Saturday, 20 August 2016

TPA Gig Review: Sax Ruins / Barberos / Big Naturals & Anthroprophh

The Exchange, Bristol - 17th August 2016

[Click here to read the full review at]

Sax Ruins (Japan)

... ‘Legendary’ is a big word. However large the font it is always pronounced ‘LEGENDARY’, and is not a word to be trifled with. It is the perfect word to describe Tatsuya Yoshida, Japanese master drummer of the Jazz-Punk-Prog-Noise-Avant variety, one of the most innovative musicians, composers and improvisers around today... I could watch Yoshida in full flow, and it’s a majestic sight; a spectacled and scholarly presence going crazy ape-shit bonkers, singing at times in his own inimitable style, about what I neither know nor particularly care – it’s just a perfect fit...

Barberos (UK)

... A fantastic example of synchronised drumming set to a skittering synth backdrop, it’s an enthralling set that even sees them utilise the venerable cowbell to good effect. Completely wonderful, this is how to do things differently without losing the audience, who are once again particularly enthusiastic and supportive.

Big Naturals & Anthroprophh (UK)

... Big Naturals are spliced together with Anthroprophh (Paul Allen) whose work is shot through with psychedelic lines and Kraut Rock intent that would push the often trippy sounds into space, if Webb and Turner didn’t nail it all down so firmly...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

TPA CD Review: Afenginn - OPUS

Afenginn - OPUS

You can read the full TPA Review here

...The cinematic scope of OPUS unfolds with the music, sometimes in widescreen but often with a starkly emotional and claustrophobic inwardness. This is not something to be played in the background and demands your full attention, almost insisting that the whole work be heard in one sitting. A piece of art that completely succeeds in achieving what it set out to do; a modern work on a large scale that utilises structures and forms from a multitude of eras and traditions.

I urge you to take some time to get to know OPUS, a genre defying classic that handsomely repays the investment over and over. I love this album more than bacon – and that’s saying a lot! Magnificent.

TPA CD Review: Macroscream - Macroscream

Macroscream - Macroscream

You can read the full TPA Review here

...One of the most exciting and ingenious releases of exuberant ensemble music making I’ve heard in ages. Everyone contributes beautifully and it all flows magnificently. The variety is breathtaking but it doesn’t sound forced in any way, ideas falling like rain – the whole thing a pure joy. And that is what music should be about.

TPA Gig Review: Eppyfest 5, Lansdown Hall, Stroud - 16th July 2016

Eppyfest 5, Lansdown Hall, Stroud - 16th July 2016

[Click here to read the full review at]

Tom Slatter (UK)

... purveyor of steam-punk unusualities and possessor of a cheekily glinting eye. The stripped-down versions of songs from his Fit the Fourth, plus others that may not see the recorded light of day until the album after next, are a lovely way to start the evening and Tom’s playful persona put everyone in a good mood...

Darkroom (UK/Turkey)

... Textural and unhurried, the pieces evolve with fragments of melody appearing, developing and then evaporating. A cleansing and thought provoking performance which I am glad to have had the opportunity to witness...

Sirkis Bialas International Quartet (Israel/Poland)

... the London-based quartet created an inspirational set of heartfelt, emotional songs and vibrant soloing with Sirkis’s off-kilter rhythms lending it an unusual characteristic....

Marvin B. Naylor (UK)

... His fingerstyle picking was wonderful to watch and he has a great voice to match it, singing his intriguing songs in a humble and warm manner...

Judy Dyble (UK)

... Most of the songs hit the mark, Judy’s lyrics beautifully descriptive and often of a highly autobiographical nature which was endearing, although a couple just didn’t work for me. No matter as the finale of Giles, Giles & Fripp’s I Talk to the Wind was wonderful and quite beautifully done...

William D. Drake (UK)

... the band have the quirk factor in spades as they batter, clang and swoon through a splendid collection of songs from Mr Drake’s stunning The Rising of the Lights and Revere Reach albums, a masterful The Mastodon being a highlight. Melancholy World from Briny Hooves was the final song but before this we got a disturbingly psychotic reading of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic – genius and brilliantly realised...

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

TPA CD Review: Fractal Mirror - Slow Burn 1

Fractal Mirror - Slow Burn 1

You can read the full TPA Review here

...These melodic sounds have a warmth that make for an easy listen. If you’re looking for heavy and angular then look elsewhere, but if your preference is for a mature sound filled with melody then check this one out. Don’t expect any smashing of boundaries but do expect a very well put together collection of songs, all of which work. A satisfying and enjoyable listen without the necessity for being taxing, which is after all what they set out to do.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

TPA Live Review: Yes - Colston Hall, Bristol, 4th May 2016

Yes - 4th May 2016

[Click here to read the full review at]

[Photo by Anthony Firmin]

...So, is it Yes?

Well, yes. Sort of. And in all honesty that’s good enough for me. Don’t forget, the classic albums are 40+ years ago now. 40 years! I’m just amazed that a bunch of the same musicians, admittedly with the help of friends and acolytes, can still land a tour like this and play as well as they do. Is it the best Yes ever? No. Is it the worst? No. Is it a tribute? No way, they are carrying forward the legacy of some wonderful music that has enriched people’s lives.

And it is the music that is the winner here.

I’m not expecting Yes to record another Close to the Edge (and likewise hope that they don’t even think about recording another Heaven & Earth), I don’t expect them to ever tour Relayer (although I’d be ecstatic if they did!), but what Yes are currently doing is making a lot of fans very happy, which is the best bit. It is no doubt lucrative for a band at the tail end of it’s career but the most important thing is that the music is still heard, in the most legitimate way available, and it is good to know that they’re out there somewhere playing more shows than you could reasonably expect them to and still drawing enthusiastic and supportive crowds – although it would be nice if just a small percentage of these folk would venture out to see some of the current crop of prog bands doing the rounds and it’s a shame that, other than at the Royal Albert Hall show, they weren’t exposed to the magnificent Moon Safari as originally planned.

Monday, 2 May 2016

TPA CD Review: The Syn - Trustworks

The Syn - Trustworks

You can read the full TPA Review here

...So overall a very nice album that starts well and improves in the second half, Steve Nardelli has made the right choice in working with Moon Safari who give Trustworks their all. They have stuck with it through the many years where Nardelli was otherwise engaged and their contribution, together with that of Reingold, makes it shine and more than justifies the recording.