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Michael Zentner - Present Time CD (album) cover


Michael Zentner


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.92 | 6 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Man I like the album cover for this one. I have to say it feels to good to have played a very minor role in getting Michael Zentner on the site. Michael was a founding member of THE MUFFINS but left before they recorded an album. He is a violinist primarily and after leaving THE MUFFINS spent a great deal of time with Rio/ Avant artists in Europe and so this 1983 release features many of those people as guests. Included in this are amongst others Fred Frith, Daevid Allen, Carla Bley, John Greaves, Peter Blegvad, Frank Wyatt and Percy Jones. This is mostly an instrumental album but we do get Peter Blegvad and even more so Lisa Herman offering up vocals. I must say I was pretty excited when I heard this for the first time although that final track disappoints me still, just not my scene.

"Parts" features Daevid Allen on vocals and yes this track brings GONG to mind. The high pitched horns, vibes and more early on impress then Greaves comes in on bass before Zentner's violin arrives after a minute. The vocals will come and go and they are humerous. Sax, vibes and bass standout overall and I like the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "The Search" has female vocal melodies to start from Lisa as bass, drums and more join in. I like this especially the bass. Sax arrives around 3 minutes and Wyatt is credited with recorder on this one. The violin later on sounds great as they seem to jam to the end. Check out the bass late on this. Oh my! "Cliche' really reminds me of the ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS although of course this proceeds them by many, many years. Just love the sound here though as it has a Canterbury vibe. The bass, drums, vibes and overall sound is great. Violin before 2 minutes as we get such a relaxed and trippy sound. Blegvad late on the chorus in this haunting ending.

"The Jonestown Shuffle" has Lisa on vocals as we get honking horns and a catchy groove. Hard not to like this one. Bley is on sax here and we get some nice guitar as well. "Chapter VII" features vibes, sax, drums, violin and bass. Vocals from Lisa and some guitar too. Check out the violin that follows Herman's vocals, and I love the ending with the dissonant sax. "A Piece Of Odd" is catchy with violin out front, lots of horns too. "The Case Of The Stolen Riff" opens with violin as piano from Frith, sax, drums and more help out. I like the guitar that follows, at least I think that's guitar, avant stuff and Frith is credited with e-bow guitar on this one along with yelling(haha). Not surprisingly this is the most experimental track because this is the one that Frith is on. A calm with laid back sax, vibes, drums and bass follow. Violin joins in as we get a familiar riff(haha). The stolen riffs continue. "Tears And Spheres" is the second longest track at over 7 minutes and the one I can't get into. Mostly we get violin and harp in this mournful piece that seems to drag on.

A 4.5 stars wouldn't have been out of place for this if it wasn't for the last tune, just my tastes of course. Regardless, this is a great album that I highly recommend.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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