Sunday, March 25, 2007


Fungus is founded in 1972 in the Dutch town of Vlaardingen. The band consists of founder Fred Piek, Bob Dekenga and Kees Maat. At first they almost exclusively play English and Scottish folk.
Bob Dekkenga leaves the group in 1973 to study and is replaced with Sido Martens, a former Farmers Union and Hello member and bass player Koos Pakvis. They publish the single "Farewell To Tarwathie".

Fungus is the first band to combine Dutch folklore and folkrock in 1974. The titleless debut LP, with half Dutch traditionals and half British material, will be Fungus's most succesfull album, mostly because of the hitsingle "Kaapren Varen".
Drummer Louis Debij joins the band after recording the album with Fungus. Bob Dekenga return and replaced Kees Maat on keyboard. Kees Maat joins "Electric Tear". Fungus is the only Dutch band at the Pinkpop festival of this year and starts a tour soon after, playing in Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the UK. During the tour Debij is temporarily replaced with drummer Jack van den Blink.

The more balanced album "Lief ende Leed" is published in 1975. It contains exclusively rock versions of Dutch traditionals. Martens leaves the group halfway during the recording of the album to persue a solo-career. He is replaced by Rens van der Zalm, ex-Lascarrol and Bill Brooker's Jugband, who brings more than just his electric guitar: a mandoline, bagpipe and fiddle for example.

1976 After recording the third album, "Van De Kiel Naar Vlaring", the co-founder Dekenga leaves the band a second time.

1977 A changing musical climate forces the group to find new ways. They return to a lighter English folk repertoire. This more early-Fungus style results in the LP "Mushrooms". Arie van der Graaf is the guitarist on this album.

1978 The group continues to slink. Piek, Pakvis and Van der Zalm play for awhile as a succesfull accoustic trio. At the end of the year Fungus ceases to exist.

1979 The fairly succesfull farewell-LP "De Kaarten Zijn Geschud" contains, as did the 1st, a mix of Dutch and English material. However the catchy single "De Moord Te Raamsdonk" leaves the masses unmoved, silenced in the beginning of the punk-era.
Van der Zalm join the more puristic "Wolverlei" while Piek and Wim Kerkhof start the duo "The Amazing Stroopwafels".


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Fungus - Fungus (1974)

Fungus - Lief ende Leid (1975)

Fungus - Van de Kiel naar Vlaring (1976)

Fungus - Mushrooms (1977)

Fungus - De Kaarten zijn Geschud (1979)

Flame Dream - Calatea (1978)

Geneva, 1979. In a record shop, I find a flyer announcing a new prog band is gigging in the surroundings... A band called Flame Dream with a logo a la Roger Dean! Ouch, a Swiss band playing progressive rock... Surprising! Progressive, not cosmic I should say : no connection whatsoever with Tangerine Dream! In fact one of the greatly unknown yet basic prog bands to be with a destine similar to Anyone's Daughter's. One of the best groups at the beginning of the eighties on the European symphonie prog scene, no less...

The band could have been compared to Genesis during the Peter Gabriel era (similar vocals, flutes and keyboards) with influences of Van Der Graaf Generator (dark climates and sax) and Gentle Giant (syncopated structures), however it Kwas by no means a clone! The compositions moere characterised by the stress on the keyboards and the virtuosity of the keyboards tiwizard playing tunes, always melodic and often melancholy, on top of a very dynamic and complex rhythm section, the whole stuff embroidered by superb flute and sax parts. The sound was characterised too by the absence of guitars, and by the singer's peculiar colour, often reminding Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins.

They released 6 albums. The 4 first album (Calatea, Elements, Out In The Dark and Supervision) are available on CD on Tachika Records). professional sound since they luckily signed for a major by the very first opus (Phonogram). "Those were the days..." The first and second album were produced by the band yet, while the further works were produced by John Acock : remember this man coproduced most of Steve Hackett albums.

The group was a quartet most of the time : Peter Furrer (drums), Urs Hochuli (bass, vocals and... cover illustrations), Peter Wolf (woodwinds, main vocals and lyrics ; notice this guy had nothing to do with J. Geils band's singer!), Roland Ruckstuhl (keyboards and compositions). Another founding member of Flame Dream, John Wolf Brennan (keyboards), Peter's brother, left the band before the first album. He concentrated on jazz, new music and contemporary classic and published several CDs. Flame Dream vas reduced to a trio by "8 on 6" (Peter Furrer, Peter Wolf, Roland Ruckstuhl), Urs Hochuli being only a guest on some songs. The band had two guitarists episodically : Urs Waldispuhl who only played on the first album, and Dale Hauskins on "Out ln The Dark".

The Albums

"Calatea" (1978) is a good album with a light jazz-rock touch, rather ordinary vocals (Peter Wolf was perhaps a bit Young at that time), guitars on accompaniment only. It was recorded in the famous Aquarius studio in Geneva (see Pulsar, Yes...) and remains, being very rare, a real collector.

"Elements" (1979) is a great album featuring very
symphonie prog, with mellotrons, pianos, flutes, without guitars, based on poems by English writers (such as E. Spenser, R.W. Emerson...) about the four elements and thus a bit clumsy sometimes : it's hard to sing poems, you know, to put music along verse. It was recorded in the Aquarius studio too.

"Out In The Dark" (1980) is perhaps the best dise, the most Genesis-like, a concept featuring two Bides (dark and sun) a bit long though. It was recorded in the Aquarius studio once again.

"Supervision" (1982) is good too. It features short, contrasted and dense songs a la "And Then They Were Three" (Genesis). And has a cleaner sound (very dry drums and rhythrnic). lt was recorded in London.

"Travaganza" (1982) is the twin brother to "Supervision" but not so good. Flame Dream tried to be more commercial, composing songs like Phil Collins's "In the air tonight", or Genesis's "Turn it on again". Curiously the name of the
band turned to Travaganza when a small British label, Aura, decided to publish this record in UK...

"8 on 6" (1986), despite its gimmick cover, is not really nice. After this long silence, the fandom expected much more. It contains simple compositions, automatic rhythms, concise and direct tracks, typically 80's sounded (in the way of Genesis's "Abacab" or akin to New Music's). This album sadly ends the story of a great band... A band leaving no live testimony, curiously. Taken from band's unofficial page

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Agamemnon - Part l & ll (1981)

Swiss prog.

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Elysium - Fogdays (1982)

Swiss 1982 prog, hints of Genesis & that typical Teutonic sound.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Deutscher Kaiser - Halli Galli Tanzmusik (1981)

NDW. GreaT!

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City Waites

THE CITY WAITES is Britain’s longest established ensemble specialising in early English popular music. Their repertoire focuses on the songs, dances and ballads that were heard in the theatre, tavern and countryside during the 17th century - the music of the common man. Band's page here

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City Waites - S/T (1974)

City Waites - A Gorgeous Gallery Of Gallant Inventions (1974)

Fermata - Same (1975)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bene Gesserit - A High, Happy, Perverse and Cynical Cry Of Joy (1984)

Legendary minimal band!

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Eero Koivistoinen

Eero Koivistoinen (born January 13, 1946), one of the all-time greats in Finnish jazz and saxophone, arrived in the Finnish jazz scene in the mid-60s. Ever since, he has been one of the most distinguished and trusted jazz musicians in Finland. He is known for his versatility and creativeness, his tastes ranging from pithy jazz solos to large-scale orchestral works.

Eero Koivistoinen’s interest in music began at an early age, his first choices being classical and the violin. At sixteen, the violin was put aside in favour of the alto saxophone. Later on he switched to the tenor and soprano saxophones. Barely in his twenties, Koivistoinen was already a familiar face in Helsinki’s burgeoning jazz clubs. At that time he was studying at the Sibelius Academy: saxophone with Eero Linnala and composition with the famous Aulis Sallinen.

Eero Koivistoinen’s first line-up was with Edward Vesala on drums and Pekka Sarmanto on bass. This improvising trio wasthe first to explore the possibilities of avant-garde and free jazz in Finland. In 1967 Koivistoinen's remarkable talents were rewarded as the newly-founded Finnish Jazz Federation decided he should be the first ever recipient of the Georgie Award and he was nominated Jazz Musician of the Year. In 1969 Koivistoinen was to continue on the winning trail as his group won the competition for ensembles in Montreux, Switzerland. This gave him an opportunity to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival in the US. This award was, in fact, the very first time Finnish jazz was recognised on this scale.

In the early 70s Koivistoinen refined his skills in composition with one term at the Sibelius Academy and three terms at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he had such teachers as Herb Pomeroy and Joe Viola. Since then he himself has been teaching at the Sibelius Academy. Towards the end of the decade Koivistoinen made several concert tours and recordings and his quartet attracted a great deal of attention.

In 1981 Koivistoinen won the Arranger’s Prize in the Nordring Competition held by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Jersey with his own orchestral work Ultima Thule. Six years later, in 1987, the Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Music organised a competition for big band compositions. Koivistoinen won the first prize with a work entitled Kukonpesä.

The UMO Jazz Orchestra has played an important role in Koivistoinen's career ever since its creation in 1975. In the mid-90s, after gradually shifting his emphasis from saxophone playing to composing and conducting, Koivistoinen was appointed Artistic Director of the renowned group for a period of two years (1996-98). As a conductor, he is held in high esteem not only locally, but also through his appearances in Germany, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania. Koivistoinen was the producer of the UMO’s first recordings for a label outside Finland (Umo Jazz Orchestra on Naxos Jazz label); he also acted as the conductor and arranger of Electrifying Miles with Tim Hagans as the guest star on A-Records label. The album was given four stars in Down Beat Magazine.
In the last few years, among other things, Eero has shown a growing interest in Africa and African based music. As a result, he recorded Eero Koivistoinen and Senegalese Drums (1998) and with the band performed on the Jazz Federation’s tour and in major jazz festivals in Finland as well as at the Stockholm Jazz Festival (2003). Sven Malm of Svenska Dagbladet wrote about the performance, ”…an enjoyable encounter of cultures with the sax veteran Eero Koivistoinen and a group of Senegalese drum virtuosos.Lovely group play, strong with colour, unusual and
Eero jamming in Grand Popo, Benin 2002
astonishing – such a thing gives a profile to the festival. ” In 2003 Koivistoinen also produced a record with Galaxy containing mbalax and other Senegalese musical heritage. A few years earlier he had produced records for Naxos World label in Africa: Mozambique Relief, Venancio Mbande Orchestra, Eduardo Durao Timbila Ensemble in Mozambique and Alexandra Youth Choir. Alexandra is a township close to Johannesburg, South Africa.The Jazz Federation’s tour in 2003 attracted the largest audiences ever when Koivistoinen put togethera band called Imbizo, with Gloria Bosman, Concord Nkabinde and Mabeleng Moholo from South Africa being among the performers.

What else should be added? Among other projects, Eero Koivistoinen’s extensive list of works contains the ballet Äiti Maa (Mother Earth), a suite inspired by Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, a variety of vocal pieces, and music for several films and radio plays. For the Finnish Broadcasting Company Koivistoinen has made a radiophonic suite called Suomi - maailman majakka using documentary material, e.g. speeches of Finnish presidents, with musical samples and improvisations. Another recent large-scale work is a suite of Thelonius Monk’s themes called Round about Monk arranged for a symphony orchestra. The task was commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Koivistoinen has a reputation for melodically and timbrally rich orchestral technique, and as an arranger he is appreciated well beyond the circles of his jazz colleagues. Eero Koivistoinen has also encouraged various experimental combos as the chairman of the composers' Zone Society. As a producer, he has established a label of his own, Pro Records, which has released works both by him personally and by promising young musicians. In 1997 Bill Shoemaker of the magazine Jazz Times commented: ”Finland has an impressively large pool of diverse, erudite talents. Several, including Eero Koivistoinen, are among the world’s best on their respective instruments.”

On Recordings

Koivistoinen's recorded output began in 1967 with Blues Section, a blues-rocky, Hendrix-influenced band. His first solo EP of the same year, Jappa, is today a collectors’ item. Valtakunta (1969), Koivistoinen's first solo album, was inspired by Finnish poetry. It was a real breakthrough and started a career laced with literature-oriented works, with inspiration ranging from the poetry of Lauri Viita and Pentti Saarikoski to the limericks and poems for children of Kirsi Kunnas. Ever since, Koivistoinen's album stack has been growing steadily, both with solo releases and appearances as a sideman.
Picture In Three Colours (1983) was one culmination point: Koivistoinen had gathered together a group of international megastars. The band included such musicians as Jack DeJohnette (drums), John Scofield (guitar), Tom Harrell (trumpet), Jim McNeely (piano) and Ron McClure (bass). DeJohnette, Scofield and McClure got together again in 1992 , joined by Randy Brecker on trumpet, Conrad Herwig on trombone and Dave Kikoski on piano, to record Altered Things, which was highly acclaimed by critics. Bill Milkowski of Down Beat granted four and a half stars to this album and wrote, ”But a cursory listening to Altered Things reveals that these musicians were motivated by more than just funding. Koivistoinen happens to be a first-rate composer, an arranger of the highest order, and a strong improviser on tenor.”

Other multinational groups can be heard on the albums Dialog (1995), Sometime Ago (1999) and Zone: First Definition (1999). Dale Smoak of Cadence described the group play on Dialog: “Saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen leads a powerful multinational quintet through an energetic set of modern modal jazz. …Koivistoinen wrote eight of the twelve tunes and all of the arrangements. His settings and the strong solo and group play make for exciting music. Recommended.”

The new millennium has seen some re-releases of his older albums, as well as new recordings, too. Especially the re-edition of Wahoo! (2000) has been a great success. The latest two recordings on Silence label have drawn their inspiration from Finnish heritage. Utu (2001) is a collection of Finnish folk songs arranged for a jazz quartet. Suomalainen (2003) is featuring the impressive vocalism of Johanna Iivanainen, with a repertoire of old and new Finnish songs.
Eero Koivistoinen
Not so long ago Lauri Karvonen, jazz critic of the leading Finnish daily, Helsingin Sanomat, wrote: “Eero Koivistoinen has in the course of thirty years built up, bit by bit, a style of his own that basically took shape ages ago. Since then he has in fact simply honed it down to make it more and more perfect. This has meant increasing enjoyment for the listener as he has trimmed it of any dead wood, acquired more confidence and introduced further nuances and little strokes of genius more apposite than the last. Music beyond compare.” Petri Silas concludes: ” Whichever way one slices it, Eero Koivistoinen is the perfect example of a hungry maker of music still going strong after more than one third of a century. Forever vital in his expression and gracious in his attitude, Koivistoinen has managed to maintain a childlike curiosity in all things musical.”

In his native Finland Koivistoinen has worked with nearly every Finnish jazz musician and a great number of ensembles. The most important employer in 1975 - 90 and 1996 - 98 was the UMO Jazz Orchestra, where Koivistoinen worked as a saxophonist, conductor and artistic director with several legendary jazz musicians. The list of his foreign co-players has names like this:

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Mariano, John Scofield, Ron McClure, Jack DeJohnette, Idrees Sulieman, Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Jim McNeely, Conrad Herwig, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Clifford Jordan, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Gil Evans, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Billy Hart, George, Russell, Mike Gibbs, Ted Curson, Helen Merrill, Bob Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, Dave Kikoski, McCoy Tyner, Tim Hagans, Joe Henderson, Oliver Nelson, Mercer Ellington, Ray Anderson, Niels Henning Örsted Pedersen, Jesper Lundgaard, Leroy Lowe, Anders Bergcrantz, John Tchikai, Allan Botchinsky, Alex Riel, Palle Mikkelborg, Mario Bauza, Dave Liebman, George Wadenius, Philip Catherine, Sabu Martinez, Bertil Lövgren, Bernt Rosengren, Lasse Lindgren, Jeff Hirshfield, Kenny Drew, Claudio Roditi, Azymuth, Paquito Rivera, Abe Laboriel, Justo Almario, Kevin Hayes, Benny Carter, Red Mitchell, Don Menza, Bengt Hallberg, Etta Cameron, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, George Fame, Benny Golson, Herb Geller, Jerry Dodgion, Bill Holman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Louis Bellson, Johnny Griffin, Louis Stewart, Mario Grillo, Herb Pomeroy, Dino Saluzzi, Mike Nock, Mike Westbrook, Larry Coryell, Zoot Sims, Graham Collier, Jeff Williams, Bob Berg, Albert Mangelsdorf, Senegalese Drums, Galaxy, Eduardo Durao, Gloria Bosman, Concord Nkabinde, Barry Van Zyl, Lulu Gontzana, Kenny Washington, Alan Jean-Marie, Horace Parlan, Alvin Queen, Bennie Wallace Eero Koivistoinen home page

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Eero Koivistoinen - Valtakunta (1968)

Eero Koivistoinen - For Children (1970)

Eero Koivistoinen Music Society - Wahoo! (1972)

Eero Koivistoinen Quartet - Labyrinth (1977)

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Green - Same (1969)

One of the most unjustly neglected albums of its time,this superb collection of snappy psychedelic rock first appeared in 1969.A brilliant mixture of raw guitar,subtle horns and catchy songwriting, the album comes across as a delightful amalgam of the Beatles, the Zombies and Buffalo Springfield, making it a must-have for fans of classic 60s psychedelia. Freak Emporium

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Octobre - L'autoroute Des Reves (1977)

Octobre was at the forefront of the Quйbecois prog/rock scene of the seventies with bands like Harmonium and Morse Code.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Aquarians - Jungle Grass (1969)

Beautiful bossa/latin jazz lp with psych pop elements and superb female/male vocal harmonies with help from Dave Mackay and Vicky Hamilton,arranged by latin jazz master Vladimir Vasilief and featuring top jazz musicians like Bobby Hutcherson,Joe Pass,Francisco Aquabella and more in a groovy hippy vibe with fantastic piano,vibraphone and flute solos,percussion breaks.

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Urszula Dudziak - Urszula (1975 )

Polish jazz singer. Perfect!

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Troc - Same (1972)

French progressive

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Love Live Life + One - Love Will Make A Better You (1970)

Really wigged out Japanese psych band from 1971 that subscribed to the "wall of sound" theory. Featuring a flautist and two saxophonists in addition to the usual drums, organ, guitar, piano and bass, Love Will Make a Better You is a rather mixed bag of music, ranging from bluesy psych to free jazz excursions somewhere between Coltrane and Coleman. This wild use of horns and flute lends a very avant/prog aura to the album, particularly if it is viewed as a psych album. In comparison to the grungy, bluesy psych from Japan in the early '70s, Love Live Life + One were actually quite experimental. In fact, though they don't sound like them, I was vaguely reminded of the experimental side of the Soft Machine. The English lyrics are pretty hippie/trippy and aren't worth writing about other than a rather unique delivery style.

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Baba Yaga - Collage (1974)

One would think that a two side-long track, 1974 album recorded in Dieter Dierks' studio would have been reissued on CD by now, but alas, this is not the case with the only album by Baba Yaga. This is really the project of a duo, Nemat Darman, who covers percussion, sitar and santur, and Ingo Werner (ex My Solid Ground) who covers all the keyboards. The fusion of electronics and eastern instruments here combines the early sounds of Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream with the more exotic flavorings of the santur and sitar. Both sides act as suites of shorter pieces where an electronically effected sitar and tabla motif will dissolve into electronic and percussion madness (think In Den Garten Pharaos) or a solo piano introduction will pave the way for spacey electronics and jazzy electric piano rambling. It must be said here that the exotic instrumentation dominates the first side, while the keyboards dominate the second side, almost as if each side was a showcase for one of the musicians. Overall, Collage is an excellent piece of 70s German esoterica and a good example of just how far out Krautrock experimentation could reach. Review by Mike McLatchey/Gnosis 2000

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Litmus - You Are Here (2004)

Killer UK space rock! Andy (organ, mellotron, minimoog, moog taurus, jupiter 8, 2001-present), Simon (electric guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar, audio generator, novadrive, 1999-2004), Fiddler (vocals, guitar, 2004-present), Martin (bass, vocals, acoustic guitar, wavestation), Anton (audio generator, programming, moog taurus, devices, 2002-present), Matt (audio generator, gong, 2001-04), Ben (drums, 1999-2003), Marek (drums, vocals, percussion, 2003-present).

Julian Cope' review

Buy this great CD Here

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lotus - S/T (1974) & Vera O'Flera (1975)

Instrumental album from 1974. Not comparable to any other band. Musically a mix of Bo Hansson and Finnforest.

Lotus - S/T (1974)

Much more fusion oriented music than on the debut album. On this album one can find "the wild axman" Chico Lindvall on guitar. Claes Ericsson from ASOKA on keyboards. On bass guitar Jerker Alluander and on drums Håkan Nyberg (Yes it is the Nationalteatern drummer). The Saxophone player Håkan Broström is helping up on one track.

Lotus - Vera O'Flera (1975)

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