June 4th is to mark the six months since SPIRITS BURNING‘s latest album "The Hollow Lands" – the second collaboration between the American prog collective and English fantasy master Michael Moorcock – has seen the light of day, and it’s going to be the date when the ensemble’s new record is out. But “Evolution Ritual” will not be the third chapter in “The Dancers at the End of Time” trilogy – although Moorcock plays harmonica on three songs here and Don Falcone, the band’s mastermind, has already started working on the the musical adaptation of “The End Of All Songs” which he plans to release in 2022. As of the forthcoming offering, comprised of fresh pieces, it signals the group’s embracing of acoustic sounds.
Theo Travis has long been part of art-rock narrative without actually playing rock – instead, the reedman tends to demonstrate his progressive proclivities in the fields of jazz and folk – which is why the veteran’s solo albums are so varied and interesting. Theo’s next one is titled “Songs From The Apricot Tree” and scheduled for release on June 1st, and it’s a tad unusual, thanks not only to the presence of prominent guests on these ten cuts but also to the ratio of Travis originals to cover pieces – and those pieces relation to his biography. More so, while saxophone and flute are here as well, pride of place on this record is given to duduk, an Armenian instrument whose sound complements the familiar melodies of “Magdalene” that Theo laid down with GONG long ago to revisit now, and the perennial “The Shadow Of Your Smile” and spices up his take on David Sylvian’s “Brilliant Trees” that Travis used to perform live, and “A Feeling Begins” by Peter Gabriel that was the first song he heard duduk on.
Only four months down the line from super-deluxe edition of “Vol. 4” – and soon after the reissue of the “Paranoid” box set – BLACK SABBATH are to expand their 1975 heavy psychedelic classic “Sabotage” that’s scheduled to emerge on June 11th on 4 CDs and 4 LPs plus vinyl ’45. It’s odd, of course, that the godfathers of metal set their ultimate packages to track, as of now, only their even records – which can set the pointer for the next item in the series to “Never Say Die” rather than “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” that rumors place in this slot – yet it’s hard to complain, when there’s a lot of previously unreleased cuts, scarce though those may be in the studio aspect of things.
Long inactive, for many BRINSLEY SCHWARZ remain paragons of British pub rock, and public interest to this collective doesn’t ever seem to wane. Not so long ago, the release of their lost album "It's All Over Now" displayed the depth of the ensemble’s archives, and Ian Gomm reached into his personal cache to deliver many more previously unheard gems. To be issued on CD and as download on June 25th, “Last Orders!” will feature a few of the earliest recordings for radio and TV, out-takes, rehearsals, home recordings etcetera. “Seymour (I Love You)” is a previously unreleased instrumental piece from 1970, as is the rather heavy “Indian Woman”; while several cuts focus on the “Silver Pistol” period, and “She’s Got To Be Real” from the “Greasy Truckers Party” expanded compilation is as delightful as it gets.
It’s difficult to argue that there have been enough homages paid to PINK FLOYD by now – just as difficult that there have been a lot of remotely recorded albums lately. Still, with remote work being a new norm and a tribute to prog protagonists that includes such different luminaries as Rat Scabies and Bootsy Collins alongside art-rock elite, it’s impossible to not pay attention to the “Still Wish You Were Here” project which is scheduled for the May 28th release. Then again, it’s strange to hear so massive a cast present on a fresh reproduction of an LP based on the concept of absence.