.......THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH
. FEBRUARY 2016
Comments:
In fact, the Germany was among the countries who always participated, actively in the Progressive Rock movement since the 70's, or even since the late 60's, and around from five last decades has contributed actively with great prog rock music of many splendid bands, where may be mentioned some of the most importants groups from 70's and until the present time such as "Eloy", "Novalis", "Hoelderlin", "Anyone's Daughter", "Ramses", "Rebekka", "Eden", "Amenophis", "Anabis", "Antares", "Chandelier", "Shades Of Dawn", "Traumhaus", "Abarax" and now we can include on this superb list the band Elleven. Elleven sounds like a mix of styles influecied by many references from the past together with modern elements, a intersting mix of Progressive Rock from Germany and England. Their music is so expressive and surrounding,  that some times sound strong, some times melodic and some times symphonic, they know how to use the perfect doses, mixing established styles like Progressive Rock, Symphonic Progressive Rock, Melodic Rock, Art Rock with some elements from Neo-Prog. The smart lyrics, the music, the arrangements, the sounds, the vocal, all instrumental parts are generated by nice melodic performances, that really the musicians show a consistent, mature and highly original work, using high degree of musical expertise adding strong creativity, all this can be noticed by the high degree of musicians' professionalism and life experiences. "Transfiction" is their second album, released by Progressive Promotion Records, that include eight tracks, totaling 61 minutes of a impressive musical delight. The instrumental on the album and the arrangements is leaded by awesome guitar solos, that dominates almost all the compositions, prominent keyboards full of atmospheric passages, adding an vibrant bass sound, with a perfect drums, but the main highlight is the voices from Julia Graff, together into the musical arrangements, her voices gives all the charm to the instrumental and is a very strong point in the orchestral performance of the group, mainly on this album, Her vocal tones sound like an orchestra conductor, beautiful, soft, gentle and without agressiviness. Elleven music follows in the same line of bands such as "Magenta", "Children In Paradise", "Landmarq", "Karnataka", "The Illumion", "Frequency Drift", "Weend'ô", "Quorum", "Eternal Wanderers", "Mars Hollow", "Anima Mundi", "Mangrove", "Band Of Rain", "La Tulipe Noire", "Maze of Time", "Strangers On A Train", "The Panic Room", "The Room" and so on. It is hard to determine which is the best song, because on the album, all songs specifically are excellents, however, I have my favorite songs, and here they are: "Try", "Not The One", "Sakura Tree", "Blurry Road", "Reproduction" and "Dust And Light". Progressive Rock fans around the world, will find tremendous delight hearing the "Transfiction" album, a rich sound full of memorable and sensitive melodies with extended and powerful instrumental sections. You must listen to the album many times, to discover all the beautiful pieces from this amazing work. A beautiful album from a band who show great musical potential. Brilliant and fantastic, an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...

The line-up on Elleven's album and actual band are:
Julia Graff - Vocals and Guitar
Carsten Hütter - Guitars
Armin Riemer - Keyboards
Herry Rubarth - Drums
Roger Weitz - Bass

ELLEVEN

In 2001 two former members of Chandelier, Tom Jarzina (drums) and Stephan Scholz (bass, guitar) helped vocalist Julia Graff to take her first steps with Elleven. Soon after keyboard player Armin Riemer and guitarist Carsten Hütter joined them. Unfortunately, Stephan Scholz was forced to leave the band due to job commitments. Since then, Roger Weitz is playing bass.

In 2007 their first CD Insight was released and at once one track (All Alone) found its way onto a CD compiled by the renowned German magazine eclipsed. The atmospheric rocking progressive pop of Elleven was well received both in Germany and in Europe. The live set was well rehearsed, but in 2009 the band had to reform, since not only Tom Jarzina, but also Julia Graff moved to the south of Germany.

At that time the band was already in the middle of writing new material for a second CD. Although the band had quite clear ideas about the new songs, the new lineup still had to shape their sound. Despite this radical change Elleven was continued with vocalist Julia Graff working from the south of Germany and new drummer, Herry Rubarth, again a former member of Chandelier. A new album aims to do justice to the various metamorphoses that the band went through in the last years.

Does it sound like Neo-Prog? Melodic Progrock or even Alternative Rock? Is it kind of progressive-pop, like the band claims it for themselves in their early beginnings? If you want to spot it and perhaps peg the band into some of these genres, you may find some. Even if this was not targeted when founding the band in 2001 by two former members of the well known German band Chandelier and vocalist Julia Graff. They wanted to create kind of progressive-pop sound with a female vocalist whose sound was a bit of uncommon for this kind of music. Their first CD Insight was well received both in Germany and in Europe and a special recommendation for so called “softproggers”.

After some upheaval, their second longplayer Transfiction is finally available. Armin Riemer (piano/keys/synth/organ), Carsten Hütter (guitars), Roger Weitz (bass), Herry Rubarth (drums) and Jule Graff (vocals/guitar) embeded their experiences of the last years into this album, which is catching perfectly these metarmophoses. Thereby the band remained faithful to one thing: The song and the atmosphere rank first. And if you wanna pigeon-hole the band, simply concentrate on the retro-sounds.

ARMIN – KEYS
Instruments - Synths, vocoder and grand piano
Equipment currently used: Roland JD990, Korg 01/W, Access Virus C, E-MU ESI4000, Oberheim OB-3squared (with DIY MIDI tweak), Roland VK-1, NI B4, Roland VP330, DIY bass pedal, DIY MT88pro Masterkeyboard – no other master keyboard has these features! All this stuff is connected and mixed with MOTU midi express XT and Roland M12E…
My first synth was self-made – inspired by various projects of the electronics magazine “Elektor” that still exists today. Since then I’ve had three dozens vintage synths under my fingers: Arp Odyssee, Roland System 100, Roland JX8P, Memorymoog, Prophet 5, CS20M, Siel Opera, you name them. Just imagine what some guys pay for them at Ebay nowadays. I sold them all in the 90s to buy my beloved Roland JD990. The crowning achievement was to touch a real vintage Mellotron M400. It belonged to a very strange guy. I manage to wangle the ARP out of him.
Former bands: Brainside, Passing Thru, cover bands, various projects at university.
Musical influences: Pink Floyd, Genesis, The Who, M. Walking on Water, Eloy, Kraftwerk, Santana, Deep Purple, Jean-Michel Jarre, Eric Clapton, Saga, Yello, Porcupine Tree, Trio, Sting, Coldplay – It was definitely Jean-Michel’s fault that I started to teach myself music. My approach used to be: “I can do that, too.”
First concert: was in 1983. Dire Straits, Cologne Sporthalle – both aren’t there anymore…
Last visited concert: Santana, Oberhausen, 2015
First records: Jean-Michel Jarre, BeatlesPink Floyd came later, but I got hooked on “Animals” and soon bought every Pink Floyd album. I listened to “Ummagamma” only at my schoolmate Oliver’s, he turned me into a diehard Pink Floyd fan.

CARSTEN – GUITARS
Instruments - Acoustic and electric guitars, self-taught, baritone guitar (you can listen to it on the new track "Reproduction")
Music: Without any musical education I first got in touch with music while listening to Led Zeppelin with Frank and Volker. Jimmy Page’s guitar playing really blew me away and if it hadn't for Pagey, I wouldn’t play the guitar today.
So I started figuring out his guitar parts just by listening to the songs on my record player over and over again. I still like his approach to combine different guitar parts, acoustic and electric, and to mix different styles today.
Soon after my brother started playing the bass. Since my father used to repair electronic gear in his free time and since there was always a soldering iron on, it was obvious that we took an interest in electronics, too, and built circuits published in the magazine “Elektor”. After the success of Blues Brothers movie I used to play in a soul cover band with my brother for a couple of years.
More and more I was fascinated by jazz and fusion, especially by Pat Metheny. Through him and by studying the relevant literature (Thanks to Steve Erquiaga und Axel Jungbluth!) I was able to expand my knowledge of chord progressions and scales.
After a project with Harry Rose who gave my phone number to Julia I got to know her, Armin and Thomas, and later Roger and Herry. By listening to Progressive Rock  more intensively and starting to learn odd metres I realized that these guys and this kind of music are great fun for me and that I can incorporate my favourite ways of playing the guitar into the band's music.
Musikalische Einflüsse: Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, Jimmy Page, Pat Metheny, The Edge, Andy Summers, Nigel Tufnel, David Gilmour, Vernon Reid
Gear - Guitars: Explorer, Telecaster, ES335, Les Paul Baritone, Takamine acoustic
PUs: Bill Lawrence and EMG
Amps: Hiwatt DR103, Eminence and Celestion speakers
FX Pedals: Krank Distortus Maximus, Barber Dirty Bomb, Way Huge Red Llama clone, Skreddy P19 clone, Vibesware Guitar Resonator
FX Rack: Roland GP-8, Behringer Denoiser SNR2000
Last Concert: Transatlantic, Cologne, March 2014
First LP: Dire Straits first album or AC/DC "If You Want Blood"

HERRY – DRUMS
Instrument:  Drums
Music: since 1986, self-taught, except for the few lessons I had from Kurt Billker to improve my technique. Much more influential, however, was Kurt's playing, Kurt plays in many jazz bands such as "Das Pferd". But I also got curious watching a certain animal in a puppet TV show;)
I first got in contact with progressive rock of the early seventies through my elder brothers and good friends! Some friends of mine  and I founded "Chandelier" in 1986/87. Until 1994 we had two albums, lots of gigs and fun. After a break of about two years Stephan Scholz, Thomas Scholz, Michael Dorp , "Moppel", Roger Weitz and I founded Animal Crossing, but we did not record a CD.
Having been guest drummer for Pertaining To The Arts, I stood in for Thomas Jarzina with Elleven several times. After Thomas had left the band in 2010, I became a member of the band.
Former bands: Chandelier, Animal Crossing, Pertaining To The Arts
Musical influences: got more complicated throughout the years. Progressive rock of Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and later jazz rock. In the 90s I got into funk and bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Influential drummers: many pros and amateur drummers, but they usually convince me in the context of their bands.

JULE – VOCAL
Music: ever since, but more intensively since 1994
I was taught classical voice at school in my Suebian homeland, but my greatest success back then as a junior student was to perform with the senior high school choir. Harry Rose who gave us Carsten's phone number taught me in Düsseldorf from 1998 on, but since 2007 I have been coached by Renate Otta (stimmwerkstatt, Cologne). Since my return to Stuttgart, Petra Straue is my new coach at GoVocal. She really opened up a new door to my voice and I’m very thankful for that.
Do-it-yourself-and-play-guitar: Playing the guitar started as a campfire affair, but during the sessions with Elleven it turned into a real passion, especially for my blue De Armond, affectionately called "Blue Poison". For heavier sounds I use my sweetheart from the darker side ("The Guitar of Destiny"), an Epiphone Prophecy SG EX, modded skull knobs of course. As I can't solder and I haven't got the patience to build a big guitar rig, I can't live without my Line6 PODXT live – simply love it!  Now, that Armin and Carsten built me the biggest rig in the world, I'm looking out for some new analog effects. I switched to a VoiceLive GTX in combination with my good old Morley Wah, an Electro Harmonix Glove and a Behringer GI100 ULTRA-G (great Speaker-Emulation by the way). So, the older I get, the more analog I'll become.
Former bands: Cereals, Brainside and april.days (CD Produktion "restart", 2004)
Musical influences: The list would be really as long as my CD/MP3 collection. I'll try to keep it short – Anything similar to Porcupine Tree (I still can't tell which of their albums is my favourite) inspires me as much as Pink Floyd, Genesis, Led Zeppelin who laid the foundation and even "softer" Bands like Saga or Supertramp. My sister is definitely responsible for that, since she used to make everyone in the house listen to Pavlov's Dog and other usual suspects while I was still messing around with Europe or Bon Jovi. There was a time when I was into soul and blues with my first band "Cereals" when the movies "The Commitments" and "Blues Brothers" came out (back then I didn't know Spinal Tap). Anouk, Skin of Skunk Anansie, Sara Bareilles, Annie Lennox, Heather Nova or Alanis Morissette (in her later years) really inspire me. At the end of the 90s live recordings of Marillion opened a new world for me, my favourite studio album, however, is (die-hard Fish fans may excuse me) "Seasons End". Today my musical taste includes anything from Jazz to Prog, from Soul to Pop and Singer/Songwriter.
First concert: Guns'n Roses, Use your Illusion Tour, 1991… and I still don't like to remember me wearing the standard G'n'R outift (bandana, longsleeve T-shirt slung around the hips and workmann trousers, eww)
Last concert: Olivia Trummer, Stuttgart, June 2015
First LP: Best of the Blues Brothers (1981) or Huey Lewis & the News, Sports (1983)
Last CD: Steven Wilson "Hand. Cannot. Erase". (2015)

ROGER – BASS
Instruments - Bass, mandoline and keyboards (for Thin Crow)
Equipment: Bogart SLC five string bass with graphite neck and Blackstone body.  I use a Roland V-Bass for effects. My amp is an old and virtually indestructible Dynacord Reference 3000 4×10 Combo.
Music: If my memory serves me right, I first got in touch with music at the early of eleven in 1962. I learned to read music and to play the mandoline and started my musical career mandoline orchestra.
Apart from the usual folk tunes I also played classical pieces, e.g. Beethoven (Egmont-Overtüre) and later Vivaldi (Concert for Mandoline and Orchestra in C Major and for two Mandolines in G Major). The perfromance of "Carmina Burana" with the school choir was definitely a musical highlight in my early days, since I started singing soprano and changed to tenor and bass when my voice broke.
In 1963/64 I first got in touch with beat music. At a local fair I listened not only to the then popular tunes by Catarina Valente and Freddy Quinn, but also to the Beatles' "Help". I was blown away by that song. The beat era began and I found myself in the midst of a musical revolution that started in England and spread over the whole world.
I was also deeply influenced by jazz rock. With my band "Flageolett" I recorded an album "Horizonte" at Silvox-Studio in Ulft/Silvolde (NL) in 1989.
Bands: The Mrs. Great (1968 – 1974, reunion 2006 with original members), Twenty-One (ca. 1974 – 1983), Flageolett (ca. 1984 – 1989), Animal Crossing (since 1993), Flying Circus (since 1997), Thin Crow (since 2006) and of course Elleven (since 2009)
Musical influences: Some of most important bands for me were and still are Pink Floyd, Cream, Vanilla Fudge, The Who, Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra with John Mclaughlin, Gentle Giant, Jean Luc Ponti, Weather Report, Porcupine Tree, and many others.

New Release

"Transfiction"

01) Try
02) Not The One
03) Sakura Tree
04) Blurry Road
05) Anyway
06) Reproduction
07) Dust And Light
08) Losing Tracks

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