Rather than the usual Jestersaurus preambling -- or pointless, vacuous rambling if you like -- this issue of Jestersaurus will offer a link to a review of NEARfest 2001. Not just any old review mind you, but a continuation of the quality NEARfest coverage that has graced the pages of Exposé for the past 2 years, except maybe perhaps not quite as good. Let it be hereby known that in our quest to provide champion competition contact concert coverage, we will arrive at the gates of dawn and take no prisoners! We intend to provide concert coverage that TROUNCES the competition, of which in this particular form there admittedly is none. That's because Jestersaurus NEARfest coverage promises to be entirely without value to the reader who is looking for a reliable, credible, informative representation of the musical events of the weekend, or indeed, any events that have actually transpired at all. Jestersaurus NEARfest coverage promises to add absolutely nothing of substance to the discourse which is no doubt taking place in numerous public fora as we speak. If this sounds exactly like the uninformative rubbish that you've been looking for then follow this link!

NEARfest 2001

Click Chad's dress for detailed NEARfest review

(photo courtesy of Juan Joy)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Section 1: The Pit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These are the headline reviews for this issue. In keeping with the festival motif, it would perhaps make sense to save the best for last like they do at concerts, but we're afraid you might not stick around if the other ones suck.

<>Aksak Maboul<>
<>Aksak Maboul, perhaps the most celebrated zoomoozophone troubadour ever to ply his trade along the sketchy border towns between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, sings his stories of multi-vector diplomacy and of a rigidly defined sovereignty and territorial integrity, ready to take a democratic Kazakhstan into the 21st century.
Aksak Maboul

"Overall a very good album and one that is considered de rigueur for RIO fans." Tom Hayes

"For hardcore collectors of progressive rock music, the obscure megabuck private pressing almost always ends up being somewhat of a disappointment." Tom Hayes

<>Trust him dear readers, this is a man who has experienced it relentlessly, first hand.

"So when a pure gem like Avalanche is found while wading through the chaff, there is some real cause to take notice and celebrate."

<>Oh hoorah. Of course, knowing the author of this piece, the following is inevitable:

"The album is only available as a very expensive original and has yet to see a CD release."

"Movin' On is one of the best progressive rock albums from Switzerland. All in all, this album is a must have, if only for the classic title track." Sjef Oellers

<>This band should be no stranger to Krautrock fans, having been a dominant force in the scene for decades now. Sjef Oellers obviously spent a very, very long time on this informative overview, proving without a doubt that he has no life.

"In all, a compelling album that may be a little too low-key for some, but fans of Popol Vuh and similar types of music will find plenty here to enjoy. Highly recommended." (Originally reviewed as part of Media Look: Lost Vinyl - An Introduction, Exposé #4, p. 7, Edited for Gnosis 2/9/01)

"Visions of demons abound, dark forests shrouded in fog, fear and death, the dark and sinister side of humanity . . . eerie, dark and brooding, full of frightening imagery and foreboding melodies." Peter Thelen

<>Big deal. My wife gets that every morning before I've had my coffee.
(There are three or four reviews and an overview originally published in Exposé.)

<>Hatfield And The North<>
<>Jeff Melton wrote a bunch of junk about a couple of their albums.
Hatfield And The North

<>Jade Warrior<>
"The Vertigo Period . . . The Island Period . . . The Underground Years . . . The Red Hot Period"

<>So why aren't "The Underground Years" considered a "Period"? Huh? I mean, the other chunks of time are given the lofty soubriquet "Period", so why the heck not "The Underground *Period*"? This really pisses me off. I don't get paid enough to take this kind of crap. If you still want to read about Peter Thelen's stupid bloody padded periods then go here:
Jade Warrior

<>Minimum Vital<>
<>France. 1983. Electricity is France's fourth largest export, and they are the world's largest net electricity exporter, deriving much of this power from uranium mined in Australia. However, due to their nuclear testing program in the South Pacific, Australia's Labor Government banned uranium exports to France, initiating a nationalistic rivalry that to this day threatens the peace and security of the entire globe. These are the times that gave birth to Minimum Vital, a story well chronicled here. (Originally published in that magazine that we keep talking about).
Minimum Vital

"Spirit have been one of California's most loved and long-lived rock groups, from their debut in 1967 up until the present day. . . The untimely and sad death of founding guitarist Randy California affords us the chance to pay homage to this trailblazing band that pushed its musical limits to the extremes of rock, jazz, blues, and classical music. Ironically, we at Exposé had already planned this career retrospective even before California's passing, inspired by the recent re-release of Spirit's first four albums on CD with greatly enhanced sound and amazing bonus tracks. Each of these will be reviewed in detail." (Originally appeared in Exposé #13, Page 28).

<>So what if the boring, conservative cover of Le Tresor de Valliesres looks like it came from your great grandmother's Baptist hymnbook:

"Their third album is certainly one of the better retro-symphonic prog albums of the 90's." Mike McLatchey

~~~~~~~~~~~~Section 2: The Grand Tier~~~~~~~~~~~~

This section would still be in this position if we had the first section first and the last section last instead of the last section first and the first section last, so what you get is an accurate metaphorical thing-a-ma-bob.

<>Dan Ar Bras<>
" . . . in the same league as mid-period Jade Warrior, early Steve Tibbetts, Mike Oldfield, and others who tend to eschew convenient classification." Peter Thelen

<>Well, I don't know how convenient it is to chew classification at all, but "a very unique album, full of fire, mood and surrealism" sounds like something I'd love to chew on at my convenience any time. (Originally published in Exposé #1, p. 11, Edited for Gnosis 1/21/01).
Dan Ar Bras

<>Black Jester<>
<>The proof positive product of progressive rock's long-standing commitment to affirmative action, Black Jester presents us with a face of a different color!
Black Jester

<>Duello Madre<>
<>Named in honor of the dueling mothers of Antonio Cannolio, the mythical prince of Italian desserts. During one of their numerous fistfights over who was Antonio's true mother, disaster struck as they fell on one another and mixed their desserts together. "You gotta you ricotta onna my pizella", exclaimed madre uno. "You gotta you pizella inna my ricotta", protested madre duo. They tasted it and realized these two great tastes tasted great together, and thus were born the cannoli and the inspiration for the band, Duello Madre.
Duello Madre

" . . . I would recommend this one only if you're an obsessive collector." Sjef Oellers

<>I wonder how many copies Tom Hayes has?

<>I Giganti<>
"I was irritated by the enormous . . . melancholic . . . non-stop . . . outburts . . . of . . . bombastic . . . chees[e] . . . on the edge of . . . the fantastic . . . excellent . . . and great use of mellotron." Sjef Oellers
I Giganti

"The lyrics, the weakest element in the mix here, range from cold to even worse - Like "Father Moon", where entire lines, even entire verses are ripped off from mid-period Genesis tracks we all know well. "Box of Dreams" is completely uninspired rambling, and "Cheap Dreams", while intended to convey a serious anti-drug message, is so disjointed that the intent is completely lost." Peter Thelen

<>Sounds like a contender for the "Banished Bridge" award for English lyric writing. (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.10, Edited for Gnosis 3/23/01).

<>Ken Watson<>
"This is smokin' hot, folks - the kind of music they don't make much of anymore . . . Originally released independently in 1985, Watson's home-brew project with its black and white low-budget cover has stood the test of time, and has now been reissued, with bonus tracks, on the Kinesis label." Peter Thelen (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.16, edited for Gnosis 3/24/01).
Ken Watson

"A minor classic of the Scandinavian scene." Sjef Oellers

"Often the band sounds about as creepy and threatening as Univers Zero. There are several beautiful, almost pastoral melodic sections, but usually within a few bars musical elements foreshadowing upcoming disaster or threat fill the sonic air." Sjef Oellers

"The lyrics, music and other elements are all brought together in each song into a strong, cohesive whole that is very engaging . . ." Rob Walker
". . . they approach the music with significantly less enthusiasm and energy, the result being like a subdued boil rather than the explosiveness the writing begs for." Dan Casey

<>Meet these guys in the parking lot after school to see who's really right!

"This sounds very similar to the legendary Swiss neo band Deyss . . ." Mike McLatchey

<>I guess that's kind of like a new car model being compared to the legendary Yugo. (originally reviewed as part of The New Italian Progressive Rock Scene (part 1), Exposé #3, p. 8, Edited for Gnosis 3/27/01)

<>Living Life<>
"Living Life rarely gets any attention in discussions on Italian prog . . . Nevertheless, both their albums are worth investigating if you like spacey fusion." Sjef Oellers
Living Life

"This is the first album by this renowned Belgian symphonic-rock band, who would go on to release two more excellent albums (Jester, Mechanical Moonbeams) before a rapid slide to a very commercial sound." Peter Thelen

<>That's right folks, they have an album called "Jester", from 1977! High commendation indeed! (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.15, Edited for Gnosis 3/22/01)

"Probably closest in many ways is Slovenia's Devil Doll with their penchant for dark overpowering lyrical pomposity, but Malombra seem to develop their themes a little more." Mike McLatchey (Originally reviewed as part of The New Italian Progressive Rock Scene (part 1), Exposé #3, p. 8, Edited for Gnosis 3/24/01).

<>Adrian Marcator<>
"In summary it could be said by comparison, that Eiderland is to German folk music what the first couple of Horslips albums were to Irish folk music: A modern refinement and instrumental approach to a style steeped in traditions." Peter Thelen (Originally published in Exposé #1, p. 9, Edited for Gnosis 1/27/01).

<>Kimio Mizutani<>
"A Path Through Haze is an almost completely instrumental album, where heavy psychedelic acid guitar rock and Canterbury jazz rock are combined." Sjef Oellers

<>Omnia Opera<>
". . . a would-be tour-de-force that could deliver on many levels, yet the one thing that holds it back are the simplistic dual-vocals that rarely do much more than follow the guitar chords in mindless unison. When the vocals ease up, Omnia Opera become a swirling hallucinogenic stew of turbulent energy, with occasional rave-up flights into pure psychedelic madness." Peter Thelen (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.13, Edited for Gnosis 3/25/01).
Omnia Opera

<> So why aren't any of this ex-Magma bassist's albums reasonably distributed? Just curious. [Silly dinosaur: I found one at NEARfest!]

<>Pär Lindh Project<>
<>This is a historical perspective in which Mr Dr Rob LaDuca acts like he knows what he's talking about.
Pär Lindh Project

<>Pholas Dactylus<>
<>1970s Italy has produced and fired more one shot prog rock bands than 1400s Italy produced and fired one shot matchlock muzzleloading muskets. Is Pholas Dactylus' album worth blowing some hardearned buckshot on? Find out here:
Pholas Dactylus

<>Pink Floyd<>
"Sometime in '92 Pink Floyd released some sort of 25th anniversary collectors box set, the title eludes me at the moment, but the content does not: it was simply a bunch of their regular albums repackaged in some new clothing, with one extra disc - the contents of which had already been released on CD . . . For any longtime fans who were profoundly disappointed with that set, then Total Eclipse is for you!" Peter Thelen (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.10, Edited for Gnosis 3/23/01).
Pink Floyd

<>Recordando O Vale Das Macas<>
" . . . the music is a heavily folk-influenced melodic rock, for the most part happy and festive, maybe recalling the gentle melodics of early PFM or Maxophone, mixed with a bit of the hard-hitting pyrotechnics of Finch . . . Highly recommended." Peter Thelen (Originally published in Exposé #3, p.18, Edited for Gnosis 3/24/01).
Recordando O Vale Das Macas

<>This is a historical perspective in which Mr Dr Rob LaDuca acts like he knows what he's talking about.

<>Tasavallan Presidentti<>
<>An unusual case where the tasavallan presidentti (president of the republic) actually becomes a prog rock band! Brilliant!
Tasavallan Presidentti

<>You just can't help but like a band with album covers that feature a real piano in flames, and a firing squad about to plug someone's head with lead. Delightful!

<>Of course there's got to be a blasted "Z" in this section, doesn 't there? I mean, I'm busting my butt here and at this point all I want to do is finish so I can hang out and put on the police scanner or soup up my low flow toilet or something. I hope you people appreciate this.

~~~~~~~~~~ Section 3: The Balcony ~~~~~~~~~~

These are the ones that should have been first but they're at the end instead just in case they suck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Letters~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
You animal! You freak! You ruin my hotel! You break my bed! You make big mess! My cleaners they no clean no room! My plumber he no work here no more! The policeman they charge me 3000 dollar! The fireman they charge me 5000 dollar! My wife and my mother they cry all the times now! My daughter she pregnant with a reptile! The other hotels they laugh at me! You no stay here no more! I give you bill! What do you say about this?

The Management

Dear Mr The Management,
You wouldn't happen to have a branch in Trenton, would you?

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
Jam on it!

Little prick who refused to arrive on time for a single band

Dear Little prick who refused to arrive on time for a single band,
Wash your hair, wash your armpits, and jam on this.

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
That was a little rough, don't you think? After all, it could have been worse: you could have been sitting near The Captain.

The Voice of Reason

Dear The Voice of Reason,
There is absolutely no room for reason in Jestersaurus.

Dear Mr Jestersaurus,
On behalf of we, the organizers of NEARfest, as well as the attendees of NEARfest, we'd like to extend heartfeltly thanks for all your big efforts on behalf of NEARfest. Where would NEARfest be without your behalf we wonder, and the answer is "nowheres near a fest" ha-ha! Your guiding hand has one more time made NEARfest a really success. Gosh, you're really something! If there's anything we can do for you Mr Jestersaurus Sir, ANYthing! - please let us know. In the meantime, we think you should make a bow and speak!

Robb and Chadd

Dear Robb and Chadd,
It all started 65 million years ago in what would later become known as Harding County, South Dakota . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Jestersaurus Staff~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jestersaurus Rex, Editor: Mac Beaulieu
Coordinating Editor for Gnosis: Mac Beaulieu, Mike McLatchey
Coordinating Editor for Exposé: Peter Thelen
Jestersaurus Web Development: Dirk Evans

Gnosis Writers Staff
Exposé Writers Staff

Jestersaurus is a satirical newsletter published by The Gnosis Project. Jestersaurus uses invented names in some of its material. Exceptions include cases in which public figures and other individuals are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The content of this newsletter--graphics, text and other elements--is copyright (c) The Gnosis Project, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher. Jestersaurus is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.