Brainbox — Mythology
(Centertainment, 1972/2013, 3CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-30For most, and certainly for myself up until I was enlightened by this three-disc set, Brainbox was just some band that Jan Akkerman and Pierre Van Der Linden were in before the formation of Focus, and their one self-titled album (and especially the side-long track “Sea of Delight”) received some occasional airplay on US underground FM radio in the early 70s. That’s only a small part of the story, though, and this three disc set tells the whole Brainbox story, including all the singles, b-sides, demos, and the aforementioned long player, up until original singer Kaz Lux and several other band members quit the group in the early 70s, leaving the band’s manager to build a new band around remaining bassist Andre Reijnen. Of course by that time Akkerman and Van Der Linden were already long gone, now making waves with Focus. All the material from the eponymous LP is here, although some of its songs are split amongst the first two discs in the set, amid the band’s many singles, presented in mono and stereo versions when both exist. Some of the band’s best work is from the period after Akkerman left, when new guitarists Rudy de Queljoe, and later John Schuursma stepped in to take his place, creating a five-piece Brainbox with two guitarists. The 1971 de Queljoe penned instrumental “Mobilae” (presented in both single and demo versions) has to be one of the finest pieces the band ever produced. But there are many more gems to be found here among these three full length discs, including alternate versions of singles and album tracks (including a 29-minute version of “Sea of Delight”) and much more. With a 20-page booklet with exhaustive liner notes and many rare photos, Mythology is the definitive historical artifact covering the best years of this unsung band.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more