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The Emerging Progressive Rock Talent of Farmhouse Odyssey

Farmhouse Odyssey – Rise of the Waterfowl (2016)

Rise of the Waterfowl is the second album by the talented northern California progressive rock band Farmhouse Odyssey. What’s so attractive about this band is that it has developed its own style of progressive rock incorporating European symphonic progressive rock and Canterbury influences along with characteristically American jazz-rock fusion and jam band elements. Furthermore, the vocals don’t pretend to emulate the usual suspects. And best of all, there is no hard rock or heavy metal pandering.

The opening piece ‘Daybreak’ begins with superb guitar interplay and jazz-modulated vocals but halfway through the track, keyboardist Alex Espe surprises and delights with a knockout pitch-bending keyboard solo that would make National Health really proud.

On ‘Slumberless Sun’ the band delivers an exquisite mix of jazz-rock and classic progressive symphonic rock featuring more outstanding guitar work, vocal overdubs and electric piano/synths.

The progressive rock fest continues with ‘Brain Song’, with great time signature changes, excellent lead and backing vocals, and guitar and keyboard interplay and an epic guitar solo.

Another notable aspect of Farmhouse Odyssey is the fact that the transitions and time signature changes work seamlessly. This band has excellent arrangement skills.

Track 4, “Calligraphy” combines prog rock guitars with jazzy keyboards and admirable creative drumming. Thatcher Holvick-Norton is one of the best progressive rock drummers I’ve heard in recent years. He is subtle and highly inventive. His captivating style of drumming borrows from skilled jazz techniques, moving away from pop simplicity and hard rock pounding.

The long instrumental ‘Space Revealed’ begins with a remarkable jazz-rock-style piano and guitar interchange. The piano at times sounds like it has tango inspiration. This instrumental track continues with a delectable piano and Steve Hackett-style guitar progression. The electric bass stands out here as well. As the piece continues, the band takes through jazz passages and Canterbury-style sections with electric piano, synths and symphonic keyboards. Drummer Thatcher Holvick-Norton, keyboardist Alex Espe and the band’s guitarists give way to a spectacular jazz-rock section that connects with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and National Health as well.

Track 6, ‘Shipwreck’ mixes jazz-rock stylings with striking symphonic mellotron. Can’t get better than that.

The suite ‘Speedbump Catalyst: Upon the Wheel, Blessing in Disguise, Energetic Tides, The Road Alone’ starts with mesmerizing piano and vocals with a dreamy Genesis-like sensation. This is the longest piece on the album, featuring terrific piano and keyboard work. For those who like comparisons, the vocal work reminds of Echolyn, but I find Farmhouse Odyssey much more interesting because of their classical, full blown prog rock and jazz influences. This is the longest piece and as you would expect it has an impressive epic guitar and keyboard conclusion.

Track 8, ‘Safe Passage’, is a delightful short piano and mellotron gem.

The last track, ‘From the Night Sky’ treats the listener to more of the wonderful combination of vocals, electric piano, mellotron and jazz drums and bass.

The lineup includes Alex Espe on vocals and keyboards; Thatcher Holvick-Norton on drums; Aaron Laughlin on guitar and vocals; Alex Pepe on guitar; and Ian Taylor on bass.

Farmhouse Odyssey’s Rise of the Waterfowl is a brilliant album by one of the emerging talents of American progressive rock. Highly recommended.

Buy Rise of the Waterfowl (only available in digital format for now).

Electronic Music Pioneers Cluster Announce the Release of 9 CD Box Set Cluster: 1971-1981

Cluster: 1971-1981 is the title of the upcoming 9 CD box set by German electronic music trailblazers Cluster. The 1500 copy collection is scheduled for release on April 15th, 2016.

Cluster had a tremendous influence on the development of electronic music. The original trio of Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Dieter Moebius released two iconic albums as Kluster before Roedelius and Moebius replaced the “K” with a “C” and continued as a duo. They produced eight albums in their most ground-breaking period between 1971 and 1981, two of them together with Brian Eno. Cluster anticipated much of what would later emerge in such varied styles as industrial, ambient, electro, and even synth pop.

The set includes collected reissues of all eight albums released by Cluster between 1971 and 1981, including their two collaborations with Brian Eno, as well as a previously unreleased album of two live recordings from 1972 and 1977.

All of the albums have been remastered by Willem Makkee. Cluster: 1971-1981 includes booklet with essays on each album, rare photos, and an exclusive text on the evolution and significance of the band by Asmus Tietchens.

Shape-shifting Jesufåglar

Jesufåglar – Matka ajan rannoille (Luova Records, 2016)

This recording by Finnish band Jesufåglar originally came out in 2010 as a CD-R and it’s been reissued by Luova Records as a full CD. Jesufåglar plays an unconventional form of progressive rock that incorporates various elements, from classic symphonic rock inspired by the 1970s British and Finnish pioneers to jazz-rock fusion and occasional zany vocals that take the group into an avant-garde or Zeuhl direction.

Most of the album, however, features captivating vocal work by pianist, composer and singer Sanna Klemetti. The fine work developed by the flutes, guitars and creative drumming also play a crucial role in Matka ajan rannoille.

Jesufaglar comprised includes Sanna Klemetti on vocals and piano; Enni Kyttänen on vocals and violin; Taneli Hildén on vocals and flute; Tatu Säteri on guitars; Juho Kalliolahti on bass; Joel Pihlaja on drums; and Veli-Ville Sivén on organs.

Matka ajan rannoille is a sensational blend of shape-shifting progressive rock.

Get the digital version of Matka ajan rannoille or the CD from
luovarecords.com/#!shop/c4kt

Felona e Sorona re-recorded in 2016

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Italian progressive rock band Le Orme has re-recorded its classic Felona e Sorona album. The new 2-disc version is titled Felona e/and Sorona, featuring Italian and English language versions.

The new version features drum tracks recorded live during past tours while all the other instruments were recorded in studio. The idea behind this is to bring forward a live vibe.

Buy Felona e/and Sorona.

Absorbing Atmospheres

Craig Padilla – Heaven Condensed (Spotted Peccary, 2016)

American synthesist Craig Padilla creates electronic space music deeply inspired by the classic Berlin School sound. You’ll experience a cosmic voyage with drifting atmospheres and trance-like sequencers that recall the best works by Klaus Schulze and early Tangerine Dream.

Padilla uses a fabulous collection of analog and digital synthesizers along with sequencers and samplers.

Heaven Condensed is an exquisitely crafted set of hypnotic electronic pieces by one of the most talented synthesists in the American scene.

Buy Heaven Condensed

Trance Electronic Music duo Cosmic Gates Releases “am2pm” Video

Trance-style electronic music duo Cosmic Gates has released a cinematic, traveling video for “am2pm,” the first single from their mix compilation series Wake Your Mind Sessions 002 (Black Hole Recordings). The video was directed by Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic, featuring scenic shots of The Death Valley (California), Los Angeles (California), and The Grand Canyon (Arizona).

German producers Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossems are behind Cosmic Gate, one of Germany’s most successful and lasting electronic acts. The duo has created some of electronic trance music’s iconic singles, including classics such as “Be Your Sound,” “Fire Wire,” and “Exploration of Space.”

Progressive Rock Legend Keith Emerson Dies at 71

Composer, keyboardist and synthesizer pioneer Keith Emerson, passed away on March 10, 2016 in Santa Monica (California, USA). Keith Emerson was one of the one of the greatest keyboardists in rock history and a founder of legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Keith Noel Emerson was born November 2, 1944 in Todmorden, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. In the late 1960s, Keith Emerson’s skill as a keyboardist attracted international attention with pioneering progressive rock band The Nice. He later formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) in 1970. ELP became one of the most excellent and influential progressive rock groups of the 1970s.

For more details about Mr. Emerson, read the ELP biography and his Wikipedia profile

Photo: Dr. Robert Moog and Keith Emerson in the 1970s

Farmhouse Odyssey, State Of The Art Progressive Rock from California

Farmhouse Odyssey – Farmhouse Odyssey (2015)

The self-titled debut album by American band Farmhouse Odyssey is one of the finest progressive rock releases we’ve heard in months. Farmhouse Odyssey combines several of the most beloved subgenres within progressive rock: Canterbury, symphonic rock and psychedelic music.

The five instrumentalists deliver stellar performances throughout the album, delighting the listener with beautiful guitar and keyboard interplay. On the first progressive symphonic piece, “So It Would Seem,” the band presents some of the best mellotron/guitar interaction I’ve heard in many years. The vocals have personality; neither Genesis nor Yes-inspired, which makes the vocals much more attractive.

On track 2, “Dante,” Farmhouse Odyssey head in a jazzier direction with delicious bass lines, electric piano and synths and vocals that sound like an updated version of the classic National Health-era Canterbury sound. At times, the group intensifies the music, introducing fiery guitars, but it’s all done with incredibly good taste.

“Sleeping Silent”, track 3, quickly grows into a wonderful epic piece with some of the best guitar work on the album with truly memorable solos set to an irresistible laid back jazz-rock beat.

Track 4, “Cross the Deep” begins with mellotron and progresses into a dazzling prog-rock jam piece with spectacular guitar work.

The electric piano and organ along with jazz beats on “Colossal Cypress” immediately evokes echoes of Canterbury. The soft vocals on this composition are mesmerizing. “Colossal Cypress” concludes with grand guitar mastery.

The last cut on the album, “A Moment to Take” builds beautifully with a mixture of vocals, guitars and mellotron. Once more, the guitar interplay is truly outstanding.

The five extremely talented musicians of Farmhouse Odyssey have recorded a state of the art progressive rock album that deserves worldwide recognition.

Farmhouse Odyssey is a band from Arcata, in northern California. The lioneup on the album includes Alex Espe on vocals and keyboards; Ian Taylor on bass and vocals; Thatcher Holvick-Norton on drums and vocals; Alex Pepe on guitars; and Aaron Laughlin on guitars and vocals.

Buy Farmhouse Odyssey

Progressive Music Trio Consider The Source Releases Free Album

New York City-based progressive music trio Consider The Source is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a free compilation. The anthology, titled “Past Is Prologue: 2005-2015”, includes tracks from every Consider The Source studio album, including multiple pieces from the recent “World War Trio” series.

The band plays Middle Eastern influenced music mixed with progressive rock, heavy metal riffs, cinematic orchestrations, odd-time improvisations and world music beats.

Formed in 2004, the current lineup of Consider the includes Gabriel Marin on fretless double-neck guitar; John Ferrara on bass; and Jeff Mann on drums and percussion.

Tracks include:

1. Aquarians (World War Trio Part II, 2015)
2. You Are Obsolete (World War Trio Part II, 2015)
3. Tsim Sha Tsui (World War Trio Part III, 2015)
4. Put Another Rock In That Bag [single edit] (World War Trio Part I, 2014)
5. Closer To Home (That’s What’s Up, 2010)
6. \ i / (That’s What’s Up, 2010)
7. Blue Steel (Are You Watching Closely, 2009)
8. Moisturize The Situation (Are You Watching Closely, 2009)
9. Constantly Nostalgic (Esperanto, 2006)
10. Patterns (Esperanto, 2006)
Bonus Track: Past Is Prologue (Untitled EP, 2005)

Free Compilation Album Download link