Johnny Unicorn — Sadness and Companionship
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-07The Seattle based composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist has done it again, this time combining his penchant for silly art-pop and progressive rock into an what he claims to be “…the world’s first progressive rock exercize album.” I didn’t even bother to check out this claim; although I know several albums that feature individual songs that could fit that description, I’m unaware of any full albums that were created to be such. Two fourteen-minute cuts are crafted to be background music for aerobic workouts, or so it is said. I’ll give it to Unicorn on the first one “Sadness,” which with its steady bouncy beat certainly qualifies, and its arty and angular melodies, constant changes, and arrangements give it progressive rock cred as well. The second cut “Companionship” is another matter, at least on the aerobic scale; for many parts of it there is a steady beat, but there are too many changes in the meter and dynamics, and more parts where it just moves to quiet piano or guitar based instrumentation (although the steady beat may pick up after a bit). That said, it is the more interesting of the two longer pieces. Unicorn plays all the instruments himself, and sings all the lyrics with some help from Naomi Adele Smith (who plays keyboards in the live trio version of the band). It doesn’t surprise me that Unicorn also plays with Phideaux when he’s in Los Angeles, as there are many similarities in approach, no doubt some cross-influence. The disc ends with two shorter cuts, “Sadness – Companionship Remix,” and “Companionship – Sadness Remix.” These, despite their shorter length, are certainly more interesting, as they don’t even try to maintain the steady beat. In all, Unicorn’s high standard for quirky art-prog is maintained throughout, amid this interesting overall concept.
Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more