Netherworld - In the Following Half-Light. 1981 USA

Netherworld are the quintessential American band from the late 1970s and early 80s - a band that mixes complex progressive rock with FM sensibilities. Had they been from the Midwest rather than California then they would have been a perfect fit for my USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock (1970's/early 80s) list. Tracks like the opener 'Too Hard to Forget' will instantly make one think of the original NWOBPR movement. By the time we get to side 2 and 'Isle of Man' all pretension of this somehow being a radio friendly album are thrown to the wind. We're in full blown "Selling England..." era Genesis, and it only gets more progressive from there. By the time we hit the 3 part closer 'Sargasso', Netherworld are in the same off the rails league as Yezda Urfa, Pentwater, and Mirthrandir. And, oh by the way, it's also a mellotron feast for the analog gear heads out there. The Musea CD adds the 10 minute instrumental 'Cumulus Nimbus' that was previously on the Past-Present-Future compilation from Syn-Phonic. And word down at the soup kitchen says Netherworld has plenty more where that came from. Perhaps urban legend, perhaps absolute truth. We all live for the Queen's Court gossip don't we?

Personal collection
LP: 1981 REM
CD: 2002 Musea (France)

Netherworld has always been a collectible private press from the US. I sold mine when the CD came out. This isn't one of Musea's best reissues, missing the full biography that is normally associated with the label. But sonically it's fantastic and includes a very important bonus track as noted above.

January 2017 update: And I've reclaimed the original vinyl, obtaining a sealed one in a trade with a friend.

Sezon Dozhdei (Rainy Season) - Vozvrashenie (The Return). 1992 Russia

Sezon Dozhdei are definitely a product of the early 90s progressive rock scene. With just three tracks, they leave plenty of room to experiment within each composition. Keyboards are what dominate here, with waves of dense sounds that penetrate deep while sonorous guitar lines glide on top. The rhythm section keeps it all together and there are plenty of meter changes to make it interesting. Some nice flute to enjoy on the opening track as well. At times, this reminds me a bit of Djam Karet's Reflections of the Firepool.

Personal collection
CD: 2001 Boheme

The LP is surprisingly well made (Capitalist style), and demonstrates that the last throes of the Soviet Union had been fully realized. All the same I sold the LP when the CD from Boheme first came out. Boheme, as stated before, pretty much reissued every important ex-Soviet progressive rock album (excepting Firyuza maybe). The CD comes with excellent liner notes in English (and Russian), and sounds fantastic.

Klaus Schulze and Gunter Schickert - The Schulze-Schickert Session. 1975 Germany

Two legends of 1970s electronic music came together for one "living room" session, and produced the 45 minute+ piece presented here - an album that was oft-bootlegged until the Mirumir label of Russia finally settled the score in a legal manner (for those doubters that remain, the reissue received the blessing of Klaus Schulze on his own website. And the CD features unique liners from long time biographer Klaus Muller). And while the music is not exactly Timewind meets Samtvogel, the characteristics of their individual styles remain intact. Schickert is primarily on acoustic guitar, with nylon strings it appears - played in his trademark sound-on-sound style. Klaus has his usual field day with his sequencers and synthesizer solos. And so it goes for 45 minutes, a pleasant excursion into the minds of two of Berlin's finest e-musik pioneers.

While I'm not 100% certain of this (the liners do not clarify), but it seems to me the final two pieces are Schulze solo works tacked onto the end to fill the CD - perhaps from the same time frame, sans Schickert.


Personal collection
CD: 2013 Mirumir (Russia)

New List: USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock of the 1970s and early 80s

Took me awhile to get this one all together, but I finally published it on Saturday. As you all know from my CDRWL blog, I constantly refer to this unique progressive rock genre. So I finally put a small article around it and published it in RYM. You can read my thoughts and who I can consider participants of the scene here.

Thanks for reading!

Joe O'Donnell - Gaodhal's Vision. 1977 Ireland

Joe O'Donnell's debut is a much unheralded album, but it's quite good. All instrumental fusion driven by O'Donnell's e...