Showing posts from January, 2011

Text Of Festival (8)

More visuals to complement my gig history...

U2 as support act for Slade at The Lyceum, London, 19/10/81...I remember thinking this band might make it, but hats off to Gary Bushell of all people in his review of the gig for spotting U2's drift towards pretentiousness so early in their careers: ".......the cracks beneath the bands polished edifice became more and more apparent. Firstly the newer material confirmed the impression that U2 are letting their pretensions run away with them, ........... secondly Bono's glum, self satisfied pronouncements became increasingly offensive as the night progressed. It seems like he's beginning to believe the messianic treatment he's getting from the self styled radical press---a real cotton wool job that lets him get away with outrageous nonsense..."
Mr Bushell was obviously more intelligent than his promoted yobo exterior would have had us believe.

Kraftwerk 1981
It's probably n…

Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen - '....for the ghosts within'

In which National Treasure (Sir - if there was any justice) Robert Wyatt collaborates with clarinetist & saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and violinist & string quartet leader Ros Stephen on an album of gorgeous covers of jazz standards and ballads and self composed tunes from the Wyatt/Benge stable.

Robert Wyatt is in possession of a voice given by the angels and a melodic sensibility few have equalled, which often lends his unique musical vision, a kind of hybrid folk-jazz-ethnic stew, an other-worldly feel.

This album is probably more traditional in construct than some of his work, and his voice coats the sweetbread of lush string arrangements and winsome clarinet and saxophone soundscapes like a low fat chocolate spread. There are some swoonsome songs on this album, and the old (In A Sentimental Mood, What A Wonderful World, Laura) blend seamlessly with the new (the haunting title track, Maryan, Lullaby For Irena). Wyatt also revisits one of his more well known ethereal covers…

Gentle Giant - Three Friends

A short review of an early prog concept album used as a possible entry to Amplifier's blog on

Gentle Giant's third album, and the first to be released in the USA, was, unsurprisingly given the title, a concept album about three friends who meet at school and grow apart in adulthood - we've all been there. One becomes a road digger with a chip on his shoulder about the "...boss (who) gets all the money", another becomes a troubled artist and the third goes into white collar suburbia resenting the other two their apparent freedoms. Musically complex but playful with some great keyboards and guitar, even after 39 years this doesn't sound dated.

The video is from the band Three Friends, which contains some original members and was formed to play Gentle Giant music. This is School Days from the album.

4 out of 5

Amplifier - The Wave video

Psychedelically Groovetastic!

Amplifier - The Octopus

A beast of a thing! Listen to it here while you read this....

The beginning is important in all in all things...

The Octopus is a loose concept and the creation of Sel Balamir, Neil Mahoney, and Matt Brobin, who make up the Manchester based combo Amplifier. The evolving idea behind this appears to be the inter-connectedness of everything, or “...referencing the human condition, infinity and entropy, everything and nothing”. The band has recently created a website dedicated to this amorphous concept where all is not quite explained....

The Octopus is also the third album from Amplifier, a double CD two hour epic three years in the making, officially released to the general populace on 31st January 2011. Fans of the band have already bought the deluxe limited edition graphic hardcover book (written by Sel) and CDs. After becoming disenchanted with their treatment at the hands of various record labels, and to their eternal credit, the whole project h…

Trey Gunn - I'll Tell What I Saw

Best known for his pioneering work with the Warr Touch Guitar, and his application of same to the late 20th and 21st century King Crimson, since 1993 Trey Gunn has released numerous solo albums as well as albums with his Trey Gunn Band, and has collaborated with many left field artists worldwide. I'll Tell What I Saw is a double CD compilation covering his entire non-King Crimson career and a fine thing it is too!

Those familiar with his Crimsoid work will recognise the familiar Warr sound throughout, but rather than being derivative of KC, one has to remember he brought this sound to KC, not the other way round. Gunn also contributes fretless guitar, fretless bass and keyboards. The KC influence is inescapable though, and there are some Belew-like elephant squeals, and even some Fripp-like arpeggios, particularly on the later tracks. Also present throughout is a definite world music feel as he trawls through collaborations with Italians (NYX), Finns (KTU), Russians (Inna Zhelenna…