Headband [Australia]

A Song For Tooley (73)


Headspace [UK]
Updated 5/31/10

Headspace EP (07)
Headspace (not in photo order) - Damian Wilson (vocals), Adam Wakeman (keyboards), Pete Rinaldi (guitar), Lee Pomeroy (bass), Rich Brook (drums)

Headspace, featuring keyboardist Adam Wakeman (yes, the son of Rick and keyman for Ozzy Osbourne) and vocalist Damian Wilson (Threshold, Landmarq), has released an excellent EP of what I would have to call "heavy prog", though the exact sub-category in the genre guide would be open for debate. A bit too pretty and keyboard oriented to simply be "prog metal" in the same sense as Dream Theater or the like, but way heavier than your usual symphonic prog band. Well, it's prog, right? It's supposed to go off the map just a bit.

Heavy, yes, and a bit of "rock anthem" or arena rock pomposity thrown in for good measure, but also easy to listen to. Quite melodic without screaming or thrashing. Good stuff, in my opinion. And, Adam tells me, "You'll love our concept album when it's finished". It's still in the works, but with an expected release date early in 2010. Keep on the lookout for this one, I know I will ... -- Fred Trafton

[See Landmarq | Threshold | Wakeman, Adam]

Click here for Headspace's web site
Click here for Headspace's MySpace page.

Healing Road, The [Germany]
Updated 3/31/09

The Healing Road (06)
Timanfaya (08)
Tales from the Dam (08, LP+CD versions sold together)
The Healing Road's Hanspeter Hess

Original entry, 1/5/09:
The Healing Road is essentially keyboardist (and occasional drummer) Hanspeter Hess plus guest musicians that change from song to song. I've only heard his second album Timanfaya, the name of a national park in Spanish-owned Lanzarote, a part of the Canary Islands. The songs are inspired by various attractions within the park.

Timanfaya may not be the most startlingly original album you've ever hear, but it's some pretty darn good prog. Overall, I'd say it reminds me the most of Triumvirat's better efforts, though with lots of additional features. There's some polysynth that's reminiscent of ELP's Works Vol. I, "World Music" influences that make parts sound Oriental, Indian, Arabic or Celtic (or sometimes a bit "new agey", though not for long) and even a part that reminds me of "Cat Food" from Crimson's In the Wake of Poseidon (though the crazy piano is Rhodes, not a regular piano). There's also some songs with prog-metal-sounding guitar and (especially) drum parts that really smoke, particularly when the Hammond kicks in. If this sounds like a hopeless mishmash of styles, don't be concerned ... this works very well and makes for a quite varied and pleasant listening experience. By the way, the music is all instrumental, no vocals.

Hess evidently records in his own home studio and the home studios of some of the guest musicians. When I first listened to the album (and before I read the statement in the liner notes about recording in home studios), I thought, "pretty nice recordings for a home studio" ... it is obvious but not objectionable. The drum recordings, in particular, are very well done and punchy. Perhaps that's due to the use of Roland V-Drums (that's what Hess is sitting at in the photo) which don't require a multi-thousand dollar battery of microphones to sound good in a recording. And the drums are well played too.

Overall, I must say pretty nice stuff. Well worth seeking out. The most recent album, Tales from the Dam, is sold as an LP with a CD version of the album included. I haven't heard this one yet, nor the eponymous debut ... I'll say more about them if/when I get a chance to hear them. -- Fred Trafton

Update 3/31/09:
Before I even had a chance to upload this, I did get to hear Tales from the Dam ... yes, I did get both the LP and the CD, though I've only listened to the CD thus far. It's actually stylistically quite different from Timanfaya, though just as good. This album is more in the "mellow prog" area of music, reminding me at times of Mike Oldfield and Greenslade, with some of the hypnotic ostinatos that are the favorites of Philip Glass and human voice-like synthesizer sounds that remind me of Isao Tomita, plus a few Tony Banks-like fast synth arpeggios. In other words, proggy without sounding too much like anyone else.

This is a really nice album. But I do wonder about the dual LP/CD release, which for my money increases the price without much added value. I know a lot of prog-heads still like their vinyl, but from a business standpoint, I gotta wonder if releasing a recording in this manner is more of a benefit or a detriment as far as sales go. I dunno ... maybe I'll contact Mr. Hess and ask him. But I do know that whether you're buying it for the vinyl or digital versions, the music is well worth a listen. At €17.90 (=$23.53 as of 3/31/09), it's only a little more expensive than Timanfaya at €14.90 (=$19.58). And who knows, maybe you really do want that vinyl version. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Hanspeter Hess' web site
Click here to order The Healing Road's Timanfaya or Tales from the Dam from Musea Records

Heaven's Cry [Canada]
Updated 11/26/07

Food for Thought Substitute (96)
Primal Power Addiction (02)
Heaven's Cry - Top: Eric Jarrin (guitars), Sylvain Auclair (vocals, bass), Rene Lacharite (drums). Bottom: Olaf Quinzanos (guitars), Pierre St. Jean (vocals, guitars)

Original entry, 10/6/03:
Speed metal with nice progressive touches like odd meters, long songs and complex harmonies. Vocals sound a bit like Freddie Mercury (high pitched and lots of harmony). They evidently got into a problem with the album rights on their first release, but they have now reacquired them, and re-released their debut. Since then, they have put out a second album, and are currently working on their third. Nice web site, but don't try to run it on an old browser ... download some music samples there from both their first and second albums from their site and check them out. -- Fred Trafton

Added 11/26/07:
Vocal oriented hair-metal with an interesting but muddled sound, like Guns 'n' Roses jamming with Def Leppard give or take a few odd Saga-type rhythms here and there. Unremarkable. -- David Marshall
Click here for Heaven's Cry's web site

Heavy The World [USA]

Runes (83), What in the World (89), Next World (91)

More psychedelic than progressive, this DC area band had a few albums, one of which was a self produced triple album recorded over a period of several years. The sound quality is pretty poor, and the playing is a little sloppy, yet they still have plenty of interesting moments. File under good garage bands.

Hecenia [France]

Legendes (90)

[See Elohim]

Hedges, Michael [USA]
Updated 7/1/06

Breakfast in the Field (81)
Aerial Boundaries (84)
Watching My Life Go By (85)
The Shape of the Land (86, Soundtrack)
Santabear's First Christmas (86, Soundtrack)
Live on the Double Planet (87)
Taproot (90)
Princess Scargo & the Birthday Pumpkin (93, Soundtrack)
The Road to Return (94)
Oracle (96)
Torched (99, Posthumous release)
The Best of Michael Hedges (00, Compilation)
Michael Hedges: Beyond Boundaries, Guitar Solos (01, Compilation)
Michael Hedges: Platinum & Gold Collection (03, Compilation)
Michael Hedges in 1994

Michael Hedges is an acoustic guitarist with the most innovative playing style since Stanley Jordan. He mixes a combination of hammering, harmonics, and percussive slaps into his music, which he plays with such dexterity that most listeners assume they're hearing two or three instruments at the same time. His stage presence is full of energy, bordering on psychotic, and his music is just as energetic. I guess "new age" is the only term I can think of to describe the music itself, but bear in mind that that's a description of his compositions, not of the arrangement, which is usually solo guitar, occasionally with electric bass or a flute. (No synthesizers, please.) Warning-- he does sing on some songs in Live from the Double Planet, and it's not that pretty.

Guitarist on Windham Hill label, tends to be sort of a one man band, his Aerial Boundaries and the live album are pretty interesting solo-guitar type stuff, Taproot is OK, but the earlier stuff is not so interesting.
I have no idea how he got on the list of bands, but he's by far my favorite acoustic guitarist. He does for the acoustic what Hendrix and Stanley Jordan did for the electric. I've never met anyone who claimed to be able to play anything he's written. Most of his stuff is just solo guitar, and I rarely notice. He uses harmonics like they were just any other note, and uses a lot of percussive techniques. I wouldn't believe that a lot of this stuff wasn't over-dubbed if I hadn't seen it live. For a prog fan, I'd say start with Live on the Double Planet or Taproot. His earlier stuff, though not typical Windam Hill stuff, is a little more airy. He supposedly has recorded a "rock" album with Michael Manring on bass (I don't know who else is on it), but it has yet to be released.
Update 1/27/06:
Michael Hedges was killed in December of 1997 at the age of 43. He was in a one-car crash on State Route 128 in rural Mendocino County, California. His posthumous album Torched was released from recordings of an album in progress. The title has nothing to do with the crash; it had already been chosen prior to Hedges' accident. Several compilations have been released after his death.

The album with Michael Manring mentioned above may have been a Manring album titled Unusual Weather released in 1986, in which Hedges was a collaborator. However, Manring played bass on every Hedges album except for the purely solo guitar releases, so this may be referring to just about any album someone thought sounded more "rock" than the others. After Hedges' death, Manring recorded an homage song for Hedges named after his favorite book "The Book of Living and Dying", which can be heard on Manring's solo album The Book of Flame. -- Fred Trafton

Update 7/1/06:
At NEARFest 2006, Michael Manring was one of the solo spotlight performers. After the show, I got a chance to ask him, "If I was to get one Michael Hedges album, which one should it be?" After expressing astonishment that I had never heard Hedges, he answered, "Aerial Boundaries is the one everyone likes the best. But my favorite is Live on the Double Planet". So there you have it. What better recommendation could you ask for? -- Fred Trafton

[See Manring, Michael]

Click here for Michael Hedges' web site

Hedren, Johan [Sweden]
Updated 11/16/01

Krettslop (??)
Anna Gram (??, Cassette)
One is said to sound even more ambiental than Ur Kaos (!!), the other is like more rocking version of Ur Kaos. -- Nenad Kobal
[See Kultivator | Ur Kaos]

Heimat [Germany]

Harvest (??)

Obscure prog.

Herb Heinz [USA]
Updated 11/26/07

Failure (98)
Another (04)
Herb Heinz

Original entry, 12/20/04:
Wow! Who would have guessed I would find one of my favorite releases of 2004 among a bunch of "freebie" CD's I got from John Collinge for renewing my subscription to Progression Magazine at this year's NEARfest ... Herb Heinz' Another. The other CD's I got in the package were OK but mostly promo CD's from labels (and Brad Bansner's Thought Molecules, which I already had and reviewed in the GEPR). My first thought putting this on was that Heinz was rehashing "new wave" sounds from the early '80's ... but by the time I was ten minutes into the CD, I realized how completely false this impression was. Yes, Heinz uses some "new wave" mannerisms, especially in the Devo-esque angular/noisy/FM-modulated synth sequences and robotic [Later ... I think it's actually Herb's wife Amy X Neuburg] drumming in some places. There are also passages that remind me of Talking Heads or Flash and the Pan. But there are major differences ...

Heinz doesn't use "verse/chorus" structures at all. The synth sequence that he used in the last measure becomes a new one in this measure, or is echoed by guitar or vocals playing/singing something similar. There are returns to themes as a song progresses, but it's far from verse/chorus. Musically, the compositions owe as much to Gentle Giant with the musical counterpoints and fugues in the instruments which sometimes play only a few notes before the melody is taken up by another instrument or a few words of singing. Some of the songs also remind me of Bubblemath for their frenetic changeups and sarcastic / cynical / social-observation lyrics. I also have to say it has some of the "Northern California Art-Rock" attitude of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, though not as raspy and angry ... more like sneering. Heinz says his favorite guitarist is Fred Frith, and Heinz emulates him at least as far as being an iconoclast and perhaps a bit musically as well. The bottom line is that this album is "progressive" in the truest sense of the word. Not because it sounds like those old '70's prog bands, but because it has progressed into a new realm all of its own. You've never heard anything quite like this ...

Well, unless you've heard any Amy X Neuburg and Men. Herb and the Men aren't exactly alike, but Herb was until recently one of Amy's "Men" (the guitarist), and she contributes a lot to Another in the form of production assistance and backing vocals. So there's bound to be some overlap in ideas. But Another is Herb's solo baby, and he's now left Amy X Neuburg and Men to pursue his solo work and other band interests (Amy's looking for a new guitarist (so you live in the Bay area, play guitar and are you wierd enough?).

I just want to say that it's criminal that an album of this quality should be relegated to being given away for free as a subscription enticement. This album should be big among the prog community and see a lot of crossover into fans of avant-garde and even experimental pop music. This is just plain good shit. It was so good that I wrote to Herb to talk to him about it, and he was kind enough to send me not only his first album Failure, but also the last release from Amy X Neuburg and Men and Amy X Neuburg's latest release as well. See the separate entries for what I thought of them.

Failure is similar to Another but also different. For my tastes, Another is the most interesting of the two, though Failure also has its moments. Failure is a concept album about ... well ... failure. In this album, he set out to fail. A brilliant concept, since if he fails, he has succeeded in doing what he intended to do, and if he succeeds, he has still succeeded. This is what motivational speakers like to call "a win/win situation". And Herb has done it by setting out to fail. I think I'm getting a headache.

Failure pays more homage to the previously-mentioned old "art rockers" like Devo/Talking Heads/Flash and the Pan/David Bowie than Another did, with less experimentation. Still, the cynical, sarcastic resignation to the situation of mankind's expreience being doomed from the beginning to failure makes this a very cool (if depressing) concept album. Failure to communicate. Failure to understand or be understood by others. Failure to get what you want. Even the failure to be able to produce the music you really want. You gotta hand it to a guy who calls an album Failure and puts the pattern of his male pattern baldness on the front cover of the CD. The subject matter makes it hard to listen to, but it rings of the sad truth. Another actually echos some of the same ideas. My recommendation is to get Another first, then move on to Failure if you enjoy it. -- Fred Trafton

Added 11/26/07:
Delicious, highly original progressive keyboard music with delightfully complex patterns and an airy, occasionally whimsical sound. Heinz is a quiet master of understatement and subtle harmonic intertwinings that evoke a less silly Zappa and yet at the same time, he really seems to love classic prog and often emulates Tony Banks (is the extent of Banks' influence bottomless?). If you like either of those artists, you'll either be intrigued by Herb Heinz or put off. Well worth a visit to his site. -- David Marshall
[See Amy X Neuburg | Amy X Neuburg and Men]

Click here for Herb Heinz' web site

Heldon [France]
Updated 3/23/01

Electronic Guerilla (74)
Allez Teia (75)
It's Always Rock and Roll (75)
Heldon IV (76)
Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale (76)
Interface (77)
A Dream Without (78)
Stand By (79)
A sound best described as industrial electronics meets Frippian guitar, altho some albums (like Allez Teia) are fairly spacy and quiet compared to others (like Interface), which contain some really agressive and noisy stuff. The core lineup was Richard Pinhas (Guitar), Patrick Gauthier (Synthesizer), and Francois Auger (drums), with other musicians dropping in and out.
Allez Teia, from the group fronted by Richard Heldon, the French Fripp, features the music of Mellotrons and processed guitars and other forms of electronics. The music is regarded as a classic of the early French electronic music scene, though you will not see images of Jarre in here!
It's simply astounding what one person can accomplish with one guitar, one synth and enough vision. And Richard Pinhas shows no shortage of vision on Heldon I - Electronique Guerilla/Heldon III - It's Always Rock and Roll, an excellent 2cd package, which contains 3 albums in essence since Heldon III was originally a double album. The style here is more minimalist than on the later Heldon stuff like Interface or Stand By, but nonetheless Pinhas milks his gear for everything its worth to produce strikingly futuristic, dark, aggressive music that also has a quirky sense of serenity too. The original recording dates for these works are 1974 and 1975, but they *still* sound way ahead of their time today. Highly-charged, powerful music, and a welcome addition to anyone's Heldon collection. Also a great place to start for those new to Heldon, since this package is a great value buy.
If any of you are confused as to why Richard Pinhas is the "French Fripp," pick up Stand By. The title track is a 14 minute guitar assault that would make Mr. Fripp blush. Much more aggressive than their early releases, this Heldon album features Patrick Gauthier (of Magma/Weidorje fame) on a wide array of keyboards available in 1979. Gauthier's compositional contribution to the album, Une Drole de Journee, is complex enough to be mistaken for a Weidorje track. In short, a far cry from the ambience of Electrique Guerrilla. The remaining track, a 21 minute suite called "Bolero," is more like early Heldon, but not much. Swirling synthesizer loops share stage with bold guitar solos and intermittent drumming. I recommend this album for everyone searching for the conceptual link between "Paul Atreides" and Red. And besides, the title track shreds so hard I needed a band aid.
Heldon was/is the French guitarist/synthesist Richard Pinhas with the most frequent collaborator Georges Grunblatt on synths. The music can range from abstract electronics (most of Heldon 6: Interface) to Frippian guitar over a bed of electronics (Heldon I and II) to meltdown rock guitar over seething synthesizers (Heldon 7: Stand By). 7 is my current favorite, especially the 21 minute long track Bolero, which has strong late-70's Tangerine Dream influence (especially the sequencers). Most of this music needs a good listening to before appreciating, as at first listen the music is very abstract. 7 is easier to get into, as it is more "song-structured" than the previous efforts. Pinhas's later solo material (East/West and L'Ethitque) is also more "song-structured" than some of his earlier material. Fans of Frippertonics should check out the 22-minute long "Wintermusic" on Iceland.
[See Bellaiche, Alain | Gauthier, Patrick | Happy The Man | Magma | Ose | Pinhas, Richard | Roussel, Coco | Zao]

Helicopter [USA]

Insect Perfect (81)

This is the band that Babylon became. Their only album Insect Perfect features most of the Babylon lineup, but other than that bears little resemblance to that band, being a very thrashy post-punk sound with very few hints of their progressive past. Pretty good for what it is.

[See Babylon]

Hellborg, Jonas [Sweden]
Updated 8/9/06

Solo Albums:
The Bassic Thing (82)
Elegant Punk (84)
Axis (85)
Bass (88)
Adfa (89)
Jonas Hellborg Group (90)
The Word (90)
The Silent Life (91)
Ode to a Tractor (92)
E (94, as Jonas Hellborg Group)
Ars Moriende (95)
Abstract Logic (95)
Time is the Enemy (?)
Zenhouse (?)
Personae (02)
Icon (?)

With Others:
All Our Steps (83, w/ Michael J. Smith and Michael Shrieve)
Mahavishnu (84, w/ Mahavishnu Orchestra)
Down by Law (84, w/ Bill Laswell)
Album (85, w/ Bill Laswell and Ginger Baker)
Adventures in Radioland (86, w/ Mahavishnu Orchestra)

Jonas Hellborg

Swede Jonas Hellborg is a lively, creative jazz bassist who's been making solid fusion records over the years, offering very original jazz-rock with some top musicians at his side (like guitarist Shawn Lane or the Johansson Bros.). Not as much a composer as a maker of music, a jammer at heart, Hellborg's albums emphasize the glory of playing -- the relationship between accomplished musicians who are in synch and what is possible within that exchange. Best starting place is probably Personae (Bardo Records, 2002), a great live jazz-rock jam from great players having a lot of fun. -- David Marshall

[See Johansson Brothers | Mahavishnu Orchestra]

Click here for Jonas Hellborg's record label, Bardo Records

Hellebore [France]
Updated 5/7/03

Il y a Des Jours (85)
The precursors to Look De Bouk, and another fine example of music in the RIO vein. Thankfully, these guys are a little easier to listen to than the rest of these bands, and if you can find it, would be the ideal place to start in the RIO genre (other than Henry Cow).
Open-minded progressive groups from France knew how to make fantastically original music even in the mid-eighties. They very well knew how to use all the inspirations and made them not to be apparently heard in their music. Of course, influences can be recognised, but what effort the listener has to put into detection of them. This band could indeedy be described as Henry Cow-lite, but also in many other ways and none could use words sparingly. OK, I guess that influences band took in account are as varied as on Cow releases. Contemporary classical of all shapes and sizes, rock or even rawk, improv jazz and all sorts of "freeness" melts and sizzles in the pot, but totally in a Hellebore way of faire la cuisine. Recorded in 1983 and put on pieces of plastic two years later proves to be predecessor of somewhat similar efforts 90's Miriodor. Original 7-tracker adds 3 bonus tracks from three legendary compilations (Douze Pour Un, Local International and Voices, Notes and Noises).

