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Hampshire Jam
I Killed the Monster
Indelible Grace
Lounge-a-Palooza
Lynne Me Your Ears
Miniatures 2
Night Time Music
Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone

Il Paese è Reale
Past, Present, Future


Hampshire Jam

'Hampshire Jam Preserved'

Hampshire Jam Preserved  (2002,  136.22)  ***½/T½

Under the Dome:
  Launch
  Drift
  Hell (excerpt)
  Solar Gravity

Free System Projekt:
  Siren
Headshock:
  Phone Home
  Twilight
  Darkness
  Slow Bong

Radio Massacre International:
  Pipe
  Let Me Hear You Say Yeah

  Roxette Lost in Liphook

AirSculpture:
  Red Symmetry Machine

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Hampshire Jam is a roughly annual EM festival, held in the village of Liphook, on the Hampshire/West Sussex border. Why Liphook? Why not? I presume it has a suitable venue (it does: the Millennium Hall) and is convenient for the organisers. See: Lydney (Summer's End), Whitchurch (Whitchurch Festival) etc. 2002's double-disc Hampshire Jam Preserved features parts of five act's sets from the previous year, including Planet Mellotron (semi-) regulars Free System Projekt, AirSculpture and Radio Massacre International. Interestingly, though, Under the Dome's exceptionally powerful and melodic Solar Gravity just might be the lengthy set's highlight, over the better-known names here. Of the other four outfits, Free System Projekt provide a decent enough piece, Headshock are largely forgettable (sorry, guys), r.m.i. utilise guitar, bass and drums, sometimes all at once and AirSculpture provide the set's obligatory album-length track.

r.m.i. are the only band to use real Mellotron, with various flute and string parts on Pipe and the amusingly-titled Let Me Hear You Say Yeah, while Roxette Lost In Liphook is a brief space-rock jam, with no room for Mellotrons. Free System Projekt also use samples on their Siren. Do you buy this for its Mellotron use? No, not really. Do you buy it for the 'Berlin School' performances? If you just can't get enough burbling sequencers and the like, this is easily as good as any average single-artist EM album I could name, with the bonus of more artistic variety.

See: Free System Projekt | Radio Massacre International | AirSculpture

Harbour of Joy: Camel Tribute  see: Samples

I Killed the Monster

'I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston'

I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston  (2006,  71.03)  ***/T½

Dot Allison:
  Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your
    Grievances

Daniel Smith & Sufjan Stevens:
  Worried Shoes

Joy Zipper:
  Held the Hand
Kramer:
  Bloody Rainbow
R. Stevie Moore:
  Cathy Cline
Kimya Dawson:
  Follow That Dream
Lumberob:
  Honey I Sure Miss You
Jad Fair & Kramer:
  True Love Will Find You in the End
Rope, Inc:
  Tears Stupid Tears
The Electric Ghosts:
  Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now on

Chris Harford:
  Going Down
Mad Francis:
  Rowboat
Jeffrey Lewis:
  The Adventures of God as a Young Boy
Major Matt Mason USA:
  Mind Contorted
Toby Goodshank:
  Now
The Dick Panthers:
  Go Fast and Go Some More
The Sutcliffe's:
  Foxy Girl
Kickstand:
  Cosmic Kid
Emily Zuzik:
  Love Wheel
Mike Watt:
  Walking the Cow
Tess:
  It's Over

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

2006's I Killed the Monster: 21 Artists Performing the Songs of Daniel Johnston, curated by his first real champion, Kramer, is pretty much what it says: twenty-one of Johnston's haunted, childlike compositions tackled by the good and the great, or, it would seem in most cases here, the relatively unknown. Better-known contributing names, aside from Kramer himself, include Dot Allison, the ubiquitous Sufjan Stevens, Joy Zipper and Minutemen/fIREHOSE (sic) alumni Mike Watt, but I'm afraid I know little about most of these artists. The material's pretty much what you'd expect if you've heard any of Johnston's work, Allison's opening Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievances being possibly the best thing here.

Our old pal Kramer plays Mellotron for four of the artists featured here, with nothing obvious on Dot Allison's contribution, faint flutes (and background choirs?) on Daniel Smith and Sufjan Stevens' Worried Shoes, muted choirs on Rope, Inc's Tears Stupid Tears, flutes and choirs again on The Electric Ghosts' Blue Skies Will Haunt You From Now On and uncredited strings on Tess' closing It's Over, the most overt use on the whole set. If you have any interest in Daniel Johnston's work, this is an essential adjunct to his extensive discography, although those into a more orthodox form of mainstream rawk'n'rawl may be less impressed. Not that much Mellotron either, to be honest, all things considered, but a decent enough collection.

