Ever since Cherry Red acquired the catalogue of RENAISSANCE, there’s been anticipation for the label to pick up where they left off with "Illusion" and move on to expanded editions of the band’s albums with Annie Haslam at the front. It looks like this will have to wait for the time being, because – following up on the success of the "Live At The Union Chapel" DVD from 2016 – the ensemble will issue a new concert document. Scheduled for release on Esoteric Recordings on September 14th, “A Symphonic Journey” – was preserved for posterity in “Keswick Theater” in Glenside, Pennsylvania on October 27th, 2017 at one of the four shows played with a specially created RENAISSANCE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA featuring, among others, Joe Deninzon of STRATOSPHEERIUS on violin. Spread across two CDs and accompanied by a DVD with the same tracklist, the set includes not only regular epics such as “Mother Russia” and “Carpet Of The Sun” but also rarities: “Kalynda” from 1979’s “Azure d’Or” which the band never seemed to perform on-stage back then, and “Island” from their debut that had been laid down before Annie joined the RENAISSANCE ranks.
Scottish finest, NAZARETH are no strangers to a box set treatment – there was “NazBox” out in 2011 – but not on the scale of a presentation that’s to be released September 28th. Titled “Loud & Proud! The Box Set” to distinguish it from an eponymous record, there will be a massive collection – limited to 5,000 units, numbered and, if pre-ordered from the band’s website (that doesn’t seem to serve North America at the moment) until first 500 copies are gone, signed by Pete Agnew and Dan McCafferty. It’s a great celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary, with the box contents going beyond conventional discography, while more concise anthology will be released in 3CD, 2LP and digital formats.
It’s easy to conscript SOFT MACHINE to the legions of the past – but not for nothing their torch has been carried on, for years, by SOFT MACHINE LEGACY where the old band’s members tapped into the spirit of yore. Yet it would be difficult not to get rid of the last word in the ensemble’s name in time for their debut’s 50th anniversary. That’s why the veterans’ new album “Hidden Details” will be released on the same memorable date, September 8th, as “The Soft Machine” LP back in 1968. Recorded in Jon Hiseman‘s studio in December 2017, the follow-up to 1981’s "Land Of Cockayne" features the same line-up as LEGACY’s "Burden Of Proof": John Etheridge on guitar, Roy Babbington on bass and John Marshall on drums – all of them first worked together on 1976’s "Softs" – plus Theo Travis on reeds.
Those who paid close attention to the roster of the "Halloween Garage Blues" compilation from 2017 might have been surprised to discover that PINK FAIRIES‘ previously unheard cut “Lone Wolf” didn’t sound like the band’s latest album, "Naked Radio" which was released a bit earlier. It turned out, there are two versions of the legendary underground dwellers at the moment: an ensemble led for a few years now by Mick Farren’s associate Andy Colquhoun and a band recently revitalized by its co-founder Paul Rudolph. The aforementioned song came from the later faction and is featured on their new record.
Scheduled for release on August 24th on CD and pink vinyl, “Resident Reptiles” is a result of the veteran guitarist’s collaboration with former HAWKWIND bassist Alan Davey and the first drummer with MOTÖRHEAD, Lucas Fox, with additional writing input by another erstwhile Fairy, Larry Wallis.
Despite the usual brevity of similar creative unions, the collaboration between reeds master Theo Travis and KING CRIMSON mastermind Robert Fripp proved to be lasting and fruitful. Starting off ten years ago, the pair not only recorded three studio albums to date but also performed a series of concert, some of those preserved for posterity, although only one was issued on physical media. That is about to change on July 6th, when a live box set titled “Between The Silence” will see the light of day. Comprising three sets, two of them previously unreleased, it’s a great representation of music existing in the moment and, at the same time, rooted in the artists’ accumulated repertoire. Among the collection’s highlights are “The Apparent Chaos Of Stone” and “Dark Clouds” as well as new readings of prog classics “Moonchild” and “The Power To Believe” which marry static tunes to improvisation. A thing of fleeting beauty.