Monday 31 August 2015

Traffic Sound - Lux (1971)

The third and final album from this band from Peru.

Traffic Sound was a pioneering band from Peru as they were one of the first psych/rock bands from South America. Their albums has got classics status and is remembered with great fondness. That also includes this album.

The band were a six piece on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds, keyboards and plenty of vocals. The songs were a mix of English and Spanish songs. The band clearly had aspirations of breaking through in the international market.

The music is a mix of folk and psychedelic prog. That mixed up with rock'n'roll anno the late 1960s. A lot of flower power and hippies. A lot of west coast psychedelic prog. 

The result is a decent album which sounds a bit dated. Check it out if psychedelic prog is your thing. 

2 points

Sunday 30 August 2015

Message - Synapse (1976)

The fourth album from this German band. 

Message was a German band with an English vocalist. Which meant their vocals were free of any heavy German accents. 

This four piece was also a band who crossed over to many genres. In particular on this almost forty minutes long album. 

Their lineup was guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion and woodwinds. That gave them a broad platform. A platform from where they branched out into funk, fusion, prog rock, aor rock, disco like rock, hard rock and a bit jazz too. All of it on this album alone. Most songs included two or more genres. 

And it works because the band knew their stuff and had their own style. A style I am not a big fan of. I don't find many good songs here. But this is still an album well worth checking out although it is too slick for my liking.

2.5 points

Itziar - Itziar (1979)

The one and only album from this band from the Basque region in Spain.

Itziar is the forename of the female vocalist here, Itziar Egileor. She is joined by five other musicians here on this thirty-five minutes long album. The lineup is flutes, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, keyboards and female vocals.

This album is carried by Itziar Egileor's vocals and is a vehicle for her voice. The band is nominally a folk music band. One of the very many folk music/rock bands from the Basque region. Itziar comes with a big difference though. They have combined folk music with vocal based laid back jazz. Almost lounge jazz. Well, it is vocal lounge jazz. The combination of folk music and jazz is pretty interesting and commercial. This combination also throws up some rather fierce folk rock songs and guitars on a regular basis on this album.

Interesting, but not particular good. There is no real good songs here and the album is carried by Itziar Egileor's rather superb vocals. This is a decent album which has not won me over.

2 points

Abel Ganz - Abel Ganz (2014)

The sixth album from this Scottish band.

A self titled album popping up after a number of albums normally means a lot of changes. This is indeed the case here where Hugh Carter and Hew Montgomery has departed the scene and left Stuart MacFarlane and Davie Mitchel to carry on the flame/the band.

This normally also means a new sound and a new direction. This is also the case here although I am not sure which direction this album has taken. 

Gone is neo-prog and in comes a plethora of styles and genres. From chamber classical music via AOR to world music and folk music. These sixty-seven minutes got it all. I guess the common denominator is adult rock. 

I am an adult myself and I got a lot of problems with this album. An album which has borrowed the best bits from old folk rock records, and bridged that with not so good own original stuff. This album is wildly ambitious and may get some brownie points for that. 

This album is fragmented and not so coherent. It is not an album I like. It is a decent album, but nothing more than that. 

2 points   

Alternative 4 - The Obscurants (2014)

The second album from this British band.

Alternative 4 is Duncan Patterson's band. He was a previous member of Anathema. I also believe he is involved in a couple of other bands too in addition to Alternative 4.

I quite liked their debut album. A pretty doomy affair. So I was a bit surprised by this album, though......

Alternative 4 was scaled back to a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and Duncan's vocals. A female vocalist also adds her voice on a sporadic basis.

The result is a much more stripped down album. A very pastoral album too where less is more and the various instruments plus the vocals gets a lot of exposure. The piano really comes into it's own here. So does Duncan's and that female vocalist respective voices. 

Less is more is what this album is all about and the result is a good album indeed. There is no great songs here. But the band has got a good platform here to expand on and I hope they do that. Writing some great songs would be the next step.

3 points 

Jethro Tull - A (1980)

The 13th album from this British band.

A was originally meant to be an Ian Anderson solo album. The record label did not like that idea at all so it became a Jethro Tull album with Martin Barre and Eddie Jobson from UK playing vital parts in addition to Ian himself. 

This album is a move, a pretty big move away from the Jethro Tull formula as it includes - shock, horror, shock - keyboards !! The songs structures is also pretty different from the normal Jethro Tull fare.

The keyboards sounds like Saga. The album still sounds like a Jethro Tull album with this added keyboards and pop tunes formula twist. The music is still good and the keyboards are not that bad. 

Maybe this should had been an Ian Anderson solo album after all. It is still a good Jethro Tull album although by no means anywhere near their best albums. 

3 points

Saturday 29 August 2015

Inquire - Inquire Within (1999)

The debut album from this German band who went onto releasing three albums.

The band has been listed as symphonic prog in ProgArchives and that got my hopes up.

Inquire is a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals. Pretty ordinary, in other words. 

I am not so sure where this symphonic prog comes in here. Well, I do actually understand that and this label is perfectly right. The album starts out as a heavy metal album though and changes over to a much more symphonic and neo prog album after a while. It also incorporates some avant-garde music too. 

The album is one hour long and it half of it is occupied by the When Darkness Turns To Light opus. An opus that does not really sets my world alight. 

This album is complex, yes. That box is ticked off. But there is no really good music here. Not even sporadic. It is sailing very close to being a turkey. A couple of interesting details saves it's skin. This is not an album worth wasting any time on.

1.5 points 

Cherry Choke - Raising The Waters (2015)

The third album from this Leicester, England band.

Cherry Choke is a trio with a lineup of guitars, bass, electronics, drums and vocals. And this album is my first meeting with their music.

This album is forty five minutes and it takes us back to approx 1970-72 where acid rock, space and psychedelic rock was all the rage. Preferable with an eastern, India type of sound. Sitar was a popular instrument. George Harrison in The Beatles was much more visionary than he himself believed when he added sitar to one of their songs. Cherry Choke amongst many others uses electronics manipulated sitar.

This album has this retro sound and some pretty catchy songs too. They are not afraid of going really outer space and avant-garde too. The vocals are pretty much retro too. And there is some psychedelic pop here too.

There are no really good songs here. The end result is a decent to good album which will greatly appeal to anyone into acid and space rock. 

2.5 points   

Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret (2005)

The eight album from this US band.

Glass Hammer is one of the best known US symphonic prog bands around, past and present. Their output has been of good quality too.

The band is a five piece on this album plus a lot of guest musicians. The lineup is keyboards, bass, guitars, drums and a lot of male and female vocals. 

This is a 2 CDs album. Disc 1 has two long suites; A Maker Of Crowns and The Knight Of The North. The fifteen minutes long A Maker Of Crowns is by far the better of them with a long and majestic main theme. The twenty-five minutes long The Knight Of The North also has some good themes and some good female vocals too.

Disc 2 starts with the eleven minutes long Long And Long Ago which is a good song. Nine shorter songs with a lot of female vocals follows before the thirteen minutes rather good Having Caught A Glimpse completes the album.

All the music on this 100 minutes long album is safely in the symphonic prog genre and the quality is good throughout. Some of the songs are though too much sickly sweet for my liking. Too much sugar kills. I love the main theme on A Maker Of Crowns though. In short; this is a good album.

3 points 

Friday 28 August 2015

La Düsseldorf - Viva (1978)

The second album from this German band.

La Dusseldorf was a result of a split in Neu and the brainwork of the Dinger brothers. They are indeed 2/3 of this band and is joined by Hans Lampe on percussion.

They also got two guest musicians here and the lineup is guitars, piano, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and German male vocals.

Yes, this is indeed a krautrock album. A pretty typical German krautrock album too with a lot of German humour and plain madness. Well, eccentricity is the more correct word here. The music is very minimalistic with some pretty commercial sounding tunes, children rhymes methinks, which is given a full psychedelic workout. 

A bit easy music and not particular great. But it works and it is a good forty minutes long album. I am not overawed. But the band is onto something here and I quite like what I hear.

3 points 

Thursday 27 August 2015

Isopoda - Taking Root (1981)

The second and final album from this Belgium band.

I reviewed their 1978 album exactly 6 years ago. I quite liked that album and gave it a three stars rating. I thought they sounded like a blend of Strawbs and Genesis on that album.

Isopoda is a five piece band on Taking Root with a lineup of synths, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. This album is forty-six minutes long too.

The sound is not good. It is by far still the best aspect of this album. An album full of pomp pop and pomp rock with not much prog rock. The 1980s synths sound is horrible. Ditto for the vocals and everything else too. It is a horrible album by all means and one heck of a fluffy turkey. Nuff said.

1 point

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Ancient Sky - Mosaic (2015)

The third or so album from this Brookly, New York in USA band. 

The band releases their albums through Bandcamp and that is a good choice as it makes the albums widely available. 

The cover art work does not give away the game. This five piece band has a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. And it is not neo-prog. It is really dirty space rock. 

Their brand of space rock is not entirely outer space like. It is far more psychedelic rock like and it stays within the gravitation of this planet. It is also songs based. There is still some punk influences here and a lot of indie-rock influences. The sound is pretty dirty. A sound given them through an excellent mix of the album. 

The two first songs are good. Unfortunate, the album tails off a bit at the end and the end result is therefore an album somewhere between decent and good. Check it out.

2.5 points

Trubrot - Lifun (1971)

The third album from this Icelandic band.

I have yet to listen to their first two albums and I don't know much about this band. I have heard they are a super-group with members from the best of the 1960s Icelandic bands. Something that does not tell me anything.

The band was a five piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, flutes, organs, keyboards and male vocals. The vocals are both in English and Icelandic.

The music is a mix of hard psychedelic rock, rock, hard rock and a bit funk. It was the commercial music back in 1971 and Trubrot has delivered the goods to the local scene.

That is, there is not any good songs here. Most of the music is half decent and hardly even that. I have to admit I don't like this album at all. It does not have anything of any value to me. A couple of good melodies lifts my spirits a bit. Besides of that........

1.5 points  

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Traffic Sound - Traffic Sound (1970)

The second album from Peruvian band.

Traffic Sound was one of the first ever rock bands from Peru. A country who later spawned a lot of quality bands. 

Traffic Sound was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of woodwinds, bass, guitars, drums, keyboards, flutes and English vocals. 

Their sound is very good on this album and I have no complaints about the sound. The instruments are clear in the mix. A sound with an old sound from the late 1960s.

The music is also from the late 1960s. Take the 1960s English psychedelic rock scene as a start...... and end when you want to find a label for their album. The music is reasonably hard and the woodwinds gives the music a bit of an edge and a bite. 

The end result is a reasonably decent album which has it's charm. It feels a bit outdated and a piece in a museum. It is still worth checking out.

2 points   

Monday 24 August 2015

Brainticket - Past, Present & Future (2015)

The seventh album from this Swiss band.

Brainticket was and still is one of the best bands from the krautrock scene. Their 1970s album is all worth checking out. The band has recently toured as a part of a bigger space and krautrock package which also included Nektar and Hawkwind. I wish I was there !

The 76 years old Joel Vandroogenbroeck is still the main man in this band as he has been all the time. He is helped out by members of Nick Turner Band, Die Krupps and UK Subs. That in addition to the female vocalist Kephera Moon. 

The lineup is sitar, synths, drums, bass, guitars, flutes and vocals. Both male and female vocals. That and a lot of samples.

The result is very much a spaced out krautrock album. An album from outer space, no less. From outer space with a lot of great music too. Most seventy-six minutes of this album provides us with great music in the good old krautrock and space rock tradition. The music floats around and rarely get too close to the sun and crashes to the earth. This is how space rock should sound like ! 
Best of all; the music has a very organic feel with very little techno bits and bobs. There is hardly anything of it. The album is also very focused with very few waste and mindnumbing dull nodding around.  

Is this their best ever album ? Maybe it is. It is hard to argue against this album. It is indeed a great album and I love this one.

4 points   

Cherry Five - Il Pozzo dei Giganti (2015)

The second album from this Italian band, released 40 years after their debut album.

Cherry Five is mostly known as the band who became Goblin. But their 1975 self titled debut album was a very fine album in itself. 

The band has reformed with most of the original members and with Gianluca De Rossi (from Tabopran) on moog, mellotron, hammond organs and keyboards as an extra member. The five original members are concentrating their efforts on guitars, bass, drums and Italian vocals. 

I noted in my 2011 review of their first album that it sounded like an Italian version of a Yes album. Well, they have moved on from that one after forty years and gone for a much more ELP sound and soundscape. The tangents, all kind of tangents, sounds like Keith Emerson at times. The guitars sounds like a normal Italian guitarist in the symphonic prog scene and the rest is also grounded in that scene. Ditto for the vocals.

This is a very classic Italian symphonic prog rock album with obvious references to Le Orme. It is also an album which takes the listeners on many exciting journeys throughout these fifty minutes. It is an album which would immensely please anyone into Italian prog and I am indeed pleased. It is just lacking a killer track or two. Besides of that; this is indeed a very good album.

3.5 points 


Sunday 23 August 2015

Cos - Viva Boma (1976)

The second album from this band from Belgium. 

Their 1974 debut album with that weird album title, was a rather strange mix of zeuhl and Canterbury jazz. It was also a great album.

I am pleased that the band has continued down the same path on Viva Boma. They still got a lot of musicians here with a lineup of both strings, woodwinds, keyboards, drums, bass, guitars, mini-moog and lots of vocals. Both male and female vocals.

Pascale Son's weird female vocals floats on the top of, again, a rather heady mix of jazz and zeuhl. The bass is in the Jannick Top vein although he does not play here. The bass is in short solidly in zeuhl territory. Pascale Son's vocals also makes some detours into zeuh too on this  one hour long album.

The result is very jazzy and avant-garde. It is also at times very melodic and offers up some great guitar solos too. The end product is a very good album which only lack a couple of great piece of music to really become something special. Check it out !

3.5 points 

Gazpacho - Firebird (2005)

The third album from this Norwegian band.

Gazpacho has been labeled as Norway's best kept secret by ProgRock Magazine. I don't disagree with them. This band is big everywhere but in Norway. Don't ask me why.

The band was a four piece on this album with three guest musicians, including Marillion's Steve Rothery. And Marillion is as usual a strong influence on their music. Gazpacho is essentially a fusion of Marillion and post rock bands like Sigur Ros and other post rock bands. 

The band is still trying to find their feet on this fifty-four minutes long album. There is no really good songs here, truth to be told. But their sound and the soundscapes they are painting makes this a good album. Hence my rating of this album.

3 points

Intentions - Place in Time (2009)

The so far only album from this Dutch band.

The Netherlands has had and still has a very strong neo-prog scene. Some of these bands are well known and some are not so known. The cream always floats to the top in this scene.

Intentions was/is a five piece band with the usual lineup of keyboards, bass, drums, guitars and vocals. 

Their music is standard neo-prog with a lot of pop music inspirations. The sound is very clean and so is the twelve songs on this one hour long album. The band is doing a good job on the instruments. The inspirations and that little extra which makes a great or even a good album is simply not there. 

This is a decent but still a dull album which does not give me much of anything. If you are really into neo-prog rock of the most melodic, poppy kind, this album is for you.

2 points 

Amministrazione Caos Popolare - Sendai Nebula (2015)

The debut album from this Italian band.

I know next to nothing about this five piece band besides of what I have found on their homepage. It is in Italian and I don't understand Italian.  Their lineup is guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and Italian vocals. All band members seems to be somewhere in their 40s and 50s. Maybe even 60s. Spring chickens, they are not. Which is great. 

Their music is not exactly modern either. Good mature progressive rock. Maybe not so much Italian progressive rock although there is a lot of folk rock in their sound. The music is much more leaning towards the English folk rock & symphonic prog crossover genre which was pretty popular back in the 1970s. Add the Italian vocals and we get a very warm and at times some pretty pastoral music.

There are no really great songs here and this album has a tendency to drown in the onslaught of these kinds of albums lately. I get the feeling this band is much more a live band than an album band. I guess releasing an album is a necessary evil even for touring hobby bands these days. 

But by all means; this is a good fifty minutes long album. But not overly exciting. A weak good rating has been awarded.

3 points  

Saturday 22 August 2015

Message - Message (1975)

The third album from this German band.

I was very surprised by their 1973 album From Books And Dreams. Really complex krautrock which really appealed to both brain and heart. So I was looking forward to this one........

Message is a four piece band on this album with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, synths, woodwinds and English vocals sung by an English vocalist. No heavy German accent, then.

Unfortunate for me, the band had shed the pretty complex krautrock on this album and gone a bit mainstream. The music is still hard rocking. But the woodwinds and occasional female choir also takes this album into soul territory on a couple of songs. That on this thirty-eight minutes long album. We even get treated to some ska here. The woodwinds is pretty much everywhere too. That also adds some funk to the whole proceedings.

This album is pretty much what hard swinging rock was all about in 1975. And the result is a decent album with no really good songs. A bit of a let down, in other words. Check it out if you like the 1970s.

2 points  

Antares - Over the Hills (1982)

The debut album from this German band. A band who released two albums before they gave up the ghost and split up.

The band was a trio on this album with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. And no, this is not a krautrock band.

Not krautrock, but neo-prog. Take a big slice out of Pendragon, add a lot of Genesis and finish with a light sprinkling of Saga. Then you get this album. The English neo-prog sound is pretty evident here. A very clear, cold and poppy sound. 

This forty minutes long album starts with the title track, a very long track which takes up more than 1/3 of this album. Sixteen minutes to be precise. It is a non event of a track. So is most other tracks. The best part of this album is the final five minutes where the band sounds like a crossover between Saga and Genesis. 

In short, this is a decent album which leaves me a bit cold. Hence my rating.

2 points 

Itoiz - Alkolea (1982)

The third album from this Spanish band.

I thought I had some more albums from this band as it has released seven albums and is highly regarded. But I only got this album. Maybe I should get some more Itoiz albums. In particular the Ezekiel album.

......Anyway..... Itoiz is one of the many bands from the Basque region on the border to France. They got their own language and culture. Their folk rock scene was a big one back in the 1970s and this band is a good example of that. 

Itoiz was a seven piece band with a lineup of galician bagpipe, mandolin, sax, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. And I almost forgot; male vocals in their own language.

The sound is good. The vocals is very good. The music is a blend of Genesis, Camel and Basque folk rock. 50/50 of symph prog and folk music. The songs are both catchy and melodic on this thirty-eight minutes long album. The overall quality is good without really being impressive. I am not carried away by the music here. Hence, it is not a great album.

3 points 

Friday 21 August 2015

Cryptex - Madeleine Effect (2015)

The second album from this German band.

I did not get their 2011 debut album because the cover art did not really appeal to me. Kind out vaudeville and pirates themed music. So gave that a miss.

Cryptex is a duo of Simon Moskon and Marc Andrejkovits. They are supported by three session musicians on  this album. The lineup is strings, mandolin, bass, drums, guitars, accordion, drums, male vocals and a female choir. 

The vocals is very good. Both of them. The music is in the vaudeville and catchy tuned based rock genre. A lot of theater and catchy hooks. A lot of genres fused into this album. Funk and jazz comes to mind. A lot of George Michael too. A lot of INXS too. A lot of things, really. 

The result is very catchy music which is a bit thin on the ground when it comes to substance. Nevertheless, this is a good album which is well worth checking out.

3 points 

Atempo - Abismos Del Tiempo (2003)

The debut album from this Argentine band. 

This band has so far released three albums with moderate success. I am not sure if the band is still alive. 

Atempo was a six piece band on this album with a lineup of bass, guitars, keyboards, drums, piano and female vocals. Spanish vocals, that is. 

The music here is a mix of neo-prog, prog metal and symphonic prog. The female vocals is kind of muddying this water as it points more towards prog metal. The music is reasonable melodic though with some long spells of symphonic prog. 

My problem with this album is the lack of any really good songs. There are sporadic good melodies. But they are far between. And the album is far too long, clocking in at seventy-four minutes. Quantity but not quality is what we get here. Unfortunate, it is.

2 points

Thursday 20 August 2015

Innerspace - The Village (2012)

The so far only album from this Canadian band. 

Innerspace is a four piece band with a guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and English vocals lineup. The usual lineup.

The sound is pretty rich and warm. Most of this album, including the vocals, reminds me about Pink Floyd. In other words, we get fifty-five minutes of mellow prog/rock with some prog metal and psychedelic influences. The guitars and keyboards are all driving the music forward together with the vocals. There are really no long solos here. But the music is still very Floyd'ish.

The album is a some kind of a concept album. It include three pretty long songs around the ten minutes mark and some shorter ones. It also includes one long narrative which explains the concept a bit. Darkness is afoot in this village and the devil has arrived, the narrative tells us.

The problem with this album is the lack of any real good music. It is also an album which has some overtly Floyd influences. Uncomfortably so. But that does not make me comfortably numb..... Sorry, I could not resist this pun. 

Nevertheless, this is a decent album and one fans of Pink Floyd should check out.

2 points

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Alternative 4 - The Brink (2011)

The debut album from this British band.

This is the band Duncan Patterson set up after leaving Anathema. He gets company in the band by two other musicians and help from some other musicians on this album. The lineup is surprisingly acoustic with mandolin, violin, cello, guitars, bass, drums, synths, piano, computers and vocals. Both male and female. Duncan does the male vocals plus some other instruments. 

Duncan did not go far away from Anathema, music wise. Take a lot of Pink Floyd and Anathema. Add a lot of post rock and post metal. Then some of Gazpacho and a lot of this electronica based rock. Then you get this album.

The band is painting walls of sound on this album. It is mostly gentle with some doom metal influences and some funeral doom influences too. There are some harsh guitars and a lot of gentle piano here too. The contrast makes this painting. 

The end result is a good album. It is not for the faint hearted. But it is a good album where doom metal meets prog rock. Check it out.

3 points

Inside//Outside - Inside//Outside (2013)

The debut album from this New York, USA based band.

The band, a trio, is based in Brooklyn and is another one of those jazz bands from New York. A metropolis that never sleep and where jazz is everywhere. I must go there one day.... for a month.

