London-based composer and keyboardist Daniel Biro has a superb new album titled 120 Onetwenty, scheduled for release in early 2018.
Daniel Biro brings together three of the greatest progressive music traditions: Berlin-style electronics, prog rock synths and jazz fusion keyboards.
Throughout 120 Onetwenty, Biro develops transfixing electronic sequences inspired by early Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and other iconic German artists. Additionally, Biro creates awe-inspiring atmospheres and tops it off with memorable synth solos and his signature Rhodes electric piano jazz-rock work.
120 Onetwenty is a remarkable instrumental album that strolls with ease and charm between electronica and progressive fusion.
Static is an indie progressive rock project by keyboardist Dave Kerzner. It’s a concept album about the disruptions and disorder in ordinary life and about passing through this “static interference” in our minds towards the goal of lucidity and joy.
The majority of the album contains beautifully-crafted progressive rock with vocal and guitar echoes of David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Steven Wilson and prog rock classic acts plus forward-thinking arrangements that bring together space rock, sound effects and electronics.
As indicated, the majority of the album is highly enjoyable state-of-the-art progressive rock. I would skip tracks 5 and 6, which stray away from the progressive rock vibe and head towards catchy pop. The remainder of the album includes all there is to like about progressive rock: majestic mellotron, memorable synth and guitar solos, exquisite cello, long epics and grand finales.
But there is more, Static features the great Steve Hackett, a musician that deserves an award for his talent and generosity, appearing as guest on numerous progressive rock albums. And Kerzner also used the rising star of prog rock artwork, Ed Unitsky.
The lineup on Static includes Dave Kerzner on vocals, keyboards and guitar; Fernando Perdomo on guitar, bass and drums; Randy McStine on guitar, effects and backing vocals; Derek Cintron on drums; Durga and Lorelei McBroom on backing vocals.
Guests: Steve Hackett on guitar; Matt Dorsey on bass and backing vocals; Nick Mason on drums; Colin Edwin on bass; Ewa Karolina Lewowska on backing vocals; Chris Johnson on guitar; Stuart Fletcher on bass; Alex Cromarty on drums; Ruti Celi on cello; and Nick D’Virgilio on drums.
Acclaimed electronic music trailblazer Steve Roach has received a Grammy nomination in the Best New Age Album category for his Spiral Revelation (Projekt Records) album.
Steve Roach is a pioneer in the development of ambient and tribal electronic music. He is exceptionally prolific, with a discography of over 125 albums. Iconic recordings include Structures from Silence and Dreamtime Return.
Simon Phillips – Protocol 4 (Phantom Recordings, 2017)
Extraordinary drummer and composer Simon Phillips has released a superb instrumental jazz-rock fusion album titled Protocol 4, featuring a significant group of collaborators.
Protocol 4 serves as a drumming master class by Simon Phillips, who delivers a series of remarkable, creative drumming performances throughout the album. The other musicians who participate in this recording are all first-rate instrumentalists with experience in jazz, rock and other genres.
Guitarist Greg Howe is pure delight. He uses a wide variety of techniques, from Alan Holdsworth-style note bending to spectacular shredding. Keyboardist Dennis Hamm masterfully crafts atmospheres as well as dazzling synth solos. And bassist Ernest Tibbs provides solid support throughout the album as well as excellent solo bass lines.
Protocol 4 includes the best jazz-rock fusion has to offer, from high speed dexterity to funk and laid back, bluesy material along with some world music elements. And the best of all is that there is no smooth jazz sax to be seen.
Simon Phillips composed the material while on tour, on airplanes, hotels and backstage dressing rooms.
Juha Kujanpää – Niin Kauas Kuin Siivet Kantaa – To Where My Wings Will Take Me (Eclipse Music, 2017)
Finnish keyboardist and composer Juha Kujanpää continues to charm with his fantastic mix of progressive rock and Finnish folk music traditions along with waltes, waltzes, Greek melodies and klezmer scales .
Juha Kujanpää combines a skilled progressive rock electric band format with renowned acoustic folk musicians, including members of innovative contemporary folk music ensemble Frigg.
On the prog rock you’ll find masterfully crafted orchestrations, electric guitar creations and echoes of Pekka Pohjola, Camel and Mike Oldfield. All this elegantly weaved with exquisite Finnish folk virtuosity, inspired by the region of Ostrobothnia, the stunning lake views of North Karelia and in a guest house in the monastery of Valamo.
