All posts by Angel Romero

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.

Ninth Moon Black Releases 9th Album Chronophage

Ninth Moon Black – Chronophage
American band Ninth Moon Black has a new album titled Chronophage. Ninth Moon Black is a 5 member instrumental band from the Pacific Northwest. Its musical influences include psychedelic, ambient and post metal.

Ninth Moon Black sometimes engages audiences with its self-produced experimental films, or providing an epic soundscape for visual odysseys such as Begotten, Decasia and Man With A Movie Camera.

In 2008 Ninth Moon Black released its self-titled debut. The EP Kalyug came out in 2011.

Chronophage is available as a name your price download via Bandcamp: http://ninthmoonblack.bandcamp.com/album/chronophage

Space Rockers DarXtar Release Aged to Perfection

Darxtar – Aged to Perfection
Aged to Perfection” is the seventh album by acclaimed Swedish space rock band Darxtar. This is their first recording for the Transubstans label. The album is available on CD, strictly limited Vinyl and as download.

Darxtar originally begun as a one-man project in 1989. Over the years it has become known as a leading space rock act. In the early 1990s, v released Darker, Daybreak & Sju. Later, the concept album Tombola and most recently, in 2005, the experimental psychedelic recording “We Came too Late”.

“Aged to Perfection” picks up where “We Came too Late” left off with its focus on memorable tunes, based on space rock. The band always strives for full artistic freedom and has once again written, recorded, mixed and produced the album all by itself.

Buy Aged to Perfection in North America

Listen to samples of buy MP3s of Aged to Perfection

Electric Violin Journeys

Noel Webb – Journey With Me
Noel Webb

Journey With Me (Red Lab Records, 2012)

Electric fiddler Noel Webb makes a big splash with his EP Journey With Me. The recording includes a mix of styles that meander in various directions. One of the best cuts is the title track Journey With Me which has much in common with the contemporary instrumental jazz-rock sounds that were made in the 1990s, during the new age music boom. If you liked Jerry Goodman’s violin adventures, you’ll enjoy this piece.

Another highlight is Webb’s fiery shredding version of the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Kashmir’. This is electric violin rock at its best.

On the last piece, ‘Scream,” Webb takes his electric violin into frenzied techno dance territory.

The rest of the pieces on the EP go into a hip hop and smooth jazzy direction that has less appeal.

Noel Webb has had a successful career as an actor. He was a principal actor on the television soap opera General Hospital. He was also a frequent character on Mad About You, and a co-star on FBI, The Untold Stores. He appeared in many films and Movies of the Week including The Alamo, Young Riders, The Menendez Brothers, and Reluctant Agent. He also took part in on commercials by McDonalds, Honda, Emery, TV network promos, and narrated more than 50 A&E Biographies, TNN Biographies, and movie trailers.

Listen to samples, buy MP3s or the CD: Journey With Me

Of Sun and Moon

Overhead – ‘Of Sun and Moon
Overhead

Of Sun and Moon‘ (German Progressive Promotion Records, 2012)

Finnish band Overhead plays an unconventional mix of heavy metal, pop, retro psychedelic and progressive rock.

Although the metal side dominates and they sound like all the other Nordic metal bands, their latest album ‘Of Sun and Moon’ has some interesting moments for the progressive rock fan.

The highlights are the three progressive rock-infused pieces in the central part of the album. ‘Syriana’ introduces vintage-sounding keyboards, psychedelia, and creative guitar work. ‘Grotte’ has notable flute and guitar interplay with more psychedelic elements; and ‘Last Broadcast’ is a mini epic combining slow tempo post rock, psychedelia, anthemic vocals and a grand finale.

Overhead’s debut album titled ‘Zumanthum’ came out in 2002 on Mellow Records. The second recording ‘Metaepitome‘ was released in 2005 on Musea. ‘And We’re Not Here After All‘ (2008) was their third album, also on Musea.

A live concert was videotaped in 2009 at the Prog Rock 2009 festival in Poland. ‘Live After All’ was released on DVD.

Overhead’s lineup includes Tarmo Simonen on piano and Polysix; Janne Pylkkönen on bass; Alex Keskitalo on Vocals and flute; Jaakko Kettunen on guitar; Ville Sjöblom on drums.

Listen to samples and buy MP3s of Of Sun and Moon.

Buy Of Sun and Moon in North America

Buy Of Sun and Moon in Europe.

Electronic Soundtrack For One’s Own Road Movie

Steve Roach & Erik Wøllo – The Road Eternal
Steve Roach & Erik Wøllo

The Road Eternal (Projekt PRO00259, 2011)

The Road Eternal is the second intercontinental collaboration between renowned American synthesist Steve Roach and one of the finest musicians in the European electronic music scene, Norwegian guitarist Erik Wollo.

The album contains six lengthy pieces. While Roach develops his characteristic hypnotic electronic ambiance, percussion and creative sequences, Wollo contributes mesmerizing melodies and patterns with his processed electric guitars and guitar synthesizers.

Wollo and Roach bring their difference perspectives and environments to the music. Whereas Steve Roach lives in the expansive desert southwest of the United States, Wollo has his home in the land of majestic fjords and mountain rivers.

We are both passionate about the observation of nature and the poetic character of natural surroundings,” says Wollo. “The ways in which we relate to this, as well as the awareness of the ongoing passage of time. These ideas have been a driving force behind our whole artistic careers, and it is strongly reflected in this collaboration.”

In our music,” indicates Roach, “a central pulse and steady momentum is present. The sensation is a consistent feeling of travel. Whether you’re driving, flying, riding a train or some other form of transportation, the sound and vibration enters your body and becomes part of the meditation of the travel experience. Listening to these tracks while traveling allows the music to merge with the experience arriving at an integrated place where thoughts and imagination are unified as a soundtrack for one’s own road movie. The metaphor of ‘the road eternal in the creative process’ is the other element of the album title: the road the artist travels with the allure of discovering what is next around the corner.”

Erik Wollo and Steve Roach started to work on The Road Eternal at the beginning of 2010. The final sessions took place in the fall of the same year, when Wollo traveled to Tucson (Arizona) to play at the SoundQuest Fest. After the concert, the two musicians finalized their ideas in Steve Roach’s famed The Timeroom Studio. The sessions lasted several days. “This is the music I have wanted to create with Erik since I first heard his classic Traces release way back in the 80’s,” says Roach.

The Road Eternal exhibits the talent of two of electronic music’s most recognizable masters. It is another excellent ambient-trance album to add to your collection.

Listen to samples, buy MP3s or buy the CD The Road Eternal in North America.

Buy The Road Eternal in Europe.

Chris Thompson Live in Berlin and The Colos-Saal

Chris Thompson
Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal
Chris Thompson

Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal (Gonzo Multimedia, 2012)

Fans of legendary British rock band Manfred Mann will immediately recognize Chris Thompson’s voice and many of the songs included in this triple set. Thompson delivers a passionate and memorable collection of songs backed by an excellent rock band.

Even though the Manfred Mann that I liked was the progressive rock-era version, the band was also known for delivering great rock songs and some radio hits. Some of the most recognizable featured in this live set are ‘Blinded By The Light’, ‘You Angel You’, ‘Spirits In The Night’, ‘Don’t Kill It Carol’ and ‘Mighty Quinn’.

Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal contains two CDs and a bonus DVD. It is a combination of a live radio concert and a previous rehearsal and concert that took place in Aschaffenburg. The Aschaffenburg material was retrieved from a completely concert film and recording and is included as a bonus as the producers felt that the salvaged footage expressed the enjoyment of the concert. The Berlin concert remains just as it came from the radio transmission and as such is the complete concert as fans heard it at the concert and also on the radio broadcast.

Born in the UK, Thompson grew up in New Zealand. He returned to the UK in 1973. He became Manfred Mann’s Earthband’s vocalist after Mick Rogers left the band. His voice first appeared on the 1976 Roaring Silence album which contained the hit single ‘Blinded By The Light.’

Thompson appeared on Jeff Wayne’s concept album War of the Worlds recording the track “Thunder Child” which was also a UK hit song. Thompson recorded the Manfred Mann’s Earthband LPs Watch and Angel Station, which featured the hit singles ‘Davy’s On The Road Again’, ‘Mighty Quinn’, ‘Don’t Kill It Carol’ and ‘You Angel You.’

Chris is backed by a full band which includes Mads Eriksen on guitar; Frank Hovland on bass, backing vocals; Gunnar Bjelland on keyboards; with Szolt Meszaros on drums for the Berlin concert and Steinar Krokstad as drummer on the Aschaffenburg material.

Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal is an extraordinary collection of live songs by one of the unforgettable voices of 1970s British rock.

Tracks:

DVD: Live At The Colos-Saal, The Aschaffenburg Remains

1 Martha’s Madman , 2 Land Of The Long White Cloud , 3 Whole Lot To Give , 4 If You Remember Me , 5 Demolition Man , 6 Redemption Song , 7 Don’t Kill It Carol , Fan Cam Dexheim , 1 Mighty Quinn , 2 Drum Solo ( Zsolt Meszaros ) , 3 You Angel You , 4 Davy’s On The Road Again , Plus Interview : , Chris And Band By Jon Kirkman ,

Cd 1: Live At Radio Berlin 88.8

1. Father Of Day. 2. Wasting Time. 3. Hot Summer Night. 4. Spirits In The Night. 5. Martha’s Madman. 6. Land Of The Long White Cloud. 7. Whole Lot To Give. 8. If You Remember Me. 9. Demolition Man. 10. Redemption Song. 11. Don’t Kill It Carol. 12. Runner. 13. Mighty Quinn.

Cd 2: Live At Radio Berlin 88.8

1. Piece For The Wicked ( Mads Eriksen ) . 2. You Angel You. 3. Davy’s On The Road. 4. Blinded By The Light. Encores. 5. For You. 6. You’re The Voice. 7. Questions.

Buy Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal in North America.

Buy Berlin Live & Live At The Colos-Saal in Europe

Charles Darwin Vol I, II and III, a Work of Art

XII Alfonso – Charles Darwin Vol I, II and III
XII Alfonso

Charles Darwin Vol I, II and III (XIIALF 07 08 09, 2012)

French progressive rock band XII Alfonso has released a colossal project dedicated to the life, work and travels of Charles Darwin. The hard cover book+CD contains three audio CDs and an extensive 76 page color book with lyrics, credits, photos, historical details and fascinating illustrations. There is attention to detail throughout the whole project, which took two years to complete.

The three CDs follow Darwin’s life and achievements in chronological order,. XII Alfonso divided the pieces into songs and instrumental compositions. “Songs tell us about his youth, his house, his dreams, his doubts… ,” clarifies the band. “Instrumental pieces are an attempt to musically translate the major concepts of his thoughts : The Coral of Life, Descent with Modification, Struggle for Existence, On the Origin of Species…”

XII Alfonso has been around for 15 years. They develop their music at a home studio in Bordeaux. Band members include the Claerhout brothers, Philippe and François, who come up with the ideas and compose most of the music; drummer Thierry Moreno; and flutist Stéphane Ducassé.

For the Darwin project, XII Alfonso invited an impressive cast of singers and instrumentalists, including vocalists Maggie Reilly (Mike Oldfield) and Huong Thanh; Supertramp’s legendary saxophonist John A. Helliwell; flutists Terry Oldfield and John Hackett; guitarists Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Robin Boult ( Fish), Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons, Kate Bush), Tim Renwick (Pink Floyd); bassist Michael Manring; and keyboardists Mickey Simmonds (Mike Oldfield, Camel, Fish ) and Ton Scherpenzeel (Camel, Kayak).

With such tremendous talent, XII Alfonso delivers a brilliant mix of state of the art progressive symphonic rock as well as tantalizing world music pieces, folk-rock, classic rock, and evocative jazz-infused music.

XII Alfonso is known for its concept albums. The first CD was The Lost Frontier (Muséa, 1996), dedicated to the historical border between the northern “Barbarians” and Roman Britannia. Next came a musical illustration of human adventures titled Odyssées (Muséa 1999). The third and fourth albums were dedicated to Claude Monet: Claude Monet Vol. I and Claude Monet Vol. II (Muséa, 2002 and 2005). At that time, François Claerhout wrote a biography about Monet titled L’œil et le monde (Editions thôt, 2005).

The completely instrumental album, Under (Muséa, 2009), looks at the subterranean worlds. In addition, XII Alfonso released the live album This is (Muséa, 2003) and recorded an experimental album played on stalactites and stalagmites in a French prehistoric cave. The music is presented at the prehistoric museum in Altamira (Spain).

Hats off to XII Alfonso. With Charles Darwin Vol. I, II and III, they have recorded one of the great masterworks of the current progressive rock generation.

But the album from CD Baby or from the band’s website at: xii-alfonso.com/boutique-shop

Fast and Vigorous

Tohpati Bertiga – Riot
Tohpati Bertiga

Riot (Moonjune Records MJR045, 2012)

A fascinating fusion music revolution is taking place in Indonesia. Riot is one of the latest examples of some of the impressive combinations of vigorous rock, jazz fusion and virtuosic performances coming out of the Asian nation. Tohpati is a growing star in the world of electric guitar players. He is comfortable rocking out, shredding or improvising.

On Riot we find Tohpati Bertiga using a power trio format that includes Tohpati on guitars and guitar synth; Indro Hardjodikoro on bass; and Bowo on drums.

Tohpati demonstrates that his taste is eclectic adding other elements to the mix, such as funk, Middle Eastern melodies, and blues rock.

Riot showcases the talent and spectacular solos of one of the rising stars of fusion music.

Listen to samples, buy MP3s or the CD

Purveyors of Fine Space Music

Broekhuis Keller & Schonwalder – Red
Broekhuis Keller & Schonwalder

Red (Manikin, 2012)

If you fell in love with the Berlin-style electronic music of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Ash Ra Temple, you are in for a treat here. Broekhuis, Keller and Schönwälder is a trio that brings together three of the finest musicians in today’s progressive electronic music scene, drawing from the masters of the past and updating the music for the 21st century.

Bas Broekhuis is a Dutch drummer and sound technician, Detlef Keller is a German keyboardist and sequencer programmer and Mario Schönwälder is a German synthesist and sound designer from Berlin. Red is the latest of the trio’s albums. It is divided into three lengthy space music suites, Red One, Red Two and From Red to Green.

The perfectly synchronized pieces developed by Broekhuis, Keller and Schönwälder build up slowly and gradually. What makes up Red attractive is the brilliant combination of mesmerizing electronic ambiance, pulsating sequences, evocative melodies and rich palette of percussion.

The trio is a live band. They have performed throughout Europe and visited the United States recently. In addition, Schönwälder runs the business side of the group, managing the record label and tour planning.

Schönwälder is the organizational mind and is taking care of CD releases, concert planning and the so beloved bookkeeping.

Red is a spellbinding album of vital space music by three of the finest electronic music makers of our time.

Ordering information: http://www.manikin.de/en/main.html

Shape Shifting Santana

Santana – Shape Shifter
Santana

Shape Shifter (Starfaith Records, 2012)

Shape Shifter is a collection of instrumental pieces that legendary guitarist Carlos Santana saved for this all-instrumental project. Santana’s career spans decades and various musical genres. Shape Shifter showcases these various musical styles and influences.

Carlos Santana dedicates this album to the indigenous peoples of North America, the American Indians. The title track begins with native chants, acoustic guitars and rattles although Santana quickly shows his chops with one of his spectacular electric guitar solos.

In addition to ‘Shape Shifter’, album highlights include the reggae and world music-infused ‘Dom’ and ‘Nomad’, where Santana and keyboardist Chester Thompson carry out a sizzling duel.

Santana has always been a master craftsman of slow tempo instrumental pieces, with a romantic feel. He treats the listener to a few of these downtempo cuts, the best of which are ‘Angelica Faith’ and ‘Canela.’

Band members featured in the album are virtuoso players Chester Thompson on keyboards; Dennis Chambers on drums; Benny Rietveld on bass; Raul Rekow on congas; Karl Perazzo on percussion; Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay on vocals; and special guest Salvador Santana (Carlos’ son) on keyboards.

Shape Shifter presents the eclectic instrumental side of influential guitarist Carlos Santana who showcases a scorching mix of fiery rock, Afro-Latin beats, global sounds and smooth jazz.