ROBERT BERRY'S 3.2/Alive at Prog Stock: Imagine that, a cat that stepped into some pretty big shoes and did it on chops rather than an appearance on "America Idol"? What will they think of next? From elbowing his way into ELP to becoming a prog rock mainstay on his own, Berry appreciates being one of the "Lucki(est) Men" of the time and kicks out the jams on this 30 year celebration spread over two discs and a DVD of the event. A real top liner set with solid cats on board that really shakes off any dust on the genre, the tunes reach across the generations so well you don't have to be a geezer to dig it. Progalicious throughout.
(2nd Street 202201)
J.PETER SCHWAIM & STEPHEN THELEN/Transneptunian Planets: Two electro acoustic cats with separate histories with the label bring their bags of tricks together for an impressionistic romp through the galaxy that finds them turning Tomita inside out as they explore the demotion of Pluto and what fares beyond. Well floor planned stuff with a mathematician's mind at the wheel, space heads this is the time for you to get out your head phones and find out what would happen if Mike Oldfield met up with Steve Reich. Out there.
(Rare Noise 134)
COURTNEY HALE REVIA/Growing Pains: If only every middle aged (or there about) woman that thinks she's had a revelation about life she needs to share with the world would listen to this coming of age set by one who was once full of piss and vinegar before finding out life had other plans---the world would be a better place. The best personal/confessional singer songwriter stuff since before Laurel Canyon became a cliché and a parody, this Texas gal is to too good to be true. Genre fans can come proudly back into the tent as this set proudly leads the way..
MATT SIMONS/Identity Crisis: The California based grandson of opera singers made the most of the new paradigm when he used to internet to help him on is way---which led to success in Europe. A beatnik with beats, you can see how he can hit the right notes with festival audiences needing a proper soundtrack for the hang. The times they are a-changing'.
MC MAGUIRE/Transmutation of Things: A time and space genre blender/bender that prides himself on being more annoying the Philip Glass deconstructs everything and reassembles it into something wilder and deeper than orchestras playing pop hits. Such thunderous stuff that you won't know what hit you, none of the clichés or tropes of the pretenders are evident here. All you can do is strap yourself in an prepare for a wild ride through.....somewhere. And he looks kind of like Clint Eastwood. Do ya feel lucky?
LAWSON & MERRILL/Signals: In which we find we've come a long way since signals
through the glass. Electroacoustic soundscapers, this pair takes you on a space odyssey of another sort. Not drone, not ambient but at times most closest to ‘om' it's almost like progressive mediation music for meditation on Mars.
COMPOSERS INSIDE ELECTRONICS/David Tudor's Rainforest IV: Tudor might have shuffled off this mortal coil 25 years ago, but the community he founded and pioneered to keep his work going is gearing up to celebrate it's 50th. Originally recorded in 1977 and released now, this is a mega geek party for the sound enthusiast as you really need headphones to dig into what's going on here---stuff that sounds like flotsam and jetsam in the average mall food court to the naked ear. Even farther out there than Bernie Krause's sonic palettes.
VARIANT 6/New Suns: A little bit of the old ars gratia artis as this crew drops their debut record with a program of newly commissioned choral works that sound like they could have been found in St. John of the Cross's cave. A serious, high minded vocal a cappella session that will open the ears of the classical music fan that like the works in this quadrant. Forward thinking traditionalists are everywhere these days.
(Open G )
MARGARET BROUWER/Reactions: In which we find that even an esteemed, modern classical composer can have a pandemic album too. With new pieces inspired by the state of the world as we know it now, she brings a deep well of soul to her new works but finds space to plug in joys as well as sorrows. An emotionally engaging set of pieces, music for real grown ups that can take their tunes almost as literature, serious music is alive and well and shows it doesn't even have to take itself too seriously beyond maintaining quality. Well done throughout.
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CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
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