ULTIMA THULE / UT Web Encyclopedia
to the UT Web Encyclopedia - a beginner's handy reference guide to the
Ultima Thule oeuvre.
This started life as a listing compiled from Ultima Thule catalogues in 2001 due to the lack of info online.
AERA - Bavarian 70s jazz-rock oriented progressive band akin to Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, etc., originating as a highly inventive fusion band, and a unique angle on the genre, with strong percussion, driving rhythms and lots of space for solos from guitar, sax and flute.
AGITATION FREE - Agitation Free were one of the most seminal of Krautrock bands, Chris Franke (of Tangerine Dream) and Ax Genrich (Guru Guru) had been members in their early days, pioneering synthesist Michael Hoenig (also later of Tangerine Dream) and guitarist Lütz Ulbrich (later of Ashra) and other key musicians in the Krautrock scene were also featured. MALESCH is an ethnic excursion, with organ by Peter Michael Hamel (of Between). LAST was the album every Cosmic Music and space-rock fan had been waiting for (to track down the original LP is nigh on impossible, nor have any turned up second-hand since!), it presents Agitation Free at their most spacious and inventive - live in concert, their ultimate album of Cosmic Music in the vein of the most cerebral Pink Floyd, Ash Ra Tempel, or Amon Düül II's "Chasmin Soundtrack" - amazing!
AGUILAR, ILDEFONSO - Uniquely beautiful and excellent atmospheric synth music inspired by the surreal volcanic wastes of the Canary Islands. This is a remixed and extended version of the legendary LP, together with bonus tracks, and a remarkable experience to behold. With hints of Klaus Schulze's IRRLICHT, Edgar Froese's AQUA, and early abstract Conrad Schnitzler, it's a "must have" for all in to adventurous synth music!
AINIGMA - An obscure early Kraut band that gained recognition as one of the darkest progressives. They played a raw and slightly messy bluesy rock, sometimes recalling Frumpy, with an underlying Vanilla Fudge edge. Lacking a bit lyrically, the stars are the chunky organ and guitar, and a lack of production akin to Necronomicon, a stoned, sombre feel, featuring long tracks, extensive instrumentals.
ALGARNAS TRADGARD - Aka "The Garden Of The Elks" were a seminal Swedish combo from the early-70s interlinked with International Harvester and Anna Sjalv Tredje (amongst others), and were amongst the most ground-breaking of bands. Their FRAMTIDEN ÄR ETT SVÄVANDE... was like RIO meets folk (Achimedes Badkar, Arbete & Fritid or Third Ear Band territory) & Faust (before RIO or Faust existed), to put it simply. They existed for a number of years, and recorded at least one further album - recently released as "Delayed" - and much in the way of concerts and radio sessions (some included as a bonus on the CD of their debut).
ALLEN, DAEVID - Not just a founding member of Soft Machine, Daevid even had ambitious aspirations as early as 1963, eventually becoming the leader of the notorious Gong, Daevid Allen had also been a dabbler in electronic music and tape collage since the mid-60s, as well as the purveyor of a unique songs, poetry, psychedelia and space-music.
ALPHATAURUS - One of the most dazzling and inventive of 70s Italian bands. Excellent, they sometimes sound like an Italian Novalis, with elements of ELP, Banco, King Crimson, Collegium Musicum, Egg, but still unique!
ALQUIMIA - Mexican female multi-instrumentalist, who relocated to London. Her music can be seen as somewhere between Jorge Reyes, Dead Can Dance, and increasingly more accessible on later albums, veering towards Enya.
ALQUIN - Dutch 70s prog with notable Canterbury (Soft Machine & Caravan) leaning, but also a distinctly NL (Solution, Focus) feel, with winds, and powerful keyboards/guitars to the fore on their early albums: MARK and THE MOUNTAIN QUEEN. Later albums paled significantly.
ALTONA - ex-Thrice Mice (Altona is a suburb of Hamburg) dropping the classical edge for a jazzier front. On their debut Altona had a Blodwyn Pig feel in a hybrid of Birth Control, Creative Rock, and Eiliff, with songs and instrumentals that were full of surprises! Their second album CHICKENFARM, wasn't so hot.
ALTO STRATUS - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
ALUSA FALLAX - A complex 70s progressive, full of invention and experimentation, just what you'd expect from such a reputable album, full of those moves that make Italian rock so special. With hints of New Trolls, Osanna, Metamorphosi, it's a classic!.
AMENOPHIS - Typical late 70s German prog, with hints of Genesis and Camel, in a symphonic rock like Anyone's Daughter and Rousseau. Lyrically awkward on occasions, though highly creative, their debut was one of the better albums of the era.
AMM - Once defined as one of the few bands eligible to be put in the rock, jazz and avant-garde sections in a record shop, though the rock angle only bears through slightly on their ECM release. AMM have long been serious explorers of intuitive improvisation, and their music is not easy to define, involving long excursions often centred around percussion, prepared guitar and piano.
AMON DÜÜL - The original Munich commune group, formed in 1967, they were constantly attempting to create or explore new genres in music. Psychedelic drugs, free-love, and a shared community were all factors, as was the new psychedelic music from Britain and the USA, especially so Hapshash & The Coloured Coat. Inevitably, due to political and musical differences, tempers got frayed and just before a legendary concert they split into two separate bands. The original band recorded a number of excellent, on the edge, raw underground albums, all well-worth checking-out. Founder members, including Chris Karrer and others, went on to front the internationally successful Amon Düül II...
AMON DÜÜL II - Amon Düül II was at the forefront of what the media coined as "Krautrock", an experimental, progressive, rock idiom that went beyond popular psychedelia, a movement that has been amazingly influential. Alongside Can, Kraftwerk and Faust, these were initially just as radical. Anyone wanting to discover Krautrock couldn't do better than trying any of the first three Amon Düül II albums (PHALLUS DEI, YETI, DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS), as they all offer a startling insight into to a most innovative form of rock music covering many progressive styles. Many others are also gems in their own right, the elusive restrained CARNIVAL IN BABYLON, or WOLF CITY - sitting betwixt Popol Vuh and Hawkwind, and the satirical charm of VIVE LA TRANCE strongly featuring the remarkable Renate Knaup.
ANALOGY - An obscure German-Italian progressive from the early-70s whose debut became as famous for its cover as the music. Being fronted by a powerful female vocalist, with a strong classical rock edge, Analogy were often comparable to the likes of Sandrose or Earth & Fire, and also ventured on to spacey Pink Floyd-like genres.
ANEKDOTEN - Stunning 90' progressive from Sweden. A radical encounter where King Crimson meets Änglagård (another Swedish classic of the 90s) with the accent on power. A dramatic dark prog, with Frippian guitar, Wetton/Burrell vocals, and a solid rhythm section - what more could anyone ask for?
ANGE - Pioneers of a lyrical and complex progressive rock unique to France. Taking the French "chanson" as their starting point, enriching it with complex poetical and musical structures, using dense keyboard textures along with highly interactive music. Of course, the media have compared their theatrics and complex lyricism to Genesis, yet Ange were very different! A great inspiration, they set a new trend that is still rife today - witness other bands like Atoll, Mona Lisa, Nuance, Synopsis, etc.
ANIMA - The duo of Paul and Limpe Fuchs. Elitists, and pure avant-gardists at heart, they worked with all manner of conventional and home-made instruments, performing wild and demanding music. Bizarre and creative, all their albums are worth a listen, although some run very close to free-jazz or the serious avant-garde.
ANNEXUS QUAM - Best known for the cosmic fusion classic OSMOSE, somewhere between proto-Kraftwerk/Organisation style and early Tangerine Dream, their second BEZIEHUNGEN is much more free-jazz based, but still inventive and with a unique flair for invention.
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER - One of the most successful of the late-70s wave of German progressives. On ADONIS (originally on Brain) they presented a high quality progressive, with lengthy tracks, Genesis-edged songs (in English) and dramatic keyboard passages. Musically they were closer to other German bands of the era, like: Eloy, Amenophis, Neuschwanstein, etc. and especially inventive on the concert recording PIKTOR'S VERWANDLUNGEN (German vocals, based on the poems of Hermann Hesse) which is reminiscent of spacey Novalis. Later releases were much straighter, but with German lyrics they hold a curious poetic charm.
APOTEOSI - In many ways comparable to the more atmospheric music by German bands like Novalis and Jane, with that Floydian spacey feel, typical of Italian prog in 1975, with lots of keyboards, and a nice surprise with richly poetic female vocals.
AQUABATS - A most innovative blend of ethnic, tribal, ambient and folk musics. Remarkable too, and often very powerful. They could be compared to the Third Ear Band, but what they do is unique. Amazingly all acoustic!
ARACHNOID - A unique act in French 1970s prog-rock, with nods to King Crimson, Pulsar, Pink Floyd & Heldon: they featured Patrick Woindrich (nowadays engineer with Urban Sax) and played a fiery & mainly instrumental space-prog, with the angst of the punk era adding that special touch.
AREA - One of the most innovative of Italian fusion bands to emerge during the 70s, Area were extremely radical, sometimes crazed, often way beyond what one would normally class as jazz-rock. One of the unique elements in their music was the bizarre vocals of Demetrio Stratos. He was famous for being able to sing virtually the whole range possible with a human voice! Typical of acts on the Cramps label, but a bit more way-out than Arti+Mestieri, Area revelled in doing the unexpected, and thus all their albums are challenging and startling - still fresh over two decades on!
ARKTIS - Pretty much a straight hard-rock band, the did have their moments, with hints of early Jane, Harlis or even Pancake in their music, but they never really seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do. Best of all is the bonus material found on the CD reissue of their second album ARKTIS TAPES, two lengthy instrumental jams in the manner of Cargo or Man that proved Arktis had much more potential than the original LP's insinuated.
ARMAGGEDON - With guitarist Frank Diez in their ranks, this early-70s German band certainly lived up to their name! Lots of guitars in a complex and heavy progressive sound, with hints of Frumpy and Birth Control, and especially creative on their incredible version of Jeff Beck's "Rice Pudding".
ARS NOVA - A rarity in instrumental progressive rock - the all female Japanese trio! Their debut FEAR & ANXIETY was akin to Kenso, Outer Limits or Bi Kyo Ran, but with a Rick Wakeman cum Keith Emerson or Italian classical-rock style keyboards! Their third album THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (Aka "Reu Nu Pert Em Hru") is also notably excellent. Later releases have veered towards more power-metal-classical hybrids.
ART BEARS - The nucleus of Henry Cow, featuring Dagmar Krause on vocals, made a most potent innovative music, mixing avant-garde, song, fusion and musique-concret. Of course these also extol Chris Cutler's poignant politic and are extensively lyrical, as well as musically descriptive with amazing sonic structures courtesy of Fred Frith. The Art Bears later transmuted into News From Babel.
ART ZOYD - It is nigh on impossible to classify the music of Art Zoyd, as what they concocted has been constantly evolving, drawing on elements of classical music (with Stravinsky getting a good look-in), the "chamber rock" of Univers Zero, a little bit of jazz, a good dose of Zeuhl music, and a penchant (later on) for combining electronics into such an unlikely concoction. In the late-60s they played psychedelic rock, and by the time of MUSIQUE POUR L'ODYSSEE they were virtually a string quartet, though you'd have scarcely believed it! Nowadays their music is a lot more polished, often systemic, and could almost be classed as synth music, but, of course, you'd hardly realise it!
ARTEMIY ARTEMIEV - Son of Edward Artemiev, a synthesist and sonic explorer and director of the Electroshock label.
EDWARD ARTEMIEV - Pioneer in Russian electronic music, composer of symphonic rock operas and many film soundtracks, notably his scores for Tarkovsy films "Stalker", "Mirror", and the sci-fi epic "Solaris".
ARTI+MESTIERI - Almost like a direct cross between early PFM and Area (note also: King Crimson type songs and dynamics). On their early albums, Arti+Mestieri made a dynamic, complex and elaborately crafted rock, folk, and fusion blend, that featured much violin and keyboards.
ASH RA TEMPEL (ASHRA) - Amongst the most revolutionary of the early Krautrock bands, who along with Tangerine Dream (also featuring Klaus Schulze) helped develop the genre coined as "Cosmic Music", a music that went way beyond the pioneering "Saucerful Of Secrets" of Pink Floyd. The early albums all had basically one track a side, one more powerful and dramatic, the other of a more atmospheric nature. Including the more schizophrenic SEVEN UP (featuring LSD Guru: Timothy Leary), the first four albums are essential for all space-rock collectors. After a more Gong-like varied excursion STARRING ROSI, guitarist Manuel Göttsching created the revolutionary INVENTIONS FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR, which is an album of multi-tracked, echoed and glissando guitars, akin to Günter Schickert, Achim Reichel, and some Steve Hillage. Later, after recording the dreamy soundtrack LE BERCEAU DE CRISTAL (unreleased until the 90s) Ash Ra Tempel changed name to Ashra, making a more melodic synthesizer based music (with releases on Virgin).
ASIA MINOR - Whereas the similarly dreamy French progressive Pulsar drew on Pink Floyd and King Crimson influences, Asia Minor took a more unusual twist on the genre popularised by Camel, with a mostly instrumental rock (what lyrics there are, are sung in a strangely accented English), with folk and ethnic influences, featuring much flute, guitar and keyboards.
ATOLL - Combining the typically French progressive style as developed by Ange, Atoll infused elements of British rock (notably Yes), a greater diversity of instruments, and even a touch of fusion into their music, creating a style that was instantly recognisable as their own, but distinctly of this French genre!
AUSSENMINISTER - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
BATTIATO, FRANCO - Franco Battiato was one of the most revolutionary of Italian musical explorers to step out from the rock idiom. In parallel with Faust, he sought to destroy convention and create radical new musics. Blending rock, folk, electronics, and all manner of bizarre concoctions into his unique avant-rock sound world, the band "Battiato" left the legacy of four astonishing albums. Frank Zappa is quoted as having said 'this is a genius!' The solo album M.ELLE LE GLADIATOR ventured onto the realms of pure sonic art, akin to the experimental works of Claudio Rocchi, it combined the most unlikely of elements.
BAYON - DDR band around since 1971, two Germans, a Kampuchean and a Cuban, and a music of unique cross-culture, blending folk, rock and jazz, from psychedelic rock onto pure ethnic music, sometimes sounding like a Chinese band attempting European fusion, a little like Between and Continuum.
