Capricorn College - Orfeo 2000. 1972 Italy

Capricorn College's debut is very similar to two other obscure Italian bands: I Santoni and Era di Acquario that we've featured here on the UMR already. While nowhere near the classic Italian progressive sound, they all feature similar ingredients including varied instrumentation and complex compositions. Like those other groups, Capricorn College could not let go of their Italian singer songwriter past, and still seemed to be yearning, or pushed, for a hit. But when the producer wasn't looking, in came a jazzy progressive rock sequence that excels at all levels. While the album is entirely inconsistent, the highs go really high here, and makes it all worthwhile.

Personal collection
CD: 1994 Mellow

Originals come in a single sleeve cover that will require a second mortgage if in the market for an original. The only reissue is the Mellow CD, which comes with a single tray card, and is taken from vinyl, indicating the masters are long gone. At least it's legit, so it will have to do. Though good luck in finding one these days.

Highway - s/t. 1975 USA

Highway are from Fairmont, in far south central Minnesota, near the Iowa border. The music is guitar fronted hard rock, with traces of radio friendly vocal lines, and the odd progressive meter. Not too far in sound from Iowa's Truth and Janey actually (same time period and region), though Highway aren't quite as testosterone fueled. It's a prototypical mid 70s Midwest American private press from the rural fruited plain known locally as "fly over country". Great melodies, killer guitar, frantic rhythms, and a hope for a better tomorrow.

Personal collection
CD: 1990 private

Originals come in a single sleeve, with a brilliant period cover of the American US and State highway experience (not Interstate). The CD is an exact replica, with some additional photos. No history, but there are 4 excellent live bonus tracks that are not on the album.

This one came up via the CD-R revisit project that is normally attributed to the CDRWL blog. When I came across the title, I was all set to add it to that blog when I saw there was a CD reissue, but details were scant. I figured it might be some old bootleg. But I kept digging until I found the band has a website. I wrote the e-mail address listed, and received a quick response. Yes, sure enough the band produced a CD some 25 years ago (or at least that's the copyright date - it's unclear when it was actually released). And best of all, it is a real factory pressed CD, not a homemade CD-R! It's not cheap ($20 + $3 for postage), but certainly worth it if you're into this type of music, as originals are quite pricey. You can order one via this link.

Nadavati - Le Vent de l'Esprit Souffle où il Veut. 1978 France

Interesting jazz rock album, that opens incongruously with a Chicago styled horn charts (think album #1 of Chicago VII or the obscure Quebecois band Syncope). There's a definite Mahavishnu Orchestra streak that prevails, especially considering the violin and guitar parts. Some nice flute jazz too. They seem to favor unison runs to overlong solos, and that scores points in my book. Nadavati do not offer anything that hadn't already been done countless times prior during this era, but for what they do, it's quite excellent.

Personal collection
CD: 2015 Soleil Mutant

An obscure, though not terribly expensive, late 70s release. Soleil Mutant is Soleil Zeuhl's label for all albums not related to Zeuhl. Wonderful sound, full liner notes in French/English, and one very relevant and lengthy (19 minutes!) live bonus track.

Grovjobb - Under Solen Lyser Solen. 2001 Sweden

After first hearing Vättarnas Fest, I wrote an enthusiastic review for both their albums at the time, and couldn't wait to hear a 3rd ...