A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Various Genres definition

Albums or CD's where more than one artist is featured either as a SAMPLER or a TRIBUTE to a particular band. Examples: - Peter and The Wolf - Prog Fairytale - 1975 / The Reading Room - 2000 / Leonardo - The Absolute Man - 2001 / Best Prog Rock Album in the World... Ever - 2003 / Un Voyage En Progressif Volume 1 to 8 / Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic.

Various Genres Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Various Genres | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.35 | 59 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.22 | 113 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.24 | 62 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.36 | 33 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.22 | 39 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.30 | 27 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.18 | 45 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.08 | 36 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.80 | 7 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.01 | 50 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.00 | 37 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.21 | 15 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.73 | 6 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.00 | 30 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.96 | 24 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.64 | 5 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.60 | 5 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.98 | 17 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.05 | 10 ratings
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.80 | 29 ratings
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Latest Various Genres Music Reviews

 The Prog Collective- Epilogue by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2013
1.81 | 15 ratings

The Prog Collective- Epilogue
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

1 stars It was hard to resist the high expectations, after seeing the all-star cast involved with this project: John Wetton, Larry Fast, Steve Hillage, Allan Holdsworth, Nik Turner, Gary Green, Sonja Kristina, a half-dozen members of various YES incarnations, plus a host of other familiar names, including (possibly a joke) The Tubes' Fee Waybill, and (definitely a joke) TV's William Shatner. I ask you: how is it possible to put Captain Kirk together with the guy who wrote "White Punks on Dope" and not have an immediate masterpiece?

The unfortunate answer to that rhetorical question can be found in the album's only common denominator: ex-Yes party crasher Billy Sherwood, who wrote nearly every note of music, performed multiple instrumental duties on all nine tracks, and produced / arranged / engineered / mixed the results at his own home studio. In effect he's riding the sequined coattails of his celebrity guests to help sell a crummy solo album, and the end product is a staggering waste of superstar talent, showing no understanding of what makes Progressive Rock work. Worse than that, it undermines the memory of classic Prog with almost willful obtuseness, inadvertently putting a clumsy foot to the nuts of Prog Rock's already emasculated reputation.

How bad is this album? Enough to suggest it would have been a laughable failure even in the 1970s, when Prog was king. Everything you need to know about the music is illustrated in the tacky cover art, with its DayGlo planets and nebulae, bubbling fluorescent cauldrons, and a fantasy demon too cheesy for even the crassest headbanger. The players were all divided into discrete working sub-units, although even within each song I doubt any two musicians actually shared studio time together. So it's hardly surprising that the music shows little passion or synergy, historically two of Prog's driving forces.

With more structure and development (and fewer clichés) the material they were given might not have been so feeble. Bright spots are few but they exist, hidden inside a fleeting Peter Banks solo, or in the firefly beauty of Gary Green's acoustic guitar: Memories of Old Days, indeed. Otherwise it's a long haul to the title song, closing the album on nothing more than William Shatner's auto-tuned recitation of the other track titles.

Only twice in over five hundred reviews here at ProgArchives have I used the phrase "coyote awful", signifying a piece of music so bad I'd rather chew my own leg off before hearing it again. But this effort goes beyond coyote awful, to a point where repeated exposure might lead you to chew someone else's leg off instead. If you consider Billy Sherwood a villain for his role in the calamitous Yes album "Open Your Eyes", be forewarned. But if your tolerance for color-by-numbers Prog Rock is high enough, bon appétit.

Postscript: For whatever perverse reason the same album currently appears twice in these Archives, filed under Various Artists/Albums and also /Compilations. I've added my own jeremiad to the entry with twelve ratings already (and one other written review). Not because misery loves company, but because this is one injury deserving the added insult.

 MetaZoon by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
3.00 | 1 ratings

Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This sampler contains music by six Finnish bands of Psychedelic / Space Rock, at the early stages of their careers. I borrowed the CD from Vantaa Library, I have no idea how difficult it is to find elsewhere, 16 years after the release. Dark Sun, Moon Fog Prophet and Circle are to be found in the ProgArchives, The Spiralothropes, Transparents and Lotus are not. I appreciate the way the leaflet introduces the bands. The musicians & instruments are also listed, and even the contact information is given for each act. Nice cover art too.

In their own album reviews DARK SUN is said to be a Hawkwind follower, and they have also played Hawkwind in their gigs, but happily the chosen track here is not so derivative. 9-minute 'TimeSpace Continuum' is mostly melodic electronic music with a steady beat and synth layers. Halfway a bright flute joins the trip. Very good track!

THE SPIRALOTHROPES perform two short songs reminiscent of the original psychedelic rock era around 1968. The John Cale-ish vocals are lazy and a bit monotonous. TRANSPARENTS play upbeat psychedelic, jazzy electronica that has some distilled Ozric Tentacles -vibe. Also the terms NuJazz and Chill-Out fit well. Maybe there could be more progress within both seven minute-tracks to avoid slight boredom.

MOON FOG PROPHET (who later translated their name into Kuusumun Profeetta and sung in Finnish) had at the time released only an EP, and frankly they are not yet mature here, but surely promising. Mika Rättö mocks the vocal frenzy of Peter Hammill - which he did much better a bit later - and neither the threateningly dark music is as convincing as their later works.

LOTUS' only album The Totuus wasn't yet released, but the relatively peaceful and spacey instrumental 'Mesqualito' appeared on it too. It's among the best tracks on this sampler. The short-lived, probably Gong and Ozric -influenced group's mastermind (?) Ville Juvonen has released a solo album (of electronic music) a couple of years back, by the way.

And finally CIRCLE who have a very large discography. Having started in 1991, at this point (1998) they already were clearly the most experienced of these bands. Hypnotically rhythmic 'Talking Drum' could be by CAN, and 'Friitalan nahka' (nearly 11 minutes) is more ambient experimental music. -- Sadly it seems that this kind of Various Artists samplers introducing marginal bands have become all too rare especially in Finland.

 Fido Wird 10 Und Feiert - Live At Gare Du Nord & More by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

Fido Wird 10 Und Feiert - Live At Gare Du Nord & More
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
4 stars Consisting of 11 members in total, FIDOPLAYSZAPPA, in short FIDO, is an excellent crew hailing from Basel/Switzerland. As you can imagine - the band name tells it all - they have a clear preference on interpreting Frank Zappa songs - in their own special manner of course. Manifested on a concert at Gare du Nord the band recently has celebrated its 10th anniversary, this in parallel with the 20th anniversary of the master's day of death. The line-up has not changed in any way since many years (if ever?), where bass player Pascal Grünenfelder is the driving force, besides front man Dave Muscheidt, appearing as a cool singer/entertainer and drummer Remy Sträuli, the only one whom I already know for playing with other bands too, I mean several jazz and avant incarnations basically.

I've already reviewed another concert presented by them some years ago, where I was simply fascinated by the prolific playing and interaction, which proves them a deserved Zappa follow-up. This concert is in no way inferior to that, probably even better, when counting in some more years of experience in the back. A damn tricky presence is to state in any case. The production comes as a audio/video hybrid, available as physical DVD/Blu-Ray or as a nice little stick, containing two movies and MP3 respectively FLAC files. Professionally filmed with several cameras it makes a lot of fun to follow the performance, here and there interrupted by short episodes showing them in other situations like in the studio or preparing for the gig.

FIDO is consisting of a standard rock foundation, furthermore keyboards, vibraphone, percussion and additionally several wind instruments. The song collection does not tell me much to be honest, as I'm not a Zappa specialist, by no means, only somebody who is familiar with 'Hot Rats', 'Over-Nite-Sensation', 'Sheik Yerbouti' - and that's it basically. Black Napkins impresses me much in particular, as well as the middle section starting with Father O'Blivion, followed by Echidna's Arf (Of You) and finally leading over to the highlight Zoot Allures, this all including diverse solos and a freestyled sax and drum collaboration.

Frequently they are weaving reminiscences to other bands respectively musicians in, for example Gary Moore, Steve Hackett, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and some more. And yes, the real Muffin Man offers a moving speech performance at Gare du Nord too. Overall FIDO is providing an impressing performance, for what it's worth, an excellent jazz rock and avantgarde hybrid which obviously is a must have for Zappa lovers. This band definitely needs a lot more attention.

 Playing the History by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

Playing the History
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars This is an instrumental project by three musicians who share deep love of both classical music and prog rock. They wanted to blur the dividing line between these genres, and chose tracks (mostly instrumentals) from well-known prog artists to be performed as if they were classical music. The main instrument is pipe organ - ie. church organ? - played by Marco Lo Muscia. John Hackett plays flute on almost each track, and the third musician in the core team is bass player Carlo Mattoucci. They are accompanied by Steve Hackett (who also speaks few words of introduction: "I'm very happy to be part of this album.... It has come together beautifully and I'm sure it will give many a listener a great deal of pleasure.") on four tracks, VDGG's saxophonist David Jackson on two tracks, and less known guitarist Giorgio Gabriel on five tracks. Drums are totally absent.

Yes, this is full of pastoral beauty just like the cover art, and the selection is very pleasant, emphasizing on the GENESIS / STEVE HACKETT material. 'Hairless Heart', 'After the Ordeal' and 'Horizons' are of course instrumentals in their original form as well. It could have been more exciting to hear interpretations of some vocal compositions, but they might have ended up sounding less honest. The whole album is made quite safely, avoiding tracks that would demand bigger arranging tasks. This is also the weakness, as the outcome is not as groundbreaking as it could have been. And during the album I occasionally get a bit bored at the dominance of the organ. I do like classical organ music and it's a gorgeous instrument, but to really make this album feel like classical chamber music there could have been for example a violinist or a cellist instead of a bassist - whose contribution stays quite unnoticed anyway. Also the choice of the original prog acts could have been much wider. For example, where is Yes or Focus?

'I Talk to the Wind' (King Crimson 1969) is one of the few that originally feature vocals, and this peaceful version works very well. The arrangement of Hackett's debut album closer 'Shadow of the Hierophant' features also some Mellotron and brief soprano vocals. This composition has clearly been among the more difficult ones to the threesome, and it contains some clumsiness, it doesn't flow quite naturally. Other Steve Hackett compositions are instrumentals such as 'Hands of the Priestess' and 'Hammer in the Sand'.

The George Martin tune 'Theme One' has been chosen from VDGG. There would have been some peaceful songs perfect for this occasion that I would have rather chosen. Jackson plays also on the closing track 'The Great Gig in the Sky', the vocalise track from Dark Side of the Moon. The gritty saxophone part breaks the illusion of classical music, and actually this is the track that most clearly loses to the original.

The long album includes also three new pieces, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien. Hmm, beautiful, but why not make the whole album with the same idea, to reinterpret classic progressive rock? This is certainly a nice album to enjoy when you're in need of something peacefully comfortable and pastoral, but it's not as great as it may sound as an idea, and it also turns out to be TOO soft, tender and mild at least for more demanding prog ears. But you may love it if you like the pastoral sides of artists such as Hackett, Genesis, Anthony Phillips or King Crimson. 3½ stars rounded up for the great design in the leaflet.

 Supernatural Fairy Tales - The Progressive Rock Era by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.04 | 15 ratings

Supernatural Fairy Tales - The Progressive Rock Era
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy

3 stars I find music samplers to be indispensable in getting to know strange new musical worlds where you are utterly clueless as how to proceed into the strange new universe you are wanting to explore. They are particularly helpful when exploring the niche markets of which progressive rock is definitely a member of. This 1996 5-disc boxed set boldly titled SUPERNATURAL FAIRY TALES...THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK ERA is really the only prog sampler i've ever heard. Prog is one of those umbrella terms that includes oceans of music that a meager little 5-disc set could hardly ever even begin to describe. I could personally make up a 5-disc set of material for individual bands included on this release alone.

After reading the vast number of negative reviews that this album has garnered from progsters, I have to remind them that this release isn't for them. It was intended to re-introduce the forgotten world of yesteryear to the clueless public at large in the mid 90s. Remember that this was before the internet as we know it today and the easy access of information in the form of electronic or otherwise. So this was in effect designed for to be an introduction to progressive rock to newbies during the grunge years when prog was making a small comeback after the release of newer classics like Anglagard's Hybris.

I got this as a freebie when a friend made me a copy several years ago well after being familiar with many of the bands on here. Despite knowing much of this, there were still a lot of bands I still had not yet encountered. Such acts like Rare Bird, Supersister, Peter Sinfield, Savage Rose and others had eluded me and it was great to get a small dose of what they sounded like. So I threw this on my itunes and let all these tracks pop up randomly on a DJ list. The result was quite pleasing as tracks I knew would come up and new ones I would discover as well. Overall I agree with a lot of the criticism of which tracks are on this. I have read that the there were licensing issues and such and it does indeed seem like a rushed affair just throwing anything they could find on here.

I think it's agreed that every lover of prog could come up with their own version of what they think should be a introduction sampler for newbies and how to develop it from the origins to the more advanced and eclectic nooks and crannies, but the fact is most of us have not done that and do not know the huge amounts of legal red tape and the mammoth task at hand in trying to summarize a musical style that is so vast and nebulous. I for one think this is an ok introduction especially if you don't pay a lot of money for it. I'm not sure it has any relevance in the modern world with such extensive review sites like ProgArchives existing, but for me personally I have found it to be both useful and interesting despite thinking it utterly ludicrous to include such tracks as "Radar Love" by Golden Earring or even "America" by the Nice. Far from perfect but far from a total waste of time.

 ProgSphere's Progstravaganza Compilation of Awesomeness - Part 5 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
3.10 | 2 ratings

ProgSphere's Progstravaganza Compilation of Awesomeness - Part 5
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Long time has passed since I last reviewed a Prog-Sphere compilation of awesomeness album, which by the way, is a great initiative from these guys who support low profile musicians/bands that create progressive rock around the globe, so if you can go to Prog- Sphere's site and download these compilations, you will discover loads of new bands and I assure you will find real gems within these albums. This time I am reviewing their fifth saga, which was named "Extreme edition" due to its metal tendency, in other words, if you are a fan of prog metal you will have a feast in this album.

Though I am not a true metal fan, I took the time to listen to it and with my honesty I can say I did not become fan of the most of the bands, however, there were some tracks that really caught my attention and made me look for more music of those bands. If you are not a metal fan like me, you may probably want to skip this compilation, but well, you can give it a chance. What I love from the guys of PS is that they include bands from several countries, obscure bands that are not that known but that are building their road little by little, so their exposure in these kind of recompilations is really valuable.

Let me give you an advice, make yourself some enough time to listen to it, because it is actually long, featuring 21 songs from 21 different bands. To my listening pleasure I honestly had only few moments, however those moments were truly interesting, such as the Azure Agony song, instrumental and bombastic prog metal at its best, or the song from Hemina, a very interesting mixture of heavy prog with metal, and of course a band that I actually recommend, which closes this compilation, Grayceon, those guys are talented and create not the typical metal sound, they have a distinctive sound which make them unique. I should also mention Serbian band Chroneiros, instrumental prog metal with a nice touch. On the other hand, there were songs I totally skipped such as the ones from Agnosia, Fornost Arnor or Neuromist. And a touch of humor with Hookahthefuzz whose singer sounds like the one from Metallica, sorry, I could not omit this.

Well, a cool compilation and as I said, great for the metal fans, not that cool for the ones who don't follow this musical tendency. My final grade will be three stars, but don't pay attention to it, just download and listen to the bands here, that's what matters.

Enjoy it!

 Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.55 | 46 ratings

Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Per Köhler

5 stars I feel sorry for all people who never will come across this, to say the least, well-fed triple Cd. Most probably I hadn't myself, but fate laid it in front of my eyes in a second-hand shop. For the modest price of 125 kr(19 dollars), mint quality, this is almost half of a brand new. Synphonic takes 35. That means a little more than 4 kr(or 60 cent) per song. Or new 8 kr($1,15). That is not only cheap, it is theft! What about royalties for 30 bands!? All other reviewers here and on other sites who give K. average, below average, maybe "quite good" or at best "very good". My conclusion is different: I adore Kalevala. Probably the best (unreleased) collection of music I've heard. Tastes differ; still for me it's almost unbelievable that someone who is a true fan of the genre don't love this. What if an analogous had been released in the sixties? That would have meant seven or eight Long players in a gaudy paper box. Most likely something of an event or at least a noticeable occurrence. Today, or a decade ago, it was reduced to if not a trifle so at least just one of the scores of releases that particular week. Surely it went unnoticed even for most of the prog community.

The running time of Cd 1 amounts to 82:25 and that's record in my entire collection. Heard earlier that 80 was the limit but that's obviously not the case. Actually it was, I have encountered problems in a portable Cd player, which didn't appreciate its overextended guest. 2 and 3 are just slightly below 80, that means 240 min...four hours of music. To treat K as just another 'sampler' isn't just wrong but ridiculous. To brush it aside as 'neo-prog' isn't less ludicrous. On the contrary, it contains rich, varied material that possibly never would have seen the light of day elsewhere. Hats off to Colossus Magazine who came up with the idea. What's symptomatic, and also highly unique, is that here are multitudinous of groups that exceed themselves in a glaring way. I've heard quite a few of the present artists before, and can only state; did it take this fabulous recording to realize their true potential?

Initial HAIKARA is a classic Nordic prog band whose debut album from early seventies has stood the test of time. Present version of the band, and their fabulous but fateful11:30 min long track outshines everything they've done since the reformation. This is, more than anything else, the true theme of Kalevala. Simply to shine. The occasional vocals, meant to ascend into the mythological Kalevala, are laid on a high octave. They are calling for times long past. OVERHEAD sounds more anglophile but from same point of the compass. Up-tempo and energetic up to 5:30 when you're taken by surprise by its complete conversion, it turns into soft acoustic. Could easily have been start of a new tune if you weren't on the alert. A conductor would define it as; vivace turns bruscamente into mezzo piano. A father-to-son relation between first two Finnish bands. Move with the westerly wind and let SIMON SAYS in. "Som Floden Flyter" is one of the very few songs to be found on a regular studio album with any of the bands included. Mentioned track cropped up several years later on disc Tardigrade. This time in a three min+ longer version. Whether you've heard that version or not, you still get the feeling that it's somehow cut off here. Could be understandable, something had to go in this competition for space. It does not in any sense affect the splendid quality of the song.

