San Francisco band Reptiel continues the city’s psychedelic music tradition with its fantasy-inspired progressive psychedelic rock. The title of the album includes the word Hobbitt which is a clear reference to one of the races in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The last part of the album’s title makes reference to another land of fantasy, Oz, from the Wizard of Oz.
Reptiel has a clear West Coast flavor, mixing late 60s and early 70s American folk-rock beats and vocal harmonies and psychedelic music. The progressive side of the band appears in the form of occasional ambient electronic music passages and guitar and synth solos.
Hobbitozz … A Land That Never Was is a concept album that tells the story of Forest Boy who wakes up one morning to hear a bird singing to him that he must bury his father who has died in the night and begin a journey through the sylvan landscape of Hobbitozz to face the roots of its demise and discover his destiny.
The lineup on the album includes Alec Way on guitars, keyboards, piano, percussion, lead and backup vocals, and slide/ebow bass/guitar; Brian Weaver on bass, lead & backup vocals, and acoustic guitar; Jason Gonzales on drums, backup vocals, percussion, and electric guitar; Jason Yakich on guitars, backup vocals, and mandolin. Guests: Elton Cunniffe who provided swirling leaves on ‘Leaves Are Falling’ and Greg Turner on woodwinds.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
Jesufåglar – Matka ajan rannoille (Luova Records, 2016)
This recording by Finnish band Jesufåglar originally came out in 2010 as a CD-R and it’s been reissued by Luova Records as a full CD. Jesufåglar plays an unconventional form of progressive rock that incorporates various elements, from classic symphonic rock inspired by the 1970s British and Finnish pioneers to jazz-rock fusion and occasional zany vocals that take the group into an avant-garde or Zeuhl direction.
Most of the album, however, features captivating vocal work by pianist, composer and singer Sanna Klemetti. The fine work developed by the flutes, guitars and creative drumming also play a crucial role in Matka ajan rannoille.
Jesufaglar comprised includes Sanna Klemetti on vocals and piano; Enni Kyttänen on vocals and violin; Taneli Hildén on vocals and flute; Tatu Säteri on guitars; Juho Kalliolahti on bass; Joel Pihlaja on drums; and Veli-Ville Sivén on organs.
Matka ajan rannoille is a sensational blend of shape-shifting progressive rock.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Italian progressive rock band Le Orme has re-recorded its classic Felona e Sorona album. The new 2-disc version is titled Felona e/and Sorona, featuring Italian and English language versions.
The new version features drum tracks recorded live during past tours while all the other instruments were recorded in studio. The idea behind this is to bring forward a live vibe.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) guitarist, bassist, vocalist and composer Greg Lake released a statement about the late Keith Emerson, who died on March 10, 2016 in California.
“To all ELP friends and fans all over the world, I would like to express my deep sadness upon hearing this tragic news. As you know Keith and I spent many of the best years of our lives together and to witness his life coming to an end in the way that it has is painful, both to myself and to all who knew him.
As sad and tragic as Keith’s death is, I would not want this to be the lasting memory people take away with them. What I will always remember about Keith Emerson was his remarkable talent as a musician and composer and his gift and passion to entertain. Music was his life and despite some of the difficulties he encountered I am sure that the music he created will live on forever.
My deepest condolences go to Keith’s family.
May he now be at peace.”
London – March 12, 2016
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond