May 21, 2022

Ske – Insolubilia (2021, CD, Italy)

Paolo Botta (Not a Good Sign, Yugen) - Keyboards, Composition
Fabio Pignatelli (Goblin) - Bass
Luca Calabrese (Isildurs Bane) - Pocket Trumpet
Lars Fredrik Frøislie (Wobbler) - Harpsichord
Keith Macksoud (Present) - Bass
Tommaso Leddi (Stormy Six) - Mandolin
Nicolas Nikolopoulos (Ciccada) - Flute
Evangelia Kozoni (Ciccada) - Voice
Vitaly Appow (Rational Diet, Five Storey Ensamble) - Bassoon
Simen Ådnøy Ellingsen (Shamblemaths) - Saxophones
Alessandro Cassani (Not a Good Sign) - Bass
Martino Malacrida (Not a Good Sign) - Drums
Francesco Zago (Yugen) - Guitars
Maurizio Fasoli (Yugen) - Grand Piano
Valerio Cipollone (Yugen) - Clarinets
Elia Leon Mariani (Yugen) - Violin
Jacopo Costa (Loomings, Yugen) - Vibraphone/Marimba/Xylophone/Glockenspiel/Cymbalum
Maria Denami (Loomings) - Voice
Massimo Giuntoli (Hobo) - Harmonium
Pierre Wawrzyniak (Camembert, Oiapok) - Bass
Mélanie Gerber (Camembert, Oiapok) - Voice
Guillaume Gravelin (Camembert, Oiapok) - Harp
Pietro Bertoni (FEM) - Trombone/Euphonium
Thea Ellingsen Grant (Juno) - Voice
Tiziana Azzone (Il Giardino delle Muse) - Theorbo

SKE is the "solo" project of Paolo "SKE" Botta, italian keyboards player who also plays in many bands, most notably Yugen and Not a Good Sign. In 2011 the debut album "1000 Autunni" was released on AltrOck/Fading Records, and features mostly Yugen musicians. The style can be described as 70s Symphonic Prog meets Avant/RIO and Canterbury. The album received great critical acclaim and went quickly out of print, to be eventually reprinted in 2018 as "1001 Autunni", with an additional live CD.
The new studio album "Insolubilia" is still produced by Marcello Marinone. It is a dense and heavily layered album, inspired by brain teasers and paradoxes. Despite this, it has a distinctive melodic approach that should help the listener to avoid “getting lost” into the sonic labyrinth. With echoes by bands such as Gentle Giant, Änglagård, Universe Zero or JLF Ledesma among others, the album main opus “Insolubilia” is a 5 part variation of several recurring themes, that benefits of a very extensive musical palette, provided by 25 musicians.

Benny Soebardja – Night Train (1978, Cassette, Indonesia)

Arranged By, Lead Guitar, Vocals – Hari Soebarja
Bass – Alan
Drums [Uncredited] – Haddy Arief
Keyboards, Piano – Erwin, Indra
Music By – Lizard

Vermilion Sands – Water Blue (1987, CD, Japan)

Very good Japanese band, propably from Tokyo, found in 1986 by female singer/flutist Yoko Royama and keyboardist Masahiro Yamada, featuring an original supporting crew of Masumi Sakaue on guitar, Kenji Ota on bass, Takafumi Yamazaki on drums and Hiroyuki Tanabe on flute/keyboards. They became instantly a favorite of the Silver Elephant live stage, before Ota, Tanabe and Yamazaki leave the band in 1987, replaced by Ryoji Ogasawara on bass and Hisashi Matoba on drums. The same year the debut of Vermilion Sands ''Water blue'' is released both in vinyl and CD on Made In Japan Records.
Vermilion Sands along with AUGUST were propably the only Japanese bands to make an attempt to recaptrure the smooth, female-fronted Symphonic Rock taste of the 70's with RENAISSANCE being the absolute reference point for a singer like Royama, who's voice recalled the chords of Annie Haslam, when singing in English.There is also some CAMEL and GENESIS influences in the sound of electric guitars and keyboards respectively, but the album follows basically the dreamy, RENAISSANCE-style of Orchestral/Melodic Prog Rock with hypnotic electric guitars, acoustic rhythms and symphonic keyboards in evidence. The tracks are long and well-crafted, full of ethereal melodies and atmospheric, super-clean female vocals, switching from synth passages to piano textures and maintaining a harmonic style of vocal arrangements throughout. Fairytale moods with mellow, symphonic orchestrations and beautiful soundscapes guarantee a fantastic reincarnation of the classic RENAISSANCE sound, even if the music is mostly relaxing, without signs of powerful themes.
The Musea CD reissue comes with four bonus tracks, two of them being captured in live performances, while ''The love in the cage'' was included in the 93' Musea compilation ''7 days of a life'' and ''In the night of ancient tombs'' being a leftover from the ''Water blue'' recordings. Both are great examples of Japanese Neo/Symphonic Prog, maybe with a bit more grandiose style and more pronounced keyboard moves, making this reissue definitely recommended.
So close to the style of RENAISSANCE and even more surprisingly created by a Japanese band. Succesful attempt on this particular style, characterized by fine arrangements and harmonic vocals. Strongly recommended. (apps79)

May 17, 2022

Earthstar – Salterbarty Tales (1978, LP, Usa)

A1 Splendored Skies And Angels 5:48
A2 Serindego (Including - Rapid Of HU) 9:11
A3 Salterbarty Overture 3:03
A4 Wee Voices Touch 1:32
A5 Broken Chain Of Euphoria 8:30
B1 Canyon Nebula (Including - Rapter Relcafe, Sunspots Theme, Rapter Releafe Reprise - Final.) 22:10
B2 Night Tones 5:05
B3 Sunsets 1:14
B4 Shades 1:02

Electric Guitar, Sounds [Sheets Of Sound] – Dennis Rea
Flute – Tim Finnegan
Performer [Night Machine] – Craig Wuest (A1, B4)
Performer [Tonewall] – Dennis Rea (A1, B1, B2, B4)
Piano – Craig Wuest
Synthesizer [Elka String Synthesizer, K2 Synthesizer, ARP 2600], Piano, Organ, Clavichord, Keyboards [Rocochord], Gong, Bells, Timpani, Acoustic Bass, Mandolin, Piccolo Flute [Electronic Piccolo], Loops [Tape Loops], Mouth Organ, Percussion [Assorted], Sequencer, Voice [Voice & Mouth] – Craig Wuest
Timpani, Gong – Dan Zongrone
Violin – Darrly Trivieri
Xylophone – Dan Zongrone (A5, B2, B4)

Earthstar was an electronic music group originally from Utica, New York, in the United States. Earthstar was the brainchild of keyboardist/synthesist Craig Wuest. After the release of their first album, Salterbarty Tales (1978), by Nashville-based Moontower Records, Wuest was encouraged by electronic music artist, composer, and producer Klaus Schulze to relocate to Germany where Earthstar was signed by Sky Records. Schulze co-produced their second album, French Skyline (1979).

Canzoniere Del Lazio – Spirito Bono (1976, LP, Italy)

A1 Ballo In Re (Festa) 16:33
A2 Ballu 4:11
B1 Morte Di Pulcinella 7:13
B2 Spirito Bono (Coccodè) 15:35

Drums, Percussion [Putipù], Vocals – Piero Avallone
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Bass, Contrabass, Mandolin – Pasquale Minieri
Guest, Percussion – Giorgio Vivaldi
Percussion, Accordion [Organetto, Fisarmonica], Vocals, Tenor Saxophone – Francesco Giannattasio
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Piccolo Flute – Luigi Cinque
Violin, Mandolin, Vocals, Flugelhorn [Flicorno Tenore] – Carlo Siliotto
Vocals, Electric Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Piero Brega

May 15, 2022

Church Of The Cosmic Skull – Is Satan Real? (2016, CD, England)

1 Mountain Heart 6:06
2 Black Slug 5:04
3 Movements In The Sky 3:34
4 Answers In Your Soul 3:57
5 Is Satan Real? 4:19
6 Watch It Grow 4:01
7 Evil In Your Eyes 11:14

Bill Fisher - Guitar & Vocals
Michael Wetherburn - Organ & Vocals
Loz Stone - Drums
Sam Lloyd - Bass & Vocals
Jo Joyce - Vocals
Amy Nicholson - Electric Cello & Vocals
Caroline Cawley - Vocals