Frank Wyatt & Friends — Zeitgeist
(no#, 2019, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-04-11
Frank Wyatt was one of the main writers in Happy the Man so many years ago, as well as playing keyboards and saxophones, and as such he was a primary contributor to the band’s “sound,” which is readily identifiable. Since the HtM reunion around 2004, there have been a number of projects involving Wyatt (and Stan Whitaker, the band’s guitarist and singer), among them Pedal Giant Animals (one album in 2006) and Oblivion Sun (two albums from 2007 and 2012), but Zeitgeist is pretty much a Frank Wyatt solo album in the sense that he composed every one of the ten pieces at hand. While I’m certain he could have recorded the entire thing himself, on most of the tracks he brought in his old collaborators from HtM and other bands; in fact every musician who was ever in Happy the Man with the exception of early singer Dan Owen and drummer Coco Roussel are featured here on this track or that, plus most members of Oblivion Sun and Pedal Giant Animals contribute here as well. And as one might expect, this does bear many similarities to the HtM pedigree, and I’m sure most readers will be delighted. The album could be conceptually divided into two parts: the first six tracks are ‘songs’ with two vocal tunes, the title track and “Eleventh Hour” – Stan Whitaker sings on the former, and Cliff Fortney sings on the latter – and the remaining four are instrumentals, among them are the excellent “Twelve Jumps” and “Fred’s Song” which both are solid examples of Wyatt’s instrumental forte, both tuneful and accessible, but with interesting turns and twists that make them uniquely his style. “The Approach” is a longer track that makes great use of the sitar (played by Peter Princiotto) throughout, as Joe Bergamini’s drums and David Hughes’ bass lines plus some wordless vocals at various points make it one of the most interesting tracks here. The second part of the disc comprises Wyatt’s “Perelandra Symphony” in four parts, a serious 25-minute piece of orchestral music created entirely by Wyatt with sampled instruments, with help from Princiotto on the arrangements, there is little precedent for it among Wyatt’s previous endeavors, but it certainly deserves attention and caps the album off nicely on an entirely different note, where ever-shifting moods and beautiful melodies intertwine. Overall, an outstanding album that should be heard by all.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more