Category: Reviews

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Smells Like – Aranis (2017)

When a band I have put on a throne for their immaculate series of recordings of various original chamber music styles, including avant and cover songs from other Belgian composers, announces they are doing an entire album of cover tunes by Nirvana (the Seattle grunge band of the 90’s), I got a fear in my soul. This brilliant band who could do no wrong really startled me. I will admit right here that I am not at all a fan of Nirvana, with the exception of being okay with the hit song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, since I was young when that hit the stations and it attracted me due to the contrasting mellow parts and then heavy chorus. So with very mixed feelings I began listening to Aranis’s new 2017 release titled ‘Smells Like’.

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United Ubiquity of Flesh – Salim Ghazi Saeedi (2017) review

New solo by guitarist/programmer/composer/producer/engineer artist begins gentle and builds into a prog metal/Middle Eastern King Crimson sound. Out of the eleven all instrumental compositions, some have a sense of exploring improvisation. ‘United Ubiquity of Flesh’ is the most calm music I’ve heard from Salim, although there is plenty of punch and quick paced parts mixed in. This is possibly due to his move from Iran to Australia, which seems to have resulted in Salim’s more relaxed state of mind and music. The combination of a more loose feel and tight execution of the songs are compelling and introspective.

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Lara – Lara (2017) review

This self titled debut by singer and multi instrumentalist (flute, guitar, & percussion) from Antwerp, Belgium is a gorgeous display of Lara’s talent. Accompanied by Nicolas Dechene(musical arrangments, guitars, bass, baritone & glockenspeil), Tristan Driessens (oud), Erno le Menthole, Lucas Lovinfosse & Amiro Moerenhout (backing vocals) and Etienne Plummer (drums, percussion, the music spreads like gentle seeds over a genre of various world music, covering eastern, jazz, classical, folk, pop and unique fusions. Two of the songs are based on poems. ‘Prayer For Land’ (track 2) is from Thich Nhot Hanh and ‘Survive’ (track 9) is from William Blake.

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Band of Rain – The Dust of Stars (2017) Review

Six years after his last release (‘Sun In VIII’ – 2011) British composer and musician Chris Gill put together a team of bandmates, artists, and technical helpers for the finest recording yet by Band Of Rain. While some might call it progressive rock, I’d add a very liberal dose of world fusion to the description of this ‘Dust of Stars’ platter. While it does have a couple of slight nods to the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree, it adds many textures that may remind listeners of the floating tunes of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and even a touch of Alan Parsons Project. But that’s just a taste of it. The last cut made me think of an exotic post rock band with Vangelis on keyboards.

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Afasia Yuri – Flow.w.w.w (2017) Review

Imagine a multi media artist who can produce a wide variety of atmospheres and styles in the electronic world. One who has compositions ranging from early Tangerine Dream, Gilli Smyth, ancient tribal, ritualistic meditation, and dance.  Not only the audio but Afasia Yuri, a Japanese woman, also performs spectacular visual video as well as physical arm and hand ballet. She uses a large variety of software and devices to adapt to whatever sound she feels at the moment.  In fact what I found more surprising than her numerous skills, was that she loves to improvise. So you may get a modified version of something in the moment of the gig.

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Isgaard – Whiteout (2016) Review

A very ethereal , rich,  powerful and moving release with just the perfect amount of melancholy, by this talented German female vocalist. While some of her early work had a style of Euro tech and dance, on this 2016 recording she sounds like a more gentle Kate Bush or Annie Haslam. The territory the music stands in could be described as the progressive folk rock of bands like Clannad, Capercailie, and Iona, in their more lush ballad and aires. Music to lose yourself in, and lyrics to be intrigued by.

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Rouge Gorge Rouge – Hypersomnia (2016) Review

This is the second release by this French art pop band from Bordeaux (formed in 2012) and it is a beauty. Miles ahead of their debut (‘Froast’ – 2013) which was more straight ahead cold wave, much like it could have come from 1980’s Factory Records label, ‘Hypersomnia’ adds plenty more textures, electronics, rich vocals, and a travelling set of songs that surprise and keep you guessing what is next

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Chole Ray – The Waiting Room (2016)

The Waiting Room debut album from UK singer Chloe Ray is a collection of beautiful and emotional ballads. She started writing music at an early age and grew listening to notable artists like Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Johnny Cash. Like her favorite singers, Ray’s songs tell the audience a story from her point of view.

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Clearlight – Impressionist Symphony (2014)

Latest Clearlight project by the supreme Cyrille Verdeaux is outstanding and not to be missed. Bringing back original band mates from debut “Clearlight Symphony” (1974) With Gong’s Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage and Tim Blake. Also appearing are Paul Sears (drummer for The Muffins), Linda Cushma, Chris Kovax, Craig Fry, Vincent Thomas-Penny and Remy Tran.

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Mark Wingfield – Proof of Light (2015)

This is wonderful in every way. A trio with Mark Wingfield – guitars, Yaron Stavi – bass, and Asaf Sirkis on drums, makes its way into the world of elite musical recordings. For those that have ever dreamed of a hybrid album with the sounds of Terje Rypdal, Eberhard Weber, and Allan Holdsworth (yes those great years of ECM goods and then the pinpoint fingers of Mr. Fusion himself), your dream has come true.

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