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Luminiferous Ether

by Zip Tang

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Welcome to Francesca's The fare is always fresh Would you like a cocktail? Our Absinthe is the best Peruse our famous menu Tonight buy two get three It's all about excesses Our prices can't be beat But what I really want is But what I really have to try Is the Tower of Tower of Tower of Tuna! How is the carpaccio Or maybe escargot? Tell you what, I'll take them I'll take them all to go Tender pink and juicy The texture is sublime That's just the way I like it Two at a time But what I really want is But what I really have to try, Is the Tower of Tower of Tower of Tuna!
I can't toe the line I cross it every time I must see to believe I don't have the will To take the bitter pill What has happened to me? As a younger man With no attention span Not much mattered to me I avoided the Responsibility I just did what I pleased I missed the beginning I slept through the middle I wasted the ending Don't tell me it's over I just can't resist The bad relationships I must learn to say no When I'm feeling strong I know it won't last long I give in and let go I missed the beginning I slept through the middle I wasted the ending Don't tell me it's over.
Nothing Here 06:10
Finish your drink it's time to go Don't shit where you eat that much I know There's a place cross town where my friends will be Got a lame ass juke box but drinks are free Ask Joe why he came - get a vacant stare Deal gone bad had to disappear He's blending into the desert sand How it came to this he don't understand There's nothing here And you're just here Cause there's nothing there Or worse than nothing Jane came out 'cause her mom took ill Took to the lifestyle and lost her will Mom's doing fine but you'd never know Planned to visit but forgot to go There's nothing here And you're just here Cause there's nothing there Or worse than nothing John's on a mission to spread the word Found his flock where the sinners herd Strip mall church to save the lost Got the righteous tithe to pay the cost
Doctor Plush 09:59
Dry, my mouth is so dry When the lights are hot I feel so alive Noise, inside my mind When I shut it out it creeps back in and there's nowhere to hide Cold, my blood has run cold When the fire's gone out I feel so alone Cold, I feel it in my soul When the loneliness comes creeping in I got no where to go My name is Doctor Plush I'm here to fix you I can take away what's ailing you. No more culture deprivation Or commercial saturation Free will annihilation I'm gonna get you through I'm gonna get you through it
The radio is playing old songs We reminisce - we feel the power Like we did before It makes us feel like we did before Nostalgia fuels our search for music We're looking for a sound that makes us feel Like we did before It makes us feel like we did before When we were young we heard a sound Now it's the key to our fading memory
Beta 05:48
Childish wonder - always searching for the prize Restless, waiting, living for the highs Someday you'll see that there's glitter in the sand Feel the thrill of the color in the pan There's a light that shines through the grey There's a secret waiting for me There's a thing that lies underground Buried treasure waits to be found Static motion - we're in a temporary state Something special is bound to end the wait Listen closely - things aren't always as they seem Something's coming fulfillment of a dream.
With A Twist 03:47
I've had a taste and I'm ready for some more spice I've viewed the scene and I'm ready for a new light I've read the script and I'm looking for a new line I'm digging the beat but I'm ready for a change in time I'll take mine different from yours I'll take mine different from theirs I'll take mine with a twist I'll place the bet but it's riding on a dark horse I'll take dessert but I want it for the first course Don't play it safe 'cause there may not be a next time You chose the queue but it's not too late to realign
Tarkus 18:10


Dutch Progressive Rock Page Review (2007):

Chicago quartet Zip Tang offer up their debut, self-released album that "chooses the mantle of obscure integrity over the albatross of ubiquitous vulgarity", or so it says on their web site. Actually that rather off-kilter description of the band that offers up music with "the irreverence of Frank Zappa / the majesty of King Crimson / the vocal harmonies of Yes" is quite fitting. With a rather unconventional line-up of Marcus Padgett (saxophone, keyboards, main vocals), Perry Merritt (guitars, vocals), Rick Wolfe (bass, vocals) and Fred Faller (drums, percussion) one would expect a somewhat unconventional sound.

What Luminiferous Ether provides is an hour of contrasts. Take With A Twist for example. A rather 'new wave' beginning suddenly lapses into a blues guitar solo which cleverly wends its way back to the original off-beat groove. With a twist indeed. The Zappaesque opener Tower Of Tuna builds from a proggy intro into a mixture of odd and humorous lyrics, guitar and sax interplay, weird synth lines and even a final section dominated by some great drum breaks. The quality of the recording and production is exemplary with a crisp drum sound and the instruments clearly distinguishable, even when the sax and guitar parts are mirroring each other. The band's humour is self-evident on the chorus of Missed The Beginning, perhaps a paean to the short attention span of many people these days: "I missed the beginning, I slept through the middle, I wasted the ending, Don't tell me it's over". With a saxophone as joint lead instrument it is inevitable that some jazzy elements creep into the album. Probably most pronounced on Beta, but it is jazz in the way that early King Crimson adapted the genre on their first couple of albums. Again, the central section takes a bit of a detour into a slower and sleazier vibe, like a radical reworking of Henry Mancini's Pink Panther Theme.

Beta is book ended by two of my favourite tracks on the album Like We Did Before and Searching For Treasure, possibly because they are more conventional songs. Like We Did Before, a slower number which is well sung and features some great melodies wrung from Merritt's guitar, has a sort of downbeat Porcupine Tree/No Man feel while Treasure makes good use of harmonies with some persuasive work by the rhythm section of Wolfe and Faller. Mmm, just noticed that neither of these tracks feature any saxophone, put that down to my preferences rather than any slight to the contributions of Marcus Padgett. Best opening to any track occurs on Nothing Here with a string synthesiser and acoustic guitar duet that deserves to be credited as a separate piece (or at least designated as an 'interlude'!).

The remaining two tracks set out the prog credentials of Zip Tang. Dr Plush, a real slow burner of a song, has definite Pink Floyd overtones and, once again, kudos to Faller for providing some excellent work on the skins and cymbals. Good use is made of harmonies and Padgett works overtime providing spacey, pseudo-psychedelic synthesiser lines and an extended saxophone solo. Some tasty layered guitar parts add a splash of dissonance followed by a succinct solo before the listener is pulled back to the meat of the vocal melody. A rather incongruous ending mixed a vaguely Parisian accordion sound with tapes of screaming and exploding bombs, intriguing. The surprise element of the album is a full 18 minute version of ELP's Tarkus. Considering ELP was largely a showcase for the extraordinary talents of Keith Emerson, Zip Tang's version largely dispenses with keyboards, with only the Hammond Organ being reproduced on keyboards. The bulk of the synth lines are reproduced either on saxophone or guitar. That Zip Tang have managed to produce a faithful reproduction of such an epic number says a lot about the musicianship and arrangement skills of the band. That Zip Tang have managed to introduce a whole new freshness to the piece is both unexpected and astonishing. Maybe it is a case of being too familiar with the original that the cover brings out new elements of the song, it really is like hearing Tarkus for the first time all over again.

Luminiferous Ether manages to be diverse without being disjointed and progressive without being derivative. I'd recommend this album to anyone who is in need of getting some fresh air into their musical lungs.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10



released January 1, 2007

Fred Faller - drums, percussion
Marcus Padgett - sax, keys, lead vocals (tracks 1,2,3, 5, 7, 8)
Perry Merritt - guitars, vocals (lead vocal track 4 part 2)
Rick Wolfe - bass, vocals (lead vocal tracks 4 part 1, & 9)

All tracks except Tarkus written by Zip Tang -
Faller, Merritt, Padgett & Wolfe Copyright Zip Tang © 2007 All rights reserved
Tarkus written by Keith Noel Emerson, Gregory Lake. Publisher Music Sales Corp. OBO Leadchoice Ltd. Performed by Zip Tang
Recorded and engineered at ZT Studio, Chicag, IL.
Produced by Zip Tang
Mixing and mastering - Perry Merritt

Luminiferous Ether album cover art -
"Does Man Pass Through Life, or Does Life Pass Through Man?"
By B.Y. ©
album and web site photography - Susan Wolfe
web sites and graphics - Perry Merritt


all rights reserved



Zip Tang Chicago, Illinois

Eclectic Progressive Rock from Chicago, USA

Fred Faller - drums
Andrew Bunk - bass
Perry Merritt - vocals, guitar, synthesizers

Former Members:
Marcus Padgett - sax, vocals, keys, synths
Rick Wolfe - bass, vocals
... more

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