theBABAorchestra Another Ride on the Elephant Slide (2017 – THIRSTY OWL RECORDS – USA) http://www.laurenelizabethbaba.com/baba/ https://thebabaorchestra.bandcamp.com/album/another-ride-on-the-elephant-slide What would you say to a fantastic avant jazz big band that covered grounds similar to Carla Bley,...
ATTENTION SAGA FANS! Progressive rock band from New Jersey release very strong debut with no wrinkles, no dull moments, and no filler. The intro is a truly beautiful piano piece, then the excitement begins. The musicianship is excellent and everything from artwork (a superb way above average multi foldout digipak with booklet) to the compositions are professional. Produced and arranged by Jason Kresge (keyboards, lead vocals) with bandmates Matt Ullestad (guitars), Tony Renda (bass, backing vocals), and Mark Gregory (drums, percussion, backing vocals), ‘Transcendental Circus’ has perfection written all over it. The musicians understand the importance of dynamics, textures, and control. The songs are all solid and easy to listen to, rich in production, and very well put together. Some are fantastic.
Those who are already fans, or have heard previous Gary Bamford releases are in for a treat on this, his 5th, full recording titled ‘God, Love and Other Myths’. From Swindon, UK, Gary has performed with a very long list of musical greats, and versatile could easily be his middle name. Comfortable with jazz, classical, and alternative styles, he has done soundtracks (check out ‘An Account Of A Savage’ for example), smooth warm classical jazz in the ECM vein (his debut ‘Jadj’, and also a double CD ‘Restrop Wood’, both with Ruth Hammond on sax, etc). Gary’s keyboard talent is apparent and as solid as they come. More styles explored and conquered would be his 2nd release ‘Soundtrack To Breathing’ which is as soothing and beautiful as keyboards can get. Classical, meditative, mostly electronic wonderland much like Ryuichi Sakamoto mixed with John Taylor. It is after listening to his entire output that one can more clearly see all the various inspirations Gary lists on the inside panel of this super nice multiple foldout digipak.
The release of this official “bootleg” as it is called, gave some of the most interesting words from Mr Robert Fripp in the booklet, inside of the 2 CD ‘King Crimson Club’ hardbound package, one will ever read. In this interview, Fripp talks about all the different ‘definitive formations’ of Crimson, which is must read content. Rather than rehash all that, I suggest anyone that ever had (or has) even a touch of love for this master progressive band of the earth, do yourself a great service and purchase a physical copy of ‘Live In Chicago : June 28, 2017
Third full release by the ever talented duo Geoff Downes (Buggles, Asia, Yes) and Chris Braide (singer, songwirter, producer from UK who moved to Los Angeles and has worked with a long list of stars) with a very special guest list. Appearances by Andy Partridge (XTC), David Longdon (Big Big Train), Tim Bowness (No Man, solos), Kate Pierson (B52’s), Marc Almond, and for the first time a real rhythm section (DBS’s first and second releases are beat programmed) including Ash Soan on drums (Trevor Horn, Squeeze, Faithless, Del Amitri…) and bassist Andy Hodge. This is the biggest change in sound.
The first downbeat of this complex multi instrumental solo release by Charlie Cawood latches on to you, and you know it is special. Filled with vivid eastern fused world music, exotic melodies galore, and colors you can hardly imagine. Charlie is known for his work in Knifeworld (bassist), Mediaeval Babes (instrumentalist, arranger), and My Tricksy Spirit (stringed instruments), however none of his previous or present roles will prepare the listener for this ultra-beautiful lotus blossoming of his debut album.
I’ve been a hooked fan of Martyn Bates since his one of a kind experimental band ‘Eyeless In Gaza’. I bought everything on vinyl (and now CD) by both his band (a brilliant and endless stream of creations unlike anything I have ever heard and suspect it will remain as such). and his solos. With this, the 16th solo work by Bates, (not counting the comps, singles, EP’s, guest appearances, and many collaborations with other artists, you would think nothing could be left, but you’d be very wrong.
One more (her 10th solo) totally and almost indescribable soul shaking recording by this ever talented, brilliant thinker, composer, musician, producer, organizer, world traveler, artist, and all around pleasant person. I began my musical journey with Amy Denio in the early 1990’s with her duo based (but they did add other members) Tone Dogs with bassist Fred Chalenor (Note: it was a delight to see a reunion of them at 2013 SeaProg). They played a low core, somewhat sparse, quizzical folk injected pop with avant-jazz explorations. Again, hard to describe, but something very new to the ears of the progressive music scene. Multitudes of projects, giant leaps of chance, and many recordings later, Amy gives the world another dazzling display of sixteen songs that defy a short description of any sort. Her multi-level incredible creativity and endless source of gifted reception is simply unheard of. And I ask where does she get all this energy?
I first listened to Judith’s full length CD ‘What Was’ (2014) which she says is an “overview” of her work to date, and while not typical in any category, neither minimalist, avant-garde, or classical in a strict manner, the use of all three styles are often combined to wondrous effect. A fine group of artists explore Ring’s ideas and compositions with much care. Images, moods, and atmospheres are created with virtuosity. I was eager to hear her new EP ‘The Ring Leider’, in which the only two musicians to appear from ‘What Was’ is Kate Ellis (cello) and of course Judith Ring (voice, piano, bells). The other musicians are Adrian Hart (violin), and Lisa Dowdall (viola). Judith did the marvelous cover art for both releases.