Fourth (Remaster)

SKU: 82876872912
Label:
Sony
Category:
Fusion/Jazz
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Remastered edition with new liner notes and photos. There isn't any on the planet that knows more about Soft Machine than Steve Feigenbaum. He's very old. When he was 37 years old he went to the Fillmore East to see the band play with Hendrix. It changed his life and he's dressed funny ever since. Perhaps he would dress funny anyway, I don't know for sure. I do know that he loves Soft Machine's fourth album more than he loves sex (or so his wife has told me). Here is what he has to say abou this classic disc:


"For some reason, I think Four has always been the overlooked Soft Machine album. There's probably several reasons for this but that doesn't change the fact that I think that this is tied with Volume Two as their greatest album ever! The tunes were getting more and more complex and astonishing: Mike Ratledge contributed what I consider the band's greatest work ever in the 10 minute long Teeth, while Hugh Hopper was also reaching a peak compositionally. Elton Dean showed the direction that he wanted to go with his free-but-charming contributions and while Robert Wyatt didn't contribute any tunes (or even any vocals - probably one of the reasons that this album is overlooked), his playing, like all the others, was exemplary here. In addition to the great tunes and the great playing from the four members, a number of additional musicians (Marc Charig, Roy Babbington, Alan Skidmore, Nick Evans) appear as guests, adding some great ensemble color. Lastly, but also very importantly, this was always a really good sounding album and it sounds great here too in this remastered version. Utterly essential, important and innovative jazz/rock from when there were no rules to this sound which was being newly invented while they made it!!"

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  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the next release in the continuing series of reissues of the entire catalogue by the legendary classical rock band SKY. Formed in 1979, Sky brought together the worlds of rock and classical music in a highly successful and inspiring way. Featuring the gifted talents of guitarist JOHN WILLIAMS, percussionist TRISTAN FRY, legendary bass player HERBIE FLOWERS, former Curved Air keyboard player FRANCIS MONKMAN and guitarist KEVIN PEEK, Sky recorded their debut album at Abbey Road studios in the early months of 1979. The band’s self-titled debut reached the UK top ten in May 1979 and went on to achieve Platinum status in the UK and was also a major hit in Europe and Australia. Also a huge live attraction, SKY released their second album in April 1980. "SKY 2” was a fine achievement, featuring the hit single "Toccata”, and topped the UK album charts upon its release. For the band’s third album, STEVE GRAY replaced Francis Monkman on keyboards, but the band continued their run of success as SKY 3 reached the UK top ten upon its release in March 1981. The album’s success followed a highly memorable concert by the band at Westminster Abbey in London on February 24th 1981, which was recorded and broadcast by BBC Television.SKY’s line-up remained the same for this, the band’s fourth album "SKY 4: Forthcoming” released in April 1982. Another successful chart album, "SKY 4: Forthcoming” has now been remastered and includes a companion DVD (NTSC / Region Free) of SKY’s live set for the BBC TV programme "Night Music”, broadcast in July 1982 (the first ever release of this classic television appearance). The original album artwork is fully restored and the booklet features a new essay."
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  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.This Three Blind Mice set dates back to 1972.  The session is led by guitarist Sunao Wada and he performs here in quartet and sextet configurations.  The material varies – some of it is very blues based and others are straight ahead bop that will remind you a bit of what Pat Martino was doing at the time.  Wada is backed but some of the elite musicians from the TBM stable.  If you like jazz guitar you need to check this one out.
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  • Beyond The Wall Of Time is the skull ripping new album from this French instrumental stoner trio.  Napalm has really scored big with My Sleeping Karma and Glowsun (they should tour together).7 lengthy tracks filled with wah wah laced solos over a pounding Butler/Ward influenced rhythm section.  Nice pacing to the tunes as they slow down and breathe and then explode in a fret filled fuzzed out lysergic fury.  The occasional dialogue sample and pedal effects amp up the psych quotient.  There can simply be one answer to this onslaught: BUY OR DIE!
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  • The Japanese East Wind label was active in the 70s and into the early 80s.  This was a jazz label that focused on Japanese artists but also covered many popular US players.  While not as overtly audiophile as Three Blind Mice, the East Wind label was always noted for immaculate reference quality production.Universal Japan has released 72 titles from the East Wind catalog in extremely limited editions.  We've cherry picked those titles that we think are of interest to our customer base.Super intense modal jazz trio led by pianist Takehiro Honda and supported by the colossal rhythm section of bassist Junie Booth and drummer Eric Gravatt.  Consisting of only three tracks this album is just filled with intensity.  The communication between the trio is really something to hear.  The stellar production just heightens the album.  No fusion here.  Highly recommended."Takehiro Honda's most complex and challenging LP, Salaam Salaam pairs the pianist with bassist Junie Booth and drummer Eric Gravatt to explore the kind of creative reaches typically reserved for larger ensembles. If anything, the record is that much more remarkable for achieving its epic scope from so few core elements. Honda's adherence to austerity contrasts sharply with the bold, multi-dimensional sensibilities that signify the vast majority of post-Coltrane excursions into spiritual expression, yet the sheer soulfulness and abandon of his performance nevertheless vaultsSalaam Salaam into the same physical and metaphysical planes. No less vital is the record's unusual warmth and tonal purity, which further underscore the humanity at the root of even its most abstract expressions." - Allmusic
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  • 2013 debut from this outstanding space rock/stoner offshoot from 35007.  Lots of burbling keyboard sounds but the guitar riffs are heavy and relentless.  New album due momentarily!This reviewer got it right:"Although at its most expansive, Monomyth‘s Monomyth ranges well into a cosmos of Krautrock-infused progadelia, there isn’t one moment of the album that feels like happenstance. Rather, the den Haag instrumental five-piece put an immediate sense of purpose into their Burning World Records self-titled debut — which is bound as well to grab extra attention owing to the involvement of drummer Sander Evers, formerly of Dutch heavy psych groundbreakers 35007 — and each of the five extended cuts on the 57-minute outing offers a complete individual journey while also flowing directly one to the next, so that the whole of the album is built up around these at times breathtakingly cohesive parts. The exception to that rule of flow is the 17-minute closer, “Huygens,” which comes on following silence at the end of the penultimate “Loch Ness,” but even that seems to have been a conscious decision on the part of the band — Evers on drums, Selwyn Slop on bass, Thomas van den Reydt on guitar, Peter van der Meer on keys and Tjerk Stoop credited with “synthesis and processing” in the album’s liner, which I assume means laptop — and certainly “Huygens” doesn’t detract from the overall liquidity of Monomyth for its slow fade in from the aforementioned silence, only adding to it a grand payoff patiently built toward that justifies the song’s position as the finale without losing sight of the progressive vibe. One could spend a lifetime immersed in the heavy prog spectrum of the early and mid ’70s, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that one or more of the members of Monomyth has, but in truly progressive form, the production here is modern-sounding to its very core. Modern-sounding, but not over-produced, it’s worth pointing out, and Monomyth walk just as careful a line in their presentation of their self-titled as they do in the intricate sense of composition and technicality that rests at the core of “Vanderwaalskrachten” (11:26), “Vile Vortices” (8:28), “The Groom Lake Engine” (10:06), “Loch Ness” (10:24) and “Huygens” (17:04) — all the titles coming together to blend into a theme of something unknown, scientific and otherworldly.Whichever came first, those titles or the songs themselves, the pieces are clearly meant to be taken in a complete listen with how each feeds into the one following. Still, there doesn’t seem to be a narrative at work across them, or at least not in the sense of “Jack runs here, Jack goes there.” “Vanderwaalskrachten” begins with sparse guitar and synth hum, setting up a swirl and lushness of sound that will prove almost constant but for a few purposeful moments of minimalism. Setting a patient tone, the drums kick in around two minutes in with the bass and the dynamic at the core of Monomyth‘s Monomyth is established; the rhythm section holds pieces together so that the guitar, keys and other elements are free to explore, which they do, again, not without a pervasive sense of purpose. The initial impression is similar in its smoothness and moody underpinnings to Germany’s My Sleeping Karma, but as “Vanderwaalskrachten” — named for the attractions between molecules and intermolecular forces — hits a pre-midpoint peak of heavy guitar riffing later to reemerge as a kind of instrumental chorus, it’s that much clearer that the band haven’t yet played their entire hand. A solo follows topping space rock pulsations and carries into a quiet bridge marked out by some funky organ work, only to find that chorus return again late in the track, giving all the more an impression of structure. Actually, “Vanderwaalskrachten” winds up rather traditional at its heart, just presented in a much different form than a phrase like “verse/chorus structure” might conjure in the mind of the listener. Likewise careful not to get underway too quickly, “Vile Vortices” — aka the Devil’s Graveyards; the