Annie Haslam's Renaissance — Blessing in Disguise
(One Way PR0101, 1999/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01
Annie Haslam's third solo outing is about the best set of songs she's recorded since her last work with the band whose name is referenced in the title (though I'm not really certain why). The disc is a set of well arranged pieces which pushes Annie's vocal out front with a well balanced production job from Tony Visconti (Bowie, T. Rex etc.). However, if you're looking for a return to the grandeur of the best of Renaissance ( e.g. "Mother Russia") don't get your hopes too high. Annie appears to be content in locating sympathetic writers and players who mostly play in the style of her old band, but don't push the fringes of songs much. In other words, this is a pretty safe endeavor for an artist who needs to hookup with a real band. A few good tracks are included which come close to approaching the class of her older work, "In Another Life" could have fit well on Azure d'Or except for the poppish chorus which all too often signals a goal toward radio airplay. "The Children of Medellin" is somewhat of a return to the style of Scheherazade, but is just a snippet of good idea which hasn't been advanced very far. I guess you could say Annie needs to meet some different kind of writers in the future to shake the attachments to pop music she makes so easily. If the cover on the Yes tribute, ("Turn of the Century" with Steve Howe ) maybe she has someone to work with who could accentuate the classical overtones which could make her next effort more true to form.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more