Monday, 27 September 2010

Adam Nitti - Liquid Blue 1996

Genre: Jazz, Fussion, Modern Jazz-Rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1996
Renaissance Man Records

Friday, 24 September 2010

Erik Mongrain - Fates 2007

Genre: Acoustic Guitar / Instrumental / Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2007
Prophase Music

This first entry into the CD world by Erik Mongrain is to be lauded. It is hard to believe that someone whose first stumbling steps in the music world was to teach himself how to play Nirvana songs on an electric guitar, could produce such a wonderful album. If you are a Nirvana fan, stop reading now, because there will be no further mention of them! I love the acoustic guitar, and Erik has mastered this art, although he is only a youngster that was born in 1980, his playing style is that of a master. What I find absolutely amazing is that Erik is self taught, at the age of 14 he picked up a guitar and just ‘went for it’. Somewhere along the road he also taught himself how to read music, and began composing. I always admire people that see a goal, and go for it....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Robert Plant - Pictures At Eleven 1982 (JPN.Remastered + Expanded)

Genre: Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1982
Swan Song, Rhino Entertainment Company

After the long, hot journey in the Zeppelin, an oasis. Robert Plant’s first solo album is rooted in the music of Zeppelin, of course, but that’s not to say he’s tied to the past. Rather, he branches out, embracing a lighter, crisper studio sound that indulged in familiar exotica while shedding the heavy intensity of Led’s epic arrangements. You’ve seen the swagger of “Burning Down One Side” and “Worse Than Detroit” before, but unchained from his former band Plant could pass for Steven Tyler in a serious mood. Drummer Phil Collins keeps the beat on its toes, Cozy Powell is more a student of the Bonham school, and the core of Robbie Blunt, Paul Martinez and Jezz Woodroffe are as tight as any band Ozzy brought along for the ride. If you’re looking for a lost Zeppelin album, better to bark up Coda’s tree. If you’re looking for Plant’s genius in full flower, you really want Principles. Pictures At Eleven is simply a stake in the ground; a declaration that there would be life after Zeppelin, and it would look something like this (cue the moody “Like I’ve Never Been Gone”). What’s most impressive about Pictures is that Plant and Blunt come up with some awfully good material. Clearly, I hadn’t given Plant a large enough share of Zeppelin’s glory, and Pictures makes plain that much of what was best about that band (that indefinable groove, the heavy caravans of emotion driven through dark endless night) emanated from the singer. I’d always seen him as something of a slightly more substantive Roger Daltrey, and I didn’t count on Pictures At Eleven being so close to the genuine article. (Meanwhile, Jimmy Page, the grand architect, was noodling out inconsequential soundtracks.) It’s not the first time I’ve put my money on the wrong horse. It was, however, the first time that anyone from the legendary Led dared to get back in the saddle. To his eternal credit, Plant came in riding tall like we remembered....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Mitsuru Sutoh - Favor of My Friends (1997)

Genre: J-Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Village Records

This was a one-off solo album by the T-Square bass player. On this he grabbed 3 friends and produced this excellent album, more rock than jazz. The style is definately more ballsy than the usual melodic fayre that T-Square are known for with some very nice guitar work, even if some of the solo guitar peices can be a bit long at times. Having said that it is still one of my favorite J-Fusion albums.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Therion - A'Arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming 1997

Genre: Modern Classical, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1997
Nuclear Blast

Sound: This is probably the best album to introduce new listeners to Therion. This is a very well orchestrated and guitar oriented album that dips even towards classical music. The choirs and duos in this album are also very intriguing to hear. This is also the second post pure death metal album showing the shift from former death metal to progressive/gothic metal. Lyrics and Singing: The lyrics are first of all Written by Thomas Karlsson the leader of the occult group "Dragon Rouge". These Lyrics always tell the Beliefs and ideals. The choirs and singer both chime in finely and sound good with the music. The female and male duets are also a good listen with shifts. The solo soprano singers just like on Lepaca Kliffoth though on this album the singers are greatly impressive. The lyrics if dissected by what is being said can be moving or at least challenge how one thinks...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Gambale Hamm Smith - Show Me What You Can Do (1998)

Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1998
Tone Center

What happens when you throw three virtuosos together in a room and tell them to create something that showcases their abilities and is also interesting to listen to? Tone Center Records found out when they commissioned the fiery Aussie guitarist Frank Gambale, bass monster Stuart Hamm and drum god Steve Smith for the self-explanatory SHOW ME WHAT YOU CAN DO. The result is a power trio album of tremendous strength and envelope-pushing musical madness. From the thunderous opening of "Bad Intent," it's obvious these boys didn't waste time getting to the good stuff. The testosterone is flowing heavily into the driving groove of "The Promise" as Gambale's piercing guitar surfs over Smith and Hamm's relentless pounding. Later, things take a on somewhat lighter shade on the slinky "Sink," until a powerful drum intro by Smith leads into a driving chops-fest known as "Wrong And Strong." Downshifting into low gear, the expressive "Tanya's Touch" is proof that these guys aren't just about technical facility. Finally, the trio pulls off a lightning fast swing pace on "Lydia's Love Van." Warning: take your vitamins for this one. Only the strong will survive!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Gregorian - Masters Of Chant 1999

Genre: Pop Rock, Downtempo, Ambient
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1999
Edel Media

Gregorian is a German band, headed by Frank Peterson, performing
Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs.
Because it features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment,
the music cannot be considered true Gregorian chant.

