Italian multi-instrumentalist Pepe Maina has recorded a mesmerizing instrumental double album titled Etheric Anomalies. He defines his music as ambient prog and this a very accurate way of classifying his sound.
Pepe Maina develops marvelous soundscapes. While sometimes the music is ethereal, it’s not syrupy new age. He adds soaring and sometimes fiery electric guitars, symphonic and world music elements that make his music entrancing and appealing.
Together with the electronic atmospheres and looped instruments, you’ll hear pastoral sections that recall Anthony Phillips; ethnic sounds that take you into terrain similar to Jade Warrior; early Steve Hillage influences; and much more.
Pepe Maina develops his music at his own workspace called Nonsense Studio. Maina plays synthesizers, samplers, flutes, guitars and percussion.
Etheric Anomalies showcases a set of finely-crafted music pieces that cross the boundaries of progressive electronica and world music.
Thanks to his Genesis Revisited progressive rock recordings and tours, guitar virtuoso (and former Genesis guitarist) Steve Hackett is enjoying some of his most productive years. He has recorded albums where he explores various genres with total ease and skill. On The Night Siren he fuses his signature guitar style with a mix of classic rock, progressive rock, folk-rock, world music and various other influences, bringing attention to international turmoil.
Speaking about this recording, Steve Hackett has indicated that he’s always had an interest in multicultural diversity within music. Hackett’s curiosity about other cultures was evident in his early recordings, where he incorporated East Asian, Celtic, and other influences.
On The Night Siren Steve Hackett will take you on a constant unexpected musical ride. Songs that begin pastoral will conclude with knockout guitar solos. Heavy drums similar to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir and Middle Eastern melodies transform into magnificent prog rock sections. There is also flamenco, Andean charango, fiery blues harmonica, Australian aboriginal didg, and more.
The album lineup includes Steve Hackett on electric and acoustic guitars, oud, charango, sitar guitar, harmonica, vocals; Mira Awad on vocals; Leslie-Miriam Bennett on keyboards; Gulli Briem on drums, cajon, percussion; Troy Donockley on Uilleann pipes; Kobi Farhi on vocals; Dick Driver on double bass; Benedict Fenner on keyboards and programming; Jo Hackett on vocals; John Hackett on flute; Roger King on keyboards and programming; Ferenc Kovács on trumpet; Sara Kovács on didgeridoo; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; Malik Mansurov on tar; Nad Sylvan on vocals; Gary O’Toole on drums; Christine Townsend on violin, viola; Rob Townsend on baritone and soprano sax, flute, flageolet, quena, duduk, bass clarinet; and Nick D’Virgilio on drums.
Renowned guitarist and composer Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis) is set to release his latest album ‘The Night Siren’ on March 24th , 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). In the meantime, Hackett has released a brand new video for the album’s opening track ‘Behind The Smoke.’
“I’m thrilled with this video for the track ‘Behind the Smoke’ from my new album The Night Siren,” says Steve Hackett. “Director Ivan and the I-Code team have created an extraordinary film here resembling an epic movie! It perfectly matches the song, which laments the predicament of refugees throughout the ages. More compassion is needed in this world for those escaping persecution and death.”
‘The Night Siren’ is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of conflicts and disagreement.
The album lineup includes Steve Hackett on guitar & vocals; Roger King on keyboards & programming; Nad Sylvan on vocals on Inca Terra; Rob Townsend on all things wind; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; Gary O’Toole on drums; and Benedict Fenner on additional keyboards & programming).
Also featured are vocalists Kobi Farhi and Mira on Israeli and Palestinian; Nick D’Virgilio on drums, from the USA; Malik Mansurov on tar, from Azerbaijan; and Gulli Breim on drums and percussion, from Iceland.
Additional musicians who add to the rich flavor of the album are Christine Townsend on violin and viola; Dick Driver on double bass; Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes; and Leslie Bennett on keyboards on The Gift.
Philadelphia-based band iNFiNiEN has released Light at the Endless Tunnel, one of the most exciting progressive music albums in recent months. Their remarkable mix of progressive rock, fusion and world music attracted our attention so here is more about the band.
How and when was iNFiNiEN formed?
In the fall of 2004, we were roommates and we jammed, which led to us writing songs. Our first gig was at a benefit concert at the World Café live in December 2004. We played our only two songs we had at the time.
What does the band name iNFiNiEN mean?
iNFiNiEN is a made up term from the book “An American Mystic” by Michael Gurian. The full-term was “Homo Infinien” which, in the context of the book, is representative the next evolutionary step of humans.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Polyrhythms, jazz harmony, progressive song structures, thoughtful and socially-conscious lyrics, driving bass grooves, exotic tonalities
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
Farmers Market, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, John Coltrane, Meshuggah, Sun Ra, Ali Farka Toure, John McLaughlin, Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Jaco Pastorius, and many, many more (too many to name)
How long has the band been around?
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
We discovered our own sound by jamming together. We recorded our jams and arranged our favorite parts into songs. As we went along, we were aiming to evoke visual impressions in the listeners. Our intention was to go beyond genre. There was also a psychedelic influence, without question. ; )
Your sound has elements of progressive rock, world music, jazz and beyond. How do audiences react to your music?
We’ve been very pleasantly surprised that the majority of our live audiences have viewed it as a breath of fresh air. People have given us a lot of positive support. Some find it “too complicated”, but for the most part, audiences really appreciate our approach.
Despite all the media outlets available, most of the music that is played currently by mass media is pop or hip hop. How do you get your music out there?
When playing live, we try to associate with bands who are similar (sometimes hard to find). Online we try and reach out to the progressive and indie music communities or anyone who we think would appreciate it. Since it’s only the four of us trying to get PR for the band, our total reach is pretty limited.
What musical instruments do you use?
Our live set up is drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard. On recordings, we’ve used oud, saz, sitar, bulbul tarang, tabla, organ, exotic percussion sounds, and some Moog.
And what effects do you use?
Guitar: whammy, ambient delays, and reverb
Bass: volume swell, chorus pedal, octaver
Keyboard: sounds including clav, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, some pads, etc.
How’s the current progressive music scene in your area?
The Tri-state area’s progressive scene is pretty vital. And we’ve been lucky to play with such bands as Consider the Source, Kayodot, Reign of Kindo, Tea Club, Out of the Beard Space, and many others.
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
We don’t have a good answer for this question. On a related note our guitarist Matt Hollenberg has actually been playing music for John Zorn, one of his heroes and main influences, for the last two years in the organ trio Simulacrum with John Medeski and Kenny Grohowski.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
Two of Europe’s finest eclectic jazz guitarists continue their series of collaborations with a double album titled The Colours of Time. The set is divided into two separate formats. The first album is a series of solo original works composed by either Pete Oxley or Nicolas Meier.
The material on disc 1 showcases the virtuosity of the two musicians along with their talent as composers, delivering a set of exquisite guitar duets. The two guitarists use a wide range of guitars and guitar-playing techniques. In addition to the usual solo and rhythm guitar styles, there is an ongoing guitar interchange throughout the album as well as beautiful moments where the guitarists use a beautiful plucking method that makes the guitar sound like a mesmerizing harp.
Although jazz is the foundation on disc 1, Oxley and Meier inject many other influences such as Gypsy jazz on “Waltz for Dilek”, Turkish influences on “Princes’ Island”, Pat Metheny-style guitar synth on “In Restless Repose”, North African/Middle Eastern sounds on “Sahara” and more Pat Metheny influences on “First Day of Spring,” although this time with Oxley on electric guitar.
On Disc 2, the original compositions become more rhythmic and electric with the addition of bassist Raph Mizraki and drummer Paul Cavaciuti. Pat Metheny’s influence continues on the opening track, “The Followers.” There is also a delicious ballad that perfectly crosses over into smooth jazz territory.
Some of the best tracks on this disc are the ones with a Middle Eastern flavor, such as “Riversides” and “Fethiye Crossroad.” Lastly, I need to mention a fabulous piece titled “Tales” that has instant classic appeal, with memorable bluesy solos.
The lineup on The Colours of Time includes Pete Oxley on nylon string, steel, electric, synth, jazz, and electric 12 string guitars; Nicolas Meier on nylon string, steel, acoustic 12-string, fretless nylon, glissentar, and jazz guitars; Paul Cavaciuti on drums; and Raph Mizraki on acoustic and electric basses.
The Colours of Time introduces the listener to a remarkable guitar dialog between two extraordinary guitarists.
Jazz fusion innovator, composer and guitar maestro Al Di Meola will continue to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his Elegant Gypsy Tour with new concerts in 2017 in support of his most recent solo album Elysium. The North American tour begins February 7 in Durham, North Carolina with dates in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Dallas, Montreal, and more.
Di Meola has been on tour for most of 2016, presenting new material from Elysium together with old favorites. DiMeola uses acoustic and electric guitars, including his nylon string Conde Hermanos acoustic prototype model and a 1971 Les Paul electric (his Return to Forever and Elegant Gypsy guitar).
The band includes Philippe Saisse on keyboards, marimba; Gumbi Ortiz on percussion; Elias Tona on bass; Luis Alicea on drums; and Evan Garr on violin.
2017 North America Tour:
2/7/17 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
2/8/17 Charleston, SC Music Hall
2/9/17 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
2/11/17 Orlando, FL The Plaza Live
2/12/17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Parker Playhouse
2/13/17 Clearwater,FL Capitol Theater
2/14/17 Ponte Vedra,FL PV Concert Hall
2/17/17 Austin, TX One World
2/18/17 Dallas, TX Majestic
2/21/17 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music
2/22/17 Kent, OH Kent Stage
2/24/17 Quebec City, Q Palais Montcalm
2/25/17 Montreal, QC Salle Pierre Mercure
2/26/17 Peekskill, NY Paramount
Benjamin Taubkin, Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup – Sounds of Life (Adventure Music, 2015)
These three musicians create a remarkable combination of jazz, contemporary acoustic, electronic and world music sounds. Percussionists Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup admired the work of pianist and composer Benjamin Taubkin and eventually met to work together on a new project. Sounds of Life is the result of this extraordinary collaboration.
The three musicians play piano and acoustic percussion instruments, along with keyboards, samplers and effects, in a tribute to the indigenous peoples of Brazil and Congo.
Sounds of Life captures the restless spirit of three talented musicians who deliver a fascinating mix of piano, world music samples and global percussion.
Despite the band name, the Chinese-style artwork and even some of the music, this is not a Chinese act. Instead it’s a progressive music project that brings together composer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Davis, three members of American progressive rock band Moraine and a jazz drummer.
The result is fabulous cocktail that crosses numerous music boundaries. There is electronica, progressive rock, avant-garde music, jazz-rock and world music with a Chinese edge.
Jon Davis delights the listener with his collection of multi-dimensional music instruments: Chapman stick, guzheng (Chinese zither), mellotron and synthesizer.
In addition to the music itself, Zhongyu also experiments with sound. Instrumentalist Jon Davis plugs the guzheng into a modular synthesizer and processes a bass clarinet through a wah-wah pedal.
The album lineup includes Jon Davis on Chapman Stick, guzheng, Mellotron, ARP 2600; Dennis Rea on electric guitar, resonator guitar; Alicia DeJoie on electric violin; James DeJoie on baritone saxophone, flute, bass clarinet; and Randy Doak on drums and percussion. Special guest: Daniel Barry on trumpet.
Zhongyu is an exceptionally good, multi-faceted progressive music album.
Quantum Unknown is the third album by a fascinating progressive music band from Greece called Gravitysays_i. Their sound is a mix of epic progressive rock, Pink Floyd-style space rock, post rock, ambient electronics, experimental effects and world music influences. This makes Gravitysays_i one of the most interesting acts we’ve heard in recent months.
In addition to the usual rock band instruments, Gravitysays_i adds acoustic instruments like trumpet, Cretan lyra and the beautiful mesmerizing sound of the santur, a hammed dulcimer originally from Persia.
The vocals are in English and have a darkwave/post rock feel. Post rock has a tendency of meandering and not going anywhere. Thankfully, Gravitysays_i injects captivating electronic and prog rock arrangements and melodies that keep you engaged throughout the entire recording.
Gravitysays_i was formed in March of 2003 by Manos Paterakis and Nikos Retsos in Piraeus. Their debut album was “The Roughest Sea” (Sirius, 2007). The band’s second album was “The Figures of Enormous Grey and The Patterns of Fraud” (Restless Wind, 2011).
The lineup on the album includes Manos Paterakis on lead vocals, santur, lead and rhythm guitar, pocket piano, electric bass; Nikos Retsos on drums, synths, acoustic and electronic percussion, rhythm santur, 12-string guitar, Celtic harp; Mampre Kasardjian on double bass and electric bass and backing vocals; Alekos Georgoulopoulos on lead and rhythm guitar; Vangelis Katsarelis on trumpets and flugelhorn; Nikos Sotiropoulus on lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Costas Stergiou on keyboards and backing vocals; and Peggy Sarrou on vocals; and George Kontogiannis on Cretan lyra.
Quantum Unknown is a masterful progressive music recording showcasing the talent of some of the finest musicians from southern Europe.
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond