Sunday, January 10, 2016

Aurora - 1977 - Aurora


01. Opus 8 (11:53)
02. Within (5:56)
03. Dancing on a Plain in Spain (8:14)
04. Is There Any More? (4:27)
05. Off-Blue (4:54)
06. Eurhythmia (5:02)
07. Savage Lust (6:55)
08. Polyfolk Dance (5:05)
09. Khartouhm (9:58)
010. Jubilee (10:40)

Tracks 1-3 were recorded at January Sound Studios 5/27/1977.
Tracks 4-10 were recorded live at January Sound Studios in 1977 for broadcast on KZEW-FM in Dallas.

- Mark Menikos / violin
- Skip Sorelle / guitars
- Martin McCall / drums
- Roy Vogt / bass
- John Sharp / keyboards

This mid-70's Texas outfit was inspired by the music of Jean-Luc Ponty (the band was indeed named after Ponty's album "Aurora"). During their short existence (1976-80), they never actually released any official album. The two founders of AURORA are volinist Mark Menikos and guitarist Skip SoRelle. Menikos' mentors are Jean-Luc Ponty and Stéphane Grapelli, whereas SoRelle draws his influence from jazz legends John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Larry Coryell. Although playing in different bands, the two somehow met up - Menikos had invited SoRelle to play some ZAPPA and MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA material. They hit it off so instantly that they decided to embark on their own musical venture together. Bassist Roy Vogt, keyboardist John Sharp and drummer Martin McCall were eventually added to the roster.

Their eponymous cd, released in 1999, is a mixture of studio recordings and live gigs. A hunk of burning prog jazz-fusion, the album clearly shows the two founders' respective styles, where Menikos' violin-dominated pieces are easily distinguisable from SoRelle's fusion numbers. There are also a couple of relaxed pieces on the album, sort of Pat Metheny laid-back style, courtosy of keyboardist John Sharp. Finally, the album also features some live material taped during a 1977 radio broadcast in Dallas.

There's often a very a fine line between certain jazz elements and progressive rock. And if your brand of prog includes the likes of Jean-Luc Ponty and MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, or if you are fond of the Coltrane/Coryell/Corea family, you will definitely enjoy this material. It is packed with energy and performed with gusto by highly skilled musicians.

Continuing on my current "return to Jazz-rock" phase, with a bevy of albums to receive, listen and review, I was tempted to revisit some on my current, dust gathering jazz-rock discs , mostly of British persuasion to find some existing bliss. Aurora has been sitting there, lonely like a beauty queen (sly humor!) , they were 1977 Yanks and I had only given the album a cursory audition, surely distracted by gourmet cooking of some kind I was preparing, and knew that its day would come. I have read reviews that kindle a sense of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Curved Air, Jean-Luc Ponty and Nucleus and those prominent references were more than enough to catch my new found curiosity and attention.
This is truly astute music, a swift and talkative violin leading the orchestra into atmospheric zones of influence, fusing all the classic aromas such as jazz, jam, funk, world, latin and rock influences, while unafraid to solo away in improvisational mode. On the opener "Opus 8", the band sets the bar high for all to witness, intruding a sassy intro that morphs into a groove that provides the dais on which Mark Menikos' soaring violin, the guitar stylings of Skip Sorelle and jagged John Sharp keys can strut their stuff with complete artistic freedom. Clocking in near 12 minutes, this is a primo first salvo.

"Within" is a dreamy set of melodies that first seek to hypnotize before exploding into a more laid back groove with a sunny disposition (they were from Texas after all!) , Sorelle picking away in a very breezy style, imitated by a synth solo that parallels the axe work, a bold move on many levels. This is a slow cooking jazz gumbo that just breathes fresh air!

"Dancing on a Plain in Spain" winks at the classic movie My Fair Lady (a rage back then) and the mood is jazzier, creating a more JL Ponty feel, the violin carving a large part of the sweat cake, soloing but displaying a strong sense of interplay, as with bassist Roy Vogt's subtle interval performances, with a few slick guitar dashes that weaves cleverly through the subsonic drumming, as well as the oiliest synth solo this side of Manfred Mann (just faster!). From this point on, a sense of sameness seems to appear that will keep the bar level but nothing more. "Is There Any More?" is playful at best, a pedestrian opportunity to solo rather aimlessly. This is where the Curved Air scent is stronger even though there are no vocals of any kind. Good but dispensable.

"Off Blue" masons down a rapid rut and the violin slithers like a coiled snake, again very jazzy now, almost lounge bar style (just faster!), again fine but disposable.

"Eurthmia" is back to frantic playing, veering into maniacal speed zones, (these cats can play fast) and riffing like no tomorrow. There is even some crafty "country fiddlin' that is cute to boot.

"Savage Lust" is like the title implies, a searing little ditty that exudes coy sensuality and digital prowess (tsk, tsk) mainly from the bubbly bassist who likes to pop like vintage Larry Graham. Serious guitar noodlings also increase the tension while the chin-held cat-skin violin screeches amorously. The playing is technical yet emotive especially in the high note leaps. Formidable! "Polyfolk Dance" is quirky and electronically charged, with a superior guitar lunge and within its deep folds, a pastorally joyous feel to it. Definitely up-beat and canny (a little Beethoven hint) , this is again a successful track!

"Khartoum" is narratively introduced, spicy Middle eastern aromas , hissing percussives and swirling sonic mists making this a high appeal track, full of lush experimentation. The mood is slow and calm with a hint of potential fury, as is often the case in that mystifying part of the world as Menikos finds himself going all out on his instrument, dazzling and ethereal. The ensemble playing is also highly suggestive, earning high marks for artistic impression from all judges, straddling that pleasure zone between mind and body we all cherish as sacred. "Jubilee" scripts a more local statement, these boys are from Texas after all and what is more "suthn'" than barbeque, hoedown and jubilee. As such, this tune appeals to me mostly in a technical sense as these jazz guys tear up some standard instrumental country music by forging ahead with woozy synths while the violin guy plays the sheriff. This is again at the risk of repeating myself, a positive approach that should have benefited with a strong future. That was not the case.

All in all, a pleasant addition and a worthy second-tier quality one shot wonder, especially you violin fans out there. The artwork is ultra Dali-esque , which is fine by me!

Audio Visions - 1984 - Images

Audio Visions

01. Bland Gray
02. Rise Above
03. The Parasites
04. Chamber Of No Thought
05. Bonds Of Desire
06. Blues
07. Suburban Headache
08. Back Out To Ocean

- David Miles / vocals
- Andy Graves / keyboards
- Kye Kennedy / guitar
- Victor smith / bass
- Steve Ebe / drums, percussion

Additional musicians:
- Bryan Gallette / guitar on "Blues"
- Whit Pulliam / bass on "the Parasites", "Blues" and " Suburban Headache"
- Max Huls / violin on "Blues"
- Roy Brewer / violin on "Bonds Of Desire"
- John Lux / sax on "Bonds Of Desire"

AUDIO VISIONS was an obscure band from United States active in the 80's. The band was made up of David MILES (vocals), Andy GRAVES (keyboards), Kye KENNEDY (guitar), Victor SMITH (bass) and Steve EBE (drums). Together they made only one album on their own Audovid Records label called 'Images' in 1984 which is mostly inspired by Peter GABRIEL era GENESIS and centered around vocals of David MILES but with the help of some guest musicians on other instruments like violins and saxophones the music instrumentally sometimes goes a touch beyond the neo progressive rock of the time.

Memphis, Tennessee based Audio Visions certainly seemed inspired by the original NWOBPR movement, and oh yea, Genesis is an influence here. With a name like Audio Visions and a little violin, one has to presume Kansas played a big role in their initial setup. But it's still very much a product of the glossy 80s. Simmons drums and tinny synthesizers are the order of the day. It's more Twelfth Night "Art and Illusion" and less IQ "Tales From the Lush Attic" if that makes sense. Another way to say it's art pop rather than full-on progressive rock
American GENESIS style band..Very good !

Astre - 1981 - Foresight


01. Hole in the Sky
02. Through the Looking Glass
03. Lar-Asia
04. Before the Gods
05. The Doorway
06. World Class
  a) Nadia
  b) Free and expressive Beauty
  c) Competition
  d) The Waiting
  e) The Glory

- Bill Tankersley / Bass guitar, bass pedals, keyboards, vocals
- Mark Loveless / Keyboards, guitar
- Les Mobley / Drums, talking voices

Founded in Tulsa - Oklahoma in the mid/late 70's, this 4 piece band was formed by : Mark Loveless (guitar, keyboards), Bill Tankersley (vocals, bass, keyboards), Les Mobley (drums, percussion), Curt Wasson (keyboards), Mark Winn (drums). In 1981 They turned into a Power trio when Wasson left the band.

That same year they self release their only album called Foresight. Despite the terrible production, the music is pretty good and it's clear that they are influenced by the early 70's pioneers specially EMERSON LAKE & PALMER and KING CRIMSON with a touch of AOR (Typical of the era).

After the release of Foresight, the band kept offering concerts and touring in the US, until 1983 when their activities almost ceased completely and in 1984 officially disbanded. A real collectors item for the fans of Symphonic Prog, being one of the few examples of the genre in the South Central region of the United States.

Horrendously under-produced music from Tulsa, Oklahoma, but a superbly complex progressive rock album lays behind the mess. A clean reissue may take the grime off of this gem!

Asia - 1980 - Armed To The Teeth

Armed To The Teeth


01 Thunder Rider
02 Xanadu
03 Kamikaze
04 Paladin
05 Genghis Khan
06 The Bard

Michael English - vocals, bass, percussion
Larry Galbraith - vocals, guitars, mandolin
Mike Coates - guitars, mandolin, piano, harpsichord, mellotron, background vocals
Doug Johnson - drums, percussion

Trying to follow such an awesome debut album would have proved a difficult task in the hands of lesser mortals, though there were no such problems for Asia. In fact, 'Armed To The Teeth' picked up where the debut left off, and saw the band progress, if you'll pardon the weak pun, to even dizzier musical heights.

Opener 'Thunder Rider' gallops along at an exhilarating pace swiftly followed by the melancholic 'Xanadu' - definitely not to be confused with the turgid Olivia Newton John effort (sorry ONJ fans if any of you are actually reading this!!). 'Paladin', the band's second single, is commercial AOR tinged pomp, with its unforgettable chorus proving that the band can mix it with the best of 'em. The magnum opus and live favourite 'Genghis Khan' is indicative of the band at their musical zenith. This bombastic hard rock contrasts nicely with the plaintive closer 'The Bard', even if it's Shakespearian narration at the end does come across as slightly pretentious. Things were looking decidedly rosy for the band. With 'Armed To The Teeth' as their crowning glory and the fact that 'Paladin' was starting to gain airplay on local radio stations the band were understandably in high spirits.

Then fate dealt a cruel hand. Without prior warning NBC announced news of an English 'supergroup' also called Asia formed by ex members of ELP, Yes and King Crimson. Radio stations promptly dropped our Asia's single like a hot potato and the band scrambled to meet with their lawyers to register their trademark application in the name of Asia. Various communications with Brian Lane (ex-Yes manager) followed, and at one stage it is understood he tried to dupe the band into believing a Louisiana band already owned the rights to the name (this subsequently proved bogus). Having originally demanded $100k to give up rights to the name Asia, the band were eventually forced to accept an offer substantially less than this together with a promise from Brian Lane that he would negotiate a major record deal on their behalf (Atlantic and Geffen were the targets). At last, it seemed that the band would finally get the break they so richly deserved. However Brian Lane failed to deliver on his part of the bargain and despite numerous calls to his offices, no deal was forthcoming. In a final twist to the story, the band were stunned to find out that their trademark application had been accepted and they had exclusive ownership of the name Asia. Legal wrangles followed but it was a case of David versus Goliath. Sadly, in this case Goliath won as Mike Coates et al were in no financial position to contest a costly international suit despite touring under the name Solomon Kane to raise funds for legal bills. By early 1983, the band had grown weary of the fight and decided to call it a day - a sad indictment against the music giants. I wonder if the UK Asia were ever aware of the consequences brought about by their choice of moniker.

Asia - 1978 - Asia



01 Love May Be Gone
02 A Better Man For Leaving
03 The Taming Of The Bull
04 The Road Of Kings
05 Law Of The Land
06 Requiem (A.M Radio Blues)

Michael English - vocals, bass, percussion
Larry Galbraith - vocals, guitars, mandolin
Mike Coates - guitars, mandolin, piano, harpsichord, mellotron, background vocals
John Haynes - drums, percussion

Before the guys from Yes formed the million selling band from the UK called Asia, there was already an American band of the same name in operation.. This version hails all the way from the unlikely breeding ground of Rapid City South Dakota. The origins of Asia (American version) can be traced back to the group Whitewing who disbanded in 1976. From these proverbial ashes, Asia rose. By all accounts Whitewing had been the victims of a disastrous marketing ploy by record company ASI who tried to promote them as the next Moody Blues. The heavier reality came somewhat as a shock to the many booking agents and club owners at the time. This being the 1970's my theory is that the record company executives were under the influence of substances somewhat stronger than the odd joint. This can surely be the only rational explanation for such an interesting (for interesting read idiotic) decision! Asia were formed, to quote band leader and creative driving force Mike Coates, 'with the express intent of capitalizing on the successes of Whitewing and learning from their failures.' It's difficult for me to define the band's sound as they don't sound derivative of anyone in particular and I find myself grappling with the many superlatives that spring to mind. A crude analogy I guess would be progressive hard rock with symphonic tendencies. Indeed many of the songs on both albums are lengthy workouts characterised by fantastic lead and harmony vocals from singers Michael English and Larry Galbraith and a virtuoso performance on guitar from Mike Coates. To cap it all, the lyrics are both thought provoking and soul searching at the same time.

On the self titled debut, Asia create an indelible first impression with 'Love May Be Gone' with its twin hard driving guitars and excellent dual vocals from Michael English and Larry Galbraith. It also has an instrumental bridge sounding reminiscent of 'Detroit Rock City' by Kiss - but don't let that put you off. Elsewhere you have the haunting, philosophical 'Better Man For Leaving' and the epic 'Taming Of The Bull'. 'The Road Of Kings' (their first single) is highlighted by it's unforgettable hookline, and one of the few occasions when a mandolin has been used by a hard rock band to great effect (the gauntlet is down for those of you who know of anything better!). The debut closes with the decidedly caustic 'Requiem (A.M.Radio Blues)', which was supposed to be a broadside to the Disco/New wave movement. However, the line "all those grease paint guys in their nine inch highs" sounds suspiciously like a thinly veiled swipe at the stack heeled self-styled 'Gods of Thunder' Kiss. Given that the band was supposed to have supported Kiss during this period, there must have been some interesting backstage conversations!

The band would follow this debut effort with the superior 'Armed To The Teeth', which turned up in 1980.

This is typical and highly energetic US Hard Rock with minor prog influences on the instrumental parts.And while Asia had nothing new to add to the scene, everything in this album is well-played, featuring a decent production.With three members playing the guitars it is reasonable that Asia's sound was based on the guitar solos, grooves and leads.The opening tracks ''Love maybe gone'' and ''A better man for leavin'' have even an early-RUSH vibe, nice and bluesy Hard Rock with great vocals by English and some furious guitar moves.The long ''The taming of the bull'' is somewhere between Hard Rock and Progressive/Pomp Rock, reminding a bit of ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC more accesible moments, highlighted by the complex middle-based guitar workouts and the superb Mellotron waves throughout.''The road of kings'' is a typical Soft Rock track, very melodic, with excellent vocal lines, good guitar solos and it even features a harpsichord.With ''.Law of the land'' Asia returh to the form of the opening tracks, dynamic bluesy Hard Rock in the vein of LED ZEPPELIN with a catchy groove, some nice riffs and an overall powerful guitar performance.With ''Requiem'' anyone would expect a sensitive farewell, but again Asia chose the energetic Hard/Pomp Rock way to close the album, guitar-driven musicianship with memorable choruses and strong doses of sharp solos next to some complicated guitar moves.

Arc - 1980 - Maquette

1980 -

01. Quand    7:00
02. Oraison Funebre    6:00
03. Ami    10:00
04. Souffle Colone    11:00
05. Les Cités    10:00

Jean-Louis Bernard (keyboards)
Serge Ferrand (vocals)
Frédéric Morice (drums)
Jean-François Mesuron (bass, vocals)
Patrick Loiseau (guitar, vocals)
Jean-Louis Decourchelle (keyboards)

Arc is a forgotten french progressive rock band from late' 70's early '80's. They release so far a single album in 1980 named simply Maquette. The music offered by this quintet is almost the same with for ex another less known bands from France same period , Orion and a little bit from Nightrider. Arc's music is almost symphonic in parts , mainly because the manner of interpretation of the keyboard player Jean Louis Besnard, but also here and there are some jazzy moments. Anyway a good album, whre I think the chrerry on the cake is the drumer Frederic Morice who done an excellent job. Every piece is a winner, not really a groundbreaking album, but pleasent most of the time. Keeping in mind that this album was release in a period when prog music has hard times, Arc's album got almost unnoticed then and is underrated now aswell. 3.5 for Maquette, still forgotten by many, this album must be rediscovered for sure. From my knowlwdge I don't know if this album was re release so far in CD format, so another case of  band that for sure will go into oblivion, sad, the younger generation will never discover or almost impossible to rediscover this french quintet from early '80's only in vinyl format.

