Marble Sheep — Stone Marby
(Captain Trip CTCD-300, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01
This album sees Marble Sheep back together in the studio for the first time since about 1993, and a finer example of heavy Japanese psychedelic music I could not name. There are bits of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, anime sci-fi, and who knows what else tossed into the Cuisinart with much enthusiasm and some humor, blended on high for long enough to purée thoroughly, and splattered on the walls like a metaphor gotten out of hand. Most of the songs feature riffs played hard on electric guitar, backed by insistent drumming, and topped with Ken Matsutani’s mumbly singing. There are some catchy melodies here, like the simple hook to the rock ‘n’ roll strutter “UFO” and the anthemic theme of “Horizon.” The quieter moments are pretty short-lived, and it’s not long before a distorted guitar joins any acoustic strumming, as on “Mirror Game.” Keyboard touches from Mellotron and synth provide a little respite from the aggressive guitars. Several of the tracks take a riff and drive it Hawkwind-fashion into the ground, but others feature more elaborate chord progressions. On the whole, the music is a bit too repetitious for extended listening, but there are certainly some good moments if you give it a chance.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
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