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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kevin Ayers - Joy of a Toy

Soft Machine's Kevin Ayers wanted to do a solo career after he left the band in 1969. He wanted to take the concept of the solo material a little further with weird lyrics, folk music, and add a bit of Mike Rateledge's fuzztone leslie hammond organ and out comes Kevin's 1st solo album, Joy of a Toy. This is a true extraordinary album to come out during that time period because he decided after his departure from the group, he wanted to take his first solo album a bit of like a Canterbury version of The Wind in the Willows meet Alice in Wonderland. And Kevin did! Joy is one of those albums that you will play forever. Songs like the mellotron-ragtime number 'The Clairetta Rag', is a perfect song that has Kevin singing about the girl next door to his house, The Syd Barrett and bizarre track in 3/4 'Oleh Oleh Bandu Bandong' has everybody chanting the words like a cult surrounding the temple, including the drums keeping the tempo going, and Avant-Garde noises from the piano, the loco-motive chugging sing-along on 'Stop This Train (Again Doing It)' and the dreams of a young girl into the darkness for 'The Lady Rachel (Lullabye for Children)'. The Bonus tracks on this album, are the ultimate catch for this album for the Canterbury singer-songwriter. You have the lost session with Kev's friend Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd fame doing a guest appearance on guitar on the catchy 'Religious Experience (Singing a Song in the Morning)'which is brilliantly good and of course the lyrics which goes 'Singing A Song in the Morning/Singing it again at night/Don't even know what I'm singing about/ But it makes now feel I feel alright.' The next is the fuzztone altercation of the Soft Machine's earlier take of Ayers 'We Know What you Mean' and turning into 'Soon Soon Soon', and the darker versions with Organs and candles with 'The Lady Rachel' in two different version in a Mono sound and a Single Version also. I have listened to Joy of a Toy for the second time now and it's one of the best and superb albums that Kevin released and he brought the kicks to a higher level. And we know what you mean, We Know What you See, and we completely understand Kev!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Amon Duul II - Vive La Trance

Krautrockers Amon Duul II sure bring madness into lunatic music and territories into the darkness. They always have an homage to the music of Frank Zappa, Avant-Garde atmospheric situations, and the jam band taste of the Grateful Dead mixed with Pink Floyd. That of course and their album Vive La Trance is one crazy and almost a lunatic schizophrenia album that will give you brain damage!
The album almost has a feel of Amon Duul II's roots in the blues, swinging folky violins, and science experiments going nuts. It's almost like cooking your favorite recipe and picking the best dish to put on your hot dog with a little bit of some Wienerschnitzel.
The group also pays tribute to some of the genres that were coming out during that time period of the 1970's and the '50s and '60s; The Buddy Holly meets Silver Apples tradition with 'Pig Man', the Roxy Music style crossing over with Can with 'Manana', The jazz-punky fusion tradition of 'Mozambique', The X-Rated break of the dawn with sex for a 'A Morning Excuse', and the eerie-darker symphony rock metal of 'Ladies Mimikry' that would have Morrissey would go apeshit over with.
This is pure excellence for Amon Duul II. They would have a good taste of insane Krautrock music to get you tasted for more of Amon Duul II's music.

Gong - Magick Brother

After Daevid Allen left the Soft Machine in 1967 because of a Visa expiration in Paris, France, he decided to form one of the strangest bands with Female whisper vocalist Gilli Smyth to release their debut in album in 1969, Magick Brother. This is almost a perfect example of the canterbury progressive rock scene mixed with experimentation and the sounds of an altercation of Syd Barrett's twin brother of 'The Madcap Laughs'. Magick is a magnificent Space Canterbury Prog Rock album that would have the stoners and hippies would absolutely get high into.
Tracks like the space-punk three chord humor of 'Rational Anthem' is almost a political statement about the revolution of the world and the changing that's about to become as, including the lyric 'Yes We Are, We're going to change the world!' not bad for a band that could bring the politics to a new level of global warming parody, Daevid also takes a sinister and eerie sound on the guitar and take a darker vocals inside the TV of the Outer Limits with 'Glad to Sad to Say', They would also use a sense of humor of school-life and grocery sexy stores with 'Chainstore Chant Pretty Miss Titty' and 'Five and Twenty Schoolgirls'. They would also use their sense of humor of a crossover of Monty Python meets Pink Floyd of ambient music with 'Fable of a Fredfish and Hope you feel Ok', is a real kicker for Gong nuts. Gong were just getting started back in 1969 and almost getting ready to get on the space shuttle to go to the planet Gong. It wasn't until they released the Radio Gnome Invisible concepts that would have Teapots and biscuits into a psychedelic taste of LSD and british insane music!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath

Following in the footsteps of King Crimson, Yes, Public Image Ltd., Genesis, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta are one of the true experiemental progressive punk rock bands that know the score very well. These Texas progsters sure know how to keep the numbers rolling and their new album, The Bedlam in Goliath is one helluva roller-coaster ride.

I first got into the Mars Volta's music quite by accident. I've read about the group's music in a MOJO magazine paying tribute to the Prog Rock scene of the '70s. I've listened to the first 30 seconds of the track 'Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt' and I paused and hated it, I absolutely hated it at first because I thought they were trying to be a King Crimson rip-off. The next day I remember going into Hot Topic and remember buying 'Frances the Mute' for a low price. I remember going home and putting the album on, and I was completely blown away by this album. It was like the torch of King Crimson had been passed to the Mars Volta. So I realized it was my fault being a complete ass of myself because it was a mistake of hating them. And then I've became a huge fan of the Mars Volta now and still am to this day.

The Bedlam in Goliath is one of the most powerful Progressive Rock albums that the group has ever put out this year. Cedric Bixler-Zavala is the next Jim Morrison and doing his snake crawling up to guitarist Omar-Rodriguez Lopez who is also the next Robert Fripp and John McLaughlin as a crazyman. The tracks on this album are filled with emotion, sancutary, sacrifices, and bizarre fairy tales that will have you screaming for more.

'Goliath' is the best track on this album. This is the fastest version of 'Rapid Fire Tollbooth' that was originally on Omar's solo album 'Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo'. Which is really good, this one is like a shriek maniac version of the song that the group does. This is almost a pure funky punk sound that meets King Crimson meets Parliament Funkadelic meets The Buzzcocks.

'Aberinkula' is the ultimate introduction on this album. This is pure Frank Zappa right here that has the patients waiting to meet the doctors waiting for Cedric and Omar as Doctors getting ready to do some gruesome injury for the patients gory sacrifice. 'Tourinquet Man' is one of the eeriest 2-minute tracks ever on this album that is almost a haunting call for the Goliath to return.

'Calvettas' is punk-prog right here! it has an Avant-Garde taste of 'Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)' but more of a sinsiter raste of schizophrenic madness. Another track that is absolutely weird and mad is 'Askepios' which has the cords going into different amplifiers as the music becomes a strange journey as Cedric screeches for his appetite for human flesh.

Even though Cedric and Omar are like twin brothers, the other musicians that bring The Bedlam in Goliath to a haunter situation, they give themselves an A+ Juan Adlerete on the Bass Guitar is pure Jaco Pastorious coming up with the Bass solos and funky movements to a top notch, Isaiah Key-Owens is magnificent on the keybaords by compeltely nuts, new drummer replacing Jon Theodore is Thomas Plidgren is a lunatic on the drums and he brings the house down, Omar's brother Marcel is the next Tito Puente on the percussion, and former guitarist of At the Drive-In Paul Hinojos who is now a member of the Mars Volta, does a good jon on the juitar and the sound manipulator that makes it sound like Syd Barrett meets Tangerine Dream's Rubycon.

The bonus tracks on this album I bought on iTunes, is dead on perfect on the covers they play. Two tracks include 'Memories' by the Soft Machine is an excellent cover on paying tribute to the Canterbury progsters of the late '60s and the fusion style of the album simply called Third. John Fruscinate appears on a cover of Nick Drake's eerie classic folk 'Things Behind the Sun'. This cover is almost an outer space feel and ultimately warm and a perfect track to pay tribute to Nick Drake. But there was one track they payed tribute to the late cult hero of the Madcap Crazy Diamond, Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd's cover of their single 'Candy and a Currant Bun'.

This cover of Pink Floyd's single, brought a smile on my face because being a Floyd-Freak of the Syd Barrett and Post-Barrett era, they got it nailed with Cedric scary and shrieking vocals and almost paying tribute to Syd. The Crazy Diamond would be very proud to hear this track! This is the best album I've listened to and The Mars Volta brought the house down to a T. And they have the house rockin' at The Bedlam in Goliath.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Top 5 Krautrock Albums

Faust - The Faust Tapes
The Krautrock version of Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica'. This album was released as for a cheap price for 40p which is probably $5.75 cents in the United States when this album came out. This is more of a rehearsal or behind the scenes on what Faust were doing. This has tape machines going fucked up, Chainsawing Synthesizers, mellow humorotic ballads (Flashback Caruso), Punk Dentists and Foot Doctors who destruct the human body (Ja'i Mal Aux Dents), Love story in France (Chere Chambre), to be the one you're with in love (Stretch Out Time), and a lot of weird noises that will mess your mind really bad into the Arkham Asylum!

Amon Duul II - Phallus Dei
Following the break-up of the original Amon Duul after the release of their last album Paradieswärts Düül which I may be wrong with, Amon Duul II released their debut album in 1969 filled with an evil version of the Grateful Dead's style of 'Dark Star' with their 20-minute jam on the self-titled track 'Phallus Dei' (God's Penis) kind of a bizarre title on a sexual object on the body ain't it? This is a kickin' record with some weirdness to go along the mix including another favorite track I enjoy listening to 'Dem Guten, Schonen, Wahren', a crazy track of spaceual music and darkness of the bullhorn. If they made a horror movie in Transylvania almost Argento like, Amon Duul II would do the score with Phallus Dei!

Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation
Tangerine Dream's first album is one of the electric defying albums to have the original album featuring Klaus Schulze after he left TD to form germany's answer to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ash Ra Tempel. Electronic Meditation is Germany's Krautrock ambient sound of Outer Space music that would have the Satellite System enjoy a total destruction of sonic atmospheric metal. 'Journey Through a Burning Brain' is almost like a sequel to Pink Floyd's instruemental landmark epic 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. The beginning is very similar to the Floyd's music. It starts off with flute mixed with Guitars and keyboards and then it becomes more of a Heavy Metal Freak Out!

Popol Vuh - Affenstunde
Already famous for working with german filmmaker Werner Herzong with Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu, and Fitzcarraldo to name a few for their film scores. Popol Vuh's music was a combination of world music. Affenstunde is more of a spacey world music in the rainforest of the jungle with more Ambient than new age. This album has more of a South American electronic sound filled with wonder, mysteries of the abyss, and in the darker caves of the earth.

NEU! - NEU! 75
NEU! at their best with their third album NEU! 75. This album defintely shows the beginning of NEU's music situation with a softer and calmer side and more of a Sex Pistols meets Eno meets Bowie's Berlin trilogy period. The best tracks on this album are 'Isi', an mellower calmer taste, and 'Hero, the discontent heavy rocking punk version of a german's technique of Joy Division and The Cure. NEU! spaced it up to a new territory for David Bowie and Johnny Rotten to groove on to make some weird noises for the germans to get into.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Van Der Graaf Generator - The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other

1970 was a perfect year for one of the most sinister progressive rock bands that dealt with post-apocalyptic views of the dark side of annihilation. That band of course is Van Der Graaf Generator and their album The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other. This album had more of a terrifying taste of a nuclear holocaust situations, infinity, and the end of the world plus the taste of blood in their mouths. Let's say for example that Genesis were more of a rock opera version of Lewis Carroll's fantasy tale of Alice in Wonderland and Yes were more of Lord of the Rings tolkien nuts with Camel to go with, Van Der Graaf Generator were more of a darker rock opera version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven meets a singing Jack the Ripper type of screeching voice.
Alongside other darker progressive rock bands from Italy and England with; Antonious Rex's Jacula, Le Orme, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorsso, and King Crimson, VDGG were more of the Jim Morrison Doors prog version they had inside them, but the self-destruct button is in Earth's mind to head fo a deathly mind-boggling situation. 'Darkness (11/11)' is more of satan's calling to disney's version of Mickey Mouse's 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' in Fantasia. Filled with Peter Hammill's soft and screeching voice and Hugh Banton's organ and keyboards going absolutely high voltage also going haywire and the solos becoming more of a fuzztone feedback superb quality in hell while the flaming door remains open wide up to sell your soul to the devil. 'White Hammer' is one of those demonic and heavy sounds on the stories of witchcraft and Malleus Maleficarum's gorefest he had in the 19th century. Now if you're interested on heavy sounds of the Organ and the darker side of Marie Antoinette's beheading, listen to the last 1 minute and 51 seconds on your lucky iPod and turn it up really loud to scare your grandparents with. 'Whatever Would Robert Have Said?' is more of a tribute to either King Crimson's guitarist Robert Fripp or the creator of the generator Robert Van De Graaf. This track is kind of Heavy Metal/Punk-Proggy type on the balls of steel and disastrous smells of the ozone's layer. Two songs that have VDGG almost a prog-ballad and calm band. 'Refugees' which is more of an autobiographical song about Peter Hammill's school life in the early 1960's, and 'Out of my Book' which is more of a peace situation with someone you love.
The last track 'After the Flood' is another demonic and darker taste on the beginning of the end of world domination and earth's race for a nuclear holocaust. Peter Hammill's voice brings goosebumps on a darker fairy tale of the planet's end while he screams 'TOTAL ANNIHILATION!' like Werner Herzog's lunatic actor Klaus Kinski from the movie 'Fitzcarllado' while he rings the bell wanting an opera house. Peter Hammill was almost a prog-punk version of David Bowie that would have the audience scared shitless on what they were listening and looking with suprise with fear. The group didn't have any success in the UK during that time period, but they had a following with Italy and they had toured Italy for a tour and they're bizarre conceptual album Pawn Hearts was number 4 on the Italian charts. The group was Italy's answer to the Beatles and it made them Kings and Queens in the Italian Progressive Rock music scene. Van Der Graaf Generator were more of the darker version of Genesis, more evil and more death-defying music than you could open the door for. The group's music taste had of evil callsical traditions mand demons flying thourgh the chandelier to enjoy the music of Van Der Graaf Generator.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Can - Tago Mago

I first became aware of Can's music back in 2005 when I discovered a track on the OOP (Out of Print) Rhino 5-CD box set called 'Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock era'. The track on the 2nd disc was a track called 'Oh Yeah' and I remember hearing that track with a sound that had a nuclear radioactive explosion. It was absolutely brilliant and hearing the composition for about maybe seven minutes and thinking to myself 'This is a band I heavy needed to get into.' And believe me, I did. It was filled with a New Wave and Punk edge to it. That track and Can's 'Tago Mago' is a perfect combination of the Krautrock genre of the early 1970's.

This album almost broke the door down for a lot of the Krautrock scene with bands such as Amon Duul II, Faust, NEU!, Cluster, and Ash Ra Tempel to name a few, but Can were one of the best bands that ever come out so damn good with their third album. It had a cross-over genre with the Rap scene, 70's Funk, Ambient music, and of course the dreaded '80s genre of the New Wave scene. For example, the 18-minute improvisation track 'Halleluwah', which is a mixture and crosses between Parliament Funkadelic, Berlin trilogy of Bowie's Low, and the proto-punk sounds of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. The soundscaping sounds on the introduction track of 'Paperhouse' is absolutely brilliantly and excellently well done. The late Michael Karoli's guitar track just sends you through the back door in a psychedelic mad house of insane lunatics while Damo Suzuki and Holger Czukay just bring the doors down with Damo's vocals and dance plus Holger's funky bass solo and Suzuki screaming like a madman.

One of the weirdest track on this album is another 18-minute track 'Aumgn', is a mixture of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention meets Avant-Garde insanits of the soundcaping sounds of early albums of Tangerine Dream meets Pink Floyd's live version of 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. This has Can going nutty and crazy on this track with vocal chants, fast drum tempo patterns, and loud depaturing sounds of the keyboards of Irmin Schmidt. Can were one of those strange and odd bands that you really need to get into. They were more technique, more avant-punk-garde sounds and do more of a jam sessions that would last forever.

In my opinion, the punks in the late '70s loved what the Kraut Rock scene was doing because it was more different, not doing anything bombastic than what Yes and ELP were doing, sonic punks they were and Can kick some ass! The influence of Can's music is still in there with The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, PiL, Blur, Sonic Youth, Porcupine Tree, and the texas progsters The Mars Volta. Luckily, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez worked with Damo Suzuki on Omar's quintet album Please Heat this Eventually!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King

I remember getting into the first time on listening to King Crimson's first album 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. It was the Summer of 2000 and my Sister had picked me up after I had seen one of the best movies that was now playing in a small theater called 'Fantasia 2000'. I remember we were going to Soundwaves to buy some music for ourselves while we in the music section and looking for some albums that we wanted to buy. At the time, my sister was into this godforsaken mainstream music scene of the late '90s and 2000's with bands such as Sugar Ray, Madonna, Korn, Matthew Good Band, and all that 98 degrees teenybopper crap. It just made me want to vomit of hearing that garbage sound of Britney Spears (ugh!) But I remember going through the Rock section and I see this screaming face which was the Schizoid Man, and I couldn't take my eyes off it. So I remember buying the album just for the hell of it. As we went home, I went into my room and had my headphones on and put the CD in my old portable CD player and played from beginning to end. I was completely blown away by this group I was about to discover named King Crimson. During that time period of 2000, I was discovering the genre of the Progressive Rock of the 1970's. I discovered Pink Floyd, ELP, Rush, Yes, and the Peter Gabriel-era of Genesis. But being at the age of 15, it was the right album at the right time to feel the energy of Fusion, Jazz, Tolkien related lyrics, and proto-metal sounds. Plus the new synthesizer instrument of the prog genre, the Mellotron.The opening track of the sinister sounds of '21st Century Schizoid Man' will have you waiting to go inside the evil doors of the politics of republicans and the Vietnam War. Robert Fripp takes the guitar to a different level, while Ian McDonald goes nuts on the sax, Greg Lake's voice almost sounds like a Leslie Bullhorn while he sings as takes his bass to fast-walking bass lines and using a fuzztone situation of the human race.The beauty and warmful softness side of King Crimson in 'I Talk to the Wind' is a perfect match point with the flute and Lake's Vocals take the listener to a grassy meadow. Crimson also had a darker side with 'Epitaph'. This track had almost a supernatural feel to it. What is most important about this group is their arranging and composition. They always wanted to keep the tempos different and the strangeness side beyond. They always have a strange taste on how the music was going to react to the listener. 'Moonchild' is a 12-minute composition that features King Crimson doing improvisations and becoming more of an Avant-Garde jazzy style of music. The first two minutes of Pete Sinfield's lyrics dealt with a ballet dancing in the trees and in outer space. And then it becomes really strange, but Crimson knows how to keep the wagon rolling. The finale of the album is the 9-minute epic 'The Court of the Crimson King'. This is King Crimson at their best with alot of darker values and the grinding wheels meeting the puppets dancing of the mellotrons that grow evil and louder. This is a perfect track to end the album. Sadly, this was the last original line-up that appeared in the first album and disbanded at the end of the flower generation. Fripp soon had various band members from Boz Burrell of Bad Company fame, Mel Collins, and a few unknown musicians until the classic King Crimson line-up from 73-74 (Larks Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red) Featuring John Wetton on Bass, Lead Vocals, Yes drummer Bill Bruford, violinist David Cross, and percussion madman Jamie Muir who left KC after the release of Larks Tongues in Aspic. Today, the first album remains the birth of the beginning of the Progressive Rock-era and it brought the genre the slice of life to a beginning of a younger generation of fans who are discovering the music of King Crimson. If it wasn't for King Crimson, there would be no experimental music, progressive metal, or the Prog genre if it wasn't for The Court of the Crimson King.