The Space Box contains three discs of prog rock and art rock, as well as trance-inducing Kraut rock, from the early '70s. Most of this music was inspired by the sonic experimentalism of late-'60s Pink Floyd – it builds on the long, free-form coda to "Interstellar Overdrive." There are subtle differences between the bands – for instance, Hawkwind tends to lean toward hard rock more than their contemporaries, who explore psychedelia and classical music flourishes. Even though the set is well compiled and contains some fine songs (Faust and Gong sound particularly good), there's no denying that there is a limited audience for this, even among prog-rock fans. It's experimental music that is oddly limited, working the same vibe, if not the same sound. If you're not a fanatic of space-rock, then the three discs of The Space Box will simply be too much to digest.
This stalwart independent label, headquartered in San Francisco, began in a small Ann Arbor club and grew into one of the most important imprints in blues. Thirty-three tunes ricochet between the potent old-school Chicago stylings of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells's classic "Hoodoo Man Blues" and Big Walter Horton'ss swinging shuffle "Put the Kettle On" to the intriguing pop-folk hybrid of Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo and the dashing retro-nuevo guitarisms of Nick Curran & the Niteflies to the brawny Texas-schooled sounds of Omar & the Howlers and Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King. The label's Delta blues side is underrepresented, although James Cotton and Elvin Bishop offer two great flavors of cottonland grind.
Official Release #103. Performed/Arranged/Conducted by Frank Zappa. Road Tapes, Venue #3 features two complete shows from Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. The July '70 Mothers line-up featured Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Aynsley Dunbar & Jeff Simmons. FZ's vast Vault does not contain many full shows from this time period, so that alone makes this release a special one. The tapes were recorded to stereo reel-to-reel, but not without problems. Due to their historical relevance, we felt it was worth it, warts 'n all! Venue #3 does not disappoint.