First release (‘Amazing Science Fiction Stories’) was a limited-edition run of 300 silver-backed compact discs in a special 6-panel cover. Art and story (in comicc book form) by Bret Hart, as is their 2nd one presented here. Featuring the same four members, Bret Hart: guitars, percussion, field recordings, Casio SK5, devices and signal-processing/ Jerry King: basses, guitars, brass/ Bill Jungwirth: batterie/ and Dave Newhouse: reeds and keys
The momentous mathematical polyrhythm tritone masters present you with a striking live show at Moods Jazz Club (Zurich, Switzerland) played on May 24, 2018. If you were bowled over with their last studio release ‘Vortex’, with producer, guitar extraordinaire David Torn as a member, then you will want this, which also features Torn on every cut. STUNNING!
The front cover art by Paul Dews (How Far To Hitchin) visually describes this dynamic ethereal debut. A year and a half in the making, Nova Cascade present the world with their full length ‘Above All Else’, which has soft cinematic atmospheric music, that has strong elements of Sigur Ros, the more gentle post rock, and some of what Tim Bowness (No-Man, solo, and many collaborations) produces on his floating dream state songs. You may also catch retrospective tinges of the more happy Private Music label artists (started by Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream) from the grand electronic 1980s.
An almost unbelievable 2018 double disc recording of a one of a kind, multi genre, ground breaking and incredible ‘big band’ founded by Peter Vermeersch in 1999. On this release, he composes 14 of the titles and bandmate Peter Vandenberghe (who was also an important member of X-Legged Sally, and now Too Noisey Fishes) writes 3 and created an arrangement (being ‘Summertime’ by George Gershwin). With 15 members in all, ‘Untitled # 0’ is packed full of unrelentless, brisk, brave, thrill seeking adventures, sometimes slinky, alternately atomic, suddenly friendly, then suspicious.
A long awaited and surprise fourth release by classic experimental ambient folk duo Martyn Bates (Eyeless In Gaza, solo and various collaborations) and Alan Trench (Nurse With Wound, Orchis, Howling Larsons, Temple Music among a host of others, and co founder of World Serpent Distribution). An arresting thirteen compositions are presented with three featuring words by W. B. Yeats, this best yet recording is produced by Trench, composed by both artists, and is lovingly created with keyboards, guitars, dulcimers, percussion, bass, whistles (that range from blends of recorders, fife, wooden flutes, penny whistles, and synthetic winds), strings, various field recordings, background noises, and of course the one of a kind, and enticing as always, vocals of Martyn Bates. Alan is a master of musical atmosphere and framing a song with intrigue so one can always expect this well weathered duo to make magic.
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’.
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.
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.
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’).