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My Brother the Wind
My Little Lover

My Wild Heaven
Alannah Myles
Myracle Brah


Pete Murray  (Australia)

Pete Murray, 'Summer at Eureka'

Summer at Eureka  (2008,  42.09)  **/TT

Chance to Say Goodbye
Saving Grace

You Pick Me Up
Silver Cloud
This Game
Sugar
Miss Cold
Never Let the End Begin
Summer at Eureka
King Tide
Happy Ground

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Pete Murray was apparently intending to make a career in sports medicine, before being diverted by music (happens to the best of us, mate). Unless most of us, however, Murray's albums sell in the hundreds of thousands, probably because they're full of bland, mainstream singer-songwriter fare and are well-promoted by his record company. Cynical? Moi? Anyway, 2008's Summer at Eureka, his fourth release, is a pretty dull affair, although pop/rock opener Chance To Say Goodbye, with its Neil Young-esque guitar solo, is the least bad thing here.

Murray's then-keyboard player, Ben McCarthy, plays uncredited Mellotron strings on opener Chance To Say Goodbye, credited strings and flutes on Saving Grace and a pair of string lines on Silver Cloud, sadly resisting the temptation to improve a few more tracks with it. So; another dullard of a record. There's no point asking "Why?", as the reason's obvious, having a lot to do with high-income tax brackets. Passable Mellotron use, though.

Official site

Mus  (Spain)

Mus, 'La Vida'

La Vida  (2007,  50.48)  **½/TT

Per Tierres Baxes
Cantares de Ciegu
Que Me Oscurece
Una Ventana Col Iluz
La Vida
Animas del Purgatoriu
Una Sábana al Vientu
Dulce Amor
Les Palinadores
Perdieron la Tierra
Una Estación Xelada
Añada Pal Primer Mes

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Spanish duo Mus sing in the Asturian dialect, although the average listener probably isn't going to notice. Online hagiographies use phrases like '...evoke images of pure beauty', 'innovators in the creation of sounds and atmospheres' and 'opt for gleaming hypnotic guitars', although they sound, to my ears, like a fairly typical 'quietcore' indie outfit. 2007's La Vida is far from 'awful', but equally far from 'great', although I'm sure indie buffs will wet their pants over Mónica Vacas' breathy vocals.

Fran Gayo plays Mellotron, with a major flute part on Cantares De Ciegu, running right through the track and flute solos on Una Ventana Col Iluz, Una Sábana Al Vientu and Perdieron La Tierra. Is it real? Hard to say, but if they're samples, they're good ones. This is all a bit dull if you're not into wispy indie, but some nice Mellotron work lifts it slightly. Not recommended, though.

MySpace

Marco Lo Muscio  (Italy)

Marco Lo Muscio, 'The Book of Bilbo & Gandalf'

The Book of Bilbo & Gandalf  (2010,  73.21)  ***½/T

The Fellowship on Entering the Magic Forest of Lothlorien
Galadriel
Dark and Light
Galadriel
Medieval Melodies - Theoden's Meditation
Medieval Melodies - The Knights of Rohan
Thoughts Turn Homeward
The Hobbit Book
Visions From Minas Tirith

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Marco Lo Muscio is a classically-trained Italian pianist, with a soft spot for '70s progressive rock. And why not? 2010's The Book of Bilbo & Gandalf is the latest entrant in the somewhat overworked Tolkien-referencing prog sub-sub-genre, this time with a difference; not only instrumental (OK, so was Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings and doubtless others), but consisting mostly of virtuoso piano pieces, albeit with a slight Celtic feel about which I can't imagine ol' J.R.R. being too happy (see: the film trilogy's soundtracks). There are exceptions to this rule: Galadriel is effectively a Steve Hackett solo piece, while his flautist brother John gets his chance on Thoughts Turn Homeward, accompanying Lo Muscio, with a (real) church organ/flute combination on beautiful closer Visions From Minas Tirith.

Lo Muscio occasionally varies his musical diet, notably when he suddenly lurches into a slightly jazzy feel about eight minutes into Dark And Light, although the bulk of the album follows the tried'n'tested formula. If I have any criticisms, it's too long, particularly The Hobbit Book's eighteen minutes of unaccompanied piano, while some of the composition lacks complexity, being too reliant on rock chord sequences than classical ones, with little key modulation. One Mellotron track, from guest Pär Lindh, with a flute line and strings on opener The Fellowship On Entering The Magic Forest Of Lothlorien, Lo Muscio sadly resisting the temptation to have Lindh embellish any other tracks.

Overall, a decent effort, but Lo Muscio really should learn to edit; it's hard work listening to this in one sitting, knocking a half star from its rating. Nice Mellotron work on one track and great playing throughout, but that's your lot.

Official site

See: Steve Hackett | Pär Lindh

Muse  (US)

Muse, 'Arcana'

Arcana  (1997,  43.59)  **½/½

Sublime
Luster
Believe
Faces
Rubylions 2000 Years
Hollow
Star
In the Middle of a Dream
Karyanne
Rocksong
Pretty things
63
Two Clouds Away

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Before you all write in, telling me I don't know what I'm talking about (OK, so it's usually true), this particular Muse are nothing to do with Matt Bellamy's mob from the UK (see below), themselves confusingly also Mellotron users. In fact, I picked Arcana up expecting it to be one of their early albums, only to serendipitously discover that it was a completely different band from a different country who just happened to use a Mellotron, too. Weird. Ironically, the two acts don't sound that dissimilar, both trading in a kind of overwrought stadium pop/rock, with vocalist Paul Isaac over-emoting to an irritating degree. I blame U2.

Anyway, the music's probably OK at what it does, but what it does gets on my nerves, having seemingly zero originality and little compositional depth, though in a straight fistfight with most mainstream pop, this wins hands down. Bassist Ari Eisenstein also plays keys on the album, though, to be honest, they're pretty much inaudible throughout; the only Mellotron I can even remotely hear is about two flute chords on closer Two Clouds Away, which adds up to a bit fat 'no' on the 'Tron front. The album's pretty dull, too, so I'd save your money, if I were you.

Muse  (UK)

Muse, 'Showbiz'

Showbiz  (1999,  49.44)  ***/½

Sunburn
Muscle Museum
Fillip
Falling Down
Cave
Showbiz
Unintended
Uno
Sober
Escape
Overdue
Hate This & I'll Love You
Muse, 'Origin of Symmetry'

Origin of Symmetry  (2001,  48.35)  ***/T

New Born
Bliss
Space Dementia
Hyper Music
Plug in Baby
Citizen Erased
Micro Cuts
Screenager
Darkshines
Feeling Good
Megalomania

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

The amusingly-overblown Muse formed while still at school, releasing their first EP in 1998 and their debut album, Showbiz, the following year. Comparisons with Queen aren't invalid, although they seem to have missed that band's sense of humour, though not their pomposity. The album has a few decent songs, not least EP lead track Muscle Museum, but despite its vast sales figures (so?), we're not talking 'classic' here. Vocalist/guitarist/apparently untrained pianist Matt Bellamy plays credited Mellotron on three tracks, but there's not an awful lot to be heard. The chief use is the background strings on Muscle Museum, with what I presume are Mellotron cellos on Unintended and Hate This & I'll Love You, but it's all pretty minor use, to be honest.

Muse followed up with 2001's Origin of Symmetry (an obscure mathematical theory, I believe), not dissimilar to its predecessor in its utterly overblown pomposity, although, somehow, there's something about their ridiculousness that I can't help... admiring? Not sure, but songs like opener New Born, Citizen Erased and Darkshines have a certain something about them, even if the album overall suffers from a fatiguing density of production and Bellamy's appalling voice. On the Mellotron front, Bellamy plays a brief string swell with authentic wobbles on New Born, background strings on the chorus (such as it is) of Space Dementia and what sound like distant strings on Micro Cuts, although I'm far from sure about the last-named.