BEN - Unlikely as a mega-rare Vertigo collectable, Ben are often quoted as Keith Jarrett's backing band for an early-70s UK tour. Ben's sole LP was an excellent Canterbury styled rock fusion, with lots of slick Soft Machine and Isotope like moves. Totally instrumental, with lengthy tracks and full of surprises!
BETWEEN - Pioneers of a unique and fascinating music, what we actually nowadays called "world music" I suppose, yet Between weren't just an ethnic fusion, they drew in all sorts of influences, from John Cage through to Popol Vuh, from Terry Riley onto Third Ear Band.
BI KYO RAN - Early-80s Japanese progressive, and one of the finest, very strongly influenced by King Crimson STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK to RED era, but with a style of their own. A step on from other Japanese bands like: Cosmos Factory or Outer Limits, to even more radical realms. Excellent!
BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO - A legend of Italian rock, featuring Baffo Banfi (later known for his cosmic synth music albums), this dual keyboard fronted band combined elements of heavy rock with a complex and dramatic classical styling akin to other bands of the era, like: Semiramis, Alphataurus, or Il Balletto Di Bronzo, featuring great dynamics and lots of organ, synthesizers and guitar. As an example of all that made Italian rock unique, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO is ideal, with its complex compositions, poetic Italian lyrics and unbounded invention.
BIOMECHANOID - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
BIRTH CONTROL - Certainly the most mainstream of rock bands on the Ohr label, Birth Control were nonetheless an inventive band with a psychedelic edge, heavy and contrasting classical touches and poignant lyrics befitting of their name. They continually developed and made numerous high quality progressive albums.
TOTO BLANKE - Guitarist in the German-Dutch avant-jazz band Association PC, achieving fame as one of the most dazzling fusion guitarists in Europe. As soloist, group leader, and Electric Circus, he's been prolific and varied. From fiery fusion akin to Mahavishnu Orchestra, via spacey Dauner territoty and some weirdo jazz Heldon diversions, onto FOOL'S PARADISE, which does its utmost best to defy description! Toto also works with Czech jazz guitarist Rudolf Dasek, doing classical jazz.
BOGNERMAYR & ZUSCHRADER - Two keyboardists from Austrian prog band Eela Craig, their debut gave birth to the Erdenklang label, a development on Eela Craig's MISSA UNIVERSALIS and the classical synth of Tomita, creating electronic symphonies and grandiose computer orchestrated projects, eventually leading to the creation of the Blue Chip Orchestra.
BRAINSTORM - From Baden-Baden (Germany, near the French border), they started as the eccentric Mothers Of Invention inspired combo with the unlikely name Fashion Prick (censored to Fashion Pink). Later, becoming Brainstorm, their debut SMILE A WHILE, caused a scandal due to its outrageous cover. Consistantly creative and highly inventive, with a jazzy Canterbury edge, akin to Caravan, Hatfield & The North, Soft Machine, etc., but also with a style all of their own. With a dizzying array of winds and keyboards, great songs, complex instrumentals and (like the Dutch band Supersister) a penchant for eccentric tongue-in-cheek humour. Brainstorm lived up to their name.
BRAINTICKET - One of the most revolutionary groundbreaking bands of the early-70s, no less important than Can or Faust, yet far less widely known. The origins of Brainticket are obscure, being formed by Belgian Joel Vandroogenbroeck in Germany, they shifted base to Italy and then Switzerland! Only recently has their reputation really grown. COTTONWOODHILL (often listed incorrectly just as BRAINTICKET) is the legendary psychedelic masterpiece featuring the totally tripped-out eponymous 26 minute magnum-opus that is psychedelia at its most inventive. There's nothing else quite like it! PSYCHONAUT, their second, was more conventional, but still an excellent album of trippy progressive rock (recorded in Italy and influenced by the Italian scene), a kind of step beyond the realms of Hawkwind, with strong folk and ethnic elements, hinting at trippier more electronic based works that followed.
BRÖSELMASCHINE - An obscure German folk-rock group fronted by renowned guitarist and writer Peter Bursch, offering a mixture of traditional folk, Indian music, psychedelic rock and cosmic music, all fused together to form a delicate spacious music of great beauty. With the exception of "Lassie" (a traditional folk song), BRÖSELMASCHINE's debut is a delightful album, an ideal companion to Emtidi's SAAT and Hölderlin's TRAUM.
CASPAR BRÖTZMANN MASSAKER - Fronted by the apocalyptic guitar wielder Caspar Brötzmann (son of free-jazzer Peter Brötzmann), Massaker are a power-rock trio that buzz and fry the senses. A logical development on the early Neu! or Guru Guru freak-out styles, akin to the original D-A-F or Einsturzende Neubauten experiments.
CAMEL - One of the finest British progressives to emerge in the 70s, especially during the Peter Bardens era (he had already proven his worth as a talented composer and keyboardist with two albums on Transatlantic), yet Camel were mostly the vehicle of guitarist Andy Latimer. In the early days they dazzled with hefty instrumentals, fronted by keyboards and guitar (also flute), able to easily rival the likes of Caravan, Pulsar or Novalis.
CAMPO DI MARTE - Another of those obscure Italian 70s prog classics, full of fiery invention and complex dynamics, covering an incredible range of musics but retaining a style uniquely its own. If you rate Semiramis, Il Balletto Di Bronzo, PFM, and fancy the idea of a challenge, then this is for you!
CAN - Alongside Faust, Amon Düül II and Kraftwerk, Can were one of the most influential of Krautrock bands, developing a new avenue within the rock idiom. Continually exploring new ideas, be it the developments on 60s "punk" on the early albums (featuring black vocalist Malcolm Mooney), the more radical explorative phase (with Japanese singer Damo Suzuki) with their finest opus TAGO MAGO, ventures into space-rock: FUTURE DAYS, manic fusion: SOON OVER BABALUMA, or the later explorations of pop parody and eventual manoeuvre into jazz-fusion, Can were the most surprising of bands. Their UNLIMITED EDITION is a retrospective of unreleased sessions and demos, and is an ideal starting point for the adventurous.
CARAVAN - Borne out of the Wilde Flowers, the same band that spawned Soft Machine, Caravan offered a more accessible angle on the Canterbury sound, featuring witty observant songs of Pip Pyle and Richard Sinclair (later of Hatfield & The North, National Health, etc.) in a complex rock music that featured keyboards and winds (and also later violin) as solo instruments.
CARGO - Legendary Dutch progressive circa 1972 in the classic Man and Groundhogs improvised mode. The CD of their sole album features recordings by the pre-Cargo band September as bonus.
CARPE DIEM - Masters of a unique and powerful progressive, stepping on from instrumental Gong, with touches of Mona Lisa, Pink Floyd and Mel Collins' era King Crimson. Cosmic progressive fusion of classic status! Need I say more?
CARRIÓN, ALFREDO - The musical director of Canarios' classic CYCLOS also made this unique album of classical tinged rock. Opening in realms towards Nico or Opus Avantra, we have some unusual songs in a semi-operatic Spanish, later a track in the Canarios style acts as a precursor to a full-blown 16 minute classical rock suite that should delight many an Italian rock fan.
CARTOON - An obscure US progressive who played some of the most radical and extraordinary Canterbury style cum RIO type music to come out in the 1980s. One foot akin to Matching Mole or National Health the other bridging Henry Cow and The Muffins, Cartoon are legendary for their crazed inventive dementia. Whilst keeping it all very musical, almost anything goes! A superb & intensely complex hybrid of bridging instrumental Egg through to King Crimson. Pre PFS & Gary Parra's Trap.
CASSIBER - A fragmented rock, lopsided jazz & electronics hybrid. A radical Teutonic twist on the Henry Cow sound, partly, with Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears) on drums, aiding the German radicals: Christoph Anders & Heiner Goebbels (also Alfred Harth on earlier releases).
CATHARSIS - A legendary French instrumental psychedelic/progressive/folk-rock/fusion band from the early 70s, who bizarrely tended to use vocals extensively, but never did any songs! The albums MASQ and ILLUMINATIONS feature the original band, with a really trippy Pink Floyd/Quintessence type sound featuring female singer Charlotte. After becoming a touch more avant-garde on the mini-LP 32 MARS, LE BOLERO DU VEAU DES DAMES (like the earlier LES CHEVRONS) hinted at Camel, but with a distinctly French folky touch.
CELESTE - A legendary Italian progressive, revered by many as creators of the dreamiest album in the realms of early King Crimson: PRINCIPE DI UN GIORNO, with it's majestic Mellotron passages and restrained power, it is even more subtle and esoteric than early PFM.
CENTRAL EUROPE PERFORMANCE - A surprising project by the trio of: Harald Großkopf (ex-Wallenstein drummer, Ashra, etc.) joined by the synthesizer duo You (along with several guests on unlikely instruments). Not conventional synth music at all, but way beyond Ashra to more mysterious space music with great depth and invention.
CHECKPOINT CHARLIE - Named after the notorious checkpoint in the Berlin Wall, & acclaimed as the first truly German rock band. Formed in Karlsruhe (1967) performing their own "Terror Rock" music in German! A radical political rock band, innovators along with Floh De Cologne and Ton Steine Scherben of a unique aggressive German rock music. Their debut was extreme, yet later albums saw a refinement, with complex prog (akin to Oktober, Lokomotive Kreuzberg, et al.) against the theatrics, especially so on FRÜHLING DER KRÜPPEL, which featured keyboards venturing on to Grobschnitt.
CHRISTIAN CLOZIER - A delight for fans of weird synth music. Although it may look quite classical, Christian's music is much closer to the likes of Conrad Schnitzler, early Cluster, whilst also a step on from (musique-concret exponents) Bernard Parmegiani or Michel Redolfi.
CIRCUS 2000 - Unique for an Italian band, Circus 2000 didn't really sound Italian at all! They've often been quoted as being like Jefferson Airplane, yet really with their psychedelic styled rock with English female vocals had much more in common with the likes of Julian's Treatment, Earth & Fire, or Sandrose, yet devoid of keyboards, an omission more than made up for by an adventurous guitarist.
CITY - DDR rock band, who (in their early days) were a very inventive and unique band. Their debut (originally untitled) was a blend of hard-rock and folky sounds, notable for the violin fronted side-long suite "Am Fenster". Their 2nd was even more diverse, notable for the lengthy "Bulgarian-Rock" which strangely recalls Guru Guru with its complex guitars and unusual rhythmic structures.
CLEARLIGHT - Talented keyboard musician Cyrille Verdeaux concocted Clearlight as an ambitious project combining classical rock with space-fusion, electronics, and much more! The original band featured Gong and Lard Free members, whereas others feature guitar whiz Christian Boulé and many other top French jazz, pop and rock musicians.
CLUSTER - Amongst the most revolutionary of German electronic bands, originally known as Kluster (as a trio with Conrad Schnitzler) and working initially without any proper synthesizers, they used all manner of gadgets and devices to modulate guitars, organ and other instruments, to create a music close to the atmospheric explorations Throbbing Gristle made almost a decade later. As Cluster, the duo of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, they continually innovated, moving to a more melodic music, based around synthesizers, piano and percussion (plus occasional guitars, organ, etc.) helping define the cliché Ambient Music. In 1991, after a decade of solo work apart, Cluster returned with the fascinating APROPOS CLUSTER (currently not available), and other subsequent bizarre albums, showing that they are still as innovative as ever.
COIL - Basically the duo of John Balance and ex-Throbbing Gristle Peter Christopherson, Coil's music covers a hell of a lot of ground, from primitive industrial sonic attacks through to dance music! Of course, at UT we only stock their more experimental works, like HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS which has radical remixes of the soundtrack to a Derek Jarman film, one mix being by Steve "Nurse With Wound" Stapleton, no less!
CORNUCOPIA - Their "FULL HORN" is a wondrous cornucopia of delights, a dazzlingly complex rock and fusion, overflowing with invention. Typical of the era, their songs were unpredictable, often outrageous in Zappa-esque manner with the dense musical textures of Amon Düül II, close to Nine Days Wonder, Gnidrolog and Grobschnitt, & an instrumental flair recalling Thirsty Moon. From weird psychedelic, the absurd, onto raucous rock fusion with a surprise in each twist and turn. An eccentric Krautrock delight!
CORTE DEI MIRACOLI - Intricate and flashy, with touches of Yes and Pink Floyd, amidst a potpourri of PFM, Semiramis, Banco, etc. Their sole studio release was an obscure legend of Italian rock. They can also be sampled live on DIMENSIONE ONIRICA a collection of demo (rough quality) recordings capturing them in a more experimental improvised mood.
COS - Parallel to Univers Zero, but with a much brighter accessible style, the Belgian fusion band Cos (fronted by female vocalist Pascale Son) offered a unique slightly jazzy music with both Canterbury and French fusion influences.
COSMIC JOKERS - Impromptu studio sessions featuring members of Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein along with studio engineer Dieter Dierks. Never actually intended for release, the recordings were issued by the Kosmische Musik label without seeking permission from the musicians! Fortunately, for fans of Ash Ra Tempel they are quite extraordinary examples of space-rock, fleshing out the Ash Ra Tempel type sound with dense wedges of keyboards and synthesizers, and the rapid-fire precise percussion of Harald Großkopf. Really out-there, is THE COSMIC JOKERS itself, especially when it thunders off into the cosmos towards the realms of Amon Düül II's equally stunning "Chasmin Soundtrack". Their GALACTIC SUPERMARKET features two additional musicians; thus the sound is richer, more complex, closer to the earlier Wallenstein sound with much Mellotron and heavy rocking passages as well as the further ventures into weird cosmic space-rock.
HOLGER CZUKAY - Can bassist and sound explorer in his own right, from the explorative Stockhausen inspired "Cannaxis" onto his post Can works, notably "On The Way To The Peak Of Normal", collaborations with Jah Wobble and S.Y.P.H.
DEAD CAN DANCE - Progressive medieval music? Neo-baroque futurist? Gothic-symphonic rock?! Whatever, Dead Can Dance venture way beyond This Mortal Coil, or SPK's ZAMIA LEHMANI, and create a fascinating music that combines song into an adventurous fusion full of great charm and invention.
DELIRIUM - Often compared to Jethro Tull, because of the folky/classical/fusion mix and flute lead, Delirium were typically Italian and particularly excellent on their 2nd & 3rd albums (after the departure of singer Ivano Fossati) playing a complex progressive full of invention.
DENIS, DANIEL - Former Univers Zero leader: Daniel Denis (aided by Daniel Descheemaker and others) proves his worth, not only as a drummer, but also as a talented multi-instrumentalist and synthesist, with a dazzlingly complex and very high-tech fusion beyond Univers Zero, and venturing on to Peter Frohmader-like electronic atmospheric music.
DEUTER - One of the earliest pioneers of what became known as "new-age" music. He debuted with "D" a classic of cross-culture Krautrock (hints of Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh and a little Klaus Schulze), followed by the trippy "Aum", before becoming more relaxed with subsequent albums, and a blend of East-West cross-over musics featuring flutes, guitars, oriental bells and percussives, later with much use of synthesizers.
DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHEN FREUNDSCHAFT - (aka D-A-F) Pioneers of the more experimental edge of the "Neue Deutsche Welle", a late-70s young Düsseldorf outfit inspired by the likes of Kraftwerk and Can,. interconnected with the more eccentric Der Plan. Their debut "PRODUCT DER..." was an instrumental haphazard patchwork of ideas that amounted to a Kraut twist on Chrome, in a new angst ridden punky setting. DIE KLEINEN UND DIE BÖSEN presented a more outlandish industrial act, with wild songs, manic electronic mayhem.
DIES IRAE - Hardly typical of bands on the Pilz label, Dies Irae played a heavy brand of Krautrock with blues and psychedelic touches, hints of Virus, Armaggedon, etc., straight rock structures but imaginatively played, intercut with all sorts of surprise twists and turns. Dated but great all the same.
DJAM KARET - One of the finest of 80s progressives, an instrumental Californian band that blended the best of Euro-rock styles, together with the psychedelic air of Ash Ra Tempel, Quicksilver, Man, or the intensive fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra. The resultant music is a great delight for the guitar fan as well as the adventurous rock listener.
DOCKSTADER, TOD - In America, most electronic music in the early 60s was that tedious "plink-plonk" type of thing. But not Tod Dockstader, he was master of the art of "organised sound", taking all sorts of sound sources, mincing them up, twisting, stretching, doing unimaginable things with sound. Without parallel, Dockstader's music, despite being almost 40 years old, is still amazingly fresh and powerful.
DOM - A legendary classic of the German underground. A strange spacious and innovative album fusing rock, folk, ethnic and the avant-garde musics most uniquely, EDGE OF TIME is one of those albums that is extremely difficult to describe. From atmospheric Yatha Sidhra realms via electroacoustic collage, and free-form avant-garde, onto the chaotic psychedelic underground of Amon Düül. All this is the framework for a dreamy poetic semi-spoken song recanting the lyrics on the cover. Enigmatic through and through.
DUELLO MADRE - A remarkable and obscure 70s Italian masterpiece, a bit like Picchio Dal Pozzo at times, and with hints of PFM, but with a fiery fusion edge that draws them closer to Dedalus, or the German scene. A surprise around every corner!
DUMITRESCU, IANCU - Revolutionary Romanian avant-gardist, Iancu's music often defies categorisation: mixing abstract and atmospheric styles often akin to the early Cluster albums, though kind of classical in a way like: Ligeti's ensemble works, and even towards Organum, yet scarcely with any use of electronics!
DZYAN - Dzyan were always a hard band to pin down, each album they released was quite different. They debuted with a strangely esoteric prog-rock, and then moved-on to a very inventive fusion. Their third: ELECTRIC SILENCE was even more out on a limb, bringing weird avant-garde elements together with jazz, rock and various ethnic musics; an extreme melting pot of styles, ideas and invention. Uncategorisable hybrids of jazz-fusion, medieval/raga-rock (cf. Third Ear Band and Popol Vuh) it is one of the landmarks in experimental rock.
EARTH & FIRE - At the forefront of the early-70s Dutch scene, Earth & Fire were fortunate enough to be able to make excellent progressive rock, as well as have success in the charts. Akin to Sandrose, Julian's Treatment, or Analogy, Earth & Fire had excellent female vocals and lots of keyboards. A two on one CD containing their two classics: SONG OF THE MARCHING CHILDREN and ATLANTIS is also available, but not in stock at the time of going to press.
EARTHSTAR - American band that made several instrumental albums, their finest was FRENCH SKYLINE, a must for all fans of late-70s Klaus Schulze (who produced this) it's one of the greatest of cosmic synth albums, stepping on from the master's TIMEWIND, with lots of Mellotrons too, and a deep spooky edge.
EDGAR ALLAN POE - Another classic from the annals of Italian rock. Rich, sophisticated, really tripping-out with good use of synthesizer adding a nice spacey edge, and a dreamy song style often recalling Errata Corrige, PFM, or perhaps even Genesis circa TRESPASS.
EELA CRAIG - Austrian 70s progressive, who started with a more Krautrocky fusion edged style (hints of Out Of Focus, Colloseum) moving to a mainly instrumental classical progressive on ONE NITER, then pre-empting the symphonic synth/classical of Bognermayr & Zuschrader on the unique rock-mass opus MISSA UNIVERSALIS.
ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN - Multi-guitar (electric and acoustic) based rock with lots of folky and psychedelic touches, lots of synthesizer (especially on the instrumentals) - but no drums! The English vocals hide the fact that these were virtually the same band as the very Italian sounding I Califfi.
ELOY - Originally a heavy progressive band drawing on classic era Deep Purple and Gilmour/Waters Pink Floyd stylings, Eloy led by Ian Anderson like vocalist (and guitarist) Frank Bornemann had long been amongst the most popular German progressives. Their best period is the mid to late-70s with the trippier space-rock of INSIDE and FLOATING (with Manfred Wieczorke later of Jane) onto ambitious sci-fi concept works culminating in the superbly atmospheric (and rivalling Pink Floyd's WISH YOU WERE HERE) opus OCEAN based on the legend of Atlantis.
EMBRYO - One of the longest running and consistently innovative Krautrock fusion bands. Embryo are also an important part of European culture, almost single-handedly defining world music as a genre before anyone else had thought of it! Fronted by ex-Amon Düül percussionist Christian Burchard, Embryo have been at the hub of the Munich scene for over 30 years! Their Ohr records debut OPAL is Embryo at their most psychedelic (the CD reissue also contains jam sessions from 1969!). All Embryo albums are worthy of investigation - especially all the early 70s ones, and the lavishly produced 2LP set REISE which documents a trip across land to India, and is a fascinating potpourri of rock-jazz-ethnic fusion delights.
ENDGAME - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
ENSEMBLE NIMBUS - A very modern and lively twist on the Zamla/RIO/Zeuhl type sound, but high-tech and very very lively, featuring Hasse Bruniusson (ex-Zamla Mammaz Manna) on drums.
EPIDAURUS - A legendary and obscure 70s progressive of that typically German kind, dreamy but powerful fronted by layers of keyboards. Obvious comparisons include: Novalis, Pancake, Jane, and there's even hints of Camel. But, excepting the strange female vocals on the opening track, this is all instrumental.
EPSILON - Of that uniquely heavy early-70s German sound, akin to label-mates Frame, or the earlier Orange Peel (of whom vocalist Michael Winzkowski had been a member), Epsilon drew on blues, classical musics, psychedelic, beat and even rock 'n' roll, in their complex potpourri of styles.
ERGO SUM - Extraordinary early-70s French progressive fusion originally issued on the Theleme label (along with Univeria Zekt, etc.), who had a most unusual jazz, folk and rock fusion styling (somewhere between Mahjun and Triangle) and a gruff Roger Chapman like vocalist who certainly takes some getting used to! A seminal and influential band indeed, featuring Jean-My Truong (later of ZAO).
ERRATA CORRIGE - An excellent, yet very obscure, mid-70s Italian progressive, taking a step on from the likes of: PFM, Pierrot Lunaire, Formula 3, or Il Volo, with a very complex (dramatic and dreamy) style, blending spacious symphonics with a poetic Italian lyrics.
ERUPTION - 70s avant-garde Krautrock project involving members of Kluster and Agitation Free. No recorded documents exist, however a Kluster album exists with the works "Eruption 1 & 2".
ERUPTION - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
ETNA - These are exactly the same band as Flea, after they had become involved with Goblin, and making a very different music - jazz-rock! Yep, but by no means ordinary jazz-rock, but very complex and fiery fusion with lots of those dramatic Goblin touches. Apart from that, Etna were unique, and oozed talent.
FAUST - Probably the single-most important and revolutionary of all Krautrock bands, Faust broke all the rules with a music that deliberately confronted the listener, containing reactionary elements in a way that only Can had hinted at before. So reactionary and innovative, all Faust recordings come across as fresh and new today as they ever were. It's hard to fully appreciate the importance of Faust until you hear them: excessive, bizarre, brazen rock, full of invention. Ergo: If you want to discover the essence of Krautrock, then start with Faust! Note: 71 MINUTES OF... is compiled from the LP's: MUNIC & ELSEWHERE and THE LAST ALBUM, which contain session, demo and concert recordings issued after Faust disappeared from the scene, only to return in the 90s!
FERMÁTA - Czech instrumental 70s progressive (ex-Collegium Musicum) especially brilliant on their early albums, with long tracks, lots of guitars, swirly keyboards, etc., nods to Modry Efekt, SBB, and notable Mahavishnu styling.
FERRARI, LUC - A pioneer in electroacoustic music, abstract collage and such-like, he also works in the classical and film music fields. Some of his work is very strange minimal electronics and tape musique concrète.
FIFTY FOOT HOSE - Revolutionary pioneers & purveyors of the incredible 1967 psychedelic trip CAULDRON, remarkable for its use of electronics & experimentation. Great female vocals too, predating the similar United States Of America. They reformed in the 1990s making two more excellent albums.
FINCH - Formed by ex-members from the legendary psychedelic bands Q65 and Group 1850, Finch were unashamedly inspired by the pioneering music of Focus, creating a complex and inventive instrumental progressive with notable Camel and instrumental Yes touches. The first two releases are a delight for guitar solo fans, and GLORY OF THE INNER FORCE has the bonus of an equally excellent and rare single. The later GALLEONS OF PASSION was a lighter outing with a spacey Pink Floyd edge.
5UU'S - Who would have believed it? They started as lop-sided pop, then went very seriously cold RIO. I always knew they had talent, but never expected them to come up with a hybrid of Henry Cow, Thinking Plague and Yes. Yes?! Yes, HUNGER'S TEETH has the complexity of Yes at their finest, coupled with lots of that RIO weirdness. Remarkable!
FLOH DE COLOGNE - A theatrical rock satire band principally, Floh De Cologne are often credited as the German Mothers Of Invention, but really they were quite individual pioneers of a uniquely German rock music. Though the stories of their conceptual works are acted out in German, their music is so full of humour and radical invention that it can be fascinating even if you don't understand a word!
FOCUS - Dutch largely instrumental progressive from the early 1970s, who should need no introduction to anyone around at the time, they played a stylishly inventive rock with flutes, keyboards & dazzling guitar, defining the Dutch prog sound. An inspiration to Finch, Trace, & numerous others.
FRAME - A masterpiece of heavy psychedelic Krautrock. Like a mixture of early Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge, Pell Mell and Jeronimo. Complex stuff with lots of invention, keyboards, guitars, etc.
FREEMAN, ALAN - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
FREEMAN, STEVE - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
FROHMADER, PETER - Pioneering 80s German multi-instrumentalist, Peter Frohmader has created a musical genre all of his own, initially inspired by 70s underground progressives and the unique fusion of Magma (notably Jannick Top's bass guitar style, check out the STRINGED WORKS album featuring the legendary "Winter Music" and much more) whilst also drawing on classical and electronic musics, his Nekropolis music offers a dark, often surreal, deeply descriptive, vivid, even nightmarish experience. The Auricle cassettes are unreleased elsewhere, and are early electronic works.
FRUMPY - The Krautrock scene may be best known for creating some of the weirdest and revolutionary rock music, yet there was another side to the scene, of progressive that rivalled the best in Britain, of which Frumpy were at the forefront, followed by the likes of Jane, Eloy, Novalis, Message, et al. Frumpy had heavy elements, classical, and blues influences, fronted by the inimitable Inga Rumpf on vocals and the extraordinary keyboards of Jean-Jacques Kravetz. Frumpy later transmuted into the more commercial Atlantis.
FUNKADELIC - What a surprise! Who would have expected a psychedelic funk band to come up with anything so crazed?! In fact, what is psychedelic funk? Their debut is more basic heavy blues and soul, but is still interesting, whereas FREE YOUR MIND AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW pulled out all the stops for an effects-ridden psychedelic trip like a fried Hendrix/Pink Floyd with the energy of Can! MAGGOT BRAIN probably contains their finest moments, but is a touch patchy, so program your CD player for tracks: 1,3,5,7 and experience the spectacular: with two psychedelic classics and much more! "Maggot Brain" a Pink Floyd styled space-out, and "Wars Of Armageddon" recalling early Brainticket.
FUSHITSUSHA (HAINO, KEIJI) - Masters of Japanese blitzed-out grunge at its best akin to Guru Guru's "UFO", Skullflower, Loop, Main, Faust at their noisiest. A lot of their output I find unlistenable, although I quite like ALLEGORICAL MISUNDERSTANDING and PATHETIQUE.
GÄA - An obscure and typically cosmic Krautrock band, with lots of guitars and Pink Floyd styling, lengthy tracks with all the classic moves, spaced-out organs - the works! Yet, above all, totally Teutonic with real angst and invention.
GENRICH, AX - The famous explorative guitarist on the early Guru Guru albums, Ax left to pursue his own eccentric visions and came up with the diverse HIGHDELBERG and then disappeared without a trace! In the 90s he resurfaced with a band of other obscure Guru Guru cohorts making a music perfectly recapturing that "old spirit" in a new context.
GILA - Acclaimed as "the best LP Pink Floyd never made" Gila's debut is typically Kosmische Krautrock. Imagine a mix of "Ummagumma" styles, Ash Ra Tempel & Popol Vuh. It trips-out to the places other albums don't reach! Their 2nd: BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE was more a proto/hybrid Popol Vuh, with Florian Fricke & Danny Fichelscher, & also Amon Düül II touches.
GILBERT & LEWIS - The ex-Wire duo of Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, made 4 albums under the guise of DOME. Turning the Wire sound on its head, they made a startling music, with deliberately badly recorded guitars and percussion, and a very bizarre production style, full of invention and new twists on the pioneering works of earlier bands like Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! or Faust. With a different focus, 8 TIME offered a more varied selection, as their entire 4AD output (a 12" EP, an LP, and a single) all on one CD, it ventures to experimental systemic and ambient industrial realms, beyond This Heat and on to Soviet France territory. As the trio Duet Emmo (with Daniel Miller) the concoction is much more electronic.
GLEEMEN - Pre-Garybaldi - and it shows! This is a powerful psychedelic, bluesy, trippy, Hendrixy progressive, with all those classic Bambi Fossatti moves, but in more condensed bites. And tasty! Touches of Osanna and New Trolls also abound, and there's some jazzy flashes akin to Bambibanda E Melodie too!
GOMORRHA - An obscure Krautrock legend who grew out of the beat scene, favoured by Conny Plank and nurtured. They in fact recorded two versions of their debut, of which the second "Trauma" was the superior, though it was the diversely creative "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was" that set them apart from the crowd, doomy and aggressive, yet also with a hint of folky cosmic-ness.
GONG - Fronted by Australian (ex-Soft Machine) Daevid Allen in most of their guises (& also Gilli Smyth), and featuring (on many albums) the talents of Tim Blake and Steve Hillage, the original Gong recorded numerous excellent albums (most of which are usually in stock) of psychedelic space-rock, with the accent on the eccentric. They have been the inspiration for numerous bands, like Ozric Tentacles, Compagnia Digitale, The Ullulators, etc. For a while they became the jazz-rock fusion vehicle of drummer Pierre Moerlen, and have reformed an numerous occasions (and other guises, such as: Planet Gong, New York Gong, Gongmaison) with Daevid Allen at the helm. There's also the parallel Mother Gong (Gilli Smyth & Co.) and countless other offshoots.
GORIZONT - Excellent Russian instrumental progressive from the 1980s with early Genesis style, lengthy complex suites fronted by keyboards like Egg, Collegium Musicum, etc. Despite the influences the resulting concoction is unique with many experimental touches.
GÖTTSCHING, MANUEL see ASH RA TEMPEL
GRACIOUS! - One of the finest of the old British Vertigo bands! Their debut was a most innovative and unique album that defies accurate description! A curate's egg of styles: rock, folk, classical, and a blending of all three; an exciting musical trip beyond Czar and Cressida, into dreams, nightmares and fantasies!
GRAHAM BOWERS - A strange creator of sculpture, theatre and music, in fact comparable to Nurse With Wound from the early-90s in his blending of weird electronics, voice and intense sounds. Sometimes abstract, even ambient, yet also startling. All his albums are really creative and surprising.
GRANADA - Pioneering early-70s Spanish progressive band, Granada had a unique style. HABLO DE UNA TIERRA, their debut, had songs and instrumentals, often Italian sounding with a folky edge, whereas VALLE DEL PAS takes one part classical rock (in the realms of Banco's DI TERRA), adding a good dose of folk (including Celtic bagpipes and Flamenco musics) and a hint of the symphonic.
GRAVY TRAIN - Highly respected, and oft-quoted as the best on Vertigo, Gravy Train made a powerful progressive rock and fusion. Although A BALLAD OF A PEACEFUL MAN seems to gain the greatest accolade by some, it's a very over-wordy album when compared to this their classic debut, which has great musical interplay, complex instrumentation, songs and lengthy instrumentals in the realms of Raw Material, Thirsty Moon, Xhol, Jade Warrior.
GROBSCHNITT - I read once Grobschnitt that were classed as a hybrid of Yes and The Mothers! Well, actually I could imagine that description being given to ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND (an outlandish fairy tale told to music), but mostly Grobschnitt were an eccentric and gifted space-rock band (at least in the early days that is) as you can witness on the early classic BALLERMANN. That double album (now on 1 CD) introduced the opus "Solar Music" which became a steadily growing and developing stage favourite, as can be experienced on the later incredible 55 minute live version.
GROUP 1850 - Often quoted as the Dutch answer to Pink Floyd, Group 1850 were just as innovative, but being Dutch they didn't get the breaks of their London counterpart. But, nonetheless, they've gained the reputation as one of the finest of the genre, amongst fans of true psychedelic music. The AGEMO'S TRIP TO MOTHER EARTH CD, also has all their singles, and more. Later they tripped-out differently with a touch of fusion and a space-rock feel, with hints of Ahora Mazda, Amon Düül II and Gong.
GRÜNBERG, SVEN - Sven Grünberg has, for well over a decade, been pioneering his unique brand of synth music. He released two excellent LP's (and an EP with his group Messe) in Russia, both fascinating amalgams of ethnic, folk, classical and synth musics, with nods to Vangelis and the Teutonic cosmic scene.
GRYPHON - British experimental folk band, who started all acoustic, with a blend of medieval, folk & progressive styles, becoming a fully fledged progressive rock band on the instrumental classic RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE.
GUALBERTO - Legendary Spanish folk progressive multi-instrumentalist, with Flamenco, Eastern & classical touches. Take some trippy Catharsis, add Gotic, Granada & a little Ananda Shankar. His VERICUETOS is hailed as a symphonic progressive classic, a feast of guitars, sitar, keyboards, etc.
GUNESH ENSEMBLE - Extraordinary band from Turkmenia (former USSR), who especially on LOOKING AT THE EARTH made an amazing blend of rock, fusion & ethnic musics, elements of Mahavishnu, Embryo, SBB, etc., mix with Russian, Middle East and Vietnamese cultures.
GURU GURU - Of all the great names of Krautrock, one of the most revered amongst acid-rock fans is the out-on-a-limb: Guru Guru, tripping out beyond Hendrix and Pink Floyd freak-outs, in a music that crossed the power of Tangerine Dream's ELECTRONIC MEDITATION with the cleverness of Can, the innovation of Amon Düül II, but overall with a unique style of their own. Their legendary early albums, starting with the abstract and very strange UFO, the heavier HINTEN, and onto the gadget-ridden and very complex KÄNGURU, are all revered must-have's. There are many other excellent albums from Guru Guru, and almost every album has at least one surprise on offer, and they keep on going!
H.P. LOVECRAFT - Aptly, this West coast US late-60s psychedelic band, were very much into the sci-fi and horror stories of their mentor, and many of their songs were based on his stories. Their 1968 live album (recorded in between their first and second LP's) captures them at their most creative and energetic.
HALLOWEEN - Much touted as one of the finest of 90s French progressives, especially so on their revolutionary second album LAZ, Halloween had developed a complex progressive, dark and powerful with lyrics taken from the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, and musically close to classic early Ange, but with the modern stylism of Solaris or Nuova Era.
HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL - Leader of the legendary German cross-culture band Between, and pioneer of a music betwixt the genres of new-age and systems music. NADA introduced his unique blending of ethnic styles and minimalism: towards Terry Riley's organ works maybe, yet far more melodic and atmospheric, and further developed on his subsequent albums COLOURS OF TIME, BARDO and ORGANUM, as spacious organ dominated works, with coloration's from synthesizers or percussion.
HANSEN, OLE HØJER - A little-known synthesist from Denmark, but one that should really be world famous. His music is undoubtedly amongst the greats of European synth music, though admittedly in debt to Klaus Schulze's pioneering work, but with a unique angle of his own, Ole went beyond the realms of "X" or MIRAGE to make a wondrous space music, often very understated and mysterious, yet on occasions greatly dynamic and powerful.
HANSSON, BO - Swedish keyboard player (band leader) famous for his debut LORD OF THE RINGS, a classic dreamy yet dramatic instrumental progressive. Subsequent albums developed the style more uniquely and complexly, as brilliantly arranged rock suites, with folk & fusion touches, featuring Kebnekaise musicians.
HANUMAN/LIED DES TEUFELS - A bit of history: Wolf-Rüdiger Uhlig came from Murphy Blend and was front-man in Hanuman, when he left Hanuman the group changed name to Lied Des Teufels. Hanuman sound like an angst-ridden Murphy Blend, whereas Lied Des Teufels are closer to Nosferatu, Locomotive Kreuzberg, Out Of Focus, etc., with a jazzy polit-rock sound.
HAPSHASH & THE COLOURED COAT - Back in the swinging 60s, London 1967 to be precise, this was the groundbreaking masterwork to beat all - a major influence behind Amon Düül, even an early Tangerine Dream member adopted the name Lance Hapshash! This album is the spark that gave the basis for: Hawkwind, Quintessence, Magic Muscle, and others from the Notting Hill scene. The ultimate hippie jam session!
HASSELL, JON - Canadian experimental musician popularised by working with Brian Eno. He pioneered a unique way of playing trumpet (muted, modulated and filtered) in ambient music. He's also worked with Nana Vasconcelos & many others, and fuses a wide range of ethnic, jazz & other musics uniquely.
HAWKWIND - Over their 30-odd year history Hawkwind have proven to be one of the most consistently pioneering of rock bands, not so reliable since the late-70s yet they keep coming up with surprises. Along with Pink Floyd and Gong, Hawkwind could be considered as prime exponents of space-rock. Notorious for their simplistically composed but densely structured music, we try to stock all of their 70s classics, and whatever else is available.
HEDAYAT, DASHIEL - Amazing news for Gong fans, this is the legendary weird tripped-out space delight featuring: Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Christian Tritsch, Pip Pyle, etc. Too strange for some maybe, but pure magic for all space heads! Deleted but still available here - for at least a while!
HELDON see RICHARD PINHAS
HENRY COW - One of the most revolutionary of British fusion bands, noted for their left-wing politic and radical attitude. Pioneers of RIO (Rock In Opposition - a movement set up against conventional musical media by band member Chris Cutler in the mid-70s) they developed a form of music that drew on many different cultures, featured extensive use of improvisation and a penchant for poignant songs. The latter facet being developed further when they became associated with the German international political folk-rock band Slapp Happy. Eventually these two bands merged on IN PRAISE OF LEARNING, making what some consider to be their finest album. Henry Cow later transmuted into The Art Bears.
HENRY, PIERRE - Pierre Henry is certainly the most revolutionary of avant-gardists, creating radical music since the early-50's, pioneering the genre: musique concrète, and developing unique techniques of composition in electronics even before synthesizers existed! Pierre first attempted to combine psychedelic rock and electronics in 1963, a later encounter with Spooky Tooth lead to the creation of CEREMONY, an outrageously intense album, with off-the-wall electronics - still as stunning today as it ever was! He loves to collage weird constructed sounds, notably on his cosmic classic LE VOYAGE, a style that is further developed on the 1990 production LE LIVRE DES MORTS EGYPTIEN. He's still active, and just as revolutionary as he ever was. Virtually all his work is fascinating and bewildering, indescribable, as much at the cutting edge of new music as Nurse With Wound, in fact often even more so!
HIGH TIDE - In parallel to Hawkwind, but much more experimental and heavy, High Tide were initially only around for a short while, but left two remarkable albums behind them. Simon House went on to Hawkwind eventually, and the others became involved in Rustic Hinge and associated projects. After many years of impromptu reformations and occasional sessions, High Tide reformed a few years back and have released a number of excellent new albums.
HÖLDERLIN (HOELDERLIN) - Hölderlin were originally a refined and highly inventive folk-rock progressive, like Pilz label-mates Emtidi and Bröselmaschine they went way beyond the realms of Renaissance or Pentangle, with beautiful female vocals, subtle ethnic and baroque musics, all adding into a cosmic trippy blend. As Hoelderlin the focus was very different, still a touch folky, but with hints of Genesis in the songs and a very progressive music bridging from Daryl Way's Wolf onto the dreamier or more radical regions of King Crimson. The three studio albums before LIVE TRAUMSTADT are all classics and all different in their own way. The live album itself is one of the finest of the era, showing a truly creative band at their peak.
HOPPER, HUGH - Revolutionary whilst in Soft Machine, Hugh's debut solo still surprises! His 1984 is probably the weirdest (excellent and radical) album to emerge from the Canterbury scene - featuring treated, fuzzed and manipulated bass guitars along with percussives and occasional diversions into fusion territory, it a continually fascinating and bizarre album!
HUYGEN, MICHEL (NEURONIUM) - Spanish pioneers in cosmic synth music, with nods to Klaus Schulze & Tangerine Dream, especially Teutonic with the early albums.
IBIS - Ex-New Trolls band (aka Nico, Gianni, Frank, Maurizio), best known for the legendary (currently not available) SUN SUPREME, they played a complex hard-rock twist on the New Trolls' UT sound, impressive and a must for those into heavy Italian rock.
ICONOCLASTA - Amazing Mexican instrumental progressive (in their early days) full of invention, with sizzling guitars and effervescent keyboards, with nods to Italian & Spanish 70s styles, but uniquely Mexican!
INDIAN SUMMER - From Coventry, Indian Summer were amongst the finest of early-70s British progressives. Typical of bands on Neon, they had a complex, dramatic, style, with a great singer and lots of instrumentals, featuring guitars and keyboards (of course, including lots of Mellotron). Akin to label mates Tonton Macoute or Raw Material, but with a bluesy rather than jazzy edge, fans of Steamhammer should also greet this warmly!
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER - Legend of Swedish rock, originally only released in Finland on Love in 1969! Widely acclaimed as a psych classic, and it is - stoned, trippy & really out-there, kinda Third Ear Band meets Hapshash at a Swedish hippy commune? A forerunner to Arbete Och Fritid, Archimedes Badkar, etc. Ex Pårson Sound, pre Harvester, Trad Gras Och Stenar.
JACULA - Legendary and dazzling gothic band. TARDO PEDE IN MAGIAM VERSUS features lots of church organ and strange otherworldly feeling, hints of Opus Avantra, Wapassou, even a bit of Goblin, but very little in the way of rock. Overall - unique and phantastic!
JADE WARRIOR - One of the most important and original of British progressives, borne out of the psychedelic band July, the original Jade Warrior trio (3 Vertigo albums, and 2 unreleased until recently) made an experimental rock, vaguely King Crimson-like in the songs, with folk elements, and ethnic influences from around the world. The 4 Island label "Elements" albums that followed developed these styles on a more experimental instrumental front.
JANE - A German 70s progressive, comparable to Eloy at times, especially in that they come from the same town and have had numerous members in common. Jane were similarly heavy in their early days, but with a bluesier psychedelic sound, especially so on their debut, the highly charged and inventive TOGETHER. After a couple of patchy releases their fifth album FIRE, WATER, EARTH & AIR saw a return to the feel of TOGETHER, but with much stronger Pink Floyd leanings, a feel captured to even greater effect on the lengthy LIVE AT HOME. After this second height in creativity and popularity, subsequent albums paled somewhat.
JERONIMO - Jeronimo were originally a 60s pop band, but, with a radical change of personnel they later moved on to much more progressive realms. TIME RIDE is typical of the Bacillus label style, with both folky and hard-rock elements, good strong songs and much instrumental work, with that unique Dieter Dierks recording style, and some nice Mellotron too!
JOLIFFE, STEVE - Twice Tangerine Dream member (and with Steamhammer on their 2nd LP) Steve nowadays works solo (synths, flutes, etc.) in a wide range of styles, mostly synth-based, sometimes spacey, sometimes a little fusion spiced, or even techno with ZANZI.
KASEKE - Estonian progressive rock fusion, with a touch of Scandinavian styling (akin to Pekka Pohjola at times), they feature many of the same musicians as In Spe.
KAYAK - Basically the Dutch Genesis, and also interconnected with Camel.
KENSO - Long running Japanese instrumental progressive notably with Camel, Bruford, Gong influences on their early albums, moving to jazzier Brand X cum Weather Report realms.
KING CRIMSON - One of the most important of British progressives, with a taste for the radical and extreme, King Crimson started more mellow (but also majestic and unusual) with Greg Lake (ELP) on vocals (an influence on PFM, Celeste, & many other Italians), then in the mid-70s with David Cross and John Wetton, they made some of the most innovative albums - a big influence on bands world-wide, like: Änglagård, Bi Kyo Ran, Present, Sensations Fix, Shylock, etc., etc. Many more recent reformations have also had brilliant moments.
KITARO - Aka Masaki Takehashi, formerly of the legendary 70s space-rockers: Far East Family Band. He became the Japanese master of the new-age, full of oriental and ethnic flavours, especially inventive on his early albums.
KLUSTER - Obscure roots of Cluster, with Konrad Schnitzler (ex-Tangerine Dream), Moebius & Roedelius. Bizarre avant-garde/industrial comic music that still challenges and perplexes many! Kluster made extensive use of tape delays and echo, using acoustic and electric instruments, along with all manner of processing, pre-empting the more electronic early Cluster and Schnitzler works.
KRAFTWERK - You may think Kraftwerk need no introduction, but originally they were far from the techno-pop they became famous for! Their roots were in the cosmic jazz-fusion combo Organisation, and the seminal duo Neu! split-off in the early years. Their early albums were pure Krautrock invention. Weird is too simple a word to describe them. If they're in stock, buy them and be astounded!
KROKODIL - Often acclaimed as the Swiss Man or Groundhogs (it depends!), and it's easy to see why, with their heavy, spacey, psychedelic mix. Yet often they were typical of the unique style of hard-rock that grew in Switzerland, becoming noted mentors to Spot, Ertliff, Toad, etc. Their AN INVISIBLE WORLD REVEALED is a classic with Mythos edges, ethnic bits, & Dieter Dierks at the mixing desk.
LA DÜSSELDORF - Really the same band as Neu! sans Michael Rother, La Düsseldorf debuted with an album that explored 4 different avenues, moved to proto-punk territory with "Viva" and then mixed it all up with "Individuellos" designing the music Stereolab would later try to make their own! A seminal band with many offshoots: Klaus Dinger, Thomas Dinger, Die Engel des Herrn, La Neu!, etc.
LAIBACH - Yugoslavian Gothic Industrial band in their early days, akin to Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Dept., their early albums were brutal and dark, reaching a creative peak with MACBETH.
LANDBERK - Along with fellow Swedes Änglagård, Landberk were one of the finest of 90s progressives, with a rich 70s classic sound, featuring masses of Mellotron, and a uniquely esoteric Scandinavian sound. LONELY LAND features a brave cover version of T2's classic "No More White Horses", and it's an all-round winner! Contrastingly, ONE MAN TELLS ANOTHER steps on to more King Crimson styled realms, like a less complex more direct Änglagård, offering a surprising diversion from their debut. Subsequent albums mellowed somewhat.
LARD FREE - Fans of Heldon should also check out Lard Free, as should those into adventurous jazz and new musics. Lard Free's roots in jazz came to a jarring head against electronic music on their debut, and with a guitarist who seems to be freaking out on acid it's all the more extraordinary. A great step on, and featuring Richard Pinhas, I'M AROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT combines elements of Terry Riley's "Poppy Nogood & The Phantom Band" with Fripp & Eno like textures and lots of electronics. But, all the more revolutionary is the self-titled third album, which takes elements from the previous albums mixing them into album side long trips that swirl and thunder! Band leader: Gilbert Artman (also with Clearlight, Catalogue, Video Aventures & guest in Heldon) is now best-known for his revolutionary saxophone ensemble Urban Sax.
LAVA - A hippie commune group, whose music ranged from Bob Dylan like protest songs, via trippy Ohr period Amon Düül, onto freaky Lemmy fronted Hawkwind. Naturally, we're not keen on the Dylan style numbers, but the rest of the album is great. Another of those Brain Records legends.
LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - The project of Edward Ka Spel & cohorts, they typically play a lightweight psychedelia with a new-wave attitude and an occasional air of experimentation. We don't tend to stock much of their vast output, but MALACHAI "Shadow Weaver, part 2" (featuring Steven Stapleton) is well recommended, as a very different and experimental LPD album, sounding more like Barrett era Pink Floyd meets Tuxedomoon & Nurse With Wound!
LEPAGE & LUSSIER - The Canadian duo of Robert Lepage & Rene Lussier (ex-Conventum, and with Fred Frith's "Keep The Dog") aka "Les Granules" played a totally bizarre/eccentric mixture of folk, rock, jazz and world musics, in a manner akin to Etron Fou or Debile Menthol.
LEPRINO, FRANCO - Excellent experimental instrumental guitars, synthesizers, tapes, etc., with the accent on space and ambience. Akin to some Battiato, Pôle, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Franco Falsini, even hints of Fripp & Eno or atmospheric Heldon on occasions. A fascinating album with no "real" rock structure.
LIGHTSHINE - An obscure early-70s progressive, privately produced and a touch amateurish, but rather good nonetheless. In the realms of bands like Grobschnitt, Jane, Pancake, and such, but with an eccentric feel all of their own. If you can get over the outrageousness of "King & Queen" then you're in for a great time!
LIGHTWAVE - Not at all typical of French synthesizer bands, Lightwave have their roots in the exploratory music of the early German scene, with elements of ZEIT and RUBYCON period Tangerine Dream, Michael Hoenig, Conrad Schnitzler, Klaus Schulze's TIMEWIND - all have had an effect on shaping their own style. Many of their early ideas and musical sketches were documented on a series of cassettes (deleted) moving towards musique-concrete elements notably on the totally spaced-out dreamscape NACHTMUSIK. With each release since they have continued to innovate.
LUCIFER'S FRIEND - Originally German heavies with notable Led Zeppelin and Spooky Tooth influences on their excellent heavy debut, they were actually much more progressive than either, and experimented with many styles, especially so on WHERE THE GROUPIES KILLED THE BLUES which drew on jazz and classical influences in a complex rock comparable to Italians like Osanna or New Trolls.
MAGMA - Who can estimate the importance of Magma? They helped to create a whole genre of music (nicknamed "Zeuhl" after the unique Magma language) that went way beyond jazz-rock, drawing on classical, operatic, all manner of rock and avant-garde musics, to create a challenging fusion featuring many of the best talents in contemporary French music. Naturally, most of the earlier albums are Magma at their most creative, finally peaking with the highly electronic UDU WUDU (we don't usually stock their more mainstream late-70s or 80s albums). Live Magma is well documented too, with many releases from their classic era, as well as the notorious "Retrospektïw" concerts. Check out also other "Zeuhl" bands: Art Zoyd, Shub Niggurath, Univers Zero, Weidorje, ZAO.
MALICORNE - Legendary French folk-rock band featuring Gabriel Yacoub, often quoted as the French Pentangle, but a lot more progressive, complex & unique, notably the Breton/Celtic edges, unique multi-part vocal-canons (acapela), and a steady progression, solidifying with the richly textured electric instrumentation on their 4th album "M".
MAN - As their debut proclaims, Man were indeed a REVELATION. That and the curiously titled 2OZ OF PLASTIC WITH A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE are classics of the psychedelic era. Comparable to friends Nektar, Man fleshed out their heavy rock style with dense wedges of space-music, weird sonic trips, and lots of invention, especially so on BE GOOD TO YOURSELF... and on the live recordings on BACK INTO THE FUTURE. Sadly later Man albums paled somewhat, yet constantly surprised in concert, as on the mostly excellent MAXIMUM DARKNESS featuring John Cippolina, formerly of Quicksilver as second guitarist. Stocks of Man releases are erratic.
MANEIGE - Excellent 70s experimental fusion band, with one foot in folk and the other in the avant-garde, but totally Quebecois, the live CD (from between their 1st & 2nd) has Mothers GRAND WAZOO and Henry Cow edges, & lots of unique invention, pre-empting Miriodor.
MARCOEUR, ALBERT - French eccentric, poetic, dramatic & radically innovative fusion with nods to Zappa, musically the equivalent of Cocteau & Tati (maybe) and very very French. RIO at its most outrageous, from Zamla Mammaz Manna, via Etron Fou, to Philippe Doray to...
MATCHING MOLE - Fronted by ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt, Matching Mole made two excellent albums before changing into the equally inventive Hatfield & The North. Typical of the Canterbury sound, with jazz and all manner of other influences, idiosyncratic songs and great lengthy instrumentals. Essential starting point for those that like the idea of Soft Machine but are not keen on the jazzy edge!
MAUVE SIDESHOW - Extraordinary trippy US girl combo, sometimes kinda Current 93 meets "space whisper" era Gong, other times a weird space-trip, brain movie, noise & soundscape trip & flip out! There are numerous other Ventricle label interconnected acts to check-out, like: Angel Provocateur, Blessed Oblivion, Minus Infinity, Mistress Of Strands, Thistle, Torn Curtain, etc.
McCHURCH SOUNDROOM - One of those lost Pilz Krautrock classics, McChurch Soundroom were as inventive as their most peculiar name. They took heavy rock, folk and fusion musics, mixed them with lots of psychedelic touches, with an overdose of flutes, instrumentals, heavy and spacey tracks, hinting at Thirsty Moon, Rufus Zuphall, Gomorrha, Gravy Train etc.
MESSAGE - Bacillus was well known for its brand of heavy progressive rock, probably mostly for Nektar, but really Message were the most powerful, creative and original. Not a truly German band, Message were fronted by two Scotsmen, their brand of rock may have started in Nektar realms, but their unusual compositional style, bizarre lyrics, use of jazz and folk motifs, all made for something extraordinary, especially so on the tripped-out heavy pile-driver of an album FROM BOOKS & DREAMS which ranks as one of the best on the label.
METAMORFOSI - Another little known but excellent Italian progressive band. Their roots were in psychedelia, but their sound wasn't quite developed on their debut. INFERNO, however, was a great development, a complex dynamic conceptual suite, heavy on the keyboards, and full of surprises. Descriptive of a journey to Hell, most vivid musically and quite outstanding.
MICHAEL HOENIG - Originally from Agitation Free, and also a short while with Tangerine Dream, Michael's mid-70s solo debut is a classic of Teutonic synth-sequencer music, showing his influences and fascination with the avant-garde, rock and ambient musics. Philip Glass and TD fans are both catered for on the 20 minute title track, then there's Kraftwerk and Eno touches on others, and an experimental vocal work too! He also made an album with Ashra's Manuel Göttsching.
MICUS, STEPHAN - A unique innovator in World Music, working exclusively with acoustic instrumentation, though sometimes it's hard to believe so! A more sensitive plaintive Deuter in some ways, making much use of unusual archaic/ethnic instruments as well as the unlikely - flower pots, resonant rocks and such-like. Everyone will have a different favourite, though we'd suggest "Koan" or "Ocean".
MILESI, PIERO - Formerly of the Gruppo Folk Internationale, Piero Milesi recorded an astonishing systemic album called MODI, which is notably Steve Reich inspired, yet also uniquely Italian. NUCLEAR OBSERVATORY OF MR. NANOF is also excellent, yet very different, being multi-keyboard and ensemble music with ethnic touches, and help from the enigmatic Riccardo Sinigaglia.
MIRANDA SEX GARDEN - An exceptionally inventive female vocal and multi-instrumental trio (augmented by a rhythm section) with a fascinating blend of art-rock, classical/baroque and new-wave musics. Sometimes atmospheric, always evocative, and occasionally devastating. IRIS could almost have been the Popol Vuh album we'd been waiting for. SUSPIRIA takes them beyond gothic realms, and meets industrial rock head-on!
MIRIODOR - Miriodor are one of the finest Canadian experimental progressives, on their debut especially so with a Michael Nyman meets RIO/Zeuhl mixture, then back with a vengeance on THIRD WARNING, with a dazzling fusion to delight all RIO fusion and Canterbury fans, touches of Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, Soft Machine, and much originality too, and more recently with the outrageous MECANO.
MOEBIUS, DIETER - After Cluster were put on ice in the 80s, Dieter Moebius went on to work extensively with other experimental talents, like Conny Plank, or the avant-garde saxophonist Gerd Beerbohm. He's also recorded a couple of solos, like TONSPUREN, which is almost a step back to Cluster's ZUCKERZEIT.
MONA LISA - Mona Lisa, although less well known than Ange or Atoll, developed their own distinctive variant on the classic French poetic progressive style. Their debut: L'ESCAPADE had a folky edge, with lengthy tracks and a most unusual spooky atmosphere. Subsequent albums developed a more Ange-styled approach, with dramatic lyrical content, extensive use of keyboards.
MOORE, STEVE - An innovative talent in the realms of electroacoustic music, inspired by the likes of Stockhausen, French musique-concrete and synth music. His style is a unique concoction. THE THRESHOLD OF LIBERTY isn't quite a reissue of his RETURN OF THE POET cassette, it features two different tracks, and is a most fascinating sonic experience. THE WAY IN is a surprising diversion of "ambient", reflective, yet still unusual music! Where will Steve go from here?
MORPHOGENESIS - London 80s/90s avant-garde improvising band who play a dark sinister electroacoustic music, with oozing webs of sound, unashamedly inspired by the likes of AMM, MEV, Nuova Consonanza, and almost any avant-garde composer that has either worked with electronic or in intuitive improvisation (i.e. Stockhausen, Xenakis, etc.). A loose group of academics and non-musicians they ride the edge of chaos & turn it into sonic art.
MOVING GELATINE PLATES - In the classic tradition of bands like Matching Mole, Supersister, Brainstorm, et al., Moving Gelatine Plates took the Canterbury sound as their inspiration, turned it about and made it their own. Two magical albums, full of wit and complexities in a complex fusion that buzzes with invention. Both CD's contain tracks from the later MOVING LP (with Didier Malherbe guesting).
MUFFINS, THE - Arguably the American answer to Henry Cow, but with a good deal of Canterbury influence too (c.f. National Health, Soft Machine), The Muffins made a pyrotechnical fusion that oozed invention. CHRONOMETERS is a collection of early recordings, and contains the complete 23 minute "Chronometers" suite, and as with the later OPEN CITY (produced by Fred Frith), it also contains lots of other previously unreleased archive tapes.
MURPHY BLEND - The early-70s were the days when heavy rock didn't mean dull and boring, but a creative genre that could blend in all sorts of musics from classical to jazz. Take the pioneering Murphy Blend, who blended the trippiness of Mythos with the heaviness of Jane or Frame and the classical feel of Pell Mell, Dated true, but excellent! Murphy Blend transformed into Hanumann.
MUSCI & VENOSTA - Enterprising duo creating ethnic music from computers! Styles range from ambient realms of Jon Hassell to ethnic percussive and stranger collage styles a la Haruomi Hosono, a simultaneously challenging though very accessible mix. MESSAGES & PORTRAITS is compiled from their two RéR LP's.
MYTHOS - Stephan Kaske may be known nowadays for synthi-pop music, but as the leader of the original Mythos trio (with albums on Ohr and Cosmic Music) he was a multi-instrumental talent to be reckoned with, playing a plethora of instruments as well being lead singer. MYTHOS itself is an extraordinary spacey psychedelic rock album with strong touches of Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, with extended treks featuring strange songs, sitars, flutes, synthesizers and amazing studio effects (Collectors note: the Spalax CD reissue of this is a different mix to the original Ohr LP). DREAMLAB is aptly a much more esoteric and dreamy rock album, swathed in synthesizers, echoey flutes, and totally otherworldly.
NEKTAR - Nektar were renowned as the English Krautrock band, thus being a German based act none of their albums are available here any more! These reissues present Nektar's legacy of heavy progressive rock with (especially on the earlier albums) psychedelic touches, close to Man, Message, Hawkwind, veering on to space-rock with lengthy tracks that featured extensive guitar and organ.
NEU! - Borne out of Kraftwerk, taking the "Ruckzuck" rhythm and redefining it with the extremely seminal "Hallogallo" on their debut, Neu! threw caution to the wind for the sake of invention and became famous for it! Due to legal reasons blocking reissues, much of their output is hard to get today because of excessive demand. See also: Harmonia, La Düsseldorf, Michael Rother.
NEUMEIER, MANI - Founder (and leader since the mid-70s) of Guru Guru, Mani is a creative and diverse talent, and has worked on many other projects. Although much more than just a drummer, his recent solo work is largely percussion based, but is extremely inventive and full of surprises.
NEWS FROM BABEL - Very much like a continuation of The Art Bears, yet less intensive or radical musically, this is their two LP's on one CD! Featuring: Chris Cutler, Dagmar Krause, Lindsay Cooper, Robert Wyatt, Zeena Parkins.
NEW TROLLS - Italian progressive with Hendrix & Osanna influences, best-known for their "Concerto Grosso Per 1" collaboration with Luis Bacalov, which was followed by a number of other excellent progressive albums, before they went back to doing pop music in the late-70s. For the classic era they're often compared to Osanna, but with a classical edge instead. The New Trolls history is complex, with links to Osanna & Nuova Idea, and interconnected projects: Nico/Gianni/Frank/Maurizio and Ibis.
NINE DAYS WONDER - Interconnected with the British band Gnidrolog, it's not surprising that Nine Day's Wonder have become a source of intrigue, as similarly both bands played an outrageous and complex form of progressive rock bridging from The Mothers through to Van Der Graaf, and lots of places in between. NINE DAYS WONDER itself is the most bizarre and crazy of Bacillus albums, a kind of patchwork quilt of diverse innovation, sometimes like Monty Python meets Message, with steps aside to East Of Eden or Hawkwind - remarkable! The later albums, whilst not so eccentric, are still fine examples of this rare breed of radical rock, with notable guest appearances by Dave Jackson (Van Der Graaf) and Steve Robinson (ex-2066 & Then) on ONLY THE DANCERS.
NOSFERATU - Akin to bands like Xhol Caravan, Out Of Focus, or Raw Material, Nosferatu made a powerful and inventive psychedelic spiced rock fusion, featuring lengthy instrumental drives, flights off into the cosmos, and power riffing, often akin to the Bacillus sound (Message, Lily, Nine Days Wonder).
NOVALIS - Masters of a refined form of progressive rock, with a dreamy King Crimson angle on their English vocal debut, then subsequently with a complex keyboard based (classical edged & German vocals)rock with a nod towards classic Camel or Pulsar. Novalis pioneered a unique genre that was to become popular in former East Germany, and mimicked by the likes of Karat, Lift, Magdeburg, et al.
NUOVA IDEA - Parallel to New Trolls and Osanna, and interconnected with both. Nuova Idea made a psychedelic and heavy classical rock on their debut, notable for the 20 minute "Come, Come, Come". But the later MR. E. JONES and CLOWNS are were Nuova Idea really excelled, with a complex progressive comparable to New Trolls at their finest, but with lots of unique touches of their own.
NURSE WITH WOUND - The most influential and revered of British experimental bands to grow out of the Industrial scene, Nurse With Wound have always been more of an avant-garde band, drawing on the classical experimental and psychedelic musics of the 60s and 70s. Everything from White Noise to Stockhausen, Can to Trevor Wishart, Nurse With Wound have hijacked almost everything that is radical and made it their own! Since HOMOTOPY TO MARIE Nurse With Wound has been the vehicle for the creative talents of Steven Stapleton and whoever he cares to work with. Start with SUGAR FISH DRINK.
OBST, MICHAEL - A pioneering talent of electronic, concrete and computer musics, Michael Obst makes spacious and radically dynamic music that sits somewhere between synth music and pure sonic art. Fascinating!
OMEGA - The best-known Hungarian prog band from the 70s, they excelled with their Bacillus releases (particularly with 2 released in the UK on Decca) in a lyrical symphonic/heavy rock, taking influences from the more mainstream Krautrock, Pink Floyd & such-like, and adapting them to make a uniquely East European style that went on to influence many others.
LE ORME - Excellent early-70s Italian progressive trio (still around today) with classical stylings, featuring keyboards to the fore and a unique dreamy/powerful style.
OUT OF FOCUS - The legendary band on the Kuckuck label. You could be forgiven for never having heard of them, but they could have been an international success if they weren't German and on a (then unknown) small German label. They played typically Teutonic rock fusion, with a touch of the Canterbury style, and had a unique lyrical awareness - their music featured extensive instrumentals featuring flute, guitars and keyboards. Out Of Focus were a rarity, a band that started off with a classic and amazingly went from strength to strength, culminating in the double opus FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON, touted as a dedication to Soft Machine's THIRD and just as innovative.
OZRIC TENTACLES - Certainly one of the best British bands around in the 90s, with their own instrumental twist on the 70s trippy instrumental Gong, Amon Düül II, Hawkwind, and Steve Hillage space-rock style, featuring synthesizers (lots of them), guitars and flute, lots of high energy riffing, total space-outs, Oroonies style ethnic fusions, and much much more!
DEI BALOCCHI, IL - Incredibly complex and dynamic classical progressive, which runs the whole gamut of styles, almost the rival of Semiramis or Campo Di Marte, and like Il Baletto Di Bronzo's YS it feels like a grand dynamic classical rock opus that does everything it can to dazzle the senses.
PANNA FREDDA - One of those legendary, but so obscure albums, that is remarkably everything it was reputed to be. A most dynamic and inventive progressive rock that is so engaging and inventive, with classical spiced and such amazingly executed arrangements (hints of Gracious!, Biglietto Per l'Inferno and Second Hand), that I can't but recommend it highly enough. It's one of those albums that keeps laying on the intensity with delight after delight.
PARSONS, DAVID - In parallel to talents like Steve Roach, Ariel Kalma, Deuter, etc., David Parsons is on a constant search for new expression, new ways to bring out ancient musics and combine them into creations with high technology. His creations are atmospheric based around synthesizers, sampling and ethnic sounds, deep with mystery and emotion.
PASSPORT - Influential and seminal jazz-rock band fronted by famed Munich jazz musician Klaus Doldinger. Many famous names have passed through the ranks, with Embryo and Amon Düül II connections, and they pioneered a unique Kraut angle on European fusion styles. Many albums feature inventive use of synthesizers. All are jam-packed with dazzling solos. Start with "Doldinger"!
PATERNOSTER - A classic slice of Austrian Krautrock circa 1972. Strong Pink Floyd styled spacey atmosphere, but full of angst, energy and tortured songs - altogether a spellbinding combination! Don't be put off by what some people say about this being 'God-rock', it's just the opposite! Very highly recommended
PELL MELL - A legendary 70s progressive with a strong classical touch, featuring a violinist, keyboards and two radically different vocalists. Their debut MARBURG also featured Frame's guitarist as guest. It's a very highly rated album, comparable to many an Italian band of the era, like Banco or Quella Vecchia Locanda, but has a unique Kraut edge, at its most unusual it also ventures towards psychedelic Amon Düül II. Subsequent albums all developed the classical side more.
PERIGEO - Pioneers of Italian jazz-rock from the 1970s, often compared to early Brand X & actually as innovative as Weather Report, with a dynamic mix of spacey sounds & high-flying fusion, full of unique touches.
PHEW - Acclaimed by some as the Japanese Nico, Phew is actually a very different type of singer, though no less radical and innovative. On her debut she went to Germany and sought the aid of Conny Plank, and Can members: Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit. This amazing new album again features Jaki, with some of his best drumming for years, and is full of surprises.
PICCHIO DAL POZZO - The Italian Hatfield & The North? Superficially, with hints of Battiato too, they invented their own genre with a hybrid of Henry Cow/Stormy Six styles, blending all those & more!
PINHAS, RICHARD (HELDON) - Arguably the most important force behind electronic rock and synth music in France, Richard Pinhas and his band Heldon were a major pioneering force in the mid to late-70s. Richard, a self confessed Robert Fripp inspired guitarist, took hints from the instrumental King Crimson sound, elements of Fripp & Eno, and his own visionary use of electronics, to make the unique Heldon sound, an inspiration for others like: Pôle, Besombes Rizet, Hydravion, Ose, Georges Grunblatt, etc. The early albums were rather introspective and calm (especially so ALLEZ TEIA), featuring much use of acoustic guitars as well as synthesizers and Mellotron. Not until UN REVE SANS CONSEQUENCE did a proper group evolve, and by this time the Heldon sound was much more rock than synth music, notably the powerful STAND BY. The Pinhas solos are much more varied than Heldon, EAST WEST being his most commercial venture, and L'ETHIQUE which remarkably encompasses most of the Heldon and Pinhas styles, from ambient synth music through to full-blown riffing with the powerdrive "Dedicated to KC". After a long silence, the 90s saw a comeback with CYBORG SALLY, a collaboration with electronics expert John Livengood, which revisited the aggressive side of 70s Heldon, with a stark 90s industrial feel. More recently Richard has attempted a reformation of Heldon & has a new band called Schizotrope.
PEKKA POHJOLA - Ex-Wigwam bassist/multi-instrumentalist & his band create a complex inventive fusion, full of invention & Scandinavian folky/jazzy delights. Pekka is best-known for "The Mathmaticians Air Display" featuring Mike & Sally Oldfield.
POLYMORPH - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
POPOL VUH - Popol Vuh were one of the most important bands to emerge in the early-70s, their pioneering work with synthesizers on the early albums, and their development of a unique form of ethnic rock music (featuring multi-guitars, piano, usually female vocals, and often ethnic instruments like sitar) have won them deserved world-wide critical acclaim. Leader (keyboardist) Florian Fricke has developed this single-minded musical vision, from EINSJAGER & SIEBENJAGER onwards, with the aid of ex-Amon Düül II musician (percussionist and guitarist) Daniel Fichelscher, and latterly also vocalist Renate Knaup. YOGA is an album of Fricke compositions performed by Indian musicians.
PRESENT - A Univers Zero offshoot fronted by the most talented guitarist Roger Trigaux. The original two albums (compiled onto one CD) also feature Univers Zero's drummer Daniel Denis, in a dynamic fusion crossing RIO genres and Magma influences with instrumental King Crimson to dynamic and really spectacular effect. Sometimes they have an intensive Robert Fripp and Heldon feel. Very strange and fascinating!
PULSAR - The legendary French space-rock group. On their debut POLLEN the media had them promoted as the French Pink Floyd, though they were a lot more original than that would suggest, with much use of flute and electronics, they had a uniquely French sound. THE STRANDS OF THE FUTURE features some of their finest work, particularly the 26 minute mostly instrumental title-track. HALLOWEEN, a conceptual "horror-rock" symphonic opus, ventures closer to Steve Hackett territory.
QUATRE GUITARISTES DE L'APOCALYPSO BAR - Quebecois guitar supergroup playing a mixture of psychedelic styles & RIO fusions, featuring Chris Cutler (Henry Cow) on drum. Sizzling & riotous!
QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA - An Italian progressive with the moost unlikely name "That Old Inn", they were a rock mini orchestra in fact, with nods to Pell Mell, PFM and Banco, and oh-so-very-complex.
RAIN GARDEN - From Leicester!!! A blending of ethnic and occidental musics, The Rain Garden are neither folk nor jazz but somewhere in between, with a fusion of musics featuring sitar, tablas, guitars, synthesizers, etc., comparable to Aktuala, Between, early Tri Atma, etc., with influences from Terry Riley to Okay Temiz, but stylistically quite original.
RAMSES - A mid to late-70s progressive who should really have gained much wider recognition, often like a direct cross between Jane and Yes, but with a more symphonic keyboard style towards Streetmark's EILEEN or Anyone's Daughter. Their finest two albums are complete on one CD!
RAW MATERIAL - One of the finest little-known progressives from the late-60s and early-70s, they should have really gained much wider recognition, as they were easily rivals of many better knowns. Their debut reminds of the heavy Krautrock bands like Orange Peel or Epsilon that were to appear later, with complex music, that covers a wide range, but with a focus on rock and blues. After an amazing debut, TIME IS... went several steps better. Possibly the best Neon release, one for Nosferatu, Osanna, Thirsty Moon, fans.
REDOLFI, MICHEL - A revolutionary sound-crafter, pioneer of 3D electronic sound and creator of underwater concerts! Yes, Redolfi is remarkable, and his fascination with water runs even deeper than you may expect, with works entirely created with processed water sounds. To accurately describe his music is impossible, but be sure - you won't believe your ears! Stocks of his releases are erratic.
RESIDENTS, THE - One of the most influential and original of American bands from the 70s, The Residents had a radical humour, a fascination with strange musics, and a penchant for satire, along with a desire for continuous creativity and technological research. Hiding in mystery, being eclectic and radical, the best Residents work dates before their international rise to fame, especially the first three albums and the very avant-garde ESKIMO. Stocks are erratic.
RIBEIRO, CATHERINE +ALPES - Catherine Ribeiro is quite a notorious personality in Paris, and she's quite a remarkable singer too! Often quoted as the French Nico (though actually Portuguese born) Catherine has created some remarkable music with the revolutionary Alpes, a band that pushed constantly onto new frontiers, often creating their own otherworldly percussive and tonal instruments with evocative names like the "percuphone" and "cosmophone". Aptly there's a Gong connection too, as their high flying trips venture from FLYING TEAPOT realms either way onto the cosmos or chaos, especially so the lengthy excursions on PAIX or LE RAT DÉBILE ET L'HOMME DES CHAMPS which (both covering side 2 of the original LP's) exceed 24 minutes each. Although Cathy sings in French, her expression and power is remarkable, and with no conventional song structures the pain or aggression in her voice is engrossing! These are deleted, but we still have stocks.
RICH, ROBERT - Originator of 'sleep concerts' - atmospheric music to dream to. Robert is now best known for his collaborations with Steve Roach. Alone, he is just as fascinating. The Auricle cassettes are early concert recordings featuring spacious synthesizers, flutes and natural sounds that float subtly and scintillatingly, each a great value C90. Great dreamscapes to get lost in!
RILEY, TERRY - Pioneer of a unique facet of minimalist music, and a master keyboardist, Terry has always been more electric and unusual than his contemporaries like Steve Reich or Philip Glass, and has thus not made such a commercial impact.
ROACH, STEVE - He started in the shadow of Michael Stearns, but now Steve Roach is acclaimed as one of the most revolutionary and groundbreaking of synthesists. That is, if you can class him as a synthesist nowadays! If you're into more energetic or melodic music, start with EMPETUS, move onto NOW/TRAVELER, and then WESTERN SPACES. If you're into more ambient sounds, try STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE and progress from QUIET MUSIC onwards.
ROEDELIUS, HANS-JOACHIM - Half of the duo Cluster, most of Roedelius' solo work has been of a more ambient, melodic or romantic nature, usually featuring piano, organ, and occasionally other instruments. Often with elements of Satie, Debusy and an ambient styling akin to Harold Budd or Brian Eno, the music of Roedelius is often very surprising in its subtleties. Those into more offbeat Krautrock should check out his debut DURCH DIE WUSTE, those into weirder stuff could try the challenging SYNFONIA CONTEMPORA.
ROTHER, MICHAEL - The guitarist (and multi-instrumentalist) from Neu! and Harmonia, who went on to fame with a series of light Neu" styled albums featuring Can's Jaki Liebezeit on drums. Imagine "Hank Marvin plays a-la mid-70s instrumental Kraftwerk style" and you won't be too far off!
ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA, IL (R.D.M.) - Italian prog legend. Originally a heavy psychedelic with sizzling guitars, becoming more melodic, yet still aggressive, rock with hints of Osanna, PFM. Then, all change on "Contaminazione" with a classical rock opus based on the life & music of Bach, that is dazzlingly complex & dynamic.
RUFUS ZUPHALL - Ah, "summertime when the livin' is easy" and what a weird freaky spacey trippy version too! And there's much more on this classic psychedelic album, riddled with great jams, buzzing amplifier static, guitars galore and even more wild flute. An undisputed masterpiece! Their second was great too. Both, however, are currently deleted and out-of-stock.
RYPDAL, TERJE - Master of a distinctive guitar style, and innovator of a fusion that is neither jazz or rock, but usually somewhere beyond the realms of Miles Davis (in space?), often unpredictable and always innovative. His recent Q.E.D. saw a radical diversion into classical avant-garde and should only be tried by those with very adventurous tastes!
SAHARA - Ex-Subject Esq., Sahara were very hard to classify, as though they had a style of their own, they also resembled innumerable other bands too! SUNRISE is most remarkable for its 27 minute instrumental opus which ventures from dreamy Camel (with nods to French spacey progressives) onto the realms of The Cosmic Jokers! When more song based, Sahara were often more like a hybrid of Dutch bands like Focus or Alquin, mixed with classic Krautrock fusion styles. In fact, the range of styles they run through on FOR ALL THE CLOWNS is quite remarkable!
SALA, OSKAR - The musician who could claim to be the world's first and oldest "synthesist" - he was his 80s when I wrote this! Chances are that the only Sala you've heard are his sound effects in Hitchcock's "Birds". Uniquely explorative, he performs using his own unique electronic instrument, the "Mixtur-Trautonium". His Erdenklang releases feature some of the best Sala on record: atmospheric, spooky, totally fascinating.
SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA - At the forefront of the Swedish underground, from Uppsala, these took hints from the likes of Arbete Och Fritid and Kebnekaise, fusing rock, jazz and folk in a purely eccentric concoction. Tongue-in-cheek humour (nod's to Zappa), with lyrics often in a nonsensical made-up language, though largely instrumental, amounting to a unique fusion of styles, they became the Swedish contingent of RIO. They later transmuted as: Zamla Mammaz Manna, then Von Zamla (with ex Marcoeur, Univers Zero and Munju musicians), and have since reformed. Mainstay, Lars Hollmer also continued with numerous solos and other projects ranging from the eccentric to lighter folky styles.
SANDROSE - One of the finest lost French progressives of the early-70s, although Sandrose didn't at all sound French! With an excellent female vocalist, masses of keyboards and guitar, in a similar vein to Earth & Fire, Julian Jay Savarin, Ruphus, Fantasy (USA), Analogy, etc.
SCHICKE·FÜHRS·FRÖHLING - Imagine a step on from King Crimson's "Devils Triangle" suite, with hints of Shylock and Italian classical rock, all instrumental with lotsa Mellotron and riddled with complex changes! That's what the first two SFF albums were like. This set collects all their three Brain LP's plus two live tracks from the BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN 2 double. Stocks are erratic.
SCHICKERT, GÜNTER - A legend amongst German guitarists, and a prime exponent of the echo-guitar technique. Renowned for his cosmic guitar classic SAMTVOGEL (on Brain, currently unavailable) and as collaborator with Klaus Schulze (in concert), he also led the Krautrock band GAM (Günter Schickert, Axel Struck, and Michael Leske) who played really freaked-out improvisations recalling the psychedelic space treks of Ash Ra Tempel or Pink Floyd, and featured in the pioneering No Zen Orchestra.
SCHMIDT, IRMIN - Can's stylishly unique keyboard player, Irmin's solo output started with 2 albums of inventive film soundtrack work, and the influential "Toy Planet" with Bruno Spoerri. Unfortunately "Filmmusik" and "Filmmusik 2" haven't had CD releases yet, with only odd tracks in the "Anthology: Soundtracks 1978-1993" set. Other Irmin solos are best described as "an acquired taste".
SCHNITZLER, CONRAD - Since Conrad Schnitzler left Tangerine Dream and Kluster (the forerunner to Cluster) in the early-70s, he's produced literally dozens of albums, most of which are small private editions. The above are a few of the albums that are still available and they all display Con as a radical and innovative talent, a synthesist with imagination and a great flair for invention. Not always melodic, and not always musical come to think of it, he's ventured on to become one of Germany's finest electronic music pioneers. BALLET STATIQUE is a reissue of CON, originally issued on Egg Records, plus bonus tracks from a cassette release.
SCHOENER, EBERHARD - One of the unsung pioneers of synth music (possibly because he's best known for other projects) this couples two of his most atmospheric works in a slim 2CD package, recommended to those liking Tangerine Dream's ZEIT and Nik Tyndall's EINKLANG.
SCHULZE, KLAUS - Klaus Schulze almost single-handedly created the sequential synth music genre and has been an exceptionally innovator pioneer for well over two decades. Do we need to say more? Stocks of other releases are rather erratic, please check out our supplements for availability.
SECONDA GENESI, LA - Originally an extremely limited edition and rare LP, now everyone can hear how incredible it is. "The Second Birth" took lessons from classic instrumental Mothers, and like Germans: Xhol Caravan, Thirsty Moon, Eiliff, et al., they took this sound and developed it to their own ends, but with an Italian complexity leaning onto early Osanna. Yep, incredible!
SEMIRAMIS - A classic slice of Italian symphonic rock, with great vitality, dynamics and superb musicianship. Amongst the finest, along with Biglietto Per l'Inferno, Alphataurus, Il Balletto Di Bronzo, Ibis, et al., featuring all that... Yes, you've read this sort of thing earlier, but it's all true, the Italians were amazing exponents of progressive rock, and much of it is so innovative that the tide of time has only enhanced its character.
SENSATIONS FIX - One of the few cosmic type progressive bands to emerge from Italy in the 70s, and fronted by Frippian guitarist Franco Falsini, for an Italian band they were unique. Mostly instrumental, naturally there are touches of Fripp & Eno or early Heldon (particularly the combination of guitars and synthesizers), and there's much of that French trippy progressive sound too. No, you'd never guess they were Italian, even the vocals are in English!
SHAPESHIFTER - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
SHUB NIGGURATH - Although Magma inspired, Shub Niggurath have always been much more that that! With influences that include: Stravinsky, H.P. Lovecraft (the author) and King Crimson, their concoction is weird and fascinating neo-Gothic horror fusion, manic and gripping on their debut, brooding and menacing (beyond early Univers Zero) on the second.
SHYLOCK - Probably the finest of all bands influenced by King Crimson (next to Bi Kyo Ran and Sensations Fix), Shylock played a most vibrant and complex instrumental rock, full of contrasting dynamics and myriads of solos, and also some unique French twists: lots of synthesizers and a penchant for slightly jazzy riffing, all within lengthy spectacular flights of invention.
SMALLEY, DENNIS - One of Britain's (& New Zealand's) few truly innovative electroacoustic composers (along with Trevor Wishart) Dennis Smalley is a sound-crafter of great imagination. Most of these works craft acoustic instruments and electronics into surreal and fascinating sound-images. Actually, all of the tracks are fascinating!
SOFT MACHINE - The band that formed out of the embryo of what was to become known as the Canterbury scene, Soft Machine were true innovators. VOLS. 1 & 2 couples their two formative psychedelic albums featuring Wyatt's knack for clever songwriting and a wealth of instrumental ideas. The other albums here develop innovative ventures beyond the world jazz-rock, with radical music, long tracks and segued suites full of invention, and a copious amount of free wheeling improvisation. Fans of "weird" start with SPACED.
STALTERI, ARTURO - Keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist from the great Pierrot Lunaire, Arturo is the master pioneer of a unique music that's one part systemic, one part rock, with strong classical and avant-garde leanings. You'll hear lots of those Pierrot Lunaire trademarks in his vibrant and complex music, and constantly be surprised too! E IL PAVONE PARLÒ ALLA LUNA is a reissue of his second (privately issued and rare) solo, with a new half album length work. His music also evokes Terry Riley, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Peter Michael Hamel and Riccardo Sinigaglia.
STEAMHAMMER - One of the unsung pioneers of British progressive rock, Steamhammer grew out of the blues scene in the mid-60s, taking a big step with each subsequent album. For instance: MK. II featured Steve Joliffe (fresh from Berlin with early Tangerine Dream), who almost took over the band during his stint with lots of keyboards, flutes, etc., blending in much more complex classical and jazzy stylings into their sound. A big diversion: SPEECH shocked a lot of people, being a radical space-progressive opus, featuring Louis Cenamo (ex-Renaissance) in a very experimental mood, with just three lengthy extended compositions that feature some amazing guitars and mostly instrumental rock music of great invention.
STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO - Try to find an original LP of this 60s Italian legend and you'll find a big hole in your bank account! This is a weird psychedelic underground album, probably one of a kind from Italy, the rival of Fifty Foot Hose or White Noise maybe (but nothing like), yes - strange is the word!
STERNENMÄDCHEN - A musical-documentary on the involvement of Timothy Leary with the Berlin scene and The Cosmic Jokers may not seem too promising a prospect, but with Gille "Sternenmädchen" Lettmann in control, with lots of unique music courtesy of Klaus Schulze, blended with music off various Cosmic Music albums, it all amounts to a weird trippy dream-like excursion that's fascinating.
STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ - Okay, without a doubt, Stockhausen is one of the most influential of contemporary composers, not just in the avant-garde, his music has had a great influence on many pioneering rock bands and electronic musicians of all types. We would be stocking more of the reissues on the Stockhausen Verlag label if they weren't so expensive! The amazing value Harmonia Mundi release is a much better option, featuring alternative versions of works from his mammoth "intuitive music" project: AUS DEM SIEBEN TAGEN.
STORMY SIX - The Italian contingent of the RIO school, Stormy Six started as a 60s pop band, moved into politico folk, and then reinvented themselves as the most unique of Italian bands. Their concoction is impossible to describe in the space allotted here!
STREETMARK - Streetmark were initially one of the finest late-70s German progressive bands, with a rich symphonic and cosmic styling, featuring two talented keyboardists: Dorothea Raukes and Wolfgang Riechmann.
SUB, THE - An obscure heavy psychedelic band, who by a strange quirk, got an album release in Italy. Actually the story goes that their manager stole their master tapes, added audience sounds, and sold them without the band knowing! Now you can hear this heavy Frumpy cum Pink Floyd and Hendrixy rarity together with even more obscure bonus tracks!
SUBJECT ESQ. - Debut from the band later known as Sahara, making a folk and jazzy edged complex progressive, with hints of Czar, Caravan, Jane, Satin Whale, and full of surprises.
SUBOTNICK, MORTON - The inventor of synth music? Certainly SILVER APPLES OF THE MOON laid the foundations for sequencer based music, compare the likes of early Conrad Schnitzler, Edgar Froese's AQUA, or even Pink Floyd's "On The Run", it started here, and it's still challenging stuff! As technology moved on, so has Morton, and as a classically trained composer he's been very unpredictable, not least so with THE KEY TO SONGS which moves close to later Art Zoyd!
SWEET SMOKE - International nomad hippies or what? Sweet Smoke were indeed one of the most eclectic of bands, playing a trippy rock fusion akin to Quintessence, with lengthy tracks featuring great instrumental work-outs. They were, in fact, expatriot Americans preferring to live in Europe!
BERNARD SZAJNER - An instrument designer, synthesist, etc., he became involved in a number of projects in the mid to late 1970s, most notably his own group Zed whose VISIONS OF DUNE was typical of the French synth/space-rock style, akin to Heldon.
TANGERINE DREAM - Sorry, no
we can't supply the "Ultima Thule" single, but we can tempt you with
most that's currently available from the world's most important pioneering
synthesizer band. Do we need to say more? Okay then...
The most famous explorers of Berlin "Kosmische Musik" in the early-70s, and pioneers of modern synthesizer music. Extremely seminal and influential, they started as a psychedelic rock band, moving to Pink Floyd like cosmic music, to a definitive style of their own featuring synthesizers, sequencers, guitars, rhythms, etc., balancing dramatic/thematic content against melodic texture. More recently (with digital instruments and a catchy style) they have proliferated on the soundtrack front. Try checking: Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann, Klaus Schulze, Michael Hoenig.
TANGLE EDGE - Much in character with Auricle's Djam Karet and Moore/Myers releases, the C90 IMPROVISED DROP OUTS (a remixed reissue of Tangle Edge's debut cassette with superior colour artwork) is a great example of music in the classic Euro-Rock tradition, owing a debt to the psychedelic rock pioneers, with guitar stylings that recall early Amon Düül II or Popol Vuh, ethnic elements blending with intensive and dynamic rock, topped off with fiery guitars. All their releases are classics, sometimes with a fusion edge and more typically Scandinavian hinting at Ragnarok's classic FATA MORGANA.
TETLOW, JIM - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
THINKING PLAGUE - A band who could claim to be the present-day American answer to the Art Bears, similar in inventiveness and prowess, and with a unique female vocalist. Their sound is challenging, original in outlook, schizophrenic, and thus constantly surprising. Their are nowadays interlinked with 5uu's.
THIRD EAR BAND - Arguably the most out-on-a-limb of all British bands to appear in the late-60s, creating a medieval and ethnic spiced music on the very outer limits of what could be called rock, driven on by mantric rhythms, great invention, and a sheer originality. MACBETH is the descriptive and most complimentary soundtrack to Polanski's masterful film - with (ex-High Tide, later Hawkwind) violinist Simon House. After almost a decade of rumours that they still existed, LIVE GHOSTS marked their return, driven on by the unique character of their mantric rhythms and the added intensive interplay from three soloists, this and subsequent offerings are quite astounding developments on their (formally totally acoustic) sound, and probably even more out-on-a-limb! Many early titles are not currently available.
THIS HEAT - Some people have quoted these as the British Faust, others say they were the most important band to grow out of the new-wave and Industrial scene in the late-70s. However, we could say they were neither really, but rather an avant-garde rock development on the earlier band Quiet Sun, and also a clever twist on the Canterbury fusion sound. With an exceptional taste for invention, studio trickery taken to the limits, and a strong political awareness in their lyrical content, This Heat were constantly radical and fascinating.
THROBBING GRISTLE - The band that popularised the term Industrial music, with a penchant for radical invention on the edge of the new-wave, Throbbing Gristle were often harsh, could be totally uncompromising with demented spouted lyrics, and at other times: an inventive combo, pioneering new forms of electronic based music, combining the melodic and the unusual with surprising results. Throbbing Gristle eventually split into Psychic TV and Chris & Cosey. Note: the LIVE CD series features material originally released on Industrial Cassettes and are therefore of variable sound quality.
TIERE DER NACHT - Mani Neumeier and Luigi Archetti of Guru Guru test each others reactions on the avant-garde front, with bizarre angular rock and fusions, running a wide gamut of styles. Sometimes recalling early Guru Guru, with Luigi proving to be a very creative guitarist, and also hinting at the great Space Explosion on "Evergreens" with its oft-buzzing electronic textures and Faust edges.
TIETCHENS, ASMUS - Explorative innovator and electronics avant-gardist, who was introduced to the world via appearances with Cluster & Eno and as a member of the supergroup Liliental (with Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, Okko Becker, etc.) which gives a good indication of the music he created in the early days: synthesizer based, with more than a touch of the unusual (hints of The Residents, ZNR, Cluster, etc.). The Auricle cassette-only releases are much more radical, though still with a melodic focus, combining electronics with concrete sound, manipulated percussives, loops, etc., beyond the early-80s electronic albums of Peter Frohmader, and on MUSIK IM SCHATTEN hinting at Soviet France, Dome, or Cranioclast. The CD's currently available feature some of Asmus' strangest avant-garde works.
TON STEINE SCHERBEN - Ton Steine Scherben were pioneers of the most underground of German rock forms "Agit Rock", lyrical, aggressive, but also highly inventive. This double captures them at their most creative, especially so on the LP side-long "Steig Ein".
TONTON MACOUTE - Legendary Neon Records album, from a progressive band with an unlikely name. Powerful and inventive, akin to label mates Raw Material and Indian Summer, but with touch more fusion edged, and often reminiscent of Aquila too!
TRACTOR - A most original progressive early-70s duo. Unlike most crazily priced rarities, this (originally issued on Dandelion) is a great album, featuring lengthy tracks with great songs and instrumentals, a carefully constructed rock with folky and psychedelic touches. Amazingly, some sections recall the likes of Ash Ra Tempel or even Can, but this is earlier! Two limited edition discs of archive studio and live recordings are also currently available.
TREPTE, ULI - The original bassist with Guru Guru, intent on sonic exploration he also worked with Neu! and Faust. He also fronted his own "free rock" experimental bands: Kickbit Information and Spacebox (see elsewhere). With his more recent solo material he has mellowed somewhat, with a unique light jazzy twist on Spacebox and Embryo stylisms.
TRIAX - see Ultima Thule releases on this site
TYNDALL, NIK - Aka Jürgen Krehen, formally half of the twee synthi duo Tyndall. Nik has since gone on in leaps and bounds, to become one of the foremost 80s synthesists, in the realms of ambient and atmospheric music. His original style is borne from his unique collection of computer sound-samples and his blending of meditative and introspective styles, beyond the realms of Roedelius.
UNIVERA ZEKT - A supersession project on Laurent Thibault's Theleme label, featuring most of Magma, with vocalists: Lionel Ledissez (from Ergo Sum) and Zabu, and also strongly featuring Teddy Lasry and Christian Vander. A must for all fans of the genre.
UNIVERS ZERO - Arguably the most innovative and influential of all Belgian bands, and also one of the most consistently innovative within the RIO genre, creating a type of - chamber-rock, going way beyond Magma, in parallel to the like-minded French band Art Zoyd, and beyond the pioneering Third Ear Band. Univers Zero created a fusion of baroque and modern styles that is most inspiring, yet also strange and mysterious.
URBAN SAX - The project of Gilbert Artman that grew out of ideas developed in Lard Free, taking the techniques of polyphony and systemic musics to new realms. The original Urban Sax were entirely a saxophone orchestra (making a strangely cavernous gloomy dirge-like music) who have since added choir, percussion, guitars, etc., in an ever-developing evolving pioneering voyage to new realms. The Urban Sax sound is unique, extraordinarily powerful and ever surprising, challenging yet accessible. Currently all out of print.
VANGELIS - Pioneering synthesist (ex-Aphrodite's Child), percussionist, multi-instrumentalist of great talent, carefully balancing the melodic with the adventurous. Stocks of his releases (including the Aphrodite's Child's classic 666) are very erratic.
VIRUS - Trippy Krautrock with Gila, Pink Floyd and Gomorrha edges on their debut REVELATION (notable also for a stunning instrumental version of "Paint It Black") Virus were extraordinary. THOUGHTS contrasted as a more heavy psychedelic rock, akin to Frumpy, Missing Link, Joy Unlimited, with lots of organ. They also worked as Weed.
VOLCANO THE BEAR - Leicester's weirdest, best & most eccentric live act, & a riot in the studio! A fave of Nurse With Wound's Steve Stapleton too. A nuclear storm of creativity, combining rock, jazz, punk, RIO, Dada, surrealism, electronics & more: 1 part This Heat. 99 parts something else!
WALLENSTEIN - Wallenstein were a pioneering early-70s progressive, blending classical rock, the psychedelic, hard driving space-riffs and more subtle spacey sounds, almost like a classical twist on early Van Der Graaf Generator and Pink Floyd. BLITZKRIEG certainly lived up to its title, with just four tracks of exceptionally powerful dynamic rock, spirited on by lots of keyboards and guitar. Members of Wallenstein became involved in The Cosmic Jokers, Harald Großkopf went on to work with Klaus Schulze, Ashra, etc.
WALPURGIS - Forget the first track, the rest of their Ohr album is great psychedelic spiced spacey progressive with lots of guitars, akin to early Quicksilver or H.P. Lovecraft. Features Jürgen Dollase of Wallenstein on keyboards.
WAPASSOU - Of all the bands to emerge from France in the mid-70s, Wapassou must surely have been one of the most unique. Blending folk, baroque music and rock, and spirited on by female floating vocals, violin, and lots of keyboards, their music is a most enlightening experience. Start anywhere!
WEBER, EBERHARD - Prolific jazz bassist and multi-instrumental talent who had a lengthy apprenticeship with the legendary Wolfgang Dauner. His early albums feature top-notch musicians making a surreal otherworldly fusion with a notable cosmic edge. Eberhard's bass style is quite distinctive and all of his albums are inventive or explorative in their own ways.
WEIDORJE - The best album Magma never made! Well, that's one way of putting it. Actually, if you look at your copy of Magma's UDU WUDU (What? You haven't got one!) you'll see a track there entitled "Weidorje", and this album in many ways continues from that, but in a much more inventive and aggressive manner. Mostly instrumental and powerful fusion that should also be checked out by King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, SBB, etc., fans too!
WHEN - Radical, unique, sometimes devastating! When (aka Lars Pedersen, ex-Holy Toy) creates a formidable music crossing musique-concrete techniques with Univers Zero styled chamber rock elements and, occasionally, a song style reminiscent of Robert Wyatt. BLACK WHITE & GREY also features side 1 of his previous album DEATH IN A BLUE LAKE.
WISHART, TREVOR - One of the foremost exponents of electro-acoustic music in the UK, Trevor's main claim to fame is the excellent RED BIRD, a really complex aural tapestry that rivals even the best French masters of the genre.
WITTHÜSER & WESTRUPP - Originally a "protest song" folk duo, these were the most unlikely of the cosmic musicians, yet what they went on to record on these three albums was quite remarkable. Not least so, the esoteric and dreamy TRIPS+TRÄUME, also featuring a female vocalist, it's a space trip in the realms of Emtidi, or maybe a Teutonic tripped out Pentangle? The other two feature a cast of other Cosmic musicians, with a wealth of keyboards, Mellotron, and venturing to more rock structured realms.
WOLFF & HENNINGS - Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings first discovered the strange resonant properties of Tibetan bells in the early-70s, presenting their remarkable TIBETAN BELLS on Island records. Since then, recording equipment has advanced considerably, and especially so on CD their music is nothing less than breathtaking.
XHOL (CARAVAN) - Borne out of Soul Caravan, becoming Xhol Caravan and then just Xhol, their influences were as wide as: The Four Tops, Vanilla Fudge, Funkadelic (possibly) and Zappa's "King Kong" (definitely) playing tongue-in-cheek with blues and jazz forms, tripping-out with psychedelic and avant-garde invention. Pointers: Embryo, Out Of Focus, Faust, Nosferatu.
XOLOTL, BERNARD - The classic cosmic synth music opus PROCESSION features the celestial violin of Daniel Kobialka, and it's a delight for fans of TIMEWIND through to DUNE period Klaus Schulze and those liking the esoteric new-age of Michael Stearns or Steve Roach. Comes complete with bonus track "Saturn Return".
YATHA SIDHRA - If anyone asked me: what I thought was the best album ever made, I'd generally quote Yatha Sidhra's legendary Brain Records cult cosmic classic A MEDITATION MASS. Of all the thousands of albums I've heard, few albums can rival its timeless beauty. A subtle and unique blending of cosmic rock, flutes, synthesizers, jazz and Indian musics, and yet more flutes, make this a timeless classic.
YES - Well known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970s, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative RELAYER.
ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA - See SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.
ZAO - Magma offshoot, featuring François Cahen, Yochk'o Seffer, Joël Dugrenot, Jean-My Truong, (Didier Lockwood on KAWANA), etc. ZAO made a dazzling fusion, with the exceptional musicianship you'd expect from these musicians, a fiery twist on Magma, jazz-rock, and folk styles drawn from Seffer's Polish origins (even a hint of SBB), thus great on all fronts!
ZAPPA, FRANK (MOTHERS OF INVENTION) - So, do you need me to tell you how important Zappa is? That he is a major pioneer and influential musician who drew the avant-garde into mainstream culture, yet also destroyed conventions, pioneered a unique type of jazz-rock, and created a satirical form of musical theatre with risqué elements, and also recorded two of the finest instrumental guitar fronted rock collections. Of course you didn't need me to tell you that, did you?
ZAUBER - Around since the early-70s, Zauber are one of the few bands to have pushed on, from their psychedelic roots, onto modern progressive styles. Their classic however was their late-70s debut (reissued as IL SOGNO) which crosses baroque, classical and folk musics akin to the French band Wapassou, but with a feel closer to Saint Just or Pierrot Lunaire, with hints of early PFM.
ZBB - ZIRCON & THE BURNING BRAINS - see Ultima Thule releases on this site.
ZNR - One of the most eclectic and strange French bands, ZNR (aka Zazou 'N' Racaille) were not really rock, not jazz, kind of avant-garde, but not really so! You see, their music took the music of Satie, twisted it to their own ends, pepped it up with liberal doses of Zappa and Beefheart, and added much in the way of bizarre French humour and invention.
ZOVIET FRANCE - Post new-wave outfit, who started very noisy & industrial, moving from aggressive sound patterns, drones, pulses, loops & noise fragments toward more atmospheric creations.
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Check-out the A-Z list of over 5,600 prog & experimental artists. These are all artists we've had something by, through to around 2001 (with some 900 additions), and we should be able to answer questions about most of the artists listed here!
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