Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wavemaker - Where Are We Captain? (England 1975) [ProgRock] @320

 Vinyl Rip - Not released in CD

Quite an excellent and unique take on electronic music from this somewhat obscure British duo. Brian Hodgson is far less well-known for this than for his work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (he’s probably most famous for devising the devilish Dalek voices for TV’s Doctor Who). The two Wavemaker lads perform on the mammoth Electrophon synthesizer (essentially an EMS Synthi 100 with a bunch of custom modules  hooked into it) and invited a couple of guests to sit in on drums and “timpanii” (their spelling).

The result is one of the most rockin’ synth-only records I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard the raucous fuzz-tone at the start of “Double Helix,” I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Why didn’t someone TELL me a synth could do that? The A-side is a near-classic, with some unbelievably up-front synth-prog closing with the breathtaking “Syren’s Song.” The B-side is more low-key and contemplative, but no less high-quality. For fans of electronic music that are looking for something a bit different.

01. Lodestar   5:06
02. Double Helix   10:13
03. Syren‘s Song   5:55
04. Wavemaker   6:42
05. Oracle   8:13
06. Enter the Eldil   7:43

John Lewis:
Brian Hodgson: Synthesizer
Jon Keliehor
Anthony McVey

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gatto Marte - Sogni di Bimba (Italy 2008) [AvantProg] @320

Another fine release from this Italian 'chamber music' quartet. Recalling the Belgian group Julverne, Gatto Marte are a percussion-less group that really focus on classical chamber sounds rather than 'rock' but have an appeal to 'rock' fans for the clarity and tunefulness of their compositions. If Univers Zero are rock's version of Stravinsky and Art Zoyd are rock's version of Varese and Wappasou rock's version of Debussy and ZNR rock's Satie, then Gatto Marte are certainly rock music's answer to Prokofiev! Delicate and beautiful music from violin, bassoon, piano & doublebass.
When you go to Gatto Marte's site, you are greeted with the following sentence: "Gatto Marte is an italian quartet performing original compositions with classical influence and jazz improvisation." That, dear readers, is a mighty fine and accurate sentence. I'll write more now, but do keep that sentence in mind! This is the band's seventh album and the musicians are Nino Cotone: Violin, Hang and Percussion, Giuseppe Brancaccio: Bassoon, Maximilian Brooks: Piano and Percussion, Pietro Lusvardi: Double Bass, Banjo, Harmonica and Percussion.

"Gatto Marte is a chamber ensemble of classical background with an attitude close to jazz and a twist of folk music, from Eastern Europe through the Mediterranean towards the North. Piano, double bass, violin and bassoon are the protagonists of this musical journey."

01. Puer
02. Puella
03. Povera gente valse
04. Tango luna
05. Carnevale sopra le nuvole
06. Il bosco di Marte
07. La Tugazza
08. Prima volta
09. Tin tin
10. Rosa
11. Lily
12. Luca
13. Pique nique
14. L'armata di Picio
15. Rosa del deserto

05. Carnevale sopra le nuvole

Nino Cotone
: violin, hang & percussion
Giuseppe Brancaccio: bassoon
Maximilian Brooks: piano & percussion
Pietro Lusvardi: double bass, banjo, harmonica & percussion

Guest musicians:
Doug Tones: tom tom & crash cymbal (1)
Rosa Lusvardi: castanets (8)
Lily Lusvardi assisted by Sara Lusvardi: maracas (8) 

Ratings by outbrain