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Non-Prog Album Reviews

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BrufordFreak View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Non-Prog Album Reviews
    Posted: December 21 2013 at 10:02
Awesome thread idea! Sorry I hadn't seen it before! Love seeing reviews/recommendations for Prefab, Gaga, etc.!

Band Name and description
FIVE STOREY ENSEMBLE is a progressive neo-classical band from Belarus coming out of the AltrOck label that rose out of the ashes of RATIONAL DIET in 2012-13. Compositions are mostly by former RD members and Five-Storey core members bassoon/saxophonist Vitaly Appow  and pianist/vocalist Olga Podgaiskaja and generally feature accordion, violin, double bass and/or cello, acoustic or electric guitars, some percussion, and classically styled male and female vocals. 

Album information
Their first release from March of 2013 is entitled, Not That City. Several videos of music of live and studio performances from Not That City can be found on YouTube. 

The Review:



FIVE-STOREY ENSEMBLE Not That City


Out of the ashes of RATIONAL DIET rises this phoenix of incredible power and beauty--in my humble opinion, an album ten times better than the very well crafted albums of its predecessor. Yes, Five-Storey Ensemble is the spawn of RATIONAL DIET. RATIONAL DIET founding member and reed player, Vitaly Appow, and keyboard/vocalist Olga Podgaiskaja, of the final two RATIONAL DIET albums, At Work and On Phenomenon and Existences, are principle composers here, while violinist, Cyrill Christya, and bass guitarist, Dmitry Maslovsky participate on several songs.

     While I thoroughly enjoyed the Avant/RIO/Modern Chamber musings of RD, I was quick to zoom in on Not That City once it was posted on progstreaming.com. Bam! Was I broadsided! This album blew me away from the opener through to the last song. It’s music is reminiscent of RATIONAL DIET but, like ARANIS, it is much more melodic and its vocals play a much more important role in defining their sound. The vocals here are used more operatically—and really only used in the forefront of four different songs. Whenever the male tenor and female soprano voices perform I find myself reminded of Goreki’s Third Symphony. Even though vocalists Sergey Dolgushev and composer and keyboard player, Olga Podgaiskaja, respectively, employ operatic approaches stylistically, their vocals are often used almost more as additional instruments—which has the tremendous effect of deepening the conveyance of emotions within each song—and each has such a distinct and different contribution to the songs with their voices—often at the same time--that it has the effect of bringing two very different, almost divergent threads into the emotional weave.   


1. “The Harbinger” (5:51) opens the album with some long, sustained note playing from accordion player, Alexander But’ko. He is then gradually joined by violinist, Anastasia Popova, and oboist, Natalja Malashova, all weaving their magical notes together, slowly, deliciously. At the 2:20 mark pianist, Olga Podgaiskaja, bassoonist Vitaly Appow, and double bass player, Vyacheslav Plesko join in, taking the music into more staccato, rapido mode for several measures before fading back to let the original weave evolve. This cycle of piano- and bass-infused tempo upgrade recurs twice more, before the third occasion, in the third minute, a prolonged, sustained dark theme more suited to PRESENT or UNIVERS ZERO is presented and built upon. This continues until 4:15 when an additional thread of color is provided by male vocalist, Sergey Dolgushev. We then see the song devolve into a final weave coming from Sergey’s plaintive voice and Alexander’s emotional accordion.

     Awesome song—though it does get drawn out a bit in places. I’ve heard this song in three different formats now, album version and two different live performances with two very different instrumental lineups (one more expanded, like the album version). Each has its strengths and charms. (9/10)  


2. “Bondman’s Wings” (2:24) is a short, beautiful and powerful 'folk' instrumental using accordion, bassoon, oboe, and stringed instruments (with some military-like percussion) to tell its tale. Charming!(9/10)


3. “The Incommunication” (5:22) alternating female and male vocals as if in conversation—sounds so romantic yet spiritual, almost religious. Sparse instrumentation of long sustained chords accompany the vocal until the two minute mark when a kind of Renaissance courtly music dances us into another dimension. Incredible constructions of seemingly independent instrumental voices all woven into a spacious yet multi-layered tapestry of exquisite beauty! The voices return for the final two minutes, this time woven within the multi-layered tapestry (a bit too much going on here for these ears). (9/10)


