Various Artists — Strange Daze '97
(Pangea Music OM-2012, 1997/1999, 2CD)
by Mac Beaulieu, Published 2000-10-01
The inaugural event which was covered in Exposé issue 14 is captured here on 2 CDs. If you have any aversion to space rock at all, keep away. The Gaia Avatara, Red Giant, and Nucleon tracks will most likely hold no interest for Exposé readers: They're definitely not prog and arguably not space rock. I'm sure it's difficult to pick just one song from many bands, but ST37 and F/i had much more interesting songs than those chosen. As expected though, Architectural Metaphor is totally soaking in a trippy, hazy, space funk. I like how the Bionaut and Freak Element tracks seem to build into Melting Euphoria's "Celestial Hysteria." Too bad it was followed by Born to Go's "Burning Inside": just awful. Quarkspace's "Faerienot Space" is beautiful. The instrumental tones are so clean and crisp and perfectly chosen. So unusual and refreshing to hear space rock keyboards dominated by piano – even the electronic drums I thought I'd abhor so much sound great. Alien Planetscape's "Soft Martian" rounds off the disc with their intensely freaky psychedelic space rock.
On disc 2, Dave Brock mixed various songs (including some duplicates from disc 1) into an aural collage ". . . as a sort of 'Cosmic Trip'" through the weekend, and on that level it succeeds. If you were there, it's a real nice flashback. However, I'm disappointed that the disc wasn't devoted entirely to Hawkwind and especially Nik Turner/Farflung, the latter making up only three short songs. Programming out the duff tracks from the two disc set leaves us about an hour's worth of good to excellent space rock.
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.