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17 PYGMIES

Crossover Prog • United States


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17 Pygmies biography
US band 17 PYGMIES was formed in 1982, initially consisting of Philip Drucker (aka Jackson Del Rey), Michael Kory and Debbie Spinelli. From an initial kind of progressive rock inspired sound the band developed towards a more distinct pop/rock sound in this formative phase. In 1983 Robert Loveless joined the band, just in time for the release of their first EP Hatikva, while Michael Kory left to explore other musical possibilities. The following year the band made their full length debut with Jedda By the Sea, a production considered as something of a masterpiece in the post-punk genre by a handful or so of dedicated fans of this style. In 1985 the second chapter of The Pygs musical exploits saw the light in the shape of Captured on Ice, an album notable for it's lack of popular individual tracks if one is to take the official band biography serious.

While obscurity is a great place to be in for artistic credibility it isn't for band stability, and when 17 Pygmies resurfaced again in 1988 with Welcome it was as a totally revamped band, Drecker and Loveless the only remaining members from the initial phase of the band's history. This turned out to be the last album by the band as an entity too, and 1991 saw the band hitting the pastures of hiatus following the odds and ends production Missyfish.

Just over a decade later various band members from their golden age of underground non-stardom decided that this band project really was too much fun to be involved with to let it rest any longer, and thus their second phase as non-stars in the realms of the obscure came to be. Since this reformation was decided they have been a fairly productive band too, with the double album 13 Blackbirds and the CD Ballade Of Tristram's Last Harping kicking off in 2007, followed by Celestina in 2008, The Outlaw J. D. Ray in 2009 and the second and third chapters in the science fiction based theme album series Celestina appearing as CII: Second Son in 2011 and CIII: Even Celestina Gets the Blues early in 2012.

Truly eager fans of the band might also hit the second hand market to hunt down a further curiosity by 17 Pygmies: The compilation CD Jedda by the Sea + Hatikva from 1995, assembling their two initial vinyl releases in a form and shape more easily accessible in a world where the LP player isn't a common item in households any longer. A description that, incidentally, can be applied to just about any album released by 17 Pygmies too.

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Buy 17 PYGMIES Music


CelestinaCelestina
Trakwerx Records 2013
Audio CD$30.59
IsabelIsabel
Trakwerx Records 2013
Audio CD$9.21
$16.31 (used)
WelcomeWelcome
Great Jones 1994
Audio CD$7.50 (used)
Jedda By the Sea & Captured in IceJedda By the Sea & Captured in Ice
Remastered
LTM 2013
Audio CD$12.02
$21.65 (used)
13 Blackbirds/13 Lotus13 Blackbirds/13 Lotus
101 DISTRIBUTION 2007
Audio CD$6.94
$4.99 (used)
Ballade of Tristram's Last HarpingBallade of Tristram's Last Harping
101 DISTRIBUTION 2007
Audio CD$2.75
$9.99 (used)
Ciii: Even Celestina Gets the BluesCiii: Even Celestina Gets the Blues
1-2-3-4-GO! 2013
Audio CD$10.47
$16.25 (used)
The Outlaw J.D. RayThe Outlaw J.D. Ray
Trakwerx 2010
Audio CD$8.48
$73.04 (used)
Captured in IceCaptured in Ice
Resistance
Vinyl$44.99
$38.24 (used)
Cii: Second SonCii: Second Son
1-2-3-4-GO! 2013
Audio CD$10.47
$65.94 (used)
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17 PYGMIES discography


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

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

3.92 | 3 ratings
Jedda by the Sea
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Captured in Ice
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Welcome
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Missyfish
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
13 Blackbirds
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ballade Of Tristram's Last Harping
2007
1.14 | 2 ratings
Celestina
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Outlaw J. D. Ray
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
CII: Second Son
2011
4.00 | 2 ratings
CIII: Even Celestina Gets The Blues
2012
4.36 | 7 ratings
Isabel
2013

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

17 PYGMIES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

17 PYGMIES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

17 PYGMIES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Hatikva
1983

17 PYGMIES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Isabel by 17 PYGMIES album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.36 | 7 ratings

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Isabel
17 Pygmies Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band 17 PYGMIES started out back in 1982, and until they went on hiatus in the 1990's established themselves as a post-punk band. 2007 saw the band revive again, now with a desire to explore music closer related to progressive rock. Seven studio albums have seen the light since then, of which "Isabel" from 2013 is the most recent.

The gentle art of beauty is probably a good manner in which to summarize "Isabel". From delicate chamber rock inspired compositions to those with a more purebred symphonic orientation, these compositions revolve around the gentle, careful and tranquil touch through and through. If this sounds intriguing in general, and a description such as frail symphonic rock is something that intrigues your curiosity, this is a production that merits a check.

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 Isabel by 17 PYGMIES album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.36 | 7 ratings

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Isabel
17 Pygmies Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars 17 Pygmies is not really a newbie when it comes to music. They came into being more than 30 years ago in the USA. They released their first album in 1983 and they were active till 1990. Under heavy changes in both lineup and music 17 Pygmies were reborn in late 00's with the only original member of the band Jackson Del Rey (synths, guitars, bass and vocals) plus Meg Maryatt (vocals, guitars, synths), Jeff Brenneman (guitars, synths), Dirk Doucette (drums, bass, guitars, synths).

5 years ago they released an album called Celestina (2008), which was an ambitious project that would be completed 2 albums later. The trilogy was about a feminine robot, in a sci-fi story. After the trilogy the band decided to continue the project and that lead us to the CD I'm reviewing today: Isabel (2013).

I'm not sure how the others 17 Pygmies CDs look like, but Isabel (2013) is a gorgeous handmade package that makes you want it in your collection. I put a video together for you to understand what I'm talking about (youtu.be/AXsBIpiuVD8).

Isabel (2013) has an odd concept, just like everything in 17 Pygmies. It's a record, but it has a 36 pages booklet where you can actually read' a book. Or perhaps the word tale would be more accurate. The music doesn't fit the book in my opinion, but it's a VERY interesting piece of text that makes you read more. The author of the story is Jackson Del Rey.

When it comes to the music, Isabel (2013) is quite unique too, just like its packaging. It's far away from an average Prog Rock album. Isabel (2013) is divided into 11 parts and a 12th song. Chamber music is the most accurate term to their music, at least in general. Their music is based on violins and violas, but accompanied by acoustic guitars and synths, all over.

Five songs on the album have lyrics and, consequently, vocals. Wonderful vocals by Meg Maryatt. Through the rest of the album what we have is a wonderful and unique piece that combines chamber music with acoustic guitars (like in 'Isabel I'), layers and layers of synthesizers and a bit of electronic music (like in 'Isabel II', 'Isabel III'), trip hop feeling (like in 'Isabel III'), Indian music (like in 'Isabel IX') and a Progressive Electronic (like in the Mike Oldfield meets Tangerine Dream moment in 'Isabel VII').

Although the instrumental pieces are quite wonderful, it is the vocal moments that hold the most intense moments of Isabel (2013). 'Isabel I', 'Isabel III', 'Isabel VI', 'Isabel XI' and the last track 'Kyrie are the vocal ones. All of them are pretty pieces of music with dreamy pictures and beautiful layers of vocals.

17 Pygmies have built one superb record of Isabel (2013). Perhaps even more, a beautiful piece of art if you gather all the components together (including the amazing artwork). Isabel (2013) is all about flow, motion, mood. It's quite incredible that so much polished work was independently released. I guess we still have some bands that really care. We can wait for more 2 parts when it comes to Isabel (2013), just like in Celestina (2008). Isabel (2013) was one of the strongest and prettiest albums I've heard so far in 2013. My real rate is 4.5 stars, but as PA doesn't allow it, I cannot just give them 4 stars. It goes on 5.

17 Pygmies did something very hard in today's music. They created something very unique, pretty and quite original. Highly recommended!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Jedda by the Sea by 17 PYGMIES album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.92 | 3 ratings

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Jedda by the Sea
17 Pygmies Crossover Prog

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars A folkish post-punk album. Not a masterpiece into progressive music, but into post-punk, this would be put together with Joy Division and The Cure. Jedda by the Sea is the debut piece from the american band 17 Pygmies. The keyboards background are very intense on the album and when you find vocals, they are pretty catchy. The conqueror opening track brings a sweet female voice and a good feeling. Waiting to Arrive is the second track, maybe my favorite here. Great melody. The album flees from the pure post-punk with exotic and folk passages always present, most remarkable at the instrumental tracks Moment in Ceylon, Jerusalem and the wonderful Lazarus. The presence of violins contributes greatly to this. A great album from the 80s.

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 Celestina by 17 PYGMIES album cover Studio Album, 2008
1.14 | 2 ratings

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Celestina
17 Pygmies Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

1 stars Los Angeles-based act 17 Pygmies were a unique band back in early-80's, when multi-instrumentalist Philip Drucker (aka Jackson Del Rey) formed the group, that released four full-length albums until 1991, combining elements from Post-Punk, Proto-Alternative Rock and Pop.A fifteen year hiatus followed until Drucker reformed the group as the 17th Pygmy in 2006 with guitarist Jeff Brenneman, drummer Dirk Doucette and female singer/multi-instrumentalist Meg Maryatt.The original 17 Pygmies name returned in 2008 with the album ''Celestina'', released on Drucker's Trakwerx label.

''Celestina'' is a concept sci-fi album, based on the story of some astronauts getting high as they were exposed on pure oxygen, while exploring a giant gas nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia.Reasonably the album seems destined to include lots of spacey soundscapes, sonic textures and cosmic atmospheres, but this reputedly quite proggy release has only a flavor of pure Ambient Music, supported by some FLOYD-ian passages (when the sporadic guitars appear), psychedelic mannerisms and light Classical-influenced themes.The music is not bad as a result, the real problem is that this an extremely hypnotic work with hardly any memorable moment.One also wonders why two long tracks like the 12-min. ''V'' and the almost 10-min. ''VIII'' were composed at first place, containing little to no variations with only some notable guitar work on the second one.The monotonous motive is strongly present to all the pieces of the album, which are mainly built around spacey but weak synthesizers with little instrumental variety.Very dreamy, ethereal and calm music overall, that actually does exactly that to the listener, setting him into sleep and into his own world of dreams.

Again, this particular concept and the music supporting it are not neccesarilly a failure.But the listening becomes a non-listening with such relaxed textures and total abscence of diversity.Not recommended.

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 CIII: Even Celestina Gets The Blues by 17 PYGMIES album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 2 ratings

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CIII: Even Celestina Gets The Blues
17 Pygmies Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US outfit 17 PYGMIES was formed back in 1982, and in their first spout, lasting until the early 90's, they established themselves as a post punk band. Since they reformed with a new line-up in 2007 they have deliberately sought out progressive rock however, first and foremost through the theme album series Celestina. "CIII: Even Celestina Gets the Blues" is the third instalment in the series, and was released in January 2012.

Beauty is a key word for 17 Pygmies most recent production "CIII: Even Celestina Gets the Blues": from the exquisite packaging to the gentle, cosmic flavored and richly layered symphonic oriented compositions themselves, as well as mix, production and performance. An album that merits a check by those who find such a description tantalizing, and one that deserves a far wider audience than what a limited edition, numbered CD apparently has prepared for.

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