All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero has been writing about progressive music and world music for many years. Publications include Eurock (USA), Marquee (Japan), and Nuevas Músicas (Spain). He founded the websites progressiverockcentral.com and worldmusiccentral.org. Angel also produced Musica NA, a music show for TVE (Spain) featuring fusion, avant-garde, world music, new age and electronic artists.

State-of-the-art Electronic Soundscapes

Sverre Knut Johansen – Earth From Above (Spotted Peccary Music, 2016)

Norwegian musician and sound designer Sverre Knut Johansen presents his first album for the Spotted Peccary Music label. Earth From Above illustrates the sensation of watching Earth’s landscapes from above.

Sverre Knut Johansen’s style is rich and exciting. He mixes engaging electronic music melodies with brilliant sequencer work and symphonic, cinematic and exquisite ambient soundscapes.

Earth From Above features guest musician David Helpling, who performs guitar textures and tonalities throughout the album.

The lineup on Earth From Above includes Sverre Knut Johansen on electronic instruments, hardware and software synthesizers, percussion and guitars samples; and David Helpling on guitar textures.

Sverre Knut Johansen has been experimenting with sounds since the 1970s. He composed the music for the photo exhibition Scener fra et jernverk (Scenes from an ironworks) in 2000 with photographs by Ketil Born.

Johansen has a master’s degree in music technology from NTNU in Trondheim (2009).

His discography includes Distant Shore (Origo Sound, 1994); The Source of Energy (Origo Sound, 1999); Av Jern (2008) book and CD in collaboration with photographer Ketil Born and author Laila Stien; Planets (Origo Sound, 2012); Hibernation (Origin Music, 2013); Life (Origin Music, 2013); Ancient Prophecies (Origin Music, 2013); Lights (Origin Music, 2013); Hvítur Hestur (Hvìtur Hestur, 2013); Av Jern / Iron (Origin Music, 2013); Elements Of Light (Origin Music, 2014); the EP Different Directions (Hvìtur Hestur, 2014); and Nightshift (Origin Music, 2014).

Earth From Above is a state of the art electronic music production beautifully crafted by one of the great European masters of sound design.

Marillion Announces New Studio Album: “FEAR”

British rock band Marillion has announces the international release of “FEAR”, its new studio album. FEAR will be available September 9th, 2016 on earMUSIC. “F E A R” stands for Fuck Everyone And Run, a title that is simply an appraisal of today’s world, its politics and increasingly-prevailing human behavior.

All worthwhile human impulses come from love. And all negative and destructive human impulses come from fear,” clarifies vocalist and lyricist Steve Hogarth. “This title is adopted not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song ‘New Kings’) tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an ‘Every man for himself’ philosophy. I won’t bore you with examples, they’re all over the newspapers every day.”

F E A R was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in England. It is Marillion’s 18th studio album and will be available as a 1CD Digipak, Limited Edition Super Audio-CD, Vinyl and Digital.

Photo: Marillion in 2016 – Photo by Carl Glover-Simon Ward

Rock Guitarist Andreas Šala Reveals Play-Through Video for New Song “Hue”

Andreas Šala
Andreas Šala

Croatian guitarist and composer Andreas Šala, who performs with bands Subscale, The Ralph and If And When We Die, has released a play-through video for the song “Hue” taken from his upcoming solo album Pleasure Dome.

Šala plays Wreck Guitars’ BlueMorpho 6 in the video. “I wanted to make a solo record for quite some time now but I just couldn’t decide in which direction I want to take it. But when I got my hands on the BlueMorpho melodies just started to pour out of me and I knew what I had to do. I felt like a kid again,” says Šala.

Pleasure Dome will be different from the albums Šala releases with Subscale and The Ralph in that is more ambient and minimalistic. “I wanted to do something a bit different. For the past 5 years I was composing mostly metal for The Ralph so I wanted to take a step back. I’m a huge Joe Satriani fan (and 80’s/90’s instrumental music fan in general) and I always liked “bigger than life” melodies so it seemed like a logical step to make a guitar driven instrumental album.”

Sergio Poli, Emerging Jazz-Rock Violinist

Sergio Poli Ensamble – Luna de Hielo (Aoni, 2016)

Argentine electric violinist Sergio Poli has a new album titled Luna de Hielo. The violin virtuoso recorded Luna de Hielo live at the Ciudad Vieja bar and club. Poli plays a mix of straight ahead jazz-rock fusion, funk jazz, and world music styles.

Luna de Hielo was crowdfunded and showcases the talent of some of the finest musicians in the Argentine fusion scene. The album features a well-balanced combination of high energy pieces and mesmerizing slow tempo material such as the beautiful “Apuntes de invierno” that displays the talent of Poli’s violin and bassist Jonatan Schenone, who delivers a captivating solo.

At times, Poli directs his attention towards other genres and rhythms. Om “Policamdombe” he adds Afro-Uruguayan candombe beats. And “Carito” incorporates flamenco in the form of the bulerias subgenre.

On “Sinergia” and “Postsagio”, guitarist Maxi Abal demonstrates his skill with notable guitar work.

On the title track, “Luna de Hielo,” Poli extracts various captivating sounds out of his violin.

The lineup on the album includes Sergio Poli on violins; Pablo Murgier Pazdera on keyboards; Maxi Abal on guitars; Jonatan Schenone on bass; Daniel Viera on drums; and Potolo Abrego on percussion.

Luna de Hielo highlights the work of Sergio Poli, one of the emerging jazz-rock fusion talents from South America.

Buy the digital download version of Luna de Hielo

Former Yes Members Reunite to Form Superband ARW

A new progressive rock superband called ARW will be touring this fall, ARW includes singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jon Anderson, guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. All three are formerly Yes musicians.

 

Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson

 

Trevor Rabin
Trevor Rabin

 

The band will perform new music and Yes classics. Yes is one of the most successful progressive rock groups of all time. In the 1970s, Yes included founder Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Yes released progressive rock classics such as Fragile, Close to The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, and Going For The One.

ARW will tour North America in October and November 2016, followed by the rest of the world in 2017.

The following are confirmed dates. Additional dates to be announced soon:
Tuesday, October 4 – Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
Thursday, October 6 – Hollywood, FL Seminole Hard Rock Casino
Friday, October 7 – Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
Sunday, October 9 – Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Ctr
Monday, October 10 – Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
Saturday, October 15 – Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
Sunday, October 16 – Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
Wednesday, October 19 – Boston, MA Wang Theatre
Friday, October 21 – Wallingford, CT Toyota Oakdale Theatre
Saturday, October 22 – Huntington, NY The Paramount
Monday, October 24 – Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theater
Wednesday, October 26 – Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre
Friday, October 28 – Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Event Center
Saturday, October 29 – Akron, OH Goodyear Theater at East End
Tuesday, November 1 – New York, NY Beacon Theatre
Wednesday, November 2 – Pittsburgh, PA Heinz Hall
Friday, November 4 New – Buffalo, MI Four Winds Casino
Saturday, November 5 – Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
Monday, November 7 – Nashville, TN Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Wednesday, November 9 – St Louis, MO Fox Theatre
Friday, November 11 – New Orleans, LA Saenger Theatre
Saturday, November 12 – San Antonio, TX Majestic Theatre
Monday, November 14 – Austin, TX ACL at the Moody Theater
Wednesday, November 16 – Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
Thursday, November 17 – Salt Lake City, UT Capitol Theater
Saturday, November 19 – Las Vegas, NV The Pearl
Sunday, November 20 – Phoenix, AZ Celebrity Theatre
Tuesday, November 22 – Los Angeles, CA Orpheum
Friday, November 25 – San Francisco, CA Masonic

Masterful Rock Symphony

Höstsonaten – Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche (AMS Records, 2016)

Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche is the latest album by Höstsonaten, one of the various progressive rock projects developed by the great Italian musician and composer Fabio Zuffanti. The current incarnation of Höstsonaten is a partnership between Zuffanti and Luca Scherani (La Coscienza di Zeno).

Höstsonaten is the most symphonic of Zuffanti’s projects, mixing classical music with progressive rock instrumentation. Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche is an instrumental symphonic suite. This musical work is also envisioned as music that can also serve as ballet music, as great composers such as Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky did in the past.

Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche is inspired by Roman-era writer Apuleius’ “Cupid and Psyche”, which is part of the “Metamorphosis”. Zuffanti came up with a set of musical ideas appropriate for such a suite. He gave this material to Luca Scherani, who arranged it for string quartet, woodwinds and brass, sometimes using Zuffanti’s ideas and at times writing new arrangements of his own.

The final result is an album that beautifully brings together classical music and rock. In addition to the classical music orchestra instruments, such as violins, bassoon, and trumpet, Zuffanti and Scherani added powerful bass, drums, epic guitars and lots of keyboards, including Moog, mesmerizing mellotron, organ and piano.

In addition to classical influences and well-crafted classic symphonic progressive rock, Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche contains engaging jazz elements and avant-garde moments.

The line-up on “Cupid & Psyche” includes Luca Scherani on keyboards; Fabio Zuffanti on bass pedal & devices; Paolo “Paolo” Tixi on drums & orchestral percussion; Laura Marsano on guitars; and Daniele Sollo on bass.

Formus String Quartet:

Sylvia Trabucco on first violin; Alessandra Dalla Barba on second violin; Ilaria Bruzzone on viola; and Chiara Alberti on cello;

Woodwinds section:

Joanne Roan on flute; Luca Tarantino on oboe; and Sofia Bartolini on bassoon;

Brass section:

Marco Callegari on trumpet; Alberto Repetto on horn; Federico Curotto on trombone; Maurizio Zofrea on tenor saxophone.

“Cupid & Psyche” is the first of a series of rock symphony projects that Fabio and Luca would like to work on in the future.

The “Cupid & Psyche” suite and ballet will have its live debut on October 22, 2016 at the Teatro Govi of Genoa under the direction of choreographer Paola Grazzi.

Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche is a masterful symphonic rock suite by two of the most talented musicians in the current progressive rock scene.

Buy Symphony #1: Cupid & Psyche

Synthesist Robert Rich to Play a Sleep Concert at Moogfest 2016

American synthesist and sound designer Robert Rich will be playing at Moogfest from Thursday May 19, 2016 11:59 p.m. through Friday May 20, 2016 8:00 a.m. at the 21c Museum Hotel, Main Ballroom, 111 N. Corcoran St, in Durham, North Carolina.

We talked to Robert briefly about this event.

What repertoire will you be performing at Moogfest?

I’ll be playing a sleep concert. That’s it. It’s a thing, one piece, which is different every time because it’s a blend of improvisations with long-duration sound design.

What equipment will you be using?

Laptop with support devices, Korg M3, lap steel guitar, PVC flutes and several loopers.

Robert Rich describes the concept of a Sleep Concert which appeared on his album Somnium: “The term “Sleep Concert” can be a bit misleading, as it implies that this music is intended to help you sleep deeply. On the contrary, when you play Somnium at night, you may find that you sleep less deeply, and wake up more often. The idea is to let the music incorporate itself into your perceptual framework during the night, to create a sonic surround, an environment for unique states of consciousness.”

Robert Rich - Somnium
Robert Rich – Somnium

The music is pointed at the foggy territory that exists in your mind when you are drifting between awake and asleep. ”When your half-sleeping mind wanders into the realm of hypnogogic images and dreamlike non-linearity. You might find that this music can act as a trigger for these flowing thoughts, and the activation of the environment around you can help you to skate around the edges of sleep, with one foot in the dream world and one foot in the room where you are sleeping.”

This concert is already full. Anyone interested in attending the performance needs to get on the waiting list.

Photo credit: Robert Rich at Nearfest – Photo by Brian Tirpack

Musicians invited to create recordings with Sonambient sculptures of Bertoia at Museum of Arts and Design

Musicians are invited to create recordings with an installation of sounding sculptures presently on display in Museum of Arts and Design’s exhibition Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound. Every final Friday throughout the run of the exhibition, Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) invites musicians to create sound recordings with this installation. These Studio Sessions may be booked in one-hour segments, and artists must provide their own recording equipment.


Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound explores the Sonambient sculptures of Bertoia, an artist and designer whose career spanned just over thirty-five years. Known to many as the designer of the “Diamond” chair still in production today by Knoll, Bertoia was also a prolific maker of prints, jewelry and sculpture—both intimate and monumental—that grapple with properties of light, volume and sound.

Beertoia created much of his work from metal wire and rods, and toward the middle of his career, he discovered that when these strike one another, they make lush, resonant sounds. By the early 1960s, he was creating prototypes for his sounding, or tonal, sculptures—work that would eventually occupy the remaining years of his career.

These sculptures would become collectively known as Sonambient, a combination of the Latin roots of the words “sound” and “environment.” In 1968 Bertoia began to set up the 18th-century stone barn on his property in Pennsylvania to house a selection of his sounding sculptures and gongs. There he recorded 360 (known) reel-to-reel tapes of the sculptures. The barn is still standing today, with ninety-one original sounding sculptures installed inside, as Bertoia had intended them: an environment for sound.

MAD’s exhibition includes an interactive display of Sonambient sculptures created by Harry Bertoia’s son Val Bertoia.

Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Studio Sessions

May 27, June 24, July 29, August 26 | 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Free with Museum admission
To schedule a recording session, e-mail: public.programs@madmuseum.org.
Museum of Arts and Design
The Jerome and Simona Chazen Building
2 Columbus Circle, New York City