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Friday, March 4, 2016

Sanguine Hum - What We Ask Is Where We Begin: The Songs For Days Sessions

Since I’ve started this blog back eight years ago while I was still in College working on my degree in Jazz Studies whilst champion the old and new Progressive Rock bands and artists, I’ve always knew that my ear was waiting for something special to happen. That and the music of Sanguine Hum. Since hearing their debut album, Diving Bell released six years ago, I’ve always wanted to hear what they have in store for me.

They have released so far three albums including a live performance they did at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg at Rosfest (Rite of Spring Festival) back in May of 2012, it’s almost like unexpected surprises they have in store whenever they release something spectacular for me in my opinion. This year, they released their lost album on the Esoteric Antenna on a 2-CD set entitled, What We Ask Is Where We Begin: The Songs for Days Sessions.

They released the Songs for Days album under the name, Joff Winks Band ten years ago. And you can imagine the band hated that name including Joff himself! What happened was when the album was released, it never got any fanfare without any light at the end of the tunnel until back in the summer of 2007 when it was released as a download and then disappeared. What it is, it is Sanguine Hum’s lost debut album, and it is a real treat.

Among supporters in the liner notes including Ian Fairholm who runs Eppyfest and runs his own podcast series entitled the Eppy Gibson podcast and snooker legend Steve Davis who runs with Kavus Torabi (Knifeworld, Cardiacs, and Guapo) of The Interesting Alternative Show on Phoenix FM in the UK, it’s an ear-listening and eye-opening experience of the unreleased gem that is finally getting the recognition and fanfare it deserves years ago. And the moment I put the CDs on, it was almost as if I was walking on water like Peter Sellers character, Chance in the 1979 film classic, Being There.  

I was very proud and excited when this album came out on the Esoteric Antenna label. And there are a few highlights on the 2-CD set that made me want to keep playing this album forever and ever. Before We Bow Down deals with about growing up and being mature to trust on your own. Drummer Paul Mallyon does clicking intro on the percussion before doing an arpeggiated section with the hi-hats as Baber and Waissman creates these moody improve to help out on the Electric Piano and Bass lines.

And with the line “What We Ask Is Where We Begin.” It’s a reminder where do we go from here and how we have to confidence and taking responsibility. The homage to the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Inner Mounting Flame-era gets a real kicking eruptive yet melodic rocking experience changing the story of the boy’s life on there must be something else to delve into real good music in the record shop for Milo. The disturbing alternative-rock acoustic train ride of a boy and behaving like a terrorist, gives it a chilling scenario for the Ace Train.

The inspiration between the Ziggy Stardust-era of David Bowie and Dark Side of the Moon-era of Pink Floyd, blend in very well together with a Prog-Glam-pop ascending new mixing of the bonus track of New Streets while the spacey synths, organ, and acoustic guitar set a voyage for the Apple Pie. Then, they take a Metal approach inspired by the sounds of Porcupine Tree which is unexpected, but eye-browing lift up moment for me of Double with a Gentle Giant and Yes approach into the blender for another spacey voyage.

But I love their take of Steely Dan’s Here at the Western World which was one of their lost tracks that appeared on some of the compilations. Sanguine Hum stay true to Fagen and Becker’s vision and it’s a beautiful cover that would have make them appreciate the unreleased track and give a stamp of approval with the Jazz Rock ballad and nailing right to the core of the duo.

Esoteric have again more home runs for me and the lost album of Sanguine Hum’s Songs for Days is a buried treasure that is releasing its light at the end of the tunnel momentum. The 2-CD set which features a 20-page booklet which talks about the songs, pictures of the sessions, and a history of the album itself. If you love the band’s music, I would highly recommend What We Ask Is Where We Begin. 

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