Tappeto Volante

SKU: BBXL10009
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BTF
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World Music
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"Exclusive LP reissue of "Tappeto Volante", third and last one release by Aktuala, an 'open musical collective' from milan, a fixed nucleus with many different contributes from guest musicians. As the Third Ear Band have always been inserted in the international prog panorama, the same happened with Aktuala, who were real music pioneers able to blend world, ethnic, jazz and avantgarde music.

"Tappeto Volante", published in 1976 always on Bla Bla record label, was the swan song for Aktuala, an unique ensemble who often suffered a lot of criticism, often unjustified, from colleagues and critics. In a period of great social and cultural changes, Aktuala consistently continued in the making of their third album, an LP that consists of several short tracks that do not reach the cohesion of previous releases, albeit in line with what had already been proposed earlier."

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  • Since the release of 2013’s In Crescendo, Kingcrow toured North America in support of Pain Of Salvation, and headlined a European tour.  Kingcrow kept busy in 2014, touring Europe with Fates Warning and at the same time crafting the material that would become Eidos.“Eidos” is a new conceptual album about choices, consequences, dealing with regret and disillusion. Their earlier album Phlegethon dealt with childhood and In Crescendo about the end of youth.  Eidos can be considered the third part of a trilogy about the path of life. Musically it sees the band exploring new territories and pushing the extremes of its complex soundscape with a darker atmosphere and a more progressive attitude.Describing the band today is quite a difficult task, but one could state that the influence of such artists as Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Opeth, Anathema, Radiohead , King Crimson and Massive Attack are all present in the music of Kingcrow.With each release Kingcrow has taken a step further away from their original roots as a classic metal band and is now one of the most personal and exciting bands that Italy has to offer.
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  • Its been a couple of years but from the back of the warehouse, 8000 miles from here, we were able to exhume additional copies of the XRCD24 edition of this world music/new age classic.  While compatible with Redbook CD standards (this means it will work in your CD player) it is manufactured using JVC's proprietary mastering process.  There are lots of versions of this audiophile reference disc but this may well be the definitive one.Last time we had these they sold out immediately.  I would expect the same again. 
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  • Debut album from this Indian sitarist originally released in 1970. Ananda Shankar was the nephew of Ravi Shankar (Ananda died in 2000). Backed by a variety of session musicians, the album has a veneer of Velveeta spread over some of it - particularly the Stones and Doors covers. With early Moog, guitar, bass, tabla and drums as backing, Shankar plays some masterful sitar through out. Overall it's extremely dated sounding but charming and should be of interest to psych fans.
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  • A couple of years ago I scored some of these in a warehouse find and they blew out of here immediately.  Some more turned up but how long they will last is anyone's guess.Dadawa is the stage name of Chinese singer Zhu Zheqin.  Think of her as China's answer to Enya.  No Celtic influences here - its purely Asian.  She collaborated with producer/composer He Xuntian on Sister Drum (and later titles) and he knows what he's doing.  The music builds and builds and draws you in.  Her voice is purely hypnotic.  The production is such that it unfolds in layers and layers - of vocals and instrumentation.I have to make a point of discussing the audio aspects of this set.  Its simply unbelievable.  While compatible with standard Redbook CD, the dynamics on this album are utterly insance.  If you crank this one up you are in danger of smoking your woofers - the bottom end on this recording is cavernous but tight as can be.  This is an XRCD24 disc.  It is a special pressing utilizing JVC's proprietary mastering process.  You want to be a show off?  This is the disc to play.  A total lease breaker and gorgeous music to boot.  BUY OR DIE!
