Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 4 of 6)

16. Chris Hinze Combination - Sister Slick

One can not start a large list without expecting it to change even during the duration and this 70s Hinze album put an immediate dent in the top 30 with a first listen. Like Mission Suite, this is just titanic, intense, creative and energetic jazz rock in that early 70s idiom where the style hadn't quite crystallized into the quasi-Return to Forever-ish style it would in just a couple years ago, in fact this is actually kind of hard to compare to other jazz rock bands in that it manages to stay much more in the rock circle than many of its contemporaries. Very few new albums manage to bring this much grinning delight to my musical intake, it's the kind of record where it's difficult to do anything else as it just constantly begs for your attention due to the musical chemistry and their absolute mastery of the rise and fall of energy with playing. Honestly this is likely to chart a lot higher than 16 when all is said and done and could easily move up into my top 5. It's crazy to think that the only reissued album from this era is basically soundtrack music when there are monsters like this still in the vault.

17. Emmanuel Booz - Dans Quel Etat J'Erre

Booz is now an actor, in fact I believe he starred in one of the Bourne movies, if I've got the IMDB citation correct, but over his long career he managed to get out four solo albums, starting with an early French version of Alice's Restaurant, likely to be lost on anyone not speaking the language, all the way up to this torturous and delirious progressive rock masterpiece, where finally the level of lyrics and vocals gets the right balance with twisted and incredibly well-played instrumental segments. It's a short one and I've forgotten the list of fairly high profile musicans who helped out with this, but it's also quite sweet, three tracks that you'd think Musea would have knocked off a long time ago, but like Ma Banlieue Flasque and Eider Stellaire this one's long overdue (and I'd throw his third Clochard in there for good measure as well, even if it would fall much lower on a list like this).

18. Michel Madore - La Chambre Nuptiale

Progressive rock fans, including my cohort here, prefer Madore's more overtly progressive rock first album, and while it's certainly a nice one, I think his second, electronic piece is the more overtly original and interesting of the two, with a view to the atmospheric and concept. Very different from the German styles so popular at the time and the French scene it was perhaps part of due to the label (Madore's Canadian), Madore drew more on concepts of musique concret to fashion the music and there's hints of Pierre Henry in this work as well as hints of Wendy Carlos Sonic Seasonings in there, with a combination of huge electronic soundscapes merged with found and recorded sounds. It's huge, heady, and somewhat mystical given that the concepts of marriage are often alchemical metaphors. And the production's a lot better than on the first as well, which doesn't hurt. Where the debut seems to be practically a predestined Prog Quebec release, the question is whether this one fits their agenda or not given it probably plays to a different or at least expanded audience. I'd call dibs on both.

19. Von Zamla - No Make Up

Apparently the live Cuneiform release was created as something of a substitute for No Make Up, with the idea that it was never destined to be a CD release, which would be a crying shame as it's be the best of the third incarnation of the Samla Mammas Manna family, in fact their best release since Familesprickor. To my ears there's just a lot more kinetic energy and tight compositions at work here and I don't think the live release quite rises to the level of the album except for in a couple spots. Perhaps a precursor to the Swiss band Nimal in some ways.

20. Pinguin - Der Grosse Rot Vogel

Superb German progressive rock album and a very different one as it diverts the usual expectations by being more English inspired than the usual German release but then does the same type of diversion by actually singing in their own native language rather than using English, perhaps making it one of the few albums from that country to create this kind of flip flop. I hear quite a bit of Canterbury in it which probably makes its closest cousins bands like Brainstorm or even the Tortilla Flat album I mentioned yesterday. Tom put up a review or blurb on this one recently on this blog or the reissue wish list blog, so there's little need to add to that, accept I think we're both in accord on getting this one out to the public.

Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 3 of 6)

11. Tortilla Flat - Fur ein 3/4 Stundchen

Tom reviewed these on his Reissue Wish List site and I'd have to agree that if they had been previously released, I'd have the SWF Tortilla Flat sessions very high on the list, perhaps in the top 5 even, they were truly that amazing and decimate most of the stuff that's come out on Long Hair. In many ways, actually, they kind of dovetail nicely with Kollektiv's own sessions and place the band in a much jazzier context than a lot of other German bands of the era, more Embryo, Eiliff or Etcetera than Kosmische or Krautrock per se. But I'm not forgetting the one very rare official Tortilla Flat studio album which is also a mighty fine piece of work, carrying over slight Canterbury influences to go with the German jazzrock sound of the time. And I think to some extent this illustrates one of the difficulties of getting some things released, a lack of inertia or kinetic movement, to get musicians who left work like this behind 25 years in the past to have the same enthusiasm over it as collectors who recently discover it. For me this is a hot potato for sure.

