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CMU

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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CMU biography
CMU, also known as CONTEMPORARY MUSIC UNIT were an UK band active in the early 1970's. They were fusing various aspects of art-rock, jazz-rock and folk with a nod to the psychedelic rock.

A unique (at the time) characteristic of the band was a combination of female and male vocals, making an interesting blend. The male vocalist was James Gordon (who was also participating with percussion in the band),the female vocalist being Larraine Odell (later of RED EXPRESS, still active in various jazz projects nowadays). Other members were keyboardist Terry Mortimer (who also played some violin), Ian Hamlett (guitar, flute), Ed Lee (bass) and Larraine's husband Roger Odell (on drums).

The band released their debut 'Open Spaces' for Transatlantic in 1971. The record is an unpretentious mixture of psychedelia and blues, with some bizarre sonic patches here and there.

They changed their line-up drastically for the following album: instead of Mortimer, Gordon and Lee, the band hired Richard Joseph on acoustic guitar (and vocals), Steve Cook on bass and Leary Hasson on keyboards (Hasson came from MARSUPILAMI, which was also on Transatlantic label).

Reinforced with new members, and a moderate shift in their sound (the presence of Mellotron and spacey synthesizers), the band released their second (and last) album titled 'Space Cabaret' in 1973. This effort was much more elaborate, complex and original.

By the 1975, the band was no more. Both Transatlantic vinyl were re-released on CD's.

CMU are often compared to Arthur Brown and AFFINITY; but fans of CURVED AIR might also enjoy the music of CMU. Both albums are worth checking, especially the second.


Moris Mateljan, 2010.


Sources:
http://www.vintageprog.com/ccc2.htm
http://www.skeelshearing.co.uk/testimonials.html
http://www.redexpress.net/history2.html
http://www.cduniverse.com
http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/cmu

CMU official website

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Buy CMU Music


Space CabaretSpace Cabaret
Import · Remastered
Cherry Red 2009
Audio CD$19.99
Open SpacesOpen Spaces
Import
Polydor Japan 2007
Audio CD$37.00
$30.00 (used)
Space Cabaret/Open SpaceSpace Cabaret/Open Space
Import
Sfm 1993
Audio CD$25.99 (used)
Open Spaces by Cmu (2009-05-12)Open Spaces by Cmu (2009-05-12)
Esoteric
Audio CD$46.32
Space Cabaret by Cmu (2009-05-12)Space Cabaret by Cmu (2009-05-12)
Cherry Red
Audio CD$52.22
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
CMU Space Cabaret vinyl LP album record UK TRA259 TRANSATLANTIC 1973 USD $215.20 Buy It Now 4h 30m
PINK FLOYD-WISH YOU WERE HERE-1975-USA-COLUMBIA REC.CK 33453-CMU P 120-CD-MINT USD $19.99 Buy It Now 11h 19m
PINK FLOYD-WISH YOU WERE HERE-1975-USA-COLUMBIA RECORDS CK 33453-CMU P 91-CD-M- USD $19.99 Buy It Now 11h 21m
PINK FLOYD-THE FINAL CUT-1983-USA-COLUMBIA RECORDS CK 38243 CMU P 65-CD-MINT- USD $19.99 Buy It Now 11h 25m
THE ROLLING STONES-STICKY FINGERS-USA-ROLLING STONES REC. CK40488-CMU P 115-CD-M USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Sensual World by Kate Bush (CD, Oct-1989, Columbia (USA)) CMU P 74 on HUB USD $3.97 Buy It Now 1 day
CMU Open Spaces JAPAN CD POCE-1085 2006 NEW USD $78.72 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) CMU - Open Spaces / Japan Import / POCE1085 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 3 days
VIVA SANTANA DOUBLE CD DOUBLE THICK JEWEL CASE C2K 44344 CMU P 91 CARLOS RARE CD USD $14.99 [0 bids]
USD $19.99 Buy It Now
3 days
Double Star: The Music Of David Gillingham - Cmu Symphonic W (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.59 Buy It Now 3 days
Vintage Jazz Ensemble LP Vinyl Record 1974 CMU Pittsburgh + USD $4.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd Early USA CMU CD The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking USD $99.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Pink Floyd Early USA CD Wish You Were Here CMU P 122 B: 1B CK33453 40 B USD $99.99 Buy It Now 7 days
CMU/Space Cabaret & Open Spaces/1993 CD Album/C.M.U. USD $41.92 Buy It Now 8 days
CMU New Music Issue 78 Feb 2000 Various Artists CD USD $3.49 [0 bids]
USD $5.12 Buy It Now
8 days
Spinal Chord: REMEDY (CD, Music, Metal, Crash Music, 2004, Brand New) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Midnight Oil Diesel & Dust Columbia 1988 CMU CD Matrix Code A1 01 Best Sounding USD $24.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Elysium: Godfather CD 2006 Empire Records / Crash Music, Inc. USA CMU 61173 USD $4.95 Buy It Now 11 days
CMU ?- Space Cabaret CD JEWEL CASE WITH OBI USD $11.95 Buy It Now 12 days
ENUFF Z NUFF - TONIGHT, SOLD OUT -11 TRACK CD- (CMU 61203) BRAND NEW SEALED USD $15.69 Buy It Now 14 days
A Christmas Album CBS NM USA CD CMU Pitman Plant 01 1st First Pressing 11 Tracks USD $99.99 Buy It Now 14 days
CMU - Open Spaces - CD (2006) Prog Rock 1971 [JAPANESE CD] USD $12.57 Buy It Now 17 days
CMU OPEN SPACES TRANSATLANTIC TRA 237 ALBUM ADVERT 15X12 USD $20.97 Buy It Now 17 days
Michigan College Fraternity Songs MSU EMU WMU UofD CMU UofM 1968 Record Album LP USD $20.00 Buy It Now 19 days
Open Spaces by Cmu (CD, Nov-2008, Esoteric Records) USD $19.85 Buy It Now 19 days
Metalium: Nothing To Undo - Chapter Six CD 2007 6 Crash Music CMU 61193 NEW USD $6.95 Buy It Now 19 days
Lupara: S/T ST Self Titled Same CD 2006 Crash Music USA CMU 61187 Original NEW USD $4.95 Buy It Now 19 days
Carnal Grief: Nine Shades Of Pain CD 2007 9 Crash Music USA CMU 61195 NEW USD $4.95 Buy It Now 19 days
For The Suffering Self Titled Same ST CD 2009 Crash Music CMU 61220 NEW USD $4.95 Buy It Now 19 days
My Fate: Happiness Is Fiction CD 2004 Crash Music CMU 61117 NEW USD $4.95 Buy It Now 20 days
CMU: OPEN SPACES ~ JAPAN MINI LP CD, BRITISH ROCK MASTERPIECE, ULTRA RARE, OOP USD $41.40 Buy It Now 20 days
Tartharia: Abstract Nation CD 2004 Crash Music CMU 61125 NEW USD $5.95 Buy It Now 21 days
CMU Faculty Jazz Ensemble-Conspiracy Theory CD NEW USD $19.11 Buy It Now 21 days
MICHAEL JACKSON THRILLER 1982 USA CMU P 105 EARLY CD USD $39.99 Buy It Now 21 days
Thy Disease: Rat Age Sworn Kinds Final Verses CD 2006 Crash Music CMU 61183 NEW USD $4.95 Buy It Now 22 days
Silent Voices: Infernal CD 2004 Low Frequency Records / Crash Music CMU 61123 USD $5.95 Buy It Now 23 days
CMU Symphonic Wind Ensemble-Double Star: The Music of David Gillingham CD NEW USD $17.33 Buy It Now 24 days
Sonorama 1968 Michigan College Fraternity Drinking Songs LP MSU EMU CMU VG+ LP USD $39.95 Buy It Now 27 days
OZZY OSBOURNE-NO REST FOR THE WICKED-1988-USA-CBS RECORDS ZK 44245-CMU P 83-CD-M USD $22.99 Buy It Now 27 days
CMU - 2CD Set - Open Spaces / Space Cabaret USD $24.49 Buy It Now 29 days
FREE US SHIP. on ANY 2+ CDs! ~Used,VeryGood CD CMU Faculty Jazz Ensemble: Conspi USD $25.00 Buy It Now 29 days

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CMU discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CMU top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 16 ratings
Open Spaces
1971
3.13 | 19 ratings
Space Cabaret
1973

CMU Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CMU Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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CMU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Space Cabaret by CMU album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.13 | 19 ratings

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Space Cabaret
CMU Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Two year after their debut album CMU comes back with a very different line-up, where Loraine's main vocal partner has changed - Rick Joseph instead of James Gordon - and has become the main songwriter. Among the changes is Leary Hasson who will bring an impressive array of keyboards. An absolutely ugly cosmonaut artwork disgraces the album, reminiscent of Roger Dean's not always successful early artworks.

Opening on the atrocious (but thankfully short) title track, CMU offers the much better Archway 272, with mellotrons and a Sinclair-like fuzzed-out organ as well as a Rhodes, all courtesy of newcomer Leary Hasson. This track ends with a pulled saturated mike jack, but immediately goes into Song From The 4th Era that could be from Peter Hammill's Fool's Mate album. The meditative 7-mins Distant Thought retains the slight Hammill vocal influence, but the music is more in the Yes realm (all things considered). Closing up the first side is Doctor, another Joseph tune where only the bass seems alive with his acoustic guitar, until the 2/3 of the song, where Rhodes intervene as well, turning it nicely around for us progheads.

As a contrast to the five Joseph-penned tracks of the first side, there is only two longer ones on the flipside: the almost 10-mins Hamlett-penned Dreams and the 10-mins+ Hasson-written Lightshine. The former starts as a smooth gliding track, punctuated with Neil Young-like guitar interventions (Thinking of his Nowhere album), before the guitar goes funky and the Rhodes arrive for a verse, then the track plunges into a psyched dreamland for the following verse, the guitar sounding Hendrix-ey, this morphing into a slow ascending riff under the patronage of a fuzzed-out organ of Hasson and more changes coming up. Lightshine is a piano-written track, but after the intro comes a Moog interlude ala Emerson's Lucky Man. The track later grows into a raga where both singers trade verses than spreads its wings over vast Caravan-like soundscapes; Hasson's fuzzed out organ helping so.

As you could read in my reviews of CMU, there isn't much original or innovative and their influences are a bit too clear, but on the whole despite its ugly sleeve, Space Cabaret is an enjoyable but unessential piece of early prog rock. I'd say that this album is slightly better than Open Spaces, but this is marginal enough to say that it would a difficult choice to choose only one?. But ultimately this one gets the edge.

 Open Spaces by CMU album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.03 | 16 ratings

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Open Spaces
CMU Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars A weird eclectic group that ended up recording two albums on a folk specialist label Transatlantic, CMU is not a folk rock group as often described. Their line-up was never really stable during the group's existence, but at the time of their debut album, they were a sextet featuring male and female vocals (something very common in folk and folk rock circles), but also multi-instrumentalists like guitar/flute or keyboards/guitars/violin.

Opening on the quirky and mad Henry track, CMU offers a cool eclectic music that borders pop music, but remains "rock" enough to interest most progheads, with plenty of tempo changes and fun twists. Voodoo Man is a blues with an early-Doors vibe. As you'll guess by reading the title of the following track, we have another blues-rock track, this time more pedestrian and acoustic and overstaying a bit its welcome, even if it has a controlled chaos passage and ending. Chantecleer is probably the most experimental track of the album with its electronics twiddlings and it is probably the main reason for this group's presence on this site.

Opening the flipside is a slow uninteresting Japan track, where the group tries to sound Asian, but only succeeds to India's level. The Zappa-esque vocals of Clown are much catchier, but I am reminded of 10CC or later70's Queen. The hippy-like Mystical Sounds features flutes. The epic title track Open Space is the other cornerstone of the album, opening on a dronal violin and very slow drums, creating an intense and anxious climate as the violin cranks up slowly the power and speed. I can't help but think of String Driven Thing's Machine That Cried at this point. Unfortunately the crescendo dips into a black hole, from which the band will take a couple of minutes to escape, but once it does, it has morphed into a slight mid-eastern influenced jazz feel that slowly increases intensity only to plunge again a the black hole and remain there.

PS: the See For Miles 2on1 CD released in 93 is unfortunately missing one of this album's key track, Chantecleer, for time reasons, so if you're really interested in the group, try out the brand-new Esoteric single-album reissue. Not quite essential and even less groundbreaking, but definitely worth throwing an ear on it to check out the light gentle madness that shook these guys

Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition. and to historian9 for the last updates

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