Friday, July 1, 2022

Top Albums of the Year 1982: Masterpieces and More

Though Prog Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century, I have decided to go back and "fill in" the years upon which the 21st Century is built--and not just the "classic" years of 1967-76. Each year will be given its own page, containing reviews of the albums I determine are worthy of recognition (both positive and negative). As usual, these pages will be works in progress, to which I'll be adding information as it comes my way.

My Favorite Albums of 1982:
2. KATE BUSH The Dreaming
3. JOE JACKSON Night and Day
5. THE NEW AMERICAN ORCHESTRA Blade Runner Soundtrack Music 
6. TRACEY THORN A Distant Shore
7. PETER GABRIEL Peter Gabriel ("Security")
8. ANTHONY PHILLIPS & ENRIQUE BERRO GARCIA Private Parts and Pieces III: Antiques

10. SIMPLE MINDS New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)

11. THE ROCHES Keep On Doing
12. ROXY MUSIC Avalon
13. ANNETTE PEACOCK Sky-skating
14. A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS A Flock of Seagulls
15. BRIAN ENO Ambient 4: On Land
16. NINA HAGEN NunSexMonkRock
17. BERLIN Pleasure Victim
19. PHILIP GLASS Glassworks
20. ADRIAN BELEW Lone Rhino

22. ICEHOUSE Primitive Man
23. PHILLIP GLASS Glassworks
25. XTC English Settlement
27. PRINCE 1999
28. KING SUNNY ADÉ Juju Music
30. TWELFTH NIGHT Fact and Fiction 

Honorable Mentions:
PHIL COLLINS Hello, I Must Be Going
EAST Hüség 
MICHAEL CRENSHAW Marshall Crenshaw
GENESIS Three Sides Live
FRIDA Something's Going On
THOMAS DOLBY The Golden Age of Wireless

Five Star Masterpieces 
(Ratings of 100 to 93.34) 


The Minor Masterpieces
(Ratings of 93.33 to 90.0)

1. ANTHONY PHILLIPS & ENRIQUE BERRO GARCIA Private Parts & Pieces III:  Antiques

1. "Motherforest" (1:55) two guitars harmonizing pure Beauty. (5/5) 
2. "Hurlingham Suite" (11:15) (17.25/20):
- I Ivied Castles (4:44) two beautiful guitars playing in perfect harmony with and off of each other. Full of Ant's quirky, unexpected chord and key changes. (8.75/10) 
- II Frosted Windows (2:25) slow progression of a thousand chords. (4.25/5) 
- III Bandido (2:46) aggression from acoustic guitars! Aggression with sublime fills and runs. Careful" Virtuosity on display! (4.5/5)
- IV Church Bells At Sunset (1:20) gorgeous pastoral melodies. (4.75/5) 
3. "Suite In D Minor" (8:27) (18.25/20): 
- I Whirlpools - fast arpeggiated chords on nylon string guitars (4.25/5)
- II Cobblestones - slower arpeggi with one guitar doing more lead melody making on the higher end. (4.75/5)
- III Catacombs - multiple guitar picked chord progressions with electric and acoustic guitars soloing in L & R channels à la Stephen Stills and Neil Young. Great tension build and release. Amazing! (5/5) 
4. "Danse Nude" (1:31) reversed acoustic guitars! Brilliant! (4.5/5)
5. "Esperansa" (2:02) multiple picked 12-string chords with electric guitar soloing gently over the top. (4.5/5)
6. "Elegy" (3:28) plaintive 12-string strums forming a "classic" tear-jerker, joined by Enrique's beautifully toned and touched Spanish nylon string guitar. (9.25/10)  
7. "Otto's Face" (4:23) more "classic"-feeling motifs performed with arpeggi on nylon and steel string companions. What a show by Enrique on his Spanish nylon string. Definitely an Ant classic. (9/10)
8. "Sand Dunes" (8:24) is this what the angels play in heaven? Only Ant can think/imagine these chord progressions. And such a heart-wrencher! And then 12-string takes over the foundation in the third minute. This is not what we were expecting! Such amazing dynamics from two guitars--singing such a mood-shifting song. One of Ant's all-time best. Reminds me of my favorite Christmas album of all-time: Jean-Pierre Rampal, Michel Legrand, and Alexandre Lagoya's Pastorlaes de Noël. (20/20)
9. "Old Wives Tales" (4:46) How can so much beauty come from one album! Nylon and steel companions both singing their beautiful love songs in perfect harmony. (9.5/10)

I played this album till its grooves had no more music left in them when this first came out--such beautiful melodies and moods came out of this duo. This one stands next to "Field Day" and "The Geese and the Ghost" as my all-time favorite Ant albums (though I love his work on "Trespass," Mike Rutherford's "Smallcreep's Day," Camel's "The Single Factor," as well as on his own "1984" and "Slow Dance"). I don't know the story of how Ant and Enrique Barro Garcia met and decided to compose and play with one another, but I love Enrique for bringing out the serious composer and performer in Ant--everything else between "Geese" and now always felt a bit tongue-in-cheek--loads of fun and many interesting though disjointed songs and melodic hooks, but nothing really displaying Ant's mastery much less commitment to any sort of musical idiom. Ant created--and still creates--music that is totally and uniquely Ant's.

92.62 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. 

2. EAST Hüség 

In 1982 most people consider Prog to be dead . . . but not in the East. Hungarian Neo Prog; some say that his may be the greatest prog album to come from behind the Iron Curtain. Same lineup as their debut from the previous year, Játékok.

Line-up / Musicians:
- István Király / drums, percussion
- Péter Móczán / bass
- Géza Pálvölgyi / keyboards
- János Varga / guitar
- Miklós Zareczky / lead vocals

1. "Hüség ~ Faith" (3:43) opens like a BABYLON song before a fairly regular pattern is established over which guitars and keys duel and duplicate each other with instrumental melodies. It's as if JAN HAMMER were the main soloist in one of JEAN-LUC PONTY's premier album lineups. Great Jazz-Rock Fusion song with fairly good sound engineering. (9.25/10)

2. "Keresd õnmagad ~ Search yourself" (4:23) sounds like highly predictable, rather basic song from a mediocre 1970s classic rock band which happens to feature a great guitar solo and some excellent synthesizer work and a great finale. The vocal is good but suffers from a poor sound effect choice. (8.5/10)

3. "Mágikus eró ~ Magical power" (2:55) continues from the previous song but shifts from the opening into something more powerful, more engaging before speeding up to become quite an exciting instrumental jam with synth and electric guitar trading leads over the hard-driving rhythm section. (9/10)

4. "Én voltam ~ It was me" (5:56) slow guitar arpeggi in two channels as Miklós sings. Nice vocal. He sounds like the lead singer to Polish band LIZARD. The rest of the band joins in during the second minute but the pace or structure do not change. Same with the instrumental section in the third minute--which has some awesome organ-supported choir "ahhs." Soft and delicate again for the next verse, though Miklós does begin to get more forceful with his delivery. Repeat the choir "ahhs" (the chorus?) a couple rounds before a spacious passage is created at the end of the fifth minute to prelude a melodramatic slow instrumental finale. Great song until the finale. (9/10)

5. "A végtelen tér öröme ~ The happiness of the endless space" (1:38) a latter-period MAHAVISHNU-like jazz-rock fusion interlude (i.e. melodic). (5/5)

6. "Üjjászületés ~ Born again" (3:40) opens with some spacey synths and bird song tweeting around before the song jumps into a nice, simple, slow weave for a brief lyric before a really cool stringed instrument solos. The vocal is okay until the awesome piano-emphasized chorus, which is then followed by a surprisingly simple instrumental section with dull synth solo. (8.75/10)

7. "Ablakok ~ Windows" (5:44) muted guitar arpeggi with panning space synth flourishes gives a cool opening sound. Around 40 seconds in the full band enters with a steady TD-like drum beat and fast-thumping single-note bass line while Miklós sings in a matter-of-fact way in one of his lower registers. Nice bridge to the wonderful chorus. Love the slushy FIXX-like guitar chords. Back to the driving Berlin School-like rhythm section for the next vocal verse before another nice bridge and awesome chorus. Love the upper register bass work here! A little "Eminence Front"-like feel to this part. (9.75/10)

8. "Vesztesek ~ Losers" (3:44) opens with a little SUPERTRAMP-like keyboard that is quickly blended with other instruments before supporting another LIZARD-like vocal. Great multi-voiced chorus. Miklós' vocal is quite impassioned. Impressive! Second chorus leads into a slow-to-build but powerful electric guitar solo that plays through a full cycle of the verse-chorus section before the song ends. Awesome! (9.5/10)

9. "Felhókón sétálva ~ Walkin' on the clouds" (4:22) oepns with some really cool smooth jazzy Fender Rhodes play (think HUBERT LAWS or JOE SAMPLE) with rhythm set by percussive muted guitar arpeggi. Synths play little leads over the top for about 90 seconds before the song shifts, jumping into a full rock band 80s jazz-rock fusion style and sound. Even the synth choices and solos shout out, "1980s!" It's nice but so dated! (8.75/10)

10. "Várni kell ~ You must wait" (5:56) nice electric piano soloing that is eventually joined by electrified classical guitar and vocals before the song switches to a synth strings and bass pedal foundation. It quickly turns instrumental with a VANGELIS-like electronic sound palette for a minute or so until everything slows down and changes palette and texture for another vocal section.  (9.25/10)

11. "Merengés ~ Meditation (2:14) soft chorus electric guitar chords arpeggiated with fretless bass accompanying while Miklós sings in his most breathy, delicate voice. Very nice. Nice ending to a wonderful album. (4.75/5)

Total Time: 44:17

Okay, I'll accept the Neo Prog assignation but to my ears there is far less imitation of Anglo prog here than of European artists and trends--especially ELOY, the Berlin School, some of the more jazz-oriented French and Rock Progressivo Italiano trends.

91.5 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and a most excellent contribution from behind the Iron Curtain. Because of its vocals and song structures, this one might even surpass the 1970s releases of SBB, FERMATA, MODRY EFEKT, and CZESŁAW NIEMEN.


Though one of Pat and company's early highly-acclaimed albums, containing several much-beloved Metheny career highlight songs, this is an album that contained songs that did not connect with me--a couple that even repelled me. This has actually been the case with me over Pat's entire career: every album has scintillating moments of sheer brilliance while there are always others of abrasive and equally off-putting music. The new addition and use of his Roland G-300 guitar synthesizer provoked a lot of experimentation, some of it pretty demanding of the listener (as were their inspirators Ornette Coleman ["Offramp" (8/10)]), some combining styles explored on As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls with the Roland ("Bacarole" [8.75/10]). A lot of his songs and sound choices here still draw from earlier albums, like the New Chatauqua-like "James" (13.25/15), the sensitive and spacious, "The Bat, Part 2" (9/10) and the beautiful earlier drawing étude, "Au lait" (18.25/20) Luckily, the album contains a song whose sonic, emotional, and technical wizardry is of such a high caliber that it alone makes purchase and repeated returns to the album of almost essential importance, "Are You Going With Me?" (20/20).

90.88 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of Jazz Fusion and a significant contribution to the expansion and evolution of progressive rock music.

