Art in America – “Cloud Born”

Art in America – Cloud Born

It all started in 1983, on MTV. I first saw Shishonee Flynn play that wonderful golden harp that cascades like a waterfall across the opening and title track for their debut album, Art in America, and I knew I was hooked. I can’t imagine how many times I lifted the stylus on the vinyl version and replayed that opening. I still have that vinyl album in storage. But when their album finally came out on CD, I relived the experience all over again.

The rest of the title song had that cool Yes’ 90125 sound and vibe to it. 90125 came out the same year. Art in America’s debut was produced by Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer producer Eddy Offord.

Cloud Born, has three different producers. Tracks 1 – 6, were produced by David Hentschel; tracks 7 -1 0 were produced by Chris Flynn; and tracks 10 – 12 were produced by Jim Kuha.

Well, skip forward 36 years later and we finally get to hear the follow up, Cloud Born, and it was well worth the wait. The album is being released through the band’s website and is available now.

Cloud Born is a combination of tracks recorded in 1983 at Cloudborn Studios in Dearborn, Michigan. Thus, the title Cloudborn. The new album also includes some tracks produced by one of my favorite producers David Hentschel; who also plays keyboards on tracks 1 through 6; and a piano solo on “Someday”.

The album opens with “A Tale of the Unexpected”. It is an instrumental that does not open with a beautiful harp, but rather a sharp line from the famous 1957 movie, Witness for the Prosecution. It is followed by percussion, drumming, and wonderful wavy synths and keyboards. That wonderful choir mellotron, permeates the soundscape and takes you back to mid-70s Genesis and others who used it so effectively to create warmth and emotion. Bass and lead guitars join in on the soft running rhythm and make this one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard this year.

“I Am I”, opens with Chris Flynn singing his first lyrics on the album. His voice reminds me a little of  Stan Ridgway’s, only less sarcastic. The song is an upbeat track full of great bass, lead electric guitar, solid drumming and wonderful keys. The song also features the first harp sounds from Shishonee. Her harp work matched with Tony Levin’s bass work, make this song magical.

“Someday”, is full of the kind of emotional keyboards and guitar music I remember so well from mid-70s Genesis and David Hentschel’s influence. It is my favorite track on the album. They use that choir mellotron sound very affectively on this track. Wonderful lyrics like, “I will arrive someday. Riding the tide someday. Open the sky and shine the dark away. Destiny, Come tomorrow let the dream arrive tonight’. This song is full of dreamy flights of musical instrumentation filled with positive lyrics.

“Drool” opens with electric and acoustic guitar with a little of a country twang. Then Flynn returns singing, “Ripping your head off. Taking out your piece tonight. Taking the edge off”. A track full of concern and loathing over the curse of alcoholism.

“The New Swami”, is another interesting track. Plenty of heavy drumming, bass, and electric lead guitar and yes, what sounds like a little sitar. A commentary on Los Angeles and its residents’ desire to embrace Eastern religions and worldly ideas. Amidst all of this, the sound of 70s Genesis keyboards and effects.

“Someone Called My Name”, is another good song full of good lyrics and thoughtful music. Flynn sings, “Waking up early morning pouring rain. Just the same as yesterday”.

“For Shelly”, opens with soft acoustic guitar and builds momentum with Flynn’s vocals, “Once I was here bright eyed ever clear. Now I can see what you meant to me. How we could talk about anything, yeah just anything”. A thoughtful love song, which is my third favorite song on the album.

“When We Were Young”, opens with cool keyboards, then that wonderful harp. With lyrics and music that tug at the heart and your memory. Flynn sings, “Another time – another place”. “A piece of time – to while away”. “Oh, Tidal Road take me back again”. “Make life flow again when we were young and life was so simple”. “Life in my town in Ohio”. Yes, Chris grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, not far from where I grew up.

