Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Albums of 2006

New Stuff
The following is a list of my favourite albums of the year, in no particular order. Though the stand outs were; The Tangent, Magenta, Manning, The Mars Volta, Rocket Scientists, White Willow, Pure Reason Revolution and Frost*

Some good stuff, though my feeling is that there are a lot of new bands producing prog-inspired music like Pure Reason Revolution, Secret Machines, Amplifier, Mars Volta, Circulus and prog seems to be talked about a lot more, the level of actual “pure” prog albums is getting less and less. Maybe it’s a sign of bands moving more across genres, but if you look at what traditional prog labels like InsideOut, Cyclops and their ilk are releasing, the output seems much less this year. In saying that, it is clear that musicians such as Andy Tillison, Rob Reed, Guy Manning, Vynce Leff, Jacob Holm-Lupo, Erik Norlander are truly taking the essence of what prog is forward into new territories and producing truly inspired work.

The Tangent ~ A Place In The Queue
Pure Reason Revolution ~ The Dark Third
Magenta ~ Home
Secret Machines ~ Ten Silver Drops
Tool ~ 10,000 Days
Proto-Kaw ~ The Wait Of Glory
Jadis ~ Photoplay
Paatos ~ Silence Of Another Kind
The Flower Kings ~ Paradox Hotel
OSI ~ Free
Rocket Scientists ~ Revolution Road
The Mars Volta ~ Amputechture
Manning ~ Anser’s Tree
Iona ~ The Circling Hour
White Willow ~ Signal To Noise
Frost* ~ Milliontown
Steve Hackett ~ Wild Orchids
Sensitive To Light ~ Almost Human
The Gift ~ Awake And Dreaming
Jakko M Jakscyk ~ The Bruised Romantic Glee Club
The Pineapple Thief ~ Little Man
Circulus ~ Clocks Are Like People
Muse ~ Black Holes And Revelations
Amplifier ~ Insider
Bill Nelson ~ Return To Jazz Of Lights
Espers ~ Espers II
Spocks Beard ~ Spocks Beard
Loreena McKennitt ~ An Ancient Muse
GPS ~ Window to the Soul
Philip Glass ~ The Voyage
Erik Norlander ~ Hommage Symphonique
Lana Lane ~ Gemini
ProjeKct 6 ~ East Coast Live

Re-releases/remasters/compilations/live etc.
The following is a list of my favourite re-releases/compilations/live albums from 2006. The pace of labels remastering their catalogue show no sign of diminishing. This year we had major re-releases of the Moody Blues, Talking Heads, Patrick Moraz and Peter Hammill back catalogues. For me the highlights were Moraz’sStory of i”, Eno/Byrnes “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts and Fripp’s “Exposure”. All showed an exemplary care in producing something special, rather than just a simple remastering/re-packaging job. Other standouts were Bill Nelson’s “Getting the Holy Ghost Across”, available on CD for the first time ever and the second volume in Hatfield and The North’s archive compilation series, “Hattitude”.

Next year already is looking exciting. Starting with Steve Hillage’s back catalogue being re-released in January/February. It also looks likely that Eclectic Discs will be remastering the two Hatfield and the North studio albums for spring release. Two personal favourites are Joni Mitchell’s “Hissing Of Summer Lawns” and “Hejira”, which I believe are to be 2CD deluxe editions due in January. Of course next year sees the Genesis catalogue getting a re-vamping. Though the early, classic albums won’t be released until end of next year, beginning of 2008!! I also believe ELP’s albums are being re-released again. Not sure the logic in that as they seem to have been remastered/re-released about 3 times now! So it will be interesting to see what this batch has to offer.

Patrick Moraz ~ Story of i
Refugee ~ Refugee
Eno/Byrne ~ My Life In The Bush of Ghosts
Robert Fripp ~ Exposure
Ultravox ~ Systems of Romance
Peter Hammill ~ The Future Now
Henry Cow ~ Concerts
No-Man ~ All The Blue Changes
Dream Theater~ Score
Stream Of Passion ~ Live in the Real World
ELO ~ Face The Music
The Moody Blues ~ On The Threshold Of A Dream
Talking Heads ~ Remain In Light
Boston ~ Boston
Hatfield And The North ~ Hatitude
Bill Nelson ~ Getting The Holy Ghost Across (On A Blue Wing)
Can ~ Flow Motion
Porcupine Tree ~ Stupid Dream
Skeleton Crew ~ Country Of Blinds/Learn To Talk
Family ~ Bandstand
Gentle Giant ~ Acquiring The Taste


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