French guitarist and composer Frédéric L’Épée explores various genres within the context of progressive music, ranging from classic progressive rock to ambient and looped electronic music and avant-garde explorations.
Frédéric L’Épée is best known as founder of the progressive rock band Shylock in 1974 (reunited again since 2012), the guitar band Philharmonie in 1988, the instrumental quartet Yang in 2002, and the acoustic rock band Lobotonics in 2008.
Additionally, L’Épée is also a solo performer, a contemporary music composer, and takes part in several collective projects (e-werk, Steppe Scape).
The Empty Room relates to the emotions experienced by individuals who face one day the loss of a beloved person. L’Épée started co,mposing the material in The Empty Room nine years ago. The process was long as L’Épée suffered several big losses in his life during that time. “The Empty Room is about mourning, but it doesn’t make it a sad album,” says L’Épée. Rather, it is a questioning about loss, letting go or managing pain. “How grief can turn into a vessel of serenity and peace. Though we all have to face it one day or another, the process is different for each of us.”
L’Épée believs that only music can carry such deep and subtle feelings.
The lineup includes André Fisichella and Volodia Brice on drums; Nico Gómez on bass; Laurent James and Frédéric L’Epée on guitars; and Olivier Innocenti on bayan.
Accident Prone is the latest recording by British progressive act Psychoyogi. The band’s style cuts across various musical genres, incorporating a wide range of influences and moods, including progressive rock, jazz and avant-garde expressions.
The vocal style is unique, sometimes more spoken word than traditional singing, with socially-conscious lyrics that cast doubt on western social values.
Psychoyogi’s sound mostly revolves around the quirky interaction between the guitar and saxophone and rhythm section. You’ll hear echoes of Henry Cow, Adrian Belew-era King Crimson and even some Canterbury minus the keyboards.
The band lineup includes Chris Ramsing on guitar and vocals; Justin Casey on drums and percussion; Izzy Stylish on bass; and John Macnaughton on alto and tenor sax.
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:
American avant-garde progressive rock band Inner Ear Brigade has a new album titled Dromology.
The album features Bill Wolter on guitar; Chris Lauf on drums; Stephen Wright on bass; Melody Ferris on vocals; Ivor Holloway on tenor, alto and soprano saxophone; Eli Wallace on keyboards; Theo Padouvans on trumpet; Andrew Vernon on keyboards; David Shaff on trumpet; and Aheron Wheels Bolsta on tabla.
Cuneiform Records has announced the release of the first ever Art Zoyd box set. The collection titled Art Zoyd, 44 ½ years of music will be available November 24th, 2017.
Art Zoyd is a highly influential French progressive rock band. They are part of a subgenre known as RIO (Rock In Opposition), a set of artists that play avant-garde rock influenced by progressive rock experimentalists such as Magma as well as contemporary classical music composers.
The boxed set contains 8 CDs of live recordings covering the years 1972-2004 and four CDs of studio recordings, sketches and outtakes from 1980-2005. There are also two DVDs, one is comprised of historical television appearances from the late 1970s into the end of the 1980s and the other DVD disc includes the entire performance of Art Zoyd’s celebration at the RIO Festival.
The box and all elements were designed by British graphic artist Max Franosch.
Ut Gret is one of the leading American bands in the avant-garde side of progressive rock. On Time of the Grets you’ll find free form improvisation, avant-garde jazz and elements of progressive rock.
The album features special guests such as Eugene Chadbourne, Davey Williams and Henry Kaiser.
The highlight of the album is a fabulous Zeuhl-style piece titled Magma Futura.
The lineup includes Joee Conroy on guitars, Chapman stick, violin, bass, viola de gamba, santoor, psaltery, autoharp, cheng, shamisen, pipa, zitherphonics; David Stilley on saxophones, keyboards, bassoon, clarinets, flutes, wind synthesizer, percussion, MIDI mapping; Gregory Acker on flute, chendra, percussion; Davey Williams on electric guitar; Eugene Chadbourne on guitar; Murray Reams on drums; Henry Kaiser on guitars; Greg Goodman on piano; and Misha Feigin on vocals.
Ancestor’s Tale is the fourth album by American progressive music band Ut Gret. The ensemble’s sound is characterized by the combination of prog rock instrumentation and various wind instruments such as the bassoon and clarinet. It’s a mix of avant-garde jazz, free form improvisation, chamber music and Canterbury-style progressive rock.
Ut Gret intertwines structured musical works with unexpected experimental improvisation.
The lineup on Ancestor’s Tale includes Joee Conroy on electric guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, fretless bass; Steve Roberts on organ, electric piano, mellotron, marimba, vibes, samples; Jackie Royce on bassoon, flute, contra-bassoon; Steve Good on clarinet, bass clarinet; Gary Pahler on drums; Sydney Simpson: double bass; Cheyenne Mize on vocals, violin; and Gregory Acker on flutes, percussion, digeridoo, baritone saxophone.
The CD booklet includes fascinating artwork and descriptions of the musical pieces.
Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere – Theta Three (Discus Music, 2017)
Theta Three is the third album by the Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere. It’s a captivating group of musicians that combine trance-like electronic music, progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion and avant-garde classical music through improvisation.
The new album is a two-disc set, Alpha (α) and Omega (Ω). The pieces flow seamlessly, crossing progressive music boundaries with total ease.
The lineup on Theta Three includes Martin Archer on keyboards, electronics, saxophones, clarinets, flute, bass recorder, and bass harmonica; Chris Bywater on keyboards, electronics, laptop, percussion, voice, and random processed electric violin; Steve Dinsdale on electronic drum kit, floor percussion, and keyboards; frostlake on voice, electronics, and viola; Yvonna Magda on violin and electronics; Walt Shaw on percussion, electronics and voice; and Terry Todd on bass.
Guests: George Murray on trombone; Paul Schatzberger on violin; Aby Vulliamy on viola; and Angela Rosenfeld on cello.
Aranis is one of those bands that is hard to classify. It’s an acoustic music ensemble that plays contemporary music with an avant-garde edge. It has very close connections to the Rock In Opposition genre minus the rock. You’ll find melodic chamber music segments, minimalism and some dissonant moments as well.
Smells Like contains Aranis’ vision of some of Nirvana’s best known songs. They are skillfully transformed into contemporary acoustic pieces that provide new life to these compositions.
The lineup includes Liesbeth Lambrecht on violin and viola; Pierre Chevalier on piano; Marjolein Cools on accordion; Jana Arns on flute and alto flute; and Joris Vanvinckenroye on double bass.
Smells Like is a highly original experimental recreation of the music of Nirvana.