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.
Power pop will never die. At least, it won't as long as whippersnappers like Jonny Polonsky are around to infuse it with the youth and exuberance he displays on his debut album, Hi My Name Is Jonny. Just 22 years old, Polonsky inundated his idol, Frank Black, with tapes of his music. Black was impressed enough to not only get Polonsky a record deal, but to produce his debut. The Black touch is apparent throughout the album, especially on tracks like "In My Mind" and "I Don't Know What to Dream at Night," both of which boast loud guitars, sharp pop hooks, and cute lyrics. Occasionally, Polonsky overdoes the quirkiness that makes his songs unique – "Evil Scurvy Love" and "It's Good to Sleep" are a bit too silly for their own good. However, Polonsky's pop smarts create some terrific, catchy love songs like "Gone Away" and "Half Mind," which sound excited to exist. "Love Lovely Love" is instant gratification at its best, and "Truly Ugly and Dead Too" is as fun a put-down song as you're likely to hear. Too short at ten songs, Hi My Name Is Jonny makes Polonsky a name to remember.
Listeners familiar with any of Masaaki Suzuki's many Bach recordings for BIS are likely to know what to expect from his recording of the Well-Tempered Klavier Book II: immaculate playing, impeccable taste, and immediate sound. Perhaps best-known internationally for his series of recordings of Bach's cantatas and other sacred works, Suzuki started his career as a superlative keyboard player, and as his performance here on the harpsichord demonstrates, he has kept his skills well-honed.