The Material Turn, First Techno EP Made Entirely By Self Made DIY Robots

Classically trained media artist and robotic musician Moritz Simon Geist has released his debut EP “The Material Turn” on his newly formed label Sonic Robots Records. The EP precedes the release of Geist’s full length album, “Robotic Electronic Music” on November 16.

The EP and LP, both co-produced with Berlinian sound wizards from Mouse On Mars, are the first techno records played entirely by self-made futuristic robots, including small motors that beat on metal, futuristic 3D-printed robo-kalimbas, and salvaged parts from old hard drives that click and cut. It took Geist several years to build, tweak, test and play all his DIY robotic instruments which push the boundaries of the imaginable. With these releases Geist explores the unknown and the futuristic world of techno robotics.

When you listen to robots playing, you realize, that they sound precise, but in contrast to digital sounds they transport an immense organic feeling,” says Geist. “No beat is like the other, everything is played with actual acoustic physicality and thus actual error. At the same time, the repetitive nature of the robots make it perfect for playing electronic music. It’s industrial and organic.”

Mortiz Simon Geist will be announcing US Tour Dates including an official SXSW showcase and panel/presentation this March.

Buy The Material Turn

The Art Ensemble of Chicago Boxed Set

This very special 21-CD, numbered edition titled The Art Ensemble Of Chicago And Associated Ensembles brings together the ECM recordings of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and related projects including Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory and the Transatlantic Art Ensemble, as well as groups led by Jack DeJohnette and Wadada Leo Smith.

Art Ensemble of Chicago: Nice Guys (1978), Full Force, (1980), Urban Bushmen (2 CD, 1980), The Third Decade (1984) Leo Smith: Divine Love (1978) Lester Bowie: The Great Pretender (1981), All The Magic (2 CD, 1982), I Only Have Eyes for You (1985), Avant Pop (1986), Tribute to Lester (2001), Roscoe Mitchell & The Note Factory: Nine To Get Ready (1997), Transatlantic Art Ensemble/Mitchell: Composition/Improvisation 1, 2 and 3 (2004), Transatlantic Art Ensemble/Parker: Boustrophedon (2004), Roscoe Mitchell & The Note Factory: Far Side (2007), Roscoe Mitchell: Bells for the South Side (2 CD, 2015) Jack DeJohnette’s New Directions (w Lester Bowie) (1978), Jack DeJohnette’s New Directions: In Europe (w Lester Bowie) (1979), Jack DeJohnette: Made In Chicago (w Mitchell, Abrams, Threadgill) (2013)

Buy The Art Ensemble Of Chicago And Associated Ensembles

Mesmeric Space Rock from The Spacious Mind

The Spacious Mind – The Drifter (Trail Records TR-020, 2018)

Trail Records never fails to deliver the good stuff. The Drifter is a collection of tracks by the fabulous psychedelic progressive rock band The Spacious Mind, from Sweden.

The Spacious Mind recreates the enchanting atmosphere of progressive psychedelia generated by Echoes-era Pink Floyd, with a boatload of acid guitars, vintage keyboards, spellbinding effects and modern electronic sounds.

The material on The Drifter includes tracks from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. Great stuff indeed.

Buy The Drifter

A Highly Melodic Pymlico

Pymlico – Nightscape (Apollon Records Prog, 2018)

Norwegian instrumental band Pymlico returns with an album titled Nightscape. Although the band is known for combining progressive rock and jazz fusion, the fusion side is actually smooth jazz, with very sweet, melodic saxophone.

There is a dynamic interaction between the high energy progressive rock, cinematic passages and the mellowed down sections.

The band includes Øyvind Brøter on keyboards; Stephan Hvinden on guitars; Andreas Sjo Engen on guitars; Axel Toreg Reite on bass and synth bass; Marie Færevaag on saxophones and keyboards; Arild Brøter on drums, keyboards and additional guitars; and Oda Rydning on percussion.

Guests: Mattias Krohn Nielsen on acoustic and some electric guitars; Ketil Vestrum Einarsen on flute; Didrik Føyn Føyen on trombone; and Andreas Fossum on trumpet.

Nightscape is a finely crafted instrumental album by a group of talented young musicians.

Buy Nightscape

A Darker Riverside

Riverside – Wasteland

Riverside – Wasteland (InsideOut Music, 2018)

Wasteland denotes a new stage in the career of Polish rock band Riverside after the death of its founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudziński. Although they are labeled a progressive rock act, the band delivers a mix of dark, melancholic rock, a pop-leaning ballad, and irritating prog metal.

From a progressive rock perspective, the highlights include the poetic and eerie opening track The Day After; the second half of Acid Rain after they ditch the metal riffs and get into an irresistible groove; and the forward-thinking Guardian Angel where vocals, acoustic guitars and piano are combined with soaring electric guitars and electronic ambiance.

The band includes Mariusz Duda on vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar; Michał Łapaj pn keyboards, Hammond organ, theremin, backing vocals; and Piotr Kozieradzki on drums.

ScienceNV’s Prester John Adventure

ScienceNV – The Quest for Prester John Volume One (independent release, 2018)

California-based progressive rock band ScienceNV has put together a two-part concept album series dedicated to Prester John, a legendary Christian ruler in the East who inspired many writings in the Middle Age and appears in Umberto Eco’s Baudolino.

The music on this first volume is an unexpected mix of fascinating classic progressive rock with excellent guitar and keyboard work, quirky avant-garde explorations and free improvisation, Baroque music, operatic vocals and jazz-infused jams. The band members are still the same although the album features various guests.

The lineup includes Larry Davis on guitar and bass; David Graves on keyboards and vocals; James Henriques on guitars, keyboards and vocals; and Rich Kallet on drums and percussion.

Guests include: Carrie Adler on oboe; Michael Cooke on saxophones; Phil Freifhofner on oboe; Paul Rosason pipe organ; and the following vocalists: Roberta Lengua, Daniel Pribyls, Rose Taylor, Joyce Graves, Alan Munson, and Betsy Snyder.

ScienceNV has released a series of amusing videos that accompany the project:

 

Buy The Quest for Prester John Volume One. Earlier recordings include Really Loud Noises, Pacific Circumstances and Last Album Before the End of Time.

The Sound Of The Earth Showcases Improvisatory Progressive Music Luminaries

Xavi Reija featuring Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Dusan Jevtovic – The Sound Of The Earth (Moonjune Records, 2018)

The Sound Of The Earth is an album by a sort of western progressive music all-stars associated with the Moonjune label. Xavi Reija demonstrates his formidable skill as a drummer, along with some of the biggest names in the improvisatory progressive rock scene: Tony Levin, Markus Reuter and Dusan Jevtovic.

The album features high energy pieces with creative drumming, distorted guitars and outstanding bass work. The four musicians also delve into tranquil territory, with the guitarists developing exquisite ambient soundscapes supported by lightly touched drumming and imaginative basslines.

The lineup includes Xavi Reija on drums; Tony Levin on electric bass, upright bass, and stick: Markus Reuter on touch guitar; and Dusan Jevtovic on guitar.

Buy the digital edition of The Sound Of The Earth or the CD.

Prog Rock and Soundtrack Textures

Armonite – And The Stars Above (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records, 2018)

And The Stars Above is the latest from Italian duo Armonite. It is a masterful collection of instrumental pieces (with brief vocals) where progressive rock and classical music meets jazz, electronica and other influences.

Armonite’s sound is characterized by the scorching electric violin and viola of Jacopo Bigi and the magnificent keyboards and electronics of Paolo Fosso.

The concept behind album is soundtracks. It’s envisioned as a set of pieces inspired by literature, dance and various other forms. And The Stars Above includes a charming piece titled Plaza De España that has a Spanish flavor, including castanets.

Guersts include Colin Edwin on bass; Alberto Fiorani on bass; Giacomo Lampugnani on double bass; Jasper Barendregt on drums; Emiliano Cava on drums; Corrado Bertonazzi on drums; Maria Chiara Montagnari on vocals; Diletta Fosso on child’s voice; Marcello Rosa on cello; Quartetto indaco string quartet.

Buy And The Stars Above

Rone Releases Animation Video Mirapolis

French electronic music artist and producer Rone (Erwan Castex) has released a new music video titled Mirapolis. The video was envisioned by his sister, illustrator Aurélie Castex.

The concept is: in infinite space, a tiny woman pilots a paper plane. On the Mirapolis planet, among a crowd of extravagant characters, a man swallows it by accident. He finds himself instantly tiny on his turn. Then he goes through a crazy race. He will cross giant shoes, dive into the seabed of a tin can, climbs on a planet that smokes a pipe… until a big party in which a merry and motley crowd dances on the shoulders of a giant: Rone.

“Mirapolis” is one of the last solo tracks that Rone composed in the spring of 2017, while thinking about the live performance: “I wanted to record a festive track, which completely stands by its “funfair” vibe.”

This new video is combined with the release of a new four-track EP including 3 exclusive remixes by Laurent Garnier, Johannes Brecht and Matias Aguayo on October 5th.

Rone’s discography includes Mirapolis, Tohu Bonus, Creatures and Spanish Breakfast.

Regular illustrator for Elle France magazine and Le Parisien Magazine, Aurélie Castex has also contributed to issues of Vogue Japan, Velvet Italia, Common & Sense, Flaunt and GQ. After graduating from l’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, she worked a year for Givenchy parfums before starting her professional free-lance activity in collaboration with her friend Claire Laude under the name Mesdemoiselles. They created many visual identities using drawing and illustration with chic and squeaky humor.

Now Aurélie is working in her own Parisian studio. She likes to draw funny pictures, to tell stories and to imagine animated movies for famous institutions and brands such as Paul & Joe, the Grand Palais, A La Mère de Famille, Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, Château Troplong-Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru or Chaumet.

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