Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mr. Euphoria (USA, 1983)

Continuing on with American guitar-prog rarities in honour of the upcoming election in the United States, for which I strongly encourage all registered voters and registered nonvoters to go out and vote as soon as possible in yet another useless exercise of wasted time and unnecessary energy so the haughty political oligarchy or rather plutocratic ruling class can feel justified to do whatever it wishes with no regard whatsoever for human beings or their environment (and to think they used to laugh at communist countries for their useless preordained elections--  now you get two identical parties to choose from instead of just one-- woo-hoo!)--  here's the album that to me seemed like a progressive masterpiece utterly lost to time and even to prog fans.  [Footnote: What we need is a real "truth party" that could state the obvious: this is all a vacuous diversion so power can remain with the top point one percenters and the corporations they are eternally married to 'till death do us part'.]

Very simply, this sounds like the tightest, hardest, no-fat version of mid-seventies king crimson you could imagine, as if the great Fripp was totally focussed on song-writing and brutally keen on cutting out all filler, chamber pretensions, and excess frippery. Track 3 (1 Day 1 Month 1 Year) even features some of that trademark staccato Fripp guitar style. 

All songs are instrumentals powered forward by fully-automatic electric guitar chainsaw action.  Occasionally there is a touch of synthesizer (also played by the formidable guitarist, whose name is Richard Rhodes.  His backing band consists of Gordon Rhodes on drums (sib?), Tim Sanz on bass, guest Eric Petersen on synths for track 5.  Tracks 2, 5, 7 are compositions by Sanz and the rest is credited to R. Rhodes.) The energy and tritones never really let up until the fierce ending in which you feel like you scraped your face and right temple on the pavement in extreme music-listening sports.  Guaranteed the ceaseless tritoning and riffs played as thirds (just like Fripp) will drive your wife (and kids, if you're unlucky enough to have those) out of the room, and if they are unable to so leave, they will be begging you for mercy (or at least throwing plates at your head).

When you listen to the rip notice too that the record is mint, the sound couldn't be any cleaner-- oh the joy of listening to that fresh vinyl (from almost 30 years ago) rotate..... and thanks to the mighty osurec for teaching me about this unknown band.  As always I am following in his giant footsteps.

As sample I uploaded the intro, with its awesome hard diminished chord riff, crank it up as loud as you can when you listen, it's awe-inspiring in the manner of the (ancient) seven wonders of the world. Note how the crazy reverbed-out lead guitar plays such interesting harmonies on top of the driving riff.

And the third track "1 Day 1 Month 1 Year" with its "frippertronics:"

Once again I repeat it, how is it possible for music this excellent to be so lost so completely?

Monday, October 29, 2012

John Macey "Eclipse" (USA,guitar fusion ,1981)

John Macey "Eclipse" (USA,guitar fusion ,1981)

One day,I found this album here and have loved it and ,at last,purchased the vinyl.
It is near-MINT lucky !!!
I am very happy to enjoy this passionate prog guitar fusion album with all of you.
John in Heaven will be happy to know his surpurb album is spreading all over the world......

I offer WAVE file only because you can get the mp3 from the link above.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Mike Elliott - Diffusion (USA, 1983)

The copyright on this record is for 1983, in reality, it was recorded between May 1980 and Feb. 1981, as you can tell actually.  All compositions are by Elliott except the first song, co-written with Ricky Peterson, and The Air (last song) which is taken from Bach.

This is a radical departure from the earlier "City Traffic" -- on this record Elliott does american style fusion along the lines of the Shadowfax - Watercourse Way album.  Notice for ex. on the second song, the song for Janny, those stunning flying-carpet moog passages by Peterson.

A kind of folky vibe appears with the open string strumming on the next piece, Saguaro Bend (in Arizona?).  Then a more groovy laid-back fusionary outpouring in Lothlorien with some really tasty chord changes that just spice the smoothness so perfectly, like a jalapeno chocolate truffle.

Altogether, so well-produced, enjoyable, and extremely well-written, I find it distinctly sad that with this the 'Natural Life' discography, which we covered for almost a decade, comes to an end.  Of course today, Mike Elliott still performs the guitar, that I don't doubt, his talent is immense.  But what does he now think of his past work, lost to time?

(Note that the album I have features a red cover, not the typical black of the above photo, which was the original pressing from Celebration.  Mike says this about the cover: "The batik featured on the cover was given to me several years ago by a student, and was done by a friend of his.  Time has dulled my memory, and I can no longer remember the names of the student or the artist, to that unknown artist my apologies, and thanks..." )  [Wouldn't that be great if the student-artist announced themselves in a comment below?]

I'll include as sample the majestic moogs travelling the intergalactic space between our right and left ears on "For Janny":

Notice the really gorgeous delicate-mystery atmosphere these musicans build up with the E minor intro.  Here, the F sharp (a 9 for E minor) is being used tritonally on the C major chord that starts the song which is technically what provides the mysterious mood.  Very soon, Peterson's moog starts to assert itself playing string-section-like backing notes before the guitar re-takes command.  Pay attention to the end of the song where we get that 'flying - moog' effect that always makes me think of a spaceship in deep space.

The big highlight of the record is the extended synths-guitar suite on side 2 called appropriately enough, "An Eclectic Suite", with titles of The Float, The Fat, The Snake, The Wave, any fusion-fan will absolutely salivate like a pavlov dog (to use Mick Jagger's wonderful proverbial phrase)  over this grinding machine of electric jazz-rock factory-line luxury riffs... disappointingly though it ends in a fade-out, a bit of a cop-out I would say for such a technically proficient and inventive composition.

Coming soon btw is another big american lost progressive masterpiece ( this time not fusion for a change )  that I can't wait to feature, after which I will be on holidays for quite some time, so hopefully, the others will fill in to keep us all occupied through the cold fall...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

VA - Folk and Rock (Germ., 78)

A beautiful VA album of folk rock from Germany, featuring well-known bands Aquarell, Hartleed, Lilienthal, and the awesome Emma Myldenberger, with each band playing 2-3 songs.  Fans of folk will surely be thrilled with this entry.  I was particularly impressed with the Emma songs (except the last one, which made me want to vomit) of course, we all know and love this group -- all reading this should (by now) be familiar with this band, and if not, I recommend you definitely dig into their discography.

Btw, several of these songs are interpretations of traditional folk songs. You will see on the scanned (lol!) insert which songs are written by the band and which are trad.

Thanks again to Sebastian and the growing bin records website for bringing this to our attention!
As samples, first the bizarrely-titled track from Hartleed:
Wok op fro + Schottentanz

And then, the Emma M. entry called Colchiques:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Esa Helasvuo - Think-Tank-Funk (Finland, 1973)

I will continue with the Natural Life discography in a moment, note that Mike Elliott went on to do two more solo records, City Traffic (similar to Atrio, mostly jazz standards solo or with rhythm section), and the much more fusion-oriented and interesting Diffusion in the early eighties.  As well Robert Rockwell III (don't forget that number!) did a solo record with the band called Androids, much more in the funk direction.  This was just before the Natural Life records came out I believe.
Now I will take this opportunity to introduce you to a contributor by the name of Morgan, a multilinguist irish-finnish lad who has shared quite a number of rarities for us in the recent past.  He let me know about this record which really stunned me silent, due to its combination of classical compositional skills with the beautiful electric fusion sound of the seventies we know and love so deeply.  Originally he had it on vinyl but recently it was reissued in a small number of copies in Finland on CD.  All the usual comments I've made about european fusion apply: the skills of composition (not surprising from the country of Sibelius), the variety of tones and emotions, the enormous technical proficiency, add to this the uniquely finnish (or is it scandinavian?) tendency towards very progressive jazz sounds.


Artist: Esa Helasvuo
Album: Think-Tank-Funk
Release: 1973 / 2011
Genre: jazz

“Hardly the funky set you might guess from the title, but a really compelling set of Finnish jazz from the early 70s – one that’s got a contemplative sense of sound, right up there with some of the best ECM material from the time! The project is led by pianist Esa Helasvuo, who also seems to play electric as well as acoustic – stretching out over slow-building lines from a group that includes Hasse Walli on guitar, Teppo Hauta-aho on bass, and Edward Vesala on drums – plus some extra-cool added violin and viola, which make these sharp edges that underscore things very well. Titles include “Song For A Tube”, “Lily Flower”, “Mixed Fruit Flavoured Chorus”, “Think Tank Funk”, and “Dialogue (parts 1 & 2)”.”

A Personal Note From Mr. Morgan:

KIITOS Rocket-Records uudelleen julkaisusta ja mikäli jaossa oleva äänite on vastoin sääntöjänne, poistamme linkin välittömästi!

Oh yes, and what about that title?  have you ever heard anything more politically ridiculous as an album title, the think-tank funk?  how about we send this album to one of those so-called 'right-wing think tanks' for entertainment... 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Natural Life - All Music (USA, 1976)

We'll continue on with their discography with this record in which Bill Berg is no longer credited to percussion but is still doing the covers and artwork, which in this case are just stunning, with the mauve watercolours on the back particularly beautiful. The music is the same chamber-fusion with a light touch of flutes, soprano saxes for colour, etc. Let me introduce this with some fine a-propos words from our very own apps:

" Very melodic US jazz/fusion with some smooth sax work,delicate electric piano and ethereal bass lines not unlike the softer side of RETURN TO FOREVER."

Well said. Again, it boggles the mind that these records are so rare, not a cd reissue in sight, when the quality both of composition and of musicianship, are so utterly top-notch. And that, of course, is why I indulge in this bizarre and time-consuming hobby, it's a kind of community service to rip these old records for posterity, in the hopes posterity will respect the astounding work that went into them and give them a higher spot in the musical-quality scale of things than oh I don't know, the latest Britney Spears cd, perhaps. And for those like me who do believe we are heading towards a post-industrial world of blackouts and brownouts, it is quite imaginable that the manually-cranked record player may yet make a comeback, a hundred years from now, when electricity is sporadic, and people want to listen to this virtuosity from the past -- on the other hand, we are more likely to see manually-operated computers and cd players anyways if that comes to pass, so forget that fantasy.

I particularly love the last track, Elysian Fields, in which the musicians really pour their hearts out in their improvisations, with a gorgeous evocation of the paradisaical title. Why is music so tightly connected with emotions? As I said, it's the pre-eminent mystery of arts, because of the highly abstract nature of music. Is it a byproduct of the construction of the human mind? A byproduct of the necessity of creativity for intelligence? (Intelligence is half creativity, since solving new problems with old tools mandates that ability we describe as such.) Is it purely a social construct to foster strong groups in a shared enterprise? Is it possible to understand purely mathematically, in the terms I used earlier, for ex. as a simplicity of processing power in the auditory computing areas releasing a pleasurable sensation? Is it as some psychologists have discussed, a kind of pleasure-technology along the lines of a cheesecake, which doesn't exist in nature, has no greater purpose but is created solely for taste pleasures?  Let's first understand the delineation of the problem: The amount of time and energy some devote to music (such as [cough] some of us bloggers)  is such that it cries out for explanation in terms of how it must have enhanced the survival prospects for proto-humans. For sure music, as well as menopause, menstruation (both of which do not exist in almost all other animals with a couple of exceptions), homosexuality (which does exist in other animals), and the female orgasm, are the pre-eminent mysteries of human evolutionary theory. I will not mention the beautification of females as opposed to males (the reverse of what is seen in almost all other animals) since this is relatively well understood both in terms of the fact men must be choosy when they are so invested in their families and children (vs. other species in which the men donate their sperm and then abandon ship forever), and also of course the cultural effects of living for the most part in patriarchal society where powerful men are highly sought after as household heads. In this regard it's interesting to reflect on the fact that biologically in humans, both men are women are equally drab or equally beautiful (say, to a discerning chimpanzee it's hard to say who is more attractive), however, there is huge cultural pressure on females to improve their colours and looks. (Just think: why were women not born with bright red lips, not needing a lipstick industry?) Thus, the idea is that patriarchal society has not been around long enough to enhance the actual physical beauty of women. (And of course, I promise in a future post I will delve much deeper into these female evolutionary mysteries including the large mammary glands, female attractiveness, and female orgasm, probably much deeper than really necessary.)

Elysian Fields:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Natural Life - Unnamed Land (USA, 1977)

On this record, which I think is quite superior to the previously posted ST, the basic quintet (recall this comprises Mike on guitar, Robert Rockwell III on saxes, Bill Berg on drums (and cover art), Bobby Peterson on piano, and W. Peterson Jr. on bass) is augmented by a half dozen more musicians playing vibes, flutes, congas, clarinet, and Rick Peterson on synths (on the last track).  Each song is composed by a different musician pretty much.  For me the standout is the collaborative track "Trio" which is arranged by Elliott, but composed by the two Peterson  gentlemen.   This record has a kind of smooth overall softness in composition and arrangement that to me is so attractive and typical of the late seventies style that, as I mentioned, is utterly concerned with crafting beautiful music with no cynicism, irony, technical artifice, or impediments.

Both "Unnamed Land" and the next, "All Music" are really masterpieces in this genre of american chamber fusion, like the famous Coalition Mindsweepers from osurec.  Btw I'm confused about the placement of the ST Natural Life, although the date on the sleeve is 1977, it seems originally it was the first record to appear, since it predates Mike Elliott's Atrio from 1974 and seems to be a little rougher than these next 2 records.  Presumably it was private pressed first, then rereleased on ASI?

I want to draw your attention to the track Trio, in the middle part of which there is an absolutely stunning vibes-flute interaction, this part is called "Migration" and is credited to bassist Will Peterson.  I don't know how you can more perfectly 'describe' acoustically this image of birds in a wetland, taking flight, dipping, soaring, splashing, in a soft and beautiful landscape.  And it leads so wonderfully into the springtime with the soprano sax from Robert Rockwell.  (As I said before, the soprano sax and the clarinet are classic instruments for these seasons.)  Pay attention as you get suddenly an ascending riff (on the sax) exactly like a bird flying away towards the end.  Just stunning.

And what about the cover drawing from Berg? Well, seems to be a group of native americans or perhaps africans in shallow waters at a beach with the vision of ancestors in the sky-- esthetically great, but the concept?  And the faces in the sky--  yikes!
Here's the track I mentioned, Trio:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mike Elliott - Atrio 1974

This is the guitarist-leader of Natural Life accompanied by the rhythm section of the band, that is, bassist Willard Peterson Jr. and drummer Bill Berg.  Without the keyboardist I think the fusion was left aside and what we get here is some softer electric guitar standards and compositions.  Reprised or rather forshadowed (since this album came before the ST Natural Life posted yesterday) is the beautiful ballad Theme for Carla.  Incidentally the dummer, Bill Berg, is the highly talented artist responsible for the cover drawings of all these records (you'll see that they all are from the same guy).

One thing I used to love about jazz back when I was an all-out fan was the musicians' dedication to sheer and unalloyed beauty, along with an inclination towards virtuoso perfection.  These are really old-school values which rock exploded in its insistence on honesty thereby sacrificing technique.  But when Elliott plays each note of the melody so clearly with gorgeous backing chords in "Theme for Carla" you almost get that sense the beauty is so intense it's like looking at a beautiful landscape say Waimea Canyon on Kauai (in Hawai'i) in the brightest daylight without sunglasses, or perhaps, it's as if you were having a date with the stunning Dayana Mendoza and she's laughing at your every word.  But then the record skips and you think:  "damn you, tristan!?!"

The record closes out with a couple of solo guitar tracks. Again, the mastery of chords on "you don't know what love is"  is simply astounding, along with the delicacy of touch I would have been thrilled with this back when I was a jazz fan.  But after discovering progressive rock there was to be no going back for me.

(Theme for Carla)

You Don't Know:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Natural Life - ST (USA, 1977)

Again thanks to the mighty osurec for introducing me to this band that to me is reminiscent of the Muffins in their more approachable, less grumpy moments.  It's headed by Mike Elliott who was quite prolific in the seventies, most of the composition is credited to him.  Read the notes on the back for info on the music.  There will be more to come, promise, or rather, threaten?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Princess Flower & The Moon Rays - "Dreaming The Magic Of Your Maya" 2LP (1968/1970) (kindly submitted by polvere di farfalla)

"Dreaming the Magic of Your Maya was recorded in room number 22, at the Hotel Stella in Paris, over a three-month period in 1967. This was where Ziska and Loren were living at the time. It was a garret room on the top floor of the famous/infamous left bank hotel and room 22 was the best room in the place, overlooking the Jardin du Luxembourg, on Rue Monseieur-le-Prince. It was small, you couldn't fit more than fifteen people in it

The hotel was full of musicians and poets and performes and artists and various colorful people moving up and down in the bohemian world. Friends would drop by room 22 often and engage in spontaneous music making. Loren kept a Sony reel to reel at the ready and recorded all these sessions. Sometimes, when more people showed up than could fit in the room, they would break into groups and to to play music in the park. It was a time of intense experimentation and freedom, of pushing the boundaries. Meanwhile the student revolution of 1968 was fomenting. It was an exciting time to be in Paris.
..." from artwork

- Fej Mornin - guitar
- Raja Samyana - percussion, drums, dumbek, chant
- Loren Standlee - vocals, flute, harp, alto flute, mouth harp, chant
- Daevid Allen - guitar
- Ziska Baum - chant
- Patrick Firpo - guitar
- Loren Lawner - violin

LP1 - Paris, 1968
I Lovin Spaceship
II Women of Moon
III Vanishing Rama
IV Guharam Rock
I Between Spirits
II Ancient Faces

LP2 - NYC, 1970
I Rainbow Forest
II Titicaca
I Voyage to Nebadon
II Ananda

Thanks to polvere di farfalla for the rip (flac format + artwork)! :o)

Rainbow Forest...

link in comments...

Monday, October 08, 2012

Arturo Meza con Gente de Mexico (Mexico,1985) ....prog folk

Arturo Meza con Gente de Mexico (Mexico,1985) ....prog folk

What's your ultimate favorite 10 prog albums ?

In my case,
The following 10 albums are listed at once.. (no order)

1. Eduard Artemiev "Warmth of Earth" (Russia)
2. Mike Oldfield "Incantations" (UK)
3. Tribute "New Views " (Sweden)
4. Genesis "Foxtrot" (UK)
5. Genesis "Selling England by the Pound" (UK)
6. Maria Burmaka  "N 9"(Ukraine,)
7. YES "Close to the Edge" (UK)
8. Steve Hackett " Voyage of the Acolyte" (UK)
9 .Ashra Temple "New Age of Earth" (Germany)

And the last one is ....

This album by Arturo Meza.

In fact,he recorded  almost thr same tracks twice.
And released  twice. (maybe both in 1985)
The other one (as his 1st solo album) was also released as CD before.RYM
But" this "one has never been released as  CD. RYM
And I believe that "this" only vinyl version is much better than his 1st solo album.

I got this vinyl in 1985,and continue listening until today,, and it alway gives me  a lot of joy and discovery .
Happy to enjoy this Masterpiece with all of you.

List up  your "ultimate 10 favorite prog albums" here  if you can ,please .!