See: Daniel Johnston | Kramer | Dot Allison | Joy Zipper

If I Could Write Poetry  see: Samples

Indelible Grace

'Indelible Grace IV: Beams of Heaven'

Indelible Grace IV: Beams of Heaven  (2005,  65.38)  *½/T

Matthew Perryman Jones:
  Come and Welcome
Matthew Smith:
  More Love to Thee
Emily DeLoach:
  I Asked the Lord
Derek Webb:
  His Love Can Never Fail
Sandra McCracken:
  Who is This?
Matthew Perryman Jones:
  Jesus, Lover of My Soul
Taylor Sorensen:
  Lead on O King Eternal
Jason Feller:
  Begone Unbelief
Rachel Briggs:
  Come Ye Disconsolate

Matthew Smith:
  Father Long Before Creation
Laura Taylor:
  To Christ the Lord
Andrew Osenga:
  Lift Up Thy Bleeding Hand
Jeremy Casella:
  Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
Sandra McCracken:
  Jesus the Lord My Savior is
Dan Haseltine:
  Beams of Heaven

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Indelible Grace are a Nashville-based Christian artistic community, who have apparently 'restored the historic practice of writing new melodies to old hymn texts' (Wikipedia, I love you). Volume IV, Beams of Heaven, contains a selection of the usual bland CCM, less bad efforts including Derek Webb's His Love Can Never Fail (well, Webb does have some previous) and Dan Haseltine's Beams of Heaven, but that's really scraping the barrel, frankly.

Jeff Pardo plays Mellotron flutes (which may even possibly be real) on Rachel Briggs' Come Ye Disconsolate, although I can't say they improve matters any. Why write crappy, pop/rock tunes to old hymns when the originals worked perfectly well? Pointless. Incidentally, in a proper 'couldn't make it up' turn of events, the community were originally led by a minister going by the name of Kevin Twit. Priceless.

See: Derek Webb

The Late Great Daniel Johnston  see: Samples

Leader of the Starry Skies  see: Samples

The Lotus Eaters  see: Samples

Lounge-a-Palooza

'Lounge-a-Palooza'

Lounge-a-Palooza  (1997,  57.00)  **½/½

Combustible Edison & Esquivel:
  Miniskirt
Fastball:
  This Guy's in Love With You
Ben Folds Five:
  She Don't Use Jelly
Poe:
  A Rose is a Rose
Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé:
  Black Hole Sun
Pizzicato Five:
  The Girl From Ipanema
P.J. Harvey & Eric Drew Feldman:
  Zaz Turned Blue
Fun Lovin' Criminals:
  I'm Not in Love
Glen Campbell & Michelle Shocked:
  Wichita Lineman
Edwyn Collins:
  Witchcraft
Jimmy Scott & Flea:
  Love Will Keep Us Together
The James Taylor Quartet:
  Music to Watch Girls By
Cassandra Wilson:
  The Good Life
Chris Ballew:
  Robert Goulet (on the River Nile)

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

As other online reviewers have noted, Lounge-a-Palooza manages to combine several irritating late '90s musical fashions into one neat, tidy package, not least the brief 'lounge' craze, leapt upon by bored fashionistas before they tired of it, too. The album's not even entirely sure what it's trying to do, with lounge versions of recent hits (Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé's ridiculous Black Hole Sun, The Ben Folds Five's She Don't Use Jelly) rubbing shoulders with the likes of Edwyn Collins' Witchcraft or The Pizzicato Five's tired The Girl From Ipanema. P.J. Harvey & Eric Drew Feldman's Mel Torme-by-way-of Was (Not Was)' Zaz Turned Blue is actually halfway decent, bringing real drama to the track, Glen Campbell & Michelle Shocked's Wichita Lineman isn't that different to Campbell's original and The James Taylor Quartet's Music To Watch Girls By is actually pretty cool. However, the always-terrible Fun Lovin' Criminals' dreadful take on 10cc's I'm Not in Love is seriously misguided and the aforementioned Black Hole Sun isn't even funny.

Kim Bullard is credited with Mellotron, but without track-by-track credits, it's far from the easiest task to locate it; the flutes at the beginning of Black Hole Sun are the most likely location, so we'll stick with that, I think. Overall, then, a rather dull effort, heavy on the 'humour' and light on anything you might actually want to listen to more than once (or even once, in several cases). Next to no Mellotron, either, so I really wouldn't bother if I were you.

See: Ben Folds | P.J. Harvey | Edwyn Collins | Wilson Phillips

Lynne Me Your Ears

'Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne'

Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne  (2004,  133.23)  ***/T½

Mitch Easter:
  10538 Overture

Earl Slick:
  Ma Ma Ma Belle
Jeffery Foskett:
  Telephone Line
Jason Falkner:
  Do Ya

Ben Lee:
  Sweet is the Night
Pat Buchanan:
  Rockaria!
Michael Carpenter:
  Every Little Thing

Peter Holsapple:
  No Time
Richard Barone:
  Showdown
Jamie Hoover:
  Handle With Care
Mark Helm:
  Strange Magic
Ross Rice:
  Evil Woman
Carl Wayne:
  Steppin' Out
Swag:
  Don't Bring Me Down
Prairie Sons & Daughters:
  One Summer Dream
Doug Powell:
  Can't Get it Out of My Head
The Shazam:
  Twilight
Tony Visconti (with Kristeen Young
  & Richard Barone):
  Mr. Blue Sky
The Heavy Blinkers:
  You Took My Breath Away
The Balls of France:
  Message From the Country

Ferenzik:
  The Minister
Neilson Hubbard & Venus Hum:
  Xanadu
Bill Lloyd:
  When Time Stood Still
Sparkle Jets UK:
  Above The Clouds
Walter Clevenger & the Dairy Kings:
  Rock and Roll is King
Jeremy:
  Morning Sunshine
Rick Altizer:
  Boy Blue
PFR:
  Living Thing
Sixpence None the Richer:
  On the Run
Todd Rundgren:
  Bluebird is Dead
Roger Klug:
  Turn to Stone
Fleming & John:
  Eldorado

Current availability:

Chamberlin/Mellotrons used:

I suppose ELO are an obvious case for tributing, due to their massive late '70s popularity and influence, although I'm not sure if that makes 2004's appallingly-punning Lynne Me Your Ears: A Tribute To The Music of Jeff Lynne any more listenable. In fairness, it's not purely an ELO tribute, anything Lynne was involved with being fair game, including The Move and the dadrock of The Traveling Wilburys, although the bulk of its content is light, electrical and orchestral. Several of the artists involved twist the malleable material to suit their own style (Ross Rice, Tony Visconti, Todd Rundgren), highlights including Peter Holsapple's weird-folk take on No Time and Prairie Prince's Prairie Sons & Daughters' bonkers One Summer Dream. Probably unsurprisingly, quite a few power-popsters turn up (Mitch Easter, Jason Falkner, Jeremy), generally offering up fairly straight takes on the material, albeit usually less cheesy than the originals (you can tell I'm not a fan, can't you?). Other Planet Mellotronsters here include Richard Barone and the insipid Sixpence None the Richer, plus a couple of others waiting in the wings.

Several musicians are credited with various tape-replay devices, with Tony Visconti, Doug Powell and Scott Baggett (misspelled Bagget here) on Mellotron and Mitch Easter on Chamberlin, although going by his other recent 'Mellotron' credits, I think we have to take anything involving Tony Visconti and Mellotrons with a largish bucket of salt. Anyway, Easter adds occasional Chamby strings to the real cellos on his set opener, 10538 Overture, someone plays flutes on Jason Falkner's propulsive Do Ya, there's a few string chords on Michael Carpenter's Every Little Thing and someone adds flutes and choirs to The Balls of France's version of The Move's Message From The Country. However, the 'Mellotron' choirs on Tony Visconti, Kristeen Young and Richard Barone's Mr. Blue Sky are quite clearly sampled, and not very well at that (good version, though), and since Doug Powell's already had an album stuck in Samples, I'd imagine the flutes on Can't Get It Out Of My Head are, too, especially as they don't even sound much like a 'Tron.

All in all, then, another tribute album that Lynne/ELO fans will probably want, while the rest of us yawn and start fidgeting. A few surprise efforts, a few really good tracks that transcend the gloopy material and a whole load of clones. Pretty much as you'd expect, then. Not much tape-replay, either, so not really worth it on that front.

See: ELO | Richard Barone | Doug Powell | Shazam | Sixpence None the Richer | Todd Rundgren

Miniatures 2  (UK)

Various Artists, 'Miniatures 2'

Miniatures 2  [edited by Morgan Fisher]  (2000,  68.02)  ***/½

Jean Houston:
  Jump Time
John Paul Jones:
  It's Coming (a Fanfare for the Millennium)
Linton Kwesi Johnson:
  Beacon of Hope
Talitha Mackenzie:
  Chakras
Hugh Cornwell:
  2000 Lights
Piero Milesi:
  Minute Quartet
Howard Jones:
  Atoms and Stars
Kazufumi Miyazawa:
  One Minute Blackout
Klaus Trabitsch:
  Jodler
B J Cole:
  Newgrange Aeon Fragment
Terry Riley:
  A Dog Barks at Midnight
Michael Nyman:
  Here's to the Next One
Meredith Monk:
  Panda Chant II
Sainkho Namtchylak:
  Last Christmas
Jill Purce:
  The Healing Voice
Dagmar Andrtová:
  Little Orchestra of Disaster and Hope
Wolfgang Mitterer:
  Solo No.3
Phillip K.Bimstein:
  Garland Hirschi's Cows
Piano Circus:
   Red
Robert Fripp & Trey Gunn:
  Blast
Isao Osada & Takuro:
  A un
David Cunningham:
  Oxalis
Penguin Cafe Orchestra:
  A Pythagorean Roll
Sizzle Ohtaka:
  One Cell
Hermeto Pascoal:
  Feira de Asakusa
Chris Hughes:
  Shaka Shaka Shaka
Dissidenten:
  Light of Love
Christos Hatzis:
  Hunter's Dream
Baka Beyond:
  Timeless
Ottmar Liebert:
  Freedom (Universal Mix)
Mamadou Doumbia:
  Qui Sait?
Tananas:
  Ashtanga
Koto Vortex:
  Sae
Michael Shrieve & Jeff Greinke:
  Invisible Guides
Gavin Bryars:
  Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet
Jane Siberry:
  The Narrow Bridge
Laurie Spiegel:
  Soundtrack for Sandin
Chéng Gongliang:
  Ghu Zu Jun
John Fiddler:
  Another 21st Century Day
Nastya:
  Islands
Geoffrey Richardson:
  The Lighthouse
Thomas de Hartmann:
  Gurdjieff/de Hartmann Music
Peadar Óriada:
  Seascad Siocand I Dtreo Millennium
Daniel Figgis:
  Fail Better

The Deep Season:
  Theme for the Peaceful Revolution
Heat Wave:
  Takeda No Komori Uta
Woof Woof:
  Passion Sauce
The Minus 5:
  Came Saw Stayed
Morgan Fisher:
  Flowers of Silence
Komitas Vardapet:
  Gutan Yerg
David Darling:
  Introspection
Lol Coxhill:
  Six to Four
Trans Global Underground:
  Dead Dog of Kairouan
The Levellers:
  Hope street (Rain Chant Remix)
Chris Butler:
  Have a Nice Century!
Moondog (Louis Hardin):
  Cosmicode
Ashik Peter Lynch:
  Snow
Tokiko Kato:
  Toorina
Jane Campion:
  Passionless Moments
Milladoiro:
  Alal á das Mariñas

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

2000's Miniatures 2 is the successor to Morgan Fisher's 1980 release, er, Miniatures, which followed hot on the heels of the previous year's Hybrid Kids, frankly, one of the most bizarre musical experiments on which you are ever likely to lay your hands. And I know one of the album's backing singers, fact fans. Anyway, Miniatures 2 works in the same format as its predecessor: persuade loads of 'name' artists to record very brief pieces, in any style that takes their fancy, stick 'em all together and Bob's yer uncle. Of course, Fisher is more curator than artist (although he contributes one track), although, without his concept and guidance, this album would never have happened.

So, er, what's it like? More normal than The Hybrid Kids, but that isn't saying much. Actually, most of its sixty tracks (average length: just over a minute) aren't that weird, Klaus Trabitsch's guitar piece Jodler being a case in point. Does any of it actually catch the ear? Led Zep's John Paul Jones channels Brian May on It's Coming (A Fanfare For The Millennium), Wolfgang Mitterer's atonal Solo No.3, Fripp and Gunn's Blast typically late-Crimsoid Blast... There's definitely some decent and/or weird stuff on here, but too much of it seems to be exactly what you'd expect of the artist in question, only shorter.

And, er, the Mellotron? Ireland's Daniel Figgis adds flutes (although they may be sampled) to his Fail Better, but we're not exactly talking major stuff here. So; do you buy this album? It's probably worth it more for its curiosity value than for most of the actual music, although an EP of its best tracks would be worth the effort. For the Mellotron? I don't think so.

See: Morgan Fisher | Hugh Cornwell | King Crimson | Trey Gunn | Minus 5 | Lol Coxhill

Night Time Music

'Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story'

Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story  (2004, recorded 1966-68,  48.09)  **½/TT

Sundae Train:
  Love Affair of Two Happy People
  Sing Sweet Barbara

Scene:
  Scenes
We Ugly Dogs:
  First Spring Rain
Sundae Train:
  I Wanna Be

Margo, Margo, Medress & Siegel:
  Mister Snail
Sundae Train:
  Wake Up (Sleepy Girl)
Canterbury Music Festival:
  Poor Man
Amanda Ambrose:
  Amanda's Man
Rock Garden:
  Sweet Pajamas
Randy & the Rainbows:
  Oh to Get Away
Steeple People:
  Green Plant
  Oh Kathy

Bob Miranda:
  Girl on a Swing
Majic Ship:
  Night Time Music

The Tokens:
  I Could Be
Beverly Warren:
  So Glad
Randy & the Rainbows:
  I'll Be Seeing You
Rock Garden:
  Perhaps the Joy of Giving
Lollipop Tree:
  Peace

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

The B.T. Puppy label was owned by The Tokens, 2004's Night Time Music: The BT Puppy Story collecting together a run of 45s issued by them between 1966 and '68. Most of the material's in that awkward pre-psych mode, neither one thing nor the other, although I'm well aware that the style has its fans. The best things here are probably the acts (assuming any of them were proper bands, not just studio creations) that veer nearest to psych, Sundae Train and Majic Ship, although I can't honestly say there's anything too exciting to be found on the disc.

Unknown studio musicians added Chamberlin to (surprise, surprise) the Sundae Train and Majic Ship tracks, with flutes on the former's Love Affair Of Two Happy People and I Wanna Be, plus strings on Sing Sweet Barbara (although the flutes on Wake Up (Sleepy Girl) sound real) and cellos, flutes and strings on Magic Ship's Night Time Music. So; one for 'sunshine pop' and early US psych/pop fans, though I'm not sure there's much here for the rest of us, a handful of Chamby tracks notwithstanding.

See: The Tokens

Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone

'Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone'

Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone  (2017,  61.48)  ****/T

Zoltan:
  Pazuzu

Videogram:
  The Thing
Orgasmo Sonore vs. Sospetto:
  Adonai
Rashomon:
  Stress Infinito
Oscillotron:
  La Lucertola
Leonard/Wank:
  Sentenza di Morte
Orgasmo Sonore:
  Matto, Caldo... Girotondo
Luigi Porto feat. Fromwood:
  Strana Bambina
Thelema:
  Die Ballade von Präfekt Mori
Sospetto:
  Inseguimento No. 2 & 3
Leonard/Wank:
  Revolver

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The concept for Omaggio al Maestro Ennio Morricone developed from several ideas being thrown around Alex Wank's Vienna-based Cineploit label, the contributing artists even being asked for their thoughts on the topic. The end result is, I have to say, a triumph of the tribute album genre, all nine contributing artists (including a couple of collaborations) tackling their chosen Morricone piece (from the obscure to the household name) with aplomb. Highlights? Well, it's all good, frankly, but standouts include Orgasmo Sonore vs. Sospetto's Adonai (Il Giardino delle Delizie), Matt "Rashomon" Thompson's Stress Infinito (Spasmo), David Johansson's (hi, David) La Lucertola (Una Lucertola Con la Pelle di Donna) and Alain Leonard and Alex's epic, thirteen-minute Revolver (from the Ollie Reed-starring '73 copsploitation flick of the same name). So, is it all synth-led instrumental stuff, then? Not entirely, oddball entrants including Luigi Porto's Strana Bambina (La Piovra), which uses dialogue samples and Thelema's Die Ballade Von Präfekt Mori (Il Prefetto di Ferro), which features vocals (surely that isn't you, Hans Jürgen?).

I try not to review my own work here, but, for simplicity's sake, I'll relax the rule for a single compilation track. Zoltan's Pazuzu (from the apparently deservedly-reviled Exorcist 2) sees us relax another rule, Matt playing electric guitar on the propulsive track, while Matt and myself shared the Mellotron duties, replacing the original's deranged children's choir with Mellotron ones (me), plus Matt's string line. And yes, the tinkly synth (Jupiter-8) was played (by me), as against sequenced, albeit in manageable chunks. And yes, it was difficult to both work out and play. Any samples? Yup, Sweden's Oscillotron use choirs and strings on La Lucertola.

Do you buy this? I'm unashamedly biased, but if you have any interest whatsoever in either giallo soundtracks or Morricone, or, for that matter, synth music, you really can't go wrong here. Alex is running one of the world's many, many shoestring labels and deserves your patronage. Buy.

See: Zoltan

One Step Up/Two Steps Back  see: Samples

Il Paese è Reale

'Il Paese è Reale'

Il Paese è Reale  (2009,  72.52)  **½/½

Afterhours:
  Il Paese è Reale
Paolo Benvegnù:
  Io e il Mio Amore
Marco Parente:
  Da un Momento All'Altro

Dente:
  Beato Me
Cesare Basile:
  Le Canzoni Dei Cani
...A Toys Orchestra:
  What You Said
Reverendo:
  California
Calibro 35:
  L'Uomo Dagli Occhi di Ghiaccio
Il Teatro degli Orrori:
  Refusenik
Roberto Angelini:
  Tempo e Pace
Beatrice Antolini:
  Venetian Hautboy
Zu:
  Maledetto Sedicesimo
Zen Circus:
  Gente di Merda
Marco Iacampo:
  Che Bella Carovana
Mariposa:
  Le Cose Come Stanno
Settlefish:
  Catastrophy Liars
Disco Drive:
  The Giant
Marta Sui Tubi:
  Mercoledi
Amerigo Verardi & Marco Ancona:
  Mano Nella Mano

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

2009's Il Paese è Reale (nice sleeve art) is a compilation of current Italian indie outfits, curated by Afterhours, although I'm not sure whether or not all of its contents are exclusive to the set. While not the most exciting effort ever, several of its tracks are gutsier than just about anything you'll encounter in the British and/or American scenes, although I wouldn't take that as too much of a recommendation.

Andrea Allulli adds Mellotron strings and flutes to Marco Parente's Da Un Momento All'Altro, to reasonable effect, although it's over all too quickly. I couldn't realistically recommend this to you, either for the music or the Mellotron, but it's a passable enough effort of its type and could've been so, so much worse.

See: Afterhours | ...A Toys Orchestra | Zu

Past, Present, Future

'Past, Present, Future'

Past, Present, Future  (1990,  85.58)  ****½/T½

Lift:
  Perspectives
Happy the Man:
  Leave That Kitten Alone, Armone
Yezda Urfa:
  The Basis Of Dubenglazy (While Dirk Does the Dance)
Netherworld
:
  Cumulo Nimbus
    Part I - The Approaching Storm
    Part II - In the Mist
    Part III - Among the Clouds
Djam Karet:
  Swamp of Dreams
Episode:
  Edge of the Sky
Now:
  Shroomer Consumer
Kalaban:
  Sleepless

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Although now seemingly largely forgotten, Syn-phonic's Past, Present, Future compilation was instrumental in helping to kickstart the '90s resurgence in progressive rock, distinctly different from the '80s resurgence in its two-pronged attack: new releases, sometimes even by genuinely good bands and CD issues of lost classics from around the world, making many titles available internationally for the first time. The double album covers these bases admirably, disc one consisting of unheard masters from (mostly) little-known US bands from the '70s (Happy the Man being the exception, having released two albums on a major), while disc two features then-unavailable tracks by current bands signed to the label, although Kalaban's Sleepless turned up (in the same version?) on their last album, 1993's Resistance is Useless and Episode's Edge Of The Sky similarly appeared on their lone CD release, 1993's Starlight Tales.

It's a sad fact (OK, OK, opinion) that the '70s material outweighs the late '80s, Lift's fabulous Perspectives (now available on their Moments of Hearing archive disc) and Netherworld's three-part Cumulo Nimbus (now available on the expanded version of their In the Following Half-Light) being particular highlights, although, in truth, there's nothing here that isn't worth hearing for the dedicated proghead, Kalaban's Sleepless being an unexpected gem. Upon researching the matter, it would seem that a good five of the set's eight tracks are now available elsewhere, although, as mentioned above, some could be in re-recorded form.

Mellotronically speaking, Lift's track seems to be 'Tron-free, although Yezda Urfa's, surprisingly, has choir, church organ and strings all over it, given that there isn't a jot to be heard on either of their albums, while Netherworld's Cumulo Nimbus features choirs all over its last part, Among The Clouds. To my knowledge, this is still available from Syn-phonic (presumably, the original pressing never sold out), although I can't see it ever being reissued on CD for several reasons, including copyright and expense, as it would have to be a double.

See: Lift | Netherworld | Djam Karet


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