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Showing posts from August, 2023

Ten Jinn - 2016 - Sisyphus

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(52:06; Attitude Recordings / Melodic Revolution Records) Track list: 1. Sisyphus 26:03 2. Sisyphus [Instrumental] 26:03 Line-up: John Paul Strauss - lead vocals, keyboards Mark Wickliffe - drums, bass, vocals Ken Skoglund - guitars, vocals Mike Matier - guitars with: Stefan Kramer - bass, trombone, strings Helena Skoglund - backing vocals Evelyn Haddad - backing vocals Prolusion. US band Ten Jinn has been an ongoing venture for more than three decades at this point, with the first album appearing back in 1997 and their most recent studio production "Ardis" appearing earlier this year. The album "Sisyphus" is the band's fourth album, and was initially released through Swedish label Attitude Recordings back in 2016. The album has later been made available through US label Melodic Revolution Records. Analysis. This is an album that combine a few different aspects of music inside of a progressive rock context, and as a total experience this is a case of an album th

Overhead - 2018 - Haydenspark

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(51:47; Overhead) Track list: 1. Animation for the Poor Man 4:13 2. Last Generation 5:15 3. Count Your Blessings 4:44 4. Haydenspark 9:24 5. King of the World 5:31 6. Across the Nation 5:23 7. Death by Tribulation 5:19 8. The Fall 3:54 9. Gone Too Far 8:04 Line-up: Alex Keskitalo - vocals, flute Jaakko Kettunen - guitars, bass, keyboards Ville Sjöblom - drums, percussion, saxophone Janne Pylkkönen - bass, synthesizer Prolusion. Finnish band Overhead have been around since just shy of the millennium shift, and initially releasing new albums at a fairly steady pace. In later years the band have slowed down a bit as far as the creation of new music is concerned though, with only two of their six studio albums appearing in the last decade. "Haydenspark" is their fifth studio album, and was self released back in 2018. Analysis. It is a more accessible variety of progressive rock we get on this production, with many of the compositions revolving around more of a melodic rock and ha

El Tubo Elastico - 2018 - Impala

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(50:30; El Tubo Elastico) Track list: 1. Ingravido 9:37 2. Antiheroe 8:49 3. Turritopsis Nutricula 5:35 4. El Acelerador De Picotas Pt. I. Ignicion 8:02 5. El Acelerador De Picotas Pt. II. Colision 4:33 6. La Avispoteca 6:35 7. Impala Formidable 7:19 Line-up: Daniel Gonzalez - guitars, keyboards, programming Vizen Rivas - guitars, programming Carlos Cabrera - drums, percussion Alfonso Romero - bas, keyboards, programming with: Guillermo Cides - Chapman Stick Ant Romero - percussion Tom Pannell - voice Prolusion. Spanish band El Tubo Elsatico has been around for just about a decade by now from what I can see, with their self-titled debut album appearing back in 2014 and their most recent production being the live album "El Tubo Elastico En Directo". In between those two productions the band launched the studio album "Impala" back in 2018, a creation that just like their other albums was self released by the band. Analysis. The specialty of this band, at least so far

Lunar Cape - 2016 - Just Lunatics

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(55:37; Artbeat Music) Track list: 1. Pink Slippers 5:47 2. Сarré 4:52 3. Motorbike 5:23 4. Chinese Road 3:55 5. Cat Bite 6:40 6. Dudki 1:37 7. Mouse Dirigible 5:20 8. Southern Harbor 5:50 9. The Realm of Sleep 5:52 10. Cats The Captains 3:22 11. Blizzard 6:59 Line-up: Petrovsky Nikolay – guitars, harmonica, recorder Olga Scotland – flute, mandolin, recorders Paul Bulak – keyboards, guitars, effects Andrey Shashkov – bass, recorder Mikhail Zolotarev – drums with: Ilya Myasin – recorder Prolusion. Russian band Lunar Cape has been around in one form or another since at least 2012, and have released three studio albums as of 2023. The first of these is the production "Just Lunatics", which was released through Russian label ArtBeat Music back in 2016. Analysis. With this debut album, Lunar Cape showcase their abilities to explore the instrumental progressive rock universe in a light and elegant manner. One that comes with a few very distinct associations, but also material that

Tusmörke - 2019 - Leker For Barn, Ritualer For Voksne

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(44:02; Karisma Records) Track list: 1. Bro Bro Brille 4:15 2. Per Sjuspring 4:26 3. Kjerringa Med Staven 2:57 4. Ta Den Ring 3:33 5. Tornerose 2:32 6. Björnen Sover 2:30 7. Paa Torneroses Slott 2:01 8. Sjubidubidu Sju 3:18 9. Velkommen Til Hades 1:16 10. Kharons Vise 2:11 11. Paa Den Ytterste Nakne Öya 1:54 12. Jeg Gikk Meg Over Sjö Og Land 2:40 13. Den Tolvte Baal 2:41 14. Gamlas Seierssang 1:45 15. Eventyret Er Ute 3:13 16. Du Og Jeg Og Vi To 2:50 Line-up: Lars Fredrik Fröislie - Minimoog, Korg CX-3, harpsichord, grand piano, Hohner clavinet, Mellotron, Hammond, Wurlitzer, Solina String Ensemble Kristoffer Momrak - flute, electronics, percussion, vocals Benedikt Momrak - bass, glockenspiel, percussion, vocals Martin Nordrum Kneppen - drums, percussion Prolusion. Norwegian band Tusmörke have their roots and origins in the town of Skien in Norway, which incidentally is my own birth town, and the first incarnation of the band was formed there back in 1994 but under a different moniker.

Soniq Theater - 2023 - Robotron

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(41:23; Soniq Theater) Track list: 1. Robotron 3:58 2. Robert the Robot 4:27 3. Cyborgs 3:36 4. Working Robots 2:55 5. Cyber Space 4:24 6. Robot Brain 4:02 7. Dreaming Robots 2:17 8. Automatic Man 4:42 9. Stumbling Robot 0:53 10. Robot Dance 4:39 11. Robot Food 5:30 Line-up: Alfred Mueller - all instruments Prolusion. On 1 January 2023, the world saw another album – 23rd, titled "Robotron" – by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Alfred Mueller, the brain and driving force behind the instrumental solo project Soniq Theater. Analysis. Robotron is somewhat different from what I’ve heard from Alfred Mueller. This is a concept album (which is usual for this one-man project), where every composition is dedicated to a robotic theme, but the accent is made more on computer effects and beats than on complex melodic structures. While in previous works at least in 20% of the songs Alfred invited the listener to switch on their brain and disentangle the intricate rhythmic or melodic patte

Dick - 2017 - Dangerous Dreams

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(42:54; Dick) Track list: 1. Back to Hell 5:38 2. Night Flyer 4:53 3. To See Angels 5:59 4. Winter Ghost 4:08 5. Woman 6:20 6. Hand in Hand 7:39 7. Show Me a Girl 8:17 Line-up: Dick - vocals, drums, synthesizers, guitars Toni Rintala - guitars with: Terje Hirvonen - bass Matilda Koivisto - backing vocals Andy Peltola - backing vocals Pauli Petas - bass, keyboards Tuomas Sipponen - saxophone Prolusion. Dick is the moniker used by Finnish composer and musician Jaakko Soimakallio for his solo material. Following tenures in various bands, he released his first solo album back in 2014 and have three production available under that artist name so far. "Dangerous Dreams" is the second of those albums, and was self released back in 2017. Analysis. Dick isn't an artist that appears to have the desire to push or change any defined boundaries or conventions with the landscapes explored on this production. Instead I'd say that the compositions here are creations with more of a br

Sean Street / Neil Campbell / Perri Alleyne-Hughes - 2017 - Estuary

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(49:53; Sean Street / Neil Campbell) Track list: 1. Change 1:41 2. Vigil 2:00 3. Shipping Forecast, Donegal 2:26 4. Fog Redux 5:12 5. Another Place 3:15 6. Pier Head with Ferry 1:03 7. Tidal 1:52 8. Vigil Redux 3:10 9. Storm Blind 4:36 10. Estuary 1:13 11. Fog Music 5:14 12. Sestina 3:38 13. Sestina (Part 2) 4:59 14. Naming 0:58 15. Tidal Redux 2:29 16. Shipping Movements 1:57 17. Epilogue 4:10 Line-up: Seen Street - voice Perri Alleyne-Hughes - vocals Neil Campbell - guitars, keyboards, soundscapes Marty Snape - electronics Prolusion. While the album credits kicks off by stating that this album has been made as a collaboration between three different artists, which is factually correct in many ways, I believe this creation makes more sense if it is seen as a Neil Campbell solo album featuring distinguished and important guests. The musical landscapes explored are all Campbell I believe, while Street is the creator of the lyrics as well as being the voice of the landscapes explored her

Jaume de Viala - 2023 - Calidoscopi Embruixat

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(42:40; Jaume de Viala) Track list: 1. Sota El Sord Embat Del Mar 4:10 2. Cavalcada Per La Nocturnitat Arabiga 3:32 3. Llangardaixos A Les Portes De L’Alba 3:03 4. La Dansa De L’Aigua 2:25 5. Les Jordies 4:00 6. Espurnes Del Crepuscle Mediterrani 3:06 7. Calvet 1979 8:02 8. Records De Granada 3:22 9. Mel I Fel 3:35 10. Revifalla 3:25 11. Les Jordies [English Version] 4:00 Line-up: Jaume de Viala - guitars Dusan Jevtovic - guitars Judit Cucala - vocals Vasil Hadzimanov - piano, synthesizers, Hammond organ Bernat Hernandez - bass Asaf Sirkis - drums Aleksandar Petrov - percussions, tapan with: Pablo Selnik - flute Robindro Nikolic - clarinet Carles Benavent - bass Joaquim Sunyer - guitars Jordi Bonell - guitars Arnau Giordani - vocals Paula Dominguez - backing vocals Prolusion. Spanish composer and musician Jaume de Viala has a history that goes back to the second half of the 1970's as an active musician, but it wasn't until fairly recently that he stepped out of the shadows to h

Red32 - 2023 - Red32

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(46:48; Melodic Revolution Records) Track list: 1. Burn Into the Sun 4:53 2. Evil Never Sleeps 5:38 3. A Place to Call Home 5:05 4. Light Bearing Creatures 4:16 5. Flow 6:17 6. The Very First Band in Space 5:36 7. Mean 4:06 8. Slow Burn 5:13 9. Space Rider 3:42 10. Tribute 2:02 Line-up: Anthony Romero - keyboards, vocals Steve Bonino - vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, programing Robert Schlinder - keyboards Eric Confer - guitars with: Mike Sherrill - drums Billy Allen - bass Prolusion. US band Red32 is spearheaded by artists Anthony Romero and Steve Bonino, the former probably best known as a music presenter and the latter a seasoned musician with a long history in the creative arts. With the majority of the material created by these two guys, they engaged fellow musicians from around the US to record and subsequently release an album's worth of material, with certain personal reasons detailed on this album being the reason behind the choice to call the project and the album Red32

Einar Solberg - 2023 - 16

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(69:00; Inside Out Music) Here we have the debut solo album from Leprous vocalist Einar Solberg, and he has brought in many people he has worked with in the past to create something which is bound to find wide critical acclaim, and I am sure there are plenty of magazines  who will be saying this is the most wonderful progressive rock album one could wish to come across in 2023. Yes, you guessed it, I am not nearly as much a fan of this as one might think. To create his vision of what he was going through between the ages of 16 and 19 we have Bent Knee’s Ben Levin and Agent Fresco’s Toti Gudnason, cellist (and regular Leprous live musician) Raphael Weinroth-Browne and Magnus Børmark, best known as a member of Norwegian alt-folk troupe Gåte alongside Ihsahn and Star Of Ash amongst others. It was mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves) and mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.). For me the album is all about two things, namely Solb

Öresund Space Collective - 2023 - Everyone Is Evil

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(88:00; Space Rock Productions) Back in 2006 I was sent the debut album by Transubstans Records of a new collective of improvisational musicians, Øresund Space Collective, and I said, “It is music to play late at night looking at the stars, letting yourself just drift into the universe of their own creation”. The band has always had a flux of members coming in and out, mostly from other well-known Scandinavian bands such as Carpet Knights (SE), Mantric Muse (DK), Bland Bladen (SE), Gas Giant (DK), Hooffoot (SE), First band from Outer Space (SE), Siena Root (SE), My Brother the Wind (SE), Agusa (SE), Tangle Edge (NO), The Univerzals (DK), Papir (DK), Black Moon Circle (NO), and there has been just the one constant, Dr. Space on synths. It is strange to think I reviewed their debut and now here I am listening to their 40th (their 27th studio release), with improvisation and space rock still very much at the core of what they do. Here we have just four tracks, but the opening title cut is

Roz Vitalis - 2023 - Peace Live

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(48:49; Roz Vitalis) Here we have another live album from Roz Vitalis, recorded on 9th April last year in St. Petersburg, taken from the final show of the line-up of Vladislav Korotkikh (flute, low whistle), Ivan Rozmainsky (electric piano, synths), Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (guitar), Evgeny Trefilov (drums), and Ruslan Kirillov (bass). Not surprisingly it is the same line-up who recorded the 20th anniversary concert just 6 months earlier, and although a few of the songs have been repeated they have been considerably reworked while this set also contains many new songs.  The title of the album is taken from the final song, and it is impossible for anyone not living in Russia or Ukraine to understand what the world is like for normal people. I have various friends and contacts in those countries, and all are worried about the future in a way that those of us not involved can simply not imagine, yet Roz Vitalis are one of those who continue to perform and create new art. Roz Vitalis

