Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
This shows Yes in their prime within the spell of Avant-Garde electronic noises from Rick Wakeman. They wanted to take the boundaries of Progressive Rock a little furter and top it off with some strange Atmospheric sounds that would take you to different worlds. I was kind of suprise of hearing this album from start to finish becasue for me, 20-miunte epics on four tracks is a huge challenge because no one dared to release a 2-LP set with strange and bizarre epics and going on tour to play the whole album in its entireity. From the tales of the dawn of light ( The Revealing Science of God ), The Fruit of Life ( The Remembering [High The Memory] ), and bizarre languages with crazy effects of the Moog ( The Ancients [Giant Under the Sun], Ritual [Sous Sommes Du Soleil] ), They really show a level of madness.
For Rick Wakeman, he felt it was too spacey and felt it was like crap. During the Topographic Oceans tour, Rick would eat a lemon curry during the performance and after the tour, he left Yes to join up the Royal Festival Hall to make one of the most successful live albums of a Rock musical with a Symphony Orchestra of Journey To The Centre of the Earth. After he left, Yes turned to swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz who was part of a trio called Refugee that featured some of the members of The Nice and released Relayer. Tales is one of the highlights in Yes's career and reaching up to the heavens. 20-minute epics to make you go into the mystical caves? Why Not?!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
Pink Floyd were in Avant-Garde/Live territory when they released Ummagumma in 1969. This was a big change for the Floyd because they weren't the pop single like band they had with Syd, they were going into different areas of instrumental experimentation. The four-part keyboard Zappa like role of Sysyphus shows Rick Wright in a Mellotronic greek figure that will have Caligula happy. Roger Waters bringing his Folk roots in the birds and the river with the mellower Grantchester Meadows and brings The Mothers of Invention into a small cave with chipmunks as he brings his Scottish tradition to tell a weird story with strange noises with Several Species of Small Furry Animals. Gilmour comes along with a 3-part mellower and atmospheric heavy sound on the guitar with The Narrow Way while Nick Mason closes it up with the Japanese like music of Avant-Garde with The Grand Vizer's Garden Party.
Pink Floyd - The Wall
This album was almost the beginning of the end of the Prog-Rock era in 1979 when the Floyd relased their landmark concept album The Wall. The story is about a burned out rock star (similar to Brian Jones and Syd Barrett) who has barracaded himself in his Hotel room as he flashes back through his childhood years in post-WWII, abused by the School teachers, and sexual intercourses with groupies and his wife. After he becomes isolated with everything he sess in his flashback, he builds the Wall brick by brick that the Floyd plays. The situation for him turns to evil as he has a nervous breakdown and then becomes a rock and roll version of Adolph Hitler and his companions the Marching Hammers to kill everyone to be on the Run and Run Like Hell. This album ain't your King Arthur and the Knights tradition for the heart. The Floyd's music on this, is amazing!
Henry Cow - Legend
Let's say that if the Mothers of Invetion and The Soft Machine form together to create a mixture of Jazz and Avant-Garde RIO insanity to the mix, they would combine and form Henry Cow and their debut album relased in 1973 Legend. Saxes going from Bebop and Fast Funky swing arrangements on Nirvana for Mice which is really a mad-like track. Nine Funerals for the Citizen King and Teenbeat Introduction are strangely strange but oddly normal filled with mellowingly sounds that would have Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band would have almost sounded similar to. Those tracks and the album cover of a sock goes perfectly well.
The music is almost very Rhiengold like Space Opera sound. You have the crossover between Edgard Varese, Richard Wagner, John Coltrange, and a crossover of Frank Zappa meets Ange. Even though it's a crazy idea to make a Outer Space opera version of Das Rheingold, It is a real kicking ass album that will send you into the darker side of the Milky Way. Not bad for a Zeuhl Band to take the concept into a Galaxy far, far away and to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This concept album is based on the life of sociologist and the thoughts of the origins of species, Charles Darwin. Banco doesn't pull any punches with their superior album. They would use ragtime music, haunting oboe sounds, baroque classical music, and harpischord's of the 19th century screeching out from the synths with an operatic rock sound that the original three tenors would get a kick out of.
Premiata Forneria Marconi - Storia Di Un Minuto
PFM were one of the Italian Progsters that Greg Lake of ELP and King Crimson fame enjoyed and he got them signed on their own Prog label Manticore. Their first album is a mixture of 18th century sounds. Their debut album Storia Di Un Minuto (History of a Minute or Story in a Minute) is a mixture of synthesized anthems of fairy tale dances (E' Festa), the stories for September Impressions with a Genesis mellotron style of Impressioni Di Settembre and the two-part epic like folk metal of Dove Quando would almost have an operatic feel that would have the three tenors get a kick out of.
Le Orme - Felona E Sorona Picture the scenery. An Italian version of ELP writing almost a rock opera in two sets in an opera house. More of a outer space rock musical to be more precisely. The story takes place on two diffrent planets. One planet is Felona, who is filled with Joy and Happiness and wants to be free with everybody. The second planet is Sorona, she is filled with sorrow and isolation and filled withdarkness across her home planet. The two planets are with a master who combines the planet in an ultimate climatic showdown as Le Orme fills it up with mellotron limits, moogs going up to the milky way, and Carl Palmer influential drum patterns mixing it up with folky acoustic guitar ballads and Jazz like fusion Bass patterns.
Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra
A more sinister and darker approach for group doing a concept album based on the book that Frederich Nietzche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, not to be confused with Strauss version of the classical music anthem for 2001. Museo Rosenbach's debut album is a perfect gem for Prog lovers. This shows an italian version that crosses over of King Crimson's first album meets Genesis Nursery Cryme in a dramatic way. You have the 20-minute epic that will send Edgar Allen Poe to write a musical version with Nietzche of House On Haunted Hill with mellotrons that turned evil, Black Sabbath influential guitar sounds mixed with a snarling drum introduction and a Hammond Organ from hell. You might want to play this along with any Horror film and scare the shit out of Trick-or-Treaters with.
Jacula - Tardo Pede In Magiam Versus
Kind of a strange band with a strange title ain't it? But for Keyboard and Guitar player Antonious Rex, he must have been a very strange musician or maybe to become a part of Satna's calling when he formed the group in the late '60s and would defintely scare the shit out of them with their second album. Mixed with heavy organs, female vocalists, a strange cover, flute solos coming from hell, and dark occults that would be perfect for Halloween. You have some monks chanting the lord's prayer and Rex speaking in a devilish voice as he goes into a Tony Iommi guitar like solo on Absolution. The darker but mellower acoustic guitar and violin narration of Long Cold Black Night which sets the scary stories into musical campfire turmoil, while U.F.D.E.M. sets the mood with church-like organs becoming massive with synths as Doris Norton's operatic rocking vocals turns up the devilish heatalong with the scariest organic music of skeletal callings for Praesentia Domini. They sure know how to scare other 20th century artist like Philip Glass, Bram Stoker, and the cult hero of the Candyman with bees coming out of his mouth to be immortal. Not bad for a dark band to scare you in your sleeps!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Pink Floyd were already hitting the London scene in the late '60s with their cult hero Syd Barrett after the release of singles Arnold Layne and their psychdelic debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It wasn't until 1968 where Syd was taking the drug scene a little too far after the release of See Emily Play and the pop humor grocery store sing-along track single, Apples and Oranges. Childhood friend David Gilmour replaced Syd after the release of A Saucerful of Secrets when Syd said goodbye with the folk experimental track Jugband Blues.
They had a talk about what they were going to do after Syd left, they decided to move forward to a planet where no man has gone before. Their 1970 album, Atom Heart Mother is an explosive and almost bombastic concept for the Floyd with the Symphony Orchestra, wires in people's brains, the summer of 1968, Sun's rising above the english country houses, and a good old fashion psychedelic breakfast.
The opening track that clocks in at 23 minutes and 44 seconds of Atom Heart Mother, is the gem of a perfect symphonic sound. You have Rick Wright doing some odd sounds on the keyboard, David Gilmour's space guitar work, Roger Waters doing a little bass solo, and Nick Mason's drum sounds becoming more quiet and calm. The track would almost become more of an alternate soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's 2001 which I will get to later on. It's almost atmospheric and strange, but absolutely well made.
If is almost a science-fiction folk ballad from Roger Waters becoming more of a fingerpicking type of guy on the acoustic guitar and David Gilmour doing his Outer Limits sound on his guitar also. Summer '68 is another ballad this time from Richard Wright. It's more of a Rick's taste of the culture of the song about 1968 with the hippies and the love-in's before leaving to serve his country in Vietnam.
Fat Old Sun is David Gilmour's number about the sun reaching over the sky as the song is more of a calming acoustic guitar introduction with Gilmour's taste of vocals. And then at the last 2-minutes of the number, he goes into a rockin' guitar solo. It is so good, you know it's absolutely excellent!
The last track Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, is your mouth-watery 13-minute experimental piece of their roadie Alan Stiles (who cooked breakfast for the Floyd), orders some breakfast and then it becomes more of a flourish/acoustic/prog number while he munches away while the band plays along as he enjoys the composition.
Now about the Kubrick situation. According to legend, Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick heard the album and he loved it so much, he asked the Floyd to compose a film score for him to do his next film which is one of the most controversial films made of all time A Clockwork Orange. The floyd refused to do it because they didn't know how the film was going to set the scenery.
Atom Heart Mother is Pink Floyd's masterpiece along with Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, Meddle, and Dark Side of the Moon. This was the beginning of the Floyd's career up into Space. Even though to this day they hated working on this album, they really kicked the temperature up to 200!
Their debut album released in 1970 simply called the self-titled album Egg, is a massive arranging and composition of pure weirdness. From the opening carousel jazz like number of 'While Growing My Hair', which is more of a tradition of the Soft Machine's early days in the late '60s more of 'Joy of a Toy' type of introduction. As I mentioned before, they have a classical music style and pay tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach of the Tocatta suite with the fusion and classic organ like sound of 'Fugue in D minor',
'I will be absorbed' is more of a jazzy feel, and the full length version of the next suite in its entirety because of some situations of the rights issue with one of the composers with 'Symphony no. 2 in 4 movements.' You have the Zappa feel and the Edvard Grieg fast tempo organ tradition of 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' into a canterbury version of The Nice that will have your head explode!
Egg had a small fanbase in Europe, but the group would later relase two more albums (The Polite Force and the Civil Surface) until they broke up in 1975 with their last third album. Today, there's an archival album called The Metronomical Society which features BBC Sessions, and rare live recordings in Egg's true style of insanity!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I have enjoyed listnening to this album and the group also. They were the true pioneers in the Canterbury Progressive Rock-era. Apart from this, they don't back down to this because of the way they constructed the music from start to finish. Everything on their debut album is like a clean jewel that has been restored and waiting to buy it for the perfect person to enjoy.
Since this album has some amazing cuts on the Soft Machine debut album, there are some crazy tracks that they push it close to the edge. For example, the 7-minute instrumental experimentation 'So Boot If At All' which is is them doing some strange instruments that carry the Syd Barrett tradition of 'Matilda Mother', 'A Certain Kind' is the warmer taste on riding in your SUV on a beautiful sunday afternoon with Robert Wyatt's lush vocals and the story of the girl he loves to be and marry with while Mike's jazzy bebop sound on the organ.
The two rockers 'Save Yourself' and 'We Did It Again', pushes the Soft Machine into Proto-Prog-Punk territory that his beyond hell and chants of a revamp tradition of the Kinks 'You Really Got Me.' 'Lullabye Letter' is filled with anger and frustration song as Wyatt talks to his girlfriend in the song while having sex and making love as the band becomes a fuzztone sound of Pink Floyd.
Other tracks including the mellow heavier two part introduction of 'Hope for Happiness' is a class of proportions of Wyatt's skeleton's in the closet side, the low-key anthem of organs for the Trumpeter's narration of Kevin Ayers speaking tone of voice in 'Why Are We Sleeping?' and his prog fusion of techniques of space in 'Joy of a Toy.'
They were pre-Floyd and pre-fusion back in those days. They were showing their true side of the music scene of the late '60s than Jefferson Airplane and Cream were doing. The Soft Machine's debut album is a pro-choice and early punk prog to get you cookin'
The opening track 'C.I.D. in Uruk', is more of a psychedelic kraut hammond organ with evil light that is mixed with emotional acoustic guitar ballads with almost a Syd Barrett guitar sound, 'All the Years 'Round' is more of Amon Duul's emotional side with a softer taste of Surrealistic Pillow and female vocalist Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz takes over the vocals as she takes the listener into the watery abyss mixed with fantasies and love including the lyric 'Are you ready for the take off/Are you waiting for the show?' this is more of germany's answer to 'White Rabbit' in a Krautrock version of Grace Slick.
The funky introuduction and shrieking guitar sounds of 'Kronwinkl', almost becomes a fairy tale for Amon Duul II to make it more dramatic and very sinister, The band becomes more of an Indian-Acoustic tribe with 'Tables are Turned' and so far, so good with the guitar becoming more of aghostly dead sound, 'Shimmering Sand' is more of a metal like tale of the ballad of a man who searches for a new land in a new generation of the sand that shimmers, and the 10-minute piece that has almost the word 'epic' written all over it. This is a taste of funk and more of a fusion take of Hendrix's own band from 1970 the Band of Gypsys that would take you into a different world of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This is one of the best albums in Amon Duul II's career because they were the band that you couldn't escape from or hear. They had a sense of darker tales of the babyloniac morals of the Carnivals of Babylon. I have listened to this album twice and it's still powerful and I've enjoyed this big time. So if you want to get high along with other stoner albums including Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Black Sabbath's Paranoid, Amon Duul II's Carnival in Babylon is the next stoner album you defintely want to get into!