Monday, April 29, 2013

Gorizont - Summer in Town. 1985 Russia

Gorizont - Summer in Town. 1985 Melodiya

CD reissue: 2000 Boheme Music

The idea behind this blog was to celebrate the excellent reissues of the past and present. I need to do a better job of focusing on some of the excellent CD reissues from the last 25 years that have been sitting in my collection for a loooong time (while keeping up with modern reissues as well).

Packaging notes: Like all Soviet era releases, Gorizont's two albums were on the state label Melodiya. Cheap single sleeves and muddy sounding vinyl is what you can expect. Still, this album was such a revelation, that I started distributing the album here in the States via contacts in England and Finland. I probably sold or traded at least 30 copies throughout the early to mid 90s. The CD is the only way to go if you want a quality product. Boheme was a fantastic label from Moscow, that reissued almost all of the classic Melodiya progressive rock albums from the 1980s. "Summer in Town" comes with lengthy, and insightful, liner notes in English (and Russian). As you can see on the cover (which is the CD press, LP is all in Cyrillic), Horizont is the more accurate translation. But back in the day we all knew this record as Gorizont - so I'm sticking with it, ignorant as that may sound. :-)

Notes: Gorizont is a classic example of a Soviet era band that was sponsored by an industrial collective. That's correct, Gorizont was a tractor plant band (technically funded by the Cheboksarian Plant of Industrial Tractors - I couldn't make that name up if I tried). As an aside, I personally think the downfall of the Soviet Union was that half of their economy was still based on tractors - in the 1980s... Anyway, I can tell you this: No John Deere plant that I know of was producing these kind of musicians! A truly wonderful find, Gorizont are one of the most innovative progressive bands from any country - much less the mid 1980s of the old USSR. Three long and involved instrumental tracks adorn this fine work. There's a certain Camel like bounciness to the main melodies that add an air of optimism to the proceedings. However, just at the point where you relax into a comfortable "Snowgoose" groove, the Moogs go wild, the bass blasts out a grinding a Magma styled riff, and the guitar blisters forward with a violent Heldon-styled nightmare. All in different meters, you understand. Just as the rollicking roller coaster has you about to heave over the side, the music suddenly shifts back to a pleasurable symphonic mode - only to throw you back into the dark hole from whence you came. A true yo-yo album that remains exciting listen after listen.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Search Party - Montgomery Chapel. 1969 USA

The Search Party - Montgomery Chapel. 1969 Century.

CD reissue: 2013 Lion Productions (as "The News is You: The Sacred & Secular Music of Nick Freund")

LP reissue: 2000 Void

Packaging notes: One of the most sought after psychedelic records, originals of The Search Party have been super expensive since the day I started collecting rarities in the 1980s. Somewhat surprising to find out, then, that the Century label is not some boiler room operation, but rather a mainstream Christian music label from Los Angeles! Void was the first to market with a legit reissue on LP. Two years ago I was amazed to discover that "Montgomery Chapel" had yet to be pressed on CD (legit that is - plenty of pirate editions). Lion finally came through - and in a big way. The CD includes the full album by St. Pius X Seminary Choir "Each One Heard in his Own Language About the Marvels of God" from one year prior. Full historical liner notes and photos round out this splendid release. Without a doubt, Lion's CD is the definitive edition.

Notes: I've heard about The Search Party ever since the 1980s when I first started receiving progressive and psych rarities catalogs. Even then, this album was off the charts rare and expensive. I never did bother to seek it out, figuring it was another over-hyped Christian psych album (you won't see me use the term over-hype very much, but with Christian psych, it truly does apply). So finally last week I heard the album. Oh wow, this really is good. No wonder everyone made a fuss years ago. My kind of atmospheric, doomy psych with Voxx organ, acoustic guitars, haunting male/female vocals and occasional fuzz guitar outbursts. About the only comparison I could think of is the brilliant Music Emporium album, on their more cosmic tripped out tracks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gurumaniax - Psy Valley Hill. 2010 Germany

Gurumaniax - Psy Valley Hill. 2010 Bureau B

CD issue: 2010 Bureau B

Presumably, the members of Gurumaniax need no introduction, nor does its core group Guru Guru, so off to my notes we go...

Almost everyone I know that is aged 70 tends to be a doddering Grandfather, or someone who fiddles in the yard/garden to pass the day. Some are more active of course - maybe they travel extensively, run a restaurant, or they still immerse themselves in day-to-day corporate business. But absolutely no one I know at age 70 has recorded a KRAUTROCK ACID FREAKOUT album, as has Mr. Neumeier, who was already 30 when the monumental UFO was released in 1970. Joining Mani is the youngster guitarist Ax Genrich who was only 25 when UFO was launched. And Belgian bassist Guy Segers (Univers Zero) fills in ably for Uli Trepte (RIP) - he himself no spring chicken. The music squarely fits into the exploratory Ohr years of Guru Guru, with heavy psychedelic jams offset by spacey parts. What an inspiration to see these guys still possess the spirit of their youth. I just hope I still have the excitement of listening to this stuff at 70! Gurumaniax's music make kids in their 20s put on the oxygen masks. I love it.