Antares - 1981 - Over The Hills

Over The Hills

01. Opening    6:30
02. Back On My Mind    4:40
03. Jumping All Day    2:30
04. Bound    6:40
05. Over The Hills    7:12
06. Elegy    2:50
07. Chase    5:00
08. The Only Way    4:30

Lugwig Eilers - bass, guitar, synthesizer
Helge Bülow - drums, percussion
Claus Neide - vocals, keyboards, guitar

Recorded at Moorland Tonstudio Kayhauserfeld in October 1981.

Formed in 1978 by multi-instrumentalist Claus Neide, the original Antares German trio started with Bernd Menssen on guitar/synths/vocals and Axel Cornelius on drums/vocals.The next year Menssen quits and Ludwig Eilers and Helmut Stamm jump in on guitar/synths and bass respectively.Stamm soon departed to be replaced by Jimmy Schimmelpfennig.In 1981 the band was again shortened to a trio with Neide, Eilers and new drummer Helge Bulow, formerly with the Neo/Symphonic Rock band Tau.It was time for the band's first full-length album and the LP ''Over the hills'' was released in 1982, distributed by Bellaphon Records.

Neide claims to have been influenced by GENESIS, YES and SAGA and the truth is that these influences somewhat sum up Antares' style.For the most of its part ''Over the hills'' is great Neo/Symphonic Rock with dramatic atmospheres and demanding musicianship, though the heavy synthesizer sounds and the mediocre production may disturb the Classic Prog fan's ear.But noone can deny that the album is filled with some very good arrangements, performed by a trio with talent and interesting ideas, where the melodic but also dynamic guitar work of Eiders meets the grandiose keyboard passages of Neide, no unlike the rich sound delivered by ANYONE'S DAUGHTER around the time.Additionally the trio offers plenty of complex interplays and dramatic solos along with some nervous vocals, often with a theatrical edge, to make the sound deeply underground and obscure.The sharp synthesizers, distorted vocals and strong bass remind also of British progsters QUASAR.And there is a heavy amount of GENESIS' inspired symphonic lines to make this album far from commercial and deeply emotional.

Of course with such a style the band had no chances to survive.Antares kept playing live for a number of years but split for the first time in mid-80's after the departure of Bulow.Their debut though is a classic among the very raw and underground releases of Neo/Symphonic Rock from early-80's and comes highly recommended, especially to all those adoring a rough but also delicate prog experience.

Antares - 1979 - Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

01. The Leaving (5:25)
02. My Girl Friend (6:10)
03. Apollo 11 (3:35)
04. Galaxy (3:34)
05. Running On The Meteors (4:56)
06. The Return (3:57)

- Marco Tessitore / keyboards, vocals
- Joseph Kali / guitars
- Ennio Barone / bass, vocals
- Lorenz Shulze / drums, effects, guitars

Well, here's a nice little Italian prog mystery. Who were Antares? What is the story behind the Antonius Rex involvement? Note the similarities in the names of the groups. It was released on a label which Rex's Bartoccetti used to release his Invisible Force single years earlier. The overuse of silly sound effects on certain parts sounds suspiciously like the Rex motif during their albums of this period. Bartoccetti is credited as a co-writer of two tracks, but there's one little tidbit I didn't see mentioned. Listen to "The Leaving" on this Antares album, then listen to Antonius Rex's "Soul Satan" from their album "Anno Demoni." I think it's the same basic track re-recorded! (And this wasn't one of the ones he was credited for, which is strange) It also sounds like the same dude singing on both versions, but this can't be. I can't remember who was credited with the vocal on "Soul Satan" but I wonder if it wasn't one of the guys from Raminghi who were working with Rex at the time. Perhaps someday someone will piece together the mystery of Antares. (Both songs mentioned can be heard on YouTube if you want a chuckle.)

Mysteries aside, Antares is actually pretty damn good except for the first song which is a somewhat dreadful attempt at commercial single. Don't let it stop you from the rest of the album which is much better. Just skip over track one. After that, "Sea of Tranquility", named after the Apollo moon landing location, improves drastically into a nice, spacey late 70s ride. Think of a cross between Rex's "Ralefun" album and an Eloy album. Easy melodies and soothing electronic space-scapes mingle with lovely acoustic and electric guitar solos. It's nothing heavy, complex, or original, but it is very pleasant stuff. The product description writers at Kinesis summed it up like this:

"After a dodgy first track with accented English vocals, it settles into mostly instrumental symphonic progressive with a spacey, Floydian feel. Rather than the Hammond and Mellotron favored by earlier progressive bands, Antares' keyboardist used Roland and Korg synths of that era, favoring more electronic (and cheesy) sounds." -Kinesis

"My Girlfriend" begins with a spoken recitation (AB?) and then becomes this lovely acoustic/electric guitar solo backed by keyboards. The piece has the same unspoken sad longing that runs through so many Rex tracks, and it feels quite related to Ralefun of the same era. I suspect this track may be Bartoccetti's other compositional offering though I'm not sure of that. Nice music though. "Apollo 11" is a lovely piano solo with trippy electronics atop. "Galaxy" is pleasant light rock with spacey synths. "Running on the Meteors" has another Nick Mason-ish drum feel loaded with tasty melodic keyboard runs. "The Return" has an almost disco beat with a light fusion rhythm and some cool guitar and keys soloing as it brings things to a close.

"Sea of Tranquility" is just one of those late 70s obscurities which very few people will ever hear, but if you like gentle spacey atmospheres with melodic guitar leads, you will find some enjoyment. Just skip the first track!

01. Barthelemy (6:44)
02. Triphrons (9:58)
03. La Tuna (5:24)
04. Cache-Cash (4:23)
05. Arsenic (& Vielles Dentelles) (8:51)
06. Rondes de Nuit (7:43)

Recorded live at the discotheque « La Folie » (Annecy) on 30 October 1986.
Mixed at Studio Dagobert from 14 to 15 November 1986.

- François Dumont d'Ayot / saxophone, flute
- Philippe Villiot / violin
- Nathanaël Veyrat / bass
- Olivier Lamorthe / piano, synthesizer
- Christophe Torion / drums

Anamorphose started in 1982 when François Dumont d'Ayot met Olivier Lamorthe after a standard jazz concert on which he played on. They decided to try and play something more creative with an emphasis on unconventional time signatures. Their first incarnation was Olivier Lamorthe on keys, François Dumont d'AYOT on saxophone and flute, Philippe VILLIOT on violin (coming from irish and greek folk music), a self made drummer they called "SHERPA" who disappeared from the music scene very early and a female bass player called Odile ESCHENBRENNER who also left pretty early on. The second incarnation was Eric BAILLES on bass, who played with the band alternately along with Nathanael VEYRAT (who appeared on their only album) and finally Christophe TORION on drums. In 30.10.1986 they have recorded their only album live, it was mixed at Studio Dagobert on the 14th and 15th November and issued in December that year. In 1988 Philippe VILLIOT left, and the band continued as a quartet for a few years before teaming up with guitar player Eric MINEN. ANAMORPHOSE made some other recordings in a more professional way but those were never released. In 1997 the band came to full stop.

It's a real shame Anamorphose have never released a proper studio album, the only recording available from this french group is this live performance, which took place in October 1986. Although you can definitely feel the tremendous energies coming out of these guys, and aside from the audience clapping at the end of each song, it's hard to notice this was recorded live. The production and recording is surprisingly clear and fresh, and the performance is near flawless, indicating that those guys were playing together quite a lot or they are simply professional. The line up includes bass and drums, violin, sax, flute, piano and keys. Nope no guitars this time to interfere with their smooth sound, but don't get the wrong picture here, guitar or no guitar this one really cooks! It's one of those albums when you don't miss or don't need any guitars. The band began playing together in 1982 when François Dumont d'Ayot met Olivier Lamorthe in a jazz concert he played in, and decided to play more creative sort of music with asymetric rythms. In 1988 when Philippe Villiot left, they were reduced to a quartet, playing together for a few years until teaming up with guitarist Eric Minen, Anamorphose finally disbanded for good in 1997, leaving us with only this live recording.

The music is mainly instrumental Jazz Rock Fusion but not the bla bla kind, there's no pointless endless soloing, and the songs doesn't sound the same, something that happens a lot in this genre. Each song is built around one or two ideas, which is being explored and improvised on. The performance by each member is simply stellar. Nathanaël Veyrat is a very competent bass player, he delivers some excellent workouts and can be quite funky at times. François Dumont and Philippe Villiot are maybe the most dominant members, playing the sax and violin respectively. They're playing most of the solos and deliver a dazzling performance, every one of them takes the spotlight when needed and lights up the place. I can't tell who's performance I like better and that's already a good thing, the sax has all kinds of moods from quiet jazzy playing to intense shrieking sounds, my favorite is when he goes into a playful mood and just swings like a cool cat. Same goes for the violin who simply smokes!! Olivier Lamorthe is handling the keys and piano and doing a spectacular job delivering cool jazzy keys and some inspiring piano runs. Of course it all wouldn't be perfect without a good drummer on board, Christophe Torion is very creative and handles the asymetric rhythms so easily, it's a pure joy listening to him. As I mentioned, this is not a soloing fest, there's a lot of playing beyond that which explores all kinds of ideas, melodies and themes and that's why it all sounds very varied and never tiring to listen to.

What makes this album so unique are all the spices added to the main dish, this is not just straight forward modern jazz improvisation, there are all kinds of influences mixed inside, the arabic/middle eastern flavour is popping out every now and then, and gives an extra zing to the music, there is also some traditional spanish influences that adds a lot of character to the overall sound. There are more flavours I detect but can't put my finger on them exactly. There are no weak songs or any weak moments through the entire album, it's all essentially constructed and carefully organized and played. I love how they control their rhythm, going from pastoral beautiful interludes to very intense jamming, where saxophone and violin are tossing the ball from one to the other. It's clear that these songs were carefully and precisely written, leaving every member the exact amount of space to shine and improvise as he pleases.

While there are many jazz rock fusion albums out there, I don't think anything sounds quite like Anamorphose, this is so unique and fresh that it quickly became one of my top albums in this genre. At first I thought rating it with 4 stars but repeated listenings for review purposes proved me that I can't find any flaws about this recording, and given the energetic performance, I can't rate it below 5. I must add a special thanks to François Dumont to which I've contact to get more info about the group, he was very kind to fill in the blanks and tell me his story. He has some more professional recordings of the band as he says, which I'll be glad to hear. So if you come across a copy, this would be a serious addition to your jazz rock fusion collection.

Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell - 2000 - Natural Selection

Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell
Natural Selection

01. Scrat (18:12)
02. Body Of The Film (02:58)
03. First Painting (05:27)
04. The Rising Surfs Of The Body Opening (02:30)
05. Nocturnal (14:24)
06. Building The Earth (27:15)
07. Film Making (04:59)

Electronics [Audio Oscillators], Contrabass Clarinet, Mixed By [Mixage] – Dwight Frizzell*
Electronics [Tesla Coil, Jacob's Ladder] – Dr. Marc Deckard
Violin – Betse Ellis
Whistle [Dog], Flute – Hafiza Capehart
Bassoon – Bill Oldfather
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Jim Cottingham
Carillon, Organ – Dr. Bruce Prince-Joseph*
Contra-Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Performer [Guida] – Dr. Thomas Aber*
Electronics [Short Wave Radio] – Dr. Marc Deckard
Flute – Hafiza Capehart
Percussion – Mark Lowry
Percussion, Bassoon – Patrick Conway
Piano – Leah Hokanson
Saxophone – Jan Faidley
Violin – Betse Ellis

After Paradigm Discs released the 1976 LP by Anal Magic and Rev. Dwight Frizzell, the true scope and diversity of this mans activities became more apparent to me. First there were the countless unused remnants from the original LP recording sessions, then the many films and their soundtracks, the regular radio shows, the dreamlanddiaries web page, the large scale intermedia events, performing weddings and leading the live group Black Crack Review. For 25 years there has been a dynamic continuity to his work, and a strong association with his collaborators. He has also contributed to books on Sun Ra, and is a popular tutor at the Kansas City Art Institute. After being so inspired by the discovery of this creative energy a second CD was immediately planned. All the pieces on this release deal with Frizzell's more experimental output, and include 2 long performance pieces that date from the 90s. One is a multi channel sound diffusion piece using electronics, tapes and acoustic instruments, the other uses graphic scores and is more acoustic with backing tapes. Both these pieces draw their inspiration from natural phenomena, using sounds from nature, the environment and the laboratory. They were both recorded in church spaces and, unlike the early work, use high quality recording equipment. Of the other 5 pieces, 4 are soundtracks, and all date from the same period as the LP and have the hallmark of the sound world that prevails on side 2 of the Anal Magic LP, a time when Frizzell was still a student at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Natural selection was recorded in an ancient Ozark sinkhole, a plastics factory, a Gothic church and other acoustically rich areas in Missouri. These communal efforts and soundscape feedbacks were produced between 1975 and 1996, and freely orchestrate Tesla coll, river whirlpools, bass clarinet, dog-whistle, violin, oscillator, bassoon, CB radio and pipe organ'

Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell - 1976 - Beyond the Black Crack

Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell 
Beyond the Black Crack

01. Black Crack And The Sole Survivors   
02. Fredrik's Cosmic Spaced Out Blues Band And Orchestra Hot Fudge   
03. Get It Out Of Your System   
04. Chili Supper Polka   
05. Journey Of Turtles   
06. Pre-Transfromation Of Turtle To Bird   
07. Nocturnal   
08. Fly By Night   
09. O What A Joy It Is To Know You Have A Turtle Heart

10. Embryonic Music   
11. Copulation Of Basilea And Hyperion   
12. Family, Birth Of Helio And Selene
13. Destruction - Slaying Of Hyperion, Drowning Of Helio, Suicide Of Selene And The Wandering Madness Of Basilea
14. How To Avoid Simultaneity

Beyond The Black Crack was originally released in mono in an edition of 200 copies by Cavern Custom in 1976 ( 6104-12).

Tracks 1-9 were originally released to commemorate the First Annual End of the World Celebration, November 18th, 1976.

Track 1 recorded live in concert at the Kansas City Art Institute Foundation Studio, November 18th, 1975, and in the KCAI Epperson Auditorium, December 4th through December 5th, 1975.
Tracks 2 to 4 recorded live at the 2nd RLDS Church chili supper March 24th, 1974 in Independence, Missouri.
Tracks 5 and 6 recorded atop the midget pyramid in McCoy Park, Independence, Missouri, June 1976.
Track 7 partially recorded at Ruperts Manufacturing in Blue Springs.
Track 8 recorded atop the midget pyramid on August 20, 1976.
Tracks 10 to 13 the taped music was recorded and mixed and remixed February 1977 through March 1978; first performed September 2nd, 1977 in McCoy Park, across the street from Truman's grave site.
Track 14 produced and remixed from the 1975 'Black Crack and the Sole Survivors' recordings not appearing on the original LP; edited at Kansas City Art Institute.

Rev. Dwight Frizzell - tenor saxophone, clarinet, audio oscillator, chair, trash can, pins, soy beans
Mike Roach - clarinet, vocals with laughs, tenor saxophone, dancing
Kurt Eckhardt - mouth flute, percussion, pins, soy, alteration.
Featuring special guests:
Rev. Tommy Gomersall - tin cans, piano, vocals
Rich - lights and percussion
Rush Rankin - clarinet, imagistic inspiration
Rev. Jim Rogers - kazoo
Gary Jeffers - sousaphone, percussion
Bill Jones - sousaphone
Sylvia Thomas - harmonica
Radio Rich Dalton - guitar
Bill Scanlan - percussion, tape machine; and many others...

Dwight Frizzell is an internationally recognized artist whose interdisciplinary work combines video, performance, installation, music, audio art and writing. He has been producing the “From Ark to Microchip” series with Jay Mandeville since 1984. "Ark 2 Microchip" radio can be heard currently on KKFI ( 90.1FM, and on KOPN, KCUR, KGNU, RESONANCE FM (London), RADIO NOVA (Paris), and WKCR (New York).

Dwight’s boyhood neighbor in Independence, Missouri was Harry S. Truman, who appears in Dwight’s work as a pianist, Atlantean King and time-traveler. Dwight released the “Beyond the Black Crack” LP in 1976, studied video art with Douglas Davis (1977), clarinet with Raymond Luedeke (1979) and metaphysics with Sun Ra (1980-1990). His work was exhibited at Biennale de Paris, World-Wide Video Festival (Amsterdam), and broadcast on NPR.

Dwight’s collaborative third-mind creations with writer Jay Mandeville includes plays, essays, and Ark scripts. Their work was published in “Semiotext(e) Radiotext(e)” and “Experimental Sound and Radio” (MIT Press). They edited The Pitch newspaper in the early ‘80s.

Dwight’s music is available on Paradigm discs (England). He plays Buffet clarinets and Yamaha saxophones and wind controllers. His collaborations with Michael Henry include “Sonic Force,” where AFR A10 Warthog Attack Planes were used as musical instruments. Frizzell is a founding member of the Black Crack Revue, the newEar contemporary chamber ensemble, and the National Audio Theatre Festivals. He performed recently with David Ossman and Phil Proctor of the Firesign Theatre.

Beyond the Black Crack was the concept of Reverend Dwight Frizzell, a musician, film maker, Doctor of Metaphysics and minister in the Universal Church of Life. It remains a little known classic, and one of the most unique listening experiences in modern experimental music. Recorded between 1974 and 1976 in locations as diverse as factories, the pyramid opposite Harry Truman's grave site as well as more 'conventional' concert settings. Beyond the Black Crack is a dark, dizzying and exhilarating journey through free jazz, electronics and environmental sound, all shattered by Frizzell's radical tape editing. This CD re-release adds further material to the original LP: - "The Wandering Madness of Basilea", a suite from 1977 unheard until now, as well as unreleased material from the Black Crack sessions.

Beyond the black crack was originally released in mono in an edition of 200 copies by Cavern Custom in 1976 (cat. no. 6104-12), to commemorate the First Annual End of the World Celebration, November 18 1976.

Anacrusa - 1978 - El Sacrificio

El Sacrificio

01. El Pozo De Los Vientos - 3:10
02. El Sacrificio - 3:17
03. Sol De Fuego - 3:30
04. Quien Bien Quiere - 2:47
05. Homenaje A Waldo - 5:21
06. Los Capiangos - 5:18
07. Tema De Anacrusa - 13:06
08. Los Capiangos (reprise - CD only) - 5:22

José Luis Castiñeira de Dios Musical Director
Susana Lago - Voice and Keyboards
Julio Pardo - flute
Bruno Pizzamiglio - oboe
Daniel Sbarra (Abuelo Et Nada) - guitars
Jorge Trasante - Drums and percusion
Juan Mosalini - gaita
Phillipe Pages - keyboards

Review by Progshine
01. El Pozo De Los Vientos And here I am again, writing reviews, it is a natural and 'tasty' thing for me. Then I use the space given up by the Museo to recommence even if it is sporadically my texts, and do not be frightened if same they will be in the
Anacrusa, recently I discovered a series of Argentinian sensational directions, and definitely this album it's one of the grateful surprises. The track of opening brings the mixture of the regional percussion, with an interesting fold of violin and guitar. Saxophones also bewitch the ears to finish an opening corretíssima.

02. El Sacrifice El Sacrifice, the second track, brings the vocal ardent ones and full ones of feeling of Susana Lago, accompanied by much near to the enigmatic guitar, melodic and full of feeling of Daniel Sbarra. Julio Pardo responsible for the flute, enters on the stage with the best melody, and next to present guitar is always the arrangement of José Luis Castiñeira de Dios for the ropes, again the symphonic of triumphant way ' wins the day '. I liked Susana's, somewhat desperate voice.

03. Sol Del Fuego Phillipe Pages begins the track, a creeping, quick piano, and the most curious thing enclosed of the percussões that the one who lives in the south is so used, the traditionalistic music of the South of the brasil drank very much on Argentinian air of the pampas. For the one who never heard anything, it is worthwhile to pay attention in a known name from Rio Grande do Sul, hear and understand Renato Borghetti a little in the site of face, brilliant one!

04. Quien Bien Quiere Vocal more calm, sentimentalistas, looking at the musical horizon opened for new commissions and new sounds, and the band accompanies everything of magisterial form, orchestration and great regionalism mingled with the secular music. When the battery of Jorge Trasante brings near the music gained air of Kashmir (Led Zeppelin) for a short period.

05. Homenaje A Waldo Soon the fifth track of the album takes care of ours hearts, and the piano captained by Phillipe if it annexes to the violin, to the oboe of Bruno Pizzamiglio and the percussion, calm, thoughtful and free of cruelties, at least temporarily. At the moment ' Astor Piazzolla ' of the music Juan Mosalini it commands the harmonica (when what takes the melody still more deep inside our souls was also known as an accordion this way). From the room minute is that the musical seizure progressive air, soon 'permeating' inside the Tango.

06. Los Capiangos The feeling of the previous track is still this way, but with the percussion taking a place of distinction near the piano and flute. One of the principal points of the album, is that the guitar, out of the blue, suddenly, it enters and changes the sound, not interfering in the melody, but yes transforming it in subjective way, inclusive with a small passage of synthesizer decorating the sound.

07. Tema De Anacrusa The epic poet of the album begins hard work, not in the sense 'rock', and yes the weight of the serious one, with the orchestra giving a touch still more mysterious and passionate. The track takes his progress for several times bad-tempered owing to the necessary action. Beginning of the second minute, flutes, orchestrates still more complex, and a delicious ground of oboe, musicality on the surface of the skin and a naturalness completely different from everything who is heard normally in our so loved symphonic discs, sometimes the simple fact of changing of air is enriquecedor and restorative. Entrancing, simple, so calm and comfortable in his central subject. Extremely passionate, enchanting, and a food for soul that needs calm and inner peace, is a call to heart, a subject almost jazz. The vocalization soon after in the ninth minute of music comes together with a cutting melody and saudosista, for times crazy in his essence, however, with the purity of the gods. And the disc would finish in the form fascinating, fully of courage and energy, arrivals of the new subject. The orchestra again gives great strength to the subject, in the final minute the guitar reappears to leave the rails of smoke again at his places. And so it would finish an excellent disc!

08. Los Capiangos (bonus) However, there is a subject bonus, which I do not know for certain from which carving it went out, I know that the carving is of 1975, however I do not know for certain if the track is an occasional carving or a surplus of the previous disc. With serious bass and a certain sadness to track he is a good extra, with flutes and piano holding the rhythm, while the synthesizer works well sewing melodies.

Anacrusa - 1974 - Anacrusa 2

Anacrusa 2

01. Río Manzanares (3:06)
02. Coplas de Cundinamarca (3:09)
03. Polo coriano (2:35)
04. Palmero (3:25)
05. Zamba de la despedida (4:44)
06. Homenaje (4:06)
07. Saqué mi corazón de la tierra quemada (5:07)
08. Calfucurá (7:01)

- Susana Lago / vocals, piano, organ
- Julio Pardo / flute, clarinet
- Ruben Izaurralde / flute, vocals
- Alex Oliva / guitar, bass guitar
- Josè Luis Castineira De Dios / bass, vibraphone, guitar
- Elias Heger / drums

Second offering from this Argentinian Folk Rock group,simply entitled ''Anacrusa II'', just a year after their self-titled debut.This time leaders Josè Luis Castineira De Dios and Susana Lago have shortened the line-up to a sextet and try to sound a little more closer to rock music.
Side A opens with a couple of tracks close to Latin Folk with dominant flutes and acoustic guitars and Susana Lago delivering some of his best vocal harmonies.''Polo coriano'' is a Symphonic Folk instrumental number with nice piano and flutes,leaning to pure Folk towards the end.With ''Palmero'' Anacrusa get back to their Folk side.Flute work byJulio Pardo is again excellent and the classical guitar of Castineira is lovely,not to mention the excellency of Lago's voice again.''Zamba de la Despedida'' is a nice instrumental Symphonic piece with a mellow atmosphere,featuring good organ,piano and flutes and a sign of the band switching to a more adventurous style.

Side B opens with ''Homenaje'',an acoustic crescendo of Castineira with Pardo's flutes supporting and Lago on an orgasmic, almost operatic performance.''Saqué Mi Corazón de la Tierra Quemada'' is a soft, pastoral instrumental mini-Symphony with a dreamy atmosphere,based on piano and flutes,but with strong bass work as well.The longest track of the album ''Calfucura'' (and the closing one as well) shows much more intensity.This is again a piece of Symphonic Folk with good interplays between keys,flutes,guitars and the rhythm section,Classical-influenced parts and a generally captivating sound with strong performance by the mass of the musicians partcipating.

''Anacrusa II'' was a good forward step for the band,which started to flirt with symphonic arrangements and to sound really interesting.The album has a very soft atmosphere though,but it is played with a definite rock attitude.Recommended to both Symphonic and Folk Prog fans.

By the way.. If anyone out there has a copy of Anacrusa III for us.. that would be really appreciated!

