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Showing posts from October, 2011

My Brother The Wind - I Wash My Soul In The Stream Of Infinity

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You may get the impression from the title and the cover of My Brother The Wind’s keenly anticipated second album that a meditative experience is what is on offer here, and you may be right. However, the opening piece, with the aptly adrenalin fuelled title of Fire! Fire!! will instantly dispel any notions of calm Zen-inspired navel gazing with its wah-noise attack, reminiscent of one of Acid Mothers Temple’s more tuneful sonic assaults. An opening thirteen plus minutes of aural rearrangement that you WILL find a groove in, it won’t let you go until you do. Actually the more you listen to this song the more you can find to latch on to and it gets to the point where I’m not entirely sure I heard that melody, or if it was some random synapse connection in my head that made me imagine it. Once the spaceship has escaped the pull of Earth’s gravity, the bass guitar of Ronny Eriksson propels the song along on a more relaxed but still speedy grove as the sounds become more stretched, spaced …

Ske - 1000 Autunni

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1000 Autunni is the first solo album by keyboard maestro Paolo Ske Botta, a name familiar to me from French TV's This Is What We Do, and latterly as a member of Italian avant-proggers Yugen.

What we have here is another gem from Italy's Fading Records that delivers a difficult but engaging album drawing on a wide range of influences ranging from chamber music, Gentle Giant, Henry Cow, Hatfield And The North, National Health, and a smattering of classic symphonic prog as well as jazz and modern classical.

Paolo is a collector of vintage keyboards, many of which are used on this album to great effect, all lovingly noted in the tastefully designed booklet. Each track gives a complete listing of all the instruments used as well as the keyboards, showing that this album was most certainly a labour of love.

The Hatfield's influence is felt with the vocalisings of Roberta Pagani, very much in vein of The Northettes, when she makes her appearances on Carta E Burro (Paper And  Butt…

Abrete Gandul - Enjambre Sísmico

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From Chile, Abrete Gandul offer up a satisfying stew of styles on this, their third album. Enjambre Sísmico (Seismic Swarm). It lives up to its English translation, sounding at times like a jazz infused Anekdoten, or a Latin King Crimson, with helpings of Canterbury influence updated to the 21st Century having spent the interim under Latino influence, and is one hugely enjoyable musical ride.
At an hour long the album has eight songs only two of which are under the seven minute mark. Such is the intricacy of the instrumentation that one’s attention is required all the time, but having said that it all flows together nicely, so the listening experience is never hard work, as can be the case with some more wilfully obtuse offerings.
Judging by the album titles and what I can understand with my limited Spanish from the story in the cover booklet, the album appears to be a journey through a natural disaster, with which being Chilean, the band are no doubt all too familiar. 
The seven and a …

Burning Shed 10th Anniversary Concert - The Assembly, Leamington Spa, 14th October 2011

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Burning Shed, distributors of and home to some wonderfully eclectic independent music celebrated its 10th anniversary at the charming venue that is The Assembly in Royal Leamington Spa (to give it its full name) on Friday last.

With a varied and esoteric bill, the gig commenced early in order to fit everything in. First up, in the upstairs gallery was the two man Resonance Association playing in front of a small exhibition of Carl Glover's images, many of which have appeared on Burning Shed related album covers. This was what the more artistically inclined would refer to as an installation, as Daniel and Dominic weaved dark ambience through heavily treated guitar and sundry electronica. The short set put me in mind ofManuel Göttsching's solo work, and intrigued me to the extent that I bought one of the 20 limited edition digi-packs on sale.
Venturing downstairs to the main hall where we were pleasantly surprised to see seating laid out, belying the dreaded word "Standing&q…

Seven That Spells - The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: AUM

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This is the first album in a projected trilogy whose lofty ambition is to attempt exactly what it says on the tin, so these guys do not lack confidence, and after eight albums in as many years why should they?

Back in 1972 German synth pioneer Deuter also released an album called Aum (or Om to us Anglos) whose proto-new age spacey vibe is well worth checking out, but there the similarity ends.

Opening song In is a reverberating wall of noise, repeatedly marching up the scales and resembles a triumphant army storming into battle. Brings to mind Guru Guru as the powerful drummer Stanislav Muškinja beats the daylights out of his kit in a fashion Mani Neumeier would have been proud of. As well as the obvious Krautrock vibe, the all pervading influence of the inevitable Acid Mothers Temple (with whom they have toured and collaborated in the past) is felt, particularly on title track Aum where Niko Potočnjak enacts an imaginary battle between Kawabata Makoto and Ax Genrich before Jerem…

Caravan - The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, 13th October 2011

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The band's successful resurrection last year for a TV special (available on dvd and well worth it) has provided fresh impetus to what has become a bit of a venerable English music institution, the reigning kings and elder statesmen of Canterbury, Caravan. The line up that played that show, Richard Coughlan excepted, sauntered out onto the stage at the comfortable and well appointed surroundings of The Stables and launched into a joyous rendition of the Memory Lain Hugh/Headloss medleyfrom what for me is their best album, For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night, so a great start!

Band leader and founder Pye Hastings, the only original member on stage tonight, was in fine form after initially struggling to reach the high notes. Singers often find their range decreases with age, and it's a wonder Pye can hit those high notes at all given that a lot of his songs seemed to have been sung at the top end his range, even three or four decades ago.


Star of the show was undoubtedly Geoff…

Magazine - No Thyself

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We live in a time where it seems that even bands with no living members have reformed in pursuit of one last undead payday. Probably the most exploitative recent reunion was that of the Sex Pistols, and ironically so given their original manifesto and the fact that Howard Devoto was instrumental in getting the Pistols to play the now legendary gig at Manchester Free Trade Hall. Lydon has certainly lived up to his epithet from the first time round: "...ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" he berated the crowd at the Winterland as his era defining band collapsed in a sea of drugs and paranoia in 1978. The lumpen reunion of the iconic punk band epitomises an undignified chase for filthy lucre alongside a complete lack of artistic integrity that so many reunions suffer from to some degree.

Cards on the table - I was a big fan of Magazine the first time round, and you might think from that introduction that my opinion of the reunion and No Thyself is not exactly of the…

It's Only Money - Parts I to MMXII

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Pink Floyd are a band with a still huge and devoted fanbase despite the fact that they haven't released a new record in nearly twenty years. I was going to go further and suggest that we are never likely to see a proper reunion given the unfortunate and sad demise of Richard Wright, but after the recent reissue campaign, albeit largely record company led, you never know do you?

Although the remaining members do not seem to be overly motivated by filthy lucre, possibly Roger Waters apart with his endless live re-creations of The Wall, I would bet that their label, the increasingly cash-strapped EMI, are continually badgering one or other of the band to reform, go on tour and cut a live album.

Which brings me to the current gargantuan reissue program. Centred around the fabled "Immersion" editions of Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here, at a mere £84.99 each. Looking at Amazon you will no doubt be aware of the online retailer's linked suggestions whenever one…