Norwegian instrumental band Pymlico returns with an album titled Nightscape. Although the band is known for combining progressive rock and jazz fusion, the fusion side is actually smooth jazz, with very sweet, melodic saxophone.
There is a dynamic interaction between the high energy progressive rock, cinematic passages and the mellowed down sections.
The band includes Øyvind Brøter on keyboards; Stephan Hvinden on guitars; Andreas Sjo Engen on guitars; Axel Toreg Reite on bass and synth bass; Marie Færevaag on saxophones and keyboards; Arild Brøter on drums, keyboards and additional guitars; and Oda Rydning on percussion.
Guests: Mattias Krohn Nielsen on acoustic and some electric guitars; Ketil Vestrum Einarsen on flute; Didrik Føyn Føyen on trombone; and Andreas Fossum on trumpet.
Nightscape is a finely crafted instrumental album by a group of talented young musicians.
California-based progressive rock band ScienceNV has put together a two-part concept album series dedicated to Prester John, a legendary Christian ruler in the East who inspired many writings in the Middle Age and appears in Umberto Eco’s Baudolino.
The music on this first volume is an unexpected mix of fascinating classic progressive rock with excellent guitar and keyboard work, quirky avant-garde explorations and free improvisation, Baroque music, operatic vocals and jazz-infused jams. The band members are still the same although the album features various guests.
The lineup includes Larry Davis on guitar and bass; David Graves on keyboards and vocals; James Henriques on guitars, keyboards and vocals; and Rich Kallet on drums and percussion.
Guests include: Carrie Adler on oboe; Michael Cooke on saxophones; Phil Freifhofner on oboe; Paul Rosason pipe organ; and the following vocalists: Roberta Lengua, Daniel Pribyls, Rose Taylor, Joyce Graves, Alan Munson, and Betsy Snyder.
ScienceNV has released a series of amusing videos that accompany the project:
Xavi Reija featuring Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Dusan Jevtovic – The Sound Of The Earth (Moonjune Records, 2018)
The Sound Of The Earth is an album by a sort of western progressive music all-stars associated with the Moonjune label. Xavi Reija demonstrates his formidable skill as a drummer, along with some of the biggest names in the improvisatory progressive rock scene: Tony Levin, Markus Reuter and Dusan Jevtovic.
The album features high energy pieces with creative drumming, distorted guitars and outstanding bass work. The four musicians also delve into tranquil territory, with the guitarists developing exquisite ambient soundscapes supported by lightly touched drumming and imaginative basslines.
The lineup includes Xavi Reija on drums; Tony Levin on electric bass, upright bass, and stick: Markus Reuter on touch guitar; and Dusan Jevtovic on guitar.
And The Stars Above is the latest from Italian duo Armonite. It is a masterful collection of instrumental pieces (with brief vocals) where progressive rock and classical music meets jazz, electronica and other influences.
Armonite’s sound is characterized by the scorching electric violin and viola of Jacopo Bigi and the magnificent keyboards and electronics of Paolo Fosso.
The concept behind album is soundtracks. It’s envisioned as a set of pieces inspired by literature, dance and various other forms. And The Stars Above includes a charming piece titled Plaza De España that has a Spanish flavor, including castanets.
Guersts include Colin Edwin on bass; Alberto Fiorani on bass; Giacomo Lampugnani on double bass; Jasper Barendregt on drums; Emiliano Cava on drums; Corrado Bertonazzi on drums; Maria Chiara Montagnari on vocals; Diletta Fosso on child’s voice; Marcello Rosa on cello; Quartetto indaco string quartet.
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
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond