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Showing posts from March, 2013

3RDegree - The Long Division

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I've had this album a while and listened to it a fair few times but for some reason I never got round to reviewing it. Featuring highly in a few 2012 best-of lists from fellow reviewers whose opinions I value, and seeing as how every time a review of it is posted an intelligent and varied political debate is sparked, I think it is about time I added my two pennies worth.

Since being released over six months ago this album has caused quite a stir amongst the more politically aware element of the prog community, on both sides of the Atlantic. 3RDegree, originally active in the 90s, splitting up in 1997, reformed around ten years later and in the shadow of the world economic collapse of 2008 wrote, recorded and released their comeback album Narrow-Caster. Since then they have not looked back with a lauded appearance at ProgDay 2009 being released on DVD.

New Jersey based Robert James Pashman and George Dobbs began swapping files on the internet with Los Angeles based Pat Kliesch, an…

Seven Impale - Beginning/Relieve

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Hailing from Bergen, Norway, you may be forgiven for thinking that with a name like "Seven Impale", that I have become a convert to grunting death metal. Not a bit of it, this new band produce a rather nice amalgam of heavy post-prog with a singer who in contrast has a delightfully fragile voice. Fans of the likes of The Tea Club and inFictions should dig this.

Beginning/Relieve is their debut EP, out on Karisma Records next month, and a nicely varied menu of modern post-prog it is too, ranging from the epic space-jazz tile track, to the almost Wire like angularity of the opener. OK, Wire were never that heavy, but there's something of them in there, I'm sure.




Not afraid to tackle grand arrangements, as Blind To All and the title track (see link above) testify, as well as modern heavy prog and melancholic ballads, this band show no little promise, and their first album which is currently under construction is awaited with anticipation.

Tracklist:

1. Mind Riot (1:21)
2.…

Older Than God

Older Than God is a series of documentary webisodes charting the artistic life of touch guitarist, musician and composer Markus Reuter (Stick Men, Crimson ProjeKct, Centrozoon, along with collaborations too many to list) lovingly filmed by his long-time friend and colleague Lee Fletcher. This is the latest episode:




The complete schedule of releases, further information and details of intended hard copy releases can be found on http://www.olderthangod.com/about.html

A fascinating insight into the motivations of a true artist, and more than worthy of a few minutes of your time.

After the headphone dust has settled...

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Their is a major problem with being a fan of a particular band or artist and attempting to write a review of a new album by said artist, to a strict deadline, in order that the review is posted on or before the official release date. That problem is objectivity, or lack of it. Fuelled by the adrenaline of anticipation, the fanboy's (or girl's) immediate reaction, unless the record is truly awful, is a spewing forth of hyperbole, a gushing sycophancy, accompanied by a general star-struck demeanour.

In my case that artist is Steven Wilson and the album was The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories). I submitted my review to DPRP and have since realised with hindsight that it could be construed as somewhat fawning, although it is odd that the two most gushing reviews came from colleagues who are SW newbies. My review was tempered with mild criticism, but after reading my mate Phill's acerbic take on it, I promised myself to revisit the album after the sturm und drang …

Michael Mantler - The Hapless Child and other inscrutable stories

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I do not normally review old albums, unless they are part of my long neglected Formative Years series, but this oddity deserves some exposure.
Until about a month ago I had never heard of this album, but during a visit to my good friend and gig-going companion Phil's abode up popped this dusty obscurity.

Some of you may well be asking Michael who? Well, it seems that this could well be the rarest album starring Robert Wyatt out there.

Let me explain; Michael Mantler is a composer, band leader and trumpeter in the contemporary jazz field. Married to celebrated jazz pianist Carla Bley at the time of this record (1975) they had also set up their own label WATT to release their projects, which included this little gem.

Setting the unsettling illustrated stories of writer Edward Gorey to music, Mantler assembled a top notch backing band for Wyatt's semi-spoken narratives, a style that scans where it shouldn't as anyone familiar with his solo work will know well. Also contributi…