Herd of Instinct — Conjure
(Firepool Records FR004, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-01
Herd of Instinct is back with a second helping of a dozen new tracks. They are a quartet now; seems that Gayle Ellett (Hammond, Rhodes, Mellotron, and Moog – from Djam Karet) has upgraded from guest player to full membership in the band, which otherwise remains unchanged from their eponymous debut: Mark Cook (Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar), Jason Spradlin (drums) and Mike Davison (guitars, guitar synth). As before, there are several guests, track depending, on flute, additional keyboards, trumpet, and lap steel; Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree supplies fretless bass on two cuts, and percussion loop samples from Steve Tibbetts appear on two others. After the first couple cuts that offer a powerful reminder of the band's King Crimson influences, they start branching out into other territories, weaving in some world influences, psychedelic sounds, elements of jazz, avant-garde and symphonic rock. In every endeavor here, powerful melodies, complex rhythms, dynamic intensity, and the cell-structured compositional style that Warr guitar lends itself to so well to are never too far away. There are so many standout tracks that it's difficult to enumerate them all, but suffice to say across these twelve there's never a dull moment. Compared to their debut, this one seems to be a solid step up, more consistent, with all of the diverse styles now better integrated into a consummate whole. A great listen, beginning to end.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more