"Musea Records" - the Premier Progressive Rock Label
The topic of today's issye is "Musea Records", the biggest independent Progressive label in the world. Founded in the '80s, far earlier than the modern "absolutely" Progressive labels, the firm is still a leader of the industry, and even quite famous bands putted out their albums in Japan or under major labels, gladly give the copyright for their works to "Musea". So, the whole edition of the debut of Swedish excellent band Anekdoten finansed by the musicians themselves was at first bought cut by the Japanese, knowledgable in Prog Rock, "Arkangelo" label, and to find it then, even grossly overpriced, was next to impossible. Having made some money with the license these Swedes set up their small firm "Virta" whose edition is more available, but the Japanese audio quality has disappeared, sadly. So, when "Musea" offered the guys, since they knew that the main advantage of this firm is an ability to remaster the stuff of not bright quality.
Indead, already with a majority of leading performers of Prog of the present under one roof (including divisions, e.g. "Angular"), the company is not tired of the excavations of interesting species of the genre both from the relatively near and distant past. The catalogue of "Musea" is so comprehensive, that it's likely, that the number of presently active bands here is greater than in all the other Prog-labels taken together. Consequently, because of such a numbers "Musea" surpasses the others also in regard to the number of Progressive masterpieces of the modern Progressive Rock, apart from the findings of the past (it seems no other Prog label does any "excavations").
The albums of most diverse styles carry the sign of "Musea", and although Art Rock in its numerous manifestations takes a leading share, the attention is also paid to Prog Metal, Jazz Fusion, electronic psychedely and ethnic music. There are no other genres, and the two last are found mainly in the section of "distribution". An awful lot of rarities can be found only in the "Musea" catalogue. A gigantic distribution catalogue contains about 1.500 titles, and many of the objects deserve a full attention. I'll give some examples.
In the head section - the company's property - a great number of masterpieces and excellent Prog works is collected. On the whole, I wouldn't mark any one of their issued or reissued albums with less than "satisfactory". Considering the quality of the pearls of Prog, extracted from no-ones-knows-where and presented to the listener, one should admit, that "Musea" is a real Museum of the History of Progressive Rock, including our days. The History of modern Prog is represented here such established celebrities as: Anekdoten, Cliffhanger, Landberk, Ars Nova, and the others.
The company has "excalated" from the "past", remastered and reissued on CD plenty of excellent and good works (with masterpieces present!), and I'll name just some most noticeable bands: Amenophis, Flyte, Isopoda...
From the huge distribution catalogue (where one can find masterpieces of both the present and the past), I'll specially point out to A Triggering Myth, Boud Dean, and many others, all the mentioned bands work in quite diverse planes of what we call Progressive: Art (or Symphonic) Rock, Prog Metal, and Jazz Fusion. Often within the frames of a band these styles intertwine in a surprising yet harmonious manner, they use Classics, and Jazz, and advantage, and even "Rock In Opposition" (such a great genre!). Pity, all this can be read about in detail only in my third book on Progressive Rock, provided there appears a publisher. Time will show, if there another way of its publication.
The production of "Musea" is as a rule has a very good quality of the sound. Even "antiques" recorded almost "live" on a 4-track tape recorder, after being remastered come out to the listener with a quite agreeable sound. As for covers, the firm makes good efforts in it generally: the texts (if they exists), lots of photos, annotations, and the history of the band form a wonderful bunch (mainly due to the efforts of Alain Roberts, one of the firm's directors).
VM (Vitaly Menshikov): October 2000