Data Design Group

Alan White Ramshackled
(Wounded Bird WOU 8167, 1976/2006, CD)
Reviewed by Jeff Melton

NEMO - Immersion Publique - Live
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

NEMO - Si
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Jean-Pierre Louveton - Cannibales
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Trigon – Emergent
Reviewed by Cindy Koscinski

Gary BoyleElectric Glide
(Air Mail Archive AIRAC-1160, 1978/2006, CD)
Reviewed by Jeff Melton

Dream Machine – Trilogia
Reviewed by Martin Leamon of Crimson Sky

Dream Machine Video
Reviewed by Gypsy

EM MUSIC REVIEWS
ROOT - Illumination
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Track Listing:

  • Wishing Man (5.55)
  • Anything (5.06)
  • The Meaning (5.07)
  • Healing in Me (6.17)
  • Sometimes (4.25)
  • Anymore (4.09)
  • The Most (5.36)
  • Always (5.45)
  • My Pride (5.00)
  • No Mercy (9.40)
  • Younger (4.43)
  • Boy Genius (5.38)

Illumination is the fifth album of Root, or should I say, David Kendall. For those not in the know, David Kendall is the genius behind the Root project. Not only does he write, compose and perform every track (all the instruments and vocals), he also produces and even creates the cover art!

David is based in Leicester, UK and has produced here a fine progressive rock album in a mellow vein, which, with 12 excellent tracks provides real value for money! I asked David about his influences "I think it's difficult for me to state who has the most influence. Pink Floyd, Spocks Beard, Dream Theater, Rush, Yes, Marillion, Kansas and Peter Gabriel are probably the most influential in sounds and arrangement, but I really just let my songs evolve until they sound right to me" which explains a great deal about the Root sound!

David decided to go it alone as he 'got tired of tyring to find like-minded and dedicated musicians'. Obviously, this has caused problems when it comes to performing live, however David commented 'I think I have now established my own identity and if I can find a way of playing live again, but staying faithful to the albums, I will definitely be doing it'.
Continued . . .
 

 

Alan White "Ramshackled"
(Wounded Bird WOU 8167, 1976/2006, CD)
Reviewed by Jeff Melton

Alan White's first solo record was the bookend on the Yes solo album period. Each member of the group released songs under their own name during a two year hiatus while the band continued to tour in the US. White's own ideas for his LP were perhaps the least Yes like except for the spacey ballad, "Spring Song of Innocence" where Anderson and Howe contribute roles and co-wrote the piece based on a poem by William Blake. The rest of the album showcased the drummer's pre-Yes associations with the following bands: Happy Magazine/Griffin/Simpson's Pure Oxygen. At times the mix of R&B and sixties jazz works well especially on the opening cut, "Ooooh Baby" and "Avakak". The former piece is characterized but a sultry lead vocal from Alan Marshall. The latter track is perhaps the most unique arrangement with pianist Kenny Craddock adding a sensitive intro before the toe-tapping cross rhythm begins. "Silly Woman" is a light take on a reggae piece that mostly works for Craddock's warm organ accompaniment. White nearly creates a vibe similar to the sessions he participated with on George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass". Overall his ability to adapt to several different styles has benefited him well through the years considering his 34 years with the most enduring group from English progressive rock.


Trigon – Emergent  [ top ]
Reviewed by Cindy Koscinski

Released in 2005, "Emergent" is pure guitar rock/jazz/psychedelic instrumental jamming    fun.  Expressive guitar playing by Rainier Lange keeps each jam interesting, while Stefan Lange provides some forward bass and Tihomir Lozanovski seamlessly pounds it all together to create an effortless sound. This could be the "Heavy Zen Jazz" reference I've seen used to describe this band's music. "Emergent" is full of Heavy guitar rock grooves and funky Jazz improvisations. As far as Zen goes, I am aware at this moment that I like what I hear…mind streaming, head bobbing pleasure.

 

Gary BoyleElectric Glide  [ top ]
(Air Mail Archive AIRAC-1160, 1978/2006, CD)
Reviewed by Jeff Melton

Indian guitarist Gary Boyle's resume reads like who's who of UK jazz luminaries. His high profile role supporting Brian Auger led to work with Stomu Yamashta and later onto lead his own outfit Isotope. Electric Glide was Boyle's second LP after the break-up of Isotope and it's a strong testament to the diverse mutual friendships he had accumulated since leaving the band. The disc can be divided into three musical types: George Benson style licks, kick-ass fusion works outs and spirited acoustic guitar pieces. Backing Boyle for the more standard jazz fair was part of Jeff Beck's backing band from 1975's Blow by Blow which included bassist Phil Chen and session drummer Richard Bailey. The best piece in this style is title track where Boyle and additional guitarist Robert Awhai exchange a friendly dialogue on top of a funky groove. Gary Moore's (ex-Thin Lizzy) flashy leads help drive two high energy tracks "Hayabusa" and "Gaz" (both in the same vein as Moore's work with Colosseum II and a lot like Jeff Beck Wired outtakes). Ex-Nucleus guitarist Kenny Shaw trades some licks with Boyle on two acoustic tracks the best being the highly memorable "Morning Father Joys" where there is plenty of space to openly solo to each player's content. The only drawback to the disc is that it comes in under forty minutes of playing time but the showcase of styles and track sequencing makes the disc a must hear for jazz guitarists. Note: This disc is due for a remaster sometime in the near future.


Dream Machine – Trilogia  [ top ]
Reviewed by Martin Leamon of Crimson Sky

This 3 track album was released in 2005.

Three long tracks; Invisible Maze, Logia Dei Sogni - Trilogy Of Dreams, Macchina Dread.

Long the tracks maybe, but most definitely not boring, in fact interesting and intricate are the words that spring to this reviewer mind.

Comparisons to the Floyd and Hawkwind, Gong, Steve Hillage all spring to mind, but that would be doing Dream Machine a grave injustice as they have their own sound and very good it is too.

After a couple more plays this album grows on you more and more, there is very much a live feel to this album, and the more you play the more you get into it.

All the tracks are great, I would say my favourite track would be the first track Invisible Maze, it has a Tangerine Dream meet Jethro Tull sound to it and some excellent guitar, and some great rhythms going on.  Although as I said all the tracks are really good.

The production and song writing on the album are excellent and and the overall sound is clear and uncluttered.

I bet Dream Machine are a great live band and if you like your music spacey then you will love this album.

Great album!
Go give it a spin, you won't regret it!


Dream Machine Video  [ top ]
Reviewed by Gypsy

The Players:

  • Gabriele Tosti: Bass
  • Alex Pym: Guitar
  • Maurizio Rossi: Drums
  • Jon "Champignon" Egan: Kaval, Nay, Dubuk, Concert Flute
  • Julian Adamoli: Keyboards
  • Joie Hinton: Synthesisers

This was the live debut of the Dream Machine album 'Trilogia', an event which took place at Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush, London on Sunday November 27th 2005.

The music is fantastic if you are into Psychedelic, Space and Jam Band music.

The song 'Invisible Maze' is about 25 minutes long as opposed to around 17 minutes long on the album.

It reminded me of the music scene of the 60s, particularly the mid to latter 60s.

'Machina Dread' is a reggae song where the band really jelled and just had a wonderful time. Alex got some great effects from his guitar too, in some ways reminding me more of what was happening with the guitar wizards of the 70s.

The music flowed really well and the tempo changes were not overbearing.

The song was around 22 minutes as compared to the 16 minutes on the album so you do get a lot more of the improv these guys are famous for. Loved the flute in this one.

They just cut loose and let it rip on the 'Trilogy Of Dreams' (The Flying Squirrel, Above and Beyond, Flying Carpet). They looked like they were all dreaming hence the name. Absolutely amazing. The video never does justice to being there and this is one concert we all should have seen. Some of the expressions on the faces told the story and the pan shots were wonderfully done. The crowd were very into it.

All in all, this was a special event that was captured in time by the video, which is about 80 minutes long. The lighting effects were perfect for the music.

I very much recommend this to all who have heard the music of the Dream Machine. If you haven't heard them then by all means go and get a copy.

Logia Dei Sogni
Trilogy of Dreams
i) Scoiattolo Volante (the Flying Squirrel)
ii) Above and Beyond
iii) Flying Carpet.)

They just cut loose and let it rip on the dream trilogy. They looked like they were all dreaming hence the name.

Absolutely amazing. The video never does justice of being there and this is one concert we all should have seen. Some of the expressions on the faces told the story and the pan shots were wonderfully done the crowd was into it very much too.

All in all this was a special event that was captured in time by the video which was about 80 minutes long. the lighting effects were perfect for the music.

I very much recommend this to all who have heard the music of the Dream Machine, if you haven't heard them then by all means go and get a copy.


NEMO - Si  [ top ]
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Track Listing:

  1. Douce Mort (16:26)
  2. Ici, Maintenant (6:27)
  3. Miroirs (6:44)
  4. Si (8:00)
  5. Apprentis Sorciers (20:05)

Running Time: 57.44 mins

For those who are unware, 'Si' is the French word for either 'if' or a very strong 'yes' (stronger than just 'yes' or 'oui', this is a very insistent 'Yes'). Having just taken delivery of 'Si' I wasn't sure in which direction the 'si' was intended, however, before even putting this CD in the player, a glance at the cover notes and titles mean this is very much an album with an 'IF' feel!

In fact, all the titles of this album as listed above, have sub-titles, which are:

  • Douce Mort (Si La Mort Devient Utile)
  • Ici, Maintenant (Si L'homme N'est Plus Mortel)
  • Miroirs (Si le Masque est Uniforme)
  • Si (Si La Vie est à Vendre)
  • Apprentis Sorciers (Si la Science Domine la Nature)

Which, roughly translated gives:

  • Softly death (if death were to become of use)
  • Here and Now (if mankind were no longer mortal)
  • Mirrors (if the 'mask' were the same for everyone)
  • If... (if life were for sale)
  • Witches and Wizards learn... (if scienctific study overcame natural forces)

Which leaves no doubt in my mind this particular 'SI' is 'IF'!

So, enough of the (very excellent) cover, titles and liner notes ... let's stick the CD on the player ...

Being a newcomer to the music of Nemo (shame on me, this is their third release), I didn't quite know what to expect ... and I have to say, I was very impressed from the opening bars ... this is mighty fine progressive rock - shifting, changing, stunning keyboards, subtle acoustic guitars, grungy electric guitars, effects galore and two tracks clocking in at over 15 minutes each ... yup, this is prog alright! Sometimes very reminiscent of Yes, sometimes more than a touch of Transatlantic and even a sprinkling of Dream Theater from time to time ... however, after a few further listens, I have to say that this really is a Nemo sound – a sound of their own ... good 'classic' progressive rock with a fair amount of jazz and heavy rock thrown in for good measure!

Here's a few thoughts on the invididual tracks:

Douce Mort (16:26)

A nice opening track of over 14 minutes ... starting with a lovely instrumental of piano and strings. The vocals come in fully at around the 6 minute mark. Some cool rhythm parts with lovely bass playing ... and some (heavier than expected) pumping guitar work. The track alternates between melancholic, quite moments, to balls-out, dramatic rock parts ... a good opening indeed.

Ici, Maintenant (6:27)

Again, a gentle ballad-like opening of a solo piano and vocals which gives way to more excellent rhythm and guitar work at around 1 minute 20. Great interplay again between keyboard and guitars. The track has a truly excellent acoustic ending.

Miroirs (6:44)

Very heavy guitar and keyboards introduction which gently retreat to allow the vocals to reign. Whilst this is a reasonable track, I personally found it a shame that the raw power and 'grungy' guitar of the intro wasn't continued throughout.

Si (8:00)

Si is a most beautiful track ... not only the composition, but the mystical keyboards, the sadness in the vocals and the tremendous acoustic guitar work. Whilst somewhat quieter and slower than the other tracks on the album, it still captures attention and holds it. Lots of King Crimson can be heard mixed in here. I particularly enjoyed the 'twist' in the track at just over four minutes ... great guitars with lots of effects which lead into a worthy guitar solo.

Apprentis Sorciers (20:05)

This really has the making of a 20-minute prog-epic ... a fantastic musical journey to follow. Again, great rhythm section with outstanding basslines and emphatic drumming. Keyboards are again, very well executed. Lots of jazz thrown in here and quite a sprinkling of blues. Yes and Kansas fans should make a point of adding this track to their favourite 'symphonic rock' lists. Truly fabulous guitar work, which by this time in the album I had already come to expect. Vocal work is kept to a minimum and are only used to compliment the musical journey ... my favourite track of the album, excellent.

It's obvious, even on first listen that these guys are extremely talented musicians. This album deserves more than one spin, it may not grab you on the first play, but like many great progressive rock releases... a couple of decent listens can really start to reveal the depth and beauty that lies within.

Samples available via their English language website at:
www.nemo-world.com

I think at the end of the day this is excellent progressive rock ... and, whilst I think the music alone deserves very high praise, I strongly believe that if the lyrics were in English then Nemo would be far wider known and acclaimed as a truly great progressive rock band ... which they deserve. However, even if you don't speak French, this album is still a worthy addition to any progressive rock collection ... excellent!

I'm off to check out the previous two releases!

Rating:

For General Prog Fans: 4/5
For French Speaking Prog Fans: 4.75/5
 

NEMO - Immersion Publique - Live  [ top ]
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Track Listing:

  1. Intro : Prélude à la ruine (1:22)
  2. Les temps modernes (7:54)
  3. 1914 (8:06)
  4. La dernière vague (12:12)
  5. Cavalerie / Confrontation (9:05)
  6. Au dessus des toits - Complete song ! (6:37)
  7. Au dessus des pyramides (6:35)
  8. Cluster 84 (6:03)

Running Time: 57:50

After three studio albums, French progressive rock band Nemo decided to release a live album Immersion Publique -  Live, recorded 23rd April, 2005 at Blavozy in France as part of the tour in support of their highly acclaimed album Prélude à la Ruin.

This is a fine live album, proving that this excellent band are very talented musicians and can bring the atmosphere of their studio work to the live arena and do it very well too. The sound quality is excellent.

The 'Nemo' sound, a blend of prog. Rock, jazz and blues is translated brilliantly to the stage with the usual shifts and great guitar breaks. The accomplished drums and bass provide a solid platform for the flying keyboards and guitars.

For anybody not familiar with Nemo,but are fans of, for instance Yes - then this live album (in the vein of a 'best of', containing tracks from the previous albums) could be a fine place to start. With around a full hour of excellent progressive rock music on a CD ... why not? Don't be put off by they French lyrics, the music can stand on its own two feet!

Rating:

  • For General Prog Fans: 4/5
  • For French Speaking Prog Fans: 4.5/5

 

JEAN-PIERRE LOUVETON - Cannibales  [ top ]
Reviewed by Chris Goodall

Track Listing:

  1. Trop Tard (Too late) - 2:29
  2. Comme Les Autres Sans Y Penser (Like the others, without thinking about it) - 6:41
  3. Rien Ne Colle (Nothing sticks) - 4:59
  4. St Petrole (Saint Petrol) - 10:44
  5. Telecommandes (Remote Controls) - 5:10
  6. Guest Star War - 6:19
  7. Le Prix De L'Exil (The price of Excile) - 8:29
  8. Cannibales (Cannibals) - 10:37
  9. Le Prix De L'Exil - Version Courte (The price of excile - reprise) - 5:10
    Running Time: 60 mins

Cannibales is the third solo album from John-Pierre Louveton, the very talented guitarist from French progressive rock band Nemo. The album comprises some original compositions in a rather 'dark and moody' feel.

As expected, excellent guitarwork is present throughout the entire album, from gentle acoustic fingerpicking to poweful solos ... performed with influences and sounds as diverse as Marillion, Genesis, Deep Purple, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead and even a sprinkling of Led Zep thrown in for good measure ... which actually suits my personal tastes just fine!

Keyboards, although quite subdued, are present throughout the entire album and Guest Star War includes a superb keyboards solo ... having said that, this track is also 'heaven' for guitar freak too ... three guitarists (guest guitarists, hence the title!) playing as one, terrific stuff.

For me, the only downside of the album were the vocals, with such accomplished and quality composition and musicianship, the vocals seemed just too weak, also, the fact that all the tracks are performed in French, which whilst does not provide me with any problems, could confine JPL to a purely Francophone market, which is a shame.

In Summary: a very accomplished album, however, not only could JPL have a fantastic 'side' career and actually open up a whole new market for himself (and possibly Nemo) if he just took care of the composition and guitar work and took on a new vocalist ... especially if the vocalist could throw in one or two tracks with english lyrics which could make this music far more accessible to far more people.

All in all, to any lovers of prog-guitarists in the vein of Steve Wilson, then this is certainly an album worth checking out.

  • For General Prog Fans: 3/5
  • For Prog Guitar Fans: 3.5/5
  • For French Speaking Prog Fans: 4/5

 

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