For fans of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and keyboards in general, Once Upon a Time in South America is a real treat. The 4-CD (also available on vinyl) collection features live performances in South America by the legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
The majority of the concerts took place in 1993 in Chile and Argentina. Even though most of the pieces that appear on Once Upon a Time in South America are familiar compositions by the band, there is a lot to discover.
One of the great qualities about Keith Emerson was that he used a wide range of keyboards and his variations and improvisations on familiar melodies made his music highly enjoyable and refreshing.
This album features two versions of Pictures at an Exhibition, one of their most iconic works that has rarely appeared on other recordings.
Throughout the album, Keith Emerson delivers stellar keyboard performances. As I mentioned earlier, he liked to modify familiar melodies with new solos and other variations, switching keyboards and sometimes embedding familiar melodies from movies and other sources.
Carl Palmer is an impressive rhythm machine. He is renowned for his creative, varied and powerful drumming style.
Greg Lake also delivered masterful performances, although his voice suffered a little throughout the tour. In addition to his unmistakable vocals, he also played guitars and some great bass lines.
The tracks selected cover the band’s entire musical history, from their early hits Lucky Man and From the Beginning to Hoedown, Pictures at an Exhibition, Tarkus, Karn Evil 9 and Fanfare for the Common Man.
Sonic Cinema is a fascinating sound exploration album by Zero Times Everything. The three musicians create a magical world of cinematic sounds that draw influences from various progressive music genres.
The album opens with the industrial sounds of “And Now This.” It’s followed by “Events in a Field” a mix of ambient and minimalist electronics.
On track 3, “Led” Zero Times Everything plays a mix of hard rock riffing and progressive rock lines.
Next is “Accident,” where you’ll find a mix of ambient sounds, effects, drones and distorted guitar.
“Natron 40” presents mysterious mechanical sounds and progressive rock-style guitars.
The eerie track 6, “Ghost” reveals hypnotic enveloping sounds and odd beats.
On track 7, “Kapital” the influences turn towards Berlin and Dusseldorf, with trance like Berlin-style sequencers, symphonic passages and robotic voices.
“Vox Populi” features a cacophony of sounds and voices with underlying sequences and string synths.
Track 9, “Schizoid” introduces nightmarish sounds, child voices and increasingly high pitched psychedelic guitars.
The album concludes with “The Cathedral of All Saints” where you hear a childlike organ sound and reverberating synths that morphs into deep ambient electronica.
The lineup includes Richard Sylvarnes on Kaoss pads, loops, synths, rhythms, guitars, and vocals; Pietro Russino on guitars, loops, and violin; and Tony Geballe on guitars, synths, and loops. Special guest: Sønje Sylvarnes on vocals.
Renowned guitarist and composer Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis) is set to release his latest album ‘The Night Siren’ on March 24th , 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). In the meantime, Hackett has released a brand new video for the album’s opening track ‘Behind The Smoke.’
“I’m thrilled with this video for the track ‘Behind the Smoke’ from my new album The Night Siren,” says Steve Hackett. “Director Ivan and the I-Code team have created an extraordinary film here resembling an epic movie! It perfectly matches the song, which laments the predicament of refugees throughout the ages. More compassion is needed in this world for those escaping persecution and death.”
‘The Night Siren’ is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of conflicts and disagreement.
The album lineup includes Steve Hackett on guitar & vocals; Roger King on keyboards & programming; Nad Sylvan on vocals on Inca Terra; Rob Townsend on all things wind; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; Gary O’Toole on drums; and Benedict Fenner on additional keyboards & programming).
Also featured are vocalists Kobi Farhi and Mira on Israeli and Palestinian; Nick D’Virgilio on drums, from the USA; Malik Mansurov on tar, from Azerbaijan; and Gulli Breim on drums and percussion, from Iceland.
Additional musicians who add to the rich flavor of the album are Christine Townsend on violin and viola; Dick Driver on double bass; Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes; and Leslie Bennett on keyboards on The Gift.
Philadelphia-based band iNFiNiEN has released Light at the Endless Tunnel, one of the most exciting progressive music albums in recent months. Their remarkable mix of progressive rock, fusion and world music attracted our attention so here is more about the band.
How and when was iNFiNiEN formed?
In the fall of 2004, we were roommates and we jammed, which led to us writing songs. Our first gig was at a benefit concert at the World Café live in December 2004. We played our only two songs we had at the time.
What does the band name iNFiNiEN mean?
iNFiNiEN is a made up term from the book “An American Mystic” by Michael Gurian. The full-term was “Homo Infinien” which, in the context of the book, is representative the next evolutionary step of humans.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Polyrhythms, jazz harmony, progressive song structures, thoughtful and socially-conscious lyrics, driving bass grooves, exotic tonalities
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
Farmers Market, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, John Coltrane, Meshuggah, Sun Ra, Ali Farka Toure, John McLaughlin, Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Jaco Pastorius, and many, many more (too many to name)
How long has the band been around?
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
We discovered our own sound by jamming together. We recorded our jams and arranged our favorite parts into songs. As we went along, we were aiming to evoke visual impressions in the listeners. Our intention was to go beyond genre. There was also a psychedelic influence, without question. ; )
Your sound has elements of progressive rock, world music, jazz and beyond. How do audiences react to your music?
We’ve been very pleasantly surprised that the majority of our live audiences have viewed it as a breath of fresh air. People have given us a lot of positive support. Some find it “too complicated”, but for the most part, audiences really appreciate our approach.
Despite all the media outlets available, most of the music that is played currently by mass media is pop or hip hop. How do you get your music out there?
When playing live, we try to associate with bands who are similar (sometimes hard to find). Online we try and reach out to the progressive and indie music communities or anyone who we think would appreciate it. Since it’s only the four of us trying to get PR for the band, our total reach is pretty limited.
What musical instruments do you use?
Our live set up is drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard. On recordings, we’ve used oud, saz, sitar, bulbul tarang, tabla, organ, exotic percussion sounds, and some Moog.
And what effects do you use?
Guitar: whammy, ambient delays, and reverb
Bass: volume swell, chorus pedal, octaver
Keyboard: sounds including clav, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, some pads, etc.
How’s the current progressive music scene in your area?
The Tri-state area’s progressive scene is pretty vital. And we’ve been lucky to play with such bands as Consider the Source, Kayodot, Reign of Kindo, Tea Club, Out of the Beard Space, and many others.
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
We don’t have a good answer for this question. On a related note our guitarist Matt Hollenberg has actually been playing music for John Zorn, one of his heroes and main influences, for the last two years in the organ trio Simulacrum with John Medeski and Kenny Grohowski.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
Planets + Persona is a new album by British keyboardist, composer and sound designer Richard Barbieri. He’s well known for his work with a new wave band called Japan as well as his keyboard creations for Porcupine Tree.
Richard Barbieri creates remarkable instrumental soundscapes that have a cinematic feel, incorporating ambient electronic elements, ethereal jazz, distant voices, minimalism and other mesmerizing sounds.
Planets + Persona includes a piece titled “Solar Sea.” Barbieri has released a video of “Solar Sea” that has a 360° option, produced by Miles Skarin. To watch it in 360° you will need to view “Solar Sea” using the latest version of the YouTube app on iOS and Android. By moving your smartphone or tablet, you will be able to look around the 360 degree view.
To watch “Solar Sea” on a desktop or laptop computer, you will need the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera. You will then be able to shift the view by clicking and dragging inside the video player or by using the WASD keys. For the most immersive experience, a VR headset is recommended.
“Devil on an Indian” by American rock band The Raptor Trail is a concept album about a young man that struggles with his American Indian heritage after being raised in a Christian family. The story mirrors the experience of multi-instrumentalist Matt Meyes. Although he has paternal and maternal Native American ancestry, he was raised by a white Protestant family.
Musically, The Raptor Trail crosses various rock genres with ease. The band plays a mix of classic rock, hard rock and sometimes ventures into progressive rock (“Wolf Medicine”) and other territories like in the piece “Dream Catcher” that has a trance-like tribal ambient feel.
The Raptor Trail’s sound is characterized by the outstanding vocals and remarkable solo guitar work of John Meyer, as well as the sound of a new hybrid instrument named guijo. The guijo was developed by Matt Meyes. It has an electric guitar body and a banjo neck.
The album ends with an apocalyptic explosion of the sun featuring a mix of rock band instrumentation and numerous sound effects.
The lineup includes Gene Bass on drums and percussion; Matt Mayes on vocals, guijo, acoustic guitars and banjo; and John Meyer on lead and background vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, and bass.
Needlepoint is yet another superb progressive music band from Norway. The Oslo-based group plays a mix of progressive psychedelic rock and jazz-rock with Canterbury influences.
Some of the songs have a well-structured form, featuring charming folk-rock-style lead and harmony vocals, memorable electric organ work and remarkable bluesy/psychedelic guitar solos. Other times, the band goes into jazz-rock territory with exquisite Canterbury leanings and some jam moments.
The lineup on Aimless Mary includes Bjørn Klakegg on guitar, vocals and additional bass; David Wallumrød on clavinet, organ, Prophet 5, percussion and background vocals; Nikolai Hoengsle Eilertsen on bass, additional guitars, background vocals and percussion; and Olaf Olsen on drums.
Needlepoint was formed in 2010 as a trio. Earlier albums include The Woods Are Not What They Seem (BJK Music, 2010) and Outside The Screen (BJK Music, 2012).
Four of today’s finest progressive music artists got together to record an improvised album titled The Stone House. Although the music was not written or rehearsed, it’s not free jazz. Instead, Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi, and Sirkis treat the listener to remarkable electric musical explorations where the four musicians engage in an ongoing creative dialog.
The four instrumentalists constantly cross musical boundaries, injecting ambient electronics, prog rock machinations, psychedelia, jazz-rock and beyond.
The collaboration features British guitarist Mark Wingfield, multifaceted German musician Markus Reuter on Touch Guitars’ AU8 model; bassist Yaron Stavi; drummer Asaf Sirkis.
The Stone House demonstrates the fascinating results of unconstrained musical exploration.
Acclaimed progressive rock guitarist and composer Steve Hackett has a new album titled ‘Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers’ (Esoteric Antenna EANTCD21065) recorded with Hungarian band Djabe. It’s set for release in March 2017.
The two disc set includes a DVD featuring a concert in Bratislava in July 2011. It also contains a bonus documentary, the piece Jacuzzi / Overnight Sleeper (recorded in November 2013) with the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and the promotional video of the song Tears for Peace.
“Summer Storms and Rocking Rivers” includes Steve Hackett solo material such as The Steppes and Ace of Wands, together with progressive rock-era Genesis material such as Firth of Fifth, Blood on the Rooftops, In That Quiet Earth and Los Endos.
Two of Europe’s finest eclectic jazz guitarists continue their series of collaborations with a double album titled The Colours of Time. The set is divided into two separate formats. The first album is a series of solo original works composed by either Pete Oxley or Nicolas Meier.
The material on disc 1 showcases the virtuosity of the two musicians along with their talent as composers, delivering a set of exquisite guitar duets. The two guitarists use a wide range of guitars and guitar-playing techniques. In addition to the usual solo and rhythm guitar styles, there is an ongoing guitar interchange throughout the album as well as beautiful moments where the guitarists use a beautiful plucking method that makes the guitar sound like a mesmerizing harp.
Although jazz is the foundation on disc 1, Oxley and Meier inject many other influences such as Gypsy jazz on “Waltz for Dilek”, Turkish influences on “Princes’ Island”, Pat Metheny-style guitar synth on “In Restless Repose”, North African/Middle Eastern sounds on “Sahara” and more Pat Metheny influences on “First Day of Spring,” although this time with Oxley on electric guitar.
On Disc 2, the original compositions become more rhythmic and electric with the addition of bassist Raph Mizraki and drummer Paul Cavaciuti. Pat Metheny’s influence continues on the opening track, “The Followers.” There is also a delicious ballad that perfectly crosses over into smooth jazz territory.
Some of the best tracks on this disc are the ones with a Middle Eastern flavor, such as “Riversides” and “Fethiye Crossroad.” Lastly, I need to mention a fabulous piece titled “Tales” that has instant classic appeal, with memorable bluesy solos.
The lineup on The Colours of Time includes Pete Oxley on nylon string, steel, electric, synth, jazz, and electric 12 string guitars; Nicolas Meier on nylon string, steel, acoustic 12-string, fretless nylon, glissentar, and jazz guitars; Paul Cavaciuti on drums; and Raph Mizraki on acoustic and electric basses.
The Colours of Time introduces the listener to a remarkable guitar dialog between two extraordinary guitarists.