4. “To Ringfly” (3:11) begins as a rondo between accordion, bassoon and percussion and plays out very much in that format with the occasional instrument added here or there. (8/10)


5. “A Disappearing Road" (4:42) To pulsing bassoon, and drum are soon woven in with accordion and other woodwinds. The first third is very Baroque/Renaissance processional feeling, but then structure shifts at about the two minute mark, taking on a more squared, constant feel, and then again at the 3:20 mark in which cacophonous strings play wildly over a woodwind section that holds long, long notes in strange discordant harmonies. Interesting and unusual. (9/10)


6.     “The Unpainted” (7:57) is a haunting, even disturbing song beginning with simple piano arpeggio, double bass, and intermittent injections of string or woodwind instruments. Just after the one minute mark, the discordant tones of a female vocalist enters in low registers, then slowly climbs, octave by octave, until a minute later she is singing her dirge in her highest soprano register. Piano, strings, and woodwinds work themselves into until at 3:35 drums join in to accentuate the drama. A few seconds later and all has calmed down to 'solo' piano attended very sparsely by injections of winds, strings, percussives and, in the sixth minute, an electric guitar(!)--all painting a picture of the most ominous and despondent tones. The most UNIVERS ZERO-sounding song yet! (8/10)


7.     Yesterday Dormant” (5:40) is a classical sounding discourse between male and female vocalists. Very powerful. I love music like this (no matter that it's being sung in a language I neither know or understand.) Kind of reminds me of a more classical sophisticated version of Jon Anderson's "Chagalll Duet", a conversational duet he did with Sandrine Piau from 1994's Change We Must. Beautiful music! Very powerful in the way that Sergey’s tenor is so strong, staccato, and positive while Olga’s soprano is so delicate, melodic and pleading. (9/10)

 

8. “The Protector” (3:22) uses oboe and piano over rapid hand drumming--all of which makes me feel very at home, as if I were at a Renaissance Faire. The slowed down piano chord hits with cello and percussion section that begins around the 2:20 mark is quite devastatingly sad, a mood that is then quickly dispelled with a return to the opening section. But the song then concludes with a half-a-minute of some very ambiguous chords and feel. (8/10)


9. “Fear-Dream” (3:47) piano, strings and bassoon dominate this one, though accordion, oboe and a little percussion are also involved. It's very powerful and emotional. Electric guitar even joins in for some soloing a couple of times--especially during the last minute. This one reminds me of the music of one of my favorite modern groups, KOTEBEL. (9/10)


10. “Amid the Smoke and Different Question” (6:31) starts out sounding like a Broadway/operetta, even Moulin Rouge-ish. A male vocalist sings over the simple support of long, sustained accordian chords, and later is accompanied by an almost-separate woodwind dance, then another separate, discordant thread comes from strings, and then yet another seemingly unrelated theme arises from the deeper woodwinds. It's as if several small troubadour groups are parading through a town center, criss-crossing at the center, each playing its own little diddy as it passes by where the tenor continues, unphased, singing his plaintive dirge. Brilliant and gutsy! (9/10)


11. “Not That City” (6:57) begins as a rondo between oboe, chor anglais, and bowed double bass and then accordion. Then harpsichord takes over! The other instruments join in in a frolicking folksie tune with the accordion and chor anglais kind of dominating the twin melody lines. The at 2:15 all stops and piano enters to take over lead melody and rhythm making while all other instruments slow down in long languorous sustained notes in gorgeous harmonies. At 3:32 it happens again, everything stops and adjusts to a section in which strings lead the basic rhythm while all else pulse and dance around them (even the double bass and viola). Another shift allows the song to play out its final minute in a very dreamy, mysterious but beautiful way. Incredible song! My favorite on the album. Were I a music theorist I might appreciate and enjoy this even more—it seems so bold and daring.  (10/10)


Without a doubt Not That City is one of my favorite album of the albums I've heard from 2013. It's music excites and mesmerizes me, its constructs surprise and delight--they raise my hopes for the possibilities of music and for the possibilities of humanity.



Rating:

5 Stars, unquestioned; six if it were allowed (occasionally). I've not been this excited about a new album since MAUDLIN OF THE WELL's Part The Second blew me away back in '09. Stunningly creative and fresh.


Prog Appeal:
I understand that the music from Not That City is lacking in the "rock" elements that are considered essential to PA's foundation, but I believe this album is so progressive that it should be included on the archives.

Drew Fisher, Second Cloud on the Left Farm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2013 at 10:22
Band Name and description
EMPTY DAYS an AltrOck publication from the creative talents of Francesco Zago (YUGEN, NOT A GOOD SIGN, et al.), PAOLO "SKE" BOTTA (YUGEN, SKE, NOT A GOOD SIGN, et al.) and vocalist ELAINE DI FALCO (CAVEMAN SHOESTORE/HUGHSCORE, THINKING PLAGUE, Yugen's Iridule) along with an ensemble of Italian chamber musicians.

Album information
Self titled, Empty Days, released in November or December of 2013 on AltrOck Records.

The Review:

EMPTY DAYS Empty Days (7 songs + 7 instrumentals)

Another stunning gem from YUGEN/AltrOck/NOT A GOOD SIGN geniuses FRANCESCO ZAGO and PAOLO “SKE” BOTTA this one presenting a collection of gorgeous near-neo chamber music songs focusing on the extraordinary vocal talents of ELAINE DI FALCO (CAVEMAN SHOESTORE/HUGHSCORE, THINKING PLAGUE, Yugen’s Iridule) using musical stylings varying from straight medieval to dark ambient to the avant garde stylings of Iridule and then to straight ahead prog rock of Not a Good Sign as well as a kind of slowed down, vocal-oriented of SKE’s 2011 masterpiece, 1000 autonni.

Five star songs:  1. “Two Views on Flight” (4:17) with its incredible weave of multiple layers of vocals (10/10); 3. the Satie-with-vocals “Words Lurking” (3:12) (9/10); 4. the hauntingly atmospheric “Kurai” (5:50) (9/10); 5. the Kurt Weil-like presentation of John Dowland’s “Flow My Tears” (4:17) with operatic vocalist Rachel O’Brien (9/10); 7. the gorgeously sensitive and melodic, GENESIS-like rendering of the Seamus Heaney poem, “Running Water” (5:04) (10/10); 8. the ALAN STIVELL-like instrumental, “The Ghosts of Dawn” (4:14) (9/10);  9. Elaine De Falco’s utterly haunting rendering of John Dowland’s “In Darkness Let Me Dwell” (4:55) (9/10); 11. the acoustic, female vocal-led remake of NOT A GOOD SIGN’s awesome “Come Back Home” (3:56) (9/10); 12. the awesome interpretation of the sounds of an apocalypse “Waiting for The Crash” (2:08) (10/10); the hauntingly beautiful and richly emotional ambient masterpiece, “This Night Wounds Time” (12:04) (10/10).

Four star songs:  the eerie scaled down avant-Nektar-like instrumental 2. “Ankoku” (4:55) (8/10); 10. “A Knife Under The Pillow” (1:22) (8/10); 13. the musical rendering of Viktor Nabokov’s, “A Dark Vanessa” (3:03) (8/10).

An awesome year-end surprise from my favorite music label (AltrOck), one of my favorite modern composers (Francesco Zago), and one of my favorite teams of musical collaborators (Zago and Botta-with the not insignificant contributions of the remarkable Elaine Di Falco).

An immediate hit to my ears, mind and soul, I shall have to wait to see how high Empty Days ends up on my Year End Top Albums list. Probably pretty high.

Rating:
Five stars. One of the ten best releases of 2013.

Prog Appeal:
Once again, the lack of rock formatting may cause this album to be denied acceptance into the PA fold, but I believe that all AltrOck releases are among the most adventurous, creative, and innovative musics being created today, thus, I believe this album is so progressive that it should be included on the archives because it is highly "progressive" though not necessarily rock'n'roll.
Drew Fisher, Second Cloud on the Left Farm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2013 at 13:44
The idea is to post a small review not a novel.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 10 2014 at 11:46
Jaurim - 'Goodbye, Grief'
 
 

Jaurim has been pretty much one of my favorite straight-up rock acts for the last decade, and their latest release, 'Goodbye, Grief' they continue to pump out high quality music, in fact it's their 9th full length release without a real dud in their discography. Many of their past albums had a theme to it in some way: 'Ruby Sapphire Diamond''s bouncy joyfulness, the dark and brooding "Ashes To Ashes' or the quirky coolness of 'Wonderland'. 'Goodbye, Grief', a late 2013 release, sort of touches on certain emotions, but balances things out for a more universal viewpoint. There's some heavy rock, some ballads, some catchy stuff, some light and some moody tunes. And it's all great! One of their better releases, and it actually jumped up to being one of my favorite releases of the year.

 

Starting in the indie scene in the mid 90s, Jaurim has persisted through all trends by not falling prey to any of them, and are now almost like rock royalty in Korea. Their music touches a lot of styles without actually committing full-on to any one in particular, which makes their releases so interesting...I'm never sure where they're gonna go next, but I'm always sure that whatever they wind up doing, it seems to always come out as pretty killer stuff. The talent level is fantastic, with seriously skilled veteran players handling their music with taste and class, while keeping things reasonably raw without glossy pop sheen. Sometimes they're actually kind of Stonesy but with female vocals. Singer Kim Yoon-Ah has quite a rep as an outstanding vocalist, and she continues showing us why with this album. The emotional delivery transcends my lack of Korean linguistics...the language barrier being an easy issue to overcome with pipes this good. She also does a righteous job on the keyboards as well.

 

If one is just looking for a good recent rock & roll album and has no hang-ups with foreign dialects, Jaurim gets a huge recommendation from me. Class act, and 'Goodbye, Cruel' deserves a 9/10.

 
Great hard rocker with mad Hammond key-banging. Not sure why Kim is playing a guitar instead of the keys in the video (although she can play guitar)...visual aesthetics maybe?
 
Epic rock ballad that few bands even try to attempt these days. LOVE this song & the video works well with it
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Post Options Post Options   Quote poeghost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 11 2014 at 15:02
Symphonic Soul by Henry Mancini and his Concert Orchestra - 1975

Henry Mancini was an American conductor, composer and arranger, most well known for his film and TV scores from the 1960s to the 1990s. Some of his best known tunes are: “Moon River”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Peter Gunn” and “The Pink Panther Theme”. My personal all-time favorite by him is “Baby Elephant Walk”.

Prog appeal: Light to strong appeal. I think that prog listeners would enjoy this album. In particular if you are into symphonic prog or jazz.

The music is typical Mancini instrumental orchestra music with some added funky electric bass, electric piano and organ solos along with flute, piccolo trumpet, trumpet, harmonica and African finger piano solos. All the tracks are wonderful on this excellent album. Some parts are powerful sounding while others are soft, dreamy and mysterious.

Rating: 5 Stars!

Click here for the album image, track list and music clips on Amazon.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote poeghost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 09 2014 at 13:36
Love An Adventure by Pseudo Echo - 1987

This 1980s new wave synth pop group were from Melbourne, Australia. They consisted of Brian Canham - Lead and backing vocals, guitars; Pierre Gigliotti - Bass guitar, bass synth, backing vocals; James Leigh - Keyboards, bass synth, backing vocals; and Vince Leigh - Drums and backing vocals. This is an excellent album. All the songs are wonderful. Brian Canham had a deep to midrange smooth voice and the group had a surprisingly heavy rockin’ guitar sound at times, yet had a smooth interesting synth sound. The album I’m reviewing is the U.S. version which includes the cover of “Funkytown”, it was added to later releases and replaced the song “Don’t Go”. I remember seeing the video for “Funkytown” back in the 80s. I thought it was a lot of fun and it rocked! The original version was a disco/dance hit for Lipps Inc. in 1980. That was a fun song too. Pseudo Echo’s music is available to listen to on Spotify. Though the album track listings are different there.

LP Record RCA 5730-1-RX
Cassette RCA 5730-4-RX

Track list - Side A:
A Beat For You
Living In A Dream
Try
Listening
I Will Be You

Track list - Side B:
Love An Adventure
Destination Unknown
Funkytown
Lonely Without You
Lies Are Nothing

Prog appeal: Light.

Rating: 5 stars!

Edited by poeghost - March 09 2014 at 13:38
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog 74 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 26 2014 at 13:50

File:Wham! Make It Big album art.JPG

I remember it well.  Christmas Day 1985.  Iron Maiden had recently released the album 'Live After Death' and this was what I wanted most of all for Christmas.  After seeing a couple of what easily appeared to be record albums wrapped under the tree I was certain I would be belting out "Aces High" Christmas night.  Imagine my utter astonishment when I unwrapped this album instead.  Wham!?!?  What the bloody hell??  This was my mom's favorite album and she played it constantly in the car.  Why did she give a copy to me?  I don't like Wham.  Never have.  She laughed with glee as I held up the record completely bewildered.  "I caught you singing Careless Whisper the other day and knew you had to have it!" she said.  Ermm  "Uh, well..." was all I could stammer out.  "I saw the record you wanted and it looked like devil music to me.  There is no way I would ever let you have that" she continued.  Stern Smile  "Besides that George Michael is just so handsome!" she added.  Dead  "But, mom!  I don't like Wham!  This is your music not mine" I said.  "You'll change your mind.  You always seem so happy when I play it in the car" she said.  Shocked  I could only stare at her in shock.  Clearly I must've been thinking about other things in order to be happy while I was riding in the car.  Wham would not have made me happy.  Okay, the songs are catchy, but still.  This is Wham!  This is not supposed to be something I should ever like.  Never, never, never.  Then how come I caught myself singing "Everything She Wants" in the shower the other day.  Almost 30 years later?  Damn you George Michael and damn you "the other guy".  Whoever you are.  My childhood and now my adulthood is haunted by your irresistible pop music!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2014 at 22:02
For no real reason I've decided to review some of the weirdest pop albums in my collection.

Minayo Watanabe - 'Hopping' (1987)



Hopping nestles itself somewhere between Deathspell Omega and Yes (that is, in my music collection as opposed to in a musical sense, which would have made this one of the most significant albums of the 80's). Before I get into any progressive leanings regarding this release, since this is a prog site, I will start by saying that considering the law of averages, there must be at least a few people in this world that consider Hopping to be the most significant listening experience in their lives, most likely residing in Japan. The album was, after all, a hit recording and boasts two number one singles within its track-listing. Minayo was riding pretty high at this point in time, not only as a solo performer but as a member of the monstrous idol group Onyanko Club, in which its formula would in turn inspire high-count member groups such as Morning Musume and currently AKB48. As well as this album sold, after another full-length her sales and popularity would begin to drop and by the 90's her music career was pretty much done. Like some other former idols, she wound up eventually posing nude for photobooks & such, and considering that idols back then for the most part weren't exactly getting even remotely a fair share of the earnings their albums garnered, it's not really a surprise. Luckily, her saga ends on a happy note as she's now married and manages a furniture business, which most likely graces her with a much larger income.

Anyways, the album, at its core, is essentially textbook Jpop, in which the actual sing-song melodies themselves (occasionally in a Beatle-ish pre-Rubber Soul sense) regarding the vocals are more pertinent to the tunes than actual talent. Claiming that she's strong vocalist is like stating that Greg Lake could stand to gain a few pounds. The tone of the voice itself matters most, and she pulls off the 'cute' tone naturally. Endearing means more in idol culture than siren-esque. The songs contained within do offer some variety, and thankfully there's no slow white-bread ballads to spoil the fun with maudlin tales of lost love. 

As for the progressive nature of this release, I have to say that after enough listens, I've come to the conclusion that there really isn't any, which would certainly not contradict any standard beliefs in terms of this release. Granted, although a couple of these tracks posses a rhythm section that sounds like someone just pressed the "disco" or "bossa nova" button on the Yamaha keyboard, "Kimi wa Cupid" does possess some tasteful jazz drumming. Also of note is the odd chromatic scale used on a couple of occasions during "Pink no Chao", and "Heart de Motion" even provides a bit of rock, and is certainly no less ballsy than what Asia was pumping out by 1987. The best track, though, in my personal opinion is "Ijimenaide". The music has a sort of early 60s "fun at the beach" vibe, and yet it's riddled with strange spacey keyboards, and in cohesion with the reverbed drumming, the results induce visions of an enjoyable day at the beach on another planet.

The actual skill level of the keyboardist isn't bad, and there's a couple of solos here and there utilizing wonky synth sounds that remind me of tones I've heard on a few Glass Hammer recordings. The tunes themselves are peppy ("Furio no Tamago" even brings on the funk to some extent), and most importantly, the dated 80's production with its slight reverb over everything, brings about a strange aura that's almost haunting despite the cheeriness, an echo of another time, a lost yet cheerful little ghost. Obviously an album like this can only really be considered a relic as opposed to a landmark, like most pop albums from decades ago, and finding an original album such as this as opposed to a compilation would be a much more difficult endeavor. How this wound up in my lap, without knowing a thing about it years ago, would extend this already long review too much to ensure that I am actually sane, but as it is, it's weirdly pleasant to listen to on odd occasions. What's also interesting is that the melodic approaches of this style of music hasn't exactly evolved much in the ensuing decades. Spice up the production and spruce things up with some auto-tuning and these songs would sound fresh today in Japan's idol-world. Yet that would ruin the charm found in Hopping. I won't give this a rating because there's no point. It's not about really about the music, but a sense of an era gone by, one that I wasn't even remotely a part of.


I don't know what's more bizarre:
The two pink dancing dinos?
The dress?
The gigantic smoke spewing monster that shows up?
The fact that the song is being performed by a full orchestra and band?
 




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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 23 2014 at 10:41
Nazia Hassan - 'Disco Dewaane' (1981)
 
 

I was perusing through my father-in-law's record collection when I chanced upon this platter. Disco music from Pakistan? I absolutely had to hear this thing. And, as the cover sleeve states, a colour blow up and song lyrics were included for free. These are nice people. My father-in-law basically said "It's yours".

 

The music is actually what you would kind of expect. Although by 1981 disco in America was pretty much on its last dying gasps, it was apparently elusive in Pakistan, until this album. The emphasis concerning the music is clearly an attempt to mimic western pop music, yet no matter what, the eastern influences still shine through making this a bit of a charmer. The drumming, while utilizing mainly a typical drum set as opposed to traditional South Asian percussion instruments, can't shake that bhangra flair, which only adds to the appeal. The guitar is expressively funky throughout, adding another layer of rhythm while the bass and keyboards carry most of the non-vocal melodies. There's also some far-out space sound effects here and there, maybe a little Funkadelic influence going on. Mostly though, particularly regarding the title track (split into 2 parts...how proggy!), the influences owe more to The Hustle than Boogie Shoes.

 

I thought I was the proud owner of some obscure dance album from the past, but it turned out I was wrong. THIS ALBUM WAS A MONSTER HIT AND AN ACTUAL LANDMARK RELEASE. Disco Dewaane was the first release by a Pakistani artist to incorporate strong western influences within the music, and as a result took the nation by storm, becoming a smash sensation to a level that its popularity expanded across the nation to India and also became quite popular in other parts of the world, particularly in South America where it even hit the number one spot in some countries. This album has sold over 14 million copies. I had no idea!

 

As for Nazia, she was quite the young sensation with a pretty voice that toed the line between eastern and western influences. Her brother Zoheb wrote a decent amount of the music along with producer Biddu. Zoheb also sang on a couple of songs, which quite honestly make them the two weakest songs on the album. As fun as the title track is with the goofy "Disco!" chants going on, "Aao Na" and "Dil Mera" are both better tunes with some cool funk going on, and "Komal" stands out for its more relaxed, loungy pace and its practically ethereal vibe. Very nice.

 

I also later learned that she had died in 2000 at the age of 35. Way too young, and posthumously she was awarded Pakistan's highest civilian award. Basically one of Pakistan's icons at a time when things were less "iffy" and "troubled" there. Today, despite political, social and religious issues being more of a focus than artistic cultural qualities, the fusion of eastern and western pop and rock music still continues in Pakistan, check out some of Pakistan's Coke Studio's stuff for some cool new music going on there. But it all started with this album...no kidding!

 

 
Nazia and Zoheb doin' the boogie.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 24 2014 at 00:54
Ha ha, well, I didn't expect that.  Maybe the first time I am seeing something so familiar to me being recommended in the Non Prog Album Reviews.   By the way, Disco Deewane was remixed for a Bollywood film from 2012.  The remix was also a hit.  

Not one of my favourites but nice to see Nazia Hassan's name coming up in a PA discussion nevertheless.


Edited by rogerthat - April 24 2014 at 01:37
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 26 2014 at 21:08
^ Thanks...granted, it's not something I'd really recommend for prog fans, but the novelty of owning it before realizing that it's by no means an obscure release on a global scale made it kinda cool. Haven't checked out the remake version, although if Priyanka Chopra or Katrina Kaif were in that flick I might have by now...just for the song numbers of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Prog Sothoth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 26 2014 at 22:14
The Monkees - 'More Of The Monkees (1967)



Continuing in my oddball pop albums for the hell of it...

OK, so the music itself isn't really odd as far as pop/rock is concerned and some of these tunes are well known. It's everything outside of the music itself that's rather unusual...things I didn't realize at the time when I grabbed this vinyl at a yard sale.

1. Think of all the great and classic recordings released in 1967. None of them sold as much as this bugger that year. In fact, it's the very first pop/rock album to top the Billboard yearly charts...not The Beatles (something I just sort of assumed back in the day). 
2. The band didn't even know it was released until after the fact. It was rushed out while they were on tour to capitalize on their success.
3. Don Kirshner's strange liner notes on the back cover pimp out the songwriters before giving smarmy praise for his 'boys'.
4. Mike Nesmith soon proclaimed it "the worst album in the history of the world". Not exactly a winning endorsement from an actual band member. If all the songs were like "The Day We Fall In Love", he'd actually be correct.
5. Only two songs were actually written by the band, and their instrumental contributions were minor...most of the music was performed by session players.

Basically it's a pop album with guitars. Thing is, what I also noticed is that every song in which Mickey provides the lead vocals range from great to classic, and the rest of the songs range from average to beyond terrible.
The major highlights, "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "I'm A Believer", are flawless, and "She" rocks, "Mary Mary" (written by Mike) is cool, and the Carole King penned "Sometime In The Morning" could have been soppy but Mickey's heartfelt vocals make it a winner...the man had that Justin Hayward capability to turn simple ballads into art.

The best of the rest is probably the Davey sung "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" that's got a groovy chorus, although the song is briefly marred by some stupid "Mary, I love you" whispering. The Peter Tork sung "Your Auntie Grizelda" is propulsive enough, although its goofiness gives it a dorky novelty vibe, and Mike's lone lead vocal contribution to his "The Kind Of Girl I Could Love" is passable, but he's written far better material. The rest of the songs, basically saddled with poor Davey, are awful, including the one with Neil Sedaka's imprint. "Laugh" is a particularly rotten attempt at who-knows-what, but nothing can compare to "The Day We Fall In Love", pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as The Monkees are concerned...or just about any recording group ever. It's so unbelievable that it practically needs to be heard once, especially when you're having one of those days when you just keep royally screwing things up to levels that question your sanity. Play this and you'll realize there are people creating worse disasters than you.

This album played the catalyst that caused an eruption between Don Kirshner and Mike Nesmith, with Mike ultimately winning out (after threats and punching a hole in a hotel wall), thus instrumentally the next albums were performed by the band and with a much larger proportion of the songs also written by The Monkees themselves.

So yes, this album practically defines 'manufactured product' but at least half of it is really good 'product'.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 26 2014 at 22:36
Originally posted by Prog Sothoth

^ Thanks...granted, it's not something I'd really recommend for prog fans, but the novelty of owning it before realizing that it's by no means an obscure release on a global scale made it kinda cool. Haven't checked out the remake version, although if Priyanka Chopra or Katrina Kaif were in that flick I might have by now...just for the song numbers of course.

No such luck, it was neophyte Alia Bhatt.  She is supposed to be cute in, er, a Emma Watson sort of way, but not for me.  The remix basically used Nazia's original vocal rendition and placed it on top of thumping contemporary disco beats.  If it weren't for the nostalgic value of reprising an eighties favourite, it would be just any other Bollywood 'party track'.
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