It might be difficult for a regular aficionado to imagine yet connoisseurs never had any doubt that Morgan Fisher‘s “Miniatures” concept – realized with the help of like-minded, adventurous spirits, such as Robert Wyatt, back in 1980 – would be influential four decades on. Far removed from what the keyboard player did in MOTT THE HOOPLE and even the prog-oriented MORGAN, the album’s whopping 113 tracks, and its second volume, all extremely short, can’t help but still impress the listener. Among his listeners have been Alan Davies, Barry Lamb and William Hayter who, in lockdown and all, came up with a tribute project called “Miniatures 2020” where one-minute pieces are delivered by a good hundred of artists – from virtually unknown, if utterly remarkable, to luminaries like VDGG’s David Jackson and CURVED AIR’s Sonja Kristina, HENRY COW’s John Greaves and CARAVAN’s Geoffrey Richardson – two keepers of the Canterbury vibe, Dylan Howe and THE RESIDENTS, the last collective a participant on the original LP.
Having risen to prominence as one third of KLAATU, Terry Draper always was more than a drummer – otherwise his “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” wouldn’t become a hit for THE CARPENTERS back in 1977 – and the slew of solo albums the veteran’s released over the years testifies to his flight of fantasy. This is what drives the Canadian’s latest creation: the album titled “Lost” that’s out now on CD and as a digital download. The record’s 14 tracks are inspired by various literary and scientific sources and surely should appeal to the most discerning prog aficionado.
Having issued a seasonal EP “Here We Come A-Caroling” a week ago, BLACKMORE’S NIGHT have just announced the release of a full-length record on March 12th, 2021. Titled “Nature’s Light” and adorned with a rather unremarkable cover artwork, it comprises ten tracks – a usual mix of humor-tinctured pop-folk numbers – of which two are instrumental pieces and one a fresh take on a REDNEX cover that first saw the light of day on hard-rock hero and his dame’s 1997 debut. Strangely, the offering’s first single is winter-themed – but there’s a video, out today, to make the song timely.
John Renbourn always was an individual, even when in PENTANGLE, so many found it quite surprising that the great English artist credited his 1977 album “A Maid In Bedlam” to JOHN RENBOURN GROUP and took the collective – which comprised his former colleague, singer Jacqui McShee, fiddler Sue Draheim and tabla player Keshave Sathe – on the road. On February 14th, 1978 the quartet graced the stage of the “Römer” venue in Bremen to give a concert to be preserved for posterity by Radio Bremen – only that recording became a source for bootlegs, rather than official releases, yet this situation will be remedied on February 26th, 2021, when “A Maid in Bremen (Live at Roemer, Bremen )” is scheduled to see the light of day as CD and digital download.
It’s going to be a poignant release because three quarters of this ensemble – Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Allan Holdsworth – passed away, and only John Marshall is still with us. “This ensemble” was SOFT WORKS – SOFT MACHINE by other name – which reformed in 1999 with a line-up comprised of former members who had never played in such a configuration before, recorded "Abracadabra" back in 2003 and toured with it around the world. On August 11th of that year, the foursome played in Osaka and documented that concert on a tape but never got to issuing the live album – until now. Restored, enhanced and mastered by Mark Wingfield and available from MoonJune Records as a 2CD set and download, “Abracadabra In Osaka” is a precious performance.