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

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Farpoint - From Dreaming to Dreaming – When you examine the individual points of this music, there’s plenty to like. The parts are well played for the most part, the voices are fairly appealing, the sound is crisp and clean. But in spite...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues