The Complete Matrix Tapes is a limited edition, 8LP box set that features recordings that have been mixed down directly from the original in-house multi-track tapes and marks the first time all the available tapes will be released on vinyl.
Content-wise, this is identical to the 4CD set from 2015, although pedants might not that at 43 tracks, this set has one more ‘track’ than the CD package due to the 37-minute version of Sister Ray needing to be split into two parts, on LP 6!
The Velvet Underground toured extensively in 1969, but choose to do a residency in San Francisco in November and early December over 18 nights over four separate engagements, the first at the Family Dog, the rest at the fabled North Beach club the Matrix. Over the course of their residency, which began November 11th, the club’s four-track recorder was rolling through much of it capturing the highlights of two nights (26, 27 November).
Literally containing live versions of all the ‘hits’, it shows the band – then containing Doug Yule, who’d recently replaced John Cale, on guitars and keyboards – in full flight, performing tracks from each of their albums. The vinyl box will come with a 16-page booklet.
The Complete Matrix Tapes is released 12 July 2019. As you will see below, you really need to shop around for this set. Amazon Germany’s price of €99 is effectively £68 cheaper than the UK price. Amazon France is even cheaper, although their listing doesn’t inspire a whole load of confidence with no release date listed and a vague “usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks” message. My advice right now would be to go with the German price.
LP ONE Side 1 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 1) What Goes On (Version 1)
Side 2 Some Kinda Love (Version 1) Heroin (Version 1)
LP TWO Side 1 The Black Angel’s Death Song Venus In Furs (Version 1) There She Goes Again (Version 1) We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 1) Over You (Version 1)
Side 2 Sweet Jane (Version 1) Pale Blue Eyes After Hours (Version 1)
LP THREE Side 1 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 2) Venus In Furs (Version 2) Some Kinda Love (Version 2) Over You (Version 2)
Side 2 I Can’t Stand It (Version 1) There She Goes Again (Version 2) After Hours (Version 2)
LP FOUR Side 1 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 2) Sweet Bonnie Brown (It’s Just Too Much) Heroin (Version 2)
Side 2 White Light/White Heat (Version 1) I’m Set Free
LP FIVE Side 1 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 3) Some Kinda Love (Version 3) There She Goes Again (Version 3)
Side 2 Heroin (Version 3) Ocean
LP SIX Side 1 Sister Ray Part 1
Side 2 Sister Ray Part 2
Side 1 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 3) What Goes On (Version 2) Some Kinda Love (Version 4)
Side 2 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 4) Beginning To See The Light Lisa Says New Age
LP EIGHT Side 1 Rock & Roll I Can’t Stand It Anymore (Version 2)
Side 2 Heroin (Version 4) White Light/White Heat (Version 2) Sweet Jane (Version 2)
Bad Elephant Music is delighted to announce the release of Bruised Sky, the third album from Manchester based progressive quartet, We Are Kin.
Bruised Sky sees We are Kin move away from the ‘universe’ of their preceding albums with a record that is the first true collaboration for the whole band. As keyboards player Daniel Zambas explains:“Bruised Sky is a stand-alone, no story line album. It’s very much a band effort, subconsciously reflective and introspective”.
In a significant departure from previous albums there are no guitars on Bruised Sky. “I’ve beenexperimenting with different synth sounds and patterns”, says Dan, “and I was conscious that Ididn’t want to play guitar. It’s important that we keep evolving as band, from Pandora, to ….and Iknow… and now onto Bruised Sky”.
On working with BEM Dan added “It’s the easiest decision in the world, and they provide us with the purest form of support”.
Bruised Sky will be released on Bad Elephant Music on both CD and digital download on 12th July 2019. Pre-orders will be announced soon.
We Are Kin are a progressive rock quartet from Manchester, and formed in 2011. Combining a shared love for the musical prowess of the Seventies, the recording gloss of the Eighties and songcraft of the Nineties, the founding members Gary Boast and Dan Zambas, met while playing together in pop band, The Reclusive Barclay Brothers.
Gary and Dan began discussing music during rehearsal breaks and very quickly realized that they shared a love of progressive music, specifically Genesis. It was during these discussions that the pair embarked on the idea of collaborating and writing their own music to fulfil these progressive leanings.
The resulting concept album Pandora – described as “a mature and well realized album” by The Progressive Aspect – was released on Bad Elephant Music in 2014. Its sequel, 2016’s ….and I know… – described by Prog Magazine as “formidable” – continued the Pandora story.
For ….and I know… Gary and Dan were joined by Emma Brewin-Caddy, who brings experience of working with choirs and a focus on strong vocal harmonies, and Lee Braddock with fifteen years of experience on bass guitar. Bruised Sky sees the whole band making writing contributions for the first time. Dan: “this is the first album we’ve worked on as a full band. Lee gets to unleash his inner bard on one track, whilst Emma has written all the other lyrics for the album”.
Drummer Dave Schoepke will be releasing his first solo drum album titled “Drums On Low” on July 15, 2019. Schoepke is an accomplished North American drummer, who has had the pleasure of working with the legendary Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre. Dave toured with Martin’s band in 2017 and in 2018 for the “Cruise To The Edge” Tour. He’s also been the primary drummer for The Willy Porter Band since 2002, and has loved every second of his time with the band. Dave has toured with Willy Porter on a number of occasions over the years, and has numerous television and radio appearances on his record. The amazing part is that Dave is able to do all of this, and still has time to devote to his own band Tweed. Tweed has been a mainstay touring in Europe for the last few years along with a number of other blues and soul groups.
Dave said this about “Drums On Low”: “The music and recording are a direct response to my life changes. Post the birth of my son I was inspired to craft and assemble this album. The concept is simple: to make an album in response to the overwhelming feelings I had about my family and where I was as a musician at this stage of my career. What flowed out was soaked with the spirit of love and harmony between our family unit and the reality that rhythms of life which bind us are always there in the ways we talk, feel, think, breathe and react to one another. I was motivated to write music that to me resonated those elements.”
The completion of this album was the realization of a dream of Dave’s since age 16 to make music solely on drums and percussion instruments. Until now, that was an unattainable goal due to work demands, recording capabilities and costs. Written and recorded at Dave’s home studio in the first 2 months after the birth of his 2nd child, this collection of pieces reflects the joy, wonder, and sleeplessness of being a new parent. The music was assembled in bits and pieces in between naptimes and family maintenance.
“My wife was very supportive in that when there was some free time, I was able to run downstairs and work on the music. Often, I began recording a piece only minutes after changing a diaper, feeding my son or some other family business. It was nearly impossible to separate the elements which is the biggest part of this whole story. The music is so directly informed by my day to day family life, and it’s as much a reaction to those things as it is to my purely musical pursuits. At times I just sat down and the music flowed with no thought or preconceived ideas, nothing but reaction to life with my family. Ultimately the content on the album is 1/3 pre-formed pieces, 1/3 sketches that were embellished on and 1/3 full improvisations. I had the intention of having it all ready to go ahead of time, and a lot of things were finished, but when inspired I was able to turn on a dime and go with where the muse took me, which often happened in the midst of working on another piece. My overall goal with this album was to create a body of work that reflected where I had been as a musician but with the intent that the pieces come across as songs rather than solos. All of the music was recorded live with no overdubs, punch-ins, or edits/splicing on a combination of drum kits with varied tuning schemes.”
Some of the pieces are more melodically driven with the pitches, “Window, War Of The Grasshoppers, and Eleven Three” are examples of pieces that reflect that approach with mallets being the choice to draw the tones out. “Which One ARE You and N’ging” are informed with more traditional approaches and are considerably more aggressive. Some tracks are more experimental in form and approach, “Sound On Low” uses free spinning metal shakers on various snare drums and micro percussion alongside a detuned 26” kick drum, while “The Thing From The Darkness” is a flat out free expression coupled with audio from an old 1930’s radio show.
“At times I wanted to abandon any concept of bars or strict form to the pieces, which I felt would restrict me and inhibit my transference of ideas. If I added a beat, dropped one, or the form floated away from my original intent, I went with it rather than be beholden to anything other than the moment. I wanted to disregard any of the common notions of form, tempo, tuning, and theory in favor of feel, attitude, flavor, vibe, and excitement. There was no fixing or editing on anything, so if there are mistakes, odd sounds, and any quirkiness that didn’t take away from the flow and intent of the piece, I left it in and in turn feel it adds more human element to the production rather than an over polished product. All in all, 20 songs were recorded and 11 selected to represent where I was at that time. Because this was to be my first solo endeavor and one I longed to do since childhood, I felt like I had a lot to get out. Concurrently making this album has inspired me to work on building this facet of my career, as I have a slew of concepts and ideas I’d love to share.”
Watch the video for “Which One ARE You?”
Dave said this about the video, “This is about an illustration of dualities in life. The two girls symbolize struggles that sometimes exist within people, good and bad, yin and yang, whatever. The music informs the manic-ness and chaos that can exist. I wanted to express chaos to the form of the song and do away with measures and structure at points, while returning to a rabid unrelenting ostinato that symbolizes the need to walk the line in life. The fight within people is often so much greater and out of control than we can comprehend. I learned this firsthand from a bi-polar suicidal father who took his own life when I was 10.”
When Dave is not touring with Martin Barre, touring Europe or holding down the drum throne for Willy Porter, he can be found in the studio recording. He is an extremely busy session musician with over 50 albums to his credit. These albums cut across all genres of music. He has also done dozens of instructional CD’s for the Hal Leonard Corporation (One of the world’s largest music publishers). Dave also heads up the improvisational recording project, Blank Radio, and is the chief engineer and curator of hundreds of sessions with musicians from all over the greater Milwaukee area, culminating 23 full length album releases since 2008. These albums feature improvisations in all styles from ambient soundscapes to classical, jazz, and seething progressive rock.
Currently Dave makes his home in Milwaukee and is a private lesson instructor at Cascio Interstate Music. He has done dozens of clinics and been billed with legendary drummers Ed Thigpen, Paul Wertico, Dom Famularo, Greg Bissonette, Ernie Adams, and Carmine Appice. He maintains a busy schedule of teaching, touring, clinics, and sessions, and is always striving to evolve in every facet of his music making. Dave proudly endorses Ludwig Drums and Paiste Cymbals and was named 2009 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) drummer of the year. In support of the release of “Drums On Low,” Dave is booking shows for August/September 2019
In closing, Dave has this message to impart to his listeners, “Joy and exploration. To make music with joy in the heart devoid of the constraints and trappings of the business and analytical side of the music industry.”
The Spanish Hard Rockers GÜRU has returned to the present with its new video clip “Quédate”, song written and produced by David Palau and belonging to his third studio album RED.
This video directed by Sergi Milà, aims to reflect the duality between the inner personal world and the artistic exterior of each one of us. The musicians, with their lights and shadows, show the personal wear that the artist suffers due to his audience and the fragility that this entails with time. A story never before told through the harrowing voice of Dagarod.
On the verge of celebrating its 10 years of existence, GÜRU has wanted to release this last video clip “Quédate” before entering the studio again to prepare its next record.
MARK WINGFIELD guitar, soundscapes GARY HUSBAND acoustic piano
There was some magic that unfolded during this intimate session at La Casa Murada, a recording studio located in a 12th century farmhouse in Catalonia about an hour outside of Barcelona. Gracefully yet deliberately, the music emerged like a force of nature, winding and floating its way through the medieval building from fingers to strings to the pleasure centers of the brain. Credit the vibe of the unique room for creating the perfect ambiance in which this magic between Mark Wingfield and Gary Husband could take place. High ceilings, walls of stone and lots of natural light pouring in, it set the proper mood for this first-ever one-on-one encounter between the two countrymen. And credit producer Leonardo Pavkovic with having the rare intuition and foresight that this duo would indeed foster magic together in the studio.
Wingfield is the forward-thinking British electric guitarist whose impressionistic work over the past decade is reshaping the sound of his instrument. “Wingfield’s guitar playing is mysterious, majestic and blazing in turns,” wrote Guitar Player magazine while All About Jazz crowed, “Wingfield makes his guitar howl, sing and cry for mercy amid flickering single note runs” and Music That Matters simply called him a “six-string winged, improvising shaman.”
Fellow Brit Husband has long been revered as one of the greatest drummers on the scene for his fabled association, since 1979, with the late, legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth. A longtime doubler, he has also showcased his exceptional keyboard skills with his New Gary Husband Trio and Force Majeure, Billy Cobham’s Spectrum Band and John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension. Husband has also released two luminous solo piano recordings, The Things I See: Interpretations of the Music of Allan Holdsworth and A Meeting Of Spirits: Interpretations of the Music of John McLaughlin.
For musical dreamers and ECM devotees, Tor & Vale answers the hypothetical question: “What if Terje Rypdal had recorded a duet album with Keith Jarrett?” A beautiful document that showcases the remarkable chemistry between these two extraordinary players, it is a gem of nuanced interaction and rare potency by improvisers of the highest order. “This recording captures and reflects the mutual enthusiasm and easy kind of compatibility we found with each other that was present at all times throughout the sessions in Spain,” noted Husband. “None of it felt forced or seemed to require a lot of effort at all. It just happened, just as you hear it.”
Added Wingfield, “As soon as we started playing it was clear that there was an instant musical connection there and a willingness to really open up and explore. With the composed pieces, we decided just before playing how we would structure it. We discussed who would solo first and where the melody would come back just based on how we felt it might work best, but with the proviso that if the music felt like it wanted to go somewhere else at any give point, we would follow that.
“I wanted to take an approach to the composed pieces where we were free to move in and out of or reinterpret the chord structure,” he continued. “Gary was of the same mind so we agreed to freely interpret what I’d written and even to depart completely from the chord progression if that felt right when we were improvising. As for the improvised pieces, there was nothing at all planned. We started the session with the composed pieces and things went so well
that by the time we got to the improvised pieces we felt there was no need to discuss how to approach them.”
While “Kittiwake,” “The Golden Thread,” “Night Song,” “Tryfan” and “Vaquita” were all compositions brought to the session by Wingfield, there was also plenty of room for stretching here. Check the last highly conversational minute of “The Golden Thread” to confirm that freedom-within-form principle. “Night Song,” likewise, is brimming with call-and-response exchanges and dramatic rubato exploration by the two kindred spirits.
The evocative 16-1/2-minute title track is a freely improvised excursion in the studio, the result of two intrepid improvisers being open to the moment. With a premium put on space, each note played during this uncharted interaction took on huge authority. And both Wingfield and Husband rose to the occasion with stirring statements that are full of conviction and throbbing with virtuosity (like Wingfield’s organic flurries of 32nd notes throughout) while remaining complementary to the flow.
“Shape of Light” is another improvised exploration that travels from an opening ambient soundscape to a gentle solo showcase for Husband’s piano at the 3-minute mark before resolving to a lovely, lyrical duet. “Tryfan” is a driving, dissonant number featuring some of Wingfield’s most potent six-string statements, underscored by Husband’s forceful comping. Picture a cross between Terje Rypdal and Robert Fripp and you’re getting the picture.
The third purely improvised piece, “Silver Sky,” is a spacious soundscape imbued with ambient swirls and patient statements by the two participants. Wingfield’s ‘howling, singing, crying’ guitar is in full effect here.
The guitarist’s thoughtfully composed closer, “Vaquita,” is infused with liquid whammy bar statements, furious 32nd-note fusillades and ambient echo washes. “Like most of the music I write, it started with a feeling or an atmosphere which I then translated into music,” he explained. “Sometimes these feelings or atmospheres are accompanied by images of places or scenes from people’s lives. Other times they are more of an emotional story of some kind with no particular image or scene in mind. ’Vaquita’ was more in this later category. For me, this one has quite a bit of momentum, as if you are being propelled through a story which travels up and down through the different events and feelings in the tale.”
Husband explained that the intuitive nature of this Tor & Vale session has been part of his modus operandi for years. “I actually have the infuriating habit of listening to initial instruction or some kind of plan, only to then completely disregard it and let instinct and intuition take over,” he said. “I love the conversational, instinctive process to make it’s own way and present itself through us.”
Wingfield explained his own modus operandi this way: “What I’ve been interested in for a long time is a type of free improvisation where rather than just playing completely ‘free’, you instead attempt to improvise as if there was something composed. Another way to explain this is to improvise as if you were composing a piece — line by line — in real time. Of course, it will sound improvised but it’s a radically different approach to playing free in the traditional sense.
“Gary is someone who is very at home with this idea too,” he continued. “Our wide range of common musical reference points meant that we were able to go on some extended improvised journeys. And he is such a great player. I knew his piano work so I knew he was able to go way outside the usual jazz improvised format and reference lots of different musical
worlds. So I knew there was a real potential to do something like this with him. But I had no idea beforehand that the session would go so well or that we would be able to communicate musically on the level we did.”
Wingfield also explained the title of his first-ever duo collaboration with Husband: “In the UK the word ‘tor’ often refers to a prominent hill with steep sides that stands out from the rest of the countryside. Some of these are natural but others are man-made and date back to the 7th century or possibly even back to the iron age. They had a significance for ancient people and are a significant sight on the landscape still. A ‘vale’ is, of course, a dip in the landscape. So for me, Tor & Vale represents a changing, undulating, twisting and turning landscape. Areas of the UK are particularly known for this kind of terrain. The track ‘Tryfan’ also refers to this. Tryfan is the name of a small mountain in Wales where there is a beautiful valley or vale right at the foot of it. There are also areas of the Peak District in England and elsewhere which fit this description. It’s the kind of landscape where you never know what you might find around the corner of a windy road. Some of the improvisations on this album made me think of these landscapes.
“Having said that, the music is not specifically about a landscape,” he continued. “For me, the places it goes are more varied — sometimes natural landscapes, sometimes urban, sometimes it’s more about a feeling or moment or something indescribable outside of music. That’s what I love about music: it can describe things we all know but which cannot be explained in words or images. So the landscape connection is an abstract one, but for me it was a name which fit.”
Following this MoonJune release, the formidable improvising duo is now considering the prospects of touring together in support of Tor & Vale. “I think it’s an excellent idea,” said Husband. “It would be pretty eventful, I feel, to build on this already existing simpatico and explore how and where it can all go.”
New York City – Jack Spann has had an incredible couple of years. The Saint Louis native has lived in New York City for the last 18 years and established himself as one of the city’s in-demand keyboardists. His reputation led to an introduction to David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti who hired him to play on the demos for what would be Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.
Spann’s Visconti connection did not end there. It led to an introduction to Milwaukee-based producer, Gary Tanin, who worked with Spann on his 1st and 2nd solo records, Time, Time, Time, Time, Time, and Beautiful Man From Mars and now on his 3rd upcoming release Propaganda Man.
The album took two years to complete and is different from his last, in that it faces social issues head on and does not shy away from addressing thorny social conundrums. Several guests appear while Spann provides lead vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar and bass. Cecil Robbington provides drums and percussion along with producer Gary Tanin adding additional keyboards.
Spann confesses he has drawn on the inspiration of having worked with David Bowie on the Blackstar demos. The 12-song record kicks off with the title track “Propaganda Man”, “… [which] is vintage Jack Spann. He sings of ‘crunching numbers’ and ‘equations . . . while the world waits, breathless’ … the politics of spinning information.” “’Rage in the Garden’ – Just enough Jersey Sound flair to qualify as a tune that Little Steven should cover with his Disciples of Soul.” “’Her Majesty’ – echoed the Abbey Road vintage of the Fab Four – It is hard to sound like Ringo but they pull it off on this track – one of many elements that give the track this Beatles fan’s stamp of approval….” “’She’s My Love Line’ does sound like a Billy Joel tune recorded in Detroit with Ray Charles at the keys for good measure.” – Ken E. Raisanen – From The Vaults – WOAS-FM 88.5.
Propaganda Man will release July 26th, 2019 in CD and Digital formats through Big Boo Publishing.