Olympia July 11, 1973

This is one of those releases that seems to skirt the copyright laws as there are many incarnations of it - none of them on Columbia or Sony. The set captures the very electric Miles Davis band in concert at the Olympia in Paris on July 11, 1973. The lineup is stellar: Dave Liebman, Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas, Michael Henderson, Al Foster, and Mtume. Sound quality is ok - I suspect the origins of the show was from a radio broadcast since everything is pretty balanced sounding. This lineup really brings the thunder and at this price its hard to pass up. Highly recommended.

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  • I and Thou is a new band project put together by Renaissance keyboardist Jason Hart. If you've seen Renaissance on their recent tours you've seen Jason perform all the symphonic/orchestral parts that really filled out the sound in a way that the old lineup couldn't without the aid of an orchestra.Not only does Jason play all the keyboards but he also is the lead vocalist and contributes on sundry instruments. His overall sound is extremely reminiscent of Tony Banks. Jason brought in a bunch of ringers from Izz - John Galgano plays bass, Paul Bremner is one of the guitarists, and Laura Meade contributes on backing vocals. Most of the guitar work is handled by Jack Petruzzelli. Oh yeah Steve Hogarth actually makes a guest appearance providing vocals on the last piece "Go Or Go Ahead" - a cover of a Rufus Wainwright tune.The music has a laid back and refined quality but there are still plenty of undercurrents of complexity that are most evident during the instrumental passages. Consisting of 4 epic length pieces plus the one cover the listener will be reminded of Wind And Wuthering period Genesis, Renaissance, Echolyn, and Izz. Quite a beautiful album, rounded out with beautiful cover art courtesy of Annie Haslam. Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
    $9.00
  • New 2CD live set recorded in North America 1998 and Japan 1999.
    $6.00
  • Second album from this instrumental French-Canadian trio. The music of Talisma is spun out of jam sessions in the studio and quickly crafted into songs allowing the band to retain that spontaneous edge. Using an array of guitars, basses, and guitar-triggered synths over agressive drumming lends a Crimsonesque atmosphere. Overall the band is closet to older Edhels in the way they utilize textural keyboards and blend acoustic and electric guitars.
    $15.00
  • Finally on CD - the great live album from the 1974 tour - with expanded material.
    $15.00
  • Stumbled across a reference to this Italian band on a forum and really enjoyed what I heard.  Bloody things cost a fortune and I was disappointed to discover that they are in fact CD-Rs.  Caveat Emptor.  At  least the music is great.Castle Fusion is a six piece ensemble.  The band has phenomenal chops and are not afraid to show it off.  The music also has a real sense of maturity.  I don't know anything about these guys but they sound like seasoned veterans.  The music definitely falls in the realm of "Rock Progressivo Italiano".  Vocals are predominantly in English although there are a couple of tunes with Italian vocals (and two instrumentals).  Its a really nice blend of symphonic keys, flute, sax, jazz-inflected guitar leads and a killer rhythm section.  These guys can really blow.  Fans of Banco, PFM, and Osanna should check them out.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Special edition CD/DVD set arrives in a digipak. The bonus DVD contains Steven Wilson's mixes: DTS 5.1, Dolby AC3 5.1 and 24/48 Stereo LPCM tracks (no idea why it's not 24/96). You also get a lot of documentary footage as well.This should probably suck but it actually doesn't. Because of a rift between Ian Anderson and Martin Barre this is being put into the market as "Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson". As you by now surmise this is a musical sequel to the original album. Again its a concept album updating us on the life of the main character Gerald Bostock. In live performance, Anderson's voice is shot. Within the context of the studio recording he plays it smart and never takes his voice where it doesn't want to go. Lots of Hammond organ and flute gives it the authentic 70s Tull flavor. Admittedly my expectations were pretty low but I have to say that this is far better than it has any right to be.
    $24.00
  • Digipak reissue of the third Lifetime album, originally released in 1971. New lineup with Larry Young on organ, Ted Dunbar on guitar, Ron Carter on bass and Don Alias and Warren Smith on drums and percussion. This is a real hairy one. Lots of anger...
    $15.00
  • Third album from this Dutch progressive band is a conceptual work.  This one has strong political leanings so it might bother some of you out there.  It basically deals with changes in the geopolitcal climate since the late 90s.  While the band's first album was squarely in the metal camp, the subsequent albums find them moving more and more into the prog rock arena but maintaining an underlying heaviness.  Plenty of keyboards featured throughout the mix in a way that complements the guitar driven heaviness.  For me the stand out is vocalist Dennis Binnekade.  He has a stunning voice and I noticed that this time around someone coached him on his pronuciation. Rock solid contemporary prog. Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • Pymlico is the studio project led by Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Arild Broter.   Guiding Light is his third album under this moniker.  He plays drums, keys, and guitar but he receives assistance from a multitude of musicians including 14 string shredder Felix Martin.  Guiding Light is all instrumental.  The music touches on a variety of genres - Scandinavian jazz, sountrack and world music - all underpinned with an obvious symphonic rock influence.  Its nicely produced with a spacious sound.  In places I'm reminded a bit of Mike Oldfield and Gandalf.  This is the good stuff.
    $12.00
  • Amazing how these guys are still able to bring it. A Night For Baku turns it up a notch and then kicks it into overdrive finding the boys from Cali unleashing their usual assortment of psych-tinged progressive mayhem. Somewhere...someplace...the Progressive Gods are looking down on us with a big grin on their faces...Djam Karet have delivered the real goods again.
    $15.00
  • "Really superb debut album from this contemporary instrumental progressive rock band who sound completely contemporary but manage to do so while not using the metallic/crunchy overtones that so many contemporary progressive bands use. There's a certain dark, mysterious quality which is probably due to the strings, but it's not particularly avant-garde. It doesn't sound like anyone else and it doesn't sound old. Highly recommended." - Wayside Music Makajodama is the unusual name for this young instrumental quartet from Sweden. The band was formed by Mathias Danielsson, guitarist for the progressive rock band Gösta Berlings Saga. In the course of searching for another avenue to express his own musical ideas he met Mattias Ankarbrandt, the former drummer of The Carpet Knights. Their goal was to blend both written and improvised music. Through the walls of the cellar of Mathias' rehearsal studio, he could hear someone practice violin everyday, and since some of his new ideas included strings he decided to find out who the player was. After a month searching, they located their man Johan Klint who immediately joined Mattias and Mathias. As luck would have it Johan knew a cellist, Karin Larsdotter, who was also interested in improvisation as well and she came onboard, rounding out the quartet. The band invited Anekdoten’s guitarist, Nicklas Barker, to mix the album. Makajodama’s debut is a direct reflection of the quartet’s influences: Third Ear Band, Univers Zero, Swedish psych pioneers Älgarnas Trädgård, the kraut rock spirit of Can and Faust, and Swedish contemporary composers Karl-Birger Blomdahl and Allan Pettersson. The result is a unique collision of progressive and post rock that sounds like the musical offspring of early King Crimson and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The artwork and design of the digipak was created by noted Swedish artist Johan Björkegren. Get a taste of Makajodama here: Makajodama's MySpace Page
    $14.00
  • 24 bit remastered edition of the first solo album from Curved Air violinist Darryl Way. Recorded in 1978, it was Way's attempt at a serious classical composition. He couldn't afford an actual orchestra so he enlisted Curved Air bandmate Francis Monkman to perform the orchestration on synthesizers. Wolf drummer Ian Moseley performs on percussion as well.
    $17.00
  • THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens."Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror
    $13.00