Soft Heap — A Veritable Centaur
(Impetus Records IMP CD 18219, 1988/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01Another Canterbury related release makes its way to the surface. This disc is mostly a posthumous release from a live set in 1982 when guitarist Mark Hewins replaced the then recently deceased Alan Gowen. Hewins recalls: "He was booked to play at Cardiff but died suddenly so I stepped directly into his very large shoes. My first gig was with Soft Heap." Additional personnel includes original members, Elton Dean, saxes (Soft Machine), and Pip Pyle (Hatfield, National Health, Gong etc.). By the time of this live performance, John Greaves (Henry Cow, National Health etc.) had replaced Hugh Hopper on bass. This is an album of live blowing music, pretty free stuff which is pretty difficult for your average jazz/fusion buff. At times, the tone of the disc shifts from dronish guitar chords ("Tunnel Vision") to choppy bass driving and drums thundering ( "Thaid Up"). The energy level is very high throughout the live performances. Last track was recorded in 1988, but I'm not certain if this indicates the group is still alive or not. If Soft Machine Third is your type of album, then you'll direct connect into the extension this album provides.
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