Mike's List of Criminally Out of Print CDs

OK so now the Top 30 unreissued CDs are out of the way, I think it's time to tackle some CDs that I'd like to see again. This won't be as comprehensive, as if I own some really out of print CD already I won't post it here, as that would take some research to figure out what's gone or not. This is a list of discs I'd really like to see again as I missed them or sold them or whatever.

1. Edgar Froese - Epsilon in Malaysian Pale

Edgar's got a serious penchant for adding graffiti to his old art that's extremely frustrating to his fans and to date I haven't seen a single positive review of the redos of albums like Epsilon and Aqua, which apparently have been techno-fied and modernized and well, just about everything a classic fan doesn't want. I thought I'd read this has to do with conflict with Virgin, but nonetheless I can't think of much worse than dressing up old recordings (although perhaps we'd have to put one point in the Froese column for Green Desert). Anyway unlike Aqua, Epsilon's been out of print for ages and is prohibitively rare and not only that but the Virgin CDs were utterly abysmal sounding. In fact I actually owned this once and then got rid of it for that very reason, keeping a copy of the Brain LP but as these things go, I never listen to it and would do so had I had it on a CD or CD-R. But anyway this is one I don't expect to see despite it being the top one on my list. It's one of the best mellotron and electronics albums ever created, like the soundtrack to a prehistoric vista.

2. Hatfield & The North - Hatwise Choice

This is already out of print apparently but the small boutique outlet who distributed it pushed it outside the realm of viability for overseas customers by adding exorbitant postage and insurance charges (that is it would cost about $30 in the end for one disc). I have no idea if it would have any viability via a US reissue but I'd love to see it as it's a ripping collection of a band who was extraordinary live. Of course, what I'd really like to see is the full shows (for instance the bootleg of 3 BBC sessions that nearly everyone has is really one of the finest live comps of all time), but hey we're getting to fractions of fractions. Maybe I'd be the only left buying a 6 CD anthology of live Hatfield albums but then again maybe that would make paying for insurance reasonable.

3. Kaipa - Stockholm Symphonie

Released in very small quantities in Japan this is not only the best document of Swedish prog band Kaipa but includes some of the best Allmans-inspired guitarwork from Roine Stolt, slightly stretching out some of the comps and giving it all an amazing atmosphere. Just writing about this makes me wanna hear it but I bet 90% of the owners have a boot copy of some sort. I say make it a double if there's some more unreleased live material from the band and get it out there again. This is the main argument why they were Sweden's answer to Yes.

4. Can - The Peel Sessions

I expect one day we'll see another round through the Peel Sessions vaults so this is one I'm not terribly worried about, even if it's second only to the magnificent Tago Mago in terms of great Can. Although perhaps someone would have to license it out now such as what we've seen with Soft Machine's Peel Sessions. Would like to see the Gong sessions out again as well and I'm sure there are more I can't think of off hand.

5. Dan Ar Bras - Douar Nevez, Terre Nouvelle

Perhaps the closest the French folk scene ever got to progressive rock and featuring stalwart Magma (and I think Fairport) related musicians in the back up bands, this Hexagone release was always lost in distribution outside of Europe, usually only showing up in catalogs for $25 to $30 when you could find it, in fact it was quite a bit rarer than the Malicorne CDs were. With an LP and rip in hand, it's not terribly crucial, but I like it enough to want an original. His best album by far.

6. Gwerz - Au Dela

The very best work from the short lived French folk band Gwerz, this had a really epic feel I always found that transcended what can be a painfully hard to listen to genre (bombardes aren't to everyone's tastes and certainly not mine). But there's something lyrical, majestic and almost Dylanesque about this at times and I find it mesmerizing. But once I'd heard it it was already too late to find a hard copy. Musea even reissued their first and inferior release so I was hoping this would follow, but alas good Musea releases of any sort seem far and few between these days.

7. Steve Roach / Vidna Obmana - Circles and Artifacts

When doing an ebay sweep a couple years I went one or two items too deep and this was one of them, in fact I have absolutely no idea what I was doing unloading this, I think I wanted to thin up on a massive Steve Roach collection (mostly the first few albums, the guitar releases etc). Anyway I miss it, it was certainly right in line with the drony stuff they were doing around the black box era IIRC. Perhaps too, having it as part of a photo exhibition (nicely done but not really something I ever have time to sit down with) was partly the reason for letting it go, but now it seems to go for about $40 to $50, so I hope one day it gets its own CD release without the frills.

8. Ragnar Grippe - Sand

Bought this when it was released in small quantities only to realize, perhaps later that the CD was defective and a whole spot in the middle of the CD had peeled off killing half the CD. So I suppose I could sit with the original packaging and plop a CD-R inside knowing I paid my dues, but you know that really annoying collector thing just gnaws at you. Cuz this is a really cool pingy, weird synth album that's really like no other, it just has a unique one of a kind atmosphere. But I suppose a stopgap will have to do as I was not only surprised it ever got a CD release, but would be even more so to see it get a second one.

9. George Harrison - Wonderwall Music

With Beatlemania in full fling, this early Harrison instrumental album is one I'm not particularly worried about, I've seen it go in and out of print all the time, it's just that it's always been a bit pricy. But I've always found it so charming and surprisingly good for an album that gets little chat. Who knows maybe a search on Amazon right now would turn this up for a good price, it's included here based on my last search which showed a minimum $50 for a copy.

10. Motoi Sakuraba - Shining the Holy Ark

This is a step down from the first 9 on the list but I wanted to make it an even 10 and it gives me a chance to whine about how hard it is to get Sakuraba CDs outside of Japan. In the video game industry the man's a soundtrack titan but just when you think prog rock is a niche, pair it with video game music and it's like a niche in a niche. Sure, Motoi can get a bit too epic and corny at times, just a little syrupy for my taste, but I love it when he's high energy and spitting out incredible organ riffs over mellotrons and synths (and this comes from a guy who barely can stand most ELP and generally gets bored with keyboard trios). And I think it's just amazing that even to this day his video game soundtracks are prog through and through (such as Star Ocean: The Last Hope). Seriously there's nothing like battling evil with a Hammond B3 playing. Anyway I think Shining was his second released CD and it's not the only one I'd like to see, now that his debut Gikyokuonsou is also OOP as is Beyond the Beyond and maybe a dozen I don't even know.

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

And last and only slightly least...

26. Association P.C. - Rock Around the Cock

This unfortunately titled and covered masterwork is maybe only marginally the best of the five Association P.C. albums, of which only one seems to be reissued in the still all too slow MPS reissue series, which seems to be dallying with mediocre titles at the expense of masterpieces like this one (although I should cut them some slack as they initially took one of these off the list.) This is a rather perfect example of what the Europeans brought to the American jazz rock movement, a little bit of freakiness, a slightly askew and dissonant electricity to it and a rise and fall like breathing. Like the Chris Hinze albums mentioned earlier in this series, Courbois and co. start mellow and bring most of the work to screaming climaxes of intensity, all with a fuzzy subtlety than enhances the whole. As a sidebar, lets tag on Erna Morena to this title which if it didn't make this top 30 was only a few slots behind.

27. Peter Frohmader - Spheres

The last of his three early cassette releases and unlike Jules Verne Cycle and Orakel/Tiefe, I believe this one was released privately. It's a surprisingly inside release for the experimentalist but Frohmader's one of those guys I'd always wanted to hear do something inside and this spacy masterpiece foregoes the usual dark, macabre atmospheres for something a bit more Berlin school and a bit more new agey. It's gigantic on resonance and even beautiful in spots and is nothing at all like the Cuneiform albums to come which also concentrate a bit more on pure electronics but take it in a much weirder direction. So how about a two CD release, JVC, O/T and Spheres. Am I the only one who wants this?

28. Makam es Kolinda - s/t (aka Szelscend Utan)

Apparently this once was reissued on CD in Japan in micro quantities, or at least I remember seeing the catalog number at a store once, but at a time when I could have nabbed any Japanese reissue I wanted this one went in and out with a bang and when a disc is this rare, to the point where you know nobody who actually owns one, you have to still count it in the unreissued spot. This was the first of at least two collaborations between Hungarian and post-Hexagone label folksters along with the more Cage/Riley-esque Makam ensemble and it's possibly the very best work by either group. Recorded in the early 80s it definitely cants towards the Kolinda direction but excels in that it continues the band's progression from the early albums into more angular and progressive directions to create a lively East European gypsy folk prog that's weird, mystical and unmatched in its field.

29. Carnascialia - st

Like the previously mentioned album, this is another that came out on CD (apparently under the names of the original musicians rather than the Carnascialia band name) and disappeared almost immediately. Along with members of Area, the duo created a bizarre late 70s avant-folk release with the typical Arabian motifs and weirdness that area also sported, lots of unusual modal riffs that flirt with high energy while remaning almost toe tappingly tuneful. Not exactly progressive rock, like most Italian albums this late (such as Venegoni e Co., the first Mauro Pagani etc) its experimentation is more a collision in various world styles that includes just enough rock to make it buzz as well as a Battiato-like penchant for exploration and collage. (ED: Carnascilia has been since reissued)

30. Clivage (Andre Fertier) - Regina Astris

An ancient and psychedelic world fusion with an impressive cover, the debut album of the Fertier-led Clivage, who released three albums, exudes the type of electricity built up from trancey type structures that got their cue from bands like Third Ear Band, Between, Oregon and Aktuala, Clivage approach the same formula from a more restrained base, with hints of classical music and jazz that would become more apparent on later albums, all of which I reviewed a while back here

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...