August 17, 2007

ROUGE CIEL-S/T (2001, CD, CANADA)

SIMON STEENSLAND-THE ZOMBIE HUNTER (1995, CD, SWEDEN)

POCKET ORCHESTRA-KNEBNAGAUJE (1978-79-83, CD, USA)

Formed in the late seventies in Phoenix, Arizona, this long-lost RIO band originally went under the name Knebnagäuje (and indeed released their first demo tape as such) and unfortunately never managed to garner much in the way of attention at the time. Little did the world know what they were missing; namely some of the most intense, creative, densely composed RIO ever made.They released two demo tapes, one near the start of their career (Knebnagäuje, 1979) and the other towards the end (Pocket Orchestra, 1984). This end, incidentally, was sadly brought about by the group’s lead guitarist and originator, Tim Parr, suffering an early death that same year. Had this not occurred, it is quite possible that Pocket Orchestra would have become much better-known and respected within the RIO community.Pocket Orchestra clearly played RIO for the love of RIO, and they used every trick in the book to maximum effect – complex time signatures and jerky rhythms, expanded instrumentation that included clarinet, saxophone and cello, playful humour, discordant harmonies coupled with surprisingly catchy melodies and hooks. Their sound was one that will hold instant appeal for any self-respecting RIO fan and will instantly repel just about everyone else. If I had to name names I suppose their closest stylistic cousins would be the SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA family tree (Pocket Orchestra’s hard-edged qualities make them more akin to the Zamla era albums than the earlier, lighter Samla ones, though). Other influences include HENRY COW and UNIVERS ZERO. All the usual suspects, really. However, I must stress, Pocket Orchestra has a sound utterly distinct from all these influences.The two tapes the band managed to record during their active years were compiled in 2005 onto one CD (with amazingly high sound quality too!) by MIO records, coupled with heartfelt liner notes from the band’s friend and fellow RIO musician Scott Brazieal of Cartoon. It serves as a fitting testament to the band’s exemplary skill, creativity and sheer gusto. (Progarchives.com)

P.O.N.-S/T (1995, CD, JAPAN)


August 16, 2007

THE SCIENCE GROUP-...A MERE COINCIDENCE... (1999, CD, USA/ ENGLAND)

N.O.R.M.A. - S/T (1992, CD, ITALY)

BANDA ELASTICA-LOS AWAKATES DE NEPANTLA (1994, CD, MEXICO)

FIREBALLET-TWO, TOO... (1976, LP, USA)

Two, Too... was released in 1976. It is perhaps most famous for its cover which depicts all of the members of the band dressed up as (you guessed it), ballerinas. Now you all get it. Anyway, one single was released off of this album. It was the cover of the song "Desiree". The b-side to this single was the song "Carrollon". This is a relatively rare single. This album had Stephen Galfas as the producer and featured strings and a Eumir Deodato arrangement on the last track. Although not often given as high a praise in the music community as the first album, it rewards repeated listenings (http://www.fortunecity.com/)

FIREBALLET-NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN (1975, LP, USA)



This is one of the gems from the USA progrock history. The band featured Jim Como (lead vocals, drums, percussion), Bryan Howe (Hammond – and pipe organ, celeste and vocals), Ryche Chlanda (electric – and acoustic guitars, electronic devices and vocals), Frak Petto (piano, electric piano, ARP 2600 synthesizer, Mellotron, electronic strings, Oberheim DS-2 digital sequencer and vocals) and Martyn Biling (bass, 12-string guitar, Moog Taurus bass pedals). Their first album “Night on Bald Mountain” was released in ’75 and produced by Ian McDonald (KING CRIMSON). It sounds like a very tasteful progrock stew with elements from GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT and YES. The very disappointing second LP (’76) is entitled “Two, two ... “, no surprise that it turned out to be their swansong. The album debut-album “Night on Bald Mountain” from 1975 is a bit unknown beauty, other USA prog rock bands NETHERWORLD and LIFT got far more attention from the prog fans all over the world. The twelve compositions (including seven bonus tracks, “All Killers, No Fillers” would Greg Walker from Syn-Phonic say) contain alternating and captivating music with strong echoes from early GENESIS and also GENTLE GIANT and YES. But many twists and turns give the music an original approach, including exciting arrangements from classic composers (MUSSORGSKY and DEBUSSY). The singer sounds powerful and has a wide range, the ‘vintage’ keyboards are very lush with spectacular synthesizer solos and the guitar work has a beautiful, 24-carat symphonic tradition. Highlight on this splendid CD is the epic title track (almost 20 minutes): wonderful changes of climate, great breaks, impressive pipe organ (evoking “Close to the Edge” from YES) and beautiful HACKETT-like guitar work. Also worth mentioning is Ian McDonald’s contribution to this album, he plays flute on two tracks and saxophone on two tracks, his sound is very distinctive. Highly recommended! (progarchives).
A great disc for all lovers of good music. An immense class, genius, romance, great performance, a short drive that makes crazy!!!

July 30, 2007

ROBERTO COLOMBO-BOTTE DA ORBI (1977, CD, ITALY)


Tracklist:
1. Ascolta si fa sera 5'15
2. Botte da orbi 1'54
3. Fiato alle trombe 5'46
4. Dai, non fare il romantico 4'39
5. Alegher alegher 5'42
6. Danza disumana 4'53
7. Il ritorno di Likembe 6'07
8. Fine del trenta-tre 1'20

ROBERTO COLOMBO - SFOGATEVI BESTIE (1976, LP, ITALY)

Great prog from italy! Recently reissue the two Roberto Colombo works (Sfogatevi bestie and Botte da Orbi) with fantastic combo plays 'a sorta' of incredible progressive-fusion-mediterranean-jazz. Very recommended for all prog fans!!!!!
Tracklist:
1. Sono pronto 2'19
2. Caccia alla Volpe 10'20
3. Entreneuse 6'35
4. Sfogatevi bestie 4'23
5. Assurdo parteI 1'57
6. Metronomo 138 8'26
7. Assurdo parteII 4'33

July 23, 2007

ETHOS-OPEN UP (1977, LP, USA)

ETHOS were an excellent 70’s US based 4 piece prog rock band whose second album “Open Up” remains a landmark album for this music lover. Fans of classic 70’s prog will love this album with their great epic passages (a la YES) with complex syncopation (aka SPOCK'S BEARD, GENTLE GIANT and KING CRIMSON) and pastoral moments full of the glorious mellotron. In many ways they remind me musically of a cross of FIREBALLET and YES. ETHOS were Brad Stephenson (bass, string bass, moog bass pedals), Mark Richards (percussion, moog drums), Michael Ponczek (mini moog, poly-moog, Hammond, organ, Rhodes piano, mellotron) and Wil Sharpe (acoustic and electric guitars). Their overall sound is full and rich with some real creative and challenging parts yet controlled and highly symphonic. A truely amazing little album that I recommed to all prog rock lovers. (James Unger).
Tracklist:
1. Pimp city (7:26)
2. Start anew (3:22)
3. U.V. Melody (0:32)
4. Memories (7:08)
5. The players (Of the game) (5:49)
6. Marathon II (5:24)
7. Sedona (4:07)
8. Close your eyes (5:45)
Musicians:
Michael Ponczek (keyboards), Mark Richards (percussion), Will sharpe (guitars, voice), Brad Stephenson (bass, voice).
"Open up" degli Ethos, è uno dei migliori album di prog sinfonico americano. Disco che segue "Ardour" del 1976 dove si intuiscono immediatamente le influenze dei Gentle Giant, Yes, Genesis e King Crimson pur mantenendo comunque una propria originalità, ancora più marcata, appunto, in questo secondo lavoro, più maturo a livello compositivo e negli arrangiamenti. Da segnalare, a testimonianza del valore del gruppo la partecipazione come supporter nelle turnè americane di Yes e King Crimson. Purtroppo "Open Up" non è mai stato ristampato su cd; esiste solo una edizione su Tachika Records, registrazione proveniente da vinile. Vivamente consigliato agli amanti del prog classico, o meglio della buona musica..
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CIRCUS-S/T (1976, LP, SWITZERLAND)


Coming from Basle (NW Switzerland on the language border between the Alemanics and the Romands), this unusual quartet of musicians has a strange line-up. Hauser is one of the better percussionists (still playing but in jazz bands nowadays), and bassist Cerletti (the only non-Alemanic in the band) is certainly excellent plays also acoustic guitar. The other two, Fri and Grieder, share the wind instruments with the vocals. That's it! No KB and almost no el. guitars, at least on the first two albums. This group is one of the real gems still unknown to most progheads, developing a fusion between classical and rock much like early MANEIGE did but also includes some influences from VDGG (mostly the sax but sometimes also the singing) and also KING CRIMSON to a lesser extent. While having some success locally, they only managed three studio albums of which the first two are now on CD. Of those two albums "Movin' On" is their best but their debut is also excellent.CIRCUS is certainly recommended to everyone who loves great interplay between musicians and to progheads not afraid of a little adventure in their musical endeavours. (Hugues Chantraine)
Tracklist:
1. Stormsplineter (2:45)
2. Nowadays (10:49)
3. Sundays (6:56)
4. Dawntalk (5:07)
5. Room For Sale (15:07)

July 18, 2007

NORTHWIND-DISTANT SHORES (1977, LP, USA)

The original Northwind band was founded in 1968 by Roland Ernest and Jan Stepka. They were inspired originally by bands such as the Doors, Cream, the Moody Blues, the Beatles, and Procol Harum. Northwind was later heavily influenced by ELP, Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis. Echoes of these styles are found in the Distant Shores recordings. The band went through four membership changes. The first incarnation had drummer Steve White. In 1970 they created and performed an original rock opera entitled “Looking Back.” In 1972 they recorded an untitled demo album featuring the song “Last Day at Lokun.” Tom Iacaboni replaced Steve White on drums when Steve left the band to pursue the guitar. In 1974 Tom, Jan and Roland recorded the world famous (in collectors' circles) Northwind demo album in Roland's family's basement. This album is often erroneously referred to as “Woods of Zandor.” Tom was at heart a jazz drummer, and when he left Tim Cahill joined on drums and percussion. For a short period, Bob Pascoe contributed his rock guitar to Northwind's sound. Northwind then performed mostly in clubs and created a reputation in Canada. This period largely had the band playing covers of other rock bands' material. In 1977 returning to original music, Roland took over guitars and the band added the talents of Rob Foster on wind instruments. In 1978 the band recorded their magnum opus “Distant Shores” in Roland's family's basement in Sterling Heights, Michigan. One song, “Just Yesterday,” was released as part of a local radio station's compilation of Detroit area bands' music entitled “Home Grown.” Tim Cahill's religious calling conflicted with his perception of the rock and roll lifestyle leading him to leave secular musical performing. Howard Wells joined the band on drums and percussion for rehearsals while Roland and the band's manager Ron Geddish vainly persued a record contract. Northwind broke up in 1978 largely because of this failure. In the end, the “Distant Shores” songs were never performed outside of Roland's basement. Jan Stepka created this site in 2002 to keep Northwind's music and memory alive
Musicians:
Roland Ernest (composer, guitars, keyboards on "Just Yesterday", vocals), Jan Stepka (keyboards), Rob Foster (winds), Tim Cahill (drums, percussion, vibes), Joseph Dedischew (sound), Howard Wells (drums, percussion) Repost + Full discog

Flight ‎– Incredible Journey (1976, CD, Italy)

  
Eastworld Recordings ‎– EW0117CD CD 2013 Reissue

July 17, 2007

TRUE MYTH - S/T (1979, LP, Canada)


