Category Archives: CD Reviews

Virtuoso Pianist Gleb Kolyadin Releases State of the Art Solo Debut

Gleb Kolyadin – “Gleb Kolyadin” (Kscope, 2018)

This self-titled recording “Gleb Kolyadin” is the debut solo album of Gleb Kolyadin, one of the rising stars of progressive keyboards. His primary instrument is the grand piano, masterfully recorded at Moscow’s iconic Mosfilm studios. The opening track, “Insight” brings together deep classical music influences in the form of piano, jazz stylings and synthesizer solo bursts that recall Chick Corea’s work.

The second track, “Astral Architecture,” is a mesmerizing piece with captivating piano and vocals, soft drums and dreamy guitars and synths.

On “White Dawn”, Kolyadin layers keyboards, mixing grand piano and symphonic synths with soaring guitar.

“Kaleidoscope” features piano, powerful drums and bass that initially sounds like a tribute to the fine work of Emerson Lake and Palmer that later adds jazz vibraphone and flute into the mix with a Rick Wakeman-style synth solo to top it off.

On the short track 5, “Eidolon,” Gleb Kolyadin showcases his magnificent skill on the piano. The piece ends with fascinating reverb sounds. It segues into another and wonderfully orchestrated piece titled “Into The Void,” featuring piano, mysterious synths and delicate jazz drums.

“The Room” features the piano, bass and drum trio format along with saxophone, weaving in progressive rock, jazz and classical stylings and morphs into a high energy electronic prog rock set.
The longest track is Confluence, clocking over 10 minutes. It begins with delicate piano, bass and absorbing vocals by Steve Hogarth (Marillion). Gleb Kolyadin brilliantly builds the music up tempo, treating the listener to delicious interplay between the piano, drums and vibes.

On track 9, “Constellation / The Bell,” Kolyadin exhibits his classical piano influences and adds contemporary vocal experimentation near the end.

“Echo / Sigh / Strand” combines classical piano with a brief outburst epic prog rock.

Track 10, “Penrose Stairs” features jazz saxophone plus the grand piano, vibrant drums and bass.

“Storyteller” is a progressive rock lover’s dream, with Kolyadin and fellow maestro Jordan Rudess exchanging fabulous keyboard performances. Rudess plays a knockout synth solo.

 

 

The album concludes with “The Best Of Days” where Steve Hogarth returns with another entrancing vocal performance accompanied by spellbinding piano, drums and bass.

 

 

The lineup on “Gleb Kolyadin” includes Gavin Harrison on drums; Nick Beggs on bass; Theo Travis on flute and saxophone; Steve Hogarth on vocals; and Mick Moss and Jordan Rudess on keyboards.

Gleb Kolyadin cofounded the chamber prog group Iamthemorning in 2010 along with singer Marjana Semkina. The group released Iamthemorning in 2012, Belighted in 2014 and Lighthouse in 2016. In 2016 Iamthemorning won the UK-based Progressive Music Award for album of the year.

With his first solo album, Gleb Kolyadin has unveiled a formidable force in the progressive rock field. He’s a masterful performer, arranger and innovator. This album is heading straight to the top of best progressive albums of the year.

Buy Gleb Kolyadin in Europe

Buy Gleb Kolyadin in the rest of the world

Multi-layered and Uninhibited Re:Psychle

Tautologic – Re:Psychle (Turtle Down Music, 2018)

Tautologic is a progressive rock ensemble from Chicago with a unique quirky personality. Their latest album is Re:Psychle, a set of songs inspired by everyday Chicagoans.

While Tautologic’s sound is grounded in progressive rock, the lyrics are idiosyncratic and sarcastic, similar in spirit to Frank Zappa’s work and the Canterbury bands.

The band is led by multi-instrumentalist Ethan Sellers who delivers superb keyboard work throughout the album. What’s refreshing about Re:Psychle is the fact that Sellers stays true to the progressive music spirit by combining state of the art classic progressive rock with chamber music elements, jazz and other influences such as funk and even unexpected Afrobeat-style brass on one song.
Topics portrayed in Re:Psychle include substance use and behavioral health as well as veterans’ concerns, friction between religious conviction and a secular culture, conspiracy theories, celebrity culture, and the need for re- joining nature.

Sellers collaborates with a remarkable cast of musicians. Guitarist Aaron Weistrop showcases his talent as an instrumentalist who extracts top notch guitar sounds and avoids tired hard and heavy metal riffing. Weistrop also provides captivating interplay with violinist Jeff Yang.

The lineup on Re:Psychle includes Ethan Sellers on vocals, keyboards and acoustic guitar; Pat Buzby on drums; Nathan Britsch on bass; Chris Greene on tenor and alto saxophones; Aaron Weistrop on electric guitars; Jeff Yang on violin; Nick Photinos on cello; Aron Topielski on bass; Jennifer Reddick on flutes and piccolo; Michael Maccaferri on clarinets; Johnny Showtime Janowiak on trombone; Eric Koppa on baritone saxophone; Micah Frazier on trumpet; Diana Lawrence on bridge vocals; Jennifer Justice on bridge vocals; and Lillie Sellers on spoken word.

Re:Psychle is a finely crafted prog rock album that combines meaningful, uninhibited lyrics and first class musicianship.

Buy the digital edition of Re:Psychle. The CD is available from cdbaby.com/cd/tautologic2

Slivovitz’s Live Intensity

Slivovitz – Liver (MoonJune Records, 2018)

Liver is the new live album by Italy’s remarkable band Slivovitz. The ensemble plays a mix of contemporary jazz, progressive rock, blues and effervescent rhythms with funk influences.

Liver revisits musical pieces from Slivovitz’s recent albums “Bani Ahead” (2011) and “All You Can Eat” (2016). The new versions include plenty of opportunities for improvisation and instinctive interplay. The saxophone, violin, trumpet and harmonica take turns as soloists. I gravitate towards the mesmerizing trumpet solos and the violin performances as well, possibly because the violin connects more with the Arti e Mestieri and PFM Italian vibe that has always attracted me.

The band lineup includes seven talented musicians: Derek Di Perri on harmonica, Arcello Giannini on guitars, Vincenzo Lamagna on bass, Salvatore Rainone on drums, Ciro Riccardi on trumpet, Pietro Santangelo on tenor saxophone and Riccardo Villari on electric violin.

 

 

Buy Liver

Captivating Looped Violin Expressions

Joe Kye – Migrants

Joe Kye – Migrants (Joe Kye, 2017)

Migrants is the first full-length album by Korean American violinist, technology wizard and songwriter. I saw Joe live a few years ago and that’s how you can really experience his talent. Joe uses technology to loop his violin’s sounds and his vocals as well in real time.

On Migrants, Kye uses these techniques to deliver captivating layers, percussive elements and loops of sounds where he can turn a single violin into a string ensemble.

Kye is also a singer. His best vocal material takes place when he loops and overdubs his vocals to create choruses and other effects. It’s fascinating, masterful work.

His musical influences include indie rock, a cappella songs, pop, jazz, and classical music.

Migrants features several guests, including bassist Chris Frank, drummer Matt Berger and a string ensemble.

Joe Kye was born in Korea and moved to the United States with his family at a young age. They settled in Seattle.

Buy Migrants

The Two Sides of Hamadryad

Hamadryad – The Black Hole (Hamadryad Music, 2017)

The Black Hole is the new album by Canadian band The Black Hole. The group delivers a mix of progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal.

The highlights of the album are the progressive rock-leaning pieces. The four musicians are superb instrumentalists and when they step away from predictable hard and heavy rock, they really stand out.

On “Peaceful Exit” and “So / By Your Side,” perform high energy rock characterized by memorable bass, keyboard and guitar solos and creative drumming.

Most of “Fall’n Fly” is embodied by heavy metal riffs. “Dark Souls” has some interesting moments, but again, it’s full of conventional hard rock and heavy metal riffs.

“Crash” is a bass-fueled rock song with great hooks. “The Worst Is yet to Come” is another high point, a delightful piece incorporating spacy synths, acoustic guitars and great vocals.

“Amora Demonis 2017” is the last song, a re-recording of an early Hamadryad classic. It’s a mix of hard and progressive rock, with the guitar pulling towards hard rock and the rest of the band tugging towards progressive rock.

Buy The Black Hole

Shape-shifting Progressive Jazz

Dusan Jevtovic – Live At Home (Moonjune, 2018)

Live At Home showcases the talent of innovative Serbian guitarist Dusan Jevtovic and his formidable band. On Live At Home, delivers a superb set of progressive jazz-rock fusion.

Spain-based Jevtovic is not a showoff guitarist. Instead he uses his guitar in multiple ways, creating a certain ambience, delivering altered walls of sound, distorted guitars, some solos and improvisations as well. His colleague, guest keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov performs an excellent set of mesmerizing electric piano segments that at time channel Chick Corea.

The rhythm section is impressive featuring Pedja Milutinovic’s powerful drums and Pera Krstajic gets some opportunities to play creative bass lines.

On song 5, “Babe,” the band introduces Eastern European chants that lead into cutting edge fusion. Meanwhile, on track 6, “Briga,” the band adds dreamlike sampled vocals that weave in and out.

Live At Home was recorded live at Decije Pozoriste, Kragujevac, in Serbia, on December 23, 2016.

Dusan Jevtovic’s Live At Home displays impeccable examples of progressive jazz craftsmanship.

Buy the CD or digital download from dusanjevtovic-moonjune.bandcamp.com

The Sonja Kristina Anthology

Sonja Kristina: Anthology

Sonja Kristina: Anthology (The Right Honourable Recording Company, 2017)

Singer-songwriter Sonja Kristina was one of the female pioneers of progressive rock as the lead vocalist with British band Curved Air. This anthology contains two discs with a selection of music from her solo albums as well as new material.

These are short songs spanning various styles like folk-rock, pop, psychedelic rock and even world music influences.

The CD booklet contains liner notes and many exclusive photos of Sonja Kristina.

Buy Anthology

Clouds Can’s Progressive Pop

Clouds Can – Leave

 

Clouds Can – Leave (Progressive Promotion Records, 2017)

Leave is the new album by German act Clouds Can, a project featuring multi-instrumentalists T (Thomas Thielen) and Dominik Hüttermann. They describe their music as progressive pop, which is a pretty accurate description. It’s a set of beautifully-arranged, deeply melancholic songs.

Aside from the introspective pop sensibility, there are elements of post rock and some scarce progressive rock moments. Highlights include the epic instrumental conclusion of “Life is Strange” and the ambience and effects that open “Like Any Angel.”

 

 

Buy Leave

Premiata Forneria Marconi’s Emotional Tattoos

Premiata Forneria Marconi – Emotional Tattoos

Premiata Forneria Marconi – Emotional Tattoos (InsideOut Music, 2017)

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) was one of the finest European progressive rock bands in the early 1970s. They are now signed to InsideOut Music and this is the band’s first release on their new label.

Like other iconic progressive rock bands of the 1970s, PFM had two stages, a progressive rock era and a commercial pop/rock phase. Emotional Tattoos takes you to the melodic rock and pop style, with catchy songs and ballads. There is only one progressive rock piece, a great instrumental titled “Freedom Square.”

This album is available in a special 2-CD set with English and Italian vocal versions of the album.

 

 

Buy Emotional Tattoos

Wingfield, Reuter and Sirkis’ Groundbreaking Improvisation

Wingfield Reuter Sirkis – Lighthouse (MoonJune Records, 2017)

Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter and Asaf Sirkis , three highly-innovative musicians, got together in a studio in Spain to record improvised music with no overdubs. The result is Lighthouse, a genre-defying set of progressive music explorations.

Asaf Sirkis creates powerful, creative beats that support drone guitar sounds and evolving, spellbinding processed guitar improvisations that take the listener to uncharted territory.

The lineup includes Mark Wingfield on electric guitar, Markus Reuter on Touch guitar; and Asaf Sirkis on drums.

Lighthouse is a groundbreaking album by the three musicians at the cutting edge of progressive music.

 

 

Available from markwingfield-moonjune.bandcamp.com