Category: Reviews

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The Muffins – Secret Signals 2 (2018) review

Following the first of a scheduled three reissued/remastered collection of live and studio rarities performed 1974 thru 1975, from stalwart Canterbury/free jazz influenced American (specifically the state of Maryland) progressive music group, which were originally released on cassette back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, comes ‘Secret Signals 2’.

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Rophonic – In With The Out Crowd (2018) review

A dreamy hybrid of fertile, floating, surreal, majestic, scattered folk ballad, early music explorations, and neo space atmosphere. The initial seconds are a ground zero take off, with Colin Blunstone-like cottony soft vocals, in tender ballad, along with an airy tropical tinged thing of beauty.

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Gryphon – Reinvention (2018) review

An ear to ear smile formed on my face when I first saw that an old favorite band of mine were putting out a new album, after 41 years of void. It should be noted that ‘Midnight Mushrooms’ was a favorite Gryphon release for me, until now that is. 2018’s masterful and warm welcome comeback ‘Reinvention’ tickles every music adoring bone in my body. At over 61 minutes it brings a little bit of almost every stage of the band’s career back, minus any trace of ‘Treason’, which was their dive into a slightly commercial progressive rock arena, which put multiple vocal harmonies like Yes up front.

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STERBUS Real Estate/Fake Inverno (2018) review

I feel like the luckiest person alive when I get possession of recordings like this. Simply one of the absolute best releases of 2018, and that is keeping company with a dozen or more premium monumental albums sent to me this year. From Rome, Italy, a sprawling double disc set that lays down a large fluffy blanket in a sunny meadow towards the end of summer (estate in Italian), and spends the next months into winter (inverno in Italian), making music inspired by the long visit. A pure bliss of 76 minutes (including the download only bonus track ‘Blackducks on Parade’).

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THE 180 Gs Singin’ To God (2018) review

With unlimited skill and patience, David Minnick, the man who created this imaginary a capella vocal group The 180 Gs (the name came from a composition from the band Negativland, called ‘A Big 10-8 Place – Part 2’) tackles the double disc music of Cardiacs ‘Sing To God’ (a 1995 stunner that many fans feel is their ultimate offering). The result is a feat nearly impossible to conceive, using anywhere from one hundred or more overdubs on each track, to generate this massive undertaking.

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Eclectic Maybe Band – The Blind Night Watchers’ Mysterious Landscapes (2018) review

An outerlimits excursion by astro travelers and gifted musicians from several prized members (or former members) of Univers Zero, Pablo’s Eye, The Wrong Object, Morton Fork Gang, and much more. You know this will be special. In short, it is elsewhere and otherwise, in a set of nine improvised compositions that spy on the other side of your brain, cheat the usual adjectives, and defy any musical boundaries.

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Six-Ring Circus – Six-Ring Circus (2018) review

From France, this highly inventive quintet has already spent three years in collaboration before releasing their debut recording. Winning prizes since 2015 (as best emerging band, best band in some events, etc), the group is as slick and classy as top shelf diner jazz, but with plenty of bumps and grinds, bravery and brilliance, and a little bit of everything. This French progressive jazz rock outfit gives off flavors of Gentle Giant, Sloche, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks

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Syrinx Call – The Moon On A Stick (2018) review

A gorgeous sophomore album by masters of expression Volker Kunke (who directed this project) and Jens Lueck (who did sound engineering and production). Both have worked together on many previous recordings other than Syrinx Call, but this and their debut ‘Wind In The Woods’ (which put a high mark on the progressive celtic/classical/art rock world), rank extremely prominent on my most loved music list of this genre.

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Soft Machine – Hidden Details (2018) review

An ambitious ascendancy by a superior revolving free jazz, avant jazz, quirky jazz rock, classical jazz fusion, whatever you call it, jazz infused progressive music praiseworthy group. Fifty years ago, the birth of this far-reaching band shook up the music world with a debut under the name The Soft Machine (taken from a William S. Burroughs novel ‘The Soft Machine’, part of The Nova Trilogy, thereafter, they shortened it to Soft Machine).

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Dwiki Dharmawan – Rumah Batu (2018) review

From the initial moments, there is euphoric beauty with flute, piano, and floating percussion, followed by nimble eastern integration with a collision of Weather Report, Il Baricentro, Arti+Mestieri, and ECM polish. So tight, so perfectly performed, it makes you jealous.

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