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.
Dead Can Dance, an acclaimed genre-defying duo has a new album titled Dionysus. The recording is the duo’s first album in six years and consists of two acts across seven movements that represent the different sides of the Dionysus myth.
“The Mountain” is the first movement of the album’s second act, where, explains Perry, “listeners will find themselves visiting Mount Nysa. This mountain was Dionysus’ place of birth, where he was raised by the centaur Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances together with Bacchic rites and initiations.”
Formed in Melbourne in 1981 by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, Dead Can Dance released several spellbinding albums that incorporated African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, Middle Eastern scales and art rock.
Chronomonaut is part 2 of a concept album developed by American progressive rock band Glass Hammer. The story follows Tom, a progressive rock-obsessed individual who received alien voices speaking to him through his favorite albums. Volume 1, Chronometree centered on Tom’s teenage years in the late 1970s. On Chronomonaut, Tom has grown up and experiences a mid-life crisis. The voices have returned and have been inciting Tom to time-travel back to the splendor days of the early progressive scene.
Glass Hammer have nailed it. They have captured the essence of early progressive rock, where proto symphonic influences met Beatles influences; brass-fueled rock-jazz similar to Blood, Sweat and Tears and early Chicago; folk-rock, and psychedelia. Although considerably less symphonic than many of their previous recordings, the instrumental section led by current members Babb, Raulston and Schendel is formidable, with memorable guitar solos, magnificent keyboards, creative drumming and lead bass lines.
On the vocal side, the band uses various vocalists, including current member Susie Bogdanowicz as well as Discipline’s Matthew Parmenter and a local Gospel singer called Patton Locke.
The Glass Hammer lineup on this album includes Steve Babb on bass, keyboards, lead and backing vocals; Fred Schendel on keyboards, guitars and backing vocals; Susie Bogdanowicz on lead vocals; and Aaron Raulston on drums.
Guests featured: Brian Brewer on guitar, steel guitar and mandolin; Jamison Smeltz on saxophone; Matthew Parmenter on lead vocals; Chris Herin on guitar; Reese Boyd on guitar; Phil Stiles on guitars; Tommy Ogle on saxophone; Bria Poteet on trombone; Stephen Bearden on trumpet; and Randall Williams on drums.
Composer, keyboardist and vocalist Andy Tillison is the social conscience of progressive rock. He’s a musician that doesn’t have any problem exposing society’s problems. Tillison is also one of the great innovators in the current progressive rock scene. The Tangent puts out a brilliant mix of progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, funk, forward-thinking trip hop and, on the Proxy album, Spanish influences.
The band, as usual, is outstanding. Andy Tillison always surrounds himself with some of the finest musicians in the progressive rock scene, including remarkable guitarist Luke Machin, who combines an enviable skill with a multi-faceted set of guitar sounds. On the enchanting track “The Melting Andalusian Skies” he channels Al Di Meola and the great Andalusian rock guitarists.
The band on Proxy includes Andy Tillison on vocals and keyboards; Jonas Reingold on bass; Theo Travis on saxophone and flute; Luke Machin on guitars; Steve Roberts on drums; and guest Goran Edman.
Proxy is yet another masterful progressive rock work by The Tangent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.