Extraordinary Guitar Fusion from Canada

Sputnik – Parallax, Vol. I (2016)

Sputnik is a Canadian band heavily influenced by progressive jazz-rock and funk. The instrumental quartet features two electric guitarists, a bass player and drummer. Having two virtuoso guitar players, Barry G. Player and Tristan Rivers, allows the band to showcase a series of impressive solos and memorable instrumental interplay.

Bass player Leigh Fischer and drummer Doug Northcott also get various opportunities to demonstrate their talent.

The guitarists use various guitar-playing techniques that range from Alan Holdsworth-style soloing to rhythm guitar and spectacular shredding. The band’s name, album artwork and the titles of the musical pieces clearly indicate that the band’s music is inspired by the cosmos.

Parallax, Vol. I is an extraordinary fusion album featuring stellar jazz-rock instrumental performances supported by muscular interstellar funk.

Buy the digital version of Parallax, Vol. I

Buy the Parallax, Vol. I CD

Sri “Aga” Hanuraga’s Universe

Sri Hanuraga – To the Universe (Demajors, 2015)

Virtuoso pianist, composer and arranger Sri “Aga” Hanuraga is part of the new wave of outstanding Indonesian musicians involved with jazz, jazz-rock and progressive rock. On To the Universe, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga uses a classic jazz combo trio featuring piano, bass and drums. Within the album, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga showcases three distinct styles that have jazz as the common language.

During most of To the Universe, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga plays straight ahead contemporary jazz. However, the Indonesian influences are evident in several of the pieces, especially if you pay attention to the piano melodies and the flute solos performed by guest Rodrigo Parejo Mateos.

On the three part suite, “Ever Changing” Sri “Aga” Hanuraga switches from acoustic sounds to full blown electric jazz-rock featuring electric piano, spectacular electric bass and powerful drums. At times, you can hear echoes of iconic Canterbury band National Health.

The lineup includes Sri “Aga” Hanuraga on piano and Rhodes; Mattia Magatelli on double bass and electric bass; Kristijan Krajncan on drums. Guest: Rodrigo Parejo Mateos on flute.

Buy the digital version of To the Universe

A Journey through the World of Distorted Guitar

Ödemarken – Ödemarken 3.0 (Terrorjazz Brewery, 2016)

Swedish trio Ödemarken defies musical boundaries on its second recording titled Ödemarken 3.0. The group plays primarily instrumental music with guitar, bass and drums. However, this is not the power rock that you would expect from such a format. Instead, Ödemarken’s sound is based around a wide-range of distorted guitar, electronic effects and guitar-playing techniques backed by creative bass and drumming.

The musical influences are varied, ranging from blues rock to psychedelia, progressive rock, world music and jazz and even echoes of Frank Zappa. The musicians pour out a rich selection of sounds and combinations that keep the album engaging through the end. The artists define their music as terrorjazz which is the time we’ve heard this term.

The Malmoe-based band includes Thomas Karlsson on drums and percussion; Thomas Augustsson on guitars; and Bartosz Traczykowski on upright bass.

 

 

 

Ödemarken 3.0 is a mind expanding electric guitar voyage by an imaginative progressive music trio from southern Sweden.

Tne digital version of the album is available from itunes.apple.com

Entrancing Ambient Soundscapes Inspired by Fantasy

Deborah Martin – Eye of The Wizard (Spotted Peccary, 2015)

Although we normally associate ambient music with the cosmos or technology, multi-instrumentalist and composer Deborah Martin takes us into the realm of fantasy. She uses a mix of acoustic and electronic instruments to create mesmerizing creations that open the mind to a rich world of magical creatures.

For this project I was inspired by the magical worlds of alchemy and wizardry,” says Deborah Martin. “Visualizing misty forests filled with magical creatures and realms of otherworldly visions, I wanted to create an album where each piece revealed a deeper mystery as if discovering lost and unknown secrets from long ago.”

The enchanting CD booklet artwork adds to this delightful voyage through musical worlds of mystery that blends expansive electronic atmospheres and melodic electro-acoustic passages.

The lineup includes Deborah Martin on acoustic guitars, dulcimer, synthesizers, loops and percussion; Matthew Stewart in ambient electric guitar, synthesizers, loops and percussion; Paul Frye on e-bow guitar.

Buy Eye of The Wizard

Daniel Lanois to Perform at Moogfest 2016

Multi-faceted artist Daniel Lanois is set to perform at Moogfest 2016. Moogfest 2016 will take place May 19-22, in Durham, North Carolina.

