December 17, 2008

YUGEN PLAYS LEDDI - Uova fatali (2008, ITA, CD)

[…]. If the austerity of Labirinto d’acqua (2006) alluded to that legacy, with Uova fatali the claim is explicit: a project devoted to a music both unique and off the market, not very prone to cliché and to the passivity of a careless audience; an investment that – as Leddi says – does not yield money but only happiness, a generous act of musicians dragged into the studio only by their passion for this particular music and for the one who has kept it in the drawer for such a long time. From the extremely rich Leddian catalog, Zago, Marinone and Yugen pick their orchestral favorites: all instrumental, children of a clear inspiration, complex without being self-gratifying. These are notes that demand attention, cause thinking, rediscover the taste for perspective and experience, persuaded that this is only way for the work to reveal. Irony and fun are there too, in the titles, so little prog (can we mention Mattarello without a smile?), and in the music, impassively lavish with fake tarantas and masked waltzes, danceable algorithms and «Japanese mazurkas». […]Leddi serves the cause waving not the Conductor baton but a rather anachronistic mandolin, of which Yugen will hardly want to do without and that in Sviluppi goes back to breathe a family air, because of the many Stormy Six frames from Megafono, Carmine, Barbiere, Picnic. A red thread detectable also in the illustrations of Piero Leddi, maker of covers for that band and here instigating the hens (peaceful?) invasion of piazza Duomo. [dalle note di copertina di Alessandro Achilli e Paolo Chang per Yugen plays Leddi – Uova fatali] Guests: Michele Epifani (Areknames), Mario Arcari (De Andrè, Fossati, Ensemble Havadià…), Alberto Morelli (Dissoi Logoi, F.De Andrè, Paolo Fresu, Uncode Duello) and many others...
Yugen live at "2008 Altrock Festival - Italy": Catacresi 5, Escher 2

October 05, 2008

September 20, 2008


Remembering Mauricio Kagel
The death of the avant-garde composer-cum-teacher robs music of a truly inspirational figure
Mauricio Kagel's death yesterday, at the age of 76, is a huge blow for contemporary music. First of all, there's the shock of the news – Kagel was hugely active as composer, teacher, and inspirational figurehead for generations of musicians, and he was due to take part in a major retrospective of his music in Frankfurt this weekend – and then there's the knowledge that music has lost one of its most important and ironic consciences. Growing up in Argentina, where he studied with Borges, he moved to Cologne in 1957, and spent the rest of his life in Germany. He was both an essential part of the avant-garde and a knight's move away from it, both in terms of his identity and his compositional priorities. But it's precisely that lateral gaze on the conventions of music, theatre, film, and politics that gives Kagel's music its lasting power and ability to communicate. He had a reputation as musical humorist and absurdist in the 1950s and 60s, in pieces like Match, scored for two cellists and a percussionist-cum-referee who polices their musical battle, or Antithese, a piece he filmed in which a studio technician fights a losing battle with the mechanics of the music technology, ending up mummified by a nightmarish web of magnetic tape. But there's more than parody going on his music, whether of the serial techniques of Stockhausen or Boulez, or of the monuments of classical music history, paradigmatically in his film, Ludwig Van, his scurrilous contribution to Beethoven's double centenary in 1970. Even a piece like Staatstheater (1971) is more than what it seems: on one hand, this is a blowing up of operatic institutions and conventions, of a kind that Boulez never attempted; but it's also a hugely ambitious piece of musical and instrumental theatre. That's the point about nearly all of Kagel's music: the way it investigates the site of musical performance, exposing the social and political dimensions that are latent in any performance context, whether it's in Eine Brise, Kagel's outdoor performance piece for 111 bicyclists, or the music-historical anachronisms of his Music for Renaissance Instruments. In later years, Kagel seemed to sublimate his explicitly absurdist concerns in pieces like the Double-Sextet or the Orchestral Etudes. But even these apparently abstract pieces interrogate similar territory, taking apart the ideals of 'pure' instrumental music from the inside. Perhaps the masterpiece of his last couple of decades is his cycle for large ensemble, The Compass Rose, eight profound and playful pieces that take the points of the compass as their inspiration: a comment on exoticism, cultural appropriation, and sonic geography – and great fun in performance. I remember percussionist David Hockings scything into a log, showering the London Sinfonietta at the end of a performance of the whole cycle at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Kagel gave the Aldeburgh Festival an invigorating dose of his energy in 2003, when he was composer in residence, even if some of his later music seemed almost wilfully dense and abstruse. Kagel's creativity is not at the centre of 20th- or 21st-century music - indeed, his output is as much a commentary on the ideals and ideologies of music history as a self-conscious contribution to the canon - but that's exactly why he should be essential listening for anybody interested in new music.
Thank you Mauricio for your great music!
.... R.I.P.....

September 15, 2008


This is the second album from this great band. "Bigorna" (subtitled 'The Real History of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table') is a concept album, a spoof on the legend of King Arthur. Very irreverently, the band plays fast and furious, showing flashes of ZAPPA, Alex Harvey, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Splitz Enz all mixed together, yet they manage to add the usual prog fare of Yes and Genesis. This CD comes with a comic book, written in Portuguese.
Official website
1. Prologue (3:29)2. From The Hands Of God (3:48)3. Knight’s Nightmare (6:37)4. King’s Song (3:38)5. King’s Fugue (1:49)6. She Smiled (3:43)7. Guinevere (5:41)8. Marriage (2:17)9. Show Me Where Love Lives (2:33)10. Lily Fears (1:31)11. The Warning (5:51)12. March Of Despair - A) She’s Coming B) Cool Down Emily Whith C) Song Of Despair (4:52)13. Apocalypstic Man (3:56)14. Alberich’s Blues (3:00)15. Letter To Marion (5:17)16. In The Gates Of Hell (1:07)17. The Last Battle (9:29)18. The Great Gates Of Freedom (4:35)


Fantastic and ultra-rare Lp from Turkmenistan.
This is great music, very complex and beautiful compositions in a perfect progressive/jazz-rock stile.
1. Ashkhabad 2. Native Land 3. Chapyksuar 4. Dialog in Aul.


Another great obscure french progressive/R.I.O. group.
Tracklist: 1 Une sidérurgie no.4 / 2 Une sidérurgie no.1 / 3 Une sidérurgie no.5 / 4 Erreur d’errance song / 5 Premier élément / 6 Eléments de paraphrase / 7 Rahcuoba pro afghanIntervenants
Credits: Alain CASARI Saxophone alto, Antoine GINDT Guitare, Contrebasse, Piano, Daniel KOSKOWITZ Drums, GUESTS:, Jacques VEILLE Trombone, Pascal SIEGER Saxophone sopranino, Jérôme BOURDELLON Clarinette basse, Flûte basse, Raoul BINOT Saxophone ténor. (Thank you alexei!)


Great rare and obscure Canterbury group consist in the "GROUP ONE" plays on 1/3/7 tracks: Phil John (bass, backing vocals), Nigel Harris (Drums, percussion), Charlie Summers (guitars, vocal, flageolets, organ), Simon Smith (Backing vocals, organ), Spike Reptile (violin, guitar, voices), Ben Wilson (backing vocals); The "GROUP TWO" plays on reest of album are: Jake Bowie (fretless bass), Elaine Morgan (lead-backing vocals), Pip Pyle (drums), Charlie Summers (guitars, vocals), James Driscoll Junior (vocal).
Tracklist: 1.Listening To My Neighbour Singing 2.Sexist Conversation 3.Social Workers 4.Hollow Cost 5.Make Sure Your Garage Is Large Enough 6.Stabbing Cats 7.CS's 8.Look Mum No Hands (Parts 1-3) 9.A Large Lounge And Yawn.


Very beautiful Dutch band "Bonfire" consisted of Cees Meerman (drums), Eugene den Hoed (guitars and flute), Kees den Hoed (bass and gong), and Frank Witte (Fender Rhodes, vibes, grand piano and recorders).
Complex arrangements, great feeling in a perfect Canterbury sound.
1. Delirium (3:14) 2. Contrast (5:10) 3. Vuurstaal(Part 2) (3:10) 4. Chinese in Europe(Part 1) (3:17) 5. Circle (6:29) 6. The Sage of the Running Nose (18:50) a) Running Nose b) Cabaret c) Third Eye d) Cabaret Again e) Running Nose II Bonus Track: 7. Contrast (Single Version) (3:38) 8. Circle (Single Version) (2:48) 9. There's Always a Reason (Previously unrelease demo Track) (5:16) 10. Ohne Wort (Previously Unrelease demo Track) (5:14)


The band "Yog Sothoth" included: Pascal Morrow (violin), Philippe Guillot (saxophones, flute), Jean-Yves Joron (keyboards), Pierre-Gedeon Monteil (bass) and Olivier Lechien (drums).
The music is a great mixture of avangarde jazz and chamber rock to remind me Vortex, Univers Zero and Art Zoyd.


Great rare Lp from Sweden!
Side A 1. Eskapistel nr 601 (4:59) 2. 43 (4:14) 3. Love, Love Lavemang (4:59) 4. Kroppsraga (3:22) 5. Blazer - Vargen i Vilda Väster (1:18) 6. Torrboll (4:05) Side B: 1. I Peugeoten (3:46) 2. Har Vi Några Tvångstankar (2:21) 3. +39 C (5:59) 4. Har Vi Någon Basist (0:39) 5. Har Vi Någon Demokrati (5:21) 6. Fusk, Mina Viet - Congas (1:51) 7. Banal Böj (3:54)

August 16, 2008


Happy Accidents is filled with some very addicting melodies and rhythms. The complex music(mostly RIO, and symphonic prog in nature) focuses on the interplay between keyboards(which range from cool-analog to cheesy-organ), and everything from flute to guitar. Both epics are built in the cut-and-paste style so many musical ideas are linked together to form a much larger body of work. The thing that really struck me about Happy Accidents is that the music changes every measure. There is little to no repetition, but the melodic development is so intelligent, and witty, that it boggles the mind how anyone could have come up with music this perfect. If you are a fan of Zappa, U Totem, 5uu's, Ennio Morricone, and similar then you will end up loving this music. (Reverbnation)
An extraordinary progressive duo featuring Steve Gore and Steve Kretzmer on guitars, keyboards, bass, clarinet, percussion, drums and voices. Special guests include Dave Newhouse (The Muffins) on saxes and flutes, Nick Didkovsky (Doctor Nerve) on guitar, Dave Kerman and James Grigsby (U Totem) on percussion, Guy Segers (Univers Zero) on bass and Steve Feigenbaum (Random Radar utility outfielder) on guitar. The Rascal Reporters have been making challenging music for more than a quarter century and this is their 1988 masterpiece, originally on lp, but released here with over 30 minutes of bonus material. The complexity of the compositions and ideas here will thrill and astonish fans of rehearsal intensive progressive rock. (DMG)
Rascal Reporters web site