The band is helped out by ten other musicians on a song by song basis. The music is instrumental though. And you will not be surprised to know that the core of this album is woodwinds and a lot of it. But piano, drums, violins, guitars, bass and electronica also plays a substantial part of this album.

The music is very dynamic and slightly avant-garde. For some reasons, the band is listed as RIO/avant-garde in Progarchives. Based on this album, their only album so far, I do not agree with that. This album is a straight jazz album.

Straight jazz with a lot of electronica incorporated. The music has this urban, modern feel. This fifthy minutes long album also has some really very good stuff too. It is bordering to being a great album too. A couple of barely good tracks drags it down to a very good album. It is here to be enjoyed though and I hope we will hear a lot more from this band.

3.5 points

Sunday 16 August 2015

Incredible String Band. The - I Looked Up (1970)

The seventh album from this Scottish band. 

The band was now a five piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Both female and male vocals. 

The Incredible String Band was always on the folk music fringe of the folk rock scene back in the 1970s. The implemented a lot of Indian music too in their music. That on their previous albums. 

On this forty minutes long album, their sound is stripped down and reasonable bare. There are a lot of Spanish folk music influences on this album. But still with a strong Scottish accent in their English vocals. Vocals which pretty much dominates this album.

The end result is not particular enjoyable. Their music is too stripped down and does not have much colours. Hence my rating of this album.

2 points

Nucleus - Labyrinth (1973)

The sixth album from this British band.

The band had now evolved into Ian Carr & a bunch of musicians called Nucleus on this album. Ten or so musicians to be just about correct. Roy Babbington, later Soft Machine, was still involved here.
The well known jazz soprano Norma Winston was doing some vocals here too. The rest of the names here is unknown to me as I am still a newbie in the jazz scene.

Labyrinth is a concept album about Greek mythology. A guy called Mintour is pictured on the cover, if I am not mistaken. Greek mythology is not my strong side, to put it mildly.

The result is forty-five minutes with a blend of jazz and fusion. There are some pretty good avant-garde jazz here too. Ian Carr's trumpet is excellent here. He is indeed Europe's answer to Miles Davis. Or is it the other way around ? It is debatable. 

All musicians does a very good job here on some material which is really good. The end result is a very good album which should appeal to everyone into fusion. Enjoy !

3.5 points

Hune - De l'Autre Côté du Monde (2009)

The debut album from this band from Quebec, Canada.

This city/town has had a great music scene and some excellent bands during the last fifty years. Maneige, Sloche and Harmonium springs to mind. Not to mention a lot of other bands too.

Hune is/was a two men big project where Daniel Couturier plays all instruments and Andre Bourget does the vocals. The vocals are in French. The instruments are guitars, drums, bass, piano and keyboards. That from what I can detect.

For those of us who fondly remembers Harmonium, this album comes as a big gift from heaven. Hune has incorporated their style into this album. That means all their phases over three albums. 

This album offers us one hour with pastoral folk rock influenced symphonic prog. That is the most fitting label I can find for this album. The vocals is great. The music floats away with some gentle pastoral melodies. And the melodies are great too. That after a bit of a weak start where this album struggles to come into full bloom. But when it does that......... voila !!!!!!!!

This is a great album and I hope we can get another serving of the same. Please !

4 points

Saturday 15 August 2015

Crooked Mouth - One Bright Midnight (2015)

The third album from this Edinburgh, Scotland based band.

Crooked Mouth is Ken Campbell with six friends. He has always been the main force in this band. In this band, we find synths, samples, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Both male and female vocals, that is.

Crooked Mouth is what we can call a modern prog rock band with some good references back to the past. The sound is big and bold. So is the music too. The music has a lot of metallic edges to it. This album is rather hard and heavy. The music though is still neo-prog with some hints of americana and standard rock. Not to mention prog metal.

There are also some electronica influences here. Pretty strong ones too. Add some movie scores influences and you get this one hour long album.

The music varies between some instrumental pieces and proper songs. Both of these two music styles offers up some good stuff. Stuff which more than often sounds frantic and hyper. The music is very busy indeed. 

The end result is barely a good album. What is missing is a great song or two. Besides of that, this album is a good album. Check it out.

3 points  

Ice - The Saga (2005)

The one and only album from this Dutch band. 

Ice is a five man band who originated from the pretty good Dutch neo-prog band Maryson. A band who released two good albums.

Ice really picks up the baton from their final 1998 album. The keyboards, bass, drums, vocals and guitars lineup gives us an hour worth of symphonic neo-prog.

