Human Ottoman – “Rampage”

Human Ottoman – Rampage

Well, I went to see the band Moon Letters, that I have reviewed here on this website, at the Parliament Tavern, in West Seattle, on Friday, August 16th, 2019. More on that concert soon. I was warned by Moon Letters that Human Ottoman, the band opening the show, was going to be something special. And they were absolutely correct.

Human Ottoman describes themselves as a “power quartet of electric vibraphone, cello, bass, and drums, from Portland Oregon”. The band is made up of Susan Lucia, on drums; Grayson Fiske, on vibraphone; Julian Kosanovic, on cello; and David Robert Burrows, on bass. Contributing their talent on Rampage, are: Mathew Cartmill, cello solo; Dusty Carlson, bass; and Skip VanKuske, on cello.

Susan Lucia and Grayson Fiske started the project in 2013. Human Ottoman brings “polyrhythmic rock to the masses”. Their sound is something west of Frank Zappa. Their first album, Power Baby, was independently released in 2014 and received an Independent Music Award in the “Instrumental” category”. Their second full-length record, Farang, was released in 2015. Rampage is their third album, and the band is on tour throughout America supporting it.

Ok, disclaimer: I have never been a fan of Frank Zappa. But after hearing Human Ottoman live, I was an instant fan. Unlike Zappa, with Human Ottoman I hear a melody and what I would consider music. I absolutely agree with the tagline “polyrhythmic rock”.

So, how is this third album? Well let me start off by saying that these artists absolutely have mastered their instruments. Every song is unique and completely enthralling. How they actually write this material and keep it all together and on cue is a masterpiece in itself. When you watch them set up, it is quiet an ordeal, especially the vibraphone on wheels. Lucia’s drumming is some of the best I’ve seen in years. The unique sounds she creates not only with drums, but all of the percussion sounds she has at her fingertips are astonishing.

Likewise, Grayson Fiske, on vibraphone is something you just have to see and hear to believe. He is also entertaining as a comedian and in-between song, audience discussion leader. Fiske does with vibraphone what Hendrix did with the guitar. It is so unique and wonderful it will mesmerize you.

Julian Kosanovic, on cello, plays the instrument in a way you again, must see to believe. Playing it laying down, sideways, between the legs, and on its side creates some unique sounds I don’t think I’ve heard before on a cello.

David Robert Burrows, on bass, is the most standard of all the artists. But you definitely can hear his power bass chords throughout this album.

Each of the songs Rampage, are short, but packed full of dynamic rhythms and innovative music. Grayson Fiske reminds me of David Byrne of the Talking Heads, more than Frank Zappa. He sounds a little like Byrne, as the lead singer, but his voice defies comparison.

The music is weird and wonderful, and Portland fans would not allow it to be any different. Every track on this album will command your attention, no matter how short its duration.

Some of my favorites are “Real Eyes”, with Fiske’s wonderful innovations on vibraphone, the piercing cello solo of Cartmill, and the heavy bass of Burrows.

“Maraca Who”, with Lucia’s cool drum sequences and I think vocal is another fav.

“Drug Anthem”, is an ethereal wonderland.

“Doe Toe” is a drum show for Lucia, but the rest of the band supports her well with wicked sound.

“Praha” slips by too fast, it is wonderful.

“100k Lazer Cats” is amazing with that swishing sound Lucia makes with what was a bow, pulled ever so slowly for maximum effect The vibraphone sounds and cello are simply otherworldly. Probably my favorite track. It was amazing live!

“Dream” has more of Lucia’s beautiful voice set to dreamy sounds. My second favorite song on the album.

“Yesterday”, the closer was also amazing live, but the studio version is still captivating.

If you are looking for something completely different, this is your Golden Ticket. The songs are short and completely accessible. Get this album, and like me, start exploring their back catalog.


Stephen Shoup produced all of the album photography.
Sam Gerhke produced all of the band pictures used in this review.

This band has not stopped touring since that hot August night we saw them in West Seattle. That says they are a major draw and their music is being heard throughout the country. They are in heavy demand…because they make unique, innovative and wonderful music.

Track List

  1. Real Eyes – 3:43
  2. Maraca Who – 4:16
  3. Basement 5 – 1:08
  4. Swanktown – 3:14
  5. Drug Anthem – 4:12
  6. Doe Toe – 3:15
  7. Praha – 0:57
  8. 100k Lazer Cats – 4:16
  9. Construction – 0:58
  10. Dream – 3:03
  11. Yesterday – 4:23

https://www.humanottoman.com/

https://humanottoman.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HumanOttoman/

Edenbridge – “Dynamind”

Edenbridge – Dynamind

Anyone who knows me, knows I like Edenbridge. I thought they reached their peak with The Bonding. There were so many great stories and lyrics, as well as powerful orchestration on the album. The Great Momentum was a good album; however, it was not up to the caliber of The Bonding. So, it was with hope that I requested and received their new album Dynamind

Although it does not have the power of the lyrics and orchestration of The Bonding, it does have something that The Great Momentum was missing. Innovative keyboards, mixed well with blazing guitar, and a plethora of some added instruments and sounds.

Edenbridge has always reflected the effervescent spirit of their Austrian heritage in their music. That spirit is so well summed up in the classic movie of defiance and love of country, culture, in The Sound of Music.

“The Memory Hunter”, opens Dynamind, like many an Edenbridge song. Full of power drums hammering, bass supporting and those two lead electric guitars roaming like wolves on the hunt. Speed rock n roll, set to a heavy beat. Sabine sounds great as she sings, “How will you measure your life? Without a past. A trail of devastation, so dark and vast”. “Dreams don’t fly no more”. Lanvall has a cool mysterious keyboard sound integrated within the guitar roar, like a rolling synthesizer that gives this track some magic.

When I first saw the track titled, “Live and Let Go”, I thought this might have an ironic spin on the famous James Bond classic, Live and Let Die. (The band has covered Bond songs in the past). Instead, it is another traditional Edenbridge song. What really makes this band so great for me is Sabine’s singing. No other female vocalist quiet compares to her power, mixed well with emotion, and without the screaming that often accompanies female metal singers. And on “Live and Let Go”, she shines well above the music. She has a strong opening line, reminding me of The Bonding, “Here I stand”, and then she carries it on so well after, singing, “Live and let go. There’s a light in the dark to endeavor. Free to fly in a never-ending sky”. Full of enthusiasm and drive.


“Where the Oceans Collide”, opens like most Edenbridge rockers, full of spark and racing electric guitars, supported well with bass and thundering drums. What makes it different is Lanvall’s infusion of some cool keyboard sounds. Edenbridge albums are always full of intricate and innovative guitar sounds, but the keyboard extras he has added on this album stand out to me. Sabine sings some great lyrics, “This is not a dream. This is not a test. Colors clashing like a wave in crest. It’s the line of sight, where oceans collide”.

 “The Other Side”, has a wonderful mix of stringed instruments adding to the soundscape that the band creates. This one almost sounds like an Irish/Scottish jig at times; it is a rousing march full of imagination. Hammered Dulcimer and mandolin makes this one of the best and most original tracks on the album. Sabine sings wonderful lyrics, “The eternal quest for the better. Be different than you’re meant to be. Every march into a battle has the core inside the men. Your mind will feed the universe. The inner voice shall guide”.


“All Our Yesterdays”, is full of all of that orchestration I miss from The Bonding. Sabine sings glorious lyrics with emotion, “The coming of age. Where ever we go. Whatever we will know. The dust of a thousand ways. In all our yesterdays”. Another of my favorite tracks.


On “The Edge of Your World”, Lanvall has some more of those innovative cool keys and orchestration at the track’s opening. Sabine sings, “Where you are, is how you see. The edge of your world is a mystery. All you dare come, by and by the edge of your world is an open sky”. The guitar solos on this track are some of the most memorable on the album.

 “Tauerngold”, is full of wonderful acoustic and rhythm guitar mixed well with keys and the usual heavy electric, bass and pounding drums. Sabine sings, “We were bound for this glaring ideal. The call of nature is our vein of gold. It is the future we hold. It is the scream of the eagle. The Midas touch. It is the eternal raging stream. The merit real. The only ideal. The Holy Seal”. The music is always better when this band tells an elegant story of their native history.


Finally, Lanvall unleashes the album’s best keyboard/synthesizer intro on the album for the opening of “What Dreams May Come”. Yes, that is what I was dreaming of, more cool keys, like Tool’s new album. That keyboard was awesome. But the electric guitar pairings on this track are also wonderful. Sabine sings, “Home again. The end is just a new beginning. Those kindred souls. When life is just a heartbeat”.  The lead electric guitar solos remind me of some of the ones I remember off The Bonding


“The Last of His Kind”, is the longest and most epic track on the album at over 12 minutes. The opening, is worth the price of admission alone, but it gets even better. They finally let Sabine sing with quiet background sounds surrounding. Like they did on The Bonding. That is when her voice is allowed to completely reach its epic proportions, full of all her emotions. She sings, “Did you hear me, did anything change? Time, time and again. Appallingly high. Why, we’re holding on? Only to find, he is the last of his kind”. The song’s middle section with cool percussion, electric and rhythm guitars, soft drums and keys is the most elegant section of the album.

I beg Lanvall and the band to please listen to Tool’s new album and hopefully they will hear the cool quiet sections, like this, are just as powerful as all the bombast. Sabine picks back up, “We’ve forgone the chance moving on in trance. Holier than thou. We want it now. We need it, to feed it”. Thunderous guitars and drums as an epic soundscape builds, like the glory of The Bonding returning. Sabine closes the album elegantly with the words, “Oasis of light. A planet of grace. Where powers unite. Shall be our place!”

 
“Dynamind”, is a final closing thought set to song, with Sabine singing, “The Holy Grail of inner wealth will lead away. From the demotion and remorse, out of grey. When polarity will balance the world, rising above mankind. It’s Dynamind, for all!”

Edenbridge is: Sabine Edelsbacher, on lead vocals; Lanvall, on lead and rhythm guitars, bass, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards, orchestration, Hammered Dulcimer, Kacapi, Bouzouki, and mandolin; Dominik Sebastian, on lead and rhythm guitars; Johannes Jungreithmeier, on drums; and Stefan Gimpl, on bass.

Dynamind will be release October 25th, 2019. It is another great album, by a favorite band. Get this for your collection. But hopefully, the band will return to the music and orchestration of The Bonding, and stay away from the standard grinding metal they are used to creating.

Dynamind will be available in the following formats: DigiPak CD, including bonus CD – 2 colored (blue with black swirls), Gatefold LPs with printed inner sleeves, CD in paper sleeve. 

Track listing: 
01. The Memory Hunter 
02. Live and Let Go 
03. Where the Oceans Collide 
04. The Other Side 
05. All Our Yesterdays 
06. The Edge of Your World 
07. Tauerngold 
08. What Dreams May Come 
09. The Last of His Kind 
10. Dynamind

https://www.edenbridge.org/

https://www.facebook.com/EdenbridgeOfficial/

https://edenbridge.bandcamp.com/

Artist Profiles: Gong

Gong in 1974

Gong is 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 which was very different from the original musical concept of the band.

Since the 1970s, Gong experienced various reincarnations with variations of the Gong name: Mother Gong, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Planet Gong, New York Gong and Gongmaison.

Founder Daevid Allen re-formed Gong various times and his last album was I See You, released in 2014. He died in 2015 and a new Gong lineup without Daevig Allen released Rejoice! I’m Dead! (2016). This new lineup, led by Kavus Torabi, featured Fabio Golfetti, Dave Sturt, Ian East and Cheb Nettles.

in 2019, a boxed set titled Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75 was released.

Discography:

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

Dawn Lights – “The Illusion of Tension”

Dawn Lights – The Illusion of Tension

Dawn Lights is an alternative/metal/progressive rock band out of Cleveland, Ohio. Yeah, anyone who knows me, knows Cleveland is my birthplace. So, I had an early interest, because of that fact. Despite that, you have to earn my or anyone else’s attention if you want to get written about favorably. And this band definitely has earned my respect with The Illusion of Tension.

However, The Illusion of Tension, is the band’s third album. They have built a loyal and critical following beyond the Mid-West. Their first album, My Will Alone was released in 2011. That album was followed up by their sophomore effort, Exaggerate the Distance, in 2013. Both albums are on my wish list for the future.

Dawn Lights is made up of two talented musicians Eric Hess, on vocals, and storytelling; and Dean Johnson, who plays most of the music and creates the musical sceneries. Their goal, “A studio project born out of the love of music, for the sake of making it”. Now that attitude is rare, but it is more than welcomed.

The album opener, “The Illusion of Tension”, will make you a believer, if you had any doubts going in. Like a powerful mix of Dream Theater’s early sound mixed well with Karnivool, and the metal power of Metallica or Nine Inch Nails. The grinding guitars and bass that provide the “21-gun salute”, along with the drums rocking, give provide a welcoming celebration. Eric Hess’ voice sounds a little like Ian Kenny, if he was yelling, or a little like fellow Clevelander, Trent Reznor, from Nine Inch Nails. This opener is one of the best songs on the album.

After a short percussion intro, you get a kind of David Fielding, Chameleons UK’ electric guitar opening, mixed well with Andrew Goddard’s Karnivool sound on “Everything You Need”. Plenty of original and innovative lead electric guitar work supported well by bass and smashing drums. The pace of the music comes at you fast like Karnivool. There is no time to reflect. But you don’t need to, when you have this much great music bubbling through your ears.

“Right Now,”, slows the pace down a little, but the power of the music is still up to the rest of what you have already heard. Eric Hess’ sings, I cannot save you, no matter who you are. What are we supposed to do now?. I will fight for you! We need to live right now!” That sense of urgency permeates this music well, from beginning to end.

“Moments”, opens with cool keys and drums smashing loudly and percussion. Eric Hess’ voice sounds more like Trent Reznor on this fast-paced track. The drumming is hypnotic, and so is the wonderful percussion going on. Eric Hess sings, “I need you, you need me…to make this whole”, as power lead guitars echo in the background and drumming with mixed percussion, fill the soundscape. The quieter electric guitar solo at the end is worth the wait. Another of the best songs on the album.

“Breakthrough”, fills the sound space with powerful lead electric guitar, bass and that wonderful drum rhythm and percussion. Hess’ sings, “I can’t break through!” Such a cool urgency and blasting frontal attack. Like a great mix between Nine Inch Nails and Karnivool.

“Heroes in Time”, is a softer, moody track, where Hess’ vocals get a much clearer sound, amidst soft keys, synths, bass and soft drums/percussion. Great song, set to a slower, more reflective pace.  

The rest of the album is similar in nature and the story unfolding from the opening gets a powerful and emotional musical soundtrack.

This is an excellent album. A great introduction to Dawn Lights. I am interested enough to want to go back and listen to their earlier other two albums. Please listen and buy this album if you love a heavier edge to your progressive rock, moving at a fast pace, like Karnivool’s Sound Awake, with a guitar assault that will make you smile.

Track List

  1. The Illusion of Tension – 3:55
  2. Everything You Need – 4:24
  3. Right Now – 3:56
  4. Moments – 5:03
  5. Breakthrough – 3:45
  6. The Heart of Me – 3:53
  7. Embracing Chaos – 5:58
  8. Heroes in Time – 3:11
  9. The Actor – 3:23
  10. Wide Open – 4:13
  11. The Only One – 4:01
  12. My Connection – 3:16
  13. Wake Up the World – 4:00
https://www.facebook.com/DawnLightsBand/

m.me/DawnLightsBand

Lazleitt – “Perpetually Under Idle Grounds”

Lazleitt – Perpetually Under Idle Grounds

Lazleitt is a progressive rock project conceived by Alex Lazcano; a Washington, DC-based musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

I had the pleasure of reviewing Alex Lazcano’s debut album from 2018, On the Brink. It was a wonderful album filled with some of the best keyboard work I had heard that year. Now Alex has returned with a much more full-scale album, including many important supporting musicians.

On Perpetually Under Idle Grounds, Alex Lazcano, plays guitars, bass, keyboards, piano, and sings vocals; Eric Gillette, (The Neal Morse Band), plays drums & lead guitar; Liz Tapia, (Dark Beauty), adds lead and supporting vocals; Carlos Hernandez, (Tree Of Life Project), plays lead guitar; and David Knowles, (The Swan Chorus), plays keyboards.

Perpetually Under Idle Grounds, is an incredible step forward for Lazleitt and Alex Lazcano. His first album was a stunner, but this album takes him to a brand-new level of talent exhibition. Each of the tracks beyond the prelude, take you inside an intricate story, which plays out throughout the album. More of Alex’s classical music background comes through on this album.

The Prelude is a synthesizer and keyboard extravaganza, of fire and light. It is a beautiful awakening type piece that truly gets this epic album off to a gallant start.

The next track, “Furtive Shelter”, mimics the opening track, prelude, only this time using electric guitar. The song is inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. “Furtive Shelter” features a keyboard solo by Lazcano. David Knowles provides beautiful high strings and synth arpeggios throughout the piece. Liz Tapia sings soft lead vocals, adding another vocal sound to Lazleitt’s repertoire. Carlos Hernandez and Eric Gillette play some innovative alternating electric guitar solos. This is the longest and best track on the album at over 21 minutes.

“Gallows Hill: Dossier 1: Grace Sherwood”, is a story about a forty-six-year-old Princess Anne County woman named Grace Sherwood, who faced being accused of being a witch back in 1706. She was about to be thrown from a boat into a river as a test to see if she was a witch. Luckily her case passed from the county court to the attorney general of Virginia without any judgment. Musically, the track is full of regal splendor keyboards, electric guitar and bass.


“Gallows Hill: Dossier 2: Bridget Bishop”, tells the story of Bridget Bishop, who was one of nineteen people executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. After Bishop’s hanging, eighteen others were executed for the crime of witchcraft. Eric Gillette’s drums stand out well amongst the regal music filling the soundscape.

“The Owl and the Blue Rose”, is inspired by the David Lynch classic, Twin Peaks. The music follows the shows’ “illusory perceptions of the mind awakening to alternate dimensions or multiverses”. This song is inspired by the episode which features, “The Giant, who first appears to Agent Cooper after he’s been shot and drifts between states of consciousness, and informs Cooper “the owls are not what they seem”. “Blue Rose was a top-secret joint task force of the United States military and Federal Bureau of Investigation, formed in the years after the official closure of Project Blue Book in 1970 to investigate cases of a paranormal nature”. The piano and keyboards which open this track will take you back to early and mid-70s Genesis, which is a wonderful trip back, every time you get to take it from a different musician’s perspective. This is the second-best song on the album.

Perpetually Under Idle Grounds, is a wonderful follow-up to Lazleitt’s first album. Get this second part of Lazleitt’s discography to build on the collection. Fine progressive music with a classical influence.

Track List

  1. Prelude – 1:13
  2. A Furtive Shelter – 21:13
  3. Gallows Hill Dossier 1: Grace Sherwood – 5:00
  4. Gallows Hill Dossier 2: Bridget Bishop – 6:35
  5. The Owl and the Blue Rose – 8:18

Written, produced, and arranged by Alex Lazcano. Additional production by Eric Gillette. “The Owl and The Blue Rose” – lyrics written by Sue Lumb. Mixed & mastered by Eric Gillette at EKG Studios, www.ericgillettemusic.com. Sleeve design by Alex Lazcano.


Lazleitt: https://www.facebook.com/lazleitt

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lazleitt4


Dark Beauty (Liz’s band): http://DarkBeautyMusic.com


DBLT Designs (Liz’s jewelry line): https://dbltdesigns.com


The Swan Chorus (David’s band): http://theswanchorus.bandcamp.com


The Tree of Life (Carlos’ project): www.treeoflife-project.com


EKG Productions (Eric’s studio): www.ericgillettemusic.com

Magnatar: Climactic, Mandolin-Propelled Progressive Rock

Magnatar – Parallel Worlds

Magnatar – Parallel Worlds (Magnatar, 2019)

On Parallel Worlds, Florida act Magnatar delivers an instrumental set of mandolin-fueled progressive rock. The band is led by mandolinist and composer Glenn Smith. The inspiration comes from progressive rock-era Yes, jazz-rock fusion and high energy rock.  

The mandolin contributes a unique sound to Magnatar’s style that sets it apart from other current acts. The rest of the band provides classic progressive rock passages with guitar hero lines by Ryan Rivas and notable keyboard, bass and rum work.

The lineup on Parallel Worlds includes Glenn Smith on mandolin, Joey Costa on bass, Reed Hayes on drums, Ryan Rivas on guitar, and Dave Norton on keyboards.

Buy Parallel Worlds

Edison’s Children – ” The Disturbance Fields”

Edison’s Children The Disturbance Fields

Wow! What a band. Pete Trewavas from Marillion, Kino and Transatlantic, on bass, lead and rhythm guitars; Rick Armstrong, son of the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, on lead and rhythm guitars, and keyboards; Henry Rogers, from Touchstone and DeeExpus, on drums; Eric Blackwood, on lead and rhythm guitars, bass, and lead and backing vocals; and Lisa Wetton, wife of the late John Wetton of Asia and King Crimson, on drums. An all-star cast for a greatest hits level album.

Before we get started on the review…a long overdue thank you to Pete Trewavas. It was years ago in Denver, at a Marillion show. My brother and I wandered backstage after the show, only to be welcomed by Fish and the band. Pete and the rest of the band were so easy to talk and welcomed us in to take pics and get the Fugazi album signed by the entire band. It was a night I will never forget. So, thanks Pete!

Now on to The Disturbance Fields, Edison’s Children’s latest album, released July 20, 2019. The band described disturbance fields as, “the physical manifestations that mother nature’s fury can take against the human race due to our mistreatment of the oceans, rain forests and over-development of urban landmasses”. “The Disturbance Fields features just one song… a 68-minute epic piece of music called “Washed Away” that takes you on a journey of a man fighting all of the forces of Mother Nature’s wrath”.  

By the way, the band had to maintain their focus on recording The Disturbance Fields despite, “being hit by a hurricane, a 6.0 earthquake, a tornado and a massive blizzard which caused a state of emergency”.

That being said, this album is my first experience with the band, despite a rather formidable discography. The Disturbance Fields is the band’s forth album. All of their albums have received glowing reviews from critics. I have missed them, covering everyone else, including some of the members’ other bands, notably, Marillion, Kino, Touchstone, DeeExpus, and Transatlantic. That oversight will soon be corrected.

The band members and storyline should be more than sufficient to require your interest, but the music and lyrics on this album are of the highest level. Rather than do a track by track review of the album, I will say that every song is not only a keeper, but a treasure and would make any other band’s greatest hits list.

With the talent assembled, you can just imagine the magnitude of the music. My favorite songs on the album were, the opening track, “Captain’s Ledger”, with its wonderful opening sea sounds and flute like keys and effects. The acoustic melody is wonderful as it drifts into rhythm guitar, like waves rolling together in the sea.

Eric Blackwood’s vocals are a great mix between David Bowie, Roger Waters, and of all people…I couldn’t place it for a while…but finally did…John Popper from Blues Traveler. In fact, Blackwood looks like he might even be, Popper’s long-lost brother…if he had one…

Another stand-out track is “A Random Occurrence”, with its peaceful and welcoming keyboard sound, mixed well with guitar and soft drums. The lyrics are foreboding and threatening. Those keys rise high and at times sound like a pipe organ, bringing a smile to my face.

“The Approaching Front”, is another album high point. The many forms of lead and rhythm guitar bring back some memories of many a Cure song I love. The deep bass riffs are wonderful.

“Indigenous” has some awesome moments with hard driving lead electric guitar surrounding narration and soft flute in the background.

“The Surge”, may be best song on the album. It is the album’s second longest track and a wonderful opportunity for these musicians to showcase their talents. Blackwood’s vocals are front and center, but well supported by lead electric and rhythm guitars. Henry Rogers’ drumming is steady and rhythmic.

“Into the Dead Calm” has some wonderful acoustic guitar and some of Blackwood’s most heart-felt vocals.

 “A Random Disturbance” brings back that welcoming, yet now alarming, keyboard reveille.

“The Confluence” is the longest and best song on the album, at over 10 minutes. It is full of Blackwood’s emotional vocals and some innovative keyboards and guitar. I hear wonderful memories of both Fish era Marillion, and Collins’ era Genesis, in both the keys and guitar. But they really bring the power of full drums and grinding electric guitars around the songs’ three-minute mark. The story is also deeply moving. The guitar solo, at just passed the seven-and-a-half-minute mark, is the album’s best guitar solo.

“Resurgence’ also has more of those wonderful guitar and keyboard synergies I remember so well from Marillion’s height of reverence, with Fish.   

This is an album not to be missed this year. I expect to include it in my top albums of 2019. Please give this a listen. I think you will agree.

The Disturbance Fields was digitally mixed and mastered by John Mitchell, (Arena/Kino/Frost), and digitally remastered by Rush’s re-master engineer, Andy VanDette, (Metallica / Porcupine Tree / Aerosmith).

The album cover art and booklet artwork, graphic design, and photography was created by Wendy Darling.

Track List

  1. Captain’s Ledger – 3:06
  2. A Random Occurrence – 5:25
  3. Asphyxiation – 4:45
  4. Captain’s Refrain -0:49
  5. The Approaching Front -3:24
  6. Indigenous – 3:46
  7. The Surge – 8:28
  8. A Cold Gray Morning – 5:25
  9. Into the Dead Calm – 4:57
  10.  The Tempest – 6:12
  11.  A Random Disturbance – 3:32
  12.  The Confluence -10:28
  13.  Resurgence – 4:07
  14.  Epitaph – 3:23

Pete Trewavas Prepared Statement about the Future of Edison’s Children

Edison’s Children-The Disturbance Fields (2019)-Resurgence

http://www.edisonschildren.com/

https://edisonschildren.bandcamp.com/album/the-disturbance-fields

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/edisonschildren7

Glasys – “Defective Humanity”

Glasys – Defective Humanity

2019, will be remembered, by me, as the year Pacific Northwest progressive rock artists emerged and became recognized by the world. I have covered progressive artists all over the world but have been so happy to finally cover some local bands who are making tremendous progressive rock music. Today I will comment on another wonderful artist, Glasys, from Portland, Oregon.

One thing to keep in mind about Glasys and the bands from the Northwest I have covered, is that they are accomplishing all of their success on the merits of the music they make.

I am from Ohio; Cleveland, to be exact; it is famous for its rock radio station, WMMS, (which I grew up listening to). WMMS was vital to securing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Cleveland, over the many competing cities in the running. Their love and support of music and the bands that made Cleveland a regular stop on their tours, helped win the day for Cleveland. Bands had incredible radio support back in the 1970s.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have no real progressive rock radio stations; at least not like they have back east, and overseas. These Northwest bands are playing music that they believe in, and are finding listeners and fans on their own, through the music they create, constant touring and constantly innovating, as well as their own social media presence. That is to say, based on their own hard work.

So, Glasys is a perfect example of that drive to create music that can capture an audience at home and abroad. Gil Assayas, is the leader and main artist for Glasys. Gil plays all music, lyrics, production, keyboards, synths and vocals.

On Defective Humanity, Gil has the support of none other than the famous Todd Rundgren, on vocals and playing the guitar solo on the track “People”. Amit Erez, plays guitar on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8; Micah Hummel, plays acoustic drums on tracks 4, 5, 7; Milo Fultz, plays bass guitar on track 4; and Joe Mengis, plays percussion on tracks 1 and 3.

Gilm Assayas relocated to the US three years ago. He has been endorsed by major gear manufacturers such as Nord Keyboards, 64 Audio, Sequential and Spectrasonics. GLASYS released his debut EP, The Pressure, in 2016. Defective Humanity, was released August 2, 2019, after it was successfully crowd-funded on Kickstarter.

Defective Humanity, is an ethereal dreamscape full of innovative keyboards and synthesizers. Gil Assayas’ has created an album here, which will assuredly make my top albums of the year. It is that unique and full of innovation and promise.

Defective Humanity, opens with “Slow Things Down”. It is a brilliantly innovative keyboard and synthesizer track that will take you back to some of the greats of the 70s. Gils’ vocals remind me of Todd Rundgren’s mixed with a little of Jeff Lynne, and maybe Steve Hackett, at times. The keyboards and synthesizers on this track are simply fantastic.

“Malady”, is another synthesizer dream scape. Like a magical trip on a Wonka ship it will fill your ears and imagination with color. It starts out with a runup, which reminded me of some songs from the English band Keane, but Assayas’ calls beyond to the sound of ELO and the big top or carnival, with like keys guaranteed to blow your mind. It is wonderful. I did not want this album to end. I put this track on replay, just to enjoy the imaginative ride again. When I listened to the lyrics I heard what could be an anthem for those that would love to see an end to the Trump era.

“Nebula b” is a big bold deep synthesizer rhythm set to a quasi-reggae beat provided by Joe Mengis. Mostly instrumental, with some vocals added by Assayas, to point the way to the mind-bending space rhythm. I hear some early Larry Fast influence as well.

“Unwinder”, opens with what almost sounds like mono piano. Then he follows with, to a true Genesis fan, what sounds like keyboards off Foxtrot or Nursery Cryme. Only these keys are glossy like movie soundtrack sounds not classic rock. Another wonderful romp with the keys you never want to end.

“People”, is full of Todd Rundgren’s vocals, wit and a long guitar solo from the maestro. It was good to hear his voice and inspiration again. This poppy synth and keys, joy machine is another wonderful ride through the mind of a music genius who never allowed his music to stay in one place.

“Daughter of the Ocean”, includes more of Assayas’ innovative keyboards following the path of his vocals and lyrical direction.

“I’ll Never Change Your Mind”, almost sounds like an ELP keyboard symphony, like “Fanfare for the Common Man” at its opening, only much faster. Then, Assayas’ sings and helps drive the pace of the rhythm.

“Leon’s Dream”, is just what you might expect. Softly the piano plays as slow string like synthesizer riffs and rhythms drift through your ears and the soundscape. A little like some of the dreamy sequences I remember from Genesis’ Trick of the Tail, yet with completely different synth tones. Just the feeling. Tranquil and spacey…other worldly.

This entire album was like one, wonderful dream ride through a Willy Wonka – like landscape, full of joy and fun, set to wonderful keyboard and synthesizer work, the likes of which, we haven’t heard since maestros like Wakeman and Emerson made their majestic rock symphonies.

This should be required listening and collecting for anyone who loves keyboard and synthesizer music. It is as if Glasys has captured the spirit of Larry Fast’s brilliant music of the 70s and brought it forward to 2019, with more human feeling and tone. Please get this album…and put on some headphones and experience it.

Acoustic drums recorded at Dead Aunt Thelma’s Studio and engineered by Sacha Müller. Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 mixed by Tony Lash. Tracks 4 and 7 mixed by Sacha Müller. Track 8 mixed by GLASYS and Sacha Müller. Album mastered by Kris Crummett. Cover art was created by Ted Mineo.

Track List

  1. Slow Things Down – 5:00
  2. Malady – 5:11
  3. Nebula b – 3:52
  4. Unwinder – 2:59
  5. People – 3:31
  6. Daughter of the Ocean – 4:22
  7. I’ll Never Change Your Mind – 3:24
  8. Leon’s Dream – 2:46

“People” video with Todd Rundgren singing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmBYD7MRM4s

“Slow Things Down” video

Glasys “Tiny Desk Concert

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSeYAhzWvrQ

Todd Rundgren appears courtesy of Cleopatra Records.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GLASYSmusic
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/GLASYS
Instagram: www.instagram.com/GLASYSmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GLASYSmusic
Bandcamp: GLASYS.bandcamp.com
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2XJsHHv

Celebrated Symphonic Rock Ensemble Renaissance Reveal 50th Anniversary Fall Tour 2019

Renaissance

In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, acclaimed progressive symphonic rock band Renaissance featuring Annie Haslam is embarking on a 10 concert date tour of the United States. The tour includes five special dates with The Renaissance Chamber Orchestra.

Annie Haslam says, “I joined the band New Years day 1971, now 48 years later we are still performing and bringing our unique style of music to more and more fans all over the world. This very special Anniversary tour will be a retrospective celebration of Renaissance Classics including a special guest appearance from Jim McCarty, Renaissance and Yardbirds co-founder. He will be joining us at The Keswick Glenside show on October 12th which will be filmed for our first high definition Blue Ray DVD.

Renaissance will be performing songs with the orchestra that have never been orchestrated before including their most notably “Ashes Are Burning.”

The current incarnation of Renaissance includes Annie Haslam on lead vocals; Rave Tesar on keyboards; Mark Lambert on guitars/vocals; Geoffrey Langley on keyboards/vocals; Leo Traversa on bass guitar/vocals; Frank Pagano on drums/percussion/vocals.

Renaissance Tour Dates:

10/10 – Annapolis, MD @ Ram’s Head On Stage
10/11/19 – New York, NY @ Town Hall (orchestra)
10/12 – Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre (orchestra)
10/13 – Harrisburg, PA @ Whitaker Center (orchestra)
10/15 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre (orchestra)
10/16 – Ridgefield, CT @ The Ridgefield Playhouse (orchestra)
10/17 – Derry, NH @ Tupelo Music Hall
10/18 – Boston, MA @ City Winery
10/19 – Albany, NY @ Hart Theatre (orchestra)
10/20 – Wilmington, DE @ The Grand Opera House

More about Renaissance

Artist Profiles: The Flower Kings

The Flower Kings in 2019

The Flower Kings started as a conduit for Swedish guitarist, singer and composer Roine Stolt in 1994. It was a time when a third generation of progressive rock artists appeared in the international scene.

The first album was a solo effort. On “The Flower King” (1994) Roine played all instruments except for drums and the project was a self-produced/self-financed endeavor quickly pushed the Swedish guitarist into international progressive rock stardom.

Stolt formed a touring band to present the album. He recruited two musicians who had participated in “The Flower King” album: Jaime Salazar on drums, and Hasse Fröberg on vocals. Two additional musicians joined the band, Stolt’s brother Michael on bass and Tomas Bodin on keyboards.

The Flower Kings released a series of successful albums as a band and quickly gained popularity in progressive rock circles and was one of a small set of bands helping to revive the progressive rock scene worldwide.

Two boxed sets compiled The Flower Kings’ extensive discography: A Kingdom of Colours: The Complete Collection From 1995 To 2002, released in 2017; and A Kingdom of Colours II: The Complete Collection From 2004 To 2013, that came out in 2018.

In 2018, Roine Stolt released Manifesto of an Alchemist as Roine Stolt’s The Flower Kings.

The Flower Kings got back together in 2019. The 2019 lineup included Roine Stolt on guitars and vocals; Hasse Froberg on vocals and guitar; Jonas Reingold on bass; Zach Kamins on keyboards; and Mirko Demaio on drums.

Discography:

Back in the World of Adventures (Foxtrot Records, 1995)
Retropolis (Foxtrot Records, 1996)
Stardust We Are (Foxtrot Records, 1997)
Flower Power (Foxtrot Records, 1999)
Space Revolver (Inside Out Music, 2000)
Alive on Planet Earth, live (Inside Out Music,2000)
The Rainmaker (Inside Out Music, 2001)
Unfold the Future (Inside Out Music, 2002)
Meet the Flower Kings, live (Inside Out Music, 2003)
Adam & Eve (Inside Out Music, 2004)
Paradox Hotel (Inside Out Music, 2006)
Instant DeLIVEry, live (Inside Out Music, 2006)
The Sum of No Evil (Inside Out Music, 2007)
Tour Kaputt, live (Inside Out Music, 2011)
Banks of Eden (Inside Out Music, 2012)
Desolation Rose (Inside Out Music, 2013)
A Kingdom of Colours: The Complete Collection From 1995 To 2002, boxed set (2017)
A Kingdom of Colours II: The Complete Collection From 2004 To 2013, boxed set (2018)
Manifesto of an Alchemist (Inside Out Music, 2018)
Waiting for Miracles (Inside Out Music, 2019)

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