Category Archives: New CDs

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

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

The Flower Kings Reveal New Studio Album ‘Waiting For Miracles’

Acclaimed progressive rock band The Flower Kings has announced the release of a new studio double album titled ‘Waiting For Miracles.’ Set for release November 8th, 2019, the album includes 15 new tracks, recorded over the summer at RMV studio in Stockholm, Sweden, a vintage studio space owned by ABBA star Benny Andersson.

Band leader Roine Stolt said: “We have gone back to the joyful and playful style that made the band famous in the late 90s. So here ‘more’ is always ‘more’! At time the lyrics have a bit of a serious concern about the state of our world, but overall the theme is full of joy and color.”

The Flower Kings – Waiting For Miracles

The current The Flower Kings lineup includes Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Hasse Fröberg, Zach Kamins and Mirko DeMaio (the most recent live line-up).

The album will be released as a 2CD, Gatefold 2LP + 2CD & as digital album, featuring stunning artwork by American artist Kevin Sloan.

Disc 1:
1.House Of Cards
2.Black Flag
3.Miracles For America
4.Vertigo
5.The Bridge
6.Ascending To The Stars
7.Wicked Old Symphony
8.The Rebel Circus
9.Sleep With The Enemy
10.The Crowning Of Greed

Disc 2:
1.House Of Cards Reprise
2.Spirals
3.Steampunk
4.We Were Always Here
5.Busking At Brobank

More about The Flower Kings

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

King Crimson Announces 5 Disc Set “Audio Diary 2014 – 2018”

The current King Crimson line-up is releasing a 5-disc boxed set titled “Audio Diary 2014 – 2018.” It is a comprehensive summary of 5 years’ worth of concerts, one year per CD.  The collection includes performances selected from a first concert in Albany, New York in 2014, to the band’s 2018 concert in Tokyo.

King Crimson – Audio Diary 2014 – 2018

“Audio Diary 2014 – 2018” contains material from the debut album “In the Court of the Crimson King” (including ‘Moonchild’ which was never performed in 1969) through to works from “Lizard” which, likewise, was never performed at the time.

Also featured, King Crimson classics from “Islands”, “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic”, “Red” & other studio albums, up to compositions from Fripp’s solo album “Exposure” (‘Breathless’), reinterpretations of 1980s material (‘Neurotica’, ‘Indiscipline’), and newly written pieces for this line-up, (‘Meltdown’, ‘Radical Action’).

Available for pre-order at Schizoidshop

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

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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

Gong to Release 13-Disc Boxed Set Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75

Pioneering psychedelic progressive rock band Gong will be releasing a 13-disc boxed set titled “Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75.” The collection is curated by Steve Hillage and released with the full involvement of original members.

Gong – Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75

Released to coincide with Gong’s 50th Anniversary, the anthology includes the band’s classic years in a remarkable package that includes: their essential first four Virgin studio albums plus bonus tracks; previously unreleased, multi-tracked full gigs, the complete John Peel Sessions from 1973 and 1974; previously unreleased quad Pye and Westlake mixes of ‘You’ re-formatted to 5.1 surround-sound, and artwork including rare and previously unseen work by the late Daevid Allen.

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

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