The band's Muscle Museum EP's been quoted as a Mellotron release, too, but probably for its title track, available on Showbiz anyway, as none of the other various EP and b-side tracks from the era feature any. So; if you go for that overblown post-grunge thing (think: a more palatable British version of the horrible Smashing Pumpkins), you may just go for Muse. One for the stadium-rocker in your life, but not for the Mellotron fan, I fear.

Official site

Musée Mécanique  (US)  see: Samples

Museo Rosenbach  (Italy)

Museo Rosenbach, 'Zarathustra'

Zarathustra  (1973,  39.40)  *****/TTTTT

Zarathustra
  L'Ultimo Uomo
  Il re di Ieri
  Al di là del Bene e del Male
  Superuomo
  Il Tempio delle Clessidre

Degli Uomini
Della Natura
Dell'Eterno Ritorno
Museo Rosenbach, 'Rare & Unreleased'

Rare & Unreleased  (1992, recorded 1972,  78.05)  ****/TTT

Zarathustra
Degli Uomini (instrumental)
Degli Uomini (instrumental)
Dell'Eterno Ritorno (instrumental)
Dopo

Look at Yourself
With a Little Help From My Friends
Shadows of Grief
Valentyne Suite (excerpt)
Dopo (English version)
Dell'Eterno Ritorno

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

You know those albums that are given the 'classic' mantle, but can't live up to the hype? Well, this isn't one of them. Zarathustra really is that good. I didn't believe it myself until I'd given it a few listens; beginning to end, not a note out of place. OK, so the drummer is playing to the absolute limits of his ability, but the sheer excitement and dynamics of his playing carries all before him. I've rarely heard a drummer this, well, enthusiastic; he's obviously loving every moment of his one shot at fame, and he makes the most of it in no uncertain manner. The strangest thing about Zarathustra is its relative obscurity; released in 1973, it obviously sold bugger all at the time, and it was only with its CD issue in the '90s that an appreciable number of prog fans got to hear it. Some purists have derided it for being 'too heavy', but as long as you're not offended by a bit of distorted guitar, you've got nothing to worry about.

The first side of the album consists of the twenty-minute title track; a gentle Mellotron flute intro from Pit Corradi leads into a series of dramatic 'Tron strings-led chords, quietening down again before some manic drumming introduces the song's main riff. 'Phenomenal' is the word that springs to mind; massive organ and Mellotron chords riding over riffing guitar and more of that drumming. This guy never stops!; I've rarely heard anyone go for it like him. Without him, the album would be great; with him, it's superb. Proof of just how important a good, dynamic drummer is to a band. The piece moves through several sections until finally, after a long sustained organ chord, it ends up back at the main riff, repeated with guitar interjections before the fade out. Side two is every bit as good, with another three excellent songs; quite where Museo Rosenbach found their inspiration is unknown, but they produced a near-perfect album, then simply disappeared.

There are a couple of archive releases available; Live '72 (***½) is good, but lacks Mellotron (presumably they didn't obtain one until later that year). In 1992, Mellow released an LP titled Rarities, and a CD, Rare and Unreleased, which apparently (and irritatingly) feature different selections from the band's demo archives. I haven't heard the LP, but the CD is excellent, showcasing a gentler, piano-led version of Zarathustra and instrumental versions of various other album tracks. There's maybe less Mellotron than on the eventual recorded versions, although some of the parts are different, with the odd 'wobbly' here and there. The rest of the album consists of 'Tronless live tracks, including no less than two Uriah Heep numbers, and another two early versions of album tracks, sans 'Tron. A good album, but really only for the committed fan.

Albums as good as Zarathustra come along all too rarely; maybe it's a good thing Museo Rosenbach's career was so cruelly truncated, as they never got the chance to slide into mediocrity (see: PFM), or felt the need to 'go commercial' (see: anyone you care to mention from the late '70s). It turns out that they reformed in the late '90s, probably in direct response to the belated popularity of their classic, releasing Exit in 2000, but I've no idea whether or not the new band are any good, though I suspect not; you can be certain, however, that they don't use Mellotron.

So; Zarathustra. Buy? BUY! Truly one of the classics.

Official site

See: Il Tempio delle Clessidre

Kacey Musgraves  (US)  see: Samples

Mushroom  (US)  see:

Mushroom

Mushroom's Patience  (Italy)  see: Samples

Mutantes  (Brazil)

Mutantes, 'A e o Z'

oAeoZ  (1992, recorded 1973,  48.22)  ***½/TT½

"A" e o "Z"
Rolling Stones
Vocé Sabe
Hey Joe
Uma Pessoa Só
Ainda Vou Transar Com Vocé

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

These days, (Os) Mutantes are revered for their late-'60s psych albums, produced against all the odds under the repressive Brazilian regime of the time, while their '70s work is derided for being 'tedious prog rock', or some such unflattering description. Fashionistas - who needs 'em? Of course, their prog period was very much in keeping with the times; they couldn't carry on producing psych-pop without looking ridiculously dated, which tends to be forgotten by Those Who Would Define Our Taste. What's more, not only is there nothing wrong with said style (and yes, I will argue this point to the death. Well, nearly), but Mutantes were perfectly good at it, as oAeoZ (not released until twenty years after the event) proves quite unequivocally. Musically varied, some tracks work better than others, with the bluesy Rolling Stones being the chief casualty, while the acoustic Vocé Sabe and the Yesalike Hey Joe (not that one) working far better.

I've recently been informed (by an acquaintance who actually knew the band at the time) that Mutantes moved to London in the early '70s, squeezing themselves into a tiny flat, presumably all they could afford. They bought a Mellotron and shared said flat with it, using it on these recordings (although not on their next album, 1974's Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol); Arnaldo Baptista's use is pretty restrained, with a few simple strings chords on the title track and some more upfront use (strings and flutes) on the lengthy Hey Joe, including a squeaky high part, played about as quickly as is possible on the machine. Flutes and more strings on the last two tracks make this a borderline Mellotron Album, but it's certainly worth hearing for the prog fan looking for something slightly different.

Semi-official site

See: Rita Lee

Mutha Goose  (US)

Mutha Goose, 'Mutha Goose I'

Mutha Goose I  (1975,  26.47)  ***/½

You Said Goodbye
I Think it's You
Exodus
Freak-Hitchhicker
Being Her Friend

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

You want obscure? (Pt.94) Mutha Goose were a one-off outfit from Indiana, who had the uncommonly good sense for the era to name themselves something easily Internet-searchable twenty years later (er...). Mutha Goose, from 'Mutha Goose I'Their sole album, the exceedingly short and rather optimistically titled Mutha Goose I, is a slightly dated-for-the-time prog album, with rockin' guitars on a couple of tracks, notably the straightforward boogie of Freak-Hitchhicker [sic]. None of the material particularly stands out, although at least they were musically ambitious, which is more than you can say for most of their contemporaries. OK, most bands ever, from anywhere.

There's no way of telling from the sleeve who plays the (uncredited) Mellotron, or, indeed, anything else, as in a fit of stoned humour (or something), the band opted to list on the rear sleeve the four members to the left, seven items (including 'bulldozer', 'air raid siren' and 'second fiddle') to the right and a series of tangled lines in between, with the legend 'match the instrument to the musician' (right). Thanks, guys. Anyway, the unknown player adds a brief string part to opener You Said Goodbye and an equally brief flute one to Exodus, making the album eligible for this site, but only just. Available on download blogs, but the chances of this receiving an official reissue appear slim.

My Brightest Diamond  (US)

My Brightest Diamond, 'All Things Will Unwind'

All Things Will Unwind  (2011,  42.14)  **½/0

We Added it Up
Reaching Through to the Other Side
In the Beginning
Escape Routes
Be Brave
She Does Not Brave the War
  (But She Saves the Day)
Ding Dang
There's a Rat
High Low Middle
Everything is in Line
I Have Never Loved Someone the Way I Love You

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

My Brightest Diamond is effectively Shara Worden's solo project, whose third album, 2011's All Things Will Unwind, showcases her unusual juxtapositioning of influences, which range from film soundtracks through chamber music and vaudeville to indie/folk. To be perfectly honest, I can't say the results work for this listener; the clarinets, piccolo and celeste sit uneasily with the Sufjan Stevens-esque material, probably working best on the gentle She Does Not Brave The War, while too many tracks give the impression of a minor sonic mash-up, instruments squeezed next to each other in unsuitable fashion. Perhaps that's the point.

Zac Rae supposedly plays Mellotron (he's used one enough times on other artists' albums), but it's completely inaudible here, ditto the Orchestron and the highly distinctive Roland RS-09, amongst others, real strings and woodwinds appearing to cover all bases. So; a brave attempt that some will love, but, at least to my ears, Ms Worden has some way to go before her influences come together in any meaningful way.

Official site

My Brother the Wind  (Sweden)

My Brother the Wind, 'Live at Roadburn 2013'

Live at Roadburn 2013  (2014,  62.24)  ****/TT½

Sulphur Valley Dawn
Ancient Caravan

The Mountain Trail
Further Up the Mountain Trail
Into the Cosmic Halo

Current availability:

My Brother the Wind's M400 at Roadburn

Mellotrons used:

Although Nicklas Barker's My Brother the Wind use Mellotron samples in the studio, they sourced a real M400 for their 2013 Roadburn appearance (see pic, right). Their hour-long set at Tilburg's legendary festival has been split into named tracks for the release, but I'd imagine that's more for convenience than anything, as it's basically one long space-rock jam, like Hawkwind at their early, coruscating best. This is 'head music' in the best possible sense, transcendence through noise, with the knowledge that listening to it in the comfort of your own home can only ever be a pale shadow of the original live experience.

Barker switches from guitar to Mellotron three times, with a ripping string part on Sulphur Valley Dawn, morphing into flutes in the quiet section, choirs-into-strings on Ancient Caravan and choirs at the end of Into The Cosmic Halo, making you wish they'd use the real thing when recording, too. I've loved everything I've heard by My Brother the Wind, but I might just love this a little more than everything else. Buy.

Facebook

See: Samples

My Little Lover  (Japan)

My Little Lover, 'Akko'

Akko  (2006,  48.38)  **½/T

[Japanese text]
Recall
Traveling With Nature
Yokan
[Japanese text]
[Japanese text]
[Japanese text]
Mayoi Neko
[Japanese text]
[Japanese text]
Itoshii Mainichi

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

My Little Lover are a Japanese pop group, now comprising just vocalist Akiko "Akko" Kobayashi, since her split from her husband, Takeshi (thank you, Wikipedia). 2006's Akko is their eighth album, I believe, a mainstream-without-being-too-awful release, with synthpop influences on several tracks, in true YMO style. Better tracks include the opener (translates to Chance), the sparse Mayoi Neko and the rock-ish track nine, but there are quite a few horrors present, not least track ten (Inspiration), with its faux-American '70s funk moves and the autotuned vocals on the closing cheeso ballad Itoshii Mainichi.

Producer Brad Jones (amusingly credited as 'Producer Brad Jones') plays Chamberlin on track five (which apparently translates as Show Time), with a nicely Chamberlinic string part running through the track. Is it enough to make this worth hearing? Frankly, no.

Official site

My Morning Jacket  (US)  see: Samples

My Silent Bravery  (US)  see: Samples

My Wild Heaven  (US)

My Wild Heaven, 'My Wild Heaven'

My Wild Heaven  (2008,  39.22)  ****/T

Zoe Abides
Grand Larceny
Hey Nikki
ESP
Mission Over Tokyo
Paradise in Canada
Julies' Way
Lil' Pumpkin Porsche
After You're Gone
The Life and Times of General Jacket
Sputniks May Safely Phase
The Ritual Dance of the Lizards

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

My Wild Heaven are the new project from the people who brought us the Zachary Jones Band, Mr. Jones being as fictional a personage as Max Webster or Simon Dupree. MWH couldn't be more different to the ZJB if they tried; a power trio, they specialise in what mainman Bill Bechtel describes as 'sci-fi rock', or aggressive hard rock with space-rock and prog tendencies, particularly in the keyboard department, overlaid with science-fictional lyrics. The material was written over a lengthy timespan, with the earliest piece being closing instrumental The Ritual Dance Of The Lizards that Bill wrote at college in the late '70s, right up to songs written during the recording process. Suffice to say, My Wild Heaven has had a long gestation, and it's nice to see someone's 'baby' finally see the light of day.

I'm reliably informed (thanks, Bill) that most of the 'Mellotron' work here is sample-based, with the exception of Sputniks May Safely Phase (ho ho), an instrumental consisting almost entirely of real M400 cellos, strings and flutes. You can spot it as the one genuine 'Tron track a mile off; its tuning is way off and it sounds as cranky as hell. Excellent! Now, Bill: new motor control card and a second tape frame. You know you want to... The rest of the album is smothered in 'Tron patches from the Mike Pinder CD-ROM, and sound pretty good, albeit far too smooth for the real thing.

So; if you like the sound of SF-influenced hard rock infused with Mellotron (sounds), My Wild Heaven are almost certainly right up your street. Bill promises that he'll get more real 'Tron on next time round; go on, Bill - you know how good it'll sound...

Official site

See: Zachary Jones Band

Alannah Myles  (Canada)

Alannah Myles, 'A-Lan-Nah'

A-Lan-Nah  (1995,  49.47)  ***/T

Mistress of Erzulie
Blow Wind Blow
Family Secret
Mother Nature
Irish Rain
Dark Side of Me
Simple Man's Dream
Lightning in a Bottle
Keeper of My Heart
Do You Really Wanna Know Me
Everybody's Breakin' Up
Sally Go Round the Roses

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Alannah Myles remains best-known for her eponymous 1989 debut album and its major hit, Black Velvet. 1995's A-Lan-Nah is her third effort, by which time she was commercially on the slide; surprising, as it's a pretty commercial album, channelling mid-'80s AOR in a vaguely Heart vein. Maybe that was the problem; the style had gone completely out of fashion by then, with former megastars reduced to playing theatres or dissolving acrimoniously (or both). The album rocks, albeit lightly, with a handful of tracks heading in a quieter direction; there's something of a folky Zeppelin vibe about Mother Nature, Everybody's Breakin' Up has an almost late-nite jazz feel, while Irish Rain and Sally Go Round The Roses are heavily immersed in Celtic folk.

Phil Parlapiano (what IS this man's real name?) plays Mellotron, amongst other things, although it's so indistinct that I'm almost having to use guesswork as to its location. I think that's 'Tron flutes on Mother Nature, although it could be almost anything, really, and very background strings on Lightning In A Bottle, although I wouldn't entirely stake my non-existent reputation on either.

So; mainstream stuff, sounding a little adrift in the mid-'90s, with next to no Mellotron. One for Heart fans, I think.

Official site

Myracle Brah  (US)

Myracle Brah, 'The Myracle Brah'

The Myracle Brah  (2000,  41.14)  ***/T½

I'd Rather Be
Message '78
When She Cries
Madaliene
Going Crazy

Out of Tune
Crane
She's Gonna Fly
Smile
Dying 310
Hey Now
Inside Those Eyes

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

As previously stated in my review of The Myracle Brah's Bleeder, they're Baltimore-based Andy Bopp's powerpop project, irritating joke name and all, whose third album, 2000's The Myracle Brah, is a pretty decent set of genre material. Highlights include opener I'd Rather Be, mid-paced jangle-fest When She Cries and retro-boogie Hey Now, while weaker tracks include the dreary Crane and closer Inside Those Eyes, although nothing here actually offends. Is that a recommendation?

Marty Canelli plays Mellotron, probably real, although it's really not easy to tell, with strings on Madaliene and She's Gonna Fly, distant choirs on Going Crazy and strings and flutes on Dying 310. While no classic, this is worth hearing for genre fans, at least; how did Bopp get it so wrong the next time round?

Official site

See: Samples

Mythos  (Germany)  see:

Mythos

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