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 The Sea Within by SEA WITHIN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 45 ratings

The Sea Within
The Sea Within Eclectic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is an excellent and underrated release with a stellar lineup of prog veterans. It features some very well written songs, and is a real grower the more you take it in. The first thing I noticed was the drums. I have never really zeroed in on Marco Minnemann's style before, but I am extremely impressed as they stand out on this release. Also, Daniel Gildenlow's vocals stand out from the start of this album all the way to the bonus track Denise. He sounds great and performs with passion and conviction, and you can tell when he is not singing on a track. The musicianship is excellent as expected, and the album feels like a collection of experiences from all of the members. The album is marketed as art-rock, but it crosses many genres and should appeal to any progressive rock fan. There are several long songs like Broken Cord 14:10, An Eye For An Eye For An Eye 7:01, and two bonus tracks.


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 Music: Breathing Of Statues by VIOLA CRAYOLA, THE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 6 ratings

Music: Breathing Of Statues
The Viola Crayola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although the progressive rock world is only a mere half century old as of 2018 (compared to jazz or classical which is ancient!), it's absolutely amazing how many different artists have come and gone throughout its mere five decade time run. For every King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes, there are literally hundreds of bands that were equally as creative, infinitely more experimental and yet for whatever reason, crashed and burned practically before they ever got through the door. Yet another one shot wonder from the early 70s is this oddity THE VIOLA CRAYOLA which put out exactly one album titled MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES in 1974.

THE VIOLA CRAYOLA may sound like a really strange band name but makes more sense once learned that it was founded by the VIOLA brothers led by guitarist Anthony with his bro and drummer Ron. This band was a guitar led jazz-fusion trio that emerged somewhere out of Texas, USA, pumped out this one stellar heavy psych / prog / jazz-rock album and then had its career cut short when Tony was killed in a freak car accident barely after the album was hot off the press. The trio was rounded out by Bill Jolly on bass and this one and only released came out on the Fautna label 1974 and despite its relative obscure nation has found its way onto a CD re-release on Radioactive Records.

MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES is one of the more unique album names of the era but due to a shortened career this band was snuffed out before anyone could hear it which is woefully a shame because this is some powerful and wonderfully wild guitar driven power prog that finds wickedly wild wah-wah and psychedelic fuzzed out guitar taken from the Hendrix playbook, turned up a few notches and marries it to the jazz-fusion technical prowess of John McLaughlin obviously influenced by his early Mahavishnu Orchestra period with finger breaking guitar riffs and even sicker sizzling solos. Other guitar influences cited range from Frank Zappa, Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser and Larry Coryell.

For a debut album MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES is a strong one. It effortlessly jaunts from one fuzz-fueled jammy jazz-fusion treat to another. The album is almost exclusively instrumental with the one exception of the Zappa-esque novelty closer 'What Is The Meaning Of Love?' which is an over-the-top goofy piece reminiscent of Zappa's works such as 'Greggery Peccory' (which came out after this release) or 'Billy Was A Mountain' (which came out before) only it incorporate the jazz-fusion musical accompaniments. In fact, it reminds me a bit of The Tubes of all bands especially their earliest stuff. Overall THE VIOLA CRAYOLA delivers a stellar guitar driven jazz-fusion album that seamlessly fused jazz and rock and incorporated the techniques of the masters. This isn't quite as brilliant as John Abercombie's similar Friends project but it does get very close. Excellent.


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 The Water Sprite by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 13 ratings

The Water Sprite
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Noekk is a continuation of the doom metal band Empyrium. The two musicians responsible for the band play all of the instruments between the two of them. The name Noekk comes from folklore about a water creature that can change into a beautiful white horse who gets human riders and then carries them to their death in the water. The music veers away from metal exploring way beyond its boundaries, but remains dark.

The band's first album is "The Water Sprite". The topic of the lyrics has mostly to do with dark folklore. Most of the music is spontaneous with a fairly free structure, but cohesive enough to avoid a lot of dissonance. It is quite accessible as far as progressive music goes, while being complex enough to keep your interest.

