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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

King Crimson - Red

They have already put the Prog Rock genre on the English map with the release of their debut album released in 1969, But it was time for King Crimson to take a break after the release of their seventh album, Red. The Crimso were now a trio after David Cross on violin left the band to become more of a session musician while a little help from former members of the group Ian McDonald and Mel Collins on saxes to help out with them.

John Wetton, Robert Fripp, and Bill Bruford were now the prog version of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. From the heavy introduction of Robert Fripp's guitar work on the opening self-titled track, is a torturing work of guitar solos, metalish sounds of the bass, and an explosive drum work, makes the album so damn good. The melodic dreamland beauty of Fallen Angel, is almost a prog love-song, that Crimson would have wished they were a jazz rock version of the fabulous mop tops, the Beatles while the heavy sound comes back in and in a high voltage sound of the thrashing piece of One More Red Nightmare.

The last two tracks shows them in their arranging and composition format. The 8-minute live performance at the Palace Theater on Providence, makes it spot-on with a grunge fusion sound of the Mahavishnu Orchestra while the closing 12-minute piece Starless, becomes more of an epic from the sounds of an early version of King Crimson of In the Wake of Poseidon and then into a heavy metal miles davis sound and then climaxes it similar to the finale of In the Court of the Crimson King.

Sadly, Robert Fripp broke Crimson up after the release of Red. He later worked with Brian Eno on No Pussyfooting and Eno's 1st solo album, Here Come the Warm Jets to the Berlin trilogy with David Bowie. In 1981, he reformed King Crimson in a new line-up including Bill Bruford. But this time with Frank Zappa's guitarist Adrian Belew and Peter Gabriel's bassist Tony Levin and released Discipline. It had been seven years since King Crimson released an album.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nektar - Remember the Future

There were a few of the spae rock bands that would take the Progressive genre into the milky way with Pink Floyd, Ash Ra Tempel, Gong, and Hawkwind. But a band from Germany would take the Space Rock genre into a Rock Opera tradition. Nektar were more like Pink Floyd's kid brother plus a cult following in Europe and the US during the '70s as they reached up a rocket to the stars with their fourth album to their previous classic A Tab in the Ocean with a mixture of Funk, harmonizing vocals, and brilliant guitar work to Remember the Future. For those of you who may or may not know what the story of Remember the Future is about, It's the tale of Bluebird who was rejected from his home planet and forced to leave because of the way his skin is colored blue and the way he flies across the sky that didn't mixed very well with the people who rejected this kind of thing for him. He leaves his planet and head towards Earth where he befriends a young boy who is blind. As the boy asks Bluebird where he's from, Bluebird talks to the Boy about where he's from as the guitar and the music follow him into the story. During the second act of the album, Bluebird gives the young boy a miracle cure by giving him new eyes to see. As the boy is given new eyes, he is suprised to find out who the person he was talking to was a creature from a different planet. While the story seems like something out of an H.G. Wells novel or story, the music itself is fucking brilliant.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Carmen - Fandangos in Space

Among supporters including David Bowie who got them on the 1980 floor show at the Marquee after his farewell Ziggy Stardust concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1973, these Californian flamenco/glam/prog rock band blew Aladdin Sane away. Carmen are one of the bands in the 1970's that would take that genre into a different land. Fandangos in Space is almost a story-telling album because of the tales that deal with space, spain, battle dome of the bulls, and thirlling guitar sounds including some amazing footwork also that is 100% perfect.

Tony Visconti, who produced Bowie, T. Rex, and progsters Gentle Giant, did an amazing job producing Carmen's first album because he nailed it so perfectly its almost that Genesis were becoming a salsa-rock fairy tale band. The two tracks that are explosively well to get the album started. Bulerias and Bullfight, are really high voltage that would set the footstomping by going into a faster tempo with the gypsy women's stories and the goriest bulls waiting to attack the humans on a hot and humid day and night.

Alongside the first two tracks, you have the 1-minute spanish classical pete townshend fingerpicking guitar sounds of Poor Tarantos while Stepping Stone becomes a funky flamenco guitar style in the morning sun. Sailor Song, a darker ballad that deals with the rise and fall of a Sailor who wants to be saved and refuses to die, and the self-titled track is almost solar system rockin' sound that is 6-minutes to perfection which later becomes an acapella clapping mexican funeral arrangment music for the Fandango herself to be buried.

Carmen never had the success after the 1980 floor sow. The group would later release three more albums before calling it a day in 1976 after the release of their final album of The Gypsies. Carmen are an excellent band I really dig and the hot day goes to play in the nightless sky.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Faust - So Far

Whenever you think of strange and bizarre weird music, you think of Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, and Henry Cow. But if you have a band from Germany in the 1970's that go into pure avant-garde punk experimental madness, then you've come to the right place at the right time with Faust and their second album in an album cover that's black with So Far. They were the band that would have Miles Davis be very happy with and to be a part of. This album show's Faust that they couldn't get into the whole bombastic feel of Yes, ELP, or Genesis type of sound.

This is more of the Velvet Underground meets Bowie meets John Coltrane in a twisted local environment that would make the doors screech open to. The opening of the banging drums, one piano chord, and a punk-rock chugging of a guitar chord with the humor taste of bubblegum music of It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl, is an ultimate killer. You have the quirky lyrics of 'It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl, It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Baby.' Really fun lyrics to really piss and sneer all of the other teenybopper music. On the Way to Abamae is a folky acoustic guitar instrumental composition while it goes into the 10-minute heavy guitar sounds that would blow the speakers up on No Harm, an homage to Iggy & the Stooges in a Krautrock way with lyrics like ' Daddy take a Banana, tomorrow is Saturday! ' This track is another killer that would make you turn the volume noise up a notch!

Mamie is Blue, an avant-garde extraordinare pice of music that has amps going into total destruction while the previous self-titled track, is more of a brass Parliament Funkadelic meets Edgard Varese arrangment. The last four tracks, show a little bit of comedy and vaudeville ragtime fun. I've Got My Car and My TV, an anti-car and TV commerical message for the viewers watching, the Zappa-style sounds on Picnic on a Frozen River and Me Lack Space while the last track closes it up into a swing paris jazz rock style of In the Spirit brings it to an end. So Far is one helluva album. Play this along with The Faust Tapes and turn it up. You are warned again!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come - Galactic Zoo Dossier

Whenever you think of Arthur Brown, you think of the god of hellfire with him wearing a helmet that's up in flames wearing a pre-KISS make-up that may have influenced the heavy metal glamsters of the 1970's with Arthur Brown and the single Fire from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. But you've never seen the other side of Arthur Brown. After the break-up of the crazy world, he formed Kingdom Come in 1971 with their debut album Galactic Zoo Dossier, a mixture of space madness, weird haywiring music, strange narrations of the bible that could have been erotic in the twilight zone or in the outer limits. If this is more of the crazy stoner version of Pink Floyd's Meddle, this is it!

Tracks like the punk space rocker of Internal Messenger sounds almost a combine twist of the Pretty Things S.F. Sorrow meets Hawkwind's In Search of Space with screeching guitar sounds and pure lunatic voices of Arthur Brown that he would do during the late '60s. Galactic Zoo and Metal Monster are almost a lunacy of crazyness and a freak out experimentation of sinister avant-garde noises to keep you frightened for someone underneath the bed, The guitar delay, bass walking sound of Simple Man is a mellower dark composition with VCS3 synths creeping up the doorway. Night of the Pigs, an oinking political army marching Robert Calvert like story with guitars into metal territory while Sunrise is more of a mellower blues soul tradition into the milky way and goes into a sneering hard rock solo.

Galactic Zoo Dossier is one of the most insane albums that I've listened to from Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come. Man, those stoners surely were going nuts on their instruments in Space and the Solar System.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Traffic - Heaven Is In Your Mind

Alongside Procol Harum, The Moody Blues, and the Sgt. Pepper-era of the Beatles who were considered the proto-progressive rock of the psychedelic scene in the late '60s, a group from Birmingham, England took Proto-Prog into the world of make-believe. Traffic had a traditional sound of Jazz, Soul, Ragtime, and stories in candy houses with the walls made out of cheese. Formed in 1967 after Steve Winwood's departure of the british invasion's sound of the Spencer Davis Group who had hits like Keep on Running, Gimme Some Lovin', When I Come Home, and I'm a Man. Steve Winwood formed Traffic with Dave Mason on guitar, Jim Capaldi on Drums, and Chris Wood on flute and sax. The group was later signed on the Island Record label from Chris Blackwell to make their debut album Mr. Fantasy (Heaven Is In Your Mind).

This is Traffic's earlier look on the psychedelic scene to come up with Beatle related songs and Folk meets Soul meets Jazz in a funky way in this US version of Mr. Fantasy. The opening of the psychedelic single of the sitar-harpischord indian related sound of Paper Sun, blows the door away with its 4/4 time signature, Dealer is a folk-rock tune about the drugs that the dealers gives to his victims and watches them suffer in a deathly quiet hush, Coloured Rain a mid-pop like song that makes you feel good in the morning and in the afternoon with a bit of LSD related rain coming down from the sky, Hole in my Shoe could almost be a prog epic from the mind of Dave Mason writing a children's fairy tale with mellotrons and the drums doing 4 beats per measure from walking to the music, No Face, No Name, Number is a beautiful haunting acoustic melody from Steve Winwood as he sings very emotional while the organ and the mellotron plus the acoustic guitar, follows him along into a beauty of love.

Heaven Is In Your Mind is a Jazz-R&B soul rock track that Winwood and Capaldi sing the vocals about packing your bags and headed up the escaltor to guide your visions in Heaven to believe in yourself; Berkshire Poppies and Giving to You are really strange tracks. Dave Mason is bringing his pop-related fairy tales in a twist of Alice in Wonderland meets Hansel and Gretel with music performed by the Beatles. Dave goes into a storybook mode in gumdrop lands while the next track is more a jam session of the 12-bar faster blues composition with weird scatting voices and dating, Smiling Phases a tradition of Otis Redding in a Bee Gees way, and Dear Mr. Fantasy, a heavy blues rock number that crosses between Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience guitar work that brings the house down.

Traffic had a little success until they hit it big in the United States at the Fillmore East and West after Dave Mason left to pursue a solo career in 1968. They hit the big time when they released their golden seed in 1970, John Barleycorn Must Die in the roots of Jazz, R&B, and Folk songs that Bob Dylan could have wrote in England. Even though the band spilt up in 1969 and came back in 1970 and then broke up in 1974 and lost two members Chris Wood in 1983 and Jim Capaldi in 2005, The legacy of Traffic's music keeps Feelin' Alright.