Net site All Music asserts that bass phantom Jonas Hellborg plays on K, as a part of SIMON SAYS. He is given generous and extensive introduction to the reader. Interestingly, I strongly doubt that the emigrated Swedish born New Yorker knows that he's here playing. Actually the guitar players name is Hallberg. Still Hellborg has a connection to Swedish prog. I've seen him performing with both Jaime Salazar and Zoltan Czorsz(drummers in The Flower Kings). The same abbreviated situation for following Swedish band SINKADUS. Their offering with penetrating staccato intro is just as competitive as anything they have done before the career came to a halt. At least partly split up, the remaining male quartet contributed to a couple of conceptual works like K. "Trubadurens Kval" is a surprisingly short affair for a band that normally prefers elbow-space. It just ends too quickly. The zealous onlooker may ask why two Swedish bands have been placed no. 3 and 4. It would have been more logical to include at least one Italian group(there are seven such on Cd 2 and not a single Swedish). Is the concept story that coherent or are groups 3 and 4 compensated for undesired 'edits'? A 90 min. running time is still not achievable. Let's move southwards, three Italians are included on disc 1. II CASTELLO DI ATLANTE's roots go back all the way to the mid seventies, although they for some reason didn't enter the studio until early nineties. "Ilmarinen" displays a group that knows perfectly well where, how and why a symphonic song is structured.

MOONGARDEN and SUBMARINE SILENCE share an important quality; keyboard player Christiano Roversi. He's a part of both bands and has written or co-written both tracks. S. SILENCE attracts your attention as soon as you catch sight of debut album from -01. Yes it's unmistakably Paul Whitehead. For the Genesis connoisseur, it's like detecting a lost cubical Picasso painting! A typical Genesis cover band, one may dub them. Both in tone and color. Their own compositions don't disgrace them either. "The Three Battles" is a pleasant instrumental with enough contents to keep the fire alive. MOONGARDEN is inimitably different. Roversi has many irons in the fire; this is just two of them. Possibly could the production of what's playing been a scrap more prolific. The sound was left locked up in the control room, not least the drums. The magical 10 min. line is anyhow subtly crossed. UK's MAGENTA(not the folk music band from same region) performs "Lemminkainens..". How many British recordings with Finnish title have you experienced in your lifetime? Female vocalist Christina Booth is a delicacy throughout first half of the tune. Bel canto! She is replaced by not less effective Kashmir-like riffs on the second. METAPHOR from the U.S. let the world become familiar with Cd Starfooted. The song here might sound harsh for a newcomer but its melodic value comes creeping after a while. I like it more and more.

CLEARLIGHT led by Cyrille Verdeaux, accompanied by American singer/drummer Shaun Guerin and others, lay out a minor symphony in form of a 10 min.(called "Movement 3" on own record). Normally they are found in the instrumental vein though. This is actually the second released version. Present issue is 2 ½ min. shorter, a removed sax section is evident. Some may call CLEARLIGHT's general direction laid-back muzak, but what we find here is truly competent. Epic and beautiful piano playing from the leader of the French born outfit. Shaun Guerin, who also was a part of a Genesis cover band (they are quantitative!), never got the opportunity to witness the release of K. Sadly he passed away in 2003. Born in the same year as myself, with compatible musical orientation, Shaun does one of his best vocal performances on "The Boat Builder"(Listen to the multi-layered overdubbed voice on "Movement 3"). I will seize the opportunity and dedicate this review to his memory. (If you have further interest in P. Whitehead, check out Shaun's solo album The Epic Quality of Life and its incredible cover by the classic artist).

Only slightly shorter than 1, how can 2 possibly live up to the phenomenal standard of the first disc? Sounds too good to be true if so happens.. The boot country Italy dominates Cd2 with a vengeance, with seven out of ten tracks. Is the quantity really related to the quality? Anyhow, Norway's one and only contribution ORCHARD start up the party. No matter how much you search in your local Cd shop, you will not succeed. Their recorded legacy seems to be limited to K. I don't like this song less than any on previous Cd. Some wild Tull flute with harder guitar bottom is a characteristic theme in this opening instrumental. GREENWALL brings the longest track on K. "The Wedding" has points but is perhaps too extended. 10-11 min. would've been more appropriate. The female vocalist(does she sing in English?) lowers the overall impression in the lush and string drenched composition. More Italy and anew a temporary unit, this time in form of REVELATION. So where did they find a makeshift act like we got here? Are they piled up in a supply only to be taken out when it's time for a conceptual triple/ or fourfold package? REVELATION is another example of the high achievement displayed on K. Possibly they have lent an ear to PFMs 'Is My Face on Straight'? Just compare the effective accordion elements.

Once again All Music is out bicycling. They place REVELATION geographically on the North-American east coast. Every band member has changed name, instrument and probably wife as well. More melodramatic Nordic tones in folk disguise from Finnish SCARLET THREAD. Frail violin tones throughout a short/medium long instrumental. I must have listened about forty times almost in row to MAD CRAYON's "Il Suono Dei Ricordi". As I recall I had an album, I think the second, but it got lost. There's no time to mourn. One of the best songs I've ever heard! Utterly melodic, dual flutes, well-thought-out vocal harmonies. Soaring prog/jazz tinged instrumental parts in finest Pat Metheny style. Of all 13 Italian bands included on K, MUSEO ROSENBACH is probably the most renowned. Their album Zarathustra(with its bizarre cover), is on many top 10 lists of Italian prog. Or even on the definite top 10. I have to admit it's on neither of mine. They reformed at the turn of the millennium with a mix of new/old members. "Fiore Di Vendetta" is the third song on K that you will find elsewhere. It was rerecorded on a very recent record by the group. As I heard it here first, I clearly prefer that version. Needless to say it's another great inclusion on K.

LEVITHAN(it's getting sweaty..); I don't even have to listen to the whole tune. It carries on in the 10 min. trad, but the piano/flute section between ca 4,15-4,35 is enough to saturate the most fastidious prog fan. I'll save the rest for another time. I was close to miss MALIBRAN(simply because they are the fourth Italian band beginning with letter M). Like quite a few others here, a band belonging to the nineties school. A more condensed track, plentiful of good flute. The vocals are a minor part, concentrated to short section of the song. The tempo slows down with SOFIA BACCINI, so does the quality. The female solo artist isn't up to scratch in this league. Here is appealing to ask; where are bands from i.e. Germany hiding? Weren't they invited to participate on K? Final track and second British inclusion comes from rather unknown act ELEGANT SIMPLICITY. It's more a one man project by multi instrumentalist Steven McCabe who has an extensive discography. An instrumental with likeable theme, also space for virtuoso guitar excesses.

Rome wasn't built in one day, and it took 13 Italian bands to get K ready. About three of them superfluous. On Cd 3 only CANTINA SOCIALE reaches normal high standard. Others are easily forgotten. CANTINA S. is in the melodic vein, which is a common feature on K. The basic idea of K is retro- sound and performance. Escapism from programming and stiff rhythms. A few years into the noughties after the second- and third wave of progressive. That's a praiseworthy decision. Out of the concrete block back to the forest. To summarize the massive Italian participation one can establish that for most part they are found on the lighter side of the spectra. That's everything but degradation, but there's nothing like the ultra raw eccentricity of Balleto Di Bronzo. There's a distinct line of demarcation in Italian prog before and after let's say -77, or even earlier. The three Finnish inclusions on 3 are appreciably more uplifting. AARDVARK(an English word but emanating from South African Dutch!) are performing in their native language. Once there was a British band with same name. Finnish is remarkably more sprawling than the smooth and fluid English. There are four different languages presented here. That is the French unit(s) evaded their homework. Italian is greatly romantic. Can't judge the reception and opinions of the Swedish vocal worthiness.

AARDVARK, all Finnish, but residing in all corners of the globe, managed somehow to put their musical pieces into one unit. So did compatriots GROOVECTOR, but within the borders of 'the land of the thousand lakes'. An exquisite and relaxed instrumental. If it wasn't for the sharp competition why not a future classic? Followed by additional instrumental tones from WHOBODIES. They offer us the by far jazziest moment on K. There's a unit called QUADESH, which you never have heard about before. Just like WHOBODIES(and earlier mentioned ORCHARD and REVELATION), the only recorded appearance occur here. In the case of QUADESH alas, one can understand why..Just delete. That leaves us with three remaining tracks, and what tracks! THONK, pure and unadulterated Hammond from central Europe and Switzerland. A stunningly good thing without disturbing voices. The intro reminds you of similar Hammond and U. Heep song Sunrise. THONK recorded a record in Par Lindh's home studio outside Stockholm. That vouches for genuine goods. Only to be challenged by the record thick and costly booklet included in the set.

More capital of Sweden, GRAND STAND knocks you to the hilt(if you weren't already) with stupendously strong "Stormen". You might detect some Floydian guitar pyrotechnic but that won't bother you. Didn't have that high expectation actually. I have witnessed two previous Cd with G.S. and can't recall a better song than on K(I've lost count of how many other similar cases here..). Lasts for seven min. and then fades out without precaution. As Cd 3 runs for a diminutive 76:30, GRAND STAND should have filled out the remaining space(why all Swedes..?). Final band, French CAFEINE, debuted in the mid nineties. There were at least tendencies of a challenger to Echolyn, Flower Kings, Spock's Beard and others. This never happened. "Way is Open" is actually their last recorded work. Composed by keyboard player Christophe Houssin with lyrical contribution from the outside. A vast tune running for an impressive 11:40. Reaches higher into the sky than the Eiffel Tower. I place it among the very best tracks on K(which doesn't say little!). Dramatic, eventful, energetic..You name it.

Kalevala doesn't only feel like a music collection. Rather a huge family meeting, despite character of isolated case. Everybody gather for a joyful time, say thank you - good night. You don't have to be uninvited guest, just go ahead and purchase it! Not every square millimeter on Kalevala is of highest calibre, but that would be virtually impossible. I take away four songs, which is negligible. Add to this some minor fluctuation here and there. But with four fleshy hours of by and large new creation, this is a clear five star rating. Everything else should be false marketing. Seen from the perspective of the band; why donate a good song/lengthy composition to a project like this? The royalty income must be highly limited(compare the number of bands to the under-price). The public relations are narrowed to its purchasers. Without knowing any exact sales figures, many record buyers regard this kind of project with skeptical eyes. It becomes a curiosity, no matter if it's a better curiosity. So one sticks to one's own fave bands. Luckily, the many groups didn't pay heed to professorial reasoning like this. We are only grateful for the venture. Very grateful! As pointed out before, the price tag $35 is on the low side. It ought to be at least the double. I would gladly, and by right, pay $70 myself, provided that I was aware of the content of course.

As the ten-year jubilee of K draws nearer apace, have a look at how many bands who are still, or rather not, around today. Possibly they are all living in Hawaii by now. Squandering the millions they never earned from the Kalevala Project.

 Shrunken Head Music by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

Shrunken Head Music
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars One of six releases launched by UK vinyl specialist label Fruits de Mer Records in November 2013, "Shrunken Head Music" see the label revisiting one of their most popular projects from 2012, "Head Music", by way of a double 7 inch vinyl production focusing more on krautrock and space rock.

It's all kraut on the first single, where Frobisher Neck fill up side A with their take on Brainticket's To Another Universe. A core motif based on reverberating successions of singular tones is fleshed out by a distinct organ and a nervous Mellotron motif, with surging keyboard textures coming and going. The composition ebbs back and forth from sparse sequences sporting the core motif almost as a standalone feature to richly layered passages with more of a majestic feel to it combining all layers into a compelling one. Nice one.

Black Tempest's run through Tangerine Dream's Rubycon Part 1 on the B side should please all with a firm interest in progressive electronic music, with cosmic inspired surges light and dark in tone both, a dark toned sequencer then taking hold supplemented by a distinct organ and futuristic effects, eventually developing into more of a machine inspired, bleak sounding construction.

Russian band Vespero takes on Faust's J'ai Mal aux Dents on side C, and following an initial acid flavored prologue with spoken lead and backing vocals beneath a distinct guitar solo, this one develops into a layered longing and cosmic guitar solo construction flavored with futuristic effects, developing to a more compact expression with guitar reverbs and flute solo in it's final phase. High quality elegant space rock with a certain late 70's or early 80's Hawkwind feel to it, a delightful run for all space cadets out there.

Jay Tausig's take on Gong's The Glorious Om Riff is another one with distinct Hawkwind qualities to it. Smooth keyboards and chantlike vocals backed by elegant rhythms developing into a compact guitar riff driven affair with longing guitar soloing and smooth keyboard textures supplementing alongside futuristic sound effects, with a nice spirited but dampened saxophone solo given a run a few minutes in too. Dampened and smooth space rock of the kind that Hawkwind explored on Levitation is the end result, and those who love that album should be thrilled at how Tausig converts this Gong classic into a song that easily could have been added to that album. Brilliant, especially for those who love that particular era of Hawkwind obviously.

Personally I found "Shrunken Head Music" to be the most interesting of the six singles that Fruits de Mer launched in the for the Christmas season. Good productions all of them, but this one the superior production among the half a dozen very good ones. An easy vinyl single to recommend, especially to those with a firm interest in the more cosmic oriented parts of the psychedelic rock universe.

 Supper's Ready (Genesis) by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
2.38 | 22 ratings

Supper's Ready (Genesis)
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Few days ago I reviewed "Top Musicians Play Genesis" and mentioned this one as far better of the two. Now looking at the previous reviews & ratings I'm surprised about 2,2 stars average. The main fault seems to be the performances being too close to the originals. That's quite true, but still I'd say this is above the average level of tribute albums (not that I've heard very many). Track selection is fairly good and balanced, spread pretty evenly over the Genesis dicography except that the newest song is 'Mama' (1983). Does someone miss Invisible Touch or We Can't Dance songs here? Me neither.

Faithful soundalike attempts surely aren't the ideal thing on tributes. However, I don't have big complaints about the openers, ROBERT BERRY's 'Watcher of the Skies' or OVER THE GARDEN WALL's 'Firth of Fifth'. The vocals in the latter are a bad Peter Gabriel clone which disturbs me. DAVID HENTSCHEL (the Genesis producer!) with JAY TAUSIG on vocals do a good, and again, quite faithful, version of 'Undertow'. Fantastic ANNIE HASLAM from Renaissance is a perfect performer for 'Ripples'.

And as in the aforementioned "Top Musicians" CD, 'Back in N.Y.C.' is just a bad song to me even though KEVIN GILBERT does a good job with it. RICHARD SINCLAIR (of Caravan fame) gives a charming version of 'For Absent Friends', backed only by David Rees-Williams on keyboards. MAGELLAN's carbon copy of 'Mama' clearly loses to the powerful original, especially for the vocals. Sadly one of the worst Duke songs is represented, 'Man of Our Times', and the vocals resemble of bands like Toto.

'Many Too Many' is a pleasing one, sung excellently by Nick D'Virgilio from Spock's Beard, and so is SHADOW GALLERY's 'Entangled' or 'Carpet Crawlers' by the Brand X guitarist JOHN GOODSALL with MICHAEL ZENTNER on vocals. Again, these stick close to the originals but are fairly good nevertheless. CAIRO have chosen 'Squonk' and manage to add some new things in it. Probably my least fave here is 'I Know What I Like' by CRACK THE SKY. For a closer, WORLD TRADE (ie. Billy Sherwood on vocals, bass, guitar and keyboards) have chosen a surprising track from Abacab album but 'Keep It Dark' turns out to be interesting.

The leaflet kindly lists all the musicians and the cover art is nice. On the long run this isn't as clearly better than "Top Musicians Play Genesis" as I first thought, because there's so little originality in the performances. Therefor there aren't many songs I want to save to myself. Good, but non-essential.

 Top Musicians Play Genesis by VARIOUS ARTISTS (TRIBUTES) album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.00 | 1 ratings

Top Musicians Play Genesis
Various Artists (Tributes) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars (With gratitude to a friend who lent me two Genesis tribute albums.) < The other one is called Supper's Ready and is by far better than this one, which neither is actually badly done. Maybe it's just so that tribute albums tend to be a mere curiosity, very rarely succeeding to have a more permanent listening value. You see, the usual fact is that one knows the originals by heart and probably doesn't even want to listen to them often, but they are so dear nevertheless that the covers tend to be either uninteresting soundalike attempts, or the differences can irritate the fan. In the case of Genesis there's one more problem: the big division into the old progsters who dislike the pop-era stuff and the later generation who may not be into classic prog. And that dilemma is central concerning this compilation of various artists.

The opening track is like a compromise: JOHN WETTON - an old school prog legend himself - sings 'Your Own Special Way', a simple ballad which originates from the prog era. It's OK, nothing special (oops), in fact quite the same soft pop approach as with Paul Garrack in Hackett's Genesis Files. THE FLOWER KINGS deliver a tasty, not-too-faithful reading of the lovely 'Cinema Show' (7:02). A pity that it fades far too soon, cutting off the whole instrumental tail. The next three tracks are aimed at the pop-era listeners. The artists ought to be really brave and innovative to make something interesting out of 'Tonight, Tonight, Tonight', 'Tell Me Why' and 'In Too Deep', but they stick very close to the uninteresting originals.

G2ENESIS - I wonder how they pronounce it! - is a live tribute band specialized in Seconds Out Tour 1978. No doubt they are good at it, but a CD has different values, so their faithful live take 'Squonk' is nothing I'd return to. SHAUN GUERIN, whose own output shows strong influence from Peter Gabriel, has chosen my least enjoyed track from The Lamb, 'Back in N.Y.C.'. I dislike the original too, so it doesn't help that Guerin's version is technically good. BRAND X II's 'Can- Utility and the Coastliners' seems to have completely lost the spark of the superb original, especially in sound, and the piece feels far less progressive now.

CONTROLLED BLEEDING's 'Broadway Melody of 1974' includes also the instrumental section of 'Fly on a Windhield' and is one of the more valuable tracks here, even though the vocals are a bit too murky. I had high hopes towards JOHN FORD (of the Strawbs fame) doing 'Carpet Crawlers', but it didn't sound like what I expected (ie. earthy, airy, folky and fresh), nor were his vocals very recognizable in that totally non-folky arrangement.

DARXSTAR's 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight' is here clearly the best example of an interesting and highly personal version done with big artistic freedom at the risk of pissing off the puritans. Just few of the numerous ideas of the fantastic original are used, and very freely anyway, and this chill- out track surely deserves repeated listenings. 'Los Endos' by PATRICK MORAZ & RONNIE CIAGO is an obvious enjoyment for most listeners, I think, featuring effective keyboards & drums firework.

The leaflet is rather poor, only 8 (of 12) artists are briefly introduced, and no full lists of performers at all. This was an interesting curiosity, all right, but I can't give more than 2 stars since the real goodies were so scarce.

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