Anacrusa - 1973 - Anacrusa


01. Rio Limay (2:47)
02. Pobre mi tierra (3:42)
03. Elegia sobre un poema (3:10)
04. El baile del pajarillo (2:15)
05. Zamba de invierno (2:20)
06. Lo que mas quiero (3:01)
07. Viento de yavi (4:16)
08. La rosa y el clavel (1:35)
09. Galopa del mamboreta (2:41)
10. Marula Sanchez (1:44)
11. Piedra y madera (3:37)

* José Luis Castiñeira de Dios: guitar, charango, cuatro
* Susana Lago: keyboards, vocals
* Narciso Omar Espinoza: guitar
* Andrés Arpino: drums
* Jackye Tricore: guitar
* Tony Bonfyls: bass
* Pierre Gozzes: sax
* Patrice Mondon: violín

Born in the beginning of the 70's, this Latin fusion folk formation has delivered impressively original items in a rather discreet commercial success. The albums feature enchanting, warm female vocals, some prog arrangements and acoustic, classical training guitar style. Their first, published in 1973 and "III" represent fine examples of achieved, mythic, dancing and mysterious compositions in popular, South America music. In the absolute songs' structure is very closed to Peruvian, Bolivian, Argentinean ballads, boleros, milongas.Very refined and surely the best Latin folk vibe.

 Among the interesting bands of Argentinian Folk Rock, Anacrusa hailed from Buenos Aires and were formed in 1972 around the talents of female singer/keyboardist Susana Lago and guitarist Jose Luis Castineira De Dios.Their self-titled debut from 1973 included no less than six additional musicians: Guitarists Narciso Omar Espinoza and Jackye Tricore, bassist Tony Bonfyls, drummer Andres Arpino, sax player Pierre Gozzes and violin player Patrice Mondon.De Dios was also responsible for some of the traditional string instruments heard in the album such as the charango and the cuatro.
A very delicate and romantic Prog Folk album, Anacrusa's debut explores the roots of South-American Folk with more contemporary echoes, resulting series of short but interesting arrangements and intense, poetic tracks.One foot steps on the combination of archaic-styled Folk tunes with more jazzy stylings, offering a weird Folk/Fusion amalgam with smooth interplays and elegant passages.Guitars, bass and drums are the most dominant instruments in these plays.The other foot passes through more symphonic arrangements, a bit like the folky side of PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, with excellent flute lines and peaceful piano textures leading the way into somekind of genuine Chamber Folk.These are executed in mostly instrumental offerings, of course always supported by acoustic guitars.There are still a few pieces that sound like Latin poems, led by Lagos' lyrical expressions and strongly grounded in Latin Folk with no further ambitions, yet these are also very nice and work well within the chosen atmosphere by the band.

Anabis - 1988 - Theatre


01. Still On My Mind
02. Theatre
03. Dream Of A Dancer
04. Struggles Of Love
05. Stronger Than Ever
06. ...dropping To The Celestial Ocean
07. The Black Virgin (second dance)
08. Faded Second

- Bertrand Cazeneuve / flute, hautbois, cor anglais
- Werner Eismann / bass, keyboards
- Eleonore Wittekind-Eismann / keyboards
- Günther Hergl / bass, guitars (2)
- Stefan Gans / guitars
- Andreas Sommavilla / vocals
- Jürgen Haustein / keyboards
- Mike Mörkel / drums, percussion
- Mike Gottwald / piano, keyboards
- Frieder Gottwald / bass

German band Anabis released three uber symphonic albums that don't seem to get a whole lot of love from progressive community partly due to their AOR leanings. Of course that hardly bothers moi as I find both 1980's 'Heaven On Earth' and 'Wer Will' from 1982 intriguing albums that combined mid-era Genesis with Anyone's Daughter housed in striking cover art to boot.
A fair amount of time passed when their final effort 'Theatre' appeared in 1988 with drummer Mike Morkel the only original member augmented by wind player Bertrand Cazeneuve and bass/keyboardist Werner Eismann as well as rather large cast of studio musicians.

With a loose concept based on France's Black Virgin tale; 'Theatre' never gets bogged down in storytelling and sounds more like a pop album with progressive tendencies than the other way around.
Clocking in at just under thirty-eight minutes, the disc feels heavily programmed including the snappy drums that gives the set that unmistakable eighties hi-end crackle. Not a problem although guest vocalist Andreas Sommavila's broken English can be difficult to bare but not enough to deter 'Theatre' as an attractive investment. Opener 'Theatre/Still On My Mind' has a bit of Supertramp in its musical fabric while the Camel-ish 'Theatre/Dream Of A Dancer' flirts with an appealing fusion touch which makes a second appearance on 'Black Virgin (Second Dance)' just to keep the listener on its toes.
The deep swelling synths that anchor 'Struggles Of Love' offer up an inventive mid-tempo ballad marred only by the aforementioned wince-inducing vocals. The follow-up 'Stronger Than Ever' continues down the poppy path with a big hook and melody I know I've heard somewhere before, a Berlin or Time Bandits album perhaps? Not sure but weighing the CD's AOR moves against its fusiony classicism; 'Theatre' is as fine example as any of the softer end of the German prog rock spectrum circa 1988.

Anabis - 1980 - Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

01. Heaven On Earth (13:00)
02. Water - Problem (3:55)
03. Faded Dreams (3:40)
04. Malleus Malificarum (13:15)
05. Assassination (6:00)

- Bert Beck / bass, percussion, kazoo, vocals
- Roland Dörr / keyboards
- Mike Morkel / drums, percusion, vocals
- Peter Müller / guitars
- Holger Sann / lead vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Erhard Waschke / guitars

A German band formed in 1978 largely of musicians from the Giessen region, Anabis produced three studio albums before disbanding in 1988. The band's music has proven somewhat difficult to classify, with a psychedelic element that has been compared to fellow countrymen Eloy, and a singer (Holger Sann) who has engendered comparisons to the theatrics of Gabriel-era Genesis.

Like many other largely forgotten progressive bands of their era, the band's discography is somewhat confusing with the album Wer Will listed as their debut and alternately as their second studio release. The album has also been issued under two separate covers, which may explain the confusion about its origin. The band's final release included only drummer Mike Morkel from the original lineup augmented by a variety of studio musicians, and has been issued with the title Theatre as well as Success. All the band's albums have been reissued at one point of another under a variety of labels.

The band distinguished themselves on early albums with the use of flute, as well as heavy and psychedelic keyboards, German vocals, and cynical lyrics. Each of the first two albums is structured with a long, epic work anchoring a number of other, largely thematic tracks. Their final release is a more contemporary rock album with English vocals, as well as an infusion of horns and a heavier guitar sound.

Anabis can be found referred to in almost mythical terms on a variety of progressive, krautrock, neo-progressive, and psychedelic web sites and newsgroups, although they have also shown up on numerous 'all-time worst' band listings, usually in reference to their Theatre release.

This is a rather obscure band with a sound that seems to inspire strong opinions, both positive and negative, from those who have heard them. They deserve consideration for inclusion in the Archives largely because of their appreciable and almost legendary reputation among the progressive rock community.

Amulet - 1979 - Amulet


01. Just LIke a Woman
02. Sea Of Fear
03. Do You Live Again
04. Kings & Queens
05. Person To Person
06. Funk 'n' Punk
07. Gemini
08. Life Is Living
09. New Day

Bob Becker - guitar, vocals
John Becker - drums, vocals
Cliff Hill - vocals, guitar (12 string acoustic)
Paul Skelton - bass guitar, vocals

Long-haired guitar rawk from the obscure Midwestern band known as Amulet, circa 1980. Reissued for your hessian pleasure by Monster Records, alongside the likes of Ultra, Full Moon, and Truth And Janey. Amulet started off in '78 as a cover band doing stuff by ZZ Top, Van Halen, Hendrix, UFO and suchlike. Though a popular local concert draw, they still barely managed to save enough dough to record and self-release this album in 1980. No money for overdubs, so it's got that live feel, appropriate for their party hardy high power hard rock format.

t's an extremely rare collector record that was recorded in 1979 and released on the band's own label! Punchy hard rock with screaming lead guitars all over the place! This is excellent piece of classic progressive heavyrock

Amphyrite - 1973 - Amphyrite


01. Oasis Boogie    5:40
02. Moppie    4:35
03. Guinche    9:06
04. Bric A Brac    4:40
05. Euquimod    4:00
06. Folie Folll    5:10
07. Symphonie Pour 3 Oeufs Brouillés    3:29

Bass Guitar – Bernard Farant
Drums – Christian Copier
Guitar – Guy Descombes

Great lost French psychedelic acid fuzz gem.Totally instrumental includes strange complex compositions with great guitarwork and the much recognisable "basement sound" of fuzzy acidic guitar in the vein of Freidhof and Grave. In some parts reminds me of Silberbart or the heaviest moments of Guru Guru. Released in 1973 in 200 copies and reissued in 2002 in 500 copies. Of course both releases are long deleted.
The very rare original-LP was released 1973 in France on a small and unknown label without much attention to the public. Progressive hardrock as it was untypically for French bands of this period. Three boys playing guitar, bass and drums with basement feeling, like Friedhof or Grave but with psych-influences.
The French trio Amphyrite was from Villefranche-sur-Saône, a town close to Lyon. They played an entirely instrumental progressive rock with electric guitar, bass, and drums, which reminds a bit of the early Guru Guru. Their sound, not calm and contemplative like Ash Ra Tempel, is in a constant flickering movement. Their one and only LP "Amphyrite" (Les Disques Le Maintec Bernard KO/750707) was released in 200 copies on a very small label in 1973. Today the LP has a collectors' value of 1000 €. Hans Pokora lists it with the highest possible rating of six units.

Amory Kane - 1970 - Just to Be There

Amory Kane 
1970 - 
Just to Be There


01. Evolution   
02. Llanstephan Hill   
03. 9 Ravens   
04. Golden Laces   
05. Get Together   
06. After Vytas Leaves   
07. Childhood's End   
08. The Inbetween Man   
09. The Hitchhiker's Song   
10. Tenderly Stooping Low

* Amory Kane: guitar, vocals
* Dave Pegg: bass
* Ned Balen: drums
* Ron Geesin: Cymbals, Bass, Multitracked voices, Plucked and stroked piano strings

Though American, Amory Kane was based in the U.K. when he recorded this, his second album; Fairport Convention bassist Dave Pegg, in fact, is one of the accompanists. It's a somewhat drifting, laid-back singer/songwriter effort that doesn't strike out with much force or distinction. There's a bit of Donovan-like wistfulness, as well as something of a utopian hippie-era brotherhood feel à la "Get Together," which is in fact covered for one of the LP's tracks. But the tunes are on the bland side, and the songs sometimes have an awkward wordiness. Bits of pastoral period psychedelic touches float around the arrangements, like ghostly wind noises, hand percussion, and eerily reverbed plucks, scrapes, and licks.

Amory Kane - 1968 - Memories of Time Unwound

Amory Kane 
Memories of Time Unwound

01. Mama Mama
02. Reflections Of Your Face
03. All the Best Songs & Marches
04. You Were On My Mind
05. Physically Disqualified Blues
06. New Light
07. Night08. Maybe You'll Stay
09. Candy Queen
10. Birds Of Britain
11. Perfumed Hand Of Fate

* Amory Kane: guitar, vocals
* Dave Pegg: bass
* Ned Balen: drums

Californian, Amory Kane (vcals,guitar) moves to England at the end of the ' 67 and begins to attend clubs/coffee houses as the Bunjies finche' in July '68 obtains a contract very 5 years with the MCA and, with the production of expert Steve Rowland (Family Dogg), records his first LP that alternate convincing brani like "Birds of weighted down Britain" to others a lot from the agreements, are made however to signal traditional "the You to were On My Mind" (arranged from John Paul Jones), "New Light" ( which text will be brought back also on the cover of according to album) and the conclusive "Perfumed Hand Of Fairies".The job comes well however received from the critic a lot that Melody Maker the Lp nomination of the month. In November '68 Amory records for Night Ride, playing the intense "Four Ravens" (from little published on 45 turns and unfortunately not present in the album), "Reflections", "Physically Disqualified Blues", "Night" and the new "Evolution". Later on it begins to collaborate actively with English cantautore Tim Hollier and the interesting it yields of this job can be listened to in "Tim Hollier" and "Sky Sail" of Hollier and in "Just To Be There" of Amory Kane, decidedly successful the second Lp, published in '70 in general indifference.To the album, produced from Tony Cox, Ron Geesin, Ned Balen of Shakey Vick, Dave Pegg and Jonathon Coudrille participate actively. The better things are all the first facade, in which Kane it introduces its version of "Llanstephan Hill", written together to Hollier and Rick Cuff, while according to side it is opened from beautiful cover of "Get Together" of Dino Being Worth and closed from the cake "Tenderly Stooping Low" of Cuff (than Co-company also it begins it them "Evolution" and "Golden Laces".With the CBS Amory it records also last 45 turns, for the truth not much successful and then of he forgiveness the traces, probably re-entered in the USA.
~ by Lizardson.

American Eagle - 1970 - American Eagle

American Eagle 
American Eagle

01. Gospel
02. On The Rack
03. Heading For Defiance
04. Nights In White Satin
05. Family
06. Paper Box
07. Draw The Line
08. My Song
09. So Satisfied

Greg Beck (guitar-vocals)
Gene Hubbard (organ-piano-piano bass-vocals)
Robert Lowery (vocals)
Fred Zuefeldt (drums-vocals)

Previously known as the Surprise Package (with Mike Rogers instead of Gene Hubbard) these guys line age stretches way back through numerous Pacific Northwest bands including the Viceroys, Galaxies and Rock Collection. They appear to have been based in California by this time. The album is predominantly straight-ahead riff-heavy rock with soulful vocals. The Vanilla Fudge style rework of the Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin drives that particular comparison home.

Rob Lowery was lead vocalist for The Galaxies. He joined when he was about 14 and spent 6 years with the group. When he was twenty he went on to join national recording artists, "The Surprise Package" (aka The Viceroys) which was produced by Lee Hazelwood and put out the album Free Up, in 1969, plus several single recordings. After leaving Hazelwood's record company the group changed their name to American Eagle and put out another album titled “American Eagle” in 1970, on Decca present one of the harder to find Decca albums, it contains several killer tracks in 'On The Rack', 'Paper Box', 'Draw The Line' & 'So Satisfied' a great version of 'Nights In White Satin'. There are also some excellent melodic vocals on several tracks which contrast well with the strong lead vocals.

This album was played throughout the nation and was popular in Germany and Sweden. Although the band never gained the notoriety it deserved, they were the opening act for major rock groups of the time including: The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull. Rob left the music industry in the early nineties to raise a family and began a successful career as an antiques dealer in Seattle (Classic Antiques) and ultimately opening Cafe Neo combining it within the antique store to create a unique dining and antiquing experience. Currently he is the owner of income property in Seattle and Everett.

The group’s roots go back to the Seattle Washington area where Greg Beck and Fred Zuefeldt were members of the Viceroys, who also included future Raider Jim “Harpo” Valley, prior to this recording, the group recorded an album for Lee Hazlewood’s LHI label as Surprise Package releasing “Free Up” in 1968.

American Eagle is basically the same band as the Surprise Package. They released this album about a year after the dissolution of the Package in the fall of 1969. Where the emphasis was on psychedelia on the previous album, here the band covers straightforward rock with a slight gospel rural feel to it. Highlights are “On The Rack” and a fine version of the Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” that recalls the Vanilla Fudge.
(~redtelephone66)  Jack Dominilla

The American Breed - 1968 - The Lonely Side Of The City

The American Breed
The Lonely Side Of The City

01. Always You    2:12
02. Love Is Just A State Of Mind    2:43
03. New Games To Play    2:21
04. Walls    2:30
05. I've Got To Get You Off My Mind    2:21
06. To Put Up With You    2:30
07. Another Bad Morning    2:55
08. What Can You Do When You're Lonely    3:10
09. River Of No Regrets    3:11
10. Partners In Life    3:06
11. Out In The Cold Again    2:39

The final American Breed album is as gloomy inside as it looks outside on the cover. This isn't a negative review by any means. Each track seems to be a puzzle piece in the life of a depressed person.
"Always You" begins with a bass guitar played with a pick and that signature snare drum sound. Enter some sparse piano chords and Gary's fragile voice.
The album progresses into more flowery topics but always leans toward the sadness in relationships. Their version of Paul Williams' "To Put Up With You" (also found on Paul's debut lp) is watered-down bubblegum. Complete with "bum-bum-bum-bum" sing a long refrain. "Another Bad Morning" could have easily been rerecorded by Roxy Music, for it sounds just like them. "Partners in Life" is very reminiscent of The Beatles "Elenore Rigby" dealing with old age and death.

