Roland Bühlmann – Bailenas (Roland Bühlmann, 2017)
Bailenas is an excellent instrumental album by Swiss multi-instrumentalist Roland Bühlmann. He delivers an engaing combination of progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, electronics and post rock.
The sounds revolves around various electric guitar sounds although Roland Bühlmann also plays hanottere (a Swiss cittern), bass, stones, and shofar (Hebrew horn) along with loops, drums and percussion generated with Beta Monkey Music samples.
Bailenas is a beautifully-crafted album highlight the versatility of the electric guitar.
Italian band Il Bacio della Medusa (Medusa’s Kiss) is highly regarded within progressive rock circles. Seme is the band’s first album in six years and it is a mix of various genres with diverse results.
The highlights of the album are the progressive rock tracks: the delightful “La Sonda” where Il Bacio della Medusa combines passionate vocals, beautiful flute, acoustic guitars and a great synth solo; the fabulous Banco-inspired “5 E 1/4 ….Fuori Dalla Finestra Il Tempo E’ Dispari” where symphonic and jazz-rock come together with more stellar keyboard work; the mesmerizing instrumental “Uthopia…Il Non Luogo” where prog rock and electronica find common ground; the climactic “Il Sentiero Di Luce” that showcases fine vocal, guitar and flute work; and the final instrumental “Animaemotica.”
The rest of the album contains a hard rock song, a couple of singer-songwriter folk rock pieces and one country inspired song.
The musicians on the album include Simone Cecchini on lead and backing vocals, acoustic 6 and 12-string guitars; Simone Brozzetti on guitar; Simone Matteucci on electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Eva Morelli on flute, alto and soprano saxophones; Federico Caprai on bass and backing vocals; and Diego Petrini on drums, percussion, piano, synthesizer, mellotron, backing vocals.
Conspiracy of Fools is the new album by Apogee, the ambitious project of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Arne Schäfer (Versus X). He plays practically all instruments except for drums. His music is solidly in the symphonic progressive rock camp, with influences from the great bands of the 1970s and 1980s.
Five of the six track clock over 10 minutes and feature notable guitar and keyboard solos, the always mellotron orchestrations, odd meters and a mix of instrumental and vocal passages. Arne Schäfer has added extra layers of vocals in the form of harmonies. There is also spoken word which works really well.
Lineup: Arne Schäfer on lead vocals, backing vocals, electric, acoustic guitar and slide guitar, keyboards, and bass; and Ebi Graef on drums.
Brazilian instrumental rock band Dialeto delivers a magnificent live version of its recreations of Béla Bartók’s Romanian and Bulgarian folk Dances. As the album title indicates, King Crimson violinist David Cross joined the band in Sao Paulo to perform Dialeto’s material as well as King Crimson classics (including a gorgeous version of “Starless”) and a piece by Cross.
The music is a captivating mix of power rock, classical, jazz and folk influences, heavy rock and progressive rock. There is superb musicianship and dazzling interaction between Cross and guitarist Nelson Coelho.
The album was recorded in 2017 at SESC Belenzinho in São Paulo, Brazil. The band featured David Cross on violin; Nelson Coelho on guitars; Fred Barley on drums, vocals; and Gabriel Costa on bass, vocals.
Although this an independent release, the band is getting distribution and marketing support from MoonJune Records.
American band Karmic Juggernaut is set to perform on ProgDay 2018. The progressive rock festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Founded in 2004, Karmic Juggernaut has spent the past 14 years pursuing the idea of creating music that exists without boundaries, that organically develops based on what a particular tune requires. The band evolved from an instrumental four-piece outfit to a vocal 6 piece, with a further extended ensemble when required. The result is a collection of eclectic music that combines elements of psychedelic rock, symphonic rock, funk, jazz, blues, jamband, world music, and whatever other genres might be appropriate at the time.
The band includes James McCaffrey on guitar, vocals; Randy Preston on guitar, vocals; Kevin Grossman on drums, percussion; Cody McCorry on bass, Theremin, saw; Daimon Santa Maria on vocals, flute; and Jake Hughes on keyboards.
Psychedelic progressive band After Nations has announced the release of a new album titled Consteleid, scheduled for release on August 1st.
Guitarist Andrew Elliott said about the new recording: “This is definitely our most ambitious work to date. I’ve really focused the past few years trying to develop as both a song-writer and guitarist, and in working with Travis and Zack to create something that feels like it represents where we are musically. I think the ideas and themes all feel more developed, more mature, more focused – and the album feels more expansive in the sonic ground it covers. I hope people will experience and feel that when they hear it.”
The band will be presenting the new album across the US Midwest, southwest, and West Coast later this summer. This time they’ll be joined by an additional guitarist, David Sandoval (Eat the Sun, Chaff, Kenaima).
“In the past, I’ve written guitar parts for albums that I have to condense down for live performances,” says Andrew Elliott. “I couldn’t play everything that’s there, it’s just not possible, so I’d focus on critical parts and cut other things. With this album, I just didn’t feel we could do that. The writing is all interdependent; everything has a place, every part is serving the music. It just doesn’t have the same energy, feeling, or texture without all of it being played live. So I reached out to Dave – an incredible musician and friend from past tours – and asked him if he’d want to join us. He was down, and here we are.”
8/17 Lawrence, KS at Replay Lounge
8/18 Colorado Springs, CO at Triple Nickel
8/19 Denver, CO at 7th Circle
8/21 Salt Lake City, UT at The Underground
8/22 Boise, ID at The Olympic
8/23 Salem, OR at The Space
8/24 Portland, OR at Kenton Club
8/25 Seattle, WA at The Central
8/29 Oakland, CA at Elbo Room
8/30 Las Vegas, NV at TBA
8/31 Phoenix, AZ at Rogue
9/1 Albuquerque, NM at TBA
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is an album released in 2017 by The Tangent, one of the finest progressive rock acts in recent years. The band is led by keyboardist, composer, vocalist and drummer Andy Tillison. It’s a splendid recording that features some of the finest musicians in the European scene.
This is progressive rock in its supreme form. Tillison is a masterful keyboardist and orchestrator. In addition to state of the art symphonic progressive rock and jazz-rock rich in keyboards, he adds elements of funk, soul and even Santana-style Latin rock. Wildly eclectic and deeply satisfying.
The Tangent always attracts some of the finest players in the current scene. On this album, the band features the great guitar hero of our time, Luke Machin. His chameleonic guitar style is out of this world, ranging from knockout shredding to exquisite solos.
Other members include bass virtuoso Jonas Reingold, saxophonist and flutist Theo Travis, and Marie-Eve de Gaultier (from Luke Machin’s band Maschine) on keyboards and vocals.
The album only has 5 tracks and four of them are lengthy epics packed with instrumental goodness that flow beautifully. Andy Tillison cares about of the world and its ecosystems. His lyrics make reference to the endangered wild animals; the sorry state of mass media and fake news; and other equally important topics.
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is a progressive rock masterpiece. It demonstrates that The Tangent is in perfect shape.
Groundbreaking electric violinist David Cross, best known for his work with King Crimson, has released a new album titled Crossing The Tracks this month. This album is an unconventional project for Cross. Cleopatra Records and German producer/composer Jürgen Engler approached him to complete 12 tracks by Engler and some well-known songwriters.
Crossing The Tracks is a mix of progressive rock instrumentals featuring superb electric violin solo work and electronic arrangements; and songs that highlight female vocalists.
The most captivating pieces are the instrumental performances, which is where Cross gets to showcase his talent as an instrumentalist, adding the melodies, string sections and electric violin solos.
The two vocal tracks that stand out are the ones featuring the late Yemenite-Israeli vocalist Ofra Haza and the Dead Can dance-flavored song with Sonja Kraushofer. The world music air goes well with the electric violin and electronic keyboards.
Superfjord – All Will Be Golden (Svart Records, 2018)
All Will Be Golden is the second album by Finnish psychedelic rock band Superfjord, scheduled for release September 21, 2018. The band plays a superb mix of Pink Floyd-inspired space rock, progressive jam rock, trance music and mantra chants
The band includes Jussi Ristikaarto on guitars, electronics, vocals; Mikko Kapanen on guitar, vocals, percussion; Ilari Kivelä on drums, percussion; Teemu Soininen on bass; Juho Ojala on keyboards; and Jussi Peevo on drums, percussion.
All Will Be Golden is a mesmerizing album by a rising talent in the field of progressive psychedelic rock.
The Aaron Clift Experiment is a Texas-based rock band led by keyboardist and vocalist Aaron Clift. Although the band describes itself as a progressive rock act, the new album titled If All Goes Wrong is a mix of various styles.
The majority of the album features hard rock and pop songs with catchy beats. There a handle of progressive rock-leaning songs like “Absent Lovers”; the straight-ahead progressive piece “Castle in the Sky”; “Dream within a Dream”; and the mellotron-rich “If All Goes Wrong.”
Even though the prog rock sections have fine guitar and keyboard work, the vocals are the weakest part of the band and could benefit from some guests vocalists.
In addition to Aaron Clift, the album features Devin North on bass, electric guitar, fretless bass and upright bass; and Tim Smith on drums and percussion.
Guests include Dave North on electric and acoustic guitar; Van Wilks on electric guitar; Derek Halfmann on electric guitar; Dave Sebree on guitar; Fred Springer on classical guitar; Arielle on electric guitar and backing vocals; Kevin Chin on electric guitar; Jon Blangero on mellotron; Milo Hehmsoth on piano; Charles Anderson on violin; Lana Dziekonski on viola; and Ellie Prager on cello.