Zapotec — Alpha Centuri
(Psycho-Audible PA-0001, 1998, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01When I first listened to this disc, I quickly categorized it as jamming space rock. The first track builds from quiet ambience to a throbbing jazzy thrash, consisting almost entirely of an every-effect-available guitar solo. That first track is misleading. The bulk of the music recorded here is tightly arranged instrumental rock on the jazzy side, reminiscent of Return to Forever’s glory days. At times it cooks like Mahavishnu or crashes like Crimson or even floats like Happy the Man (if you can imagine them as a jazz combo). The dominant sounds are Bill Curtis’s electric guitar and Anna Hubbell’s violin, though keyboardist Jeremy Cubert gets in a few good licks. Odd meters abound. Lightning unison lines are balanced by delicate acoustic passages. Curtis is a player of great technical proficiency, with a rapid picking style along the lines of John Goodsall rather than the fluidity of Allan Holdsworth. I find the only real weakness here (and it’s a small one) is the fact that the musicians supporting him, while excellent players, tend to pale a bit behind his flash. But who wouldn’t? Fans of Brand X or Mahavishnu looking for something new would do well to seek out this disc. I hope it’s the first of many by this promising band.
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
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
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