Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Remarkable Spontaneous Electric Explorations

Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis – The Stone House (MoonJune Records, 2017)

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.

Buy The Stone House

Steve Hackett Releases Live Album with Hungarian band Djabe

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.

Buy Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers in the Americas

Buy Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers in Europe

Spectacular Prog Rock by iNFiNiEN

iNFiNiEN – Light at the Endless Tunnel (indie release, 2016)

“Light at the Endless Tunnel” is the third album by an extraordinary American band that delivers a superb style of forward-looking progressive rock that incorporates rock, jazz and world music elements.

Good vocalists are essential in progressive rock and Infinien has one of the best vocalists I’ve heard in a really long time. She uses jazz inflections similar to the work of Esperanza Spalding. In fact, many times throughout the album, it feels like Esperanza Spalding is singing with a progressive rock band.

Light at the Endless Tunnel takes the listener into a wide-range of directions, blending the familiar with unexpected Middle Eastern elements, Indian vocal percussion, soul and lots more.

The band features extremely talented musicians who showcase their talent with looped guitars, creative bass lines, imaginative drum patters, Ethiopian scales, spectacular guitar solos, exquisite keyboard ambience, epic intensity, and Canterbury-ish keyboards plus an orchestra with real strings and horns. In other words, state of the art progressive rock.

The lineup on Light at the Endless Tunnel includes Jordan Berger on electric and upright bass, background vocals, and additional percussion; Tom Cullen on drums and percussion; Matt Hollenberg on guitars, bulbul tarang, tabla, Moog Minitaur; and lyricist Chrissie Loftus on vocals, piano, keyboards, organ and additional percussion.

The iNFiNiEN Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Salmon features Mark Allen on flute, clarinet; Jordan Berger on double-bass; Mary Bryson on harp; Monique Canniere on violins; Maura Dwyer on violin, cello; Gloria Galante on harp; Christen Hooks on viola; Andriana Markano on viola, violin; Ben Mulholland on French horn; Bob Quaile on oboe; Rebecca Schlappich on violins; and Andrea Weber on cello.

Every year, there is at least one progressive music act that stands out from the rest and Infinien is undoubtedly one of the best. This is one of the progressive rock gems of the past few months. Highly recommended.

Buy Light at the Endless Tunnel at Amazon or Bandcamp: https://infinien.bandcamp.com/album/light-at-the-endless-tunnel

Rising Progressive Rock Band Cellar Noise releases Alight

One of the progressive rock sensations of 2017 is Italian band Cellar Noise. The young group plays symphonic rock inspired by 1970s classic acts loaded with mellotron, organ, and synths interweaved with guitar. Their debut album is titled Alight (Btf – AMS).

Multi-faceted Italian musician Fabio Zuffanti is the artistic director of the project.

Maxophone Releases La fabbrica delle nuvole

Maxophone, one of Italy’s classic progressive rock bands is back with a new album after many years. The new recording is titled La fabbrica delle nuvole (the cloud factory) on AMS Records.

La fabbrica delle nuvole contains progressive symphonic elements as well as fusion. The lineup includes original members Sergio Lattuada on piano, keyboards and vocals; Alberto Ravasini on guitars, keyboards and lead vocals; along with Marco Croci on bass and vocals; Marco Tomasini on guitar and vocals; and Carlo Monti on drums, percussion and violin.

Maxophone is an essential name within the vast realm of Italian progressive rock. Like many other acts, they disbanded after only one self-titled LP, Maxophone that was released in 1975 and became a collector’s item.

Profound Epistrophobia

T – Epistrophobia (Progressive Promotion Records PPRCD044, 2016)

Epistrophobia is the new album by the enigmatic artist named T. The brains behind the project is multi-instrumentalist, producer and vocalist Thomas Thielen. He plays all the instruments. This includes keyboards, guitars, drums, bass, saxophone, sound effects and whatever else.

Stylistically, T borrows from the poetry of Van Der Graaf Generator, the intensity of neoprog bands like Pendragon and others, plus elements of post rock, hard rock and jazz.

Epistrophobia is an introspective album where T explores profoundly the depths and uncertainties of a modern-day individual in the midst of populism, neocapitalism, and digital secrecy.

There is slow paced nuance, sudden intensity, great progressions and epic conclusions in Epistrophobia demonstrating superb progressive rock craftsmanship. Certainly, one of the most interesting progressive music artists in Europe.

Buy Epistrophobia in the Americas

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Attack of the Martians Expanded

Eccentric Orbit – Attack of the Martians (Eccentric Orbit, 2004/2014)

Although Attack of the Martians was released in 2004, this is a review of the 2014 reissue that includes a 10:12 bonus suite titled The Day the Earth Stood Still. Eccentric Orbit plays instrumental progressive symphonic rock inspired by Science Fiction.

What immediately stands out is that this band is keyboard-focused, featuring two keyboardists and no guitars. The sounds is characterized by abundant use of mellotron, vintage synthesizers and organs; wind-controlled synths; throbbing, heavy Magma-style distorted bass; and drums. There are references to early 1970s Emerson Lake and Palmer and King Crimson as well as traces of jazz and space music, especially on the hypnotic “Forbidden Planet”.

The lineup on Attack of the Martians includes Bill Noland on bass; Madeleine Noland on wind synthesizers, keyboards; the late Mark Cella on drums; and Derek Roebuck on keyboards.

The lineup on the bonus tracks varies a bit. It features Tom Benson on electric violin and guitar synth; Bill Noland on bass; Madeleine Noland on wind-controlled synthesizers; and Rick Landwehr on drums.

Attack of the Martians is an excellent progressive rock album made even better with the addition of a lengthy musical suite.

Buy Attack of the Martians

Lost in the Ghost Light

Tim Bowness – Lost in the Ghost Light (InsideOutMusic, 2017)

Tim Bowness is one of the most exciting artists in the British progressive music scene who incorporates a wide-range of influences to his music. ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ is an exquisite recording where Bowness’ mesmerizing vocals are joined by beautifully-crafted keyboard and acoustic orchestrations along with fabulous guitar, flute and keyboard solos.

Bowness treats the listener to a wonderful mix of atmospheric songs and superb symphonic progressive rock that will bring joy to fans of progressive rock-era Genesis and other 1970s classic acts. For fans of mellotron, this album is a true delight, with some of the finest mellotron work I’ve heard in recent years.

‘Lost in the Ghost Light’ was mixed and mastered by Bowness’ longtime collaborator, Steven Wilson.

The lineup includes Tim Bowness on vocals, backing vocals, synthesizers and rhythm programming; Stephen Bennett on keyboards and additional guitars; Bruce Soord on guitars and backing vocals; Hux Nettermalm on drums; Andrew Booker on drums; Colin Edwin on electric, fretless and acoustic bass guitars.

The impressive guest list includes Ian Anderson on flute; Kit Watkins on flute and waterphone; Steve Bingham on violin; Charlotte Dowding Violin Ensemble; Andrew Keeling provided the string arrangements, flute and acoustic guitars; David Rhodes on guitar; and The ‘unknown’ Pete Smith on Rickenbacker bass.

Buy Lost in the Ghost Light in the Americas

Buy Lost in the Ghost Light in Europe

Progressive Rock Icon John Wetton Dies at 67

Acclaimed rock musician John Wetton passed away this morning, Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, after a long battle against colon cancer.

John Wetton was born on June 12, 1949 in Willington, Derbyshire. He became famous as vocalist and bassist of pioneering progressive rock band King Crimson in the early 1970s. John wetton rec orded three albums with King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), and Red (1974)]

At the end of the 1970s, Wetton formed progressive rock supergroup UK together with Eddie Jobson (Curved Air, Roxy Music and Frank Zappa), Allan Holdsworth (Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime and Gong) and Bill Bruford (Yes and King Crimson). UK released two now classic progressive rock albums, UK (1978) and Danger Money (1979).

In the early 1980s, John Wetton was one of the founders of the highly successful FM-radio oriented rock group Asia. The group released the hit song ‘Heat of the Moment’ in 1982.

John Wetton also enjoyed a fruitful solo career, including the album Battle Lines, and formed iCon with Asia bandmate Geoff Downes. In 2006 the original line-up of Asia got together again and toured the world several times to promote four new studio albums.

John Wetton had been planning to tour with Asia for the band’s upcoming US arena tour with rock band Journey and, after the success of his solo Studio Recordings Anthology, continue working on the ongoing re-issue program of his solo albums through his own Primary Purpose label.

Drumer Carl Palmer released the following statement: “With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant.

John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle.

For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile.

May you ride easy, my old friend.”

John is survived by his recently wed wife Lisa and 18 year old son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.

The very last studio song of John Wetton’s career was the closing track on the Asia album “Gravitas” and included the lyrics “Think the best of me, till we meet again.”

headline photo: John Wetton – photo by Mike Inns

Guitar Hero and Experimentalist

Lelio Padovani – “Waves” (2016)

“Waves” is a four-track EP by guitar maestro and composer Lelio Padovani. He plays instrumental guitar rock with a progressive edge. Picture Steve Vai or Joe Satriani playing progressive rock-oriented music.

Padovani plays all the instruments on the album and experiments with various guitars. On ‘Time Traveler’ he plays a guitar melody envisioned as a movie score of a guitar player who travels across time using various guitar techniques.

On ‘Siren Song’ you’ll hear a fabulous mix of three guitars playing a melody. Padovani indicates that three are better than one in the liner notes.

‘Sunday’ features admirable solo guitar work and was recorded during a quiet weekend, allowing Padovani to unwind.

The last piece, ‘Waves’ is an experiment based on Rhys Chatham’s concept. Chatham is an American avant-garde musician who created the concept of a guitar orchestra. Here, Lelio Padovani generates a remarkable wave of electric guitars, creating a fascinating cacade of sound featuring numerous guitar layers.

Lelio Padovani plays guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers and virtual string machine.

The album is available from www.leliopadovani.com