Monday, 14 May 2018

Darryl Way's Wolf "Saturation Point" 1973 + Night Music 1974 (formed from the ashes of Curved Air by Darryl, with Ian Mosley on drums-Marillion, John Etheridge on guitar-Soft Machine & Dek Messacar on bass -Caravan) UK Jazz Rock Fusion


Darryl Way's Wolf "Saturation Point"  1973 + Night Music 1974  (formed from the ashes of Curved Air by Darryl, with Ian Mosley on drums-Marillion, John Etheridge on guitar-Soft Machine & Dek Messacar on bass -Caravan) UK Jazz Rock Fusion 
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http://www.bandtoband.com/band/darryl-ways-wolf




Darryl Way's Wolf ‎"Saturation Point"1973

The band's second album, released a few scant months after their debut, found Darryl Way and co. still edging away from the Curved Air ideal, without doing anything to truly alienate that band's loyal followers. Indeed, there were moments throughout Wolf's career when they sounded more like the original Air than that band's current incarnation ever could. Of course it's the mad violin that best confirms the similarities, but one can only dream of how dramatic this band could have been had they only reached a wider audience. Listening to Saturation Point is like walking a tightrope, a taut, nerve-bending ride that takes you from the eccentric peaks of "The Ache" and "Two Sisters" (combined, one of the greatest album overtures of the year), to the boleric attack of "Toy Symphony," a cut that raises the specters of Caravan and ELP, even as it shakes off comparisons with anything else. This was indeed the peak of Wolf's musical career, an album that snagged all the high points from its predecessor, then mashed them with the experience that the live show brought into reach....by... by Dave Thompson....~

Actually the most interesting reason to check out this group is their line-up . Everyone of them will pop-up elsewhere - Etheridge in Soft Machine , Mosley in Marillion , Messakar in Caravan . This sort-of-supergroup-to-be does not get much credit with me , however. Not that the music is bad , far from it , it has some cool-hard-AOR-melodic prog that will certainly appeal 70's completist - to which I almost qualify but in knowledge only because there is no way I will rebuy those album - maybe one day I will do a compilation of those three albums on a CDR ( a friend has them on Cd ). As you might guess WOLF is Darryl Way's group and it sure does sound like it as his violin and kb are all-over the place. He was also a big influence into early Curved Air with Monkman as the other writer - he left after three or four albums and Curved Air was never the same after. This first album has only two or three tracks that are sung and there is sufficient space for the apt musicians for some great interplay but to me the problem is not enough creative songwriting. The last two tracks on side 2 are my faves..... by Sean Trane ...~

WOW! When a progressive rock band has violin and guitars in his music, usually they are not played at the same time. In fact, they are simultaneously played here, and this really contributes to give Wolf a very personal trademark. This not very well known prog band gives us here a wonderful album, full of impressive violin, electric + acoustic guitars and dynamic & punchy bass! No one else than Ian Mosley himself(Marillion)plays the drums here: they are very well played and quite complex. Everything is very well synchronized, like Gentle Giant. It sounds a bit like Curved air, Caravan, Happy the man, Gentle Giant and Frank Zappa, but this album has really its own sound, and this makes the band very interesting. The record is mainly instrumental, and the keyboards are surprisingly rare, simple and discreet: they mainly consist in electric piano. This record is heavier and more symphonic and straightforward than "Canis Lupus": there are some very seriously loaded parts, very progressive, and the violin is more omnipresent.... by greenback ....~

What a stellar line-up of excellent musicians, led by the crafty virtuosity of Darryl Way of Curved Air legend, with future Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge , future Caravan and The Strawbs bassist Dek Messecar and future Trace and Marillion drumster Ian Mosley. So what do we get? Some blazing string driven things with very few keyboards, the six string electric in battle with (at time against) the four string chin job! "The Ache" is a fiery instrumental opener that showcases Etheridge's rather tectonic playing as well as Way's capacity to parallel the emotional zeal with seeming ease. "Two-Sisters" leaves the station as a pleasantly sung Brit Rock piece, until the two soloists (the two brothers?) conspire to shred the arrangement to pieces, the little terrorists! Way in particular has a sizzling outro. "Slow Rag" is Etheridge's turn to show off his skills, weaving a leisurely guitar tapestry, in unison with Way's ultra-romantic glide, an ornate acoustic foray that has a definite Mediterranean feel, almost mandolin-ish , building up into a paroxysm of emotion and then gently ebbing, the violin's elegance leading the er. way. Mosley thrashes nicely on this fine piece. "Market Overture" supplies some electric piano musings, with supersonic jazzy electric guitar picking and a kindergarten violin sortie that builds inexorably, percussive adornments and booming bass taking this to an impromptu end. "Game of X" is at first straight ahead rock and roll, a two- fisted power boogie with scorching violin and some oddball hard scat singing but the shifting moods take this into a different expanse of improvisational violin screeching at the raucous guitar ramblings. Almost punkish at times, this definitely shows that the Wolf has big fangs. It becomes quite obvious that overproduced and lush symphonics are not what this rock predator is about. "Saturation Point" is a slow moving exploration that gives again both stringers the opportunity to forage above the bed of electric keyboards and seek out new sounds to play with, seemingly effortlessly. The classical tendencies here a quite remote as jazz or rock seem to be the prey of the day. Etheridge in particular has an electric guitar style that is enormously impressive, fluid yet raw, very animated as opposed to run of the mill. The bass rolls along nicely and keeps things nice and tidy. The fantastic finale is "Toy Symphony" (the definite highpoint here), which does revert to some intense violin classicisms but are quickly kidnapped by some weighty fuzz bass and cliff-hanger drumming, again flinging the arrangement into rockier geographies. Darryl Way displays his complete mastery over this tremendous instrument by choosing to eschew gratuitous note splashing and wringing out feeling and emotion from his trusted weapon. The final few minutes are a frenzy of exhilarating interplay that will leave you breathless. Just like being chased by a hungry wolf. Definitely worthy of your prog zoo, I mean.. collection. 4 canines...by tszirmay ....~


Credits 
Bass – Dek Messecar 
Drums – Ian Mosley 
Engineer – Derek Varnals 
Guitar – John Etheridge 
Keyboards – Darryl Way 
Producer – Sean Davies 
Violin – Darryl Way 
Vocals – Dek Messecar

Tracklist 
A1 The Ache
A2 Two Sisters
A3 Slow Rag
A4 Market Overture
B1 Game Of X
B2 Saturation Point
B3 Toy Symphony 













Darryl Way's Wolf  "Night Music" 1974 

On their debut album Canis Lupus, Darryl Way's Wolf included both instrumentals and vocal numbers, with bassist Dek Messecar taking on the latter duties. The album garnered critical acclaim, and in its wake the quartet embarked on a successful British tour. On-stage, however, Messecar found it difficult to combine vocals with his intricate bass playing, thus the band's sophomore set, Saturation Point, was comprised almost exclusively of instrumentals. It was a grand album, but also failed to chart, and Way became convinced that the lack of frontman was holding them back from success. Former If vocalist John Hodkinson was recruited to amend this flaw, and the new-look Wolf began work on Night Music, their third and final album. Hodkinson's arrival wasn't the only change evident on this set, many of tracks have a more abstract feel compared to their earlier work, with the album in general far "proggier" than its predecessors. This was partially due to the prominence of Darryl Way's synthesizer, particularly on "Anteros" and "We're Watching You," where it counterpoints John Etheridge's lovely guitar solo. Only on "Steal the World" does Way's violin play an important role. The set is more improvisational as well, but counter-intuitively less genre-bending, although the hints of British Beat that are tucked neatly into "Black September" and the funk that powers parts of "The Envoy" are strong reminders of Way's more eclectic past. Mostly, the album straddles rock and jazz, and although it too is a highly accessible set, only the final number, "Comrade of the Nine," could be described as catchy. Unfortunately, once again Way failed to break into the British charts, and when he was invited to return to his former band, Curved Air, he accepted the invitation, and his Wolf would roam free no more....by Jo-Ann Greene ...

Wolf was the band which Curved Air's violin/occasional keyboard player Darryl Way formed during '73/'74, whilst Eddie Jobson filled his shoes in that band. Assembling a selection of highly skilled musicians ; Ian Mosley (drums, and to this day, drumming for MARILLION), Dek Messecar (bass/vocals* - *1st two albums only) who later joined CARAVAN for the 'Better by Far' and 'The Album' releases, and John Etheridge (guitar), who later joined SOFT MACHINE for their albums 'Softs' and 'Alive and Well in Paris'. Employing a full-time vocalist, Colin Hodkinson, for this release (and he has a very good voice), enabled Dek more freedom for his, often stunning Bass playing, and this shows on the fantastic opening track, 'The Envoy'. Etheridge's guitaring is firmly in the jazz mould, and can remind one of an embryonic Holdsworth in style. This album, 'Night Music', is quite a gem, fairly consistent throughout, and fans of the abovementioned bands should most certainly enjoy all of Wolf's output. I wouldn't consider their music 'fusion', but it has hints of Canterbury and is a great example of U.K. progressive jazz-rock.... by Tom Ozric ....~

The scarcest of the three Wolf albums, Night Music is finally remastered and reissued along with its litter mates. For those who did not follow the sometimes tortured path of rock-bands-with-violins (re: High Tide, Curved Air, et al.) Wolf was one of those niche bands, appealing to the minority that thought adding an electric violin to a rock format was more than a great idea, and further appealing to the even smaller minority that preferred instrumental work to "songs". And that difference, between the instrumental and vocal, is the compromise which erodes the impact of Night Music. 

Following two albums that offered flashes of intensity and some fine instrumental stretches, blistering violin work and well-conceived interaction among instruments with a minimum of marginal singing and frankly silly lyrics, the pressures of commerce seemingly dictated a need for more familiar forms. Always a mistake since the word "familiar" already contains the implication that there's already plenty of whatever that is available. 
by Kerry Leimer 

Way was to bring ex-If vocalist John Hodkinson into the line-up for Night Music. Wolf's most accessible and commercial release benefited from his rich, individual vocal while greater use of keyboards changed the band dynamics to something more focussed. Ironically, this is where Way bowed out, rejoining his former band, and Wolf disbanded. ..by Peter Muir...~

Credits 
Bass Guitar – Dek Messecar 
Design [Graphics] – Colin Elgie 
Drums – Ian Mosley 
Engineer – Derek Varnals 
Guitar – John Etheridge 
Producer – Shaun Davies* 
Violin, Keyboards – Darryl Way 
Vocals – John Hodkinson

Tracklist 
1 The Envoy 6:34 
2 Black September 4:53 
3 Flat 2/55 6:59 
4 Anteros 4:33 
5 We're Watching 5:14 
6 Steal The World 4:22 
7 Comerade Of The Nine 2:44 



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