Showing posts from April, 2014

Dennis Rea - Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China & Taiwan

Most of us are born, live and die in the same country, but excluding those driven by economic circumstance, there have always been people with an innate sense of wanderlust and adventure that results in them living and working not just in different countries to those of their birth, but different continents.

Thanks to the internet, a handful of such free spirits I can now count as friends. Even though I have never physically met these people, I am sure if we did ever cross paths in the real world, I would not be able to restrain myself from interrogations about their highly interesting life choices and travels.

One such person is Seattle-based guitar adventurist Dennis Rea. Dennis and I have crossed interweb paths on several occasions; back in 2012 I published our interview and we then collaborated on his career retrospective in these very pages. It was during the process of those interactions that I became aware of Dennis' book Live at the Forbidden City, and Dennis, being a gen…

Intravenus - Oiseau

Time and tide wait for no man; or for independent non-commercial band it seems. I was sent this album at the turn of the year, and a combination of circumstances has led to a delay in reviewing it until now. Unfortunately in that time, the band's website has disappeared into the internet void, and their Facebook page is practically empty, leaving only the Bandcamp page still online. See note at end...

What little info I could find, and the band line up was gleaned from Greek review site The Fridge, courtesy of Google Translate.

The band was formed in Athens in 2001 by Nonta Kaklamanis (drums), Akis Kaklamanis (bass) and John Anastasaki (guitar and sound effects). The others in the line up appear to have been added for this album. Doing a sterling job behind the mixing desk is sound engineer Vangelis Lappas.

The first track, Paradox Folk, shows a distinct late-period Soft Machine vibe. Led by some great sax and electric piano, the tune canters along on the back of a solid beat f…

Hungry Krauts, Daddy

Since hearing Can on Top Gear in the 70s I have had a thing for what is commonly known as Krautrock, a coverall description for a lot of largely unclassifiable music coming from the German baby boomer generation in a golden period between 1969 and 1975 (approx). Unhindered by a forced marriage to the blues that became the roots of 60s popular music in Britain and, more naturally, in the States, our German cousins looked to jazz, ethnic folk music and avant garde European classical music for their inspiration.

Mix that with spoonfuls of psychotropic drugs and the radical politics of the European hippie movement, and of course, rock'n'roll instrumentation and amplification, and you have a veritable melting pot of sounds. Music that ranged from free-form jazz rock, through psychedelia and modern classical, and out, way out into the far beyond.

In 1996 the Krautrock bible for the serious follower and the simply curious was published. The Crack In The Cosmic Egg was an exhaustive …

Stay Awake - Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films

Thanks to my mate Phil I am now listening to a long forgotten gem that I used to have on cassette some twenty five or so years ago, around the time it first came out. The gem in question is Stay Awake - Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films, which was put together by producer Hal Willner, who has a history of eclectic compilations, and boy is this eclectic!

This was Willner's fourth excursion into sonic exotica. In 1981 the first was Amarcord Nino Rota, a tribute to Italian composer Nino Rota and his music for Fellini films. 1984 saw That's The Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonius Monk, and in 1985 out came Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill. All three saw large casts of sympathetic musicians lending their own takes on classic compositions. And so we arrive at  Stay Awake, another trawl through the seas of musical flotsam. The album was released in 1988, and continued Willner's tradition of esoteric reworkings of standards, and then some!


Yuval Ron and Residents Of The Future - Residence Of The Future

The rather wordy name given by Berlin based Israeli guitarist Yuval Ron to his band contrasts with the music they produce, which is not in the slightest unwieldy, unlike the name and this sentence!

This truly ambitious album is introduced by the wordless soaring vocals of Dorin Mandelbaum on Prelude, in a manner that would not sound out of place on a Magma album.

Her dulcet tones are also present on Objects In The Mirror Are Larger Than They Appear, a ten minute journey that neatly encapsulates what this band are all about. Taking in progressive and space rock, jazz fusion and Dorin's chiming vocals, the tune neatly avoids categorisation, and is simply a display of well played adventurous music that does not get lost in complexity for its own sake.

Residence Of The Future by Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future

Never afraid to explore, the sonics become more stretched out on Watching Over Shizutani Kou Bay, a two part musical trip that begins in ambient territory, developing al…