Sheckley review by Kev Rowland

Sheckley review by Kev Rowland :

Sheckley are basically a duo, created by Phil Jackson (keyboards, percussion, also in Paradox One) and Richard Gorman (guitar, vocals, percussion), although they are joined by Thierry Sportouche (Silver Hunter) on one song where he provides keyboards and vocals. This is music with a great deal of space within it, and a rawness that one rarely finds within progressive rock. At times I am reminded of Gong, at others Robert Wyatt, while Hawkwind have also been an influence. It also has a lot in common with the more ambient workings of Brian Eno, but never falling into the trap of New Age.

This isn’t always easy music to listen to, with songs such as “Solar Flares” channeling a RIO feel to proceedings with repetitive and contradictory musical themes, with drums that make an appearance here and there almost as an afterthought, but having an important part to play. By the time I had finished playing it the first time I couldn’t actually say that I enjoyed the album, possibly more “endured”, but there was something about it that did make me go through it again. There really is something quite compelling about this, even though it is hard to put it into words. With this one it really is a case of listening to it and everyone making their own decision. Available as a cut-price CD, it is also possible to stream through Bandcamp where you can hear the songs.

Paradox One – This Fragile Peace – review

Paradox One – This Fragile Peace


Article by: Roger Trenwith

Starting out as long ago as the start of the century, Paradox One was initially a solo project by Scottish keyboard player and spacerocker Phil Jackson, who over the intervening years became friends with Tim Jones of Census Of Hallucinations fame – find my reviews of four of that band’s albums HERE. To cut a long story short, the idea was floated of reimagining the project from the bottom up, that is from the grooves created by the CoH rhythm section of Tim Jones melodic bass in tandem with Paddi’s drums.

Central to this spacious cosmic trip is the recognisable soaring guitar style of John Simms, now firmly in the CoH camp, but once known to those of us long enough in the tooth as the teenage prodigy behind the marvellous Vertigo “spiral” band Clear Blue Sky. Also adding a top line is Maxine Marten with her soulful voice. The whole is a wonderful amalgam of semi-improvised music that works very well, imbued with trademark CoH psychedelics, and mixed and mastered with his usual ear for clarity by Tim Jones.

Like a gently rising sun, Wheat In The Fields slowly spreads its warmth amid gentle strummed chording and Maxine Marten’s multi-tracked voices. The dawn mist clears to the accompaniment of rhythmic intent and a distant preaching voice…”mushrooms in the dark” is a phrase that drifts by on the ether as John Simms lets rip waaay down in the mix with some searing notes, bent up the fretboard. This contrast between the cosmic ur-rock and the solid grounded rhythm will be an ongoing feature of the album.

Linking the tracks is the three part Ethereal Soldier, which as its title implies is an impressionistic piece, firstly built around Maxine’s beguiling tones, the second part then mirroring her melody line with John Simms’ liquid and lonesome guitar, joined in the final part of the trilogy by Phil’s organ, slowly drifting away, evoking strangeness and charm.

Giving “power in the darkest hour” during Darkest Night is the first hearing of Phil’s soulful piano playing, adding a layer of humanity to the otherwise cosmic vibes swirling around. These are much to the fore on the dreamy Waiting At Airports, a song that makes that most tedious aspect of travelling seem like something to look forward to.

All The Way, while built on a solid rhythm has a loose jamming feel, and Phil contributes some nice jazz-soul piano and organ that puts me in mind of Brian Auger. Here, we also get to hear Phil’s bluesy vocals for the first time, lending proceedings a good earthiness. Bluesy folk guitar licks shoot through the spacerock vibe of the title track, while another disembodied voice mostly out of reach is “never denied” and “signified”.

The album ends with an upbeat spacerocker, The Unknown Unknowns drives along in a fashion not a million miles from the punk-inspired Here & Now, with more great guitar and keyboard work atop the solid rhythm section.

Anyone familiar with Census Of Hallucinations, or the aforementioned Here & Now, Gong, Hillage, etc, should give this a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Comments on This Fragile Peace by Paradox One

paradox1advert“I don’t claim to be a acid rock aficionado by any means… but I do have an ear for melody and arrangements I think and you certainly excelled on both fronts there. You have put together an impressive band with Maxine, John Simms and Clear Blue Sky.I enjoyed all the album and found more to discover with each play… but I was especially grabbed by ‘Waiting at Airports’.  I mean this as the utmost compliment, but I could hear echoes of Gary Numan in there.  I’ve seen him a few times live in recent years and love the way he’s reinvented himself and his music, with his industrial/electronic sound… I could definitely hear him having a crack at ‘Airports’.  Likewise, Berlin-era Bowie… it has that human/machine/nihilistic quality that is hard to explain, but very appealing. Thanks for rekindling my interest in prog.”

(Simon Felton- Garfield’s Birthday and Pink Hedgehog label).

Download and CD available at Bandcamp

Paradox One – This Fragile Peace – video review

paradox1advertJust managed to have a quick listen to “Paradox One” “waiting in airports” (on-line in the library with my pound shop headphones)…Big congratulations to all involved, it sounds absoloutely great ! ! !….Totally love all of the playing / singing and instrument sounds etc (especially the hammond organ), some lovely mood changing musical shifts in there.

Max’s video is Completely Mind Blowingly Amazing !….I had a flashback to aprrox 1 year ago when I flew from The Toon to Ireland, then Ireland to Portugal, and then Portugal back to The Toon all in one weekend ( first flights since 1996 by the way, and none since ). There was a scene in the vid which took me right back to the view of Faro as we were preparing to land at the said airport….Once again very impressive stuff !

kev hodge