Snack(s)

SKU: ALT038
Label:
Altrock Records
Category:
Avant Garde/RIO
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"Four years after their first, the mighty band of Oakland, led by guitarist / vocalist Wally Scharold, presents its new production, with a renewed line-up that keeps faith with its distinctive style reaching a full maturity in avant-garde rock. The complexity of the melodic lines, broken and involving the whole ensemble (with a substantial role for the wind section), the incessant rhythm characterized by continuous changes of measure, the “dirty” vocals by Scharold alternating to that of saxophonist Jamison Smeltz, make this release a new milestone for lovers of RIO and the avantgarde."

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  • New edition from Vinyl Magic comes in a mini-lp sleeve. One of my favorite Italian albums features a bunch of unknown musicians doing one of the great ELP ripoffs ever. A killer.
    $20.00
  • Of all the Yes albums that needed a remix this is the one that needed it the most!"Relayer (1974) is the third in a series of remixed and expanded Yes albums.Presented in a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve (with protective inner sleeves) with booklet featuring new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, along with rare photos and archive material, the album has been remixed into stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson and is fully approved by Yes.The blu-ray also contains the original album mix in high-resolution, a complete alternate album running order drawn from demos and studio run-throughs. Additional exclusive Blu-Ray features include extra demo/studio run-throughs, full album instrumental mixes, a full album needle-drop of an original UK A1/B1 vinyl pressing, single edits, live tracks, and needle-drops of the banded tracks from the original US vinyl promo album.Restored artwork approved by Roger Dean, the release of which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the album’s original late 1974 appearance."
    $25.00
  • After all these years, Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has finally released a solo album and frankly it isn't at all what I expected.  First off the album is all instrumental (not a bad thing frankly).  Don't expect insane shredding here.  Rothery presents a very refined symphonic rock album that, to these ears, owes a big debt to Pink Floyd.  Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson appear as guests and that is a nice plus but to be honest even without their contributions the album would satisfy anyway.  Rothery has put together a nice band, drawing musicians from British neoproggers Mr. So & So and Italian symphonic band Ranestrane.  Expect  mellow parts that meld with sections that have an electrified smoldering intensity.  As long as you don't expect an instrumental Clutching At Straws I think you'll find a lot to dig your teeth into here.  Highly recommended."Steve Rothery is best known as guitarist for those whipping boys of the mainstream press, the progressive rock band Marillion. For over 30 years, Marillion have surprised and delighted fans old and new with some truly outstanding music. Musical fashions have come and gone, governments have formed and fractured… and Marillion are still here, not just unbowed but positively revelling in their role as eternal underdogs, having now delivered more than 15 studio albums of tremendously well-wrought and highly emotive music. The cornerstone of Marillion’s music, perhaps, is Steve Rothery’s elegaic guitar. Influenced by players such as Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer but with a style all his own, Rothery – as the longest-serving member of the band – is in many ways the core of the band and one of its chief writers.Yet in all those 30-plus years, Rothery has never released a solo record. He has enjoyed a largely-acoustic based side project in the shape of The Wishing Tree, who have now released two albums (1996’s Carnival Of Souls and 2009’s Ostara), but has never released an album under his own name. Until now. A strikingly successful Kickstarter campaign – for a brief time, the Ghosts Of Pripyat pre-order was the most successful Kickstarter project in the world – has allowed Rothery the time and supporting talent to produce something very different to his day job; yet familiar enough to fans of Marillion to forge a strong link to Rothery’s work in that band.Whilst The Ghosts Of Pripyat is a solo album in name, Rothery has assembled a strong band to record it. A reflection of the strength of the band is that two previous live albums that Rothery has released in the run up to the release of this, his first studio album, were billed as being by ‘The Steve Rothery Band’. The band form a next-generation progressive rock supergroup of sorts: Dave Foster (Mr. So & So, Panic Room) on guitars, Leon Parr (ex-Mr. So & So) on drums, Yatim Halimi (Panic Room) on bass and Riccardo Romano (Ranestrane) on keys & acoustic guitar. Throughout the album they add further colour and crunch to Rothery’s instrumental flights of fancy, giving it an appealing earthbound energy.The album opens in almost cinematic style with ‘Morpheus’. Marillion fans will delight in the way this track builds with an almost sensual slowness from barely audible ambient wash to a circling riff comprised of Rothery’s signature guitar sound, a crystalline chorused sustain that is powerfully evocative in its simplicity. ‘Morpheus’ is half over before the band puts its full weight behind Rothery’s playing, but this is one of this album’s strengths. It is not a ornate shred-fest, nor is it a somnolent none-more-authentic bore; the music – like Rothery’s playing – is effortlessly melodic and atmospheric, almost a film soundtrack without a film. It is here that Rothery’s fondness for the playing of Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is most evident, and it’s entirely fitting that Hackett himself makes a guest appearance on this track. The two veteran guitarists trade off against each other beautifully, as if they’ve been playing together for years.Like any good soundtrack, each part of the album is very different in tone. Where ‘Morpheus’ was dreamy and reflective, ‘Kendris’ toys with a rolling, almost African-style drum pattern. Romano’s keys are especially important to this track, colouring in the backdrop to a musical safari whose shimmering heat haze makes for a warm, feelgood part of the album. This contrasts wonderfully with ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’, which is in many ways the centrepiece of the album. A near 12-minute track, it covers a range of moods very effectively. Opening with wave sounds, whale song and a mournful, lonely guitar fed through a Leslie effects pedal, it sounds beautifully Floydian – an effect only magnified when Rothery’s more familiar signature sound emerges to pick up the story. From these tentative but wonderfully evocative beginnings, the track gradually builds in intensity, musically and emotionally until it becomes as powerfully elemental as the sea that is its muse. The closing section in particular is one of the feistiest things that Rothery has committed to tape recently, featuring some forthright riffing built on top of a powerful performance by the assembled musicians, notably the muscular rhythm section of Halimi and Parr. In mood and subject matter, ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ sits comfortably alongside Marillion’s epic ‘Ocean Cloud’. Steve Hackett makes another guest appearance at the end, as does progressive rock wunderkind Steven Wilson – with Rothery’s presence, there are essentially three generations of progressive rock’s finest all delivering some great playing; a rare treat.‘White Pass’ was inspired by a treacherous icy path used by prospectors during the American gold rush, and its steadily rising tension is perfectly matched to its subject matter. A chugging, almost metallic riff crunches in midway through the track, the ideal accompaniment to this immersive tale of survival in a hostile environment. You can almost taste the icy chill of the howling winter winds. ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ also builds slowly, although the mood is almost antithetical to ‘White Pass': the track – a remembrance of Rothery’s late stepfather, a World War II veteran – forms a delicate and deeply emotive elegy that displays some of the most restrained playing on the album. Here, more than anywhere else, Rothery evokes the feel of mid-period Dire Straits, the gentle washes of keys and E-bowed guitar building to an affectionate but achingly sad solo that Mark Knopfler would have been extremely pleased with. This is the essence of Rothery’s playing, bottled in concentrated form: less is most definitely more. The closing two minutes display another marked influence, as the band dial up the blissful introspection into a dynamic gallop, accompanied by some very Latimer-esque playing, as Rothery tips his hat to another formative influence. Perhaps understandably the most intensely moving track, this is very special indeed.The penultimate track, ‘Summer’s End’, is another slow-burner, building from a sleepy, bucolic opening into an organ-driven hard rock riff that powers along, with a number of solos built over it, as Rothery trades some intense workouts with Foster, both of them clearly egging the other on to greater and greater heights. The magnificent atmospherics of ‘The Old Man Of The Sea’ and the emotional intensity of ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ are hard to top, but if the restraint shown on the rest of the album leave you longing for heads-down rock and roll, here it is.The closing title track was inspired by