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Old 02-01-2009, 04:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks tore, glad you like it. Lets baptize more ppl and start a Friends of Lucifer church that shall surpass Comus's Leaf Hound cult in numbers, muahahahah!!!

Dreams of domination aside, the very obscure album I am reviewing today should appeal to anyone who loves Frank Zappa, the Canterbury Scene, or Belgian waffles. Or all simultaneously, lulz.

Here we go then-

Pazop - Psychillis Of A Lunatic Genius (1972)


Track Listing

1. Le la Loo Loo le La (2:29)
2. Harlequin of Love (2:50)
3. Crying for Disaster's Hand (4:08)
4. What Is the Further Purpose (3:10)
5. Swaying Fire (3:32)
6. Mirela (2:10)
7. Freedom Dance (3:28)
8. Lovelight (4:06)
9. Bami, Lychee, Si (5:26)
10. Harlequin of Love [Second Version] (3:08)
11. Can It Be Sin (6:54)
12. And the Hermit Will Be the Master (5:18)
13. M.M.M. (5:50)
14. In the Army (Devil Likes Smoke) (1:37)
15. Airport Formalities and Taking Off... (6:18)
16. It's the End (0:44)

A band like Pazop brings up some interesting questions for the musically inclined, though their importance is more often than not secondary to the music itself. Is it better when the lyrics are concrete or left to the interpretation of the listener? Is it really art when the musicians themselves aren't taking themselves seriously to begin with?

You'd normally associate these sort of inquiries with Zappa, Beefheart, or of more well known Rock-In-Opposition bands who tried to do music which defied everybody elses definitions of the word. But even though nothing on this record is jaw-droppingly gamebreaking or crap like that, I can assure you guys that this here group Pazop is zany and fun enough to be deserving of the same questions. For one thing, they are Belgians playing the sort of keyboard driven jazzy flute-rock that was madly popular in Canterbury, Kent at the time, yet coupling it with a freakish lyrical style reminiscent of Don Van Vliet on Trout Mask Replica, yet still coming out as something completely different from either. Second, there is no guitar on this album. Not. One. Lick., which makes it that much more odd of just how well it rocks out.

Moving on: Breaking down these tracks is close to impossible. All sixteen songs are excursions into the more avant-garde side of jazz-rock which was touched upon by Matching Mole and National Health, but never fully taken in. You have flute, keyboards, violin, bass, and gruffy vocals which fit this quirky album like the tuxedo you bought on Prom Night, which you wouldn't think would make for a good sound but actually works wonders in further distinguishing them from other bands of the era. The structures are...not really there for the most part, which makes describing exactly how they are pretty futile. You just gotta hear it and make comparisons for yourselves.

Anyway, to put everything all so simply: When you get random lines like "Masterbation is the only good formation", you know you are listening to something very special and unique. Sad that there weren't more bands in the Canterbury Scene who tried an approach like this, but if that were the case, I wouldn't be reviewing this album right now: it stands apart from the rest, and that makes it worth a listen even if you don't intend to keep it in your collection.

In conclusion, Pazop is recommended to anyone who always wanted a bit of unconvential humour in their Caravan, but never got their wish. Or if you just like to be pleasantly surprised by the weird/offbeat. Either way, there's plenty of kicks to be had.

Album Verdict: 5.3/7

Here's a vid of track #4, What Is The Further Purpose, though the quality sucks. Do your bests to enjoy it anyway.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Okkkay then...here's another review for the hell of it.

The Vampires of Dartmoore - Dracula's Music Cabinet (1969)


Track Listing

1. The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sex (2:04)
2. Crime And Horror (2:48)
3. The Fire-Dragon Of Hongkong (2:38)
4. Murder In The Ohio Express (2:34)
5. Dance Of The Vampires (2:34)
6. Hallo, Mister Hitchc*ck (2:06)
7. The Executioner Of Dartmoore (2:29)
8. Killer's End (2:17)
9. The Soaked Body (2:38)
10. A Handful Of Nitro (2:08)
11. Dr. Caligaris Creeps-Cabinet (2:54)
12. Frankenstein Greets Alpha 7 (2:25)

Of the various obscure bands in my collection, stuff like this ranks among the weirdest for sure. The Vampires of Dartmoore were a short-lived psychedelic, garage-Krautrock outfit who put forth this single release before vanishing off the face of the planet soon after (1969 must not have been that great year for German rock bands = /). Unfortunately, I can't tell any of you much about the band itself: there's like, no information ANYWHERE about the members on the web, which makes this album's existence even more mysterious/dubious than normal. I mean sure, there were as many one shot bands back in those days as there were stars in the sky, but with a group like this, it just seems really odd that there's no background info...

*cough*. Anyway... as the title suggests, Dracula's Music Cabinet is something like a soundtrack to a kind of low-budget 1960's horror movie, featuring screams, evil cackling, sounds of torture and moans amidst the bass, guitar, sax, freaky sounds, industrial drumming and moody Hammond organ which all mix freely into something that sounds...novel to say the least, even 40 years after its creation. Dogs barking, the laughter of a mad scientist, the looming of an old house against the terror that a full moon brings...it all just visualizes so easily as you are drawn into record's groove, and I generally have difficulty visualizing any kind of scene when I listen to music of any sort.

Basically, the whole experience of going through this album is so strange, sleazy and different from the usual fare (and this is coming from a love of avant-garde here), that I can only consider it a masterpiece. Its left that strong an impression on me within a year.

So on a final note, I'll personally PM Dracula's Music Cabinet to anyone who is interested/brave enough to give it a try. Love it, hate it, care less for it...I can say with certainty that once your ears get a taste of it, you won't forget it. Ever.

Album Verdict: 7/7

Oh yah, here's a video some fan made with the track "Dance of the Vampires" as the background music.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It's also great at family occasions, just ask Cardboard.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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can I get a PM please?
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Vampires of Dartmoor looks worth a listen for the cover alone. any chance of an up?
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm listening to Dr. Sex's torture chamber now .. What the hell is this ****? It's all flute, whips, frog croaks and moaning.

.. Awesome!
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Glad everyone who I've PMed Dracula's Music Cabinet to is enjoying it thusfar. Odd music ain't it, hahahaha!

Now then, today's review is a bit different from the last couple. The album is recent and not particularly obscure, but I would say it's a curious piece and thus interesting enough to be worth a review. Plus, I have a few comments to make about all this contemporary "new prog" which seems to be at the forefront of most prog. scenes today...

Moon Safari - Blomljud (2008)


Track Listing

1. Constant Bloom (1:26)
2. Methuselah's Children (15:42)
3. In the Countryside (5:42)
4. Moonwalk (8:48)
5. Bluebells (10:11)
6. The Ghost of Flowers Past (9:47)
7. Yasgur's Farm (8:05)
8. Lady of the Woodlands (3:36)
9. A Tale of Three and Tree (3:28)
10. Other Half of the Sky (31:42)
11. To Sail Beyond the Sunset (5:18)

If any of you went to ProgArchives.com right now and started looking through the "Best" lists of 2007 and 2008, you would notice that there's a particularly annoying trend beginning to rear its ugly head, a phenomena which has seemingly been getting worse since the dawn of the new millenia: more than 60% of the highest rated releases are ALL symphonic progressive rock albums by bands/artists like The Flower Kings, Karmakanic, Spock's Beard, Knight Area, Galahad, Pendragon, Glass Hammer, etc. Big "WTF" moment for me at the time, but only recently did it hit me: the prog. revival which began revving up in the mid 90's...has hit a ceiling. Accessibility has become favored over compisition, and the ELP-style pretension which you see in bands like Dream Theater and in the majority of "prog. metal" had fully sunk its insidious claws into Neo-Prog. Eeeeeek!

Now, as a fan of Yes and Genesis, I don't have anything against Symphonic Progressive Rock personally. Harmony and I get along quite well together usually, and there's plenty of that to be found in Neo/Symphonic Prog. for some thirty odd years now. The thing is though, I've gone through my fair share of all these different "Third Wave" groups' discographies, yet I'm scared at just how indistinctive these bands are from one another in terms of approach/style/thematics over the last seven years or so. Every vocalist is trying to be Jon Anderson, Peter Gabriel or Steve Wilson. The instrumentation is consistantly good for the most part, but there's nothing there I haven't heard before or its all muddled in Nu-Metal/Alternative excremental influences which we all started hearing with Porcupine Tree on Deadwing but has now seeped in to everyone else's sound (with maybe Frost* being the only exception, but they're a studio project anyway). And The Flower Kings...once great, but since the 2000's have lost the vital spark they once had. A shame really, considering how godlike their debut was.

So what's left at the end for those who were looking for good modern prog.? Nothing: you lose hope that you'll find anything different and move on to bigger and better things.

Yet every once in awhile, something is different. You hear a band like Moon Safari and your faith and curiosity are renewed in the entire genre. Someone has opened a window and lets new wind blow the staleness out, and now you have a reason to be excited again!

So, on the album review: Blomljud is this Swedish outfit's sophomore album, an elaboration/maturation of sorts from 2005's A Doorway to Summer, which was nice but nothing special. Back then, I simply would have written Moon Safari as The Flower Kings' forgettable second cousin and moved onto something more interesting. But three years is a long time. More than enough time, actually, for a group who wants to elevate themselves above their competition to actually reach that goal. The result of that growth is this record, and its one of the best I've heard within the Symphonic genre a lonnnnnng time.

Aside from the rather refreshing emphasis on the folk side of prog. which so many other bands seem to have thrown away, what stood out for me the most were the vocals when I first picked up the album. When multi-instrumentalists Simon Akesson and Petter Sandstrom share the mike and stage together, it felt like someone had cloned The Beach Boys and gave them richer voices to sing their hearts out with. Rarely do vocals stand out in progressive rock of any kind, but for once I can give everyone my assurances that Moon Safari is TOP-NOTCH on this front, and it was a pleasant surprise for me.

The second thing that will strike you, if you pay attention, are the simple YET intelligently arranged lyrical/musical themes (a weak point in most modern day progressive rock) that emerge often enough to give this album a measure of enjoyable consistency. Because along with commentary on man's relationship with technology (In the Countryside), nostalgia of a simpler past (Yasgur's Farm, Constant Bloom), the music itself is warm as summer and unusually memorable to me considering all that I've heard. Tracks like the instrumental 'Moonwalk' can be almost hallucinatory when you close your eyes and lay out in a quiet place for Pate's sake! And I can't forget the stand-out 'Other Half of the Sky', which is 30 minutes of the sort of pastoral harmony that only comes around once in a thousand CDs.

So yeah, Symphonic Prog. did not die with Yes or the Canterbury bands like the purists would have you think. The spirit still lives on in bands like Moon Safari, who bring ingenuity and inventiveness but still giving us a poignant glimpse into a glorious time in music when masterpieces like Close to the Edge and In The Land of the Grey and Pink were at the forefront of the minds and hearts of listeners, lifting souls up and giving people the sort of joy that makes them want to go on living.

Maybe other groups will see the light and pick up a few pointers from this modern-day masterpiece. We have enough Porcupine Trees out there to make a forest after all, lol!!

Album Verdict: 6.1/7

The vid. below is Yasgur's Farm, one of the best tracks on the album. It's harder than some of the other tracks, but its definitely a highlight. If you like it, tell me and I'll PM this album to you!!

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Quote:
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
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wow, the Pazop album and the Vampires of Dartmoor album are awesome!! true, Dracula's Music Cabinet is probably the wierdest thing Ive ever heard, besides some of the magma stuff, but I still think I like the Pazop one better. That might change as I listen to them more, though
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Glad everyone who I've PMed Dracula's Music Cabinet to is enjoying it thusfar. Odd music ain't it, hahahaha!
Oh my. Can I get in on it too?
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Oh my. Can I get in on it too?
Me too if you don't mind, I liked what I heard so far.
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