News: Vespero is still very active and have two new LP's out, or coming out soon, as part of their Liventure series. No word on a new studio album. WebsiteSamplesFacebook
Overview: Vespero are a space rock band from Astrakhan, a city on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea in Southern Russia, near the border of Kazakhstan. So, in effect, miles from anything familiar. And yet there are few bands today - or perhaps none - that have captured the European spirit of space rock, Krautrock, and progressive rock like Vespero has. Their music is at once exotic, and yet familiar. Somewhere between Korai Orom, Ole Lukkoye, Hidria Spacefolk, 60's Pink Floyd, Can, Ash Ra Tempel, and a yet-to-be-identified group from Kazakhstan.
Here's one courtesy of our Gnosis friend Eddie - the same gentleman that brought us all those wonderful Romanian albums earlier in the year.
The 1970's Italian progressive rock greats
are regarded as such because of their innate ability to compile and
distill the influences of their day. Namely classical, jazz, rock,
indigenous folk, avant-garde, and canto. And a big old scoop of youthful
exuberance. Considering this, Egonon are true to the philosophy of
their ancestors. Rather than recreate the sounds of the 70s, as many
Italian bands are doing today (and wonderfully so I might add), Egonon
are assimilating their own influences. In their case, the list might
look like: Heavy Metal, Alt-Rock, World Music, funk, and... everything
that was also included in the 1970s Italian progressive rock scene,
including the end result of said scene, which they clearly respect and
pay homage to. It may be a restaurant with too many ite…
Like Gerard, Side Steps are a long running Japanese band, though this time coming from the jazz fusion genre. They received some attention in the Western world, mainly due to their association with Musea Records. As you will see in my notes below, not all is great. I even debated adding them here to UTR, but there's just enough good at the end of their career to at least consider. From a technical perspective, these guys are fantastic. But I tend to like a bit more grit and grime in my music. In giving full disclosure, I only kept the last two albums I featured here. The last activity on their website goes back to 2012, and their final release was 2007, so it does appear the band may be kaput.
Side Steps - Out and Out. 1997 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Alive. 1999 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Points of View. 2001 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Steps on Edge. 2003 Musea (France CD) 1993 recording. see write-up for more info regarding this release
Side Steps - Ve…
Lumerians - s/t (EP). 2008 Subterranean Elephants (LP)
Lumerians - Transmalinnia. 2011 Knitting Factory (CD; LP)
Lumerians - Transmissions From Telos Vol. 4. 2012 Permanent (LP); 2012 Hands in the Dark (France LP)
Lumerians - Horizon Structures (EP). 2012 Knitting Factory (LP)
Lumerians - The High Frontier. 2013 Partisan (CD; LP)
Lumerians - Transmissions From Telos Vol. III. 2014 Cardinal Fuzz (UK LP)
As I update this post in 2016, I do also own The High Frontier, but did not get notes down. Obviously I've not done a good job of keeping up with this band. They are quite active as I write this.
I have not heard all of their other releases. As you can
see, they are following a new trend I've noticed recently; Recording on
different formats with different labels. The Lumerians in short order
have released an EP, LP, Cassette, and MP3 download. I wish they'd stick
with CDs, the proven solid state medium. All the same, I may seek out
the LP (whic…
Kenso - s/t. 1980 Pam (LP); 1995 Arcangelo (CD)
Kenso - II. 1982 Pam (LP); 1993 King (CD); 2002 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - s/t (aka III). 1985 Nexus (LP; CD); 2011 King (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Sparta. 1989 Crime (CD); 2009 Pathograph as Sparta Naked (CD)
Kenso - Yume No Oka. 1991 King; 2011 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Esoptron. 1999 King (CD); 1999 Musea (France CD)
Kenso - Ken-Son-Gu-Su. 2000 Pathograph (CD)
Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis. 2002 Nexus (CD); 2002 Vinyl Magic (Italy CD)
Kenso - Utsuroi Yuku Mono. 2006 King (CD) Kenso - Uchi Naru Koe Ni Kaikiseyo. 2014 King (CD)
There are many other live and archival releases from the band, though I only own Ken-Son-Gu-Su. All the other entries above represent their studio albums. There's also a 14 CD box set on King that contains all their studio albums through 2012, as well as a handful of live recordings.
News: There's been talk of a 3rd album for a few years now. The good news is the band has clearly been resuscitated and are playing live next Friday night at a local prog night in Turku! So hopefully they are back and ready to go.
News: About once a year, Puppet Show pop onto Facebook to inform us that they're still around and determined to release new material. So if they'll do that, then I'll put up a band page. Why not? I'd likely buy any new album from them.
Ozric's best studio album in about a decade. Paper Monkeys seems more motivated than the last few efforts. Definitely more energy, and features some fine guitar rave-ups from Ed Wynne, similar in that way to The Floor's Too Far Away (another newer Ozric album that I'm quite fond of). Electronica continues to influence their sound - perhaps even more so than prior. There's no mistaking this is an Ozric Tentacles album, and it doesn't appear they're ever going to change the formula. But for what they do, this is one of the better ones.
The Cosmic Dead - s/t. 2011 cassette; 2012 Paradigms (USA); 2013 Cardinal Fuzz (LP)
The Cosmic Dead - The Exalted King. 2012 cassette; 2013 Cosmic Eye (Greece) (LP)
The Cosmic Dead are a Scottish quartet who've been around a couple of years, and whose raison d'etre
is improvised space rock. The Cosmic Dead are yet another one of these new bands who seem to be content to issue their albums via download, along with the archaic
cassette format (which, to be fair, does allow for 90 and 120 minute
albums). They have 6 albums to date but only two are on the more durable and desirable formats like the LP and CD. So those are the only two I have listed. I have heard the first album prior, but it didn't leave a mark.
"The Exalted King" is a sprawling 2 LP set of
droning keys, echoed guitars, and pounding rhythms. Hawkwind and the
more cosmic moments of Amon Duul II are the obvious comparisons. This is
music to turn the lights off, sit back / lay down, a…