Mahamudra - s/t. 2005 Portugal

Mahamudra* are an obscure 5 piece band from Portugal, that is unknown even in underground progressive rock circles. Lead by Bruno Fernandes on "efeitos sintetizador", with a traditional 4 piece band (guitars-keys-bass-drums) behind him. The music balances traditional jamming instrumental space rock with a raw Krautrock edge. The band is clearly going for an early 70s sound, though a dedicated listen will prove these are newer instruments trying to sound old. Nonetheless they do a fine job at what they are attempting to do. Definitely one to seek out if the aforementioned genres appeal to you.

*You will find a few websites that have them confused with a Psytrance act from Israel. Told you they were obscure...

Personal collection
CD: 2005 private

Il Balletto di Bronzo - Ys. 1972 Italy

Going into 1988, I knew very little about Italian progressive rock. Nothing more than English language releases by “PFM” and “Banco”, and not having any idea those appellations were abbreviated. Even though I had become well versed in Krautrock, French underground electronic, Dutch, and even some Scandinavian prog - in addition to the usual English (and neo prog) suspects - Italy had just evaded me at that time. I had seen some of the country’s albums for sale in Goldmine, but had no idea what they were – beyond “progressive rock”.

In January of that landmark year, I had just graduated from college with my engineering degree and was… unemployed. Naturally the stock market had to crash in late 1987, and “entry level” job opportunities were very slim. Leave it to Ashratom to pick the perfect time to graduate. In any case, I still had a few dollars left over from summer jobs past, and with nothing else better to do (other than the odd interview) – I went off to seek out records. Of course I did. In one store I received a tip that up in Denton (about 40 minutes north of where I lived) they had some “real cool looking Euro stuff”. Zooming out of the store like a cartoon, I raced up there to spend the remainder of the day. I had brought very little cash with me, but fortunately most of the items were in the $3 and $4 range (some good stuff too). By the end of the day I was exhausted at looking at mostly common crap, when I got to the Y’s. And there a spine looked at me (yes, making it that much more difficult – everything was stocked like a collection). Il Balletto di Bronzo it said. Hmm… must be misplaced. I pulled it out. I felt like an archeologist who just spent a day on a dig, and I had just unearthed some unknown treasure. There was a problem though. This one was $8. EIGHT BUCKS? Oh shoot, if I bought this, I wouldn’t be able to eat, and I was starving to death at this point. And who are these crazy guys in the nutty getups, with this libretto booklet in Italian. It probably blows, and is some lame classic pop album. I’d been burned already plenty of times in the past in my collecting career. I stood there like a dummy for 15 minutes debating this (hard to imagine this today, eh?). In the end I did the logical thing and decided to… buy the album! I still don’t know what compelled me to do this. It was like a magnet.

I arrived home later that night, and fortunately mom had some leftovers so I wouldn’t keel over and die. After dinner, I beelined to my room, and plopped Ys on the turntable, dreading that my decision was a total bonehead move.

Whoa. What’s this? Very haunting voices. Maybe it’s an experimental record then. That’s OK too I guess. Well hey that organ and synthesizer sure do sound nice - and those vocals in Italian. Those vocals! Maybe this is something? And then, synthesizers go awry, and out blasts this acidic guitar and staccato drum rolls. I about passed out. This is what I’ve been seeking! And at the 6 minute mark, the rhythm section goes completely cockeyed with the Hammond and piano going nuts, with an added on frantic psychedelic guitar solo – followed by this most luscious mellotron and mournful vocals - which by then you practically had to wheel me out of the room. At that moment, I felt like I’d heard the perfect album.

It must be said that Ys definitely front loads the gadgetry, but the rest of the album is no slouch. It’s much more atmospheric, and heavy, almost doom metalish. The album is so thick and foreboding, but not without many moments of kinetic pacing. Imagine an early 70s Candlemass fronting Tarkus-era ELP, while singing in Italian at the fun house carnival, with Hammond, Moog, and Mellotron in the lead. Yea. You’ll see a lot of guys call this one “overrated”. And I attest that to the fact it really isn’t the romantic and classical Italian prog rock of PFM, Banco, Le Orme, Osanna, and the like. It’s something entirely different. Perhaps the bridge to Biglietto per L’Inferno and Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno – other completely insane Italian progressive rock albums that have a darker edge to them. For me, it’s a Gnosis 15 (the top tier of RYM 5 star releases) and it will likely always be a Top 15 to 20 album. Perhaps the backstory plays a role in that – but I think if most people are honest, it usually does in one’s personal subjective assessment of favorite music.

But back to January 1988, I still didn’t truly understand what I had – never heard of the band/album nor knew anyone who did. I had to call a couple of record dealers, who finally confirmed what it was, and what it was a part of – namely Italian progressive rock of the early 70s. And it was rare. As luck would have it, another obscure Dallas store had some unsold (re)sealed Italian prog albums, and I bought every one of them (they were all under $10) – while still unemployed mind you. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, but I was possessed. And it all started with Il Balletto di Bronzo.

Personal collection
LP: 1972 Polydor
CD: 2001 Polydor (Japan)

I still own the exact album that I found that day. It was (and is) in mint condition. Amazing really. In addition to being a launching pad for my discovery of Italian progressive rock, Ys is also responsible for me getting into Japanese mini-LP’s. Initially I resisted the idea, since I already had many of them in jewel cases. But I was offered Ys for cheap in 2002, and after obtaining it, I was hooked. A decision I do not regret, despite enduring tiresome arguments to the contrary, and I love my mini-LP collection too!

Solaris - Marsbéli Krónikák. 1984 Hungary

If you ask a hardcore progressive rock fan what the worst decade of music was, "The 80s" is the automated response. And while I'll stand by that same position, a deep dive into the decade gives us another perspective. 1980 was in reality an extension of the 70s artistically speaking. 1981 to 1983 held plenty of wonderful privately released progressive rock gems primarily from France, Scandinavia, USA, and Germany. Not to mention the promise the original New Wave of British Progressive Rock once projected. And then from 1987 onward, we experienced the renaissance that continues to this day. But the real barren years did exist in the middle - 1984 to 1986 was a graveyard for traditional progressive rock. Fans of fringe areas - like avant prog - will counter that it may have been the golden age as bands like Univers Zero and Present were at their peak. And of course other genres, like heavy metal and various forms of electronic, were also experiencing new high water marks. But if you wanted 70's styled symphonic prog, well it was going to be tough sledding for sure.

I bring this point up in a Solaris review, because Marsbeli Kronikak is the gem in the rough - the very best symphonic prog album in that 3 year time frame. Isolated in still Communist Hungary may have played a role in that - not to mention a relatively more lenient regime in regards to the arts than other Iron Curtain countries at the time.

Recently I had reviewed Tako's second album, and talked about symphonic fusion - a genre that isn't recognized today, but was frequently referred to 25 years ago and beyond. And that's exactly where you'll find the music of Solaris. The primary difference here is the copious use of sequencer based electronics that lay the bedrock for the symphonic progressive music on top. Attila Kollar's flute is magnificent as ever,and he often drives the instantly-recognizable Solaris style melodies. Istvan Cziglan's hard edged guitar, and Robert Erdesz's fine synthesizer work round out the leads.

For us prog fans back in the mid 80's who were desperate for quality 70s styled progressive rock, Solaris was a godsend. In retrospect some 35 years later - they still are.

Personal collection
LP: 1984 Start
CD: 1995 Gong

The CD has 2 bonus tracks, that sound a bit more modern than the album proper.

Fantasy - Paint a Picture. 1973 England

My experience with Fantasy is very similar to that of Spring, and my review there covers much of those thoughts. In summary, Paint a Picture is one of those albums that was hyped pretty heavily in the rare LP catalogs of the late 80s and early 90s, with screaming headlines about how progressive it was, with mellotrons everywhere. And I mean look at that cover! 1973 England! My mind went wild expecting a crazy full blown progressive rock opus. Oh, this is going to be magnificent. I picked up the first Second Battle LP as soon as it became available (and they weren't cheap even then), and... HUH?

Well as you can see by my rating, I've reconciled with Fantasy. Again it was all about expectation setting. I was looking for something along the lines of Yes' Close to the Edge, and what I got was a typical early 70s UK album as found on the Dawn label for example. A little Jonesy, Fruupp, Quicksand, etc... Except I didn't know much about those bands back then, and it's a different kind of progressive rock than what I understood the term to mean at the time.

In effect Paint a Picture is all about the individual songs themselves. None of them go too far astray from their original premise, excepting perhaps 'Circus', the one track that did resonate with me originally. Each of these songs are well written, with plenty of great guitar and keyboards (little Mellotron honestly),and are great for relistenability (trademark pending). It's the type of album one wishes had been more popular with FM radio, rather than the direction they ultimately headed in. For 1973, it's decidedly quaint and a bit out of touch. As others have mentioned, it really does sound like an album from 1970, with a more late 60s psychedelic era approach to composition, verse the full blown concepts of 1973. A very fine album once you understand what it contains.

Personal collection
LP: 1990 Second Battle (Germany)
CD: 2001 Polydor (Japan)

As noted above, the cover is a beautiful gatefold. Originals are very expensive, and I'm fine with the reissue here. The CD comes in a mini-LP format and replicates the original to the finest detail. Mine is part of the Cressida Asylum box set, as packaged by Disk Union in Japan

Quella Vecchia Locanda - s/t. 1972 Italy

If there's an album that defines the Italian progressive rock movement of the early 1970s, then my selection would be Quella Vecchia Locanda's debut. Not the best album the scene has to offer, but the most representative. This one has it all - and then some. The gatefold cover alone is perfect. Like finding yourself perched atop an abandoned Medieval hill town. What did this old inn once house? What stories does it hold within the remaining beams and gnarled branches? It's just this inquisitiveness that captured my young mind's imagination when first deep diving into this once unknown genre some 30 years ago.

For the music, you get the complete palette. The keyboards are diverse - Mini-Moog, Hammond organ, and piano. The guitars are electric and acoustic, and rock hard when necessary with a decidedly heavy tone. The rhythm section appears well trained in the arts. The vocals are histrionic, but on point. And best of all, you not only get one extra key period instrument, but two! Rare is the album where both flute and violin share the limelight together. The dynamics are what is to be expected - diverse and unpredictable. If you're already defiantly not a fan of the genre, QVL will not change that opinion. If you're a member though, Quella Vecchia Locanda will not disappoint in the slightest. Table stakes for any Italian prog collection honestly.

Personal collection
LP: 1972 Help!
LP: 1989 Edison (Japan)
CD: 2003 BMG (Japan)

Here's where I'd love to tell you a story about how I found the original LP while rummaging around a Goodwill in the 1980s. But alas not in this case. In fact, it was a recent acquisition via a major trade with a well known German dealer. The original and Japanese LPs (and mini LP's) are all gatefolds that are "top loaded". My first copy was the 1990 Italian reissue, and it's a standard gatefold. The colors on the Italian reissue are also much darker than the original.

Alfonso Lovo - La Gigantona. 1976 Nicaragua (archival)

Hailing from Nicaragua, Alfonso Lovo has quite a story to tell. In 1971, on the way back home from college in the US, his flight was hijacked. Being a member of the privileged class, specifically the son of the Minister of Agriculture, he became the terrorist's primary target. So when a defiant Costa Rican president comes to their diverted landing place - brandishing an automatic weapon no less - the situation escalated and they shot Lovo.

Fortunately he survived the incident, but not without permanent damage. He attempted to make it work in Nicaragua, but the situation continued to deteriorate, and he had to smuggle himself and his family across to Honduras, and eventually they finally settled in Miami. With a tape reel of La Gigantona in hand. Recorded in 1976, but with no place to press and release, it appeared the album would be lost forever. Until the enterprising Numero Group label shows up in 2012 and releases it on both LP and CD, some 35 years after the fact.

The backdrop is more exciting than the music proper, but nonetheless the album achieved immediate cult status upon release. It's easy to see why, given the eclectic nature of the recording. There's a wide array of sounds to be found on La Gigantona, including Andean folk music, indigenous percussion, salsa, experimental, jazz - and psychedelic hard rock. It's this latter element that drew me to the album in the first place, but it's somewhat limited. But tracks like 'La Bomba de Neutron' with its crazy echoed voice, and the piercing fuzz of 'Firebird Feathers', do make the album a worthy endeavor for underground prog/psych heads. Overall, it sounds more like a recording from the hijacking year of 1971, given its raw emotion and sound, verse the expected fusion of 1976. And that's a good thing.

Personal collection
CD: 2012 Numero Group (USA)

Jewel case housed in a slipcase. Copious liner notes that go into great detail regarding what I summarized above.

Nico, Gianni, Frank, Maurizio (New Trolls) - Canti D'Innocenza Canti D'Esperienza. 1973 Italy

The big ? on the front cover has many different meanings, but there is no doubt that at this time the New Trolls were at a crossroads when it came to musical direction. Were they a hard rock band? Prog? Pop? Fusion? Searching for a Land tried everything whereas UT focused more on progressive hard rock, and is arguably their finest work. While Canti D'Innocenza, Canti D'Esperienza is nowadays referred to as Ibis version 0.5, the truth is they were the New Trolls in disguise. This particular album picks up where UT left off, and plays to their hard rock side with plenty of theme and meter changes to demonstrate their progressive pedigree. This isn't the Yes worship of Ibis' Sun Supreme. There's some acoustic interludes, and plenty of high pitched vocal wailing in Italian, all trademarks of the genre. I also hear a bit of a psychedelic throwback sound, perhaps like Garybaldi's Nuda. Really an excellent album that I think carries the New Trolls moniker baggage despite their attempts to disassociate. Best to approach this album as its own thing, and you'll walk away more impressed.

Personal collection
CD: 2007 Arcangelo (Japan)

This CD replicates the original gatefold textured LP with photo pages.

Franco Falsini - Cold Nose. 1975 Italy

Franco Falsini's only solo album takes in one part Manuel Gottsching, one part Richard Pinhas, and 3 parts of the outer galaxy he apparently emigrated from. Analog wedgy electronics, and thick oozing heavy guitar shards define the sound palette, whereas the melodies are pulled from his own Sensations' Fix cookbook - you'll hear plenty of snippets from Fragments of Light and Portable Madness within. I would love to see the movie that was inside of Falsini's mind during this recording. Essential head space music.

Personal collection
LP: 1975 Polydor
CD: 2010 Universal (as part of the 6 CD box set Progressive Italia Gli Anni '70 Vol. 6)

Like most of Sensations' Fix albums, Cold Nose has been poorly served in the CD reissue market.

Tako - U Vreci za Spavanje. 1980 Serbia

Tako's second album, christened with the of-the-moment name In the Sleeping Bag, is an almost perfect example of one of my personal favorite styles of progressive rock. That of what we used to call symphonic fusion. Quite simply instrumental progressive rock, but heavy on melody and tricky compositions - and no showboating whatsoever. It's a sound the Dutch perfected in the mid 70s, and was later adapted heavily in the late 70s and early 80s in France, Japan, and points unknown - like Serbia for example. Each individual track can be appreciated entirely on its own, without having to worry about its sequence within the album. The guitarist plays in a decidedly rough manner, a type of psychedelic hard rock sound. The keyboards are vintage 1980, which is a sound one expects to hear for the style. The fact that Tako keeps the album interesting throughout each minute is a testament to how strong they were as a functioning unit. The bonus tracks are just as enchanting as the album itself.

Personal collection
CD: 1998 Record Runner (Brazil)

I first heard this album via the Kalemegdan LP reissue. The German label is famous for unearthing and reissuing the best from the former Yugoslavia - and they were responsible for the two bonus tracks found here. Oddly the album was only reissued on CD in Brazil, by the excellent Record Runner label. They licensed the recording directly from Kalemegdan. Definitely recommend either reissue, for the bonus cuts, and the superior sound to the original Eastern European LP.

Chaos Code - A Tapestry of Afterthoughts. 1999 USA

Baltimore based Chaos Code's debut is a most intriguing work. It's somewhat inconsistent, and the album does sound like various recordings - even though it appears the personnel remained the same throughout. Very much in line with other late 90s and early 00's prog rock, the album walks the tightrope between retro 70s and more contemporary modern prog. Opener 'The Cave' is a perfect example, coming across as "very American" with radio snippets and social commentary (a bit like The Muffins in that way). The music always seems on the brink of something fantastic, only to see 8 and a half minutes slip away without notice. 'Heights of Time' is Chaos Code clearly trying for an Echolyn type sound - once again pointing to their own era. So at the point where it seems the album is inessential, out comes 'Antiodote to Entropy', which channels early Genesis at its finest. 'A Silent Scream' does similar, whereas closer 'The Devil's Trombone' demonstrates that Chaos Code could have been a larger name in the retro prog sweepstakes, doing a fine rendition of the type of sound the Scandinavians are more famous for (Anglagard, Wobbler, et al..). 'Gravy Fries' is a fun instrumental diversion but not going to move the needle. So for me, the track that was going to determine whether or not this would be a 3.5 or 4 star album is 'Days of Reflection'. And I fear to say there's just not enough meat on the bone. There's a 5 minute track hiding in a 10 minute blanket here, and that's too much downtime. Still, it's an album that has held up well in retrospect. I bought this near the time of release and recalled little about it. Coming up on 20 years later, it proved my initial assessment was right. It's a keeper and better than most from this era of progressive rock music.

Personal collection
CD: 1999 private

Astrolabio - L'isolamento dei Numeri Pari. 2014 Italy

I could say that L'isolamento dei Numeri Pari is Italian prog-by-the-numbers, but that would be rather cheeky of me. See, Astrolabio are not ones to take things too seriously. The album's title means "Isolation of the Even Numbers", and witness the cover as the even numbers are roaming about in a body of water. Meanwhile the tracks are all indexed by the odd numbers (1,3,5....to 21). Musically, the metaphor holds as well - but in a good way. No question Astrolabio have studied their 1970s Italian prog, and though the instrumentation teeters both the 70s and 90s, the overall execution is splendid. If one were to be critical, it's that the album doesn't feature any dramatic highs, nor too many surprises, so in that way they aren't like the very best the genre has too offer. Our good friend Apps79 offers up Jumbo and Biglietto per L'Inferno as a couple of benchmarks, but they aren't near as passionate and experimental as the former, nor as jarring as the latter. And yet, of course, it's a good comparison all the same. I hear more Osanna in the "hard core Italian" aspects of the album, whereas Pink Floyd (cheers Snow!) gives us our Anglo sound (perhaps Mary Newsletter from the home country gets a shout out). Very good album overall. No surprises or head lifting moments, and yet it accomplishes what it set out to do. Hard to complain about that. For fans of classic Italian prog.

Personal collection
CD: 2014 Andromeda Relix

Bag - Tripdream / Nothing Will Remain (single). 1971 Netherlands

On these two tracks, Bag demonstrates that they could go toe to toe with the almighty Group 1850, and they sound somewhat similar. One can only wish more music will emerge at some point from this fine band. A brilliant 45.

Pseudonym reissued this on its own as well as a compilation primarily made up of the Flame label. 

Haymarket Riot - Trip on Out / Something Else (single). 1968 USA

Wow. Going through these obscure psych era US singles can be revelatory. So it turns out Haymarket Riot are from Enid, Oklahoma. Now there's the center of the psychedelic universe eh? My old man was in the laundry business, and one of his top clients was in Enid, so I went there a lot more than your average big city kid. I'll just put it this way - psychedelic is not the first thing one thinks of when in Enid. 'Trip on Out' is great - very much in the spirit of the era. 'Something Else' kind of blows honestly, but I can understand why they would play two entirely different styles. They must have gotten plenty of odd looks for sure.

You can find 'Trip on Out' on multiple comps. 

Crystal Garden - Flash / Peach Fuzz Forest (single). 1969 USA

After hearing Crystal Garden (what a name, eh?) and The Cave Dwellers, I find myself pining for a Bay Town Records compilation, hopefully with some amazing unreleased material. Seems Oakland had it going on just at the point where the American record companies were abandoning any kind of experimentation. Unless they were from England of course. Sigh.

Available on at least one Pebbles volume. I need to start seeking out some of these compilations on CD.

Sound Expedition - Ultimate Power / Think it Over (single). 1969 USA

Add Lincoln, Nebraska's Sound Expedition to your list of killer one-time psych songs. That would be 'Ultimate Power' of course, and a rather lengthy single track at that. The other side is somewhat typical psych pop. Worth checking out.

Available on at least one compilation. 

The Purple Sun - Doomsday / Give Your Life (single). 1968 USA

'Doomsday' would have been a perfect fit for the St. Albert's Dream compilation, especially considering the band were from south Texas (presumably that is, given it was pressed in Houston). Excellent heavy guitar psych. I haven't heard the flip side to date.

Available on at least 3 compilations.

The Cave Dwellers - Meditation / Night Runner (single). 1968 USA

The Cave Dwellers were a psych/lounge band from Pleasanton, California in the late 1960s. Coincidentally where yours truly had a physical office from 1999 to 2002. Though I'm sure the late 60's Pleasanton was nothing more than an "over the mountain" farming outpost of Oakland verse the mega-million dollar software capital it was to become in my era. In any case, 'Meditation' is the reason you will seek out this single. An absolute monster of a track, which contains a freaky psychedelic mid section that sounds as if Iron Butterfly suddenly thrust themselves into the 1970 German landscape. 'Night Runner' shows another side of the band, pulling off a Doors like sound, via your local Holiday Inn's lounge. It's ladies night, and the women are all plus 40. I wish you luck my friend. They can't all be good.

Available on a couple of compilations.

The Black Sun Ensemble - s/t. 1985 USA

1985 is not the year one starts with in seek of psychedelia. In fact, the music of that era could be considered the polar opposite of such. It is in this environment that Jesus Acedo launches the Black Sun Ensemble in isolated Tucson Arizona, predicting the rise of the neo psych movement by a few years - one that continues to this day in one form or another. For those that have seen Ken Russell's Altered States movie, then The Black Sun Ensemble is the perfect soundtrack that never was. A mescaline trip to the caves of the Mexican desert by way of Libya and Morocco. As good as it gets for the limited palette the band offers, and a beacon of light in an otherwise sterile era of progressive/psychedelic music.

Personal collection
CD: 2001 Camera Obscura (Australia)

Important to note that the CD is not a straight reissue of the LP, nor is it to be related to the 1988 LP on Reckless that shares similar themes and music. What I wrote for Discogs: "Liner notes state: "The music of this album is not exactly what was presented on the original LP. Its mix feels far clearer and two of the LP's tracks ("Cobracalia" and "Red Ocean") have been lost and are replaced here by previously unreleased contemporaries ("Emerald Eye 2" and ""Bleeding Heart")"" I'll need to investigate the original LP at some point.

Secret Saucer - Second Sighting. 2007 USA

Second Sight is Secret Saucer's second album (quite alliterative I'd suggest). It took me a long time to digest this one. Though I first purchased the CD nearly 8 years ago (a few years after initial release), it's not one I had absorbed at all. When I began to tackle it a few days ago, I didn't think it would take me a week to grasp it. But sometimes that's what it takes. The reward is I raised the rating, and Second Sight definitely is a cut above your garden variety modern space rock album. Though ironically it doesn't start that way. 'Lift Off' is a prototypical Ozric Tentacles styled opening with whooshing synthesizers and ripping guitar solos. After that, the album shows a wide array of influences. 'All the Way to Outer Space' has a strong bluesy hard rock twist, that is unusual in this type of setting. 'D-Walker' introduces the key ingredient to the album's success: Piano. There's something magical about the sound of the grand old dame of acoustic keyboards juxtaposed against modern synthesizers and electronics. 'Tranquility Base' introduces yet another form, that of electronica, though still very much rooted in space rock principles. 'Untitled Dream' sounds like an outtake from Edgar Froese's Ages album, and is heavily drenched in discordant mellotron (sampled I'm sure, but very well done). The album peaks on the 'Disintegrator'/'Integrator' duet where the piano is quite prominent while the intensity is raised. By now you'll find yourself fully immersed into their sound. 'Reflections' adds electric sitar to great effect. Every track is great, and most feature well written compositions and melodies. This is a far cry from your garden variety jamming space rock band. If looking for something different in the space rock field, give this one a shot.

Personal collection
CD: 2007 Dead Earnest (Scotland)

Medina Azahara - La Esquina del Viento. 1981 Spain

I had written recently that Medina Azahara's debut is one of the pillars of the Andalusian progressive rock scene of the mid to late 70s. Now the 80s have arrived, and Medina Azahara did what most bands did back then: streamline their sound, and added period synthesizers. Have no fear though, Medina Azahara are still focused on the plot here, and there's no mistaking this for anything but what it is - Rock Andaluz. I suppose if looking for a metaphor, think of Medina Azahara as southern Spain's very own Saga. That is to say a band that was able to seamlessly meld the 70s and 80s together, without leaks and cracks. Not sure how I managed to compare Saga to Medina Azahara, but hey... Anyway, unfortunately from here, the band took the metaphor too far, and ended up strictly as a pop group for a few years. But their first 2 albums are essential for the genre.

Personal collection
CD: 1995 CBS/Sony (w/Andalucia)

The CD above combines their 2nd and 3rd albums, so if you're curious about where Medina Azahara were headed, then you'll get a chance to without further investment. My first copy was the original single sleeve LP obtained in a trade back in the early 90s, but I felt the CD was a better package and sold it shortly thereafter. In retrospect, I still think that was the right decision, unless of course, you have an obsession with guys in red pants...

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...