Category: Reviews

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Wingfield Reuter Sirkis – Lighthouse (2017) review

A powerhouse performance, that as difficult as it may be to believe, the music was composed and performed on the spot with only a slight bit of discussion, some basic ideas of chords, perhaps a visual drawing, and/or suggestion of atmospheres. The chemistry and interpretations are incredible. While not totally what one would call free improv, this is one of the finest examples of masterful circa-improvisation your ears will ever witness.

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Oddfellow’s Casino – Oh Sealand (2017) review

A truly brilliant British artist and his varied backing band members present us with the 2017 release ‘Oh Sealand’. Horribly overlooked in much of the pop world, David Bramwell who goes under the alias David Oddfellow, is a highly gifted musician, singer, songwriter, who heads the band called Oddfellow’s Casino. This name was taken from a Victorian freak show, founded by a man named Ambrose Oddfellow,  that once toured the British Isles. 

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Lifesigns – Cardington (2017) review

A much awaited third release (2 studio, 1 live DVD) by the terrific band Lifesigns. From the ultra melodic and solid as a rock idyllic mix of soft, arena, progressive pop and rock, this group has captured thousands of music fans so much so, that in less than 48 hours, they obtained their financial goal on Pledge Music to make this new recording independently. With that, John Young, the founder and lead vocalist/keyboardist wrote all the songs with occasional help from the drummer/percussionist and backing vocalist Frosty Beedle, and on one song Steve Rispin, who did the engineering, mixing, and sound designing. There is an interesting story about the title ‘Cardington’ on the band webpage (link is given at top of this review) you may want to read. The physical CD comes with a nice booklet and the packaging is a glossy cover fold out digi pack for the lovers of this format such as myself.

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7C – Compartment C (2017) review 0

7C – Compartment C (2017) review

This, the third full length release by Italian avant garde trio, is something to behold. Any fan of bands such as This Heat, Massacre (The Fred Frith band), Cassiber, and similar bands, along with the more aggressive King Crimson, David Torn, and Rec Records output (specifically the electric guitar fronted groups) , would surely find interest in ‘Compartment C’.

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ONEMENT9 – The Third Kind (2017) review

Jason Weekes produces his debut solo with ‘The Third Kind’ under the name Onement9. With a long list of musical influences and education, Jason plays keyboards, drums, bass, electronic tambura, trumpets, tambourine, electric guitar, flute, computer voice, custom maracas, and field recordings. This concept album starts off (‘Good Mornin’ Britain!’) with a very tropical theme, loads of various bird calls, and celestial keyboards with drumkit. It has a meditation feel. The following track (‘Tory Breakfast News’) is very different with tribal drums, roosters, and general chaos. A story line is printed on back of the CD which I’d highly suggest the listener read before, so you can pay attention to the music at hand. You’ll be quick to realize much of this is a politically charged set of compositions.

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Monarch Trail – Sand (2017) review

Following nicely after the debut ‘Skye’ (2014) this is Monarch Trail’s second release. Being Ken Baird’s project, he does all the words and music. Throughout, the use of lush and nimble keys, some nice acoustic and lead guitar, tight drums, and exceptional vocals, make this a huge recommendation for Camel and other similar music fans. Although Ken performs on keyboards, vocals, and guitar (track 5), he has three guests on guitar (John Mamone, Kelly Kereliuk, and Steve Cochrane) plus his bandmates Dino Verginella on bass and Chris Lamont on drums.

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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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