True Myth was formed in London, Ontario as an offshoot of a class project by students at Fanshawe College -- a music school. Tom Treumuth was the keyboardist and helped the band secure a deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1979. Their debut album was the first digital album recorded in Canada and the second in the world (the first being Stevie Wonder's 'Secret Life Of Plants'). Treumuth soon opened his own record label, Hypnotic, and the band switched for their follow-up album 'Telegram' in 1981. In the meantime, Treumuth had been moonlighting with another Toronto studio project The Fictions on their debut album in 1980. Treumuth would go on to produce the likes of Honeymoon Suite and dozens of other Canadian acts during the 1980's many of them on his surviving indie label Hypnotic.
Track list: 1.Reach For The Heavens (6:05) 2. Light Years Before (6:06) 3. It’s Got To Be (3:13)
4. Time and Time Again (4:45) 5. Space Promenade (4:28) 6. In The Mist (4:56) 7. Song For The World (4:21)

July 16, 2007

GRUPPO D'ALTERNATIVA - Ipotesi (1972, LP, Italy)

This band with a strange name and an unusual line-up is still less-known to many italian prog experts, yet their only album is surprisingly good and has very interesting moments. The weakest point is the singer's voice, squeaky and monotonous and with some spoken parts to connect the musical themes, but musically the band is competent and the album reveals some jazz-rock influences in the Canterbury vein (listen to some jazzy guitar parts or the use of bassoon). Acoustic parts are prevalent but there are sudden rhythm changes and complex arrangements and the album can be a nice surprise. The nine tracks are connected to form two long suites.
Gruppo d'Alternativa was based in Milan, and Ipotesi was conceived as a rock opera, and even represented at Teatro Uomo with good success. It was based on the death of a friend of the group's singer, in a road accident. The LP, released on Harvest, contained only a small part of the opera, that originally relied much more on improvisation, most of the band members being influenced by such jazz artists as Miles Davis. But it was not successful, and the record company asked the group to release a more commercial second album, causing their decision to take separate ways.
Little is known of the former group members after the end of GdA. Leonardo Dosso played for some time with Stormy Six, on their Cliché and L'apprendista albums, and after the end of his musical studies he dedicated to chamber music and formed the Arnold woodwind quintet, playing with them for over 20 years. He is also a bassoon teacher and collaborates with baroque music ensembles.
An album that's been ignored by many collectors for years, Ipotesi has never been reissued on vinyl, but it's not impossible to find though never particularly cheap.The nice gatefold cover is laminated, but non-laminated copies also exist, these being presumably, as in many other EMI issues, later pressings. No counterfeits exist nor foreign issues.
The only CD reissue ever made for this album is the one by AMS, released in 2007 with mini-LP gatefold cover.
Musicians: Tino Guasconi (vocals), Gianfranco Fumagalli (flute), Leonardo Dosso (bassoon, acoustic guitar), Rodolfo Pace (guitar), Roberto Romano (keyboards), Paolo Rizzi (bass), Nino Flenda (drums, percussion).

July 15, 2007

ENSEMBLE HAVADIA' - s/t + Specchi (1981-82, CD, Italy)

Risultati immagini per ensemble havadia

Hermann Szobel - Hermann Szobel (1976, CD, Usa / Austria)

