Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Octopus Remixed

Gentle Giant – Octopus (Alucard, 2015)

Octopus, one of the great progressive rock classics of the 1970s has received the masterful treatment of English musician and producer Steve Wilson. The album, originally released in 1972, reappears with a fabulous new mix. Gentle Giant’s music is rich, complex and very beautiful at the same time. You need to listen to this gem with a really good audio system or high quality headphones to experience the marvelous sound.

Gentle Giant in 1972 was at its peak in creativity. Octopus was the band’s fourth album. You’ll find Gentle giant’s signature sound with madrigal vocal counterpoints, complex rhythms and changing time signatures, captivating instrumental and vocal interplay and call and response techniques, rock, jazz, classical and beyond. It’s one of those albums that you can listen to over and over again and you will continue to discover surprising new details. The lyrics were based on novels and philosophers.

This edition consists of 2 discs. Disk 1 features Steven Wilson’s remix of the original album plus a 16 minute live bonus track from 1976. Disc 2 is a Blu-Ray that contains a flat transfer of the original 1972 mix, and instrumental versions of the 5 stereo remixes, all in high resolution.

Octopus had different covers in Europe and North America. The original Roger Dean cover appears in this edition with an attractive booklet that includes lyrics, credits and photos.

The Gentle Giant lineup in Octopus included Kerry Minnear on keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, cello, Moog synthesizer, lead and backing vocals; Raymond Shulman on bass, violin, guitar, percussion and vocals; Gary Green on guitars and percussion; Derek Shulman on lead vocals and alto saxophone; Philip Shulman on saxophone, trumpet, mellophone, lead and backing vocals; and a new drummer, John Weathers on drums, congas and percussion.

Buy Octopus in North America

Buy Octopus in Europe

Italian Prog Maestros Celebrate the Versatility of the Keyboard and The Odyssey

Syndone - Odysseas
Syndone – Odysseas

Odysseas (Fading Records, 2014)

Italy is experiencing an impressive progressive rock Renaissance, a new golden age, with some of the finest artists in the current international scene. Syndone is one of the gems in the new batch of rock progresivo italiano.

Odysseas, the group’s latest album was released at the end of 2014. Even though you can listen to influences from ELP, Banco, and National Health, Syndone has evolved into a fabulous original band featuring spectacular keyboard work by composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio and Gigi Rivetti, along with the equally outstanding vibraphone by Marta Caldara. The combination of lots of keyboards (with plenty of distortion), the multifaceted vocals and vibraphone make an exquisite mix.

The current lineup features Riccardo Ruggeri on vocals and acoustic guitar; Martino Malacrida on drums; Maurino Dellacqua on bass, Taurus bass; Marta Caldara on vibraphone, keyboards; Gigi Rivetti on piano, moog synthesizer; and Nik Comoglio on Hammond organ, piano, and other keyboards.

Musically, this is symphonic progressive rock at its best with jazz-rock fusion segments and an occasional incursion into world music (one of the pieces has a strong Middle Eastern flavor). Odysseas is a tribute to Homer’s Odyssey where the concept of travel is seen as the goal of the human being, always tended to look to the future: “the true travel is not to discover new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)

Syndone combines exquisite piano and vocal passages with scorching electric organ and fascinating synthesizer melodies. The drum work is also attention-grabbing. There is a good reason for that. One of the guests is masterful drummer Marco Minnemann. The other high profile guest is flutist John Hackett, Steve Hackett’s brother.

Syndone was founded in late 1989 by Nik Comoglio to form an ELP style trio. “We wanted a name that would evoke all together sacredness, Turin, spirituality and scored grooves (like an old vinyl LP) so I thought of Syndone, with the “Y” to distinguish it from the famous relic and make it International at the same time, without being blasphemous. This name in fact immediately evokes Turin in any part of the world… and I liked this!” says Nik. [Sindone is the Italian name for the Shroud of Turin]

After two recordings, “Spleen” (1991) and “Inca” (1993), the group disbanded. Eighteen years later, Syndone returned as a sextet with a new line up. Syndone doesn’t use electric guitar as a choice. All distortion sounds are generated by keyboards.

In 2010 Syndone released a new album titled “Melapesante” (Fading Records), a concept album based on the idea of the apple fruit and its meaning in history.

In 2012 Syndone released the splendid “La Bella è la Bestia” (BTF) in which the band invited the great Ray Thomas, flutist and co-founder of the Moody Blues, as special guest in an audio track on the album.

Odysseas is an immediate classic, a masterpiece that sets the standard for state of the art symphonic progressive rock.

Buy Odysseas

Epic Compositions and Vintage Sci-Fi Atmospheres

Eccentric Orbit – Creation of the Humanoids

Eccentric Orbit – Creation of the Humanoids (EOCD2, 2014)

The second album by Massachusetts-based band Eccentric Orbit showcases an exciting collection of high intensity instrumental progressive rock pieces that incorporate various influences, ranging from virtuosic symphonic rock and space rock to electronic sounds inspired by classic sci-fi movies.

Madeleine Noland’s keyboards play an essential role in the band’s sound. She uses synthesizers, mellotron, organ and wind synth. The band recently added Tom Benson, an electric violinist who also plays guitar synth and MandoBot (electric mandolin), creates outstanding solos and develops exciting interplays with the keyboards. Meanwhile, Bill Noland’s bass generates vibrant creative lines along with Rick Landwehr’s drums.

The fascinating album artwork includes vintage sci-fi movie posters and robots making music.

Creation of the Humanoids is an exceptionally good progressive rock album with epic compositions and vintage sci-fi atmospheres.

Buy Creation of the Humanoids