Saturday, September 30, 2006

PROGCAST - Episode 1

Download MP3 here.

Show Notes:
Anderson/Wakeman tour is back on.
The Flower Kings at the "Bass&Drum 2006" event in Stockholm
Fragile Original Master Recording
Bill Bruford on the North American drum tour.
Boz Burrell 1946 - 2006
Ladies of The Road - Free MP3 in tribute of Boz

Reviews:
Samlas Mammas Manna - Klossa Knapitatet
Steve Hillage - L

Debate:
How do you define Progressive Rock?



Update: This link should work now. We're working out the final kinks but should have this show available in iTunes and as an RSS feed in the next few days. Also work is underway for episode 2 which should be out this weekend.


Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

REVIEW: Steve Hillage - L

In 1976 Steve Hillage would come out with his second solo LP “L”. L is fairly unique as a Hillage album, as it begins with a 6 minute Donovan cover and ends with a 6 minute Beatles cover. Gone is Gong as Steve's supporting band and say hello to Todd Rundgren's Utopia. Todd Rundgren does not actually play on the album but he is featured as the producer. The only returning member happens to be Miquette Giraudy, who probably kept her job due to her personal relationship with Hillage himself (the two are life long partners.)

I can imagine the difficulties involved in trying to follow the tough act of Fish Rising. To Hillage's credit he does an excellent job. L is the night to Fish Rising's day. Gone are the fishy tales and multiple epics and enter the East-Indian influence, spruced up folk songs and Utopia's hardcore Jazz Fusion. You are also guaranteed at least one excellent Hillage solo each track. One thing that remains static is the wild meandering of spacey glissando that Hillage provides.

As stated earlier the album commences with Steve's exceedingly agreeable cover of Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man. What Hillage does to Donovan's folk/rock song, is akin to what Jimi Hendrix did to Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower. Despite the fact that in no way does Hillage sound like Hendrix in this song (SH is more spacey.) Sonja Malkine is brought in to play the 15th century Hurdy Gurdy instrument, which is pretty much a mechanized violin.


Just when you can't take anymore hurdy gurdy you are presented with part two, which has nothing to do with Donovan Leich and all to do with glissando. Perhaps Steve could not help but have the Hurdy Gurdy played on more then one song. What starts out as a relaxing ambient piece of music, quickly transforms into Utopian jazz fusion and then into an exhilarating tablas sequence. The lyrics featured are mantras like, indicating heavy Hindu influences on Hillage's mind in that time period. Hinduism will be revisited again on this album in the form of Om Nama Shivaya.

Side one ends with Electric Gypsy which reminds me of Hillage songs to come on albums such as Motivation Radio and Green. Indian influences are not apparent on this track; all though I would like to know what influenced the lawn mower or perhaps an airplane's propeller sound that commences this track?(feel free to suggest what this sound actually is)

Om Nama Shivaya the opener to side two is a traditional Hindu mantras that has been progged up by Hillage. Miquette's vocals on this song really add a touch of authenticity as they sound quite fitting. Despite being a religious mantras it is not offensive to the non Hindu.

The mantras is quickly followed by my vote for song of the album in the Lunar Musick Suite. Perhaps the answer to the Solar Musick Suite, L.M.S is entertaining from beginning to end. Electrically charged from the first note there is not a pause in action.....Then out of nowhere the Don Cherry trumpet solo comes when you least expect the ex-hockey coach and controversial Canadian Broadcast Corporation hockey analyst to show up. It is as if they cut out a solo from Jazz's golden era and stuck it in a foreign country and it works amazingly (if you lost me I don't blame you.) In terms of complex space jams this Musick Suite competes neck and neck with its predecessor.

The album concludes with George Harrison's It's All Too Much which is another quality cover. L also it suffers from being released right after Fish Rising and constantly compared to an album that is really of a different Hillage era. The big criticism of this album is the lack of original material, besides that there is nothing to complain about and I really recommend you take a listen.

My Rating: 8/10
My favorite lyrical moment: Om Nama Shivaya

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

REVIEW: Samlas Mammas Manna - Klossa Knapitatet

If you’re at all familiar with the television program Star Trek: The Next Generation, then you would know of the story of Data. Data is a young ambitious android with dreams of become more human. One of the obstacles in his path to become more human is his inability to laugh. You see my friends, robots don’t have a sense of humour. What is more human than being able to laugh at others misfortunes? His human friends attempt to lend a helping hand by trying to teach Data what is funny. Week after week they would show him funny clips and tell him various jokes. The problem is that the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation were not very funny. This, I think, is probably the main reason Data never laughed.

Now, consider for an instance if Data happened to have in his collection a record or two by the Swedish band Samla Mammas Manna? This would have made his dreams of laughing so much more feasible. This is a very funny band. The album currently under review, Klossa Knapitatet is an amazing blend of Swedish folk music, jazz fusion and a wacky sense of humour. These guys are so much fun to listen to.

From the first track to last this is a very fun listening experience. Since Swedish is not a language I at all know I’m not going to name any track by name. I don’t really have to actually. Most of the songs flow into each other so it’s a complete listening experience.

Now you may be asking, “but Paul, if you don’t understand a word of Swedish, then how are you so certain of the comedic value of this record?” That’s a valid question my friends, and one that warrants explaining. You see, these songs are all, for the most part anyway, entirely instrumental. That means that it’s in the arrangement and composition that these guys will tickle your funny bone. That’s no easy task but it’s pulled off with the sheer silliness of the performances.

Featuring loads of accordions, bicycle bells and other strange sounding novelty items, as well as the occasional wordless vocal in a very silly falsetto, the things you hear on this album will surely make you giggle. I’m not trying to take away from the quality of the music here. Perhaps the most outstanding thing about this album is the fantastic musicianship and the absurdly complex compositions. Music of that quality, so it seems, can be quite funny. It’s serious music presented in a silly way.

In the futuristic world of Star Trek, it seems that this Swedish band has been forgotten through the sands of time. Thankfully the show is nothing but a fictitious estimate of what the future may have in store. Don’t let it be true. Pick up a copy of Klossa Knapitatet today and help all the androids of the future laugh. Because even robots deserve to have a sense of humour, don’t you think?

7/10

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blog and Podcast update

Good news fellow Prog Rockers. Mr. C0ops and I have just finished recording and mixing the test pilot episode of the "Progressive Rock ProgCast". We had a few technical issues and it ended up being a little longer then we want it to be in the end so we're not going to release it to the public.

We're just working out some final touches on planning the first real episode and we should be recording it during the absurd hours of this upcoming Tuesday night. I'm going to spend this weekend working on an updated logo and finding a cheap webhosting service for the podcast. What this means is the first episode shall be ready to download before the end of next week.

I'm also going to be setting up an email address so you can send us any questions/comments/complaints etc... That should be done by this weekend.

I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Don't forget to keep checking back so you can be the first to hear the show.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Musical Box

Short documentary on The Musical box, the Genesis tribute band.



Currently on tour. Check out http://www.themusicalbox.net/ for more info.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Mostly Autumn.

I know I just posted a video of them, but I'm pretty addicted to the whole english folky sound right now so you'll have to BEAR with me. (That might be a pun, but I don't think they have bears in england.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How dare I be so Beautiful?/Willow Farm

We now present the first in home made Prog videos. This is one of my favorites. This guy does this section of Supper's Ready justice with just an acoustic guitar and his entertaining face. Fantastic!