After spending years honing their hugely atmospheric post rock sound, Spanish prog/rock band Toundra hit something of a career high with their 2018 album ‘Vortex’. With its huge soundscapes of clean, shimmering guitar and crushing, yet melodic riffs, it came close to post rock perfection; more accessible than the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and more focused than The Bloody Mallard. Obviously, the instrumental stance meant those listening rewards weren’t always immediate, but the best riffs eventually crawled into the subconscious in a really cool way. The follow up, a recording inspired by Robert Wiene’s Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, showed a more adventurous approach via its longer pieces, but continued the band’s natural musical ascent.
Following on from 2019’s ‘Everything Is Coloured’, ‘We Were The Moon’ is another fine, mellow yet complex work from Dutch instrumental act Eskina. Its ten ambient oriented pieces have very strong roots of chamber music, with a dominant cello and viola used effectively throughout, and by twisting through arrangements with slight overtones of prog and plenty of massive soundtrack-like moods, the musicians create something that’s both rich and rewarding.
In a bit of unexpected good fortune for the discerning prog fan, a selection of Pink Floyd bootlegs dating from 1971 have appeared on streaming services.
Spotify and Amazon Music began hosting a range of live recordings from the ‘Meddle’ era, in varying quality a few days ago. Some of the recordings have long been well known to bootleg collectors – such as the ‘Screaming Abdabs’ recording from Quebec, featuring the classic Gilmour/Wright/Waters/Mason line up showcasing a couple of new ‘Meddle’ tunes as well as providing the often overlooked ‘Embryo’ with a live outing, and the full set from Montreux ’71 – but the opportunity for the more casual listener to stumble upon these archive treasures will surely be welcomed.
Finnish prog metallers Sonus Corona rebranded themselves as Sum of Seven in 2021. This new beginning brings great promise, and their current single ‘Voices’ presents a great mix of melody and power which, coupled with a well filmed video clip, certainly deserves to bring them to a wider audience.
Over the years, the market has been flooded with Hawkwind compilations, reissues and retrospectives. From the comprehensive and brilliant (‘This Is Your Captain’, a huge set pulling together the United Artists albums), to the interesting (box sets of Flicknife and Emergency Broadcast era albums aimed more at the completist), to the perfunctory (various cheap “best of” type sets, thrown together by budget labels with no thought), it seems as if no stone has been left unturned in terms of anthologies celebrating the legendary space lords.