Tag Archives: featured

King Crimson Announces 5 Disc Set “Audio Diary 2014 – 2018”

The current King Crimson line-up is releasing a 5-disc boxed set titled “Audio Diary 2014 – 2018.” It is a comprehensive summary of 5 years’ worth of concerts, one year per CD.  The collection includes performances selected from a first concert in Albany, New York in 2014, to the band’s 2018 concert in Tokyo.

King Crimson – Audio Diary 2014 – 2018

“Audio Diary 2014 – 2018” contains material from the debut album “In the Court of the Crimson King” (including ‘Moonchild’ which was never performed in 1969) through to works from “Lizard” which, likewise, was never performed at the time.

Also featured, King Crimson classics from “Islands”, “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic”, “Red” & other studio albums, up to compositions from Fripp’s solo album “Exposure” (‘Breathless’), reinterpretations of 1980s material (‘Neurotica’, ‘Indiscipline’), and newly written pieces for this line-up, (‘Meltdown’, ‘Radical Action’).

Available for pre-order at Schizoidshop

Richard Henshall Ventures into More Progressive Territory

Richard Henshall – The Cocoon (The Burning Shed, 2019)

Richard Henshall is one of the best known guitarists in the prog metal field. He is a member of Haken and has also worked with Nov​a Collective and Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress. On The Cocoon, Henshall plays his characteristic guitar and also appears as a lead vocalist.  

Richard Henshall – The Cocoon

The first track takes the listener into prog metal territory, which is not my cup of tea. Thankfully, the intro is short and Henshall’s music gets considerably more interesting, multifaceted and progressive on “Cocoon,” a piece where Henshall constructs a complex musical structure with unexpected tempo changes, progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, modified vocals and excellent guitar soloing. There is some metal riffing, but it’s not overwhelming.

The intricate, masterfully-crafted material continues on “Silken Chains,” where Henshall combines skillful guitar configurations and altered vocals with electronics and creative bass.

On “Limbo,” Henshall adds mesmerizing guitar loops, ambience and transformed vocals along with heavy pounding drums.

The rapping vocals on “Lunar Room” are annoying. This is what is known as the pandering song targeting the hip hop fans.

“Twisted Shadows” is typical prog metal, with heavy metal dominating the entire track. The highlight is Jordan Rudess’ keyboard solo.

The album ends with the climactic “Afterglow.”

Personnel: Richard Henshall on guitars, keyboards and vocals; Conner Green (Haken) on bass; and Matthew Lynch (Cynic and Nova Collective) on drums.

Guests:  Ross Jennings on vocals; Jordan Rudess on keyboards; Ben Levin on vocals; Jessica Kion on vocals; Marco Sfogli on guitar; David Maxim Micic on guitar; Chris Baum n strings; and  Adam Carrillo on saxophone.

Buy The Cocoon

A Finely-crafted Contemporary Celebration of Early Progressive Music

Maurizio Brunod, Giorgio Li Calzi, Boris Savoldelli – Nostalgia Progressiva (distributed by MoonJune Records, 2019)

Three forward-thinking Italian musicians celebrate the progressive music of the late 1960s and the early 1970s on Nostalgia Progressiva.

Maurizio Brunod, Giorgio Li Calzi, Boris Savoldelli – Nostalgia Progressiv

The album opens with “Formentera Lady,” a song that appeared on King Crimson’s Islands in 1971. The song is reconstructed with glitchy electronics, jazz trumpet, ambient electronics, soaring electric guitar and soft vocals.

Trsack 2 is the lovely “Mate Kudasai” from King Crimson’s album Discipline (1981), metamorphosed into a delightful bluesy version.

Although not a progressive music song, the trio reconstructs “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles (Revolver, 1966), transforming it successfully with mesmerizing loops, processed vocals, and guitars.

“Shipbuilding” is a song with lyrics by Elvis Costello that was written during the Malvines/Falklands War of 1982. In its new incarnation, it becomes a laid back song with vocals, guitar and spellbinding, gorgeous electronic ambience.

Next is Radio Activity, a song by German electronic music and techno pioneers Kraftwerk, included inn the album Radio-Activity (1975). Here, it reappears as a dub rock song.

The memorable song “I Talk to the Wind” from King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King (1969) begins as an acoustic folk song that evolves into a trip hop wonder, featuring electronically-manipulated trumpet, similar to Jon Hassell’s work.

Another progressive rock classic, “Starless,” by King Crimson (Red album, 1974) in transformed into a futuristic piece with acoustic guitar, lead melody on trumpet and looped vocals.

“Taranaki” is the most jazz-oriented piece. This re-reading contains electronic beats, wordless vocals and soft trumpet.

Yet another gem from King Crimson appears on this recording, “Moonchild” (In the Court of the Crimson King, 1969). This version features exquisite acoustic guitar, vocals and trumpet.

The last track is “Gioco di bimba,” originally released by the fabulous Italian progressive rock group Le Orme (Uomo di pezza, 1972). It reappears with electronic beats and ambiance plus vocals.