The title track starts off the album with a harpsichord solo which is suddenly interrupted by a quick drum riff and the music takes off. When vocals start, you get your first taste of the sound of Thomas Helm's voice which can be somewhat pompous and almost operatic at times, and at others, a low breathy tone, not really a growl, but close. The music itself is heavy progressive with a complex and changing time signature and plenty of guitars and keyboards to make any prog-head happy.

"T.B.'s Notion" starts off soft with a single guitar that quickly gets joined by vocals in a deep underdeveloped, yet rich voice with lyrics written by J.R.R. Tolkien adapted to an interesting melody. This one remains mostly slow and soft with a mellotron added in later. The melody is not a standard structure and seems to be somewhat improvised.

"Strange Mountain" starts with an electric piano, sounding somewhat like Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter". Subdued vocals start shortly after. At around 2 minutes there is a slight build, then it kicks into a mid tempo rhythm with a lot of mellotron and other keyboards with a flute effect, and the vocals become more dramatic. It continues to get better as it goes and the music becomes more complex. There is a sudden switch to a Deep Purple/Uriah Heep sound midway through when an organ comes in. The drums are also quite excellent adding to the complexity of the track. A theme keeps returning through the track.

Next is "How Fortunate the Man with None", a Dead Can Dance cover. It follows the original quite faithfully, except you get to hear it with Thomas' slightly operatic vocals. It is a decent cover that expands just a little on the original as far as the instruments and a little more vocal inflection, but stays pretty faithful with its great lyrics and repeating melody.

"Fiery Flower" starts with an early King Crimson vibe with mellotron and flute. After a minute, it changes to a more dramatic, neo-progressive sound when the full band and vocals start. There is a nice "Opeth" sounding instrumental interlude.

"Moonface is Dead" starts with a soft guitar and echoing effects with mellotron and vocals. This is a slow yet short track. I do have a hard time with the vocals on slower tracks like this one, when he really shines is on the more dramatic and complex passages in other tracks. Fortunately, it's only just over 4 minutes, but even then it meanders too much.

"Riddle Seeker" surpasses the 10 minute mark and ends the album on a high note. You get the full band from the start, playing a great progressive sound. Vocals come in early. Even after the first minute, you notice a complex and changing sound as a new theme is introduced by the bass and then repeated by guitars. This is quite a dynamic track, always changing and complex with tempo and meter changes and several thematic and improvised elements.

This is quite a great album overall, but some might be turned off initially by the dramatic vocals. This is not a huge drawback, because you do become accustomed to them after a while. There are places where things don't move smoothly, but again, the musicianship is excellent and indicative of greater things to come. However, with these minor issues, this is a very dynamic and progressive album, a little on the dark side, but I wouldn't consider it depressing at all. With a lot of complexities, yet staying mostly accessible in progressive terms, this album does have a lot to offer progressive lovers. Since it is quite dynamic, you can expect a lot of both quiet and heavy moments throughout. With only one really weak track, this reaches about 3.5 stars, but I can easily bump this up to 4 stars as it gets more appealing the more you listen to it.


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 Jeronimo by JERONIMO album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.67 | 37 ratings

Jeronimo Krautrock

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I had never heard of Jeronimo (the band) until a few years back when they showed up on a compilation video of proto-metal bands. Once I finally got an album on CD, I was surprised to read in the liner notes that this band had been at the top of the German charts and a hit across Europe back in the day. Seriously, I had never heard of this band!

Although Jeronimo seem to have been labeled as a progressive rock band, there's nothing on this, their second album, that hints of progressive rock. This is a solid hard rock/early heavy metal album. In fact, among all the proto- metal bands to release albums (or at least record albums and have them released a couple of decades later), Jeronimo's self-titled sophomore belongs in the upper half of the heavy hitters. The guitar sound is not really distorted but still sounds pretty wicked when hit up for some heavy power chords. The drumming hammers hard but still has grace. The bass in some tracks is really quite outstanding. Lead vocals are shared by two of the members, one a little higher register and the other more standard guitar rock vocals.

Most of the tracks on this album rock out pretty hard and heavy. "Shades", "How I'd Love to Be Home", and "End of Our Time" are excellent early metal tracks. "Silence of the Night" has a really cool bass line but sadly the rhythm guitar is kept back in the mix a little. "Reminiscensis" is a short acoustic guitar instrumental, and "You Know I Do" is a kind of straight forward groovy rocker about a guy trying to get a girl.

As with so many albums from this time, there is an obligatory drum solo track. "Hugudila" begins with the full band in full swing but soon the drum solo begins. It's good enough as it is but there are just so many drum solo tracks from this period that hearing yet another is enough to roll one's eyes. The only good news is that this drum solo includes a kettle drum bit, so there's that as a surprise.

The final track here, "Save Our Souls - S.O.S." has the same band sound but the recording sounds warmer than the rest of the album. It's also more of a power chord rocker than most of the other tracks. It seems to be about the band calling out to their fans to help keep the band alive. There's a kind of funny line that says, "When Lucifer's Friend eats your bread," and I can't help but wonder if Jeronimo were worried about losing fans to fellow-German band, Lucifer's Friend. "When we are sure / We're getting older/ Ideas are dying / We are trying / To keep us young / So we are crying". Well, they did manage one more album, their third, after this.

If you're looking for progressive rock, keep moving along, there's nothing to hear here. But for a good, solid rocker that in a way reminds me of Wolfmother's debut but without the keyboards, then this is a good place to lend your ears.


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 Il Mostro di Firenze by UNA STAGIONE ALL'INFERNO album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.06 | 3 ratings

Il Mostro di Firenze
Una Stagione all'Inferno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I suggested this new band on the trusted Black Widow label into the Archives some months ago, knowing it would only be a matter of time when the RPI team finally rolls on the red carpet. Someone instantly rated this with five stars, and also more positive reviews will follow, I believe. With the very informative first review (by TenYearsAfter) still fresh on the front page, I'll make it shorter this time and concentrate on my reception on the music. I didn't know about the true story of a serial killer behind the album, but the horror-filled conceptual nature is pretty clear during the album. Too much so, really. Many tracks contain some sound effects (angstic human voices from talking to terrified screams, rain, birds, car's motor & door slamming, steps, clanging and hitting sounds, phone ringing, etc), underlining the sinister atmosphere. In fact, each time I listen to this album, I've become quite tired of them before 55 minutes have passed. It all makes me miss the music of GOBLIN, in which the horror concept doesn't steal the main attention from the excellent music itself.

As a kindred spirit to many dark-toned RPI bands from Goblin to L'Albero del Veleno, Una Stagione all'Inferno definitely has lots of musical potential. The music is written by vocalist-guitarist Fabio Nicolazzo and keyboardist Laura Menighetti. Piano, Hammond and keyboards are central in the sound that incorporates also acoustic & electric guitars, soprano sax and a string trio. The vocals are often delivered with layered (if a little flat) harmonies. If all additional effects were erased away, we'd have a fine, eclectic, semi-symphonic RPI album balancing between instrumental approach and more vocal-oriented songwriting. 'Serial Killer Rock' -- sung in Italian except for the repeated title -- is the worst track as a doomy heavy rock song. On the whole there are many fine things in the music. It's such a pity that the sound effects are playing a terribly overblown role, in my opinion. I hope the band's future releases will place the music first, not the concept.


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 The Perfect Element - Part 1 by PAIN OF SALVATION album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.24 | 1164 ratings

The Perfect Element - Part 1
Pain Of Salvation Progressive Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Prog-metal for the new millennium!

After two excellent albums, Pain of Salvation released one of the best prog-metal records ever made with their third effort. Deep, catchy and challenging, with a dark concept full of meaning and mixed feelings. This is the natural evolution of acts like Dream Theater and Queensryche.

The only complain I have with this album is that it's a bit too dense, maybe also too long sometimes. But this is a minor fault when you are enjoying tracks so splendid, diverse and well produced like these. Perfect mixture between virtuosity, great songwriting and accessibility.

And I want to give a special mention to Daniel's vocals... One of the best singers in metal history in top form here! Just awesome.

Best Tracks: there is no filler here. Really!

Conclusion: dark, melancholic and complex prog-metal with an incredible songwriting, very good production and lots of new ideas and influences (rap, industrial, jazz...) very well crafted in a collection of great songs which helped to create the path to follow for tons of new metal bands in the new millennium.

Not for every day, but perfect to be enjoyed every so often. A true prog-metal masterpiece!

My rating: *****


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 Il Mostro di Firenze by UNA STAGIONE ALL'INFERNO album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.06 | 3 ratings

Il Mostro di Firenze
Una Stagione all'Inferno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars "First review of this album"

"Black Widow Records strikes again!"

During the years the Italian progrock label Black Widow Records has supported a lot of interesting darker sounding progrock bands and artists, the latest example is Una Stagione All'Inferno ("a season in the hell"). This band is formed in 1997 by the collaboration between Fabio Nicolazzo, coming from Genoa's gothic rock scene, and Laura Menighetti, of classical training. Later Diego Banchero (Il Segno Del Comando), Carlo Opisso and Francesco Scariti joined the band, with this line-up the band released the song La Ballata Di Carini which was included in the compilation E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore, published in 1998 by the Italian label Black Widow Records. The track is the theme song of the famous 70s script L'Amaro Caso Della Baronessa Di Carini, interpreted by the band in a dark progressive way. Subsequently the band was preparing to make a concept album about that script, but this didn't happen because of disagreements within the band. In 2011 Fabio Nicolazzo and Laura Menighetti decided to take up the band, and this led to the ambitious idea of creating a concept on Il Mostro Di Firenze (The Monster of Florence), and the record eventually came out in the spring of 2018 after a long process due to the topic's complexity. In the following years a partnership was created with the drummer and sound engineer Marco Biggi (ex Rondo Veneziano, ex Radio Gaga), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth, Wonderworld, etc.) Pier Gonella (ex Labyrinth, Mastercastle, Necrodeath) and Paolo Firpo (classical saxophonist ). And also thanks to the collaboration with a string trio composed by Kim Schiffo (cello), Laura Sillitti (violin) and Daniele Guerci (viola).

The band about their music. "Il Mostro Di Firenze is an obscure sound experience, a gloomy three-dimensional journey that will take you into the delirious world of one of the most brutal crimes of Italian news. A dark and symphonic work. A dialogue with the most occult and secret parts of our soul. A still unsolved mystery..." The music.

The story is about a the gruesome 8 murders on couples, making love in a car in the Italian provence Florence, between 1968 and 1985, for the horrible details I refer to the Internet. The band has succeeded to translate this horror into the nine compositions: lots of ominous atmospheres and hypnotizing, slow rhythms, blended with sound effects and a wide range of instruments to colour the dark music, from acoustic guitar, piano, violin and saxophone to Hammond organ, synthesizers and heavy guitars. And the strong Italian vocals are male and female.

In the opener Novilunio a razorsharp Fripperish guitar represents the horror, you can imagine how the Monster Of Venice was pleasing his sick mind!

In Nella Notte the music changes from a dark and slow rhythm to bombastic, in between sounds of violence, emphasized by again that razor sharp guitar sound, this is horror prog.

In the short Interludio Macabro we hear a distorted, insane sounding female voice, feed your imagination!

The compelling and heavy Serial Killer Rock delivers a slow and hypnotizing rhythm with sound effects, a propulsive beat and fiery guitar play, evoking Seventies Hawkwind.

The varied track Il Dottore starts with creepy sounds, then exciting interplay between organ and strong drum beats and lots of shifting moods, embellished with powerful saxophone, howling guitar and bombastic keyboards.

And in the final, instrumental track Plenilunio (an extended reprise of Novilunio) the band reaches it's artistic and musical pinnacle, what a variety in atmospheres (from mellow to bombastic) and what an awesome interplay between classical piano, fiery electric guitar and melancholical saxophone, avant-garde King Crimson in Italy!

If you like dark and varied prog, embellished with a wide range of instruments, this is an interesting album to discover.

My rating: 3,5 star.

The first edition of this review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.


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 Meditation by SCHOENER, EBERHARD album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 1 ratings

Eberhard Schoener Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars I'm glad I have discovered Eberhard Schoener. For many I'm sure the name came up from Police fans as he did record a couple of albums in the late '70s with the Police boys (Sting included). In 1974 he released Meditation, which is far from the albums he did with the Police. Here the album concentrates on weird eerie drones. To my ears this sounds like how Tangerine Dream's Zeit would have ended up like if geared for inner space rather than outer space. I also get reminded a bit of Popol Vuh circa Affenstunde. This album was obviously meant for meditation, but this isn't some insipid New Age meditation album, anyone who prefers that type of music will find this rather unsettling. It seems that Eberhard Schoener keeps doing something very different from album to album from the Police trying prog (Flashback, Video-Magic), to gamelan (Bali-Agung) to church music (Trance-Formation) all in a strange electronic setting, and of course this album. If you enjoy Zeit or Affenstunde, give this a try


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 Bali-Agúng by SCHOENER, EBERHARD album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.54 | 12 ratings

Eberhard Schoener Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A lot of ethno-fusion Krautrock albums you run across explore the usual Indian route using sitar and tabla with the usual rock and electronic gear you expect from Krautrock. What Eberhard Schoener does here is very different and explore Balinesian styles in a rather experimental electronic, Krautrock fashion. You get treated with plenty of synthesizers and Mellotron with Balinesian chanting and gamelan. It's amazing how well he Incorporated a traditional Balinesian ensemble with his electronic gear. I would expect lots of misunderstandings given I imagine it would be difficult for a traditional musical ensemble to understand the world of electronic music which is the polar opposite of traditional, but somehow it works. Imagine early Tangerine Dream flirting with Indonesian styles of music and this is what you get. Really worth your time and worth having.


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 Shapeshifter by GONG album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.52 | 74 ratings

Gong Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars GONG has always been about keeping it weird and in any possible way imaginable. GONG was the lovechild of the fertile minds and straight out of the 60s hippies named Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth. Together they crafted their idiosyncratic take on psychedelic rock that borrowed a thing or two from Allen's stint as a founder of The Wilde Flowers, a group that pretty birthed another phenomenon, namely England's quirky Canterbury jazz-rock scene. The duo set out to hone their craft and attracted all the right musicians to make their tangerine dreams come to fruition. After the successful grand finale of 'The Radio Gnome Invisible' trilogy that would wind up with 1974's jazz-fusion meets space rock masterpiece 'You,' both parents needed a vacation from their loving children and packed their bags and moved on.

Despite the founders' untimely departure, GONG was still obligated to Virgin Records to record three more albums. Enter Pierre Moerlin, and to the rescue he crafted a new GONG but kept the name the same at least until such annoying legalities were settled but then something even weirder than the music itself started to kick in. The band GONG suddenly became a family tree. Yep, the roots and trunk of the true that GONG had built up and out to brilliantly nurture and sprout new branches. The new GONG itself would eventually adopt the Pierre Mourlen's Gong moniker while other past members would splinter even further with bands such as Mother Gong, Gongzilla, Gongmaison, Paragong and even Planet Gong. Oh the excitement Allen and Smyth must've felt watching their pixie fueled vision morph into so many offspring.

But when such a project so wickedly cool and so utterly unique lays dormant for nearly two decades, something about the original GONG was space whispering in Allen's ear and ever so adept at tuning into the cosmic messages, felt the urge to reunite as much of the classic 70s lineup as humanly possible. Classic lineup is probably a hard nut to crack because even within the 'Radio Gnome' trilogy, there were many members who came and went and i do not believe that one single GONG album has ever seen the same lineup as the previous. And so the process began. Round up the old team to see if the boys (and girl) could still muster up some mind blowing pixie jazz rock magic that could capture the zeitgeist of the past while remaining contemporary for a more fickle alternative rock 90s crowd.

After all was said and done, Allen was quite successful in stacking up some of the greats of the past for the 9th album under the GONG moniker. SHAPESHIFTER would resurrect the zany GONG mythology with the main character Zero The Hero meeting an urban shaman who agrees to take Zero to the next level of consciousness but only if Zero spends nine months on an airplane where he could travel anywhere in the world but could spend money and under the condition that he only eat airplane food. Of course after all this, Zero dies at the end in Australia under mysterious circumstances. Oh my! The TRUE GONG is back and it's never been as absurd or ridiculously surreal since the 70s heyday! The album was released with two covers over the years and there have been variations in tracks as well. Can't anything be easy?

And so it was. GONG picks right up where 'You' left off with Didier Malherebe returning on bass, sax, keyboards, piccolo and flutes. Mike Howlett on bass. Graham Clark from the Pierre Moerlon phase on violins and even Pip Pyle from the wayback machine joins in on drums. Expectedly, everyone else on board is new to the GONG scene providing bass, keys, a crap load of Indian percussive instruments and even an African kora. So let the zaniness begin! There's lots of catching up to do.

As expected, despite being the fourth chapter of the GONG mythology, SHAPESHIFTER doesn't repeat what came before. Instead it's more like a collage effect of everything that came before. Jazz-fusion space rock? Check. Allen's whimsical charismatic presence with ridiculousness galore? Check. Space rock with glissando guitar, Allen's bread and butter? Check. The band take a cue from 'Angels Egg' and lolling through a diverse palette of musical flavors ranging from sizzling violin fueled progressive jazz-rock to silly hippie dippy drugged out silliness with healthy doses of short Indian percussion pieces and narrated silliness. This one is a long affair clocking in at 66 minutes but for the most part it's a wild ride that doesn't get stale. If i have any complaints it's that Allen's voice hasn't held up as well as i'd prefer and some of the tracks are substandard in quality compared to the greats of the past. While Steve Hillage declined the invitation, Steffi Sharpstrings does stellar job in tacking the guitar parts but SHAPESHIFTER is not a very guitar oriented album for the most part. There's even a techno track ('Dog-o-Matic')

SHAPESHIFTER was actually my very first exposure to the whacky wild antics of GONG so it does have a special place in my heart for being my gateway drug into an alternative pixie fueled universe that i had no idea existed. After my initial exposure however, i kind of moved on to the 70s stuff and haven't really returned to this one for quite some time. Having been impressed by my initial listening session, i do have to admit that it doesn't hold up quite as well after the impressive parade of stellar sui generis psych rock / jazz-fusion that is unmistakably GONG. While SHAPESHIFTER does fall short in a few arenas compared to the past, namely it's not quite as funny, it's not quite as brilliantly laid out and the tracks aren't as amazingly perfect in terms of compositional flair. However, the album flows nicely and the musicians are on the top of their game. This is an album that needed to be made but i do wish that was made better. The album should've been cut down by ten minutes. The tracks needed more attention paid to the hooks and earworms and all but overall this is a decent album.

3.5 stars but i'm rounding up since this was the magical album that got me into GONG.


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List of all PA collaborators


Interconnected by Burness, Tim album rcover

Tim Burness

Live Cuts by Soup album rcover
Live Cuts


Il Mostro di Firenze by Una Stagione all'Inferno album rcover
Il Mostro di Firenze

Una Stagione all'Inferno

Weltschmerz, Baby! by Seid album rcover
Weltschmerz, Baby!


Live At Moods by Sonar album rcover
Live At Moods



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