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MICHAEL LAKE/Elektrik Project V. 1: Don't you just love it when you're panning for gold and some gold stays in your pan after the silt drains away? A long time muso with a dual love for his trombone and electronics finds a way to merge the two into sounds for tomorrow where it's not just creativity to show mom that you can do it with no hands. A moldy fig pleaser? Hmm, probably not. A winner for those with open minds even if they aren't left leaning? Count on it. As influenced by Ken Nordine as well as any of the bone masters, Lake would seem to have too many miles under his belt to lead the way to tomorrow---but he's on a quest. Killer stuff for those looking toward tomorrow to really appreciate.

JOSH SWENSEN/I'll call You When I reach Two Harbors: Whether you like singer/songwriters looking at life through dirty windows or not, the honesty of this set will reach you. Hitting the road after high school, now feeling the pressure from the real world that wasn't on him when he made his recording debut in high school, this is how the old school sound of going for it rather than getting your law degree first sounds. A very solid coming of age record that deals with the realities of becoming an adult today.

CURVED AIR/Rarities Series V. 2- Curved Space & Infinity: The fans responded well enough to the first archival trip that the next one unfolds here. Space jamming to the other side of the galaxy that Hawkwind did, this is a wild set of composed music decompressed into an eternal jam that pushes the buttons and edges of all the players abilities. Timeless head music throughout, this double disc of these beloved geezers from the 60s shows that expanded minds are something now given to the whims of fashion. Utterly wild stuff that can teach the manqués a thing to three.

ESQUIRE III/No Spare Planet: Here's the last hit off the bong from these dark prog rockers with a connection to Yes and grand children to boot. Genre fans have a final slice of real deal on their hands here from this duo that could have taught emo screamers a thing or two on how to show the pain and take it to the dark side. Having been around so many chops, these two knew how to raise the roof throughout. Genre fans, check it out.

JOSEPH ISRAEL/Paradise: First we get all these white boys with the blues, now we get this ginger man from Arkansas making his 6th reggae album and doing it so credibly that it's sure to rock the world and reggae music worlds. Sounding very much like one of the top tier bands Island staffed their roster with to have bench strength to keep Marley in line, white reggae is continuing to come from strange quadrants showing how much more skanking we could enjoy if they would just get serious about legalizing gage everywhere. Wild stuff throughout.

LUCIFER'S FRIEND/Too Late to Hate: Once these geezers reformed, they haven't been taking prisoners. This set, recorded this year in Japan, has them kicking out hard rock moves other contemporary geezers only wish they could--if they're even still alive. Loud and proud sound and fury rule the day on this disc which is a veritable dose of riches for Beavis' of all ages. Killer stuff by cats that should have gotten more credit for writing the book.

JEFF RICHMAN/Sizzle: Settle in with a drink and an easy chair to enjoy this easy going fusion set from this vet jazzbo guitarist who turns in a major label recording, the kind the of which the majors aren't making any more. Inviting other major label pals to bring their major label sound to the mix, this smoking indie set does much more than keep Richman's name out there. A fine reminder of what west coast fusion had going for it before the consultants murdered it, Richman and the gang aren't taking a journey through the past, they're running a mission for quality now. Well done throughout.

RICHARD PALMER-JAMES/Takeaway: Forget Cohen and Reed, if Jackson Frank, Tom Rapp or Nick Drake were still recording today, this sounds like they would with some modern trappings in the mix. With enough gray hair on his dome to make him a vet of the old days, this Euro session has the Euro moves that dark wave singer songwriters from Kurt Weill on are familiar with. Quite an interesting entry from the art side of the ledger.

JOHN WESTON/The Official Bootleg Archive V. 1: Deep as we are in to the age of deconstruction, the fans have spoken that they want it all--the bootlegs, the live tapes, the out takes---everything. Of course, they want it free for streaming, but that's another issue for another time. Prog/hard rock vocalist John Wetton is the most obliging fellow giving the fans one brick loaded with three double disc versions of three different shows with three different bands stretching back 20 years. Feeling like there's no reason to hold back, this is more than a bounty of riches for the underserved rocking fan. Of course, he stretches back even farther than that so there's a veritable of left leaning rock history on parade here. All told, this set proves that too much is never enough.

FRED HUGHES TRIO/Matrix: The cover art is almost misleading enough to make you think the old Milwaukee fusion crew got back together for another shot. Not so. This is a DC pianist showing his love for some of Miles classic piano men as well as playing like he's been ingesting old piano trio records recorded at Bohemian Caverns. Simply a tasty jazz piano trio date by an bunch of pros that have done their share to grab more spotlight from now on out. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 30
November 30, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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