Exposé Online banner

Regal Worm — Use & Ornament
(Quatermass MASS001, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2014-03-10:

Use & Ornament Cover art 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.


Filed under: New releases , 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Regal Worm (Jarrod Gosling)

More info

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Wind - Seasons – Wind were one of those early 70s German underground bands who were influenced by hard-rock bands like Deep Purple on one hand, but also have an Emersonian classically-influenced keyboard presence on...  (1995) » Read more

Crowell, Doles & Quinn - Don't Look Down – This collaborative effort is something of a minimalist supergroup; American composer Dac Crowell and Scottish composer and Suilven recordings main-mover Daniel Patrick Quinn have teamed up with...  (2006) » Read more

The Nels Cline Singers - The Giant Pin – Since these initial recording dates in 2003 guitarist Nels Cline has been propelled from obscure LA sound sculptor to the indie big time with Wilco. Sifting through these older trio performances...  (2007) » Read more

Mirage - Live 14.12.94 – Another reunion dinosaur roars back to life? Mirage has come out from the near Jurassic age, taken a single step forward and unfortunately appears to die on the spot! Whereas Camel and Caravan were...  (1995) » Read more

I Numi - Alpha Ralpha Boulevard – Probably the only thing interesting about this album is that the cover is a photo by Nagel. Everything else is typically average beat / psych rock heavily influenced by the Beatles. Lots of short...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues