Sealed Envelopes and Revelations: A Review of Muse’s ‘Simulation Theory’ Tour

By J.E. Anckorn and Michael Grasso

Muse enjoyed a brief moment of cool back when “Knights of Cydonia” rode the lands, but they’ve never been cool since. Liked by The Wrong Type of Nerd, Italian guys with great hair, and people who have very serious conversations about guitars in magazines called things like Fretful Gentleman Monthly, they seem to be trying a little too hard to be good at playing rock music for Serious Music Types…

Drifting Like Smoke: Hiroshi Yoshimura’s ‘Soundscape 1: Surround,’ 1986

Japanese ambient music grew out of the 1980s “economic miracle” that saw the country undergo massive urban development and industrial expansion, with Tokyo emerging as a global financial and cultural mecca. Hiroshi Yoshimura, a sound designer by trade and a musician since age five, was the defining figure of a close-kept movement he and fellow pioneer Satoshi Ashikawa called “environmental music”…

Murder Ballads, Stately Homes, Elven Armies: Steeleye Span on ‘Electric Folk,’ 1974

British folk-rockers Steeleye Span were arguably at the height of their powers and popularity in the mid-1970s, and their television series Electric Folk, broadcast on BBC2 in 1974 and 1975, shows exactly why. The series showcased the band’s blend of traditional British folk music and rock and roll to perfection, with the added bonus of being recorded in some of Britain’s oldest stately manors…

Deep Sea Soundings: Walt Rockman’s ‘Underwater: Vol. 1’

By K.E. Roberts

A lush selection of library and ambient music—the two often overlap—attempts to evoke the ocean in its many guises, an artistic practice that goes back in the West to the tone poems and symphonic sketches of classical composers from Beethoven to Debussy. After World War II, the orchestrations of what came to be known as exotica, a subset of lounge music, attempted to capture the enchanted South Seas…

The Cyber Baroque World of Italy’s Rondò Veneziano

Positing a fantasy world where Renaissance and Enlightenment values co-existed with the joys and preoccupations of the coming technological age, the Rondo Veneziano orchestra was the brainchild of Italian record label owner Freddy Naggiar, who noticed the lack of Italian instrumental music on the international scene and charged orchestra director and arranger/composer Gian Piero Reverberi to come up with someone or something to fill the gap…

All Graphite and Glitter: ‘Down the Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story’

By Michael Grasso

Earlier this year, while on a YouTube nostalgia tear through NBA highlights from the late ’70s and early ’80s, I made the following observation on Twitter after watching a live performance of Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Let It Flow (For ‘Dr J.’)” set to vintage hoops footage: “The sound of my early childhood is ineluctably a Fender Rhodes electric piano”…

A Future with Nobody Inside: Chrome’s ‘Red Exposure’

By Richard McKenna

Though sometimes dismissed as a disappointing compromise between the two phases of Chrome’s musical output—the delirious, expressionist SF punk cut-ups of Alien Soundtracks (1977) and Half Machine Lip Moves (1979) and the more “traditional” LPs that followed, like Blood on the Moon (1981) and 3rd From the Sun (1982)—Chrome’s fourth LP, 1980’s Red Exposure, could scarcely sound more uncompromising…

“In London” by Vangelis and Neuronium, 1981

This atmospheric piece, which would later be given the name “In London,” was part of an improvisation session featuring Greek synthesizer musician Vangelis and Spanish electronic group Neuronium. Filmed in 1981 for Spanish TV program Musical Express as part of “Serie Amigos” (the “Friends Series”), the performance was recorded at Nemo, the London recording studio that Vangelis had established in 1975 and where he would continue to work until 1983…