Friday, October 25, 2013

Nels Cline - Elegies (USA, 1981)

This was requested in the Quartet Music posts.  I asked the "new kid on the block" if he had it, and he apparently does.  So I'll send you to him, because for now, I am going on vacation for a few weeks.  Good luck everyone, and hopefully you will be entertained in the meantime there, it seems you will.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wisse Scheper - Topaz (Netherlands, 1972)

I guess people might have misunderstood a bit what I was doing in the last few weeks, I meant to post my own personal favourites-- maybe using terms like best or masterpiece was wrong-- that I heard in the last year or so.  I guess few read the introduction, which is OK, and I understand since it was pretty long-winded.  I wouldn't claim that it will turn out these are the favourites for everyone, it's obvious people have different tastes, so I apologize if you're disappointed, I honestly do.  Please, no more crazy fighting, my purpose is to share music with as many people as possible and I've said that multiple times.   I guess the odd thing is there are people who don't like it.  But you can't make everyone happy,  as you can see from the political situation in the United States.  In fact you can't even make a minority of people happy.

As usual I check nowadays to make sure a post hasn't been posted before -- I've had enough comments about that issue already (and again, sorry about the mistake with matrix, I was completely wrong with that one, though I still think it's great music!)  So I was shocked and fell off the chair to see this unknown new blog had already posted this album:
So I'll just send you there.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BEST US fusion album PART TWO: Matrix (USA, 1975)

On the front:
"Stimulus for the auditory nerve"
On the back:
"Music is the healing force of the universe -- Albert Ayler"

It doesn't get any better than this, if you're looking for highly progressive fusion.  Amazingly it hails from the relatively early years of 1972-1973 (i.e., music recorded in those years, I guess the record was released 2 years later).  This band or album is completely different from the later US soul fusion band of the same name:

A representative piece is the "Morning Song," which has a fugue-like structure played between organ, flute, and electric guitar, with the drummer giving a wave-like sound with his cymbals in the background.  Simply astonishing.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Best shockingly creative Vanessa-like progressive fusion from Bulgaria: Septet Rousse (1976)

What a beautiful cover!  The paintings with musical instruments and nature scenery are a hallmark of the Eastern European covers, right?  We've seen them before.  But I love this one, so typical of the seventies, with its darkly surrealistic background similar to an Yves Tanguy.

To make up for  yesterday's pulled-down post of Matrix (which I urge everyone to buy to hear) I'll post this one, which probably hasn't been released to CD yet, though I might be wrong since I scarcely have time to check on all these things.  Derived from the famous hoard of Berlin I alluded to earlier, this one compared to Matrix is interesting in that it is squarely in the European fusion style or perhaps Russian fusion style, versus the Matrix which was US-style fusion.  On the other hand, it suffers slightly from featuring over-long improvisations in my opinion.

After today I'll say goodbye until after my holidays for a bit.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Individual Ricotti and de Albuquerque Albums [requested]

After their collaboration on "First Wind", they made these three interesting albums.  Frank Ricotti was a session musician and library music contributor as you can see here:
He did make this highly interesting album called "Vibes" in 1981 which features a couple of very well-written and progressive tracks, though the majority of it is library muzak.  Worth hearing for the great 2-3 tracks.

As for de Albuquerque, he moved into the pop-prog direction, away from the folk of "First Wind" with two phenomenally well-composed albums.
These are the kind of professionally-played and smooth pop prog records only the British could do well, think Argent, Greenslade, Mike Hugg, or perhaps Stackridge.  The imaginativeness of the arrangements, as was the case with The Beatles, is what I love the most here.  There are ordinary tracks, but then out of the blue you hear some really interesting progressive chords or passages.  Highly recommended!

Finally, note that Frank Ricotti collaborated on Albuquerque's records, but not vice-versa obviously.  The former also appeared on Tony Campo's phenomenal library masterpiece Garuda, recently featured on the cdrwl.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Best Euro-Spacey Fusion: Appendix Space Trip (Swed, 1973)

Simply the best fusion you can imagine on one album.  Notice the track called 'Thetan' --  a reference to scientology, most likely because one of the members was one?  It's a bit unlikely since in the early seventies this was still part of the most secret inner rituals of scientology.  Thanks to multiple exposes and the internet, everyone can now read the 'secrets of scientology' involving thetans that were supposed to cause people to die of shock when they read them-- more likely die of laughter... Here you can have a listen to Thetans:

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Best Chamber Progressive: LBC Trio - Baobab (FRA, 1984) [Plus REUPS Suburbano 2, Coalition Mindsweepers]

All the usual comments apply, the things I've said dozens of times before:
-the compositional quality is so high this rivals anything written by Stravinsky, Prokofieff, etc.
-why is this not played in symphony halls instead of the same tired old classical compositions we should all be so sick of hearing?
-the amount of work these composers put into this record is utterly incredible
-the cover art is so beautiful in these old masterpieces -- what is the chance some of our favourite album covers will be displayed in art galleries someday?
-there is no more advanced or perfect music than such a combination that uses everything humanity has created: pop, rock, classical, folk, and jazz, and combines all streams into a seamless whole
-what is it about music that makes it so beautiful?  of all arts, it seems to be the most abstract kind of intellectual exercise, although rooted in the auditory sense, it has a level of abstraction not achievable with any other sense and functional MRI shows, as I said before, multiple levels of brain from the bottom emotional areas to the topmost cortex are involved in its enjoyment

For comparison purposes, this album is similar to the amazing Kolibri - Winterserenade which isabelbc posted here some 2 years back or so.  (Btw, when I looked at that post recently I read some comments requesting their first album Tsamadou.  I listened to that one and was very disappointed, it's purely ordinary folk and even has cover versions of pop songs like some Jim Croce (if I remember correctly).  Not one to request.)

Some information on the artists for those interested:
Oddly enough they didn't produce a whole lot more music.  Perhaps this is their communal magnum opus?

On the back of the record this comment:
"Three composers, interpreters and improvisers reveal to us their universe:  an original new chamber music which molds and transforms many resonances of classic, jazz, and folklore..."

Regarding the title, I read with great sadness a recent article discussing the last stands of the baobab tree in Madagascar, as usual, the suggestion that they will be all gone in a few years if the environment continues to deteriorate.  For those like me who grew up on the baobab thanks to Le Petit Prince such information is especially depressing.  I've spoken often about how cooperation evolved in humans and made them the masters of the planet, but this altruistic impulse is forever at war with the more basic selfish impulses which have existed in life forever.  Simply, cooperation evolved at a time when humans were in small groups and competed with other small groups for scarce resources (like prog albums?).  Obviously a cooperative group did much better than a group of selfish cheaters.  However, we are now all one tribe, one huge tribe, and in our society it's the selfish cheaters who are favoured, for various reasons.  It's interesting that now nature has set us up for a huge challenge since we must all cooperate to preserve the earth as our living home, the question arises, will the new instincts of altruism win out and thus will we preserve ourselves as a species?  or the old selfish instincts win and we fall into fighting and murderous competition for a dwindling supply of food?  This huge moral combat will  play out in the lifetimes of my children who are now 4 and 6, which is why the subject is so intensely interesting to me.
Like the little prince, will we feel so sad about our lost home that we will go back to our friend the snake and let him bite us?


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Quartet Music - ST (1981)

This is their first LP, I posted the other two last year.  As is so often the case in these situations this first installment is the best and features the most ingenious compositions.  In particular, the classical music influence comes through very strong and clear.  These guys are very similar to Oregon and Ralph Towner as I mentioned earlier.

Over the years I've listened to this album hundreds of times and last night, listening again, I still found endless beauty and forms most magnificent as Darwin could have said.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Best US fusion album PART 1: Tony Palkovic - Every Moment (USA, 1982)

A magnificent, superbly masterful American guitarist by the name of Tony Palkovic produced two seminal masterpieces of US-style fusion called "Deep Water"  and "Every Moment" -- and thanks to osurec (the mighty osurec) again for introducing me to this brilliant and uncompromising artist.  This is in the style of for ex. Mike Warren and Survival Kit or Mike Santiago and Entity (I always have trouble telling those two apart) or the Tony Dupuis album I posted last year.  Tony P. is still active in music and just released an album called Esoteric:
I would really love to know if he has a day job, or if he is able to work only in music, because of his outstanding talents.  I'd like to ask him what he thinks of these masterpieces of the past, and if he agrees with my constant thesis that the music of this period is superior to anything before or after.  (Probably he would disagree, since he just made a CD.)

I just love this record, it's so full of energy, which is the prime reason I love fusion, but also it runs all over a huge variety of emotions and styles, and it's obvious he was classically trained because of the appearance here and there of classical chord progressions.  So the sheer variety and creativity in here simply astounds me.  I've mentioned this before as what I believe the single factor that explains to me why the progressive music was so good in this period, the fact that these musicians had such a great education to build on.


Bakmak - out of the blue (REUP in stereo below, the second link)
Bakmak  - forward flight  (REUP in stereo below, the second link)
(both are excellent)
Quartet Music - ST (posted next up)
Quartet Music - Ocean Park (REUPPED BELOW)
Quartet Music - Window on the lake (I posted it last year) (REUPPED BELOW)
From before:
Suburbanismo -- (Reupped two posts up)
Coalition - Mindsweepers  -- (Reupped two posts up)

As usual, I will upload probably Monday or Tuesday if no one else does.  Remember even though one person requests, about 50-150 people wind up downloading each link, so there's a huge need for these reups.  I didn't realize this until I started doing it myself.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Rarest German Symphonic Rarity PART TWO: Audite (1983)

This was featured on Tom's list here:

First let's see what Tom had to say:

" Today we start a new series of obscure early 80s German progressive and fusion albums. We have 5 to report on that have arrived via various sources recently. Today's post is courtesy of Midwest Mike and is probably the rarest and most sought after of the bunch.

Audite is a vocal heavy German language album, with a clear affinity for the classic 70s progressive rock sound. Sophisticated arrangements are apparent, and the electric guitar work in particular is exemplary. Synthesizers and even a little flute propel Audite to interesting status. No getting away from the canned early 80s production though. I was most reminded of Anabis' "Wer Will?" album though Anyone's Daughter "Piktors Verwandlungen" also sprang to mind. A good one for aficionados of the 80s German symphonic sound, though a bit of a slog for those looking for more dynamic instrumental input." 

It was a priority none, a devastating assessment, guaranteed to cause it to languish in obscurity-- until now.  I actually think it's excellent in the chosen style of 'seventies symphonic'. And as he said, it's rare as hell.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Matthias Frey / Wolfgang Tiepold / Michael Thierfelder - Ziyada (GER, 1979)

Interrupting the regularly scheduled program here to post this astonishing masterpiece of  'organic jazz' -- really, his masterwork with the exception of the Psi Horizonte album he did which was fusion.  Kind of sad to me that it came so early in his career.
I talked about Frey in the "onyx" post I did recently:
I think at this point I've uploaded all the first 6 albums, I'll reiterate the links below to gather them together.
All fusion fans should have a copy of his fusion masterpiece:

Matthias Frey - grand piano, synthesizer
Wolfgang Tiepold - cello
Michael Thierfelder - percussion
Recorded at The Cottage, Wiesbaden, June 1979

Please don't miss the post before--  I reupped the famous master shige rip, Profil - For You which was requested very often.  Took a while to find it.

If anyone can help reupload these, I would really appreciate it:
Pierre Moreau,
Igor Nazaruk,
Bruce Clarke Quintet,
Noco Music,
KOM and Agit Prop

Sample track, Below your breath:


Profil - For You (reup of old rip) (GER 1982)

This beautiful and brilliant German fusion was posted here originally, more than two years ago:
Many have rerequested it, so here it is in lossless (wav) (use free program xrecode 2 if you want to convert to mp3) for you lossless lovers to use isabelbc's wonderful romantic phrase.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Best French Fusion LP: Francis Moze - Naissance (FRA, 1982)

So here's a record from Tom's cd reissue wishlist.
On the back: "This record is dedicated to my mother, to my wife, to my son, special thanks to Herbie Hancock."
Thus [tracks titled] Jocelyn would be his mom, Sophia his wife presumably, "Naissance" refers to the son (whose picture is on the guitar?).  I love the fact it could almost be a concept album since both birth and death appear here.

First of all I'll let Tom speak

"Following on from the Major Surgery post (4 days later, but such is my life), we have another fine record submitted by The AC - this time in the fusion category. Francis Moze is one of many ex-Magma alumni to have pursued a short career in the fusion field. Perhaps the most overt of these attempts was the collaboration of Lockwood, Top, Vander & Widemann, and their 1981 album so subtlety entitled "Fusion". It's not overly surprising, given that Magma were at heart a jazz group right from the beginning. However by the time of "Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh", the band had become so creative, it spawned an entire music movement that still survives today: Zeuhl.

Moze was a veteran of the early Magma lineups, and later turned up on a couple of the more fusion oriented Gong ensembles. Thus his one sole album flew under the radar, unlike his bass playing brethren such as Paganotti and Top.

The AC says: "Obscure fusion album by this former Magma bassist. At first glance, this would seem to be quite typical of other such early 80s French efforts from the likes of Francis Lockwood, Raymond Winter, etc. That is, light and glossy jazz fusion with not too much in the way of depth. That's not too far from the truth, but as the album goes on it reveals itself to be above average for this style, with some fairly engaging instrumental compositions and a pleasant overall atmosphere. Worth a look for genre fans."

And that's exactly right, the album really gains momentum as it goes. Personally I'm a big fan of the McCoy Tyner styled staccato piano, and Moze's band utilizes this technique to great effect, propelling the music forward at an exciting rate. I'm rather certain our fusion readers will want to hear this one. Very nice record from perhaps a surprising source.  " 

And thereby he gave it a priority 3.   I personally really love this record.   I could listen to it all day, and there are days where I have done just that. The ingenious use of electric keyboards (Andy Emler) throughout is what really impressed me.  There is a bit of the repetitive patterns characteristic of zeuhl but the best thing about this is just the strength of the compositions and the sheer enjoyment value.  Consider the song Sophia.  Starting off with a happy funky fusion vibe, Patrick Gauthier-like on a G suspended basis, note how halfway through the song it completely changes direction and goes to G minor with that gorgeous descending pattern on the electric piano--  subsequently traveling through various nice diatonic modulations before returning to electric piano soloing and closing it out with a really soft finale-- wow!  The change in emotions is stunning.  The feeling you get that he really loved whomever it was he had written this for, is palpable.

I don't think it's a detraction to say this music is so well-written you could see them playing it in your local Starbucks- [yeah fat chance that will ever happen, the people who get music for them are complete ignoramuses].

One last remark about Tom and cdrwl-- those who have followed the last few posts there may have made note of the utter admiration with which Tom has expressed his thanks to us here for discovering such utterly unknown gems as Gold - No Class Whatsoever and Rantz.  So thanks to Tom for pointing that out (lol).