Saga — Network
(Inside Out Music IOMA CD 2108, 2005, CD+DVD)
by Mike Grimes, Published 2006-05-01
Saga just keeps on trucking. Network is like their 947th studio album or something. What’s amazing about Saga is that unlike most bands fortunate enough to have 30-year music careers, these guys haven’t lost much over time. Vocalist Michael Sadler doesn’t sound noticeably different than he did in the 70s and the other musicians can still deliver the fast, staccato, tight, and intricate riffs for which Saga is known. Network seems like a concept album with songs relating to living in the modern media era. “Live at Five” is a kicking song that explicitly points out the hypocrisy and sensationalism surrounding modern “news” outlets and their true intent. “On the Air” contains trademark Saga synth bass and “Keep It Reel” features some wild guitar shredding. “Outside Looking In” is a ballad with some unexpected chord changes. The band’s strength has always been their ability to combine catchy instrumental riffs with strong melodies and this album has plenty of both these attributes. “I’m Back” has a really melodic chorus and “Don’t Look Now” is a great fast-paced rocker. “Believe” is an all-out 80s-style power ballad while “Don’t Make a Sound” has some classic Saga guitar/keys harmony solo parts. For an established band, it’s sometimes tough walking the line between musically sticking to your strengths and effectively expanding in different directions. From that perspective, Network is somewhat of a safe album. It’s Saga doing what they’re good at doing. A solid effort, but they’re staying close to home.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more