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December 2016 roundup

I fear these updates are going to be less and less informative as we go. I've listened to a whopping 17 albums since November 26. Some old, some new. This is my new life, and it comes as absolutely no surprise. Next year will only be worse when it comes to free time (And hello to Brazil, Peru, and Chile!). I'll try to update with new album announcements or anything else of interest. I also have a few band pages to put up. I'll just keep plugging along, even if I do end up going silent for long stretches of time.

The Christmas and New Year season is upon us. I'm taking half-day today, which is my first chance to breathe since the Thanksgiving weekend. I've also insisted on taking Saturday's off (haha, yes it's down to that). Next week promises to be quiet, so this will be my chance to catch up here and on UMR. After that, maybe I see you on Saturday and an occasional Sunday? I hope so anyway. Still planning on a Purple Peak Records sale as well sometime in late winter.

The only significant announcement since last month is there will be a new Aquaserge album entitled Laisse ça être. Release date is scheduled for February 2017.

As far as listening goes, I really enjoyed the new Goat Requiem album. I'll probably get a band page up, though for some reason I can never seem to write much about them. My sparse notes for Requiem state: Mid 1970s Embryo, Archimedes Badkar, and Kebnekaise all mashed up and distilled for the modern age. I dig it. Immensely so.

Sammal's debut proved to be excellent as well, just as good as the one we reported on. I'll be updating that page soon with my new notes.

Messenger's Illusory Blues is good, and I really enjoyed the instrumental bits. The vocal style however is way too close to the alternative/indie standard which rubs me the wrong way. Not sure where I stand with these guys yet. Might try their followup anyway.

The new Eye album is excellent. No surprise there, and the band are really improving their songwriting skills to go with their already strong improvisational abilities.

I also picked up the Agusa live album. I rarely go for live albums, but this promised to be improvisational in nature, and that proved to be true. It's basically an all new album, like they used to do it in the early 70s. Really a splendid release, and the CD from Greece (Sound Effects) truly did fly under the radar. Don't miss this one if you like that vintage 1972 jam style.

Moogg's new album Italian Luxury Style was also quite welcome. Still very much in the Canterbury vein with some twists. Maybe not as good  as the debut, but close. I need to get another solid listen and put some decent notes to add to the existing band page.

Ingranaggi della Valle's new one is also very good, though a step down from the awesome debut. The English vocals are not a good addition, and their execution veers too close to what Messenger above is doing. They need to ditch this idea quick. I find it hard to believe for a band whose stock in trade is classic Italian progressive rock, a necessity to sing in English and in a manner not fit for the style. Anyway, I'm talking about a very good album here, and the vocals are fortunately sparse. In any case, this is another album I need to get quality notes down for to add to the existing band page.

And well, that's it for UTR this month. See what I mean? With any luck at all, I'll get some band pages up this week as well.

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The Morrigan, England

Website
Samples

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…

La Coscienza di Zeno, Italy

Samples
Facebook

Originally published November 3, 2013 and moved forward to highlight their new album La Notte Anche di Giorno.

The band is still active as of August 2016, and a 4th album is in the works.

La Coscienza di Zeno - s/t. 2011 Mellow (CD); 2014 Fading (CD)
La Coscienza di Zeno - Sensitivita. 2013 Fading (CD)
La Coscienza di Zeno - La Notte Anche di Giorno. 2015 Fading (CD); 2016 Fading (LP)

----La Coscienza di Zeno

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----Sensitivita

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Vespero, Russia

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Website Samples Facebook
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Scherzoo, France

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Website Facebook Samples 
Location:  Lyon

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UMR notes

Fusion Orchestra 2, England

Astrolabio, Italy

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Facebook Website Samples
Location: Verona

Overview: Astrolabia was formed from the ashes of a band called Elettrosmog who released a couple of demos in the mid 2000s. They are yet another fantastic band playing the Italian retro prog style. Their first album L'isolamento dei Numeri Pari received high marks from me, though unfortunately I didn't get a chance to pen any notes down. Next time. But it left a strong enough impression for me to add them to the A-List,and I look forward to the new album.

UMR notes

El Circulo de Willis, Spain

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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.

Taipuva Luotisuora, Finland

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Facebook Website Samples
Location: Turku

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UMR notes

ARC, England

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UMR notes