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VARIOUS GENRES

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

4.25 | 95 ratings
ODYSSEY - THE GREATEST TALE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.18 | 201 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.23 | 88 ratings
INFERNO - THE DIVINE COMEDY, PART 1
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.28 | 57 ratings
LA BIBLIA
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.12 | 82 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART 1)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.17 | 56 ratings
THE SPAGHETTI EPIC 3 - THE GREAT SILENCE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.16 | 56 ratings
REWIRING GENESIS - A TRIBUTE TO THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.75 | 13 ratings
LEADER OF THE STARRY SKIES: A TRIBUTE TO TIM SMITH, SONGBOOK 1
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.12 | 66 ratings
THE STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT - A SYNPHONIC COLLECTION
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.11 | 53 ratings
PURGATORIO -THE DIVINE COMEDY, PART II
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.03 | 89 ratings
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUND TRACK ALBUM)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.02 | 55 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART II)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.13 | 29 ratings
RETURN TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Various Artists (Tributes)
4.03 | 45 ratings
THE 7 SAMURAI
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.03 | 33 ratings
MARSCAPE
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.93 | 39 ratings
GIALLO ! (ONE SUITE FOR THE MURDERER)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
3.98 | 30 ratings
THE ZODIAC - COSMIC SOUNDS
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.39 | 9 ratings
VISIONS OF AN INNER MOUNTING APOCALYPSE (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)
Various Artists (Tributes)
3.82 | 54 ratings
DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS (PART III)
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)
4.30 | 10 ratings
MORE ANIMALS AT THE GATES OF REASON - A TRIBUTE TO PINK FLOYD
Various Artists (Tributes)

Latest Various Genres Music Reviews


 Electric Garden Progressive Rock Festival 2011 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Electric Garden Progressive Rock Festival 2011
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars For the first time I'm writing a review with a mobile phone, and frankly it's a bit more uncomfortable than using a PC, but here goes... The title of this DVD tells what it's about. At least my purchase doesn't have a supplementary leaflet/booklet, which would be very useful in giving more information on both the 3-day event (held somewhere in North West UK) and the artists involved. All in all the whole product is done in a rather off-hand way. And why the set list is in wrong order in the disc's starting page? Nor is the camera work very professional. But nevertheless, the viewer gets nearly three hours of live prog performances from 12 artists. Some of them I knew in advance as an album listener, while several were totally new acquaintances for me.

The first in line is solo guitarist MATT STEVENS, who uses loops to deepen his playing. It's not as boring as you might think! British neo prog act ALSO EDEN performs two songs, followed by CREDO and a 12-min. 'Round & Round'.

DROPSHARD and NERVE TOY TRIO (both never-heard names) aren't bad at all either. The latter is an instrumental g-b-dr trio. The festival's second day is finished by the Italian THE WATCH, known for their Peter Gabriel sounding frobtman and Mellotron-loaded vintage sound.

EATHRLING SOCIETY has a female vocalist... no, she just dances while the guitarist sings badly. Disappointing band. SEYES perform the Yes epic 'Close to the Edge'. Of course it's nowhere near the real thing but they do a decent job. Aafter two more neverheard-bands it's nice to see ABEL GANZ (14-min. 'Rain Again') and THE TANGENT (21-min. 'Where Are They Now?').

Despite being a bit amateurish DVD, this was worth purchasing as it offers plenty of rare-ish but fairly good prog as if you were there in the audience.

 Marscape by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 33 ratings

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Marscape
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Both Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley are two classic musicians who straddled the line between the jazz and the progressive rock worlds of the 1970s after making names for themselves in other roundabout ways. Lancaster played with Jethro Tull's ex-guitarist Mick Abraham in Blodwyn Pig and both Lancaster and Lumley played together in a band called The Soul Searchers which included the stellar lineup of John Goodsall (guitar), Gary Moore (guitar), Percy Jones (bass) and Bill Bruford (drums).

Lancaster and Lumley would collaborate to release two albums with a wealth of guest musicians that remain unique in the prog history books even within the vast canon's of all the musicians that participated. The first would be the rock version of "Peter The Wolf" based on the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev's works in which the duo collaborated to create an eclectic modern version that was released in five different languages with different narrators for each one. The music was created to exist within the jazz-fusion and progressive rock worlds and sounded like nothing else within either. It was released in 1976.

Lancaster and Lumley crafted a second surprise released the same year only this time based on a completely different theme. MARSCAPE was a mostly instrumental album (voices were used as effects only) that is most famous for featuring the musicians who would become Brand X the very same year. Lumley himself has been with Brand X from the beginning and even in 2019 is still officially a member but MARSCAPE also features the guitar antics of John Goodsall, the fretless bass bantering of Percy Jones and of course, Genesis drummer Phil Collins who displays his most technical chops. Lumley himself handled all keyboards, pianos, harmoniums, autoharps and organs. Lancaster provided the wind instruments including sax (alto, tenor and soprano), flutes (alto, bamboo, glass), violin, panpipes, watergong and all the brass arrangements.

This bizarre soundtrack to a movie that never existed emerged before the first Brand X album "Unorthodox Behavior" was released also in 1976 and is indeed the very first album where that band played together. While this album could be thought of as a Lancaster / Lumley meets Brand X album, it was Lancaster and Lumley who composed the entire score therefore despite the musicians playing together, this does not resemble any of the Brand X albums that followed as the focus is more on creating musical textures and ambient atmospheric accompaniments to the themes presented in the track titles. MARSCAPE is an incredible varied type of album ranging from trippy free jazz to bouncy space disco.

Despite this album being more famous for Brand X playing on it than the music itself, the album actually contains many more musicians adding to the richness of the stylistic shifts including Morris Pert on percussion, Bernie Frost on voice and Simon Jeffres on the koto as well as string quartet arrangements. The album also employed the help of Geoff Leach on synth programming and if all this talent on board sounds like quite the elaborate project underway, then you would be correct to assume as much. It's apparent upon a single listen that this album was seriously fussed over. Every single detail was polished out to create a cohesive flow where every track cedes into the next and great attention was paid to keeping the tracks unique with each exhibiting a different flavor.

Thematically, MARSCAPE takes on exactly what it insinuates, namely a trip to the red planet where life has purportedly existed in one shape or another for eons. Each track is like a tribute to different aspects of the red planet and are reflected by a diverse roster of rhythms, tones, timbres, tempos and time signature dynamics. Part progressive rock and part jazz-fusion, MARSCAPE expands its horizons well beyond those limiting labels and also displays its fair share of ethnic world music sounds and even a cheesy ballad in the form of "Realization" which sounds like a cheap muzak version of "Hair." The rest of the album however shines like the sun in the sky with an intriguing mix of technical chops tamed into emotional gemstones that perfectly evoke the subject matter at hand.

The beauty of this unique confluence of talent is that it runs the gamut of the most avant-garde on tracks like the opening "Take Off" which builds the mood through the ratcheting up effect of sounds and the surreality of space flight experienced in "Sail On Solar Winds" to the seemingly danceable disco grooves of "Hopper (Machine for Negotiating the Rough Martian Terrian)." Both rock and jazz elements are used to paint strokes on the canvas rather than exist for the sake of connecting them to their respective genres. All sounds are crafted to represent the themes at hand and are surprisingly effective. From the minimalistic sparseness of "Phobos And Deimos" to the bombastic fusion workouts of "Olympus Mons," MARSCAPE is an album of mastery.

While a mere blip on the 70s music scene, MARSCAPE exudes a timelessness to it unlike many albums of the era. It's more akin to a classical work such as Gustav's "The Planets" than to related Brand X and prog rock bands, however the one track "Homelight (Reflecting on Distant Earth)" very much points to the future sounds that Brand X would fully bring to life which in a way proves that they really played on this album. While the album is brilliant it doesn't always convey the Mars mission at hand and therefore falls short of perfection by a couple tracks that don't really gel well with the rest of the pack. The silly "Hopper" would make a great new wave novelty track but seems out of place here and "Realization" is a little too sappy for its own good but otherwise this is unique and well worth the listen especially for anyone interested in everything Phil Collins related and the origins of Brand X.

 Song of the Silent Land by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Song of the Silent Land
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars 'Song of the Silent Land' is a compilation featuring mostly unreleased (at least as of 2004) tracks from artists signed by the label Constellation Records. The aritists on this label are made up of post rock/math rock and experimental artists and the label is based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Some of the bands featured on this compilation are 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor', 'A Silver Mt. Zion', 'Fly Pan Am', 'Do Make Say Think' and 'Black Ox Orkestar'. Thirteen out of the 14 tracks were previously unreleased. The release was originally released to commemorate the Spring 2004 Constellation Roadshow Tour in Europe.

The first track is 'The Sky Lay Still' (6:21) by Elizabeth Anka Vajagic, who is a singer and guitarist from Montreal. Her style is dark, sparse and ethereal. This is quite apparent in this track, which originally came from her album 'Stand with the Stillness of this Day', however, this is a very stripped-down version of that song. The song is a slow moving, quiet track made up of her pensive electric guitar and her vocals. 'Winter Hymn Winter Hymn Winter Hymn' by 'Do Make Say Think' (4:54) is a heavy track with a lot of noisy static effects surrounding the distorted guitar chords. The track is a remix of the album 'Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn' to a 5 minute track. The track goes through a variety of harsh sounds, styles and rhythm, but overall it is quite dark and noisy, and has a crazy ending. 'Wool Fever Dub' (3:05) by 'Exhaust' is a rare track that comes from their self-released cassette and was recorded to a 4-track reel-to-reel machine in 1996. Starting off with a screeching guitar drone, drums come in establishing a rhythm while the feedback heavy guitar plays a harsh melody that emerges from the feedback. Yes, the track is noisy, yet it is quite an interesting study in melodic noise and distortion, not really annoying, somewhat avant-garde and metallic.

'(Re)view from the Ground (Remix)' (4:30) by HangedUp is a remix of a track originally released on their album 'Kicker in Tow'. The band is an experimental duo that uses heavy percussion and often self-made instruments. The music again is quite noisy and harsh, with layers of noisy percussion with a moderately fast beat and screaming drones to give a very industrial post rock sound. The duo has worked with the band 'Sackville' and 'Silver Mt. Zion'. 'Toyte Goyes in Shinein' (3:44) by Black Ox Orkestar' plays a style of post rock Jewish traditional sounding music. The lyrics are in Yiddish and is a moderately slow, acoustic piece, that has a nice lush sound later when wind instruments are added. The track comes from their album 'Ver Tanzt?' released in 2003. 'This Machine' (4:56) by 'Sackville' follows this. Sackville is now a mostly defunct band as the members have gone on to work with other bands, mostly from the same label. The music was said to be a mix of country and rock, but it is more of a folk style than country. This track was previously unreleased in any form. The music is acoustic, the vocals are quite bassy, a lot like the vocals of 'The Magnetic Fields' lead singer Stephin Merritt.

'Iron Bridge to Thunder Bay' (8:12) by 'A Silver Mt. Zion' is a previously unreleased track taken from the sessions from the 'Thee Rusted Satellites' album. The track builds as a layered drone increases in volume and strength, and then a percussive beat underlies the drone and various instruments screech and squeal from the drone. Violin and guitar emerge from the din of the drone, but create a dissonant texture with the repeating percussion and bass line. It's all very noisy, as this was their style during these sessions. It is easy to see why this track was left off of those sessions however, as it never really develops past that thick wall of noise. This is definitely their loudest track I've heard from them. 'String of Lights' (5:33) by 'Sofa' is a rare track from the band's self-released cassette called 'Record' which was recorded direct to 2-track in 1996. The music is a dark, yet somewhat acoustic affair with light percussion, guitar and vocals. The band is known as the first band to record on the Constellation label and was a critically acclaimed band, though they have now disbanded.

'Dreaming ('.Again)' (4:49) by 'Polmo Polpo' is a track built up of recordings from the sessions that produced their album 'Like Hearts Swelling'. The Polmo Polpo project is actually a one person project from Sandro Perri who has a very intriguing style of post-rock instrumentalism that utilizes electronics and folk instrumentation. This track is a nice, moderate track that is quite melodic, and it utilizes some interesting electronic effects to create a smooth sounding track which even has some whistling thrown in there. 'Slippage' (3:25) is by the band 'Re:' and is an unreleased track from their 'Mnant' sessions. The project is made up of duo Aden Evens and Ian Ilavsky who also worked together as 'Sackville'. This music has a very organic sound with a lot of percussion, effects and an interesting sounding instrument playing sustained notes that ring out quite nicely. Even though they use electronics quite a lot, they sound very organic. 'Tres Tres Avant' (5:10) from 'Fly Pan Am' is from an improvisation done in 2003. It consists of a repeating synth and percussion loop with layers of airy noise and guitar with added vocal effects thrown in. It's not their best track as it is quite repetitive, but then it is mostly just improvised effects over a loop sequence.

'Fair Warning' (5:03) by '1-Speed Bike' is actually a remix of a track called 'New Blue Monday' from 'HangedUp'. The project is the moniker for the solo work of artist Aidan Girt, who is a drummer that has worked with GY!BE and Exhaust. The track is a combination of a noise, rave-style music with spoken word vocals. The track is repetitive and way too long. 'See My Film' (3:57) by Frankie Sparo is from a previously unreleased song from the 'Welcome Crummy Mystics' sessions. Frankie Sparo was the moniker for Chad Jones, a singer/songwriter from British Columbia. This one is a bit avant-garde sounding with gruff vocals and an off-beat loop. The melody is interesting enough, and so is some of the string instrumentation, but it doesn't necessarily match the loop very well. It's okay, but a little strange in sections. The last track is 'Outro' (7:33) from 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor'. This track is a previously unreleased live performance of a concert finale in France recorded on May 14, 2003. It starts out with simple chimes playing a melody softly. A violin and cello soon join in shadowing the melody. The track continues to work off of the post rock formula of development through a long crescendo, adding other instruments and building intensity as it goes on. The sound is a bit low-fi in quality, but the music itself is quite good, and the quality seems to improve as it goes on, so it is part of the music itself. As is typical with GY!BE, the music is emotional and beautiful.

This is really a decent compilation, and the tracks on it are mostly now unavailable anywhere else. It is a good sample of some of the very innovative and talented artists on the label, many of whom are not around anymore. There are a few weak spots on the album however. The biggest disappointment is the contribution of A Silver Mt. Zion as they are one of my favorite post rock bands, but the track here is way too noisy and far from their best efforts. There are a few others that are too repetitive, such as the Fly Pan Am track and the 1-Speed Bike track. However, overall, it is a great compilation with a lot of variety that ranges from the minimal to the extremely noisy, yet quality runs through the musicianship here. Though the tracks are not always the best of some of the bands and not always representative, the entire collection makes quite a cohesive statement in the end. This is definitely a good find if you can locate it, or still order it, as I did several years ago when I started first discovering some of the bands on the collection.

 Rock Legends: Progressive Rock by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2005
2.26 | 4 ratings

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Rock Legends: Progressive Rock
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'm giving this seedy compilation DVD its first review, having ordered it recently at a very cheap price. I'm sure many of you are aware of Classic Rock company who have released loads of these low-price live DVD's. Two tracks here I've seen before on another of their prog compilations: 'Vivaldi' by CURVED AIR and 'The Weaver's Answer' by FAMILY, while some other tracks are probably taken from the same gigs as different songs on other compilations (and of course there are Classic Rock's DVD's of the represented artists separately, at least for most of them). RICK WAKEMAN's number here is 'Catherine Parr', ELP appear with vintage instrumental 'Barbarian', and FOCUS perform their excellent sidelong epic 'Eruption', albeit not the classic line-up featuring guitarist Jan Akkerman; nevertheless, this is among the highlights.

JOHN WETTON starts the 88-minute DVD in style with a faithful version of the King Crimson classic 'Starless'. After all the artists mentioned above comes BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST (a post-Wolstenholme line-up) and John Lees's 'Nights in White Satin' -imitating 'Poor Man's Moody Blues'. I do like it. STEVE HACKETT and his band perform instrumental 'Clocks' from Spectral Mornings (1979). Judged by Steve's looks I guess it's from the early 90's. The biggest minus of this DVD is the lack of more precise information on the performances. No years, no line-ups, not even song credits... What a pity, because a proghead like me would love to know especially the source years that vary from early 70's to - who knows, the 90's?

In my DVD collections there's the final part of VDGG's 'Plague of the Lighthouse Keepers' on the "Psychedelia" compilation (and it wasn't indicated on the cover as the finale only!); here is the George Martin instrumental 'Theme One'. No Peter Hammill in sight, but it's amusing to watch drummer Guy Evans and saxophonist David Jackson too. And premiering altogether in my DVD collections are SOFT MACHINE ('Tale of Taliesyn') and URIAH HEEP ('Paradise / The Spell'). I really would have wanted to know the exact line-ups for both! Anyway I'm glad of the latter's song choice: Demons and Wizards (1972) is my fave Heep album.

So, just another cheapie DVD with a varying quality of contents, but there surely are enough interesting numbers of prog classics to keep this on my shelves. 2½ stars rounded down for the lack of information.

 Jesus Christ Superstar: An Australian Cast Recording, Live at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney, 1973 by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Live, 2018
4.09 | 2 ratings

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Jesus Christ Superstar: An Australian Cast Recording, Live at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney, 1973
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by sl75

4 stars Since the original release of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1970, there have been many re-recordings - various cast recordings, cheap rip-offs, reinterpretations, etc. In Australia, there were two releases in the early 70s - one of the aforementioned cheap rip-offs, and the official (studio recorded) cast album from the production presented here (featuring only selections, not the full show), and we've since had the (in my view awful) David Hirschfelder re- arrangement from the 1990s (the one with John Farnham in the title role, later presented as an arena concert).

Unlike the official cast album released at the time, this new release contains the entire score, recorded as a live performance. As far as I know, it's the only recording of Marcia Hines in the role of Mary (she took on the role after the original cast album had been recorded), alongside Jon English's famed performance as Judas. For added interest to prog-leaning collectors, the bandleader was Michael Carlos, formerly of Tully - Ken Firth from Tully is also in the band.

The original album is of course a classic, but I think the biggest criticism that can be made of it is that in many places it sounds rather stilted, as though everyone was sight-reading the material for the first time as they were recorded (that may even have been the case?). This is certainly true of most of the singers on that record - although there are are some memorable vocal moments, no one sounds like they are connecting to the material as a character. The instrumentalists fared better (particularly in those pieces that gave them the most scope for improvisation), but in general the original album still sounds like the music has not really been played in yet. Yet modern day productions are still largely expected to reproduce the sound of that album - I say this having played in the pit for several productions myself - the older orchestration had a lot of chord charts and remaining scope for improvisation but transcribed much of the original recording, while there is a newer orchestration from the 1990s which fully notates all parts to sound pretty much exactly like the record. That made me particularly interested to hear what Carlos and co did with the score - remembering that Tully had notoriously been the house band for the earlier production of Hair, where they were infamous for their digressions from the score - and especially to hear what they sounded like after a full year of playing together.

They do not disappoint. The band is tight at all times, and creative, rarely directly aping the sound of the original album. The star is pianist Jamie McKinley, who enlivens every single track with his contributions. Carlos takes more of a back seat than you would expect, but his Hammond and Moog contributions are always welcome. I also enjoy the work of the Firth/Henson rhythm section. They have completely their own take on Judas' death, making no attempt to replicate the improvisation from the original record but substituting one of their own (similar basic idea but completely different notes) - similarly with the opening guitar solo to Damned For All Time, or the Crucifixion. Parts of the score are fleshed out with extra material where needed. In general, a much more confident, fully realised performance than the original record.

Vocally? For me, the 1973 film cast (Ted Neely/Carl Anderson etc) are the gold standard, but there are some notable performances here - Jon English killing it as Judas, Marcia Hines as Mary, and Reg Livermore stealing the show with his brief spot as Herod. Stevie Wright (ex-Easybeats) makes a notable cameo as Simon, as does the future pop star John Paul Young as Annas (though he isn't one of the standouts). Elsewhere, Wayne Matthews (Peter) repeats his problematic performance from Hair, singing in a too-classical tone that doesn't suit the material; and Peter North as Caiaphas trys for menace but only delivers gravel and questionable diction. The chorus performance is uneven compared to studio recordings, but that is to be expected - they are actor-singers attempting to be a choir, probably while simultaneously dancing, unlike the professional choristers in the studio. Importantly though, every single singer here is fully inhabiting their character.

Worth noting that Michael Carlos assembled largely the same band for albums he produced at this time, including English's debut Wine Dark Sea and, potentially of more interest to readers here, the first three albums of Jeannie Lewis, including her masterpiece Free Fall Through Featherless Flight. Jeannie may never make it onto this site, since her discography taken as a whole would be a hard sell for the teams here, but those three mid 1970s albums are arguably the high point of Australian art rock - mostly because of her unique singing voice and grand concepts, but also in large part because of Carlos's arrangements and the quality of this band.

 Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Even among adventurous Progheads (a majority, one hopes), the subversive variations of Krautrock can be an acquired taste. The word describes an attitude more than a set of stylistic conventions, and the range of music is simply too broad to fit our usual pigeonholes, crossing the boundaries of post-rock, space-rock, jazz, ambient electronica, ethnographic raga, industrial noise, and other territories too remote or frightening to identify by name.

And there's a vital historical context to consider also, deeply rooted in the anger of a restless post-war generation of kids unable to abide the crimes of their parents, or the cultural hegemony of their Anglo-American occupiers after 1945. In short: it's a genre of music that requires an explanation rather than a simple definition, and to their credit the co-directors of the ongoing "Romantic Warriors" film cycle avoid doing either.

Don't expect a traditional documentary, with a disembodied third-person narrator reciting all the pertinent facts and dates ("the truth of accountants", as Werner Herzog would say). The film instead is structured as an oral history, related in simple talking-head interviews with the musicians who were at the front of the Krautrock barricades a half-century ago, and with younger artists carrying that torch forward into the new millennium.

Archival footage from the 1970s is included, but only in illustrative snippets: an early Floh de Cologne performance; a rare Klaus Dinger interview from his halcyon La Düsseldorf years; a television gig by the pre-robot Kraftwerk, with new hire Wolfgang Flür sporting an incongruous mustache ("I was a hippy at that time", he ruefully admits). You can probably find most of these clips on YouTube: the ramshackle necropolis for all our cultural daydreams. But they work better when seen in a narrative setting, as fascinating keyhole glimpses into Krautrock's unruly adolescence.

But it's the memories of the participants that make the film such an invaluable document. And the directors enjoyed impressive access to some major players: Irmin Schmidt; Jaki Liebezeit; Malcolm Mooney (who claims he left Can because he couldn't find Louisiana Hot Sauce in Germany!); Michael Rother; Jean-Hervé Peron and Werner 'Zappi' Diermeier of Faust...among many others.

Some of them might be unfairly regarded today as minor sidekicks: Eberhard Kranemann for example, who figured in the embryonic, overlapping biographies of both Kraftwerk and Neu! But as an articulate firsthand witness to changing times he shares some of the film's best anecdotes, and his impersonation of John Coltrane (blink and you'll miss it) is priceless.

The filmmakers remain invisible throughout, never once inserting themselves into their interviews, instead letting the musicians (the "sound-carriers", in Damo Suzuki's memorable phrase) tell their stories without interference. But they nevertheless draw some implicit, important connections between then and now: classic Can and the nomadic career of Damo Suzuki today; the spiritual link between the earlier improvisational Kraftwerk and the new Kranemann/Harald Großkopf collaboration Krautwerk; the evolution of La Düsseldorf into the sadly abbreviated Japandorf; the Faust/FaUSt dichotomy.

Electric Orange is briefly featured, and Stephan Plank (son of the legendary Conny, and the spitting image of his dad) is here too. The implications are never overtly stated, but should be obvious: Krautrock was a product and a portrait of its time, but fifty years later has yet to show its age.

The film is over two-hours long, and still only manages to barely penetrate the surface of a very deep ocean, skipping like a flat stone over still water: from Cologne to Düsseldorf to Hamburg. The ace Zeitgeist Media team of Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder have released other entries in their "Romantic Warriors" film cycle, profiling the Canterbury sound and the Post-Rock scene, each on a single disc. But fear not: their examination of Krautrock needed a wider net, and this is only the first chapter of a proposed three-part saga, with future installments continuing the journey of remembrance through Munich, Wiesbaden, Berlin and beyond.

Fans of the many featured bands will eat it up, of course. But even newcomers lacking a palate for Krautrock's enduring power and deep musical legacy should appreciate the aim behind the project: to preserve, before it's too late, the personal testimony of influential artists who never received the historical recognition they deserved.

 Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Well, just ask one hundred music experts, and you will get one hundred very different explanations when it comes to the complete phenomenon Krautrock, respectively which band will fit this odd genre music-wise. Fortunately Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder avoid the mistake to delve into another new comprehensive essay. And this will also include the following two parts, I'm quite sure. However, what they necessarily have is a concept, of course. They are selective somehow, and that's good. Every other attempt trying to create something all-embracing or so would fail. For me the real fortitute, advantage, is that they let some considerable musicians and other key figures speak, simple as that. Pay attention of the zeitgeist. Let them explain their views, impressions, memories. And the interviewees are fulfilling the demands in an impressing manner throughout, enthusiastic overall, really being proud of their knowledge, experiences, and developed music most notably. Very informative.

Although this issue will support many interpretations, some facts are quite obvious. Less controversal, for example the 'Essener Songtage' in 1968 can be seen as an important point of origin. And let me emphasize the special historical dimension in Germany, coming together with a rebellious youth, for example manifested by the student revolts and protests against the US agression during Vietnam War. Open-mindedness was hip, nearly everything called into question. This benefitted a general atmosphere of departure, having effect on many sectors of the society, especially all sorts of art. One may sum it up with the approach 'unlimited experimentalism', which even infected Schlager music producer and major labels. While most of the musicians outside of Germany still were feeling comfortable with a more standard blues, psychedelic and jazz attempt, German artists started to break all barriers very early. And some of them evolved to real pioneers hereby.

This initially was concentrated on some major cities, those who regularly were equipped with diverse academies respectively universities and a vivid avantgarde scene. Part 1 (out of 3) now is focused on the Düsseldorf/Cologne and Hamburg region. The presented bands, their vita, each of them is rather diverse. Some are still active (Faust), some not (Can), Kraftwerk then completely changed the modus operandi to a totally programmed sound, reaping some critical words by Wolfgang Flür. Protagonists Eberhard Kranemann and Harald Grosskopf recently have founded a new fruitful entity (Krautwerk). 'Actually we were an agitprop theater group' - Floh De Cologne members even insist on not belonging to the Krautrock family in the strict sense (I agree). US duo Wume are in place for those artists from outside of Germany who are adopting diverse stylistical characteristics. And the Electric Orange staff is drawing references too, though nevertheless one of those neo kraut bands which are representing, okay, even are a push for a little renaissance in Germany currently.

Most of the sequences are filmed by Schmidt and Zegarra Holder themselves, often enough linked with music excerpts taken from live sessions or studio recorded songs, just referring to well-known key terms like Autobahn, Hallogallo, Vitamin C, you bet! But they are also incorporating archive material plus simple sightseeing impressions. This probably because several musicians are underscoring inspirations from the immediate evironment like nature or traffic noise, machines, construction areas aso. 'Krautrock Part 1' is a skillful effort, provided in two languages and the option to turn on subtitles in English, French and Italian. Chapeau! The Zeitgeist Media team have successfully started their mission, I would say. This documentation is a recommended add-on to your collection, a must have for Krautrock fans so much the more.

 Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover DVD/Video, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Romantic Warriors IV: Krautrock, Part I
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder have gone well beyond mere fans of progressive rock and have taken things to the next level by writing and producing excellent feature-length documentary films that chronicle the rich history of progressive rock with a series of films that narrate the artistic, cultural and social aspects of the progressive rock paradigm. While the lion's share of the footage is dedicated to the earliest artists who gestated the genre into the long lasting powerhouse that it has become, this married couple also included many of the newer bands that have contributed to the prog revivals that have kept the genre, well?. progressing.

The series started with the 2010 "Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga" but soon became more focused on the individual sub-genres. The film was followed by 2012's "Romantic Warriors II: A Progressive Music Saga About Rock in Opposition," the 2013 followup "Got RIO? Romantic Warriors II: Special Features DVD," the 2015 "Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales" and 2016's "Got Canterbury? Romantic Warriors III: Special Features DVD." It's quite clear that Schmidt and Zegarra Holder are in no danger of burning out soon and to the contrary seems like their passion for prog has only increased.

The next phase of the ROMANTIC WARRIORS universe comes in 2019 with the first of a planned trilogy of releases. ROMANTIC WARRIORS IV : KRAUTROCK, PART I starts the series by focusing on Krautrock that developed in the Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg regions of Germany. The focus of these films is to highlight the bands that were innovative in the progressive rock scene and for the sake of not including every band that existed, the film opted to leave out bands that were more derivative of English prog and copycats of others. PART I captures many of the musicians who are still alive from Krautrock's early years and allows them to tell their stories while capturing some archival footage. Bands included on this first edition are Can, Faust, Kraftwerk, Floh de Cologne, Neu!, La Düsseldorf, Japandorf, Krautwerk, Electric Orange, Wume and the Damo Suzuki Network.

While there is never enough footage to satisfy the hardcore fans in these kinds of documentaries as i could personally watch entire documentaries for each of the bands involved, this is a very interesting journey into the greater depths of Germany's unique contribution to the progressive rock universe and no matter how much you thought you knew already about this vibrant movement that began in the 70s, ROMANTIC WARRIORS is guaranteed to reveal some of the long lost secrets that have been tucked away behind the scenes for many decades. While only one installment of this series would've been woefully too short for such an all- encompassing music scene, this one is very satisfying for the region of Germany that it covers.

Part 2 is intended to be released in early 2020 and will focus on bands from Munich, Wiesbaden, Ulm and Heidelberg. Bands that will be included: Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Embryo, Kraan, Popol Vuh and Witthüser & Westrupp. Part 3 is intended to follow in late 2020. This third installment will cover bands from Berlin and Hamburg which will include Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Günter Schickert, Agitation Free, Conrad Schnitzler, A.R. & Machines, Nektar and some contemporary bands such as Robert Rich & Markus Reuter and Coolspring. All these films have been financed by Schmidt and Zegarra Holder with crowdfunding on Indiegogo for the post-production.

I have been woefully unaware of these fine Zeitgeist Media documentaries but am glad to have finally delved into the wonderful history of progressive rock in full feature length films. While i cannot compare to previous films, this one is absolutely fabulous as it allows the bands to narrate their own biographies with ample video footage of the venues where all the magic emerged. This one documentary has surely whetted my appetite for more and not only do i eagerly anticipate the next installment of this KRAUTROCK series but now must go back and seek out the previous documentaries that preceded. All i can say is BRAVO!

 Hijos Del Agobio Y Del Dolor  by VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Hijos Del Agobio Y Del Dolor
Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "An exciting tribute to the unique world of Spanish prog and Rock Andaluz"

The record company is DRO (Discos Radioactivos Organizados) Atlantic, in 1982 founded by the members of Spanish electronic band Aviador Dro. It was one of the first independent Spanish labels, in order to support alternative and modern Spanish music, after these bands and artists were often rejected by the major labels. In 1992 the USA label Warner Music Group took over the label, after financial problems. Under the name DRO Atlantic S.A., A Warner Music Group Company in 2006 this 2CD-1DVD box set (fold out cover with stories and tracklist info) was released entitled Hijos Del Agobio Y Del Dolor, and subtitled Pioneros Y Origenes Del Rock Andaluz. What a wonderful effort to make a compilation from all those interesting Spanish late Sixties and Seventies bands and artists (along some Eighties). It is a perfect way to discover more from the often unique Spanish progressive rock music, especially the Rock Andaluz: this very distinctive Andalusian movement incorporates elements from jazz, blues, rock, classical and progrock into its native flamenco music.

CD 1 and the first part of CD 2 are loaded with Rock Andaluz bands, from legendary Triana and Medina Azahara (the Prog Andaluz anthem Paseando Por La Mezquita) to Qualdalquivir (outstanding jazzrock oriented), Mezquita and Azahar (both strong Arabian undertones), Alameda (featuring the excellent singer Jose Roca), Iman (featuring the 'Andalusian Carlos Santana') and Cai (wonderful vintage keyboards). The one moment you will be carried away by a virtuosic flamenco guitar intro, palmas (handclapping) or wailing, expressive vocals. The other moment you will be stunned by howling electric guitar, Hammond and Mellotron waves or quick synthesizer flights, a very exciting musical experience. Also featured are interesting groups that are more blending flamenco with blues and rock like Miguel Rios (fascinating Morish atmosphere), Goma (flamenco intro, then rock with Hammond and fiery guitar and saxophone) and All & Nothing (flamenco with swinging piano and fiery guitar). Or bands with strong flamenco overtones like Camaron De La Isla (pleasant flamenco guitar work, strong male and female vocals, along a swinging electric piano solo and flashy synthesizer flights) and Vega (accessible and catchy flamenco-pop). The band The Storm is more in the vein of Rare Bird and Procol Harum delivering a Hammond organ drenched sound.

On CD-2 the focus is more on special sounding bands.

A swinging mix of flute, saxophone and piano from Tabletom.

An adventurous progressive blend of flamenco guitar, violin, raw electric guitar and vintage keyboards (like the Solina string- ensemble) from Gualberto.

The bluesy Cuarto Menguante and eclectic Tarantos (1969) delivering a pleasant mix of pop, rock and flamenco, with a distinctive Sixties vibe.

Gong rocks featuring strong Spanish vocals, fiery guitar runs and catchy percussion, with hints from Santana, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac.

Galaxia presents strong vocals (in the Classic Italian Prog tradition), powerful Hammond, saxophone and wah wah electric guitar, blended with flamenco rhythm guitar, this is typical early Seventies rock.

My Rock Andaluz revalation is the song Nuevo Dia by the duo Lole Y Manuel: distinctive flamenco guitar, intense female vocals and short but inventive Mellotron drops (cello and violins section), wow, goose bumps, what compelling blend of the art of flamenco and prog rock!

The DVD features a documentary (from 2003, in Spanish, not subtitled) about the development of the Spanish progressive rock (including the birth of the Rock Andaluz) between the late Sixties and early Seventies, focussed on the known band Smash. Their guitarplayer Gualberto tells his story along many other legendary or known early Spanish progressive rock musicians. The docu also contains stories about the Underground scene, the drugs, the gypsies and the blend of flamenco and fusion. Unfortunately there is little live footage from bands, only some shots from pioneers Gong and Smash.

If you want to discover more of the unique world of Spanish progressive rock and the Rock Andaluz, this box set is highly recommended!

 Fafnir by VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.08 | 4 ratings

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Fafnir
Various Artists (Label Samplers) Various Genres

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars "Lesser known and unknown Italian Prog around 1993"

In 1993 the Italian prog rock label Kaliphonia released this interesting compilation album featuring many lesser known and unknown Italian prog bands and artists, along Collage from Poland.

Fancy Fluid delivers Neo-prog with fiery guitar, modern sounding keyboards and some nice musical ideas in the varied Nuove Effemeridi.

Consorzio Acqua Potabile (CAP) surprises with a wonderful intro on piano, warm vocals and sensitive guitar work with a lot of tension in Cavaliere Mascherato.

Combat by Marcello Capra contains beautiful interplay between acoustic and electric guitar. Recently I reviewed his album Preludio Ad Una Nuova Alba from 2010, simply wonderful.

Deux Ex Machina delivers complexity and bombastic atmospheres with Jean Luc Ponty inspired violin work in the jazz-rock orientated Luna.

In Jakazan by duo Clarion (including ex-Zauber member Paolo Clari) we hear warm flute play like John Hackett, but also a pretty irritating drum sound.

My highlight is Prologo by New Credo with Steve Hackett-like guitar, fluent keyboards and many shifting moods.

Michele Tale Di Bella plays in Across Zakla Makan howling electric guitar with twanging acoustic guitar.

We hear pleasant guitar play in Happiness by the five-piece formation H2O.

Myros (Zauber keyboardist Oscar Giordadino) features keyboard pyrotechnics in the vein of Japanese bands Gerard and Deja Vu.

Polish formation Collage with Midnight Flyer (also on the Collage compliation Changes from 1995) delivers a blend of pop and prog, very accessible with good vocals and pleasant keyboards.

Incentive from Ars Antiqua has a dreamy atmosphere with soaring keyboards and some fiery guitar runs.

The disappointing final track Glayer Lady Night by Max Oil has mediocre vocals and drums. Only the keyboards and the final part with howling electric guitar can please my ears.

My rating 3,5 star.

Those were the Italian Prog days, at about 25 years ago, but May 2019 I hope to review new Italian prog: Banco (Transsiberiana), La Coscienza Di Zeno (Una Vita Migliore) and FEM (Mutazione), ciao.

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