Showing posts from December, 2012

Machine Mass Trio - As Real As Thinking

In which Belgian guitar monster Michel Delville and the highly experienced "tight but loose" jazz drummer Tony Bianco, both of jazz-space-prog maestros douBt lose the keyboard player and gain Jordi Grognard, a reeds player of some style, who also plays bansouri and electronic tempura, and become the jazz-rock beast that is Machine Mass Trio.

Originally conceived as a side project of douBt, MMT are no doubt (sorry) now a force in their own right. Kicking off in a languorous lounge style with Cuckoo we are soon introduced to Jordi's accomplished playing, from where we venture into more rocky territory on Knowledge with some tight ensemble playing as Jordi free-associates over Michel's spiky guitar theme, Tony pummelling out the beat while also skittering all over the shop. Fast'n'furious, this is a prime example of the group's power.

The album is full of mood changes and Khajuaro,with its meditative Arabian-Indian flavours wherein Michel picks u…

Marbin - Breaking The Cycle

Breaking The Cycle was the second album released by Marbin, back in 2011. This fine band take their name from two young Israelis; guitarist Dani Rabin and saxophonist Danny Markovitch, ably assisted by Americans Paul Wertico (drums) and Steve Rodby (bass), both multiple Grammy Award winners with the Pat Metheny Group; not to mention a few distinguished guests (see line up list below).

Back in 2007 the duo famously interrupted a family dinner at Paul Wertico's home by turning up unexpectedly - but presumably not uninvited! The two Dans soon put down their musical roots in their adopted country, and in 2009 as well as releasing their self-titled debut album, Wertico gave them starring roles on his lauded improvised album Impressions Of A City. Since then a seemingly endless list of gigs has established the band as one of the hardest working outfits of any genre, and their road-honed experience shines through on this album. The fact that two veterans of the jazz-rock scene such as W…

2012 - A year in review

Firstly, thanks to all of you for reading my typo-strewn and occasionally acerbic nonsense in 2012.

Another day, another CD, or so it seemed this year; as fast as I was putting CDs away they were arriving, the piles on my desk never getting smaller. Of course, I love it really, and 2012 was another year of great releases in ye olde progressive genres, rock or otherwise.

In very rough chronological order, here are the releases that impressed, linking to reviews. The cream of the crop are in bold, although everything here is top-notch.

Gavin Harrison & Ø5ric – The Man Who Sold Himself
This shouldn't work but it does, very complex but highly enjoyable. My big regret of the year was that due to flu I had to miss the gig, which also included Tony Levin's Stick Men...damn!

no-man - Love and Endings
Live document of the headline act at Burning Shed's 10th anniversary bash, the best gig I attended in 2011.

Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion
The first (or possibly the second) of 31…

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

Prepare To Be Scared...and possibly Scarred

Album website

As I used to read "proper literature" avidly and still occasionally sit down with a heavyweight tome, I have always thought it is the duty of anyone who has ever considered themselves even a semi-serious bibliophile to tackle that weighty volume of impenetrable verbosity, James Joyce's Ulysses. This I have attempted on at least three occasions, but I have never made it past about a hundred pages, such is its sheer intellectual mass. In conclusion, I ain't clever enough, and I'll leave it to Joyce and the likes of Will Self who may well be a modern Joycean equivalent to bamboozle me, and I've no doubt quite a few of those in possession of a higher IQ than mine.

Much the same can be said of the serious alternative music fan and the latter works of Mr Noel Scott Engel. Although a vein of wilful artistic intent can be traced right back to Scott's first solo album in 1967, the true seeds of the creeping …

Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil...and other short stories

Apropos of nothing at all, that title, but...please let me ramble on...and in the meantime, care for your ears with the song of the same name...

...and now for some general blather and nonsense...

Back in the early to mid-90s when computers in the workplace became commonplace we were constantly being told what a boon to our leisure-time they would be as you could get your work done in a fraction of the time it used to take, thus freeing up swathes of our existence to take up seal boxing or kangaroo stitching, or any other fun activity you could possibly desire.

As we all know only too well, it soon became apparent that all computers did was enable us to produce more work in the same timespan as before, and as the flow of information increased exponentially our free time in fact became more restricted.

What’s that got to do with the price of fish, or indeed music, you would be justified in asking? Well, the all-pervading nature of that grey box on the floor or that harmless-l…