Hermann Szobel is/was a pianist and composer. He produced and recorded one album, titled "Szobel," at the age of 18, demonstrating, in the words of a "Down Beat" reviewer (9 September 1976), "a conception and technique far in advance of most musicians twice his age." According to the artist biography included with promotional copies of the album, Szobel was born in Vienna in 1958 and was "a child prodigy who began his classical training at the age of six" who "spent the majority of his practicing hours on pieces by Chopin." The bio states that pianists Martial Solal and Keith Jarrett were two major influences on his work. Szobel is a nephew of the late rock-concert promoter Bill Graham. "Szobel" features extremely complicated compositions comparable to those of Frank Zappa. The music is jazz-based but contains elements of rock and Western classical music. Szobel's impressive piano virtuosity is noticeable throughout the album. The other musicians on "Szobel" are Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute. Obscure even when it was released (on Arista Records) in 1976, "Szobel" does not exist on CD. Hermann Szobel disappeared from the music world after this album and has never been heard from again. (wikipedia)
Fantastic powerfull mixture of progressive jazz close to the Zappa jazz-rock 'era' with complex textures harmonic of rare beauty and intensity.
Personnel: Hermann Szobel (piano, writer/arrangements main performer), Bob Goldman (drums), Michael Visceglia (bass), Dave Samuels (percussion, marimba, vibraphone), Vadim Vyadro (clarinet, sax, flute).
New link in comment!

July 14, 2007

Mamma Non Piangere - Musica Musica Bestiame E Benessere/ Sempre Avanti A Testa Bassa (1979-80, 2 LP, Italy)



 MAMMA NON PIANGERE ‎– N.1 (Musica Bestiame E Benessere) 1979
MAMMA NON PIANGERE ‎– N. 2 (Sempre Avanti A Testa Bassa) 1980

Orchestra Njervudarov - Con Le Orecchie Di Eros (1979, LP, Italy)

Orchestra Njervudarov was formed in Bologna, though some of the members were from the Marche. The band nucleus existed since mid 70's under the name Frogs, playing a jazz-rock inspired from Soft Machine and Weather Report. The new name was chosen not long before the album release in 1979, and the group had a limited live activity.
Con le orecchie di Eros, the only recorded release by Orchestra Njervudarov, is an album with a very strange story, being well known by name to many italian prog fans throughout the words, though few of them had heard it, making it a sort of legendary (and difficult to find) record.
Released in 1979, probably in a limited quantity, by EMI, and badly promoted, the album is an unusual mix of Canterbury-inspired instrumental jazz prog (not unlike Picchio Dal Pozzo's albums), Zappa-esque sounds and atmospheres and even a touch of ironical new wave like in the long-titled Rapporto Njervudarov sulla teoria degli opposti estremismi (to be honest, this is the only track to sound totally out of place in the entire album, with crazy lyrics in the same vein as some "demential" italian punk bands of the late 70's).The LP has some very good and intense moments, though it's not particularly representative of the typical italian prog sound.
Bass player Roberto Costa has long collaborated with Lucio Dalla and other italian pop artists like Luca Carboni and Luca Barbarossa. Even guitarist Bruno Mariani has briefly played with Lucio Dalla, as well as with Ron, Samuele Bersani, Ornella Vanoni and others.Drummer Adriano Pedini still plays in the jazz field after having a long career as sessionman.
A rare album, Con le orecchie di Eros has never been reissued on vinyl nor CD. It has an odd number in the EMI catalogue, as the 3C064-18139 used for this record seems to be dated 1976 like Baricentro's Sconcerto from that year (no.3C064-18152). Probably the LP was given an unused old catalogue number. No counterfeits exist nor foreign vinyl issues. (italianprog)

Side A
A1 Tot Stelle Reflex 
A2 Spleen, Codice Notturno 
A3 Una Baldoria Verticale 
A4 Tristessa 
Side B
B1 Rapporto Njervudarov Sulla Teoria Degli Opposti Estremismi 
B2 Toujours L'Amour 
Il Montaggio Delle Attrazioni / Sinfonia Erotica 
B3a L'Oscillazione Poetica 
B3b Batte Il Tamburo.... Lentamente 
B3c Fedeltà Al Respiro!


Musicians:
Adriano Pedini: Drums, Vibraphone, Flute, Percussion 
Roberto Costa: Electric Bass, Contrabass, Synthesizer [Crumar, Polymoog], Trombone  
Bruno Mariani: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer [Roland], Percussion 
Piero Baldassarri: Electric Piano, Piano [Acoustic], Synthesizer [Polymoog] 
Piergiorgio Bonafé: Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Cornet, Flute.