User Page: joolz

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Joined 13 years ago
Last Visit 11 years ago
Ratings Submitted 50
Main Genres Set 50
Artists Added 11
Albums Added 33
Trust level 8/10
Permalink http://progfreak.com/user/joolz
Last.fm Username joolzmac
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Justin Hayward - Songwriter 1977
8.7
Prog-Related Rock
Moody Blues' guitarist Hayward's first solo album, recorded during the band's mid 70s 'break'. It is a strong set, full of lively well-crafted songs with Hayward sounding in good voice, somehow invigorated and unshackled, aided by a crystal clear production and some excellent support musicians.

This is the album where Hayward first explores styles and more down-to-earth subjects away from the core MB sound. Stylistically, it may be considered the album that determined the Moodies' direction from the late 70s onwards. Many of the old ingredients remain in place - his voice and guitar of course - but the alternative musicians create a new dynamic. Noticeably strong is the bass player!

An all round good 'un, that should please Moodies fans. Oh, and Nostradamus is amongst the best songs he has written!
Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Mooch - Dr Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band 2007
8.9
Spacey Prog Rock
Mooch is the spacerock alter ego of SF writer Stephen Palmer, and Dr. Silbury's ... is his latest incarnation. Mostly created on a MAC by Palmer, with crucial musical assistance from the likes of Viper violinist Cyndee Lee Rule and ex-Hawkwind singer Bridgett Wishart and others. The album is a concept: Dr Silbury invents a quantum jukebox which allows him to communicate and play with versions of his own band that exist in alternative dimensions.

Musically, this album is wonderfully eclectic, as befits the concept, while never straying too far from the spacerock template. At its heart is Palmer's synths & sequencers putting it up against modern style spacerockers like Hidria Spacefolk and ColorStar, but a sensitive live drummer and occasional searing psych guitar (Steve Hillage comparisons!) underscore the album with a firm rock footing. It never gets too heavy, though, and seldom goes up-tempo into powerhouse territory, preferring to hypnotize the listener with languid grooves and extended improvisations from guitar and keys, all blended into lengthy instrumentals and ... -> show full review
Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Krel - Out Of Space 2003
8.8
Spacey Prog Rock
This is the last album from core 90s spacerockers Krel featuring well-known Hawkwind associates Mr Dibs and Floyd [both now in Spacehead] - Dibs is currently subbing for Alan Davey in Hawkwind at the Hawkfest so their credentials are impeccable!

This album is recorded partly live and partly studio, seemingly constructed from a number of sources. Most [or all] of the energetic spacerock workouts appear to be live, while some excellent 'ambient' mood pieces in the Ozrics mould have been added mostly by Martin [Mober, The Visit/Golden Tether/Release]. The band tracks can be quite Hawkwind like [Star Of Last, Space Trip], sometimes punkier like Inner City Unit with spiky lyrics [Barricades, Androids], enter superior Ozrics hypnotic grooves with vocals [It's Alive], or slow Floydian muse [Zero G].

The reproduction/production values vary from track to track, which can make the album feel a little disjointed at times, but musically it hangs together really well thanks to good sequencing and control of mood. One of the best spacerock albums of the past few years and worth investigating.

NB - Krel is now in somewhat reduced circumstances and mostly inactive - though not yet totally defunct. Martin M is the only remaining member - MySpace is www.myspace.com/krel1 but there's not much there!.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Tribe Of Cro - Virtual Vinyl 2006, Live
8.8
Spacey Prog Rock
Excellent Indie space rockers, old-time festival favourites, who appear to be active again after a lay-off. This is a recent album [recorded live in BBC's Maida Vale studio], originally released as a limited-edition CD [sold out, but some will be made available at live shows], but now available as a FREE download from the band's website. The download comes as a single mp3 file [with no artwork] but different sections are clearly distinguished with their own distinct characters.

Musically, Virtual Vinyl is virtually instrumental, generally in the classic Ozric Tentacles mould with lengthy psychedelic improvisations by cutting electric guitars and various keys to a backdrop of a rock groove and 'spacey' effects, sometimes laid-back, but at others quite aggressive. The two guitarists really kick up a storm when they attack simultaneously, but the album begins and ends with 'ambient' synth improvisations as an effective counter. Overall, it a satisfying trip in time honoured fashion.

Early impressions [a couple of hearings] suggest this will be an album I will play fairly often, ranking highly alongside other instrumental spacerock albums. Recommended to all psych/space fans - especially as it's free!
Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
The Stranglers - The Gospel According To The Meninblack 1981
8.6
Prog-Related Rock
An ambitious concept album documenting an alternative view of some biblical stories full of interesting and inventive music. Minimalist guitar lines and new-age synth figures form a musical stage for Cornwell's familiar voice, often delivered in a semi-sung fashion. This is all underpinned by the band's trademark grumbling basslines and forceful drumming that bears heavily on 'tribal' kicks & toms rather than conventional patterns with snares. You'll find a number of unusual time signatures too.

It's certainly different, and very inventive. Back in 1981 this was an often played favourite of mine, but it's 80s new-wave values feel somewhat dated now. Worth investigating if only for the excellent 'Just Like Nothing On Earth' and Cornwell's alternative Lord's Prayer in 'Hallow To Our Men'.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
The Tubes - The Tubes 1975
9.3
Prog Punk
Tubes were punk in the same way as The Stranglers - riding on the crest of the movement, with a healthy aggression and disdain for convention, yet with an artistic sensibility and musical intelligence that took them far beyond the realm of other art rockers like early Roxy Music and Alice Cooper.

Whatever you want to call them, their early music was littered with strong Prog pointers - eclectic song writing, progressive structures, inventive arrangements that constantly change shape, a willingness to experiment, use of 'non-rock' instruments like brass, and excellent musicianship. None more so than on this brilliant first album, which shows the band hitting the ground running with a number of classics showing a mature grasp of their craft.

Most tracks here will satisfy a Proghead who also likes classic art rock and musical satire. From the striking overture style opener 'Up From The Deep' through to the enduring standard 'White Punks On Dope', this is an exciting roller coaster ride. Highly recommended.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Cinderella Search - Stories Of Luminous Garden 2001
6.0
Neo Prog Album Oriented Rock
Initially, this appears to be quite a big step up from the earlier album - much more modern sound, fuller production, easier-on-the-ear vocals, less dependence on the 1970s and a greater willingness to be more adventurous. But the early signs are deceptive as it rapidly heads downhill into a generic AOR soft-pop-rock that is so utterly bland and boring. I am actually reminded of some of those awful Michael Jackson ballads that assaulted our ears a few years back.

Generally, it works best when the lush surroundings are abandoned for a more direct approach as on the standout track 'Silent Fairy Dance'. The violin shines on only one or two tracks, but these are amongst the album's few highlights.

Some good moments, but you will have to wade through a lot of tedium to hear them. Disappointing!
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Cinderella Search - Cinderella Search 1993
7.2
Neo Prog Rock
It was the lure of the magic Mellotron that led me to this band, but ultimately its use is a bit too derivative to be satisfying. At times this album is too Genesis-like for its own good with a big slice of Banks and Hackett, and the English vocals are hard to swallow too, but when the band breaks out of the mould they make a good noise, very Neo Prog but with some good aggressive guitars and more than a nod to classic rock. The acoustic strings of 'Interlude' are a welcome, if short, touch that highlight the band's main claim to 'originality' - use of violin as a leading solo instrument.

Overall, it's a good-ish album, with some nice touches and sequences, but the songwriting is not up to scratch really and the vocals are poor.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Ozric Tentacles - Curious Corn 1999
8.6
Spacey Prog Rock
First impressions: typically meandering instrumentals that sometimes wander to no discernable purpose. Superb musicianship as always, but many tracks here lack focus. Indeed, when they stick to spacerock they are great, my problem is when they digress off into other areas like world-fusion and dub. Pleasant - but uninvolving.

Just occasionally it all clicks, and then it is magnificent - Afroclonk and Curious Corn are as good as anything this or any other spacerock band can do, with powerful guitar-driven rock grooves underpinning the spaceyness.

Certainly worth pursuing and maybe those other tracks will grow on me.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
The Stranglers - Suite XVI 2006
8.9
Prog-Related Rock
Early impressions: don't be fooled by the name - this is a wonderfully powerful rock record, full of 'originality', spunky and aggressive yet intelligent with many Prog touches. It is the sound of a band rejuvenated, re-discovering the combination of energy and inventiveness that propelled them in earlier years. Greenfield's classic organ is definitely back as a key element of the sound, along with Burnel's growling bass, though neither is used to excess.

Norfolk Coast was a good heavy rock record, but this is a significant step forward and should appeal to open-minded Prog lovers who like their Rock to have balls. Good songs. Wonderful arrangements.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Hawkwind - Take Me To Your Leader 2005
6.5
Non-Prog Rock/Electronic
Hawkwind's latest was eagerly anticipated after a long and turbulent few years since the band's previous studio release. Most latter-day Hawkwind studio albums have been patchy affairs and now the euphoria has died down, Take Me To Your Leader proves to be much the same. The band that invented spacerock has long left full-on blanga behind, at least in the studio, in favour of a cold and rather sterile techno-rock hybrid that sometimes has psychedelic tendencies but only ventures into space on synth-based ambient pieces.

Too much of this album passes in an impenetrable cocoon of blandness - the vague and meandering 'Out Here We Are', an average heavy riffer in 'Greenback Massacre', jazzed-up techno of 'Take Me To Your Leader', the repetitious 'Digital Nation' and its annoying drum pattern, the short interlude of 'Sighs', and Arthur Brown's uninteresting techno-backed 'A Letter To Robert' monologue which doesn't bear more than a single hearing. None raise a flicker of emotion in the listener, and none displays much in the way of inspiration. ... -> show full review
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Comment by joolz
Quidam - The Time Beneath The Sky 2002
7.5
Neo Prog Rock
Half of this album is high quality Neo Prog, reasonably inventive, nicely played, and occasionally - as in the first half of Quimpromptu - brilliant. But, the remainder, on which vocalist Emilia becomes the focal point, is bland, uninspired, MOR singer-songwriter material that really should have been binned at conception.
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Review by joolz 12 years ago <Permalink>
Spacehead - Roadburn 2006 2006, Live
9.0
Spacey Prog-Related Rock
Beginning in the early 90s as a solo sideline of Krel bassist Mr Dibs, today Spacehead are a core band in the UK spacerock scene. Dibs is, of course, a well known Hawkwind associate, and indeed subbed for Alan Davey last weekend at Hawkfest 2007. It is thus no surprise that Brock's Babies are Spacehead's major influence.

This is the band's latest full length album, self-released on CDR and available direct from the band [details at their MySpace site www.myspace.com/spaceheaduk]. Recorded live at the 2006 Roadburn Festival in The Netherlands it is a superb example of classic spacerock with lengthy space-psych guitar jams, superior sonic ornamentation via spacey wibble effects and excellent keyboard work [including what sounds like some Mellotron samples], all over a tight rock rhythm section controlled by Dibs on bass.

The classic Hawkwind [ie pre-sequencers] influence is evident all through the album which is littered with references, but the guys have enough presence to be far more than a clone, with a voice of their own and a distinct style. Riffs and jams are the order of the day, but without the over-heaviness of contemporaries Litmus.

The album maintains a uniformly high performance standard throughout. Old classics Copters and Continuum stand out, as does the instrumental Eclipse with wonderful hypnotic rhythm and superb mellow effects, but there are no duds. The recording is excellent, though I find the soundstaging a little odd at times, and perhaps the vocals get a tad samey after a while in a sort of tuneless-shouty kind of style, but otherwise there is little to fault.

Any lover of classic Hawkwind needs to investigate this band and this is an excellent place to start. Highly recommended.
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Favorite LPs
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1-20 of 43  
Baaba Maal - Firin' In Fouta 1994
 #1
9.7
African Prog-Related World
Baaba Maal - Nomad Soul 1998
 #2
9.7
African Prog-Related World
Salif Keita - Folon 1995
 #4
9.6
African Prog-Related Independent
The Tubes - The Tubes 1975
 #6
9.3
Prog Punk
Baaba Maal - Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) 2001
 #7
9.2
African Non-Prog World
The Albion Band - Rise Up Like The Sun 1977
 #9
9.1
English/British Prog Rock
Litmus - You Are Here 2004
 #10
9.1
Spacey Prog-Related Rock
Motörhead - Ace Of Spades 1980
 #12
9.0
Non-Prog Metal
Spacehead - Headscapes SHS-01 2006
 #13
9.0
Spacey Prog-Related Rock
Mooch - Dr Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band 2007
 #14
8.9
Spacey Prog Rock
The Stranglers - Suite XVI 2006
 #15
8.9
Prog-Related Rock
Krel - Out Of Space 2003
 #16
8.8
Spacey Prog Rock
Roxy Music - Roxy Music 1972
 #17
8.8
Prog Rock
Justin Hayward - Songwriter 1977
 #18
8.7
Prog-Related Rock
Ozric Tentacles - Curious Corn 1999
 #20
8.6
Spacey Prog Rock
Playlist
1
2
3
1-20 of 51  
The Police - Synchronicity 1983
 12 years ago
7.4
Non-Prog Pop/Rock
Kate Bush - Aerial 2005
 12 years ago
3.0
Non-Prog Pop
Black Sabbath - Sabotage 1975
 12 years ago
7.4
Heavy Non-Prog Rock
Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives Of Henry VIII 1987
 12 years ago
4.0
Prog Rock
Eagles - Hotel California 1976
 12 years ago
7.0
Non-Prog Rock
Garbage - Garbage 1995
 12 years ago
7.0
Non-Prog Rock/Pop
Heather Nova - Siren 1998
 12 years ago
7.8
Non-Prog Rock
Heather Nova - Oyster 1994
 12 years ago
7.4
Non-Prog Rock
Underground Zero - Powerplay 2005, Best Of
 12 years ago
9.2
Spacey Non-Prog Rock
Steve Hillage - L 1976
 12 years ago
8.4
Psychedelic Prog-Related Rock
Justin Hayward - Songwriter 1977
 12 years ago
8.7
Prog-Related Rock
Sensations' Fix - Finest Finger 1976
 12 years ago
7.0
Psychedelic Prog Rock
Sensations' Fix - Portable Madness 1974
 12 years ago
5.0
Psychedelic Prog Rock
Acid Mothers Temple - Starless and Bible Black Sabbath 2006
 12 years ago
2.0
Psychedelic Prog-Related Metal
Mooch - Dr Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band 2007
 12 years ago
8.9
Spacey Prog Rock
Spacehead - Roadburn 2006 2006, Live
 12 years ago
9.0
Spacey Prog-Related Rock
Krel - Out Of Space 2003
 12 years ago
8.8
Spacey Prog Rock
Tribe Of Cro - Virtual Vinyl 2006, Live
 12 years ago
8.8
Spacey Prog Rock
The Stranglers - The Gospel According To The Meninblack 1981
 12 years ago
8.6
Prog-Related Rock
The Tubes - The Tubes 1975
 12 years ago
9.3
Prog Punk
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