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.

 

 

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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

Celebrated Guitarist Steve Hackett Releases Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham

Steve Hackett – Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham

Progressive rock guitar maestro Steve Hackett has released a new album titled Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham. Wuthering Nights was filmed at the Birmingham Symphony Hall during Hackett’s Genesis Revisited & Classic Hackett tour.

The tour marked the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering, Hackett’s last album with Genesis and the band’s last progressive rock release. To celebrate, Steve and his band played 5 of the best-loved tracks from this iconic album: Eleventh Earl Of Mar, One For The Vine, Blood On The Rooftops, …In That Quiet Earth and Afterglow.

Other fan favorites from Hackett’s Genesis days were ‘revisited’: Dance On A Volcano, Inside & Out, Firth Of Fifth, The Musical Box and the classic Los Endos. The album also features many of Hackett’s solo fan-favorites as well as material from his latest studio album The Night Siren.

Steve recalls the Birmingham performance… “I’m excited about imminent release of ‘Wuthering Nights’. It felt special to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wind & Wuthering, the Genesis album I had the most songwriting involvement with and a favorite among many fans. Songs like One for the Vine, Eleventh Earl of Mar and Blood on the Rooftops come across powerfully on this release, which also features other Genesis and solo Hackett favorites along with songs from my latest album The Night Siren… Sit back and enjoy!

The band that appears in this recording includes Roger King on keyboards; Gary O’Toole on drums and percussion; Rob Townsend on saxophones and flutes/ Nick Beggs on bass, stick & twelve string guitar; and Nad Sylvan on vocals plus special guests John Hackett and Amanda Lehmann.

The album is available as Special Edition 2CD + 2DVD Digipak, Blu-Ray, 2CD + Blu-Ray (North America only), and digital. All video formats include 5.1 Surround Sound and various extras.

Buy Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham in the rest of the world

Buy Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham in Europe

Artist Profiles Steve Roach

Steve Roach – Photo by Adam Fleishman

 

Composer, producer, synthesist and multi-instrumentalist, Steve Roach was born February 16, 1955 in La Mesa, near San Diego, in California. He is fascinated by the desert landscapes and wide open spaces in the Southwest of the United States, as well as the outback deserts of Australia. Steve’s style has evolved from purely electronic sounds to the combination of synthetic sounds with some of the most primitive musical instruments.

Steve bought his first synthesizer in 1978. Although his first influences were German electronic acts like Tangerine Dream, Can and Klaus Schulze, Steve soon went beyond and developed his own style.

 

Steve Roach in 1982 – Photo by Thomas Ronkin

 

Los Angeles’ hectic way of life led him to isolate himself in a musical sanctuary. Initially, Steve composed intense sequencer-based music. Later, he started to compose more tranquil and atmospheric music as a response to the rhythmic and sequenced world that characterized his earlier music.

After Empetus, Steve’s compositions mirrored his impressions of southwestern landscapes and world music. His trips to Australia had a profound effect on his music. The desert’s attraction led Steve to move to Tucson, Arizona in the southwestern United States.

 

Steve Roach – Photo credit by John Woolsey

 

I seek musical instruments that allow me to create sounds in an attractive and intuitive way. It’s something intriguing. That’s the difference between a keyboardist and a synthesis,” says Steve.

Steve Roach records and produces his music in his own studio called the Time Room. It’s a room full of marvelous electronic music devices that Roach uses to extract a multitude of spellbinding sounds.

Steve Roach is restless in his search for new sounds that connect with an ancient source of truth in this ever changing world. Roach has earned his position in the international first tier of major progressive music artists over the last decades through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, open minded collaborations with numerous artists and the psychological depth of his music.

Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, he is a very prolific musicians, who has released dozens of albums since 1981, including the ground-breaking double CD Dreamtime Return; the critically acclaimed tribal-trance extravaganza Artifacts; the award winning Earth Island, the second collaboration with Mexican multi-instrumentalist Jorge Reyes and Spanish guitarist and producer Suso Sáiz; the independently produced The Dream Circle; his collaboration with Belgian musician Vidna Obmana, Well of Souls; and Kiva, a mind-bending masterpiece featuring hallucinogenic shamanic rites, synthesizer landscapes and primeval instruments, combining the talents of Roach, Michael Stearns and Ron Sunsinger.

 

Steve Roach – Dreamtime Return

 

At the melting point in the ocean of desert, this awesome expanse of a 180-degree horizon slowly works on the perception, revealing yet again the Other desert of inner regions that I crave to be in,” says Steve Roach.

Selected Discography:

Now (Fortuna 1982)
Traveler (Domino 1983, Fortuna 1987)
Structures from Silence (Fortuna 1984)
Quiet Music 1 (Fortuna 1986)
Quiet Music 2 (Fortuna 1986)
Quiet Music 3 (Fortuna 1986)
Empetus (Fortuna 1986)
Western Spaces (with Kevin Braheny,Thom Brennan; Fortuna 1990)
Quiet Music (Fortuna 1988)
The Leaving Time (with Michael Shrieve; Novus/RCA 1988)
Dreamtime Return (Fortuna 1988)
Stormwarning: Live in Concert (Soundquest 1989, Lektronic Soundscapes 1992)
Desert Solitaire (with Kevin Braheny, Michael Stearns; Fortuna 1989)
Australia: Sound of the Earth, with David Hudson, Sarah Hopkins (Fortuna 1990)
Strata, with Robert Rich (Hearts of Space 1990)
Now / Traveller (Fortuna 1992)
World’s Edge (Fortuna 1992)
Soma, with Robert Rich (Hearts of Space 1992)
Suspended Memories: Forgotten Gods, with Jorge Reyes, Suso Sáiz (Hearts of Space 1993)
The Lost Pieces (Rubicon 1993, Relic/Projekt 1995)
Origins (Fortuna 1993)
Solitaire: Ritual Ground, with Elmar Shulte (Silent 1993)
Suspended Memories: Earth Island, with Jorge Reyes, Suso Sáiz (Fathom 1994)
Artifacts (Fortuna 1994)
The Dream Circle (Soundquest 1994)
Well of Souls, with Vidna Obmana (Projekt 1995)
Kiva, with Michael Stearns, Ron Sunsinger (Fathom 1995)
The Dreamer Descends (Amplexus 1995)
The Magnificent Void (Fathom 1996)
On This Planet (Hearts of Space, 1997)
Slow Heat (Timeroom Editions, 1998)
Light Fantastic (Hearts of Space, 1999)
Atmospheric Conditions (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
The Dream Circle (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
Truth & Beauty: The Lost Pieces 2 (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
Midnight Moon (Projekt, 2000)
Early Man (Projekt, 2001)
Time of the Earth (2001)
Core (Timeroom Editions, 2001)
Streams & Currents (2001)
Darkest Before Dawn (2002)
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces (Projekt, 2003)
Texture Maps: The Lost Pieces 3 (Timeroom Editions, 2003)
Life Sequence (2003)
Fever Dreams (2004)
Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II (Timeroom Editions, 2004)
Places Beyond: The Lost Pieces 4 (Timeroom Editions, 2004)
Possible Planet (2005)
New Life Dreaming (2005)
Immersion: One (Projekt, 2006)
Proof Positive (2006)
Kairos: The Meeting of Time and Destiny (2006)
Immersion: Two (Projekt, 2006)
Fever Dreams III (2007)
Immersion : Three (2007)
A Deeper Silence (2008)
Landmass (Timeroom Editions, 2008)
Dynamic Stillness (2009)
Destination Beyond (2009)
Afterlight (2009)
Immersion: Four (Timeroom Editions, 2009)
Sigh of Ages (2010)
Immersion Five – Circadian Rhythms (2011)
Groove Immersion (2012)
Back to Life (2012)
Soul Tones (2012)
Future Flows (2013)[8]
Spiral Meditations (2013)
Bloodmoon Rising (2014)
The Delicate Beyond (2014)
The Delicate Forever (2014)
The Desert Collection – Volume 1 (2014)
Invisible (2015)
Skeleton Keys (Projekt, 2015)
The Skeleton Collection 2005 – 2015 (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
Etheric Imprints (Projekt, 2015)
Bloodmoon Rising – The Complete 5 hour collection (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
Vortex Immersion Zone (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
This Place to Be (2016)
Shadow of Time (Projekt Records, 2016)
Spiral Revelation (Projekt Records, 2016)
Fade to Gray (2016)
Painting in the Dark (2016)
The Passing (Timeroom Editions, 2017)
Nostalgia for the Future (Timeroom Editions, 2017)
Long Thoughts (Projekt Records, 2017)

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

Jordan Rudess From Bach to Rock European Tour 2018 Announced

Acclaimed keyboard player and composer Jordan Rudess, member of the progressive metal band Dream Theatre, will be touring Europe this spring. Rudess will be presenting a solo performance titled From Bach To Rock: A Musician’s Journey.

Rudess’ solo concert will travel through his captivating musical journey, from classical music to rock. Rudess was a young Juilliard piano prodigy destined for a classical music career and he evolved into a keyboard rock star marvel. While Rudess’ work in Dream Theater is within a heavy metal context, his solo work tends to be more classical and progressive rock oriented.

Of his journey, Jordan says: “When I left the conservatory, I remember my mother weeping, handing me the letter from the college president warning me that I had made a terrible mistake. I didn’t know where to go from there, but I was certain that I needed to discover myself in an unconventional musical path. The journey has been rocky at times but, when music is your muse, practice teaches you how to master difficult passages.”

Rudess’ solo discography includes: Arrival (1988), Listen (1993), Secrets of the Muse (1997), Resonance (1999), An Evening with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess (2000), Feeding the Wheel (2001), 4NYC (2002), Christmas Sky (2002), Rhythm of Time (2004), Prime Cuts (2006), The Road Home (2007), Notes on a Dream (2009), All That Is Now (2013), Explorations (2014) and The Unforgotten Path (2015).

In addition to playing in Dream Theater, Jordan has worked with a wide range of artists including David Bowie, Jan Hammer, Enrique Iglesias, the Paul Winter Consort, Annie Haslam, LMR, his side project with Tony Levin and Marco Minneman, Liquid Tension Experiment, Steven Wilson, Aviv Geffen, the Dixie Dregs, Rod Morgenstein, and Tony Williams, among others.

The first confirmed show will take place April 13, 2018 at Jahrhunderthalle Club in Frankfurt, Germany.

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

ECM Announces Thomas Strønen’s New Album Lucus

Thomas Strønen Time Is A Blind Guide – Lucus

ECM Records has announced the release of Time Is A Blind Guide – Lucus, a new album by Norwegian drummer and composer Thomas Strønen. The Lucus release date in January 19, 2018.

Lucus includes Ayumi Tanaka on piano; Håkon Aase on violin; Lucy Railton on cello; Ole Morten Vågan on double bass; and Thomas Strønen on drums and percussion.

Buy Lucus

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