    $5.00
  • "Song For Everyone heralds the return of the groove in Shankar's East-West-minded music, with former Shakti colleague Zakir Hussain on tabla, Trilok Gurtu on percussion, and Shankar's own manipulation of a drum machine tending to the rhythms. The result is a brighter, more outgoing record than its predecessor Vision, veering between Western acoustic and electric grooves and the complex beats churned out by the tabla. Jan Garbarek again shines beams of light on soprano and tenor, engaging Shankar's 10-string double-necked electric violin in some complex interplay on the title track. Some tracks are driven entirely or partially by the drum machine; "Paper Nut" has a particularly infectious revolving pattern. But sometimes Shankar overdoes it; the lengthy "Watching You" has an overly mechanized feeling that can be either mesmerizing or infuriating, depending upon your mood. On another track, "I Know," the Western percussion is gradually swallowed up by the Indian tabla. Fascinating, free-thinking music, beautifully recorded as usual by ECM."- All Music Guide
    $11.00
  • "Since returning to music from an eight year hiatus in 2013, Kari Rueslåtten is definitely making up for lost time. 2014 saw the release of Time to Tell, her finest solo album to date, with the soft wintry melodies and her beautiful voice making it one of the highlights of the 2014- and later in the year she teamed up with Anneke Van Giersbergen and Liv Kristine to tour as The Sirens – playing a range of material from her previous band The 3rd and the Mortal and her solo career. And only 18 months after Time to Tell she’s already back with her sixth solo album To to North, another beautiful album with a lovely atmosphere, sounding new while hearkening back to previous efforts, and now we’re in December I can confidently say is my album of the year.As usual with Kari, the album is centred around her beautiful voice – her soft ethereal vocals with a Nordic trill areas lovely as ever throughout To the North, a constant on a rather varied album. The sound throughout is crystalline, the production really accentuates her voice, and each of the instruments is clear as can be. The first track Battle Forevermore begins as a soft piano led ballad, with a beautifully sullen voice recounting the story of a love gone sour, with the swell of guitar in the middle building an electric, almost intense atmosphere. The electric guitar throughout To the North was almost absent in the former album Time to Tell, and it adds a lot throughout the album – as on the following rockier piece Mary’s Song – the guitar melodies and subtle synths creating a modern sounding track reminiscent somewhat of the Mesmerized album, with touches of Spindelsinn.The next handful of tracks, show her folkier side, one she’s shined at since her career first began in The 3rd and the Mortal days. The acoustic guitar, wind instruments and subtle percussion on Three Roses In My Hands make for a sombre piece of Nordic sounding folk, while the electric guitar comes in with a soft reverb-y wash in Dance With The King, a more mordern piece but another where her folk side is exemplary in the lyrics and her soft voice.Letting Go sees a return to the flirtations with electronic elements as explored on Pilot, drum loops and a slight effect on the vocals over a supremely catchy guitar riff drenched in delay see a small return to that experimentalism, with tremolo picked guitars and clashing drums coming in at the track’s great climax. Arrow in My Heart is the highlight of the album, the soft guitar creates such a lovely atmosphere, carried along by simple, but perfectly placed drums  serving to create a perfect backdrop to Kari’s voice which is as beautiful as it’s ever been in her whole career – her intonation on each line is perfect, especially the high notes near the end of the song. The bittersweet lyrics are lovely, and with the emotion in each one, this is the one you’ll be playing on repeat after the album ends.The last two tracks create a dark, brooding atmosphere that’s almost tangible. The penultimate, Turn, Turn, Turn is a cover of The Byrds track, but inverted from it’s upbeat pop to dark, folky moroseness. The crackle of distortion from the guitar creates a sombre fog, exemplified by a darker side to her voice and the plod of the piano that make it an intospective sullen, brooding piece. The closer To the North is the most atmospheric of the bunch, the otherworldly synths and slow brooding guitars create a thick icy atmosphere akin to being lost in a snowstorm. Her voice takes on a folky Nordic tone once again, and with the layering of synth and guitar it’s the closest in sound to Tears Laid in Earth than anything she’s done in the intervening years since leaving The 3rd and the Mortal. The guitar solo near the end is electrifying, and  it’s a cold, wintry closer that more than lives up to it’s name, true Nordic beauty.With such a short gap since Time to Tell, one could have been forgiven for anticipating a continuation of that album, but she’s pushed her sound once again. She takes elements of her previous albums, and even her time from The 3rd and the Mortal, but adds new elements and a crystalline modern production to create a fresh and brilliant release. Overall the album seems more sullen than Time to Tell, an upbeat album in places, but with a brooding atmosphere, more variation and that great production it’s a worthy follow up. And with hauntingly beautiful tracks such as Battle Forevermore, Arrow in My Heart and the title track in particular, it’s easy to fall in love with To the North, so much so that it’s certainly my album of the year." - Swirls Of Noise
    $15.00
  • " "The cold war's gone, but those bastards'll find us another one/They're here to protect you, don't you know?/So get used to it - Get used to it!.../The sense that it's useless, and the fear to try/Not believing the leaders, the media that feed us/Living with the big lie." ("Living With the Big Lie," from Brave)In the 27 years since Steve Hogarth took over as lead vocalist for Marillion, the band has had only one bona fide concept album: the aurally and emotionally stunning Brave (1994). Using as a starting point the (true) news story of a young woman found roaming around an area of England -- who did not know who she was, or where she had come from, and even refused to speak to the police or the media -- the band created a fictional "back story" for her, which included some fairly "dark" elements, including re politics, socio-culture, media -- and fear. The above quotation is a good example -- and very relevant to their new album, as the new album offers a look at how the "big lie" has become even bigger. However, the overall effect of Brave was more "melancholic" than grim, more sad than "judgmental" (of the society they describe).Twenty-two years later, the same (or worse) "darkness" exists in many of the same ways, but even more ominously now -- and this time the band is at the center of the story -- and they are ANGRY. Indeed, the overall effect of the album is one of barely checked (and occasionally unbridled) anger, and a deep frustration and concern both for England (whom they are directly addressing) and beyond (including the U.S., for whom some of the issues are the same). One might say (borrowing another phrase from Brave) that the band is no longer "hollow men," but has become both worldly-wise and world-weary, both "informed" and disillusioned, even (to a degree) cynical.The album consists of three suites, separated by two other compositions, one of which relates directly to the suites, the other of which seems a tad out of place (though, as we will see, its inclusion does make some sense). The three suites -- "El Dorado," "The Leavers," and "The New Kings" -- and the related composition ("Living in FEAR") are all, in one form or another, observations on fear: how it is created (fear-mongering), how it is controlled (via politics and media), how it affects people. The other composition ("White Paper") is mostly a meditation on love -- in this case, "dying" love -- though it seems that the love is dying at least in part as the result of the prevailing atmos-fear. Thus, while it is a tad more "jarring" in this context then the similar inclusion of love on Brave, there is no question that love is also a victim of fear.The album opens with "El Dorado," a five-part composition that describes the plight of immigrants, and the roadblocks (both figurative and literal) that they often encounter, particularly including xenophobia:"The roads are traveled by many, like promises of peace./And some choose not to go -- the fear looks like bravado./I see them waiting, smiling, on the borders in dawn's mist,/Or lost to the world in their upturned boats"/"I see myself in them, the people at the borders/Denied our so-called golden streets,/Running from demolished lives into walls."It doesn't get much more concise, and understandably cynical, than that. In fact, this suite makes an interesting companion piece to "Gaza" (from their previous album, Sounds That Can't Be Made): where the latter (a 17-minute epic) is specific to a certain group, the former (another 17-minute epic) deals with a broader scope. It is also interesting to note that this album was written and recorded well before the Brexit vote, and could be seen as somewhat prescient in that regard."Living in FEAR" is a more generalized look at fear, and particularly the responses it creates, not least including a variety of "walls" (again, both literal and figurative). Noting specific walls and "lines not to be crossed" (the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall -- all of which are called "a waste of time"), it also speaks to the "walls" that people themselves put up when they are afraid.That observation is made against a hopeful call for some sort of normalcy:"The key left in the outside of the unlocked door isn't forgetfulness --/It's a challenge to change your heart./The apple pie cooling on the windowsill is such a welcome change/From living in fear -- year after year after year./There's a price to pay, living in fear is so very dear./Can you really afford it?"There is also a call to "put down our arms" ("We've decided to risk melting our guns -- as a show of strength").Although least "political," the second suite ("The Leavers") puts the band in the center of the story -- after all, touring allows for a degree of observation of the world that is perhaps only shared by true "world travelers." The band sees itself as "Leavers" -- "parties that travel" -- who show up for a day or two and then move on. They arrive "before dawn," and "slip in from ring- roads," bringing their "boxes of noises, boxes of light": "We will make a show and then we'll go." They juxtapose themselves against the "Remainers": those who "remain in their homely places" (i.e., lead normal lives), and sometimes "try to persuade us, and tame us, and train us and save us and keep us home as we try to fit in with the family life." But once in a while, the Remainers "leave their homely places with excited faces -- preparing their minds for a break from the sensible life" (i.e., a rock concert)..."[I]n one sacred ritual, we all come together -- We're all one tonight."As noted, although "White Paper" is something of an "outlier" here, it nevertheless provides a look at how fear can affect love -- and vice-versa."The New Kings" is the angriest and most sardonic of the three suites. It addresses money and media, plutocrats and oligarchs. Re money, it is decidedly less than kind:"We are the new Kings, buying up London from Monaco./We do as we please, while you do as you're told./Our world orbits yours and enjoys the view,//From this height we don't see the slums and the bums on the street./Oceans of money high in the clouds/But if you hang around, more often than not it will trickle down./We're too big to fall, we're too big to fail."Even Gordon Gekko gets a shout-out ("Greed is good").With respect to the media, the following plaint by a confused citizen pretty much nails the cynicism of many people (including conspiracy theorists):"We saw the crash on the news today/It changed our lives -- but did it really happen?.../I don't know if I can believe the news/They can do anything with computers these days."As an aside, it is interesting to consider "The New Kings" in light of the following from Brave's "Paper Lies":"Are we living only for today?/It's a sign of the times --/We believe anything and nothing./When you look into the money/Do you see a face you hardly recognize?/When you get behind the news of the world/Do the things you find begin to bend your mind?/Paper lies."As noted, after 22 years, not only has nothing changed, but it seems to have gotten worse.But the band leaves its bitterest anger at the "approaching storm" (which may well already be here) for last:"Remember a time when you thought that you mattered/Believed in the school song, die for your country/A country that cared for you -- all in it together?/A national anthem you could sing without feeling used or ashamed./If it ever was more than a lie, or some naïve romantic notion/Well, it's all shattered now./Why is nothing ever true?.../On your knees, peasant. You're living for the New King."Although Marillion (and particularly Mr. Hogarth) has always dabbled in socio-politics, it has become increasingly present -- and the band increasingly concerned -- of late. In this regard, F.E.A.R. is a shamelessly -- and understandably -- angry set of observations, and brings their socio-politics to a fine (rapier-like) point.Musically, if Marillion's three strongest musical influences are (as I have always felt) Genesis, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues, this album is strongly (and superbly) Floydian, with nice touches of the Moodies, and only occasional Genesis influence. (Indeed, the electric piano figure in "The Gold," and some other keyboard figures, could have been lifted from PF's Animals. And much of the guitar work throughout has a wonderfully Gilmour-ish sensibility.) This is actually not surprising (and is meant as a compliment), given that PF are the masters of the kind of "dystopian" rock that F.E.A.R. represents. And although everyone in the band is superb -- and there is a deceptively brilliant cohesion that approaches a sort of uber-gestalt -- this album is largely Mark Kelly's (with a more-than-able assist from guitarist Steve Rothery): although Mr. Hogarth undoubtedly plays some piano parts, it is Mr. Kelly's piano and keyboards (along with the atmospheres and effects created in the studio) that undergird nearly the entire album. And this, too, is not surprising, since this is true of almost every great concept album in prog.As suggested above, there are also quite a few allusions (subconscious or not), both lyrical and musical, to Brave. In fact, after you have had a chance to truly take this album in, I invite you to go back and read the lyrics to Brave, and then listen to Brave again. And this is not in any way a criticism of F.E.A.R.: if anything, it is another compliment. Indeed, the only reason I am rating this album 4.5 instead of five stars is that I gave five stars to Brave; and while this album is superb in every way -- and harks back to that masterpiece -- it does not quite reach the frightening brilliance of its predecessor.Finally, there is an aspect of this album that I have not found with any other concept album in memory. [N.B. This is where even curious readers who are reading this before listening may want to stop and listen to the album first. I am quite serious. I'll give you a little time to think about it. (Tick-tock-tick-tock?)]What I have discovered is that the five pieces are strangely "inter-changeable." What I mean by this is that the song order can be changed, not only without changing the overall concept, but, in at least one case (and I admit this is hopelessly presumptive) possibly strengthening it.This thought first occurred when I received the album as a download, with the song "Tomorrow's New Country" closing the album, even though it appeared on the lyric sheet as the sixth ("vi") part of "The Leavers." When I contacted Marillion to make sure this was the correct placement, I asked, if it was, whether it was deliberate: i.e., an attempt to "soften the blow" at the end of "The New Kings." The response was, yes, it was meant as an "antidote" (their word), and was deliberately moved from "The Leavers" to the end of the album (though the lyric sheet still reflected its original place).So -- I decided to see what the album would sound like putting "Tomorrow's New Country" back in its "proper" place. And the effect was remarkable. Not better or worse, just -- different, in a surprising (and even conceptually relevant) way. (Once you have heard the album in its given order a few times, I highly recommend programming it to do this -- just for fun, if nothing else.) Then, feeling as I do about "White Paper," I decided to test a theory, and played the five pieces in a couple of different orders entirely (while keeping the three suites in order). The order that surprised me most (in a positive, eyebrow-raising way) with respect to expressing the overall concept (and also working together "musically" from one track to another) was starting with "White Paper," playing the three suites in their present order one after the other, and ending with "Living in FEAR." Again, I am not suggesting that the order chosen by the band is "wrong" in any way. After all, the band's "vision" is the one that counts, and there are reasons (good ones!) that they chose the song order that they did. I am simply suggesting that, unlike most (maybe any) concept albums you've heard, there is an interesting ability to "play around" with the placement of the two non-suites, and maintain both conceptual and musical integrity.Ultimately, F.E.A.R. is a superb album (and, like all great albums, gets better with each listen), and a welcome addition not only to Marillion's oeuvre, but to the prog concept album canon. Kudos to one of the few bands that keeps neo-prog not simply alive, but thriving and -- progressing. And a band that has genuine care and concern for the world around them and the people who live in it." - ProgArchives
    $23.00
  • 1976's sophomore album finds the band continuing to explore the ethnic music of different regions from around the world.  The music predominantly has an ethnic jazz sound but when guitarist Hasse Walli lets it rip watch out.
    $14.00
  • "Exclusive LP reissue of "Tappeto Volante", third and last one release by Aktuala, an 'open musical collective' from milan, a fixed nucleus with many different contributes from guest musicians. As the Third Ear Band have always been inserted in the international prog panorama, the same happened with Aktuala, who were real music pioneers able to blend world, ethnic, jazz and avantgarde music."Tappeto Volante", published in 1976 always on Bla Bla record label, was the swan song for Aktuala, an unique ensemble who often suffered a lot of criticism, often unjustified, from colleagues and critics. In a period of great social and cultural changes, Aktuala consistently continued in the making of their third album, an LP that consists of several short tracks that do not reach the cohesion of previous releases, albeit in line with what had already been proposed earlier."
    $16.00
  • 1975 debut album on Love Records from this still running Finnish band.  Piirpauke is led by Sakari Kukko who plays a variety of wind instruments as well as keyboards.  The band explores world music themes incorporating elements of jazz...and then plugging in the electricity.  The debut draws on influences from Romania, Bali, China, and Finland.  Beautiful stuff.
    $14.00
  • So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $12.00
  • ONE OF A KIND TITLE FROM THE LASER'S EDGE ARCHIVE"Bask consists of flautist Jonas Simonson, saxophonist/percussionist Sten Kallman and fiddler Hans Kennemark. This unique instrumentation brings a freshness to their self-titled debut album, which arranges original and traditional melodies originally intended for solo fiddle into acoustic trio pieces. Bask's deceptively simple counterpoints and harmonies make for enjoyable listening, as background music or with closer scrutiny." - ALLMUSIC
    $8.00