Thing of the Day 

A big box of assorted instrumental flavours...

March 26th 2011

A whole lot of instrumental things have landed here in the Organ bunker in recent times, here are a selection worthy of investigation. A whole set of space kraut math jazz heavy rock ‘n prog flavours on the Organ menu today for you to peruse and select from…   
First on the menu the space rock of The Oscillation

the OscillationTHE OSCILLATION – Veils (All Time Low) – Healthy blend of 70’s flavoured psychedelic space rock and keyboard oscillation that now and again touches on Stone Roses before retreating back to the lands of Hawkwind, Zombi and such. Nothing too heavy, all rather laid back in an almost progressive way. No sense of standing on any runway waiting to take off, more a feel of slow moving, psychedelic levitation, slightly indie flavoured notions of slow building space rock crescendos, stripped back grooves and motorik rhythms. Psych driven darkness, a touch of easy listening lounging around in there, some bleeps and pulses and if you feel like taking the relaxed space rock ride then, here you go, set the controls for the heart of the sun… 

The album is out now, they play a London album launch show at Madam JoJo’s, Soho, London April 12th

Tom James ParmiterA taste of things to come from Tom James Parmiter..
TOM JAMES PARMITER – Kyoto Dreams (self release) - Instrumental single from the multi-instrumentalist’s latest album, who says he considers himself a composer first, rather than a musician. Kyoto Dreams is a refreshing electronic tune, very much a coherently modern three minute tune of a clean-cut Plaid, Jaga Jazzist nature. These bright gleaming (slightly glitchy) three minutes and eleven seconds don’t tell us that much, have us curious about the forthcoming Man of The Mountain EP that this track is part of (forthcoming? The press release that came in with this minimally packaged CDr says the EP is forthcoming but isn’t that clear, meanwhile Tom James Parmiter’s not very informative websites hint that the EP may already have come out in February...?). We’re told there’s a fourteen track album called Cascades that’s also due sometime soon. Kyoto Dreams
sounds like some kind of clean cut soundtrack to a a very arty TV advert for a slick new expensive new age energy saving yet mysteriously sporty and fast car from some big corporation or something. Nice layers of different rythmns playing off each other, bit of a Robert Fripp feel to the composition, fine blend of orchestral electronica, good melody, need to hear more, appetites whetted …    

There’s a free download of this track via Soundcloud

The new age stylings of Hatchback….

HATCHBACK – Zeus & Apollo (Lo Recordings) – Really not sure when this album came out, or, indeed if it is actually out yet? Date on the back says 2010, it turned up here in the post recently and well, does anyone care that much about tying in reviews with release dates and such these days? 
    Hatchback is Sam Grawe and this, his latest CD or double vinyl album set, is more of that gentle electronic wash.  Zeus & Apollo is so gently mellow and laid back in a soothing cleanse everything away in an aural massage kind of way, makes a Tangerine Dream experience seem like being locked on a room with a rabid slice of Slayer blasting at you. I guess we could talk about new age ambiance and drop names like Michael Rother or Klaus Schulze, shall we just say this is quietly intricate, delicately warm, gorgeously simple, melodious tones, unassuming arpeggios. Find yourself a piece of empty blue sky, find your headphones, lie back and let Hatchback gently float you away - he does his self proclaimed “new age of new age” thing rather impressively well –  

World Service ProjectWORLD SERVICE PROJECT – Relentless (Brooke) – A lean ride on the good ship jazz from London’s rather impressive World Service Project. Driving instrumental grooves that kind of operates in the same areas of jazz ‘tradition’ as the equally enjoyable Led Bib. Mellow flavours that sometimes bite back with progressive dexterity, with unexpected warmth, with, at times, an almost frantic twist. Relentless is just that, in a rather positive way: relentlessly good jazz that flow through many paces of colourful light and shade, of sunny day states of mind, ofr bar-room smoke, of progressive parp and saxophone twist. Played with a flowing freedom, it's not free jazz, not avant experimentalism or formless improv, no, this is well rounded composition, always revolving around impressive tunesmithery and to these untrained ears (untrained when it comes to the who, what or where of jazz), an extremely enjoyable, rewarding, accessible yet challenging set of impressive instrumental tunes. Classic jazz for the here and now,  that rocks when it needs to and knows when to keep it pure and balanced enough to satisfy those who don’t always want it to rock. Just really really enjoyable top quality jazz. Seems like Led Bib aren’t the only ones out there, World Service Project deserve some attention as well. Recommended.

A demo recording and some instrumental metal-driven neo-prog guitar

Shadow VengerSHADOW VENGER appears to be the name of a decent enough technical metal type solo guitarist. Now let me say right here, widdle-diddle show-off technical metal electric guitar masturbation is really not anything that does much for anybody around here. Really haven’t got time for all that technical guitar-shop look at me and how fast I can play bullshit, neither do we have much time for the very un-progressive notions of modern neo-prog and the things bands like Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard or the dreadfully awful things the vastly overrated Dream Theater do these days. We tell you all this because these areas are pretty much where Shadow Venger does his thing. Melodic neo-prog flavoured technical metal guitar instrumentals and actually, if you like this kind of thing then Mr Venger, once you get past the very well played widdle-diddle high speed first track, has a rather good understanding of light and shade and the notions of less sometimes being more. He isn’t all about technique, he plays with feeling, with modern colour, he indeed might well add a bit of depth to one of those neo-prog bands… Really not our thing, but hey, respect is due and our time writing this deserved and if you like melodic, neo-prog-flavoured technical metal guitar composition, then the one time Empyreal Destroyer man’s four track download demo EP is well worth checking out.

A light serving of refreshing Kraut rock…

EAT LIGHTS BECOME LIGHTS – Autopia (Enraptured) –  Autopia is more autobahn cruising instrumental kraut pop, more easy on the ear Germanic influenced 70’s electronica. All very clean cut, all very poppy, all delivered with a nicely paced, sensibly driven, healthy flowing feel, a light touch, a refreshing kraut pop glow. Titles like Musik For Motorways, Test Drive and Machine Language will tell you that we’ve been here quite a few times before, their sleekt modern synthetic edge, their harmonious melodies played to a driving motorik throb, gives the London band a little something of their own. One for you fans of bands like Kraftwerk, Hawkwind and the clean cut kosmische spirit of the age.

Out now on limited edition clear green vinyl or as a digital download

Something a little more guitar flavoured and just a little dirty around the edges…

The ForksTHE FORKS – The Forks (Maximum Douglas) – Guess the fact that the press release is written in French tells us they’re maybe from France? The Forks are yet another mathy instrumental band; they could be called the F**king Forks in the way that they sound like one of those That F’ing Tank of maybe The F**king Champs type bands, they could be any one of those Flipping post-hardcore mathy instrumental bands.
  The Forks have a math rock churn, a stew that needs a heavy duty eating implement to lift it all up and digest. The Forks have an instrumental chewiness, they aren’t that complex and most of the maths is basic in terms of time signature or structure, their texture tends to be a little one dimensional - but it is a gritty dimension, and it is rather enjoyably listenable.They do play around with the pacing nicely, there is some power in their restraint, some thought in their quietness and some bite in their faster almost metallic moments. The Champs are far more about the taking of metal riffs and doing something (awkwardly) different with them, The Forks aren’t really doing that, The Forks aren’t trying to mess with metal, they just touch on it with their slightly dirty riff-based guitar sound... the Forks are relaxed and flowing in their slightly edgy way, whereas the Champs are hardboiled and almost deliberately difficult. 
    This is a likeable album, a relaxed edge to their dirty churn and their grungy post-hardcore guitar momentum. Nothing radically different and there is a lot of these kind of things flowing around that maybe has a bit more cutting edge challenge to it but The Forks are satisfying, this is good, their churn leaves a satisfying aftertaste, their flow leaves an uplifting feel and yes this will more than do until the next French instrumental post hardcore guitar band’s album lands (we expect it sometime next week, France is on a roll right now…) Rather like The Forks.      

And last but not least on today’s menu of instrumental rock-based earfood…

Brian EllisBRIAN ELLIS – Quipu (Parallax Sounds) – San Diego based multi instrumentalist, perhaps best known as lead guitarist in progressive rock outfit Astra. This is a collection of very 70’s flavoured, acid drenched, forward moving, psychedelic instrumentals. Sounds like a large band jamming together rather than a one man studio project, when it really gets in the zone we’re getting near Van Der Graaf Generator style instrumental passages, very much on their psychedelic acid side, though, and all very very retro. Long passages of relentlessly forward driving acid rock and Mahavishnu Orchestra moves - trumpets, saxophones, funky bass lines, dissonance, hints of free jazz, always within the formula and the frame though, nothing too far out there when you really want him to take just the hint of a risk or two… Xylophones, synths, meaty keyboards, Brian Ellis does it all rather well – 70’s sounding jazz flavoured progressive fusion and space rock flavoured psychedelic instrumentals…
Out in the UK on April 4th via Cargo distribution –

Right then, enough of all this, can someone sing me a song now please….

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