Peter Lawson - 2023 - 10 of Swords

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(33:47; Peter Lawson) The last time I came across multi-instrumentalist Peter Lawson was when he sent me three albums he had released as Venus Loon, and I must confess I do not know why this has been released as a solo album as opposed to the group name, as I am sure it would have fitted under that canon as well. Hailing from Manchester, Peter has been a member of numerous bands and projects over the years as both a guitarist and vocalist, and I am not sure if he provides the drums on this or if he has again been joined by Wolfgang Ostermann from Frequency Drift, but he did make a point of telling me it has real drums! The highlight of this album are the wonderful guitars which Peter layers and uses to great effect. While combining progressive, space and psychedelic rock it is important to note that Peter understands the need for the guitars to be at the forefront, and there are some wonderfully distorted and phased sounds being utilised throughout. At times it is quite Oldfield in its

Bill Hart Band - 2017 - Live At Red Clay Theatre

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(72:32; Blujazz) This album came to me in a rather strange way, in that keyboard player Pat Strawser contacted me saying he had been given my name and asked if I would review his latest album. He mentioned he used to be in a band called Volaré, which sparked my brain, and I realised I had reviewed them back in the Nineties. I mentioned this to the promoter who had put Pat onto me, who then asked I had ever heard this live album which came out in 2017. The connection is that Pat was a member of Bill’s band, while the rest of the line-up was completed by Alex McGinnis (sax), Dwayne Wallace (bass), Steven Walker (drums) and Emrah Kotan (percussion). Bill is well known within the jazz fusion world not only for his playing but his teaching and writing, and his approach is to bring together multiple styles such as Rock, Funk, Blues, African and Latin and then combining that with jazz harmonies to create something which is more than just the sum of its ingredients. I was surprised at how much

Malcolm Galloway - 2023 - Metazoa One

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(17:14; Malcolm Galloway) Malcolm Galloway is probably best known for his progressive rock outfit Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate, but he also releases music as a modern minimalist composer under his own name as well. Here we have his latest track, a 17-minute-long epic from which he is donating all Bandcamp proceeds to Prog The Forest. I have heard some of Malcolm’s other solo pieces and this has somewhat surprised me as he has taken this far more into the progressive arena, away from the ambient, so it is much more in your face than I have come to expect. There are also some extensive sections where it is more overtly electronic than the synth orchestra, and it definitely feels like the bringing together of different genres and styles. The direct approach means this is an incredibly engaging piece of music, with Jean Michel Jarre rubbing shoulders with Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. There are distinct movements within this, the result being one is never really sure where it is going

Messa - 2023 - Live at Roadburn

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(37:43; Svart Records) Recorded at the Roadburn Festival on 21st April 2022, here we have the band recreating four of the songs from their acclaimed ‘Close’ album. To be able to do them justice, Sara (vocals), Marco (bass), Alberto (guitar) and Rocco (drums) were joined by Giorgio (oud, duduk, sax), Alex (mandolin, acoustic guitar) and Samuele (synths). The Italians have created a very special place within the doom genre since their debut, ‘Belfry’, in 2016 as they are far more than “just” another band playing riffs that sound as if they have been made from concrete and played at the speed of lead solidifying. I am a huge fan of their debut, and here we find them extending everything which is great about that release and taking it to the next level. This is experimental music, combining occult doom, ambient, folk and so much more. It is the music of horror movies, with Sara’s vocals rising above the low bass sounds to create something which is compelling and hypnotic. At times the musi

Moon X - 2023 - The New Prometheus

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(44:39; Moon X) I have no idea how Jerry King and I first came into contact, but I do know that it was through him that I came to know Dave Newhouse, since when my musical awareness has greatly increased as both are wonderful musicians and I really enjoy the work they undertake, both independently of each other as well as in projects like this. Here we have the second album from Moon X, where Jerry provides guitar, bass and trombone, Dave keyboards and woodwinds, while George Newhouse has again provided the drums which form the underlying basis. This is instrumental space rock being approached from the jazz arena, as one would expect given who is involved. I am friends with both Jerry and Dave on Facebook, and they seem incapable of letting a day go by without creating more art as their work ethic puts us all to shame, yet somehow, they manage to maintain high quality control so whatever they release is always fascinating and interesting. All the material is original, but some first ca