Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rick Wakeman - Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974)

Journey to the Centre of the Earth is Rick Wakeman's second solo album, released in 1974. It is loosely based on Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It was recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England on January 18, 1974. A big success, this album topped the charts of various countries and sold more than fourteen million copies. It is said that Wakeman had to sell many of his belongings and mortgage his house to record it. He couldn't cut it in the studio because of the restricted budget. It was originally written to be longer, but certain parts had to be cut and overdubbed since the orchestra was expensive and Wakeman couldn't afford to re-record those parts. This album is available in its original recording, a live DVD recording at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia in 1975, and a later orchestra-free/lyric free studio version is available on the 1994 "Greatest Hits" album. This was the first Wakeman album with vocals. - Wikipedia

Rick Wakeman - Synthesizers
Gary Pickford-Hopkins - Vocals
Ashley Holt - Vocals
David Hemmings - Narrations
Mike Egan - Guitar
Roger Newell - Bass Guitar
Barney James - Drums
London Symphony Orchestra

1. The Journey / Recollection (21:10)
2. The Battle / The Forest (18:57)

Tony Levin - Pieces Of The Sun (2002)

Pieces of the Sun is Tony Levin's third solo record. It is an often jazzy, progressive rock, instrumental record. It features the Tony Levin Band, which includes Levin on bass guitars, stick and cello, Jerry Marotta on drums, Larry Fast playing synthesisers and Jesse Gress on guitars. The California Guitar Trio accompanies the quartet on the opening track, "Apollo." In addition to his percussion duties, Marotta plays acoustic guitar, Omnichord and saxophone on the record. The only vocal performances are a spoken word on "Tequila" and the called "dog one," "dog two" and "dog three!" on "Dog One," which is a new recording of an unreleased Peter Gabriel composition, which Levin, Marotta and Fast had played on." - Wikipedia

Tony Levin - Bass Guitars, Electric Upright Bass, Stick, Cello
Larry Fast - Synthesizer
Jesse Gress - Guitars
Jerry Marotta - Drums, Percussion, Acoustic Guitar, Saxophone
Bert Lams - Acoustic Guitar
Hideyo Moriya - Acoustic Guitar
Paul Richards - Acoustic Guitar

1. Apollo (6:49)
2. Geronimo (3:11)
3. Aquafin (5:13)
4. Dog One (5:15)
5. Tequila (5:20)
6. Pieces of the Sun (7:20)
7. Phobos (7:08)
8. Ooze (4:16)
9. Blue Nude Reclining (3:08)
10. The Fifth Man (5:47)
11. Ever the Sun Will Rise (9:08)
12. Silhouette (4:37)

Genesis - Trespass (1970)

Trespass is the second studio album by Genesis and was recorded and released in 1970. The only album with drummer John Mayhew and the last with guitarist Anthony Phillips, Trespass had a folk-flavoured progressive rock sound that was a marked departure from their earlier work, and foreshadowed the path the band would follow through the 1970s. The compositions were generally much longer and complex than before, featuring several different musical sections. The sound evokes a kind of 'pastoral English idyll' espoused by numerous progressive rock bands of the time. To this end, much use is made of multi-tracked 12-string acoustic guitars, blended with folky vocal harmonies, flute, acoustic piano, and gentle keyboard pads on Hammond organ and mellotron. The drum playing is generally fairly soft, which actually complements the atmosphere, although the band was unhappy with John Mayhew's skills and replaced him with Phil Collins following Trespass' completion and Anthony Phillips' departure. Despite its generally muted, pastoral, folky feel, the album is not without dynamic moments. Peter Gabriel's vocals are soulful and angst-ridden throughout, particularly at the climax of "Stagnation", which also includes a prominent Hammond organ solo from Tony Banks. Closing track "The Knife" is aggressive and bombastic, featuring some biting lyrics from Gabriel, with Mike Rutherford playing fuzz bass. - Wikipedia

Peter Gabriel – Vocals, Woodwind, Percussion
Anthony Phillips – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mike Rutherford – Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tony Banks – Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals
John Mayhew – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

1. Looking for Someone (7:06)
2. White Mountain (6:45)
3. Visions of Angels (6:51)
4. Stagnation (8:50)
5. Dusk (4:13)
6. The Knife (8:56)

Focus - Moving Waves (1971)

Moving Waves is the 1971 second album by the Dutch band Focus. It includes the hit "Hocus Pocus" which features yodelling and operatic falsetto from Thijs van Leer combined with Jan Akkerman's heavy metal guitar. Even though the sound was highly experimental, it became very successful peaking at #9 in the Dutch Top 40 and later becoming popular in the United States with a #9 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and a #20 position in the UK Singles Chart.The album also features "Eruption" − a 23 minute long adaptation of Jacopo Peri's opera Euridice, which tells the tale of Orpheus and Euridice. Moving Waves was one of the albums in the Isis/Eagle Rock Entertainment television documentary Classic Albums. - Wikipedia

Thijs van Leer – Hammond Organ, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Flutes, Accordion, Vocals
Jan Akkerman – Guitars, Bass Guitar, Percussion
Cyril Havermans – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Pierre van der Linden – Drums, Percussion

1. Hocus Pocus (6:42)
2. Le Clochard (2:01)
3. Janis (3:09)
4. Moving Waves (2:42)
5. Focus II (2:56)
6. Eruption (23:04)

Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)

A Saucerful of Secrets is the second album by rock band Pink Floyd, and marks the group's stylistic change from psychedelic to progressive rock. It was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, at various dates from August, 1967 to April, 1968. Due to Syd Barrett's declining mental state, this was to be the last Pink Floyd album that he would work on. Like The Piper at the Gates of Dawn before it, the album contains space rock and psychedelic rock songs. But unlike Piper, which was dominated by Syd Barrett's compositions, A Saucerful of Secrets contains only one original Barrett song - the painfully poignant "Jugband Blues". The song greatly contrasts with Barrett's work on Piper, which was entirely whimsical and child-like. Instead, "Jugband Blues" is a deeply introspective song, interpreted by some as Barrett's acknowledgment of his declining mental state. With Barrett seemingly detached from proceedings, it came down to Roger Waters and Richard Wright to provide adequate material. The opening "Let There Be More Light" penned by Waters, continues the space rock approach established by Barrett, with its mesmeric opening bass line reminiscent of the material found on Piper. Both "Remember a Day" and "See-Saw" use the child-like approach that was established on their debut. Wright remained critical of his early contributions to the band. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" (another Waters composition) is a space rock number which was first performed with Barrett in 1967. The success of the track was such that it remained in their live set-list until 1973 where it appeared in a greatly extended form. Waters later performed the track during solo concerts from 1984 and later. Waters borrowed the lyrics from a book of Chinese Poetry from the Tang Dynasty, like Barrett had used in "Chapter 24". "Corporal Clegg" is the first song by Waters to address issues of war and his father's death, themes which would endure throughout his career with Pink Floyd and culminate in the 1983 album The Final Cut. "Corporal Clegg" also features Mason on backing vocals, marking the first official release in which makes use of Mason's vocals. "A Saucerful of Secrets" remains as one of the band's most experimental compositions, and is the first in which David Gilmour contributed to the writing. Like "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", it became a regular live feature, and was eventually extended to around twenty minutes. - Wikipedia

Roger Waters - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
David Gilmour – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Kazoo
Richard Wright – Piano, Organ, Mellotron, Vibraphone, Lead Vocals
Nick Mason – Drums, Percussion Syd Barrett – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

1. Let There Be More Light (5:38)
2. Remember a Day (4:33)
3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (5:28)
4. Corporal Clegg (4:13)
5. A Saucerful of Secrets (11:52)
6. See-Saw (4:36)
7. Jugband Blues (3:00)

Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond (1972)

Captain Beyond, the first album by Captain Beyond, was released in 1972, and featured former members of Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple, Johnny Winter, and Rick Derringer. The album cover for the U.S. release included 3-D artwork (using lenticular printing). Even though there are 13 tracks, it really sounds as if there are only 5 with tracks 1-3, 6-8 & 9-13 segueing together. Tracks 4 & 5 are the only individual songs that don't segue into each other or from other songs. In which case "Dancing Madly Backwards" is 9:19, "Thousand Days of Yesterdays" is 8:21, and "I Can't Feel Nothing" is around 9:13. - Wikipedia

Rod Evans - Lead Vocals
Bobby Caldwell - Drums, Percussion, Piano, Backing Vocals
Lee Dorman - Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Larry Reinhardt - Acoustic, Electric & Slide Guitars

1. Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air) (4:02)
2. Armworth (1:48)
3. Myopic Void (3:30)
4. Mesmerization Eclipse (3:48)
5. Raging River of Fear (3:51)
6. Thousand Days of Yesterday (Intro) (1:19)
7. Frozen Over (3:46)
8. Thousand Days of Yesterday (Time Since Come and Gone) (3:56)
9. I Can't Feel Nothing (3:06)
10. As the Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea) (2:25)
11. Astral Lady (0:16)
12. As the Moon Speaks (Return) (2:13)
13. I Can't Feel Nothing (Part II) (1:13)

The Alan Parsons Project - Eye in the Sky (1982)

Eye in the Sky is a 1982 album by The Alan Parsons Project. Songs on this album are in a number of different styles, from cool and funky to lyrical and heavily orchestrated. The sleeve was green with an image of the Eye of Horus, which was gold-foil stamped for early pressings of the LP. Variously reported as the band's best-selling album, although others claim that Ammonia Avenue gets this honor. Vocal performers were Eric Woolfson, David Paton, Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek, Elmer Gantry and Colin Blunstone. - Wikipedia

David Paton - Bass, Vocals
Stuart Elliott - Drums & Percussion
Ian Bairnson - Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Eric Woolfson - Keyboards, Vocals
Alan Parsons - Keyboards, Fairlight Programming
Mel Collins - Saxophone
Chris Rainbow - Vocals
Lenny Zakatek - Vocals
Elmer Gantry - Vocals
Colin Blunstone - Vocals

1. Sirius (1:48)
2. Eye in the Sky (4:33)
3. Children of the Moon (4:49)
4. Gemini (2:09)
5. Silence and I (7:17)
6. You're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned (4:50)
7. Psychobabble (4:50)
8. Mammagamma (3:34)
9. Step by Step (3:52)
10. Old and Wise (4:52)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer is the debut album of British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1970 in the United Kingdom and January of 1971 in the United States.As a first album from the newly-formed supergroup the influences they brought with them are clear in the mix of instrumental and vocal pieces. The front cover of the album depicts a fluttering white bird with a human ear in the bottom left corner. - Wikipedia

Keith Emerson - Organ, Synthesizer, Keyboard, Moog Synthesizer Greg Lake - Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
Carl Palmer - Percussion, Drums

1. The Barbarian (4:27)
2. Take a Pebble (12:32)
3. Knife-Edge (5:04)
4. The Three Fates (7:46)
5. Tank (6:49)
6. Lucky Man (4:36)

King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

In the Court of the Crimson King (an observation by King Crimson) is the 1969 debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album reached #3 on the British charts. The album is certified gold in the United States. The album is generally viewed as one of the strongest of the progressive rock genre, where blues-oriented rock was mixed together with jazz and European symphonic elements. In his 1997 book Rocking the Classics, critic/musicologist Edward Macan notes that In the Court of the Crimson King "may be the most influential progressive rock album ever released." The Who's Pete Townshend was quoted as calling the album "an uncanny masterpiece". - Wikipedia

Robert Fripp - Guitar
Ian McDonald - Flute, Saxophone, Keyboards, Mellotron, Vocals
Greg Lake - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals
Michael Giles - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Peter Sinfield - Lyrics, Illumination

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:20)
2. I Talk to the Wind (6:05)
3. Epitaph (8:47)
4. Moonchild (12:11)
5. The court of the Crimson King (9:22)

Grateful Dead - Blues for Allah (1975)

Blues for Allah is the eighth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between February 27 and May 7, 1975 and originally released on September 1, 1975. It was the third release under the band's own label, Grateful Dead Records, after fulfilling their contract with Warner Bros. Records. It was the first album with Mickey Hart in over four years, and the band's first album since their short hiatus from touring in 1974. Possibly because of late arrival, Mickey Hart's picture does not appear on the back cover. The album's title track was only performed a handful of times in 1975 and never played again after that, while several other tracks on the album were performed regularly for the rest of the Dead's career. - Wikipedia
Jerry Garcia - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Weir - Guitar, Vocals
Keith Godchaux - Keyboards, Vocals
Donna Jean Godchaux - Vocals
Phil Lesh - Bass
Bill Kreutzmann - Drums
Mickey Hart - Drums 

1. Help on the Way / Slipknot! (7:21)
2. Franklin's Tower (4:33)
3. King Solomon's Marbles (5:16)
4. The Music Never Stopped (4:36)
5. Crazy Fingers (6:42)
6. Sage & Spirit (3:06)
7. Blues for Allah (12:44)
8. Groove I (Instrumental Studio Outtake) (5:45)
9. Groove II (Instrumental Studio Outtake) (7:35)
10. Distorto (Instrumental Studio Outtake) (8:14)
11. A to E Flat Jam (Instrumental Studio Outtake) (4:39)
12. Proto 18 Proper (Instrumental Studio Outtake) (4:18)
13. Hollywood Cantata (Studio Outtake) (4:14)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel (1971)

A very spacey and atmospheric debut from Ash Ra Tempel, reminds me of early Pink Floyd mixed with Tangerine Dream, only even more interesting. There are only two songs here, both over the 19-minute mark, but the songs are never really boring, except for some parts that drags on for long sometimes. The mood on this album is dark and typically space rock-ish. It's a promising journey musically though slightly flawed, Otherwise a very interesting Krautrock album which represents the genre very well. - Progarchives

Manuel Göttsching - Guitar, Voice, Electronics
Hartmut Enke - Bass
Klaus Schulze - Drums, Electronics

1. Amboss (19:40)
2. Traummaschine (25:24)

Eloy - Ocean (1977)

Eloy are one of few German prog rock bands that got international recognition in the 70's. Ocean is their 6th release, and by many seen as their best release. Musically Ocean is somewhat different from their other releases. The album has 4 long, epic tracks on it, it's a concept album, and the main musical focus is the use of various kinds of synths. All the songs contain extensive use of synths, layers of different kinds of synths are everpresent in the songs. Synths here including hammond and mellotron, to make the description easier. There's floating synths in the back of the soundscapes, synth soloing overlaying or underscoring other instruments, electronically enhanced voices, synth sounds and noises added for effect...and the songs are dominated by this. Fleshing out the soundscapes are some good, excellently played bass lines; high class drumming and percussion from start to finish, and some well planned and performed guitar work. The only weak aspect on this release are the vocals, where the lack in range, flat delivery and heavy accent that for some is a part of the charm with this group; but for others is the one element that is offputting. The guitar work may sound a bit similar to Pink Floyd at times; but apart from that element the sound here is pretty unique. All the above elements are combined in 4 long, epic, spacey and dreamy songs; with some psychedelic moments to them as well; which is especially true of the last track on this album. All the songs have a good flow to them, always intriguing and always progressing excellently. This release is a "must have" purchase for most people into synth heavy symphonic and spacey prog rock; and anyone fond of long dreamy soundscapes will find this album to be a treat as well. - Progarchives

Frank Bornemann - Guitars, Vocals
Klaus-Peter Matziol - Basses, Vocals
Jürgen Rosenthal - Drums, Percussion, Flute
Detlev Schmidtchen - Keyboards, Mellotron, Xylophone, Voice

1. Poseidon's Creation (11:38)
2. Incarnation of the Logos (8:25)
3. Decay of the Logos (8:15)
4. Atlantis' Agony at June 5th - 8498, 13 p.m. Gregorian Earthtime (15:35)