photographs of the now deserted town of Pripyat in Chernobyl. After the nuclear accident there in 1986, the town was abandoned after radioactivity rendered the region uninhabitable. Reclaimed by nature, Pripyat makes for an eerie monument to those who died, and the displaced workers whose lives have never been the same. That same uncanny sense of loss and aftermath informs the track, which almost serves as an epilogue to the album. Rothery and Foster, joined by Romano on 12-string acoustic, build a slowly expanding web of limpid acoustic lines, almost like a musical round that becomes more ornate as it develops. The rest of the band arrive a few minutes later, developing the pattern of the round into a cyclical, almost Zeppelinesque riff. In five minutes the track goes from reverent near-silence into a muscular rocker, and you barely notice it happening; it feels effortless, utterly uncontrived.It’s striking, on an entirely instrumental album written and produced by a guitarist, how few solos there are on this album given its running time. Rothery’s economy is admirable in that it is never forced; this is just how he takes care of business. That in itself is one of the reasons he is so beloved as a guitarist: yes, he can be truly devastating when delivering a solo; yes, he can crank out a chunky riff with the best of them; but his playing is always in the service of the piece. His reliably deft hands deliver not riffs or solos so much as they paint with six strings. Here, freed from the constraints of delivering songs – as in Marillion and The Wishing Tree – those sound paintings are given centre stage 100% of the time, and it’s testament to Rothery’s abilities as a player and a writer that the results never fail to hold your attention.Those familiar with Rothery’s work in and out of Marillion have waited a long time for his first solo album, but it has most definitely been worth the wait. Richly atmospheric, dynamic, emotive and beautifully recorded and mixed, The Ghosts Of Pripyat is everything that those who waited for it with baited breath were hoping for. For everyone else, the album is a stunning showcase for one of the UK’s least-acknowledged guitar maestros; the perfect introduction to a talent whose indefatigable muse continues to serve up some truly extraordinary music." - Echoes & Dust
    $12.00
  • Deluxe mediabook edition.  CD plus a DVD with 5.1 surround mix, 24 bit stereo, and a "making of" video."Always fond of conceptual storytelling, Ian Anderson goes himself one better with his latest prog-folk-metal concept album. The 15 songs of Homo Erraticus inhabit not one but two metafictional layers. The Gerald Bostock character, hero/anti-hero of the seminal Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick and its recent sequel Thick as a Brick 2, is back again, having now discovered a manuscript left behind in the 1920s by a malaria-ridden old British soldier delightfully named Ernest T. Parritt.Parritt's supposed writings range over northern European history from the Mesolithic era to his own - and on into his future, through the whole 20th century and into our own time and beyond. Winnowed into lyrics written by "Bostock" and set to music by the real protagonist of the story, Ian Anderson, these materials give Anderson - whose creative scope and energy remain robust even as his singing voice has thinned with age - a walk-in-closetful of pegs on which to hang a sequence of songs evoking nothing less than the history of mankind in his part of the world.The first track, "Doggerland," commemorates the area of the southern North Sea that used to be dry land connecting today's British Isles with the rest of Europe. Doggerland vanished under the waves as the last Ice Age ended but, as fisherman discovered not long ago, the sea floor retains much archeological evidence of human occupation. The succeeding songs address migrations, metalworking, invasions (from the Romans to Burger King), the arrival of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, and so on. To appreciate the songs, you'll want to (at least once) follow along with the notes and lyrics in the accompanying 32-page booklet.The Foreword, in which Anderson discusses the history of Jethro Tull and why he hasn't used the band name for his last few recordings, will especially interest longtime Tull fans. The real question is, will the songs themselves? Some yes, some no. The gruff metal of "Doggerland" gives way to the sweet, plinking folk of "Heavy Metals." (I imagine Anderson chuckling to himself at the irony - no pun intended - of creating such a gentle-sounding song with that title, and on that literal topic.) Both satisfy my Tull craving. "Meliora Sequamur" (Let Us Follow Better Things), which paints a picture of 12th century schoolboys amid religious chant (and cant), does too, and "The Turnpike Inn" is a solid rocker, and the hard-Celtic style of "The Engineer" moves briskly.I like the instrumental track "Tripudium ad Bellum" (Dancing to War). It starts off with an echo of a theme from the original Thick as a Brick (there are others elsewhere on the album), then resolves into a 5/4 march, like a more insistent "Living in the Past." War's aftermath appears in the next track, the sad, deliberate "After These Wars," in which I really feel the lack of Anderson's full-strength vocals. While he was never among rock's greatest singers, that didn't matter - when he sang his songs, you always felt he was all there, and that's what mattered. But now, and not only in the harder songs that shade into old-school heavy metal, his voice just isn't always a match for his music's energy any more.On the other hand, his gift for crafting pleasing, original melodies, writing smart, clever lyrics in complete sentences and true rhyme, and setting much of it in non-traditional time signatures remains strong. The first verse of "After These Wars" reads:After battle, with wounds to lick andbeaus and belles all reuniting.Rationing, austerity: it did us good after the fighting.Now, time to bid some fond farewells andwalk away from empires crumbling.Post-war baby-boom to fuel with post-Victorian half-dressed fumbling.No one in pop music writes like that anymore.Listening to the album as a complete conceptual work, my overall feeling is that there isn't very much new here. Since the 1960s Anderson and Tull have explored countless different musical paths and styles. Some of these produced some of my all-time favorite songs and recordings. Others I hated. But he never seemed to be resting on his laurels. Here I feel like I'm reading a chapter that's not much different from the last chapter.But listening to the songs individually, I like a lot of them. As I write this I'm trying to count the beats of the off-time closer, "Cold Dead Reckoning," with its grim imagery of a future of lost souls navigating their way over a metaphysical Doggerland "amongst the ranks and files of walking dead." I hear crunching minor-key guitar-bass-piano unison figures, a sprightly flute solo. A hopeful verse about "angels watching over" at the end doesn't convince me, as the music continues to growl on as before. Yet there follow a sweet, gentle instrumental coda, reminded us that while things may not turn out well for humanity as we teem over and ruin our only planet, our capacity to create and to appreciate beauty will be with us as long as we live. So let's raise the cup of crimson wonder to Ian Anderson as he charges not-so-gently through his seventh decade." - Seattle Pi
    $17.00
  • From the Austrian label that brought us the beautiful Klockwerk Orange reissue comes yet another rarity from that country's prog rock past.  Isaiah were yet another one and done band that released a sole album on CBS.  Originals are hideously rare and must be appraoching 4 figures at this point.  Its very much a flute/guitar driven album that touches on horn rock at times.  Plenty of tasteful keyboard work to boot as well.  This lavish gatefold set comes with a second album which contains incredible unreleased demos from 1973-1977.  This unreleased material is even better than the actual album!  As a bonus the label has graciously included both albums on CD.  Its all housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve that has liner notes in German and English.  Klockwerk Orange went out of print very quickly and I expect a repeat here as well.  Highly recommended.
    $27.00
  • Killer retro-prog from Norway laced with strong elements of doom metal.  This band is an offshoot from the outrageous Procosmian Fannyfiddlers, a rather bizarre band that created a rather unique, expletive drenched form of burlesque prog.  This is something totally different and a hell of a lot better.  Highly recommended."Abandoned By The Sun’ is a non-linear narrative, its focal point being the dubious disappearance of a 15-year old girl, her disappearance securing a downward spiral and a grave ripple effect that threatens to ruin the lives of everyone close to her. The idea projected is that nothing can be worse than to lose someone dear without getting any answers.Opening track, ‘Sudden Dereliction’, establishes a link to the previous record and the album’s finale, ‘Finite’, offers a glimpse of what really happened that fatal day, though leaving the listeners sufficient interpretive space to make up their own minds. In-between these bookends, the music moves in multiple, unexpected directions, showcasing great melody lines, and a high degree of diversity, underlining the sadness and despair of the libretto’s protagonists.On ‘Abandoned By The Sun’, Mater Thallium explore the inter-human mechanisms at work when a person vanishes without a trace.This is old-school heavy progressive rock, with a twist of doom, topped with flourishes of Scandinavian folk music." 
    $17.00
  • Hey I didn't make up the album title!  Leave that to guitarist Chato Segerer.  He's an admitted fan of Frank Zappa and that is apparent in his songwriting.  If you are a fan of Morglbl and Panzerballet I think you'll lose it over Chato's disc.  The humor is there but its very subtlely woven into the fabric of the music.  So overall what might appear to be some wacked out over the top album turns out to be a rather tasteful album of prog fusion with balls!
    $13.00
  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • "Esoteric are pleased to announce the reissues of the entire Vertigo label recordings by Jackson Heights, the group founded by Lee JACKSON, bass guitarist and vocalist with The Nice. Upon the demise of The Nice, Jackson founded his new band, recording one album for Charisma before moving home to the legendary Vertigo label, for whom the band recorded three albums. By this time Lee Jackson had assembled a new line up of Brian Chatton (Keyboards), John McBurnie (Guitar) and Mike Giles (formerly of King Crimson) (drums). This line-up was the band’ s finest with Ragamuffin’s Fool being their second album for the Swirl label."
    $17.00
  • Maschine is a new British band led by guitarist Luke Machin.  You may know him from his work with The Tangent.  Maschine sounds nothing like that.  The music is contemporary prog rock with some heavy influences.  I would be hard pressed to call this metal.  The star of the band, front and center, is Machin himself.  He displays prodigious abilities as a guitarist...as a vocalist not so much.  That's pretty much the chink in the armour for this album.  Machin's vocals are not his strong suit.  He would be better off handing the job off to someone else and concentrate on what he does best - bringing the shred.  This isn't to say that this album is a wankfest.  Nothing of the sort.  Its actually quite tasteful and there is a good balance of keyboards and flute in support but I keep waiting for Machin to let loose with a solo and when he does he brings the goods.  His background as a graduate of Brighton Institute is apparent - the compositions reflect his knowledge of jazz, classical, and yeah metal.  Its all good stuff but the man needs to stay away from the mic.This is the US jewel box edition that has the same two bonus tracks as the German import digipak.  Other than the packaging the music is identical.
    $12.00
  • "Guitarist Tommy Shaw joined Styx in time for this 1976, helping the band begin the rise that would soon take them to the top. The album was a hit and Mademoiselle went Top 40; it joins Put Me On; Crystal Ball; This Old Man , and more theatrical pop!"
    $5.00
  • Third part of the trilogy created by Riverside vocalist Mariusz Duda. Impressions is a collection of instrumental material conceived during the sessions that produced the first and second albums. The album is acoustic based and quite moody and introspective. Duda is the primary musician and in some cases the sole musician on a given track. He is also accompanied by Maciej Szelenbaum and Wawrzyniec Dramawicz (Indukti). The music can be quite hypnotic at times as acoustic guitar, tuned percussion, and bass intertwine repeatedly with slight changes taking place over time - progressive rock meets classical minimalism. File under: MESMERIZING.
    $13.00
  • Vocalist Silje Wergeland has been fronting The Gathering since 2009.  She has developed into a more than able replacement for Anneke Van Giersbergen.  The Gathering's music is far removed from the early death and gothic metal days.  They have firmly moved into the post-progressive rock genre.  Their music deals more with mood and tension - textures and atmosphere.  Think of a more rock oriented version of Portishead. 
    $15.00
  • Tripped out album from South American guitarist Alfonso Lovo. Recorded in 1976, this only existed as an unreleased acetate.  With Santana percussionist Jose "Chepito" Areas on board, you can hear the obvious influences but there is a definite psychedelic vibe - this isn't straight up latin rock.  Synthesisers waft through the air with a lysergic randomness that reminds of some stoned out Jamaican session.  Snakey wah-wah'ed out guitar leads add to the fun and the horns and percussion treat the whole thing like some weird out take from Abraxas.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00