We get both ballads in the vein of the Mama era Genesis and some harder, more muscular songs. The blend of songs is pretty good throughout. What is missing is some great songs on this good album which ticks all the right symphonic neo-prog boxes bar that great songs box. Unfortunate, so does a lot of other albums too. If you like symph prog and/or neo-prog, check out this album.

3 points   

Friday 14 August 2015

La Düsseldorf - La Düsseldorf (1976)

The debut album from this German band. A band who released three albums before they split up.

LA Dusseldorf was a three piece band with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, piano, keyboards and vocals. Both male and female vocals on this album and the vocals was in their mother tongue. 

This band also originated from one of the biggest krautrock bands of all time; Neu. I have yet to hear a tone from that band. They are on my to-do list though. 

The music on this thirty-five minutes long album is pretty elegant and airy krautrock. The music is not full on aural attack. It is much more like pop music at times. Elegant synth pop. There are also some of the usual krautrock madness here with spoken, shouted words and some bombastic melody themes. But the album is mostly elegant and funky. 

The end result is a very good album which should appeal to everyone into krautrock and elegant music. I am won over.

3.5 points  

Thursday 13 August 2015

Weather Report - Night Passage (1980)

The ninth album from this US band.

The good career of this fusion band is winding down towards the end with this album. There is still life in this band though. 

Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius is still very much present in this band. They are the core on this album and what makes this band pulsating. Sort of pulsating. 

Thankfully, the pretty bad urban sound from Mr Big has been dumped and the real Weather Report from the good old days has been restored, polished and brought into life again. That means a lot of interplays between Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul with Jaco Pastorius also chiming in with some very intricate bass playing. This is what I like !

The music is at times pretty avant-garde'ish and dense jazz. This is much more a jazz album than a fusion album. 

The end result is a good album without the great tracks, but still a good album which I pretty much enjoy. Check it out.

3 points

Hands - Caviar Bobsled (2015)

The fifth album this US band.

Hands debuted in 1996 with a self titled album. A very good album if my memory serves me right. I have not heard their other albums though.

Hands is labeled as a symphonic prog band in ProgArchives. I am not so sure if this applies to this album, though. From the first song on this album, the very good The Last Song, the band wanders through a much more art rock landscape than a symphonic prog landscape.

The instruments here are also pretty arty. Chapmann stick, guitars, cello, woodwinds, keyboards, bass and drums is mostly the lineup here. The music is pastoral throughout. There is no bombastic songs anywhere on this album. The album has a bit of a resigned feeling. It is also melancholic. 

The end result is a good album though. A very long album too, clocking in at seventy-two minutes. I like the opening song The Last Song a lot. The rest is not up to that standard. Nevertheless; this is a good album. Check it out.

3 points

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Hydrus - Midnight In Space (1978)

The one and only album from this very obscure Italian band.

The band is so unknown that the members of the band has been lost forever. The royalties goes to the Italian taxman, then. If the record label pays royalties, that is. 

I am on very thin ice here because this is an electronic prog release. You will not see me review many of those albums. But it is nice to get some new impulses now and then. 

This is a forty minutes long album with a lineup of electronics and even more electronics. I am a bit surprised how organic this album feels though and I suspect some genuine instruments are involved here. 

Even the melodies here are pretty decent. Not good, but decent. This album is one of the classic ones in this genre and I can understand why. This is a decent album I am not really able to connect with. It is simply too ambient and fragmented for my liking.

2 points

Apocalypsis - No (1981)

The second and final album from this Greece band.

I quite liked their self titled debut album from 1980. A bit Genesis like, that album. 

The band has gathered again for a new stab at the music market as a five piece band with a lineup of keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and English vocals. 

The band has also moved on and away from the Genesis like music on the debut album. They have moved into a much more art rock territory with a few Gentle Giant connotations sprinklings on a pretty soft version of progressive rock. Supertramp is a band I would compare this album with too.

The sound is a bit strange. But what we get here is soft progressive rock with no long songs. Which was the standard anno 1981. A terrible year and this band does not really raise the standards of the musical outputs from this year either. 

There is no good songs here and this thirty-six minutes long album is just a decent album. One of many decent albums from that era. Don't bother unless Supertramp is your gods.

2 points 

Sunday 9 August 2015

Imán Califato Independiente - Camino del Aguila (1980)

The second & final album from this Spanish band.

I really liked their 1978 self titled debut album. Some really great fusion with a lot of Spanish folk music incorporated. Right down my alley, then.

The band is back again as a four piece with a lineup of guitars, bass, drums, percussions and keyboards. The final song also offers up some vocals and choirs. Just as their debut album, though.

This time around, the genuine Spanish folk rock tinged fusion has been smoothed over and the music is a lot slicker. Not to say, a lot more commercial. The band still sounds like National Health with a lot of Spanish folk music influences. 

The result is a half an hour long album which is nice on the ears, but does not really offers much of food for the brain. It is simply too slick for my liking. 

Nevertheless; this is a good to very good album. The vocals at the end is not good at all. So this is a good album, then.

3 points  

Helmerson. Anders - Triple Ripple (2010)

The third album from this Brazil based Swedish keyboardist.

I believe this is the first Anders Helmerson album I have ever reviewed or ever heard. I believe I got his 1981 debut album End Of Illusion on a file somewhere. 

Anders Helmerson (all synths) has got with him the much traveled drummer Marco Minnemann and the bassist Bryan Beller on this album. Adrian Thurston does some spoken words here.

This whole one hour long album has got a space traveler concept. Well, it feels like it. This is by no means a space rock album. But it has got some ethereal space rock influences.

The main music here is a mix of symphonic prog, prog metal and fusion. I would label this as a bit of a fusion album. The music is a bit busy and intense at time. The drummer and the bassist is very busy and is having to work hard for their money. So does Anders himself. This is by no means an easy listening album.

The end result is a decent to good album. The opening piece of music, the fourteen minutes long Touchdown is a good piece of music. The album tails of at the end and the music becomes a bit too predictable. That is my main gripe with this album. Hence my rating... which I am upgrading to a good reward. 

3 points  

Annot Rhul - Leviathan (2014)

The third album from this Norwegian band.

I really liked their previous album, the 2007 album Lost In The Woods. A great psychedelic album with some great songs. So I was looking forward to Leviathan.

The band is continuing down the same path. Fifty minutes of some well crafted psychedelic rock tunes. Sigurd Luhr Tonna has again got with him some of the greatest musicians from his hometown Trondheim. Musicians from the likes of Seid, Wobbler and Manifest. The many instruments here gives a good psychedelic vibe. There are even some mellotrons, organs and steel guitars here.

The sound is very good. Unfortunate, that cannot be said about the songs and the melodies here. There is no great songs or melodies here. There are some sporadic very good stuff here. But that is all.

When that is said, this is a good album which will be loved by the psychedelic rock fans. The sound is very good, at least. Unfortunate, that is all. I am a bit disappointed.

3 points 


Horrific Child - L'étrange Mr. Whinster (1976)

The one and only album from this French project.

This project is the brainchild of Jean-Pierre Massiera, a man who has been involved in Ange and some other French bands. 

It is hard to describe this album. There is no music here. What we get is thirty-three minutes of sounds and some piano clunking away with some "scary" sounds. This is something, if I am nice, reminds me about something from a horror film. 

There is a lot of French ranting here which I don't really understand. And that is really it. It is a waste of space and a waste of time. Hence the turkey rating.

1 point

Saturday 8 August 2015

Van Der Graaf Generator - Alt (2012)

The twelfth and so far final album from this UK band. 

Van Der Graaf Generator is one of the all time great bands in the progressive rock scene. As simple as that. So why the heck they have released these bits, odds and studio outtakes as a proper album is beyond me. 

It would had been OK and a bit of an exotic album if one of the many avant-garde bands had released it. Or if VDGG had released it as a fan club special. But as an official album ? It is a desecration of their own name. 

What we get here is nothing but soundsbites without much meaning. It is fractured and with no purpose. It is a proper turkey, this one hour long album. End of it.

1 point 

Traffic Sound - Virgin (1969)

The debut album from this band from Peru. A band who released three albums before they broke up. 
All of them reviewed/to be reviewed here in this blog.

Traffic Sound was a six piece band with a wide array of instruments. From guitars to woodwinds, bass, drums, vibraphone, organ, piano and English vocals.

This half an hour long album has a surprisingly good sound. Good enough sound to really convey the psychedelic rock on this album. An album which sadly is also a bit of a mishmash between live sounding songs with audience and proper studio songs.

Peru is on the western side of South America and this album sounds like it has been spat out of the hippie scene in California. A song like Simple is....... well, simple. A good pop song. There are also some pretty good rhythmic and some more complex songs here. 

The end result is a decent album which sounds a bit dated. It also very much feels like a debut album where everything old and historical songs are thrown into this album. Check them out of old style psychedelic rock is your thing.

2 points