Tag Archives: Progressive rock

The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery, a Finely Crafted Work of Art

The Tangent – The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery (InsideOut Music, 2017)

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.

Buy The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery

David Cross Crisscrosses The Tracks

David Cross – Crossing The Tracks (Purple Pyramid, 2018)

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.

 

Buy Crossing The Tracks

Transfixing Psychedelia from Superfjord

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.

If All Goes Wrong

The Aaron Clift Experiment – If All Goes Wrong

The Aaron Clift Experiment – If All Goes Wrong (Aaron Clift Productions, 2018)

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.

Buy the digital version of If All Goes Wrong or the CD from theaaroncliftexperiment.bandcamp.com

The Dame Delves into the Roaring Twenties

The Dame – Losing Sight of What You Want (independent, 2018)

Losing Sight of What You Want is the debut album by The Hague-based Dutch rock band The Dame. The group is inspired by the sexy, elegant women and stylish men of the early 20th century. The group is fronted by vocalist and lyricist Marian van Charante and guitarist and composer Stephen de Ruijter.

Although The Dame describes itself as a progressive rock band, the first four tracks on the albums feature a mix of classic rock, folk-rock and blues influences, showcasing the soulful vocals of Marian van Charante and the notable guitar work of Stephen de Ruijter.

On the final three tracks, we get to enjoy the progressive rock side of the band. The title track “Losing Sight of What You Want” has remarkable, nuanced vocal work and highly satisfying electric guitar and Pink Floydish prog rock arrangements.

 

 

The music gets enjoyably eerie and phantasmagoric with “Thy Father’s Bidding,” a fine example of dark progressive rock and a top candidate for the upcoming Halloween prog rock playlist.

The album closes with yet another progressive rock beauty, a suite titled “Conveniently Distant,” in which The Dame once more delivers the progressive rock goods in high fashion with notable vocal, guitar and ensemble work.

The Dame includes Marian van Charante on lead and backing vocals, guitar; Stephen de Ruijter on lead guitar; Michel Krempel on bass; Thijs de Ruijter on keyboards; and Ruben Meibergen on drums.

Losing Sight of What You Want is a stylish debut album by The Dame, a rising act in the European progressive rock scene.

Buy Losing Sight of What You Want

The Neal Morse Band Powerhouse Live

The Neal Morse Band – The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 (Radiant, 2018)

The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 is a four disc set with two audio CDs and two DVDs featuring the powerhouse progressive rock act The Neal Morse Band. The band did a worldwide tour in 2017 and this performance in Tilburg (The Netherlands) is a live presentation of the concept studio album The Similitude of a Dream that was released in 2016.

On The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017 you’ll find five outstanding instrumentalists. The music is a combination of epic progressive rock, classic rock and Christian ballads. The instrumental passages are top notch, with brilliant ensemble and solo work and the climactic sections that progressive rock fans enjoy so much. The vocal parts, on the other hand, are catchy, with plenty of pop hooks and sing along sections.

Religion plays an important role in Neal Morse’s life. The Similitude of a Dream is loosely based on a Christian allegory by John Bunyan called The Pilgrim’s Progress. This means that you’ll find Christian lyrics and messages throughout the album. I don’t think Neal Morse is trying to push any agenda, it is just a reflection of his current stage in life.

The lineup includes Neal Morse on lead vocals, keyboards, and guitars; Mike Portnoy on drums and vocals; Randy George on bass, bass pedals and vocals; Bill Hubauer on keyboards, mandolin, saxophone and vocals; and Eric Gillette on guitars and vocals.

The set is also available on Blu-Ray and digital download audio.

 

 

Buy The Similitude of a Dream: Live in Tilburg 2017

Spock’s Beard for the Masses

Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor (InsideOut Records, 2018)

American rock band Spock’s Beard is still described as a progressive rock band. However, their new double album Noise Floor is not what you would expect from a progressive rock band.

The opening track, “To Breathe Another Day”, gives you a pretty good preview of what the album is about. It’s hard rock with pop hooks, pretty much AOR. The only prog rock is the outstanding work by keyboardist Ryo Okumoto, who injects intricate keyboard solos and atmospheres.

Track 2, “What Becomes of Me” is a pop ballad where Ryo Okumoto shines again and Alan Morse delivers a great guitar solo. The next song, “Somebody’s Home” combines AOR with progressive rock segments.

The longest song is “Have We All Gone Crazy Yet.” It’s a mix of hard rock with progressive rock. The prog parts kick in halfway through the track and the listener gets treated to superb keyboard instrumental work.

Track 5 “So This is Life” is sappy and sounds a lot like the Beatles, although Spock’s Beard are much better instrumentalists.

On “One So Wise, it’s more AOR with pop hooks. Superb bass lines from Dave Meros; and mellotron, organ and synth work from Ryo Okumoto.

“Box of Spiders” is an instrumental, composed by Ryo Okumoto. Without the vocals, the band switches to full, satisfactory progressive rock mode. The listener is treated to spectacular work from all instrumentalists. The band should form a prog rock side project and leave Spock’s Beard to AOR, hard rock and ballads.

 

 

Disc 1 ends with the anthemic hard rock “Beginnings,” featuring pop hooks.

Disc 2, titled Cutting Room Floor contains four short tracks. The first three are forgettable AOR songs. The only keeper is the last track, a great instrumental titled “Armageddon Nervous,” where the musicians get yet another opportunity to shine.

The current incarnation of Spock’s Beard includes Ted Leonard on lead vocals; Alan Morse on electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals; Ryo Okumoto on keyboards; and Dave Meros on bass guitar, backing vocals.

Guests include Nick D’Virgilio on drums and percussion, backing vocals; Eric Gorfain on violin; Leah Katz on viola; Richard Dodd on cello; and David Robertson on English horn.

The star on Noise Floor, from a progressive rock perspective, is Ryo Okumoto. It would be great to see him collaborate more often with like-minded progressive rock instrumentalists.

 

 

Buy Noise Floor

Stick Men Announces Latin American Tour

Progressive rock musicians Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto plus David Cross will be touring Latin America in 2018. The celebrated progressive music artists will perform in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala. For David Cross, these will be his first live concerts ever in Latin America outside of Brazil, where he recently played with local progressive group Dialeto.

David Cross is the well-known violinist from King Crimson between 1972 and 1974. Stick Men features virtuoso touch-style guitarist Markus Reuter, drummer Pat Mastelotto and Chapman Stickist Tony Levin.

Stick Men – Prog Noir

Stick Men’s most recent album is Prog Noir. David Cross’s most recent collection is Being Cross and the double album Midori where David and Stick Men first collaborated.

Tour Dates

Aug 24, Fri – São Paulo, SP, Brazil (Club Carioca)
Aug 25, Sat – Niteroi, Rio De Janeiro, RJ, Brazil (Teatro Municipal) 2 shows
Aug 28, Tue – San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina (Teatro Alberdi)
Aug 30, Thu – Mar Del Plata, Argentina (Teatriz)
Aug 31, Fri – Buenos Aires, Argentina (ND Teatro)
Sept 1, Sat – Rosario, Argentina (Vorterix)
Sept 3, Mon – Montevideo, Uruguay (Las Trastienda Club)
Sept 5, Wed – Cordoba, Argentina (Teatro del Libertador San Martín)
Sept 6, Thu – Santiago, Chile (Teatro Nescafé de las Artes)
Sept 8, Sat – Lima, Peru (Teatro Municipal)
Sept 13, Thu – Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (Teatro Centro Boliviano Americano)
Sept 14, Fri – La Paz, Bolivia (Teatro 16 de Julio)
Sept 18, Tue – Guatemala City, Guatemala (Teatro Lux)
Sept 19, Wed – San Salvador, El Salvador (venue TBA)
Sept 20, Thu – Escazú, San José, Costa Rica (Jazz Café)
Sept 23, Sun – Mexico City, Mexico (Centro Cultural Robert Cantoral)
Sept 24, Mon – Monterrey, Mexico (Escena Monterrey)

InsideOutMusic Announces Spock’s Beard and Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’s Winter 2018 Tour

The InsideOutMusic label that has released some of the best-selling progressive rock acts in recent years, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a tour by two of its best-known artists, Spock’s Beard and Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’s.

Spock’s Beard said: “It will be a co-bill with Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’s revisited band, so each show promises to be a great evening of music. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about who will be playing drums on this tour, so at this time let me introduce our new touring drummer, Mr. Mike Thorne, from Saga! We are really excited to have him on board and are looking forward to seeing you on tour.”

Roine Stolt adds: “Asked to put together a band to go on the road, celebrate our label InsideOut’s 25 year anniversary; I was thinking of the ‘treasure’ that is the music I wrote for The Flower Kings during that same period. I felt compelled to bring out this music for yet another round and in the process bring in some old friends and some new.

The music is universal; some songs timeless and by November I hope to have an exciting set-list to not only celebrate my 1st album and the origin of all things “The Flower King” but to cover the rest of TFK’s history and eventually a new tune and a few new faces. Tune up the engine. Time to prog!”

InsideOut released a boxed with first set of The Flower Kings albums titled ‘Kingdom Of Colours (1995-2002)’ and has just released the second boxed set with the more recent albums: Kingdom Of Colours II (2004-2013).

Tour dates in 2018:

30th November – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway
1st December – Kulturhuset Studion, Stockholm, Sweden
2nd December – KB, Malmo, Sweden
4th December – Zeche, Bochum, Germany
5th December – Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
6th December – La Machine, Paris, France
7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
8th December – Hedon, Zwolle, Netherlands
9th December – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
10th December – Academy Club, Manchester, UK

Yuka & Chronoship on a Wondrous Sea Voyage

Yuka & Chronoship – Ship (King Records/Cherry Red Records, 2018)

Ship is the fourth album by Yuka & Chronoship, one of the finest bands in the current Japanese progressive rock scene. The album revolves around the ship theme and opens with a 7-track composition titled The Argo Suite, inspired by Greek mythology.

The album starts with “Argo – Tears of Figurehead,” a charming short song featuring Yuka Funakoshi on piano and harmony vocals and the lead vocals of Sonja Kristina, the iconic singer of pioneering progressive rock band Curved Air along with sound effects of a wooden ship sailing.

Track 2, “Argo – Ship Argos” is a high energy instrumental with powerful synths and a lot of hard rock guitar, probably too much. Yuka adds moments of calm before the hard rocking returns.

“Argo – Landing” continues with the overpowering guitar in a duel with Yuka’s electric organ. Thankfully, Takashi Miyazawa drops the hard and heavy riffs and provides a skilled solo, showcasing his talent.

Track 4 “Argo – Golden Fleece” begins with a retro feel, featuring progressive blues rock with ELP-inspired electric organ. It builds very nicely into an epic symphonic rock conclusion with outstanding keyboard and guitar interaction.

“Argo – A Dragon that Never Sleeps” begins with a potent bass and keyboard introduction, where the band crisscrosses between progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion. This is another satisfying epic that grows in intensity.

“Track 6 Argo – Islands in the Stream” features some of Yuka’s finest keyboard work and Takashi Miyazawa’s guitar is truly impressive. It’s followed by, “Argo – Return,” the magnificent conclusion to the suite with more epic keyboards, guitars, bass and drums.

On “Air Ship of Jean Giraud,” we hear the familiar rich keyboard layers and vocal harmonies of Yuka along with masterful guitar playing by Takashi Miyazawa.

Track 9, “Visible Light” features lead vocals by Yuka, accompanied by rich symphonic keyboards and looped guitars that transition into a fabulous interchange between the synths and guitar.

“Old Ship on the Grass” is a happy sing along song that features acoustic folk guitar, electric organ, wordless vocals and a very catchy beat.

The final track is the symphonic rock treat “Did You Find a Star?” It was originally going to feature vocals by John Wetton, but unfortunately he passed away. The band invited Hiroyuki Izuta to provide the vocals. Yuka performs mesmerizing piano and keyboard work and Takashi Miyazawa adds more of his exceptional guitar lines.

The line-up on Ship includes Yuka Funakoshi on vocals, keyboards and piano; Takashi Miyazawa on guitars; Shun Taguchi on bass and chorus; and Ikko Tanaka on drums. Guests: Sonja Kristina and Hiroyuki Izuda on vocals.

Buy Ship