Regal Worm — Use & Ornament
(Quatermass MASS001, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, 2014-03-10:If you've been longing for an extended piece of music that brings to mind both Genesis ("Supper's Ready") and Hatfield and the North ("Mumps"), you're in luck with Regal Worm's "6:17PM: The Aunt Turns into an Ant" with its ten sections, each amusingly titled and telling a story full of bizarre imagery and quirky music. Jarrod Gosling's eccentric take on progressive rock has a lot of the light, pseudo-jazzy touch the Hatfields excelled at (as well as their penchant for absurd titles), though you probably wouldn't want to say Use and Ornament is a Canterbury album. There are many moments that sound more psychedelic than prog, as with "Apple Witch" and "Morning Sentinel," but then you get "Confession from a Deep and Warm Hibernaculum," the album's other lengthy suite, which has some out-and-out prog of the best kind. Complex but not pretentious, unpredictable but not random. Gosling plays the vast majority of the instruments himself, with an emphasis on drums and vintage keyboards, plus bass, guitar, and a wide variety of other noisemakers; guests provide woodwinds, brass, strings, voices, and so on from time to time. How he managed to get such a natural, organic sound with so many overdubs is a marvel in itself. There are also sections of experimentalism, as in the middle section of "Hibernaculum," where it seems as if we're on a spaceship leaving the Solar System, listening to old radio broadcasts from Earth that have been garbled in transmission. Or maybe a better metaphor would be a sleeper in suspended animation with bits of memories and dreams drifting around in his subconscious mind. Use and Ornament is the kind of puzzle that will keep revealing new twists and details with each listen, a work of twisted genius that strikes a perfect balance between catchy tunes and experimental weirdness. And has lots of Mellotron.
by Henry Schneider, 2014-06-29:
Regal Worm is the brainchild of Jarrod Gosling from the UK with a long and varied musical career starting with hard rock/metal as a teen, to indie and dance music at college, and moving on to weird electronic 60s sounding pop music in the 90s. In the first decade of this century he started remixing artists such as The Divine Comedy, Pulp, and Goldfrapp, and his music was used in TV shows, films, and advertisements. About ten years ago he started purchasing vintage instruments and eventually decided to try his hand at progressive music, and the one-man band Regal Worm was born.
What Jarrod has done is thoroughly study and dissect 70s progressive music and reassemble it into something new. Consequently I find it difficult to describe the results and draw comparisons to other artists as touchstones. Use and Ornament contains ten tracks, two of which are extended pieces: “Confession from a Deep and Warm Hibernaculum” at 13:11 and “6:17 PM The Aunt Turns into an Ant” at 26:11. The other eight tracks on in the one to four minute range. The resulting music sounds very organic, not as if it has been multi-tracked and over-dubbed, with a distinct prog-jazz flavor. In many cases the vocals are unintelligible, which is actually a minor complaint and does not detract from the music. I cannot get really excited with the short tunes. It is not until “Confession from a Deep and Warm Hibernaculum” that I stood up and took notice of the disc. This track consists of five separate and distinct movements that could have been separate tracks. There are many shifts in rhythm, emotions, and style. Plus this the first track that showcases the Mellotron. There is even one section that reminded me of Pink Floyd’s seminal “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict.” This track alone is worth the price of the disc. Likewise the other long track “6:17 PM The Aunt Turns into an Ant” has 10 movements. This track is interspersed with narrations, Mellotron, sound effects, crazed sax, and frantic drumming. This is an interesting and excellent track, but not as good “Hibernaculum.” The disc closes with the Zappa-influenced instrumental “Klara Till Slutet (Main Title Theme).” Overall quite an interesting take on modern progressive music.
Related artist(s): Regal Worm (Jarrod Gosling)
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
The Oliver Wakeman Band - Coming to Town: Live in Katowice – Yes fans are probably aware that Rick Wakeman’s son Oliver has been playing keyboards on their recent tour, and for those curious to see what his own band looks and sounds like here’s your chance.... (2009) » Read more