In 1998, Peterson and his team re-invented the project to perform
popular songs in the Gregorian style. The criteria for song selection
were strict; in order to be considered, a song needed to be
translatable into the 7-tone scale. After the songs were chosen,
twelve vocalists - previously acclaimed session and choir singers -
were hired.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Chick Corea Elektric Band - Chick Corea Elektric Band 1986

Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1986
Grp Records

A new chapter for Chick, who takes two supremely talented youngsters under his wing and leads them flying through some spirited fusion music. This, their debut album (and first for label GRP), could be seen as a return to RTF’s old stomping grounds except that here Corea is the master, Patitucci and Weckl the students. The record follows a loose concept concerning life in Elektric City (an analogy for our own world), like most cities harboring both temptation and salvation. The playing is superlative as you’d expect; Corea remains expressive and entertaining even behind an array of electronic machines, while Patitucci and the unconventional Weckl show flashes of real fire. The trio also receives some help from guest guitarists Carlos Rios and Scott Henderson. If you’re wondering why the album rates an average orange (oh, he’s color coding them now), it’s because so few fusion albums really get under my skin. I’ve listened to this record at least two dozen times, and by now I look for the same payoffs: the lively “Got A Match?” with its shades of Birdland, and the two exotic bookends on side two, “No Zone” and “India Town.” The rest of the record is good, but it doesn’t affect me the way a Romantic Warrior does. To its credit, The Chick Corea Elektric Band benefits from a consistent musical vision. Corea albums from the late ‘70s could often hop around restlessly between classical, traditional and fusion jazz, but this is pure electric/electronic fusion from beginning to end. If you enjoy fusion for itself (or think everything by Weather Report is brilliant) than you should check out at least one Elektric outing (preferably one featuring Eric Marienthal). This is otherwise an auspicious start, suggesting that as Weckl and Patitucci develop they might themselves complete the cycle from students to masters.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hiroshima - Providence (1992)

Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Modern Jazz
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 1992

Providence embodies many of Hiroshima's better strengths as with there use of instruments and well as vocal talents. In some of there previous albums they sometime have too much of one element and not enough of another. But they find balance in this album. There cover of "Ribbon in the sky" by Stevie Wonder is beautiful. As well as song like Turning Point, one of us and Autumn moon. But the gem of this album is the tropical groove of "Island world". You will feel you’re in Jamaica "mon". A strong album in its own right.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Exhivision - Exhivision 2004

Genre: J-Fusion, Jazz, jazz - rock
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: 2004
ZiZO Records

Four players from other groups, united to deliver their own spin on the time-tested electric jazz~rock formula. In essence, a supergroup? Well, quite possibly. Bowing in at the keyboards is Sense Of Wonder leader and J-Rock mainstay, Hiroyuki Namba; on guitar is Prism's Akira Wada; drumming is hotshot sessioner Kohji Hasegawa; and assuming fretless bass duty is one Toshimi Nagai, formerly of Vienna and pre-trio Gerard. Not exactly household names to those ignorant of Japan's robust progressive scene, but each muso is quite the stylist — which will be made abundantly clear to all who tune in to Exhivision's debut. Comparisons to Kenso were a bit hurried, but not exactly valid. Rather, think of Side Steps: those cats have the chops, but their compositions fall to the generic side a little too often — now eliminate that pitfall and add Namba's superior tonal palette. The rhythm section of Nagai and Hasegawa matches the shooting-star histrionics of Namba and Wada note-for-piercing-note. Expectedly, shades of Return To Forever resonate, though many listeners may find they prefer this to the East's answer to RTF, Roundhouse....

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Avishai Cohen - At Home (2005)

Genre: Jazz, Jazz Instrument, Live Performances, Bass, Fusion
Format: flac + cue + log
Released: February 22, 2005
Razdaz Records

Israeli bassist/composer Avishai Cohen is perhaps best known for playing with Chick Corea, but he was never destined to be a sideman; his songwriting and arranging skills are too developed. On At Home—his first release since 2003's Lyla—Cohen demonstrates that his writing and arranging are as imaginative and wide-ranging as his bass playing is virtuosic....