Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2016

August 2016 roundup

For those of you who are exceptionally perceptive, you may have noticed I rewrote the "What is It?" introduction to your right. In there I mention something about "monthly roundups". And here is our first one. I don't intend on writing lengthy dissertations here, though this first one will have much more explanation. In addition, as you see at the very end of this first roundup (personal update section), I'm not sure how active I will be going forward (all will be explained, nothing to be concerned about). BTW, if you have no interest in why I'm doing a roundup and what's in here, just skip down to the first "orange" line for updates.

But back to the monthly roundup concept. When I started this blog, it had been my intention to feature bands I like, with one post per band, somewhat to how the CDRWL evolved. As I began though, I ran into some dilemmas. For 1), I like to hear albums in my collection randomly (literally, using a random number…

Side Steps, Japan


Like Gerard, Side Steps are a long running Japanese band, though this time coming from the jazz fusion genre. They received some attention in the Western world, mainly due to their association with Musea Records. As you will see in my notes below, not all is great. I even debated adding them here to UTR, but there's just enough good at the end of their career to at least consider. From a technical perspective, these guys are fantastic. But I tend to like a bit more grit and grime in my music. In giving full disclosure, I only kept the last two albums I featured here. The last activity on their website goes back to 2012, and their final release was 2007, so it does appear the band may be kaput.

Side Steps - Out and Out. 1997 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Alive. 1999 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Points of View. 2001 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Steps on Edge. 2003 Musea (France CD) 1993 recording. see write-up for more info regarding this release
Side Steps - Ve…

Gerard, Japan

Website Samples
Location: Tokyo?

Overview: Gerard are a long running symphonic progressive rock band lead by keyboardist Toshio Egawa. I presume they are still a functioning unit, though the last activity I could find is 2015. Not sure if they have a Facebook page, but I couldn't find one if they do. Their Fan Page recently shut down. My history with the band goes back to their very beginning, and I once owned their first two albums on LP. I sold them years ago. In addition, I have heard Irony of Fate and Pandora's Box, but never owned them. I currently only possess The Ruins of a Glass Fortress and Live in Marseille. No matter if I ever buy more Gerard, or not, for certain this album will be a keeper deep into my lifespan.

UMR notes

Amoeba Split, Spain

News: As of March 2017, the band are active, so that's a good sign for the future!

Facebook Samples 
Location: A Coruña, Galicia

Overview: Amoeba Split are a band from Galicia, in the far northwest of Spain, who play a decidedly UK form of progressive rock: That of the Canterbury movement. And they do a fantastic variation of the sound. This is a band not to be missed if you enjoy that unique blend of progressive rock, jazz, and melodic disposition.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Blood Ceremony, Canada

News: Blood Ceremony are active playing festivals throughout 2017.

Facebook Samples
Location: Toronto

Overview: Blood Ceremony are a band with one foot in the Traditional Doom Metal category (though I've seen this hotly contested) and the other in the Post psychedelic, proto progressive with female vocals category. It's a style I never seem to tire of, and Blood Ceremony are today's most prominent leader. 

UMR notes

Planeta Imaginario, Spain

News: It appears the band is completely inactive with no online presence whatsoever.


Overview: Canterbury styled band from Spain.

UMR notes

Mooch, England

News: Mooch / Steve Palmer has recently become active in posting on Facebook since March. Seems some activity is on the way!

Samples Facebook
Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Overview: Space rocking Mooch have been kicking around for over 20 years now, so it's a bit surprising that my first encounter with the artist/band is on their latest release. In the deep recesses of my mind (where no one dare goes), I do recall some exposure to In Search of the Acid Metal Grille, but not enough to rate or report on. Mooch were from the second wave of UK festival psych space rock warriors - coming around as they did in the early 1990s. As such, you'll hear a combination of Soma, Mandragora, and Ship of Fools.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Grey Mouse, Russia

News: No posts from the band since August 21 (not long after I first published this), and their website is kaput. Hopefully it's just a temporary break.

Samples Facebook
Location: Moscow

Overview: Here's another exciting space rock band emanating from the far Eastern European region, this time coming from Russia. They can best be described as Central Asiatic ethnic music meets psychedelic space rock - with female vocals. Somewhat like a meeting of Vespero and Ole Lukkoye.

Reviews (click on album covers)