Articles by Glenn Astarita

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Blake: Crystal Machine

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British synthesizer ace Tim Blake was the artist who created all those bizarre and textured synth sounds for prog rock acolytes, Gong from 1972-1975. He later joined legendary space rock band Hawkwind in 1979 for a spell, but connected with French lighting stylist Patrice Warrener to develop Crystal Machine, which of course, is the title of this album that includes two live works in tandem with the latter's light show and bonus tracks. Digitally remastered with original artwork and insightful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oberg / Mahall / Griener: Lacy Pool_2

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Pianist Uwe Oberg didn't follow a straight and narrow path when putting together this formidable European trio. There is no bassist, and Rudi Mahall performs solely on clarinets, as most listeners would expect a soprano saxophone to be the mainstay of any band that pays homage to the late, modern-era jazz pioneer Steve Lacy. More importantly, the band, including drummer Michael Griener, mold Lacy's works into their signature group-focused voice, yet duly adhere to his core rhythmic and melodic fundamentals, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Archer / Mwamba / Bennett / Fairclough: Sunshine! Quartet

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You never know what path British reedman, multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer will traverse. Whether he's leading orchestral units, freely improvised trios, avant-rock and electronics tinged fare or his recordings with legendary rock and jazz vocalist Julie Tippetts, the artist underscores his experimental implementations with the element of surprise. On this quartet date with his fellow countrymen, Archer occasionally interweaves an abstract Birth of the Cool type vibe with forceful mini-motifs, sublime melodies and hearty improvisational sectors. Moreover, each musician contributes one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Magic Pie: King For A Day

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This Norwegian band was assembled upon the notion of creating a progressive sound texture that signals the 70s, and to fuse musical propensities into the modern era by bridging classic rock into a hardcore prog rock idiom. This album follows Karisma Records' recent reissue / remasters and newly offered vinyl formats of Motions of Desire (2005) Circus of Life (2007) and The Suffering Joy (2011).There's a little for everyone, so to speak, as the ensemble bridges multiple paths ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zero Times Everything: Sonic Cinema

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Multi-instrumentalist Richard Sylvarnes encapsulates the trio's approach by stating: “In film making it is critical to create a sense of space; a world wholly imaginary that we can enter completely and without reservation. That is the first critical step in the creative process of Zero Times Everything." Therefore, it must be asserted that the musicians have conclusively accomplished their mission on this immensely compelling album that bridges progressive rock with ambient-electronica, noise- shaping processes and a host of other musical ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacob Duncan: The Busker

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Hailing from Louisville, KY., saxophonist Jacob Duncan (Liberation Prophecy) plays his horn with vocal attributes on this trio endeavor that provides a storyline to his travels in the US and abroad. He was a busker (street entertainer) performing his craft near train stations, office complexes and so on, perhaps brightening the days and injecting a little joy into the life of a casual observer. Duncan's musical storyboard is augmented by a crystalline audio production--where you could probably hear ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samo Salamon Sextet: The Colours Suite

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Slovenian guitar ace Samo Salamon fronts a European ensemble akin to one of those legendary all-star jazz summits, but of course these colorific works veer off into an experimental wonderland of improvisation with split-second paradigm shifts amid the ensemble's synergistic discourses. Nonetheless, the respective musicians are at the top of their game here, as Salamon arranged for drummers Roberto Dani and Christian Lillinger to generate the seismic currents by staying in synch but not necessarily executing the same patterns.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yang: The Failure of Words

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World class German touch guitarist Markus Reuter (Stick Men, Europa String Choir) and Benjamin Schäfer enhance this soundscape with sterling audio processes to extract the inherent power and resiliency of this French / German quartet on its 3rd release. Abetted by a detailed soundstage that highlight's the band's commanding presence, the packaging references late artist Bruno Medonca's work that keenly merges a sense of antiquity with an ultra-modern stance. Yang is an explosive yet disciplined band amid all ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Itaru Oki - Nobuyoshi Ino - Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen

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Prominent Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino recorded this album in 1996 at a Café in Yamaguchi, Japan, and Korean trumpeter Choi Sun Bae flew into town just for this gig. Consequently, no drums or chordal instruments enable the trio to work from an open forum with few if any restrictions, especially when considering the free jazz aspects. Yet, they do convey a cozy group-centric deportment on these works consisting of variable ebbs and flows amid bright and ...


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