Embryo — Surfin'
(Garden of Delights CD 157, 1975/2010, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2013-04-01
Embryo is one of the seminal German bands from the 60s that have continued to record and perform. Surfin', released in 1975, was their seventh album. Their earlier albums featured ground-breaking free-riffing jazz fusion and Surfin' was an attempt to be more commercial. The title refers to traveling from gig to gig, not surfing. However, it was not a success, as fans did not appreciate the funk and soul elements. The eight songs on the album are a mixture of funky jazzrock, fusion, and krautrock with some outstanding extended passages. The weakest point is Christian Burchard's voice, which detracts from the music. The band, Christian Burchard, Uwe Müllrich, Roman Bunka, Charlie Mariano, and Edgar Hofmann play a mixture of traditional jazz instruments (percussion, vibes, guitars, bass, keys, sax, and violins)along with Eastern instruments (sitar, saz, nagasaram, etc.). This concoction works remarkably well. "New Ridin'" is a funky bass and guitar track that totally surprises you when Bunka's non-traditional and funky sitar jumps into the mix. On "Dance of Some Broken Glass," the longest at 9 minutes, you hear beginnings of the eastern music influence that Embryo would later embrace. The one slightly oddball track is the short "In My Lunamatic" as it is an amorphous drum and percussion track with some guitar strumming. Overall, despite the lack its commercial success, Surfin' is an excellent release, especially if you like a funky beat. We are indeed fortunate that Garden of Delights reissued this album.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more