Gong Matrices - Gilli Smyth — Parade
(Voiceprint VP353CD, 2004, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
For many of us who attended the IPMF in San Francisco in 1999, the long wait in the lobby while Porcupine Tree had ‘technical difficulties’ was rewarded with the unique spectacle of Gilli Smyth jamming with a group of unknown musicians playing violin, tamboura, hand drums and other percussives – and when Gilli’s set was finished some additional musicians and a vocalist were brought in. Indeed this was our introduction to Azigza. From that point Azigza came unto its own, and has since released two full length discs (and hopefully more to come), but in 2004 bassist Pierce McDowell regrouped all the members of that 1999 jam session (including guitarist James Rotondi and two other members of Azigza) as a backing band for Gilli’s lyrical musings and space vocals, which is documented here on Parade. The backing tracks consist mainly of free droning spacy expanses, or rhythm-driven trance workouts with rock flourishes; in every case it’s appropriate support for whatever Gilli’s lyrics happen to be focusing on at the moment, be it space aliens, parallel universes, wars, virtual lovers, how to send an email to god, the poignant “Demon Barbie and the Super Computer Matrix,” and more. Gilli’s improvisational whisperings also provide outstanding support for the musicians whenever they drift off into instrumental flights, the end result being both introspective and captivating.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more