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Bruce Langridge (West Wales)

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Two Rainbows Daily
Two Rainbows Daily
Price: £13.64

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laid back noodling, 11 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Two Rainbows Daily (Audio CD)
Close to the end of his short life, Alan Gowan recorded this little curiosity with Hugh Hopper.
It's a collection of 7 half composed, half improvised pieces featuring Hopper on bass and Gowan on a collection of mainly electonic keyborads. It's all very laid back, subtle and easy on the ear, close in style to some of Terry Riley's synthesized works (especially the track Every Silver Lining), if not a little more melodic. Every track has its own charm but none leap out and grab you.
If you're keen to follow the National Health, Gilgamesh or even Soft Machine family tree, you'll find elements in this that you'll like. It's rather lovely but not a classic.

Price: £5.12

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Classic, 9 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Eli (Audio CD)
Ex-Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman must have made up to 20 solo LPs but this is the only one with a singer and lyricist, in this case ex-fellow Brainbox member Kaz Lux.
This was probably Akkerman's first major solo effort after leaving Focus in 1976 and I think he made a classic.
The whole album, recorded in Holland using Dutch musicians with a good pedigree, has a really rich intimate sound throughout. Each song is distinctive yet they all hang well with each other, the highlights being the sparkling Guardian Angel, Naked Actress and There He Still Goes. The slower tracks, like Strindberg and the instrumental Wings of Strings, are quite beautiful. Another instrumental, Tranquilizer (which Akkerman performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test), is in the Albatross-style of drifting guitar ballad. Akkerman's playing is fantastic and fans of his guitar sound andf style will be in raptures on most of these tracks. But most characteristic of all is Lux's vocals, who has a kind of strained, forceful wail associated with many a heavy rock band but more refined - a bit like Magma's fellow bearded singer, Klaus Blasquiz. If you don't like his singing, you may not like this but the whole album should appeal to most Akkerman fans.

Sing Me a Song Of Songmy
Sing Me a Song Of Songmy
Offered by Edealcity
Price: £8.92

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary stuff, 7 Dec. 2008
This is one of the scariest records you'll ever hear.
Nothing to do with cheap horror tricks - this is well serious.
It's a colaboration, between musique concret master Ilhan Mumaroglu and jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, that tackles some brutal political issues of early 70s USA. Using poetry, court testimonies, chorus singing, tape manipulation, composed and free-form jazz, we take a horror journey past the manson murders, Vietnam, the horrors of war and race.
Most of this is profoundly moving, the poetry really well complemented by the music and it all hangs heavy with a mighty sadness with the brutality of the world.
This must have really annoyed Hubbard's jazz followers who must have been horrified at the sudden change of direction he took here. But he is to be commended for his braveness - this is a record like nothing else. I only bought it in the mid 80s because the record was being sold cheap in some back alley shop in Sheffield - I've never been so confused on the first play of any other record. Glad I bought it though.

Un Peu De L'ame Des Bandits
Un Peu De L'ame Des Bandits
Price: £8.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best of Belgian avant garde rock, 6 Dec. 2008
Avant-garde rock, from Belgium. Not a popular musical genre but if you're interested in Henry Cow, or any of the Rock in Opposition bands, check this out this record from 1978.
Largely centred around multi-instrumentalist Marc Hollander (later to create Crammed Discs), the band is notably supplemented throughout by ex-Henry Cow Fred Frith and Chris Cutler. For the second half of the album - their influence is particularly huge - as the 22 minute long Cinema could easily be passed off as a long lost Henry Cow piece - similar instrumentation, mixing composed and improvised moments, unusual, unpredicatable time signatures building steadily into glorious crescendos.
The first half is of a lesser quality I think but does culminate in a hilarious frantic homage to punk, overlaid with bassooon and bass clarinet.

Eleventh House With Larry Coryell
Eleventh House With Larry Coryell
Price: £16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're unsure about jazz rock, try this, 6 Dec. 2008
Jazz rock is a music category that often puts me off - it's often a licence for talented musicians to show off too much.
But this is is a classic jazz rock album that gets it just about right.
It has some great catchy tunes, a distinctive sound and is wonderfully played.
Guitarist Larry Coryell rocks and seduces, percussionist Alphonse Mouzon is real funky and trumpeter Randy Brecker swings and punches. It all sounds really 1970s New York. especially the keyboard work of Mike Mandel - so is a little dated, but it felt real fresh when it came out (I remember seeing them on the Old Grey Whistle Test and being blown away).
Most thrilling tracks are Badfingers and Yin, balanced by the beautiful Theme for A Dream.
Give it a go.