“Facelift”, is a track that deals with war, especially World War II. The opening guitar riffs remind me of IQ’s monumental, “Common Ground”. The track is interspersed with the voice of Joan Crawford from Mommie Dearest, which was released in 1981. It is a deeply moving track and my second favorite track on the album. Powerful guitar rhythms with great supporting bass, keys and drum beats. The lyrics are deep and moving, “This war can’t be won, and the sorrow wasted everyone. Villages on fire, courtesy of ein satz grupen”.

“Don’t Look Down”, is a strong rock track about searching out that someone you need for comfort on a weekend night at the local bar or pub. Great drumming and electric guitar.

“No Wonder”, opens with soft guitar and a rhythm reminiscent of the Genesis song, “Pigeons”. Which was a wonderful memory in itself. More harp enters the soft soundscape as keyboards, bass, guitar and drums build momentum.

“Goodbye My Love -Mind’s Eye – Peace of Mind”, is a powerful closer, full, of harp, keyboards, bass, lead electric guitar and drums. The fourth best track on the album. Those powerful synth and mellotron vibes throughout the song will bring back memories. The instrumental section that takes over halfway through the song will take you back to Mike Oldfield and mid-70s Genesis…and oh what a journey…

Cloud Born is the beginning of a comeback for Art in America. Chris Flynn posted on Facebook that they have up to three additional albums worth of music either recorded, or ready to release. That is good news for all of us fans. Please pick up this wonderful piece of history in the band’s evolution and get set for more exotic journeys in the future.

Track List

  1. A Tale of the Unexpected – 3:49
  2. I Am I – 4:17
  3. Someday – 4:44
  4. Drool – 4:20
  5. The New Swami – 3:40
  6. Someone Called My Name – 4:22
  7. For Shelly – 4:08
  8. When We Were Young – 7:40
  9. Facelift – 5:23
  10. Don’t Look Down – 5:01
  11. No Wonder – 3:52
  12. Goodbye My Love -Mind’s Eye – Peace of Mind – 8:20

Art in America is: Chris Flynn, on guitars, keyboards, and vocals; Shishonee Flynn, on pedal harp, koto, tambura, and vocals; Dan Flynn, on drums; David Hentschel, playing additional keyboards on tracks 1 thru 6, and a piano solo on “Someday”; Tony Levin on bass, for tracks 1- 6; Jim Kuha, on bass, for tracks 11-13; Gary Galloway, on keyboards, for tracks 11 -13; Karyn Ormiston, on keyboards for tracks 11 -13.

The wonderful front and back cover art were created by Ioannis, from the Zografou section of Athens, Greece. He also created the wonderful art on Art in America’s debut album.

Inside CD booklet cover art was created by Dan Flynn. Photography: Mark Swidler captured all of the photographic images. The collage and digipak design were created by Levi Gray.

www.artinamericamusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/ArtinAmerica.music/

https://www.artinamericamusic.com/cloudborn-lyrics.html

https://www.soundclick.com/bands3/default.cfm?bandID=1439105

Jamey Arent Finds His Blues

Jamey Arent – The Back Burner

Jamey Arent – The Back Burner (Jamey Arent, 2019)

Guitarist and composer Jamey Arent delivers a tasty mix of funk jazz, blues, neo-soul, rock and laid back smooth jazz on the 6-track EP The Back Burner.

Arent uses a wide range of guitar styles and techniques and succulent solos along with a solid rhythm section, brass and organ that make the album highly enjoyable. Influences include Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson and Stanley Jordan.

The Back Burner includes Jamey Arent on guitars and vocals; vocalist Raquel Rodriguez, keyboardist Nigel Hall, Charles Jones on keyboards, Nikos Syropoulos on organ; Corbin Jones on bass; Nick Campbell on bass; Christian Euman on drums and percussion;  Sam Brawner on percussion; Tim McKay on saxophone; Erik Hughes on trombone; Marcus Paul on trumpet; and Brandyn Phillips on trumpet.

