Various Artists — Medium Label Sampler
(Medium Productions MPCD11, 1999, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01
Medium Productions is a low profile label from the UK which represents the work of three former members of Japan. The trio is alternately creative within varying contexts and combinations of personnel; their specific parameters of change focus on remixes and techno variations of rhythms and tones. Collectively, the label has released ten discs in the last five years; each with a similar mood brought by the artists themselves (which could explain why so there are so few products). The trio is represented by three pieces, the most unique of which is a live version of a rare Japan B-side, "Life Without Buildings." The track is a spirited rendition with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree providing some heavy guitar phrases. Steve Jansen's collaboration with Yukihiro Takahashi (Yellow Magic Orchestra) is also represented by a remix and an original track from Pulse (1998). Jansen and Barbieri's joint endeavors correspond to two tracks showing the close connection between percussion and texture they have been refining over the years. The duo also teamed up with a Japanese DJ on "Spaced," a track from Changing Hands which adds a modern remix slant on the atmospherics. "Only Forward" is a piece from Indigo Falls (Barbieri and wife) which contains the most memorable intro and performance on the disc. Overall, Medium Productions puts out remarkably good product despite poor distribution. Hopefully this problem has been rectified by their new deal with Polydor and will result in improved artist awareness.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more