"Zepto" - NeBeLNeST
Nebelnest emerged with a bang out of France, with an excellent first album in 1998 and a second well received album in 2002. An instrumental quartet of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums, on their third album, Nebelnest add more elements of found-sound, noise, improvisation and dissonance to their uniquely post-punk take on dark symphonic rock, updating and punishing that sound beyond recognizable and reaching a whole new audience with it as well. Recorded during a time of chaos and transition for the band - their original guitarist appears on some of the album, as well as his replacement, who has also since left - the uncertainly that they were dealing with filled their music with an exciting tension. Happily, since the album was recorded, they have found a new replacement guitarist and have been busier playing concerts than during anytime in recent years."Extreme Spirituals" - Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and Oral Moses
For their 13th album and in their 25th year together, post-punk, art-rock pioneers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic do a 180 degree musical swerve and link up with bass-baritone vocalists Oral Moses, one of the preeminent African-American performers of traditional spirituals. The band demolish all preconceptions about themselves by presenting a program of heavily rearranged, well known African-American spirituals and 19th century art songs. The blend of Birdsongs' cutting-edge instrumentation with the strength and majesty of Moses' voice creates a very unorthodox yet deeply moving sound, which The Noise called, "Totally sublime and deeply moving." This collaboration represents a new experiment from all parties - something of a meeting at the crossroads between two creative parties passing in very different directions. Together they bring these centuries-old songs kicking and screaming into the 21st century."Seven Men in Neckties: History of the Micros Vol.1" - Microscopic Septet
Active for a dozen years, the Microscopic Septet were widely recognized as "New York's Most Famous Unknown Band." The group started with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax, piano, bass and drums) that was sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era. However, they employed these textures to address a widely eclectic range of styles, from free-form music to R&B, rhumbas and ragtime. The result was a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding orchestration and inspired soloing. Beloved in New York, where they generally drew capacity crowds, "The Micros" were one of the most celebrated of the many cutting-edge units associated with experimental music's best-known venue, the Knitting Factory, during the peak years of the "Downtown" music movement in the mid 1980s onward. This beautifully packaged and annotated set includes new cover artwork by Pulitzer-prize winning illustrator Art Spiegelman, new notes by leader Phillip Johnston, lots of great photographs and newly remastered versions of the first two albums by the band: "Take The Z Train" and "Let's Flip!", as well as quite a lot of never-before released material, including the well-known theme to the NPR show Fresh Air. The majority of this set has never appeared on CD and all of it has been unavailable for a number of years."Surrealistic Swing" - Microscopic Septet
"The Microscopic Septet was one of the most distinctive jazz ensembles in New York during the '80s and early '90s. Combining a love for the big-band sound with a progressive approach to arrangement and composition, the Micros managed to be nostalgic and futuristic at the same time." - All Music Guide"Metatron" - Richard Pinhas
Metatron is over 2 hours of spacey and flowing music that isn't afraid to rock out completely as well, by French electronic rock pioneer Richard Pinhas (on guitar and electronics), with Jerome Schmidt on laptop, drummer Antoine Paganotti (Magma) and ex-Heldon members Didier Batard (bass), Patrick Gauthier (minimoog) and Alain Renaud (guitar), as well as Chuck Oken, Jr. (Djam Karet) on synths and Philipe Simon on violin on one track each. While a lot of this is definitely comparable to Tranzition, his great last album, there really is a lot more rock involved this time around, as there are drums on the great majority of tracks. In addition to all the great music, there is a QuickTime video with footage from Richard and Jerome's 2004 North American tour."Middle Earth Masters" - Soft Machine
The Soft Machine were one of England's original and best psychedelic bands, emerging out of the same "UFO Club" London scene at the same time as Pink Floyd. While the band would always undergo constant personnel and stylistic change, their best known lineup in their psychedelic days was the trio of Kevin Ayers-bass, guitar, vocals, Mike Ratledge-organ and Robert Wyatt-drums, vocals. They played many shows and built an audience in “swinging London” and beyond. A link with Jimi Hendrix’s management culminated in the Softs touring the USA with the Jimi Hendrix Experience two different times in 1968, playing over 60 shows as their opening act and recording their first album while in the USA during their touring, after which the band collapsed and disbanded...temporarily. Middle Earth Masters captures the 1967-era Soft Machine trio in full concert glory, recorded live at London's legendary Middle Earth club. The performance is unbelievably freaky for 1967, with songs that feature unusual structures linked by wild solos and improvisations. Those of you who know and love the first Soft Machine album will be amazed at how much more insane and insanely loud the band actually were and also surprised to hear that Mike Ratledge was doing the crazy solo fuzz organ parts (ala the opening of Facelift) in 1967. Includes rare, previously unissued photographs and a short essay by Michael King about these tapes and his work to make them sound as good as possible.