The artists featured in Niin Kauas Kuin Siivet Kantaa include Juha Kujanpää on keyboards and reed organ; Timo Kämäräinen on guitars; Tero Tuovinen on electric and double bass; Jussi Miettola on drums and percussion; Tommi Asplund on violin; Alina Järvelä on violin; Kukka Lehto on violin; Joakim Berghäll on saxophone, flute and clarinet; and Teija Niku on accordion.
Dark progressive rock band L’albero del veleno has a new album titled “Tale of a Dark Fate.” The Italian band is deeply inspired by horror movies from the 1960s through the 1980s and Italian bands like Goblin and various Italian horror film composers.
The current lineup includes Nadin Petricelli on keyboards; Lorenzo Picchi on guitars; Michele Andreuccetti on bass; and Marco Brenzini on flute.
American avant-garde progressive rock band Inner Ear Brigade has a new album titled Dromology.
The album features Bill Wolter on guitar; Chris Lauf on drums; Stephen Wright on bass; Melody Ferris on vocals; Ivor Holloway on tenor, alto and soprano saxophone; Eli Wallace on keyboards; Theo Padouvans on trumpet; Andrew Vernon on keyboards; David Shaff on trumpet; and Aheron Wheels Bolsta on tabla.
British label Esoteric Recordings has announced the release of “Sleeping for Years,” a 4-CD boxed of music by proto-progressive rock band Atomic Rooster. The collection comes in a clamshell packaging featuring all the recordings made by Atomic Rooster on the classic albums Atomic Rooster, Death Walks Behind You, In Hearing of Atomic Rooster, Made In England and Nice n’ Greasy aas well as singles “Tomorrow Night” and “Devil’s Answer.”
Atomic Rooster was formed by former Crazy World of Arthur Brown members Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer. Their self-titled first album was recorded in 1970 with Nick Graham on bass, vocals & flute, but the band soon fractured when Carl Palmer departed to join Emerson Lake and Palmer. In his place came Paul Hammond on drums and guitarist and vocalist John Du Cann. This line-up recorded the successful hit singles Tomorrow Night & Devil’s Answer and the album Death Walks Behind You in 1971. Later that year, vocalist Pete French was added to the their line-up for the classic album In Hearing of Atomic Rooster.
Covering every track released by the band in the 1970s, Sleeping For Years is a newly re-mastered collection and also features six rare alternate versions and demos.
The boxed set includes an illustrated booklet with a new essay by Malcolm Dome featuring exclusive interviews with Nick Graham, Pete French, Steve Bolton and Chris Farlowe.
Virgil & Steve Howe – Nexus (InsideOut Music, 2017)
Nexus is an instrumental album featuring Yes guitarist Steve Howe and his son Virgil. It’s a sad release in terms of timing. Virgil, who was 41, died unexpectedly on September 11th, 2017.
Virgil developed neoclassical, jazz and melodic piano tracks and later incorporated keyboards, bass and drums. Steve Howe added the guitar parts. And those guitar sectionss are what stand out in all the pieces. Steve Howe uses his arsenal of acoustic, electric and steel guitars, adding his unmistakable, masterful touch throughout Nexus.
Steve Howe used one featured guitar per track in most tracks but on the title track Nexus he used a dual guitar approach, “I start by playing my favorite Gibson ES175D but then move over to a single neck Fender Professional Steel, which has 2 pick-ups, then I move back & forwards between them.”
Steve Howe describes Nexus as a fitting tribute to Virgil’s life and legacy.
Lucas Lee – Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations (LucasLeeMusic, 2017)
Multi-instrumentalist Lucas Lee showcases his multifaceted progressive music compositions on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations. Lucas Lee is a formidable musician, deeply inspired by progressive rock and fusion. His style sometimes sounds like a 21st century version of Canterbury masters National Health.
Lucas Lee plays practically all instruments on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations, except for drums. On the guitar, Lucas Lee switches from skilled jazz fusion techniques to inspired Joe Satriani-style shredding and ambient and avant-garde explorations. Lee also dominates the violin and keyboards, delivering notable piano and electronic keyboard segments. Additionally, Lee uses effects and spoken word to create a superb mix of forward thinking progressive music.
Although some of the promotional material mentions hard rock and metal, do not fear, there is practically no heavy metal.
The drumming couldn’t get better. Drums are played by Marco Minnemann, one of the best and busiest drummers in the progressive rock and fusion music scenes.
Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations features lots of rhythmic and harmonic changes and opportunities for the musicians to have some fun.