Tom Katsimapalis, whom somebody of you know from another experimental band and art group The Mnemonists (now Biota), made genuine artwork and co-designed the inlay of the LP. These pics are also present in the CD-booklet and are something on their own. I know this review isn't god knows how good, but describing indescribable really isn't simple task. Actually, while listening to tracks on Il y a des Jours, it seems to me that this music doesn't want to be described, so I think I came as far as it was possible. The best way is to lie down, close the eyes and observing the parade of weird ideas finely crafted and put on a record. -- Nenad Kobal

[See Look De Bouk]

Helmerson, Anders [Finland]

End of Illusion (82)

Classically trained pianist, this keyboardist presents his compositions and arrangements, armed with his stack of analog keyboards. End of Illusion was recorded over a three year period, the production includes numerous guests on guitars, bass, drums and violin. The sound is naturally dominated by classical themes on keyboards and the arrangements are rich and symphonic. The style bring to mind those of extravagant keyboardists like K. Emerson and R. Wakeman. Should please those who enjoy excellent technique and the sounds of good old keyboards. -- Paul Charbonneau

Helmet of Gnats [USA]
Updated 5/24/05

Helmet of Gnats (96, out of print)
Helmet of Gnats (04)
Helmet of Gnats - (front) Matt Boccino (keyboards), Chris Fox (guitars), Wayne Zito (fretted and fretless basses) and (back) Mark Conese (drums, percussion)

The only problem with this band is their choice of names. Previous incarnations included Left Testicle, Doctor Curious (named for the vocalist at the time's gynecologist) and By-Product before finally returning to the recurring Helmet of Gnats. Blecch. But don't let the silly names mislead you ... this is not a joke band by any stretch of the imagination. Previous incarnations played songs by UK, Zappa, Utopia, Jeff Beck, Focus, Brand X, Return to Forever and Jean-Luc Ponty. The earliest lineup using the Helmet of Gnats monicker was "practically a Dixie Dregs tribute band performing flawless covers of their most treacherous material".

They settled on Helmet of Gnats for a name in 1990, and their current line-up has been stable since 2000. They put out one eponymous album in 1996 with a different rhythm section, but they say of this album only that it is "out of print". This review therefore focuses on their second eponymous album released in 2004.

HoG has no vocalist, and has absolutely no need for one. These guys play high quality fusion with occasional lapses into rockier prog realms and even some occasional space rock meanderings. Keyboardist Matt Bocchino not only plays Hammond with the energy of Keith Emerson and the tastefulness of Groove Holmes, but can also play a mean piano or synth solo. He also knows when to lay back into the background and allow guitarist Chris Fox to step into the forefront with a John Goodsallish guitar solo. The rhythm section of Wayne Zito on bass and Mark Conese on drums provides an intricate backbone to hang the meat of the music on (hey, if they can summon up yucky organic images, why can't I?). Zito's fretless solos are especially impressive, reminding me of Jaco Pastorius in their melodic flow.

Overall, HoG is probably the most similar to Brand X, with some of the most electric of Return to Forever thrown in as well. The recording quality on this album is good, but seems a lttle on the sterile side for some reason. Still, this isn't enough to detract from the excellent compositions and superb musicianship of this band. A high recommendation from me ... someone who usually finds fusion to be a bit too intellectual and snooty ... but not these guys! -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Helmet of Gnats' web site
Click here to order Helmet of Gnats from Ambient Records

Henderson, Mike [USA]
Updated 7/12/11

White Arrow Project (10)
Mike Henderson is as shy about getting his picture taken as the rest of Djam Karet, so here's a picture of the album cover for his solo album White Arrow Project.

Mike Henderson is one of two guitarists for Djam Karet, and he's recently released his first solo album, named after the studio in which DK records, White Arrow Project. I've read several reviews of this album damning it with scant praise, calling it everything from simple to not proggy to boring. Don't you believe it! At least not until you've judged for yourself. Certainly, it's not heavy, and the first impression of the songs is that they are indeed "accessible". But when you pay close attention, you'll find you're having a hard time tapping your foot to that "accessible" song because the time signature is varying all over the place, but it's doing it so confidently that it doesn't slap you in the face with any feeling of strangeness. That's hard to do!. It just flows, smooth and unforced.

Yes, the songs are focused on acoustic guitars, with some nice unobtrusive synthesizers backing them up, also played by Henderson. He has a few others helping him out, but the only other DK member credited is drummer Chuck Oken. Even before reading a couple of other reviews, I was already going to compare some of these songs to Kate Bush (especially "Goddess") and Brian Eno due to the music as much as the vocals. Henderson handles nearly all the instruments, but leaves the vocals (present on every song I believe) to guests Caroline Dourley and Jack Housen.

This isn't the sort of album that hits you over the head with bombast and thousand-notes-per-second virtuosity. This is subtle, introspective and mature. It's also highly creative. I'll admit it, an album mostly consisting of acoustic guitar will normally put me to sleep. But White Arrow Project has plenty of subtle complexity for those with the patience to hear it. Totally excellent! Give it a try. -- Fred Trafton

[See Djam Karet | Ukab Maerd]

Click here for the White Arrow Project page on the Djam Karet web site
Click here to order White Arrow Project from CD Baby

Henry Cow [UK]
Updated 3/2/04

Legend (73)
Greasy Truckers Live At Dingwalls Dancehall (73, 1 side)
Unrest (74)
In Praise Of Learning (75)
Concerts (76)
Western Culture (79)
Speaking of RIO music, this band is definitely the archetype of the genre. As much in to the Canterbury sound on their earlier albums as Hatfield or Matching Mole, Henry Cow were a fantastic band that combined rock, free jazz, classical and avant garde into an unmistakably unique combination. These guys, of course, will not appeal to the sympho-only crowd, but to those who like progressive on the verge of jazz, you may like these guys a lot. My favorite is Legend - read this Leg-end, which is their debut, and I remember when I first heard it how it sounded completely made up on the spot. But Henry Cow were extremely unconventional, and made music that didn't conform to any laws, and were therefore an island to themselves. Of course the Cow unleashed Fred Frith and Chris Cutler into the world, two of the major innovators in new music to this very day. Later albums incorporated Slapp Happy into them and if you don't like Dagmar's weird voice, I'd avoid anything but Legend and Unrest. Other opinions say they really like Western Culture a lot.
Henry Cow started in 1968 as a "loose-knit blues-based six-piece group with a Dadaist sense of humour" (from the liner notes). The core members, Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson, discovered a mutual interest in complex and innovative composed music; thus was born Henry Cow. Henry Cow requires a dedicated ear to enjoy the angular melodies and a truly devoted ear to enjoy the horn squonks. I have four of their albums on CD and enjoy each and every one, though to varying degrees. Unrest is mostly crash and bang but the first few songs are great. In Praise of Learning alternates between excellent tunes (with vocals) to more crash and bang, but it was this one that had the first tune where I could actually determine that there was direction to the crashes and the bangs. IPoL technically is a colloboration between Henry Cow and Slapp Happy and features the vocal quirkiness of Dagmar Krause, giving the album a different feel to previous albums. Dagmar has a rather unique vocal style, to say the least. Western Culture starts to get away from entire compositions of squonks, etc. and may be one of the most "straight-forward" albums while being the most angular in melody. Legend (read Leg End) is their most accessible, IMO, and makes a good starter. If you like your progressive to be symphonic, don't look here, but if you like adventure you should check out Henry Cow. -- Mike Taylor
Canterbury band featuring Fred Frith (guitar), Tim Hodgkinson (sax,keys), Chris Cutler (drums), John Greaves (bass) and Dagmar Krause (weird atonal agressive irritating vocals). Henry Cow essentially developed the RIO (rock in opposition) sound, combining rock, free-form jazz and a little classical into an edgy sort of avant-garde mix. Musically they are extremely tight and innovative, and strikingly original. One problem though: Dagmar!! The early albums (Legend and Unrest) are probably their best, and seem to feature less of Dagmar than the later ones. [Editor's Note: Dagmar was never a member of Henry Cow. She was with Slapp Happy when the two bands did some collaborative work. One was released as a Henry Cow effort (In Praise of Learning) and the other was released as a Slapp Happy album. Albums prior to that don't feature Dagmar very much because she doesn't appear on the album at all!!] [Later Editor's Note: See below concerning the above Editor's Note.]
Imaginative, provocative British band that trailblazed with their own individualistic music, which sounded like nothing ever before, yet was very influential on what was to come. Key players include: guitarist Fred Frith, the band's prime mover, drummer/percussionist Chris Cutler and keyboardist/sax/clarinet player Tim Hodgkinson. The first album may well be a classic of the genre, establishing their territory the way none of the others did. Their sound draws on modern classical music, jazz and experimental music, and uses Frith's unusual guitar playing, Hodgkinson's creepy electronic organ, and lots and lots of clarinets and saxes. All this is whipped up by Chris Cutler's rich drumming. The compositional style of alternating complex, dissonant Bartok-like scoring for massed reeds and percussion and jazzy soloing makes for interesting listening. "Nirvana For Mice" showcases the intricate reed arrangements, while "Teenbeat Reprise" is an excellent vehicle for Frith's guitar. It and "Amygdala" include fine organ playing by Hodgkinson. One big drawback to the album are two self-indulgent group improvisations, other than that it's well worth owning. Unrest shows a few changes, at least in the lineup. Sax/flute player Geoff Leigh is replaced by the more musically proficient oboe/bassoon player Lindsay Cooper. Her presence is felt immediately on the first track, the wild "Bittern Storm Over Ulm", which is supposed to be based on the Yardbirds' "Got To Hurry." Of note, Frith's great 12-minute "Ruins" and the jazzy "Half asleep/Half awake," composed by bassist/singer John Greaves. On "Ruins," the band start explicityly experimenting with tape-splicing effects, continued on "Linguaphonie", another group improv, but far more cohesive than those on the previous album. This album closes with the mesmerizing, cascading "Deluge," featuring a sung conclusion by John Greaves, who also plays piano. In Praise Of Learning is the second fruit of a union between this band and the multi-national "cabaret-rock" trio Slapp Happy. Most noticeable is the addition of singer Dagmar Krause, whose offbeat soprano would be perfect for singing Brecht (which she later did), and is definitely an acquired taste. Two of the tracks are group improvs of the most disorganized kind. The 15-minute "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" has some fine Cow music, and is a good vehicle for Dagmar's voice, but has some unbelievably pretentious and over-verbose lyrics, as does the equally pretentiously titled "Beautiful As The Moon--Terrible As An Army With Banners.". -- Mike Ohman
For a certain school of progressive rock fan, Henry Cow represents the ultimate in advanced rock music. Part Canterbury, part free-form jazz, part classical complexity, Henry Cow produced only four studio releases over its career, but its influence far exceeds its output.

The group was formed by Tim Hodkinson (keyboards and woodwinds) and Fred Frith (guitars) in the late 60's during their school days at Cambridge. They were joined next by John Greaves (bass). In '72, Henry Cow played as part of the Ottawa Music Company which also included Dave Stewart (Egg, Hatfield and the North, National Health) and their eventual drummer, Chris Cutler. After three BBC appearances, one of which included Geoff Leigh (saxes, flute), who would later join the band, Henry Cow was signed by Virgin Records as one of their original artists in 1973.

1973 saw their first release, Leg End. For me, this LP was (along with Soft Machine Three and In the Court of the Crimson King) the one record that forever changed and influenced my view of what progressive rock music was. The brilliantly complex "Amygdala" (composed by Hodgkinson) shows how advanced their compositional skills were for the time. Fred Frith contributes two Cow standards: "Nirvana for Mice" and "Teenbeat". Of special interest are two improvisations, "Teenbeat Introduction" and "The Tenth Chaffinch". Here, Henry Cow demonstrates its free-jazz tendencies and separates itself from 99 percent of all other bands performing in 1973 (with the possible exception of King Crimson which included Jaime Muir at this time). The Leg End line-up, with Geoff Leigh, appeared on record one more time, with a side of improvised music for the Greasy Truckers compilation which also included a side of music each from Gong and Camel.

Of course, complex compositions and free improvisation is not the path to riches! As a result, the band needed to find as many concert dates as possible to stay alive. This limited their studio time, and negatively impacted their ability to compose new material. Their second release in 1974, Unrest, contains even more improvised music. It also includes two of their best composed pieces, "Half Asleep, Half Awake" (composed by Greaves), and the epic Frith composition "Ruins". By the time of Unrest, Lindsay Cooper (bassoon, oboe) had replaced Geoff Leigh, giving the band a different feel.

In 1975 Henry Cow teamed up with Slapp Happy (Dagmar Krause, vocals; Anthony Moore, piano; and Peter Blegvad, guitar and voice) to record two LPs. The first release, Desperate Straights, is considered essentially a Slapp Happy record with Henry Cow musicians contributing and influencing the music. The second collaboration, In Praise of Learning, is considered a Cow record. In Praise of Learning contains Hodgkinson's epic piece "Living in the Heart of the Beast" - one of the most complex pieces of rock ever recorded. (Later, Hogkinson would write another long piece, eventually called "Hold to the Zero Burn, Imagine". Henry Cow performed a version of the piece in concert, but never recorded it. Hodgkinson later recorded it for his 1994 release Each in Our Own Thoughts.)

Later in 1975, Henry Cow recorded the two-LP set, Concerts, for the Norweigan label Compendium. It also was released on Virgin's secondary label, Caroline. By this time, Dagmar Krause had joined the band full time.

With the birth of punk music, Virgin made a decision to dump nearly all its original artists and so fired Henry Cow. The band's final studio release was Western Culture in 1978, produced on the band's own label. Western Culture features a side of compositions from Tim Hodgkinson, and a side from Lindsay Cooper. By this time, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler and Dagmar Krause had recorded the first Art Bears LP, Hopes and Fears, which may explain the lack of any Frith compositions on Western Culture. In any case, this LP may be the place to start for those new to Henry Cow.

Near the end of their career, Henry Cow was a founding member of the loosely associated organization "Rock in Opposition" (which also included Univers Zero (Belgium), Art Zoyd (France), Samla Mammas Manna (Sweden) and Stormy Six (Italy). Some of these bands, especially Stormy Six, shared Cow's political views, others shared their musical outlook. Today, RIO defines a certain style of progressive rock: complex, dissonant, free - used to describe such bands as Miriodor and Tipographica, for example. -- Doug Hebbard

I read your editor's note in the Henry Cow entry on Dagmar:

  • [Editor's Note: Dagmar was never a member of Henry Cow. She was with Slapp Happy when the two bands did some collaborative work. One was released as a Henry Cow effort (In Praise of Learning) and the other was released as a Slapp Happy album. Albums prior to that don't feature Dagmar very much because she doesn't appear on the album at all!!]
This isn't correct, exactly. Desperate Straights was relased as a Slapp Happy/Henry Cow collaboration, but with In Praise of Learning Dagmar, Peter Blegvad and Anthony More had more or less been absorbed into Henry Cow. After that, Blegvad and More left (though Blegvad would collaborate many times with John Greaves and Chris Cutler), and the Cow consisted of Frith, Cutler, Greaves, Hodgkinson, Dagmar and Lindsay Cooper. This was the lineup that recorded Concerts, and lasted a while after that, though it went unrecorded. Dagmar left the Cow before Western Culture but stayed in the Art Bears side project.

So the history is a little convoluted, but Dagmar was definitely a core member of the Cow long after Slapp Happy had ceased to exist. Most of this story is told in Chris Cutler's Henry Cow book, and I lived through it myself, as a Cow fan since I picked up Legend on a whim back in 1974. -- Rod Johnson

[See Art Bears | Aksak Maboul | Blegvad, Peter | Cooper, Lindsay | Frith, Fred | Greaves, John | News From Babel | 1919, La | Slapp Happy]

Hepp, Hardy [Germany]

Hepp, Hahn und Huhn (71)

[See Krokodil]

Herd of Instinct [USA]
Updated 5/20/11

Herd of Instinct (11)
Herd of Instinct - Mark Cook (Warr guitar), Mike Davison (guitar) and Jason Spradlin (drums/percussion)

Following the breakup of 99 Names of God, Mark Cook joined up with Hands for their 2008 album Strangelet. Then he rejoined with 99NoG drummer Jason Spradlin and guitarist Mike Davison (Nervewerks) to create a new band, Herd of Instinct. They've been playing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex for a while, and have slowly been amassing a sufficient quantity of recorded material for their first album. It's finally happened, and their first self-titled album was just released on Djam Karet's Firepool Records label.

Playing live, they're a three-piece, but for the album, they invited many friends to "run with The Herd" as it were. These guest artists include Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, XTC), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Tony Levin), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet, Ukab Maerd), Kris Swenson (99 Names of God) and others. The result is a highly varied sound that still features a core that can be carried off in live performances.

Musically, the best point of reference is probably '90's Crimson, but there are also influences from the more modern, agressive prog-metal sound like Dream Theater and the "indie" sounds like the alt-metal of Tool, the post-rock of Tortoise and even some brief flirtations with ambient music. But all these comparisons only get you into the ballpark. Herd of Instinct is all instrumental (with the exception of one song, vocalized by former 99 Names of God vocalist Kris Swenson, which may even be a "leftover" from 99NoG recording sessions with some reworking), and has its own unique sound. The album slows down a bit towards the end, but even so the last songs are better than most modern bands best efforts. This album is a gem, and it's a small wonder that Gayle Ellett chose it to be the first non-Djam Karet-related album on the Firepool label. Seek it out, a definite keeper! -- Fred Trafton

[See Djam Karet | Hands | Gabriel, Peter | King Crimson | Levin, Tony | Minefield, The | Nervewerks | 99 Names of God | Porcupine Tree | Ukab Maerd]

Click here for Herd of Instinct's web site
Click here for Herd of Instinct's page on Firepool Records
Click here for Herd of Instinct's MySpace page
Click here to order Herd of Instinct from CD Baby

Here and Now [UK]
a.k.a. Planet Gong
Updated 12/27/09

Live Floating Anarchy 1977 (78, as Planet Gong)
What You See ... Is What You Are (78, LP one side Here and Now, the other side ATV)
Give and Take (78, Charly 1990 CD version also included the songs from first two Here & Now singles. The 2001 Tin Toy CD does not contain them.)
All Over the Show (79, LP only, never re-released on CD)
Off the Cuff (79, Live, Cassette, Improvs from Here and Now free tours, sold at gigs for £1.50)
Stolen Moments (81, Cassette, studio & live)
Past Masters Vol. 1 (82?, Cassette, compiled from 1976 "Primal Tapes" and 1978 Peel sessions)
Coaxed out from Oxford (83, Cassette, sold at gigs and mail-order for £3.50)
Fantasy Shift (83)
Theatre (84)
Been and Gone (86, Live at Dingwall's 1986, around 2000 copies exist)
Here And Now Live 1991 (9?, Live ath The Fridge, Brixton, May 5, 1991)
Live Floating Anarchy 1991 (92, as Planet Gong, Cassette, later re-released on CD 1995 with extra & extended tracks)
Ba Ba Blacksheep (?, as Planet Gong?, Cassette, Rec. Live at Brest Nov. 22, 1977)
UFOasis (93)
Gospel Of Free (99)
Updated 11/21/05:
OK, brace yourselves. As you might imagine, a band which espouses anarchy and got together as part of a "squatter" scene in early '70's England (they took over unused houses to live in and also took over buildings for concerts) is going to have a complicated, difficult history. Here and Now may be the ultimate non-conformist band, but they produced such incredible music that it's worth wading through the myriad band name changes and line-up changes to get to what they were all about: their music.

Here and Now had one foot in the hippie camp and the other in punk. The band was created in 1974 to play at the Windsor Free Festival. But this festival was "busted up" by the police, and several members fled the country, never to be seen again. This incarnation was known simply as Here-Now, but after later reforming with new members, became Here and Now. No recordings of the Here-Now line-up are thought to exist. The band name came from the fact that the membership was floating, so the band was whoever happened to be here, now. They were also influenced by Baba Ram Dass' book Be Here Now.

Two "survivors" of this breakup, Kif Kif Le Batter (drums) and Jose Gross, got together with Jol on guitar in November 1974 and the "second incarnation" of the band began. They were joined by Alan Dogend and Richard Heley and subsequently Twink L. Toes who played a homemade synthesizer. But Twink's bleeps and tweets did not sit well with all the band members, and a mass walkout left Twink and Kif Kif as the only members. Undaunted, they went to the Watchfield Free Festival in 1975, where they met Steffy Sharpstrings (guitars) and Keith "The Missile" Bass (bass) and played in front of a crowd of about 5000 people for the first time. "Crazy" Alan Dogend was playing guitar on stage with the band when Steffy arrived and plugged in: "It was like a cascade just streaming out of Steffy's guitar. There was no way you could fit any other notes in! After about 5 minutes I just ambled off the stage and left them to it. KK and Twink had found a bass player and now a guitarist who could match them for intensity." After an hour or so onstage, they were joined by Arthur Brown, who "belted out stream of consciousness lyrics and danced like a dervish possessed for an hour or so". They were later joined by "Rebop" Kwaku Ba, percussionist from Traffic and played until dawn. After this, they took a break from the free festivals and worked out some material with which, along with improvisations, they toured in England and France.

In 1977, Twink bumped into Daevid Allen of Gong at Ceres wholefood store in Portobello Market. Twink recognised Daevid and said hello. Daevid asked him if he knew the local music scene and said he was looking for a band he'd heard of called Here and Now! Gong's bassist Mike Howlett had seen them in a concert and recommended that Daevid find them. It was decided that they join forces. They all met up at Harry Williamson's place for rehearsals. Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth of Gong participated. Twink left the band and was replaced by roadie Gavin da Blitz, and two more female singers were added, "Suze da Bluze" and Annie Wombat. By November of 1977, they set off on a tour of the UK and France. During the French part of the tour, the band recorded a concert in Toulouse, which was released in 1978 as Live Floating Anarchy 1977. The band name is Planet Gong (though the cover does specify that "Planet Gong" is Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth with the Here and Now band). This album was commonly misunderstood to be a Gong album because of the presence of Daevid and Gilli, plus the stylistic similarities: Steffe Sharpstrings sounded similar to Gong's Steve Hillage and Gavin da Blitz was a dead ringer for Tim Blake. In addition, the music itself had the raw, punkish aggressiveness of Daevid's solo Bananamoon album, not to mention the fact that several songs from this album are recycled on Floating Anarchy, which also bears resemblances to early Gong albums like Continental Circus and Camembert Electrique. But in spite of the Gong influences, this is really the first Here and Now album, not Gong.

Live Floating Anarchy 1977 was first released on BYG Records in France and Charly Records in the UK, the advances being used to fund the purchase of a PA and musicical equipment. Original copies of the album urged buyers to pay no more than £1.50 or better still to steal it, and had a black and white drawing on the cover with the suggestion that the owner color it in. The version issued by Charly saw the price increased to £2.25 - though the extra 75p did mean the cover came in colour. The CD version I own has the cover magnified slightly and cropped such that the price and the "steal this disk" text is cut off. Since it's release, Live Floating Anarchy 1977 has sold tens of thousands of copies, but the band members have never received any royalties.

A second Planet Gong tour was planned early in 1978, but Daevid became sick and had to cancel. Though he offered to allow the band to continue using the Planet Gong monicker, they elected instead to go back to Here and Now. They undertook a series of free tours in 1978-79 for which they charged no entry fee. Instead, attendees were encouraged to make donations to the band to cover show costs, gas money and a little left over to feed the band. They hoped to collect about £50 for each concert. The second of these tours, in the summer of 1978, resulted in a live album named What You See ... Is What You Are, one side of which featured Here and Now and the other side another band named Alternative TV. Though hard to find, it's the only recording featuring sax player Jack Neat, who joined the band for a few months in 1978.

It wasn't until 1978 that Here and Now finally released their first studio album, Give and Take, along with an EP titled Dog in Hell. Once again, the tour undertaken to promote this album was all free, with collections taken during the concert. It was about this time that the band recorded live sessions with John Peel, later released as part of Past Masters Vol. 1. These included two songs from Give and Take and two tracks jammed spontaneously live in the studio. The band's style had evolved from the Gong-like space rock of the early days to a type of space punk.

By 1979, Here and Now had probably played more free concerts than any other band, with a live album All Over The Show and a studio single "The End of the Beginning" being released. But the intense touring schedule finally took its toll, and singers Suze Da Blooze and Annie Wombat, who had joined when Planet Gong was formed, left the band along with founder and drummer Kif Kif Le Batter. They were soon followed by Steffe Sharpstrings at the beginning of 1980, leaving only Keith Th' Bass and Gavin Da Blitz as the remaining early members. By the early '80's, a new incarnation of the band with guitarist Deano Ferrari and drummer Rob Bougie. The band drifted away from their improvisational style to a more composed music and also began to add elements of reggae. They also began to charge for their concerts, though they were still bargain-priced with admission charges of only £1. This line-up released Fantasy Shift in 1983, and then changed drummers once again, this time bringing in Paul Rose. By now the band was heavy reggae with some punk influences. This is the style of the live tape Coaxed Out From Oxford. There followed another studio album, Theatre. After this, Here and Now called it a day, but played one last concert at Dingwalls, released on both video and LP.

But the band ended up taking only a year off, then returned wit a new drummer and synth player, but were having trouble finding a direction. Gavin quit in 1990 and was replaced by Andy Roid, "The Only Man who had a VCS3 and could actually play it". Keith and Steffe returned along with drummer Steve "One Dread" Cassidy and a new studio album, UFOasis in 1993. But in 1997, Roid left and Here and Now were down to a three-piece.

In 2003, a reunion of sorts occurred and shared a small tour of the UK with Daevid Allen's University of Errors. This line-up included Kieth, Steffe and Steve Cassidy along with Joie Hinton on keyboards. Rumors of other releases circulate, including recordings of a set they performed at the Gong 25th Birthday Party and a remastered CD of the material on the Off the Cuff cassette.

My personal experience has only been with that earlier Here and Now material, in particular Live Floating Anarchy 1977, which I had mistaken for a Gong album for many years. I also had an LP version of Give and Take, which sounded so similar to Gong that I again thought it was just another line-up of Daevid Allen and friends. His name didn't appear in the credits, but with all the pseudonyms used by Gong members, this did not deter my misconception. Now that I've finally got the story straight, I must pronounce Planet Gong/Here and Now to be one of the best of the Gong related bands. But I can't personally recommend any of the later more punk/reggae releases since I haven't heard them. But the earlier material is simply essential for any fan of the space rock genre. -- Fred Trafton

Here and Now are one of the lesser known UK bands of the late seventies that delighted in the brand of psychedelia popularized by Gong. The Give and Take CD contains tracks from the original LP issue plus another five. One of the tracks is named "Floating Anarchy Radio," which should give an indication as to the nature of their influences. The music is a more raucous, yet melodic, version of Gong, with "straighter" lyrics, and musical interludes with arpeggiated synth and guitar patterns that recall the updated sound of the Ozric Tentacles to some degree. Both male and female vocalists are featured, and, on some of the tracks, the intensity and lyrics are almost "punkish" in a vein similar to The Clash especially in the "bonus" tracks. Also, in a manner similar to that band, some of the musical backing employs a definite reggae rhythm. All in all, this is very much an anti-establishment kind of work, with a variety of influences.
[See Allen, Daevid | Gong | Smyth, Gilli | University of Errors]

This entry was assembled from information gathered at the following web sites (Thank You!):
Click here for Dave Weller's fan page (click on "Here and Now/Planet Gong discography" link in lower left corner)
Click here for an "official" Here and Now site, which only covers the band through 1978
Click here for the Here and Now overview on the Planet Gong web site

Heretic [Japan]
Updated 5/17/04

Interface (84)
Escape Sequence (88)
1984-1988 (94)
Past in Future (96)
1984-1988 is a compilation of Heretic's music, with selections coming from albums Interface (1984, tracks 1-3) and Escape Sequence (1988, tracks 4-8), plus a previously unreleased track from 1988. Heretic, as a core, are multi-instrumentalist Hiro Kawahara, whose arsenal includes electric violin, guitar, keyboards, percussion, voices, drum machines and a variety of tapes, devices and treatments; and Tohru Ohta who plays synthesizers, electric guitar, drum machines and sequencers. They are helped out by a variety of guests on a variety of instruments but the list is too extensive to delve into here. Notable names, however, are Yozox Yamamoto, guitarist from Ain Soph, and bassist Chihiro Saito of Lacrymosa and Golden Avant-Garde. They play on "Tripping on Waves" and "Resource," respectively. The first three songs are excerpts from perhaps the only three songs Interface, "Interface" (2 parts) and "El Rayo De Luna." Together, these three tracks characterize the first album as melodic guitar over digital synths with a sort of new-agey vibe. The music is gentle and relaxing, not unlike later-day Tangerine Dream. I dismissed these three tracks as fair background music and generally uninvolving. Starting with the songs from Escape Sequence, things get much more interesting. Take the centerpiece of this disc, "Do Heretick." This 22 minute track is an avant-experimental collage of sounds and voices, with the final five minutes ending in a Heldonish guitar and drum march. "Fail Safe Error," an 11 minute track also from Escape Sequence, is an frantic vision of what happens when war-time fail-safe mechanisms fail. The sampled voice in this track sounds amazingly like Charlton Heston as the President of the United States. The edge of these two cuts are smoothed out by the folk gentleness of "Anonymous. "Tripping on Waves" is a jazzy tune, very much akin to Ain Soph in style, which isn't surprising considering Yozox penned the tune, in addition to guesting on guitar. "Resource," the previously unreleased song, is strongly Crimsonic with good, Bruford-like drumming although the bass lines are simplistic. Taken as a whole, 1984-1988 is an uneven album, mainly because of the first three tracks taken from Interface. Dismiss them and you still have 55 minutes of excellent music -- Mike Taylor
[See Ain Soph (Japan) | Fromage]

Click here for Heretic's web site

Hermetic Science [USA]
Updated 12/5/08

Ed Macan's Hermetic Science (97)
Prophesies (99)
En Route (01)
Crash Course: A Hermetic Science Primer (06)
These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins (08)
Hermetic Science (2001 line-up) - Ed Macan (synthesizers, vibraphone, marimba), Joe Nagy (drums, percussion) and Jason Hoopes (guitars, bass, sitar)

Original entry, 8/21/02:
Hermetic Science is one of those bands that should be pointed to as the definition of what the '90's progressive revival was all about. Drawing on inspiration from what the prog giants had done in the '70's, yet exploring new territory that they themselves had defined. Instead, Hermetic Science langushes in relative obscurity, even among prog fans, for the unforgivable sin of being too progressive. You see, they don't really sound like any of the old prog bands, and therefore there's no points of reference for old-school proggers. In spite of a cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Infinite Space" on their first album, nobody expects a progressive power trio to be fronted by ... a Vibraphone player!

Mallet percussionist Ed Macan is a music educator at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. He is also the author of "Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture", an influential book that has been read by many progressive rock fans. He also started Hermetic Science, a band that asks the musical question: "What if Keith Emerson's main instrument was a Vibraphone instead of a Hammond organ?".

Ed Macan's Hermetic Science is, to me, a lesson in what progressive rock is all about. Is it Hammond Organs, fuzz-tone guitars and synthesizers? Or is it the music itself? The notes, the rhythmic changes, the unexpected twists in melody, harmony and cadence? Not whether or not the band owns a Mellotron. Macan makes a pretty good case that even mallet percussion can be progressive rock instruments. In fact, he rubs our noses into the fact that a Marimba (a wood-bar version of the Vibes) sounds a heck of a lot like a Hammond being played in its "percussive" setting by doing a respectable cover version of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Infinite Space". This is made even more impressive when you think that Emerson has five fingers on each hand to play his Hammond, while Macan has only two mallets in each hand for the Marimba.

All the tunes on Ed Macan's Hermetic Science strike me as being "progressive rock played underwater" because of the muffled, pillow-soft timbres of the Vibes. Macan must realize this, and that's why he occasionally uses Marimba and piano to get some harmonics into the high end of the sonic spectrum. But the mellow Vibes sound isn't a bad thing, it just defines the "Hermetic Science sound" in the same way that a distorted Hammond defines the "ELP sound". The album is also 100% instrumental. Judging from the credits on the later albums, Macan seems to have decided to use synthesizers on the newer stuff, but there's not a synth sound to be heard on the first album.

Musically, the songs are all upbeat and complex, with influences from jazz, minimalist music (you can't get much polyphony out of 4 mallets and a bass guitar!), ethnic music and even medieval harmonies. And, as has been mentioned, ELP, who seem to be a personal favorite of Macan's. The only cut I don't care much for is their take on Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War". I know this is an old prog chestnut, and the Vibes treatment is interesting, but the orchestral version is full of blasting brass choirs and tympani to give it a martial, warlike feel. The Vibes are just too pretty for this piece. Macan would have done better to have adapted the "Mercury" movement of "The Planets" with its sprightly, airy fast note runs. This would be better suited to the Vibes, and would be a great excuse to show off how many notes per second he can play. And it hasn't been done a half dozen times before! But that's just a personal opinion. How about it, Ed? Want to give it a try?

Ed Macan's Hermetic Science is at worst a highly educational album, and at best an enjoyable listening experience. I can't recommend this one highly enough. And, by the way, the original pressings of this CD are almost sold out, so Macan is remixing and remastering it with some bonus tracks and sitar parts added to some tracks. This should be worth hearing even for people who own the original, so check it out! -- Fred Trafton

Update 7/29/06:
The years have gone by, and Ed Macan's Hermetic Science has gone through a number of line-up changes and concept adjustments. Later albums feature increasingly less Vibes and more synths and traditional "prog" keyboards, but always in a 3-piece "keyboard-oriented" band (if you consider Vibes and Marimbas to be "keyboards" of a sort). Macan and friends haven't put out any new material since 2001's En Route, but in 2006 he issued a 2-CD retrospective called Crash Course: A Hermetic Science Primer. It contains all 19 original compositions from all 3 albums (plus one "cover" song, but leaving out most of the recordings of other composers' music ... you can't fit 3 CD's onto 2 without something being left off!), remastered and with some added embellishments, especially on some of the older material. Most of these seem to be sitar parts which enhance the original recordings without making them too different.

I've described the first album in some detail above. The remastered versions of these pieces are much better, with better definition of the instruments, and the added sitar in some parts provides that needed high-end "sizzle" missing from the pieces that feature only Vibes. I do miss, especially, the cover of ELP's "Infinite Space", but you can't have everything.

This was my first exposure to the material on the other two albums. The material from Prophesies features other instruments, backing off a bit from the Vibes-dominated sound and adding other instruments, including wood flutes, polyphonic synths (maybe a ARP String Ensemble?), combo organ (though it doesn't sound like a Hammond) and even long stretches of solo piano in the best ELP tradition. But there are still loads of Vibes for those that like that sound. The drums seem to feature a lot of high cymbals and the bass is distorted to make up for the lack of "sizzle" in the Vibes-dominated parts, and this really improves the overall sound over the first album.

The one exception to the "no cover songs" rule is the new version from En Route of "Mars, The Bringer of War", this one performed on synths and organ (with bass and drums, of course). I mentioned the version from the first album above, and though I must say I like this version better than the one on the first album, it still suffers from the rather cheesy sound of the polysynth he's using. Sorta buzzy and wheezy, though the "chorale" parts sound pretty cool. There were MUCH better sounding synths around in '99, so I don't know why he chose this sound. Though still an improvement over the first version, it's certainly not really my cup of tea. My favorite cuts from En Route are "Against The Grain Part Four", a very ELP-like organ-dominated piece, stylistically and rhythmically similar to "Tarkus" and "La-Bras", a solo pipe organ piece. "Raga Hermeticum", dominated by sitar, but with a nice recorder duet as a counterpoint, is pretty '60's sounding, but is also quite good nonetheless.

The overall effect of this retrospective is to make me wish Hermetic Science would do a new project. Very good, very diverse and experimental music without going the RIO "experimental" route of dissonance and chaos. Recommended. -- Fred Trafton

Hermetic Science (2006 line-up) - Ed Macan (synthesizers, vibraphone, marimba), Angelique Curry (drums, percussion) and Jason Hoopes (guitars, bass) on that same bench as the 2001 photo!

Update 12/4/08:
After a really long time of no new material, Hermetic Science has finally released their fourth album, the curiously titled These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins. The first thing I have to say is that, as much as I've enjoyed the other Hermetic Science I've heard (enumerated above), this is by far the best I've heard from them yet. The line-up for this album is still Ed Macan (keyboards and mallet percussion) and Jason Hoopes (bass and electric guitars) with newcomer Angelique Curry (drums and percussives). The studio technique seems better on this album, and this along with some really stellar compositions make These Fragments ... a must-have for Hermetic Science fans, and indeed for all classically-influenced melodic prog fans.

The opening cut, "De Profundis" (10:06) is a basic piano/bass/drums trio with some ornamentation from digital keyboards ... especially a xylophone-like patch I momentarily mistook for a vibraphone ... but there's no vibes to be found in this song. Just a slightly ELP-like piano-based rock trio. Not the powerful, bombastic ELP, but the classically-influenced piano-dominated style of their first album. The second cut, "Voices", substitutes organ for piano, but still no vibes. It's not until the third cut, "Triptych", a 15:32 suite in three movements, where we finally hear Hermetic Science's trademark mallet percussion. And it's still not vibes, but marimba in the forfront. You know what? I don't mind a bit ... the piano and organ work on the first two cuts are great, and the busy bass counterpoints and carefully-articulated drumming render the "gimmick" of a vibes-oriented rock band moot. This is just cool stuff, vibes or not.

The fourth track, "Melancholia I" is a piano solo, very brief at 1:54. It gives the schizoid impression that a classical pianist is playing the right hand while Billy Joel is playing the left. Oddly enough, it works well, again reminding me a bit of the early ELP piano solos. Track 5, "Aion" (8:15), finally brings out the vibraphone for the first time, though it's only one instrument interplaying with various keyboards, bass and drums into the most symphonic track so far on the album, with lots of counterpoint interplaying between the instruments. The vibes reprise in "Melancholia II", a short (1:11), ethereal piece that serves as an intro to the album closer "The Second Coming" (6:48), which is as varied and symphonic as "Aion" and also includes some wonderfully intricate bass work from Hoopes.

For my tastes, this is quite simply the best thing Hermetic Science has ever done, and I liked their previous work quite a bit. The songs are all complex yet sparse enough that they should be able to play anything from this album live and sound a lot like the album. Maybe they'll show up at one of the big prog fests sometime soon. They certainly deserve the opportunity, and should be quite a hit! Good stuff, and I hope they keep it coming.

Finally, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that the cover of These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins was created by famous Genesis album cover artist Paul Whitehead, who's become more active than ever in painting original prog album covers. -- Fred Trafton

Overall, Ed Macan's Hermetic Science is an original album. Only musically (not compositionally!) it reminds me of Gong's "Time Is the Key" (1979/2). As for the other associations that I had while listening to the album, I've also found the slight traces of ELP's influence. Most of them, however, are present in the bass guitar parts. All compositions that are featured on the album, including the interpretations of the pieces by Curved Air, ELP, and Gustav Holst (tracks 4, 5, & 8), were created within the framework of a unified stylistics. In that way, the features that are typical for each of the separate tracks are also typical for the album as a whole. Here is kind of a brief structurally performing characteristic of the debut Hermetic Science album.

The arrangements are filled with the tasteful and virtuosi solos of vibraphone, marimba, piano, and bass guitar, diverse and, often, contrasting interplay between these instruments, the frequent changes of tempo and mood, complex time signatures, etc. And all of this is accompanied by truly masterful drumming. However, most of the compositions on the album also contain the episodes that were performed without the rhythm section. While the joint performance of all three of the band members is mostly mid-tempo and fast, the episodes that were played only by Ed are for the most part slow and mellow (of course, there also are the overdubs of his own solos in these episodes). Also, while Ed's passages and solos in the quiet parts are almost always symphonic, in most of the joint arrangements on the album, the jazzy-like solos appear as often as the symphonic ones. (Though I think that all of the improvisations on the album were, in fact, thoroughly composed.) The parts of vibes are featured on all of tracks on the album, and four of them, namely "Esau's Burden", "Five Over Thule", "Fanfare", and "Trisagion" (tracks 1, 2, 6, & 7), contain only the parts of vibraphones, bass, and drums. In my view, the first two of them were performed live in a studio. Thanks to the use of marimba and piano, along with vibraphones, on "The Sungazer", "Cheetah", "Infinite Space", and "Mars - the Bringer of War" (3, 4, 5, & 8), and overdubs on "Fanfare" and "Trisagion", all of these tracks sound richer then "Esau's Burden" and "Five Over Thule". Which, though, doesn't diminish the overall value of both of the first tracks on the album. It's because they, in their turn, are rich in unusual time signatures.

Finally, although I immediately recognized all three of the interpretations on the album, I find them the most original cover versions I've ever heard (notice that I didn't say, "best", though). In all, Ed Macan's Hermetic Science is in many ways a refreshing album. Most lovers of Classic Art-Rock and Progressive Jazz-Fusion should be pleased by its contents.

Despite the fact that, stylistically, the second Hermetic Science album [Prophecies] is not as integral as its predecessor, it is, in my view, more interesting an album than the debut. Both of the interpretations (I won't have the heart to name them just covers) of the famous compositions by Rush (from their Permanent Waves album of 1980) and ELP (from Tarkus, 1971/1) sound very original. The solos of vibraphone play a prominent role in the arrangements of the first of them, which was performed by the band. The second one features only Ed, who plays on the Grand piano. All seven of the remaining tracks on the album last about 45 minutes, which is quite enough for a real full-length album. While both stylistically and structurally, "Intrigue In the House of Panorama" (track 2) is not unlike those original pieces from the band's debut album, most of the tracks that form the epic piece "Prophecies" are real masterworks. All of these compositions are filled with a wide variety of progressive hallmarks.

However, each of them is different than the others by various stylistic and performing parameters. Apart from Hermetic Science's typical interplay between solos of vibraphone, marimba, and bass, the arrangements of "Barbarians At the Gate" and "Hope Against Hope" (tracks 3 & 4) are also marked with the joint, powerful and heavy "attacks" of fuzzed bass guitar riffs, aggressive solos of vibraphone, and thunderous drumming. In addition, "Hope Against Hope" contains a short episode with beautiful symphonic passages of ARP string ensemble and soprano recorder. Structurally, "Last Stand" (tracks 5) is in many ways similar to the previous composition. The arrangements, however, consist mostly of interplay between solos of marimba and bass guitar, while the ARP synthesizer, which is rich in sounds of string instruments, was used here just once. The wonderful symphonic passages of Grand piano play a prominent role throughout "Lament" (track 6). Both of the remaining tracks, "Leviathan & Behemoth" and "State of Grace" (tracks 7 & 8), are the real gems of Classic Progressive and the best compositions on the album as well. These two are as rich in sound as those pieces that have been performed by a quartet or quintet. Their eclectic arrangements consist of seemingly endless interplay between solos of Hammond organ, soprano recorder, vibraphone, marimba, and bass guitar, and passages of Grand piano and ARP synthesizer. Both "Leviathan & Behemoth" and "State of Grace" are just filled with all of the following progressive hallmarks. The simultaneous passages in fourth or fifth, very contrasting solos (those that cross each other being performed in different tempos), sudden changes of tone and mood, the complex "stop-to-play" movements, unusual odd meters, etc. And all of this is raised to the power of a distinct originality. However, it must be said that this album is free from any detectable influences as a whole. I highly recommend Prophecies to all those into both of the Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Progressive Jazz-Fusion genres.

I have mixed feelings regarding the latest album by Hermetic Science. On the one hand, En Route is definitely their best effort. On the other hand, it features three tracks that I find the worst compositions ever created by the band. To be honest, I don't love any cover versions in general. For me, it is always better to listen to the original instead of its interpretation. I am becoming especially surprised when I see that the band include covers in every album they release. As for a seemingly ubiquitous "Mars" by Holst, I'm already tired of hearing it. The version of Doomsday, which is featured on this album, sounds terrible in comparison with that one which was included in the debut Hermetic Science album. There is nothing doom-y or gloomy on the album's opening track. However, most of the keyboard parts there sound, for some strange reason, very rusty: not unlike if it were played through a distortion pedal. "Against the Grain-4" (track 5) is just an open paraphrase of a few of the early compositions by ELP. As well as "La-Bas" (track 6) is nothing else but a paraphrase of ELP's paraphrase of one of the pieces taken from the piano cycle "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modesto Mussorgsky.

Well, it's time to tell you of the positive aspects of En Route. While the first three parts of "Against the Grain" (tracks 2, 3, & 4) are just merely masterpieces, "Raga Hermeticum" and "En Route" are real progressive killers. I think that the first of them, which is filled with the wonderful Eastern colors, was at least partially composed by a 5-tone scale, which is typical for Chinese, Indian, etc. Classical Music. The title track of the album represents a unique blend of Classic Symphonic Progressive and Classical (i.e. not Avant-garde with its 12-tone scale) Academic Music, the roots of which are in European Classical Music of the XVII Century. It seems to me that I can endlessly listen to both of these last tracks on the album.

Oh, five out of eight. The presence of the five best and three worst compositions by the band on the same album makes me really crazy. It's because of this album reminds me of a crazy quilt. Taking into account that the map of (crazy) Earth reminds of a crazy quilt as well (and most of all), I'll be just excluding those bad compositions when programming my CD player. This way, I'll be listening to a 33-minute album which is a true masterpiece from the first to the last note. However, unlike both of the band's previous albums, I can recommend it only to the connoisseurs of Symphonic Progressive. There are not that many of the elements of Jazz-Fusion on En Route.

It is clear to me that each new album by Hermetic Science is on the whole better than the previous one. However, although the band's best compositions are featured on their latest album En Route, there are the signs of dangerous tendencies on it as well. As for the Hermetic Science creation as a whole, it is a rather remarkable event on the contemporary Progressive Rock scene. Ed Macan is a brilliant composer, so I hope that all of the following Hermetic Science albums will contain only original compositions. -- Vitaly Menshikov

Click here for Hermetic Science's web site
Click here for Hermetic Science's MySpace page

Heroic Verse [USA]
Updated 10/3/05

Heroic Verse (03, EP)
Heroic Verse - Dan Aulbaugh (drums), Tim Aulbaugh (keyboards), Kelsey Sharp (lead vocals), Eric Zotigh (guitars) and Jim Sharp (bass)

Heroic Verse is based in Garland, Texas. They play in an "epic" progressive metal style with lyrics based on science fiction and heroic fantasy themes and feature lots of heavy, fast guitar work but include a large dose of keyboards as well. The band has two pairs of brothers in it, plus one. They have had some gigs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (the photo is from a gig at the Galaxy Club, where they were the backup band for Estradasphere), and played in the GEPR-sponsored Ridglea Theater Progressive Rock Sundays series in Fort Worth, Texas.

Heroic Verse has recently released their first CD, recorded in their own studio, Sound Mind Studios. Self-titled, it is a bit on the short side, which is why I call it an "EP". Eric Zotigh's guitar work reminds me a lot of John Petrucci's (Dream Theater), except that he plays on a 7-string guitar (an extra low string), which allows him to add to the thunder already coming from the bass and double-bass drums. Vocalist Kelsey Sharp is from the Geoff Tate school of vocals, with lots of vibrato, but also sings demonic "troll vox" with equal ease. He leaps around the stage, twirls his hair and his microphone, and still manages to belt out some vibrant vocals without breaking a sweat. Ah, youth.

This is a really nice debut from a bunch of really young performers. OK, I think the compositions are a little rough around the edges, the drum recording (not the playing!) is a little lackluster (I believe the EP was recorded using V-Drums, and the drummer has since converted to an acoustic kit ... this may be the reason why!) and I'm not that enthused by some of the keyboard patches used. But, man can these guys play! Look for great things to come from this band. If you're a friend of prog metal at all, check this release out.

News 10/3/05:
Heroic Verse has broken up. Guitarist Eric Zotigh made this post on the dfwprog Yahoo group:

"Unfortunately the band, Heroic Verse is no longer around. We even had a record deal on the table. There was absolutely no committment from any of the other members so when it came down to the signing and some members would not even show up for the meeting - that's where it ended. I am still actively composing, recording and running my recording studio, solo, but would love to play in a band again."

Too bad. These guys were enjoyable to watch. -- Fred Trafton

Heroic Verse's web site has been taken offline

Hess, Klaus [Germany]
Updated 2/23/05

Sternentanz (83)
Space-rock solo by Jane guitarist.
[See Jane]

Hidria Spacefolk [Finland]
Updated 8/8/07

HDRSF-1 (01, a.k.a. Into the Hidria)
Symbiosis (02)
Balansia (04)
Violently Hippy rmxs (04)
Live Eleven a.m. (05, Live at NEARFest 2004)
Symetria (07)
Live at Heart (07, Live)
Hidria Spacefolk at NEARfest 2004 - The guy in the upper left is GEPR editor Fred Trafton (obviously not a band member). The rest of the guys (not in photo order) are Kimmo "K.D." Dammert (bass), Mikko "Mike Acid" Happo (guitars), Teemu Kilponen (drums), Janne "Lo Q" Lounatvuori (keyboards), Sami "Viiru" Wirkkala (guitar)

Entry written 8/18/04:
This amazing space rock band from Finland has captured the attention of fans of the genre around the world, and even those who usually aren't that interested in it. Who would have thought the next band in the line of Gong and Ozric Tentacles would come from Finland? Well, why not?

Purely instrumental excursions into psychedelic spaces, propelled by Tim Blake-like droning and burbling synths, Hillage-like guitar glisandos and arpeggios, pulsating bass lines, phasing sitars, and precise drumming with some occasional Ian Anderson-ish (vocalizing and blowing simultaneously) flute work to spice things up. They're like Gong without jazzy influences or vocals, and like the Ozrics without techno influences. Just pure, hypnotic, unadulterated space rock to float past the rings of Saturn with ... my favorite kind of prog.

Special mention also goes to the packaging for this CD ... a beautiful trifold art paper case depicting some sort of otherworldly ritual in a mixed ancient/sci-fi style suitable for Heavy Metal magazine (including a naked female, of course). The quality of this design almost makes up for not having an LP's worth of "canvas" space to use for artwork.

I was fortunate enough to catch the Spacefolk at NEARFest 2004 where they played a spectacular set of music with a great psychedelic light show (a projected video) in which the hexagonal motif of their Symbiosis album cover (and lots of marijuana leaves) figured prominently. I had hoped to pick up a copy of their first CD HDRSF-1 there, but the band said they didn't have it for sale. Instead, they advised me to go to their web site and download it for free, including the CD insert art. I did so, and have also been enjoying this album. It is similar to Symbiosis, but seems to me to be a bit less varied and more techno or house/dub oriented. Rumor around NEARFest is that their music is headed more in this direction for future albums, which would be a shame in my estimation; I also heard a bit of this in their performance. But if they go no further into that territory than they did during their performance, these guys will still be among my favorite space rock acts. -- Fred Trafton

By a strange circle of happenings, my introduction to this band's music led me to investigate the more widely known Ozric Tentacles. However, donít let that association fool you. Hidria Spacefolk, the Finnish ensemble whose most recent release, Symbiosis, met favorably with the space rock crowd, is winning more than just space rock fans. Many detractors of the genre are grooving to Hidria's sound, which is finding a much wider audience in broader prog rock circles.

Their music is described by the band's website as "folk, hypnotic, improvisation, progressive, psykedelia, space rock, herbs, spiritual, trance." Loaded words to be sure, but their music is equally loaded with texture and color that leaves most space rock groups sounding more like a sample machine stuck in loop mode. With a strong psychedelic foundation, the music can head into Middle Eastern and even Far East flavors. Then with a seamless transition, a more world sound can evolve mixed with regge, Caribbean, or ethnic influences. I feel the strong Finnish folk traditions have influenced these musicians and it shows for the good. The acoustic elements are just as important as the synthesized-something we don't usually find in the genre. These guys actually make a digeridoo and jawharp work together with bass, electric, midi and acoustic guitars, mandolin, posthorn, drums, percussion, Rhodes, synthesizers, acoustic piano, flute, cello, violin, marimba, and vibraphone.

I also feel the pace and composition of their music helps set them apart from other space rock acts. It's a strange phenomenon actually because it certainly sounds spacey, but the music can both race along in tempo and then gear down to affect a desired herbal mood. For me, the diversity of instruments and competency of the musicians lead to a symbiotic kind of composition. Even when jamming, they intuitively arrange what they are doing. This is not to say they have a formula or a structure. The music isn't mindless, boring repetition. It actual is going somewhere, even if it was unintentional. But, I'm not sure the band would put it quite that way. In an interview, one of the band members was describing the music this way: "The thing is when we are playing a new song full-on and each member of the group knows exactly what's going on, it just comes along. While we are playing there is no need for anyone to try to think which musical genre we are dealing with, or to think anything at all. That feeling is what we try to get on when we play our music, and otherwise also. We consider ourselves lucky that none of our group members have deep musical theory studies on their account, so we can all concentrate on the essential, which is playing your own role in the string as it sounds right."

Having come together in 1999 and spending much time in congealing jam sessions, Hidria Spacefolk cut their first CD unimaginatively entitled HDRSF-1. What the title lacked in creativity, the five tracks of music more than made up for in content that breaks the stereotypical template for space rock. Kimmo Dammert, Mikka Happo, Teemu Kilponen, Janne Lounatvuari, and Sami Wirkkala put forth a largely home-spun effort whose production quality is quite surprising. They later added Matti Lehikoinen on percussion. Their 2002 sophomore effort appears on the Silence label and was cooked up in Seawolf studios in Finland, which is on a charming little island known as Suomenlinna in the harbor of Helsinki.

Generally speaking, Symbiosis is a better production, slightly more evolved, and more diverse than most space or psych rock. The reviewer over at the Ground & Sky website said that, "it grooves, of course, but there's also a great sense of melody throughout that I think is sometimes lacking in this genre." Live, Hidria Spacefolk is energetic. This isn't lost in their studio music.

Finally, the artwork for the CD packs is exquisite. I only regret it won't be as appreciated as it should be. Many will see it as stoner art and make a joke or two. However, it is actually wonderful Finnish art and offers so much more than enhancing the listening experience-no small feat in itself.

I have to say that Iím infatuated with this band and their fellow countrymen, Uzva. I'm very excited to see that Hidria Spacefolk have been booked for NEARFest 2004, which I hope will catapult them into a broader awareness in the progressive world. I find that I often hit the repeat button when Hidria is in the player. That, in itself, will serve as one of the highest testimonies I can give. -- Dan Grubbs

From Hiidenlinna Hippie-community (RIP), Lohja Finland comes Hidria Spacefolk. Yet with very distinct sound their main style is difficult to classify. In broad sense you can call this "progressive spacerock". Lot of my friends who are not into prog, but instead like Psychedelic trance (e.g. Infected Mushrooms) like this band very much, yet this definitely is progressive music.

Ozrics and Finnish Kingston Wall are their nearest counterparts. Hidria Spacefolk has looped and hypnotic, very psychedelic audioworld, with mystic sounds and practically no vocals. Being filled with concience-exploding guitars and boiling of intergalactic dark-mass sounds this music is quite extreme and trippy. Peaceful, and screaming at the same time. Indian temple-music, suddenly turns into acid, and then you're floating in space ...

I'm sure that friends of Ozric Tentacles find this band very good. Indeed Hidria Spacefolk has been their warmer in Helsinki 2001, and many people consider that gig very good, by both bands. I like their second album Symbiosis better than their first, yet there isn't that much difference between them. -- Rauli Lauhanen

Click here for Hidria Spacefolk's web site
Click here for Hidria Spacefolk's MySpace page
Click here to order HDRSF-1, Live at Heart or Symetria from Levyvirasto

Hieronymus Bosch [Australia]

Phobia (92)

The haven't got any record company yet but last year put out an 8 track cassette only release (out of their own pockets) called Phobia. They are very different from- but show a- Pink Floyd influence. Phobia has some of those earlier Floydian melodies as well as the guitar solo's providing (sometimes) simliar instrumentals. The lyrics focus very much on the depression of life/aging et al subjects. The songs, are naturally all longer then three minutes and show both alot of experimentation (not just mimacs of experimentation by 70's bands) and also an influence of indy (independent, unsigned by major labels) bands here in Brisbane and Sydney. I guess you won't hear from them over there in the USA but if they make they will make it big - they are pretty good. (But doesn't everyone say that about every band?).

High Tide [UK]

Sea Shanties (69), High Tide (70), Interesting Times (69-70, released 87), Precious Cargo (70, released 89; live studio jam), The Flood (70-71, released 90), Ancient Gates (90), A Fierce Nature (90)

One of the most innovative British bands of all time and the only band that seriously got the heavy and the complex down perfectly at the same time. 1969's Sea Shanties is a monster album that was the platform that this quartet launched their heavy brand of progressive pyrotechnics on the world. Featuring future Hawkwinder Simon House on violin, these guys will appeal very much to the Hawkwind fan, yet were much more complex and dynamic

Hard rock progressive four-piece featuring guitar, bass, drums and violin, with vocals as well. Of Sea Shanties- a very crude production with lots of rough edges, but the performance is nonetheless good.....soundwise it might hint of early Hawkwind, though High Tide's music is far more structured, but every bit as free spirited, and the violin makes it all pretty unique.

High Tide was a quartet that was part of the burgeoning UK proto-prog/hard rock scene in the late '60s/early '70s. Sea Shanties and High Tide are driving, intense music that, at times, sounds like Jim Morrison jamming with Hawkwind but with more intensity and without the plodding guitar. I'm not a real fan of Hawkwind but this is much better, rockin' music. Simon House's (later of Hawkwind) provides an interesting contrast to the guitar work and provides a unique touch not found in many of the early UK bands, such as Mighty Baby, Gravy Train, or Mayblitz. Start with Sea Shanties.

[See Gerrard, Denny | Hawkwind]

High Wheel [Germany]
Updated 4/26/11

1910 (93)
Remember The Colours (94)
There (96)
Back From The Void (02)
Live Before The Storm (06, Live 2CD)
High Wheel - (not in photo order?) Wolfgang Hierl (vocals, guitars, flute, keyboards), Uli Jenne (drums), Erich Kogler (vocals, basses, keyboards), Andreas Lobinger (vocals, keyboards, accordion)

Original Entry 5/5/03:
High Wheel is a German band, playing very high energy music reminiscent of As The World-era Echolyn or maybe Free Hand-era Gentle Giant due to the vocal harmonies and instrumental counterpoint. At least that's how I would characterize them from the only album I've heard, Back From the Void (which is evidently where they were hanging out since their previous album ... six years earlier!).

The vocals are all in excellent English with only the slightest (and not at all objectionable) hint of a German accent. The recording quality is excellent, the compositions first-rate, the playing precise and emotional, and every song is a masterpiece. It's hard to think of anything bad to say about this album. I guess I could complain about the relative scarcity of synthesizer work, but the piano and organ work is so good, it's hard to complain about that. Back From the Void is easily one of the highlight progressive releases of 2002.

No wonder these guys have been signed to play at NEARfest 2003. They deserve to take their places alongside the other spectacular bands that will be playing there, including Camel and Glass Hammer. They've got nothing on High Wheel. High Wheel have been in need of a label or other distribution channel so NEARfest organizers Chad Hutchinson and Rob LaDuca are acting as their U.S. CD distributors. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for High Wheel's web site

Hillage, Steve [UK]
Later known as System 7 or 777
Updated 4/26/11

Fish Rising (75)
L (76)
Motivation Radio (77)
Green (78)
Live Herald (78, 2LP, 3 sides live 1 side studio. CD re-release omits studio side)
Open (79, CD release contains studio side of Live Herald)
Rainbow Dome Musick (79)
Aura (80)
For To Next (83, CD re-release combines For To Next with And Not Or)
And Not Or (83, CD re-release combines For To Next with And Not Or)
BBC Radio 1 Concert (92)
Light in the Sky (03)
Live at Deeply Vale Festival 1978 (04, Live)
Dreamtime Submersible (08, w/ Evan Marc)

As System 7/777 (note these are ambient/dance albums, not progressive rock as such):
System 7 (91)
777 (93)
Point 3 Fire (94)
Point 3 Water (94)
Power of Seven (96)
System Express (96)
Golden Section (97)
Seventh Wave (01)
Mysterious Traveller (02)

Steve Hillage (cover of Motivation Radio album, 1977)

Updated 3/28/07:
Years ago, when I took over the GEPR, one of the things I was determined to do was give my version of "proper" reviews for Gong and some of the incredible musicians who came and went from that band. I feel they have an undeservedly poor rap fom the GEPR's more symphonically-inclined contributors. I like symphonic prog just fine, but my favorites in the '70's were the pioneers of space rock, especially Gong, Clearlight and Tangerine Dream. These guys seem to be treated today with an embarrassed condescending attitude, something like: "yeah, we thought they were cool then, but really, we've outgrown this stuff now". Too bad. This was some of the most incredible, innovative music ever written (or "never written", since much of it was improvised), and the solo works of members of these bands also offered some spectacular moments. Steve Hillage's solo efforts are (in my humble opinion, of course) among the best of them.

Stephen Simpson Hillage, also known as The Octave Doctor, Stevie Hillside Village and other pseudonyms, but mostly just Steve Hillage, was born August 2, 1951. He was a co-founder of the band Arzachel (also known as Uriel) with bassist Mont Campbell, organist Dave Stewart and drummer Clive Brooks. Together, they recorded their sole release Arzachel in 1969, a brand of psychedelic rock that foreshadowed what would one day be known as space rock. When Hillage went off to Kent University, the other three continued on as Egg. Hillage subsequently returned from his university studies and recorded the 1972 album Space Shanty with his friend Dave Stewart under the name of Khan.

Hillage toured with Kevin Ayers, and (rumor at the time had it) was then thrust upon Daevid Allen's Gong by Virgin Records execs. As much as I love Daevid Allen's pre- and post-Hillage work with Gong, I still think that Gong's very best albums were the so-called "trilogy" period (Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg and You) which made use of Allen's mythology but was increasingly influenced by Hillage. Though the combination of Allen's "glissando" guitar style and Hillage's echo and delay-feedback guitar created some of the most beautiful, otherworldly and hallucinogenic sound imaginable, tensions in the band rose to the point that Allen and partner Gilli Smyth left the band, leaving Hillage as the sole guitarist for Gong's transitional (and, in my opinion, comparatively "straight" and uninspired) Shamal.

But before Shamal, Hillage released his first solo album, Fish Rising, an album of very You-like music, using most of the remaining members of Gong (Tim Blake, Pierre Moerlen, Mike Howlett and Didier Malherbe) along with his old friend Dave Stewart contributing Egg-like organ and future collaborator Miquette Giraudy (credited here as Bambaloni Yoni). Though a later review here will state that Hillage went "downhill" after this album, the quality of this album is so high that there is a long way downhill to go and still put out some pretty good stuff. Fish Rising is one of the best prog albums ever recorded, in my opinion. Like the Gong albums of the same period, it is dismissed by some as "silly", but I don't find the new-agey lyrics about Angels of the Rainbow and mystical salmon to be silly, simply thought-provoking and having fun with words and language: "I will make you fishers of men said fish to fishes, For fish is fisher of man who fishes, And if man is fisher of fish and fisher of men, And fish is fisher of men and fisher of fish, And then that man is Manna of man, Then we'll get there if we can." Silly? Well, maybe. Or maybe it's deep. Sort of depends on your state of mind when you're listening to it if you know what I mean.

Hillage abandoned Gong after Shamal and launched into a solo career. His next album, L was supposed to be his breakthrough into mainstream popularity, so he came to New York to record the album with Todd Rundgren as producer. If Fish Rising was practically a Gong album with Hillage at the helm, then L is a Utopia album with Hillage replacing Rundgren on guitar. The remaining members of Utopia act as his backing band (Roger Powell on keyboards, Kasim Sultan on bass and John Wilcox on drums), and adds jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and Miquette Giraudy who also co-wrote many of the songs. L is a good album, intentionally influenced by Todd Rundgren's pop sensibilities, and thus less purely "prog" than Fish Rising, and also more American sounding in its slick production quality. However, it still has plenty of progressive content ... enough so that it never really had a chance as a "popular" album, and in that sense it failed miserably. Many proggers don't care for L, but I like most of it, even the remakes of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and George Harrison's "It's All Too Much", given the Hillage/Utopia "treatment" on this album.

Though L did enjoy some commercial success, aided by a tour of the USA backing up Electric Light Orchestra, it was by no means the breakthrough album for Hillage to become a pop star. For his next album, Motivation Radio, he abandoned the poppish influence of Todd Rundgren and joined forces with Malcolm Cecil (Tonto's Expanding Head Band) as producer. Thinner than previous releases because it's basically just Hillage's guitar, guitar synth and vocals, Giraudy's synths (handling spacey noises, synth solos and bass) and occasional vocals and an uncredited drummer (also Hillage?), this album is a great showcase for Hillage's guitar style, and is one of my favorite albums of all time, especially when I'm feeling depressed ... this is a very inspirational and motivational album, borrowing the "Radio Gnome" concept from Daevid Allen's Gong mythos (a supernatural radio station that broadcasts directly into the brain of the listener via the music). A great album, admittedly "downhill" from Fish Rising, though that's still "uphill" from the vast majority of other albums.

Green continues Hillage's track record for finding famous prog producers for his solo efforts, this time Pink Floyd's Nick Mason. I would say this album is similar to Motivation Radio overall, with a less thin (and less synthesized) guitar sound. Occasionally, it reminds more of Fish Rising, but lacking Dave Stewart's keys, Pierre Moerlen's drums and Mike Howlett's bass, it never quite achieves that level of excellence. Lyrically, it still focuses on new-age philosophy, eastern mysticism and U.F.O.'s as great galactic mentors. Great stuff, though I must say Hillage seems to be rehashing old ideas a lot at this point. Hard for me to put this down too much, since I love these ideas, but it is a legitimate gripe for those who would like to see more "progress" happening in their "progressive rock".

I haven't heard Live Herald, described here elsewhere as a live album of earlier music plus one side of studio work. I do have the CD version of Open, which contains the studio side of Live Herald, however. These studio cuts see Hillage beginning to slide towards what would eventually become a more dancable techno sound, especially in the synths but also in the drums. Still plenty of spaciness and drug-induced philosophy, though. It's hard to call "Aktivatior 1988" anything but a punk song ... well, except for the synths and the Hillage guitar solo in the middle, making it more reminiscent of The Here and Now Band. Not my favorite, but fortunately it's short. The other songs are good, but Hillage appears to be continuing his migration away from really complex prog stylings.

Open has its moments, but nothing really stands out on it for me. This is partly because I didn't have the album back when it was released, and the CD version just keeps getting bumped in favor of the other albums I'm more familiar with and loved growing up. But I think it's also partly because Hillage was just running out of new things to do with is unique but narrow guitar style. Not a bad album, but I would certainly pick up any of the earlier albums before this one. My favorite song is the title cut, despite (or perhaps because of) the "disco" style slap bass line, which actually works very well on this song. Synth basses are also used in many of the songs. "Open" and several other songs remind me of Gilli Smyth's Robot Woman trilogy. I'd have rather heard a Mellotron here than the String Ensemble, though. The CD release of Open also contains a Hillagized version of The Beatles' "Getting Better", which is OK but not as interesting as some of his other cover songs on earlier albums.

Rainbow Dome Musick is a fairly radical departure for Hillage, who is clearly searching for new places to explore musically. This album falls pretty clearly into the ambient genre, full of slowly-mutating spacey pulsating relaxation music. I really liked it back in the day, but have since grown tired of it as many many others began to emulate this type of music, abandoning the more complex composition stylings that were losing favor by the late '70's. But this was one of the original albums in the style.

I had grown away from Hillage by this time, spending more time and energy (and album-buying budget) on fusion albums, so I never heard For To Next or And Not Or, which have since been released together on a single CD. Evidently, I wasn't the only one, because Hillage dropped off the radar screen completely at this point, and I hadn't heard anything about him until recently.

Hillage turned to producing albums, for the likes of Robyn Hitchcock and Simple Minds. But by the end of the '80's, Hillage had disappeared from the music scene. But, as fate would have it, Hillage walked into a local club where, to his surprise, his own Rainbow Dome Musick began to play. He introduced humself to the DJ, Alex Patterson of The Orb, and began working with dance music because of this. He created a new Hillage/Giraudy project called System 7 described variously as "blissed-out ambient" (the All-Music Guide) and "I've only heard one report and it was unfavorable" (the old GEPR System 7 entry). I've listened to several MP3's on the System 7 web site, and I can't say I find them particularly exciting. Of course, I'm not really into the whole dance/rave scene, and it was interesting to hear that Hillage still has his chops polished for this strange mixture of dance music and (simplified) prog guitar. If you're interested, check out the web site below.

Bottom line is: Hillage was one of the best prog guitarists ever, and nothing can take that away from him. I would sure like to see him make another attempt at a prog album again, if just for old times sake. In the meantime, we still have wonderful CD re-releases of his old albums to savor again and again. I agree with the assessment of another writer below: start with Fish Rising and work your way forward until you lose interest. -- Fred Trafton

Addendum 4/26/11:
Hillage and Miquette Giraudi guested on one cut ("Akasha") of the 2004 Ozric Tentacles album Spirals in Hyperspace. -- Fred Trafton
The following reviews were already in the GEPR when I took it over in 2000
Fish Rising IMHO is one of the very best progressive albums EVER, yet Hillage (Who may be the arguably best prog guitarist on earth) went slowly down hill after this. Actually the electronic Rainbow Dome Musick is also a great one, yet different form some of his others. Try either of those two or L or Live Herald.
I have Fish Rising, which was/is a recommended starter. Plenty of electronic effects here; it does occasionally get kind of silly, but it is still fun. This album has a great ending to it, BTW. Really tasty.
Fish Rising is an absolute masterpiece but unfortunately nothing else is. L and Motivation Radio are boring. Rainbow Dome Musick is a bit better but still nowhere near as good as Fish.
BBC Live (In Concert) contains live renditions, from 1976 and 1979, of many of his classics ranging from the symphonic, jazz-rock stylings of his earlier days to the spacy duets with synthesist Miquette Giraudy. In all cases, Hillage's virtuosity on guitar comes through, captured in live performance. Certain lead passages, with steady bass-drums-rhythm, and lead guitar twanging over a synth background, bring to mind the new super-band of the nineties, Ozric Tentacles. Certainly looks like the kind of music that inspired the Ozrics, I would surmise.
The octave doctor. Hillage has been at the forefront of space fusion and progressive guitar, beginning with Uriel (Arzachel), through Khan and Gong, and into his solo career. By far, his best solo release is Fish Rising. One or two of the cuts developed out of the Khan sessions, so if you are familiar with Khan's Space Shanty (and you should be if you aren't), you'll have a point of reference. But Hillage expands on those ideas and carries his gliss guitar to the outer limits. L is also good, but not as good as Fish Rising. It contains great versions of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and George Harrison's "It's All Too Much." Live Herald is a live recording of some of Hillage's best works from his first few solo albums and shows him in fine form. Unfortunately, the "fourth side" is new studio material that pales in comparison to the live tracks. The CD version of this album contains only the live songs on a single disc. The studio tracks can be found on the CD version of Open. Most people seem to agree that his albums fall off in quality after his first one or two solo albums, but you'll find fans for almost all of his output. For his best work, check out Khan's Space Shanty, Gong's You, and his own Fish Rising. After Fish Rising, work your way chronologically with his releases until you lose interest or have all his albums.
Apart from the spacey version of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" from L, the only solo Hillage I've heard is the mediocre Green. It's mostly slightly funky songs with some semi-decent Hillage guitar playing and tons of synths (guitar and keyboard). Proof that all the technology in the world doesn't make you progressive. Good moment: "The Glorious Om Riff", a decent but, in the end, shallow reworking of Gong's "Master Builder". Fish Rising is supposed to be great, though. -- Mike Ohman
I've heard all the solo stuff up to and including Green. Any of it is to be recommended; I'm especially fond of Green.
[See Allen, Daevid | Arzachel | Campbell, Mont "Dirk" | Gong | Gong, Pierre Moerlen's | Khan | Orb, The | Ozric Tentacles | Powell, Roger | Rundgren, Todd | Smyth, Gilli | Stewart, Dave | System 7 | Tonto's Expanding Head Band | Utopia]

Click here for Steve Hillage's System 7 / 777 web site

Hines, David [USA]
Updated 6/15/06

Nebula (05)
David Hines' Nebula line-up: Steve Michaud (drums), Steve Kirby (guitar), David Jerome Hines (bass) and Steve Hunt (keys). Not pictured: Allan Holdsworth (guitar), guest soloist on 2 songs.

If I wanted to be a curmudgeon, I could easily say of David Hines' Nebula, "If you've heard Return to Forever, Weather Report, early Brand X or Bruford then there's really no reason to hear this album because it's just more of the same." On the other hand, being mentioned in the same breath with these "Gods of Fusion" should be heard as a pretty high compliment, and Hines and his three Steves certainly deserve to be in that category. So it all depends on you ... if you've had enough of fusion from those other guys, Nebula isn't going to change your mind. If, like me, you can always use another does of excellent fusion, then Nebula is a must-have release.

Hines wrote all the songs on this album, but don't be worried about the fact that he's the bassist. Of course, you can expect some smoking bass solos from a band put together by a bassist, but he certainly doesn't hog the spotlight, and leaves plenty of breathing room for the three Steves to show off their formidable chops as well. Though he was a student of Stanley Clarke's, and this comes through a bit in the song writing, his actual bass style reminds me more of Bruford's Jeff Berlin or sometimes of Brand X's Percy Jones, in spite of the fact that Hines plays fretted rather than fretless bass. Overall as a band, their sound is quite similar to Return to Forever during their more electric period.

This is a fantastic album, and I hope Hines continues to produce more of this sort of music with this line-up. Oh, and if that's not enough, they also got Allan Holdsworth to provide guest solos on two of the cuts. They sound exactly like what you would expect. Brilliant. -- Fred Trafton

[See Holdsworth, Allan]

Click here for David Hines' web site, where you can also order Nebula
Click here for guitarist Steve Kirby's web site
Click here for keyboardist Steve Hunt's web site

Hirayama, Terutsugu [Japan]
Updated 5/9/02

Castle of Noi (83)
Teru's Symphonia (85)
The leader of Teru's Symphonia. His album Castle Of Noi is quite good, pre-dates the first TS album, and in pretty much the same style, with lots of symphonic stylings and Japanese vocals. He was also the guitarist in Novela.
[See Novela | Teru's Symphonia]

Hitchings, Tracy [UK]
Updated 10/11/01

From Ignorance to Ecstasy (92)
Tracy Hitchings

Yuck. [That was a comment on the music, not this photo - Ed.]

Vocalist for Quasar, Landmarq and Strangers On A Train.
I think I'm one of the few who actually likes her singing. And her solo-album. The first two songs on it are quite great. She has a very nice voice, sort of Melissa Etheridge but more pronounced. No great art, but nice music. Try it sometime.
[See Gandalf | Landmarq | Quasar | Strangers On A Train]

Hobbits [USA]

Down to Middle Earth (67), Men and Doors (68), Back From Middle Earth (69)

Early prog.

Hoelderlin [Germany]

Hölderlins Traum (72), Hoelderlin (75), Clowns and Clouds (76), Rare Birds (77), Live/Traumstadt (78), New Faces (79), Fata Morgana (81)

I have two Hoelderlin albums, Hoelderlin's Traum and Hoelderlin. Both are excellent, rather unique German symphonic albums. Hoelderlin's Traum is a rather dreamy album, appropriate for the title. The female (and occasional male) vocals are in German. There is ample flute (two! flute players), violin, and cello in addition to the usual guitar and keyboards. The keyboards are the least prominent instrument though Mellotron is heard throughout. At times, some of the flute passages are reminiscent of Gong circa You while some of the violin passages are vaguely reminiscent of Magma. Overall, though, this album sounds like a blend of Amon Düül II, Yatha Sidhra, and Jefferson Airplane. Quite a unique blend. Hoelderin is similar, yet different in several aspects. The female vocals are gone. Though still somewhat spacey, there seems to be a much stronger fusion aspect from the violin and the newly added saxophone playing in several of the songs, perhaps somewhat similar to Didier Lockwood jamming with Didier Malherbe and Gong. For me, this is the better of the two albums, sounding more mature. Both, however, are quite good and unique contributions to the German symphonic scene.

[See Schicke, Führs, and Fröhling]

Hoenig, Michael [Germany]
Updated 5/24/03

Departure from the Northern Wasteland (77)
Xcept One (87)
Seventh Sign (88)
Ex-Agitation Free electronic musician in the same vein as Tangerine Dream in the late seventies. I believe he joined them on tour for a while as well.
Some guy that played in Tangerine Dream somewhere along the line. I got his Departure From The Northern Wasteland album for about fifty cents. That money would've been better spent on a couple cups of coffee.
Michael Hoenig was briefly associated with Tangerine Dream in the mid-seventies, when he toured with them as a replacement for Peter Baumann. He released Departure From The Northern Wasteland in 1977, which was very much in the vein of what Tangerine Dream's music sounded like in the early to mid 70s, with long, arpeggio-ostinato driven passages on a continuously changing background of synth textures. Phaedra and Green Desert would probably be the closest points of comparison, and, perhaps, Stratosfear.
Seventh Sign is a soundtrack.
My personal opinion on [Departure From The Northern Wasteland] (which I know now for 20 years):

The first, second and fourth track of the album are not just improvised waves of sounds, but cleverly designed rhythms and repetitive themes. The third track is made up of voices and more difficult to listen to.

In the first (and also the longest) track of the album - the title track, 21 minutes - Hoenig lets you imagine the stage of an impending departure of people from a land. The original vinyl album had a cover drawing (photo?) of a vast flat land, with tens of hot air balloons rising into the cloudless, dawn coloured sky. Imagine those people leaving their land behind, floating away using these balloons.

The music starts calmly with unconnected, drone-like sounds and then these sounds quickly develop into waves of what will become the main theme while the volume rises. Then rhythms are added and the music settles down in a energetic pace. The main theme is played now. Building on the images on the cover drawing, in this stage one could picture the people busy with gathering their belongings in preparation for the departure from the land they lived on.

When listening carefully, one can observe the repetition of the main theme. Then the volume diminishes after a sub-climax and a rippling pace of rhythmic tones remains, after a while completed with the main theme again in a soft, hobo-like sound, while other sounds are added. The music continues in the same pace for a long time, while a rattling sound is added, together with continues repetitions of the main theme in different timbres. Then the main theme repetitions and the rattling suddenly end and the left-over rhythmic sound is split into two out-of-phase paces, which diverges and converges a few times.

In this stage, one could still imagine the busy activities of people in preparation for their departure. Converged into one, the rhythmic pace continues, again with the main theme softly repeated a number of times in several different timbres. Then the pace then builds up to the climax. After the climax, everything fades. What's left over is another rhythm, low volume and very calm, again with the main theme softly played with the hobo-like sound. Some synths are added and very slowly the music starts fading away. One could picture the the balloons drifting away in the vast sky.

When the rhythm has faded away, only some unconnected sounds are left over, in which waves of the main theme can be recognised. A sound like water flowing in a small creek emerges, which accompanies the left-over sounds. One could picture an empty wasteland, abandoned by whoever was living there. One last time the main theme sounds in an eerie way over the now almost silentness...

After hearing this, the listener takes a deep breath, while descending back to earth after having spend some time in a higher state of conscienceness.

The second track - "Hanging Garden Transfer" - also starts calmly, with a single rhythm. More complex and almost mathematical rhythms are added and the volume rises, while a theme develops. The theme then is repeated many times. When the repeating of the theme stops, slowly the rhythms start disappearing, one by one, until the first rhythm is left over and finally this also ends.

The third track - "Voices of Where" - is weird. It starts with soft, continuing, repeated sounds without any rhythm, that develop in some mathematical way. Then suddenly this stops and Hoenig start playing around with pre-recorded and repeated parts of voices, maybe played back backwards. It all ends very abrupt, with no pause in between this and the next track.

The fourth and final track - "Sun and Moon" - is very harmonic, extremely mathematical and sounds very happy. It is, in a way, the climax of the entire album.

My concluding opinion: I do not know of any (synth) album that resembles this Departure From The Northern Wasteland in any way. To me, it's unique, it's great, it's not been matched in any way.

Note: on the vinyl album cover (not on the CD booklet) is printed the following inspiring text:

Repetition is the image of
eternity in music.
The music of the past justifies
itself for its limitation.
The music of the future is
sparing itself this effort.

-- J.P.M. van der Jagt

[See Agitation Free | Tangerine Dream]

Hokus Poke [UK]

Earth Harmony (72)

Hokus Poke were a early UK British blues band on the Vertigo label. As far as I know, they only released Earth Harmony in 1972. Essentially, Hokus Poke follow along the lines of the electric blues pioneered by Cream five year earlier. However, the first half of the album is much more acoustic based which gives them their own voice. At least I couldn't think of any ready comparisons. They are a quartet of two guitars, bass and drums. One of the guitarists also adds occasional steel guitar. Overall, nothing to write home about except for collectors of the UK electric blues scene and the Vertigo label.

Holde Fee [Germany]

Malaga (74)

Private pressing.

Holding Pattern [USA]
Updated 12/14/07

Holding Pattern (81)
Majestic (90)
Breaking the Silence (07)
Holding Pattern 2005 - Robert Hutchinson (drums), Tony Spada (guitars) and Tony Castellano (bass and keyboards). Not pictured but featured on Breaking the Silence: Mark Tannenbaum (keyboards)

Holding Pattern are a US band from the early eighties who issued a private EP and then drifted into obscurity. They were "rediscovered" [in 1990], and composed a few more tracks, which, along with remasterings of their older material now appears on CD. The music is strongly reminiscent of Genesis and Happy The Man, with many other influences along those lines.

An obscure east-coast psychedelic-progressive band that made one album around 81 then faded into oblivion, recording sporadically throughout the 80's with various lineups led by guitarist Tony Spada. Art Sublime reissued the original album on CD a few years back, along with a lot of these later recordings as bonus tracks. The sound is intricate and melodic, with a lot of changes and electronic overtones. Mostly Instrumental.
Holding Pattern was the musical vehicle for guitarist Tony Spada. The music is strong on guitars and fat, analog keyboards (sounds like an Oberheim to me). The music is instrumental and very melodic. The closest comparison is to Bill Pohl's first solo album of melodic symphonic with just a hint of fusion in the guitar playing. Pretty solid.
Connecticut-based Holding Pattern released a sole album in 1981. The short, four song LP garnered a little bit of attention in the New England area. Though ostensibly a group effort, Holding Pattern seems mostly a showcase for classically-trained guitarist Tony Spada. In fact, Spada has been the only constant member throughout the history of Holding Pattern. However, several of the Holding Pattern tracks feature a good deal of fat analog synth work and some Mellotron. After the LP, and with different members, Holding Pattern have managed to record a smattering of songs through the years. The original Holding Pattern LP and these songs have been compiled by Tony Spada and the Art Sublime label and released as Majestic, replete with an LP-sized jacket, detailed liner notes and a reduced picture of the inside of the original gatefold LP. Holding Pattern's music can be broadly described as instrumental (for the most part), melodic Prog with occasional fusion flourishes. Early Holding Pattern (e.g., the songs that comprised the original LP and two live tracks) are very Genesis/Yes influenced, the guitar alternating between Howe and Hackett styles (and maybe even a little Jerry Garcia in "Another Point of View") and the keyboards alternating between Banks and Wakeman. The exceptions are the five minute "Jigsaw Dream" which puts a jazz/not-quite-funk surface on the symphonic foundation and the seven minute "Out of Tunnels" in which Spada rips through McLaughlin-like arpeggiated chords and solos, intertwined with searing synth work. Actually, this song (and the similar "Tunnels") reminds me strongly of Bill Pohl's Solid Earth. In fact, these two versions of "Tunnels" typifies the Holding Pattern/Tony Spada sound. Take equal parts of mid-'70s Genesis, Yes and Mahavishnu, add a dash of Hendrix, and twist it around for some semblance of originality. Though not exactly original, these Holding Pattern tracks are generally well executed and melodically engaging. In particular, the mid-'80s tracks included here have more fusion flavor and are, to me, more appealing. Variations on their style include the Dixie Dregs-like "Iraqi Roll" the Genesis-styled ballad "Was it You" (guitar is similar to "Mad Man Moon") and the jazzy intro to "Arrival". -- Mike Taylor
Update 12/12/07:
After releasing Holding Pattern, Tony Spada realized that the band couldn't make much money doing prog rock in the '80's, and so Holding Pattern became a more mainstream band, which is why you ("you" being a person that would be reading a GEPR review) haven't heard much about them recently. But in 1993, Spada released a solo album of progressive rock named Balance of Power, which "was originally intended as a side project of material that didn't fit in with what the band was working on. However, recording the album was so personally satisfying for Spada that he ... dissolved Holding Pattern in order to devote himself to more progressive music" (according to the new Holding Pattern web site).

But that was back in the mid '90's. In 2005, Spada released a new solo album named The Human Element which was very much a progressive rock album. Now in 2007 he's back again with the same line-up from The Human Element (pictured above) plus original Holding Pattern keyboardist Mark Tennenbaum to create a re-invented Holding Pattern, with whom he has just released the aptly-titled Breaking the Silence.

I'll admit I haven't heard either the original Holding Pattern album nor the re-release with bonus tracks, Majestic. But judging from the comparisons above, it seems like the new album is quite different from the 1981 version of the band. I can't hear much of Genesis, Happy The Man or even Bill Pohl in this album, which I would describe as a guitar-oriented instrumental progressive rock album with a heavy dose of "guitar god" soloing. (For the record, I would describe the 2005 Spada solo album as a "guitar god" instrumental album with a heavy dose of progressive rock). The songs here occasionally remind be of Todd Rundgren's Utopia (album) era Utopia, Dixie Dregs or Al DiMeola in the prog arena, or other "guitar god" types like Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani who are great guitarists but don't quite fall into the "prog" category. There's also bits of '80's Crimson (complex counterpoint and ratcheting polyrhythms), Celtic music (doesn't sound that Celtic, but if the same notes were being played on a violin or tin whistle they would) and just for laughs a brief homage to the theme from The Simpsons.

But not to worry ... this doesn't really sound like any of the above bands or artists (or cartoon characters either), and judging from what I've read here, also not much like the early Holding Pattern. But this is a really amazing piece of work, and if Spada was hoping to make a comeback in the progressive rock world, he's done it right. Inasmuch as anyone can do well in the progressive rock world, from a financial standpoint at least. You have to be doing it for love, not money, and it's evident that Spada understands this. So unless you just can't stand guitar-oriented prog or have a problem with instrumental albums, this is a real masterpiece that should please most prog fans. And the final "bonus track" of a live performance sounds as good as the studio cuts. Highly recommended!

Oh, I should also note that the cover of Breaking the Silence was created by one-time Genesis album cover artist Paul Whitehead, who's become quite active again in the world of prog album covers. But you knew that, didn't you? -- Fred Trafton

Update 12/14/07:
After conversing with folks at Spada's label, Surveillence Records, I have some even more recent news.

The reason there's no band photo with all four players from the album is that original and current Holding Pattern keyboardist Mark Tannenbaum is not a member of the touring band, but only plays in the studio. He is a busy booking agent and is engaged to be married, and doesn't have any interest in touring, though he remains a friend of the band's.

In other developments, original and new album drummer Robert Hutchinson developed some ... shall we say "human relations issues" with the rest of the band and went his own way after returning from their tour of Japan. He has been replaced by Rob "The Drummer" Gottfried for the future. -- Fred Trafton

[See Spada, Tony]

Click here for the Holding Pattern web site
Click here for Rob "The Drummer" Gottfried's web site

Holdsworth, Allan [UK]
Updated 10/26/06

Solo Albums:
Velvet Darkness2 (76)
I.O.U. (82)
Road Games (83)
Metal Fatigue (85)
Atavachron (86)
Sand (87)
Secrets (89)
Wardenclyffe Tower (92)
Best Works (92)
Just for the Curious2 (93, Instructional)
Hard Hat Area (93)<
None Too Soon (96)
I.O.U. Live1 (97)
Sixteen Men of Tain (99)
Flat Tire - Music For a Non-existent Movie (01)
All Night Wrong (02)
Then! (03)

A limited selection of other recordings featuring Allan Holdsworth:
Iggin Bottom's Wrench2 (69, with Iggin Bottom)
Up and On (73, w/ Tempest (UK))
Bundles (75, w/ Soft Machine)
The Untouchable (75, w/ Soft Machine)
Believe It! (75, w/ Tony Williams)
Million Dollar Legs (76, w/ Tony Williams)
Triple Echo (77, w/ Soft Machine)
Feels Good To Me (77 w/ Bruford)
Enigmatic Ocean (77, w/ Jean-Luc Ponty)
Gazeuse! (77, aka Expresso, w/ Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
Expresso II (78, w/ Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
UK (78, w/ UK)
In the Dead of Night (78, w/ UK)
Radio Special (78, w/ UK)
Time is the Key (79, w/ Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
One of a Kind (79, w/ Bruford)
Land of Cockayne (81, w/ Soft Machine)
Individual Choice (83, w/ Jean-Luc Ponty)
Wingful of Eyes (86, w/ Pierre Moerlen's Gong)
Master Strokes (86, w/ Bruford)
King's Road (87, w/ John Wetton)
If This Bass Could Only Talk (88, w/ Stanley Clarke)
The Collection (90, w/ Stanley Clarke)
Suffer (95, w/ Gongzilla)
Heavy Machinery (97, w/ Johansson Brothers)
Pray for Rain (02 w/ Atlantis (USA))
Book of the Dead (05, w/ K2)
Nebula (05, w/ David Hines)

1 This is an unofficial (Bootleg) release
2 This album is included in Holdsworth's list of "Stuff I recorded but wish I had not"

Allan Holdsworth

Fusion guitarist extraordinaire who graced Gong, Soft Machine, and Bruford with his presence among others. His solo stuff is much more conventional than the stuff he did with these seventies bands.

Excellent Fusion/Prog guitarist. Only heard very little, but was very impressed. He also plays the SynthAxe.
Technically a great guitarist, but has a problem writing interesting material. His only album that stands on its own is I.O.U., the rest are flat boring. His best performances may be from his tenure with Bruford, or his early days with Pierre Moerlen's Gong.
Sand, released in 1987, features Holdsworth on SynthAxe, the premier guitar synthesizer of its day. With characteristic skill, Holdsworth churns out lead passages with synthetic textures and crisp execution that would put a keyboardist to shame. The only presence of keyboards is on one of the tracks, which, upon listening to the sounds that are coaxed out of the SynthAxe, is hard to believe. Musically, the sound is in the realm of jazz-influenced rock, with complex interplay between the players, among whom is included the high-speed drummer and percussionist, Chad Wackerman. The final track features Biff Vincent on Octopad Bass and Jon England on a Mac Computer, which, in lay terms, translates to keyboards being played on a guitar and a computer, and bass being played on drums! You just gotta love technology! Secrets was released in 1989, and features music in a mold similar to Sand. Vocals are present on some of the tracks, which is a departure from his previous works. As usual, the music falls deeper into the jazz-fusion side of the fence as opposed to rock, and again, contains Holdsworth's SynthAxe timbres in profusion. Piano and keyboards are featured more on this release, though they provide the interludes and accompaniments rather than the focus.
Best known as a jazz/fusion guitarist. He has played with such bands as Ian Carr's Nucleus, Tempest, UK, Bruford, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and his own solo work. Excellent and well respected guitarist. Check out Metal Fatique or Secrets for starters. On Atavachron, he plays the SynthAxe and the music suffers for it. Wardenclyffe Tower shows Holdsworth in fine form and is also an excellent first album.
I have the same problem with him that I have with Clapton. I love all the stuff he did with everyone else, but I think his solo stuff is boring.
I don't know what the continuing malaise over this extraordinary musician is all about. Maybe he's just so far ahead of any guitarist who ever picked up an axe that people dismiss him as "out there". Maybe his albums explore music that focuses on the uncharted without being free-form or too experimental. Or perhaps he's a true outsider, just not fitting in with any established sensibility or reference point. Whatever the reason, it does not diminish his integrity or innovation. Nor does it lessen his vital contributions to prog/fusion for thirty-five years, having played on some of the best records of that genre. His solo stuff is not boring-- it is, for the most part, amazing. He does nothing but write interesting material, and I.O.U. is not his only good album, far from it. Wardenclyffe Tower, Atavachron, Hard Hat Area and his latest, the live All Night Wrong are all terrific, overlooked by most proggies and shunned by the jazz establishment. If you have reached a point in your musical evolution where you've simply heard it all before and find yourself seeking something more, Allan Holdsworth may be a fresh and uniquely satisfying artist for you. If, on the other hand, Rush is still your favorite band, I guess I would avoid Holdsworth's sublime muses and keep listening to what I liked when I was sixteen. -- David Marshall
[See Atlantis (USA) | Bruford | Gong, Pierre Moerlen's | Hines, David | Igginbottom's Wrench | Johansson Brothers | K2 | Nucleus | Planet X | Ponty, Jean-Luc | Soft Machine | Tempest | UK | Williams, Tony]

Click here for The Real Allan Holdsworth web site

Holland, Walter [USA]
Updated 2/6/05

Relativity (86)
Transience of Love (87, w/ Steve Roach)
[See Amber Route | Roach, Steve]

Click here for Walter Holland's web site

Holy Lamb [Latvia]
Updated 5/8/02

Salt of the Earth (99)
Holy Lamb - Juris Rats (keyboards), Aigars Cervinskis (vocals, guitars), Miks Rullis (drums), Ugis Zemitis (bass), Uldis Elerts (guitars)

From Latvia comes Holy Lamb, speaking in the universal tongue of neo-prog. The band apparently have a sinful past as a trash metal outfit, but by Salt of the Earth (Mellow Records MMP 378) they had repented thoroughly and could be forgiven their trespasses. They are a bit rockier than your average neo-proggers, but this may be because of uncharacteristic two-guitar line-up and the fact that keyboardist Juris Rats features a plain piano tone pretty prominently among the usual pads and lead sounds. At best they come bouncing out with harmonised leads of almost Camel-like depth, all very competent and energetic. There is also clear Pink Floyd influence, particularly in Aigars Cervinskis' Gilmour-like guitar work on "The Lingering Dream", the album's only instrumental cut. Cervinskis is much less compelling as a vocalist than as a guitarist, but you have to admire his sincerely dramatic and brisk attitude that carries him over the worst tripwires. While Holy Lamb present a few excellent moments on this album and do not always choose the most obvious musical paths, Salt of the Earth has much in common with too many late-1990's modern progressive releases: not enough truly memorable moments to distinguish itself and too much slack at places (this is prog, but that doesn't mean you have to push over the quarter-an-hour line when the material clearly cannot stretch that far). This concerns mainly the 16-minute "The Sea", which is decorated with some pleasant female guest vocals, but lets its music be guided too much by the lyrics and dead-end instrumental flights. Still, few bands sound this mature on their debut album, so with improved writing and arrangements they could really make their mark in their chosen field. -- Kai Karmanheimo

Click here for Holy Lamb's web site

Honeyelk [France]
Updated 1/22/01

Stoyz Vi Dozeveloy (79)
A very Magma-influenced band from Toulon. They even sing in Kobaïan language. The music is typical Zeuhl, with a heavy, rhythmic Stravinsky-like percussion/bass section and a dominant sax/clarinet player. A critical point are the very odd vocals. Gerard and Christian Blanc try to sing in a kind of pathetic desperate style, but what comes out is a bit a high dissonant weeping. It had been better, if they would have restricted themselves to instrumentals, where they did a reasonable job. Musea reissued this one, including some bonus tracks. -- Achim Breiling

Hooters, The [USA]

Nervous Night (85), One Way Home (88)

Rock band that makes hit records on a major label. Listen to their first LP Nervous Night, then go listen to Horslips' The Man Who Built America, and you'll swear it's the same band, right down to the mandolin-guitar interplay, the piano/organ sounds, occasional use of accordion, folk-rock writing style, and the overall attack of the music. Actually this first album is quite good, but whatever they had, they lost by their 2nd album and have never recovered.

Hopper, Hugh [UK]
Updated 4/30/02

1984 (73)
Cruel But Fair (76)
Hopper Tunity Box (77)
Rogue Element (78)
Two Rainbows Daily (80, w/ Alan Gowen)
Monster Band (79)
Mercy Dash (85, recorded '77)
Alive (87)
Meccano Pelorus (89)
Odd Friends (93)
Hooligan Romantics (93)
A Remark Hugh Made (94, w/ Kramer)
Adreamor (94, w/ Mark Hewins)
Caveman Hughscore (95)
Carousel (95)
Bracknell-Bresse Improvisations (96, w/ Alan Gowen, recorded '80)
Huge (97, w/ Kramer)
Cryptids (00, w/ Lisa S. Klossner)
Hugh Hopper

Hugh Hopper was a member of the seminal Canterbury band Soft Machine during some of their prime years, namely Two through Six. I have his Hopper-tunity Box release which features Dave Stewart, Elton Dean and several folks who's name I don't immediately recognize. Hugh plays a little, too!! The opening track is somewhat heavy and plodding but the album picks up from there and goes into the more traditional Canterbury/Soft Machine style. Actually, the album is generally very comparable to the instrumental experimental/ jazzy/ proggy Soft Machine style when Hopper was a member. The only exception is when Dave Stewart steps in with his organ the sound becomes a bit closer to Hatfield and the North. Recommended to fans of the Canturbury sound though I got mine because Dave Stewart plays.

I heard Cruel But Fair, which was intriguing jazz-fusion, free-formish in spots, with fine drums and synth work by some guy I never heard of before. Aside from that and Hopper's thick bass, the band includes Keith Tippets on piano and Elton Dean on saxes. -- Mike Ohman
Hugh Hopper has long been a favorite of mine. I really like his playing and his compositions. A brief survey of his records: 1984 is one of his most experimental. It has three short tunes recorded with a band that are very good, but most of the album is devoted to three long pieces made with bass guitars, tape loops, and percussion. Interesting stuff, but definitely not accessible. Monster Band is divided between two projects. One side is Hopper overdubbing, playing multiple basses and some miscellaneous other instruments. This is very different from 1984 in that Hopper is playing tunes (in my opinion, really great tunes). I like this stuff very much. The other side is live recordings of a 5-piece band including Elton Dean. The recording of these is pretty poor, enough so that I never really enjoyed them. Hopper Tunity Box is a great record, and I think that anyone who likes Soft Machine or any Canterbury-related band will almost certainly enjoy it. Lots of good tunes and a rotating cast of musicians including Elton Dean, Gary Windo, and Dave Stewart, among others. Cruel But Fair and Mercy Dash are by a co-op quartet with Elton Dean, pianist Keith Tippett, and drummer/synthesist Joe Gallivan. These are more in the nature of jazz-rock blowing. Cruel But Fair is the more enjoyable of the two; the recording of Mercy Dash is not the best. Rogue Element is by a quartet with Dean, Alan Gowen (of National Health) on keyboards, and Dave Sheen on drums. While some of the pieces are fairly long, it seems less digressive than the Tippett group (maybe just better tunes?). The recording is live, but very good. (This same quartet with a change of drummer recorded as Soft Heap.) Two Rainbows Daily is a fairly spare set, just a keyboard/bass duo, but in my opinion very enjoyable. The recently released Bracknell-Bresse Improvisations by the same duo from the same period are looser, more of demo quality. Alive and Meccano Pelorus were the first records by Hopper's "Franglodutch" band, with French guitarist Patrice Meyer and some "unknown" Dutchmen on sax, drums, and keyboards. Both are live recordings of decent quality. The playing is fairly loose, with some good tunes including a few old favorites revisited. Hugh Hopper and Odd Friends is an odd collection, a CD EP with six tracks, only one of which has Hopper playing bass. One track is Dionys Breukers, the keyboard man of the Franglodutch band, playing his arrangement of Hopper's old tune "Miniluv." The remaining tracks all have Hopper playing keyboards. Two are collaborations with singer John Atkinson, sounding as if he was recorded over the telephone. The best track is "Iron Lady," a satiric look at a certain British politician, with ex-drummer Mike Travis declaiming the words backed by Hopper on bass and keyboards and Rick Biddulph on guitar and singing. Hooligan Romantics is a good collection, a combination of live tracks by the Franglodutch band (better recorded than some of the earlier stuff) and studio work with singer Atkinson and keyboard guy Breukers. These Atkinson tracks are much better than the Odd Friends tracks, both better recorded and with Atkinson lyrics that are clever and often amusing. Carousel is the first studio recording by the Franglodutch band, good playing, good tunes, good sound. A Remark Hugh Made is another oddity. It's obscure when this was really recorded (Gary Windo appears - I thought he died several years before this disc claims to have been made). The recording is kind of muddy. It includes an odd version of a Beatles song that I'm not sure Hopper plays on. But it has some nice Hopper tunes, and one track with very good words and singing by Robert Wyatt. Adreamor is on a different tack - longish duo improvisations by Hopper and guitarist Mark Hewins. Nice stuff, if not as immediately accessable as the tunes. Caveman Hughscore is a collaboration between Hopper and the American band Caveman Shoestore, playing all Hopper tunes (mostly new ones, but a couple oldies, including "Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening"). Most tracks have singing - either by keyboard player Elaine DiFalco or talk-singing by drummer Henry Franzoni (often clever/amusing, but not holding up terribly well for repeat listening). Overall recommendation: Best place to start: Hopper Tunity Box. Best of the more recent records: Carousel or Hooligan Romantics. -- Dan Kurdilla
Hugh Hopper is one of the greatest musicians of the Canterbury scene, Hopper is a great composer/improvisator and bass player who influenced generations of bassists. I will not detail his entire career as it lasts for nearly 40 years and dozens of projects as a solo artist/Band member/collaborator but would highlight some of his works in various formats.

First of all a very short bio: Hopper's first recorded works was as a member of the Daevid Allen Trio in 1963, he was a former member of the now legendary: The Wilde Flowers, a key member of Soft Machine and participated in many other bands including Stomu Yamashta's East Wind, Isotope, Hopper, Dean, Tippett and Gallivan, Carla Bley's Band, Gilgamesh, Soft Heap, Brainville, Hughscore, Caveman Hughscore and others. He is considered as the innovator of the fuzz bass technique and his playing has as many facets as his compositions from accurate nearly mathematical rhythms, to wild and violent fuzzed freakouts, from jazzy fretting to pure impressionism, this veriety also reflects in his compositions from beautiful haunting songs to absolutely improvised soundscapes or free jazz from complex jazzy prog to psychedelia and so on. Here are a few recommendations for several projects of him as a solo artist/collaborator or band member:

Brainville - The Children's Crusade: I already recommended this so I will say shortly that Brainville was a supergroup comprising Hopper, Daevid Allen, Pip Pyle and Kramer the album is a long (fragmented) psychedelic jam with fuzz bass, glissando guitar and strong jazzy leanings, highly recommended to all fans of Soft Machine, Matching Mole and Gong.

Hugh Hopper - 1984: Hopper's 1st solo album from 1973 features guest apearances of John Marshall, Pye Hastings of Caravan, Gary Windo and Nick Evans of the Keith Tippett group but is mostly a solo work of Hopper's tape loops and fuzz bass which create unique soundscapes this is not for everyone taste as it's very demanding but I recommened this highly if you have an open mind and a joint. This is certainly one his most interesting and recommended works ever.

Hugh Hopper - Hopper Tunity Box: Hopper's second solo album from 1976 again featuring a host of guests including Dave Stewart, Gary Windo and Marc Charig this album tends to be more fusion oriented but with some spacey synthesizer courtsey of Stewart, overall a very good and recommended album, though more mainstream.

Hopper, Dean, Tippett & Gallivan - Cruel But Fair: This is my least favourite album of Hopper as it features mostly rather boring free jazz, if you love this genre you may enjoy this, but I've heard far more interesting things in this field of music.

Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen - Two Rainbows Daily: When the Canterbury supergroup Soft Heap finished its first French tour, two of its members Elton Dean and Pip Pyle remained in France and the other two Hopper and Gowen had returned to England and recorded this album in several days, the music moves from jazz-rock to ambient and prog and every track is simply great, this is one of Hopper's best works ever and without doubt Gowen's best work, in spite of the sparse instrumentation of Bass and keyboards only the sound is rich and full, Hopper is also responsible for the beautiful cover painting. There is another album from these sessions which came out years later and which I haven't heared but ts rummored to be good as well. I recommend this highly.

Hugh Hopper & Kramer - A Remark Hugh Made: Another monster of an album and my personal favourite, this featured Psychedelic progressive jazz-rock of the highest standard and it's awsome. The album also features guest appearances by Robert Wyatt (the original version of Free Will & Testament that appears on Wyatt's Shleep album is from this album) and Gary Windo, very recommended.

Hugh Hopper & Kramer - Huge: A second collaboration of this duo, this time much less psychedelic but still quite good and interesting, get the first one before.

Hopper & Sinclair (UK) - Somewhere In France: This is an album of demos recorded in France in the early 80's and released only by the early 90's, due to the fact its an album of demos it is slightly under-produced but this doesn't disturb as the songs are marvelous, Richard Sinclair's voice as always is a pure pleasure and the playing of both of them is superb, this album is a must to every Canterbury fan. It will especially please fans of Sinclair.

Hughscore - Highspotparadox: this is one of Hopper's most recent works from 1997 with a bunch of Seattle (but not grunge) musicians, an excellent and entertaining album with great sound quality and recommended. -- Gil Keltch

[See Gilgamesh | Gowen, Alan | Hughscore | Isotope | Soft Head | Soft Heap | Soft Machine]

Click here for Hugh Hopper's page on the Cuneiform web site

Horizont [Sweden]

Horizont? (79)

Horizont [USSR/Russia]
Formerly/also known as Gorizont
Updated 12/26/09

Summer In Town (85)
The Portrait of a Boy (89)
Startlingly original prog from Russia. On Summer In The City, the sound shifts from bright, Yes-influenced keyboard-prog, to dark Magma-like passages with throbbing bass, all in the space of the same song! The unpredictable nature of Summer ... makes it a must have, it's sure to please many. Portrait Boy is not so immediately gratifying, in fact, much of it is downright weird. Just about every symphonic theme on this album is perverted by weird synthesizer noises, the effect is somewhere between some of Ralph Lundsten's work and a digital band-organ gone berserk. The overall effect is really creepy. It's the very digital, twisted nature of the album that makes it hard to get into. In the end, though, it's probably just as rewarding as the first. I hope this band has not broken up, though they probably have. -- Mike Ohman
Wow! Who would have expected this? An incredible band out of Russia, virtually unknown in the West, even among prog rockers. They did two albums, originally released on the Russian Melodiya label (famous for their classical releases, but not for rock!), and now re-released for the first time in 10 years on the Boheme label. Both are classics of the genre, but quite different from each other.

Horizont began life in the '70's as a school band in the Russian city of Gorky (now called Nizhny Novogrod). The original members all dropped away except for the leader, keyboardist Sergey Kornilov, and they became a standard guitar/bass/drums/keys rock line-up. They started off playing rock, then moved on to baroque classical music, and you can hear the influence of both on these albums. By the late '70's, they were playing only "art rock". After recording these two albums they vanished after the fall of the Soviet Union, and nobody (not even Boheme records) knows what became of them.

Summer in Town starts off with "Snowballs", a tune which can only be described as symphonic progressive. It is as cheery and uplifting as an early Yes tune, though the comparison only goes as far as the mood ... the music owes more to Russian classical composers like Prokofiev than to western proggers. Also, there are no vocals apart from some lyric-less vocalizing. From this cheery beginning, the music begins to get darker and veers off into RIO territory, though it never gets terribly dissonant. The topper is the side-long (on the original LP, 18' 46") "Summer in Town", a 3-movement epic which goes from darkly moody to majestic and then into a dissonant and pulsating finale which is almost reminiscent of Zeuhl. An extremely satisfying album. All played as a tight ensemble, with nobody hogging the show. And if you're worried about the audio quality of a mid-80's Russian recording, don't be. The sound quality here is excellent, on a par with anything you would hear from the US or UK in the same era.

The Portrait of a Boy is an entirely different album. I don't know what boy this music is supposed to be a portrait of, but he must be one disturbed young man. This album has abandoned most of the sympho-prog roots of the first album and gone straight on into RIO. It's not as disjointed as Thinking Plague or as dissonant as Henry Cow, but more into the "modern classical" style of RIO. The liner notes say it's like Ozric Tentacles playing the music of Univers Zero. Well, that description misses the mark by a fair amount, since this music has none of the hallucenogenic or whimsical influences of the Ozrics, but is very heavily composed and serious. The comparison to Univers Zero or Present is fair, however. Pretty heavy and dark, but (to my ears at least) not too dissonant or difficult to listen to. Another excellent album.

If I had to say something bad about this band, it would be that these are their only two albums. I would love to hear more of this music, and to see where they would have gone from here. Sadly, this is unlikely to happen, though you never know. They may yet resurface from some hidden corner of the CIS. Both of these CD's have my highest possible recommendation. -- Fred Trafton

The Portrait of a Boy:
I think, the "side-long" title-track of this album is one of the most complex and intricate "epic" instrumentals ever created in the Progressive Rock genre. The freaking conglomerations of strange and unusual, often atonal, sometimes as if illogical (maybe, ill logical?) musical structures (you have never heard before) with a wide-variety of "hidden things" - that's what, in my view, would be the most correct description of The Portrait of a Boy suite. Other compositions are practically of the same "musical quality": complex and intricate arrangements, a dark and sometimes even sinister sounding of each piece are the things that are typical for this album as a whole. But, despite the fact that with such epithets like "dark" and "sinister" The Portrait of a Boy can justly be compared to the famous Univers Zero's Heresie album, Horizont's music is, however, not as sinister as in Heresie. Although both these works have also the same stylistic roots, The Portrait of a Boy is probably the only "RIO album" which was (specially) performed with electric instruments only, and so - this is probably the only "RIO album" which sounds so futuristically and, perhaps, urbanistically. More. While using the vocalizes is the most rare thing concerning RIO in general, their presence here - with a very specific sounding which, at the same time, always meets a "current" musical situation looks simply wonderful, and so - much more than just defensible. Two parts of Horizont's famous "451 Fahrenheit Ballet" (one and a half-hourly conceptual work, based on Ray Bradbury's novel and performed tens times during the band's live shows, was probably their most fascinating work ever), whose complete recording was irretrievably lost, shine on the album like diamonds. -- Vitaly Menshikov (excerpt, see link below)
[Gorizont is] the band whose essential rereleases nowadays appear under Horizont moniquer. I don't know why the change of the first consonant. I think the former name was more on the spot. Gorizont would be an amalgamation of Russian words "horizont" (horizon) and "gori" or "gory" (burning), which means burning horizon. And music of this band can really burn somebody. -- Nenad Kobal
Summer In Town: The music of keyboardist Sergey Kornilov can be placed somewhere between art rock and new music. It evolved from a classical influence that still can be traced in the form of the first tune "Snowball" even if the music is spiced up with drums and elec guitar. The second tune gives a good place to synths while the title tune is a long suite in 3 movements and here the move towards darker shades or even Zeuhl music is really perceptible and in the best Univers Zero tradition. Let's add to this an always present but far from dominating guitar.

Portrait Of A Boy: This second recording from 1989 is dominated by the title tune, a 19'50" long suite; a gloomy, hard edged music full of dissonances and sonic provocations, close to groups like Present or Univers Zero. The record is completed with fragments of a music composed for the ballet "Farenheit 451" and some more minimalist pieces giving space to synthesizers thus achieving a more electronic character. -- Pierre Tassone (Music By Mail, see link below)

Click here to read Vitaly Menshikov's full review on his ProgressoR web site
The Russian label Boheme Music has gone out of business since this was written. I can't find these titles available anywhere at this time.

Horizonte [Argentina]
Updated 2/6/05

Horizonte (78)
Señales Sin Edad (79)
Señales Sin Edad is the better of the two. -- Tom (AshRaTemp)

Horky, Robert Julian [Austria]

Voyager (90)

Spaced-out flautist that plays on many of Gandalf's albums. His solo album Voyager is just too meditative and uninteresting for my tastes. Maybe fans of T.Dream, Deuter, Amin Batia and that kind of stuff would enjoy this.

Flutes, guitars, gongs, bells, and synthesizers characterize Robert Julian Horky's debut CD. Robert Julian Horky composed, arranged, recorded, and produced the 73 minutes of breath taking music on this CD in his studio in Vienna during 1989. He plays a variety of acoustic instruments and synthesizers to create a wide range of exotic floating music. Chi, the opening track, instantaneously transported me half way around the world to the Orient. The eight selections on the CD are all different, but with a definite Far Eastern ambience. Much of the CD called to mind Deuter, while Dance for A Warrior and The Island sound like Ian Anderson meets Ash Ra Temple. Throughout his music, Horky maintains a wonderful harmony of acoustic and synthesized instruments. Voyager is perfect for meditation or introspection. Play this CD and take a voyage through your dreams with Robert Julian Horky.

[See Gandalf]

Horrific Child [France]

L'Etrange Mr. Whinster (76)

Prog with Atlantide members.

[See Atlantide (France)]

Horslips [Ireland]

Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part (72), The Tain (73), Dancehall Sweethearts (74), The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea (75), Horslips Live (75), Drive The Cold Winter Away (76), The Book Of Invasions (76), Aliens (77), Tracks From The Vaults (77), The Man Who Built America (78), Short Stories Tall Tales (79), The Belfast Gigs (80), Straight From The Horse's Mouth: The Horslips Story (89, compilation)

Horslips was an excellent folk-rock progressive rock band from Ireland that produced a long string of albums throughout the 70's. They sometimes sounded a little like Jethro Tull of the same period without the blues influences, and less dominated by flute and more by a shared lead role for violin/flute/ mandolin, and vocal harmonies. The vocals were shared by several band members, and the dominant force in their sound was clearly Irish traditional folk music, which slowly grew to include more and more rock on their later albums, until the final studio album which seems pretty much void of any folk influences. The best starting point is no doubt their classic Book of Invasions, which encompasses all of the best elements of their sound in an outstanding concept album, at a point when the band was equally balanced between folk and rock. The Tain is another good one, a concept album but with more traditional elements in the forefront. Drive The Cold Winter Away is an all acoustic christmas album. Man Who Built America is probably the best album in their rock period, although even here traditional folk themes abound just under the surface. Dancehall and Unfortunate Cup are a couple of the weaker albums, but even these have a few good tracks apiece. Belfast Gigs is by far the better of the two live albums. Finally, Horslips Story is a good album if you want a compilation of their most popular cuts, but not neccesarily their most interesting or progressive ones, and many of the songs on it have their intros cut off and it lacks the cohesion you'd get on the original concept albums.

Høst [Norway]
Updated 11/17/05

På Sterke Vinger (74)
Hardt Mot Hardt (76)
Live and Unreleased (01, Live)
Norwegian heavy rock. På Sterke Vinger is rather ordinary, very guitar based with some organ. As far as guitar-based hard rock with progressive touches goes, it's one of the better albums. More interesting from a strictly progressive standpoint is Hardt Mot Hardt. Still with an undeniable heaviness, but with an extended role for keyboards, plus guests on flute and strings. -- Mike Ohman

Hot Fur [Israel]
Updated 3/18/07

Hot Fur (98, demo, remixed/remastered and released by Musea Records in 2005)
Street Music (01, Demo, not available as CD but hearable (not downloadable) at their web site)
Hot Fur - or a portion of them, there's no good photos of "the band" on their web site. See text.

Hot Fur isn't really "a band" as such, or at least not only a band. They're more of a multimedia experience, with musicians and "performers" dressed in outrageous costumes, dancing and otherwise entertaining the audience. For many acts of this sort, the recording of the music alone on a CD doesn't translate well because of the missing visual ingredients of the show. However, that's not the case with Hot fur's self-titled first album released in 2005 on Musea Records after being available on the Internet only since 1998. Hot Fur stands alone as an excellent audio CD ... just ignore the pathetic cover art of a guy in a chicken suit hitchiking along a lonely desert road.

The ringmaster of this circus is Lior Frenkel, who composes and arranges all the music, and plays guitar in the band. Other musical members include Ben Hendler (bass), Shaul Eshet (keyboards), Erez Koskas (drums), Oran Ben Avi (saxes) and Lior Ron (trumpet). The performing members of this group are Dani Hochberg, Amit Kagian, Ido Hartogsohn, Eyal Kenig and Lior Geller. Other participants on Hot Fur included Yael Kraus and Noa Frankel (vocals) and Nadav Bachar on electric guitar. Other participants on Street Music included Ofer Peled (tenor sax), Gali Nechama (soprano sax) and once again Nadav Bachar on electric guitar.

Well, so much for the introductions. What's the music like? The first cut on Hot Fur is actually quite reminiscent of Grand Wazoo-era Frank Zappa in attitude, rhythm and timbre, though perhaps a bit less frenetic and not quite as complex. Keyboards substitute for the Zappa-style mallet percussion, though musically the effect is similar. Of course, the vocals are in Hebrew, so it would be tough to mistake this for Zappa. The next cut sounds like '80's Crimson playing rhythm at high speed under a new-age jazz band on downers playing over the top. A really intersting juxtaposition, and it works really well. Other songs are even more different in style, from '30's detective music played in a space rock style with hallucinogenic spoken words psychedelically drifting back and forth across the stereo field to more standard rock-sounding prog. But while stylistically diverse, there's still a cohesive sound that makes it sound like Hot Fur rather than other bands. The saxes and brass give it a bit of a jazzy feel, though it's generally more rock in feel than jazz. I'm sure they're a blast to see live, though I'm thinking that would be difficult given today's political situation. I for one am unlikely to be travelling to Israel any time soon. But if you are, check out the prog scene, Hot Fur is but one of the amazing bands from there. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Hot Fur's web site
Click here to order Hot Fur from Musea Records

House of Usher [USA]
Updated 2/12/01

Body of Mind (98)
A pretty interesting-sounding new band from Detroit. Melodic symphonic progressive, with lots of changes in tempo and mood. Good keyboard and guitar work, with fusion and classical influences, plus a very pleasant-sounding male vocalist. They probably sound the most like Foxtrot-era Genesis, mostly due to the Hackettsian guitar work. There are also some Rick Wakemanish arpeggios on keys. But on several songs, the keyboard solos seem intentionally to be playing in a different key than the backing instruments. This is somewhat annoying on the keyboard solo in "Body of Mine" (no, that's not a typo ... the album is "Mind", the song is "Mine"), but works better in "Obsession", where the result is particularly creepy. This album isn't absolutely essential, but it's pretty good, so I would recommend it. I especially like the last song on the album, "C'est Pas Finit". They've got some nice RealAudio samples of this and other tunes on their web site, so you can try before you buy.

House of Usher also did a cover of ELP's "Knife Edge" and two other songs on an ELP tribute album titled Fanfare for the Pirates. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for House of Usher web site
Order Fanfare for the Pirates from Mellow Records.

Howard, James Newton [USA]
Updated 9/4/01

James Newton Howard (74)
James Newton Howard And Friends (84)
Many Film and TV soundtracks, see below
James Newton Howard and Kevin Costner scoring Waterworld (1995)
Photo © Auricle Control Systems http://www.webcom.com/auricle
Photo by Evin Grant

American session keyboardist. First (Kama Sutra-label) album is said to be in Keith Emerson or Clearlight style. The Sheffield Lab album [... and Friends] was recorded with members of Toto. -- Mike Ohman

Keyboard Instrumentalist in the Emerson - Wakeman mould. Although Howard is certainly a fine composer and player, he doesn't impress as much as the either of the above (but then again not many do, do they?) Nonetheless, if you like mid-paced keyboard instrumentals, utilizing some fine Moog tones and pleasant mini piano-concertos then this LP might be worth a listen or two. Actually, after a couple of listens, parts of the LP really shine. The eight-minute "Newton's Ego" has its moments. The first half could almost be Bo Hansson, a moody, ancient synth landscape on some alien continent while the latter half is akin to Wakeman's lively piano forays of the late-seventies. Side Two includes the ambitious 12 minuter, "Margaret I'm Home" arguably the centerpiece of the LP. This song verges through many moods, reminscent of Trilogy-era ELP, but with a smoother sound to the keyboards. Unfortunately Howard just doesn't have the originality or the vibrancy of the major-league prog keyboardists. Still it certainly isn't a bad album. Fans of ELP, Egg or Bo Hansson, should find something in it. Still, I would try and listen to it first if you're going to shell out big bucks! (Does anybody know any history to Howard - previous bands etc.??) -- David Abel
David Abel asked (above) "Does anybody know any history to Howard - previous bands etc.?" Well, actually, after doing some research on the web, I do. Howard is one of the more famous session musicians and film/TV score composers around. He doesn't do anything that would be categorized strictly as "prog" these days, but he certainly gets around with intelligent and emotional compositions ... I'll bet you've heard a lot of them if you haven't had your head buried underground for the last 20 years.

In the early 70's Howard played with an L.A. band named Mama Lion. This was followed by the two solo albums mentioned in the discography above. The second was commissioned by Yamaha to demo its new synthesizers, and it is said to sound like Toto (he has been known to jam with Paich and Porcaro of Toto, and some say that his brief relationship with actress Rosanna Arquette inspired the hit Toto song "Rosanna".) He has played keyboards as a session musician for Carly Simon, Leo Sayer, Diana Ross, Nilsson, Ringo Starr and Melissa Manchester to name but a few. He played keyboards in Elton John's band from 1975-76 and 1980-81.

These days, Howard earns a pretty good living writing scores for movies. You have probably heard some if you've seen Guilty By Suspicion, Three Men and a Little Lady, Flatliners, Major League, Waterworld, Tap, The Fugitive, Dave, The Prince of Tides, Space Jam or The Sixth Sense to name but a few. He also wrote the theme to the E.R. TV show. So he's doing OK for himself now that he's given up all that silly Progressive stuff ... -- Fred Trafton, thanks to Yumbo's web site, see below

Click here for Yumbo's JNH web site, one of many on the web

However [USA]
Updated 3/23/01

Sudden Dusk (81)
Calling (85)
American east coast Canterbury influenced band that released two albums. Sudden Dusk was on the Random Radar label, and as such the RIO influences here are fairly strong, as well as their appetite for experimentation and an overall urgency, which is evident throughout the album's 10 tracks. The band at that point was Bill Kotapish (Guitars, occasional Bass), Peter Princiotto (Vocals,Bass,12 String,Clavinet and Piano), Bobby Read (Saxes,Flute,Clarinet, Marimba and Synth) and Joe Princiotto (Drums and Percussion). In addition, guest musicians fill in on vibraphone, violin, marimba, recorder and bassoon. The album starts off with "It's Good Fun," an OK track but certainly nothing to write home about; after that we have "Hardt" which is where things start getting interesting. This is followed by "In The Aisles" and the overtly melodic "Louise Sitting In A Chair," which leads up to what I feel is the album's highest point: "Beese," a long track loaded with dynamic stretch, strong melodies, and lots of interplay between vibes and wailing saxes, backed by some spoken dialog concerning the sounds made by bumblebees in flight. Side two kicks off with the title track, a more tempered melodic track, and moves through several more excellent tracks before concluding with "In the Midst of Making," which wraps everything up nicely. Around 1985, Cuneiform released the second However album titled Calling; it sounded a bit more toned down and polished, but still strongly in the Canterbury mold. Not bad at all, it featured an expanded lineup and slicker production, with an excellent female vocalist, but overall it's a little pale compared to what they had done before.
When I first started hearing about the "long-lost" classic American Progressive bands, I heard about bands like Mirthrandir, Lift, Cathedral, Yezda Urfa and Easter Island. Though many of these bands are good to very good, they simply didn't hold a candle to their European counterparts. Happy the Man, from the Washington D.C./Baltimore area were a much better example of late '70s American Progressive Rock. Another excellent band from that region and period was The Muffins. Finally, contemporaries and compatriots with these two Eastern seaboard bands was However. However debuted in Spring, 1978, but didn't release their first LP, Sudden Dusk, until 1981 on Random Radar Records. The Kinesis CD reissue has one bonus track. On Sudden Dusk, However are a quartet consisting of Bill Kotapish: electric and acoustic guitars, bass, vocals; Bobby Reed: vocals, saxophones and a variety of percussion, Peter Mark Prince: vocals, basses, guitars, a variety of keyboards, kalimba and autoharp; and Joe "Stellar" Prince on drums and a variety of percussion. Guest musicians contribute recorder, bassoon, violin, cello and a variety of percussion to several songs. (In the early '80s, the Prince brothers "Americanized" their surname. The Sudden Dusk LP lists them as Princiotto.) Sudden Dusk contains ten songs, plus one bonus track. The songs range from a couple of short ones at just over two minutes up to six or seven minutes. The average is about 4-5 minutes. On to the music itself.... The reviews I have read about However always mention a Canterbury influence. While this is certainly so, the first thing that I noticed upon first listen was a strong Gentle Giant presence. One only need listen to the contrapuntal structures, carefully intertwined melodies and vocal interplay of "It's Good Fun" or "Beese" to detect this obvious influence. Still, there is a Canterbury feel throughout, like a more friendly Henry Cow. Not always accessible, though. The improvisational cacaphony of the title track will certainly delight Univers Zero fans, though usually the musical pedigree of the band (at least Bobby and Peter are conservatory trained) shows through in the structured music. There is also an original flavor in songs like the melancholy "Hardt" with its acoustic guitar, recorder and soprano sax. The first few songs ("It's Good Fun," "Hardt" and "In the Aisle") sound a bit lost, as if the band were trying to settle on an identity and not quite succeeding. This isn't helped by the awkward vocals, which aren't harmonized well despite the woven vocal lines. However, the band gets rid of the cobwebs with the beautiful instrumental, "Louise Sitting in a Chair," with soprano sax, piano, glockenspiel, ocarina and haunting cello. This is followed by the seven minute "Beese," which combines Gentle Giant counterpoint and Henry Cow/Univers Zero RIO with a dose of lyrical humor. Easily one of the highlight tracks, it marks the plateau that the balance of the album traverses. Most of the bands I mention at the top of this review make up for their lack of originality and ability through enthusiasm. However use their musical abilities to build upon the Gentle Giant and Canterbury foundation to create a music that can only be described as one of the better American efforts from the late '70s into the '80s. If you like your Prog steeped in counterpoint and technical ability, However will be worth your while to audition. -- Mike Taylor
Click here for the However web page on the Kinesis web site

Höyry-Kone [Finland]
Updated 4/19/01

Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa (95)
Huono Parturi (97)

Egads! Such a *brilliant* album is also one that is so difficult to describe. While the title of this album tells is that "it's possible to love insects," I will tell you that Hyönteisiä voi rakastaa was the best release I have heard of new music in 1995. Better even than the wonderful 5uu's and Happy Family releases. The influences brought together by the eight members of Höyry-Kone are so diverse that their melding together was bound to create something unique. The music is quite varied and absolutely stunning. The only prog influence I readily detected was Fripp/Crimson, and this in only a few places, the most obvious being the beginning of "Hämärän Joutomaa." Any sort of comparison between Höyry-Kone and any other band is quite trite and useless. Perhaps a few examples of the diversity will help elucidate their music but I'm afraid my effort will be weak. "Kosto" switches from classical (vocals, oboe, cello) to thrashing intensity at a moments notice, then just as quickly back to classical (this time, violin, bass) with an edge of the avant. Hell, this whole album is so inventive that the term avant-garde degenerates into useless anachronism. "Raskaana" opens with what I can only describe as "Velvet Underground Lounge Lizard" before reinventing itself in the form of Belew-era Crimson gone insane. A beautiful samba rhythm and gorgeous oboe moves "Luottamus" into a 100% incongruous break, then a wonderful guitar solo. Höyry-Kone is a full ensemble work that showcases the band rather than placing the spotlight on virtuosic solos. Yet, this only serves to convey the full virtuosity of the entire band. I can't begin to describe their music accurately enough, nor can I praise Hyönteisiä voi rakastaa highly enough. -- Mike Taylor

This superb Finnish ensemble offers very original music on Hyönteisiä Voi Rakastaa. The band features eight musicians who use vocals (in Finnish), oboe, violin and cello, as well as the usual rock instruments. The compositions make use of a great variety of unpredictable arrangements that make the sound difficult to describe. In fact, the influences are numerous but integrated in a very original manner. Here, rock music crosses path with opera, chamber music, samba, blues, techno, etc. The very original tracks and the expert performances will satisfy those who demand more. -- Paul Charbonneau
Huono Parturi is a bit more accessible than debut, although they are still very far from the charts. I like this band especially because it is total one. What I mean with that is that they dare to mix just about every genre one can think of and everything what does not likely seem to bring adequate results. But they do that and they always succeed, although they only have two albums. I read that they have covered Iron Maiden's The Trooper recently. I suppose that Maidens would not recognized it easily, ha-ha. That fact tell us all about this band (H-K). Extremely creative and insanely courageous. I can't stop recommending this band. I've heard rumors that new album will be released in 2001. I hope they are not just rumors. -- Nenad Kobal
[See Alamaailman Vasarat]

Click here for the official Höyry-Kone web site (This link seems to have gone bad ...)

Hughscore [UK/USA]
Updated 2/23/01

Caveman Hughscore (95)
Highspotparadox (97)
Delta Flora (99)
Hughscore - Elaine di Falco (Rhodes, organ, Wurlitzer, synth, accordion, voice), Fred Chalenor (bass, guitar), Hugh Hopper (bass, composer), Tucker Martine (drums)

Soft Machine bass player Hugh Hopper goes new age? This [Delta Flora] is their third outing, and the only one I've heard (so far). Hugh said it himself: "New Age fuzz tones". I've also come across the definition "Psychedelic new age". I don't know much about new age but this album is divided evenly between very laid-back suggestive bass riffing, and more up-tempo jazz-tinged psychedelia. Some segments are highly arranged melodies, reminiscent of certain RIO music, but more often than not the music is a vehicle for solos. What ties a lot of it together is the electric piano which really sets the mood for the entire album. Nice female vocals on five of the nine songs. This is a Cuneiform Records release and it establishes them as a company with good taste. Great mind-altering alternative music. -- Daniel

[See Hopper, Hugh | Soft Head | Soft Heap | Soft Machine]

Click here for Hughscore page on the Cuniform Records web site

Human Beast, The [UK]
Updated 1/28/09

Volume One (69)
Four person band featuring (IHMO) the great David McNiven (Bread, Love and Dreams) who wrote the lyrics for this album. Unlike Bread, Love and Dreams, this album takes a heavy duty psychedelic/guitar (ala Hendrix) approach. This album also does not sound unlike Eela Craig's first album. The album sounds dated but should still appeal to fans of the underground German psych scene. For those expecting this to sound like folk/prog in the Bread, Love and Dreams vein, you will be disappointed. -- Betta
This is an extraordinary trio, Gillies Buchan (guitar, vocals), Ed Jones (bass, vocals), and John Ramsay (drums), playing heavy psychedelic music with prog elements. Formerly know as The Skin, they changed their name to Human Beast after arriving in London from Scotland and finding out that the name was already used by another group.

The only connection they have with the great Bread, Love & Dreams is that through Alex Marshall who managed BL&D [with whom they got] a contract to record their only LP, and Dave McNiven of BL& D who plays clarinet on one track as a guest. The tracks on the LP were inaccurately credited to "Buchan and Mc Niven", while in fact just one track of the seven has the collaboration of McNiven. The music has a Cream and Jimi Hendrix feel but is not as blues infected, with a very good guitar through the record, about 35 minutes of great music in length this is a great record that should be in any collection of early prog lovers. -- Julio Lopez

[See Bread, Love and Dreams]

Humble Grumble [Belgium]
Updated 7/12/11

Humble Grumble (96)
Dreamweavepatterns (00)
Rockstar (02)
30 Years Kolinda (05)
The Face of Humble Grumble (08, re-recordings of songs from Dreamweavepatterns and Rockstar)
Flanders Fields (11)
Humble Grumble - (not in photo order) Humble Gabor (guitar, vocals), Jouni Isoherranen (bass, vocals), Jonathan Callens (drums), Pedro Guridi (clarinet, whistle), Pol Mareen (alto saxophone), Joren Cauters (vibraphone), Megan Quill (vocals), Lisa Jordens (vocals)

It's not often in a review that I would resort to using the word "whacky" and mean it in a good way, but here it is: the new album Flanders Fields by Humble Grumble is whacky. Well, check out the band photo. Do you really think they would be offended to be called "whacky" ... if there's even a translation for such a word into Belgian?

Their 2005 album 30 Years Kolinda is indeed a tribute to Hungarian band Kolinda, and even features their founder Peter Dabasi helping them to play covers of Kolinda's music. But this article is mostly to discuss Humble Grumble's 2011 release on the AltrOck label, Flanders Fields.

Imagine a mixture of Frank Zappa's The Grand Wazoo (mallet percussion!), Fred Frith's Gravity (dissonant guitar work that seems to somehow harmonize anyway) and a bit of Frogg Cafe (saxes and horns) thrown in for good measure, all played with a circus-like ethos, and you're in the same galaxy for what this music sounds like. It's pretty avant-jazz and yet also quite listenable.

Much of the album is instrumental, but there are also some off-kilter (sorry, did I mean "whacky"?) lyrics such as: "Sleepless night. Why am I still awake? Mindless game is what life is all about, yes." Some of these lyrics must be Zappa-inspired ... how about: "Cuz I'm horny, hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus hippopotamus ...". Why not "Rhinoceros" if you're horny? Too easy, I suppose. The vocals are done by both male and female vocalists, and they're both quite good.

I must say Flanders Fields isn't for the faint of heart. But if you're in the right mood, Humble Grumble's unique brand of whackiness might be just the thing. Where does AltrOck find all these incredible bands? Another amazing discovery! -- Fred Trafton

[See Kolinda]

Click here for Humble Grumble's web site
Click here for Humble Grumble's MySpace page
Click here for Humble Grumble's ReverbNation page
Click here for Humble Grumble's history from The Rocktologist
Click here for the AltrOck label's web site

Hurdy Gurdy [Denmark]

Hurdy Gurdy (71)

Hurdy Gurdy were a guitar/bass/drums trio from Denmark who released one album in 1971. The guitar player was the excellent Claus Bohling before he went on to Burnin' Red Ivanhoe and the excellent Secret Oyster. With English vocals, Hurdy Gurdy recall to mind many early '70s bands such as Humble Pie, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience or Jimi's Band of Gypsys and so forth. Fans of the early British scene would probably go a bundle for this. Bohling is an excellent guitar player who can set up quite a jam. One of the eight songs is instrumental while all the others have vocals to varying degrees. There's also a little bit of sitar (with tabla!) for the occasional psychedelic sound and, of course, the standard blues harmonica. Great air guitar material!

[See Burnin' Red Ivanhoe / Secret Oyster]

Hush [USA]

Hush (78)

Bay area band from the mid 70's that released one album. Mostly pop, but had a couple of longer proggy type tracks. Don't bother, nothin' special.

Hwong, Lucia [China]

House Of Sleeping Beauties (85), Secret Luminescence (87)

Trained in chinese classical music, she released two albums on the Private music label in the mid-80's. Both very different, both are worthwhile finds. The first House Of Sleeping Beauties contains the sidelong "Tibet Suite," plus four shorter tracks on side two, and is predominantly synthesizer with supporting musicians playing flute, saxes, violins and various chinese traditional instruments. The result, not surprisingly, falls somewhere between chinese classical music and the synthscapes of Kitaro and the like, but with more force and energy than one might expect. The second Secret Luminescence is very different from the first, containing six medium length tracks and much less reliance on synthesizer, with a more varied composition style, and some vocals (no lyrics though). It's a very unique sound that defies convenient comparisons. Recommendations: If you like synth driven spacy stuff, go for the first one, but personally I think the second is a lot more unique and truly progressive.

Hyacintus [Argentina]
Updated 7/15/05

Elydian (02)
Fantasia en Concerto (03)

Hyacintus is not a band, but the artistic nickname for Jacinto M. Corral, a classically trained multi-instrumentalist from Argentina. In his first recording, Hyacintus plays keyboards, all electric and acoustic guitars, bass, viola, cello, percussion and drum programming. With the added, occasional collaboration of a couple of guests on additional percussion and clarinet, he assembled the tracks in this record, which was mixed and mastered at his own Temporal Studios between September 2001 and March 2002.

Hyacintus' style is typically symphonic, according to his academic musical leanings and performance skills. Lush orchestra-like keyboard layers, melodically oriented solos on guitar and synth, and baroque passages are the most prominent features in Elydian, which is a concept album based on a story written by Theo Sperzeld (transcribed in the CD's booklet). The structure and mood of all tracks - or "Actos", as they are labeled on the CD's back cover - are entwined in order to convey the continuity of the events in Sperzeld's story. As a guitarist, Hyacintus' most notable influences seem to be Andrew Latimer (from Camel) as well as Mike Oldfield; as a keyboardist, Rick Wakeman is the most obvious reference. To a certain degree, Elydian could be described as Nude-meets-Return to the Center of the Earth. Most of the percussive sounds are programmed, but it should not lead the reader to thinking that the overall sound is "cold" or "techno-oriented". In fact, much of the prototypical melodic sensibility in South American prog is present here. This can be specially noticed on the softer numbers, such as the opening title track, "Marcha hacia Elydian", and "Dubiel", the latter being perhaps the most beautiful one. Another excellent track is "Adiestramiento y Preparativos", where the classical guitar is featured in a most impressive way, a-la Anthony Phillips.

The weaker points in this CD are the harder tracks. "Owerlag" and "La Batalla", while exhibiting a good compositional work, don't have enough strength and energy, aborting in this way their potential epic splendor. All in all, the overall result is quite positive. The beauty and elegant sensibility exposed in this CD clearly make it another fine example of the creativity accomplished in the current progressive scene in Latin America.

Hyacintus' second CD, Fantasia en Concerto, has been released in late October 2003. Once again, a concept-album, this time not focused on a narrative, but on a psychological experience that a loner goes through during a concert. Hyacintus manages to convey the unity of this situation into the score and the arrangements of the new material; as a result, "Fantasia ..." feels much more cohesive and mature than its predecessor. His compositional and technical skills are as impeccable as usual - the improvement occurred in the arrangement department. The idea of using interludes between the eight major themes proved quite effective for that matter.

When compared to Elydian, you can tell that the epic side of Hyacintus' music has been worked on, to make it sound more polished and energetic. In fact, this sense of majestic strength is present from beginning to end - in the rocker "L'over", the ethereal "Relmu Tromen", and the more introspective numbers "Intimo" and "Antique Song", just to put a few examples. The closing number, a symphonic semi-ballad entitled "Quien Eres Tú" (the only one with vocals in it), gives a proper end to "Fantasia ..." in a bombastic, emotional way. -- Cesar Mendoza

Click here for Hyacintus' web site (in Spanish)
Click here to order Elydian or Fantasia en Concerto from Musea Records

Hyaena [Italy]
Updated 2/6/05

Grey Sky (90)
The Ground, The Light, The Sound (92)
Live Box and Jam (94)
Scene (95)
Heavy-epic rock-prog.

Hÿdra [France]
Updated 7/25/06

Rock Experience (96)
This Famous Unknown (05)
Two French songwriters, a guitarist/composer [Pascal Lemoine] and a singer/lyricist [Sebastien Denarie], doing earnest acoustic-based compositions with a distinct David Gilmour influence but a lighter, more ballad-like sound along a Mark Knopfler line. Unfortunately, they don't bring much to the table and offer fairly undistinguished though well-produced music. -- David Marshall
Hÿdra's first album Rock Experience (96) is said to be a prog-metal album, while This Famous Unknown abandons that style completely. -- Fred Trafton
Click here to order This Famous Unknown from Musea Records

Hydravion [France]

Hydravion (78), Stratos Airlines (80)

Ranges from electronic ala Jean-Michel Jarre to exotic.

Hyperion [France]
Properly known as Olivier Freche
Updated 7/12/11

The Cantos (06)
Olivier Freche - Mastermind behind Hyperion The Cantos

Others have listed Hyperion as a band name, with an album title of The Cantos. I believe that Mindawn has listed it correctly; the album title is Hyperion The Cantos and the artist's name is Olivier Freche, even though this does not appear anywhere on the album artwork. I've indexed it both ways to help you find this review.

Hyperion The Cantos took a few years to find its way into the GEPR. Don't read too much into that ... I actually liked the album when it first came out, but it took awhile to find its way in here. It's really a project album, led by Olivier Freche with help from several others to bring to life his vision of Dan Simmons's famous book series. It most resembles the first book, Hyperion, which is written in an odd way ... in multiple styles. It's presented from the point of view of several characters, and each one also gets their own writing style, from E. E. "Doc" Smith style space opera to gothic horror to potboiler murder mystery. The music follows suit, with a schizoid mixture of RIO, electronic, classical (literally ... one of the songs is an interpretation of a Rachmaninov piece!), prog rock, space rock and pseudo-asian wood flutes mixed with steel drums. Not to mention 2001-style space choirs, gregorian chants, industrial racket and Frankenstein's lab noises.

Sounds like a mess? Well, in a way, but actually it's quite compelling, especially if you've read the book. A pretty good effort all in all, and also the only thing Freche has released to my knowledge. His very stale web site would seem to agree. Too bad, he had something interesting started here. You can still order Hyperion The Cantos from Musea Records or download it from Mindawn (see links above). Non-essential, perhaps, but quite good.

Oh, yes, I should also mention that this album is not to be confused with the prog-metal band Manticora's tribute to Simmons' book, entitled simply Hyperion. -- Fred Trafton

Click here for Olivier Freche's web site
Click here to order Hyperion The Cantos from Musea Records