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Showing posts from September, 2022

Quicksilver Night - 2021 - Asymptote

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(71:21; Quicksilver Night) Track list: 1. The Chase 4:30    2. Dream Sequence Gunmen 4:35 3. Ameles Potamos 4:48 4. Emelya Durak 4:20 5. Stare Con Te 4:31 6. April Covenant 3:37 7. Black Liszt 1:07 8. Continuity 5:01 9. Hephaestus the Cuckold (Remastered) 4:25 10. Brookside Interlude 0:31 11. Quicksilver Drachenlied 4:46 12. Trompe L'Coeur 4:19 13. The Galactic Edge (Extended Version) 5:27 14. Mr. Wizard 5:33 15. Power Curve 5:24 16. Parallel Play 3:57 17. Lark 4:30 Line-up: Warren Russell - various instruments with: Jeremy Barnes Nazim Chambi Ony Andrew N Project Marco Iacobini The Unified One Milt Gore GorMusik Farzad Golpayegani Anne Epperly Milt Gore Jason Cale Jeff Saunders Bill Anders - spoken words Jae Sinnett - drums Prolusion. US band Quicksilver Night is the creative vehicle of composer and guitarist Warren Russell, and has been an ongoing venture for a decade and a bit at this point with around a dozen releases in total, of which it would appear that three are full lengt

Laura Catrani - 2022 - Vox In Bestia

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(59:20; Stradivarius) Track list: - Vox In Bestia, Inferno 1. I. Canto I: Tre Fiere 5:14 2. II. Canto III: Vermi, Vespe, Mosche 3:32 3. III. Canto V: Storni, Gru E Colombe 4:40 4. IV. Canto VI: Cerbero 3:42 5. V. Canto XIII: Cagne Nere 4:21 - Vox In Bestia, Purgatorio 6. I. Canto VIII: Astor 2:22 7. II. Canto XIV: Botoli 4:06 8. III. Canto XV: Agnel 3:38 9. IV. Canto XVIII: Ape 2:32 10. V. Canto XXV: Cicogna 3:21 - Animalia, Paradiso 11. I. Canto I: Aquila 4:05 12. II. Canto VI: Colubro 4:58 13. III. Canto XXIII: Augello 4:18 14. IV. Canto XXIV: Agnello 3:39 15. V. Canto XXV: Pellicano 4:52 Line-up: Laura Catrani - vocals, percussion Prolusion. Italian singer Laura Catrani has a career that stretches back for more than a decade, and a history as a recording artist that appears to have started in 2012 with at least 9 albums where she is credited as a performer or as a solo artist. "Vox in Bestia" is her most recent solo production, and was released in the late summer of 2022 t

October Equus - 2022 - Noches Blancas, Luces Rojas

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(51:30; OctoberXart) Track list: 1. Noches Blancas, Luces Rojas 23:43 2. Arrecia Tempestad 4:40 3. Entre Rostros Y Sombras 6:34 4. Rara Avis 3:17 5. Un Viejo Conflicto 5:03 6. Hasta El Fin Del Tiempo 8:13 Line-up: John Falcone - bassoon Víctor Rodriguez - keyboards Avelino Saavedra - drums Angel Ontalva - guitars, bass Prolusion. Spanish band October Equus was formed back in 2003, and after releasing their first studio album in 2005 they have delivered new studio material every three years on average since then. The line-up has been altered a few times over the years, with composer and musician Angel Ontalva as the main recurring member throughout. "Noches Blancas, Luces Rojas" is the seventh studio album to be issued by the band, and was released through the label OctoberXart Records in the summer of 2022. Analysis. As far as progressive rock goes, October Equus has a past as a renowned explorer of the slightly more challenging aspects of progressive rock. Not as much in ter

Various Artists - 2020 - A Band For All Seasons (Songs From The Four Seasons Of Love 1966-1969)

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(278:56; Fruits de Mer) Track list CD1 1. The Past Tense: Magic In The Air 3:47 2. Anton Barbeau: Sunshine Superman 3:58 3. Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder: Amelia Jane 2:30 4. LoveyDove: Bedazzled 3:31 5. Jack Ellister: Aquarius 3:27 6. Rob Gould: Granny Takes A Trip 8:42 7. Mark McDowell: Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire 2:47 8. The Electric Prunes: 7 and 7 Is 3:16 9. Moonweevil: Child Of The Sky 3:44 10. Kris Gietkowski: A-Minor Explosion 5:39 11. Jay Tausig: Time Has Told Me 4:32 12. Starlings Planet: The Story 2:30 13. Bhopal's Flowers: I Feel Free 5:54 14. Spygenius: Paper Sun / Love Is Only Sleeping 6:41 15. The Jeremy Band: Pictures Of Matchstick Men 5:07 16. Cat Frequency: Flameout 2:51 17. The Yardbirds: Think About It (Live, 2016) 2:41 CD2 1. The Locker Room Cowboys: We Love You 5:45 2. King Penguin: White Bird 6:06 3. Aunt Cynthia's Cabin: Solitary Man 5:03 4. The Luck Of Eden Hall: Reflected 3:32 5. The Honey Pot: Kites 7:014 6. London Underground: Mercy, Merc

Red Sand - 2021 - The Sound of the Seventh Bell

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(64:23; Red Sand) I know I am not as close the prog scene as I used to be but must admit to being amazed to realise this is the tenth studio album from a band I have never heard of. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Simon Caron back in 2004, this neo-prog outfit is also an active touring unit where they are joined by additional musicians, but whereas the last album (2019’s, ‘Crush The Seed’) was by a quintet, here we find them operating as a trio. All three played on the last album, with Simon Caron here taking on additional roles and now providing guitars, bass, and keyboards alongside drummer Perry Angelilo and singer Steff. Hailing from Quebec, Simon produced it himself but then brought Michel St-Pere (Mystery, Huis) to mix while it was mastered by Richard Addison. The bass is very powerful in this, reminiscent of when Neil Pepper was in Galahad, adding additional elements and runs which provide something of a funk element at times, and while polished neo-prog is the main approach the

Steve Hackett - 2021 - Surrender of Silence

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(57:41; Inside Out Music) I think this is Steve’s 28th studio album, which is probably more than the combined output of those he left in Genesis, but although I saw him play earlier this year none of this material was featured as he was touring his highly popular Genesis Revisited shows. So, when it comes to prog he has two back catalogues that are very different, while he is still releasing new and wonderful music even though he is now in his seventies. Over the last 40+ years he has released music from many different styles, being one of the few prog musicians to go the whole hog and write and record classical music, and he can play solo acoustic classical performances as well as standing in front of an electric band, and in many ways this album is a coming together of his past while also looking in new directions. He provides nylon, steel string & 12-string guitars, oud, charango, sitar, harmonica, and vocals, and is joined by one of his touring line-ups with Roger King (keyboar

Tom Slatter - 2021 - Escape

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(53:53; Bad Elephant Music) Here I am writing about an album which has been out for roughly a year, yet so far there is not a single review on PA which makes me both annoyed and incredibly disappointed. This is Tom’s eighth album, and I have reviewed the previous three to this one, yet for some strange reason he is in the underground of the underground. I know he is self-effacing and never takes himself too seriously, nor does his record label come to that, but here we have a true English progressive artist combining elements of Geoff Mann and John Dexter Jones to create music, which is lyrically powerful, musically moving, and progressive in its truest sense as he stamps all over the different sub genres in his refusal to conform. He brings in a few guests to add their touches on a different track each, but primarily this is Tom (vocals, guitar, keyboards) with Michael Cairns (drums) and Keith Buckman (bass). He has taken this album in a much heavier area, with far more crunching guit

Vespero - 2021 - Songo

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(59:08; Tonzonen) Here we have the 12th studio album from Astrakhan band Vespero, where we find them moving again in very different directions from what they have delivered previously. We have the same core line-up as for 2020’s ‘The Four Zoas’, in Ivan Fedotov (drums & percussion, wave drum), Arkady Fedotov (bass, synth, noises, vocals, recorder), Alexander Kuzovlev (guitars, saz, mandoline), Alexey Klabukov (keyboards, synths) and Vitaly Borodin (violin, accordion) but have also added Alexey Esin (gusli, MIDI-saxophone) and Sonya Vlasova (vocals). The album has plenty of vocals, but they are wordless, another sound to be blended in with the music which is being taken in all sorts of directions. For a band who were originally associated more with space rock they have now gone headlong into progressive folk alongside new world and classical to create something which is pushing boundaries so one never knows what is going to come next with the listener being taken along for the ride.

John Shirley & Jerry King - 2022 - Escape from Gravity

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(43:58; John Shirley & Jerry King) Here we have the third album from the team of Blue Öyster Cult lyricist and horror/fantasy writer, John Shirley, along with guitarist/bassist/horns player Jerry King (Cloud Over Jupiter, Moon Men, Manna Mirage etc) together with associated guests such as Dave Newhouse (Muffins) and solo artist Pete Zolli (the booklet details who plays on which tracks). This is a combination of songs and poetry set to music, and some of these are adapted from Shirley’s first book of poetry, ‘The Voice of the Burning House’. There is a great deal going on here from straight rock to progressive, with some avant-garde and jazz thrown in for good measure, while the focus is always on the vocals and lyrics. One gets the impression that it is as if two different sides have come together and then been combined, as the vocals are often more spoken than sung, and in fact some are more like poetry readings, and the music has been put against this output to accentuate and fur

Knekklectric - 2022 - Alt Blir Verre

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(38:14; Apollon Records) I was a little non-plussed when I realised this was a new album, as having played it and glanced at the artwork I was convinced it was a reissue from the Seventies, but what we have here is the third album from Norwegian act Knekklectric. Four years after ‘For Mange Melodia’ they have returned with an album where the title translates to ‘Everything Gets Worse’. Their lyrics are all in the Ålesund dialect, so for those who don’t understand the language (which will be most of us) the lyrical niceties (which apparently are somewhat darker than previously) will pass us by, but when the music is as good as this that is not an issue. The band are a quintet comprising Johannes Drabløs Maaseide (vocals, guitar), Edvard Brøther (guitars, vocals), Hogne Aarflot (keyboards), Erlend Alm Lerstad (bass), Jon Bolstad (drums, vibraphone) while they also credit producer Iver Sandøy with percussion on many tracks. In some way this is a dense album with a great deal going on with

Laura Catrani - 2022 - Vox In Bestia

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(59:20; Stradivarius) One of the many advantages of having been writing about music for so many, many years (feeling old today), is that I am sometimes approached by artists asking if they can send me material. A few months ago, I was contacted by Italian singer Laura Catrani, who works in the areas of vocal experimentation and contemporary music, while also singing traditional repertoire, from baroque to vocal chamber music. She wanted to send me her latest album, which is bestiary taken from the Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ for solo voice. When it arrived, I was somewhat surprised as the booklet is substantial, caused in no small part by being produced in both Italian and English, but having now seen that and played the music I would suggest it is essential to have it in this format so that listeners can follow what is taking place. The idea of performing a new work based on Dante Alighieri came to Laura during the pandemic of 2020, and it seemed right given current circumstances plus it

Babal - 2022 - Who Will I Be When I Leave?

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(61:29; Melodic Revolution Records) Babal are back with another album which refuses to conform to what anyone thinks progressive rock should be like, with a world view which puts them in opposition to the majority and they are just fine with that. Although they have a guest who provides additional bass on a couple of tracks, Babal are a close-knit trio who have been following their own musical path and destiny for some years now, staying away from anything which could be deemed to be trendy and instead walking a path less followed. In Jon Sharpe they have a drummer who is never content to sit at the back and just keep time, but rather he needs to be heard and injects himself into the music to be a key part of the arrangements. Rob Williams is a multi-instrumentalist who is at home with whatever he touches, and then there is Karen…... Karen is the ultimate performer living her roles, which are very much part of her, destined to be the centre of attention. With both Rob and Karen sufferi

Harpo Jarvi - 2021 - Abuelo Blanc

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(43:01; Starhenge Records) Although I am fully aware that this St. Louis-based trio have just released their third album, I am miles behind on my listening so am only just catching up on the second, which was released in 2021. They comprise Dan Ilges (drums), Nick Johnson (bass, guitar, synth) and Jim Miles (vocals, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ, synth, alto sax, flute) and is apparently quite a step change from the debut which was instrumental as this is mostly songs with vocals (although there are also lengthy instrumental passages). On PA, reviewer Matti bemoans the fact that his was the only review to date and given that was published at the end of last year and mine is the next, I definitely concur. Trios are a musical entity where there is never any room to hide, and all three of these guys are incredible musicians, and more importantly they all play equally relevant roles so not only is this wonderfully complex and inviting music, but it is incredibly balanced. When focussing

Hidden People - 2021 - Comment S'​E​taient​-​Ils Rencontr​e​s?

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(46:24; Dur Et Doux) There is no doubt in my mind that Dur et Doux are consistently one of the most interesting and vital labels around, releasing music which fits within their core ethos and always fascinating while sticking two fingers to anyone who think music must be plastic and lacking depth. Formed in 2016, this is the second album from Hidden People, a duo comprising Mélissa Acchiardi (banjo prepared drums, synthesizer, voice) and Aëla Gourvennec (cello, voice), although to be fair there is a third very important aspect to their music with space playing a major part in the overall sound. They provide multiple tags to this album, namely alternative, French folk, folk, pop, and indie, yet one could also easily add avant garde, experimental and dream pop. There is the feeling of two people starting each song by bouncing ideas, then going back and sometimes adding more layers, and sometimes not. There are thirteen songs on the album, all containing the same common theme of arrangeme

Premiata Forneria Marconi - 2021 - I Dreamed of Electric Sheep

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(81:00; Inside Out Music) Apart from diehard fans, I guess most progheads know about PFM primarily for their output in the Seventies, yet they have never gone away and have kept going with what I would consider to be minor line-up changes given their longevity. This album was released in 2021, more than 50 years on from the debut, still featuring founder drummer and lead singer Franz Di Cioccio, while bassist Patrick Djivas has been there since 1974, Lucio Fabbri (violin, viola) was there from 1979 for eight years before leaving and returning in 2002 while everyone else has also been there for quite a while. Founding keyboard player Flavio Premoli has also returned as a guest, while both Ian Anderson and Steve Hackett also pop into assist. The version if have here is a double CD, with the album available both in English and Italian (‘Ho Sognato Pecore Elettriche’), and while the former allows the non-Italian speaker to understand the concept story, I must confess I prefer the Italian j

Electric Tapestry - 2021 - The Origins EP

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(17:23; Electric Tapestry) Any group who say they are inspired by bands as diverse as The Beach Boys, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Crimson, Genesis, Van Halen, Radiohead Crowded House, The Chills and Straitjacket Fits are going to be interesting to say the least, and with three guitarists in the line-up they are going to have a distinctive sound. They say they aim to mix the atmospherics of post rock with the immediacy and sensibilities of pop, and while I am not 100% sure if they have achieved this, they are certainly doing something different. For a while I did wonder if they were an instrumental outfit, as vocals do not appear at all in the first number, and only for a short period of time in the second, yet they are not missed as there is no doubt that these guys could operate in that manner if they wished. One of the bands I found they reminded me of was The Fierce and the Dead, who are also best known as an instrumental band who create sonic soundscapes and while TFATD operate m

Arts - 2021 - Find a Way

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(44:28; Arts) Swedish band Arts originally came together in 2008 as a trio comprising Stefan Sahl (bass, vocals), Jessica Jonevad Bonté (guitars, vocals), and Dan Berglund (drums, percussion). A few years later they brought in keyboard player who was soon replaced by Jonas Kjernald. They recorded ‘Find A Way’ with the aim of releasing it in 2012, but life got in the way, and Jonas left, and the band went through various changes over the years. In 2018 the quartet got back together to see what could be done with the recordings, and they enjoyed themselves so much during the process that there is now a second album planned. But firstly, we need to look at the debut which was originally planned to be completed and released in 2012 but finally saw the light of day in 2021. I notice on PA it is indicated as being neo-prog, but that must have been a close-run thing as to me this is much closer to crossover prog that neo. For the most part this is a very relaxed album, with a commercial Eight

Colouratura - 2021 - Black Steeple Church

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(56:12; Colourtura) Some four years ago I wrote a review of Colouratura’s second album, and that it is still the only review on PA says something about the prog scene, just not sure what. Here I am now writing a review of their third album which came out and year ago (and says a lot about my list), and I note that there is not a single review for this on PA either, which I guess means that when it comes to slipping under the radar these guys are experts. The last album saw Nathan James and Ian Beabout joined by assorted guests, one of whom, Derek Pavlic, has been rewarded by now being a full member on this album. While they have again used various guests, this is mostly for drums with Mellotron being added on one song and narration on another, with the rest by the band themselves. One of the delights of the last album was the way they moved through multiple different styles which made it almost impossible to review, and that is very much the same here as while for the most part this is

Compassionizer - 2021 - An Ambassador in Bonds

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(55:24; Artbeat Music) Since Roz Vitalis mainman and keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky and I first started corresponding some years ago we have become friends (in the modern and digital manner) and I have followed his musical career with great interest. Named after the 2007 Ros Vitalis album, Compassionizer are seen as an offshoot which allows him to move in slightly different musical directions and on their second album he is again joined by Serghei Liubcenco (electric & acoustic guitars, bass, rubab, doira, other percussion & drums) and Leonid Perevalov (clarinets). Also credited as members are Bayun The Cat (synth bass, tbilat, cowbell) and AndRey Stefinoff (clarinets) while Oleg Prilutsky again guests on trumpet. Any album which starts with harpsichord (the real thing as opposed to synth, one can hear the slight percussive noise from the instrument as well as the notes) is going to gain my attention from the off, and yet again Ivan has created something which is very special

Cyan - 2021 - For King And Country

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(66:46; Tigermoth Records) Imagine if you will, a time when there was no glossy Prog magazine, no internet, no email, and the only way to find out about the latest progressive bands was by subscribing to fanzines, word of mouth, joining mailing lists (which were photocopied missives) and attending gigs. It feels like a different world now, but when Cyan released ‘For King and Country’ nearly 30 years ago that was the position we were all in. 1993 saw multi-instrumentalist Robert Reed re-record some tracks from the Eighties, along with some new ones, and it was released on CD by SI Music from Holland. I was on the SI promo list, so was sent this along with some others and reviewed it in Feedback #18 and put the artwork on the cover. Not long afterwards I remember meeting Rob at Whitchurch where he was then working with Ezra, neither of us imagining that all these years later he is not only known as the man behind Magenta and countless other albums, but he would be revisiting that debut