"Musician's Corner" - A look at what has been occupying the editorial CD player at TWR HQ.

It may come as something of a shock to some of you to hear that TWR's editor does NOT listen to Genesis and related music 24/7. Far from it in fact! I thought, therefore that it might prove useful to revive this feature which was a regular feature in TWR's sister publication: The Pavilion. So, what has been on the TWR playlist recently? We shall see….

First up, the latest album by Norwegian popsters A-Ha; Analogue. I have always had a soft spot for this band ever since they broke into the UK music scene back in the early eighties. They have progressed and evolved a LOT since those days but their music has always been well crafted and delivered. This is certainly the case with Analogue especially the infuriatingly catchy title single which I did not even recognise as theirs until it was announced as such by a radio DJ! As usual, the band deliver their songs in style with catchy lyrics and excellent music - a breath of fresh air and well worth a listen!

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A-Ha: Analogue. Universal Records 9875415.

Anyone who attended any of Steve Hackett's shows last year will probably remember the music which was playing over the house PA systems before showtime. An atmospheric album called Cerulean Blue by a group called Rain. An intriguing mix of music and spoken word narration which always seemed to linger in the mind long after you have heard it. A different approach and something which will provoke thought as much as enjoyment.

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Rain: Cerulean Blue Telos Music TelosCD072 (for info contact: www.telosmusic.net)

Another aural challenge for the senses comes in the shape of the latest album by Karda Estra. Richard Wileman, the man behind Karda Estra, is without doubt one of the most challenging of today's "avant garde" composers. An album by Karda Estra is never a picnic (unless it is one at Hanging Rock!) but there is a great deal to be said for music that challenges your perceptions and makes you uneasy about what you are hearing. The Age Of Science And Enlightenment is another deceptive album title. Most of the music that sits on the eight tracks on this album would not be out of place on the old TV series "Tales Of The Unexpected". There is always an underlying sense of menace and foreboding to Richard's compositions which takes this album far away from mainstream into a realm which most others fear to tread - not for the fainthearted but excellent stuff nonetheless!

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Karda Estra: The Age Of Science And Enlightenment. Cyclops Records CYCL158. (For info contact: www.kardaestra.co.uk)

Another favourite in the TWR HQ CD player is Welsh singer songwriter Martyn Joseph whose latest album; Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home is another delightful slice of balladry and storytelling in Joseph's own unique style. His way of songwriting seems to be a dying art now and thankfully he has continued to pursue his own muse without bowing to commercial or other pressures. There is nothing more refreshing than hearing an artist who is confident in his own work and Martyn's work is always a delight to the ears - excellent stuff!

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Martyn Joseph: Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home. Pipe Records PRCD007 (For info contact: www.martynjoseph.com)

Maddy Prior is a name which will possibly be familiar to some of you. Without doubt, one of the finest female singers ever to emerge from this Sceptr'd Isle and her album Arthur The King is another fine example of her craft. As its title suggests, this album has its central theme around the Arthurian story although, as usual there is more to it than that. An album in the grand tradition of storytelling and English Folk music at its very best. The album also includes fresh renditions of several classic Folk songs including Reynardine, Fanny Blair and Lark In The Morning all of which are given a fresh vibrancy by Prior's exquisite voice - bloody marvellous!

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Maddy Prior: Arthur The King. Park Records PRKCF58

Sad Café should certainly be no strangers to readers of TWR. They were the band in which the sadly missed Paul Young originally found fame before joining The Mechanics. Sadly, the majority of Sad Café's back catalogue remains unavailable but thankfully this compilation; The Best Of Sad Café is here to remind us just how good a band Sad Cafe actually were, and for once the "Best Of" title is fully justified. From the wonderfully poignant Everyday Hurts and Black Rose to the manic Strange Little Girl and the wonderfully tongue in cheek La-Di-Da this compilation is a brilliant reminder of a great band and a marvellous performer who loved performing to a crowd and who is sadly missed by many - me included!

Sad Café: The Best Of Sad Café BMG Music 74321206492