Bermuda Triangle, Indus Valley, Algerian Megaliths, et. al. — unfolds to Floydian leads punctuated by xylophone-sounding percussion given flourish by jazzy keys before bass and organ introduce the crux of the build, Evers holding steady on drums behind. Those leads return, but structurally, “Vile Vortices” is different from its predecessor, more linear, and after five minutes in, it breaks to introduce a heavier riff that acts as the foundation for the build over the remainder of the track, which rounds out with a drone leading right into “The Groom Lake Engine,” the  centerpiece of Monomyth.To expect an immediate rush from “The Groom Lake Engine” would be ignoring the overarching flow from the first two tracks. The song unfolds from the drone that becomes its intro to airy guitars, periodic stretches of heavier progressions and synth filling out the spaces between. Groom Lake, Nevada, being the location of Area 51, the track remains consistent with the mysterious, potentially alien elements at work from earlier cuts, and true to “Vile Vortices” before it, with about three minutes left, the guitar introduces a heavier riff — following a few measures of surprisingly bluesy wah — that will march the song out, though in a blend, a chugging refrain from the first few minutes returns at the end. No matter how far out they may have gone, Monomyth haven’t forgotten their basic methodology. A telling moment hits prior to the halfway mark of “The Groom Lake Engine” and gives a glimpse at the dynamic that seems to be at the root of the band’s approach; Slop and Evers sticking to repetitions of a central figure while van den Reydt adds flourish around it, soon joined by the keys and other elements. For a moment, it’s easy to see where the songs actually come from. Feedback after the ending crescendo fades to a quiet opening for “Loch Ness,” which is Monomyth‘s most mainstream reference and their most effective linear build, starting serene and psychedelic at first and moving slowly towards the six-minute mark, at which a turn brings about darkly progressive riffs — sustained organ notes add a sense of classic horror cinema — and further, heavier build. They are still well in control, however far they delve into that movement, and the transition to “Huygens” afterwards is no less easy to make for the small break between the tracks. Curious synth winds around exploratory guitar lines as bass and drums — as ever — keep steady, and soon start-stop bass and guitar emerge to set the tone for the song’s first half, contrasted a bit by a heavier “chorus” but never too far away from whence it comes.Named for the probe that was the first to land in the outer region of the solar system — it went to Saturn’s moon Titan, presumably to look for sirens — “Huygens,” also the name of the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens who first studied Saturn’s rings, splits at about halfway in. This is all the more fitting conceptually, since the Huygens probe was launched with Cassini, which went on to take the farthest-from-Earth photograph that’s ever been taken, shot from Saturn’s orbit. Whether or not that split had anything to do with the music of “Huygens,” I don’t know, but it would be easy to conceive of the descending guitar lines at the song’s midpoint as entry to an atmosphere. That descending figure remains layered in beneath the ensuing build and payoff, which, gorgeously melodic and pushed seemingly ever forward, leaves nothing to be desired in terms of providing an apex for Monomyth as a whole. The band finished surprisingly noisy over the course of their last minute-plus — could that be the signal from Huygens breaking up? — but when they bring “Huygens” down to radio silence, the effect is striking and shows one last time that whatever Monomyth might be pushing toward aesthetically with any given part, they remain aware of their surroundings at all times. If I thought this was as far as they could or wanted to go creatively, I’d call it mastery, but it seems that with their debut, Monomyth are beginning a journey rather than ending one. They’ve made it from a molecular level to the rings of Saturn and offered no lack of mystery between, all the while managing to offset prog’s usual staid technicality with a stridently human consciousness, resulting in a first outing as engaging as it is accomplished." - The Obelisk
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  • Love the Mellotron?  Well have we got an album for you...Many years ago we reissued the 1971 release from this British progressive band.  Originally released on the RCA Neon label it achieved mythic status because there were 3 Mellotron players listed (turned out to be one Mellotron and a few of the band members played it).  Prices for original albums soared into the stratosphere.  We set out on our quest to bring Spring into the digital age.  As it turned out it was actually quite easy and we had the full participation of the lead singer Pat Moran.  For many years it was one of our most succesful releases but ultimately went out of print.  Since then it has reappeared on various labels - all using our CD as their source materials.Now we have a new visitiation by Esoteric Recordings who have not only gone back to the original source tapes but have successfully done what we were unable to - they have uncovered the tapes for the unreleased second album.The second album featured a slightly different lineup.  The Mellotron was gone and largely subplanted with organ.  Even still it was obviously Spring through and through.  So you now have the complete works of Spring: the first album, three non-lp tracks, plus a complete second album.  Of course expect the usual great booklet filled with all kinds of unknown facts culled from the late Pat Moran's diaries.Highest recommendation.  BUY OR DIE! 
    $15.00
  • Goat are an amazing and mesmerizing psychedelic ensemble from Sweden.  The band's possibly mythical biography has created a mystique about them and their intense live performances is spreading the word like wildfire.  One thing is for certain - this band's blend of Black Sabbath, Can, Gong, and Fela Kuti is unlike any other band on the planet.  Tribal rhythms sync with thunderous distorted basslines underpinning amphetamine driven wah-wah guitar leads and whacked out dual female vocals.  This is truly crazy stuff that is unique and one of the reasons this band is in the process of blowing up onto the world stage.  Highest recommendation.Check out this video of their live performance:
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  • "A more ruminative effort than Sanguine Hum’s well-regarded 2010 debut, The Weight of the World is post-prog in both the most “post” and the most “prog” sense of the words.Recorded at Evolution studios in Oxford, The Weight of the World finds Joff Winks, Matt Baber, Brad Waissman and Andrew Booker absorbing, and then brilliantly modifying, some of the best of what’s come before, imbuing The Weight of the World with the impressive gravitas of very familiar antecedent influences.For instance, dreamscape reminiscences associated with Radiohead (“System For Solution”) find a home here. There are whispers of Steven Wilson (“From The Ground Up”), too. You’ll recall the wonders of Gentle Giant (“Phosfor”), and the mesmerizing sound collages of Boards of Canada (“Day of Release”), as well. Yet, on free-form, ambient-meets-jazz-meets-math rock moments like “In Code,” Sanguine Hum never sounds like anything so much as itself.That holds true even when the band swerves into the murkier waters of epic songcraft, though — like much of this project — the title track takes shape slowly, or at least more slowly than Diving Bell. As it does, however, there is a lot to recommend about The Weight of the World — so much that reveals itself, so much that rewards repeated listenings.Even as its most complex, Sanguine Hum retains an approachability that steers these proceedings well away from any polyester-era excesses. In other words, The Weight of the World remains all proggy, but also all post-y — in the very smartest of ways." - Something Else! Reviews
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  • Here's a band that has the potential to blow up big.  Purson is the latest signing to Rise Above Records. Lee Dorrian has a real affinity for sniffing out bands that fit the retro-British sound.  Purson is led by vocalist/guitarist Rosie Cunningham.  This quintet is obsessed with a pure early 70s sound.  Think of a mash up of Black Sabbath, Trees, Julian's Treatment and King Crimson.  Keys are dominated by organ and Mellotron with dual guitar leads.  Pastoral folky passages marry doom laden riffs all whipped together with a Abominable Doctor Phibes feel.  If Hammer ran a recording studio in 1972 it would sound something like this.  Highly recommended."Straight out the gate, UK doom rock newcomers Purson’s debut album achieves something awfully impressive: its own sound. ‘The Circle and the Blur Door" dabbles in the same oh-so-au courant 1970s hard rock circles as Ghost and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, but the similarities end there, as the band takes an unexpected turn towards 60s pop, loopy prog, and vintage horror. A jaunty, carnivalesque organ guides “Well Spoiled Machine”, as Rosie Cunningham’s throaty, knowing voice glides through a thicket of fuzzy riffs, fiery leads, and jumpy drum fills. It’s an eerie, toothsome morsel, and one of a strange album’s strangest moments. Overall, the band’s whimsical, folk-influenced approach is very English (think dark country roads and haunted manors), and not a without a slight undercurrent of menace." - Pitchfork 
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  • The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves.  Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there.  Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan.  One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice.  It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji.  The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics.  The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time).  Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz.  Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics.  There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing.  The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element.  Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present.  This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music.  Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label.  They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process.  We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.  More will follow in the near future.This is the first of a trilogy of albums coordinated by label founder Tee Fuji.  Its a bit of an all-star jam with members of the TBM roster.  Its a fully electric set that features serious blowing.  Some of it gets pretty freaky but in a good way."Sounds beyond compare – one of those really special 70s sessions from the Japanese Three Blind Mice label – put together in a way that almost seems to be a genre unto itself! The group here have a keen understanding of advances in free jazz and fusion, but work with a deeper spiritual undercurrent and a great sense of sound (shaped by producer Takashi "Tee" Fujii) – so that their individual instrumental elements flow together in rich new ways that are sometimes subtle, sometimes quite righteous! The lineup shifts a bit from track to track – and the set features xcellent work on flute and bass clarinet from Kenji Mori, electric piano from Masaru Imada, tenor from Takao Uematsu, and bass and cello from Nobuyoshi Ino. Titles include "End Of November", "Mort", "Our Foolish", and "Dragon Garden"."
    $29.00
  • First solo album from the vocalist of Japan. Musically similar to Japan with world music influences. Sylvian's vocals always reminded me of Brian Ferry. The musicians include members of Japan as well as Hoger Czukay, Ryuichi Sakmoto, Jon Hassell, ao.
    $11.00
  • When the vinyl came in I proclaimed this as one of the frontrunners for album of the year and nothing has changed since.  Stunning album.Agusa is an instrumental quartet from Sweden.  The band is derived from members of Sveriges Kommuner & Landsting, Kama Loka and Hoofoot.  This is a VERY retro sounding album that will appeal to fans of Kebnekajse, Pink Floyd, and perhaps even Anglagard.  No symphonic elements - just straight up organ, guitar, bass, and drums ripping it up over four long tracks.  Very dynamic sounds going on - shimmering echoey guitar leads that will remind you of Kenny Håkanson or Achim Reichel battling it out with undercurrents of organ that erupt into solos.  Overarching the music is a mystical psychedelic vibe - like this whole thing was cooked up in an Arab hashish den.  BUY OR DIE!!
    $15.00
  • King Crimson has performed, recorded & released material in its own inimitable manner for the past 46 years. As the band enters its 47th year of operation in 2015, the occasion is marked with the first release culled from the band’s Autumn 2014 US tour. Comprised of 41 minutes of material by the newest incarnation of the band fronted by the line-up’s formidable three drummer setup, Live At The Orpheum has been mixed from 24bit multi-track performances recorded at the band’s two concerts at the Los Angeles venue. Featuring a mixture of new & old King Crimson material – some being performed live for the first time – the album makes an ideal recorded debut for the septet.For those who travelled from all over the world to see the US shows, it’s an opportunity to relive the power, precision & sheer musicality of the concerts. For those who couldn’t attend but wanted to, it’s an opportunity to hear why the concerts generated such excitement.For any fan of the band, recent or long-term, it’s an essential purchase. With further concerts being planned for 2015, Live At The Orpheum is the perfect start for a new year of King Crimson music.Track listing:CD (16/44.1 stereo), DVD-A (24/96 Hi-Res stereo)1 Walk On: Monk Morph Chamber Music2 One More Red Nightmare3 Banshee Legs Bell Hassle4 The ConstruKction of Light5 The Letters6 Sailor’s Tale7 StarlessGavin Harrison - Pat Mastelotto – Bill Rieflin - Mel Collins - Robert Fripp - Jakko Jakszyk - Tony LevinRecorded Sept. 30th, October 1st at The Orpheum Theatre, Los AngelesFront Line: Mixed & Engineered by Gavin HarrisonBack Line: Mixed by Jakko Jakszyk & Robert FrippProduction Engineer: Jakko JakszykLive Recording Engineer: Mark Vreeken
    $17.00
  • New 24 bit remastered edition of the second album from this essential Canterbury band. Gilgamesh was the sister band to Hatfield & The North that walked the same ground minus the humor (or vocals). The late Alan Gowen was a brilliant keyboardist and is matched here by Hugh Hopper, Trevor Tompkins and Phil Lee.
    $17.00