12. Peter Frohmader - Orakel/Tiefe

I could be virtually alone in this category but I find that the strongest music in the old Frohamder catalog was a series of three cassettes in the 80s, two of which, including Orakel/Tiefe were released by Auricle, a cassette label that may be holding back on a lot of the best unreissued stuff, in part because I believe they do CD-Rs of some of this material, but also because these probably appeal to very small audiences. But you could kind of cross classify a lot of Frohmader, there's the very early Nekropolis work, some archives that have come out since that cover a rockier period, and then the more composed work that followed on the heels of the Nekropolis material, and then these cassettes which hint but don't sound anything like the far more electronic duo of CDs that came out on Cuneiform a bit later. Undoubtedly these were a major coup for Auricle. These take that deep cyclopean, Cthulhoid early work into strange cavernous and experimental territories that I've always been surprised at when I go back to. Rarely did Frohmader sound this BIG.

13. Oriental Wind / Okay Temiz

I've flipped and flopped on whether I find this or the later Bazaar the best of the Oriental Wind studio albums, but there's something terribly immediate about the debut that's winning over as I write this. Like all of their material, this is all about the fusion of Turkish folk melody with Coltrane Spiritual jazz and here as on many of the later works there's a fine collision between the two styles, although it's essentially jazz when you think of the melodic structure setting up instrumental solos and then vamping back again. But this is a hot one indeed and maybe the best place to start on a reissue series.

14. Polyphony - Without Introduction

Polyphony was shrouded in mystery, I remember hearing about an unreleased two side-long track album that was recorded in 1967, then later it was 69 and later than that some time in the early 70s and by that time I was pretty convinced it had taken on something of the mythical at that point. Because this is a very early and distinctly progressive American album, that instead of having the usual Genesis and Yes influences, dipped back more towards keyboard bands like the Nice and Procol Harum while mixing it all up with the prevailing hippy schematic in the vein of Hair the musical soundtrack. The bootleg CD (or at least one) was a massive disappointment, with skipping errors built into the masters which meant even the improper release was that much more so. I think of this as a really important release for American progressive rock, but the word is this is among the more unlikely to be reissued titles out there, which is a crying shame. (ED: This title was reissued later by Gear Fab and Belle Antique)

15. The Fourth Way - Werwolf

The best of the three albums by post John Handy musician and crew, the sort of singular jazz rock that didn't follow much of the same pattern many of its contemporaries did, with a more sinuous approach to playing that was still slightly reminiscent of the SF jazz scene of the late 60s but having moved on to what was a more distinct and individual style by the time they got to Werwolf. Considered something of a kozmigroov classic, perhaps a stretch given its progressive credentials, it's certainly a fine release no matter where you classify it, with great playing and the oncoming electric fuzz of the era. A CD of this one is long overdue.

Last update: September 7, 2016 

Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 2 of 6)

6. Satin Whale - Desert Places

If you can get $75 for a Germanofon bootleg of this album on e-bay, it's telling you the very important fact that this is a title that is way overdue for legit reissue. The German rock group's debut is their finest work, perhaps done in the style that Tomorrow's Gift, Frumpy and a few others worked with a bit earlier, an early 70s bluesy rock starting to merge in a more melodic direction with the instrumental vocabulary of the time period. Lots of keys, great guitar work, juxtapositions between good songwriting and energetic instrumental outbreaks. If Samtvogel may have been the German album I'd like to see most reissued, I'd say this one would go over a lot better. I wish SPV would get off the kick of reissuing the Agitation Free and Amon Duul II albums for the nth time and get to albums like this that actually need it. So perhaps this would head the list of unreissued albums I'm most impatient for.

7. Friends s/t

John Abercrombie and co taking some time off a number of various American jazz rock expressions and looking across the Atlantic to bands like Soft Machine and Matching Mole for their next inspiration. Take all instruments, fuzz them out to crackling a la Tony Williams Lifetime (or Joe Zawinul and Tim Belbe circa early 70s) and rip maniacally through comps and improvs like noone seems to do anymore. It's perhaps Exhibit A for the fact that the rare difference between prog rock and jazz rock in the early 70s was the amount of effects being used. It might be said the chops and talent level of the musicians travelling the jazz scenes of the early 70s starting with all of Miles Davis bands and their offshoots were about the most musically adept in the world, so it's kind of enlightening to see them take on a distinctly European expression and run with it. I mean hell if we can get Horacee Arnold reissues and Stark Reality on CD, why not this one? A barnburner for sure.