Jamey Arent was born in Denver. He began his guitar studies at the age of 12. He completed a degree in jazz studies from the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and later moved to Los Angeles to get a master’s degree in studio and jazz guitar from USC. That’s when he started his career as a touring musician.

Buy The Back Burner

Darrel Treece-Birch – “No More Time”

Darrel Treece-Birch No More Time

Darrel Treece-Birch is the keyboardist for Nth Ascension. He offered to let me listen to a couple of his solo albums that he created since I was so impressed by his keyboard’s on Nth Ascension’s latest album, Stranger Than Fiction. I was happy to receive the downloads and after listening, knew these albums deserved to be heard by others. Both Celestial and No More Time are wonderful gifts of creative talent that I hope you will purchase and listen to for yourself.

No More Time’s album cover says it all. On the oceans of times our Earth’s hour glass is broken. Time is slipping away when we can do anything to stop the effects we are having on this globe, our home. The shocking cover photo is a wake up for us to try to reverse course. The music within the album stirs consciousness and hopefully you into action to care more daily, about what it is that we are doing here on Earth.

The theme of No More Time, echoes across the music: Darrel’s notes explain it this way, “No More Time, begins at some distant point outside of our space-time and follows the very essence of human spirit through its journey to finally return home to the nexus of our eternal regeneration”. “The soul is cast on a journey that flows with artistic fluidity conveying a meaning that is eternal and universal, like the broken hourglass, our perception belies reality …There is always time”.

This album is different from Celestial, which was instrumental and keyboard driven. This album uses more guitar, bass and drums. Darrel features the piano more often on this album than the synthesizers he used to wonderful effect on the last album.

Songs like “Hold On”, truly grab at you emotionally. This track in particular is very moving. It sounds like a narrative taken from a talk between a father or elder and a son. It is one of the stand out tracks on an album full of spectacular highlights. Alan Taylor, from Nth Ascension, sings lead vocals and warmly fills this song with emotion.

“Requiem Pro Caris” follows “Hold On” and almost brings you to tears with its emotion drenching deep bass, strings and orchestration.

Fellow Nth Ascension bandmates contribute on No More Time, including:Alan Taylor, who sings lead vocals, plays acoustic and electric guitar; Gavin Walker, plays bass guitar; and Martin Walker, plays electric guitar. So, at times it almost feels like an extra Nth Ascension track, for your collection.

The bold piano and keys on “Mother (Olive’s Song)”, tells the story of someone full of grace and soaring beyond this place and time like the wind.

“Freedom Paradigm” reminded me a little of Steve Hackett’s many great moments. Like: “Shadow of The Hierophant”, “Land of a Thousand Autumns”, “The Angel of Mons”, without the clocks: or maybe “Valley of The Kings”, mixed well with some Dark Side Floyd. Deep electric guitar and soaring rhythms that make this another of the best tracks on the album.

 

“The River Dream” is a wonderful David Gilmour – like guitar solo with drums, bass, and keyboards backing.

“Music of the Spheres” brings back that wonderful piano, this time with Karen Fell, from the Gary Hughes Band as lead vocalist. I have to admit that I had not heard of her before. But I will search out her other works after hearing her beautiful voice.  

“Return to the Nexus” is just the closer you wanted an expected for this wonderful epic album. An over 7-minute keyboard and skyrocketing guitar soloing epic that takes you back to all of the greats, like Pink Floyd and others of progressive rocks’ Golden Age. And at the same time providing new sounds and riffs to remember.

No More Time, is a wonderful progressive rock epic which should have been given more coverage when it was released on August 19, 2016. But as I always say, better now than never!

Sometimes solo albums are not given the same respect as group releases. This album would sit very well on the shelf next to any of the classics of progressive rock; while at the same time it re-imagines the sounds and visual landscapes inspired by generations in this genre.

The album includes other guest appearances by: 

Phil Brown: (Counterparts UK) Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar 
Steve Grocott (Ten) Electric Guitar 
Karen Fell: (Gary Hughes Band) Vocals 
Dan Mitchell: (Formerly of Ten) Electric Guitar 
John Power: (Counterparts UK) Bass and Fretless Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, & Violin 
Dann Rosingana: Electric Guitar 

Darrel Treece-Birch plays keyboards, sings vocals, plays bass guitars, mandolin, and drums. 

No More Time was recorded at the War Room, Fleetwood, UK, Taylormade Studio, Ansdell, UK, The Dog House Studio, Blackpool, UK Westmorland Studio, Burton-In-Lonsdale, UK RW Studio, Rossall, UK SJG Studio, Stafford, UK, and Sandyforth Studio, Thornton, UK. 

No More Time was engineered, produced and mixed by Darrel Treece-Birch. It was mastered by Dave Aston, Digital Audio, Skipton, UK, CD Production, Pure Music, Manchester, UK.

Track List

  1. Nexus Part 1 – 1:31
  2. Earthbound – 3:21
  3. Riding the Waves – 5:09
  4. Hold On – 4:07
  5. Requiem Pro Caris – 3:22
  6. Nexus Part 2 – 1:27
  7. Twilight- 3:47
  8. Mother (Olive’s Song) – 4:37
  9. Freedom Paradigm – 6:04
  10. Nexus Part 3 – 1:12
  11. The River Dream – 7:00
  12.  No More Time – 8:00
  13. Legacy – 4:02
  14. Music of Spheres – 7:34
  15. Return to the Nexus – 7:37

https://store.cdbaby.com/artist/DarrelTreeceBirch

https://darreltreece-birch.com/

https://darreltreece-birch.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/darrel.treecebirch

https://twitter.com/darreltbirch?lang=en

Darrel Treece-Birch Celestial

Darrel Treece-Birch Celestial

After completing the review of Nth Ascension’s new album, Stranger Than Fiction, I was invited to Darrel, to listen to keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch’s two solo albums. He noticed in the review that I had mentioned I enjoyed his keyboard playing on Stranger Than Fiction. Of course, I told Darrel, I would not only listen to them, I’d write about them.

Once I first started to listen to Celestial, which wasreleased October 2, 2015, I found the music to be utterly brilliant. A great journey through the solar system and beyond.

Find an easy chair, put on your headphones, close your eyes and prepare to travel in your mind. Celestial is recorded at 432Hz tuning, and yes it does offer a rich warm flavor to the recording. Celestial tells the story of human perception of our universe.

If you are a fan of Vangelis, Larry Fast, ELP, Yes, Kitaro, and Pink Floyd, this is the ticket you were in search of for a trip to the stars, for the price of a CD or download, along with using your own imagination. You might even hear a little of Eddie Jobson’s Theme of Secrets here as well.

I was thoroughly impressed with Darrel’s keyboard and synth work on Nth Ascension’s “Sound to Light”, off Stranger Than Fiction. I point back to that review to read about my full discussion of that wonderful track.

Celestial is similar to that work, although it is one continuous journey over 16 tracks, filled with brilliant starlight synthesizers and keyboards. Each and every track on the album is its own short, 3 to almost 8-minute journey. All of the tracks are different, with none leaving you wanting.

All the music was composed, written and performed on keys and synthesizers by Darrel Treece-Birch.

I thank Darrel Treece-Birch for the opportunity to hear all of this amazing music, which now helps me dream and imagine worlds apart from the Earth each night before sleep. I pass this information on to you. Please give this relaxing album a Close your eyes and use your mind instead of watching TV or allowing a video game to show you its vision of the future. Put this CD on and dream your own future.

Track List

  1. Celestial – 7:45
  2. The Infinite – 4:18
  3. Light Echo of Monocerotis – 5:11
  4. Event Horizon – 3:24
  5. Voyager – 3:37
  6. The Space Between – 6:51
  7. Nebula – 5:45
  8. Oort Cloud – 4:10
  9. The Comet’s Wake – 6:04
  10.  Asteroid Belt – 4:55
  11.  Sol – 4:38
  12.  Luna – 4:41
  13.  Blue Planet – 4:09
  14.  Northern Lights – 3:42
  15.  Such Love is This – 5:07
  16.  All Things New (Cosmos) – 5:02

Two Sides of Brighteye Brison

Brighteye Brison – V

Brighteye Brison – V (Bad Elephant Music, 2019)

This Scandinavian act is marketed as a progressive rock band. However, when you listen to the first two tracks, what you get are pop beats and catchy vocal hooks that recall Supertramp, Queen and AOR groups. Not exactly progressive rock.

It is only on track 3, the longest piece, clocking over 30 minutes that you come upon progressive rock with an outstanding instrumental introduction driven by Chris Squire-style bass, majestic keyboards and great synth solos. There are masterfully crafted sections that are inspired by Gentle Giant’s skilled time signature changes. The vocals are still based on harmonies inspired by Queen, but the pop beats are thankfully gone.

The lineup includes Linus Kåse on piano, synthesizers, saxophone, vocals; Per Hallman on organ, mellotron, synthesizers, vocals; Kristofer Eng Radjabi on bass, taurus, theremin, vocals; Johan Öijen on guitars; and Erik Hammarström on drums.

Time for Pink Floyd & Hamadryad to Perform in Quebec

Hamadryad and the Time for Pink Floyd tribute band are set to perform  on August 24, 2019 at Centre d’Art La Petite Église in Saint-Eustache, Quebec.

The Time for Pink Floyd tribute band is characterized mostly by its vocal and musical fidelity, offering a show worthy of the famous British band. With 7 musicians on stage, TFPF will perform the best classics from Pink Floyd.

(Doors open at 7pm)

Tickets available at:
(450) 974-2787
Centre d’Art La Petite Églisehttps://www.lapetiteeglise.com/programmation/hamadryad-time-pink-floyd, (275, rue Saint-Eustache, Saint-Eustache, Qc J7R 2L9

or through Ticketpro

Artist Profiles: Gong

Gong in 1974

Gong was a psychedelic rock band formed in the late 1960s when Australian musician Daevid Allen was refused entry back into Great Britain following European tour dates with Soft Machine. He decided to stay in Paris, where he began working together with Gilli Smyth and various musicians on what would eventually be recognizable as Gong.

The first recordings from the band were Magick Brother, Mystic Sister in 1970. Followed by albums such as Camembert Electrique, Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and You. These last three albums followed the fortunes of Zero The Hero and told the tale of the pothead pixies and was told over the course of the three albums and became the Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy.

Following the release of You in 1974, Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth left Gong and Steve Hillage became the band leader. He also left in 1975 to pursue a solo career. Gong continued in a jazz fusion-oriented direction under Pierre Moerlen, which was very different from the original musical concept of the band.

Gong returned years later and recorded several albums until the death of Daevid Allen. The band continued with a post-Daevid Allen lineup.

Discography:

Magick Brother (1970)
Camembert Electrique (1971)
Continental Circus (1972)
Flying Teapot (1973)
Angel’s Egg (1973)
You (1974)
Shamal (1976)
Shapeshifter (1992)
Zero to Infinity (2000)
Acid Motherhood (2004)
2032 (2009)
I See You (2014)
Rejoice! I’m Dead! (2016)
The Universe Also Collapses (Kscope, 2019)
Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75 (Universal, 2019)

Passion for AOR

Intelligent Music Project IV – Sorcery Inside

Intelligent Music Project IV – Sorcery Inside (Intelligent Music, 2019)

The Intelligent Music project goes back to the golden era of AOR (Adult Oriented Rock) in the 1980s. More pop than rock, AOR features catchy hooks, hard rock guitars and steady drum beats. Although progressive rock musicians made AOR, this genre was never part of the progressive rock family.

Composer Milan Vrabevski invited drummer Simon Phillips and several vocalists from popular AOR and hard rock bands: Carl Sentance (Nazareth), Richard Grisman (River Hounds), John Payne (former Asia) and Joseph Williams (Toto). So if you are into the Asia and Toto type of music, you will probably enjoy this recording.

Buy Sorcery Inside

Time Symmetry – Ghosts

Time Symmetry – Ghosts

Time Symmetry is a progressive metal band from Madrid, Spain, that began back in 1999. They play music similar to Dream Theater only with a great female lead singer. Elena Aznar, is that female lead; David Rubio, is a founding member, who provides the male vocals and guitars; Jorge Velasco, a schoolmate friend of Rubio’s and founding member, plays guitars and sings backing vocals; Alejandro “Ando” Martínez, provides drums; and Carlos Hernandez, plays bass.

 Ghosts is the third release from Time Symmetry. They first released a mini LP, self – titled Time Symmetry, in 2003. In 2006, they released their first full-length LP, Fate in Gray, to critical acclaim. And in 2013, Time Symmetry released their second full-length album, Tetraktys. This year, 2019, they return with Ghosts, and the addition of Elena Aznar on vocals and Carlos Hernández on bass provide new lift, talent, and sound for the band.

Hope you’re buckled in, because this rocket is about to launch. There is a little narration surrounded by cool spacey keys and effects before things reach take – off speed on the opener, “Winding Road”. The grinding guitars, metal bass and smashing drums roar forward as we hear Elena Aznar’s first vocals, “Walk with me, walk with me forever!” She sounds almost as gutsy as many male singers in the genre. Yet, her higher pitch is not ear piercing, like many other females in the genre. The launching lead electric solo guitars rocket skyward as Aznar’s voice purrs, then belts out screams. The blood is flowing and if you were at a show, I bet you’d be moving with the beat.

“Blue Lights”, opens with deep bass and pounding drums, before a drum roll welcomes the firepower of many lead electric guitars to the feast. That persistent bass reminds me of Les Claypool. It sounds that good. Then Aznar returns with powerful vocals, “With the lights and background noise I cut off my dark thoughts”. That lead electric guitar is torching the stage with clarity and force. The drums keep perfect pace, rounding out the sound. Another track summoned from Baelo Claudia itself. Amazing.

“The Circle”, brings powerful keyboards to its opening. They are followed closely with drums, bass and more great lead grinding electric guitar. Aznar leads on vocals, and David Rubio supports well with his own vocals. The combination is a great double-punch.

“Reboot System Now”, opens with robotic sounding keys and cool synths. The growling lead guitar returns like a lion set free from a cage. The bouncing bass synchronizes well with the pogoing drum kit. Aznar delivers her softest vocals and helps drive the revving train of sound. Then her vocals lift, “To feel this moment and to rise!”

“Entropy”, opens with welcomed soft acoustic guitar. Like a Rush or Yes classic. Aznar’s vocals are simply beautiful and heartfelt. They absolutely needed a song like this. One of, if not the best on the album. Aznar’s “oohs” are warm and wonderful. A nice break from the revving fire they have been creating up until now. Later, the power grinder returns without the revving this time. Building to a complete ballad/theme song.

“Arendt’s Sorrow”, begins with cool synths and keyboards before the hammer falls and drums, bass and electric lead thunder on their way once again. This time, though, they bring a very cool space circular vibration synth with them. The bass work right after is some of the best on the album. Aznar and Rubio alternate vocals to help add variety to the music. Aznar compliments the track with some spoken word narration set to formidable bass and drums, along with soloing lead electric guitar.

“Fireworks”, opens like more of a Foreigner rock-oriented sound. Then, cool keys build as the drums, bass and electric lead guitar buzz the airspace. Aznar sings, “Don’t tell me that it’s gone. Don’t tell me it could be wrong!” Later, motor engines join in on the fun. Cool.

The keys that open “Hunt or Be Hunted”, are wonderful. Cool synths too. The drum loops are cool. Aznar sings, “open your eyes…now”. The synths, bass and electric guitars are excellent after her vocal.

“Better Days”, opens with cool piano, synths and sounds like another softer melody, until the drums, bass and lead electric bring forth their power. Rubio’s best vocals yet, “Here was a drop in an endless sea, a man of the many. A beast to unleash”. Backing chorus vocals add epic proportions to the mix. It gives the soundscape a more symphonic sound.

“Ghosts”, is a cool instrumental overture from space, with Apollo narration and wonderful keys mixed with slow guitar.

“Race to Nowhere”, is just what the title portends, blasting drums, heavy bass and grinding lead electric guitar. Aznar’s vocals are at some of their clearest on this track. Aznar sings, “Why cross the stars? This is our time?” This over 11-minute epic closer is worth the price of admission alone. Powerful grinding guitars, crushing bass, and racing pace drums.

This is a wonderful full – length album of heavier prog metal rock, veering ever closer to the metal side than progressive. But there are still progressive tones to the sound. The lead female singer does not burn your ears. It is a great album and I’m glad I have discovered them and would recommend this album to anyone with similar tastes in music.

The album was produced by Time Symmetry. Ghosts, was recorded at New Life Studios, in Madrid, Spain, and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic in Systematic Productions Studios, (Melbourne).

Track List

1.Winding Road – 4:40

2. Blue Lights – 4:44

3. The Circle – 3:32

4. Reboot System Now – 5:05

5. Entropy – 4:52

6. Arendt’s Sorrow – 5.53

7. Fireworks – 5:50

8. Hunt or Be Hunted – 5:25

9. Better Days – 5:12

10. Ghosts – 1:02

11. Race to Nowhere – 11:20

https://www.facebook.com/timesymmetry/

http://timesymmetry.es/

https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/TimeSymmetry

Farmhouse Odyssey – Fertile Ground

Farmhouse Odyssey – Fertile Ground

Farmhouse Odyssey is a progressive rock band from Arcata, California. I found them while searching artists playing this year at the Seattle Prog 2019 show, SeaProg: http://seaprogfest.org/.

I requested a demo immediately after listening to some samples at the CDBaby.com store:  https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/farmhouseoydssey

Farmhouse Odyssey was formed in 2012, and is made up of Alex Espe, on vocals, piano, Rhodes, Moog, organ, and mellotron; Aaron Laughlin, on vocals, guitars, mandolin, and mellotron; Alex Pepe, on guitars; Ian Taylor, on bass and synth bass; and Thatcher Norton, on drums. They are inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and endeavor to craft music to match its magnitude.

 Fertile Ground is a perfect name for this album. The album was released May 31, 2019. It is full of wonderful reminders of progressive rock’s legacy, while at the same time sounding innovative and original. Farmhouse Odyssey has a modern, yet transcending sound that is somewhere between the sounds you might here on early IZZ, Phil Collins era Genesis, and Midlake’s The Courage of Others. Nice mix, huh?

“The Call”, opens with soft mandolin and acoustic guitars, surrounded by keyboards and wonderful background effects. Aaron Laughlin sings, “Stirring song filled the dreamer’s ears, carried on the wind, that sent ripples across the water’s surface, shimmering – becoming”. Yes, Aaron Laughlin, writes most of the lyrical content that fills this short but magnificent 5 track album. The band uses a quote from Dostoyevsky, which is both relevant and capsulizes their mission with this Fertile Ground; “Dreams are extraordinarily strange. One thing appears with terrifying clarity, with the details finely set like jewels, while you leap over another, as though you did not notice it at all — space and time, for instance. It seems that dreams are the work not of mind but of desire, not of the head but of the heart… In a dream, things quite incomprehensible come to pass.”

That is what “The Call”, and the rest of this album is about, dreams and fulfilling them through a musical journey. The IZZ – like beginning gives way to a much slower pace after the mid-point. Beautiful Hackett – like guitar catches you breathlessly as Laughlin sings, “In the water there shone a dream – a great chance. Come quickly and walk with me. Is it Destiny we meet? Along the elemental stream of dreams? All of this is but to be a memory; A spiraling infinity calling through an ever-deepening mystery”. Then, they almost let one of those wonderful guitar riffs from Genesis’ “Entangled” take over. They finish with the sounds of water and birdsong. Wow, what an opener.

“Out of the Fog”, opens with piano that almost takes you back to the wonder of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The electric guitar work supports well. Alex Espe, the bands’ lead singer sings, “I see a moonlit path before me. Filtered by fog creeping in. And out of my control. If only I could find some way to let go”. Later Espe sings, “Lost in tangled wood. All that I can see is the worn step I long to take in front of me”. Adventurous lyrics supported well with engaging music. The piano and keyboard playing truly sets a feast for the ears.

Aaron Laughlin, returns to sing most of “Betwixt and Between”. The almost eight and half minute epic opens with soft flute like keys and some of the most innovative acoustic guitar I’ve heard in a long time. Very early Genesis sounding, but original and different. I hear a great mix between the sound of early Phil Collins Genesis and Midlake’s The Courage of Others. Yeah imagine the blending of those two bands’ sounds. Laughlin sings, “Alone I stand, as I plant my feet in the cool morning sand, to softly bury my uncertainties and yesterdays. In the riddles of the green woods that linger within reach; and the tireless ocean breeze”. Yes, the image of the Pacific Northwest captured perfectly. Those verses capture why we all live here. Later, he captures the magic of Fertile Ground, with these lyrics, “The fertile state of unknowing; just letting it all be, lit by the light of dream”. Meanwhile the crashing waves of pulsing drums, grinding guitars, thick bass and keyboard wonders, shower your ears with amazing sounds. Perfect.

 “Ancient Yet Eternal”, opens with that beautiful piano, before soft percussion and bass join in. Espe sings, “Somewhere in the fire’s low, amber glow there are worlds upon worlds, shining soft, in far off unknowns”. The keyboards and piano take center stage and envelope you in a bliss rarely captured on record. Espe closes the track singing, “You don’t need ears to hear or eyes to see, when all life is like a dream. Lit by the light that brings the same flame that ignites dominance. Lights the way for love to find us. Calling from the other side”. They close with thunder and the sound of heavy rain. The kind of rain we have on the Pacific Coast in October. Thunder, which reverberates on the ancient, yet eternal forests which cover the Pacific Coastline; providing nourishing rain after the long summer dry spell.

 “Verve”, opens with excellent synthesizer and piano. Deep bass and electric guitar join in as rhythm forms and builds towards a melody. Espe sings, “Above the clouds I see no rainfall. Through the clouds I hear a faint call”. Bass, electric guitar, drums and amazing keyboards and synths fill the track. Espe closes the track with the heartfelt lyrics, “Live not in the past. Let resentment wither. Darkest hour of night, light still shines a sliver”.

Fertile Ground is an album full of both sincerity and intricate/innovative progressive rock. As Dostoyevsky said, “It happened as always in a dream when you leap over space and time and the laws of life and mind, and you stop only there where your heart delights.” Heed the call, and please get this album for yourself and sit back and dream of a new future.

Fertile Ground was recorded, mixed and mastered by Aaron Laughlin at Odyssey Studios.

Track List

The Call – 4:30

Out of the Fog – 12:33

Betwixt and Between – 8:48

Ancient Yet Eternal – 6:49

Verve – 6:25

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https://farmhouseodyssey.bandcamp.com/album/fertile-ground

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Farmhouse Odyssey – “Daybreak”

Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond