Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sonashish- Sitar Recital by K.G. Westman (Bihaan Music)

Most of you probably know KG from his work with Siena Root and Øresund Space Collective but this is what KG does most of the time, that is, play classical northern Indian music. This is his first solo CD called Sonashish. It was recorded in India on April 9th and 11, 2017. The CD features two fantastic raga which also feature tabla player, Shri Jyan Swarup Mukherjee.  The first piece is called Raag Shonashish conceived by KG’s grand master, Pandit Rabindra Narayan Goswami. It starts off quite slow and meditative but then the tabla kicks in and the energy level slowly rises until it is quite intense. The ending, wow.. Transports you to another place.  Raag Multani. This raag is meant to be heard in the late afternoon or at sunset and is a pretty fast piece with intense playing from both players.

Both these pieces are presented in Alaap, gat in rupak tall and drut teentaal. This is information for classical students about the different passages the music will travel through (speed, etc..)..   Excellent album. I just wish it was longer. Check out a short piece from last summer below.. 

Frozen Planet .. 1969- From the Center of a Parallel Universe (Peppar Shaker Records)

Frozen Planet 1969 are back with their 3rd release and 2nd this year. The band really is on a roll and this one sounds like it could have been recorded at the same session as the bands last record. I had this cranked up while sitting out on the patio staring out to the mountains and forest and was taken on a real journey. The bass sound is fantastic on the record and some amazing lines and grooves that give guitarist, Frank, a lot of space to do his thing and he does it!!
Signals is a short intro piece that leads into the Celestial Gambler. A bit of spacey guitar and then the bass fades up and straight into a fast groove with some killer guitar soloing. Later there is some slide guitar as well. Later it gets quite funky and the bass playing is killer. Wow..  Throough Hell’s Kaleidescope Pts 1&2, is a 13mins freakout. Starts with some really far out effected guitars and delays as the bass and drums just keeping driving the train.  Around 4mins Paul kicks into more traditional guitar soloing and less effected as the track comes down in speed.  Then there is a lot of freaky guitar and great bass by Lachian. It starts to pick up again around 9 mins. The Lady and the Archer is only 4mins and starts with a sort of Robin Trower like guitar. This is a way more traditional rock instrumental then the two previous freakouts! Ancient Wings Taking Flight is the last 14min track. It starts off quite slow and experimental and later becomes stoned and bluesy. Another pretty damn cool record. Released in Europe by Headspin.

Fans of JPT Scare band, Earthless, Black Bombain, etc.. will dig this band.

Strobe- Bunker Sessions (Sulatron Records st1707-2)

Strobe was a very cool UK band from the early 90s. I have all their old records so I was very interested to hear this record. This recording is from 1994, when the band had moved on from is LOOP inspired repetitive psych rock. This was recorded in between the Circle never Ends LP and the Alienation one (1997), when the bands sound had become more mainstream.  Anyway, at the Bunker studios, they set in with the three guitar line up and just played and recorded. This is all live with no overdubs but some vocals.  The opening track is 10mins long and called Sun Birth, a slow building track with the 3 different guitars mixing in riffs, bending notes, etc.. as the drums and bass just keep the jam moving forward. It is a quit open sound production so you can hear all instruments clearly.  By 6mins one of the guitar players his lead mode and plays a very cool solo and then another joins in as they start to weave. Cool jam. Into your Skin is only 3 mins long and a proper song with vocals.  It ends quite fast as I was just getting into it. Obsession  and Chameleon Earth which starts side B both actually appeared on the Alienation record from 1997 but in a rerecorded version (Zoo Station).  I really like the delay guitar line on Obsession as it builds up and balances the vocals. Great song. Chameleon Earth speeds things up a bit but keeps the sort of dark but melodic feel of the music and features Mitch’s vocal. It features some very melodic guitars. Opium Dreams features Helen on Vocals and starts very dreamy but slowly builds up on the back of the wah guitar as it slowly builds and gets more psychedelic. The vocal remains very light and dreamy, despite the more psychy guitars. Sun Death is the final track and is an instrumental and very cool- If you dug the bands 90s records you will want to get this one for sure. Great find Dave…

A Fast ride out of Here by Pete Way and Paul Reis (Constable Books)

UFO is one of my favorite 70s bands and I have seen them quite a few times, the first time in 1981 when Iron Maiden opened for them (last US show with Paul Dianno) at the Long Beach Arena. UFO was all living in LA at this time and was quite a big band in the USA. This was about their peak actually.  I learned quite a lot. I had no idea that UFO was such alcoholic and drug abusers. Wow..  IT seems that they were very controlled though and until the early 80s, never played bad shows as they were able to do most of their drugs after the shows and not drink too much but Phil spiralled out of control in the early 80s and was drunk on stage and it all went downhill from there.  By 1986 they were playing small clubs. I did an interview with Phil in 1986 and he was in bad shape the show was even cancelled that night. Anyway, I never really knew why Michael left but it seemed mostly to do with that the band had become to big. He and Pete had a great chemistry and he loved playing in UFO but it all just got to big for him and he was quite alone in the group, and still did not speak a lot of English it seems even by the late 70s, isolating him further.  He and Pete have stayed friends, it was mostly the riff between Michael and Phil that destroyed UFO.

            This is a pretty interesting book starting at the very beginning of UFO and running up through 1982, when Pete left to start Fastway with Fast Eddie Clarke (only to leave without saying anything). The fact that this band did not materialize with him is a big regret he has.  He also speaks about touring with Ozzy. He and Ozzy got into quite some trouble at times. He goes into his time with Waysted as well, which was his last chance to create a big band with backing from a major label, before it all went really down hill. He talks about all his music projects up until the present with his new album, Walking on the Edge.  I was not aware of his first solo album Amphetamine. I also did not know he made an LP with Michael Schenker under the name, the Plot! 

Pete is pretty open about all of his wives and relationships. I had no idea he had lived on and off in Copenhagen for 12 years when he had a Danish wife (who later died of a broken heart, drug and alcohol abuse).  Then lived in Columbus Ohio for many years until his wife died of a drug overdose.  At the end of the book he is on his 6th wife, beaten prostate cancer and made a new record and really wants to get back on the road after beating herion and cancer and not drinking until he is drunk anymore. What a tough and crazy life. You can hear a sampler of one track from the new record below, which features Slash. 

If I wanted one more thing about the book, it would have been more details about the making of the UFO records, but I guess he did not remember more details. Fun book to read.

Electric Moon- Stardust Rituals (Sulatron Records st1703-2 )

Electric Moon is back with a new studio album and what a great and different one it is.  I think they had reached the limit with where they could go with the heavy guitar freakout stuff. This album is great from start to finish and a real nice journey. More keyboard oriented and layered so difficult to perform live but EM has always just jammed live anyway.  The LP starts off with the 8min The Loop. A very organ based number and Lulu sings a spacey echoy vocal that reminds me a lot of the Growing Seeds, not just the vocal but the song actually. Stardust (The Picture) is a track the band recorded back in 2014 and has appeared on two live albums (instrumental) but Lulu sings on this one. IT has a heavy hypnotic simple bass and guitar to start and then Sula kicks in with the effects on the guitar and off you go into heavy psych space. Trippy vocals at times. Astral hitchhike is a short 4min track with sitar guitar. Beautiful and floating. (You Will) Live Forever Know is a long 22min track that starts slowly with some sitar guitar and a dreamy vocal. What a track… A really great album.  Congrats.

The album has been very successful with the first two presses (1500 total) already sold out and the 3rd pressing coming out in December. Get it!