Monday, May 20, 2013

Phlox - Vali. 2013 Estonia

Phlox - Vali. 2013 MKDK (CD)

Vali is a live offering from Phlox that predominantly features new material, excepting the last two tracks both from the Rebimine + Voltimine album. The always excellent combination of complexity and melodicism are still in full force. Some of the unhinged improvisational aspects of Rebimine + Voltimine have returned, perhaps not surprising given the live setting. The saxophone certainly pushes the envelope and sometimes borders good taste, but reels it back just in time. Though Vali is my least favorite of the three Phlox albums I've heard, it's still quite excellent. I will say this title has grown on me since first hearing it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Purson - The Circle & The Blue Door. 2013 England

Purson - The Circle & The Blue Door. 2013 Rise Above

CD issues: 2013 Rise Above; 2013 Metal Blade (USA); 2013 Trooper (Japan)

Starting with strummed acoustic guitar, followed by flute mellotron, shimmering cymbals, and phased female vocals - yea ALRIGHT we're in 1971 again! Do I look like I'm complaining? Helllll, no. A heavy bass run, more mellotron, acoustic guitar, and there it is, heavy organ and psychedelic guitar. Cool, I'm happy. What's for dinner?

Purson is more early 70s rock than progressive rock, and in reality, it fits quite nicely in my Proto Prog with Female Vocals list. Adding now...

If any of the above remotely interests you, then of course you'll want to own this. Another winner from Rise Above!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gunter Schickert - Samtvogel. 1974 Germany

Günter Schickert - Samtvogel. 1974 private

Other Gunter Schickert features on the UMR

CD reissue: 2013 Important

LP reissues: 1975 Brain; 1980 Brain; 2010 Wah Wah (Spain)

Release details: Until ebay came along, I wasn't aware that Samtvogel had originally been a private press (first two scans). The 3rd photo is the Brain release, that was purchased (not licensed) by Metronome a year later. As you can see, the cover was slightly enhanced to show the artist and title. Also worth noting that this was a later green Brain era pressing, and thus no Metronome was appended. This was the version I first found in a Dallas area record store in the late 1980s, and still own. While most of the "Rock On Brain" series of albums featured substandard covers, I have to admit that I do enjoy the one they pressed for Samtvogel (4th photo). As for reissues, it seemed it would never happen, and was one of the last of the "Green Brain" albums to be considered (there's still a few to go!). But the ice finally broke in 2010 with the announcement of both a CD and an LP reissue. Except only the LP came out! Finally, 3 years later, the CD is here. And it's a beauty! A stunning tri-fold digi-pak (that replicates the original private press cover) with in-depth liner notes and an album review. The CD itself looks like an old Impulse jazz release if considering the back cover (thanks goes to Gnosis Mike for that observation). About the only bummer is the lack of bonus tracks, which is a bit surprising given that Schickert was one of the original "bedroom" composers.

Notes: Schickert was one of the pioneers of the sound-on-sound guitar based electronik musik movement along with Achim Reichel (AR & Machines) and Manuel Gottsching (Ash Ra Tempel). An intense, burning, cyclical pounding of the senses, as Schickert tries to resolve the angst of the Cold War Berlin world he lives and breathes. A psychotic aural vision that is so perfectly realized. 

Last update: September 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gorizont - The Portrait of a Boy. 1989 Russia

Gorizont - The Portrait of a Boy. 1989 Melodiya.

CD reissue: 2000 Boheme Music

Packaging details: Everything I said about "Summer in Town" applies to "Portrait of a Boy". The original cheap vinyl pressing that I once distributed due to popular demand, and that the CD is far superior with excellent liner notes.

Notes: Life at the tractor plant must have caused a certain kind of insanity, as Gorizont returned with one more flourish at producing a highly creative record. On this effort, Gorizont present us with five tracks, with the last piece adding vocals for the first time. Perhaps even more complex than "Summer In Town", this continues the use of ominous fuzz guitar and shifting meters offset by happy melodies. Paradoxes such as this are what make progressive rock such an exciting genre! Comparisons to "Uzed" era Univers Zero wouldn't be entirely inappropriate - understanding that it's highly unlikely Gorizont were familiar with the Belgian band. Similar conclusions are often drawn from different premises.