Background: Pochakaite Malko is a Japanese band who emerged from Tokyo in August 1996. The name they took is Bulgarian for “just a minute”. The origins of the band can be traced to the meeting of Shigekazu Kuwahara (bass) and Kazuo Ogino (keyboards) in a previous band led by Tatsuya Yoshida called Magma Copy Band in 1995. The first lineup consisted of five people but was unstable at first. The other 3 members were Youichiro Shin (drums), Sharmin (keyborad), Shiho (Bulgarian vocal). They first rehearsed for some time until their first live show in May 1997, when they also decided on the band’s name. a change in the lineup came in December 1997 when Junzo Tateiwa (drums) replaced Shin Youichiro. However shortly after that the band was in hiatus due to Ogino’s work in Ghost and Tateiwa and Kwahara forming Ton-Den-Hei (Techno-Prog rock). December 1999 sees the band’s coming back to activity and the joining of Tomohiro Ueno (keyboards) to the band. The lineup was now Tomohiro Ueno (keyboards), Kazuo Ogino (piano), Sharmin (keyborads), Shigekazu Kuwahara (bass), Junzo Tateiwa (drums). However another change occurred in 2000 when Sharmin left. You can see now how heavy a keyboards emphasis there is in their sound. An important even, according to the band, was in December 4, 2000 when they played music by Zamla Mammaz Manna, with Lars Hollmer. Up until now, they released no studio album and focused on playing live their material. In April 2001 recordings began on their first full length self-titled to be released on November 22nd, 2001. In early 2002, Tomohiro Ueno left the band. However the trio was reinforced by the addition of Akihisa Tsuboy, from KBB (electric & acoustic violin). In November 2004, their second album called Laya was released. In 2006 an EP called Doppelgänger was released. Junzo Tateiwa is active in other groups as well; for instance Spiral Tones which plays traditional Arabic and fusion music; Memories of Nada - North Indian Trad. and Trance Music; Hiromi Takemoto & Ku-lan – Hawaiian; Elephant Talk - Female Avangarde Pops; aside from that he teaches, composes and writes books. Kazuo Ogino is also a member of the band Ghost, which is listed here in PA under Pscyh/Space-Rock. Shigekazu Kuwahara who is one of the founders of PM, was also a part of Kohenji Hyakkei and Tondenhei. As was noted, Akihisa Tsuboy was in KBB. Music:Their sound is pretty wild, but not in a raw, primitive sort of way, but in that it releases a high dose of energy that rock the listeners. Influenced by two seemingly opposing styles, you can hear an influence of Zeuhl in their albums as can be heard with the bass work. This is not surprising given the two founding member’s background in the Magma Copy Band and the relation to Koenji Hyakkei. However this is not a net Zeuhl album given other heavy influences which appear in the music. There is also a notable influence of ELP sounding keyboard work, which is not surprising given the lineup as was mentioned above. Happy Family also comes to mind, with the dense and aggressive nature of the sound. At times the listener might think this is too much notes, or too loud. Therefore, do not listen to this when tired or if you want a calm album. Their albums are thrilling, a joyride, usually uplifting, emotive and dynamic; taking the best from each of those influences and fusing them together in an efficient way to create a sound of their own. The musicianship is of high proficiency and a major part of their sounding so intricate and coherent. (Progarchives)


The wonderfully-named Cheer-Accident (apparently named for a category of greeting cards) are a long-standing institution on the Chicago scene, although I was unaware of their existence before hearing this album. Sever Roots, Tree Dies was their first release, and while the overused term 'avant-garde' is relevant, what I hear is a combination of '70s RIO (Henry Cow et al.), '80s King Crimson and some weirder shit, although I believe the band have grown away from their influences on subsequent albums. Although I've only given this album 3½ stars, I suspect it may get an upgrading in the future, as its hidden depths release their murky secrets; there's an awful lot going on here - far more than the average brain (especially mine) can assimilate in a single sitting.
Of the band's three members at the time, two (multi-instrumentalists Thymme Jones and Chris Block) play Mellotron, apparently borrowed from one Ted Dominick, whose sleeve credit reads "who else would have a Mellotron?" It isn't actually used until track four, the lengthy Avoid The Invisible, with what sounds like a cello line under one of the more 'normal' parts of the song, before a fantastic discordant strings part takes over. There are more cellos on Severed (the lyrics of which give the album its name), but that appears to be it.
Tracklist: 1.Fight for Innocence 2.Death & Taxes 3.Uncle Dale 4.Avoid the Invisible 5.Severed 6.Heaven 7.Black & White 8.Cutting Off My Arm So I Don't Have to Shake Hands 9.Tree Dies


June 21, 2008


”The safest way not to be swallowed is to be unpalatable I guess.” Chris Cutler.
As a term, Rock In Opposition (RIO) is used to describe a large variety of second generation progressive rock bands and their derivations up to the present day. Originally a single concert coupled with a loose organizational spirit, RIO disintegrated rather quickly, but at the same time this epithet lingered and spread past its European roots. Arranged in March 1978 in London by Henry Cow (England) and Stormy Six (Italy), the Rock In Opposition concert at the New London Theatre additionally featured Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden), Etron Fou Leloublan (France), and Univers Zero (Belgium). Later official additions to the roster accepted Art Bears, Art Zoyd (France), and Aqsak Maboul (Belgium). According to releases at the time, and resulting from charged debates between the bands, RIO groups adhered to the following criteria:
(A) That of musical excellence. This depending on their collective evaluation of the same.(B) That of working actively outside the establishment of music business.(C) That of having a social commitment to Rock.
In practical terms, this meant collaboration in tours, distribution and manufacturing of music, cross-promotion, and general development of alternative outlets in media. Of course, someone had to go and bring up politics, which irrevocably ended the formal RIO relationship. Stormy Six, avowedly Communist as only Italians know how, accused Univers Zero of only being concerned with formalism and Samlas Mammas Manna as apolitical. Stormy Six were then labeled too populist, and after several concerts in 1979 the bands dropped the RIO label. However, the informal links made proved to last, as did the notions of management which set up such enterprises as Chris Cutler’s Recommended Records.
RIO was a survival method as much as an active statement. Early progressive rock had the support of album-oriented FM radio, major labels willing to put out side-length songs, and large audiences devoted to experimentation within the rock format. Even Henry Cow, which had begun on the Virgin label, found that by the late 1970s the music industry had degenerated so much they released their 1979 effort Western Culture on their own imprint. Mainstream progressive rock had shifted to a ghostly shell of itself, with acts like Styx and Journey assuming the mantle and herding it into large football stadiums. Prog rock, which succeeded solely on the margin in the first place, suddenly had no middle ground. While the punk movement takes credit today for introducing so-called DIY methods into music, it was partly the punk phenomenon that ended the limited taste for prog in the music industry.
For record labels, punk rock’s legacy, more than anything else, was the re-establishment of the single-oriented band as the quintessence of how to make money in music. To this day we suffer under the yoke of albums drenched with filler songs and produced by committee. Thank you Mr. McLaren, may I have another?
As a response to the cultural malaise of the time, RIO also reached backwards into musical roots that subsequently insured their limited financial success. Stockhausen, Cage, Kagel, and Boulez were drawn from, as well as the radical strains of European and American jazz. As with most avant-garde movements in the 20th century, this led to an international communion of sorts, both in and out of Europe. Bands that had existed in solitude found an idiom and, most importantly, a small market for their efforts. It was in this era that the Mexican group Decibel achieved a small amount of success and produced some stunning music.
All the studio work and some live material by this band are collected on the 3-CD Mio Records set Fiat Lux, featuring their 1979 full length El Poeta del Ruido, a track contributed to a 1982 Recommended Records quarterly LP, and several albums recorded in the 1990s by a revamped lineup. While Mexican psych rock goes back to bands such as The Spiders and Los Dug Dugs, the 1970s brought more symphonic groups like Nueva Mexico and Al Universo. Decibel were a rare exception to the prog acts of this period in Mexico, and were well versed in European groups such as Faust, Magma, Gong, and the Italian prog masters Il Balletto di Bronzo. The lineup centered around keyboardist Carlos Robledo, bassist Walter Schmidt, and percussionist Jaime Casteneda (Scmhidt and Robledo began playing together as Decibel in 1974). Three months after the original 1978 RIO festival in England, Decibel performed at a RIO festival at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, which can also be heard on the Fiat Lux set.
The centerpiece of this set is certainly the 1979 album El Poeta del Ruido, released in a pressing of 1,000 and distributed in the UK by Recommended in 1980. The title track is a gem, equal to any of Henry Cow’s structured pieces and in most places darker. The song includes a complex structure, odd electronic manipulations in the background, and percussion and keyboards sped up to a blindingly fast speed. Equal parts Uncle Meat and Magma, the track is brilliantly delicate in some instances, removing all the portly elements associated with their Zeuhl forebears.
Few tracks on the album share this structure, however. Several stand out as Stockhausen-inspired, with abstract loops comparable to Raymond Scott or Cluster. Others summon the more chaotic elements of Faust’s Tapes. Overall the album goes beyond many of the RIO associated records of the age, as it consistently defies expectations in both form and instrumentation. The live performances from this era are equally impressive; during one point is hard to distinguish Decibel from any good live AMM recording. Lastly, Decibel does not deserve the designation of “Chamber Rock,” a term of slander for most musicians rather than praise. Against the cold dexterity of bands like Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, Decibel stands out as engaging and provocative.
The question remains surrounding RIO: Opposition to what? Although these bands disagreed between themselves over the answer, a general idea surfaced. These bands committed themselves to existing and working outside the traditional avenues of the music industry, whether by fortune or design, with the recognition that when large amounts of money changes hands art becomes the last priority. The wide range of beliefs between these musicians - from the communist dogma of Stormy Six, the extreme leftists in Henry Cow, the Latin surrealism of Decibel, or the whimsy Zappa-styled politics of Samla Mammas Manna - all agreed on the enemy. RIO became one of the many glorious failures between art and the Left that pepper our history, a Popular Front for the post-1960s avant-garde. Importantly, this was done before our so-called information revolution, and few could imagine it taking place today, when the queue of bands willing to play ball at any costs literally stretches coast to coast. RIO confirmed that the social function of art is to a large extent determined by the artist, and when that role is relinquished, there are forces eager to fill the opening. If John Grierson was right, as art being not a mirror but a hammer, then it begs the question whether art is a weapon or a tool. Decibel and their contemporaries understood it, rightly so, as both. (By Kevan Harris)

"Fortuna Virilis plus..."
(Recorded between 1992-1998)

"In Concert plus..."
(tracks 1-6 live at X-Teresa Museum, Mexico City, 2 march 2000,
tracks 7-12 Archives 1977-1979)
"El Poeta del Ruido plus..."
(Recorded between 1978-1979)
The release consists of a box of three CDs which may be sold separately, and includes many previously unreleased tracks (including the twenty-minute Safari Suit, archival material from 1977, the ReR Demo, and others), early recordings, new live material, and, of course, improved sound quality of all the previously released material. Everything is presented in a handsome box, and the CDs includes some amazing original artwork by the band.

June 02, 2008


German private pressing of first album from 1976 by Franconian band around Rudi Madsius (pre-Streetlife), containing great complex progressive like krautrock-jazz with hammond organ, sax, English vocals, fantastic heavy drumming and great fuzz guitar, rare!
Tracklist: 01. Euthanasie-Suite (9:50) 02. Ländlich (7:50) 03. Epitaph (3:47) 04. Volcano (10:36) 05. Mambo auf Burg Eckbertstein (6:00) 06. Bayrisch Blue (2:56)
Musicians: Gerhard Billann (keyboards), Klaus Braun (drums, percussion), Klaus Kukla (bass, bells), Rudi Madsius (guitar, vocals), Didier "Sont"Urbassik (saxophones).
REQUEST! I search the other two lp's "Sunny days" (1979) and "Nobody's fool (1980); if someone have one of these album please contact-me!


This is a masterpiece from Egberto Gismonti's discography. Fantastic!!
click here


On the first full-length album of the Japanese band Lacrymosa, they already had developed completely their doom-ridden, avant-garde, chamber rock. With an instrumental line-up that includes violin, oboe, clarinet, saxophone and cello, it is probably no surprise that they often sound like a modern chamber music ensemble, albeit supported by a rock music rhythm section. Often the band sounds about as creepy and threatening as Univers Zero. It is not hard to imagine this music as part of a horror movie soundtrack. There are several beautiful, almost pastoral melodic sections, but usually within a few bars musical elements foreshadowing upcoming disaster or threat fill the sonic air. Lacrymosa is significantly harsher and darker in sound than the somewhat similar Japanese band Zypressen, who have a more delicate take on "chamber rock". Bugbear is a great album and recommended listening for anyone into the RIO scene or avantgarde rock. (Gnosis)


