I was pleased to find that a few of my originally intended items for this post are actually available on CD. The Capsicum Red album, Appunti Per Un'Idea Fissa, seems to have been reissued in the 90s, and is listed as available here. While the original LP (from 1972) is fairly standard classically influenced progressive rock, with lots of heavy organ, the psych-pop flavored singles offered on the reissue are alone worth the price of the disc. There also seems to be a relatively new CD reissue of the Martin Davorin Jagodic album Tempo Furioso (originally released on Cramps), available here (usually "dispatched" within 24 hours); the Jagodic record is an absolute must-have for fans of wildly inventive music-and-sound collage, the style being similar to the best works of Luc Ferrari.
Now, on to the latest offerings:
Pôle - The first 2 Pôle LPs, both from 1975, were also the first 2 releases on the legendary French Pôle label. Almost every artist from the label's brief lifespan (1975-1977) is noted on the NWW List, and the ones that aren't there probably ought to be. Both Pôle albums are masterworks of early 70s Euro-space-rock, subtle, creepy and synth-laden. Personnel vary between the 2 albums, though arranger/synth player Paul Putti (who is also credited as producer on Inside The Dream) seems to be a constant. The lineup on Inside The Dream also features Jean-Louis Rizet, one-half of the Besombes-Rizet duo that created a monumental double-LP entitled "Pôle" that same year, so it's easy to see that the whole scene was quite incestuous, comprised of a small group of fertile, creative individuals. Here is a detailed page (ein Deutsches) on the Pôle albums. Each record is comprised of 3 tracks apiece; I've included 1 from each for download. [In the Maelstrom mp3] [Villin-gen mp3]
Heratius - Gwendolyne - Eccentric and un-categorizable French band's sole LP, released in 1978. Electric guitars, reeds, organ, percussion and voice etc., fitting comfortably amongst Philemon Arthur and The Dung, Dedalus and the more experimental bits of Faust; in short, idiosyncratic with a capital "I." I have only an mp3 download of the album, so if there are in fact actual track titles, I'd love to know what they are. Played previously on WFMU by Charlie and Tony Coulter. [Track 2 mp3] [Track 3 mp3] [Track 5 mp3]
Günter Schickert - Samtvogel - Though Schickert's second album Uberfällig (from 1980) has been available on CD for some time, Samtvogel, originally issued on Brain in 1974, remains unavailable. Too bad, as it's a milestone of minimalist Krautrock guitar, with cyclical, hypnotic phrasing, similar to the work of Achim Reichel and Manuel Gottsching's Inventions for Electric Guitar album. If anything, Samtvogel is darker, more psychedelic and less plodding in its repetitions than the Gottsching album. This is a must for Krautrock fans, and way overdue for remaster/reissue. [Kriegsmaschinen Fahrt zur Holle mp3]
Collegium Musicum - Collegium Musicum, led by keyboardist Marián Varga, were a big deal in their native Czechoslovakia from 1969 through the mid-1980s. Comparisons to ELP are fair enough, but also don't tell the whole story of this band, who incorporated elements of psych, pop, jazz and free improvisation into their sound. That said, Varga definitely had a passion for classical interpretations and Hammond-organ battering; still, the band was capable of moments of great subtlety. Much of their catalog is, or has been, available on CD (the 1973 live LP is a personal favorite), but not their first, self-titled album (1970) from which this track is taken. [If You Want to Fall mp3] Here is the Marián Varga homepage, with full discography.
Cohelmec Ensemble - Hippotigris Zebra Zebra - Small-combo post-psychedelic jazz record, with vibes/piano/harpsichord, alto sax/flute, double bass and percussion. Released around 1970 on the Saravah label, the free-styled compositions are reminiscent of both the ESP-DISK classics of the early 60s, and late-period Coltrane. The Cohelmec Ensemble made several other records, including the album Next and several live recordings, with varying personnel. Jean Cohen, the reed player on this album, is the "Jean Cohen-Solal" who's also named individually on the NWW List. [Aventures Terrestres Aquatiques mp3] [Asia Minor mp3] [a. Lude b. Panama Red mp3]
Hero - Hero - Excellent one-off progressive rock LP from this Italian band, released in 1974. Hero took a more song-oriented approach than many Italian bands of the period, with clever arrangements and a tasteful minimum of noodling, their overall sound being similar to Van der Graaf Generator. For more information, see their page at italianprog.com. [Merry Go Round mp3] [Sunday Best mp3]
Friendsound - Joyride - I've heard talk of a reissue (perhaps a vinyl-only) of this 1969 American psych LP, but I have yet to actually see one for sale. For one of the more obscure items on the NWW List, there's certainly a good deal of information on this one [also see this.] Far from a conventional psych album, Joyride is highly inventive, wild at times, anticipating bands like Faust and echoing Red Crayola's Parable of Arable Land. Members Drake Levin, Mike Smith and Phil Volk were all former players in Paul Revere and The Raiders, having also released two albums (with Friendsound keyboard player Ron Collins) under the name Brotherhood. Was Friendsound drummer Jim Gordon the ace session player that would later turn up in Derek and The Dominoes? Not sure, but it seems more than likely. [Empire of Light mp3]