Skip to main content

Willowglass, England


Website
Samples

Willowglass- s/t. 2005 private
Willowglass - Book of Hours. 2008 private
Willowglass - The Dream Harbour. 2013 private

We pick up Willowglass on the second album "Book of Hours"... What do you do with a guy who is enamored with the European Medieval past of stained glass windows, Celtic crosses, and towered villages - and who has an obsession with 1970-1973 era Genesis? Someone who distills those ideas, reshapes it in his own image, and then pushes back out to the wilds for all to critique. It's easy to pan such an effort, but when it is done this well and with this kind of passion, one really does have to admire the final product. If early Genesis is your thing, and you're OK with no vocals being present in such a setting, then it's highly likely you will enjoy, or at the very least appreciate, Andrew Marshall's Willowglass. 

----

As a reviewer myself, I tend to read dozens of reviews. It can be wearisome to see the same tired critiques by those who think they have something novel to say - when in fact it's the same old blather. Generally these reviews are from newbies who digest 30 albums a day via illegal download and spit out whatever is in their addled brain. They have no context or sense of history. Just bla blabla blabla. Sometimes you can tell they aren't even reviewing the correct album, but something else - probably a mislabled download or one too many bong hits. So with that in mind, I had a bit of fun with the below review, as "The Dream Harbour" is just the type of album that is ripe for getting picked on.

----

Willowglass continue to improve with each release. Now a full 3 piece, Willowglass is beginning to come together as a full unit rather than just a solo effort with a drummer in tow. If progressive rock is a regular part of your diet, then Willowglass are your IHOP. Good ole eggs (mellotron, organ), bacon (flute, violin), and pancakes (guitar) with syrup (soaring guitar)... and coffee (odd time signatures) is what is served at The Willowglass Cafe. Sure, you've had bacon, eggs, pancakes, and coffee a million times before. But when it's all cooked right, you walk out happy and smiling. Willowglass does that for you.

Oh, you wanted scallops with parsnip puree, l'orange spinach, and a balsamic vinegar reduction? Oh that would be the restaurant to our left called the Avant-Garde Noise Cafe!

For the first reviewer that comes here and says this has "all been done before, therefore don't waste your time" you get a gold star!

TWO stars if you look just like a Starbucks' Barista!

And THREE stars if you look like a Starbucks' Barista but have never actually had a job before! 


----

I have heard the debut, but it didn't leave a mark. Perhaps I'll revisit one day.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Elephant9, Norway

News: Elephant9 are set to release their 5th album (on Feb 16) entitled Greatest Show on Earth (who remembers that fine early 70s UK band?). Label says: "On this, their fifth studio album, they are back to the core trio of their two first albums, with Ståle Storløkken (keyboards), Nikolai Hængsle (bass) and Torstein Lofthus (drums). "The Greatest Show On Earth" displays some truly astonishing playing and is a more dynamic, structured and focused album with all tracks clocking in between five and seven minutes." Hmmm, not liking that guitarist Fiske is not around anymore, but OK, let's see what they come up with.

Facebook Samples
Location: Oslo

Overview: If you like overdriven Hammond organ and Rhodes piano - completely fuzzed out to the maximum - all immersed within interesting instrumental compositions, then Elephant9 are for you. Their last 2 albums feature former Landberk / current Dungen's guitarist Reine Fiske, and have started to move into a 1970 era …

Hills, Sweden

Samples
Facebook
Website

Originally published on July 17, 2011 and updated on February 3, 2012. Moving post forward to highlight their new album Frid.

Hills are among the finest of the neo Krautrock bands one can hear today. They are still active as of August, 2016..

Hills - s/t. 2009 Intergalactic Tactic Records (LP); 2010 Sulatron (Austria CD)
Hills - Master Sleeps. 2011 Intergalactic Tactics Records (LP); 2011 Transubstans (CD); 2013 Rocket Recordings (UK CD; LP)
Hills - Live (EP). 2013 Cardinal Fuzz (UK LP)
Hills - Frid. 2015 Rocket Recordings (UK CD; LP)
Hills - Live At Daemonens Port. 2015 Kommun 2 / Svensk Psych Aften (2 LP)

Regarding the debut, this is one of those cases where I bought the LP (the pink vinyl edition no less), since I didn't figure it would be issued on CD. I probably would have waited otherwise, but what the hey, the LP is pretty cool looking. But owning it on CD with the bonus tracks was necessary too. I may one day part with the vinyl, but not in a hur…

El Circulo de Willis, Spain

News: El Circulo de Willis are active and playing live shows in their native Spain. No word on a new album. I've only heard the latest from 2015 called Retales, but I was mightily impressed with the music and will certainly explore their back catalog as opportunity affords.

Facebook Samples Website
Location: Madrid

Overview: El Circulo de Willis play an exciting instrumental progressive music driven by flute and guitar, with some sax, synthesizer, and metal touches. Like a blend of Ozric Tentacles, Naikaku, and Dream Machine with a bit of Kong thrown in.

Homunculus Res, Italy

News: New album out February 15th (was slightly delayed and is now available as of March 8). Title is Della Stessa Sostanza dei Sogna.

Facebook Samples
Location: Palermo, Sicily

Overview: Homunculus Res are a tremendous new Canterbury styled band from Italy that have perfectly captured the spirit of another era. Brilliantly mixing melody and complexity, with a jazzy undertone.

UMR notes

Necronomicon, Germany

News: Well, forget what I said. There is a new album (see cover above)! It's noted as such in the comments but I missed the meaning. Oh my goodness, this band is something else...
Website Facebook
Location: Aachen

Overview: Necronomicon released one famous album (in the underground that is) in 1972, and only reappeared with some archival releases in 1990s. Then completely out of nowhere they released an album in 2012 that was even better than their original release!

UMR notes

Space Debris, Germany

News: Space Debris have just released their 8th(?) studio album Behind the Gate now available as a 2 LP or 2 CD set.

Website Samples Facebook
Location: Stuttgart

Overview: I would consider Space Debris a Jam Band first and Krautrock band second. Their approach to music is based on the long form improvisational jam centered around the soloists for guitar and organ.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Tusmorke, Norway

News: And yet another new album from Tusmorke! Quite prolific I'd say.

Facebook Samples
Location: Oslo

Overview: Tusmørke started their career as a band very much influenced by Jethro Tull. Today they are far more native ,and recall some of the great 70s Norwegian bands like Host and Hades.

UMR notes

The Cosmic Dead, Scotland

News: The Cosmic Dead are a very active band, playing live shows throughout 2016 and 2017. They also have numerous albums, their latest being Psych Is Dead from April of this year. I've only heard The Exalted King (2013) to date.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Glasgow

Overview: The Cosmic Dead are a Scottish quarter whose raison d'etre is improvised space rock

UMR notes

The Worm Ouroboros, Belarus

Website This site is similar to Facebook, but most of the posts for the band are in Cyrillic
Samples Same site - go to Audio Files section

The Worm Ouroboros - Of Things That Never Were. 2013 Fading (Italy)

The Worm Ouroboros is a new band from Belarus, a country that up until now has yet to make an appearance into my collection. No doubt they came as a reference from Rational Diet, a popular Belarusian chamber rock group, also settled in the AltRock canon.

The Worm Ouroboros are clearly informed by the classic Canterbury scene, and it's most apparent with regards to the fuzzy keyboard tones, copious use of flute, complex meters, kinetic electric guitar, and a melodic disposition.  All of which automatically elevates the album to top tier status in UTR's world. Certainly other classic early 70s progressive influences come to the fore where one can easily spot Steve Hackett, Pink Floyd, Camel, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and even Magma! Some of the acoustic guitar and flute duo's …

Wobbler, Norway

News: Wobbler have announced their latest album From Silence to Somewhere which is due out by Oct 20th.

Facebook Samples
Location: Hønefoss (NW of Oslo)

Overview: Wobbler are a retro prog band from Norway who initially followed in the footsteps of Anglagard and Sinkadus, and have since moved onto the sounds of early Yes. Wobbler are as good as it gets for the style. Superb band.

UMR Notes