Exposé Online banner

FM — NEARfest 2006
(Esoteric Recordings EANTCD 21038, 2006/2014, CD+DVD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-12-31

NEARfest 2006 Cover artThe fans who assembled at NEARfest in 2006 to see this Canadian trio playing one of their several reunions since they called it a day in the late 80s got a blast of the best sounds from their sci-fi progressive heyday from 1977 to 1979. Apparently at the time this performance was in the planning and rehearsal stages neither of the band’s original violinists / mandolinists (Nash the Slash or Ben Mink) could commit to the reunion gig, so original members Cam Hawkins (vocals, keys, bass) and Martin Deller (drums) recruited an outstanding replacement in Claudio Vena, who, at least from this writer’s perspective was the most interesting character on the stage that night, playing viola along with a solid body 8-string mando, as well as composing the smoking opening instrumental “Planet Vega.” Master of the drum kit Deller and jack-of-all-trades Hawkins were in great form, just like it was 1977 again, Hawkins’ voice sounding even better than it did on live tapes I’ve heard from back in the day. The CD and DVD contain exactly the same material with the exception of some between-song banter that was omitted from the 79 minute CD. Most of the material from their debut Black Noise is featured here, as well as three songs from Surveillance (including an extended version of the instrumental “Sofa Back”), and one cut (“Surface to Air”) from City of Fear as the encore. Besides Vena’s opening instrumental, another new twelve-minute piece “Trial by Fire,” composed by Hawkins, was introduced late in the set just before the launch into “Black Noise.” It’s hard to imagine why this set took eight long years to release, especially given that it’s such an excellent recording, but here it is finally, and well worth the wait.

Filed under: Archives, 2014 releases, 2006 recordings

Related artist(s): FM

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lu7 - L'Esprit de l'Exil – Japan’s Intermusic and Musea have been teaming up on a number of releases in the past few years, allowing some obscure Japanese artists to get a somewhat wider audience. One such group is Lu7,...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues