Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Various Artists (Label Samplers) - Recommended Records Sampler (1982) CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)


Various Genres

4.95 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars As far a label samplers go this might have been the most significant in that it opened a lot of people's eyes to a whole new style of music. This was originally released back in 1982 by Recommended Records and i'll let Chris Cutler the man behind the label explain the reason for releasing this recording. "In 1982 Recommended was 4 years old, the catalogue had expanded and the label was firmly established; a sampler seemed an obvious and necessary next step. Compiling extracts from existing releases would have been boring, so I asked the most interesting groups under our umbrella to record something new. Most of them did. All the Rio groups appear, except for ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN who had broken up, and the sharp edge of the new generation of British bands is also well represented(THIS HEAT, THE WORK, THE HOMOSEXUALS, AMOS AND SARAH). But Europeans and Americans still predominate; the Japanese had not arrived yet. Ths record would have sounded very different 3 years later". "Intended on it's release to be a practical compendium, 25 years on this collection reappears as an indispensible document of the range and musical brilliance of a handful of left-field groups struggling to give shape to new musical vocabularies. The breadth of their imaginations is exemplary. And Inspiring." Chris Cutler, May 2008.

I'd also like to say that it was about a year ago that I read a thread on this sampler where heavyweights like Udi Koomran(sound engineer extraordinaire) and Steve F.(Cuneiform Records) revealed that they both played this double album to death back in the day and even for them it was a major eye-opener and a revelation. That is when I decided I needed to get this. I'll touch briefly on most if not all of the songs. I have the 2008 25th anniversary edition which also reveals what all the bands were "up to" that participated 25 years previous.

Up first is VOGEL and the song "Bottle Train" and it's mostly keyboards, percussion and vocals. Kind of a relentless yet melancholic driving rhythm to it with vocals that are processed in some manner. I like it! FAUST follows and they play "The Voice Of The Pumpkin" which is "Extract V" from "Faust Party 3". You can tell right away that this is FAUST and expecially when the vocals arrive singing and shouting. This is experimental as you might imagine. ART BEARS are next with "All Hail!" and they are a trio of Cutler, Frith and Krause. This is one of their more accessible tracks and I would even call the chorus catchy. Of course with Dagmar singing it has an avant-garde feel to it. STORMY SIX offers up a really cool tune in "Reparto Novita". The vocals are great and the song is even better. A mid-paced melancholic beauty. THE HOMOSEXUALS play "Walk Before Imitate" and the band they also remind me of is CARDIACS with the high energy and vocal style. JOSEPH RACAILLE and PATRICK PORTELLA's song is a relaxed short tune with clarinets, piano and vocals. FELIU GASUL ends side one of the original vinyl. He went on to make a lot of albums and in the process became one of Spain's leading guitarists and composers. A beautiful track really with acoustic guitar, flute and piano leading the way.

Deranged vocals and loud percussion standout on the next song "Strangelove" by THE BLACK SHEEP. UNIVERS ZERO hits a homerun with "Influences" written by Kirk. Man this is a top five on here for me for sure. Just a classic UZ song that any fan would drool over. Love when it gets more intense around 1 1/2 minutes in. ASAK MABOUL/HONEYMOON KILLERS are up next with a song with some killer bass clarinet in it along with male and female vocals. "Houdini" is a song played by THE WORK. Tim Hodgkinson plays hawaiin guitar. There are male vocals and it's a cool tune to say the least. HENRY COW offers up a couple of songs in "Slice" and "Viva Pa Ubu" written by Coper and Hodgkinson respectively. The first is an instrumental and I like it but the second is a little more difficult with Krause singing and shouting along with the rest of the band. The first album ends with an extract from a radio broadcast from DECIBEL who are from Mexico. An excellent track with some left of center clarinet while the percussion and keys form a steady rhythm.

Album number two begins with ART ZOYD's "Simulacres" with horns blasting then some sinister sounding piano and bass groove joins in. Eerie sounding strings resound with short but fast precision. It becomes mesmerizing after 3 minutes then changes with a variety of sounds before becoming intense again. I love how themes are repeated throughout. Next we get two tracks from THE MUFFINS, both of which are part of "Chronometers". Great stuff! Check out the heaviness of "Berlin" by HEINER GOEBBELS. The sound of glass can be heard breaking as female spoken words in German join in. Soundscapes of many different happinenings involving people come and go. This is experimental but oh so interesting the way they mix the music with the soundclips. Love the scream that comes and goes(haha). A top five track. Next is AMOS AND SARAH which is catchy with odd sounding female vocals and backing vocals to match. I like this one, it's a little over the top but I admire it. CONVENTUM from Quebec are next with "Commerce Nostalgique" which is a gorgeous composition with intricate sounds of beauty. HECTOR ZAZOU performs "Vera C" an emotional piece of music that has to be in my top five.

Side four of the double album begins with THIS HEAT's "Pool" with it's intense rhythm and experimental sounds leading the way. Such a cool track. Another top five song is by THE RESIDENTS called "Walter Westinghouse". It is really funny when the guys pretty much speak the words, especially the one who sounds like a hillbilly. It gets really intense late. What a song! R. STEVE MOORE is new to me but I love his vocals and the music. He reminds me of Kevin Ayers when he sings and we are blessed with two tracks here. Both are catchy and I can't stop playing them! Inventive as well if you get a chance to hear either "Pedestrian Hop" or "Follow Me". What a talent. PICHIO DAL POZZO's "Uccelini Del Bosco" is a top five. Each instrument stands out and the vocals are so expressive. It all ends with ROBERT WYATT's "The Internationale". Vocals and marching styled drums lead the way.

This sampler introduced a lot of people to some of the most adventerous and innovative music on the planet, and so I guess i'm a little in awe of it and feel the 5 stars is warranted in more ways than one.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password


Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives