Ga

 

Ga’an (USA): Ga’an (No label, cassette, 2008?)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell
This band’s music is unusual and quite interesting, essentially consisting of slow and repetitious bass-and-drums grooves overlaid with keyboards, effects and chanting (though the latter two elements are often secondary). The end result is minimalist zeuhl, almost like live Magma without the melody lines and singing, and more the kind of thing I’d expect from a Japanese rather than an American band.

GRADE: B–.
Ga’an (USA): Ga’an (No label, cassette, 2008)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell (lead vocals)
Album number two is slightly better recorded than their debut and makes their Magma influence even more obvious, though with its huge sampled choirs it also puts me in mind of Popol Vuh’s Aguirre. Altogether, it’s an impressive and unusual set, with an understated though dynamic mood that works extremely well. The album was subsequently reissued on vinyl (Captcha HSBP-2X-020, 2011) and allegedly on CD (on the otherwise unknown Record On Ribs label) though I have my doubts as to whether the latter version actually exists. GRADE: B–.
Ga’an (USA): Black Equus (No label, cassette, 2011)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell (lead vocals, synthesiser)
Album number three is fairly ambitious, with a side-long track. It’s still definitely zeuhl, but with a bit more of their own identity: a relaxed mood, lots of synthesisers, plenty more of the sampled choirs and some new wave edges. Overall it reminds me more than a little of Eskaton on their second and third LPs. Once again, a vinyl release exists with different artwork (Captcha HSBP-2X-26); I’m assuming this was released a few months after the cassette but it could have been simultaneous. GRADE: B–.
See also Cake Bake Betty, Festival, Fielded

Galactic Supermarket (West Germany): Galactic Supermarket (Kosmische Musik KM 58.013, 1974)
Progressive
Rosi Müller (occasional vocals), Gille Lettmann (occasional vocals)
Stemming from the same jam sessions that produced the Cosmic Jokers albums, this is one of the finest space-rock LPs ever made. Two side-long suites range from psychedelic guitar rock to spacy synthesiser and Mellotron excursions, running the gamut from Tanz Der Lemminge-era Amon Düül II to Seven Up-period Ash Ra Tempel, with Manuel Göttsching, Klaus Schulze et al firing on all cylinders. The overdubbed vocals by Gille Lettmann and Rosi Müller add the final texture to this remarkable sonic stew, and unauthorised as it was, this magnificent LP remains one of the definitive statements of the Krautrock underground. GRADE: A.
See also Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, Dominas, Gilles Zeitschiff

Galadriel (UK): Ty’n-Y-Cym (No label, cassette, 1984)
Progressive
Frances Hallard
The second album by this neoprogressive band – I haven’t heard Anthems For The Eden, issued earlier the same year – offers elegant, well-crafted music led by synthesiser and flute. There’s nothing particularly mould-breaking or life-changing here, but anyone who likes eighties prog should find this a solid and satisfying set. GRADE: C+.

See also Edge

Galahad (West Germany): Sir Galahad (AZ HM 5057, 12", 1985)
Folk
Eva Maria Lach (lead vocals)
This long-running folk band’s debut is fairly slight – a four-song EP totalling a little under four minutes. It’s delicate and lovely stuff, blending traditional and contemporary sensibilities, and had there been a little more of it I would probably have graded this as a B–. GRADE: C+.
Galahad (Germany): Dragons, Knights And Virgins (Motionmania Music 950404, CD, 1995)
Folk/Rock
Ulrike Koberg (principal vocals)
Ten years after their EP, Galahad return with their first full album. The title might make you expect hey-nonny-nonny early music whimsy, but whilst this does have some mediaeval edges, it’s generally an excellent album. That’s not to say it’s the most consistent album, however – mixing originals, covers and traditional songs and rather from symphonic settings to acapella numbers, it covers a huge range of ground and ultimately sounds more like a compilation than a studio set per se. Although the only real low point is a jolly interpretation of ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ with ‘humorous’ ad libs and barrelhouse piano, it’s this lack of cohesion that prevents the album from being awarded a B–, though it comes very close. GRADE: C+.
Galahad (Germany): The Return Of The Piper (No label GA 9702, CD, 1997)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Ulrike Koberg (joint lead vocals)
On the downside, the drumming here is frequently awful – whilst a live drummer is credited, much of the percussion sounds programmed. That said, this is where it all comes together for Galahad – the music here is heavier and more progressive, with lots of baroque touches and some superb singing and melodies. For sure, a different drummer and a bigger recording budget would have improved it enormously, but progressive folk fans will still find plenty of enjoy here. GRADE: B–.
Galahad (Germany): Myrddin (MPV 2004, CD, 2000)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Ulrike Kolberg (joint lead vocals)
Critics could accuse them of being cheesy – as usual, the theme is mythological and the music blends catchy melodies, assertive electric riffing and Jethro Tull-style flute, almost bordering on folk-metal in places. Nonetheless, this is a very good album, packed with rich instrumentation and fine playing – even the drumming is decent this time around. GRADE: B–.

Galahad (Germany): Storyteller’s Dance (MPV, CD, 2003)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Ulrike Koberg (joint lead vocals)
Again, this may be too cheerful and too chunky for some listeners, but then moody minor-key dissonance and sonic experimentation was never Galahad’s goal. As a fusion of eighties or nineties Steeleye Span and Songs From The Wood-era Jethro Tull, this is damn good, with great hooklines and melodies – and equally importantly, some fine playing from all involved. GRADE: B–.
Galahad (Germany): Ladhivan – Tales Of Celtic Myths (No label GA151106, CD, 2006)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Tina Schreiber (principal vocals)
This is by some margin their best album. That’s not because they’ve advanced artistically – it’s just that everything comes together here. The slight awkwardness, compounded by budgetary limitations, that marred their earlier work is entirely absent, and they sound like a band at the peak of its powers. Tina Schreiber is a superb addition to the line-up and they wisely let her sing everything except one number, whilst the drums – for perhaps the first time – are superbly recorded. Richly melodic, robust and assertive, this is simply great folk/rock. GRADE: B.

Galant Noyé (France): Le Galant Noyé (Le Chant Du Monde LDX 74576, 1975)
Folk
Emmanuelle Parrenin (joint lead vocals, bodhrán, épinette des Vosges, vielle)
This was recorded with a similar line-up to Chants À Répondre Et À Danser from two years earlier but is musically far superior, offering some genuinely eerie and unusual French folk. A strongly Eastern feel predominates (though of course the instrumentation is traditionally French) and there are a number of wonderfully atmospheric songs. GRADE: C+.
See also Chants À Répondre Et À Danser, Confrèrie Des Fous, Phil & Emmanuelle Fromont, Galant Confrèrie Des Fous, Phil & Emmanuelle Fromont, Galant Danser, Confrèrie Des Fous, Phil & Emmanuelle Fromont, Gentiane, Yvon Guilcher, Emmanuelle Parrenin, Phil Fromont & Claude Lefebvre

Galaxie 500 (USA): Today (Aurora AU 002, 1988)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (bass)
Like their contemporaries Opal, Galaxie 500 draw their inspiration mainly from the Velvet Underground’s third album. Hardly surprisingly, this isn’t a very original album, and it can be a bit soporific (only on the sole instrumental, imaginatively titled ‘Instrumental’, do they start rocking out), but it creates some lovely, trippy moods and is enjoyable from start to finish. GRADE: C+.
Galaxie 500 (USA): On Fire (Rough Trade ROUGH US 74CD, CD, 1989)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (occasional vocals, bass)
Oddly, their second album is both better and worse than their first. The heavier, jamming ‘When Will You Come Home?’ is excellent and ‘Another Day’ is the most psychedelic thing they ever did, with Naomi Yang’s first lead vocal heightening the trippy and ethereal atmosphere. On the downside, a few other cuts tone down the Velvets influences for a more typical eighties indie sound, but this is for the most part a very good album. GRADE: C+.
Galaxie 500 (USA): This Is Our Music (Rough Trade RUS 86-2, CD, 1990)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (occasional vocals, bass)
This time round, Yang takes the lead vocal on their cover of Yoko Ono’s ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’; it’s by far the longest, best and most psychedelic thing on the record. Were the rest of the album of the same standard, this would be a classic, but the remainder is good rather than great. Some reissues add a cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Here She Comes Now’, which is remarkably inferior to the original, with Dean Wareham’s vocal missing the subtlety and snideness of Lou Reed’s original. GRADE: C+.

Galaxie 500 (USA): Uncollected Galaxie 500 (Rykodisc RCD, cassette, 1996, recorded 1987-1990)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (occasional vocals, bass)
Originally compiled for the boxed set Galaxie 500 (Rykodisc RCD 10355-1/2/3/4, with booklet and slipcase) and released separately as a promotional cassette, this gathers fourteen previously unreleased recordings. It’s a solid set and a decent addition to their small canon, but none of the songs is individually outstanding. The best number is probably ‘The Other Side’, on which Naomi Yang takes the lead vocal. GRADE: C+.
Galaxie 500 (USA): Copenhagen (Rykodisc RCD 10373, CD, 1997, recorded 1990)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (occasional vocals, bass)
This nine-song live set mixes the band’s own compositions with their covers of ‘Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste’, ‘Here She Comes Now’ and ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’. As on This Is Our Music, the latter is the best thing here. GRADE: C+.
Galaxie 500 (USA): Peel Sessions (20|20|20 202020.02, CD, 2005, recorded 1989 & 1990)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (occasional vocals, bass)
Gathering four tracks apiece from sessions in 1989 and 1990, this is a very enjoyable set covering all the band’s facets. In fact, I actually prefer this to any of their studio albums. GRADE: C+.
See also Damon & Naomi, Magic Hour

Galaxies (Brazil/USA/UK): The Galaxies (Som/Maior SMLP-1551, Brazil, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Jocelyn Ann Odams (joint lead vocals, maracas)
Formed by two Brazilians, an American woman and an Englishman, this Brazil-based band offered excellent psychedelic pop with lots of snotty fuzz guitar. There’s a definite Beatles influence at play, with elements of everything from American garage rock to Swingin’ London sounds; all but two of the songs are covers. Rather strangely, this was reissued a few years back as a 10" LP with four of the twelve tracks missing. GRADE: C+.

Galaxy (USA): Day Without The Sun (Sky Queen SQR 1677, 1976)
Progressive
Marilyn Geiger (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Jan Leonardy (bass), Niki Powell (drums)
From their name, it’s clear that this mostly female band play space-rock, but they’re nothing like Hawkwind. Instead, their style is lighter (though still with a hard rock touch) and very American, with a post-psychedelic jamming feel and lots of electronic vocal effects recalling Gong. The closing fourteen-minute title track is clearly the highpoint, with some great tripped-out jams, whilst elsewhere they’re sometimes a little insubstantial. Nonetheless this is a solid and enjoyable set, and somewhat different from most American albums of the era. As a footnote, Marilyn Geiger was in her early forties when this was recorded, while drummer Niki Powell (or Mary Ann Powell, as she was listed in a contemporary newspaper article) was a mere 18. GRADE: B–.
Galaxy (USA): Very First Stone (Akarma 085, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, Italy, 1999, recorded 1979 & 1984)
Rock/Metal
Marilyn Geiger (occasional vocals, keyboards, drums), Linda Lowe (bass)
Featuring an album’s worth of material apiece from 1979 and 1984, this is an interesting supplement to Day Without The Sun. Musically it’s not as good, dropping the progressive and space-rock influences for straightforward hard rock, with Geiger switching from keyboards to drums for the latter recordings. Nonetheless, there is some solid material here, so it’s definitely worth hearing. GRADE: C+.

Galaxy Transport (German): Psychedelic Rockers (Think Progressive LC 1495, CD, 2001)
Dance/Psychedelic
Julia ET Frost (joint lead vocals, organ)
This starts out brilliantly, mixing trippy rock and trance dance moves, not unlike Astralasia at their best. Unfortunately, it sags badly in the middle, offering seemingly endless minimalist grooves, not unlike Astralasia at their worst. These passages might make you want to dance if you’re on Es in a Balearic nightclub, but when you’re on a sofa in the Isle of Man they just make you want something – in fact, anything – to happen. GRADE: C+.

Valeria Gallardo (Chile): Polimorfia (No label, CD, 2005)
Blues/Rock/Metal/Progressive
Valeria Gallardo (lead vocals, guitar)
Valleria Gallardo is a mean guitarist as well as a capable singer and songwriter, and her debut offers some powerful heavy blues/rock grooves, all with a typically understated Latin American style. Comparisons could be drawn with countrymen Aguaturbia at their heaviest or with any number of modern South American prog bands. GRADE: C+.
Valeria Gallardo (Chile): Caida Libre (No label, CD, with digipak, 2013)
Progressive/Metal
Valeria Gallardo (lead vocals, guitar, bass, synthesiser)
This short album – three songs and an instrumental in just under half an hour – is a bit of a step up from her first, with the progressive elements of her sound emphasised. Bits of it are excellent, suggesting that if she really stretched out she could make an outstanding album. GRADE: C+.
Valeria Gallardo Trio (Chile): Próximo Paso (No label, CD, with digipak, 2017)
Progressive/Metal
Valeria Gallardo (lead vocals, guitar)
This is her best to date: her songwriting (now including some English lyrics) is better than ever, and the sound is tough and muscular. But once again it’s all rather slight – four songs and an instrumental totalling 32 minutes. Nonetheless, it’s pointless criticising what isn’t here, and what is here is for the most part very good. GRADE: B–.

Gallery (UK): The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Midas MFHR 046, 1973)
Folk
Barbara Atkinson (joint lead vocals, guitar, dulcimer)
In terms of conception, this isn’t too different from most albums on Folk Heritage/Midas: it’s traditional folk with accompaniment from acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, violin and dulcimer. What sets it apart is how refined it is: there are no lusty drinking songs or humorous touches to break the crystalline, haunting mood. The rich, mournful vocals of Royce Seabourne and Barbara Atkinson are also a huge plus, culminating in the latter’s spine-chilling rendition of ‘Icy Acres’. GRADE: B–.
Gallery (UK): Each Day Through (Look LKLP 6029, 1978)
Folk
Barbara Atkinson (joint lead vocals, guitar)

Whilst Royce Seabourne and Barbara Atkinson’s melodic, world-weary vocals remain distinctive, the second and final Gallery album is quite different since almost everything is self-penned. They’re more than competent songwriters, but for the most part this doesn’t have the same glacial beauty as their first. Nonetheless, it’s charming, delicate stuff, with electric guitar adding a little weight to the sparse arrangements here and there, though the sole traditional number ‘Blackwaterside’ is probably the highpoint. Following the band’s break-up, Atkinson issued around a dozen albums as a singer/songwriter. GRADE: C+.
See also Barbara Atkinson

Marco Galletti (Italy): Boxes For Foxes (SMC CAP 946, CD, 1994)
Rock/Progressive
Elisabetta Prodon (occasional vocals)
This is one of those one-man-band projects that were commonplace during the nineties, and it shares the usual pitfall of the genre: the programmed drums. Galletti is a competent enough singer (despite a tendency to wander into falsetto), guitarist, keyboardist and composer, and this collection of soft rock songs and instrumental interludes with wordless vocals from Elisabetta Prodon would be pleasant enough if not for the intrusive and tinny drum machine. As it is, this has dated pretty badly, though even with full band arrangements it would have only have been a C+. GRADE: C.

Galley (UK): Hail Smiling Morn (Guildhall/Boston Sound Hunters GHS 10, 1975)
Folk
Lynn Bellamy (joint lead vocals, concertina, whistle)
This extremely rare album is an enjoyable rustic folk set, stylistically midway between Gallery, Tickawinda and Vulcan’s Hammer. Just a handful of copies are known of the UK original, but the album got a wider release on the Dutch Stoof label the same year, retitled Joke And Push About The Pitcher. Bizarrely, this second issue seems to sell for more than the original, despite being very much more common. GRADE: C+.
Galley & Chris Coombs (UK): Collection (Guildhall/Boston Sound Hunters GHS 11, 1975)
Folk
Lynn Bellamy (percussion, backing vocals)
The same year they made Hail Smiling Morn, Galley backed singer/songwriter Chris Coombs on his Collection album, which consists of pleasant, melodic underground folk/rock. There has been some debate as to whether this Chris Coombs was the same person who appeared on Holyground albums including A-Austr, Astral Navigations and Number Nine Bread Street. My own view is that it almost certainly wasn’t, but it’s impossible to 100% sure. GRADE: C+.
See also Various ‘Eastern Approaches’

Galley Beggar (UK): Reformation House (No label, CDR, 2010)
Folk/Rock
Frances Tye, Prasanthi Matharu
This electric folk band’s first album sets its stall out early: the opening ‘The Outlandish Knight’ strongly recalls Back Alley Choir as well as seventies pioneers like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Folque plus more recent outfits such as the Eighteenth Day Of May, Magicfolk and Morrigan. The remaining eight tracks offer the same kind of classic folk/rock, with intricate and beautifully judged arrangements, creating an album sure to delight those (like me) who love the genre. In particular, the extended codas to the two closing tracks, ‘False Love’ and ‘Arise, Arise’, are quite sublime. GRADE: B.
Galley Beggar (UK): Galley Beggar (No label, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2012)
Folk/Rock
Maria O’ Donnell (principal vocals), Celine Marshall (violin)
Despite a change of both female vocalist and (also female) violinist, this is business as usual for Galley Beggar. This time round their sound is considerably more muscular, with the emphasis very much on the rock side of the equation, including plenty of piercing leads. Although there’s nothing over six minutes here, the band they most strongly recall is Trees; with a couple of ten minute-plus epics, their third album could be a masterpiece. GRADE: B.

Galley Beggar (UK): Silence And Tears (Rise Above RISECD189, CD, with slipcase, 2015)
Folk/Rock
Maria O’ Donnell (lead vocals), Celine Marshall (violin)
This isn’t the all-out Trees-style jamming folk/rock assault I’d been hoping for, but they’re definitely a key influence behind Silence And Tears’ authentically seventies sound, particularly on an excellent rendition of ‘Geordie’. Their own songs are consistently accomplished too, making for an enjoyable third album, if not one that breaks any new ground. GRADE: B–.

Galley Beggar (UK): Heathen Hymns (Rise Above RISECD208, 2017)
Folk/Rock
Maria O’ Donnell (lead vocals), Celine Marshall (violin)
Once again, the obvious influence on Galley Beggar is Trees: the music here is more robust than either Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span, and clearly has a foot in the psychedelic and progressive rock camp. They’re not in the same league as Trees, of course (who is?), but by the same token I’d be delighted if latterday Fairport or Steeleye could deliver an album as good as this. GRADE: B–.

Gambler (UK): Tommy (Spaceward SRS24, 1972)
‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Barbara Johnson (joint lead vocals)
‘Real people’ heaven or end-of-the-pier lounge hell, depending on your perspective. This obscure band covers the whole of the Who’s Tommy in an amateurish and low-budget style – why, I have no idea. Aside from some spectacularly awful falsetto vocals, the highpoint is ‘Acid Queen’, which approaches Shaggs-like levels of weirdness as the flat-voiced Barbara Johnson intones the sexually provocative lyrics with all the passion of someone reading a shopping list. GRADE: C.

Games (USA): Stargazer (Cascade Court DAT LP211, 1977)
Pop/Progressive
Colleen Fitzpatrick (lead vocals)
This scarce private pressing divides opinion sharply. Personally, I don’t like its naïve brand of symphonic pop – think late seventies or early eighties Olivia Newton-John at her softest, accompanied by proggy keyboard-based arrangements. Even the ten-minute centrepiece ‘A World Of My Own’ doesn’t see the band pushing any boundaries or displaying any aggression. GRADE: C.

Gandalf Featuring Vocals By Tracy Hitchings (Austria/UK): To Our Children’s Children (SI Music SIMPly 66, CD, Holland, 1994)
Progressive
Tracy Hitchings (lead vocals)
Hitchings’s one-off collaboration with Austrian multi-instrumentalist Gandalf yielded an album not a million miles away from her solo work and ventures with Strangers On A Train. With rather clichéd environmental lyrics, this is a pleasant but forgettable neoprogressive set, with the highlight by far being the closing instrumental ‘Evening Glow’, which strongly recalls Popol Vuh’s ‘Aguirre’. GRADE: C–.
See also Tracy Hitchings, Landmarq, Quasar, Strangers On A Train

Gandillion (Holland): Perrenette Gandillion (Killerwhale KWR 104, CD, 1998)
Progressive/Metal
Femke Feenstra (principal vocals, guitar, violin)
This short and rather slight album mixes influences from symphonic prog and gothic metal on three songs and a multi-part suite. With quite distinctive quasi-folky, just-about-soprano vocals, it has a slightly amateurish feel, but is enjoyable listening for all that. GRADE: C+.

Ruth Garbus (USA): Ruthie’s Requests (Burger BRGR 156, cassette, 2006)
Folk
Ruth Garbus (lead vocals, guitar)
This cassette EP (which some sources suggest was released in 2011, despite having been recorded five years earlier) offers six songs by the former Feathers member. Taped on a cassette recorder (which ensures a lo-fi, basement ambience and plenty of background noise) the material features Garbus accompanied by her own acoustic guitar, often sounding like a low-budget Sandy Denny. It’s nice stuff, but I can’t really see what the poor recording quality adds: this would have sounded better taped in a professional studio. GRADE: C+.

Ruth Garbus (USA): Rendezvous With Rama (Autumn ar10, CD, with minisleeve, 2010)
Folk
Ruth Garbus (lead vocals, guitar)
Like her earlier (at least in terms of recording) cassette, Garbus’s full-length album simply features her accompanied by her own acoustic guitar. Unlike the cassette, this is properly recorded, making for a lovely and haunting record. Issued in a minisleeve with an envelope-like flap, the CD was limited to 300 copies. GRADE: C+.

See also Feathers

Eddie Garcia & The Emeralds (USA): Mi Pecosita (Mi Sueño Recording, 1975?)
Lounge
Linda Garcia (occasional vocals, saxophone), Becky Garcia (saxophone)
Amiable lounge stuff from a family combo from New Mexico. According to the liner notes, this was designed ‘to please both the ranchera and soft-rock listeners’; with its nice stripped-down arrangements it might also appeal to fans of garage and light beat, and is just about quirky enough to interest ‘incredibly strange music’ collectors. GRADE: C+.

Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Cats Under The Stars (Arista AB-4160, 1978)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (joint lead vocals)
This pleasantly laid-back set often resembles the shorter numbers on the first side of Terrapin Station. There’s nothing ambitious or original on offer, but anyone who likes Jerry Garcia’s world-weary voice and gentle songwriting style will find much to enjoy here. Donna Godchaux wrote and sang the melodic ‘Rain’, which climaxes in an elaborate string coda. The CD reissue features a number of outtakes as bonus tracks, including a couple of other Godchaux-fronted numbers. GRADE: C+.
Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Don’t Let Go – Orpheum Theatre San Francisco May 21, 1976 (Grateful Dead GDCD 1078, double HDCD, 2001, recorded 1976)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals)
With Garcia, Keith and Donna Godchaux and a rhythm section, this unsurprisingly sounds like the Grateful Dead with a slightly bluesier edge. The absence of Bob Weir is both a blessing and curse: whilst I don’t miss his good-time material, his presence in the Dead did offset Garcia’s more soporofic tendencies (most notable on ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’). Nonetheless, this is a fine set, including one cut fronted by Donna (‘Strange Man’). GRADE: B–.

Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Garcialive Volume Seven – November 18th 1976, Sophie’s, Palo Alto (Round JGFRR1010, double CD, with digipak and booklet, 2016, recorded 1976)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals)
Tempos that amble (when they’re not crawling); lots of cover versions; not much under 10 minutes; and little to no energy. This ticks all the boxes on the checklist for a Garcia Band live album – including the one marked ‘really great music’. GRADE: B–.
Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Pure Jerry – Theatre 1839 July 29 And 30, 1977 (Jerry Made JGCD0001, triple HDCD, with digipak, 2004,

recorded 1977)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals)
Once again, this is so laid-back as to be almost horizontal, mostly consisting of lazily-interpreted covers. Although ‘Don’t Let Go’ somewhat outstays its welcome at 27 minutes, there’s some wonderful jamming on here, and it has that indefinable Dead atmosphere in spades. GRADE: B–.
Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Warner Theatre March 18, 1978 (Jerry Made JGCD0006, double HDCD, with digipak and insert, 2005,

recorded 1978)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals), Maria Muldaur (occasional vocals)
This is probably the best Garcia live retrospective I have heard, with a livelier performance than usual and with Maria Muldaur’s harmony vocals adding a rich gospellish edge to the proceedings. Despite a comparative lack of long jams, this is often as good as peak Dead, and this time round Weir’s absence is decidedly a blessing. GRADE: B–.
Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Bay Area 1978 (Jerry Made JGCD0009, double HDCD, with digipak, 2009, recorded 1978)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals), Maria Muldaur (occasional vocals)
Compiled from four different concerts, this features some pleasant material, including two fine long jams (30 minutes of ‘Don’t Let Go’ and 24 minutes of ‘Lonesome And A Long Way From Home’). On the downside, it’s all a little one-paced and quite soporific even by Garcia’s usual standards. For no obvious reason, this release sold out very quickly and is now rare and expensive. GRADE: C+.
Jerry Garcia Band (USA): Garcialive Volume Four – March 22nd 1978, Veteran’s Hall (Round JGFRR1005, double CD, with digipak and booklet, 2014, recorded 1978)
Rock
Donna Godchaux (occasional vocals), Maria Muldaur (occasional vocals)
This has nothing over twelve-and-a-bit minutes, so it’s never too soporific. However, despite some typically fine Garcia guitar jamming, its litany of cover versions proves pleasant rather than particularly exciting. Oddly, the closing ‘Midnight Moonlight’ fades out, making one wonder whether the master tape had suffered some damage. GRADE: C+.
See also Donna Jean, Ghosts, Grateful Dead, Heart Of Gold Band, Keith & Donna, ZÓÉ

Garmarna (Sweden): Garmarna (Massproduktion MASS CDS-54, CD, 1993)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (lead vocals, violin)
This debut isn’t what you’d call substantial (six tracks totalling 21 minutes) or varied (dense, dynamic violin and hurdy-gurdy-led folk/rock, mainly instrumental). Nonetheless, they have a very distinctive sound and plenty of energy, so this is still just about a B–. The disc was reissued 10 years later with half-a-dozen bonus tracks in a similar style and of a similar quality (Massproduktion MAS CD-54). GRADE: B–.
Garmarna (Sweden): Vittrad (Massproduktion MASS CD-61, CD, 1994)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (lead vocals, violin, flute)
Their first full album is a touch more varied than the EP – a couple of tracks are acoustic and the closer ‘Styvmodern’ is acapella. But this mostly demonstrates the same kind of intensity as their first release, with the same dense and distinctively Scandinavian sound, making you wonder how long they can sustain variants on this style. GRADE: B–.
Garmarna (Sweden): Guds Spelemän (Massproduktion MASS CD-69, CD, 1996)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (principal vocals)
This has the stürm und drang that their previous releases didn’t, thanks to a much more dynamic production and mastering. But whether they’re in acoustic or galloping full-on electric mode, they always sound like themselves. The result is a great folk/rock album by any standard. GRADE: B–.
Garmarna (Sweden): Vedergällningen (Massproduktion MASS CD-78, HDCD, 1999)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (leadl vocals)
Like its predecessor, this is a bold, creative and varied album of electric (and sometimes acoustic) folk. Whether they’re demonstrating as much variety between albums is a different matter, but that’s not something I’ve ever held against Steeleye Span or Malicorne. GRADE: B–.

Garmarna (Sweden): Hildegard von Bingen (MNW MNWCD 365, HDCD, 2001)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (lead vocals, violin)
As the title suggests, this consists of reinterpretations of works by von Bingen, and marks a considerable change of style. Whilst not as liturgical or classical as that might make you expect – this is still recognisably a Garmarna album – the arrangements here are much more electronic than before, with programmed percussion and even the acoustic instruments being heavily treated. Whilst this sort of thing can date badly, the change seems to have done them good, and for the most part they sound revitalised here. GRADE: B–.
Garmarna (Sweden): 6 (BMG 538194292, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2016)
Pop
Emma Härdelin (principal vocals)
The band’s first album in 15 years isn’t entirely removed from their former style, but many of these richly crafted synthesised pop songs could pass for the Eurovision entry from Sweden – or even Slovakia. In fairness, they’d probably be among your favourite entries from the year, and you’d probably comment on innovative way they’ve worked folky and ethnic elements into the mixes, but then I’ve heard actual Eurovision entries that have done that. GRADE: C+.
Garmarna (Sweden): Förbundet (Season Of Mist SOM 550D, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2021)
Folk/Rock
Emma Härdelin (lead vocals, violin)
Whilst techno elements remain prominent in the arrangements of some songs, there’s nothing here that could pass for a Eurovision entry from anywhere – I have no idea what Graham Norton or the late Terry Wogan would have to say about the much darker ditties here. As such, this is the intense, introverted yang to 6’s glossy yin, and hence much more appealing to my cynical tastes. GRADE: B–.

Gale Garnett (USA): My Kind Of Folk Songs (RCA LPM / LSP 2833, 1965)
Singer/Songwriter/ Folk
Gale Garnett’s debut album, issued to cash in on her hit single ‘We’ll Sing In The Sunshine’, is a rather lovely folk/rock affair, covering a broad range of styles and moods. Inevitably, not everything works well (the mock-Caribbean ‘Pretty Boy’ sounds embarrassing to modern ears), but most of the songs are of a high standard. About half the material is self-penned. GRADE: C+.
Gale Garnett (USA): Lovin’ Place (RCA LPM / LSP 3305, 1965)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/MOR
Again mixing originals and covers, this has a rather MOR feel and stronger jazz and blues touches than its predecessor. Well-done as it is, the music often has a strong cabaret edge, and I can’t see it appealing to many readers GRADE: C.
Gale Garnett & The Gentle Reign (USA): An Audience With The King Of Winds (Columbia CL / CS 2825, 1968)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
The first of Garnett’s two LPs aimed at contemporary rock audiences opens with the impressively trippy, Eastern-tinged ‘Breaking Through’. The remainder is more mainstream, however, rang from enjoyable though not very distinctive hippie pop to old-fashioned orchestrated balladry. GRADE: C+.
Gale Garnett & The Gentle Reign (USA): Sausalito Heliport (Columbia CS 9760, 1969)
Pop/Rock/Psychedelic
Gale Garnett (lead vocals, kazoo)
This has another winning opener – the oddball ‘Freddie Mahoney’ combines a sort of teenage soap opera storyline with surprisingly heavy and psychedelic backing. Most of the rest is excellent too, with some fine melodic rock jamming and lots of powerful period organ work. Noteworthy tracks include the jazzy ‘This Year’s Jam’, the Latin-esque ‘Berkly Barb Want Ad’, which features some lovely flute, and the lengthy and dramatic ‘Deer In The City’. Even more than …King Of Wands, this album makes clear just how deep Garnett’s sultry voice can be. Overall, this is by far the better of their two albums. GRADE: C+.

Garret Singers (UK): The Garret Singers (Argo ZFB 7, 1970)
Folk
Jenn Price (occasional vocals), Shirley Gammon (occasional vocals)
This pleasant traditional folk album offers typical folk club fare, but with the benefit of superb sound quality given a major label budget (though the production is odd, placing the vocals all over the stereo soundstage). Accomplished throughout, and varied too, this peaks (like many such albums) on the three female-fronted numbers, which have something of a Shirley Collins vibe. GRADE: C+.

Michael Garrick Sextet With Norma Winstone (UK): The Heart Is A Lotus (Argo ZDA 135, 1970)
Jazz
Norma Winstone (lead vocals)
The eight songs here, ranging from four to ten minutes, strongly feature Arabic influences, with some of the saxophone work reminding me of Gong’s Didier Malherbe, of all people. However, whilst this is intricate and beautifully crafted, the overall effect is mellow and pleasant rather than truly memorable. GRADE: C+.

Garrick’s Fairground (UK): Mr Smith’s Apocalypse (Argo ZAGF1, 1971)
Jazz/Progressive
Norma Winstone (joint lead vocals), Betty Mulcahy (joint lead vocals)
There’s no faulting Michael Garrick’s ambition here: as overblown as any progressive rock concept album, this huge cantata takes in everything from modern jazz to liturgical music to adults’ and children’s choirs and even a few moments that recall Shirley & Dolly Collins. Not everything works perfectly, and the results are sometimes a touch disjointed, but the album’s scope and scale is certainly admirable. A libretto was separately printed at the time. GRADE: B–.
Michael Garrick Band (UK): Home Stretch Blues (Argo ZDA 154, 1972)
Jazz/Rock
Norma Winstone (lead vocals)
One of Garrick’s (and Norma Winstone’s) best, this achieves the perfect blend of languorous, summery grooves and virtuosic intricacy. The side-long suite ‘Fire Opal And Blue Poppies (A Sequence Of Visions)’ is also among Garrick’s finest large scale compositions. GRADE: B–.

Michael Garrick (UK): Troppo (Argo ZDA 163, 1974)
Jazz
Norma Winstone (principal vocals)
Whilst the title gave me the foreboding that this might be Garrick’s stab at Latin jazz, this is thankfully nothing of the kind. Instead it’s in his usual style – a little austere, a little modal, somewhat horn-heavy, light yet perversely intense – and up to his usual standard. GRADE: B–.
See also Azimuth, Ian Carr With Nucleus Plus, Christy Doran’s May 84, Brian Patten, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Vocal Summit, Mike Westbrook’s Metropolis, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Zeitgeist

Mr & Mrs Garvey (USA): Mr And Mrs Garvey (Epic BN 26403, 1968)
Singer/Songwriter
Victoria Garvey (joint lead vocals)
Song titles like ‘It’s Quite A Lovely Painting, Mrs Custer, I’m Sorry Things Turned Out That Way For George’, ‘Orange Nickelodeon’, ‘Inside A Paper Stagecoach, Slowly’ and ‘Bon Voyage, Miss Tischhauser’ suggest that this is going to be popsike. In fact it’s basically a singer/songwriter affair, with folk and country elements, though some cuts have a period toytown hippie feel. Mostly it’s well done, with some lovely tracks, although the album is also rather uneven and never really outstanding. GRADE: C.
Pat & Victoria Garvey (USA): Songs 1965-1971 (Mud MG-7-203, 1971)
Singer/Songwriter
The second and final album by the duo formerly known as Mr. & Mrs. Garvey is very different to their first. There are no guest musicians, and they accompany themselves on piano, acoustic guitar and occasionally accordion. The result is a folky singer/songwriter effort without the self-conscious cleverness of its predecessor; overall I prefer this incarnation, although their sound is far less distinctive. Pat Garvey looks completely different on the cover, swapping his flowing locks and full beard for a shaved head and moustache. GRADE: C.

Gathering (Holland): Always… (Foundation 2004-2-NI, CD, 1992)
Metal/Progressive
Marike Groot (occasional vocals)
Popular wisdom has it that the Gathering was an anonymous doom/death metal band until Anneke van Giersbergen joined them in time for their third album Mandylion and transformed their sound beyond recognition. A listen to Always… confirms that isn’t entirely true, with many of their sonic elements already in place: Black Sabbath-inspired doom guitars, swathes of lush synthesisers and some faintly Eastern motifs. The big difference is in the singing, dominated by Bart Smits’s death growls, with Marike Groot barely appearing. Despite some good material and arrangements, this renders the album a little one-dimensional, and a more balanced blend of vocal styles would have lifted this enormously. GRADE: C+.
Gathering (Holland): Almost A Dance (Foundation 2000 FDN 2008 2, CD, 1993)
Metal/Progressive
Martine van Loon (occasional vocals)
Replacing both their vocalists, the Gathering offered a more melodic second work; there’s even a delicate acoustic ballad in the middle. Mostly this is firmly in the metal camp, though, with a definite Sabbath influence showing through, but also lots of lush keyboards. The result is a good album, but not a particularly distinctive one. GRADE: C+.
Gathering (Holland): Mandylion (Century Media 7798-2, CD, Germany, 1995)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals, percussion)
With their long-term singer on board for the first time, the Gathering produced their magnum opus. The opening ‘Strange Machines’ is simply one of the best songs of the nineties, fusing crushingly heavy, ultra-slow Black Sabbath riffing with Pink Floyd spaciness, all topped off with Anneke van Giersbergen’s stunning singing (matching Grace Slick for power and clarity, while sounding nothing like her). A whole album on the same level would be impossible to achieve, and the Gathering didn’t: most of the rest is in a similar style but with good rather than truly great songwriting. Nonetheless there are no weak cuts, and the wordless title track with its Eastern instrumentation also makes a strong impression. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Nighttime Birds (Century Media 77168-2, CD, with digipak, 1997)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals)
This isn’t as startling or as distinctive as Mandylion, but it’s equally good. Whilst there’s nothing here of the quality of ‘Strange Machines’, the excellent title track isn’t that far behind. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): How To Measure A Planet? (Century Media 7968-2, double CD, USA, 1998)
Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals, guitar)
This epic double album, running for almost an hour and three quarters, sees the band leaving its metal roots behind and incorporating strong influences from the shoegaze and industrial scenes. Whilst the record intermittently nods back towards their former sound, it’s mostly much more ambient, culminating in the closing title track, lasting nearly half an hour. By any standard, this was a bold and courageous step forward, and it’s another very good album. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Superheat – A Live Album (Century Media 77278-2, CD, Germany, 1999)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals)
Focusing mainly on material from How To Measure A Planet?, the band’s first live album is a solid affair, even if none of the interpretations surpass the studio originals. The few older numbers (‘On Most Surfaces’, ‘Strange Machines’, ‘Nighttime Birds’, ‘Sand And Mercury’) are probably the best, making you wish they’d issued a live set a couple of years previously. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): If_Then_Else (Century Media 77298-2J, CD, Germany, 2000)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals)
Probably as a response to steadily dwindling sales, this attempts to fuse the industrial and ambient undertones of How To Measure A Planet? with the heavier rock style of Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. The result is another good album, but one on which they essentially repeat themselves, and there certainly isn’t another ‘Strange Machines’ here. GRADE: C+.
Gathering (Holland): In Motion (Century Media CM 77368-7, DVD, Germany, 2002, recorded 1996-1997)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals)
This interesting DVD features highlights from two contrasting shows (the 1996 Dynamo Festival and an indoor gig with an impressive lightshow from the following year) separated by promotional videos for ‘Leaves’ and ‘Liberty Bell’. As usual for this incarnation of the band, it’s ‘Strange Machines’ (which appears twice) that really stands out, but both performances are excellent throughout. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Black Light District (Psychonaut, CD EP, 2002)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen
The title track is a superb sixteen-and-a-half minute piece with great variety and dynamics: the most ambitious single cut the band ever recorded, and far above the material that was appearing on their albums at the time. The two shorter pieces are very different: ‘Debris’ has techno and industrial elements, whilst ‘Broken Glass’ is a delicate piano ballad that would be reworked for their next album Souvenirs. The disc also features a fourth number ‘Over You’ (an excellent eerie ballad with some spacy effects) as a hidden track (annoyingly, concealed in the pregap, which means that many CD players won’t read it). There is also some multimedia content, while the Russian reissue adds five remixes of the Souvenirs cut ‘Monsters’. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Souvenirs (Psychonaut PSYN0004, CD, 2003)
Rock
Anneke van Giersbergen
Abandoning almost all their metal influences, the band offered an accomplished album of melodic rock with trip-hop and ambient influences (but not to the same extent as, say, Third & The Mortal). On one cut, they venture in a folk/rock direction, and only rarely do they include any hard rock elements. Overall this is solid stuff, but it’s not in any way exceptional. GRADE: C+.
Gathering (Holland): Sleepy Buildings – A Semi Acoustic Evening (Century Media 8168-2, CD, with slipcase, USA, 2004)
Folk/Rock
Anneke van Giersbergen
As the title suggests, this live album mostly offers stripped-down versions of some of the band’s most popular numbers. The majority of cuts feature acoustic rather than electric guitars, creating a sound closer to folk/rock than electronica or metal. It’s surprisingly effective, and emphasises the spacy undertones of much of their material. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): A Sound Relief (The End TE062, double DVD, with digipak and slipcase, 2005)
Rock
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals, guitar), Marjolein Kooijman (bass)
The 79-minute live set on the first disc is excellent, concentrating mainly on atmospheric but powerful versions of recent material. The second, running for 99 minutes, combines a tour diary, Dutch and Italian TV specials and animated clips for several songs, and is comparatively superfluous (as is usually the way with extras on DVDs). GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Home (The End TE065, CD, with obi, USA, 2006)
Rock
Anneke van Giersbergen, Marjolein Kooijman
This is not dissimilar in style to Souvenirs but has much better songs and some heavier riffs in parts. Whilst they’re still quite far removed from both metal and prog, this is a very varied and atmospheric album, with some superbly crafted material – easily their best for quite some time. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): A Noise Severe (Psychonaut PSYN0009, double DVD, with digipak and slipcase, 2008)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals, guitar), Marjolein Kooijman (bass)
The first disc offers a lengthy concert featuring lively performances, although perhaps lacking a little in variety. The second is packed with extras, including a documentary, interviews, music videos and more, making for a comprehensive and well-rounded set. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): A Noise Severe (Psychonaut PSYN0010, double CD, 2008)
Metal/Progressive
Anneke van Giersbergen (lead vocals, guitar), Marjolein Kooijman (bass)
The CD version of the set confirms that A Noise Severe offers an excellent cross-section of material. As with most live albums, the versions here are nowhere near as good as the studio originals, but this is still an important concert document. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland/Norway): The West Pole (Psychonaut PSYN 0011, CD, with digipak and booklet, Holland, 2009)
Metal/Progressive
Silje Wergeland (principal vocals, piano), Marcela Bovio (occasional vocals), Anne van der Hoogen (occasional vocals), Marjolein Kooijman (bass)
For their first album without Anneke van Giersbergen, the Gathering abandoned trip-hop and returned to their rock roots. That doesn’t mean this is conventional metal, though – far from it. Although the base is usually metallic, this has more of a psychedelic feel, with a new wave edge in parts. In fact, the opening instrumental sounds exactly like an outtake from Siouxsie & The Banshees’ The Scream, whilst the album also takes in a dramatic piano ballad and lots of sweeping strings before closing with ‘A Constant Run’, which climaxes in a truly magnificent Mellotron-driven coda with a Krautrock feel. Overall this is an impressive set, and the contrast in quality with van Giersbergen’s post-Gathering output is significant. Presumably the band tried out several female singers before settling on Octavia Speratum’s Silje Wergeland (an odd choice, but as it turned out an extremely good one) as both Anne van der Hoogen and Marcela Bovio sing and co-write one track apiece. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland/Norway): Disclosure (Psychonaut PSYN0016, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2012)
Rock/Progressive
Silje Wergeland (principal vocals), Marjolein Kooijman (bass, backing vocals)
Once again toning down the metal elements – which are few and far between here – the Gathering offer an unusual album of progressive-edged rock. Not really trip-hop, it’s relaxed, atmospheric and slightly ethereal, drawing on modern jazz here and there and techno on one cut, but with a glossy pop sensibility too. Overall it’s a quirky set that works extremely well, even if there’s nothing of the majesty of ‘A Constant Run’ from its predecessor. GRADE: B–.
Gathering (Holland): Afterwords (Psychonaut PSYN0019, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2013)
Rock/Progressive
Silje Wergeland (principal vocals, piano), Marjolein Kooijman (guitar, bass)
This unusual release compiles three songs from Afterlights (a limited edition 12" EP available with Disclosure if ordered direct from the band’s website), remakes of two Disclosure songs, three new band originals and a cover version. It concentrates very much on the trip-hop and electronic end of the band’s repertoire, sounding somewhat like Björk on the opening ‘SIBALD’ and moving close to modern jazz on the closing ‘Bärenfels’. Haunting, spacy and often rather trippy, it’s an interesting record but also a rather slight one, with ‘Bärenfels’ being the only cut that really takes flight. GRADE: C+.

Gathering (Holland/Norway): TG25 – Live At Doornroosje (Psychonaut PSYN0023, double CD, with gatefold minisleeve and stapled booklet, Holland, 2015)
Rock/Metal
Anneke van Giersbergen (principal vocals, drum), Silje Wergeland (occasional vocals, keyboards), Marike Groot (occasional vocals), Marjolein Kooijman (bass, backing vocals)
Celebrating the band’s 25th anniversary, this live set brings together almost all the musicians who have participated in it. The material also spans their career, though with a strong focus on the metal end of their repertoire; with luxurious packaging, the result is a career-defining set, though none of these versions eclipses the studio originals. GRADE: B–.

Gathering (Holland): Beautiful Distortion (Psychonaut PSYN0038, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2022)
Rock
Silje Wergeland (lead vocals)
On first impression, this strikes me as an average modern Gathering album, meaning I like it because I like their style. However, that also means that it contains no inidividually outstanding tracks – indeed, nothing really distinguishes itself as everything is very much of a piece – so this is a significant step down from Disclosure, let alone The West Pole. GRADE: C+.
See also Agua De Annique, Ayreon, Elfonía, Lords Of The Stone, Octavia Sperati, Orphanage, Stream Of Passion, Wonderlust

Gathering (UK/USA): Gathering (Hypertension HYP 9265, CD, Germany, 2009)
Folk/Rock
Kristina Donahue (joint lead vocals)
The cover bills the band as ‘legends of folk rock’ and with Jerry Donahue (Fairport Convention, Fotheringay), Rick Kemp (Steeleye Span), Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull) and Ray Jackson (Lindisfarne) on board that’s no exaggeration. However, supergroups don’t always make super albums, and this is a case in point. Reworking material from earlier in their careers, the band manage a solid, tasteful set that spans various strands of the genre, including quite a few West Coast and rural elements. But it’s all too varied to be cohesive and too comfortable to be exciting, so it’s considerably less than the sum of its admittedly impressive parts. GRADE: C+.

Jonna Gault & Her Symphonopop Scene (USA): Watch Me (RCA LSP 4081, 1968)
Pop
Whilst mildly interesting, this is a classic example of an album that doesn’t live up to its packaging. The cover is rather psychedelic, and the sleevenotes (describing Gault as formally trained in both music theory and studio engineering) raise hopes that it may be an avant-garde work of some significance. In fact it’s rather MOR late sixties pop, with big arrangements including prominent horns and orchestrations. That said, the LP is wide-ranging indeed, from showtune pastiches (‘The Pink Life’) to baroque balladry with a neo-classical feel (‘Love Will Tell You Why’) and mildly trippy light psych (‘Wonder Why, I Guess?’, inevitably oversold as ‘a mind-bending psychedelic masterpiece strangely reminiscent of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’’). Gault arranged and produced the album, and wrote almost all the material. GRADE: C.

Patrick Gauthier (France): Sur Les Flots Verticaux (Seventh A XI, CD, 1992)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Bénédicte Ragu (joint lead vocals), Julie Vander (joint lead vocals), Stella Vander (joint lead vocals)
This erstwhile Magma pianist’s solo album on a Magma-related label, with plenty of guests from Magma, is unsurprisingly zeuhl. However, whereas Christian Vander took his inspiration from Richard Wagner, Carl Orff and John Coltrane, the closing paean to Joe Zawinul makes cleaer where Gauthier gets his. As a tasteful sidestep from Merci, this has a nice mellow mood, but it completely lacks the fire and fierce innovation that made peak Magma so stunning. GRADE: C+.
Patrick Gauthier (France): Le Morse (Seventh A XX, CD, with digipak, 1996)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Stella Vander (joint lead vocals, programming), Himiko Paganotti (joint lead vocals)
The opening ‘The Good Book’ is far more soulful than anything on Sur Les Flots Verticaux, reflecting the worst tendencies of early eighties Magma, but at least it is lively. The remainder is pretty good zeuhl – better than his previous album and roughly equivalent to a fair-to-middling Magma LP. As a footnote, Stella Vander produced the album as well as sharing the vocals and programming the keyboards. GRADE: B–.
Patrick Gauthier (France): Clinamens (Arcàngelo ARC-1168, CD, with bookler, poster booklet and obi, 2016)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Himiko Paganotti (joint lead vocals), Isabelle Carpentier (occasional vocals)
Aside from Bernard Paganotti’s bass on one cut, this simply consists of Gauthier’s piano and Himiko and Antoine Paganotti’s complex, intertwined vocal lines. As such, this could have worked very well, stepping forward from Magma’s Les Voix, but the bright production and brash mastering rob the album of its intended atmosphere. GRADE: C+.