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    07 August 2008

    Return To Forever : A Night To Remember (The Event of a Lifetime)

    When: August 5. 2008
    Where: Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia. PA

    4 Musicians
    4,000 Fans (approximately)
    1 Magic Night

    In thinking of how to write a review of what was indeed the most monumental night of music I've ever witnessed, I could hardly think of adequate words to describe what took place this historic night. Historic for me personally, as it was to date, the best show I've ever seen, and historic in the sense that four legends of the fusion world were reunited on stage, to play to the fans who were with them along the way, as well as new fans gained over the years during their absence from the music scene AS Return to Forever. I decided to simply speak from my heart, and from the perspective of not only a fan, but an appreciator of good quality music.

    The evening began right on schedule at 8pm with the introduction of the opening act, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones....seriously talented fellows in their own right, fronted by Fleck (with his amazing banjo prowess), along with the wonderful Victor Wooten on bass, Futureman on the inventive and revolutionary Drumitar (a guitar-shaped instrument able to replicate the sounds of an entire drum kit) as well as the "Roy-El" (a keyboard-type instrument that is capable of creating polyphonic sounds and modeled after the periodic table of the elements), and the renowned Jeff Coffin on saxophone. These guys put on an amazing show in their allotted hour to set the stage for the event people were REALLY there for...the "reunion" tour of Return to Forever.

    After a half-hour intermission between acts, the anticipation in the venue was palpable. At 9:30pm when the lights dimmed and Return to Forever took the stage, rousing applause and screams of appreciation, along with a collective standing ovation heralded a night of music and magic that was to unfold for all who attended.

    The opening song, "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy" brought the four musicians, Chick Corea on piano and keyboards, Al DiMeola on guitars, Stanley Clarke on basses, and Lenny White on drums together in what can only be described as pure chemistry. The band were, from the outset, in top form, and their collective musical virtuosity evident.

    Next on the setlist were "Vulcan Worlds", then a rousing performance of "Song To The Pharaoh Kings", after which was "Sorceress". Then the performers dropped their electrified instruments for acoustic ones and delivered an outstanding rendering of "Romantic Warrior", which was the last song...but not least...the audience response to the show was a standing ovation and signaled an encore, which the band happily provided, in the form of "Dual of the Jester and the Tyrant (Parts 1 & 2)".

    It may seem like a very short concert from the very short setlist, but I assure you it was not. The band played a full two hours, building in a lot of opportunities to improvise and show off their full range of talents. I lost count of how many chills-inducing moments there were, as well as how many time I myself screamed and applauded the sheer mastery and virtuosity of these legendary musicians. Each song lasted in excess of twenty or more minutes, and demonstrated just why these fellows are considered the top of their game in the fusion genre.

    I may also note that a quite interesting cross-section of races, genders, and ages were present at this show. Music is indeed the universal language and common denominator that connects people, and you could just feel a sense of brotherhood among those who have come to know and love Return to Forever over the years. Also interesting were the parents who brought teenage children to this show...probably to acquaint them with "true" talent as opposed to the pop-culture icons of the day.

    One moment I particularly enjoyed was between two of the songs when Lenny White spoke to the audience, and made reference to the supposed "boy bands" who "don't play any instruments" and then in a humourously self-aggrandizing fashion referred to RTF as a "man-band". This was met with laughter, cheers, and applause.

    All in all, this show was a momentous night of monumental talent and magic...the kind only a band like Return to Forever can weave, with its intricate rhythms, technical prowess, and ability to play music that draws the audience into the world they have created. And when the show is over and you leave that world, you don't really "leave" it...it stays with you, the tunes rolling around in your head for hours and days, enriching you and reminding you of the memories that were made that night you saw them.

    I have a feeling this is one of those nights I shall remember the rest of my life...I was glad to have shared this with my soulmate and partner in life, BlackwatchPlaid (Pat to most of you here). I am also glad to have the opportunity to write about it here, so those interested may know a bit of what the night was like, to be there in that moment.

    Return to Forever have made their way into the top ranks among my favorite bands of all time, and deservedly so. They set the bar high for not only themselves, but for those who were to follow in their footsteps. They are heroes and idols and yet display a degree of professionalism and humility that you rarely see in the music industry. No one member attempts to overshadow or out-do their bandmates...they willingly step aside at regular intervals to allow each other their proper moment in the spotlight. It's a true testimony of the gentlemen they really are, and a treat for fans, because you get to see all of them do what they do best, and what others in the genre aspire to be.

    Truly, the best show I've attended, bar-none, hands down, full-stop!

    -- Review by FlowerJewel

    Set List:

    1.) Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
    2.) Vulcan Worlds
    3.) Song To The Pharaoh Kings
    4.) Sorceress
    5.) Romantic Warrior
    6.) Encore: Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant (Parts 1 & 2)


    30 October 2007

    Visions of the Crown (of Mighty Deer)

    The air was fresh with orange scent
    And all the stars were bright and clear.
    I wandered through the spellbound forest
    And saw a Crown of Mighty Deer.
    I heard the song of a nightingale,
    The one no birdie can compare with;
    After a while I closed my eyes
    And thought: “…wish you were here…”
    I rushed and ran around a bend:
    I crossed the brook, climbed up the stairs,
    Then knocked on heavy wooden door
    With hope to find you sleeping there…

    You suddenly turned on the lights.
    “Were you asleep?”, “Oh, no! My dear…”
    You told me that you’d thought of us,
    I smiled in joy, ‘cause you still cared.
    We left outside and hit the road,
    And all the colours’d changed, I swear.
    The leaves became big, flashy, red,
    Our clothes and sacks had gone somewhere.
    And what was left – just you and I,
    and magic for our lips to share.
    The Sky have opened and it seemed,
    That He froze-up to the atmosphere.
    No motion, not a single breath
    and no emotion. We just stared
    with eyes wide-opened in splendour
    To see the Crown of Mighty Deer…

    Our hands unchained, we separated:
    We found ourselves not standing near,
    The silhouettes became so bold.
    The brightness we could hardly bear…
    You finally understood that all
    We saw and felt would disappear;
    I told you this (mouth close to ear).
    And while we were getting near
    We saw the branchy naked bush
    Instead of Crown of Mighty Deer.

    Poem written by and printed with permission from:

    ---- Rimas from Lithuania


    24 July 2007

    Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future - Live at Klaipeda International Jazz Festival [2006] @ 192

    Yuval Ron & Residents of the Future give the fusion world something to be proud of.  To have young men of their age carrying the torch of the genre so highly, and with so much flavor and flair, one cannot help but be impressed.  They pay homage to the fusion greats, as can be clearly heard in their music, but they also add their own totally unique attitude and touches to the tunes they perform.  Clearly, the torch has been passed to the next generation.  And fusion fans such as myself could not be more pleased.

    Yuval is a personal friend of mine, and he encouraged me to share his music on my blog. He feels that this (blogging) is the way of the future. I have full permission from the artists to post this album here. I can provide this in writing if necessary...

    First, some background info from the Official Yuval Ron & Residents of the Future site:

    Yuval Ron and Residents Of The Future perform original tunes written and arranged mostly by guitarist and band former Yuval Ron. The music reveals influences of modern jazz greatests, and a mixture of many other contemporary artists of the progressive rock, fusion and metal veins. The music holds a constant emphasis on harmonic richness, rhythmical sophistication, dialogues between players and extensive use of synthesizers and other electric instruments.

    The material played blends between fascinating compositions and spectacular solo improvisations and leads to a musically electrifying experience.

    The band has performed on a variety of venues worldwide, and gained extremely supportive feedbacks and recognition from audiences, the media and fellow musicians. It has also released a first EP on May 2004 named "Futuristic Worlds Under Construction", and the latest release "Live at Klaipeda International Jazz Festival", a FreeVD (Free Video For Distribution) which can be entirely viewed at the Music page. At 2006 and 2007 Yuval Ron and Residents Of The Future will also perform at some of the most renowned Jazz venues in the world. Stay tuned on the website's Events page for more information.

    Individual Biographies:

    Yuval Ron / Electric Guitar

    Born in Haifa, 1980, Yuval started to play the guitar at age 11. Soon he became active as a player, songwriter, leader and sideman in local bands which played a variety of styles in Metal music and Hardcore.

    After being exposed to bands such as Cynic, Mr. Bungle and Meshuggah alongside Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Dave Liebman, John Zorn, John Coltrane, ECM artists and many other contemporary Jazz and progressive music greats, he decided to take jazz and improvisation lessons and since have studied with some of the top music teachers in Israel.

    Yuval is also working in the field of software engineering with focus on AI (artificial intelligence), and hopes to combine it with his music someday.

    Ofir Shwartz / Keyboards and Synthesizers

    Ofir was born in Haifa, Israel in 1979. In the early 2000's started to play the piano professionally along with some of the finest Jazz musicians in Israel.

    Leader of the "Ofir Shwartz Trio", Established and led "Four Winds Quartet", the "Art of Duo" (Piano-Drums group), performed at honored Jazz clubs in Israel; Nowadays continue composing and creating some fascinating new music.

    Ofir takes much inspiration from great musicians such as Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Allan Holdsworth, Bobo Stenson, Dave Holland, Rainer Bruningaus, David Liebman, and many more - holding great importance to creativity and modernization in his music, exploring the endless bounds of harmony and melody..

    Ofir in also involved in electrical engineering, studying at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and working in Zoran company.

    Yaniv Shamelashvili / Bass

    Yaniv was born at October 1981, in Beer Sheva, Israel.
    Started playing the piano at the age of 7, and writing songs at the age of 11, he found out that music is his true love.

    In high school he was exposed to the music of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and some other 70' rock bands, which were his main influences at that period. At the age of 15 he decided to take guitar lessons, but pretty quickly moved to his main instrument- the bass guitar. On 1997 he formed a band with a fellow drummer nowadays called "October". The band combined influences from 70' hard rock bands, psychedelics, and classical music. After a long research, Yaniv found out that this style is called "Progressive Rock". Over the years, Yaniv got more interested in this fresh new music, and added jazz and avant-garde influences to the dish.

    A couple of years later, Yaniv has joined "Yuval Ron and Residents of the Future" and is currently working both with the band and on other various musical projects. Yaniv is also studying jazz performance at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

    Yatziv Caspi / Drums

    Yatziv is a professional active performer and takes part in various local and international ensembles as a drummer, percussionist and tabla player, among them are: Orphaned Land, the well-known oriental-metal band, Ahvak, progressive rock/avantgarde band, the ethnic music ensemble "Ujat" and many others. Yatziv is mainly influenced by ethnic music, jazz, fusion and progressive rock.

    All above info taken directly from:


    And now for my review:

    Note: I met Yuval Ron via the music filesharing (p2p) community known as SoulSeek. He invited me to go to his site and listen to his band's music, and I must admit, my jaw dropped. I hadn't heard such a fresh take on fusion in quite a long time, and it was refreshing as hell to find such an unassuming group of fellows doing the forefathers of the genre so proudly, but breathing new life into it so proficiently. Upon first listen, I was hooked, and I hope you, my readers, will be as well...

    Yuval Ron & Residents of the Future give the fusion world something to be proud of. To have young men of their age carrying the torch of the genre so highly, and with so much flavor and flair, one cannot help but be impressed. They pay homage to the fusion greats, as can be clearly heard in their music, but they also add their own totally unique attitude and touches to the tunes they perform. Clearly, the torch has been passed to the next generation. And fusion fans such as myself could not be more pleased.

    Yuval Ron's talent on guitar is both jaw-dropping, and refreshing at the same time. You can't help but have respect not only for his abilities, but his willingness, as the named frontman of his band, to allow his bandmates to have moments to shine during this performance. And shine, they do.

    Ofir Shwartz's background in jazz and fusion can be clearly heard, in the stellar keyboard virtuosity displayed here. He gives a rather new flavor, to a genre that's been around awhile, through the brilliant addition of some more electronic elements. He shows that you can teach an old genre some new tricks, and does it ever have a payoff.

    Bassist Yaniv Shamelashvili brings a 'progressive' edge to The Residents' sound. Being influenced by the progressive rock genre, he brings that, as well as an avant-garde flavor to the table, and it gives the sound just the right blend of textures and tones.

    And on drums, there is Yatziv Caspi. What can one say, after hearing the drum solo in "Sionara Milkyway!" but, "Wow!" His rhythms power the group ahead, and leave you breathless and speechless when he is given center-stage honors to show off his mad percussive skills.

    Some highlight moments in this set are, "Objects in Mirror are Larger Than They Appear" which is pure fusion bliss, and the breathtaking, "Sionara Milkyway!" which features some great ensemble and solo playing by each of the members. If you are a fan of jazz, fusion, or progressive rock, this set is for you. An awesome live performance by a band who should, quite honestly, have more exposure. You know you've been to a good show, when this set comes to a close.

    ----Review by FlowerJewel

    1. Greetings, Earthling / Yuval Ron (8:10)
    2. Objects In The Mirror Are Larger Than They Appear / Yuval Ron (8:09)
    3. Cannes Venatici's Central Ice-Skating Rink / Yuval Ron (6:24)
    4. Sionara, Milkyway! / Ofir Shwartz (8:33)
    5. Guitar Solo / Yuval Ron (3:51)
    6. Residence Of The Future / Yuval Ron (6:43)
    7. Long Distance Call / Yuval Ron (6:36)

    Total Time: 48:26

    - Yuval Ron / Electric Guitar
    - Ofir Shwartz / Keyboards and Synthesizers
    - Yaniv Shamelashvili / Bass
    - Yatziv Caspi / Drums

    ****Disclaimer: The above audio tracks are not to be taken as 'professional' recording, and while the quality is excellent, there may be a few audiophiles who will pick up on some sound-related issues. Do not let this deter you from downloading, and for those of you who wish to hear/see in better quality read on...

    The video to all the above tracks may be downloaded, free-of-charge (open source artists here) at the official Yuval Ron & Residents of the future site:



    You can watch all the videos on YouTube by clicking HERE

    Many thanks to Yuval Ron for his kind permission to post this here.

    And as I always say...

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!

    Link is in comments...

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    01 April 2007

    Tangerine Dream - "Pergamon: Live At The 'Palast Der Republik' aka Quichotte" [1980]

    This album by Tangerine Dream was originally released as 'Quichotte' in 1980, then rerelaased later in 1986 as 'Pergamon'.  It was recorded live at the Palast Der Republik, and is the album which introduces Johannes Schmoelling as a member of this famed electronic trio from Germany.

    This album by Tangerine Dream was originally released as "Quichotte" in 1980, then rerelaased later in 1986 as "Pergamon". It was recorded live at the Palast Der Republik, and is the album which introduces Johannes Schmoelling as a member of this famed electronic trio from Germany. It was originally released as 2 tracks (one per side) on LP, and on later CD relases it is one single long track. The version I present here is the 2-track version, originally in lossless format, then converted over to its 320 bitrate you will find here.

    All I can say is "WOW!!!!" Just when I thought I'd heard some of TD's best material from what I consider their glory days era (1975-1986) I came upon THIS beauty. Someone approached me asking about a Tangerine Dream album which featured an orange with an audio cable stuck in it, and was wondering if I could supply them with a title. I never did locate it, but my 'other half' did. I had not heard the music contained on this before, but judging from the reviews I read AND the time frame of its release, this was one I simply had to get and listen to. Boy, was I thrilled to get ahold of it. I rank this among my Top 5 favorites from TD, a high honor indeed.

    A live soundboard recording, (the audio quality here is STELLAR) this album is a shocase for the storied talents of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, and (the debut of) Johannes Schmoelling. Froese is particularly prevalent in the guitar laden second half of this masterpiece. These guys aim to please with their trademark analogue synths and sequencers in top form.

    Part One opens with a gorgeous piano rendering of some extrapolations from the album "Tangram". Lush and atmospheric, the piano leads into some lovely pad sounds that set the stage for what is to come. Laers of synth sound elements, with that 'trademark' Berlin-school sound invite the listener on a journey into an intricately woven environment of both sound and emotion. Contrary to what one may think, synth-based music is NOT as cold and sterile as you may be led to believe.

    A little past the 11-minute mark of Part One things get intense. In come the throbbing sequencers that grab ahold of your senses and relentlessly keep a frenzied pace and won't let go. More layered and repetitive synth sounds power the piece forward to a crescendo of bliss that manage to delight more than just the sense of sound.

