Symphonic and Smooth

Alan Simon – Big Bang

Alan Simon – Big Bang (Cherry Red, 2018)

French composer Alan Simon has been combining cinematic orchestral music, rock, pop and Celtic music in the past years. He is the composer of the celebrated Excalibur: The Celtic Rock Opera. Big Bang is Simon’s vision of the creation of the universe.

The album features Celtic music legend Alan Stivell, John Helliwell of rock band Supertramp and Michael Sadler of AOR band Saga.

Big Bang features masterfully-constructed modern symphonic pieces along with electronics and a prevalent smooth jazz saxophone throughout the album.

The Finely-Crafted Songs of Il Bacio della Medusa

Il Bacio della Medusa – Seme (AMS Records, 2018)

Italian band Il Bacio della Medusa (Medusa’s Kiss) is highly regarded within progressive rock circles. Seme is the band’s first album in six years and it is a mix of various genres with diverse results.

The highlights of the album are the progressive rock tracks: the delightful “La Sonda” where Il Bacio della Medusa combines passionate vocals, beautiful flute, acoustic guitars and a great synth solo; the fabulous Banco-inspired “5 E 1/4 ….Fuori Dalla Finestra Il Tempo E’ Dispari” where symphonic and jazz-rock come together with more stellar keyboard work; the mesmerizing instrumental “Uthopia…Il Non Luogo” where prog rock and electronica find common ground; the climactic “Il Sentiero Di Luce” that showcases fine vocal, guitar and flute work; and the final instrumental “Animaemotica.”

The rest of the album contains a hard rock song, a couple of singer-songwriter folk rock pieces and one country inspired song.

The musicians on the album include Simone Cecchini on lead and backing vocals, acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars; Simone Brozzetti on guitar; Simone Matteucci on electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Eva Morelli on flute, alto and soprano saxophones; Federico Caprai on bass and backing vocals; and Diego Petrini on drums, percussion, piano, synthesizer, mellotron, backing vocals.

Earlier recordings include: Il Bacio Della Medusa, Discesa Agl’Inferi D’Un Giovane Amante, Deus Lo Vult, and Live.

Conspiracy of Fools

Apogee ‎- Conspiracy of Fools (Progressive Promotion Records ‎PPRCD 064, 2018)

Conspiracy of Fools is the new album by Apogee, the ambitious project of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Arne Schäfer (Versus X). He plays practically all instruments except for drums. His music is solidly in the symphonic progressive rock camp, with influences from the great bands of the 1970s and 1980s.

Five of the six track clock over 10 minutes and feature notable guitar and keyboard solos, the always mellotron orchestrations, odd meters and a mix of instrumental and vocal passages. Arne Schäfer has added extra layers of vocals in the form of harmonies. There is also spoken word which works really well.

Lineup: Arne Schäfer on lead vocals, backing vocals, electric, acoustic guitar and slide guitar, keyboards, and bass; and Ebi Graef on drums.

Get Conspiracy of Fools from amazon uk

The Extraordinary Music of Béla Bartók and King Crimson Live

Dialeto – Live with David Cross (Chromatic Music, 2018)

Brazilian instrumental rock band Dialeto delivers a magnificent live version of its recreations of Béla Bartók’s Romanian and Bulgarian folk Dances. As the album title indicates, King Crimson violinist David Cross joined the band in Sao Paulo to perform Dialeto’s material as well as King Crimson classics (including a gorgeous version of “Starless”) and a piece by Cross.

The music is a captivating mix of power rock, classical, jazz and folk influences, heavy rock and progressive rock. There is superb musicianship and dazzling interaction between Cross and guitarist Nelson Coelho.

The album was recorded in 2017 at SESC Belenzinho in São Paulo, Brazil. The band featured David Cross on violin; Nelson Coelho on guitars; Fred Barley on drums, vocals; and Gabriel Costa on bass, vocals.

Although this an independent release, the band is getting distribution and marketing support from MoonJune Records.

Buy the Live with David Cross digital album from amazon or the CD from bandcamp.

Karmic Juggernaut to perform at ProgDay 2018

American band Karmic Juggernaut is set to perform on ProgDay 2018. The progressive rock festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Founded in 2004, Karmic Juggernaut has spent the past 14 years pursuing the idea of creating music that exists without boundaries, that organically develops based on what a particular tune requires. The band evolved from an instrumental four-piece outfit to a vocal 6 piece, with a further extended ensemble when required. The result is a collection of eclectic music that combines elements of psychedelic rock, symphonic rock, funk, jazz, blues, jamband, world music, and whatever other genres might be appropriate at the time.

The band includes James McCaffrey on guitar, vocals; Randy Preston on guitar, vocals; Kevin Grossman on drums, percussion; Cody McCorry on bass, Theremin, saw; Daimon Santa Maria on vocals, flute; and Jake Hughes on keyboards.

Karmic Juggernaut’s discography includes the EP Karmic Juggernaut (2012), The Great Again EP (2017), and The Dreams That Stuff Are Made Of (2018)

The 2018 edition of ProgDay will feature Alec K. Redfearn & The Eyesores, Fernando Perdomo & The Out To Sea Band, Pixie Ninja and Soften The Glare.

More at www.progday.net

After Nations Announce US tour this August in support of New Album, Consteleid

Psychedelic progressive band After Nations has announced the release of a new album titled Consteleid, scheduled for release on August 1st.

Guitarist Andrew Elliott said about the new recording: “This is definitely our most ambitious work to date. I’ve really focused the past few years trying to develop as both a song-writer and guitarist, and in working with Travis and Zack to create something that feels like it represents where we are musically. I think the ideas and themes all feel more developed, more mature, more focused – and the album feels more expansive in the sonic ground it covers. I hope people will experience and feel that when they hear it.”

 

 

The band will be presenting the new album across the US Midwest, southwest, and West Coast later this summer. This time they’ll be joined by an additional guitarist, David Sandoval (Eat the Sun, Chaff, Kenaima).

In the past, I’ve written guitar parts for albums that I have to condense down for live performances,” says Andrew Elliott. “I couldn’t play everything that’s there, it’s just not possible, so I’d focus on critical parts and cut other things. With this album, I just didn’t feel we could do that. The writing is all interdependent; everything has a place, every part is serving the music. It just doesn’t have the same energy, feeling, or texture without all of it being played live. So I reached out to Dave – an incredible musician and friend from past tours – and asked him if he’d want to join us. He was down, and here we are.”

After Nations’s earlier recording is titled The Bearing Point.

 

Tour Dates:

8/17 Lawrence, KS at Replay Lounge
8/18 Colorado Springs, CO at Triple Nickel
8/19 Denver, CO at 7th Circle
8/21 Salt Lake City, UT at The Underground
8/22 Boise, ID at The Olympic
8/23 Salem, OR at The Space
8/24 Portland, OR at Kenton Club
8/25 Seattle, WA at The Central
8/29 Oakland, CA at Elbo Room
8/30 Las Vegas, NV at TBA
8/31 Phoenix, AZ at Rogue
9/1 Albuquerque, NM at TBA

The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery, a Finely Crafted Work of Art

The Tangent – The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery (InsideOut Music, 2017)

The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is an album released in 2017 by The Tangent, one of the finest progressive rock acts in recent years. The band is led by keyboardist, composer, vocalist and drummer Andy Tillison. It’s a splendid recording that features some of the finest musicians in the European scene.

This is progressive rock in its supreme form. Tillison is a masterful keyboardist and orchestrator. In addition to state of the art symphonic progressive rock and jazz-rock rich in keyboards, he adds elements of funk, soul and even Santana-style Latin rock. Wildly eclectic and deeply satisfying.

The Tangent always attracts some of the finest players in the current scene. On this album, the band features the great guitar hero of our time, Luke Machin. His chameleonic guitar style is out of this world, ranging from knockout shredding to exquisite solos.

Other members include bass virtuoso Jonas Reingold, saxophonist and flutist Theo Travis, and Marie-Eve de Gaultier (from Luke Machin’s band Maschine) on keyboards and vocals.

The album only has 5 tracks and four of them are lengthy epics packed with instrumental goodness that flow beautifully. Andy Tillison cares about of the world and its ecosystems. His lyrics make reference to the endangered wild animals; the sorry state of mass media and fake news; and other equally important topics.

 

 

The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is a progressive rock masterpiece. It demonstrates that The Tangent is in perfect shape.

Buy The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery

The Laid Back Fusion of Daniel Santiago

Daniel Santiago – Union (Adventure Music, 2018)

Union is an instrumental album highlighting the guitar work of Brazilian musician and composer Daniel Santiago. The album has edgy electric guitar and electronic keyboards. At the same, it is very accessible and laid back. It’s an album that is eclectic and energetic enough to please fusion fans and the smooth jazz market as well.

The lineup on Union includes Daniel Santiago on acoustic and electric guitar, synth bass, keyboards and vocals; Pedro Martins on keyboards; Shai Maestro on piano; Frederico Heliodoro on bass; Rafael Vernet on keyboards; Thiago Rabello on drums; Gregoire Maret on harmonica; Antonio Loureiro on drums; Renato Galvao on drums; and Ricardo Braga on percussion.

 

 

Union is a delightful, masterfully-crafted album where jazz, fusion and Brazilian music find a common ground.

Buy Union

David Cross Crisscrosses The Tracks

David Cross – Crossing The Tracks (Purple Pyramid, 2018)

Groundbreaking electric violinist David Cross, best known for his work with King Crimson, has released a new album titled Crossing The Tracks this month. This album is an unconventional project for Cross. Cleopatra Records and German producer/composer Jürgen Engler approached him to complete 12 tracks by Engler and some well-known songwriters.

Crossing The Tracks is a mix of progressive rock instrumentals featuring superb electric violin solo work and electronic arrangements; and songs that highlight female vocalists.

The most captivating pieces are the instrumental performances, which is where Cross gets to showcase his talent as an instrumentalist, adding the melodies, string sections and electric violin solos.

 

 

The two vocal tracks that stand out are the ones featuring the late Yemenite-Israeli vocalist Ofra Haza and the Dead Can dance-flavored song with Sonja Kraushofer. The world music air goes well with the electric violin and electronic keyboards.

 

Buy Crossing The Tracks

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