Malady is a young Finnish band deeply influenced by the classic progressive rock bands of the early 1970s. The band member’s love the vintage sound of the era and apply it to the recording and musical instruments used.
Toinen toista features four average length pieces and one long epic suite. You’ll find outstanding dual guitar and organ work, along with glorious mellotron, creative bass lines and drums. Guitarist Babak Issabeigloo sings in Finnish, which gives the band a special charm.
Track two strays away from the rest of the musical pieces. It features what sounds like a chamber music ensemble.
The highlight of the album is, of course, the last piece, “Nurja puoli” (22:58). Malady does a great job building up the momentum and reaching an epic musical climax that will please fans of authentic progressive rock.
The lineup includes Tony Björkman on guitar; Babak Issabeigloo on guitar and vocals; Juuso Jylhänlehto on drums; Ville Rohiola on Hammond organ and keyboards; and Jonni Tanskanen on bass.
Perfect Beings – Vier (InsideOut/Sony Music, 2018)
Vier, released by Los Angeles-based band Perfect Beings is one of the finest progressive rock albums so far this year. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the band had a really strong debut album and then a mixed bag with album II. With Vier, Perfect Beings has blossomed into a truly exciting progressive rock outfit.
What’s exciting about Vier is the masterfully crafted instrumental and vocal work. Perfect Beings draw their influences from classic 1970s progressive rock, especially Yes and Pink Floyd and more modern influences from Steven Wilson as well. However, the band injects new elements like exquisite vocal overdubs, magnificent guitar work throughout the album, world music elements from East Asia and truly impressive keyboard work. One of the most notable aspects of Vier is that Perfect Beings incorporates German-style electronic music passages. This is truly a forward-thinking attitude by combining various progressive music genres.
Vier contains four beautifully orchestrated suites that will likely please progressive rock fans: Guedra (18:23), Vibrational (18:17), The Golden Arc (16:47) and Anunnaki (18:42).
The lineup on the album includes Ryan Hurtgen on vocals and piano; Johannes Luley on guitars and bass; Jesse Nason on keyboards; and Ben Levin on drums. Additional musicians: Fred Doumbe on bass; Max Kaplan on tenor saxophone; Dave Richards on trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone; Yanran He on erhu; Yuki Yasuda on koto; and Robin Hathaway on backing vocals.
American progressive rock band Spock’s Beard has announced the release of its 13th studio album ‘Noise Floor’ for May 25th, 2018. The lineup includes Ted Leonard, Alan Morse, Dave Meros and Ryo
Okumoto along with the return of the band’s original member Nick D’Virgilio on drums, who left in 2011.
“We are always about evolution, not revolution. But what we have done this time is make the songs more melodic,” says singer and guitarist Ted Leonard. “We still love our crazy prog, but now appreciate how important it is to grab people’s attention early on.”
‘Noise Floor’ also features two violinists, a cellist player, a viola player and an English horn player.
The album will be available as a 2CD digipack, gatefold 2LP + 2CD and as digital download.
American keyboardist, composer, vocalist and producer Dave Kerzner released an excellent album titled Static in 2017. Buy Static. Dave Kerzner discusses his background and latest work with Progressive Rock Central.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
DK: I like to write melodic music that takes you on a journey and moves you emotionally. My style is to combine nostalgic and vintage production and songwriting elements in new ways to express my personal lyrical and musical messages with themes people can relate to. I want to keep certain qualities of albums I like going in new ways and expand the available material out there for people to dig into as deeply or as casually as they want.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
DK: As a keyboardist, one of my main influences is Tony Banks of Genesis. Vocally I’d say Peter Gabriel and David Gilmour are up there. Lyrically perhaps Roger Waters in the 70s with Pink Floyd or Sting with The Police. I have many musical influences that range from Dvorak to Led Zeppelin to The Beatles to Yes to King Crimson and the list goes on. I’m very eclectic in how I mix the flavors of my influences in my music. Sometimes I’m so transparent about it I’m essentially tipping the hat to them quite overtly. But, I enjoy doing that because I feel my songs always still have their own flavors and unique qualities or messages to offer as well.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
DK: Well, my very first recordings were done with two cassette decks with one playing while I played some keyboard parts and recorded it onto the next one until it went back and forth sounding as noisy as you can imagine but still fascinating to me. That led to me getting a proper high quality 4 track studio set up. I played “producer” with my High School band mates and recorded songs with them in our garage band studios while other kids were vandalizing the neighborhood. I did study music in school and even one Summer at a band camp! That was fun but I’ve always been one to resist knowing too much theory otherwise I might rely too much on rules and techniques as opposed to exploring and discovering for myself by ear which is how I like to create music. I’ve been that way since I was 12 years old and the main thing that has changed over the years is honing the craft of songwriting and production. The more you do it the better you get at it and it took me quite a few years before I could write lyrics to the standard of lyrics I liked from my favorite artists. Kevin Gilbert who I used to play with in the 90s was a big influence and boost on my lyric writing standards.
How does your solo work differ from your Sound of Contact band efforts?
DK: In Sound of Contact, my role was keyboard player, songwriter and co-producer. A similar role to say Tony Banks in Genesis. For my solo work, I feel a bit more free as the lead singer, songwriter and sole lyricist to stretch out and do a wider range of styles from album to album. This is why Static differs from New World and why future solo albums may as well. But, now that Sound of Contact has fallen apart as of late, I’m planning to launch a new band project where I can continue that role in a keyboard-based space rock band context.
I have a lot more music to write in that style and I think releasing both my musical contributions from the abandoned SOC album and new music in that vein would be best done in a new project that I can help see through to the end instead of depending on others. So, in a way, it looks like it’ll mostly be “solo work” for me moving forward in a sense and at the same time I like to collaborate within that so it’s not really only just me “solo”. An album may be released under my name or a band name but if I’ve learned anything in the music business over the years it’s that every ship needs a captain. I’m happy to be the captain of the ship or I’m happy to be on a boat with a great captain I can trust. I don’t know how else a band or project can work without one of those two things in place. Good captains are hard to come by so I’m constantly learning how to be the best one I can be.
What’s the concept behind your latest album, Static?
DK: Static is a concept album about the chaos and clutter in our minds and in modern society. Each song deals with a different sub story or commentary about people’s personalities and social situations we may find ourselves in. The subjects range from jealousy to narcissism to thrill seeking to righteousness and more. It’s a very honest album about the state of things today and the underlying positive message is that we need to cope with it and find a way to be happy amidst the ‘static interference’ that abounds.
How did you connect with the musicians that participate on Static?
DK: Most of the musicians on the album are the people who perform with me live as the “Dave Kerzner Band”. This family of talented multi-instrumentalists includes Fernando Perdomo, Derek Cintron, Randy McStine and Matt Dorsey of Sound of Contact as well as the amazing vocalists from Pink Floyd, Durga and Lorelei McBroom. In addition to this core DKB line up, I’ve called upon former band mate Nick D’Virgilio and one of my heroes Steve Hackett of Genesis as well as other special guests like Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree. These are musicians I’ve worked with before and enjoy working together on new music.
Static is an indie production. How are you marketing and promoting the album?
DK: I usually start off the indie funding of my album with a Kickstarter campaign because it’s an opportunity to get the budget to pay the musicians, engineers and studios to recording, mix, master and press up the initial CDs, bonus material and extra swag for the more hardcore fans to enjoy. Then I will sell the album on iTunes and the popular digital platforms with various distributors around the world carrying the CD. But, for Static, I teamed up with an amazing group of people in the industry such as the managers of one of my favorite bands, Yes, who set things up with Cherry Red Records and Billy James of Glass Onyon PR. I’m also doing select live performances at festivals such as Cruise To The Edge, Prog Dreams in the Netherlands, ProgStock and Progtoberfest in the US and more. In addition to that, I’m making music videos and I’m pretty active on social media.
Static features artwork by graphic designer Ed Unitsky. What attracted you to his artwork?
DK: I’ve always admired Ed’s talents and we’ve been talking about working together for awhile. Since I designed the cover of my first solo album “New World” and had a big hand in designing the cover of SOC’s “Dimensionaut”, I needed someone I could be very hands on with in terms of requesting what I wanted in the artwork so it reflected the themes of the songs on the album. Ed was so accommodating to my particular needs and really worked with me to get what I was after. The end result is a true collaboration of both his style and ideas and my concepts of having people walk around a carnival city with TV set heads. He brought that vision to life for me and at the same time he made it his own. I think it makes a huge difference that he’s a fan of the music and is fueled by his passion. He really wanted to do it and didn’t stop until we got this result which is a fun album cover to look at especially in open gatefold. Lots of little hidden gems in there.
As a keyboardist, what’s your favorite keyboard?
DK: The one that I find most practical and use the most is the Nord Stage. I helped design some of the sounds for the Nord Sample Library and that’s how I ended up getting into using them. I also love the rare Nord Wave. But, at heart, I’m a vintage keyboard guy so I love the Yamaha CP70, Mellotron, Hammond B3, Wurlitzer EP, Minimoog, Arp ProSoloist, Arp 2600, Prophect 5… and the list goes on. Can’t name just one! haha.
Aside from Sound of contact, you also participate in other projects. Tell us about Mantra Vega and Sonic Elements.
DK: Mantra Vega was a one off band experiment with former Mostly Autumn front woman Heather Findlay. I call it an experiment because it started off with me potentially producing her solo album and then, because I was writing most of the music and she was writing most of the lyrics, we decided to give it a band name. However, by the time we got to the end of making the album and she wanted to tour it just made more sense for her to play that music with her solo band there in the UK. I still work with various people from Mantra Vega though like Stuart Fletcher and Alex Cromarty.
With Sonic Elements, I have an outlet for doing these sort of “fantasy band/tribute albums” where, through my sound development company Sonic Reality, I’ve recorded drummers like Neil Peart of Rush and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and have created sample libraries for musicians to be able to use their playing and sounds in their music. Sonic Elements is putting those libraries to use in music context and having some fun playing say Rush or Pink Floyd songs with the actual drummer on drums and special guests celebrating that music with a twist here and there.
I’ve gotten people like Rik Emmett of Triumph to sing a Rush song or Billy Sherwood of Yes to sing a Pink Floyd song or Alan Parsons to engineer parts of it and all sorts of different combinations of musicians, engineers and singers doing different “elements” in it. This is essentially a fun side project for me as a producer and while I haven’t released too much yet from it I planned to release a lot of it this year so that’s something fans of that music and the players involved can look forward to. With Sonic Elements I really go overboard on the special guests as it’s the ideal platform to do that with.
You founded a sound production company called Sonic Reality. What kind of work do you do there?
DK: We record the sound of instruments and musicians, digitize them and make them available as “sample libraries” and “virtual instruments” in software for musicians to use in their own compositions and productions. Sonic Reality sounds have been part of keyboard instruments from Clavia to Roland to Yamaha to Alesis and many others for years. They’ve also been a big part of IK Multimedia’s virtual instrument line SampleTank and many others.
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
DK: If we’re talking about unfulfilled fantasies here, I’d love to work with Roger Hodgson of Supertramp or David Gilmour. I’d also love to produce albums for certain classic bands and help them make a record as great as some of their legacy albums. That would be fun. But, floating back down to Earth, I’d say if I could gather any musicians it would be the people I already work with. They’re amazing.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
DK: Yes, I will soon be announcing my new project that will be the vehicle for my Sound of Contact songs live and in the studio, both the ones released and unreleased, as well as future keyboard-based space prog music. I’m also co-producing the McBroom Sisters album and a I have a few other projects in the works this year. I like to keep myself busy! A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham is a 3-disc boxed set featuring two audio CDs and a Blu-ray disc. The live albums were recorded in Birmingham and feature the many sides of Steve Hackett. Disc 1 focuses on Hackett’s solo material, featuring material from his solo albums Spectral Mornings, Defector, Voyage of the Acolyte, To Watch the Storms, and Darktown as well as his most recent work The Night Siren. It also gives you an appetizer of disc 2, which focuses on his work with the latter part of progressive rock-era Genesis.
On disc 1, Steve Hackett demonstrates his admirable skill and as performer and songwriter. He’s comfortable playing state of the art progressive rock and other types of rock, folk and blues. His signature solos with slight variations from the originals are a real treat.
Disc 2 is primarily focused on many of the songs from the Wind and Wuthering album, which many of us consider the last progressive rock album by Genesis. Steve Hackett also revisits two earlier Genesis pieces that are prog rock classics and fan favorites: Firth of Fifth and The Musical Box.
The Blu-ray disc contains the live concert on video plus bonus documentary and music videos.
Steve Hackett has assembled a fabulous band that rises to the top. The album features Steve Hackett on guitars and vocals; the remarkable Roger King on a wide-range of keyboards, Nad Sylvan on vocals and tambourine; Gary O’Toole on drums, percussion and vocals; Rob Townsend on saxophone, woodwinds, percussion, vocals, keyboards and bass pedals; and Nick Beggs on bass, guitars and vocals.
Two special guests also appeared on stage and the album: flute player John Hackett and vocalist Amanda Lehman.
Steve Hackett is living a new golden age. He’s risen to the top of the progressive rock world, recruiting a new generation of musicians, composing new material and recreating outstanding recreations of classic Genesis material and his own solo works.
Podd is a new high energy American progressive rock band. The four virtuoso musicians play instrumental music that incorporates classic progressive rock with frequent musical changes, dynamic jazz-rock fusion and classical influences.
Guitarist Peter Olsen put together Podd. He’s a talented guitarist who showcases a wide range of fascinating guitar sounds and techniques. His colleague Eric Olsen uses an arsenal of keyboards, with which he performs impressive synth solos and magnificent cathedral-style organ.
The formidable rhythm section provides and support and creative bass lines and drumming as well.
Personnel on Cosmic Forces: Peter Olsen on acoustic and electric guitars; Dejan Dejkoski on drums and percussion; Eric Olsen on keyboards; and Takashi Otsuka on bass.
Although the band has created its own sound, you’ll hear influences from Yes, Camel and Chick Corea.
On Cosmic Forces you’ll find some stellar individual playing as well as engaging instrumental interaction.
French progressive rock and jazz violinist Didier Lockwood died February 18, 2018 in Paris. He was known for his virtuosity and experimentation on the electric violin.
Didier Lockwood was born in Calais, France in 1956. He grew up in a family of artists. His father was a school and violin teacher, his mother an amateur painter, and his elder brother Francis, a talented pianist very attracted to jazz. Didier fell in love with the violin and entered the Conservatory at the age of six.
In addition to going to school and participating in swimming competitions, the young violinist attended the Conservatory and received daily private classes.
Didier Lockwood joined the Lyric Orchestra of the Théâtre Municipal de Calais at 13 years old. He was 16 when he was doubly rewarded for his efforts and his virtuosity by winning the First Prize of violin of the National Conservatory of Calais, as well as the SACEM First National Prize of contemporary music.
The young violinist admired classical music and its eminent composers. However, a new passion soon developed: improvised music and jazz. At 17, he chose the legendary progressive music band Magma rather than attending the Paris Conservatory.
In 1973, he made his debut with Magma, along with drummer Christian Vander. Lockwood recorded two albums with Magma: Theatre Du Taur Concert (1975) and Live/Hhaï (1975).
In 1976, Lockwood joined Zao, a progressive band created by two former members of Magma. He participated in two albums, Kawana (1976) and Live! (1976).
Jazz became his next focus in 1978. Lockwood worked with well known French jazz musicians: André Ceccarelli, François Jeanneau, Didier Levallet and Henri Texier.
During the 1980s, Lockwood carried out all sorts of jazz projects, ranging from string trios and quartets to solo and fusion groups. He also collaborated with UZEB, Gordon Beck, Martial Solal and Michel Petrucciani.
In 1994, he celebrated his 20 year career anniversary. The following year, he made his first American album: New York Rendez-vous.
In March 2000, he released, Tribute to Stéphane Grappelli, which received many awards since its release: Diapason d’Or, Choc Jazzman, and Selection FIP.
In the spring of 2001, Didier created, along with Indian dancer Raghunath Manet and percussionist Ri Murugan, the show Omkara, a musical encounter between jazz and Indian music.
In 2003 Lockwood released a double album titled Globe-Trotter, featuring solo and quartet performances.
In 2005, Lockwood and Caroline Casadesus, created a new show, the Jazz and the Diva that brought together jazz and classical music.
In 2009, Didier released Lockwood Brothers with his brother Francis.
After several years touring Europe alongside Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, John Abercrombie and Victor Bailey, he reformed the Didier Lockwood Group (DLG), with Jean-Marie Ecay, Paco Séry and Linley Marthe.
Didier Lockwood received numerous accolades and awards, including Les Victoires de la Musique, le Django d’or, le Prix de la Sacem et de l’Académie du Jazz and Knight of the Legion of Honor and Officer of National Merit and Arts and Letters.
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.
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.
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.