M.C.M. CD's and DVD's


 
Ritual Factory CD
Lion Music
Alex Masi - Randy Coven - John Macaluso - Three of the best musicians of today brings you power fusion for a new era! A totally unique and very darng sound, this album is a classic to be as it features the best work from all these three well respected musicians.

€8.90

$11.90


 
1900-Hard Times CD
Lion Music
Three of the world’s most respected musicians in Alex Masi, Randy Coven and John Macaluso live on one stage with the soul intention of creating a moment in time. “MCM : 1900 – Hard Times” is a window to what happens during an MCM performance. Recorded at different shows from the trio’s live shows throughout the USA and Central America the album is an electrifying showcase of immense musicianship and vision

€8.90

$11.90


Artist info

 

MCM:1900 'HARD TIMES' (LION MUSIC)

 

Alex Masi - Guitar, Randy Coven - Bass and John Macaluso - Drums are 3 well-respected musicians whom together have played on many records, always showing their high quality musicianship. Recently they played a bunch of live shows throughout the USA and Central America, which were recorded and now currently the best moments have been released as a live CD through LION MUSIC. What we get to hear is musicianship of a very high level, with as ALEX MASI comments, "The only written, composed parts are pretty obvious, most intros, some outros and occasionally some bit in the middle but each piece include at least 80% of improvisation". In other words, this is something for the instrumental (prog) fans to check out asap, because there is so much diversity to be heard in here. Definitely a must-have if you're a fan of one (or all) of these musicians.

 

(Points: 8.3 out of 10) Strutter Zine, Netherlands

M.C.M - 1900: Hard Times

Lion Music

Rating - 8/10

Review Al Hey www.hardrockhouse.com

The band M.C.M is made up of three of the worlds most respected and exciting musicians: Alex Masi (guitars), John Macaluso (drums) and Randy Coven (bass). If you are a practicing musician the thought of a recording featuring these three musical masters just “going for it” will probably have you positively salivating at the mouth.

“1900: Hard Times” is a live album featuring twelve tracks recorded at different shows throughout the USA and Central America. The album could best be described as spontaneous theme elaboration done on the spot. To get a grip on what this means it’s worth quoting Alex Masi who says of the music “The only written, composed parts are pretty obvious, most intros, some outros and occasionally some bit in the middle, but each piece includes at least 80% of improvisation”.

Another description comes from John Macaluso who says, “M.C.M gives us an outlet for our need to let go of all the do’s and don’ts associated with the life of a professional musician. Sometimes the level of synchronicity among us is downright mysterious…when it happens it feels like something else is moving our hands and fingers and all we have to do is get it out in our own way and let things happen”.

Randy Coven also comments “It’s absolute freedom from pre-fabricated structures and disregard of general experiences and that’s exactly where we are in M.C.M, listen with your mind wide open”.

From the opening track “(1900) Hard Times” right to the final dying notes of “For Every Colour You Know” this release is a thrill ride of dazzling licks, melodies, rhythms, musical interplay and creative vision. In fact it’s a mind blowing tour de force of instrumental music played on the edge with musical ideas being born right they’re in front of ones ears.

Stylistically the band cover lots of ground, which is what one would expect in heavy fusion music of this nature, but the sheer quantity of moods and vibes on offer will knock “open eared “ listeners for six. The songs are a melting pot of jazz, heavy rock, Hindu, qawwali, drum n bass, carnatic and funk influences. Believe me when I say there are even more ingredients if one listens closely. The amazing thing is that each musician seems to just inject these flavours at will, not self consciously, but in a way that feels instinctive and natural. The music at times is almost spiritual as chords hover in and out and guitar lines are looped with heavy doses of reverb and delay around which each player dances in and out of the limelight. The music never sounds like one player is the feature or focus of a song, instead the band have accomplished the ultimate statement by sounding like one cohesive unit.

For anyone struggling to get their head round what this music sounds like I would say imagine a huge jam session featuring Shawn Lane, Eric Johnson, John McLaughlin and of course Alex Masi and you will start to tap into the vibe. I am a huge fan of the greatly missed Shawn Lane and for sometime have wondered if a player would be brave enough to carry on the “spirit” that was so inherent in his music. Well with this release Alex has done just that. Anyone familiar with Shawn Lane's live album will feel very comfortable with M.C.M’s live release (and believe me when I say that is a huge compliment). For lovers of guitar led instrumental music played by individuals who are brave enough to musically  “fall down the stairs and land on their feet” this album is essential listening.

L     

Track Listing

(1900) Hard Times
Raw Extremities
River Offering
Emergency Poncho
Mutual Assured Distraction
The Ground Above
Them Ain't Us
30 Seconds Over Your Land
Esse'n'Emme
Unmatched Fragment
House of Deviants
For Every Color You Know

Line Up

Alex Masi – Guitar, Loops.
Randy Coven - Bass
John Macaluso - Drums

 

 


MCM's Ritual Factory featuring . . .

Alex Masi, Randy Coven & John Macaluso

Hmm, echoes of Ohm, shades of Lane & Hellborg interplay but leaning
more mulit-ethnic-flavored instrumental rock with plenty of unique
fusion roads traveled and lotsa atmospherix. Masi is way into a
fusion thing and heavy like Chris Poland. This is the best Masi I
have heard being consistently "on target" in my heavy-fusion-axe
brain-maze. This is inspired stuff and not your typical shredfest and
whankery exposed. And all this in just the first 5 tracks!

Now about tracks 6-11 to see if they keep burning or crash
and burn-out . . . Well now, this is really good stuff, with track 7 having Masi sounding very, very Shawn Lane! This CD made it through all 11 tracks and still gets an EER-MUSIC.com fusion-axe junkie, know-it-all, no brag just fact, no-filler, two thumbs up! Masi et al really tear it up nicely funked, fused, fired up and fun rock! MCM, do this again and invite Derek Sherinian, Lale Larson, and or Jens Johanssen to do fusion keys on your next release. Thanks for the pleasure -- your fusion formula has worked perfectly.

~John W. Patterson, Editor www.eer-music.com

 

MCM: Ritual Factory
 

Lion Music has been churning out some gems lately, and this debut from MCM is no exception. Sort of a "shredder supergroup", the project involves guitarist Alex Masi, Randy Coven (Steve Vai/Yngwie Malmsteen/Leslie West) on bass, and drummer John Macaluso (TNT/Riot/Yngwie Malmsteen.) Together, the three virtuosos create highly complex music that fuses hard rock, metal, classical, jazz, prog rock, and funk, into a stormy maelstrom of sounds that surprisingly has lots of groove and melody, regardless of the intricate nature of the individual songs.

Hearing Alex Masi ripping some tasty jazz runs a-la Mike Stern on the scorching title track was a pleasant surprise, and the bands cover of the Weather Report classic "Black Market" is spot on, with Coven really hitting home on the pulsating Jaco Pastorius bass lines. "Red Quantum" is a metal shred fest from hell, featuring scorching solos and molten rhythms, while "The Whole Life" is highlighted by chunky guitar riffs, blinding solos, and acrobatic bass fills. Perhaps one of the most creative tunes here though is "Sadhu's Jewel" , a piece that features Indian rhythms (check out Macaluso's wonderful drum & percussion work), popping bass grooves, and neat sitar-like guitar passages from Masi. Funk-meets-metal on the bluesy "Brozo", while the band goes for a progressive jazz vibe on "Dream of Little Ground Fire."

So if it sounds like this CD surpised the hell out of me, it did. More so than anthing, I was extremely happy to hear Masi get funky and kick up the jazz licks a bit after all the neo-classical stuff he has done the last few years. The one minor complaint I have is the drum sound of Macaluso on some of the songs, as he sounds very tinny in spots, which is something that probably could have been cleaned up in production. Other than that this is a very enjoyable instrumental fusion release, and I'll be looking forward to more from this formidable trio.

Track Listing
1) Ritual Factory
2) The Whole Life
3) Sadhu's Jewel
4) Ghost in My House
5) Dream of Little Ground Fire
6) Brozo
7) Dead Monkey Road
8) Black Market
9) Ray-Gun
10) Landings
11) Red Quantum

Added: May 24th 2004
Reviewer: Pete Pardo   www.seaoftranqulity.org
Score:

MCM - RITUAL FACTORY (A-) Lion Music, 2004
11 tracks, RT: 56:36
[ http://www.alexmasi.net/ ]
[ http://www.randycovensite.com/ ]
[ http://www.johnmacaluso.com/ ]
[ http://www.lionmusic.com/ ]
MCM is a fusion supergroup consisting of Alex Masi, Randy Coven and
John Macaluso and what a stunning debut they have released!
Instrumental CDs are often difficult to keep interesting but MCM pull
it off with precision and finesse, unleashing one of the best jazz-
rock fusion CDs in recent memory. Imagine a cross between Al Di Meola,
Shawn Lane and Mahavishnu Orchestra and you get some idea of the
impressive nature of the music contained within; more than enough
ripping guitar to keep shred lovers happy, with complex yet accessible
arrangements sure to put a smile on the face of fusion connoisseurs
and discerning fans of instrumental hard rock and metal. Just crank up
opener "Ritual Factory" for a blast of improvisational virtuosity,
"Ghost In My House" for some otherworldly atmospherics, "Dead Monkey
Road" for an example of extreme shred (by each instrument), and the
excellent cover of Weather Report's "Black Market." John Macaluso is
incredibly fast, tight and right in-the-pocket with his drumming,
Randy Coven is playing bass in a manner that would make Jaco Pastorius
and Stanley Clarke proud, and of course Alex Masi is just on fire all
the way through. The only shortcoming is the drum sound, which is a
bit too raspy in places, but this is a minor complaint. Even if you
don't consider yourself a fusion fan, do yourself a favor and check
into this. Exceptional. - Neal Woodall (MysticX10@msn.com)

=====
Detritus Rock/Metal e-zine
"Rock Hard With A Purpose"
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/detritus/

 

MCM - RITUAL FACTORY (Lion Music)
 
"Ritual Factory" is a jazzy/melodic/progressive guitar record put together by Alex Masi, Randy Coven, John Macaulso (MCM), an almost supergroup style project if you will and very good it is too if your a fan of the guitar genre. The title of the album gives away how the album sounds which is indeed like a ritual of musical jams, it offers nothing that hasn't been done before but it is a good record that shows a variety of ear pleasing styles that will take you a few spins to fully appreciate as there is lots of music going down that you need to play a few times to capture. It shows that the team work here between Masi, Coven and Macaulso is one driven by passion rather than a trip of egos, these guys have been around long enough and have gone way past the egotistic phases and today its about feeling and creating their hearts desire which shows  throughout the album that opens up with the title track 'Ritual Factory', this is jazzy and smokes, the bass playing is typical of Coven's style whilst Masi pours out some of the best guitar playing I have heard from the man in ages, the vibe is that of a jam but it works very well. 'The Whole Life' is quite strange and progressive, experimental stuff, it eventually gets into you and is a very cool enjoyable track, it grows the more you play it and the playing is superb, what I like about it is that it is genuine, it's not music played to show off the styles of each individuals music, and even though it does the important factors is that the music is genuine and played with tons of feeling, a truly great instrumental jam. 
'Sadhu's Jewel' is experimental and jazzy with different forms of inspiration in the music, I'm reminding of Joe Satriani's "Joe Satriani" album with this track which is just really cool, I guess you have to be pretty open minded to enjoy the feel of this track as it can be quite strange, but that's why I love it. 'Ghost In My House' is where we hear some killer bass work from Coven, again this smokey and jazzy but also quite melodic as Masi rips up the frets where he needs to, good track.  
'Dream Of Little Ground Fire' rolls in and is the kinds of track you would find either Frank Gambale, Eric Johnson or Steve Vai performing. Even better is the catchy Eric Johnsonish 'Brozo' this is a faster track with cool funky vibes, there's fantastic playing throughout this track. 'Dead Minkey Road' is another heavier track, this is really catchy and experimental, very Steve Vai aka "The Reaper". 'Black Market' is groovy, jazzy and melodic whereas 'Ray-Gun' just rips and is my favourite track, its funky, groovy and really catchy with expert playing from all the cast, great stuff. 'Landing's' is progressive based, again this is quite melodic and dreamy and is another favourite track, I love the weird guitar styles. Last track 'Red Quantum' is also really cool with killer fast bass work from Coven, its a very classy experimental track with ripping shredding from Masi and very experimental vibes going down as the track builds, buts its Coven's intense bass slabs that steals the shows on this track. This is an enjoyable record full of great playing that any fan of the guitar genre will enjoy, it will be interesting to see where this "supergroup" goes in the future as its obvious that they enjoyed their team work.
Nicky Baldrian

MCM / Ritual Factory / Lion Music
by: DAN SKIBA www.metalexpress.com

MCM is the acronym for Alex Masi on guitar, Randy Coven (Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen) on bass guitar, and John Macaluso (TNT, Yngwie Malmsteen, Riot) on drums. Together, they’ve put together 11 tracks for the instrumental album entitled Ritual Factory, released via Lion Music.

MCM has taken on an interesting style, which essentially is a version of the old 1970’s Krautrock genre, with the benefit of modern production technology. For those who may not have had the privilege of being exposed to music of the Krautrock era, a more current description, in genre terms, would be a mixture of Instrumental Metal (e.g., Joe Satriani) and Guitar-Orientated Jazz (e.g., Pat Metheny). The musical jams are often “way out there” as far as structure and rhythm are concerned, and there’s plenty of sections within most of the songs where each instrument just sort of “takes off” at a fast pace and proceeds to go haywire.

The biggest drawback from the Krautrock era was the “musical wadding” thrown into many of the recordings, which made it difficult to keep your attention focused on the music for extended periods of time when listening to an entire album. Unfortunately, the same is essentially the case with Ritual Factory. The musicianship is generally excellent, but the songs simply lack focus. Also, instrumental albums NEED to tell a story or create a “feel” via the music to truly be successful. There are plenty of cool song titles within this CD, like the title track “Ritual Factory,” “Dead Monkey Road,” and “Ghost In My House,” but it’s awfully hard to get relevant ambiance from any of these tracks as one might expect (or at least hope).

The production quality is also a bit skittish, with the drums generally sounding great, except for the snare drum, which is hollow and distant in sound, yet over-amplified, giving the percussion an awkward feel compared to the guitar and bass guitar. On the positive side, Coven plays some really impressive bass riffs and fills, especially when the music turns towards the “haywire” variety noted above, and Masi shows his diversity once again by delving into yet another musical style (Masi has also recently released a guitar-instrumental of several Mozart classics).

All in all, Ritual Factory is a good listen if you’re conducting a “progressive” party of sorts, and want to highlight the alternative nature of the event with a relatively obscure musical style with solid musicianship. As background conversational music for that type of event, this CD would likely fill the role admirably. Barring conducting festivities of the progressive ilk, Ritual Factory likely won’t float the boat for most Metalheadz …

REPORT CARD:
Guitars: B+
Bass: A-
Percussion: C+
Recording Quality: C
Originality: A
Overall Rating: C-
Release Date: 2nd Quarter 2004
Web Site: http://www.lionmusic.com

 

REVIEWS:

MCM – 1900: Hard Times
 


2007 Lion Music

1900: Hard Times is an album that defines how spontaneous musicianship should be played out, and who better than Alex Masi (guitar), Randy Coven (bass), and John Macaluso (drums) to flex their chops throughout these various live performances. This is how it’s done, musically impulsive, yet played out with a tight groove, performing steadfast compositions that are energetic, raw, and even aggressive at times.

1900: Hard Times redefines the term fusion metal in its power trio format; for which, thankfully, there is no campyness, no avant-garde orientation, or experimentation for that matter – this is a balls-to-the-wall, hard driving, & heavy hitting record. Sure there are jazz tinged cuts (“Unmatched Fragment” & “Them Ain’t Us), Satriani-esque tracks (“River Offering” & “The Ground Above”), all out metallic jam sessions (“Mutual Assured Destruction” & the title Track), and blues numbers (the SRV tinged “House of Deviants”), but these guys keep hard edged musical prowess straightforward, diversifying their melodic approaches wherever necessary, letting each other shine on their own throughout 1900: Hard Times. This is a record for guitarists, bassists, and drummers to enjoy (well, all musicians, of course), for which Masi, Coven, & Macaluso share the spotlight here.

Added: December 15th 2007
Reviewer: Tommy Hash www.ytsejam.com
Score:

MCM - 1900 - HARD TIMES (A-) Lion Music, 2007
12 tracks, RT: 56:50
[ http://www.alexmasi.net/ ]
[ http://www.johnmacaluso.com/ ]
[ http://www.randycovensite.com/ ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/thealexmasiallaudiopage ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/johnmacaluso1 ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/alexmasi ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/randycoven ]
[ http://www.lionmusic.com/ ]
[ http://www.myspace.com/lionmusiclabel ]
Here's one for the heavy fusion fan on your Christmas list: MCM, that
electrifying trio consisting of Alex Masi, Randy Coven and John
Macaluso, have released one of the best fusion albums of the year in
1900 - HARD TIMES. Now I know what's mesmerizing to one is meandering
to another -- and this collection of largely improvised live tunes is
not going to sit well on everyone's ears -- but for those who love high
level musicianship played extemporaneously, this one is sure to do the
trick. Check out the opening title track for a teaser of what's to
come, all three of these accomplished artists locking in for an eerie
excursion suggesting that some kind of astonishing telepathy must be
responsible. Alex has asserted that 80% of the album is improvised,
which is an incredible feat for any musician, but these guys not only
make it up on the spot but manage to inject interesting passages
frequently, keeping the listener's attention on such pieces as the
heavy metal flavored "Raw Extremities," swingin' groove-based workout
"Emergency Poncho," technical overdose marvel "The Ground Above," and
'70s jam meets shred rocker "House Of Deviants." MCM also know how to
back off effectively at times, ramping down the intensity (just a bit)
on "30 Seconds Over Your Land." John Macaluso's performance is as tight
and intuitive as it gets, with captivating fills jumping out at you in
unexpected places. Randy Coven really comes into his own here as well,
delivering what may be his most realized work on record, a good example
being his turn on "Them Ain't Us." What can you say about Alex Masi?
The guy's a certified guitar god, his extreme picking and intervallic
runs soaring over the rhythmic complexities. Often reminiscent of Shawn
Lane's collaborations with Jonas Hellborg and Jeff Sipe, make no
mistake -- 1900 - HARD TIMES kills. Get it and get slain.
- Neal Woodall (MysticX9@gmail.com)

Detritus Rock/Metal e-zine
"Rock Hard With A Purpose"
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Detritus/
http://www.myspace.com/detritusezine