|......................................THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH|
Proximal Distance is a sophisticated musical project, featuring two incredible musicians, Jeff Hamel from "Majestic" and Gregg Johns from "Slychosis", both are considered as a multi-instrumentalist, where together for the first time, started to build strong musical ideas, creating an innovative and solid music with a varied collection of styles and influences, taking inspiration in the past, with a creativity in combining elements of Progressive Rock, Art Rock, Hard Rock, Neo-Progressive, Progressive Metal and Symphonic Metal adding a dark atmosphere and some electronic textures. The band's music impressed me, because they use a varied instrumental conception, blending symphonic arrangements with heavy and aggressive components with extensive instrumental parts. The main highlights on the instrumentation are the amazing duels from two different guitars' solos, sometimes melodic and sometimes aggressive, acompained by symphonic and atmospheric keyboards, producing incredible melodies. On vocals, we have Jessica Rasche (check out "Majestic" Band), singing in a distinctive style that fits perfectly in all the compositions, her voice is so clear and melodic, with an ability to create many different vocal tones, sounding between "Tracy Hitchings" - "Landmark", "Robin (Marta Kniewska)" - "Strawberry Fields", "Christina Maria Booth" - "Magenta" and "Rachel Jones" -"Karnataka". "Proximal Distance" contains ten incredible tracks, 74 min of a pure musical delight, full of magic moments. You must listen the songs "Algol", "The Shaman", "Gypsy", "Flashback to Now (A Hippy's Lament)", "Journey of Truth", "Coherence" and "Expanding Universe", that of course, would please all fans to the old and new progressive rock. For the best reference, the musical ideas on the project, follows in the same line such as the bands "Pink Floyd", "Arena", "Slychosis", "Porcupine Tree", "IQ", "Majestic", "Riverside", "Magenta", "Mostly Autumn", "Landmark" and "Ayreon". Brilliant, fantastic, and an amazing album, highly recommendable...
main line-up on Proximal Distance Project are:
Kindred Spirits - Proximal Distance is a collaboration of progressive rock groups "Slychosis" and "Majestic". Featuring Gregg Johns (Slychosis) and Jeff Hamel (Majestic).
Beginnings - In summer of 2008, Gregg and Jeff began the collaboration. "Slychosis" and "Majestic" were similar in format. Both were the typical multi-instrumentalist “one man” bands. Although both bands brought in other musicians as guest artists, artistically and musically both bands were very similar in style and how they worked.
The two musicians decided to try a couple of tracks as a collaboration via working over the internet, recording parts and beginning the process of building some music. It became quite clear that as the first couple of ideas started to form that the music was solid and started to take a direction on its own. It so became that an album had to be released.
More talent - As the music was taking shape, Gregg and Jeff decided to bring on board some other talents on to the project. Taking on vocals was Majestic’s own Jessica Rasche. On drums and percussion two talents from the "Slychosis" camp, Jeremy Mitchell and Todd Sears. Also handling the release artwork is "Slychosis" artist Vladimir Moldavsky.
Music - Taking from both Gregg and Jeff’s progressive influences, the Proximal Distance sound is along the likes of "Yes", "Genesis", "Pink Floyd", "Saga" and many more 70’s style influences and should please even the most hardcore progressive rock listeners.
Gregg Johns – Guitars, Keyboards - Official Slychosis Site - Gregg was a Beatles fanatic by age six and began taking guitar lessons on a 4 string Stella to accommodate tiny hands. He graduated to a 6 string and learned a bit more and took a few piano lessons. After a baseball hiatus for a few years, Gregg picked up the guitar seriously at age 14 and has trouble putting one down since. He went on to study classical guitar with Giovanni Dechiaro at the University of Southern Mississippi while playing guitar and multi-keys in a variety of local bands. After years of playing mostly cover tunes on the club circuit, Gregg became dissatisfied and focused his attentions on writing and recording the music he loves, progressive. Thus "Slychosis" began and two album projects have been completed to date.
Jeff Hamel – Guitarist and keyboardist - Official Majestic Site - Jeff has been playing guitar since he was 14 being mentored by Sponge’s former guitar player Joey Mazzola. In the 90’s, Jeff spent a couple of years studying recording technologies at the Record Institute of Detroit under the eye of recording titan Robert Dennis. This exposed Jeff to many other forms of music. In 2004, Jeff relocated to Minneapolis and began persuing his passion for symphonic progressive rock and created the Majestic project. As a multi-instrumentalist, Jeff manages to compose, play and record all the instruments used for "Majestic". Over the years, Jeff has developed a unique guitar style and incorporated influences from various progressive bands. "Yes", "Genesis", "Dream Theater", "Porcupine Tree", "Riverside", "Ayreon", "King Crimson" and "Deep Purple" are some of the bands that influence Jeff. Many of these influences are clearly heard throughout the music of "Majestic". "Majestic" releases include "Arrival", "String Theory" and "Descension".
Jessica Rasche - Vocals - Singing since the age of 9, Jessica Rasche has been performing in many different venues including musical productions, choirs, and many collaborations as a singer/lyricist in a broad spectrum of genres. In 2008, Jessica began collaborating with Jeff and the results were so positive, Jessica became the primary vocalist for "Majestic". Although new to the progressive music scene, Jessica found the music a perfect match for her background in theater and choir. Being a child of the 80’s, Jessica is very influenced by the music of that era, but more notably, she is very strongly influenced by the band "Heart", "Pat Benatar" and "Taylor Dayne". Jessica’s debut performance on the "Arrival" CD is outstanding and has helped take the music of "Majestic" to new places.
Todd Sears - Drums - Todd Sears played drums in "Final Spin" with Gregg for several years and performed all drums and percussion on the "Slychosis" self-titled release. He also provided the trademark Toddster humor and creativity on "Slychosis" tracks, “Wild Night in Calcutta” and “Crimson Fields of Glory.” Todd has been gigging consistently for several years with Jackson-based groups "A Bitter Sunday", "Supernoise", and currently "Phat Agnes". He provides drumming on the Proximal Distance track, “Gypsy” and electronic percussion treatments on multiple tracks.
Jeremy Mitchell - Drums - Jeremy Mitchell was an acquaintance of Gregg’s for many years working in local music stores. He played drums and percussion in Jackson, MS based bands, "Lucid Harmonic" and "Sally Jayne". Jeremy is truly a drummer-for-hire when not performing in his pet projects. He has been involved in a variety of recording projects and stand-in drumming for live performance. He is also notable for his teaching. Jeremy became involved with the "Slychosis" Slychedelia sessions in later stages and provided drums and percussion on 4 tracks. Jeremy became involved in the Proximal Distance sessions early on and provided drums on all but one track. He currently resides in Nashville, TN where he continues teaching and session work.
Artwork by Vladimir Moldavski - Vladimir has done several CD covers for "Slychosis". Be sure to check out his gallery online.
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