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SKU: MR023
Label:
Maracash
Category:
Progressive Rock
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The Red Zen is an instrumental quartet from Italy. Imagine a fusion album recorded by a progressive rock band. While their label tries to position them as a band in the style of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever, they really are more of a straight ahead prog band. Guitarist Ettore Salati was formerly with The Watch. While he doesn't sound like Steve Hackett here, he certainly plays with far more distortion than you are likely to ever hear from a fusion guitarist. No - this isn't really fusion. Its really well done instrumental prog rock with some killer soloing coming from keyboards and guitar. This owes more to Djam Karet or Helmet Of Gnats than any fusion band I can think of. Highly recommended.

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  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • This was the first album with the revamped lineup of John McLaughlin, Jean Luc Ponty, Narada Michael Walden, Ralph Armstrong, and Gayle Moran. They didn't quite hit the heights the original lineup did but there are brilliant moments throughout.
    $7.00
  • Record label hype: "Diagramma, the second full-length CD release by The Rebel Wheel, is dark, atmospheric and dense; a complex slice of modern progressive rock that never sacrifices melody while sustaining unrelenting waves of mounting tension and euphoric release. Angular twists and riffs morph into ambient soundscapes with soft, emotional vocals seamlessly binding the diverse elements together. Owing as much to modern influences as progressive legends of the past, The Rebel Wheel’s sound on Diagramma is unique and urgent, blending cutting-edge production techniques with diverse musicality and technical precision, often with a touch of fusion. The official 10T Records release of Diagramma contains a total of seven tracks, totaling over an hour of music, with the largest piece (the 21 minute epic "Diagramma Suite”) in the middle, acting as the fulcrum. Diagramma features tracks that alternate between hard-edged vocal tunes, and instrumentals that range from the quiet pastoral 12-string of "Three Valley Gap,” to the hard-edged fusion of "Tempra.” The CD comes in a deluxe digipak."
    $12.00
  • Second album from this excellent, but overlooked, Dutch prog band. The Mountain Queen seems to emphasize guitar just a touch more but there is still plenty of flute/sax and keyboard firepower on display. Really a well balanced musical palette that touches on Canterbury style prog as well as symphonic rock. This gets the typical great Esoteric treatment.
    $18.00
  • New mini-LP sleeve edition of the long out of print solo album from guitarist from Holding Pattern. Originally released in 1993 after the breakup of Holding Pattern, Tony Spada worked with some of the musicians from the band to create a high energy mix of progressive rock and fusion that sometimes...sounded quite a bit like The Dregs. A pretty slamming affair well worth revisiting.
    $13.00
  • "The first Mahavishnu Orchestra's original very slim catalog was padded out somewhat by this live album (recorded in New York's Central Park) on which the five jazz/rock virtuosos can be heard stretching out at greater length than in the studio. There are only three selections on the disc, all of which were to have been on the group's then-unissued third album -- two of them, guitarist John McLaughlin's "Trilogy: Sunlit Path/La Merede la Mer" and keyboardist Jan Hammer's "Sister Andrea," are proportioned roughly as they were in their studio renditions, while the third, McLaughlin's "Dream," is stretched to nearly double its 11-minute studio length. Each develops organically through a number of sections, and there are fewer lockstep unison passages than on the earlier recordings. McLaughlin is as flashy and noisy as ever on double-necked electric guitar, and Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman are a match for him in the speed department, with drummer Billy Cobham displaying a compelling, raw power and dexterity to his work as well, especially on the CD edition, which also gives bassist Rich Laird a showcase for his slightly subtler work. Yet for all of the superb playing, one really doesn't hear much music on this album; electricity and competitive empathy are clearly not enough, particularly on the 21-minute "Dream," which left a lot of fans feeling let down at the end of its side-two-filling run on the LP. In the decades since this album was released, the studio versions of these three pieces, along with other tracks being worked up for their third album, have appeared as The Lost Trident Sessions -- dating from May and June of 1973 -- thus giving fans a means of comparing this repertory to what the band had worked out (or not worked out) in the studio; and Between Nothingness and Eternity has come up a bit in estimation as a result, benefiting as it does from the spontaneity and energy of a live performance, though even that can only carry this work so far -- beyond the personality conflicts that broke up the band, they seem to have been approaching, though not quite reaching, a musical dead end as well." - Allmusic
    $5.00
  • Remastered edition."After two exemplary releases, Traffic released Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory, which begins with the title track, based on a guitar riff reminiscent of the recent Deep Purple hit "Smoke on the Water," and continues through the lengthy "Roll Right Stones," the folkish ballad "Evening Blue," reed player Chris Wood's instrumental "Tragic Magic," and the uncertain self-help song "(Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired." Lyricist Jim Capaldi was co-credited with Steve Winwood as the album's producer, and he may have contributed to the cleaner mix that made his words easier to understand. Meanwhile, the rhythm section had been replaced by Muscle Shoals studio aces David Hood and Roger Hawkins. Capaldi sings no songs here, and Wood's flute and saxophone, so often the flavoring of Traffic songs, are largely absent." - Allmusic Guide
    $5.00
  • "SBB, a legendary progressive rock/jazz band from Poland, return with a brand new studio album simply entitled “SBB”. The band, comprised of the phenomenal composer and multi-instrumentalist Józef Skrzek and the excellent guitarist Apostolis Anthimos, present a new sound - fresh, mature yet spontaneous and full of youthful energy. The new album includes 16 new tracks which bring freshness and lots of new ideas. The album title is a reference to the band’s history – their past and current story. Each song relates to the important events and situations related to the history of the band, but also to the people who played an important role in SBB’s life. The new music is colorful, subtle and at the same time dynamic, sonically different in terms of the used instruments. The album was recorded in studio Wojkowice (Upper Silesia). The cover artwork was created by the well-known Polish architect Tomasz Konior."
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  • Volto is a new (but long gestating) project from Tool drummer Danny Carey and Pigmy Love Circus guitarist John Ziegler.  The quartet is rounded out by noted keyboardist Jeff Babko and session bassist Lance Morrison.  The quartet have been together for some time playing cover tunes.  They finally decided to cut some original music.  To that end they recorded all analogue and had the album mastered by Bob Ludwig.  Expect great sound.This is a blazing all instrumental effort that fits squarely in the fusion genre but with strong overtones of progressive rock...and maybe just a touch of metal.  Chops from hell are the order of the day but this is highly melodic and never seems to suffer from "toomanynotes" syndrome.  At times Ziegler turns up the crunch factor to good effect and Babko lays down some wonderful solos.  Carey is Carey...awesome!!  Highly recommended.
    $14.00
  • Double CD live recording of the hot trio of Brian Beller, Marco Minnemann, and Guthrie Gvan.  Recorded at the Alvas Showroom on June 2nd and 3rd, 2012.
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  • With Jean Luc Ponty out and Stu Goldberg replacing Gayle Moran, McLaughlin came up with the weakest lineup and album to carry the Mahavishnu moniker. Universally hated.
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  • The madcap French jazz metal trio return with their sixth album.  Morglbl consists of guitarist Christope Godin, bassist Ivan Rougny, and drummer  Aurelian Ouzoulias.  The band has toured extensively around the world – USA, Europe, Russia and even China!  They have shared the stage with Liquid Tension Experiment, Bumblefoot, and Umphrey’s McGee among others.These three virtuosos are also well endorsed clinicians and have developed a following individually but when they come together the fireworks really start.  Tea Time For Punks doesn’t deviate from the tried and true Morglbl formula.  Take equal parts fusion and crushing metal power chords, then inject a healthy dose of tongue in cheek humor and you’ve got the perfect Morglbl album. The band is often described as Primus meets Steve Vai and Allan Holdsworth, with flavors of Frank Zappa! 
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  • Second studio album from what may be the ultimate chops band.  Guthrie Govan (guitars), Bryan Beller (bass), and Marco Minnemann (drums) turn it up an notch further.  Everything is set to 11 on this one. Lots of notes flying around and different styles as well - on "Louisville Stomp: I'm hearing some cool country style pickin' from Guthrie Govan that is welcome and unexpected.  He sounds like the second coming of Danny Gatton.  Other tracks are a non-stop shredfest - that's what the Aristocrats are all about.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00