were so special that it is not crazy to say that possibly there will never be another band like this in popular music. Their playing skills in concert belong to the classical enviroment, not to rock and Roll. But they also knew that pure virtuosism wasn't enough, that having fun while playing was important too. That's why they always left room for creativity, playfullness and improvisation, specially in those songs with long instrumental interludes like So Sincere. You'll also listen to another unforgetable xylophone solo by Mr. Kerry Minnear in "Funny ways".
I never got to see them live but listening to bootlegs and watching old videos one can guess that every Gentle Giant concert was a very unique experience. I feel sad everytime I realize that this is not a band whose members will ever reunite again. Pity. Earth could be a better place if they do.
Note added later (thanks faugn for this information)
This is the same as Playing The Foole, but with an additional track, March of the Trolls, written and played by another band. Allegedly, it was the high school band of the person who issued the record, out of his parents' house in Orange County near Los Angeles.
The notes at the bottom of the album cover read: "Recorded on stage in January 1975 at the Utland Communicable Concourse/The Power and The Glory is from the studio/Edited by Deek himself/for him, sincerely/stereo/Takrl 1943