Cast — Four Aces
(Bandcamp no#, 1995, CD / DL)
by Dan Casey, Published 1995-11-01
This, the fourth album (obviously) from the Mexican neo-prog outfit Cast, is very much along the same lines as their previous three efforts, but with some obvious improvements. The line-up is a standard five-piece with a dedicated lead vocalist and back-up vocals from the guitarist. The opening track, "Light of Darkness," has a boastful synth horn line that recalls ELP's "Black Moon," but here it is used in enough moderation and reservation to make it more appealing than it would be if it were relied upon heavily. The band has certainly developed a sense for the importance of a strong melody that is essential in this brand of music. Guitarist Francisco Hernandez and keyboardist Alfonso Vidales work well together, creating a sonic landscape that ebbs and flows fast enough to keep the listener's interest. In many ways, this album reminds me of Halloween's Merlin in both its sound and style, although it is perhaps a notch shy of that album's maturity. The instrumental passages work better here than in most of the recent neo-prog that has been released, and Cast show promise of continual improvement.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more