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Prog (off topic but bear with me)
Someone mentioned Universal Juveniles by Max Webster.
It's an excellent disc although the previous release,
"Mutiny up my Sleeve" has the awesome "Beyond the
Moon" which is more overtly "prog" than anything on
"Juveniles" (I love "Check", which my band used to
do live, "Chalkers" and "Cry your Life". "April
in Toledo" has a totally different meaning now that
I know where the heck Lake Louise is).
Some other groups that fit the bill: Planet X by
Derek Sherinian, Virgil Donati, Brett Garsed and
Tony Franklin. Imagine a hugely pissed-off UK with
a desire to burn and show lots of chops. I like it.
If you like the second UK cd "Danger Money" and want
more like it, check out Motoi Sakuraba's "Gikyoumansou"
(hard to find but worth it). It's keys/bass/drums
madness on the defunct "Made in Japan" label. I've
found more of his stuff from an obscure release called
"@ MIDI's Battle" that's equally as good if not moreso.
Other japanese groups with this leaning might be the
amazing Happy Family, the avant-jazz meets progrock
of Il Berlione, the amazing fusion of Kenso and the
'74 King Crimson homage of By Kyo Ran.
Other groups I dig in that genre: "Fire Merchants",
John Goodsall's side project with a more jazz-fusion-
prog vibe, Anglagard of course (and the swedish bands
that hung around with them like Anekdoten and Landberk).
Speaking of Sweden, bands such as Kultivator, Myrbien,
and Zamla Mammas Manna are all worth checking out but
finding the discs might be difficult. Kultivator at
their best reminds me of a darker Swedish Mahavishnu
but with a slightly jazier tinge. Myrbien are slightly
King Crimsonish with a Zappa-esque humor component
(check out the track "Disco Baby" - you could imagine
Yes, EL&P or Genesis doing that? Well, maybe Genesis..)
Zamla is great, I especially like "Family Cracks" (Five
Single Combats and Ventilation Calculation are standouts
and the live track "Pappa (With Right of Veto)" just kills
What's this got to do with looping? The group Transatlantic
has a 30 minute piece on their first CD that ends with a
four or five minute guitar loop (Full Moon Rising I believe
is the track if I'm not mistaken). It's Roine Stolt (the
Flower Kings, Kaipa and several other swedish bands),
Mike Portnoy (U.S. based drummer for Dream Theatre), the
bass player for Marillion (Pete Trewavas) and Neal Morse
(keyboards and vocals) who is usually in Spock's Beard.
I'd say check it out as the writing is better than their
respective bands in my opinion.