Siddhartha - Trip to Innerself. 1998 Turkey

Siddhartha - s/t. 1998 private (CD)

CD reissue: 2009 Trail (USA). Reissue of the above (as Trip To Innerself) with a complete new re-edit, and a couple of additions/subtractions.

I've often thought that Turkey is a country that could - perhaps should - produce amazing psychedelic space rock albums. The indigenous music culture alone, outside of any rock influence, speaks to the exotic and... well... the psychedelic. But it really hasn't happened that way, even if you consider the more known stars of the 1970s like Baris Manco and Erkin Koray. Siddhartha at least made a sincere attempt at mixing the music of East and West. Though unfortunately it weighs too much towards the latter, and ultimately sounds like any number of bands from Europe emulating the various stages of instrumental Pink Floyd and the like. Still, there's much to admire here, in particular the title track, 'The Explorer', and especially 'Nervous Breakdown'. 

For Middle Eastern psychedelic cosmic rock, it's hard to beat Agitation Free's "Malesch" (Germany 1972). And for modern bands, Astrakhan's Vespero is the gold standard for such a sound. But there's never too much of this type of music as far as I'm concerned, and I do hope Siddhartha do consider reforming in some form or fashion. Though it appears that one of the key contributors - namely Özgür Kurcan - sadly passed away in 2011.

Phase - Midnight Madness. 1979 USA

Phase - Midnight Madness. 1979 Red Mark

LP reissue: 1981 private (as Fusion Quartet - Comprovisations)

CD reissue: 2013 Modulus (mini-LP)

Packaging: Scarce as an original, but not particularly expensive, Phase's one album pretty much escaped everyone's radar until Midwest Mike discovered it a couple of years ago. His discovery lead directly to the CD reissue, as well as our entry into the CDRWL. The 1981 second press has a different cover, band name and title. Ken reissued the CD with the preferable original cover, in exact detail similar to how the Japanese do it. The booklet contains unique liner notes from the participants from the original recording, plus the ultra-technical music geek notes from the LP (as the AC so appropriately put it). A superb reissue, that all fans of progressive fusion should look into. I own the original LP and now the CD.

Notes: Phase is smoking fusion first, instrumental progressive rock second. A great mix of instrumental dexterity, with complex compositions and ferocious playing. RTF meets Kenso; or Iceberg meets Transit Express for a more obscure reference.

Much more info here.

Yuji Imamura & Air - s/t. 1977 Japan

Yuji Imamura & Air - s/t. 1977 Three Blind Mice.

With the Holidays coming up, hopefully I'll have a little more time for posting on my three blogs. I've certainly fallen way behind here.

So let's continue our Japanese jazz rock theme with Yuji Imamura & Air.

CD reissues: 2001 Three Blind Mice; 2013 Sony/Three Blind Mice (mini-LP)

Packaging: As I just recently mentioned on the CDRWL, Three Blind Mice have gained a cult following amongst jazz rock aficionados. Original LPs are more scarce than expensive. The 2001 CD had become nigh impossible to find (believe me here, I was looking for it for about 4 years). So I was quite enthused to see a repress, this time in the mini-LP format. The cover is a standard single sleeve, so no real need for the upgrade if you already have the original CD. I was just glad to get any CD of it - and this is the copy I own.

Notes: Two side long tracks clearly influenced by the deep funk groove of mid 70s Miles Davis albums like "Dark Magus", "Agharta", and "Pangaea". No trumpet, but the saxophone is instead treated to sound similar. Much more flute and spaced out than classic Miles, but still plenty of wah wah guitar and dual percussion to get down with. A few jazzers from Japan were highly influenced by Miles Davis, and percussionist Imamura is one of the finest emulators I've heard to date. Good album.

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - Sounds of Sound L.T.D. 1970 Japan

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - Sounds of Sound L.T.D. 1970 Nippon Columbia.

CD reissues: 2007 P-Vine; 2013 P-Vine (mini-LP)

Packaging: We featured Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited's "Innocent Canon" back in March, and interestingly enough, has proven to be the second most popular post on UMR according to blogspot. The situation with vinyl and CD are almost exact as with that album, except the new "Sounds of Sound LTD" is in the mini-LP format (single sleeve cover). And that's the version I own.

Notes: Nice bit of psych exploitation from Japanese jazz group. Beautiful flute/Hammond driven soundtrack styled pieces ('Theme-Mustache', 'Monster', 'Lullaby for Yuh' (haha, yea that's the spelling), 'Theme') are offset unexpectedly by the one 7 minute freakout on here: 'Scotland Scene', with its massive fuzz bass and psychotic electric guitar leads. Not near as insane (or frankly as sublime) as the 1971 followup "Innocent Canon", but this album is a heck of a lot of fun. Pick it up if you see it.

The Word of Life - Dust. 1995 Sweden

The Word of Life return with their sophomore, and ultimately last effort, Dust which is somewhat different from the predecessor. There'...