There are already so many "best-of" collections of Gerry & the Pacemakers – including previous releases from EMI, Capitol, and Collectables – that this double-CD set from EMI's U.K. division probably won't seem very impressive or important. Actually, very little of the band's history is left out, at least in terms of the various facets of their music – the hits are all present, along with a brace of engaging B-sides and LP and EP tracks that greatly broaden the range of music at hand. The quartet's best-known songs are well-crafted pop/rock in a Merseybeat mode, but they had a harder side as well, and even traded in some R&B and country sounds, and those aspects are represented here in between the hits. Some listeners who like their more rocking sides, such as "Jambalaya," "Maybellene" or "Pretend," may not appreciate the presence of such string-laden pop as "Walk Hand in Hand" or "Girl on a Swing," but this is a valid representation of their sound. And the sound is optimal, to put it mildly, with lots of presence on all of the instruments.
Beginning life as a psychedelic, multi-media group, IT is a band with a colossal sound that shakes the bones and, with a barrage of images, feeds the mind. Based both in London England and Sault Ste. Marie Canada, IT is part of a new movement in Progressive Rock that includes such bands as Porcupine Tree and Nine Inch Nails, among others. IT’s sound fuses the classic melodies of prog rock’s past with a passion and intensity usually only found in punk or metal bands. Politics, religion, war and sexuality all come under the Band’s lens for critical examination. Lyrics are intelligent, challenging and occasionally darkly humorous. The bottom line is that the IT experience will inform your thinking, feelings and memory long after the last notes have ended…
The Epic is saxophonist Kamasi Washington's aptly titled, triple-length, 172-minute debut album for Brainfeeder. He is a veteran of L.A.'s music scene and has played with Gerald Wilson, Harvey Mason, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar (his horn is prominently featured on To Pimp a Butterfly), to name but a few. Most of his bandmates have played together since high school, and it shows. There are two drummers (including Ronald Bruner), two bassists (including Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner on electric), two keyboardists, trumpet, trombone, and vocals (Patrice Quinn). In various settings, they are supported by a string orchestra and full choir conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Washington composed 13 of these 17 tunes; he also meticulously arranged and produced them. At just over six to nearly 15 minutes, the jams leave room for engaged improvisation. The Epic is based on a concept, though it's unnecessary to grasp in order to enjoy. The music reflects many inspirations – John Coltrane, Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Arkestra, Azar Lawrence's Prestige period, Donald Byrd's and Eddie Gale's jazz and choir explorations, Pharoah Sanders' pan global experiments, Afro-Latin jazz, spiritual soul, and DJ culture.
This first complete studio recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, made between 1958 and 1966, was a groundbreaking technical and artistic achievement, the most ambitious and intricately involved opera recording project of the 20th century. Produced for Decca by John Culshaw, whose vision and untiring devotion brought the gargantuan project to completion, the 14 ½-hour release set a new standard for opera recordings. The details Culshaw lavished on the production, which included building new musical instruments, precisely calculating the placement and choreography of each singer to maximize the theatricality of each scene, and creating an array of fabulous special effects resulted in a landmark recording that has lost none of its power with the passage of time.