United Progressive Fraternity Working on New Album ‘Planetary Overload’

Australian progressive rock group United Progressive Fraternity (UPF) is currently working on a new double album. The band’s philosophy goes beyond music, promoting awareness for the environment and social justice.

UPF band leader, Mark ‘Truey’ Trueack, (co-founder of the band Unitopia) describes this double set as ‘the most communicated album ever made’.

The ambitious project unites a team of international artists, including Steve Unruh (Samurai of Prog), with whom Mark is closely working with, writing music and arrangements.

Taking its name from the book by Epidemiologist Tony McMichael, the album is divided into two parts; ‘Planetary Overload’ (Loss) and ‘Songs of Hope’ (Hope) and centers on the problems we are already beginning to face on a troubled planet as it reaches ‘overload’ to the point of no return, and how we can reverse the point of catastrophe before it’s too late.

Contributing to arrangements and ideas are the full time UPF members Tony Schumacher, Matt Williams, David Hopgood and Tim Irrgang.

The writing process of Planetary Overload will introduce other producers such as Gordo Bennett, Colin Tench, Joanne St Claire, Ben Craven, Owen Lealan, Richard Chew and Dale Nougher.

Special guests on the album include Jerry Marotta, Steve Hackett, Nick Magnus, Hasse Froberg, and Phil Naro , just to name a few at this point who are collaborating with Truey to record this concept album.

Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen will appear as narrator throughout the album.

The album is scheduled for release in early 2018.

In 2014, UPF released its debut album ‘Fall In Love With The World’.

Professor McMichael sadly passed away just months before the birth of Planetary Overload; the album is dedicated to him.

Swedish Progressive Rock Band Karmakanic Releases ‘Dot’ Teaser Video

Celebrated Swedish progressive rock band Karmakanic has announced the release of its 5th album titled ‘Dot.’ The album is scheduled for release on July 22nd, 2016.

Karmakanic was formed in 2002. The band returned in 2011 with the acclaimed recording ‘In a Perfect World.’

The current line-up includes Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings), Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen), Morgan Ågren (Casualties Of Cool, Frank Zappa, Steve Vai), Lalle Larsson (Agents Of Mercy), Nils Erikson, Krister Jonsson, Andy Bartosh and Ray Aichinger

Buy Dot

Unstatic by Manu Katché

Manu Katché – Unstatic (Anteprima Productions CD18021, 2016)

Unstatic is the new album by acclaimed French drummer and session man Manu Katche. Although the first track on Unstatic has a Cuban flavor, featuring three Latin American percussionists, most of the album is straight ahead modern jazz with funk, lounge and smooth jazz elements.

The three musicians that stand out on Unstatic are Katche, with his creative drums, the fabulous keyboardist Jim Watson who uses acoustic and electric piano, organ and synths; and virtuoso bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, who delights the listener with wonderful interplay with the keyboards and drums.

The lineup on Unstatic includes Manu Katché on drums; Ellen Andrea Wang on upright bass; Jim Watson on acoustic piano and keyboards; Tore Brunborg on saxophone; Luca Aquino on trumpet; Nils Landgren on trombone; and Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll, Joel Hierrezuelo Balart and Esteban Sotolongo Zapata on percussion.

Unstatic is a high quality recording with ear friendly contemporary jazz that should appeal to a wide audience.

Buy Unstatic in the Americas.

Audacious Armonite

Armonite – The Sun is New Each Day (independent, 2015)

Armonite is a great international collaboration between Italian keyboardist and composer Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi with British bassist Colin Edwin and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt.

The band’s sound is characterized by the electric violin of Jacopo Bigi who straddles the line between progressive rock, chamber music, jazz-rock fusion and occasional world music inclinations.

Paolo Fosso composes marvelous instrumental pieces where there is plenty of room for instrumental exploration and interaction.

The Sun is New Each Day showcases the talent of Armonite, one of the most audacious progressive rock bands in the European scene.

Paralyzed by Cyril

Cyril - Paralyzed
Cyril – Paralyzed

Cyril – Paralyzed (Progressive Promotion Records, 2016)

Paralyzed is the second album by German rock band. Although the album was released by Progressive Promotion Records, the majority of the album’s content is a mix of AOR melodic rock and hard rock. Multi-instrumentalist Marek Arnold adds some brief symphonic moments to the mix.

The lineup on Paralyzed includes Larry B. on vcals; Manuel Schmid on vocals; Marek Arnold on keyboards, saxophones and clarinet; Ralk Dietsch on guitars, mandolin, vocals; Clemens Litschko on drums and percussion; and Denis Strassburg on bass and programming. Guests: Susan Kammler on oboe, Herman Schade on viola, and Dan Stein on vocals.

A Beautiful Kaleidoscope of Electroacoustic Ambient and Tribal Sounds

Green Isac Orchestra – Green Isac Orchestra (Spotted Peccary, 2015)

Green Isac, a fabulous progressive electronic music duo from Norway, has expanded its project to a five-man ensemble called Green Isac Orchestra. Their new album Green Isac Orchestra presents an enthralling mix of electronic sounds with acoustic instruments.

There are mesmerizing, mysterious ambient music passages along with trance-like percussive segments, soaring space guitar, enchanting cello and distant melodies, as well as world music and cinematic elements.

The current lineup of Green Isac includes multi-instrumentalist Morten Lund and percussionist Andreas Eriksen along with the three new members: Frode Larsen on percussion; Tov Ramstad on electric cello and saw; and Jo Wang on piano, mellotron, therevox, and synthesizers. Elvind aarset appears on guitar.

Green Isac’s previous recordings include Passengers (2014), Etnotronica (2004), Groundrush (2001), Happy Endings (1997) and Strings & Pottery (1991).

Green Isac Orchestra is a beautifully composed album by one of the greatest progressive music acts in Scandinavia.

Buy Green Isac Orchestra

Jon Davis’ Musical Visions

Zhongyu – Zhongyu (MoonJune Records MJR078, 2016)

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.

Buy Zhongyu

Finely Crafted Modern Jazz Guitar

Fabrizio Sotti Trio  - Forty
Fabrizio Sotti Trio – Forty

Fabrizio Sotti Trio Forty (Incipit Records, 2016)

On Forty, virtuoso jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti delivers safe zone jazz with a mix of melancholic guitar, swing, blues and a smooth jazz version of a bossa nova classic, “How Insensitive (Insensatez)”.

The highlights of the album are the ambient guitars sounds on “Intro to the Bridge” and the captivating blues piece titled “The Bridge” dedicated to his wife and the Ponte dei Sospire in Venice, where they got married.

The lineup includes Fabrizio Sotti o guitars; Bulgarian artist Peter Slavov on bass; and Cuban musician Francisco Mela drums.

Forty is a finely crafted modern jazz guitar album.

Masterful Prog and Beyond from Greece

Gravitysays_i – Quantum Unknown (Inner Ear Records, 2016)

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