Tag Archives: featured

Tasty Leftoverture

Kansas – Leftoverture Live & Beyond (InsideOut Music, 2017)

American progressive rock band Kansas has gone through numerous personnel changes. The current generation of Kansas is a well-oiled machine featuring a mix of original band members like drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Williams along with new talented musicians and former band members from different stages that have returned.

Although the most recent Kansas recording has strayed away from progressive rock, Leftoverture Live & Beyond is a tribute to some of the band’s finest material, which happens to be from the progressive rock era. Kansas was characterized among other things by the use of the violin and the violin is back in the hands of David Ragsdale.

New vocalist Ronnie Platt does a great job, performing the band’s most iconic songs.

With the classic era prog-rock leaning song selection and being a live album, Kansas treats the listener to an instrumental fest of fiery electric guitars, keyboards and violin.
The landmark “Leftoverture” album is performed in its entirety.

“Leftoverture Live & Beyond” is available as a double CD digipak, four 180 Gram Vinyl boxed set, and digital format.

Buy Leftoverture Live & Beyond

L’albero del veleno Releases Tale of a Dark Fate

Dark progressive rock band L’albero del veleno has a new album titled “Tale of a Dark Fate.” The Italian band is deeply inspired by horror movies from the 1960s through the 1980s and Italian bands like Goblin and various Italian horror film composers.

The current lineup includes Nadin Petricelli on keyboards; Lorenzo Picchi on guitars; Michele Andreuccetti on bass; and Marco Brenzini on flute.

 

 

L’albero del veleno’s debut album was “Le Radici Del Male.”

The Progressive Music Adventures of Lucas Lee

Lucas Lee – Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations (LucasLeeMusic, 2017)

Multi-instrumentalist Lucas Lee showcases his multifaceted progressive music compositions on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations. Lucas Lee is a formidable musician, deeply inspired by progressive rock and fusion. His style sometimes sounds like a 21st century version of Canterbury masters National Health.

Lucas Lee plays practically all instruments on Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations, except for drums. On the guitar, Lucas Lee switches from skilled jazz fusion techniques to inspired Joe Satriani-style shredding and ambient and avant-garde explorations. Lee also dominates the violin and keyboards, delivering notable piano and electronic keyboard segments. Additionally, Lee uses effects and spoken word to create a superb mix of forward thinking progressive music.

Although some of the promotional material mentions hard rock and metal, do not fear, there is practically no heavy metal.

The drumming couldn’t get better. Drums are played by Marco Minnemann, one of the best and busiest drummers in the progressive rock and fusion music scenes.

Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations features lots of rhythmic and harmonic changes and opportunities for the musicians to have some fun.

Buy the digital download version of Acceptances of Gravitational Collapsing Manifestations or the CD from cdbaby.com/cd/lucaslee14

Rising Talent from Brescia

Il Paradiso Degli Orchi – Il Corponauta (AMS Records, 2016)

Il Paradiso Degli Orchi is a new progressive rock band from Brescia in northern Italy that has attracted a lot of attention. Il Corponauta is the band’s second album, based on Il Corponauta, a book by the late Flavio Emer.

With the assistance of rock progressivo italiano icon, musician and producer Fabio Zuffanti, Il Paradiso Degli Orchi delivers a formidable, masterfully-crafted album.

From the very beginning, Il Paradiso Degli Orchi engages the listener with superb layers and mellotron, guitars, drums and assorted percussion. The vocals are in Italian, which always adds to the charm of Italian bands.

The instrumental skills are what stands out in Il Paradiso Degli Orchi with great interplay between the guitars, flute, keyboards and bass, supported by creative rhythms.

Stylistically, Il Paradiso Degli Orchi incorporates exquisite, classic progressive rock of an epic nature, jazz fusion, forward-thinking electronica and some Italian folk music inspirations. Influences include prog rock era-Yes, Banco, King Crimson, PFM and Jethro Tull.

Il Corponauta is a long album with a mix of short songs and extensive pieces, including an 18-minute long suite and the final epic aptly titled Il Gran Finale with guitar and mellotron that will send chills down the spine of progressive rock fans.

The lineup includes Marco DeGiacomi on drums and vocals; Michele Sambrici on guitars, keyboards, mellotron and vocals; Andrea Corti on bass; Sven Jorgensen on lead vocals and guitars; Stefano Corti on percussion; and Andrea Calzoni on flute and saxophone. Guests: Iran Fertonani on percussion; and Giorgio Presti on synthesizer.

Buy Il Corponauta in Europe

Buy Il Corponauta in the rest of the world

Keith Emerson at the Piano

Keith Emerson – Emerson Plays Emerson (The Right Honourable Recording Company, 2017)

Emerson Plays Emerson is a piano album by progressive rock legend Keith Emerson. The album, originally released in 2002, was out of print and a collector’s item until.

The new edition is a remastered version approved by the estate of Keith Emerson.

On Emerson Plays Emerson you’ll find a set of piano tunes that represent various influences. There are classical music-inspired pieces, jazz, joyful honky tonk and cinematic works.

This album primarily focuses on solo piano tracks so you won’t find Emerson’s other side: organ and electronic keyboards.

The CD booklet includes notes in English, German and Italian.

Emerson Plays Emerson showcases the talent and musical background of one of the greatest keyboardists in recent rock history.

Buy Emerson Plays Emerson

Focus’ Renaissance

Focus – The Focus Family Album (In and Out of Focus Records, 2017)

Acclaimed Dutch band has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years with superb progressive rock albums, international tours and artwork by iconic illustrator Roger Dean. The Focus Family Album is a 2-CD set with 15 previously unreleased pieces and alternate adaptations.

Disc One opens with Nature Is Our Friend, a great flute solo piece by founder and bandleader Thijs Van Leer.

Track 2, Song For Eva, is one of the best compositions in the album. It begins with a spoken word part taken from Lord Byron’s “They Say That Hope Is Happiness.” The rest is a masterful instrumental with admirable bluesy prog guitar work, nearly eight minutes of guitar goodness by Menno Gootjes.

Each member of the band has solo pieces in The Focus Family Album. Riverdance is a drum and percussion work by Pierre Van Der Linden, from a drum album he made from friends.

“Victoria” is an anthemic Focus instrumental that appeared in the album Focus X. This is a vocal remix version with vocoder.

Menno Gootjes picks up the acoustic guitar on Two-Part Intervention, recorded after the Focus 11 sessions.

Mosh Blues is a powerful blues jam recorded in Brazil while on tour.

Raga Reverence 1 is a piece by Swung, an improvisational jazz-rock trio formed by Focus members: Menno Gootjes (guitar), Pierre Van Der Linden (drums) and Bobby Jacobs (bass).

The Fifth Man is a hard rocking track recorded in 2014 that nearly made it to Focus 11.

Bassist Udo Pannekeet, who joined Focus in 2016, delivers a masterful fretless bass performance on Song For Yaminah.

The last track on Disc 1 is the laid back Clair Obscur featuring masterful guitar work by Menno Gootjes. It’s an early version of the piece that appeared in Focus 11.

Disc Two opens with another classic Thijs Van Leer flute solo, a mesmerizing piece titled Let Us Wander? That includes birds and other nature sounds.

“Birds Come Fly Over (Le Tango)” was released in Focus 10 with vocals by Ivan Lins. Here, the song features the original vocals (and his unmistakable trademark whistling) by Thijs Van Leer. It has a Latin American flavor and features superior guitar work by Menno Gootjes.

“Spiritual Swung” is the second solo drum piece by Pierre Van Der Linden.

Brazilian singer Ivan Lins sings in Spanish on “Santa Teresa” a song by Thijs Van Leer dedicated to Chile. Originally meant to be included in Focus X, it only appeared in the Japanese edition of Focus X. Great work by Lins on vocals, Van Leer on flute and Gottjes on guitars.

Hazel is an exquisite, skillful acoustic guitar solo by Menno Gootjes.

Focus plays the blues on “Fine Without You,” featuring vocals by Jo De Roeck and superb blues organ by Thijs Van Leer and electric guitar work by Menno Gootjes.

Instrumental trio Swung returns with a second improvisational piece titled “Raga Reverence 5.” The three musicians experiment and create new parts during Focus soundchecks and downtime.

“Five Fourth” is classic Focus, a symphonic progressive rock instrumental with delightful guitar and organ interplay.

Udo Pannekeet performs a funk jazz bass solo titled “Anaya” on his 6-string bass, along with drum programming.

The last track, “Winnie” is another wonderful instrumental from the Focus 11 sessions featuring memorable guitar by Menno Gootjes and flute by Thijs Van Leer.

The Focus Family Album physical edition comes in an 8-panel digipack with artwork by Roger Dean. The booklet includes credits, lyrics, photos and illustrations.

Buy The Focus Family Album in Europe

Buy The Focus Family Albumm in the rest of the world

The Knells II on the Leading-Edge of Progressive Music

The Knells – Knells II (Still Sound Records, 2017)

The Knells, the groundbreaking progressive rock ensemble from Brooklyn, New York is releasing The Knells II in November 2017. The Knells dazzled the progressive music community with its self-titled debut album and the talented musicians do it again with their second recording.

The Knells II moves forward with the unique mix of polyphonic vocal traditions drawing from western classical and Early Music and cutting edge progressive rock and psychedelia.

Composer and guitarist Andrew McKenna wrote all the music and lyrics. The Knells’ sound revolves around the interaction between the female vocalists and the fascinating multifaceted sounds of the guitars that deliver gliding and experimental sounds along with epic progressions.

In addition to drums, bass and keyboards, McKenna brought in an additional guitarist on slide guitar and lead guitar. The slide guitar provides a mesmerizing new element to the band’s sound.

The personnel on The Knells II includes many y familiar faces: Nina Berman, soprano; Charlotte Mundy, mezzo-soprano; Blythe Gaissert, contralto; Paul Orbell on slide and lead guitar; Andrew McKenna Lee on guitar; Jude Traxler on percussion, Rhodes, electronics; Jeff Gretz, drums; and Joseph Higgins on bass.

 

 

The album is available on CD, vinyl and digital from theknells.bandcamp.com

Cuneiform Records to Release First Art Zoyd Boxed Set

Cuneiform Records has announced the release of the first ever Art Zoyd box set. The collection titled Art Zoyd, 44 ½ years of music will be available November 24th, 2017.

Art Zoyd is a highly influential French progressive rock band. They are part of a subgenre known as RIO (Rock In Opposition), a set of artists that play avant-garde rock influenced by progressive rock experimentalists such as Magma as well as contemporary classical music composers.

The boxed set contains 8 CDs of live recordings covering the years 1972-2004 and four CDs of studio recordings, sketches and outtakes from 1980-2005. There are also two DVDs, one is comprised of historical television appearances from the late 1970s into the end of the 1980s and the other DVD disc includes the entire performance of Art Zoyd’s celebration at the RIO Festival.

The box and all elements were designed by British graphic artist Max Franosch.

Buy Art Zoyd, 44 ½ years of music in Europe

buy Art Zoyd, 44 ½ years of music in the rest of the world

Masterful Mixes of Early Gentle Giant

Gentle Giant – Three Piece Suite (Alucard, 2017)

Three Piece Suite gives new life to tracks carefully selected from Gentle Giant’s first three albums: Gentle Giant, Acquiring the Taste, and Three Friends.

The two-disc set includes a CD with new mixes of the tracks expertly crafted by musician and composer Steven Wilson, who has been doing a remarkable job with his remixes of classic and influential progressive rock albums.

It’s pure delight to listen to all the new details and nuances that Gentle Giant treats the listen to with full clarity. Gentle Giant was one of the groundbreaking prog rock bands and listeners can now enjoy the band’s earlier material with much improved sound.

There is also an unreleased song titled Freedom’s Child, from Gentle Giant’s first recording sessions with producer Tony Visconti.

The Blu-ray contains quite a few treats: animated videos made for the Steven Wilson mixes, instrumental mixes of all tracks, and flat transfers of all three complete albums in their original mixes.
The booklet contains an essay by journalist Anil Prasad that includes quotes from Gentle Giant’s members about the beginning of the band and their early recordings.

This set is highly recommended for longtime fans and newcomers to the magical world of progressive rock.

 

 

Buy Three Piece Suite in Europe

Buy Three Piece Suite in the rest of the world

Absorbing Psychedelic Shapes

Quantum Fantay – Tessellation of Euclidean Space (Progressive Promotion Records PPRCD 051, 2017)

Belgian band Quantum Fantay continues to charm with its captivating mix of progressive rock, psychedelic music, electronica and reggae beats. Influences range from Ozric Tentacles to Pink Floyd.

The lineup includes Pete Mush on synthesizers and bubbles (effects); Jaro on bass; Gino Bartonili on drums; Jorinde on flute; Tom Tee on guitars; and Nette Willox on saxophone.

Tessellation of Euclidean Space is masterfully-crafted album by one of the leading progressive psychedelic rock bands of our time.

Buy Tessellation of Euclidean Space in Europe

Buy Tessellation of Euclidean Space in the rest of the world