Barricade 3
Barricade 3
Price: £16.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and Wonderful, 1 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Barricade 3 (Audio CD)
If Erik Satie had ben around in 1977, this is the kind of music you might have expected from him.
Light and beautiful, dark and weird, melodic and inventive, charming and disturbing, very French but like no other Frenchman.
ZNR are Hector Zazou and Joseph Racaille, primarily keyboardists and occasional vocalists, who are joined by the occaional bass clarinetist, saxophonist, and for one lovely track, a guitarist.
Most tracks are fairly short (but with long titles), and each is based around a farry catchy melody - there's rarely more than three people playing at once.
This is the first of 2 ZNR records - this is the best in my opinion - perhaps the shock of the new - and because there is some real humour here as well as considerable tenderness.
Definitely give it a go if you're curious.

Another Fine Tune You've Got
Another Fine Tune You've Got
Price: £19.89

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Sure Was Another Fine Tune, 30 Nov. 2008
It was hard to call Gilgamesh a band as such - it was one those typical British jazz ensembles made up a motley crew of talented musicians, many of whom came from Canterbury.
Alan Gowan was the driving force behind Gilgamesh, and because he was such a phenomenal talent, this record and Gilgamesh's first self-titled LP, are, for me, his most lasting legacies.
Gowan's compositional skill was to create scores in which it was impossible to tell what is written and what is improvised. There are plenty of good tunes here but all are backed up by some exceptional playing - Gilgamesh brought out the best instrumental work by Gowan, drummer Trevor Tompkins and guitarist Phil Lee (whose short solo 'Waiting' is beautiful). Gilgamesh's other great quality was the intimate sound they produced - they seem to be playing just for you. This whole album has a quiet late night feel to it too - no great stand out track - they're all good.


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hoppertunity Well Taken, 29 Nov. 2008
This review is from: 1984 (Audio CD)
As a first solo album, Hopper laid down his mark for next 30+ years (he's still going) of creative, distinctive playing and thinking.
Always the innovator, Hopper produced this as a representation of the atmosphere of Orwell's 1984, and he did it well. Lots of weird effects, studio imporvisations on bass and synthesizer (or mellophone as he called it)interspersed with some really cool understated brassy jazz.
Hopper called this a sub-Terry Riley cult record. Fair comment. But I can imagine (probably like me) a generation of stoneheads lying down with speakers on the floor, either side of their head, ecstatic at Hopper's stereophonic noodlings - might seem a little old hat now but great fun in the 1970s.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2012 9:11 PM GMT

Price: £9.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be good but isn't, 29 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Springfever (Audio CD)
As a fan of guitarist Philip Catherine, I remember how excited I was when I bought this in the late 70s.
It had the same Catherine/Lee/Brown line up of Catherine's best record to date, Guitars, but crucially, as I found out, pianist Joachim Kuhn wrote and arranged everything here.
The result is little flashes of joy amongst a sea of blandness.
Catherine's distinctive style is largely submerged by indistinct tunes, a couple of which have some awful cliched lazy riffs.
Saying that, the opening track, Lady Amber has a lovely violin solo by Zbigniew Seifert, Equal Evil allows Catherine's unique style to come through, and Springfever is an okish piano solo by Kuhn.
A record for completests but not for starters.

Price: £18.91

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was unsure about Unrest - but not anymore, 23 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Unrest (Audio CD)
As an avid devotee of Henry Cow, I never found this album to be as exhilariting as the others. But as the years have rolled on, I've found more and more to like about it.
It was Henry Cow's second record, and features for the first time the bassoon of Lindsay Cooper - an instrument which instantly sets the tone for this whole record. John Greaves' piano, especially on the classic Half Asleep Half Awake, also characterises it, as does the barely composed tracks on the final 4 tracks ( a result, so legend has it, of limited studio time necessitating group improvisation). Perhaps the hurriedness of the last 4 tracks were a detraction for me, but listening to the barely composed Deluge again now, I can see what's so great about this group - it builds up beautifully and trails off both unexpectantly and magically. Like most of Henry Cow's music, you just never knew where it was heading - even after haering it many times.

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