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