Who knows what would have been had the Breed stayed together long enough for another lp? They did manage to release 2 more monsterous flop singles "Hunky Funky" A Chuck Colbert sung soul jumper and  "Private Zoo" a sizzling acid-rock-lite
tune with fuzz guitar. A cd reissue has to come out someday

The American Breed - 1968 - Pumpkin Powder Scarlet Green

The American Breed 
Pumpkin Powder Scarlet Green

01. Pumpkin    0:58
02. Cool It, (We're Not Alone)    2:14
03. Welcome, You're In Love    2:40
04. The Right To Cry    3:06
05. Ready, Willing And Able    2:26
06. Take Me If You Want Me    2:24
07. Powder    0:44
08. Scarlet    1:07
09. Anyway That You Want Me    2:24
10. Master Of My Fate    2:23
11. Music To Think By    2:20
12. Train On A One-Track Mind    2:10
13. I'm Gonna Make You Mine    2:15
14. Green    0:47

The words" psychedelic opus" come to mind for this one! Long deemed "bubblegum" and/or "blue-eyed soul", the American Breed pulled out all the stops on this prolific beast.
Step 1. Find the most colorful dayglo suits you can find complete with ascots and love beads.
Step 2. Create four songs dealing with the seasons and assign each member one psudeonym.
Step 3. Buy a Coral Electric Guitar and use it on the most blistering song of your career ("Master of My Fate").
Step 4. Redo the Troggs' classic "Anyway That You Want Me", turning it into a totally different sound arrangement.
Step 5. Release the most misunderstood/unknown lp in Chicago's history.

This band were the Godfathers of other horn/jazz-rock groups like Chicago, Ides of March, Chase,
Lighthouse, Blood Sweat & Tears, and many others but never get much credit. The great thing about the Breed is that they never went overboard with the brass i.e. no long saxaphone solos or trombones
blarring out. More like a nice driving trumpet ala. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

This album will linger in your mind forever after one play and needs to be overhauled with an official cd version. Chicago rock never dies.

The American Breed - 1968 - Bend Me Shape Me

The American Breed 
Bend Me Shape Me


01. Green Light 2:15
02. Don't It Make You Cry 3:10
03. Mindrocker 2:38
04. Bird 2:39
05. Something You've Got 2:47
06. Don't Make Me Leave You 2:18
07. Bend Me, Shape Me 2:25
08. Before and After 2:45
09. Sometime in the Morning 2:20
10. I've Been Tryin' 3:05
11. No Easy Way Down 3:20

Bass, Vocals – Chuck Colbern
Drums, Trumpet, Vocals – Lee Grazanio
Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals – Gary Loizzo
Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Al Ciner

Their second album contained their massive hit "Bend Me Shape Me" (ironically, British horn-driven band AMEN CORNER, also recorded this song).
It's strange how different they looked in one year's passing. They must have had a makeover at the hands of Dot Records management.
The songs are far better than on the first album.
Their version of The Monkees' "Sometimes in the Morning" is just as good as Micky Dolenz's sung classic. Their version of Chuck Jackson's "Something You Got" smokes! Containing a stop-start drum break "Don't give the drummer some, give it to me!!!"  Their version of The Impressions' "I've Been Trying" can bring you to tears.

The rest of the album is top-notch gritty Chicago garage rock. I can't give more honors to this classic!

The American Breed - 1967 - The American Breed

The American Breed 
The American Breed

01. Step Out of Your Mind 2:30
02. Knock on Wood 3:35
03. We've Gotta Get Out of This Place 3:23
04. Same Old Thing 2:22
05. Lipstick Traces 2:19
06. Don't Forget About Me 2:35
07. High Heel Sneakers 2:57
08. My Girl 3:00
09. Short Skirts 2:27
10. I Don't Think You Know Me 2:39
11. Uptight (Everything's Alright) 2:38

Gary Loizzo - vocals, guitar
Al Ciner - guitar, vocals
Charles Colbert - bass, vocals
Lee Graziano - drums, trumpet, vocals

The American Breed was an American interracial rock band, that was formed in 1966 and disbanded in 1969.
The group was formed in Cicero, Illinois as Gary & The Nite Lites. The group's greatest success was the single, "Bend Me, Shape Me," which reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. The song, written by Scott English ((born 10. Jan 1943 in Brooklyn, New York) and Larry Weiss, was a remake of a recording by The Outsiders that had been released the year before. The group also appeared on the 16 December 1967 episode of the television show "American Bandstand," along with Pink Floyd.

The original members of the group were Gary Loizzo on vocals, Charles Colbert, Jr. on bass guitar, Al Ciner on guitar, and Lee Graziano on drums. All members were from the greater Chicago area. As Gary & The Nite Lites, they were somewhat successful in Chicago and put out one single. Soon afterwards, the group underwent several changes. They moved to the Acta record label and renamed themselves The American Breed. Two new members were also added by 1968: Kevin Murphy on keyboards and Andre Fischer on drums.

The band enjoyed its greatest success in 1967 and 1968. They put five singles on the charts, including "Step Out Of Your Mind", "Green Light" and "Bend Me, Shape Me". The group disbanded the following year, and Fischer went on to form Rufus (with Chaka Khan). He later married Natalie Cole. A compilation album, Bend Me, Shape Me: The Best of the American Breed, was released in 1994. "Bend Me, Shape Me" continues to receive occasional airplay on oldies radio stations.

I have both the mono and stereo versions and I feel the mono one packs more punch with its compressed sound and higher bass level. The American Breed, looking a lot like the 1910 Fruit Gum Company on their "Indian Giver" lp, give Native American Indians their due. The music inside has absolutely nothing to do with Native American Indian music. No tribal drumming or chanting, just
blue-eyed soul with wierd cover choices like The Animals, Stevie Wonder, and the worst cover of The Temptations' "My Girl" I have ever heard. However, there are signs of upcoming magic like "Same Old Thing" sounding a lot like the Archies except if Ron Dante was sleepy in the studio.

American Blues Exchange - 1969 - Blueprints

American Blues Exchange

01. On Solitude (R. Dudley) - 3:32
02. Cold From Blues (R. Dudley) - 6:00
03. Recorder Thing (D. Mixter) - 2:39
04. The Taker (P. Hartman, D. Mixter) - 5:17
05. Burlington Letter (R. Dudley) - 6:25
06. Ode To The Lost Legs Of John Bean (Briggs, Melhun) - 3:22
07. Big Max Revenge (R. Briggs) - 4:30
08. The True Son Confesses (R. Dudley) - 4:59
09. Age Child (R. Dudley) - 8:34
10.Steppin1 Out (LC.Frazier) - 3:15
11.One Sunny Day (D.Kirwah) - 3:11
12.Dust My Broom (Elmore James) - 4:20
Tracks 10-12 Live recordings

*Roger Briggs - First Guitar
*Dale Reed - Percussion, Harmony
*Roy Dudley - Vocals, Harmonica, Tambourine, Cwobel
*Don Mixter - Second Guitar, Recorder, Harmony
*Peter Hartman - Bass Guitar

The American Blues Exchange, composed entirely of students  at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, was initially formed by Peter Hartman (bass) and Roger Briggs (guitar), based on a mutual love of blues and a desire to impress girls.  By early 1968, they were joined by Roy Dudley (vocals and harmonica) and Dale Reed (drums) and a working four piece band was formed.

 Their repertoire drew heavily from the British blues groups such as Savoy Brown, John Mayall, Cream, Free, and also U.S. artists such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Jefferson Airplane, and Canned Heat. As a four piece band they played area coffee houses and fraternity parties through the Spring of 1968. When school resumed that fall they were joined by Dan Mixter (guitar and vocals)  and the new five piece group was formed which would remain together for the next 2 1/2 years, until the departure of Dale Reed forced the group's disbandment.

During this time, ABE as they became known, played a steady stream of fraternity parties, college mixers, high school dances, clubs-all primarily on the weekends and mostly in the CT-Western MA area;  frequently stopping at a McDonalds along the way to chow down-hence the song "Big Max Revenge". For some unknown reason in 1969, it started to seem like a good idea to record an album of original material, as Roy was writing quite a few songs which they began to incorporate into their performances. 

So rehearsals resulted in nine original tunes over the next several months, and they then found themselves at Fiesta Studios in East Hartford (now The Gallery), where engineer Doug Clark and agent Dick Booth helped them record what they called "Blueprints". Also offering alot of assistance were fellow Trinity student and guitarist D.J. Reilert and Nancy Taylor, who made it all possible. 

The front cover is actually a fairly accurate blueprint of their stage setup as seen from above; Roger Briggs was then an engineering student and "volunteered" to do the cover art. So by late 1969, they had 1,000 LPs pressed, and Dan and Roger drove a death-trap of a VW bus down to Long Island in a mighty crosswind to pick them up (Roger remembers the return trip to be a bit slower from the weight of 40 cartons of LPs straining the small and old 4 cylinder engine) Sales of the LP were modest at best, with about 400 or so sold to fellow students, relatives, friends, etc. By the time the band dissolved, there were many hundreds left unsold, which were divided up amongst the band and most were given away through the years.

Today, fewer than 10 sealed copies are in the possession of the band.  They are tickled pink that this reissue iis being done and want to express their thanks and appreciation to both their old fans and the new ones which are a by-product of this release.