Humus - Whispering Galleries. 1999 Mexico

One primary characteristic of Humus that I picked up is that each successive album was more sophisticated than the last. Given the album covers, it almost seemed the band was evolving in a Darwinian state. And the cover here is astounding. While I wouldn't necessarily say Whispering Galleries has taken this to a new level of complexity (not even sure how they would do that honestly), I would say this is a nice sideways move for the band. The guitar trio arrangements are still dizzying complex, and Humus continues to possess that unique primo-era Sensations' Fix space rock vibe. Amongst the more standard Humus fare, there is an atmospheric/experimental keyboard piece, a female vocals number with some splendid electric blues guitar soloing, a modern interpretation of what seems like a Group 1850 improvisation, and an all-in 22 minute space rock number. A can't miss item for space rock aficionados.

Personal Collection
LP: 1999 W-Dabliu (Italy)

The LP comes in a fine gatefold cover.  For whatever reason, this title was never released on CD. And the LP was scarce the minute it came out. I recently secured a copy from Italy, which is about the only place you'll be able to find one (naturally enough).

Rantz - s/t. 1982 USA

Now this is one doggone weird album, I'll tell you that. The early 80s were a lost time for America. These were my high school years, and I remember them like yesterday. Culturally we bordered on anarchy. Which is of course the breeding ground for true creativity. Unlike Europe, we never had a true "progressive scene". We had fans of English progressive rock, but indigenous bands pretty much wallowed in obscurity. I've already documented this to death in my USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock (1970's/early 80s) list. Myself, I was banging my head against every wall (explains things doesn't it?) while listening to heavy metal. Then moving to 70's progressive and sequencer based electronic music. And eventually relating way too much to Nicolas Cage in Valley Girl with his Tangerine Dream T-shirt and being a social outcast to those "preppies" with their Top Siders and pulled-up-collar "Alligator shirts" (Izod for the culturally unaware) and weren't allowed to date the cute cheerleaders, only because we listened to Iron Maiden and knew how to program Assembly code on an IBM - even if said cute girls actually liked you. Today you're cool if you're a geek. Back then we were just geeks (actually we were called "Freaks" - that was the early 80s term used for us long hairs who went to heavy metal and hard rock concerts, played in the high school band, and actually learned how to program a computer - oh, and liked girls, something I've come to learn was less common than initially thought. I guess I'm "old fashioned" that way. Explains my runway model wife of 20 years at least). And, naturally enough, us Freaks listened to "weird music".

Which gets me back to Rantz (whew... wasn't quite sure how I was going to do that). I don't even know where to start here. The cover is indicative, perhaps. The female vocalist sounds like a mutant Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. The guitarist plays in a decidedly psychedelic manner as if 1973 never happened. Did I mention flute? Oh yes, it's everywhere here - all played 1970 style (and the sisterhood is alive here too). The compositions? Clearly informed by the MTV acts of the day: Men Without Hats, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Pretenders, The Human League... oh you get the idea. (I'm so old, I remember when MTV only played music videos). Gotta love a tune called 'Gnostic Blues'. You know, I've been thinking of getting a bunch of international guys together to rate progressive albums... and call it Gnosis! Naw, that would be dumb. Anyway, real time warp stuff here for this high school junior in 1982. About the only album this screwed up is the Amish Rumspringa band Quasar Light. Seriously, if Ancient Aliens had a show on progressive rock, Rantz would be their proof. Not sure they'd be off base either. If only they were from Roswell, New Mexico. "Could it be, as Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe..."

Personal Collection
LP: 1982 Casino

This was another CDRWL discovery, and most of the review above came from that CD-R listen. I have since obtained the LP. If looking to do similar, I highly suggest a visit over to Discogs so you can obtain your own sealed copy for a decent price. Get them before they go! Not reissued on CD as I write this.

Jupu Group - Ahmoo! 1975 Finland

Heavy instrumental progressive fusion with guitar/electric piano/Moog interplay, with violin being the centerpiece - to be expected given the band is his nickname. The title track seems promising but unfortunately features a dull drum solo one must endure. Typical mid 70s fusion, that was all the rage at the time. Similar to other European acts like Pumpkin, Pop Workshop, Napalis, Energy, Ex Ovo Pro... and of course the progenitors of the jazz fusion movement: Return To Forever and Weather Report.

Personal collection
LP: 2016 Svart

Original LPs are quite rare. I owned it once but traded it away for something more to my taste (this was 20 years ago). Svart has recently come through with an LP reissue with full liner notes, so I picked it up again, and I'm enjoying it more now (though no regrets on the trade). July 2018 update: Svart has reissued on CD as well.

Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase. 1997 USA

When Unfolded Like Staircase first hit the market, there was an enormous buzz surrounding it. I wasn't overly impressed, the album seemingly like many new American prog bands that were being praised at the time. And left me scratching my head. Echolyn and Spock's Beard were also receiving rave reviews, and while I could appreciate both (the former more so), to my ears they weren't even necessarily worth keeping. And same with Discipline, which I sold quickly. Recently the title popped up again for sale on the cheap, and so I thought I'd give it another whirl some 20 years later. Yes, OK, this album now does resonate quite a bit. No question it has an earlier era feel to it - more 70s for certain than most bands coming from the 90s. There's a strong VDGG component here, mixed with the complexity of a band like, yea, Echolyn. Some the music here, especially the vocals, annoy me at times. But then again, Peter Hammill annoys me often too, so therein lies the problem. The many reviews I see for the album go to great lengths to describe the superlatives here. They can't all be wrong. I can see that multiple plays will result in a better experience. Well worth owning.

Personal Collection
CD: 1997 Strung Out

Redd - Tristes Noticias del Imperio. 1978 Argentina

Here's a CD I bought not long after the first reissue hit the market, and I didn't care for it much at all. Years later, I heard it again, and it still didn't make a mark. Now a few more years have passed, I regained the original CD reissue, and now I think it's great! Part of the issue may have to do with PRW's insistence in reordering the tracks, so that the most progressive compositions get your attention early. The problem with that approach is it often leaves the listener with the weakest last impression. I think a better approach might be to put the lesser tracks in the middle. Or - leave it just as it was intended to be! In any case, this is a fine symphonic progressive rock album from Argentina with a mixture of styles (jazz, folk, heavy prog), including the requisite singer-songwriters tendencies that you often hear from this part of the world (and Italy).

Personal collection
CD: 1996 PRW (Brazil)

Original LPs on Cavoclo are very rare.

Vesania - s/t. 1999 Brazil

Brazil was a hotbed of creativity in the 1990s, much of which is sadly forgotten today. Vesania are an instrumental prog band with one foot in mid 70s King Crimson and the other in modern space rock motifs. Algaravia and Dialect are two other Brazilian bands operating in a similar space earlier in the decade, and are no less obscure. You can also hear the debut of France's Nebelnest creeping through here, though not quite as dynamic or intense. One could also view Vesania as a prototype for the Spanish band October Equus. Sure, I'm namedropping here, but if you know these bands of which I speak, then you'll want to know Vesania too. Otherwise work backwards through the review. Everyone goes home happy...

Personal collection
CD: 1999 Record Runner

Crime in Choir - The Hoop. 2004 USA

San Francisco's Crime in Choir are like a number of bands to appear in the second millennial landscape. The music is exceptional, and the audience for it at the time was nil or fleeting. Especially here in America where creativity was at a high, but the data to find such gems was hard to filter. I only knew of the band because they wrote me directly to review their 3rd album Trumpery Metier, which impressed me on impact (2006). So a little exploration had me going back one album further, which would be The Hoop. This was many years ago that I bought the CD, probably for all of $2 on ebay or something similar. A quick look around suggests that a similar experience awaits the buyer.

As I arrive on RYM's entry, I see math rock as the genre. Crime in Choir is math rock in the same sense as an instrumental Soft Machine and Egg are. Don Caballero, Crime in Choir is not. And thus lies the problem with our modern situation. I can certainly understand the assertion (perhaps the band themselves made it for all I know), but for those of us raised in a different generation, instrumental progressive rock is what we would have thought on first listen. And so had it been marketed to such an audience, the end result would have probably been the same from a financial perspective. And totally different from an artistic one.

The music found on The Hoop is highly melodic, and keyboard driven. Even space rockish at times. No, Crime in Choir are not Canterbury, and they are certainly modern. And yet my comparisons hold. And my grade of 4 stars stands. So if you're a prog rock guy or gal, then perhaps the next $3 you spend could go to giving this one a whirl. Not much to lose, now is there?

Personal collection
CD: 2004 Frenetic

Karmic Society - Journey. 2007 Germany

Karmic Society are a new, primarily instrumental German band who have a sound somewhere between the early 1970s German/British heavy prog rock sound (2066 and Then, Odin) combined with some 1960s jam band elements (Grateful Dead, QMS), and even some Kraut space rock similar to Ohr-era Guru Guru. Nice to see the high quality reissue label World in Sound beginning to produce some fine new talent in addition to their excellent reissue inventory. Journey opens with a fascinating cover of an obscure mid 1960s synthesizer composition, though with a full sounding rock band (organ, guitar, bass, and drums). From here they launch into their 4 original compositions, which are easily the highlights of the album. Hammond organ and electric lead guitar are the solo instruments of choice, and to my ears at least, they sound like the best of the retro hard prog rock groups like Black Bonzo, Blood of the Sun, and the Wicked Minds. One aspect of Karmic Society’s sound that I find highly appealing is their strong melodic sense, something that is lost on many newer bands. The final 3rd of the disc comprise of all covers. 'Yoo Doo Right', the old Malcolm Mooney era Can chestnut gets a much needed upgrade, and I find Karmic Society’s version considerably better and more focused (and frankly less annoying). Quicksilver’s 'Witches Moon' is up next, and Karmic Society are up to the task with a riveting version. They close with the Dead’s 'Dark Star', which if nothing else takes a lot of guts. There are literally thousands of live versions of this opus (by the Dead themselves of course), many of them masterpieces in their own right. They’re stomping on sacred ground here, and perhaps it would be better not to try an attempt, even if they do indeed produce a fine version I must say. An excellent album from a band we never heard from again.

Personal collection
CD: 2007 World in Sound

Last listen: May 9, 2017

Mammoth Volume - A Single Book of Songs. 2001 Sweden

As a rule I don't have much appreciation for the "stoner" genre. I appreciate the sounds, but after awhile, the premise becomes worn out and boredom ensues. Those vocals and those fuzz guitar sounds. Sometimes I'll hear about a "progressive stoner album", which is some type of oxymoron I believe. A Single Book of Songs is a progressive stoner album. It does exist after all. And the organ sounds are straight out of an American 60s garage. Flute and bells? This is one strange album, that's for sure. Not strange in the NWW list kind of strange, mind you.

I bought this CD not long after it was released, since it was advertised as a "progressive stoner band". Gullible as always, I bit. 15+ years later it's time to sell it right? I like it better now than then. Hmm.

Personal collection
CD: 2001 The Music Cartel

Shades of Dawn - The Dawn of Time. 1998 Germany

Throughout the 90s and 00s, there were quite a few German bands operating in the UK neo prog styled genre. Most of them didn't capture my ear. Shades of Dawn is definitely in the upper tier of that group, primarily due to the exceptional instrumental work, that captures the very best of bands like IQ and Lahost. They also remind me quite a bit of fellow countrymen Tea in the Sahara. And the synthesizer and guitar work do recall the German late 70s heyday of bands like Ivory, ML Bongers Project, Anyone's Daughter, and Amenophis. As is often the case with bands from Germany performing in this style, the vocals are quite suspect, and they would have been better served to sing in either their native tongue, or found someone more suitable for the task. And during some of the song sections, the music is nothing more than a backdrop for the lyric. This isn't their strong suit, so they probably should have tried harder to obfuscate it. Ah well, not to end on a sour note, as fortunately the instrumental work dominates here. Interesting to note that this album didn't score well on ProgArchives, demonstrating a completely different view of the neo prog genre than myself.

As an aside, the Early Birds label is actually Second Battle. I had completely forgotten that they had taken an interest in contemporary music, only thinking of them in a reissue capacity. Shades of Dawn were to move to Musea, a label much more associated with this kind of music. Oh cool, looks like I have another one from this band in the stack! These are fortunate times, when one can find these CDs on the cheap - to revisit what was missed.

Personal collection
CD: 1998 Early Birds / Second Battle

Amos Key - First Key. 1973 Germany

Amos Key, from Munich, are a high energy classically based organ driven progressive rock trio like Trace, ELP, Trikolon, and a host of Italian bands who were similarly influenced. I keep expecting Long Hair to ultimately reissue this LP*, especially considering they've already issued a fantastic archival album from the same era (Keynotes: The Lost Tapes SWF Session 1973). This is bread and butter progressive rock, which gives you the nutrients needed, without any sinful decadence (a little of that would have been nice actually...)

Personal Collection
LP: 1973 Spiegelei

The original LP comes in a fine gatefold with a cartoon and band photos in the inner part.

*And indeed they did! As I write this, I have yet to pick up the CD.

UHF - Timeless Voyager. 1981 USA

At CD Baby, there's an album you can buy from a Chicago band called The Seiche (1979 Seiche Demo). When listening to UHF, I was reminded of The Seiche. At its core, both bands are heavily influenced by late 70s Rush, minus the epic aspirations. More of a streamlined approach, similar to how Rush would emerge themselves, but with a rawer edge that is to be expected on a private production. But Miami, Florida based UHF take it one step further by adding a bit of a metal component. There's a certain riffing style that identifies it as such, though it doesn't fit comfortably into what is generally known as heavy metal - even for the early date. In fact, it wouldn't be a reach to compare UHF to Manilla Road at this 1981 stage (again, minus the more grandiose compositions and themes). And it's not just hard rock and metal, but a very strong progressive component can be found, with unusual meter breaks, and well placed keyboards. This is one of the best new-to-me albums I've heard in a long time. Great stuff.

Personal collection
LP: 1981 Rofer

The review above was for the CDRWL from a CD-R listen (2010). I've recently sourced the original LP, and if anything, my appreciation has only gone up since then. 

Ache - Green Man. 1971 Denmark

I've never really been able to ever pen notes for this one. Not sure why, as it's just such a great example of the 1971 landscape. Heavy organ and guitar, definitely progressive, but with a harder edge. Shorter songs than the debut, but actually a better album with stronger compositions, and more ideas per minute. Well... those are my notes I guess. Anyway, no-brainer buy item for fans of the 1971 progressive rock sound.

Personal collection
LP: 1971 Philips (Germany)
CD: 2000 Philips (w/De Homine Urbano)

The original comes in a fine gatefold. I bought mine (or traded for it) sometime in the 90s. It's not going anywhere - though I suppose a Danish original would be more preferable. The 2-fer CD has unique liner notes and good sound, straight from the masters.

Sub - In Concert. 1971 Germany

In a nutshell, Sub is a Krautrock version of Deep Purple. Which works real well for me, especially these days as 70s hard rock is really resonating. Long tracks with intense solos, but with that Germanic vibe not present with Lord and Blackmore. It's not a live concert, though it plays like one, and perhaps that's why they went forward with the idea. For this kind of album, Sub is top of the class.

Personal collection
CD: 1994 Penner

Original LPs on Help (Italy) are very rare. My first copy was the reissue LP (2012 Garden of Delights), but I recently sourced the CD. Since it's the same in every way, I decided to cut the one that occupied the most space.

Herbe Rouge - s/t. 1978 France

Herbe Rouge's sole album is very much a "French" album (despite much of it being sung in forced English - bizarre). At its best one can hear the Canterbury sounds of Moving Gelatine Plates, but there's also the somewhat goofy circus cabaret of Komintern to contemplate. Throw in bits of Le Grande Nebuleux and Ma Banlieue Flasque and you're pretty much there. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then... why are you reading this? Well I guess you could be lost looking for another band named Herbe Rouge. Is there another band named Herbe Rouge? Questions...

Personal collection
CD: 1995 Legend

Be sure to pick up this CD on Legend, that has no less than 12 bonus tracks - all quite relevant to the actual LP. The CD took me some time to secure as its fallen long OOP and is hard to source.

Real Ax Band - Nichtstehenbleiben. 1977 Germany

Real Ax Band were one of many Embryo offshoots to appear in the late 1970s, and were active in the German festival scene of the time. They took the Bad Heads and Bad Cats jazz rock fusion sound to the next level. Featuring Maria Archer, a soul singer from Ghana with a beautiful voice, along with funky electric guitars and a driving rhythm. There's an edge to all of these songs that would be likely missing on an American album from this time. A very fine album not to be missed. And if you're fan of late 70's Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, et al, then this becomes an essential pickup.

Personal collection
LP: 1977 April
CD: 2001 Funfundvierzig

The original LP comes in a fine gatefold and that was my first copy some 20 years ago. I don't believe it was repressed on Schneeball like some of the more successful April recordings (after being forced to change their name). Specialist label Funfundvierzig covered all the necessary reissues way back in 2001.

Ere G - Au-Dela des Ombres. 2002 Canada

Ere G's sole work is quite simply a well researched retro Quebecois styled prog album. Acoustic guitars, fluffy French vocals (well, they are fluffy), mellotron (lots of this), acid leads, Moog (lots of this too), flutes.... and most importantly gorgeous melodies. One tends to forget this component in these modern analytical times. Harmonium is probably the main influence here (think Les Cinq Saisons). Also elements of Et Cetera, Pollen, Morse Code, Opus 5 (note cover), plus Ange from the mother country (note title). There are many albums that attempt this sound, and fall flat. This one is special. The ingredients are darn near perfect, but the special touches this one has are remarkable for a debut acting in a pure retro capacity.

Personal collection
CD: 2002 Ipso Facto

Friendship Time - s/t. 1976 Sweden (archival)

Holy Moly, these are the kind of unreleased recordings collectors live for. A full blown professional recording that was slated for release on Virgin (I mean Virgin? That's BIG time for a rural Swedish group). Reminded me of the day that the Norwegian post-Host group Deja-Vu was discovered in the mid 90s. Friendship Time play an English inspired brand of progressive rock, not necessarily the big 3, but a cousin of that: Flash. I always felt Flash were highly neglected, perhaps not meeting the lofty standards of the mothership band - nor the keyboard heavy approach. There's also a distinct Swedish rock sound found here, notably Trettioariga Kriget (especially at the time of the second album) and the laissez-faire melodicism of the first Lotus album. Beautiful digipak release with histories and photos. No brainer pick up for Euro progressive rock heads (like me).

Personal collection
CD: 2007 Mellotronen

Circus - s/t. 1969 England

Most famous for featuring Mel Collins on flute and sax, later of King Crimson. For what this is, it's outstanding. Jazzy progressive instrumental work, with fantastic musicianship and great tones. But, and it's a big but, most of the material are cover tunes. Some are more recognizable than others, and pretty much feature extended, improvised, and original jams on most tracks. So, as I said, about as good as it can get for the limited style.

Personal collection
CD: 2005 Arcangelo (Japan)

Galaxy - Visions. 1978 Germany

Visions is an interesting album that somehow missed my radar back when the CD was released. Either I was quick to presume they were related to the Nature's Clear Well bunch (properly known as Waniyetula) or they were the Florida band Galaxy that had one private press from the same era (and the album covers have a striking similarity on first glance). In any case, this Galaxy are a product of the late 70s German underground. Their sound and instrumentation seem born from 1969, but the music is of their own era. The single best way I could characterize Visions is that of a garage version of symphonic Eloy. Imagine Oceans with primitive psychedelic equipment. Ravjunk playing Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes? Not a bad premise actually. I like it.

Personal collection
CD: 2002 Garden of Delights

Serge Bringolf Strave - Live. 1983 France

Strave always had a bit of a jazzy disposition to add to their unique brand of Zeuhl. By 1983 though, the band had moved onto full-on jazz. There's still the rock base, and the Zeuhl component only comes through in the repetition of the rhythm. There's quite a bit of sax soloing throughout. This live recording is not quite up to modern standards, but it's certainly better than an audience recording or something of that nature. A moment in time captured well. This one is on the margins of my personal interest area, but jazz fans with an interest in Zeuhl are encouraged to seek out.

Personal collection

I had this on LP 20 years ago and sold it. I had chance to source another one cheap so I tried it again. I'm enjoying it more now, but I could see this finding the sell bin sometime in the future. There is no CD as I write this.

July 2018 update: I did resell it again.

Solaris - Nostradamus. 1999 Hungary

For my tastes, Solaris' 1990 is one of the greatest post 70s progressive rock albums there is. There was a magic about it that captured my imagination greatly when first released, and it preceded even Anglagard in that this whole prog rock revival thing might be worth staying around for. Of course the debut Marsbeli Kronikak is tablestakes for any 80s progressive rock collection. Then I saw Solaris live in Los Angeles and was mightily impressed.

It is with this background that I came into Nostradamus with. And while the great prognosticator had been played out already, who better than Solaris to elevate it to the highest level of art? For me, this was one of the most anticipated albums I can ever recall.

Hmm. It just didn't happen. I recall vividly my first impression. I was nonplussed. Not disappointed mind you, just not wowed as I expected to be. Of course it's often time nigh impossible to meet such a lofty, perhaps unrealistic, goal. My Gnosis grade in real time was a 10 (a 3.5 here). And into the collection it was filed after a couple of earnest attempts of "feeling it". And now, I finally have brought it back out from the vaults for a revisit. Here's where I'm going to tell you my tastes have changed, and I have a whole new appreciation for it right? Nope. It remains a 3.5.

The odd thing about Nostradamus is it sounds very much like Solaris. I wouldn't chalk it up to the sudden tragic death of guitarist Istvan Cziglan. Even more bizarre is that the opening 3 'Book of Prophecies' tracks are the weakest, which comes completely unexpected. There's a hollowness to the overall sound here. It's big and bright, and very much a product of the 90s. But it isn't exactly like 1990 was an analog dream. In fact quite the opposite. If it not for the brilliant flute work of Attila Kollar, the album wouldn't be as good as it even is. But his brilliant phasing, melodic disposition, and overall tone is hard to beat. At this point, he seems to be Solaris. And it comes as no surprise he later ventured on his own for two more albums that surpassed Nostradamus in quality.

I want to be clear here: This is not a bad album by any stretch. But the Solaris name is highly revered in the ashratom world. And this one came up short. Perhaps I should have predicted it. The protagonist would have. Or would have he?

Personal collection
CD: 1999 Periferic

Jargon - s/t. 1980 Finland

Jargon are, in effect, Finnforest Ver 2.0. Their sole album continues on the path of the mothership, and were fully immersed into the fusion trends of the day. The sound is light and breezy but the songwriting is solid, and the melodies thought out. Some nice guitar and synthesizer leads adds points. Highlights include the opener and 'Erect', which starts perilously like a drum solo, before gathering itself into a fine composition. This is an album I owned 20 years ago and tossed into the sell bin. Purchasing the vinyl again (there is no CD) proved there's more here than my impetuous youthful ears would allow then. If you're looking for the more progressive oriented Finnforest sound, I'd probably steer clear. This is an album for late 70s and early 80s fusion freaks only.

Personal collection

I had this in the main list of the CDRWL only. My old notes aren't that far off, but I just like it more now. But... I sold my LP (again!) in January 2018. Couldn't justify keeping it for the price obtained.

Leviathan - s/t. 1974 USA

Leviathan are a band from Memphis, Tennessee, who managed to squeak out one LP before being dumped into the $1 bins of the day (not so any more). Opening with a mellotron blast, one could easily be swayed into thinking this will be a full on prog rock extravaganza. Couple that with the long songs and intriguing album titles, this will be a sure fire winner along the lines of Mirthrandir or Cathedral. Right? Wrong. Leviathan are basically a hard rock band, with a few stretched ideas, and a keyboardist who loves him some mellotron (it's all over this disc). Once you buy into the correct premise, the album delivers a fine set of tunes, with highlights that include 'Arabesque', 'Endless Dream', and 'Angel of Death'. The album sort of poops out at the end, and leaves the listener with a bad taste. Sort of like eating the peas after the steak. In any case, this is an album I owned for many years (both on LP and dubious CD), and pushed them both into the sell bin. Another Mach LP copy floated my way recently, and this visit proved to me that Leviathan is a fine mid 70s hard rock album.

Personal collection
LP: 1974 Mach

At this time, all the modern CD and LP reissues could best be described as "of dubious origin". I never cataloged it in the CDRWL, but I probably should have.

Keep - DG-581. 1981 Japan

At one point 20 years ago, I possessed both the Keep albums on LP, and thought the second was far better and edgier. And sold this one. Now I have this one rated higher after a revisit. And while I do agree still that the second album is more rock influenced, I appreciate the songwriting on DG-581 more. The slick sounds can be initially off putting, but to genre fans it's part of the package. But there's a lot of depth to these compositions, and the melodies can put a smile on your face. The usual suspects like Weather Report and Return to Forever can be called out as influences, along with a host of indigenous bands doing the same (not the least, related band Prism).

Personal collection
CD: 2011 Clinck

To the best of my knowledge the Japanese mini-LP on Clinck was not released separately with an obi, but rather it is part of a 5 CD package called J-Fusion Masterpiece Collectors' Box.

Morse Code - Procreation. 1976 Canada

Procreation is Morse Code's second album, and 4th if considering the Transmission appellation. Somewhere between Relayer and Going For the One era of Yes, but sung in French. This is one of those albums that is subtle, but once you track the scent, the wow factor is apparent. One of Quebec's finest albums. A masterwork really.

Personal Collection
CD: 2007 ProgQuebec

I should get the LP again. The trick is finding one where the cover isn't trashed, and found here in the States. The postage from Canada is often more than the album itself. The CD is awesome though, with full liners, bonus tracks from a single, etc... The CD will stay.

Pseu - s/t. 1982 France (archival)

The early 1980s were a heyday for the Zeuhl style of bands. Not that anyone knew it then of course, except those crawling around the clubs in and around Paris, Nice and Marseilles. Bands like Eider Stellaire, Eskaton, Super Freego, Uppsala, Honeyelk, Jean-Paul Prat, Xaal, Xalph, Shub Niggurath and Dun were all making the rounds back then. Now we can add Pseu to the pack. They never did get around to releasing their music on album, so this 2004 Musea reissue is quite a revelation. It takes a bit to get going, and unfortunately this isn't a typical Musea reissue with great liner notes in English, so it's hard to know if it's the earlier or later material that's suffering (recordings are from both 1981 and 1982). But by track 5, Pseu is firing on all cylinders and continues through to the end (and this section covers about 35 minutes and is the bulk of the disc). And, like Eider Stellaire, the guitar is featured far more than on most Zeuhl albums. The vocals are pretty much all chanted using only phonetics rather than actual lyrics or even made up languages. Naturally the bass playing is superb and the drumming here is also better than Eider Stellaire. A wonderful discovery for any Zeuhl fan.

Personal collection
CD: 2004 Musea

Invisible - Durazno Sangrando. 1975 Argentina

Durazno Sangrando is a continuation of the same style as the first album, a loose mixture of hard rock, jazz, and blues. But the progressive rock component is even more highlighted than prior. The sound is closer to El Reloj II than I had ever realized before. Excellent band that took me too long to figure out.

Personal Collection
CD: 1992 Sony

Rainbow Serpent - Futuregate. 1995 Germany

Rainbow Serpent are one of a handful of Berlin School revivalists from the Fatherland. They're a duo who have an arsenal of keyboards at their disposal. Mostly newer toys, not so much a vintage collection. Their blueprint for Futuregate can be found on Tangerine Dream's Tangram, and this album could represents outtakes from that session. There are worse ideas than following T Dream at the beginning of Schmoelling's career.

Personal collection
CD: 1995 Ardema

The cover looks like some cheap home computer printout, and one would expect this to maybe be a CD-R. But it's a factory cut CD, and the booklet is made of the proper stock.

I bought this CD many years ago. I would imagine it's not too easy to find in this day and age. Apparently there are two labels for this release - one red, one green. Mine is the former

Mediterranea - Ecce Rock. 1981 Italy

Relatively simple, but fun, instrumental guitar trio with quite a bit of mandolin as well. As is expected by the title and the cover of the original Italian version, it has a Turkish/Greek/Arabian vibe. The album gets better as it goes. According to the liner notes of the CD, the band were striving for the indigenous sounds of Campagnia (southern Italy) mixed with rock. I guess I could see that.

Personal collection
CD: 2010 AMS

The original cover isn't the best, and new artwork was wisely applied in Japan. When the album was reissued in Italy, they used the Japanese cover. On the back of the mini is the original artwork.

Skywhale - The World at Mind's End. 1977 England

Skywhale's sole album is one of the rare non-Canterbury UK fusion albums that sound more in line with what was happening over the Chan...