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Tag Archives: Prog Rock

Bush mania rolls on. Eight albums in the top 40.

 

 

After her first gig in 35 years eight Kate Bush albums are in the UK top 40. What is more remarkable is that she only has 11 studio albums. This is about 72% of her total output in one chart at one time. What is more remarkable is that she is the first female artist to do this.

 

 

Out of her discography her debut The Kick Inside (1978) and Hounds of Love (1985) are my personal favourite. This might seem that I am only picking the albums with the biggest singles on them, but it is more than that. The Kick Inside is full of wonderful ideas and some of the most interesting pop songs committed to tape. Hounds of Love on the other hand is an album of two halves. The first half (Hounds of Love) is chocked full of massive pop songs (including three of Bush’s most famous), but it is the second side that is the most interesting. The Ninth Wave is a suite of seven songs that Bush herself described as being “About a person who is alone in the water for the night. It’s about their past, present and future coming to keep them awake, to stop them drowning, to stop them going to sleep until the morning comes.” Not bad for a pop album eh?

 

 

If you have never heard this selection of songs I recommend that you do. They truly are wonderful. At times the lyrical content is abstract, humorous, loving, scary and chilling, but they are never dull. It is a work of brilliance. The old expression “They don’t make ‘um like this anymore” is sadly true with this album. Let’s hope that this sudden bout of live performances (also called The Ninth Wave) might inspire Bush to get back into the studio and create something as bewitching again.

 

 

Kate Bush – Waking The Witch

 

 

August 2014

 

 

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Alt-Indie darlings release compilation album that ticks all the right boxes

 

Django Django are the latest band to compile a mix album for the Late Night Tales series. This album is chocked full of psych prog alt-pop classics. When Django Django exploded on the scene in 2012 they sounded like none of their peers. Listening to this album you can start to see why. How many other albums will take you from The Beach Boys to Outkast in three simple moves?

 

 

1. Leo Kottke – The Tennessee Toad

2. Gulp – Game Love

3. Bob James – Nautilus

4. James Last – Inner City Blues

5. Map Of Africa – Bone

6. Seals & Crofts – Sweet Green Fields

7. Philip Glass – Floe

8. The Millennium – To Claudia On Thursday

9. The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up

10. Primal Scream – Carry Me Home

11. Massive Attack – Man Next Door

12. TNGHT – Bugg’n

13. Outkast – Slum Beautiful

14. Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together

15. Roy Davis JNR – Gabriel

16. Harry Nilsson – Coconut

17. Canned Heat – Poor Moon

18. Ramadanman – Bass Drums

19. Rick Miller – Future Directions

20. Django Django – Porpoise Song

21. Benedict Cumberbatch – Flat Of Angles (Part 4)

 

 

The stand out track on the album is Bob James-Nautilus. This wasn’t an easy decision (look at the tracklist), but there is something about this song that I can’t get out of my head. Maybe because it’s been sampled by Slick Rick, Eric B. and Rakim, Run DMC and Ghostface Killah, or that it’s just plain catchy as hell, but there is something about this song that I can’t ignore. When it starts you think you know exactly how it will play out, but after a few bars that has been twisted on its head. It starts off with light and ethereal tones, then the main riff (and what a riff) kicks in followed by a soaring keyboard part. The songs tour de force is its drums. They help move the song on and stop it getting locked in a repetitive groove.

 

 

My only problem with the album is that at times it feels that they could have pushed the musical variety more. The inclusion of Gulp was a nice nod to family ties. However the inclusion of Primal Scream and Massive Attack seemed a bit too safe. This is probably me just being cynical. If you’re going to include The Millennium, Philip Glass and Roy Davis Jr, why not push it in other places too?

 

 

Ultimately this is a good album (despite my vague attempt to prove otherwise) and if you only get one mix album this should be the one.

 

 

7/10

 

 

Bob James – Nautilus

 

 

May 2014

 

 

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If you like this why not check out

 

 

Stanley Clarke

 

 

Roy Ayers

 

 

Wild Beasts

 

 

Chairlift

 

 

Yeasayer

A tried and tested method of buying new music by people you don’t know is if the cover is interesting, the music probably will be too. I applied this today and (yet again) I’ve ended up with another good album.

 

Giobia

 

When you play an album bought this way, the first few moments\tracks are very important. If it turns out to be the biggest pile of shit you’ve ever, you want to end it quickly, but some albums start slowly and get better and better the longer it goes on. So as soon as I pressed play, I was had my finger hovering over the stop button. Luckily my finger went nowhere near it and I let the album play out on its own.

 

Musically it’s psychedelic, with a bit of a leaning toward prog (but in a good way). It wasn’t until halfway through that I decided to look them up and see who was in them. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of their members is in The Electric Prunes and another member is in The Black Angels.

 

I don’t know if this album will become a favourite and an album I can’t live without, or whether it will become something that I play every once in a while, but at the moment I can’t get enough of it. Unfortunately I did buy another album, just based on the cover (and tracklistings.

 

Bobby McFerrin

 

You can’t win them all…

 

 

Giobia – Electric Light

One of my favourite things is when an artist\band gets to have their swansong. This can be because they are dying and people are making the most of them before the end, or the music they make has finally been given the respect it deserves (after being shunned when it was originally released). Luckily for today’s choice it is the latter.

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (or Vangelis as he is better known) has made some of the best music I have ever heard. He started off making music in the late 1960’s. His first big break was with Aphrodite’s Child. Aphrodite’s Child were a three piece pop\psychedelic\progressive rock band (but don’t let that put you off). Their first two albums were good, but nothing to scream home about. It wasn’t until their third (and final) album did they turn into something treasure. In 1970 the band started sessions that would end up being the 6 6 6 album. The album is basically a Vangelis solo project. It is a concept album based on the book of revolutions. The rest of the band weren’t that happy with this change in direction. They wanted to make more pop songs (as they had, had some success and fame). Vangelis had other ideas. In June 1972 the album was finally released. And what an album! If you haven’t heard this album click on the link above as it’s fucking amazing!

After Vangelis broke up Aphrodite’s Child he went solo. Over the next decade he released 8 albums, 4 soundtrack albums (but scored another 8), 5 collaborative albums, recorded 2 albums that were never released, released 3 albums under pseudonyms. And people say that Bob Dylan was productive!!!

Up until this time Vangelis’s name had been known, but he’d never really had a massive hit. After Aphrodite’s Child ended, it was their bassist and singer Demis Roussos who looked like he was going to have the better career after Forever And Ever was a worldwide smash. But all this changed due to 2 films Vangelis scored. The first as Chariots Of Fire and the second was Blade Runner. The goes that Hugh Hudson (the film’s director) wanted to use L’Enfant as the films titles (and actually used that piece during the beach running scene), but Vangelis said he’s write a better one. One night Hugh was having dinner in a London restaurant, Vangelis somehow got him to leave his meal and sit in his Rolls Royce while he played him Chariots of Fire. Amazing! The song has been used in countless films, adverts and sports montages (and will be used in countless more going forward). Blade Runner was released in 1982 to universal acclaim, but the album wasn’t released officially until 1994. If you don’t own the Blade Runner soundtrack go out and buy it now. You are missing out! After those films shot Vangelis into the public consciousness he has always remained there. He’s is the most famous Greek musician of all time.

For me my favourite Vangelis albums are his early releases. 1973’s Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit (May your dream is longer than the night). This album contains field recordings of the 1968 Paris riots (where Vangelis was living at the time). 1973’s Earth could have been an Aphrodite’s Child demo\B-Side album, but more acoustic. But on it you can start to see him experimenting with technology. The next four albums are utter genius though. Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral and Beaubourg (Beaubourg being my favourite Vangelis album). These albums are amazing as (at the time) he is pushing technology (and perceptions of what technology can do) to the limit. But more importantly these albums started to help lay the foundations for electronic\dance music, and it’s nice to see that tracks from these 4 are being used in mixes (and name checked) by contemporary producers and musicians (DJ Food, Noel Gallagher, UNKLE, RetroGrade, etc, etc).

Too long has Vangelis been a dirty word! Let’s embrace this bearded musical pioneer while we still can!

Vangelis – Pulstar