4. PETER GABRIEL Peter Gabriel 4 - "Security"

An album I worshipped when it came out and which received daily spins on my turntable, it slowly lost its lustre and now rarely receives much attention. Occasionally, I get in a Tony Levin mood or want to try to recapture the amazing experience of listening to "The Rhythm of the Heat," "Lay Your Hands on Me," or "San Jacinto" for the first time, but otherwise, the rest of the album has been relegated to things passé and out of date. The genius of incorporating the Ekome Dancers, Tony's ChapmanStick magic, as well as all of the samples funneled through his Fairlight CMI are now overshadowed by the overly-compressed and overly-clean sound as well as the over-familiarity with the song's more pop-oriented songs ("Shock the Monkey," "Kiss of Life," "I have the Touch," and the tribute to then-imprisoned Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, "Wallflower"). Impressive at the time; technologically dated now. Still, a nice step toward's Peter's "big" sound with his next album, "So"--and fun stuff to experience live in the concert hall.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Peter Gabriel / lead & backing vocals, piano (7), Prophet 5, Polymoog, Fairlight CMI, Linn drum machine, programming, surdo (1,8), arranger & co-producer
- Jill Gabriel / backing vocals (2)
- Peter Hammill / backing vocals (4-6)
- David Rhodes / guitar (2,4-8), backing vocals (1-3,8)
- John Ellis / guitar (2,4,6), backing vocals (1,3,6,8)
- Larry Fast / Moog, Prophet, Moog bass (2,4,8), drum machine (1-5,7-8), Fairlight CMI programming
- Stephen Paine / Fairlight CMI (4)
- David Lord / synths (6,7), piano & effects (7,8), Fairlight CMI programming, co-producer
- Roberto Laneri / treated saxophone (4)
- Tony Levin / fretted (1,7,8) & fretless (6) basses, Chapman stick (2-5)
- Jerry Marotta / drums, surdo (1), percussion
- Ekome Dance Company / Ghanian drums (1)
- Morris Pert / traditional Ethiopian pipes (4), timbales (6), percussion (8)
- Mark Crabtree / Fx
- Stuart Nevison / Fx

1. "The Rhythm Of The Heat" (5:18) (10/10)

2. "San Jacinto" (6:29) (9/10)
3. "I Have The Touch" (4:36) (9/10)
4. "The Family And The Fishing Net" (7:04) (13/15)
5. "Shock The Monkey" (5:29) (9/10)
6. "Lay Your Hands On Me" (6:11) (10/10)
7. "Wallflower" (6:35) (8.5/10)
8. "Kiss Of Life" (4:16) (8.75/10)

Total Time: 46:04

90.88 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. Though the album has not aged well, it deserves praise for it's innovativeness for its time.

5. KATE BUSH The Dreaming

For several years (the bulk of the 1980s), I thought this might be the greatest album ever created/recorded. As time has passed, it's freshness and innovations have staled a bit, but upon donning my headphones and re-immersing myself into The Dreaming, I can recall my lust and enthusiasm for this music as I heard it first in 1982. While I never cared much for "Sat in Your Lap" or "Suspended in Gaffa," I always find the rest of the album spell-binding. The ironic humour and quirkiness of "The Dreaming", the raw power of one of my favorite songs of all-time, "Get Out of My House", the eerie/sexy mysteriousness of "Houdini", "The Night of The Swallow", "All The Love", "Pull Out the Pin", and even the teenie-popper, "There Goes a Tenner", the raw power and inventiveness of the vocals on "Leave It Open", the awesome drumming of Stuart Elliott, the Fairlight CMI, the wonderful incorporation of traditional Irish/Celtic instruments, the intricate storytelling, the incredible vocals--it all makes for one heck of a ride! This is by far the most highly rated 1980s album I've ever critiqued--even outshining the Talking Heads, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, David Sylvian, U2, The Cocteau Twins, and The Cure. This is, in my opinion, Kate's most breathtaking, refreshing, innovative album--in short, a masterpiece. Simply astounding lyrics/storytelling and vocal acrobatics.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Kate Bush / vocals, piano, Fairlight synth (1,2,5-10), Yamaha CS80 (2), strings (4), arranger & producer
- Brian Bath / guitar (3)
- Ian Bairnson / acoustic guitar (5), backing vocals (1)
- Alan Murphy / guitar (5,10)
- Paddy Bush / mandolin (4), strings (4), percussion (1), backing vocals (1,6,10), bullroarer (6)
- Geoff Downes / synth (1)
- Dave Lawson / synclavier (2,4), string co-arranger (9)
- Liam O'Flynn / uillean pipes & penny whistle (7)
- Sean Keane / fiddle (7)
- Donal Lunny / bouzouki (7)
- Rolf Harris / didgeridoo (6)
- Del Palmer / bass (2,4,8), fretless & 8-string basses (7), voice "Rosabel Believe" (9)
- Eberhard Weber / bass (9)
- Jimmy Bain / bass (1,5,10)
- Danny Thompson / double bass (3)
- Preston Heyman / drums (1,3,5,10), percussion (1)
- Stuart Elliot / drums (2,4,6-9), percussion (4,8)
- Esmail Sheikh / talking drum (10)
- Stewart Arnold / backing vocals (1)
- Gary Hurst / backing vocals (1)
- David Gilmour / backing vocals (3)
- Percy Edwards / voices (6)
- Gosfield Goers / voices (6)
- Richard Thornton / choirboy vocals (8)
- Gordon Farrell / voice "Houdini" (9)
- Paul Hardiman / voice "Eeyore" (10)
- Bill Whelan / arrangements (7)
- Andrew Powell / string co-arranger (9)

1. "Sat In Your Lap" (3:30) (8/10)
2. "There Goes A Tenner" (3:26) (8.5/10)
3. "Pull Out The Pin" (5:30) (9/10)
4. "Suspended In Gaffa" (3:58) (8/10)
5. "Leave It Open" (3:25) (9/10)
6. "The Dreaming" (4:41) (10/10)
7. "Night Of The Swallow" (5:25) (9.5/10)
8. "All The Love" (4:35) (9/10)
9. "Houdini" (3:52) (9.5/10)
10. "Get Out Of My House" (5:30) (10/10)

Total Time: 43:56

90.50 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. 

4.5 Star Near-Masterpieces 
(Ratings 89.99 to 86.67)


A Japanese band of classically trained musicians performing very tightly a series of intricate compositions with a sound palette and level of competence quite reminiscent of Dutch band FOCUS.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Yoshihisa Shimizu / guitar, keyboards
- Atsushi Makiuchi / keyboards
- Shiro Yajima / flute
- Kimiyoshi Matsumoto / bass
- Haruhiko Yamamoto / drums
- Naoko Shimogaito / vocals
- Sachiko Miyashita / vocals
- Kenichi Oguchi / keyboards (9,10)
- Toshihiko Sahashi / keyboards (9,10)
- Masayuki Tanaka / woodwind

1. "Sora Ni Hikaru (Shining In The Sky)" (6:22) great uptempo jazzy interplay among half a dozen instruments for the first two minutes, then a shift into more gentle CAMEL-like territory with flute and drum play being quite prominent. Back and forth, A-B-A-C-A-B arrangement with skilled electric guitar solo (on two or more tracks) in the C part. (9/10)

2. "Anesthesia Part 1" (2:05) plugged in acoustic guitar opens before spoken background vocals and odd synthesizer-generated noises join in (mostly in the background--like kalimba [or is it real?]). (4.5/5)

3. "Anesthesia Part 2" (4:21) a continuation of motif from Part 1 using clavichord and full electric jazz complement (including accordion). Flute, electric guitars and bass (!) hold the melody lines (mostly). Reminds me of something FOCUS would do. Nice composition. (9/10)

4. "Hyoto (Frozen Island)" (6:13) piano opening establishing Japanese melody through jazzy chord play. This is then enhanced and carried forward by synth wind and flute. Quite reminiscent of one of the early melodies Ryuichi Sakamoto explored in his soundtrack music for Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence. Reminds me, again, of something Thijs van Leer might have composed for his FOCUS contingent. (8.75/10)

5. "Brand Shikou (Brand IX)" (4:34) eventually gels in a way that sounds and feels quite a bit like Brand X--the drums aren't quite as smooth and flashy and the circus calliope-like sound chosen to MIDI with the lead synth are not quite up to the level of the Brits. Odd to have the effected male chant voices be in spoken Japanese. Great bass play. (8.75/10)

6. "Harukanaru Chi E (Toward The Land Beyond)" (3:55) this one feels like a JACO PASTORIUS imitation--but which incarnation? which support musicians? Then it kind of turns kind of BRAND X meets DAVE STEWART in the second and third minutes. Nice guitar synth interplay in the final minute. (8.75/10)

7. "Naibu E No Tsukikage (Moon Casting Shadows Within)" (3:45) "distant" female vocalise and mushy synth chord play (à la PATRICK MORAZ in Story of i and ANT PHILLIPS in 1984) makes for an interesting, unusual, and, ultimately, beautiful musical expression. (9/10)

8. "Sayonara Progressive (Arrivederci: Goodbye Prog)" (7:06) Full on jazz-rock fusion. Drums are a tad bit on the disco side while complex whole band weave flows over and around them. Reminds me of BRUFORD/NATIONAL HEALTH.  (13.5/15)

Total time 38:21

Very skilled mastery displayed by all instrumentalists though flute and drums tend to stand out most.

89.06 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music in the Jazz-Rock Fusion vein. 

7. BRIAN ENO Ambient 4:  On Land

An excellent album in Brian Eno's Ambient Music series of releases, here progressing to the use of more sounds and instruments to replicate some of the sounds one might hear in nature, Brian collaborates with only a few artists on this one but the presence of trumpeter Jon Hassell, bass player Bill Laswell, and guitarist/sound experimentalists Michael Brook and Daniel Lanois on individual tracks is definitely a plus. This is such a memorable album for me for the fact that it assisted me on my first journeys into astral travelling and lucid dreaming. The music here serves such a deep and mind-altering purpose (if you let it) as nature sceneries are conjured up by all songs--some in a way that is quite sinister and unsettling--which was quite a revelation for me as a pleasure seeker in my musical choices. On Land was one of the openers to my Shadow side, to the fact that there can be beauty and lessons and learning in the darker elements of life. Perhaps more importantly, On Land is the album that introduced me to one of the most unique and "out-of-the-box" artists I had, and have, ever encountered in one trumpeter JON HASSELL, who would, in turn, soon lead me to another artist who changed my life in a very empowering way: David Sylvian (who led me to three other giants of boundary pushing, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, and Bill Nelson).

Line-up / Musicians:
- Brian Eno / synthesizers, treatments, field recordings, etc., producer
- Axel Gros / guitar (1)
- Michael Beinhorn / synthesizer (1)
- Bill Laswell / bass (1)
- Jon Hassell / trumpet (4)
- Felipe Orrego / recording of frogs' sounds (6)
- Michael Brook / guitar (8)
- Daniel Lanois / live equalization (8)

1. "Lizard Point" (4:34) (9/10)
2. "The Lost Day" (9:12) an eerie midnight walk in the empty seaside harbour. (18/20)
3. "Tal Coat" (5:27) a creepy re-visit to the thermal mud pools at Yellowstone, alone due to the cold mid-winter weather. (8.75/10)
4. "Shadow" (3:00) Jon Hassell and crickets! (8.75/10)
5. "Lantern Marsh" (5:31) sub-aural beats with more creepy night noises from the windy seaside. (9.25/10)
6. "Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)" (5:26) eerie sounds from a walk under the canopy of a thick tropical jungle. (8.75/10) 
7. "A Clearing" (4:07) the hum of electric power lines above a expansive field in farmland. (8.5/10)
8. "Dunwich Beach, Autumn, 1960" (7:10) various sounds from a windy day at the beach of the now-submerged ghost town. (13.25/15)

Total Time: 44:27

88.68 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive electronic music--a pioneering album in the Ambient and New Age field--and an amazing resource to meditate/dream to.

8. ELOY Time to Turn

Great sound production of typical polished compositions.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Frank Bornemann / vocals, guitars, co-producer
- Hannes Arkona / guitars, keyboards, percussion
- Hannes Folberth / keyboards
- Klaus-Peter Matziol / bass, Taurus pedals
- Fritz Randow / drums
- Amy, Anna & Sabine / additional vocals (3)

1. "Through a Somber Galaxy" (6:00) (8.5/10)
2. "Behind the Walls of Imagination" (6:25) great instrumental performances and arrangements. (8.75/10) 
3. "Time to Turn" (4:32) catchy PF sound and pacing with typical great bass and keys. Like the use of choral vocals, too. (9/10)
4. "Magic Mirrors" (5:25) great riffs and sound palette to hook us in; horrible vocal. (8.75/10)
5. "End of an Odyssey" (9:25) GREAT instrumental for the first five minutes, Frank's vocals, when they do arrive, are mixed a little more within the music, which is nice. (18.5/20)
6. "The Flash" (5:34) like a PF dance tune. (8.5/10)
7. "Say, Is It Really True" (4:45) Did they really think that they could get away with this "Wish You Were Here" ripoff? It's great, but too similar. (8.75/10)

Total Time: 42:06

Wonderful sound palette from the musicians that is still plagued by that annoying voice of Frank Bornemann.

88.44 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music in the Pink Floyd tradition.

9. ADRIAN BELEW Lone Rhino

This album arrived on the music scene in 1982 like a shooting star--the critics couldn't love Adrian enough. I am still awed by and love the amazing array of noises Belew could get out of a guitar--cat, rhino, momur, Japanese tears, whale, desert island heat, city fear, elephant--a veritable zoo of animals came from his guitar. Plus, he's really not a bad singer--has some clever, witty lyrics.

5 star songs: "Big Electric Cat" (10/10), "Momur" (9/10), "Naive Guitar" (10/10), "The Lone Rhinocerous" (10/10), "Addidas in Heat," (9/10), and the duet with his 4-year old daughter, "The Final Rhino" (9/10). A genius of the guitar--a different kind of genius than Hendrix, Fripp, Frith or Cooder, but a genius nonetheless.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Adrian Belew / guitars, effects, drums, percussion, wood flute (10), lead vocals, arranger & producer
- Christy Bley / piano, vocals
- William Janssen / alto & baritone saxes, wood flute (10), vocals
- J. Clifton Mayhugh / fretted & fretless basses, wood flute (10), vocals
- Audie Belew (age 4) / piano (11)
- Stan Hertzman / chant (1)
- Stanley Silverman / chant (1)

1. Big Electric Cat (4:51) (10/10)
2. The Momur (3:45) (9/10)
3. Stop It (2:45) (8/10)
4. The Man In The Moon (3:45) (8.75/10)
5. Naive Guitar (3:58) (8.5/10)
6. Hot Sun (1:29) (4/5)
7. The Lone Rhinoceros (3:57) (9.5/10)
8. Swingline (3:25) (8.5/10)
9. Adidas In Heat (2:44) (8.75/10)
10. Animal Grace (3:58) (8.75/10)
11. The Final Rhino (1:24) (5/5)

Total time 36:01

87.75 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. 

10. TWELFTH NIGHT Fact and Fiction 

An album that, to my ears, bears a striking resemblance to the sounds and stylings of American band BABYLON--especially in the DOROCCUS-like theatric vocal sound and performances of poet and reluctant lead singer, Geoff Mann.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Geoff Mann / vocals, tape effects
- Andy Revell / electric & acoustic guitars
- Clive Mitten / bass, keyboards, Classical guitar
- Brian Devoil / drums, percussion
- Jane Mann / vocals (4,5)

1. "We Are Sane" (10:27) opens with synth strings, background noises of television, children, and adult arguing before singer Geoff Mann enters in an opera-like falsetto. At the one minute mark Geoff switches into a deep bass range. Around 2:00 electric guitar and synth strings arpeggi back a mid-range vocal as well as the continued background speeches. There's a real BABYLON theatricity to this. Around 3:20 the song suddenly switches to an almost punk/early XTC sound and style: complete with 80s techno-punk synths, guitar, rhythm, pace, and singing. In the sixth minute it returns to a more DOROCCUS/BABYLON theatricity and musical palette. By the end of the seventh minute there is another musical switch just before a foray into a BOWIE-like robotic section of the museum and its followup. The final two minutes sees a return to the CARDIACS/XTC-like sound and style. Quite a song! What a story and presentation! Not the greatest musically but Mr. Mann definitely has something special. (18.5/20)

2. "Human Being" (7:50) opens like BILLY BRAGG singing over someone playing in the bath water until 0:45 when lush synths take over and a STEVE HACKETT-like electric guitar solos. At 2:00 a Spectral Mornings-like section speeds it up a little while Geoff sings. Great guitar solo in the uptempo sixth minute instrumental section. (13.125/15)

3. "This City" (4:01) a JIM MORRISON/MATTHEW PARMENTER-like performance by Geoff Mann. (8.25/10)

4. "World Without End" (1:55) synths, low bass, fast electric guitar arpeggi, and cymbal play instrumental. (4.25/5)

5. "Fact And Fiction" (3:59) pure New Wave music. (8.5/10)

6. "The Poet Sniffs A Flower" (3:51) presents odd styled classic rock instrumental sounding like BOSTON with 1980s synths that switches at 2:00 to a thicker soundscape with bass and guitar power chords. (8.667/10)

7. "Creepshow" (11:57) an epic combining PINK FLOYD with VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. (21.667/25)

8. Love Song (5:39) a Prog Folk opening that turns into a synth-driven New Wave JOY DIVISION-like song. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 49:37

87.125 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of lyric and singer-driven neo-progressive rock music and a highly recommended listening experience to any lover of progressive rock music.

Other Excellent Albums
(Ratings of 85.0 to 87.66)

11. ROXY MUSIC Avalon

One of my favorite albums from the 80s--and one of the few from that decade that still stands up well 25 years later (but not so much now, 40 years later). A real aural treat for its subtle instrumental ensemble work; rarely does a Roxy member solo get too much time or attention, rather every moment of everyone's work seems to merely add to and augment the whole. You might call it 'gestalt music.'

1. "More Than This" (4:31) a 'classic' 80s tune, oft covered, Bryan Ferry's vocal is still tough to top. (8.75/10)

2. "The Space Between" (4:30) a jazzed up 80s sound, Phil Manzanera's almost R&B guitar riffs and Andy Mackay's sax diddies seem to sneak into the spaces between the song's rhythm section. A kind of spacey vocal (effect) from mellifluous Bryan. Sounds sadly dated today. (8.5/10)

3. "Avalon" (4:16) steals a kind of Steely Dan Gaucho feel--especially it's use of female background vocals. Very powerful they are, these women. A nice pop tune. (8.75/10)

4. "India" (1:44) is a short yet very likable Simple Minds-like instrumental groove that finishes with a soulful drum rhythm. Again, great background kitchen music. (4.5/5)

5. "My Heart Still Beating" (3:26) is such an unusual song that it is a tough one to compare or describe. Besides the repetitive bass line and tom-tom beats, the instrumental contributions are very sparse and sporadic--rather like gunshots or flashes of light. Cool sound universe with cool vocal performance. (8.75/10)

6. "The Main Thing" (3:54) contains a prototypic 80s synth bass line over which a rather beautiful and interesting song is thoughtfully constructed. The vocal here is but a very small contribution to this group jam. Cool song. Not one of my favorites back in the day but now it's a top three. (9/10)

7. "Take a Chance With Me" (4:42) begins as a very Hackett-sounding song construct--something off of Cured or Defector. Until the 2:10 mark when a very straightforward, almost C&W song rises up. The album's weak spot. (8.5/10)

8. "To Turn You On" (4:16) is a true pop song with some very catchy hooks and a classic Brian Ferry knee-weakening lyric and vocal. Very nice Manzanera solo. (8.5/10)

9. "True to Life" (4:25) was immediately--and remains to this day--my favorite song on the album. The bouncy synth chord foundation just sucks me in! Then, when coupled with Ferry's flanged vocal chorus and I don't know why but I am almost orgasmic. Add all those beautiful 'background' incidentals from Manzanera and Mackay and take me away! (10/10)

10. "Tara" (1:43) is a little instrumental diddie in which Andy Mackay is allowed to close out the album with his magic over the waves. (4.25/5)

88.33 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars;  Truly a SMOOTH album with no showy songs but all very solid contributions. 4.5 stars downgraded to 4 for the sake of 'Hey! It's the 80s!"


Such an odd and unexpected album when it came out--a collaboration I would have never guessed to arise (though, at the time, I knew nothing of Andy Summers' prog-related pre-Police history), some of the songs are pure magical while others are certainly interesting. Not the sound or album I would have ever expected to come from either of these artists.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Robert Fripp / electric guitar, Roland guitar synth, Roland & Moog synthesizers, bass, percussion
- Andy Summers / electric guitar, guitar synth, Roland & Moog synthesizers, bass, percussion

1. I Advance Masked (5:12)
2. Under Bridges of Silence (1:42)
3. China - Yellow Leader (7:09)
4. In The Cloud Forest (2:30)
5. New Marimba (3:38)
6. Girl On A Swing (2:04)
7. Hardy Country (3:02)
8. The Truth of Skies (2:06)
9. Painting and Dance (3:25)
10. Still Point (3:07)
11. Lakeland / Aquarelle (1:43)
12. Seven On Seven (1:37)
13. Stultified (1:28)

Total Time 38:46

on the Fishscales = / stars; 

Not As Good As Advertized:

QUASAR Fire in The Sky 

To prepare yourself for the sounds you will hear on this album one might listen to the 1974 pop hit "Magic" by future prog sessions musicians PILOT. This album sounds just like it, voice, etc.

Line-up / Musicians:
- Paul Vigrass / lead vocals
- Cyrus Khajavi / guitar synthesizer
- Dillon Tonkin / organ, synthesizers
- Keith Turner / bass, Moog bass pedals, 12-string guitar, composer & producer
- David Cairns / drums
- Pete Ware / MiniMoog
- Steen Doosing / drums
- Peter Strade / vibes, keyboards

1. "Fanfare" (0:42) breakneck speed synths on display. (4/5)
2. "Seeing Stars" (3:48) opens with a little CAMEL and VANGELIS mixture before drums drop in to signal full band foundation for backing delicate singing of Paul Vigrass. Spacious keyboard based rock music behind this Bobby Vinton-like voice. After Paul's two verses and choruses the synths take over to close. (8.25/10)
3. "Mission 14" (13:21) a great prog groove established from stealing the music beneath GENESIS' "take a little trip with Father Tiresias" from "Cinema Show" the get-go over which some nice impassioned vocals and instrumental soli are delivered. A nice instrumental section begins in the fourth minute to include a nice Prophet 5 and electric guitar solo. Just enough gear and directional shifts to keep it interesting and never let it get boring, though it is a little too reliant on the Cinema Show sound and structures. (26.5/30)

4. "U.F.O.": (17:57) : (28.4375/35)
- a) "U.F.O." (5:52) the vocals work better as the musical backdrop thickens and fills. (Bad choice for whatever effects they're running Paul's voice through.) Sounds like a blend of PILOT and SUPERTRAMP for the first half, then GENESIS-lite (Wind and Wuthering era). (8.25/10)
- b) "Flying" (2:51) sounds quite a bit like a passage from PATRICK MORAZ's Story of I or a CAMEL/GENESIS "Naminanu." Constant with no changes start to finish. (8.25/10)
- c) "Fire in The Sky" (5:15) PILOT + BUGGLES and/or Ambrosia. (8/10)
- d) "Moon" (3:59) opens with an engaging foundational riff before Paul adds some unusually relaxed and unassuming vocals. This is nice! Then there is a more bombastic bass-infused finale. (8/10)

Total Time: 35:48

83.82 on the Fishscales = B-/four stars; a solid and interesting contribution to the early neo-progressive genre which suffers from a little simplicity but is definitely worthy of a listen for your self. Too bad about the poor sound engineering of Paul Vigrass' vocals.


Line-up / Musicians:
- Harald Bareth / lead vocals, bass, voice actor
- Uwe Karpa / acoustic & electric guitars
- Matthias Ulmer / keyboards, vocals
- Peter Schmidt / drums, percussion
- Hella Karpa / recorders

1. Sonnenzeichen - Feuerzeichen (5:19)
2. Fur Ein Kleines Mädchen (5:23)
3. Nichts Fur Mich (6:33)
4. Nach Diesem Tag (4:08)
5. La La (3:17)
6. Sonne (4:45)
7. "Tanz und Tod" (15:11) (26/30):
- a) Der Begleiter (5:20) acoustic guitars and piano backing a bucolic RPI-feeling motif in the Maxophone/Celeste tradition. Drums and bass join in for the second verse, and then things ramp up into 80s techno pop piece à la Nena complete with synth bass and synth-generated incidental noises and effects. Drums, organ, and electric guitar are the only things keeping it entrenched in any prog ground. (8.5/10) 
- b) Yaqui (3:30) contemplative solo piano opens this section, bridging the techno pop to a jazzy-Latin rhythmed passage (also solo piano). Very nice, clear recording of grand piano. In the end, nothing much to write home about. (8.5/10)
- c) Tanz Und Tod (6:15) piano from the middle section is joined by picked electric guitar and Fender Rhodes while Harald talks a story over background vocalise (which are, IMO, the best part of the song so far). Bass and then full drums enter as voices and keys intensify and then Fripp-like guitar solo begins to rip and tear. Nice! And it goes on for quite a little time! All instruments then fade away leaving only bass tom hits before the Fender Rhodes resuscitates the opening theme with an odd syncopated bass and drum accompaniment. Unfortunately, this all accumulates into a revisitation of the 80s techno pop chord sequence. ("Maxwell, Jump!") (9/10) 

Total Time: 44:10

on the Fishscales = / stars; 

THE ROCHES Keep On Doing

Discovered because of the participation of three-fourths of the crew from King Crimson's release from the previous year, Disclpline. Delightful humour and vocal sophistication.

Line-up / Musicians:
Maggie Roche – acoustic guitar, synthesizer, piano, singing
Terre Roche – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, singing
Suzzy Roche – acoustic guitar, singing
Tony Levin - bass guitar
Bill Bruford - percussion
Robert Fripp - guitar and devices, on tracks 2, 9, and 10

1. "The Hallelujah Chorus" (George Frideric Handel) (3:30) (9/10)
2. "Losing True" (Margaret Roche) (4:50) (9.5/10)
3. "Steady with the Maestro" (George Gerdes) (3:42) (9/10)
4. "The Largest Elizabeth in the World" (Terre Roche) (3:24) (9.25/10)
5. "On the Road to Fairfax County" (David Massengill) (4:47) (8.875/10)
6. "I Fell in Love" (Terre and Suzzy Roche) (4:20) (8.75/10)
7. "The Scorpion Lament" (Margaret Roche) (3:34) (8/10)
8. "Want Not Want Not" (Suzzy and Terre Roche) (2:56) (8.25/10)
9. "Sex Is for Children" (Terre Roche) (3:38)  (8/10)
10. "Keep On Doing What You Do / Jerks on the Loose" (Suzzy and Terre Roche) (3:58) (8.5/10)


The second album release from Robert Fripp's resuscitated lineup of stellar musicians, it was a little bit of a disappointment as it felt as if Adrian Belew had taken over too much of the lead, attention-grabbing singing and songwriting duties. However, in concert, live, this material was nothing short of mind-blowing.

Line-up / Musicians:
Robert Fripp - guitar, electric organ, Frippertronics
Adrian Belew - guitar, lead vocals
Tony Levin - bass guitar, ChapmanStick, backing vocals
Bill Bruford - acoustic and electric drums and percussion

1. "Neal and Jack and Me" (4:22) (8.75/10)
2. "Heartbeat" (3:54) (8.875/10)
3. "Sartori in Tangier" (instrumental) (3:34) (9.25/10)
4. "Waiting Man" (4:27) (9/10)
5. "Neurotica" (4:48) (/10)
6. "Two Hands" (3:23) (9/10)
7. "The Howler" (4:13) (8.667/10)
8. "Requiem" (instrumental) (6:48) (13.75/15)

Total time: 35:48

Other Highly Recommended Prog Albums
(Other albums recommended by prog lovers)

RUSH Signals

Line-up / Musicians:
- Alex Lifeson / electric & acoustic guitars, Taurus bass pedals
- Geddy Lee / basses, synthesizers (Minimoog, Oberheim, Roland Jupiter-8), vocals
- Neil Peart / drums, percussion
- Ben Mink / violin (7)
- Terry Brown / co-arranger, co-producer

1. "Subdivisions" (5:32) (9.5/10)
2. The Analog Kid (4:46)
3. Chemistry (4:56)
4. Digital Man (6:20)
5. The Weapon (Part II of Fear) (6:22)
6. New World Man (3:41)
7. Losing It (4:51)
8. Countdown (5:49)

Total Time 42:17

JETHRO TULL The Broadsword and the Beast

Line-up / Musicians:
- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, Fairlight CMI ?
- Martin Barre / electric & acoustic guitars
- Peter-John Vettese / piano, synthesizer (1,13,16), vocals
- David Pegg / bass, mandolins, vocals
- Gerry Conway / drums, percussion

- Beastie (LP side 1)
1. Beastie (3:58)
2. Clasp (4:18)
3. Fallen On Hard Times (3:13)
4. Flying Colours (4:40)
5. Slow Marching Band (3:40)
- Boadsword (LP side 2)
6. Broadsword (5:03)
7. Pussy Willow (3:56)
8. Watching Me Watching You (3:41)
9. Seal Driver (5:10)
10. Cheerio (1:10)

Total Time: 38:49


Line-up / Musicians:
- Phil Miller / guitars
- Dave Stewart / organ, pianos, tone generator
- John Greaves / bass, vocals
- Pip Pyle / drums, Simmons electric drums
- Elton Dean / saxello (1,4)
- Ted Emmett / trumpet (1)
- Annie Whitehead / trombone (1)
- Jimmy Hastings / flute (3,6,9)
- Richard Sinclair / vocals (3)
- Amanda Parsons / backing vocals (7)
- Barbara Gaskin / backing vocals (7)

1. Portrait of a Shrinking Man (5:35)
2. TNTFX (3:11)
3. Black Hat (4:52)
4. I Feel a Night Coming On (6:38)
5. Arriving Twice (2:20)
6. Shining Water (8:50)
7. Tales of a Damson Knight (1:55)
8. Flanagans People (7:31)
9. Toad of Toad Hall (5:35)

Total Time 46:27


Line-up / Musicians:
- Mike Oldfield / acoustic & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, keyboards (ARP solina, Roland VP330, Prophet V, EMS sequuencer, Fairlight CMI), vocals, producer
- Maggie Reilly / vocals
- Rick Fenn / acoustic & electric guitars
- Morris Pert / percussion, keyboards, strings arranger (5)
- Tim Cross / keyboards
- Paddy Maloney / Uillean pipes (1)
- Graham Broad / drums (5)
- Mike Frye / percussion
- Carl Palmer / percussion (4)
- Martyn Ford / strings conductor (5)

1. Taurus II (24:49)
2. Family Man (3:45)
3. Orabidoo (13:03)
4. Mount Teidi (4:10)
5. Five Miles Out (4:17)

Total Time: 50:03

Albums on the Fringe of Prog World

SIMPLE MINDS New Gold Dream: (81-82-83-84)

An album full of eminently grooving songs with structures, lyrics, and lengths that did not necessarily conform to AM radio standards, I always felt that this album, more than any other from this band, was intended to display the musicians' sound artistry more than their hit-making potential. If it were ever admitted that prog went techno, this would be a showpiece album.

1. "Someone Somewhere in Summertime" (4:36) (10/10)
2. "The Catherine Wheel" (3:49) (8.75/10)
3. "Promised You a Miracle" (4:28) (8.75/10)
4. "Big Sleep" (5:00) (10/10)
5. "Somebody Up There Likes You" (5:02) (10/10)
6. "New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)" (5:39) (9.25/10)
7. "Glittering Prize" (4:33) (8.5/10)
8. "Hunter and the Hunted" (5:55) What?! Herbie Hancock! (9/10)
9. "King Is White and in the Crowd" (7:00) (14.5/15)

93.42 on the Fishscales = A/five stars; a masterpiece of fresh techno-progressive pop rock and, in my opinion, the pinnacle of this band's output.

A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS A Flock of Seagulls

Thanks to the amazing production of Bill Nelson and Gong's Mike Howlett as well as 15-yera old guitarist Paul Reynolds' innovative sound, this amazing debut album stands up incredibly well 40 years later.

Line-up / Musicians:
Mike Score - lead vocals, keyboards, additional rhythm guitar
Paul Reynolds - lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Frank Maudsley - bass guitar, backing vocals
Ali Score - drums, percussion

1. "I Ran (So Far Away)" (3:58) (10/10)
2. "Space Age Love Song" (3:45) (10/10)
3. "You Can Run" (4:28)
4.  "Don't Ask Me" (2:46)
5. "Messages" (2:51)
6. "Telecommunication" (2:31)
7. "Modern Love Is Automatic" (3:49)
8. "Standing in the Doorway" (4:41)
9. "D.N.A." (2:30)
10. "Man Made" (5:38)

Total time: 39:45

XTC English Settlement

The usual refreshing and smart quirk-pop from these Swindon-born Brits. Great production by Hugh Padgham on this double album release.

Five star songs: the 1. "Runaways" (4:33); 3. "Senses Working Overtime" (4:50); 6. "Yacht Dance" (3:58); "It's Nearly Africa" (4:47); "English Roundabout" (3:50), and; "Snowman" (4:26). 

Definitely a four stars, maybe 4.5 star album. Great sound and production.

THOMAS DOLBY The Golden Age of Wireless

Helping to push the sound using state of the art computer technologies, TD was leading edge.

Favorite songs:  "Airwaves"; "Windpower"; "Radio Silence", and "Cloudburst on Shingle Street."

A 3.5-to-four star album.

ICEHOUSE Primitive Man

A solo project by Aussie Iva Davies with the production acumen of Keith Forsey, this was "the band's" debut release.

Line-up / Musicians:
Iva Davies - vocals, guitar, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, bass guitar, Linn drum machine, Fairlight CMI
Keith Forsey - additional percussion
James SK Wān – bamboo flute

Touring band:
Michael Hoste – keyboards
Bob Kretschmer – guitar 
John Lloyd – drums
Guy Pratt – bass guitar

1. "Great Southern Land" (5:19) (8.75/10)
2. "Uniform" (4:14) (8.667/10)
3. "Street Café" (4:13) (8.75/10)
4. "Hey Little Girl" (4:25) (9/10)
5. "Glam" (Instrumental) (3:27) (8.667/10)
6. "Trojan Blue" (5:03) (8.75/10)
7. "One by One" (4:02) cool pre-SIMPLE MINDS stuff. (8.667/10)
8. "Break These Chains" (3:43) rock from the punk era. (7.75/10)
9. "Mysterious Thing" (4:26) poppy glam rock with bouncy piano. (8.667/10)
10. "Goodnight Mr. Matthews" (re-recording) (4:00) (8.5/10)


After her work with Bill Bruford I became a devote of this quirky jazz singer. 

Line-up / Musicians:
- Annette Peacock / vocals, piano, electric piano, arrangements, co-producer
- A. R. Fox / lead vocals (3)

1. "Take Your Shoes Off" (1:51) (4.33/5)
2. "Taking It as It Comes" (2:00) (4.33/5)
3. "Sky-skating" (2:42) (9.5/10)
4. "Rap with the Trees" (4:56) (8.75/10)
5. "Until Untrust Unties (1:27)
6. "Trust (3:25)
7. "The Outness Queens Travelling Theme (2:16)
8. "So Close Is Still Too Far (1:55)
9. "Nothing Outside Us (4:56)
10. "Still Too Far (1:11)
11. "Warmer Than Gold (3:40)
12. "Pride (3:27)

Total Time 33:46


Released on vinyl as a double album, which is incredibly ambitious for a 24-year old solo artist.

1. "1999" (6:15)
2. "Little Red Corvette" (5:03)
3. "Delirious" (4:00)
4. "Let's Pretend We're Married" (7:21)
5. "D.M.S.R." (8:17)
6. "Automatic" (9:28)
7. "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)" (4:02)
8. "Free" (5:08)
9. "Lady Cab Driver" (8:19)
10. "All the Critics Love U in New York" (5:59)
11. "International Lover" (6:37)

Special Mention:

NEW AMERICAN ORCHESTRA Blade Runner an "orchestral adaptation of music composed for the motion picture by Vangelis"

One of my favorite soundtracks of all-time--to this day--and one that I failed to realize for years that was not the actual movie soundtrack. Some of the music is so futuristic ("Main Title" and "Memories of Green") while others has a kind of SteamPunk ability of combining old historical feels with the possibilities of the future ("One More Kiss, Dear" "Blade Runner Blues").
1. Love Theme (4:12)
2. Main Title (5:01)
3. One More Kiss, Dear (4:00)
4. Memories of Green (4:50)
5. End Title (4:17)
6. Blade Runner Blues (4:38)
7. Farewell (3:10)
8. End Title Reprise (3:08)
Total disc time: 33:16



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