Exposé Online banner

Stick Men Featuring Mel Collins — Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 1
(Iapetus no#, 2017, DL)

Stick Men Featuring Mel Collins — Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 2
(Iapetus no#, 2017, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-22

Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 1 Cover artRoppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 2 Cover art

The last live recording by Stick Men was Midori, recorded on the 2015 Japan tour, presenting two complete shows with special guest David Cross. Stick Men have a new studio album, have been touring off and on for months, and so it’s time for another live release. Like its predecessor, Roppongi presents two full sets of music recorded in Japan with a guest, in this case Mel Collins. Several of the band’s standards are present, including a handful that also appeared on Midori: “Hide the Trees,” “Crack the Sky,” “Satori in Tangier,” “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part 2,” and “Industry.” There are also a couple more King Crimson pieces added to the mix: “Level 5” and “Sailor’s Tale.” We get three tracks from Prog Noir, one of them in two versions from the different shows, plus three pieces from Stick Men’s back catalog. Add in some improvisations, and you’ve got Roppongi. If you’ve heard or seen this band before, you’re familiar with the basic sound of Tony Levin and Markus Reuter on tapping instruments and Pat Mastelotto on drums, and you’re likely aware that this is not a band that plays everything the same all the time. While much of the music is tightly rehearsed, there’s a lot of room for expression and variation, and the added presence of Collins assures that this is not just two more CDs of live Stick Men music. His flute and sax liven things up and provide nice contrasts to the other instruments. There are even some spots where Collins throws some pretty crazy effects onto his sax, as on “Level 5.” It’s a treat listening to these superb musicians at the top of their game, and while I’d probably recommend a studio album like Prog Noir to a newbie, this is an excellent example of their artistry. In spite of the inclusion of so much King Crimson material, this band is worthy in its own right, with its own take on the familiar music. The value of Roppongi is not in the fact that the world needed another live album by this band, but just the fact that it’s just so damn good. We are long past the days when music executives sat back and decided when the market could bear another live album by an artist, and what we got was based on their calculations of profit margins. This is a time when quality can count for something, at least in certain realms.

[Note that Roppongi is available in a variety of forms in different parts of the world. In the US, Moonjune is distributing a 2CD set covering both shows, which are available as separate downloads from Iapetus as well.]


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Pat Mastelotto, Markus Reuter, Stick Men

More info
http://stickmen-moonjune.bandcamp.com/album/roppongi
http://stickmen.bandcamp.com/album/roppongi-live-in-tokyo-2017-show-1

Latest news

2019-01-11
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

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
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

2018-11-02
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


Previously in Exposé...

Tomorrow - 50 Minute Technicolour Dream – Tomorrow is currently a hot psychedelic commodity on the market: many of the band's English UK singles fetch top dollar on the English collector's circuit. Adding to the frenzy is former...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues