Legendary progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman will be releasing his latest album In The Nick Of Time on March 19th, 2012.
The archive live album was recorded in 2003 during an extensive British tour with the New English Rock Ensemble. In The Nick Of Time comprises 7 tracks including: Catherine Parr/Beware Your Enemies, No Earthly Connection, White Rock and Wurm which is a track originally found on The Yes Album as part of Starship Trooper.
Rick Wakeman is best known as the keyboard wizard for the influential progressive rock band Yes. He’s had a brilliant solo career with now classic prog rock albums. In 1972, Rick Wakeman released his first solo album, one of the most iconic prog albums of all time, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. The album was a great success, to date selling over 15,000,000 copies worldwide. Other concept albums included “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” and “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur.”
Wakeman also composes film scores. Some of his best known works include Ken Russell’s Liszttomania, Creepshow 2, The Burning, Kathleen Turner’s Crimes of Passion, the winter Olympics film White Rock, and many others.
There are albums that mark the end of an important musical phase in the life of a band; in this case a shift from progressive rock to another style. Genesis had ‘And then there Were Three’ and Yes had ‘90125.’ Arena’s is Seventh Degree of Separation. If you are looking for progressive rock, look elsewhere. Seventh Degree of Separation marks a solid genre change. Arena has moved from prog rock to a mix of AOR and tiresome heavy metal. The only piece that ventures into progressive rock is track 4, ‘The Ghost Walks.’
Seventh Degree of Separation is a concept album with interesting artwork. The deluxe edition comes with a bonus DVD with a documentary about the making of the album.
The line-up includes Clive Nolan on keyboards; Mick Pointer on drums; Paul Manzi on vocals; John Mitchell on guitars; and John Jowitt on bass.
I Move is the second album by IZZ, one of the most eclectic American progressive rock bands in recent years. IZZ is based in the New York and is led by the versatile Galgano brothers. On I Move, IZZ presents a wide range of musical influences. The first cut, ‘Spinnin’ Round’ features trip hop with hip hop beats and DJ scratching (no rapping) along with soaring guitar. It’s unconventional and they only use it once. It’s a strange opener and very different from what comes later in the album.
The following two songs venture into pop rock and alternative rock, with an occasional guitar solo. Track 4, ‘I Already Know,’ is a delicate gem, with superb slide guitar and vocals that at times sound like Steely Dan. There is excellent guitar and synthesizer work throughout the piece.
Songs 5 and 6 are soft rock efforts with ear catching melodies. Things get more interesting again on track 7, ‘Star Evil Gnoma Su’, a longer composition that features elaborate instrumental passages with counterpoints a la Gentle Giant and King Crimson. The synth and piano work is exquisite.
‘Another Door’ is a ballad with a great guitar solo. It’s followed by two additional soft rock songs with more of the fine keyboard work.
‘Knight of Nights’ is another long serpentine piece. It’s fascinating mix of epic Genesis and ELP-style keyboards with vocals inspired by guitarist Eric Johnson and Peter Gabriel.
Track 12 is a short and sweet Celtic ballad titled ‘The Mists of Dalriada.’ Things get festive with ‘Oh, How it’s Great!’ which has a PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) flavor, with more fine guitar and keyboard work.
The longest piece is track 14, ‘Coming Like Light,’ where IZZ’s musicians show their dazzling virtuosity with superb piano, guitars and synths accompanied by a turbo charged rhythm section that sometimes achieves breakneck speed, similar to what Yes did on Relayer. The album concludes with Light From Your Eyes.
The line-up on the album includes Tom Galgano on- keyboards, lead and backing vocals; Paul Bremner on electric and acoustic guitars; Brian Coralian on electronic and acoustic percussion, drum programming; Greg DiMiceli on acoustic percussion; and John Galgano on bass, acoustic and electric guitar, backing and lead vocals. Guests who participated in the recording are: Laura Meade on vocals; Anmarie Byrnes on vocals; Paige Rigilano provides spoken word; and Abigail Lombino also on spoken word.
Sebastian Hardie, the legendary Australian symphonic progressive rock band led by guitarist Mario Millo, is back with a new album titled Blueprint. This is the band’s third studio album since the now classics Four Moments (1975) & Windchase (1976).
After disbanding in the late 1970s Sebastian Hardie was asked to reform and perform a one off show at Progfest ’94 in Los Angeles. The show was recorded and the CD Live in L. A. was released.
In July 2003 Sebastian Hardie reformed for a concert tour in Japan and later that year were special guests at the Yes concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.
After the concerts in Japan and the shows with Yes, band members decided to record another album and continue with live performances. The problem was logistics. Drummer Alex Plavsic was living and working 1000 kilometers away in Queensland while the other members were in Sydney with their own personal and work responsibilities. This provided limited opportunities to get together. to rehearse and record new material. But they pulled it off and composed material for a new cd. The six new pieces became the cd Blueprint.
Swedish singer Hasse Fröberg and his progressive rock group Musical Companion have announced the release of their second album. Powerplay’ is the second album by the Flower Kings vocalist & Musical Companion. One year after the release of their critically highly acclaimed debut ‘Futurepast‘ (Sept. 2010), Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion entered the studio to record the backing tracks for ‘Powerplay’ (April 2012).
The line-up of the band is still the same, Hasse Fröberg: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Anton Lindsjö: Lead guitar, backing vocals; Kjell Haraldsson: Keyboards, backing vocals; Thomsson: Bass, backing vocals; Ola Strandberg: Drums, backing vocals.
Futurepast generated concerts in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. With the release of ‘Powerplay’, Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion is now confirmed for festivals such as RoSfest in Gettysburg (USA) and Night of the prog in Loreley (Germany) as well as performances on both sides of the Atlantic.
The sound engineer on ‘Powerplay’is Tomas Bodin. He’s a collegue with Hasse in the established and influential progressive rock band The Flower Kings. Even if Hasse likes studio work, he prefers the live scene: “Playing live is definitely the right element for us. I really can’t wait to take The Musical Companion and and the songs on ‘Powerplay’ on the road”.
The album is scheduled for release date April 23rd, 2012
The new album by German prog band RPWL was eagerly awaited by fans. Although described as art rock, RPWL is characterized by a mix of melodic pop-rock and state of the art symphonic progressive rock.
Beyond Man and Time is a concept album based on a musical journey through the world outside of Plato’s (the Greek philosopher) cave. It begins with outstanding keyboard work, especially synthesizer solos on track 2, ‘We Are What We Are (the Keeper)’. Track 3, ‘Beyond Man and Time (Time Blind)’ is an excellent anthemic piece with epic electric guitar and delicate catchy vocals.
The next set of pieces goes into pop and hard rock direction. Progressive rock returns with a bang on track 10, which is the lengthy suite ‘The Fisherman (I. High as A Mountain Part 1 & 2 – II. the Abyss)’. This is symphonic rock at its best with sitar-like guitars, masterful mellotron passages, soaring electric guitar that would make Steve Hackett proud, hypnotic vocals and an epic grand finale.
The last piece is a beautiful song called ‘The Moon (the Eternal Moment of Return)’ with a great guitar solo.
Beyond Man and Time ’s central character is on a journey and meets various individuals, partly adapted from Zarathustra, as means towards new awareness. The basic understanding is a so-called “revaluation of values” in terms of a new approach of thinking. In this world “beyond man and time” there are already creatures of higher wisdom that the protagonist meets symbolically along his way: the keeper of the cave, the willingly blind, the scientist, the ugliest human, the creator, the shadow, the wise man in the desert, and the fisherman.
In addition to the regular version of the album there is also a bonus edition limited of 2,000 copies. This special edition includes an supplementary audio book that unites the music even more closely to the philosophical approach, plus a topographic map of the new world that is to be explored.
“The goal is to open eyes, look further, see more, and see differently,” says vocalist Yogi Lang. “Words that everybody approves of are not going to lead to progress. We call that: “deadlock of the spirit”. Too many approaches of our time disappear in the void of the equal – the conformist.”
The line-up includes Yogi Lang on vocals and keyboards; Kalle Wallner on guitars; Markus Jehle on Keyboards; Werner Taus on bass; and Marc Turiaux on drums.
Beyond Man and Time contains excellent symphonic progressive rock pieces and demonstrates that RPWL has an enviable talent for making memorable songs, with ear catching melodic hooks.
Italian progressive rock band The Watch will be touring Europe Marc-May. Their latest project is called The Watch Plays Genesis, with an early 1970s setup, focusing on the classic progressive rock-era Genesis line-up.
The Watch is a 5 piece band from Milan. Their music is inspired by classic style progressive rock of the 1970s and in particular by the music of Genesis. The band’s first album was released in 2001, titled Ghost.
The lineup of the band has changed several times through the years. Simone Rossetti, founder and main composer is the singer of the band since the very first time. Simone Stucchi has produced all The Watch records and he’s still there, following the band on stage as sound engineer.
Since the end of 2008, the band has the best line up ever, according to Rossetti.
The current line-up includes Giorgio Gabriel on electric guitars, 12 strings acoustic guitar, classical guitar; Guglielmo Mariotti on bass, bass pedals, 12 strings electric and acoustic guitars, vocals; Valerio De Vittorio on pianos, Hammond L122 organ, mellotron, arp and moog synths, vocals; Simone Rossetti on vocals, flute, tambourine, mellotron and moogs (studio); Marco Fabbri on drums, percussions, vocals.
The Watch plays Nursery Crime and more old fashioned Genesis:
Le Triton – Paris ,
On Air Studio Mons, Be Support by Franck Carducci Special guest: John Hackett
RPWL, one of the leading progressive rock bands in continental Europe, will be on tour in April, promoting its new concept album titled Beyond Man and Time. Tour dates include concerts in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.
The line-up includes Yogi Lang on vocals and keyboards; Kalle Wallner on guitars; Markus Jehle on Keyboards; Werner Taus on bass; and Marc Turiaux on drums.
British drummer Joe Crabtree, best known for his drumming with UK classic rock bandWishbone Ash, has developed new software for the drummer and musician. Crabtree, who has been creating music software for a number of years, has introduced the RhythMachine, OctopuSequencer, Pyramid and PolyNome.
RhythMachine is a tool for generating rhythms and melodies and orchestrating them on the drum kit or pitched instruments. It can be used for ear training, creating vamps to solo over or generating grooves and fills.
“I began work on my first piece of software, the RhythMachine, back in 2008,” Joe explains. “It was inspired by some lessons I took in New York with Robby Ameen. In my lesson with Robby we were playing double drums – both playing a songo groove with a left foot clave. We’d play 3 bars of groove, then Robby would keep the clave going and play a 1 bar melodic fill on the toms. We’d go around the 4 bars again and my challenge was to mimic what he had played. It was challenging and I wanted to develop some software that would replicate that scenario. I wrote RhythMachine to do exactly this.”
OctopuSequencer is a tool for creating multi-layered grooves consisting of overlapping time signatures. Its core feature set allows the user to easily program and manipulate grooves in order to discover new ones.
“To play the songo groove in RhythMachine I had to build a step sequencer,” says Joe. “I built in the ability to choose any subdivision rate between 1 and 32, and to loop at any point in the sequence. Once I’d written the step sequencer I realized that I could stack them, and that having four independent step sequencers would allow me to program some of the kind of grooves that Virgil Donato, Marco Minnemann and Mike Mangini were playing – grooves which are essentially combinations of different time signatures layered over each other. That concept evolved into the OctopuSequencer.”
Pyramid is an advanced metronome which allows the user to easily program polyrhythms and the rhythmic scale. It includes features which make it easy to learn how unfamiliar rates and polyrhythms sound.
“Someone who’d bought OctopuSequencer asked me how they would use it to program in the rhythmic scale where you work your way up through all the subdivisions between 1 and 16,” Joe explains. “OctopuSequencer wasn’t designed to do this, so I spent a few weeks working with that idea and developed The Pyramid. It’s much simpler than OctopuSequencer but is an invaluable tool for all musicians (not just drummers) who want to become more familiar with unconventional subdivisions.”
PolyNome is the ultimate metronome for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. “Soon after writing Pyramid I met Lucas Ives, a New York-based drummer who used to work for Pixar,” says Joe. “He had experience coding for the iPhone so we worked together to develop PolyNome, which is basically the metronome that I wanted to own. It has all the functionality of Pyramid and more. We built in the option to program clicks with bars of rest so you can use it to improve your internal clock which is proving to be a very popular feature among all musicians. So far we’ve had great feedback from Dave Weckl, Jon Riley, Peter Erskine, Will Lee and others. In the words of Dennis Chambers – it’s the shit!!!”
Joe Crabtree has been teaching drums for 16 years. He has recorded and toured with UK progressive rock ensembles Pendragon and the David Cross Band and has been a member of legendary UK classic rock band Wishbone Ash for the past 5 years. Joe’s website features many free lessons and software for drummers. “Joe is a drummer who has it all, he has an unbelievable ability to learn complex songs fast with an accuracy and power that makes it feel as though he has been in the band for years,” says Nick Barrett of Pendragon. “He has an astonishing flair for playing odd time signatures and straight fours with easy flowing technique,” adds David Cross, formerly of King Crimson.
Along with the marketing of his new software, Joe is preparing for a world tour with Wishbone Ash on the heels of their critically acclaimed new CD release ‘Elegant Stealth‘. Joe also has a regular column in Drumhead Magazine in the US.
Finally Joe has this to impart to drummers around the world: “Never forget why you started playing drums in the first place. I’ve seen so many drummers get caught up in the business side of things and end up hating the instrument. I’ve always said that if it gets to the stage where I’m not enjoying it I’ll get a regular job and keep drumming for fun.”
For more information on RhythMachine, OctopuSequencer, Pyramid and PolyNome visit www.JoeCrabtree.com
A progressive rock weekend will be held 3 – 4 March 2012 at Augustine Hall in Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury (Kent, UK). The program, produced by Canterbury Christ Church University & Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival, is dedicated to Canterbury Sound/Canterbury Scene, featuring legendary band Caravan.
The weekend will include workshops and master classes throughout the day for performers and composers, an open rehearsal, and a ‘Battle of the Bands’ for young, talented local bands, adjudicated by Caravan. This will be followed by an evening concert with Caravan and the winning band playing alongside them.
Caravan is an English band from the Canterbury area, founded by former Wilde Flowers members David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan. It rose to success over a period of several years from 1968 onwards into the 1970s as part of the Canterbury scene, blending psychedelic rock and jazz to create a distinctive sound like their contemporaries Soft Machine.
Caravan still remains active as a live band in the 21st century.
10am – 4pm: workshops with Caravan
8pm: Battle of the Bands (adjudicated by Caravan)
11am: open rehearsal.
2pm: Winning band rehearses with Caravan
8pm: Caravan concert (including winning band for one number)
Prices: £10/£5 (students) for weekend concerts. Workshops and rehearsals free.
Tickets at Marlowe Theatre. Also by phone: 01227 787787 (9am-6pm, Mon-Sat)