As a disciple of Brian Eno, Lanois worked on classic Eno ambient electronic music albums such as Ambient 4: On Land (1982) and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (1983). Lanois also collaborated with Eno in producing U2’s The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

 

Brian Eno - Ambient 4: On Land
Brian Eno – Ambient 4: On Land

 

Brian Eno - Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
Brian Eno – Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks

 

 U2 - The Joshua Tree

U2 – The Joshua Tree

 

U2 - Achtung Baby
U2 – Achtung Baby

 

U2 - All That You Can’t Leave Behind
U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind

 

Lanois has also produced recordings for Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson. Lanois’ songs have been covered by a large number of artists as well.

In 2009, Lanois released Black Dub, the debut album by an eponymous group comprised of Lanois on piano and guitar, Daryl Johnson on bass, Trixie Whitney on vocals, and Brian Blade on Drums.

 

 Black Dub - Black Dub

Black Dub – Black Dub

 

Recently Lanois has stepped into a solo career with 2014’s Flesh and Machine that combines all of the diversity of his career work in a new album and live show featuring dubbing, processing, and sampling in real time.

 

Daniel Lanois - Flesh and Machine
Daniel Lanois – Flesh and Machine

 

 

Revolution Loading

BarnuM’S Freak – Revolution Loading (indie release, 2014)

Naples progressive rock band BarnuM’S Freak released this independently-produced debut EP in 2014. Revolution Loading is a concept album about the spiritual growth process of mankind. The album’s title is a symbiosis or revolution and evolution.

Although the first track features fine vocal work by guest Manuela Papa, the majority of the album is instrumental. The band’s sound is characterized by the work of virtuoso keyboardist Sergio Vassetti and guitarist Massimiliano Romano.

BarnuM’S Freak style is deeply influenced by British progressive rock acts like Genesis, IQ, Camel and jazz-rock as well.
The lineup on Revolution Loading includes Sergio Vassetti on keyboards; Salvatore Oroso on drums; Massimiliano Romano on guitars. Guests featured: Alessandro Bagagli on bass and Manuela Papa on vocals.

Revolution Loading is a very promising debut album by a rising talent in the Italian progressive rock scene.

Buy digital version of Revolution Loading.

Buy the Cd version of Revolution Loading

The Enid Announces In the Region of the Summer Stars 40th Anniversary Celebration

In the Region of the Summer Stars
In the Region of the Summer Stars

British symphonic progressive rock band The Enid has announced 5 exclusive concerts to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of its debut album In the Region of the Summer Stars.

The venues include places where The Enid has played before, providing a perfect setting and atmosphere for these rare and exclusive performances.

Tour dates:

Leicester – The Musician – Friday, 3rd June
Bilston – The Robin 2 – Thursday, 23rd June
Manchester – Band on The Wall – Thursday, 7th July
Southampton – The Talking Heads – Friday, 8th July
Gloucester – The Guildhall – Saturday, 16th July

The Emerging Progressive Rock Talent of Farmhouse Odyssey

Farmhouse Odyssey – Rise of the Waterfowl (2016)

Rise of the Waterfowl is the second album by the talented northern California progressive rock band Farmhouse Odyssey. What’s so attractive about this band is that it has developed its own style of progressive rock incorporating European symphonic progressive rock and Canterbury influences along with characteristically American jazz-rock fusion and jam band elements. Furthermore, the vocals don’t pretend to emulate the usual suspects. And best of all, there is no hard rock or heavy metal pandering.

The opening piece ‘Daybreak’ begins with superb guitar interplay and jazz-modulated vocals but halfway through the track, keyboardist Alex Espe surprises and delights with a knockout pitch-bending keyboard solo that would make National Health really proud.

On ‘Slumberless Sun’ the band delivers an exquisite mix of jazz-rock and classic progressive symphonic rock featuring more outstanding guitar work, vocal overdubs and electric piano/synths.

The progressive rock fest continues with ‘Brain Song’, with great time signature changes, excellent lead and backing vocals, and guitar and keyboard interplay and an epic guitar solo.

Another notable aspect of Farmhouse Odyssey is the fact that the transitions and time signature changes work seamlessly. This band has excellent arrangement skills.

Track 4, “Calligraphy” combines prog rock guitars with jazzy keyboards and admirable creative drumming. Thatcher Holvick-Norton is one of the best progressive rock drummers I’ve heard in recent years. He is subtle and highly inventive. His captivating style of drumming borrows from skilled jazz techniques, moving away from pop simplicity and hard rock pounding.

The long instrumental ‘Space Revealed’ begins with a remarkable jazz-rock-style piano and guitar interchange. The piano at times sounds like it has tango inspiration. This instrumental track continues with a delectable piano and Steve Hackett-style guitar progression. The electric bass stands out here as well. As the piece continues, the band takes through jazz passages and Canterbury-style sections with electric piano, synths and symphonic keyboards. Drummer Thatcher Holvick-Norton, keyboardist Alex Espe and the band’s guitarists give way to a spectacular jazz-rock section that connects with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and National Health as well.

Track 6, ‘Shipwreck’ mixes jazz-rock stylings with striking symphonic mellotron. Can’t get better than that.

The suite ‘Speedbump Catalyst: Upon the Wheel, Blessing in Disguise, Energetic Tides, The Road Alone’ starts with mesmerizing piano and vocals with a dreamy Genesis-like sensation. This is the longest piece on the album, featuring terrific piano and keyboard work. For those who like comparisons, the vocal work reminds of Echolyn, but I find Farmhouse Odyssey much more interesting because of their classical, full blown prog rock and jazz influences. This is the longest piece and as you would expect it has an impressive epic guitar and keyboard conclusion.

Track 8, ‘Safe Passage’, is a delightful short piano and mellotron gem.

The last track, ‘From the Night Sky’ treats the listener to more of the wonderful combination of vocals, electric piano, mellotron and jazz drums and bass.

The lineup includes Alex Espe on vocals and keyboards; Thatcher Holvick-Norton on drums; Aaron Laughlin on guitar and vocals; Alex Pepe on guitar; and Ian Taylor on bass.

Farmhouse Odyssey’s Rise of the Waterfowl is a brilliant album by one of the emerging talents of American progressive rock. Highly recommended.

Buy Rise of the Waterfowl (only available in digital format for now).

Progressive Rock Profiles: Anyone’s Daughter

Anyone's Daughter
Anyone’s Daughter

Anyone’s Daughter is a German progressive rock band founded in 1972 in Stuttgart, in southwestern Germany by guitarist Uwe Karpa and keyboardist/vocalist Matthias Ulmer. The band started out playing covers of Deep Purple and other rock bands, and named themselves after the Deep Purple song released in 1971.

Anyone’s Daughter became one of the leading German progressive rock bands during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their debut album Adonis (1979) is a progressive rock classic that was first released on the legendary krautrock label Brain in 1979.

Anyone's Daughter - Adonis
Anyone’s Daughter – Adonis

“Adonis” was later remastered and two previously unreleased bonus tracks: “The Taker” and “The Warship” were added to the original album. The main part of “Adonis” was the epic of the same name that was divided into four parts and took up the complete first side of the vinyl with a running time of more than 24 minutes.

One of the group’s finest recordings is its third release Piktors Verwandlungen.

 

Anyone's Daughter - Piktors Verwandlungen
Anyone’s Daughter – Piktors Verwandlungen

 

Discography:

Adonis (Brain, 1979)
Anyone’s Daughter (1980)
Piktors Verwandlungen (1981)
In Blau (1982)
Neue Sterne (1983)
Live (1984)
Last Tracks (1986)
Danger World (2001)
Requested Document Live 1980 – 1983 (2001)
Requested Document Live 1980 – 1983 Vol. 2 (2003)
Wrong (2004)

Ambient House Music Developers The Orb at Moogfest 2016

The Orb
The Orb

Moogfest 2016 will present British act The Orb. This group pioneered a musical genre known as ambient house. Moogfest will take place May 19-22, in Durham, North Carolina.

The Orb pioneered ambient house by decelerating Chicago electronic house music and adding ambient synth atmospheres inspired by Brian Eno and similar artists.

After joining the A&R department of Brian Eno’s label, Dr. Alex Paterson, a veteran of rock band Killing Joke, released the Orb’s first project as a duo with Jimi Cauty, a veteran of Killing Joke side project Brilliant.

In 1989 the Orb released the single “A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld” that demonstrated a love of intertwining diverse samples under the oscillation of synth waves.

After Cauty’s departure, and personnel changes, the Orb released its classic first album, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, in 1991. Through several other personnel and even aesthetic fluctuations, the Orb has continued to develop cutting edge electronic music.

Discography:

Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond