Although released on progressive rock label Musea, pagan HARVEST is difficult to categorize. The trio combines English folk, classical and rock traditions. The musical backbone of the band are multi-instrumentalist Lawrence Reed, who provides the most memorable instrumental moments throughout the album, and bassist Steve Daymond.
pagan HARVEST delivers a mix of folk-style vocals as well as spoken word performed by Jon Bickley. He’s supported by singer Debbie Hill who provides backing vocals. The lyrics are inspired by the English pastoral tradition.
The lineup on pagan HARVEST includes Lawrence Reed on guitars, keyboards, percussion, cinematic orchestral arrangements and backing vocals; Jon Bickley on vocals; Steve Daymond on bass and backing vocals and Debbie Hill on backing vocals.
pagan HARVEST enthusiastically explore the intersections of English folk music and progressive rock.
English musician, spoken word singer and poet Gilli Smyth passed away August 22, 2016 in Australia. Gilli Smyth was the co-founder of psychedelic progressive rock bands Gong, Mother Gong and Planet Gong.
Benjamin Taubkin, Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup – Sounds of Life (Adventure Music, 2015)
These three musicians create a remarkable combination of jazz, contemporary acoustic, electronic and world music sounds. Percussionists Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup admired the work of pianist and composer Benjamin Taubkin and eventually met to work together on a new project. Sounds of Life is the result of this extraordinary collaboration.
The three musicians play piano and acoustic percussion instruments, along with keyboards, samplers and effects, in a tribute to the indigenous peoples of Brazil and Congo.
Sounds of Life captures the restless spirit of three talented musicians who deliver a fascinating mix of piano, world music samples and global percussion.
Pink Floyd Records has announced the reintroduction ‘Atom Heart Mother’, ‘Meddle’ and ‘Obscured By Clouds’ on vinyl. The three albums have been remastered from the original analog master tapes and will be released on September 23rd, 2016. ‘The Wall’ and ‘The Division Bell’ are also back in stock on vinyl from August 26th.
Pink Floyd followed their 1960s albums with their fifth studio album, 1970’s ‘Atom Heart Mother’ featuring the classic lineup of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason plus an orchestra. The LP went on to become the band’s first UK No.1 record.
In a short break from touring ‘Atom Heart Mother’, in 1971, Pink Floyd released the progressive psychedelic album, ‘Meddle’. The album included the epic 23-minute track Echoesthat occupied the entirety of the B-side of the record.
Pink Floyd’s seventh album ‘Obscured By Clouds’ was originally recorded as the soundtrack to the French film ‘La Vallée’ but it was eventually released as a standalone album in 1972.
The 3CD boxed set follows Miles Davis’ musical evolution in the studio from 1966-1968, performing with his “second great quintet.” This is the latest edition in Columbia/Legacy’s Miles Davis Bootleg Series, a set of recordings that includes all rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, extensive and fascinating studio conversation and other components.
Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5. features the master takes of performances that would appear on the Miles Smiles (1967), Nefertiti (1968) and Water Babies (recorded 1967, released 1976) albums together with more than two hours of previously unreleased studio recordings from original sessions produced by Teo Macero (with the exception of “Fall,” produced by Howard A. Roberts).
One of the greatest progressive rock bands of all time, Emerson Lake & Palmer is back in the spotlight with new editions of its recordings. BMG Music has signed an agreement with the band to release Emerson Lake & Palmer’s remastered recordings. In addition, the label has released this 3-CD collection, titled The Anthology.
The compendium includes musical pieces from Emerson Lake & Palmer’s entire career. Disc 1 focuses on the trio’s first two albums: Emerson Lake & Palmer (1970) and Tarkus (1971). With their first two recordings, Emerson Lake & Palmer demonstrated that they were truly one of rock’s first super bands, incorporating musicians from some of the UK’s most iconic acts: King Crimson, The Nice and Atomic Rooster.
The material from Emerson Lake & Palmer and Tarkus highlights the mix of instrumental virtuosity by the late Keith Emerson, a keyboard wizard and innovator; and the spectacular drumming of Carl Palmer; along with Greg Lake’s vocal and songwriting skills.
Emerson Lake & Palmer were deeply influenced by classical music and jazz and combined it masterfully with rock. On Disc 1 you’ll find two of Emerson Lake & Palmer’s most memorable songs, “Lucky Man” and “Take a Pebble.”
Disc 2 focuses on the 1971 live album Pictures at an Exhibition; two iconic studio albums, Trilogy (1972) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973); and one track from one of the first triple live rock albums released in the early 1970s, “Welcome Back my Friends to the Show that Never Ends” (!973).
Pictures at an Exhibition features spectacular improvisations. For this anthology, however, the tracks selected are the most accessible and structured. Trilogy was one of the best albums released in 1972 and you’ll get to enjoy gems like “From the Beginning” that mix acoustic sensibility with exquisite guitar and synth solos. The other selections form this album are masterful keyboard-fueled instrumentals rooted in classical music. There is also the humorous “The Sheriff.” Keith Emerson liked to include an occasional ragtime tune, using an old piano.
The pieces from Brain Salad Surgery on The Anthology are once more epic instrumentals featuring loads of cutting edge keyboards and creative drumming. As in other albums, Emerson Lake & Palmer included unforgettable classic rock songs. In this case it’s “Still…You Turn Me On.”
The last piece on Disc 2 is the dazzling “Toccata” from “Welcome Back my Friends to the Show that Never Ends.”
Up until the end of Disc 2, Emerson Lake & Palmer was a solidly progressive rock band. Disc 3 shows the transition from prog rock to AOR and melodic pop/rock.
The first selections on Disc 3 are tracks from Works, Volume I and II (1977). These recordings were once more deeply inspired by classical music, including a symphony orchestra, featuring a mix of full band performances and solo works. One of the most excellent performances by Emerson Lake & Palmer was their rendition of “Fanfare for the Common Man.” The trio turned it into a progressive rock masterpiece. It was also one of the most fun pieces to listen to live because Keith Emerson inserted improvisations and well known tunes.
There are two tracks from “Works Live” an album that originally came out as In Concert (1979). One of them is the melancholic “C’est la Vie”. The other piece is the band’s knockout version of Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn.”
The album “Love Beach” shocked many fans. Like other progressive rock bands, Emerson Lake & Palmer had endured the vicious criticism of the British and American pop media. Additionally, there was strong pressure from record labels to deliver shorter FM-friendly songs, so the trio released “Love Beach,” an album that moved away from progressive rock. Nevertheless, the group didn’t forget its symphonic rock roots and included an instrumental version of Rodrigo’s “Canario” featured in this collection.
Disc 3 contains a version of “The Pirates” extracted from “Live at Nassau Coliseum.”
“Black Moon” (1992) continued in the pop direction. The first track selected from this album is Greg Lake’s ballad “Affairs of the Heart.” The arrangements here are definitely sappier than earlier ballads. The other track chosen from this album is a symphonic rock version of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Palmer monotonously pounding the drums.
There is only track from “In the Hot Seat” (1994) and that’s a good thing because the piece, “Hand of Truth,” features the unvaried heavy drums of the era.
Disc 3 contains one track from “Live At the Royal Albert Hall.” It’s the live version of an AOR song from Black Moon. If you are a progressive rock fan, I recommend “Live At the Royal Albert Hall” because it has spectacular keyboard performances by Emerson with interesting variations and a mix of classic and modern keyboards.
The last track is one I’ve never before. It’s a live version of the rock and roll song “Tiger In a Spotlight” from the album “Then and Now.”
The Anthology comes beautifully packaged in a hard cover book that contains significant photos, an extensive biography and interviews with the musicians. All this at a great price so if you are curious about one of the best rock bands from the 1970s, this compilation is a great way to get started.
ProgDay 2016 has announced the names of the two bands that will perform at the Preshow at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Friday, September 2nd.
Abacab – The Music of Genesis
Formed in July 2015 by five skilled musicians in the Charlotte North Carolina metro area, Abacab includes vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Pete Lents, bassist and rhythm guitarist Cliff Stankiewicz, keyboardist Patrick Raymaker, lead guitarist andbassist Ryan Richard and drummer Jefferson Nunnery. Abacab pays tribute to Genesis.
Eclipse – The Pink Floyd Experience
Eclipse – The Pink Floyd Experience is a band presenting the music and visual atmosphere of Pink Floyd spanning the band’s most successful and iconic material. Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, members include Ryan Richard on guitar and vocals; Barry Hannibal on drums, percussion, electronic percussion and odd electronic sounds; Jeff Stone on bass and vocals; and Robert Geiger on keyboards, organ, piano, synthesizers.
ProgDay 2016 will take place on Saturday, September 3rd, and Sunday, September 4th, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The lineup this year includes Deus Ex Machina, Discipline, Bent Knee, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Eye, Luz De Riada, Ad Astra and In The Presence Of Wolves.
British progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman will be releasing 5 new albums on the RRAW label through Gonzo MultiMedia in Summer/Fall 2016.
Best known for his work on some of the best progressive rock-era albums with Yes, as well as his memorable solo career, Rick Wakeman’s upcoming albums are “Starmus 2015”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Gastank”, “Gospels” and “Rainbow Suite.”
Tapestry of Propositions is a collection of live improvisations by acclaimed progressive rock band Curved Air. These recordings were made between 2013 and 2014 and consists of totally different versions of Propositions.
Propositions is an early progressive rock classic that appeared in Curved Air’s 1970 album Airconditioning. This piece always features improvisation and each different version released here is totally unique. The different versions total one hour of music.
Only two of the band’s original members remain, vocalist Sonja Kristina, who only appears on two tracks because these jams are instrumental; and drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa.
Most of the improvisations feature the notable electric guitar work of Kirby Gregory on guitar; the dazzling violin solos of Paul Sax; the keyboards of Robert Norton; and the creative rhythm section of Florian Pilkington-Miksa and bassist Chris Harris.
The improvisations combine progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, blues and some world music influences.
Tapestry of Propositions was compiled and produced by Robert Norton.
On Tapestry of Propositions you’ll experience the outstanding musicianship of a re-energized pioneering progressive rock band.
Progressive Rock Central talks with Italian composer and keyboard master Nik Comoglio, founder of Syndone, one of Europe’s finest progressive rock bands.
AR – What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
NC – The most important thing is the interaction between rock and classic. Syndone has always tried to merge this two components of music as best as it can, so that a real “Symphonic Rock Sound” could born. By my experience I’ve noticed that people likes more when this two genres are well defined in the album. So when there is “classical” it should be “very clean”; when there is “rock” it should be much dirty. This formula works better than a studied melt like we did in “La Bella è la Bestia”.
Then the other important element goes through the composition and the orchestration. Syndone is trying to rejuvenate and improve the progressive style using a clear defined musical score in which the “obbligato parts” are strictly the base for the whole sound. I think that, in Eros & Thanatos, the orchestra has been very important to drive our music towards a real symphonic rock album.
Last thing: the vintage keyboards! The sound of the old synthesizers recorded with new microphones and new recording techniques have helped us to create and define a huge new sound even without electric guitar.
AR – Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
NC – My musical influences come mainly from Jazz and Classical music. When I was a kid I always listened to my father’s old jazz LPs… then I progressed to the classical and the contemporary music discovering Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Mussorgsky, Debussy, Ravel, Webern, Berg, Berio and so on; from there I moved towards progressive and rock music. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Gentle Giant, PFM, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Queen… I grew up with them! They opened my mind to the melodic texture while jazz and classical drove me to learn the harmony and the unconventional music signatures.
AR – Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
NC – We must go back to 1989. We were in the middle of the “New Prog” revival. I had a phone call from Beppe Crovella of Arti & Mestieri who asked me if I had some progressive material to recording. After a brief meeting with him I put together some ideas which were good at that time. Then a band was needed so I asked for a drummer and a bass man in order to form a “live trio line up”. We went to Electromantic Studio and in around a week (after a quick rehearsal) we made the album “Spleen” (1990). After two years in 1992 we recorded “Inca” always released by Electromantic.
After “Inca” we disbanded for some personal reasons as it happens in the most of the split groups but, first of all, for several problems and big arguments connected with the production of that period.
My music evolution began as an autodidact when I was fifteen; then, years later, I progressed studying piano and composition with Maestro Azio Corghi. I loved to analyze Bach and Mozart’s masterpieces scores and the opera of the most composers of early 1900s as well. My first gig was at the age of seventeen in a rock cover band.
AR – Your most recent albums are all concept albums. How do you come up with these ideas?
NC – It’s Rik’s [Riccardo Ruggeri] job mainly… He creates the lyrics and the album’s concept theme. I generally give him the rough basic line of a tune (in midi files) during the preproduction, letting the music inspires him to a new song or an idea of a new song. So that’s it! He always writes the lyrics very close to the impressions that my music evokes in me; this is the way we’ve been working together from Melapesante… we never changed because it works!
AR – In my opinion, Italy has one of the finest and most original progressive rock scenes in the world. Why do you think Italy produces so many first-class artists?
That’s true! Italy have had a lot of great progressive bands, especially in the “age d’or” (around the mid of ‘70ies) in which to be a progster meant to be an innovator, to be among the vanguard. Anyway, in Italy there has always been a big classical musical background among musicians (especially inherent to melody) coming naturally from the opera, from melodrama and from popular music. I think that this ancient kind of melodic music have influenced through the years the most part of Italian musicians who late have dedicated themselves to jazz, pop and progressive music.
AR – What keyboards and other instruments do you use?
NC – I generally use vintage keyboards: Roland Juno 60, 106, Jx8P; Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos; Hohner Clavinet D6; Hammond A100/M102; Minimoog model D (or the new Voyager); Oberheim Matrix 1000; and in last album (Eros & Thanatos) a new Dave Smith Prophet 8. I like the huge sound!
AR – And what effects do you use?
NC – I never let the sound of my keyboards clean. Generally I love make my sound and “to dirty” it with effects like phasers, distortion and fuzz pedals. Even the amplifiers are important for the final sound… I have an old Marshall JCM 800 combo and a vintage Fender Twin.
AR – If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
NC – Speaking for myself, more than a band to work with I would prefer a single artist to work with and to create something new… I always would love to work with David Byrne of the Talking Heads.
AR – Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
NC – Not for the moment… we just came out with a new album (that’s Eros & Thanatos) which took two years of work. Now we are looking to the promo gigs.