.......THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH
. JULY 2018
Comments:

2018 has been more a challenging and busy year, with the appearance of many  Progressive Rock bands. As well as those that for some time were in deep silence and out of the prog scene, that return with new formations and launch excellent works. The last six months were brilliant, and an excellent period, especially for Europeans bands, where some were silent for sometime and returning to prog scenay in grandiose style. And one of the important responsible for accomplishing these wonders, is the record company and distributor "Progressive Promotion Records", one of the most important record company in Europe, located in Germany. Well, after listen and listen their respective albums from many different Prog Rock bands from various parts of the world, I can say, it was  was bery hard choose one to become the band of july's month, but among all that I heard, I choose one, which surprised me, by its musical references, by de amazing music and a gorgeous instrumental. Apogee is back. Originating from Germany, a magnificent and successful musical project led by multi-instrumentalist Arne Schaefer, also a member from the Germany band "Versus X". After nine edited albums and all with great reviews on several renowned sites, Apogee or Arne Schaefer returns with his tenth work titled "Conspiracy of Fools." Arne Schaefer never hesitated to adventure themselves into the long instrumental music, always creating a perfect orchestral balance,  always well driven by symphonic progressive arrangements, adding wonderful vocal layers  evident in all the songs. Apogee offers us a travel and an adventure around the Progressive Rock School, exploring a wide variety of the symphonic musical traditions, around the same styles from bands such as "Yes", "Jethro Tull", "Genesis", "Gentle Giant", "Rush", "Van der Graaf Generator", "Peter Hammill", "King Crimson", "Manfred Mann", "Dream Theater" and "Magellan",  with well elaborated compositions, full of feeling, adding some new discoveries, combined with a high musical culture, filled of magnificent arrangements. Around the designing musical from Apogee, some instruments constantly dominate the arrangements, at first, the keyboard solos are extremely well done, and conveys a wonderful symphonic atmosphere, while lush guitar's solos, with stunning passages, complements the arrangements, where the vocals show a stunning effect, of course, a courtesy by Arne Schaefer, everything well connected, with all others instruments, in a perfect interaction. "Conspiracy of Fools" shows a range of stunning musical moments, including many symphonic and melodic elements, with amazing arrangements. The album is divided into six tracks, almost 70 minutes, from six tracks, five are long. However, all the songs are so perfect, that more time for the album would not be necessary, the six tracks and the total time are enough for you listen many times. All tracks have an excellent musical performance, but I have my favorites songs, and they are "Conspiracy of Fools", "Incomprehensible Intention", "Colors and Shades" and "The Whispering from Outside". "Conspiracy of Fools" have a intense musical depth, with an assurance of a strong name into the progressive rock around the world. In fact, you should sit down comfortably and listen and listen many times this wonderful album, you'll be amazed with the musical skills from this talented musician. The album "Conspiracy of Fools" is another one important acquisition for all the Progressive Rock's lovers around the worlds. Brilliant and fantastic, an amazing album and band, highly recommendable...

The line-up on Apogee album and actual band are:
Arne Schaefer - Lead and Backing Vocals, Electric,  Acoustic and Slide Guitars, Kyeboards, Bass Guitars, Orchestral Arrangements and Performance

Ebi Graeff - Drums and Percussion

APOGEE

Arne Schaefer: All instruments, compositions and vocals (except accoustic drums on various Apogee albums by Uwe Völlmar, Thomas Reiner and Eberhard Gräf).

I was born June 17, 1962 and began playing guitar at the age of 14. Before that I used to play Beatles tunes together with a friend who played guitar. His name is Thorsten de Winkel and he is now a well known jazz guitarist. Back then I played some sort of drums (washing powder casks and a tambourine) and both of us were singing.

I am a self taught musician and the first thing I became interested in, after having learned to play some beatles songs on the guitar, was to compose my own music.

In the early days we used to improvise on chord progressions, trying to create some kind of "jazz-rock", in which we succeded to a certain extent.

At this time I discovered Yes, ELP, Gentle Giant and Genesis, having listened to Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa from an early age through the musical taste of my father. My mother practices ballet dancing and introduced me to some modern composers like Stravinsky and Prokofiev who also wrote a lot of ballet music.


Simplified Photo by Lennart Schäfer

My father bought Jethro Tulls "Thick as a Brick" when I was about 11 which made a large impact on my musical development. Still today it is to my taste one of the best rock albums from the compositorical as well as from the lyrical point of view.

In 1985 I joined a band called Vague Venture which played a New Wave/New Romantic style and was founded in 1985 as a trio with drum computer. This was the first band wich featured myself on lead vocals, although I had practiced singing with my home taping experience before.

One year later Stefan Maywald joined on drums and by the time my own influence pushed the band concept more in the progressive direction. In 1989 this finally led to a split up because of musical differences. Stefan and I convinced keyboard player Lukas Ernst to join the group, but he was never really satisfied with our musical direction and left again after one year to work professionally in the film music field.

Back then the group was named versus X after an expression I found in a book about physical chemistry (I am a professional chemist). I just thought it sounded good and it my be interpreted as "against the mainstream".

At that time I gave some solo concerts using accoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, playing mainly song stuff. At one of these concerts Ekkehard Nahm saw my performance and his interest was captured. He called me up and soon afterwards joined the band. We discovered that we had almost the same vision of musical conception.

While paying in various bands I always produced my solo music simultaneously on an two track tape machine, in the beginning by means of a primitive ping-pong recording technique. Over the years technical and compositorical abilities progressed up to what you can hear on the first Apogee CD "The Border of Awareness".

After having played our first self produced versus X CD to members of the french record company Musea they asked for more material and I presented to them a selection of songs I had recorded over a period of five years. They liked it and decided to give me a chance. For presenting the music to a larger audience we decided to use the "band" name Apogee.

While on the first two Apogee Albums and my older Material I mainly used sample drums, the following Albums beginning with "The Garden of Delights" feature ex-versus X drummer Uwe Voellmar, current versus X drummer Thomas Reiner and on the latest two albums also Eberhard Gräf on accoustic drums.

From the Album "The Garden of Delights" on I was supported by Uwe Voellmar creating the drum arrangements for the Apogee songs. After Uwe had to leave versus X and Apogee in 2006, the new versus X drummer Thomas Reiner also took over Uwe's duties in Apogee and is now my regular counterpart on drums and percussion. On the Apogee album "Mystery Remains" both drummers can be heard. On the album "Waiting for the Challenge" Thomas Reiner and Eberhard Gräfe are playing the drums, while on the latest Apogee release "The Art of Mind" Ebi Gräf played all drumparts. Ebi is also currently working with myself on the songs for the next Apogee Album.

Apogee music is complex progressive rock based on the great progressive music of the seventies but often emerging out of the established rock field in various directions. The musical influences of Apogee´s music are covering a wide range of styles from classic progressive rock into folk, heavy rock, jazz, baroque and renaissance music, minimal music, and new musics.

In contrast to versus X where I play guitar and sing, in Apogee vocals and all instruments except drums are performed by myself via multitrack recording.

Musically I prefer complex structures, combining song-like elements with extended instrumental parts, featuring odd rhythms, unusual harmonies, mystical atmospheres and improvised guitar solos.

The main thing about composing to me is absolute freedom. I always worked by the "trial and error principle" and from there my style developed. A very important thing is a wide arc of musical tension within the longer pieces.

I love strong contrasts like soft/heavy, quiet/loud, dense/spaced, slow/fast, etc. Before I record a long piece of music, it´s basic musical structure has to be clear as a whole. Before that it has been permutated and recrystallized a lot of times in my head and written down as a series of working titles for single elements or recorded as rough versions on tape (I am not able to write or play after musical notation).

New Release

"Conspiracy of Fools"

01) Conspiracy of Fools
02) Incomprehensible
......Intention
03) Override our Instincts
04) Losing gentle Control
05) Colors and Shades
06) The Whispering
......from Outside

This is the current Apogee Album "Conspiracy of Fools" which was released in 2018 by Progressive Promotion Records. It contains 5 longtracks and one shorter accoustic song. In contrast to the previous Apogee albums it features quite a lot of harmony vocals. Once again Ebi Graef was playing the accoustic drum set while Arne sang and played all other instruments. The Cover Art was created by Bernd Webler.

Also you can visit Apogee and Arne Schaefer at:
Facebook Site

Youtube

Apogee (Germany) - Conspiracy of Fools (2018)

Apogee - Sisyphos

Apogee - Mystery Remains (2009) - Tracing Experience

For more information and every thing about the musicians and band, please visit APOGGE HOME PAGEN
 
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