Het Pandorra Ensemble is an experimental group formed by Dolf Planteijdt that started around 1974 and ended in 1978. At the same time they played in the popgroup Door Mekaar.The band started with Gert Jan Blom (bass guitar), Roland Brunt (flute), Jean Eble (drums) and Dolf Planteijdt (guitar). When the band started to record an album, Brunt left, and he was replaced by Dolf's brother Wouter Planteijdt, who had just left the band Speed.After the group broke up all the musicians played in numerous bands, both as member and guest. Gert-Jan Blom played in bands like Bauer, Fay Lovski and The Beau Hunks. Wilfrid Snellens played in Black Slacks but sadly died in 1997. Dolf Planteijdt became a well known producer of punk bands, but also played in Morzelpronk. And Wouter Planteijdt was a member of (a.o.) Corry & De Grote Brokken, Morzelpronk, Sjardin's Terrible Surprise and Sjako!. He also appears on the album "A view from the valley" (1985) by Grin.
Tracklist: 1.Door mekaar (D. Planteijdt) [10:07] 2.Kanon pittoresk (D. Planteijdt) [10:47] 3.Ritme 7000 (D. Planteijdt) [2:40] 4.Drei (D. Planteijdt) [4:37] 5.Karotten (D. Planteijdt) [15:08]
Musicians: Gert-Jan Blom (Bass guitar), Wouter Planteijdt (Guitar), Wilfrid Snellens (Drums),
Dolf Planteijdt (Guitar), guest musicians: Roland Brunt (flute), Kaspar (organ).
Review: Let me start by saying that this album is Holland's best kept secret. It is an excellent album that contains some of the best progressive music recorded in the Netherlands. It is experimental, complex and very exciting.The Pandorra Ensemble was an experimental band led by the Planteijdt brothers, who both played guitar. The music is completely instrumental, and except from one track, it is bass (in the style of Chris Squire or Peter Vink), drums and lots of guitars. If compared to other bands, they have something in common with King Crimson. This shows in their avant garde type of rock and also in the guitar playing of Wouter Planteijdt which resembles the style of Robert Fripp. If Crimson had recorded an album in 1978, this is how it could have sounded. Other references are Djam Karet and mathrock from bands like Don Caballero.The album consists of three long tracks and two shorter ones. The first track is Door Mekaar. The main feature of this track is two guitars playing together and against each other. The opening has a Canterbury feel over it. After a quiet center part the song is build up again with a bass solo and ends with a fantastic guitar solo. A great track that really defines the sound of the Pandorra Ensemble. The second track is Kanon Pittoresk. With it's repetitive themes the start of this track is the closest they come to mathrock. Halfway, the most breathtaking minutes of the album pass you by. The rhythm of the song changes and a guitar solo that bring tears to your eyes start. At the end the same solo is played again, but this time up-tempo. To slow things a bit and for the listener to take a deep breath, the album follows with two shorter tracks: Ritme 7000 and Drei. The first is guitar and bass and on top of that a flute, played by Roland Brunt. It is a nice little tune. The second is best compared to the opening of Crimson's Lark's Tongues In Aspic, part 1. In the middle a few people shout numbers in German, although almost not audible. This is a sort of intro to the closer of the album, Karotten. This one starts very quiet but soon they pick up some sort of groove with a heavy bass guitar and some great soloing ( a mix between Akkerman and Fripp). When the song becomes quiet again and you think the album is over, they play a sort of reprise with a very beautiful and melodic piece of music.The musicianship of all players is very high. But a special word goes out to both guitarists. They can easily be added to the list of great dutch guitarist, where they complete the top three with Jan Akkerman (Focus) and Joop van Nimwegen (Finch). The production of the album is also very good. There is one point of criticism about this release: this album should be released on cd as soon as possible. And not some vinyl rip, but a proper remastered album. And then everybody who wants to add an excellent album to it's collection can get it. (Dutch progressive rock)
click here


Third album from the Flynn-lead Octobre, named after a made-up word (survivance would mean ability or aptitude at survival), and by now Octobre is at the top of its game, as was starting Quebec’s progressive rock boom. Offenbach, Maneige and Octobre will found a short-lived partnership to play more gigs, then play with Harmonium (who was to become huge in their home province) and Beau Domage. This lead to recording Survivance, recorded again at Studio Six at the end of the summer of 75, with another non- committing artwork sleeve.
Starting out on the superb (and relatively lengthy) almost-instrumental Tendre Torture (sweet/soft torture), Octobre shows that Flynn’s songs were not their only strength, and the ever-changing track is a small tour de force. Christiane Robichaud’s choirs are to be heard on both instrumental, each starting the vinyl sides. In this regard, Baptême De L’Air (aerial christening) is another stunning instrumental that shines like the sun. At the time, Quebec’s political conscience was in full bloom, and the artistic/cultural revolution in full prime, and En Famille celebrates a festival where 100 000 partied on the Mont Royal and celebrated like a family feast, but something is brewing in Flynn’s mood as not right. La Valse à 11 Temps is definitely one of Octobre more “prog” tracks, sounding like Crimson would had Fripp been from La Belle Province. Of course, you understood that the track is in 11/4, no doubt a remnant of their concert with King Crimson headlining.
L’Oiseau Rouge (red bird) is one of the best-produced tracks where the group’s full dynamic range is emphasized, and they sound like Supertramp (Asylum) meeting Mahavishnu Orchestra, if you can picture that. The closing title track is Flynn’s more personal text on the album about his feeling in the music industry, and Hebert’s excellent drum rolls save the track from sinking in cheesyland. Another filler is Encore Ce Soir, no doubt inspired by the whining of Flynn’s girlfriend.
Tracklist: 1. Tendre Torture (instrumental) (6:27) 2. Cet Instant (4:05) 3. La Valse À Onze Temps (4 :11) 4. En Famille (3:29) 5. Baptême De L'air (instrumental) (3:26) 6. Tu T'en Vas Encore Ce Soir (4:26) 7. L`Oiseau Rouge (4:48) 8. Survivance (3:43) Musicians:
Pierre Flynn / keyboards, lead vocals- Jean Dorais / guitars - Mario Légaré / bass- Pierre Hébert / drums (progarchives)
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Way above average German symphonic progressive album. This one has a lot more meat on its bones than most of the somnambulant snoozers coming from there during this time. For one thing, the tempo is faster and they mix in some time changes, to help keep it interesting throughout. Full fledged band sound with a thick production. The thematic sections are well developed, and a melody or two can actually be committed to memory. There’s a definite Genesis influence, but not as much as Neuschwanstein, Ivory and Sirius. There’s even a little funky business in the bass lines. A very good album that could use a legit CD reissue. (OML)

May 10, 2008


Beautiful french progressive folk, in Gentle Giant vein.


Interesting and complex jazz rock album with some freer structures. It tends to get a bit shreiky in the sax department and the compositions stray towards the unhinged. But that’s not to say their aren’t some stellar moments as well. Rhythm section is super tight, and the guitar playing sometimes has an acidic tone, which is more than welcome. Best track, and at complete odds with the rest of the material, is a mellow hand-percussion / flute piece with quirky French voices. Had the album been more composed and less improvised, it would’ve been a monster. As it stands, it’s still quite good. (OMD)


The following is taken from the press release about the band from their label AltrOck:"Belarus group Rational Diet proposes an unusual mix of styles and sounds: Chamber music, rock, theatre and improvisation, supported by the amazingly instrumental abilities of their components. It’s difficult to define the mood of such music, which goes from dark atmosphere to grotesque, powerful or oniric, sometimes even humoristic. Violin, cello, bassoon, saxes and accordion - besides the traditional rock instruments - chase each other along the dizzy instrumental plots, or sustain the dazed texts by the Russian avant-garde poets Daniil Charms and Alexei Kruchenykh. Influences: Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Webern, Ives, King Crimson, Henry Cow, Art Bears, Univers Zero, Present, Debile Menthol"(Progarchives)
Fantastic R.I.O.!!!
link ...Buy it!


Man, I must be getting old. All these things from 25-30-35 years ago that I remember and own or owned are now being touted as lost classics. "Lost?, I've owned that for...uh...years...uh...never mind..." Anyway, this is a very good French jazz/rock/zeuhl album from 1978 that came out on the short-lived Free Bird label. Thollot is a drummer who played with some noted free and avant jazz players in the 60s and 70s, such as Sonny Sharrock, Sam Rivers, Don Cherry, Eric Dolphy, Jac Berrocal and many others. This title however is completely different. The record label hype, all in French that I can read badly suggests that it's meeting of a trilogy of styles: the jazz/rock universe, such as Weather Report, French classical music as typified by Poulenc and Debussy and lastly rock in opposition sounds of Art Bears and John Greaves. I really don't hear rock in opposition at all, but eliminate them and throw in Zeuhl via Zao, Yochk'o Seffer, Alain Eckert Quartet (will THAT album ever be reissued on CD?) and I'd agree pretty strongly with their take on this. The lineup is Elise Ross-vocals, Francois Jeanneau-soprano sax & flute, Michel Grailler-piano, Yamaha electronic piano, Francois Couturier-keyboards, Jean Paul Celea-double bass and Jacques Thollot on drums, percussion and keyboards. Elise sings in a rather classical style and these are obviously jazz and jazz/rock players but it's pretty strongly zeuhl, baby. Very nice and great to see this available again! (Wayside)
Great crazy prog!!!! here


Louis Sclavis (b. Lyon, France, February 2, 1953) is a French jazz musician. He performs on clarinet, bass clarinet, and soprano saxophone in a variety of contexts, including jazz and free jazz. His music shows great creativity and a lively sense of humor.
Sclavis began his musical education at the conservatoire de Lyon at age 9, where he studied clarinet. He began performing with the Lyon Workshop, where he met Michel Portal and Bernard Lubat. He then joined the Brotherhood of Breath of Chris McGregor, and later the Henri Texier quartet.
He began his work as a leader in 1987, with his first album Chine. The track Duguesclin has actually been a hit in France, due to its lively, middle-age inspiration. In 1995, he created, along with Henri Texier and Aldo Romano, a trio named the African trio which achieved considerable success, even outside of the French jazz community.
He frequently performs with the cellist Ernst Reijseger and was one of the first to combine jazz with French folk music, working most prominently with the hurdy-gurdy player Valentin Clastrier. (Wikipedia)
Great music!! Here

May 03, 2008

Henry Cow - Live In Sweden (1977, bootleg)

This is a fantastic performance from Henry Cow. This concert was recording from a Swedish radio in 1977 and broadcast by "Radio Popolare di Milano" (when "Radio Popolare" broadcast still good music .....).
A great concert for a fantastic group!

May 01, 2008


Calomito are a six-piece Italian band who use: violin/viola, guitars, alto/soprano saxes/percussion/weird vocal efx, Fender Rhodes/synth/organ, electric bass/double bass and drums, the sound is a mix of progressive, r.i.o., Canterbury and jazz touch with a mediterranean influence that sometimes reminds of the fantastic Area, Gong, or Zappa … complex compositions, skilled musicians, a really good debut album!
Support this artists!! Buy this great cd!!!!
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Fantastic project with David Cross (violin),Keith Tippett (piano),Dan Maurer (drums, EMU II, whirled tube) and Jim Juhn (guitar, bass, EMU II, percussion, whirled tuba).
Tracklist: 1. Sybilization (3:17) 2. Fourth dimension (3:14) 3. Baptism by fire (2:46) 4. Poolside (5:34) 5. Abstract Blue (5:32) 6. Moronathon (3:13) 7. Amnesia (2:59) 8. Reflection (8:45) 9. What did you do (2:06) 10. Radically conservative (3:04)
Guest musicians: Ron Linton (Tenox sax), Eric Drew Feldman (DX7), Paul Burwell (percussion, sqweek drum, bowed metal, whirled tube)
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"Watercourse way" is the first Shadowfax album; this is a fantastic mixture of progressive and jazz-rock harmonies, very different from the following works, close to new age sounds. Recommended!!!
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A unique case of an italian band signed with Motown, Libra were formed in Rome in 1974, and in the same year they recorded their first album for Ricordi, after a successful tour with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso; some of the group members came from significant past experiences, like keyboardist Centofanti from Buon Vecchio Charlie and singer/guitarist D'Andrea from Myosotis and Logan Dwight.
Mainly a rock album with large use of acoustic parts and some jazz-rock and funky influences, Musica e parole has some PFM similarities and a few interesting prog moments, like in the 13 min. long closing track Inquinamento (originally sung in roman dialect and renamed Pollution in the US version), and gave the band the chance to be signed in the States with Motown, that issued it in a revised english-sung version (simply called Libra) in USA. One of the album tracks, the funky Beyond the fence, was sung in english even in the original LP version, and was recorded live or with fake audience overdubs.
A year later, with D'Andrea leaving and ex-Goblin drummer Walter Martino joining the band, Libra released an US-only second album, Winter days nightmare, much more commercial than the previous one and with strong (obvious considering the label) funky influences. This was not successful and the band returned to Italy.
A final Libra line-up, including keyboardist Maurizio Guarini from Goblin and guitarist Carlo Pennisi from Flea, released a third album in 1977 as a soundtrack to the film Shock (but the LP was misspelt as Schock), by director Mario Bava, much in Goblin style, before disbanding. Federico D'Andrea died in 1978, run over by a car. (
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Hermeto Pascoal (b. June 22, 1936) is a Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist born in Arapiraca, area of Alagoas, Brazil.

Known as o bruxo (the sorcerer), Hermeto often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children's toys, and animals, as well as keyboards, button accordion, melodica, saxophone, guitar, flute, voice, various brass and folkloric instruments. Perhaps due to his growing up in the countryside, he uses nature as a basis for his compositions, as in his Música da Lagoa, where the musicians burble water and play flutes while immersed in a lagoon: a Brazilian television broadcast from 1999 showed him soloing at one point by singing into a cup with his mouth partially submerged in water. The folk musics of rural Brazil are another important influence on his work. Pascoal comes from a remote corner of northeast Brazil, an area that when he was born had no electricity. He learnt the accordion from his father and practised for hours in the shade as, being an albino, he was incapable of working in the fields with the rest of his family.
Hermeto's career began in 1964 with appearances on several Brazilian recordings with relatively small groups. These now-classic albums and the musicians involved (Edu Lobo, Airto Moreira, Elis Regina, Cesar Camargo Mariano and others) established widely influential new directions in post-bossa Brazilian Jazz. After joining Moreira in his Sambrasa Trio in 1966, the two went on to form Quarteto Novo and release an album which would do much to launch the careers of Pascoal and Moreira. Pascoal would then go on to join the multi-faceted Brazilian Octopus, to play on Airto's recordings and then to recording in his own right.
He initially came to the international public's attention through an appearance on Miles Davis' 1971 album Live/Evil, which featured Pascoal on several pieces (which he also composed). Davis has said that Pascoal was "the most impressive musician in the world". Later collaborations involved fellow Brazilian musicians Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. From the late 1970s on he has mostly led his own groups, playing at many prestigious venues, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979. Other members of the group have included bassist Itibere Zwarg, pianist Jovino Santos-Neto and percussionists Nene (his colleague from Quarteto Novo in the 1960s), Pernambuco and Zabele.
Hermeto is a prolific composer, famous for his project Calendário do Som, in which he composed a song every day for a year so that everyone would have a song for his or her birthday (Wikipedia).

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Tim Berne (born 1954) is an American jazz saxophone player and composer.
Though Berne was a music fan, he had no interest in playing a musical instrument until he was in college, when he purchased an alto saxophone. He was more interested in rhythm and blues music--Stax records releases and Aretha Franklin, especially--until he heard Julius Hemphill's 1972 recording Dogon A.D..
Hemphill was known for his integration of soul music and funk with free jazz. Berne moved to New York City in 1974. There Berne took lessons from Hemphill, and later recorded with him.
In 1979, Berne founded Empire Records to release his own recordings. He recorded Fulton Street Maul and Sanctified Dreams for Columbia Records, which generated some discussion and controversy, due in part to the fact that Berne's music had little in common with the neo-tradionalist hard bop performers prominent in the mid-1980s. Some regarded Berne's music as uncommercial. In the late 1990s Berne founded Screwgun Records, which has released his own recordings, as well as others' music.
Beyond his recordings as a bandleader, Berne has recorded and/or performed with guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-garde composer/sax player John Zorn, violinist Mat Maneri, guitarist David Torn, trumpet player Herb Robertson and as a member of the cooperative trio Miniature (group).
Recent years have found Berne performing in several different groups with drummer Tom Rainey, keyboardist Craig Taborn, bassists Michael Formanek and Drew Gress, guitarists Marc Ducret and David Torn, and reeds player Chris Speed.
Berne's complex, multi-section compositions are often quite lengthy; twenty to thirty minute pieces are not unusual. One critic has written that Berne's long songs "don't grow tiresome. The musicians are brilliantly creative and experienced enough not to get lost in all the room provided by these large time frames." (Wikipedia)
Tracklist: 1-Velcho Man (For Stefan Zeniuk) (9:00) 2-Hip Doctor (For Al) (3:25) 3-Elastic Lad (11:49) 4-Sanctified Dreams (7:39) 5-Blue Alpha (For Alpha) (8:00) 6-Mag's Groove (12:43)
7-Terre Haute (7:40)
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Ensembles performing a chamber music variation of progressive rock often get compared to Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, but if the list is stretched, Belgians Julverne are likely to find themselves in the number three slot. Taking their name from one of the earliest speculative fiction writers, Julverne peform a classically inspired music, whose (very) occasional tangents into darker territory within this chamber sort of format undoubtedly draw comparisons to their more well known Belgian contemporaries. They included a revolving line up led by flute and sax player Pierre Coulon and violin and trombone player Jeannot Gillis.
In fact, Julverne has shared musicians with Univers Zero, including Dirk Descheemaker and Michel Berckmans. So there is really no surprise that there are similarities in style to both bands. However, Julverne is more like Univers Zero's happier, more cosmopolitan younger brother. The ensemble's first album was released in 1979, and unlike their more aggressive musical brethren, Julverne don't have any drums. In fact, they only seem to be a rock band by comparison, as this truly seems to be a chamber group performing original music with influences of Satie, Bartok, Debussy, and the less dissonant measures of Stravinksy. The instrumentation is typical of chamber music with piano, strings, horns and winds, and these are arranged in many lovely ways over Coulonneux's ten-track duration. In fact, the similarities to Univers Zero and Art Zoyd are largely the musical format, as this is never angry or strident in the least. However, Julverne was certainly considered an experimental band by the musical collective that made it up, and the compositions reflect an exploratory ethic in their use of keys, modes and arrangements. Without getting into music theory, it can still be said that most of the compositions often start out in a fresh and accessible mode before veering off into a tangent belying the 20th Century influences of the band. It's a gorgeous album and rather idiosyncratic, even in comparison to the ensemble's RIO-drafted contemporaries.
A Neuf was an even more mature effort, starting with an ambitious three-piece suite. While Julverne's chamber music approach implies a sort of serious study, musically there were bits of humor sneaking into the compositions nonetheless, such as the second part of the suite, "Un Peu Pretentieux" (A Bit Pretentious). Musically this is also true, with the ensemble's occasional tangents into sly, goofy, or zany territory. One may be listening to some beautiful arranged chamber piece before the whole group speeds off in another direction, as if Bugs Bunny was yet again leading Elmer Fudd off on another wild goose chase. In fact, if anything sets apart Julverne from cousins Univers Zero, it's this omnipresent playfulness. Only a group of skilled musicians and composers could pull off such a thing in such complex and involved compositions. Not a piece of music is anything but entertaining here, rich in ideas, spontaneity, dynamic diversity and mood. Perhaps it's more a tribute to such classy music that Julverne finds itself in such company with bands like Univers Zero in Belgium's most interesting lineage of experimental chamber music ensembles.
While the first two albums by Julverne might be considered the formative work of the ensemble, the band would release two more albums, 1983's Emballade and 1986's Ne Parlons Pas de Mahleur, before dissolving. In 1992, the Igloo label would release a retrospective of these albums (Le Retour du Captain Nemo) including a great deal of music from the early albums. Julverne also reformed recently to release 2000's Le Pavillion des Passions Humanies. (

If one was to draw a map of the Belgium prog scene (outside of the symphonic current) , all period considered and all currents considered (Zeuhl, Canterbury , RIO , Avant-prog , jazz-rock all fitting into what is called CHAMBER ROCK – but I choose to call it Chamber prog , because some of those bands are not really rock anymore) , then JULVERNE would likely be right in the centre of the story. All musicians have a link with all major bands from that small surrealist country where culture is the main gathering force but also the main dividing rift between the two major communities of the land. Members of JULVERNE have played or will play in UNIVERS ZERO , PRESENT , AKSAK MABOUL , X-LEGGED SALLY , COS , CRO-MAGNON , etc.. The group started as a bunch of music classical students wanting to reinvent the classical chamber orchestra by adding a bit of a rock twist although this will remain very discreet. But on the mood spectrum I would place them on the opposite scale of Univers Zero, the first being the extra joyful joie de vivre as opposed to the dark and lugubrious underworld of UZ. The first album actually was the oeuvre of Pierre Coulon , but the next two albums were also quite interesting as En Ballade stands a bit apart from the rest of their discography often digressing into jazzier terrain and some vocals. They recorded a last album in 86, and nothing (apart from a compilation album in 92) was heard of them until the turn of the century when they reconvened for another album celebrating the renovation of a spectacular building in Brussels that has remained open to public for exactly four hours before being closed for obscene bas-relief. Did you say Belgian surrealism? (
Tracklist: 1. Le fils du Roy est névrosé 2. Joyeux Noël, cap’tain Nemo! 3. Franklin prend son thé chaud 4. Savez-vous planter du chanvre? 5. Valse cirque I 6. Prout de mammouth 7. Communiqué gouvernemental 8. Valse cirque II 9. ’t kofschip 10. Trois trois deux
Line-up/Musicians: Jean Coulon (trombone), Pierre Coulon (flute), Michel Dayez (guitar), Anne Denis (violin), Jeannot Gillis (violin), Jean Paul Laurent (piano), Richard Rousselet (trumpet), Denis VanHecke (cello).

April 13, 2008


This is the RARE third LP of Musica Urbana in fact it's a soundtrack of the film by Bigas Luna (1978) . The Ensemble Musicale is completed by the Musica Urbana, Blay Tritono and La Rondalla de la Costa.
Some info and tracklist:
Banda Sonora de la Pelicula: Primera Aventura de Pepe Carvalho: Tatuaje (Temas de Toni Miro & Joan Albert Amargos) intepretados por los grupos Musica Urbana, Blay Tritono y La Rondalla de la Costa.
1. He nacido para Revolucionar el Infierno (4:36) 2. Barcelona (1:01) 3. Vallvidrera (5:00) 4. Camina gorda (4:14) 5. Peliqueria queta 1era (1:26) 6. Peliqueria queta 2da (0:19) 7. Hotel las Palma (3:51) 8. Amsterdam & Barcelona (1:59) 9. Teresa Marsé (3:10) 10. Charo (2:38)
Una pelicula dirigida por Bigas Luna sobre un guion de Manolo Vazquez Montalban
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Stormy Six - Cliché + Pinocchio Bazaar (1976, CD, Italy)



The first album by this Italian/international avant-progressive supergroup, which has been eagerly anticipated. Their stated influences should tell you all you need to know: Satie, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage, Reich, Zappa, Henry Cow, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Univers Zero! Very very good stuff for fans of 'rehearsal-intensive, complex avant-progressive rock. "Yugen is a musical project born during autumn of 2004 from an idea by Francesco Zago and Marcello Marinone. Four years after the end of The Night Watch, , Francesco Zago begins thinking about a synthesis between rock (progressive and RIO-style oriented) and chamber music. Thanks to the ideas and fundamental support of Marcello Marinone, the project takes its shape from a few chamber compositions, enriched with electric sounds and a rock rhythm section. The name of the project became Yugen, a japanese word – impossible to translate in its precise meaning – which expresses the aesthetic canon of japanese art, as haiku in poetry or Noh in theatre. Between December of 2004 and January of 2005 the first demo of Yugen was produced. Diego Donadio, formerly drummer of The Night Watch, contributes to the drums arrangements. In February, during an extemporaneous jam session in Tradate, the keyboard player Paolo Botta (Franch TV) and swiss saxophone player Markus Stauss (Spaltklang, Ulterior Lux) joined the group. Then Stephan Brunner, who plays electric bass in Spaltklang, and reed player Peter Schmid (Evan Parker, Vinny Golia) accept to play with Yugen. In the meantime, new compositions come out: Zago writes little acoustic pieces. To satisfy the complexity and richness of the arrangements, other instrumentalist join the band: the percussionist Massimo Mazza, Giuseppe Olivini (OZ, Contrapplugged) plays harpsichord, the classical players Maurizio Fasoli (piano), Elia Mariani (violin) and Marco Sorge (clarinets). Last arrivals, but not less important, the drummer Mattia Signò, Tommaso Leddi (Stormy Six) and U.S. drummer Dave Kerman (Thinking Plague, 5uu’s, Present, Blast, Ahvak….). The recordings began in June of 2005 and they continued until January of 2006. During the following months, Udi Koomran (Avhak, Present, Thinking Plague) worked on mixing and mastering." (Wayside)
Fantastic first working draft of Francesco Zago, "Yugen" is, in my opinion, today one of the best progressive group of the world. An incredible blend of progressive/avant-garde/contemporary-chamber rock. A masterpiece!!! click here
Buy this cd!!