Barry Cleveland's March Faves

March 22, 2012

Tago Mago

This 30th Anniversary 2-CD reissue of the German art-spacerockers’ 1971 masterwork is the bellwether for numerous commemoratory goodies, including a 14-album CD/vinyl box set. Influenced as much by Stockhausen and the European and American avant-garde and experimental scenes as it was prog, pop, or psychedelia, this music sounds as adventurous today as when it was first released. While the ensemble work and the individual contributions from all of the players are superb, the interaction between guitarist Michael Karoli and keyboardist Irmin Schmidt is particularly wondrous, serving to remind one just how many amazing sounds may be elicited from a couple of pedals and an echo unit placed in the right hands. A 48-minute live CD culled from an excellent 1972 performance and a 14-page booklet complete this magnificent package. Spoon.

Morgan Agren, Henry Kaiser, Trey Gunn
Invisible Rays

Arising from a serendipitous session in a Swedish studio and subsequently finessed, the 11 sonic constructs presented here rip, crackle, roar, and sizzle with megavoltage creativity and improvisational abandon. Agren’s sophisticated yet über-grooving drumming interlocks wonderfully with Gunn’s highly imaginative, multifaceted 10-string Warr Guitar excursions and Kaiser’s freaky fuzz figures, time-warp melodic effects, and percussive rhythmic punctuations. Tasteful edits and overdubs, and skilled mixing by Don Gunn, transform the already engaging impromptu material into a sometimes heavy, sometimes heady, sometimes psychedelic, and sometimes zany neo-prog extravaganza. 7d Media.


The brainchild of Northern Irish experimental guitarist Rickey Graham, in collaboration with composer and tape-wrangler Michael Andrews, this music began as a collection of improvisations created utilizing looping and processing software and polyphonic guitar hardware developed by Graham, and was later refined into its present form. Unlike most other “drone” and “atmospheric” music, it possesses a subtly evocative and often majestic quality reminiscent of masters such as Brian Eno, Michael Brook, and Robert Rich.

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