Lineup: Maurizio Brunod on electric and acoustic guitar, samples; Giorgio Li Calzi on trumpet, fluegelhorn, keyboards, electronics; and Boris Savoldelli on vocals, electronics, and vocal synth 3D prototype.

Buy Nostalgia Progressiv

Ricochet, At the Early Edge of Electronica and Rock

Tangerine Dream – Ricochet (Virgin RecordsUniversal, 2019 reissue)

Ricochet was the first live album released by trailblazing German electronic music band Tangerine Dream. The release reviewed here is the remastered 2019 edition that includes the original tracks and great remixes by British musician Steven Wilson.

Tangerine Dream – Ricochet

Although Ricochet is still fundamentally an electronic music album, Tangerine added more guitar and drums, specially on the first half of track 1. This led to a sound closer to electronic rock with melodies playing a larger role. Nevertheless, most of the album is based on fascinating mellotron atmospheres and morphing sequences. Yet another masterful classic release by Tangerine Dream.

The tracks were recorded live in the UK and France during Tangerine Dream’s August–October 1975 European Tour.

The lineup included Peter Baumann on keyboards; Chris Franke on keyboards and drums; and Edgar Froese on keyboards and guitar.

Buy Ricochet

Gong to Release 13-Disc Boxed Set Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75

Pioneering psychedelic progressive rock band Gong will be releasing a 13-disc boxed set titled “Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75.” The collection is curated by Steve Hillage and released with the full involvement of original members.

Gong – Love From The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years 1973-75

Released to coincide with Gong’s 50th Anniversary, the anthology includes the band’s classic years in a remarkable package that includes: their essential first four Virgin studio albums plus bonus tracks; previously unreleased, multi-tracked full gigs, the complete John Peel Sessions from 1973 and 1974; previously unreleased quad Pye and Westlake mixes of ‘You’ re-formatted to 5.1 surround-sound, and artwork including rare and previously unseen work by the late Daevid Allen.

A Drop of Light, a Masterpiece from Anglagard Founder Johan Brand

All Traps on Earth – A Drop of Light (AMS Records, 2018)

All Traps on Earth is remarkable progressive rock band led by Anglagard bassist and composer Johan Brand. He invited fellow Anglagard colleagues Thomas Johnson (keyboards) and Erik Hammarström (drums and percussion) plus various guests, including Brand’s daughter on vocals.

A Drop of Light is a highly complex album where symphonic progressive rock meets jazz-rock and contemporary classical musical forms. Imagine Anglagard jamming with French band Magma plus bits of King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator.

All Traps on Earth delivers deeply intense segments with frequent time signature changes and fabulous bass, guitar and keyboard work plus soaring trumpet, wild saxophone and operatic vocals, along with meditative passages full of exquisite mellotron, flute and synths.

All Traps on Earth – A Drop of Light

For mellotron fans, this album is a precious gem. Anglagard mastered the use of the mellotron and brought it back to the top. All Traps on Earth continues this tradition, delivering some of the finest mellotron performances in recent years.

The album includes three masterful lengthy tracks with deep Anglagard influences, a fabulous tribute to Magma titled “Magmatic Warning” plus a very brief meditative keyboard piece.

The musicians A Drop of Light are all outstanding. Fans of instrumental progressive rock are in for real treat.

The lineup includes Johan Brand on Mellotron M400 and M4000D, Moog Voyager, Moog Minitaur, organs, Fender Rhodes, clavinet. Rickenbacker 4001 and 4001S basses, Fender Jazz Deluxe bass, Revelation Jazzmaster VI bass, Moog Taurus 1. Epiphone Gibson Les Paul guitar, Green Gibson Les Paul guitar, percussion and vocals; Thomas Johnson on grand pianos, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzers, pianets, clavinet, organs, Mellotron M4000D, and Moog Voyager; Erik Hammarström on drums, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, crotales, timpani, gran cassa, wood blocks, tam-tam, and tubular bells; Miranda Brand on vocals.

Guest: Fredrik Lindborg on bass clarinet, baritone, tenor, alto and soprano sax; Karl Olandersson on trumpet, flugelhorn; Magnus Båge on concert flute; Matthias Bååth on bass and concert flute, tenor and alto recorder; Phil Mercy on organic guitars.

A Drop of Light is an extraordinary master work, undoubtedly one of the finest progressive rock releases of 2018.

Buy A Drop of Light

Snarky Puppy, Unrivaled Masters of Funk and Fusion

Snarky Puppy – Immigrance (GroundUp Music, 2019)

Snarky Puppy, the finest funk jazz band in the current scene is back with a superb album titled Immigrance. Band leader Michael League clarifies the title of the album: “The idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving and that we’re all in a constant state of immigration. Obviously the album’s title is not without political undertones.”

Snarky Puppy – Immigrance

The opening track, “Chonks” couldn’t be more spectacular; it starts with fabulous funk keyboards and progresses into outstanding jazz-rock fusion topped by Mark Lettieri’s brilliant guitar solo.

Michael League brings in some of the best young keyboardists to Snarky Puppy’s sessions and that’s what makes the band such a delight. Instead of the tired saxophone solos that other bands utilize, Snarky Puppy has a much modern, edgy sound with the use of electronic keyboards, guitars and a solid brass section.

“Bigly Strictness” is a seductive composition with a wonderful, creative global percussion section, smoky trumpet solo , Shaun Martin’s and Justin Stanton’s fantastic synths solos and mesmerizing gliding guitars. Pure beauty.  

“Coven” begins laid back with intricate bass lines, brass arrangements and forward-thinking trip hop feel. Shaun Martin delivers another masterful synth solo that leads into Chris Queen’s electric guitar solo. Progressive fusion at its best.

The trip hop returns on “Blig Blingi,” a bass-heavy funk piece, where chilled, futuristic keyboards and funk synth solos, dubbed drums, and brass, and complex, but accessible drum beats continue to impress. 

Track 5, “Xavi,” the longest piece on the album is more jazz-fusion oriented, featuring a breathtaking electric violin solo by Zach Brock; and an equally good Minimoog solo by Bobby Sparks. Percussionist Keita Ogawa also gets an opportunity to showcase his talent with an ocean drum solo. The track concludes with a great piano solo by Bill Laurance.

“While We’re Young” features steady funk drum beat, funk synth solo, majestic mellotron and reverb-rich brass.

“Bad Kids to the Back” is perhaps the least striking piece, featuring funk beats and predictable saxophone solo.

The final track, “Even Us” takes the music in a totally different direction, into the realm of contemporary world music, with Michael League picking up the ud. There are references to modern tango, Middle Eastern modes and western chamber music. It’s beautifully-orchestrated and deeply satisfying.

Buy Immigrance

Progday Adds Mike Keneally with Andy West, Farmhouse Odyssey and Marbin to 2019 Lineup

The 25th edition of progressive rock festival ProgDay has announced the main stage performances by Zappaesque guitarist Mike Keneally with Andy West (The Dixie Dregs), rising California progressive rock band Farmhouse Odyssey, and a Thursday night preshow by Israeli fusion band Marbin.

Farmhouse Odyssey

Other previously announced acts include Us, Today, a band that combines jazz, post-rock and electronic music; acclaimed Italian band Accordo Dei Contrari; the American masters of progressive symphonic rock IZZ; and Mörglbl.

ProgDay has partnered with Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder of Zeitgeist Media Production to present a free screening of the feature film documentary, Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 1).  Part 1 covers the music and history of Can, Faust, Harmonia, NEU!, Cluster, Damo Suzuki’s Network, and more. The screening will take place on Saturday, August 31, 9:00 pm at Hotel Comfort Inn University Durham.

Progday will take place Saturday, August 31st, and Sunday, September 1st, 2019.at Storybook Farm, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

headline photo: Mike Keneally by Tom Porta

More about Progday: www.progday.net

Bill Bruford Releases Massive Boxed Set: ‘Earthworks Complete’

Extraordinary British drummer Bill Bruford, known for his progressive rock and jazz-rock projects has released ‘Earthworks Complete,’ a spectacular 20CD/4DVD boxed set of the entire back catalog across Earthworks’ 20-year career. It includes previously unreleased and little known material.

The box includes 15 titles on 20 CDs and 4 DVDs. Musicians featured include Bill Bruford with Iain Ballamy, Django Bates, Patrick Clahar, Laurence Cottle, Tim Garland, Steve Hamilton, Tim Harries, Mark Hodgson, Mick Hutton, Gwilym Simcock.


Bill Bruford – Earthworks Complete

The collection was compiled and curated by Bill Bruford.

  1. Earthworks
  2. Dig?
  3. All Heaven Broke Loose
  4. Stamping Ground- Live
  5. A Part, and Yet Apart
  6. The Sound of Surprise
  7. Footloose and Fancy Free (2CD)
  8. Random Acts of Happiness
  9. Footloose in NYC (2CD & 1DVD set)
  10. A Video Anthology Volume 1: 2000s (2CD & 1DVD set)
  11. A Video Anthology Volume 2: 1990s (2CD & 1DVD set)
  12. Earthworks Underground Orchestra
  13. Earthworks in Santiago, Chile (1CD & 1DVD set: previously unreleased video)
  14. From Conception to Birth (17 short tracks showing the process from demo to master, with explanatory notes from Bill Bruford)
  15. Heavenly Bodies Expanded (2CD “best of” collection across the entire catalog, with explanatory notes from Bill Bruford)

Haken guitarist Richard Henshall Releases “Limbo” Music Video

Virtuoso guitarist guitarist Richard Henshall, well-known for his work as a founding member of prog metal band Haken, as well as Nova Collective, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, and as a Strandberg Guitars associate artist, is set to release his debut solo album, ‘The Cocoon’. The album will be available on August 9th, 2019. Henshall has released a new video for the track “Limbo.”

Limbo focuses on the atmospheric side of my sound and draws influence from the likes of Sigur Ros and Volcano Choir,” says Richard Henshall. “The lyrics touch upon the idea of being stuck between two worlds whilst being bound by a fate that you have no control of. Miles Skarin from Crystal Spotlight put together this beautiful video with his own footage of the dramatic, barren landscape of Iceland, which ties in perfectly with soundscapes within the music.”