    It is easy to see where later bands such as Wavestar and VoLt go their sounds while hearing this music. It is textbook Berlin-school, by the guys who WROTE the book. Absolutely quintessential!!!!

    On to Part Two...I cannot repeat what my reaction was to this epic piece, except to say that it began with the word "Holy" and ended with an expletive not printable here. It begins with dark and ominous atmospheres, almost otherworldly, and draws you in. Vaguely reminiscent of some of Vangelis' darker passages, and laded with effect, don't let yourself be too lulled by how minimally this starts off. Sinister and mangled voices and testures lead quickly enough to sequenced tones that pick up the pace and give way tosome of the most explosive attributes this album has to offer. You'll see what I mean around 7:50 into the track. Edgar Froese's trademark raw guitar stylings take center stage and rise to a feverish pace and pitch that quite literally make you go stock-still in awe and amazement, while your heart threatens to palpitate out of your chest from the sheer exhilaration and intensity of it all.

    It doesn't stop, it's relentless, almost orgasmic. It's sheer electricity that only TD can generate. "Holy ****!!!!" indeed!

    Makes you think "Who says TD is New Age or Ambient Music?" This is guitar that would be at home on any rock stage, and shows the mastery of the instrument that Froese truly has.

    And as the piece slows a bit, going back to some more synth-based magic, it still has you spellbound. Kind-of an "afterglow" sensation hits you with those rich and celestial tones that give you time to catch your breath and bring the album to its close.

    And a good time was had by ALL!!!!

    ----Review by FlowerJewel

    5 stars out of 5

    1. Quichotte - Part One (23:33)
    2. Quichotte - Part Two (22:38)

    Total Time: 46:11

    - Edgar Froese / synthesizers and guitar
    - Christopher Franke / synthesizers
    - Johannes Schmoelling / synthesizers

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    07 March 2007

    Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - "The Days of Mars" [2005]

    Be prepared to be taken on a fantastic aural voyage of richness and depth.  Both otherworldly and innerworldly, Gonzalez and Russom create soundscapes of alien lands, as well as a pretty great soundtrack for a dark inner journey.  Highly recommended, to fans of Tangerine Dream, VoLt, and many 'Berlin School' acts.  A lesser-known gem in the electronic world!

    I first heard tracks from this album on the Charlottesville, Virginia-based radio show, Download, hosted by Jason Haag, better known as DJ AudioRapture, heard weekly on radio station WNRN 91.1 FM, from 12-2 AM and has a free online stream that can be heard HERE: CLICK ME!!

    The show features the best in electronic music, be it techno, trance, electronica, etc. Hearing this show was a breath of fresh air in a sea of utter mediocrity on the radio airwaves. Haag's show introduced me to MANY new artists I never would have otherwise found, and also played some better known favorites of mine that are never played anywhere else. From Boards of Canada to Paul van Dyk, from Moby to Monolake, from Ulrich Schnauss to Infected Mushroom (the last 2 I thankfully were introduced to through here) this show covers all the bases, and even in the first track of each program, pays tribute to an electronic great from the past (i.e. Kraftwerk or Jean-Michel Jarre).

    Gonzalez and Russom hit the spot when I first heard them. Rich analogue synth textures and a wash of sequencer-driven backdrops gave me goosebumps and cast my mind backward to evoke comparisons to Tangerine Dream. This duo is too unknown and underapprDelia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom (Click To Enlarge)eciated in my opinion, and that is why I offer them for your listening enjoyment here. Dark and sinister, yet invigorating and refreshing, the music this duo produces is both unique and classic, bringing forth a nostalgia for the technology of days gone by, yet fits remarkably well against other more modern electronic forms.

    Here is a very good review I was able to locate:

    It's hard to tell exactly where NYC duo Delia Gonzales & Gavin Russom fit into electronic music's grand scheme; their work references '70s electro-boffins Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno, but also deftly encapsulates the current state of urban electronic composition.

    Major players in both the NYC art-electronics circuit and the DFA's gradual diversification process, Gonzales and Russom had already carved out a name for themselves in film, sculpture and performance art circles before they unleashed the blissed-out and brilliant "Casual Friday" under the moniker Black Leotard Front. The mighty synth-burner "El Monte" followed, and before long the buzz was fully substantiated by loads of press and inclusion on the label's now legendary #2 compilation. This brings us to Days of Mars, a bubbling hot collection of modern electronic craft created on arcane technology by a pair of soulmates who still believe in the ideals of art over logic. It's a leftfield masterpiece, equal parts krautrock precision and late-night trance-rave chilldown; given the opportunity, it could be this generation's answer to Music for Airports.

    Though the album is rife with pulmonary warmth and glowing effervescence, it's hard not to picture two people running around behind giant banks of analog electronics, trying to patch the whole thing together before it disintegrates in a heap of feedback and fuzz. Gonzales and Russom's compositions are fraught with feelings of beauty and dread; their grooves stretch out over abandoned highways and industrial wastelands, but ultimately wind up smack dab in the middle of Greenwich Village. Thankfully, the duo left their artier sensibilities back at the studio, allowing "Black Spring"'s billowing electron-glam to float over the dance floor like a raincloud of joy, sprinkling the writhing denizens with glitter and PCP. "Rise" does exactly that, gradually spiraling toward the heavens as its ten-plus minute lifespan ticks away, Gonzales and Russom heaping layer after layer of oscillating electro drones atop its already shimmering bedrock. It's intensely joyful but speechless, personal but emotionless, and absolutely sublime despite its dogged reference points. If this truly is the year in which the unfashionable becomes fashionable, the movement has found its power couple -- and its living soundtrack.

    The biggest obstacle Days of Mars faces is the challenge of fitting it into the electronic zeitgeist. It could be a glorious live spectacle, or it could all go to shit amid the clatter and wheeze of malfunctioning oscillators and Super-8 movies projected onto the duo's backs. However, regardless of what place it eventually claims in history's grand scheme, one thing is certain: Days of Mars is a defining moment in electronic music. Here, at long last, the form's splotchy tradition and vibrant future meet in a laser-guided moment of liquid crystal intoxication. -- Jason Jackowiak

    I encourage you to give this album a listen. Be prepared to be taken on a fantastic aural voyage of richness and depth. Both otherworldly and innerworldly, Gonzalez and Russom create soundscapes of alien lands, as well as a pretty great soundtrack for a dark inner journey. Highly recommended, to fans of Tangerine Dream, VoLt, and many "Berlin School" acts. A lesser-known gem in the electronic world!

    ----Opening and closing notes by FlowerJewel

    Source cited:

    Splendid E-Zine

    4 stars out of 5

    1. Rise (11:15)
    2. 13 Moons (13:32)
    3. Relevee (12:56)
    4. Black Spring (12:58)

    Total Time: 50:41

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    03 March 2007

    Requiem: For Myself

    Alone on a darkened night
    I sit with pen in hand
    Mind wandering, meandering
    Trying to understand

    Alone on a stormy night
    I sit with head in hands
    Crying, sighing, inside: dying
    Mourning over my best-laid plans

    Lightning flashing, thunder rolls
    Eerie shadows on the wall
    A sense of foreboding deep in my soul
    Listening to the sky fall

    Body shaking, tears begin to fall
    Down life-weathered cheeks they roll
    Pouring salt into the wound; the void; a hole
    ....I miss myself most of all

    Author's Note:

    This poem comes from a very dark place I was in months ago. Thankfully I have found my way back and am getting back to who I really am. A good follow up to this one would be my work called "Full Circle" which also appears on this blog. It is pretty much the flip-side to this; describing my voyage back to self-realization.


    28 February 2007

    What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? [2004] (Official Soundtrack)

    (Opening Notes by FlowerJewel)

    A truly thought-provoking work with incredible thematic and cinematic elements, and a life-changing experience, literally. No doubt it will at least make you think about your place in the Universe, and you may find yourself with more questions than answers by the end, but you will NOT be disappointed by it in the slightest. I had the pleasure to see this film at the recommendation of my boyfriend. He said this one would be RIGHT up my alley, and he could not have been more spot-on. We watched it, and I was moved beyond words, because I saw so much of myself in this movie, as well as by the fact that even its score was by musicians I hold in highest regard.

    What The Bleep Do We Know, blends so many of my great loves all into one masterpiece; storyline, science and philosophy, stunning visuals, and a stellar soundtrack that fits so perfectly with the themes presented therein. I must say that this ranks up there with the "greats" in my book. A truly thought-provoking work with incredible thematic and cinematic elements, and a life-changing experience, literally. I highly recommend you open-mindedly watch this (get to your local Blockbuster or wherever you rent videos), and download the accompanying soundtrack HERE. No doubt it will at least make you think about your place in the Universe, and you may find yourself with more questions than answers by the end, but you will NOT be disappointed by it in the slightest.

    Film History:

    Originally released in February 2004 in one theater in Yelm, Washington, What the BLEEP Do We Know!? went on to become the fifth highest grossing documentary in the United States, with ticket sales of $12 Million.

    Shunned by all movie distributors, the producers set about distributing and marketing the movie themselves in a “proof of concept” strategy to show theater owners there was indeed a market for spiritually oriented films that catered to audiences’ intelligence, not their lowest common denominator.

    Although rejected by every major film festival (Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Cannes, etc...), What the BLEEP did get entered in five smaller festivals, and won in every one. This, along with the grass roots, word-of-mouth campaign, kept the film in theaters for weeks and months on end. After five months of surprising box office numbers, the film attracted the attention of Samuel Goldwyn Films, and the producers entered into a distribution deal. The word-of-mouth buzz continued and the film showed real staying power (it played in one theater in Phoenix for 40+ consecutive weeks).

    Following its theatrical run, FOX picked up the DVD rights and released WTBDWK!? March 15, 2005. The DVD immediately shot to the top of Amazon’s best selling list, and was named Amazon’s #1 DVD surprise of the year. To date it has sold over a million copies.

    International distribution soon followed. Currently the film is now theatrically distributed in over 35 countries worldwide.

    A host of further developments followed. A series of conferences was held featuring the speakers from the film, along with other notable leaders in the consciousness arena. BLEEP study groups spontaneously arose around the country, then the world, with people who did not want to let the ideas put forth in the film die, and who wanted to investigate and discuss them with like minded explorers. Bleep Study Groups continue to be formed around the world.

    Two books followed, a soundtrack CD and finally the ultimate What the BLEEP DVD – Down the Rabbit Hole, with two extended versions of the film, along with hours of additional interviews.

    Called by the media “the little film that could,” and “the critic proof movie,” What the BLEEP Do We Know!? is considered the first break-out film in the genre of Spiritual Cinema, and continues to find a new audience to this day.


    Amanda (Marlee Matlin), a divorced photographer, finds herself in a fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland experience when her daily, uninspired life literally begins to unravel, reMarlee Matlin (Click To Enlarge)vealing the cellular, molecular and even quantum worlds which lie beneath. Guided by a Greek Chorus of leading scientists and mystics, she finds that if reality itself is not questionable, her notion of it certainly is. Stunning special effects plunge you into a world where quantum uncertainty is demonstrated - where Amanda's neurological processes, and perceptual shifts are engaged and lived - where everything is alive, and reality is changed by every thought. This film gives voice to the modern day radical souls of science, making them the true heroes of our day as they conquer and map the greatest uncharted territory yet - man's consciousness itself.

    Filmed on location in Portland, Oregon, What the Bleep Do We Know (according to the makers "Bleep" is a bowdlerization of "fuck" — William Arntz has referred to the film as "WTFDWK" in a message to Bleeps' "Street Team") blends a fictional story line, documentary-style discussion, and computer animation to present a view of the physical universe and human life within it, with purported connections to neuroscience and quantum physics. Some ideas discussed in the film are:

    --The universe is best seen as constructed from thought (or ideas) rather than from substance (idealism)...

    --What has long been considered "empty space" is anything but empty (vacuum energy)...

    --Our beliefs about who we are and what is real are not simply observations, but rather form ourselves and our realities (solipsism)...

    --Peptides manufactured in the brain can cause a bodily reaction to an emotion, resulting in a new perspective to old adages such as "think positively" and "be careful what you wish for."

    In the fictional part, Amanda, a deaf photographer (played by Marlee Matlin) acts as the viewer's avatar as she experiences her life from startlingly new and different perspectives.

    In the documentary part of the film, a number of purported scientific experts in quantum physics, biology, medicine, psychiatry, and theology discuss the roots and meaning of Amanda's experiences. However, viewers are not told the credentials of the experts until the credits at the end of the film. The comments of the scientific experts converge on a single theme: "We all create our own reality." Although not widely held by the scientific community, this point of view correlates with the subjective experience. Authors arguing related viewpoints include Jane Roberts (the Seth books), Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions), the writings of Abraham-Hicks, and of Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Dr. David R. Hawkins.

    The Soundtrack/Score:

    This two-CD new release features a collection of individual tracks from the film’s composer, Christopher Franke, as well as the film’s ambient artists Jonn Serrie, Patrick O’Hearn, and Michael Whalen. Also featured is music from LA indie, Aeon Spoke, and the John Digweed-fronted UK act, Bedrock.

    From Disk One’s up-beat mix, to Disk Two’s relaxing 20-minute meditative sequence by Christopher Franke and ambient artist Jonn Serrie, plus inspirational spoken word vignettes from the movie put to Franke’s music, the soundtrack from What the BLEEP!? never fails to surprise and please. Filmmakers Will Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente all contributed musical ideas for this album in co-creation with the film’s Musical Director and Executive Album Producer, Tim Bomba.

    (For a complete cast and credits listing, please visit IMDB)

    Sources Cited:

    What The Bleep Do We Know Official Site, IMDB, Wikipedia,

    5 stars out of 5
    (for both the film AND the score!)

    Major Credits (For Film):

    - Marlee Matlin (Amanda)
    - Barry Newman (Frank)
    - Elaine Hendrix (Jennifer)
    - Armin Shimerman (Old Man)
    - Robert Bailey, Jr. (Reggie)

    Directed by
    - William Arntz
    - Betsy Chasse
    - Mark Vicente

    Writing credits:
    (in alphabetical order)
    - William Arntz
    - Betsy Chasse
    - Matthew Hoffman
    - Mark Vicente


    Disc One:
    1. Fluid Motions - Christopher Franke (3:20)
    2. Emmanuel - Aeon Spoke (3:32)
    3. Beautiful Strange - Bedrock (6:15)
    4. Beyond Mystery - Christopher Franke (2:27)
    5. Obsession - Animotion (4:35)
    6. Forgiveness - Patrick O'Hearn (3:07)
    7. Tingri Maiden - Jonn Serrie (9:11)
    8. A Sea of Ecstasy - Michael Whalen (6:26)
    9. What the BLEEP - Elaine Hendrix (3:16)
    10. Circle the Sun - Christopher Franke (3:13)

    Disc 1 Total Time: 45:22

    Disc Two:
    Meditation Tracks:
    1. Hidden World Beyond - Jonn Serrie (3:09)
    2. The White Crystal - Christopher Franke (2:08)
    3. Eternal Source - Christopher Franke (2:19)
    4. Amber Waves - Christopher Franke (3:27)
    5. Tingri Maiden - Jonn Serrie (9:14)

    Spoken Word Tracks (Christopher Franke):
    6.Your Thoughts Create Your Destiny (6:30)
    7. Possibilities (6:10)
    8. Choices (6:19)
    9. God (5:21)
    10. Be in the Mystery (5:22)

    Disc 2 Total Time: 49:59

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    25 February 2007

    REFLECTIONS: A New Chapter (or: A New Beginning)

    In this life, sometimes we are called upon to make a decision whether to allow our past to dictate our future, or move ahead to a new chapter. It comes doen to this: be a victim of circumstance, or a victor (survivor) of such. To do the former is to sell your soul and very life-force; to do the latter is preferable, for it allows you to become the person you were truly intended to be. To begin a new LIFE instead of settling for the mediocre EXISTENCE you once permitted to define who you are.

    Have you ever seen a person who walked as if there was literally a ghost behind them? Like they were paranoid at all times, and living in fear and doubt, as if the other shoe were always about to drop? I must admit that for far too long that was an apt description of myself. Sleepless, restless, listless, and lifeless; in a constant stare of mental turmoil that not only wrecked today, but threatened to unravel the threads of my tomorrow. And, lest I forget, caused me to cast an eye ever backward. Lamenting. Mourning. Obsessing over things past and complaining and bewailing what I did not have, rather than taking charge and looking ahead to the glorious future that clearly laid before my feet

    I wrote a poem once called "No Looking Back", one of my shortest, poems I've ever written. It went as follows:

    No Looking Back

    I ripped my rear-view off
    So I couldn't see where
    I'd been
    I was racing
    Into the open arms
    Of the FUTURE.

    So short, yet its words expressed the optimism for the future, the turning from things past, and the refusal to be held back from ANYTHING my heart desired, and for WHEREVER my dreams would allow me to go. I wrote this one years ago, and I find myself come full-circle.

    How apropos for where I now find myself in life. Free, no longer bounded by the constricting and constraining environment in which I used to be. Hopeful, for a future that I truly feel is mine to take hold of. Open, to wherever the universe wishes to take me. Aware, of who I truly am at long last. Awake, to the promisr of the renewal of my spirit. Refreshed, as I breathe in the new air of a new place to live out my dreams I have held close to my heart for so long.

    I could ask myself, "Can it get any better than this?" but for once I KNOW this is only the tip of the iceberg. At one time in my life I was shuddering over the thought that THAT was the best it COULD get. That all my better years were behind me. Boy, was I mistaken!!!! Little did I know where the course of ONE SHORT YEAR would take me.

    Nothing could have prepared me for everything that has happened, especially the last few weeks and months. I won't question it; the Universe has given me a gift and as the old saying goes, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth. And to reference another appropriate old expression that comes to mind, "Whenever God (the Universe) closes a door, he opens a window" That very window of opportunity presented itself and I jumped through, and took what was on the other side and ran with it.

    Now I find myself at precisely the crossroads I have always wanted to be. I've taken the path of greatest resistance, I know. But often, you must do just that to retain your soul and very life-force and reclaim it from the grip of the tethers and ties that threaten to choke you utterly to death.

    And so, I know I've spoken in very veiled terms and ambiguous references. That was my full intent here. I truly believe that all who know me will know EXACTLY where I am coming from, and those who don't can and will readily identify with the universal nature of the themes presented. I know that either at coming-of-age crossroads or at other milestone moments to which life often brings us, there is a general sense of a "turning of the page" or even an outright turning away from those things which are behind and a new vision focused forward.

    Therefore my thoughts as I write this are both optimistic and realistic. The benefit of maturity and wisdom gleaned from whence I came should be should indeed guide my steps. My starry-eyed vision of the way ahead needs to be tempered against the rear-view vision of the road behind me. But no longer should I allow those images and memories of my past to loom larger than they appear...


    Where Are You?

    Through exit signs
    And yellow lines
    My mind inclines
    To think of someone

    Passing zones
    And siren drones
    Silent phones
    That never ring
    Where are you?

    In my car
    It’s so bizarre
    I’ve been so far
    In search of someone

    Signal lights
    And lonely nights
    Wheel gripped tight
    And knuckles white
    Where are you?

    Neon blinking
    Hopes are sinking
    While I’m thinking
    Where is that someone?


    24 February 2007


    Just when you think you have life all figured out, some ridiculous freak of reason throws you a curveball. Romance, religion, right-and-wrong; all these are areas that are putting me in one devil of a quandary. Being pulled in one million directions simultaneously is not an environment conducive to much success in the decision making process.

    The affairs of the heart, mind, body, and soul are all quite tricky in and of themselves. Add in a cacophony of constantly screaming inner voices and the din is so intense that one can hardly think clearly. It’s as if there are a gazillion radios in my head and they are all tuned to a different station. To pin one clear channel of reason down is like chasing quicksilver.

    The chorus of conflicting emotions makes me scream out for a few moments of silent meditation just to become a little more balanced. To bring some type of harmony out of the sour notes that plague the many voices of reason that beg to be heard, but only on their terms of having your undivided attention.

    Still, you are bombarded by the millions of tones and voices that each say something different, yet the odd thing is that all that is being said is part of you. You cherish each thought; they’re sweet, precious in your sight. They make you the wonderfully intense and complex being you’ve become. They’ve made you the person people know and love. Yet why at the same time do you wish to seek refuge from them.

    I guess it’s like running from someone that in reality you do love. You see so much of yourself in them that it’s frighteningly overwhelming. You see the good and bad qualities you possess that come to mind when viewing that person. You somehow feel as if you isolate yourself from yourself that you will never be faced with conflict. That you’re inside some padded cocoon that shields you from the painful pleasures of life. "Painful pleasures," you ask. "How is that possible?"

    Allow me to explain. The very pressures and pains that we all go through are the building blocks of what make up our commonly uncommon human experiences. The moments that define us as people and make us as wise to the mysteries of life as we can become as we learn from them or fail to remember George Santayana’s words and condemn ourselves to the same chain of events repeatedly. The miracles and mishaps that either make us bolder to explore uncharted spaces or tragically suck up into the vacuum of oblivion by robbing ourselves of the right to experience risk and even the basic right to feel.

    "Success is the result of a risk successfully survived," I once heard it said, and I am inclined to agree one hundred percent. For how can you ever experience anything good unless you first step out of your comfort zone? Depart the familiar for a spell. Learn to survive the status quo; get out and live a little. For how can you ever learn if you never are willing to move beyond the commonplace? You must never settle for mediocrity. The tragic result is losing your individuality.

    You have to face the inevitable. Life is full of changes and risks. Will you hold up to them or wimp out and live in the monastery of some safe sheltered haven of indifference? I have a major problem with that idea. It seems much too dull and uninteresting to me. Maybe the trick to life is to not have it all figured out. For really when you look at it properly, in life CHANGE IS THE RULE RATHER THAN THE EXCEPTION.


    Foggy Mist Of Dreams

    Fog Along A Wooded Trail

    Foggy mist of dreams
    Only you I see clear
    Take one step closer
    Feeling you so near

    Lost for words inside this moment
    No need to say a word
    For in this place we are in
    All secret thoughts are heard

    Call me a dreamer
    Step inside this world

    Love is just a whisper
    In the darkness of the night
    But why should it disappear
    At the sign of sun's first light?

    Dreams are just expressions
    Of my innermost heart and soul
    And when I dream about you
    I lose my self-control

    Call me your lover
    Let's take on the world


    21 February 2007

    Roxy Music - "Flesh + Blood" [1980] (Art Pop/Rock)

    Flesh + Blood is possibly one of the most overlooked albums in the band's repertoire, and quite unfortunately so.  It has a sound that to my ear is as timeless today as it was when I first heard it, and as it was at the time of its release.  I can compare the sound of this album to no other album I have ever heard, nor to even any other Roxy Music selections.  A truly unique contrubution,  by a band that, more often than not, delivered a fresh and interesting sound on every album in their colorful and illustrious career.

    This HAS to be my absolute favorite album from Roxy Music's colorful and varied career. A far cry from their earlier hard-edged Progressive Rock/Avantgarde noisefests, this album definitely spelled a new course for Roxy Music (hinted at in their previous album, Manifesto-probably the absolute nadir of their career in this reviewer's opinion) and sadly, the beginning of the end for this band who had come back from a previous disbanding in the years spanning 1976-1979. Ferry's softer side is clearly heard in this beautiful, crystalline offering, from the legendary band who in their earliest incarnation brought us powerful experimental tunes like "Virginia Plain", "Re-Make/Re-Model", and the disco-edged "Love Is The Drug".

    Flesh + Blood is possibly one of the most overlooked albums in the band's repertoire, and quite unfortunately so. This seventh outing was released in May of 1980 and enjoyed chart success in the UK (reaching #1 status in staggered increments throughout its release year), and hit #35 on American shores. Not too shabby, considering that it is not often mentioned in reference to being among the band's best. The album which was the follow-up to Flesh + Blood, Avalon, would sadly be the band's last studio work.

    The album opens with an infectious and unique take on Wilson Pickett's classic hit, "In The Midnight Hour", which has fared quite well as a standalone single in some markets. The second track, "Oh Yeah" is highlighted by Bryan Ferry's emotive vocals, and is a well-crafted melodic love song, which seems to reference itself. The powerful "Same Old Scene" follows; a straightahead techno/dance number, which would point the way ahead sound-wise for some of the later bands who would credit Roxy Music among their idols and influences. The title track, "Flesh and Blood" is a bit of a lackluster rock piece, that seems to serve as filler material. "My Only Love" is a heartbreakingly beautiful track here, featuring Ferry's trademark vocals over some fantastic solo and ensemble playing bits: Phil Manzanera's guitar prowess heard clearly, and Andy Mackay's fantastic saxophone playing creating layers of sound over the lush keyboards and pianos by Ferry and guest musician, Paul Carrack.

    "Over You" is an awesome, hookish song that opens with jangling guitars and ends with a gorgeous ensemble instrumental, which flows seamlessly into the cover version of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High". A totally inventive reworking of the classic psychedelic tune, it is given the unique Roxy Music treatment here. "Rain Rain Rain" strikes me as yet more filler material, but has some nice overlapping vocals and a catchy beat that draws the listener into its mysterious tone. An absolute masterpiece lyrically, "No Strange Delight" takes a turn toward the darker side. The closing track on this album, "Running Wild" , is a fine way to wrap up this great collection of songs, featuring vocals and a sound that would give a hint of what Ferry's later solo works would sound like. More fantastic keyboard and piano playing and guitar and saxophone solos by Manzanera, and Mackay are the pillars of this one.

    Flesh + Blood was my first taste of Roxy Music, and it was the catalyst that led me to their more well-known and well-revered works. It will always hold a special place for me, not only for that reason, but for the sheer beauty of the music contained therein. It has a sound that to my ear is as timeless today as it was when I first heard it, and as it was at the time of its release. I can compare the sound of this album to no other album I have ever heard, nor to even any other Roxy Music selections. A truly unique contrubution, by a band that, more often than not, delivered a fresh and interesting sound on every album in their colorful and illustrious career.

    ----Review by FlowerJewel

    Sources cited:

    Roxyrama: The Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music Archive, Wikipedia, Prog Archives

    5 stars out of 5

    1. In the Midnight Hour (3:12)
    2. Oh Yeah (4:50)
    3. Same Old Scene (3:57)
    4. Flesh and Blood (3:13)
    5. My Only Love (5:19)
    6. Over You (3:27)
    7. Eight Miles High (4:53)
    8. Rain, Rain, Rain (3:20)
    9. No Strange Delight (4:45)
    10. Running Wild (5:01)

    Total Time: 41:57

    - Bryan Ferry / vocals, keyboards
    - Phil Manzanera / guitar
    - Andy Mackay / saxophone
    - Paul Carrack / keyboards
    - Neil Hubbard / guitar
    - Alan Spenner, Neil Jason & Gary Tibbs / bass
    - Allan Schwartzberg, Andy Newmark & Simon Phillips / drums

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    18 February 2007

    Simple Minds - "Sparkle in the Rain" [1984] (New Wave)

    Scotland's Simple Minds continue to dazzle and impress with their sixth (and best) album, Sparkle in the Rain. The record was produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, et al.), and it's a perfect match-up: Simple Minds aspire to music of a trancelike otherworldliness, and Lillywhite has the knack to lead them up that proverbial stairway to heaven

    ****One of the finest reviews I've ever come across on this album was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, circa 1984. It appears below, and to follow is my own review of this stellar album:

    Scotland's Simple Minds continue to dazzle and impress with their sixth (and best) album, Sparkle in the Rain. The record was produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, et al.), and it's a perfect match-up: Simple Minds aspire to music of a trancelike otherworldliness, and Lillywhite has the knack to lead them up that proverbial stairway to heaven.

    The sound is Roxy Music-gone-2001, and it works remarkably well (one exception: their unlikely choice of an outside song in Lou Reed's "Street Hassle," which doesn't bear covering by anyone). Initially, vocalist Jim Kerr might seem like just another Bryan Ferry clone, but as he stokes his inner fires with some private perception of the emerald beyond – reaching an absolutely feverish pitch on "The Kick inside of Me" – he emerges as an obsessive visionary in his own right. The band, meanwhile, weaves a complex web of sound from the unlikeliest parts: churchy, staccato keyboards; lacelike, arpeggiated guitar lines and soaring wisps of feedback; and metallic-sounding drums.

    Sparkle in the Rain is filled with potent images that can be read as religious emblems: baptismal immersion or death ("Waterfront"), redemption on the Cross ("East at Easter"), the Word ("Book of Brilliant Things"). Simple Minds find religious illumination in the vertigo of their fertile imaginations, and it comes out as psychedelic testifying – all fast movement and kaleidoscopic repetition – that builds to a crescendo of ecstasy and release. When Kerr sings, "Someday, some of them say that our hearts will beat like the wheels of a fast train" (from "Book of Brilliant Things"), you know you're in for a wild ride. All aboard. (RS 419)

    ----Review by Parke Puterbaugh

    And now, for the FlowerJewel spin:

    He shouts and testifies like a Pentecostal preacher. He tells you how the world is according to him. He draws you into "his" world. This is the essence of Simple Minds' lead vocalist, Jim Kerr. This band from Glasgow, known in an earlier incarnation as Johnny and the Self Abusers, emerged during the post-punk movement, to later become what we now know as quintessential New Wave giants, Simple Minds.

    In my opinion, however, the band more than transcended that very narrow genre description. A band ever-evolving and re-inventing themselves, yet never losing its artistic integrity, Simple Minds' earliest work evoked comparisons to Roxy Music (even dubbed "Roxy-Music-gone-2001" circa the release of this very album). I would also submit that their sound in some of their earlier works was quite similar to their Australian contemporaries, INXS. Kerr's voice and presence, to my ear, being quite similar in some ways to Michael Hutchence.

    Sparkle In The Rain has some of Simple Minds' most polished and perfect pieces-to-date. Their earlier albums Real to Real Cacophony and Life in a Day had more of gritty and "punked-out" edge to them. This offering is a mere taste of what was to come, and arguably BETTER than some of their later albums. Those were a bit more "radio-ready", especially following the single, "Don't You (Forget About Me)", featured in the 80s classic film, The Breakfast Club.

    As an aside note here, The Breakfast Club Soundtrack, (1986), brought the band worldwide success, and an as-yet-unknown new stature "across the pond". Despite the band's newfound popularity in the UK and Europe, Simple Minds remained essentially unknown in the US. The movie The Breakfast Club changed all that. Released in early 1985, this Brat Pack drama from writer/director John Hughes was a box-office smash and made household names of many of its young stars, including Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Emilio Estevez. It also broke Simple Minds into the US market almost overnight, when the band achieved their only number-one US pop hit with the film's opening track, "Don't You (Forget About Me)". Ironically, the song wasn't even written by the band, but by Keith Forsey, who offered the song to Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry before Simple Minds agreed to record it. The song soon became a chart-topper in many other countries around the world.

    Later tracks such as, "Alive and Kicking" and "Sanctify Yourself" (from Once Upon A Time) and "See The Lights" (from Real Life) would propel the Glaswegian guys to chart success, however were more "raadio-friendly" tracks. The music contained on Sparkle In The Rain was a bit more straightahead rock, with that characteristic Simple Minds' sound that has earned them the attention of critics, and the affection of fans the world over. Comparisons to Roxy Music and U2 certainly did not stem the tide of the tremendous acclaim this band would garner.

    Sparkle In The Rain holds a special place for me among Simple Minds' catalogue of works. The track "Book of Brilliant Things" is by far the best track on this lushly produced album. Despite how crisp this album is, however, it is far from overkill in the production department. "Book of Brilliant Things" incidentally is one of Kerr's favorite songs from his band's repertoire, as he describes in this piece of an interview:

    Interviewed during his current visit to Japan, Jim Kerr revealed that "Book of Brilliant Things" was among the Simple Minds' songs that he identified with most. Kerr was quoted as saying, "more than music, ever since my earliest childhood, books have meant so much to me. Books are revered all over the world and of course for many people certain books are sacrosant. Books allow people to think for themselves, allowing access to knowledge for gotten or out of favour with the times. Books, as with recorded music, travel over time and distance greater than the author could accomplish in person. Dictators have throughout time understood how important it was to control knowledge--to control a nation! Books were burned and banned as a result. My father's experience as a simple man who educated himself to the highest level, inspired me to write this song."

    Produced by Steve Lillywhite, who also produced U2's first three records, Sparkle in the Rain is an aggressive, rock-oriented album in much the same vein as U2's War. Some long-time fans along with a number of music critics accused Simple Minds of brazenly stealing their new sound from the Irish foursome--a curious assertion, given that U2 frontman Bono was quoted in the official Simple Minds biography The Race is the Prize as saying the "glorious noise" sound and feeling achieved on the Simple Minds album was one to which his band aspired. It may be more accurate to characterize this period as one in which both bands were mutual admirers. The eventual result of this shift in musical direction gave rise to hugely successful singles like "Waterfront", which hit number one in a few European countries and remains one of the band's signature songs to this day, as well as "Speed Your Love to Me" and "Up on the Catwalk."

    With a particular bent to spiritual themes, Simple Minds' music invites the listener to both celebrate life, and think about it more in-depth, and really ask themselves the deeper questions. The beauty of it is, an answer is not always needed....just having spent time looking inward and upward is a journey that is its own reward.

    ".....Some say our hearts will beat like the wheels of a fast train/all around the world....."

    -- Review written by FlowerJewel

    (information contained therein extrapolated from various sources)

    Sources cited:

    The Official Simple Minds Website, Wikipedia, Rolling Stone Magazine-Review by Parke Puterbaugh

    5 stars out of 5

    1. Up On The Catwalk (4:47)
    2. Book Of Brillant Things (4:22)
    3. Speed Your Love To Me (4:25)
    4. Waterfront (4:49)
    5. East At Easter (3:33)
    6. Street Hassle (5:16)
    7. White Hot Day (4:33)
    8. "C" Moon Cry Like A Baby (4:21)
    9. The Kick Inside Of Me (4:49)
    10. Shake Off The Ghosts (4:01)

    Total Time: 44:56

    - Jim Kerr / lead vocals
    - Charles Burchill / acoustic & electric guitars
    - Derek Forbes / bass guitar & vocals
    - Mel Gaynor / drums & vocals
    - Michael MacNeil / keyboards
    - Kirsty MacColl / female vocals on "Speed Your Love To Me" & "Street Hassle"

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    The Adventures - "Theodore and Friends" [1985] (New Wave)

    The Adventures is highly recommened to hopeless romantics with a hankering for ringing guitars and dulcet melodies

    I happened upon this album years ago in a Salvation Army thrift store bin, on vinyl, of course. Let's just say that upon first listen I was completely BLOWN AWAY. The Adventures won a place in my short list of favorite, yet largely underrated and appreciated, bands. Their slick stylings strike the perfect balance of being gorgeous sounds, yet without that characteristically "overproduced" sound of the 80s. I have an extreme affection for New Wave music, but I must say The Adventures totally transcend that genre label often assigned to them. Those first sounds I heard literally jumped off the vinyl, and into my heart. The songs remain stuck in my mental jukebox to this day, and often I reach for my mp3 disc containing this gem. This Irish band stil remains widely unheard-of, and I must say what a shame that really is. Take a listen for yourself, after reading these sources of information I compiled (and finding information on The Adventures is NO easy task, mind you!) A rare-as-hen's teeth gem, and more than worthy of the 5-star-rating I gave this stunning debut album!

    ----Opening notes by FlowerJewel

    In describing Theodore and Friends (simply known as the self-titled release from The Adventures on "this" side of the pond), Michael Sutton writes:

    ****There is one enthralling moment in The Adventures' self-titled debut: During "Send My Heart" a choir unexpectedly6 engulfs the swell of swirling guitars, evoking a sense of wonder that can cause goose bumps. "Send My Heart" is dazzling, its lyrics break the heart while its music sparkles like Christmas lights. While the other tracks on The Adventures may not duplicate the song's breathtaking surge of emotion, the LP is a striking debut. "Two Rivers" is a soaring love song with toe-tapping percussion and shimmering riffs. Although the 12" mix of "Two Rivers" is preferable the shorter running-length doesn't taint its beauty. Even when a few of the tracks lack a hook or two, the stirring, crystalline vocals of Terry Sharpe are mesmerizing. The Adventures write songs that are ultimately uplifting, even when there is sadness, the lyrics speak of hope. The group is also spiritual; religious references appear in "Always" and "When the World Turns Upside Down". In the latter, the Adventures warn listeners about the devil. If that sounds cheesy, then stay away. Nevertheless, they aren't a Christian band; the band is too preoccupied by love to find time for preaching. The Adventures is highly recommened to hopeless romantics with a hankering for ringing guitars and dulcet melodies.****

    Some background info, for the uninitiated:

    Formed in early 1984, the Adventures' story can be traced back six years to the Belfast, Northern Ireland power-pop/punk group The Starjets, which featured vocalist Terry Sharpe and guitarist Pat Gribben.

    The duo eventually sought their fortune on the London pub circuit and put together the Adventures with Pat Gribben's wife Eileen on vocals, aided by Gerard 'Spud' Murphy (guitar), Tony Ayre (bass) and Paul Crowder (drums).

    A contract with Chrysalis Records brought minimal chart success during 1984 and 1985 when they released their Theodore & Friends debut album in 1984 (This was named The Adventures as a re-packaged version for the U.S. market containg remixes), but didn't find success until four years later, prompting the group to take a sabbatical in order to rethink their approach. A new contract with Elektra Records saw them achieve modest acclaim for The Sea Of Love, while the single, 'Broken Land', entered the UK Top 20 in April 1988. Although they attempted to consolidate their position, The Sea Of Love failed to reach the Top 40.

    Their next album (Trading Secrets With The Moon) which was as strong a musical masterpiece as Sea Of Love again failed to set the charts alight but again gave the fans another album full of great material.

    Their final album (to date) Lions and Tigers And Bears was released in 1993 and several singles from it hit the lower Top 50 but again it was the music world that missed out on this the Adventures most professional sounding production

    Vocalist Terry Sharpe and guitarist Pat Gribben began the sophisticated harmony-pop Adventures in London after their former group, Belfast's spunky Starjets, split up in 1980. On its classy if overproduced debut, the quintet — boasting three singers (including Gribben's wife, Eileen) and no on-board drummer — crafts crisp, commercial guitar/keyboards music distinguished by attractive melodies and striking harmonies. Slickly mainstream without being hollow or obnoxious (despite a stack of guest synthesists), Theodore and Friends (issued in the US as The Adventures) has a couple of great songs — the sweeping "Send My Heart" (which sounds like it was written for a synth-pop band) and the falsetto-sung African-accented "Another Silent Day" — plus pleasantly diverting also-rans. The Adventures

    Adding a drummer and adopting a warmer, semi-acoustic adult-rock sound, the Adventures essayed The Sea of Love with less artistic success. The songs aren't as good (Gribben's lyrical pretensions are such that he can base a song here on The Trip to Bountiful), and the performances lack the first LP's instrumental sparkle.

    Stemming a drift towards becoming a bookish Abba, the again-drummerless Adventures engaged producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who gave Trading Secrets with the Moon an intimate sound colored with bits of fiddle, organ, horns, pedal steel and traditional Irish instruments. Unfortunately, the tasteful arrangements also minimize the band's backing vocals, leaving Gribben alone in the spotlight to sing his bland poetry. Lloyd Cole co-wrote one song, the countryish "Desert Rose."

    Sources cited:

    Trouserpress.com, An Adventures Fan Site, All Music Guide (Review by Michael Sutton)

    5 stars out of 5

    1. Always (3:55)
    2. Feel The Raindrops (3:44)
    3. Send My Heart (3:44)
    4. Two Rivers (4:25)
    5. Don't Tell Me (4:29)
    6. Another Silent Day (5:02)
    7. When The World Turns Upside Down (4:46)
    8. Love In Chains (3:37)
    9 Lost In Hollywood (5:06)
    10. These Children (3:20)

    Total Time: 42:08

    - Terry Sharpe / Lead Vocals
    - Pat Gribben / Guitars
    - Paul Crowder / Drums
    - Tony Ayre / Bass
    - Eileen Gribben, Spud Murphy / Vocals

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    12 February 2007

    Full Circle

    Somewhere, sometime long ago
    I walked away from myself
    Meandering along a path
    Laid out by someone else

    Lost and alone, I strayed
    Compromise came with a price
    I fear too high for me to pay
    I lost my soul in sacrifice

    I sought love and acceptance
    But found a reasonable facsimile
    What was lost in the bargain
    Was the one and only me

    In search of truth and light
    The road of life is far from straight
    Winding to the left and to the right
    In clever twists of fate

    Then, like Paul, on the road to Damascus
    A moment of epiphany
    But instead of seeing the face of God
    I saw the one and only me

    Facing ever forward
    Upon the path I tread on
    I came full circle
    And met myself head-on


    08 February 2007

    The Spirit of Radio

    Click To Enlarge

    A familiar tune from long ago
    A synthesized arpeggio
    It takes me back through space and time
    A melody sublime

    From motivation
    To inspiration
    The doldrums shaken
    On a road not taken

    Coast to Coast travelling
    Life's mysteries unravelling
    "The Truth is Out There"
    As we "take to the air"

    We're Hearts of Space
    In the human race
    Our eyes to the skies
    Where the answer lies

    So many questions, so many doubts
    So many answers within/without
    "Wanna take a ride?"
    Take the journey inside

    Settle back, turn on the radio
    Set a course to where you want to go
    "Safe Journey Space Fans, Wherever You Are"
    "From the Kingdom of Nye" to the farthest star!


    06 February 2007

    The Moody Blues - "Seventh Sojourn" [1972] (Progressive Rock)

    This seventh offering from 'the blokes from Birmingham' is sort-of the end of a chapter in this classic band's history.  Following the chain of albums Days of Future Passed,  In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children's Children's Children, A Question of Balance, and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, this set would prove to be not only one of the band's most reflective albums to date, but semi-prophetic via the title, conveying a stopping-point along the way of the meteoric rise to fame the Moodies enjoyed to this point.
    sojourn - a temporary stay (e.g., as a guest)

    This seventh offering from "the blokes from Birmingham" is sort-of the end of a chapter in this classic band's history. Following the chain of albums Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children's Children's Children, A Question of Balance, and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, this set would prove to be not only one of the band's most reflective albums to date, but semi-prophetic via the title, conveying a stopping-point along the way of the meteoric rise to fame the Moodies enjoyed to this point.

    Unfortunately, this skyrocket to stardom had forced the band into having to distance themselves from the fans who had made them who they were by that stage in their already illustrious career. The combined adulation and intrusion of such had caused the guys to suck up into the vacuum of their own success, and therefore need to "take a break" as it were, from the trappings of the lifestyle in which they now found themselves.

    As an aside note, this album and Days of Future Passed, were well favored by US astronauts and played on many space missions between the early 70s and late 90s. These tapes taken into space were mounted and framed and given back to the band by legendary pilot Chuck Yeager, then subsequently donated back to the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, by the band themselves..

    This album opens with Mike Pinder's "Lost in a Lost World", reflective of the confusion and sadness of a Vietnam-era world, and is followed by Ray Thomas' classic love ballad "For My Lady", a rather Celtic-flavored tune, and probably Thomas' best. The next track, one of my personal favorites from this collection, "New Horizons" features some of singer Justin Hayward's best vocals AND lyrics. Very heartfelt and emotive, this track seems autobiographical in nature, in the sense that its lyrics reflect Hayward's new roles as both a husband and a father. Having first owned this album on vinyl, the last track on Side One is John Lodge's "Isn't Life Strange?" I would classify this as Lodge's tour-de-force because it is by far one of his most complex and vocally challenging songs EVER.

    The second side (for vinylheads) commences with a rollicking and very hookish guitar solo by Hayward, with a bit of Pinder's Mellotron magic, and Lodge's trademark thumping bassline thrown in for good measure. "You and Me" is possibly the brightest point on what otherwise seems to be one of the Moodies' darker albums. "Land of Make-Believe" is a rather dreamy piece that takes the listener far away from a dismal and confusing world, once again reflecting the time period in which this album was released. Both hopeful and introspective, its lyrics range from the musings of the hippie-types these guys truly were, to commentary on the current events of the day.

    Pinder's "When You're A Free Man" is a bit of a melancholy piece dedicated to the band's friend and pied-piper of LSD, Timothy Leary. This song would be the second song in the band's repertoire (after the upbeat tribute by Thomas, which appeared on the In Search of the Lost Chord album, "Legend of A Mind") that would pay homage to Leary. "When You're A Free Man" is a testament to how Leary was both maligned and misunderstood, and outright exiled for his strong stance on the use and benefits of LSD. He was incarcerated and fled to Canada for his actions, hence the title of this song. Pinder and Co. had become friends with the man who had urged his "followers" to "Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out."

    The album closes with what has become the anthem for The Moody Blues, as well as a retort to all the hype and hysteria that, for that time, led to a three year hiatus for the band. "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock n' Roll Band)" is the biggest rocker the Moodies would ever produce, and is one of the most recognizable and anticipated numbers for those who love them live.

    Seventh Sojourn stands up, to this day, as one of The Moody Blues' best works, as well as one of the finest albums in rock history. Spawning so many hits, it is no wonder why not only I, but scores of Moody Blues fans out there, rate this one so highly among their favorites. Well and truly a classic!

    ----Review by FlowerJewel

    Research taken from:

    Amazon.com, Ground & Sky, The Free Dictionary

    5 stars out of 5

    1 Lost in a Lost World (4:41)
    2 New Horizons (5:10)
    3 For My Lady (3:57)
    4 Isn't Life Strange (6:10)
    5 You and Me (4:20)
    6 Land of Make-Believe (4:51)
    7 When You're a Free Man (6:05)
    8 I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) (4:17)

    Total Time: 39:31

    - Justin Hayward / guitars, vocals
    - John Lodge / bass guitar, vocals
    - Michael Pinder / keyboards, vocals
    - Ray Thomas / harmonica, flute, vocals
    - Graeme Edge / drums, percussion

    Stay Tuned For More!!!!


    02 February 2007

    This Coming Of Age

    Looking for answers, striving for truth
    Balancing maturity, while preserving my youth
    The pendulum of life swings ever-so-fast
    Looking toward the future, turning away from the past

    The road of life can be tough to navigate
    So many negative forces from which to extricate
    Finding my voice, having my say
    With no signposts to mark the way

    It's never been easy, this coming-of-age
    A neophyte upon life's stage
    But in this role, no lines have been scripted
    Or if so, they'd be uselessly encrypted

    Experience isn't something you can get for trade
    You can't learn from mistakes somebody else made
    No, in this life, it's all on YOUR shoulders
    So become wiser, not merely older


    The Plateaux of Mirror

    Where worlds collide
    Where horizons meet
    Where fantasy and reality
    No longer compete

    Light meets dark
    And life meets death
    Where a lifetime is lived
    In a single breath

    Eyes once closed, now open wide
    We live an endless dream
    We've traversed through to the other side
    Of a lucid, crystal stream

    No longer held by gravity's grip
    Finally able to walk on air
    No longer fearing our feet should slip
    Despite no net being there

    Across a vista of time and space
    Where the sands of time have shifted
    Going to another place
    Where we can now get lifted

    Up to a place we've been longing to see
    And too long been wanting to go
    A glorious place for just you and me
    Upon a common plateaux

    Feet set upon a higher plane
    Or is it the plateaux of mirror
    A new plateaux of love and delight
    Where we can see ourselves and each other clearer


    31 January 2007

    Wonderous Stories

    Watching The World

    An empty page
    An empty slate
    An empty space
    On which to create

    To paint with words
    Tell a story in art
    All ideas have their genesis
    Deep in the heart

    From black and white text
    To words on a screen
    A wider forum
    On which to be seen

    Images and words
    Art in all its glory
    These are truly
    Life's "Wonderous Stories"


    26 January 2007


    In the silence may be heard things only the heart and soul can comprehend
    Listen close, can you hear it, a love song without end?
    In this moment a thousand words are spoken
    This sweet tranquility that need not be broken

    The mutual feelings that we share
    The many ways you show you care
    In all you say, and all you do
    You’re only saying "I love you"

    If not your words, it is your deeds
    You fulfill my soul and all its needs
    I require nothing more than this
    Friendship, love, and your sweet kiss

    My heart overcame
    My mind overwhelmed
    My love, you have taken me
    To a whole new realm

    Things are so different
    Stripped away is my past
    I’m in a new world now
    And THIS love will last

    So this silence, let us hold it
    A love story, as destiny told it
    Words of beauty, and of love
    Echoing to the heavens above.


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    Travellers Passed This Cosmic Checkpoint
    Travellers Passed This Cosmic Checkpoint