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IQ, England

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IQ - Seven Stories into Eight. 1982 private. Cassette only. Re-recorded as Seven Stories into '98. 1998 Giant Electric Pea.
IQ - Tales from the Lush Attic. 1983 The Major Record Company (LP); 1988 MSI (France CD)
IQ - The Wake. 1985 Sahara (LP); 1994 Giant Electric Pea (CD)
IQ - Nonzamo. 1987 Mercury CD + LP
IQ - Are You Sitting Comfortably? 1989 Vertigo CD + LP
IQ - Ever. 1993 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2013 on LP)
IQ - Subterranea. 1997 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2012 on LP)
IQ - The Seventh House. 2000 Giant Electric Pea; 2005 InsideOut (Germany)
IQ - Dark Matter. 2004 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2008 on LP by Primal Vinyl)
IQ - Frequency. 2009 InsideOut (Germany)
IQ - The Road of Bones. 2014 Giant Electric Pea (also as a 2 CD set with bonus tracks)

IQ have also released many live albums, outtakes, demos, and other such non-studio recordings that I've left off here. This includes the debut tape, which I will investigate further now that …

Happy Family, Japan

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Happy Family - s/t. 1995 Cuneiform (USA)
Happy Family - Toscco. 1997 Cuneiform (USA); 1997 Arcangelo
Happy Family - Minimal Gods. 2014 Cuneiform (USA)

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Perhaps no band arrived with such an in-your-face sound as Happy Family did in 1995. Their fabled live shows were popular amongst the tape trading crowd of the early 1990s. So there was quite a bit of buzz on what their first CD would sound like. The band insisted their albums come out on the preeminent Avant Prog label Cuneiform, and were willing to wait until that label had room on their release schedule. By 1995, anticipation was high, and Happy Family not only delivered, but exceeded, most everyone's expectation.

Consider the first track 'Rock & Young'. Hard to imagine anyone delivering such a strong overpowering opening punch as Happy Family did here. If this track doesn't move your heart rate up a few beats, you're probably dead already, and no one told you (did Aunt Sally for…

Kenso, Japan

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No new updates from Kenso since 2015.

Kenso - s/t. 1980 Pam (LP); 1995 Arcangelo (CD)
Kenso - II. 1982 Pam (LP); 1993 King (CD); 2002 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - s/t (aka III). 1985 Nexus (LP; CD); 2011 King (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Sparta. 1989 Crime (CD); 2009 Pathograph as Sparta Naked (CD)
Kenso - Yume No Oka. 1991 King; 2011 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Esoptron. 1999 King (CD); 1999 Musea (France CD)
Kenso - Ken-Son-Gu-Su. 2000 Pathograph (CD)
Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis. 2002 Nexus (CD); 2002 Vinyl Magic (Italy CD)
Kenso - Utsuroi Yuku Mono. 2006 King (CD)
Kenso - Uchi Naru Koe Ni Kaikiseyo. 2014 King (CD)

There are many other live and archival releases from the band, though I only own Ken-Son-Gu-Su. All the other entries above represent their studio albums. There's also a 14 CD box set on King that contains all their studio albums through 2012, as well as a handful of live recordings.

For a band with so many recordings, an…

Druckfarben, Canada

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First published on June 26, 2013 and moved forward to highlight their new album Second Sound.

Last update from Facebook was Feb, 2016 so it appears they're taking a break.

Druckfarben - s/t. 2011 private (CD)
Druckfarben - Second Sound. 2014 private (CD)

----Druckfarben

In the 1970s, there existed a band from Toronto called Dillinger, who seamlessly mixed progressive rock and commercial styled tunes to perfection. Druckfarben are the spiritual successor to the two Dillinger albums. It is the definition of the USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock (1970's/early 80s) sound that I've painstakingly documented. Given that this is a 2011 release, the commercial aspects are less "FM ready", but rather geared to the discerning listener of finely crafted pop music. Musically, with its very strong Hammond organ and violin presence, Druckfarben are clearly aiming for the Point of Know Return. And having hindsight at their disposal, they only l…

Fusion Orchestra 2, England

Mekong Delta, Germany

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Mekong Delta - s/t. 1987 Aaarrg CD + LP
Mekong Delta - The Music of Erich Zann. 1988 Aaarrg CD + LP
Mekong Delta - The Principle of Doubt. 1989 Aaarrg CD + LP
Mekong Delta - Dances of Death (and Other Walking Shadows). 1990 Aaarrg CD + LP
Mekong Delta - Kaleidoscope. 1992 Intercord (reissued in 2013 on LP by Night of the Vinyl Dead (Italy))
Mekong Delta - Visions Fugitives. 1994 Intercord; 2002 Zardoz
Mekong Delta - Lurking Fear. 2007 AFM CD + 2LP
Mekong Delta - Wanderer on the Edge of Time. 2010 Aaarrg CD + LP
Mekong Delta - In a Mirror Darkly. 2014 Steamhammer CD + 2LP

In addition to the above studio recordings, Mekong Delta has a handful of live and re-recorded material.

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As discussed with Deterrent, I've decided to include some of the more interesting progressive metal bands into the UTR. And Mekong Delta are a long time favorite of mine, having bought the LP of "The Music of Erich Zann" not long after it was released in 1988. They've al…

The Morrigan, England

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The Morrigan - Spirit of the Soup. 1984 private (LP); 1999 English Garden (CD)
The Morrigan - Rides Out. 1990 private (LP); 1997 English Garden (CD)
The Morrigan - Wreckers. 1996 English Garden
The Morrigan - Masque. 1998 English Garden
The Morrigan - Hidden Agenda. 2002 English Garden

I haven't heard the debut, so we start with "Rides Out"...

On paper at least, England's The Morrigan doesn't sound like my cup of tea. In essence, The Morrigan play rocked out versions of English traditional folk songs. Or self-penned tracks that sound like English traditional folk songs. Fortunately I happened upon "Rides Out" not long after the CD release, and was captivated immediately. Not only are these spirited reproductions - or originals - but there is definitely a psychedelic/heavy rock slant to their approach (and guitar sound), reminding me of some of the early 70s greats like Mellow Candle or The Trees. The female vocals and recorders - heck th…

Node, England

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Node - s/t. 1995 Deviant CD + LP
Node - Node 2. 2014 DiN

Before AirSculpture, Radio Massacre International, Under The Dome, and Redshift, there was Node - the group primarily given credit for kicking off the entire retro-Tangerine Dream movement in the UK. As with most pioneers, I don’t think they were as cognizant of recreating a style as they were compiling a vast array of influences and then proceeding to move them forward in an exciting way. As such, this isn’t nearly the dead-on "Rubycon" meets "Timewind" sound the others have striven so hard to emulate. A full four member group with Modular Moog, Ring Modulated trumpet, "The Putney", and "Interactive Phase Synthesizer", Node engage in all sorts of random possibilities that the style affords. Radical, groundbreaking, richly produced, rhythmically interesting, and brilliant.

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I wrote the above (with a bit of recent editing) about a decade ago and I never ex…

Proud Peasant, USA

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Proud Peasant - Flight. 2014 Basement Avatar

Proud Peasant are a new symphonic progressive band from Austin, Texas, an area more known for country blues or cutting edge indie rock (it's for certain the hipster capital of Texas) - and as such the band find themselves at complete odds with their hometown brethren.  There are 3 lengthy instrumental tracks (12:28, 19:34, 13:20) on "Flight", and what sounds to be mostly charted music and well rehearsed. There's a large palette of instruments on display, beyond the usual rock quartet with 70s analog keyboards. Proud Peasant's trademark sound would have to be simply described as BIG. Not in the GYBE post rock manner, as this is music that is definitely rooted in the 70s - with that era's analog instrumentation - though perhaps as played and produced in the 1990s. Comparisons do not come easily, but I think Gnosis Joe offered perhaps the best clue: Rainbow Theatre at the time of "Fantasy o…

Cuprum, Czech Republic

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First published June 11, 2012 and moved forward to highlight their new album Brahma Višnu Šiva.

The band is still active as of the summer of 2016.

Cuprum - Musica Deposita. 2011 private (CD)
Cuprum - Brahma Višnu Šiva. 2014 private (CD)

----Musica Deposita

With Cuprum what you get is good old fashioned hard rock meets progressive with loads of fuzzy guitar, Hammond organ and a little flute. Sure, it's retro 1971 England or Germany, and a sound you've heard from other modern bands like Wicked Minds (Italy), Seid (Norway), Siena Root (Sweden), Blood Ceremony (Canada), Hypnos 69 (Belgium) and a few others. But the Czech Republic has no such tradition, and hearing this style performed with the Czech language is quite interesting indeed. About the only band from 1970's Czechoslovakia that even came close to this sound was Flamengo and maybe Modry Efekt - both groups only at their most hard rocking selves. The songs for the most part are quite co…

Pandora, Italy

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Pandora - Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco. 2008 BTF. Mini-LP
Pandora - Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno. 2011 BTF. Mini-LP
Pandora - Alibi Filosofico. 2013 BTF. Mini-LP

Pandora are yet another Italian band to have released a very fine album in 2013. I've been wanting to get them into the UTR for some months now, but it took time for me to revisit their past works - all of which I bought real time as they were released.

Pandora's debut "Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco" seems like the group's own personal chronological trajectory. The album starts off in the standard prog metal zone with modern synthesizers - similar to other Italian bands like Eldritch or Pathosray. While they are good at this style, they are by no means exemplary. By track 3 "Cosi come sei", the band begins to become ever more complex. The metal guitars are still prevalent, but the keyboards are moving towards an analog sound. This along with some insane counterpoint musicianship, a…