Versus X — Versus X (Remastered)
(Musea FGBG 4868.AR, 1994/2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-08-01
Some may have checked out Apogee's The Border of Awareness that we reviewed in the Musea overview a few issues back, which is essentially the solo project of Versus X bassist / guitarist / vocalist Arne Schäfer. The Versus X album pre-dates the Apogee by about a year, but (probably because it's a completely independent release) it's extremely hard to track down here in the states. Versus X is a trio, with Ekkehard Nahm handling all the keyboard duties, and Stefan Maywald on the drum kit. Their sound is a heavy symphonic progressive with a gothic touch, and – though each of the tracks features vocals – their overall approach is more instrumentally oriented, smoothly moving from quiet introspective passages for piano and voice to grand and elaborate structures that the band carries full throttle. Since Schäfer writes all the lyrics, sings, and has a hand in writing all of the tracks, it follows that if one is acquainted with his solo project as Apogee, it should also be understood the music contained herein is basically in the same quarter. Schäfer's voice falls somewhere along the axis between Greg Lake and Peter Hammill with an evident, but not overbearing German accent. The overall sound is very original and for the most part defies easy comparisons, but due to lengthy multi-part compositions and the instrumental approach fits within the limits of what is typically considered progressive rock (not neo-). This is an album that may take a few listens to reveal itself, but should appeal to fans of bands like ELP and Van der Graaf Generator. Recommended.
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
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
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
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