Copernicus — Deeper
(Nevermore Inc. NCD2087, 1987/2012, CD)
Copernicus — Worthless!
(Nevermore Inc. NCD2093, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-09-10Listening to Copernicus is anything but easy. Widely varying music, everything from clattering free improvisation to sloppy renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," backs the crazed ranting of the man himself, going on about diverse topics including US activities in Latin America, subatomic particles, economic disparity, Elvis, the nature of reality, and so on (if you detect a pattern there, you're smarter than I am). What's surprising is how listenable the result can be. Not that this is for everyone — I can imagine many people running from the room as if sulfuric acid had been poured into their ears — but I find the result fascinating for the most part. It's like stepping into the alternate universe where the crazy old coot who rode your bus the other day rambling on about who-knows-what is a respected poet, and musicians are lining up to provide settings for his ruminations. The large number of collaborators who provide the backing music are paying attention and doing things that make sense (in this twisted bizarro world at least) and provide an appropriate setting for the words. Deeper was originally released back in 1987; Worthless! is a new work, and aside from Copernicus, musical director Pierce Turner and drummer Thomas Hamlin are the only names I see in common between the two (maybe there are more, but the lists are so long...). Aside from the cleaner recording quality, there's not a qualitative difference between the two, so I can't go for the easy joke that Worthless! writes its own review in its title. Certainly not for the faint-hearted or closed-minded, Copernicus (the "conceptual creation of Joseph Smalkowski") is worth a listen for the strong-hearted and open-minded, sort of like William S. Burroughs backed by an electric free jazz band. Acid ingestion not required.
Related artist(s): Copernicus
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
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
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
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
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