Showing posts from August, 2013

Haken - The Mountain

When a good friend from the prog reviewing community told me that some of this new album by Brit heavy prog act Haken reminded him of Gentle Giant I had to laugh. However, after I stopped smirking I was intrigued enough to investigate further. Haken were a band that, although I could see where their appeal lay, never really tickled any of my odd musical fancies to any great degree. I always found their sound a tad bombastic, and far too tainted by the dreaded "prog-metal".

Indeed the only track I could access before getting the album was Atlas Stone, which you can hear below. While showing an undoubted compositional flair exceeding anything I had previously heard by the band, albeit my opinion is only based on cursory listens to their earlier work, it still seemed to be in the same vein, but with a far defter touch. Once the review copy arrived, to say it confounded my expectations is somewhat of an understatement, and I am glad I followed up my instincts to delve deeper.


Juxtavoices - Juxtanother antichoir from Sheffield

In my never ending quest for new music, sometimes something turns up unannounced and unbidden. A couple of months ago I had a review published on DPRP of the feral noise burst that is Combat Astronomy's Kundalini Apocalypse. Contributing rasping reeds and howling and buzzing electronica to that dense, odd and rather good album was one Martin Archer, the man behind Juxtavoices, who made a contribution to one track on the album.

Martin has since kindly sent me armfuls of CDs, including this new release by his "antichoir", as it is described in the title. I was wondering where to start with his intriguing catalogue, and where better that this latest release?

Firstly, may I just say that this is completely unlike anything I have heard before, and I have heard one or two things in my time on this planet.

Juxtavoices sprung from an idea of Martin's back in 2010 to assemble "thirty Saturday morning to try out their voices to see how they might sound toget…

Fantômas - Delìrium Còrdia

Mike Patton - avant dilettante magpie or musical polymath? I prefer the latter, but in any low profile genre there lurks a fanboy (and it usually is a boy) or two who are so incredibly precious about their particular dark corner of inaccessibility that they take umbrage at anyone perceived as an outsider that has the temerity to meddle in their territory. Even worse if said intruder is mega-rich off the back of a successful for career in something
...heavens forfend...popular.

Such a target for unjustified abuse, not that I imagine that it even registers with him, is Mike Patton, ex lead singer of popular alt-metal combo Faith No More, who, in my humble opinion, made the best metal album of the 90s with the utterly fab Angel Dust.

Scratch below the surface of that unearthly slab of strangely melodic feral noise and you can begin to see why Mr Patton took a left turn, first with the alternately annoying and brilliant Mr Bungle, a band that actually existed prior to FNM but had to wait …

Daymoon - Fabric of Space Divine

One of my earliest reviews on this blog of an album that was sent to me for that purpose, as opposed to a review of something from my own collection, was Daymoon's debut waxing All Tomorrows. One would like to think that both the band and myself have progressed from stumbling beginnings.

Well, I don't know how I've fared in the interim, only you, dear reader, is in a position to judge, but Fred Lessing, leader of this Portuguese band of merrie proggers used to describe his band's sound as "regressive", whereas now it's "transgressive". Let us attempt to find out what this means, if anything at all.

Never one to shy away from a big idea, or several big ideas at the same time, a problem highlighted in my review of the debut, Fred has admitted in the past that he occasionally needs his rapacious creative instincts reining in a tad. So, with that in mind this time round the concept is the merely "the history of the Universe". Made me smi…

Progstravaganza 13

The thirteenth part of Prog Sphere's continuing mission to unearth the new, the strange, and the oddly normal has hit the digital highway a mere three years after the first one knocked the unsuspecting sideways. I don't know how they do it!

Progstravaganza 13 is rolling down your aural highway like a Panza Division. A colossal behemoth of a thing, some 76 bands have contributed a track each, covering all possible varieties and sub-genres of that much maligned musical madhouse, prog rock. OK, "scurvy-prog" may have been omitted, but I'll admit I've not had the time to listen to all 9½ hours (!) of it, so there could be some scurvy, or possibly even rickets-prog lurking in a dusty corner.

Progstravaganza 13 by Prog Sphere Promotions

It's free, too, so don those asbestos gloves, stock up on vitamin D tablets and dive in! :)

While you're at it, check out Prog Sphere's new streaming service Progify, currently featuring the new albums by Daymoon, Ysma, M…

Dark - Round The Edges

Back in the late 60s and early 70s there were many UK bands without record labels who made private pressings of albums, primarily to get the attention of record companies and secondly to give to family and friends. Last on the list and usually an afterthought was to make back some of the recording costs by selling copies to fans.

The print runs were never more than 99 copies to avoid Purchase Tax, the forerunner of VAT. The copies that were neither given away or sold to their usually very localised and therefore relatively small fan bases probably ended up in lofts up and down the country, forgotten until the record collecting boom of 90s took hold.

Private pressings covered every conceivable genre of music, and all of them have been sought after over the years, but the jewel in the crown as far as collectors of prog and psych rock are concerned, for no discernible logical reason, other than it looked and sounded great, is Round The Edges (also known as Dark Round The Edges) b…

Midnight Moodswings & Seiswork - The Dopamine Recursive EP

Midnight Moodswings is, as they put it on their Facebook page "... an increment from the confusion and seclusion that "Radio for the Daydreamers" have created. Imaginary people telling imaginary stories to imaginary listeners."

Keeping up the highly enigmatic front that RftD presented, attempting to find info on "Midnight Moodswings" leads to one chasing one's tail. Is Midnight Moodswings a band or a person? I've no idea, but I suspect that RftD and MM are one and the same, as both have their cover art contributed by Fractured Fractals aka Aki Srivastava...possibly, and of course, he may even be the protagonist. Maintaining such an air of mystery can be no easy thing in this day and age of instant access to information, and that is probably the point, so I will forgive what I may have initially thought to be merely a pretentious ruse.

"Seiswork" aka Clément Parmentier (no chasing shadows there, then) is a Belgian producer and musician who…