8. Eider Stellaire s/t

Everyone's favorite unreissued Magma clone band and it probably should be noted that Michael Le Bars was actually in the Magma band for what was it a week or a couple months or something. The big rumor is the guy went religious and looks back on his heathen years with some measure of distaste (one has visions of the Magma eagle mandala growing a devil tail and wielding a trident) vowing never to allow his canon to be reissued, thus relegating this debut to permanent bootleg status. Anyway Eider Stellaire sounds like Magma with the Coltrane and jazz influences left as the inspiration's inspiration, streamlining the Zeuhl sound down into something obviously second generation. It's kind of weird in a way because it doesn't go bezerk with energy like Japanese descendants Koenji Hyakkei and Ruins, doesn't go for the French interpretaion a la Eskaton, or bring the Orff or Wagner side more to the front like Weirdorje, nor even pay attention to the Coltrane swing nearly everyone removed from the Magma equation, nor does it even seem to act as a tribute. More like it strips down the vocabularly into syllables and reconstructs the sound as a jazz rock act without recourse to a larger language. What does remain is the heavy bass, urgent forward moving rhythms and the sort of quartet-based writing style. Further albums by the band stripped the sound down more until by 3 they were truly a more typical jazz rock act, but by then the move to a more digital sound stripped the music of any internal coherency and the fact that all three albums are so short is probably tribute to the idea that there's an unfinished feel about all their music. That also means, however, that a CD of the first filled up with the salient points from 2 and 3 would all suffice, provided the master tapes weren't summarily burned in some kind of fundamentalist frenzy. It would be nice to think those rumors are false. But let me say that this album will NEVER be reissued in the way that when you say NEVER that strongly someone always wants to prove you wrong.

9. Volker Kriegel - Lift

At least in the case of MPS we've seen attempts at cracking the label's large catalog come more to fruition of late, a rather beautiful set of mini LPs coming from Germany, a smattering of great titles from Dave Pike Set and Mike Nock Underground sneaking out of Japan and the George Duke reissues getting enough attention even Verve in the US had a go at them. A long time ago Kriegel's Inside: Missing Link was reissued only to fall well out of print and then a few years back Spectrum got a nice 24 bit treatment in one MPS false-start reissue ranges, yet in the latest wave we've not seen further and certainly Kriegel's got another few albums worth of reissue including what's arguably his best title, the jazz rock classic Lift, which is perhaps his most Mahavishnu-inspired released, which means it's just got a little bit more energy than some of his other solos. Of course the draw is all down to Kriegel's playing which is edgy, slightly angular and one of a kind and far more interesting in 74 than Mahavishnu was that year.

10. Oriental Wind - Live in der Balver Hohle

Despite fleeting rumors that Oriental Wind albums have been released on CD in Turkey, I've seen nothing to see that this is true and in fact I think Life Road's the only one I can think of that was or that at least remains possible to pick up at this point. Which is too bad because it's the early catalog that remains of real interest. Drummer Okay Temiz, erstwhile Don Cherry cohort, travelled Europe gathering musicians to play what was basically a hybrid of Coltrane post-hard bop and Turkish traditional music. Even I probably swing on which one of the first five albums was the best of the group at any given moment, but my memory invariably swings to this live album at a place Finnish folk/jazz fusionists Piirpauke also recorded an album at (and who Temiz later joined). Snakey eastern melodies marry to a pre-kozmigroov spiritualist interpretation of jazz, with the specter of two Coltrane bands ever present, the classic quartet of the mid 60s and the earlier quintet with Dolphy in the line up. Similar in ways to Hermeto Pascoal's vision where compositional work in a unique style set up long sections of American-inspired jazz improvisation where any number of musicians would vamp and succeed or fail depending on the energy level (and far often the former). Overall Wind recorded a good night here and if the live album isn't necessarily the band's best album it's certainly the most spontaneous and, dare I say it, pure jazz. So let's hope (in the case of some of these albums) that someone gets the key to the Sonet label and unravels it like MPS.

Mike's Top 30 Unreissued Titles (Part 1 of 6)

I think periodically some of us old timer collectors with fetishes for lists need to sort out various things and it seems one of our old time favorite topics is the albums left unreissued on CD to date, in fact my cohort's got a pretty nice site of his own that covers this topic in a great bit of detail. My list's going to have a great deal of crossover with Tom's, although perhaps the main difference is that mine will verge a little more in the electronic and jazz directions. I'd have probably done something like this eventually, but it's been bumped up due to some ... talk. But anyway I thought I'd list my top 30 by fives. Almost the entire list is what we at Gnosis call "12s" except for this first 5 made up of two 14s and three 13s.

1. Lightwave - Ici et Maintenant

Ici et Maintenant was sort of an underground electronic music show in France and this Lightwave cassette, originally released by Audion's Auricle label was the third of three cassettes before they were signed to Erdenklang for their first original CD, Nachtmusik, and then went on to hop labels for their career. Lightwave have always exhibited a combination of 70s tendencies and musique concret sounds and always managed to pull off a lot of really dark and sequence driven music. Perhaps of all their work, this live, approximately 80-90m cassette music, is the most Berliner/70s sounding of their work, each phase of the music sort of segueing into the next in what always sounded to me like one long suite with some very notable sequencer sections. I'd always found ordering overseas in the 90s to be somewhat treacherous so had friends in Britain mail me this cassette at the time and I think I probably got a flawed copy with some tape warble towards the end of the first side/beginning of the second side, so to say this is my #1 reissue list even with those flaws is probably saying something. I think even those who might think of Lightwave more in the musique concret direction (and in this direction the cassete Cites Analogues is probably closest from these early days) might go for this. I don't know what's holding up any of these cassette releases, the band, the original label or whoever, but they all really deserve to see digital in more than CD-R format.

2. Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel

I always think of Schickert as the third in the trilogy of German guitarists with a thing for the echo pedals including Manuel Gottsching and Achim Reichel and really only Gottsching has managed to get all of his stuff out on CD. With Reichel and Schickert we've just had a smattering of activity, and this debut release (which started as a private release and then got released on Green Brain) is perhaps what I'd call the second best echo guitar album after Manuel's classic Inventions for Electric Guitar. This album's a lot darker though with huge swathes of music that seem a lot more abstract and thus maybe a step aside from the normal connection you'd make with the hippie era. I've always loved that all three of these guys have their own personalities with the style but find it sad that Schickert's most notable groundbreaking effort is still in the vaults. And will the SPV series not be able to include this due to its initial private release? Curious and curiouser. (ED: Since reissued by Important Records)

3. Atila - Reviure

The recent reissue of Intencion with a live version of Reviure really speaks volumes for the absence of the true Reviure on a digital CD and it seems we may never see it, in what I refer to as "major level oblivion." (I think there's some comments about why in the Intencion CD but I'm not near my copy). This is not only a high want for me on the unreissued list but it might be the best Spanish progressive rock album of all time, if not top 5. It's not really part of all the folk/flamenco-influenced rock of the 70s and more like a jammin' space rock masterpiece. And even though the vocals can occasionally make me wince, the music's still too good for them to overwhelm it. In some ways Spain's answer to Gong and Hawkwind, four nearly perfect tracks. Although I must say, given the vinyl quality, that I probably wouldn't suffice with more than going back to the masters, so if they're gone then we probably have the best we're going to get.

4. Ma Banlieue Flasque - st

Word was that Musea had this one in their reissue plans, but then they've always started their reissue lists earlier than everyone else with some albums seeing as much as a decade from the original mention to when they actually show up. From what I understand this is because albums like this do a pittance in the community and thus funds are needed to collect before what is virtually a labor of love is needed to release it. In fact given so many French/Belgian rarities are starting to show up in Japan now, such as the Speed Limits, Art Zoyds and Julvernes, maybe this one will finally follow. It's part of the whole rippin' delirium tradition, roughly in the vein of Zappa, Komintern, early Gong and Etron Fou, with a lot of crazy words mixed in with some thoroughly complex and highly energetic playing. Another one where I don't see what the hold up is at this point. My guess this is the least problematic of the items in this post.

5. Chris Hinze Combination - Mission Suite

The newest entry on my list and I suppose this could sink a bit after the initial excitement, this early 70s jazz rock combo really did a number on this release working those rise and fall dynamics like the pros they were, starting off quietly with loads of wondrous flute and then bringing up the energy like kundalini to peak over and over again. It just goes to show you there's still a crazy number of early 70s jazz rock albums to do, again probably part of the major label hold up. And apparently Hinze has a bunch of em.

Gosta Berlings Saga - Tid Är Ljud. 2006 Sweden

Gösta Berlings Saga could be considered the perfect modern Swedish progressive rock band. They look inward towards their own country for m...