Exposé Online banner

Blim — Zero / No Frills
((Not on label) no#, 1993/2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-10-27

Zero / No Frills Cover artWay back in the heady days of the early ‘90s British space-rock jam band scene there was Blim, regrettably and unfairly overshadowed by bands with bigger names who got an earlier head-start, but they still managed to get their material recorded onto two privately released cassette tapes, both of which are finally reissued in the package at hand, both including bonus tracks, for a total of two-and-a-half hours of music. The band’s debut Zero features a mostly instrumental six-piece lineup of guitars, bass, flute+keys, sax, drums, and synths+samples+tapes, with the infrequent voice parts shared by saxophonist Phil Cook and drummer Neil Spragg. While the evidence of Hawkwind influence is fairly omnipresent on Zero, there is a strong current of progressive rock running through it as well as touches of jazz and harder rock styles buried within these grooves. One minute the listener might forget they’re listening to an aggressive psychedelic space-rock band and find themselves in a soundworld reminiscent of Mirage era Camel or some of the mid-70s krautrock-meets-symphonic sound one might find on the scads of rare German reissues on the Garden of Delights label. The material is strong, but the production is about what might be expected for a self-produced cassette release of the period. The bonus material (three cuts) on the Zero disc is clearly of early demo origin, not that well produced, and more fun than anything else.

Even though No Frills is only from one year later, the band has gone from six members to four. Spragg is still on board behind the drum kit, along with guitarist Andy Read and keyboardist, tapes and effects man Tony Child. New to the band is bassist / keyboardist / mandolinist Robert Illesh, who, along with Read is covering vocals. The “frills” – the sax and flute that featured prominently on their first release, are gone, along with many of the softer more symphonic moments, and the space-rock vibe is even a bit subdued here as well, now opting for a stripped down, more song-oriented edgy guitar rock sound that predates the advent of “math rock” and occasionally recalls Red era Crimson, with a bit more jazz influence. There is still a strong jammy quality to many of the tunes, and voice parts are still used very sparingly, but No Frills is by far the better produced of the two albums, sporting a cleaner sound and tighter production overall. The two discs are very different, but still similar in many ways; in summary, there is a lot of music in this small package, and it’s probably best to absorb it one disc at a time. Both discs are excellent, but I give a slight edge to No Frills.

Filed under: Reissues, 2013 releases, 1993 recordings

Related artist(s): Blim

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gargantua & Cashmere - Kotegarda & Cash Romantic Music Machine – These two surprising releases come to us by way of Poland, both prominently featuring violinist, vocalist and songwriter Tylda Ciołkosz, who is also a member of the more keyboard oriented group Van....  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues