No-Man to Release New Live Album Titled Love and Endings

No-Man - Love and Endings
The new live album Love and Endings is a document of No-Man’s powerful performance at the Leamington Spa Assembly on October 14th, 2011. It is scheduled for release March 12th. The album features the British band’s core duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson joined by classical violinist Steve Bingham and regular collaborators Michael Bearpark, Andrew Booker, Stephen Bennett and Pete Morgan.

Love And Endings retains the intimacy and sophistication of No-Man’s studio work while adding an edgy rock component absent from much of its recordings. The pieces are drawn from all stages of No-Man’s music.

Love And Endings includes the previously unreleased song, Beaten By Love, which dates from the earliest days of the band.

The album will be available in CD/DVD (deluxe digipack) and limited edition heavyweight double vinyl (in gatefold sleeve) formats.

A free download of a track from the album is available here

Seattle Dreamin’

Sky Cries Mary - Taking the Stage - Live 1997-2005
Sky Cries Mary

Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 (Trail TR-009, 2011)

Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 is a live collection of some of the best pieces by legendary Seattle psychedelic rock outfit Sky Cries Mary. The band’s sound is a fascinating mix of psychedelic space music with alternative rock and trance electronics. Sky Cries Mary
is characterized by the outstanding vocal interaction of husband and wife lead singers Roderick Romero and Anisa Romero, along with technicolor guitars, electronic beats and loops, drumkit, bass and ambient synthesizers.

The live performances were recorded at different times and on different location. Some of the pieces were previously released on the out-of-print album “Here & Now”. Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 was edited, remastered and produced with improved sound quality. “The resulting mix cannot be quantified,” says Roderick Romero. “It must be heard to be experienced. In fact, it cannot be heard without experiencing it.”

The musicians that participated in the recordings include Roderick Romero and Anisa Romero on vocals, Michael Cozzi on guitar and programming, Ben Ireland on drums and percussion, Juano on bass, William Bernhard on guitar and keyboards, Jill Wangsgard on keyboards and acoustic guitar, and Todd Robbins (DJ Fallout) on keyboards and sound effects.

Sky Cries Mary’s Taking The Stage: 1997-2005 is an impressive collection of dreamy and surreal space rock, insistent psychedelia and futuristic trance music.

Buy the CD, MP3s or listen to samples at

Legendary Progressive Rock Supergroup UK Reunites for 2012 Tour

UK
UK, one of the finest progressive rock groups of the late 1970s will be back for an international tour in 2012. The “Night After Night 2012” World Tour will include virtuoso keyboardist and violinist Eddie Jobson (Curved Air, Roxy Music, Frank Zappa), renowned bassist and vocalist John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia), and American drummer Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck).

Formed in England in 1977, the band UK became an instant sensation in the international progressive rock scene with two of the most highly rated prog albums of the era: the self-titled UK (1977) and Danger Money (1978). This was followed by their live record Night After Night (1979) featuring tracks from their farewell tour.

Confirmed North American Dates

May 02 – Showcase Live, Boston, USA

May 04 – The Highline Ballroom, New York, USA

May 06 – Sound Stage, Baltimore, USA [on sale January 30]

May 08 – World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, USA

May 10 – Cabaret du Capitole, Québec, Canada

May 11 – The Gesù Amphitheatre, Montréal, Canada [sold out]

May 14 – The Triple Door, Seattle, USA

May 17 – Aladdin Theater, Portland, USA

May 18 – The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, USA

pre-sale tickets now available at www.zealotslounge.com

Italian bass player Alberto Rigoni Releases “The Net” Video

Alberto Rigoni - Photo courtesy of Aguilar Amplification
Italian bass player Alberto Rigoni makes available on Youtube the official video clip of “The Net”, a song from his new solo album Rebirth released by Nightmare Record. The short tune is based on bass harmonics that create a unique atmosphere. “I love bass harmonics. The tune is simple but hypnotic,” says Rigoni.

Alberto Rigoni is an Italian bass player and composer. Besides his solo career, Alberto is also known as member and bass player of the progressive metal band TwinSpirits and founder of the new electro pop duo Lady & the Bass.

Born in Montebelluna (Treviso, Italy) in 1981, Rigoni founded, together with drummer Enrico Buttol, a well-known progressive-metal cover band called Ascra, performing mainly songs by Dream Theater. In 2003 he joined the emerging progressive metal band Twinspirits, led by Daniele Liverani (Genius Rock Opera, Khymera, ex-Empty Tremor). The band’s debut album “The Music That Will Heal The World” was released worldwide in 2007 by Finnish label Lion Music and received remarkable feedback.

Besides Twinspirits, Rigoni followed composed a solo album titled Something Different, released by Lion Music on February 15th 2008 with worldwide distribution.

In 2011 he signed with Nightmare Records (SONY / RED Distribution) for the release of his new solo album “Rebirth.”

Buy the CD, MP3s and listen to samples at;

Changing Forms of Slivovitz

Slivovitz - Bani Ahead
Slivovitz

Bani Ahead (Moonjune, 2011)

Naples-based fusion jazz band Slivovitz has a new album titled Bani ahead. With this recording, Slivovitz continues to explore the boundaries between jazz-rock, traditional music, avant-garde chamber music and freeform improvisation.

Bani Ahead presents Balkan and Gypsy music influences, American blues, a delectable melodic piece titled ‘Fat’ and powerful jazz-rock explorations.

The current line-up of the band includes Domenico Angarano on bass guitar, Salvatore Rainone on drums, Derek Di Perri on harmonica, Marcello Giannini on guitars, Pietro Santangelo on saxophone, Riccardo Villari on violin, and trumpet player Ciro Riccardi.

The band Slivovitz was founded in September of 2001 from a spontaneous jam in the streets of Naples. Since then, it hasn’t stopped morphing, growing, changing form and direction, but always in the line of instrumental music related to ethnically-tuned jazz rock.

Bani Ahead will please the fans of improvisatory jazz-rock with world music elements.

Greenslade & Bedside Manners Are Extra Released as Double CD

Greenslade & Bedside Manners Are Extra
Two of Greenslade’s best recordings, Greenslade & Bedside Manners Are Extra, are now available as a double CD. Greenslade was formed in 1972 by former Colosseum keyboardist Dave Greenslade, former Colosseum bassist Tony Reeves, former King Crimson drummer Andy McCulloch, and vocalist and second keyboard player Dave Lawson, who had performed with Episode Six and The Alan Bown Set.

Greenslade’s dual keyboard and no guitar line-up gave it a unique sound within the early 1970s progressive rock wave. Another Greenslade characteristic was the captivating fantasy artwork made by Roger Dean artwork.

This set contains the group’s first two albums, both originally released on the Warner Bros. label in 1973. The booklet includes all the lyrics, and annotation by Alan Robinson.

Casio Re-Introduces New Professional Synthesizers

Casio XW P1
Casio has re-entered the professional synthesizer market with two new synthesizers. The XW-P1 is a 61 key performance synthesizer with Casio’s exclusive (HPSS) Hybrid Processing Sound Source. The keyboard provides virtual analog monophonic leads and basses, drawbar organs, complex layers, stereo pianos, drums and more.

The XW-G1 groove synthesizer is designed for the DJ and club performer providing an interactive step sequencer and a sample looper for digitally capturing performance patterns and external instruments. Both synthesizers were presented at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show.

The XW series are not just new keyboards, they represent a new direction for Casio in the musical instrument business,” said Mike Martin, general manager of Casio’s Electronic Musical Instrument Division. “Casio’s formula of value and quality that has been the foundation of award winning instruments like Privia has been applied to a new product category, and the XW-P1 and XW-G1 are just the beginning.”

A six oscillator monophonic solo synth is one of the sound engines in both the XW-P1 and XW-G1. Two virtual analog style oscillators, two PCM based oscillators, a noise oscillator and an external oscillator via mic and line inputs can be combined to make up a single solo synth tone. Each oscillator has an independent filter, envelopes, independent key tracking, portamento, two LFO’s and access to master resonant filter.

The solo synth has an incredibly deep and powerful design. Among countless others, the oscillators even have access to waveforms from Casio’s original CZ synthesizers. It can create a variety of classic analog sounds, but also has the power to deliver sounds with an aggressive edge,” said Mike Martin. “Everyone is going to be surprised by the expressiveness and range of sounds the solo synth can create, but that is just one aspect of these products.”

In addition to the solo synth, the XW-P1 performance synthesizer is armed with an arsenal of gig ready sounds like stereo pianos, vintage electric pianos, strings, brass, guitars, basses, drums and more. It also has a new drawbar organ mode providing nine steps for each drawbar, vibrato, percussion and rotary speaker control. Rounding out the XW-P1’s sound-set are HexLayer; a HexLayer is a single sound comprised of 6 components, allowing complex layers, splits and velocity switched sounds.

The XW-G1 groove synthesizer has 420 built-in sounds, solo synth and PCM based sounds. It also has the ability to sample. A 19-second sample looper captures internal sounds as well as external instruments allowing the performer to create layers and overdub sounds on the fly. Sampled sounds can even be saved in Flash ROM so they remain in memory after the keyboard has been powered off.

The XW-P1 will be available in March 2012 for an MSRP of $699.00 and the XW-G1 will be available in April 2012 for an MSRP of $799.00.

For more information, visit www.casiomusicgear.com

Morse in the Middle of the Road

Neal Morse - Testimony 2
Neal Morse

Testimony Two (Radiant Records, 2011)

Testimony Two is a Christian rock album by multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse. The multifaceted musician is known for his progressive rock projects (Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic) and also his hard rock excursions and born-again Christian albums.

Testimony Two contains an uneven mix of Christian testimonial songs, melodic rock, hard rock and some progressive rock.

Disc 1 begins with the melodic soft rock song ‘Mercy Street’. The next piece titled ‘Overture No. 4’ starts with a promising symphonic rock introduction with admirable keyboard work that is drowned by disruptive heavy metal chords. ‘Time Changer’ is a piece led by powerful bass that features multi-layered vocal parts a la Gentle Giant as well as interesting guitar and violin solos, and epic keyboard passages inspired by early Yes.

The bittersweet ballad ‘Jayda’ is dedicated to Morse’s daughter, who had been diagnosed as having a hole in her heart that required open-heart surgery. The unexpected outcome had a profound effect on Neal Morse, with implications that are reflected throughout the album.

The hard rock cut ‘Nighttime Collectors’ has a ZZ Top feel. ‘Time Has Come Today’ includes great guitar melodies and keyboard work although the tendency to drown it with hard rock makes the piece very patchy.

The rest of Disc 1 contains a series of testimonial ballads, hard rock pieces and the semi-progressive rock track ‘Change of a Lifetime’ where yet again there is a conflict between creative keyboard work and excessive hard rock guitars.

Disc 2 only contains 3 tracks. ‘Absolute Beginner’ will please hard rock fans. ‘Supernatural’ begins in classic symphonic rock fashion, but quickly derives into an AOR ballad.

The best cut on the album is the 25-minute long suite ‘Seed of gold’ which is intended to be the great epic on the album. The first minutes bring back Morse’s progressive rock edge with superb keyboard, bass and guitars. Unfortunately, around minute three the music gets drowned out by heavy metal. Throughout the rest of the suite the music morphs into a piano ballad, hard rock, pop-rock and inspired instrumental parts with fine keyboard and dual guitars. As the piece gets closer to the end, Morse treats the listener to epic guitar hero style solos although close to the very end, the magic is yet again spoiled by the heavy metal nonsense.

The musicians featured on the album include Neal Morse on lead vocals, keyboards, guitars; Mike Portnoy on drums, vocals; Randy George on bass; Matthew Ward on vocals; Paul Bielatowicz on guitar; Steve Morse on guitar; Nick D’Virgilio on vocals, Alan Morse on vocals, Dave Meros on vocals; Eric Brenton on violin, Mark Leniger on saxophone.

Testimony Two has a surprisingly flat recording quality. I’m not sure what they did with the recording and mastering, but surely musicians this veteran could have done much better.

Overall, Testimony Two is a middle of the road album. With some editing and remixing, a full progressive rock album could have come out. Unfortunately, as is, it is a collage of various genres which dilute the most inspired moments.

Listen to samples and purchase the album at

A Saucerful of Space Music

Secret Saucer - Element 115
Secret Saucer

Element 115 (DERNCD 88, 2005)

Element 115 is the debut album by American space rock superband Secret Saucer. The group was formed in 2001 with members from various psychedelic and space rock bands, including Architectural Metaphor, Quarkspace, Star Nation, Nick Riff, Sun Machine, and Blaah.

On Element 115 you will find an excellent collection of instrumental pieces that combine the finest of psychedelic and progressive space rock. The group has carved its own niche, although you can hear influences from space rock pioneers Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and more recent acts like early Porcupine Tree and Ozric Tentacles.

The album was recorded during one long weekend jam. The musicians improvised on dual guitars, lots of synthesizers, bass and drums. However, the mesmerizing combinations of slide and glissando guitars, adequate drums, bass and electronics has cohesion and rich melodic content.

The participants in the album are Paul Williams on synthesizers and drums (Quarkspace, Church of Hed); Greg Kozlowski on guitar and bass (Architectural Metaphor), Jay Swanson on piano, synthesizers (Quarkspace), Steve Taylor on guitar, bass, drums (Star Nation, Sun Machine), Steve Hayes on synthesizers, bass (Star Nation, Sun Machine), Thomas Marianetti on drums, synthesizers (Sun Machine, Nick Riff), Bill Spear on bass (Sun Machine), Dan Schnell on acoustic & electric guitar (Sun Machine), Dave Hess on synthesizers, gliss (Blaahh).

Element 115 is an introduction to one of the finest space rock jam bands in recent times. Secret Saucer has released more albums which will be reviewed in future articles.

CD

Listen to samples and buy digital tracks

Progressive Rock Bands Credo and Comedy of Errors to Begin Joint UK Tour in February 2012

Credo
British prog bands Credo and Comedy of Errors will be touring the UK together in February 2012. Credo will present music from their successful Against Reason album.

Credo

Credo was formed in 1992 by guitarist Tim Birrell, bassist Jim Murdoch, lyricist and keyboard player Mick Stovold, drummer Paul Clark and vocalist Mark Colton. The band played their first live show in Aldershot in April 1992 as Ad Hoc, temporarily changing their name to Chequered Past before settling on ‘Credo’ in 1993.

Credo released their debut album – Field of Vision – in 1994, to some success in the UK and Neo Prog strongholds across Europe. The original intention was just to sell the album at gigs on cassette, but UK label Cyclops approached the band, signed them up and released the album on CD shortly after.

Extensive touring followed, when suddenly Mick Stovold decided to leave the band. His replacement, keyboardist Mike Varty (Landmarq, Shadowland, Janison Edge, Mick Pointer’s Marillion / Script For A Jesters Tour), marked the emergence of the Credo we hear today.

Following a horrific run of bad luck, ill health and assorted disasters, Credo continued with a new drummer, Martin Meads. Their second album titled Rhetoric came out in 2005 on the F2 label. The Rhetoric Tour culminated in a fabulous show in Katowice, Poland that was released as a double live album and DVD – This is What We Do.

Credo’s latest album, Against Reason, was released on 11 April 2011 on the F2 label. The current line-up includes Mark Colton on vocals & percussion, Mike Varty on keyboards & backing vocals, Tim Birrell on electric & acoustic guitars, Martin Meads on drums, Jim Murdoch on bass & backing vocals.

Comedy of Errors

Progressive rock band Comedy of Errors was founded in January 1984 with members coming from in and around the Glasgow area, Scotland. The line-up included vocalist Joe Cairney (vocals), keyboardist Jim Johnston, drummer John MacPhee, guitarist Mike Barnard and bassist Steve Stewart (bass), who was replaced by Mark Spalding. Various lineup changes followed as did the music and eventually the project faded away.

One man however kept faith in the original concept, dropped out of the prog scene completely, stayed in his room, kept writing new material and revising songs and waited…and waited…. It was hoped these mini-rock symphonies would, at some point in the future, see the light of day and find an appreciative audience. And so it was, thanks to those who kept faith in the music, the new incarnation of Comedy Of Errors came to release their debut album Disobey. The line-up on Disobey features original members Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards, guitars), Mark Spalding (guitars, bass and backing vocals. Guersts include Bruce Levick on drums and Hew montgomery on bass.

Tour Dates

Thursday 2nd February

Riffs Bar,
Greatfield Swindon, SN4 8EQ Doors 7.00

Friday 3rd February

The Lexington,
Pentonville Road, London
Doors 7.30pm
CRS Shop

Saturday 4th February

The Wesley Centre,
Maltby, Rotherham
Doors 7pm
CRS Shop

Sunday 5th February

B2, Brickmakers, Norwich
Doors 7pm
CRS Shop

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