.......A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FEATURED ARTIST AND CD REVIEWS - 2017
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LAST UPDATE 03/11/2017....
. NTH ASCENSION - "In Fine Initium"
Nth Ascension is a British Progressive Rock band consisting of Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor (vocals), Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboards), Martin Walker (guitars) and his two sons, Gavin (bass) & Craig Walker (drums, percussion). Darrel Treece-Birch is also the present keyboardist for bands “TEN” and “CounterpartsUK”, besides having a solo career (Darrel’s last album, entitled "No More Time", was reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2016). Nth Ascension was formed in 2009 by Craig Walker and Treece-Birch under the name “Nth Degree.” Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor and Martin Walker completed the line-up. In the two previous decades, Treece-Birch, Taylor and Martin Walker had played on several bands, either together or not: “A.D.”, “Helmwind”, “The Noise Foundation”, “The Order Of Chaos”, and “The Field” – some of which released CDs. In 2011 the band changed their name for Nth Ascension and released a digital-demo entitled “Frequencies Of Day And Night” (issued via online platform Aurovine.com). In 2012, bassist Gavin Walker joined the band. Nth Ascension’s official debut album, entitled “Ascension Of Kings”, was released in December 2014, on digital (via Aurovine EX) and physical CD formats, Nth Ascension and “Ascension Of Kings” featured as “Best Band & Record” of February 2015 at PR&PM! In 2015, Nth Ascension signed to U.S.A. Label Melodic Revolution Records (MRR) and began to work on their second album, entitled “In Fine Initium”. “In Fine Initium” was released on October 14th, 2016, on both CD and hi-resolution digital formats. The sound of Nth Ascension is based on a non-rigid Neo-Progressive platform that band members insist to make flexible and bendable, so that they can change the musical structures according to their own influences and personal tastes. So, besides resembling the Neo-Prog standards of bands like “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Grey Lady Down”, and “Galahad”; the music of Nth Ascension has also a contamination of bands like “Porcupine Tree”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, “Sensational Alex Harvey Band”, “Pink Floyd”, “Twelfth Night”, and others. For instance, Nth Ascension’s greatest point of divergence with the Neo-Prog profile stands on Alan Taylor’s vocal type, which is capacious, deep and powerful – a voice with Classic & Hard Rock, Metal and Operatic tones that sounds different from the voices of “Peter Gabriel” or “Fish”, but similar to “Dan Swanö’s” (“Nightingale”). Also on the new album, the band has adopted a heavier guitar sound with Metallic texture, tying it tightly to a pounding and dynamic rhythm section that comprises an array of time signatures. The melodic keyboard passages created by Treece-Birch, and the soaring and sentimental guitar solos of Martin Walker are the main elements offsetting the sturdier new sound of Nth Ascension, linking the band to a symphonic Neo-Prog branch. “In Fine Initium” has seven tracks, divided in two blocks. The first one deals with biblical and apocalyptical issues, comprising tracks 1 to 4 – namely: “Kingdom Keys” (15:18); “End Of Days” (11:23); “So, That Was The Apocalypse” (4:42); and “The Cage” (17:06). The three longest tracks are amazing good-sounding hybrids of Symphonic Neo-Prog and Heavy-Prog instilled with energetic Metal elements! Delivered with cinematic complexity and epic grandeur, they evoke the final Armageddon! In this doomsday ambience, vigorous vocals encourage the believers to fight, calming down the battle in moments of truce. The instrumental parts are driven by thunderous bass and drums, boosted up by hovering riffs that recall “Dream Theater”. The riffs are intermingled to magnificent passages for piano and synths with the signature of “Tony Banks”. The “longs”, “Kingdom…” and “End Of…” are finished with celestial guitars in “Steve Rothery’s” style. Everything sounds like a blend of “Genesis”, “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Marillion”, “Arena”, “Twelfth Nigth”; immersed in an atmosphere that oscillates from dark to light, as on “Porcupine Tree”. Differing from the “longs”, “So, That Was The Apocalypse” is driven by Hammonds, in the vein of “Deep Purple”! The second song-block comprises tracks 5 to 7, which correspond to parts “IV”, “V” and “VI” of the suite “Clanaan” (initiated on the first album). “Clanaan” advances frankly into the Neo-Prog style, being more melodious and symphonic than any song of the first block. “Part IV – In Search Of The Rider” (7:47), is a ballad with charming old-fashioned vocals; and “Part V – Forever” (7:46) is the instrumental continuation of it – an awesome piece that progresses on a majestic andante, bringing never-ending guitar solos (akin to “Hackett”, “Rothery”, and “Gilmour”) and a sublime piano wrapped up in dreamy keyboard arrangements (like “Genesis”). “Parts VI – When The Rain Falls” (3:50) is a ballad instilled with sadness, reminiscent of “Steve Hogarth” (“Marillion”). In sum, Nth Ascension’s “In Fine Initium” is an exciting, impacting and consistent album that brings a kind of vigorous Neo-Progressive Rock instilled with Metal vibes that will be highly appreciated by fans of “Marillion”, “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Arena”, “Grey Lady Down”, “Twelfth Night”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Haken”, “TCP”, “Martigan”, “Argos”, “Comedy Of  Errors”, “Silhouette”, “Galahad”, “Rush”, “Dream Theater”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Nth Ascension are: Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals; Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards; Martin Walker – Guitars; Gavin Walker – Bass; Craig Walker – Drums, Additional Backing Vocals. Recorded at Various Studios; Mixed by Mat Arnold of Hilltown Studios, Colne; Mastered by Dave Aston at Digital Audio, Skipton. Album Art by Oliver Pengilley. Also you must visit Nth Ascension's Facebook Site and also at BandCamp Site...
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01/31/2017........................Is there an interested to know more about them? Then you must visit NTH ASCENSION HOME PAGE...
. TCP - "Temporal Chaos"
TCP is back to PR&PM! TCP – an abbreviation for Temporal Chaos Project – is a full-fledged Progressive Rock band from the USA. TCP started out in 2008 as a studio project based on the collaboration of Henry Tarnecky (vocals, keyboards), Blake Tobias (keyboards, bass), and Jack Wright (guitars, drums). This formation, released the acclaimed debut album “The Way” (2009, 10T Records), which was featured as “Best Band & Record” of May 2009 at PR&PM! TCP’s second album, entitled “Fantastic Dreamer” (2011), appeared in “best progressive albums of 2011” lists in Spain, Netherlands, UK, and the USA. “Fantastic Dreamer” had significant participation of guest keyboardist Glenn Arpino (a veteran who had already collaborated with many musicians, including “Jon Anderson”, of “Yes”), leading to his incorporation into TCP as the project’s permanent fourth member. On July 12, 2016, TCP released their third album, “Temporal Chaos” (WATT Records), on both CD and digital formats. “Temporal Chaos” features eight songs, including some lengthy Progressive epics! Besides TCP’s quartet, the record features two special guests, which are regular collaborators of the project: Nicole Tarnecky (backup vocals) and Tom Shiben (bass). The album has everything that the band is known for giving to listeners: Henry Tarnecky’s  keen lyrics, which he delivers with his dramatic voice, reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel” (“Genesis”), “Fish” (“Marillion”), and “Bernardo Lanzetti” (“PFM”, “Aqua Fragile”, “Mangala Vallis”); Blake Tobias’ polyrhythmic and yet melodious six-stringed bass, which he combines with a collectible arsenal of vintage keyboards (Mellotron, Hammond C3, Moog synths, pipe organs) to create bombastic Progressive panoramas; Jack Wright’s creative, versatile and impressive guitar work, which is matched by his outstanding ability behind the drum-kit, following a Math-Rock orientation that favors complex polyrhythms and odd time signatures; and Glenn Arpino’s sensitive and image-evocative keyboard tunes, conveyed on a vast array of Classic, Neo-Prog and Post-Progressive styles. Add the pleasant backup vocals of Nicole Tarnecky on half of the tracks, and the sober and sensitive bass lines of Tom Shiben on the track “Chrysalis”, and the result is a fantastic Progressive Rock album that ranks with the best ever made in the genre! TCP delivers a kind of Neo-Progressive Rock that stays far from the cliché, adding rhythmic patterns, metrics, and dark/atmospheric passages that are not common in other Neo-Prog bands, and that push their compositions beyond the obvious. Nevertheless, TCP keeps the music within the basic borders of the recognizable Neo-Prog canons. Furthermore, the talented contributions made by all members of the project reflect a level of synergetic involvement that is as high as on bands like “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “IQ”, “Pallas”, “Arena”, “Pendragon”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Illusion”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Narrow Pass”, “Argos”, “Martigan”, “Red Sand”, “Yezda Urfa”, “Rush”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Phideaux”, “Silhouette”, “Parzivals Eye”, “Aisles”, “K2”, “Mars Hollow”, and so on. “Temporal Chaos” starts up powerfully with “Torn Apart 1000 Sparks” (3.17) – although short, this song makes an immediate impact on the listeners with its crudeness and straightforwardness – a clear clue that TCP intends to shock and shake the regular Neo-Prog enthusiasts with a more substantial sound. An intent that becomes clear on the heavy load of the guitar riffs, pounding bass and drums, crooked “King Crimson”-like structures and overall tempestuous atmosphere of the pensive track 4, “The Forces” (6.17); and continues on the diabolic groove of the frightening track 6, “Fantasize/Into the Blue” (12.00) – a kind of “anti-Neo-Prog” that compresses weird keyboards, nightmarish guitars, and eccentric vocals into schizoid arrangements marked by a distorted Blues rhythm. That Bluesy mood extrapolates to “Third Eye Limited” (4.38) – a trippy ballad that features a long and soulful guitar solo, resembling a blend of “Pink Floyd” and “Genesis”. But Neo-Prog aficionados will really stick to tracks 2 and 3 – “Forest of Lovelies” (8.55) and “Impetus” (9.43) – two Neo-Prog standards that place keyboards on the frontline in the form of mysterious Mellotrons, crystalline classic pianos, and celestial Moogs, all of them competing with soaring guitars on long instrumental parts that are pinpointed by melodic vocals and conveyed on floating rhythmic drives! “Forest …” captivated me with its division of parts, including one based on Spanish music; while “Impetus” is the quintessential Neo-Progressive ballad, including male/female vocals, amazing synths, and poignant guitars and piano. But after trespassing the introspectiveness of the low-keyed ballad “Chrysalis” (5.48), those same Neo-Prog addicts will freak out with “In the Flame” (11:05) – the magnum opus that closes the album. Symphonic and bright, this song revives the grandeur of old “Genesis”, “Marillion”, and “Pink Floyd”, bringing majestic vocal tunes cushioned on atmospheric instrumental sequences in a Classic Progressive fashion! TCP’s album “Temporal Chaos” is the incontestable proof that, 30 years after “Marillion’s” skywards rise, a 21st century band can still surprise the listener making fresh, amazing, and relevant Neo-Progressive Music! TCP is therefore indispensable for fans of “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Arena”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Mangala Vallis”, “Argos” “Martigan”, “Red Sand”, “Yezda Urfa”, “Comedy of Errors”, “Phideaux”, “Silhouette”, “Aisles”, “K2”, “Parzivals Eye”, “Mars Hollow”, “Pink Floyd”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in TCP are: Henry Tarnecky – Lead Vocals, Lyrics, Keyboards; Blake Tobias – Bass, Keyboards; Jack Wright – Guitars, Drums; Glenn Arpino – Keyboards. Special Guests: Nicole Tarnecky – Backup Vocals (on “Impetus”, “The Forces”, “Chrysalis”, “Fantasize/Into the Blue”); Tom Shiben – Bass (on “Chrysalis”). Mixed & Mastered by Blake Tobias at Black Duck Studio, Colorado. Produced by TCP...
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01/31/2017...........................,...You can find more information about the band and their musicians at TCP OFFICIAL WEBSITE...
. GREG LAKE - "Greg Lake / Manoeuvres"
Greg Lake – one of the most legendary names in Progressive Rock – passed away on December 7th 2016, victim of a cancer. This review is a posthumous homage from PR&PM to him. Greg Lake was one of the most praised Progressive singers of all times. Besides that, Lake was also a gifted bassist, a sensitive guitar player, and an effective producer – a task he would undertake behind his label Manticore Records. Lake’s musical influences could range from early Rockers, as “Elvis” and “Little Richard”, to academic composers, such as “Copeland” and “Prokofiev.” This open-minded attitude helped Lake to create his own style of bass playing – with a more percussive and sustained approach – which many other bassists later tried to assimilate and emulate. Lake soon became a prominent bassist in the predominant Progressive Rock scene of late 1960s to early 1970s. With “Robert Fripp”, Greg Lake founded “King Crimson” – one of the most influential bands of the ‘70s. Together, they recorded and released two seminal Prog-albums: “In The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969) and “In The Wake Of Poseidon” (1970). But Lake was destined to more. During a North American tour on which “King Crimson” shared the bill with “The Nice”, Lake met “The Nice’s” keyboardist, “Keith Emerson” (himself a Progressive legend, tragically deceased in 2016). Greg Lake and “Keith Emerson” shared the same desire of reinterpreting Classical Music in the light of the challenging musical genre that was arising then – the Progressive Rock! When they came back to England, Lake and “Emerson” were introduced to drummer “Carl Palmer” (“Atomic Rooster”), and formed “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (a.k.a. “ELP”) – one of the world's most famous Progressive power-trios. “ELP’s” debut album, “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (1971), was an instant hit. “ELP’s” live tours were bombastic, attracting the audiences to the arenas and stadiums by the thousands. With Lake’s expert production, “ELP” released a series of albums that reached  the Platinum level, becoming classics: “Tarkus” (1971), “Pictures At An Exhibition” (1972), “Trilogy” (1972), “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973), “Works, Volumes 1 & 2” (1977), and the live albums “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends...” (1974), and “In Concert” (1979). With “ELP”, Greg Lake became famous for his ballads, composed for acoustic guitar and his voice, which all had a great popular appeal. Besides “Lucky Man” – one of his best known songs, Lake wrote: “C'est La Vie”, “From the Beginning”, “Still...You Turn Me On”, “Watching Over You” and “I Believe in Father Christmas”, one of the most beloved Christmas songs, which has been covered by “U2”, “Sarah Brightman”, and “Jordan Rudess” (“Dream Theater”). The release of “Love Beach” (1978) and “The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer” (1980) marked the end of an era for “ELP”. Along the 1980s, Lake also trailed a successful career, by releasing solo albums – “Greg Lake” (1981) and “Manoeuvres” (1983) – or with a new trio, formed with “K. Emerson” and drummer “Cozzy Powell”, which released the eponymous “Emerson, Lake & Powell” (1986). The 1990s were years for Lake to reunite with the original “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” in a series of tours, new albums, and special releases (via Manticore Records): “The Atlantic Years Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (1992); “Black Moon” (1992); “Live At The Royal Albert Hall” (1993); “Return Of The Manticore” (1993); “Works Live” (1993); “In The Hot Seat” (1994); “Brain Salad Surgery (Special Edition)” (1996); “Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival” (1997); “ELP Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour” (1997); “Then And Now” (1998). Lake also appeared on “King Crimson’s” albums “Epitaph” (1997) and “Live at the Marquee Club, 1969” (released 1998 on Discipline Records). Concomitantly, Lake issued old material of his own vaults: “In Concert On The King Biscuit Flower Hour” (1995 and 1996’s special edition); “From The Beginning: The Greg Lake Retrospective” (1997); “From The Underground I & II: The Official Bootleg Greg Lake” (1998/2003). During this century, Greg Lake continued to be an active musician. He compiled a bootleg series of “ELP’s” shows, released via Sanctuary Records, UK: “Fanfare for The Common Man - The Anthology” (2001, 2 CDs); and “The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults”: “Vols. 1 & 2” (2001); “ELP Live in Poland” (2003); and “ELP - Best of the Bootlegs” (2003, 2 CDs). He also edited old material from “ELPowell”: “Live In Concert” (2003) and “The Sprocket Sessions” (2003). In the meantime, Greg Lake collaborated with artists such as: “Ringo Starr”, “Robert Plant”; “Roger Daltrey”, “Gary Moore”, “Gary Brooker”, “Ian Anderson”, “Trans-Siberian Orchestra”, and “David Arch”. A great achievement was the worldwide presentation of Lake’s tour, “Songs of a Lifetime” (2010-2013), inspired on his autobiographical book, “Lucky Man”. With keyboardist “Geoff Downes”, Greg Lake formed the project called “Ride The Tiger”, whose eponymous album was featured at PR&PM in January 2015. On 27th November 2015, Greg Lake released a double CD reissuing his first two solo albums: “Greg Lake” (1981) and “Manoeuvres” (1983). The set included four bonus tracks which were previously only available on “From The Underground Vol. 2”; along with an extensive booklet. This release offered the great opportunity for Greg Lake’s fans to grab some of his best solo material together with some rarities, compiled on a single edition. With help of a stellar cast of musicians (see below), Greg Lake showed on his solo albums his face as a Rock and Roll man, for this work was very different from his music on “ELP” or “King Crimson”. The songs present on both CDs cover a varied repertoire, ranging from hot and powerful Hard-Rock/AOR songs (like the all-favorites “Nuclear Attack”, “The Lie”, “Retribution Drive”, and “Manoeuvres”); Classic Rock songs, loaded with bluesy guitar solos and organ (such as “Love You Too Much”, “Paralyzed”, the Blues-ballad “It Hurts”, and “Someone”, warmed by powerful bass, great sax, and piano); and the cover-song “Famous Last Words”; to the bombastic Prog-oriented pieces “For Those Who Dare” (a Fanfare for Scottish bagpipes, on which Lake unleashes his potent voice) and “It's You, You've Gotta Believe” (a typical “ELP’s” pompous track). The ballads that have made Greg Lake so famous are also present, in quantity, quality, and variety. They include the old-styled “You Really Got a Hold on Me” (“Smokey Robinson’s” cover) and “Hold Me” (an “Elvis-like” song); the angelical “Slave to Love”; the great love-song “I Don't Know Why I Still Love You”; and a personal favorite, the gorgeous “Haunted”, on which Lake makes justice to all his fame as a singer, by delivering his greatest vocal performance, ever! The Progressive Rock community will never forget Greg Lake – a really complete and gifted musician, and an example to be followed by the younger generations! His reissued albums deserve to be played loud, by all his fans worldwide! R.I.P., Mr. Greg Lake! Band members and collaborators involved in Greg Lake are: On “Greg Lake” Album: Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals; Gary Moore, Steve Lukather, Dean Parks, W.G. Snuffy Walden – Guitars; Greg Mathieson, Bill Cuomo, Tommy Eyre – Keyboards; Michael Giles, Jeff Porcaro, Jode Leigh, Ted McKenna – Drums; Tristian Margetts, David Hungate – Bass; Willie Cochrane, David Milner – Pipe; Clarence Clemons – Saxophone. Track List: 1. “Nuclear Attack”; 2. “Love You Too Much”; 3. “It Hurts”; 4. “Black And Blue”; 5. “Retribution Drive”; 6. “Long Goodbye”; 7. “The Lie”; 8. “Someone”; 9. “Let Me Love You Once Before You Go”; 10. “For Those Who Dare”. Bonus Tracks: 11. “You Really Got a Hold on Me”; 12. “You’re Good With Your Love”; 13. “Cold Side of a Woman”. On “Manoeuvres” Album: Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals; Gary Moore – Guitar; Tristian Margetts – Bass; Tommy Eyre – Keyboards; Ted McKenna – Drums. Track List: 1. “Manoeuvres”; 2. “Too Young to Love”; 3. “Paralyzed”; 4. “Woman Like You”; 5. “I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight”; 6. “Famous Last Words”; 7. “Slave to Love”; 8. “Haunted”; 9. “I Don't Know Why I Still Love You”; 10. “It's You, You've Gotta Believe”. Bonus Track: 11. “Hold Me”. Both Albums Produced by Greg Lake... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017......................Interested to know more about this fantastic and legendary Musician? Visit GREG LAKE HOME PAGE...
. CURVED AIR - "Rarities Series Vol 1 – Tapestry of Propositions"
The legendary band Curved Air is back to PR&PM! Curved Air is one of the most important acts of the UK's 1970s Progressive movement. The band created a combination of ‘60-styled Rock, Folk, and Classical Music with elements of Electronic and Jazz that was unique in their time! Curved Air was born in 1968 with a line-up consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Darryl Way (electric violin), Francis Monkman (guitar, keyboards), Rob Martin (bass) and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums). The band signed with Warner and released their first album, “Airconditioning” (1970). With minor changes in the line-up, they released “Second Album” (1971) and “Phantasmagoria” (1972). But “Air Cut” (1973) had only Sonja from the original formation, and featured Mike Wedgwood, (bass), Kirby Gregory (guitars), Eddie Jobson (violin, keyboards), and Jim Russell (percussion). In 1974 most of Curved Air’s original members reunited for a tour in the UK (registered on the “Curved Air Live Album”). Sonja and Darryl reformulated Curved Air, calling Mick Jacques (guitars), Tony Reeves (bass), and Stewart Copeland (drums) to record “Midnight Wire” (1975) and “Airborne” (1976). Different incarnations of the band appeared on “Live At The BBC” (1995), later reissued as “Airwaves - Live At The BBC Remastered / Live At The Paris Theatre” (2012, Purple Pyramid) – an album reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. In 2008, Sonja, Darryl, Florian, Andy Christie (guitar) and Chris Harris (bass) regrouped to re-record 14 of Curved Air’s classic songs, compiled on the album “Reborn” (2008). On a following tour, Darryl was replaced by Paul Sax (violin) and Robert Norton (keyboards). Curved Air’s next releases were “Live Atmosphere” (2012) and “North Star” (2014, Cherry Red), which included new studio material, re-recordings and covers. Curved Air has just released a new album, entitled “The Curved Air Rarities Series – Volume 1 – Tapestry of Propositions” (August 5, 2016, Curved Air Records). “Tapestry of Propositions” is a peculiar release, for it brings an hour-long version of the song “Propositions”, recorded live during 2013/14 at fourteen different locations, on a tour that included Norway and the UK. Curved Air had been performing “Propositions” for more than 40 years! The song was a representative of the Prog-Rock innovation, for it blended Psychedelic and Hard Rock, followed by an instrumental session during which all musicians made improvisations. “Propositions” had been always performed on stage with energy, and every night the band performed a different variation of the instrumental session, adding Jazzy, Folk, and Oriental modes – and taking the audiences to total ecstasy! With the release of “Tapestry Of Propositions”, Curved Air intended to capture and concentrate the power of those moments on a single recording, so that listeners could feel the magnitude of their awesome music when played alive! “Tapestry Of Propositions” brings 17 tracks, performed by a line-up consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Chris Harris (bass), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Robert Norton (keyboards), and Paul Sax (violin) – musicians of various incarnations of Curved Air. The only tracks featuring Sonja’s vocals are the first – “Propositions” – and the last – “Propositions (Reprise)”. Between them, fifteen instrumental “Improv’s” (named after the places where the shows happened) have been chained to each other, forming a single composition. The album sounds therefore like an infinite tour-the-force, during which the instrumentalists exchange amazing solos on guitars, violins, keyboards; propelled by a wild rhythmic section! Many “Improv’s” bring Curved Air’s traditional signature, recalling the early interpretations of the song, such as on “Norway”, “Wolverhampton”, “Milton Keynes”, and “St. Ives”. The apex of Curved Air’s freedom of expression as a genre-bending band is clearly sensed on “London” (with violins ahead, lysergic guitar, and thunderous bass and drums following Space-Rock wilderness) and on “Ilminster” (a vigorous “Improv” that combines Blues-Rock guitar and transcendental Oriental modes). Those “Improv’s” sound different from “St. Albans”, which is more Jazzy; and from “Edinburgh”, which is a Raga-Rock that brings destroying drums and guitars, and crazy keyboards! My favorites are those that swing on an up-to-date rhythmic section, vibrating with the speed and vigor of the new century, such as: “Hull”; “Kinross” (which rides on elephantine sounds), “Wimbourne” (propelled by a bass drive faster than on “Hull”), and “Eastney” (so fast, that it reverberates in sonic-quake vibrations!). Lastly, Curved Air’s Avant-garde inspirations are materialized on “Poole” and “Shoreham”. Finally, on “Propositions (Reprise)”, the bewitching voice of Sonja Kristina returns to finish the song, the show, and this unique CD! What surprises will come up next from Curved Air’s “Rarities Series”? While we wait for the answer, let us just listen to “Tapestry of Propositions” – a must-have item for any fan of Curved Air – and a highly recommendable item for fans of Improvisational Music! Band members and collaborators involved in Curved Air are: Sonja Kristina – Lead Vocals (tr. 1 and 17); Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Kirby Gregory – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass; Robert Norton – Keys; Paul Sax – Violin. The song “Propositions”, written by Monkman & Kristina. All improvisations written by Gregory, Harris, Norton, Pilkington-Miksa, Sax. Compiled & Produced by Robert Norton. Live Concert Sound Engineering by Beric Wickens. Mastered by Mike Pietrini. Lighting Design & Engineering by Tony Lawther. Graphic Design by Carl Glover. “Tapestry of Propositions” complete track-list: 1.“Propositions” (1:13); 2.“Norway Improv” (5:08); 3.“St. Albans Improv” (4:00); 4.“Hull Improv” (3:19); 5.“Edinburgh Improv” (3:54); 6.“Kinross Improv” (3:05); 7.“Wimbourne Improv” (3:56); 8.“Wolverhampton Improv” (4:10); 9.“London Improv” (3:57); 10.“Milton Keynes Improv” (4:22); 11.“Eastney Improv” (4:23); 12.“Ilminster Improv” (4:36); 13.“St. Ives Improv” (3:51); 14.“Poole Improv” (3:38); 15.“Shoreham Improv” (4:17); 16.“Norway Improv” (5:03); 17.“Propositions (Reprise)” (1:33)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CURVED AIR HOME PAGE...
. JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE - "Pathfinder"
Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side are back to PR&PM! Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side are a Progressive Rock project from Stockholm, Sweden, that was founded in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Jonas Lindberg. The project released two EPs: “In Secret Pace” (physically released in 2008 still as a Lindberg’s solo project; re-released in digital format at Lindberg’s website in 2012) and “The Other Side” (released in 2013 on Lindberg’s own label, ModeMusic; featured at PR&PM in 2014). “The Other Side” showcased clean and elegant music that contained a balanced mix of Progressive Rock and sophisticated 80’s to 90’s Pop-Rock, with influences of “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Marillion”, “The Flower Kings”, “Alan Parsons”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “GTR”, “Sting”, “Talk Talk”, “Duran Duran”, “Tears For Fears”, “Coldplay” and others. Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side have recently released their third record, entitled “Pathfinder” (Sep. 2016, ModeMusic). “Pathfinder” is a full-length album that contains 8 long tracks, which are available on both CD and digital formats. The line-up features the original quintet formed by Jonas Lindberg (bass, keyboards, vocals), Jonas Sundqvist (lead vocals), Calle Stålenbring (guitars), Michael Ottosson (keyboards), and Jonathan Lundberg (drums), augmented with new members Jenny Sandgren (female vocals), Nicklas Thelin (guitars), and Maria Olsson (percussion). With a high level of sound production, “Pathfinder” has a greater Progressive input than the previous EP, making an immediately positive impact on the listener! The first trait to be noticed is the increase in heaviness on most songs, caused by the addition of an extra guitar to the ensemble, and by the almost constant employment of a 70’s-sounding organ. This guitar-oriented sound gave new life to the music of Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side, injecting more stamina and Rock groove into their new songs. The combined power of sturdier guitars and vintage organ has produced magnetic riffs that are as contagious as on bands like “Kansas”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Magellan”, and “Discipline”. Another highlight is the amplitude and dynamism of the arrangements, which allow all band members to contribute to the music in an orchestral way, improving the overall sonority of the album. The instrumentation is therefore loaded with solos of guitar and keyboards in both Classic Rock and Progressive styles (the Moog-sounding synth melodies are wonderful, and the classical-jazzy piano shows up often), counterbalanced by a melodic and symphonic bass that is sometimes reminiscent of “Jonas Reingold” (“The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”). The rhythmic section, which was already propelled by a qualified drummer, oscillates from the vigor of 70’s Rock to the cool modernity of the ‘80s to ‘90s, and has gained much more substance with the addition of a percussionist. Finally, the outstanding vocalist Jonas Sundqvist now shares the spotlights with new female singer, Jenny Sandgren. Although Sundqvist acts most of the time as the lead singer, Jenny has also her solo moments, and makes worthy contributions to the back-up and harmony vocals. Both singers deliver to the listener a collection of beautiful tunes and control the moods on each song, going from vibrant and lively to emotional and sad, creating either colorful panoramas or dreamy atmospheres reminiscent of “Sting”, “Pink Floyd”, “Yes”, or “Phideaux”. The whole package approaches Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side to bands of the magnitude of “The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “The Tangent”, “Genesis”, “Kiama”, and others. Half of the eight songs that are present on “Pathfinder” represent better the new sound of Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side, as described above. “Square One” (7:40) – which opens the album – and “Peace Of Mind” (9:25) are the heaviest. They are both vigorously conveyed on powerful swinging riffs, gritty organ, and really rocking male/female vocal interplay; each one having its own load of instrumental solos. If “Square …” follows a groovy mid-tempo pace (recalling “Kansas”), “Peace …” runs faster and more dynamically, including soothing vocal parts, fleeing acoustic guitars, great passages for piano, solos of guitars and synths, and a final instrumental part dominated by percussion blended to different kinds of keyboards (like “Neal Morse” or “Transatlantic”). Although starting enclosed in a cosmic ambience and having “Sting’s” mellowness on vocals, the title-track “Pathfinder” (5:40) also belongs here, for it soon grows in intensity, following chord progressions and acrobatic drums that recall “Rush” and “Magellan”, finishing on an amazing guitar solo! And the bombastic instrumental track “Zenith” (6:15) brings a mix of sonic references that range from destroying riffs of Prog-Metal-Fusion origin to “wah-wah” guitar solos that hover on electronic beats and synths inspired on “Alan Parsons”. Also noteworthy are the Progressive ballads, “Lost” (5:16) and “On The Horizon” (5:34), which are immersed in opposite atmospheres: “Lost” is darker, and its melancholic instrumentation contrasts against the dreamy vocals; “On The Horizon” is brighter, and its soaring guitars, synths, and soft vocals recall “Yes”. The album offers two songs more: the easy-listening “Leaving The World Behind” (5:45) and the Progressive opus, “Closer To The Sun” (9:02). Both have cheerful moods, conveyed on crystalline electro-acoustic instrumentations that cradle sweet vocals/harmony vocals, recalling a mix of “Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Genesis”, “Toto”, and “Sting”. “Closer …” is the most amazing, and finishes the album at a high Progressive edge, by including extra layers of vintage keyboards and superb solos of guitars and synths! Regarding the Progressive Rock gauge, Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side’s new album “Pathfinder” counts several marks higher than its predecessor, the EP “The Other Side”, being indispensable for fans of “Kansas”, “Spock’s Beard”, “Neal Morse”, “Transatlantic”, “Magellan”, “Discipline”, “The Flower Kings”, “Karmakanic”, “Agents of Mercy”, “The Tangent”, “Big Big Train”, “Kiama”, “Kansas”, “Sting”, 80’s “Genesis”, “Yes”, “Marillion”, “Alan Parsons”, “Pink Floyd”, “Phideaux”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Jonas Lindberg are: Jonas Lindberg – Bass, Keyboards, Moog, Mellotron, Additional Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar on “Living the World Behind”, Lead Vocals on “On The Horizon”, Compositions; Jonas Sundqvist – Lead Vocals; Jenny Sandgren – Lead & Backing Vocals; Calle Stålenbring – Guitars; Nicklas Thelin – Acoustic & Electric Guitars; Michael Ottosson – Keyboards (Hammond Organ, Piano, Rhodes); Jonathan Lundberg – Drums; Maria Olsson – Percussion. Recorded in Stockholm (Jul. 2015 to Feb. 2016); Drums Recorded at Kulturskolan, Märsta by J. Lundberg; Overdubs Recorded at Beehive Studios, Arstarberg, and various home studios by J. Lindberg & N. Thelin. Mixed by Alexander Kronbrink; Mastered at Cuttingroom by Mats ‘Limpan’ Lindfors. Produced by Jonas Lindberg... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017....Interested to know more about this fantastic Musician? Visit JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE HOME PAGE...
. ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN’S STRANGE HOBBY - "Same"
Arjen Anthony Lucassen is very welcomed to PR&PM! Arjen Lucassen is a Dutch singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, famous around the Progressive Rock/Metal community for being the mastermind behind great musical projects such as “Ayreon”, “Ambeon”, “Star One”, “Stream of Passion”, “Guilt Machine”, and “The Gentle Storm”. Arjen Lucassen was born on April 3rd,, 1960, in The Hague. He loved the bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and some of his favorites were “Beatles”, “T-Rex”, “Alice Cooper”, “The Sweet” and “David Bowie”. But when he heard to “Ritchie Blackmore” playing guitar on “Deep Purple’s” album, “Made in Japan”, he decided to learn guitar and begin a musical career! At first Lucassen played on many bands, and later he was admitted as a second guitarist on Metal band “Bodine” (1980-1984). He played later on “Vengeance”, until 1992. Then he ventured on a solo career. Lucassen’s first success was his Opera-Rock project, called “Ayreon”. With support of Dutch label Transmission Records, Lucassen released the “Ayreon” albums “The Final Experiment” (1995), “Actual Fantasy” (1996), “Into the Electric Castle” (1998), “Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer” (2000), and “Part 2: Flight of the Migrator” (2000). After moving to InsideOut Music, he released “The Human Equation” (2004), “01011001” (2008), “The Theory of Everything” (2013), and “The Theater Equation” (2016, DVD). Lucassen also released albums with other projects: “Ambeon” (“Fate of a Dreamer”, 2001, Transmission); “Stream of Passion” (“Embrace The Storm”, 2005, InsideOut); “Guilt Machine” (“On This Perfect Day”, 2009, Mascot); and “Star One”, which released the albums “Space Metal” (2002), “Live on Earth” (2003, DVD), and “Victims of the Modern Age” (2010) via InsideOut. Lucassen’s most recent releases on InsideOut include: “Lost in the New Real” (2012, solo) and “The Gentle Storm - The Diary” (2015) – this one from the eponymous project that Lucassen shares with Dutch singer “Anneke van Giersbergen” (ex-“The Gathering”, “Agua de Annique”). And what is Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Strange Hobby, anyway? “Strange Hobby” is a collection of cover versions of Arjen Lucassen’s favorite Psychedelic songs from the sixties, those that have influenced his musical development. “Strange Hobby” was recorded in 1996 by Lucassen alone; just to relax from the stressful routine that he had experienced during the exhaustive recordings of the second “Ayreon” album. “Strange Hobby” had been mastered at the Abbey Road Studios, and was released for the first time in 1996 by Transmission Records. But the strangest thing about it was; that no artist had been credit for the recording! “Strange Hobby” eventually went out of print and became a rare collectible item. The identity of the artist that was responsible for it remained totally unknown – until Arjen Lucassen finally revealed to be the mastermind behind the mysterious album! He omitted his name from the original release just for fun; to see what would happen. As speculations about the real authorship of the album had gone around “Prince”, “Status Quo”, “Barry Hay”, and “Paul McCartney”, Lucassen decided to re-release “Strange Hobby” in 2016 via his own label, Aluca Music, with support of Cherry Red. The new CD edition of “Strange Hobby” brings the same 18 original tracks plus four bonus tracks. Featuring songs by “The Beatles”, “The Kinks”, “Status Quo”, “Rolling Stones”, “Pink Floyd” (“Sid Barrett” Era), “The Hollies”, “Marc Bolan & T-Rex”, “The Beach Boys”, “The Monkees”, “Kaleidoscope”, and others, “Strange Hobby” pays homage to the revolutionary music of the ‘60s. It is also a sonic sample of the bands that influenced Lucassen in early years, which he assimilated and transformed on his own brand of Rock in the subsequent years. And although the joyful mood and good vibes that irradiate from these tracks are likely to surprise many of his fans, it is also true that fragments of those harmonies are still echoing on Lucassen’s modern songs! My favorites are the two Heavy-Metal versions of the “Floydians” “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”; the eternal classics “Norwegian Wood” and “For No One” (“The Beatles”); “I Am a Rock” (“Paul Simon”); and “Ruby Tuesday” (“Rolling Stones”); and a number of songs that have been repaginated with an up-to-date heavier guitar sound, that would be present if they had been written nowadays: “Boris the Spider” (“The Who”); “Sunny Afternoon” (“The Kinks”) and the unexpected “Proto-Punk” version of “The Letter” (“The Box Tops”). “Bob Dylan” could never imagine that his song, “I Want You”, could be accelerated by a crazy drumming! And “Donovan” has never figured out how his traditional Folk “Catch the Wind” could rock when switched from the acoustic to electric mode! A special moment comes on “In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey”, fronted by the original singer of the less famous band “Kaleidoscope”. And for those listeners who were teenagers in the ‘60s and miss the joy, innocence, and romance that marked the soundtrack of an Era, the album offers really vibrant versions of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and “Ice In the Sun” (“Status Quo”); “Bus Stop” (“The Hollies”); “Flowers In the Rain” (“The Move”); “Ride a White Swan” (“M. Bolan”); “Sloop John B.” (“The Beach Boys”); “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarcksville” (by the fake-band “The Monkees”, whose TV series in the ‘60s was so popular as “The Big Bang Theory” is today). Finally, the bonus “Pretty Girls” (by Lucassen himself) emulates the peaceful and colorful psychedelia of the ‘60s, inviting everyone to repeat “Strange Hobby” from beginning to end! Arjen Lucassen’s “Strange Hobby” is a rare and precious item, highly recommendable for lovers of: “The Beatles”, “The Beach Boys”, “The Rolling Stones”, “The Monkees”, “Herman’s Hermits”, “The Moody Blues”, “Bob Dylan”, “Donovan”, “Simon & Garfunkel”, “The Who”, “The Hollies”, “Kaleidoscope”, “Status Quo”, “The Move”, “The Kinks”, “Pink Floyd” (“Sid Barrett” Era), “Marc Bolan & T-Rex”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Strange Hobby are: Arjen Anthony Lucassen – All Instruments and Vocals. Guest Singer: Peter Daltrey (on “In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey”). Illustrations by A. Lucassen; Photos by A. Lucassen & Jolanda Verduijn; Layout & Design by Koen Fu. Recorded & Mixed by A. Lucassen; Mastered by Chris Blair at Abbey Road.  “Strange Hobby” Complete Track-list: 1.“Arnold Layne” (S. Barrett); 2.“Norwegian Wood” (Lennon/McCartney); 3.“Pictures of Matchstick Men” (F. Rossi); 4.“I Am a Rock” (P. Simon); 5.“Boris the Spider” (J. Entwhistle); 6.“(Further Reflections) In the Room of Percussion” (Daltrey/Pumer); 7.“Sunny Afternoon” (R. Davies); 8.“See Emily Play” (S. Barrett); 9.“For No One” (Lennon/McCartney); 10.“I Want You” (B. Dylan); 11.“Bus Stop” (G. Gouldman); 12.“Flowers In the Rain” (R. Wood); 13.“The Letter” (W. Thompson); 14.“Ride a White Swan” (M. Bolan); 15.“Sloop John B.” (B. Wilson); 16.“Daydream Believer” (J. Steward); 17.“Catch the Wind” (Donovan); 18.“Ice in the Sun” (Wilde/Scott). Bonus Tracks: 19.“Pretty Girls” (A.Lucassen); 20.“In the Room of Percussion ft. Peter Daltrey” (Daltrey/Pumer); 21.“Last Train to Clarcksville” (T. Boyle/B. Hart); 22.“Ruby Tuesday” (Jagger/Richards). Also you must visit Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit ARJEN ANTHONY LUCASSEN’S STRANGE HOBBY HOME PAGE...
. CURVED AIR - "Rarities Series Vol. 2 – Curved Space & Infinity"
The legendary band Curved Air is back to PR&PM once more! Curved Air was an important UK Progressive act in the 1970s and is still active today. The band created a combination of ‘60-styled Rock, Folk, Classical, Jazz and Electronic Music that was unique in their time, besides pioneering the use of a violin in Rock! Curved Air’s first line-up was formed in 1968 and consisted of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Darryl Way (electric violin), Francis Monkman (guitar, keyboards), Rob Martin (bass) and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums). This quintet appeared on “Airconditioning” (1970), Curved Air’s first album; but as long as the band evolved and released more albums, their line-up also changed around singer Sonja Kristina – the only member of Curved Air who has taken part in all formations. Different incarnations of Curved Air played on the album “Live At The BBC” (1995), reissued as “Airwaves - Live At The BBC Remastered/Live At The Paris Theatre” (2012, Purple Pyramid), and reviewed at PR&PM in 2013. Curved Air’s current line-up features members of all past and present eras of the band, consisting of Sonja Kristina (vocals), Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Chris Harris (bass), Robert Norton (keyboards), and Paul Sax (violin). Curved Air’s last studio album was “North Star” (2014, Cherry Red), which also included re-recordings and covers. Recently, Curved Air has been opening their vaults to recuperate rare material, which is being released for the first time under the title “The Curved Air Rarities Series”. The “Volume 1” of this series was subtitled “Tapestry of Propositions” (August 2016, Curved Air Records) that also is being reviewed at PR&PM in 2017. Curved Air has just released the “Volume 2” of that series, entitled “Curved Space & Infinity” (2016, Curved Air Records). Actually, it is a double CD containing two different albums, each one having its own independent story. The trait that binds both albums together is the style of music that they contain – totally instrumental and improvised, it lacks two of Curved Air’s most distinguishing features: the unique violin signature and the marking voice of Sonja Kristina (she has supported and blessed this release, though). This album will then be rather appreciated by fans of Instrumental Improvisional Music, Psychedelic and Acid Rock with West Coast influences, and modern Shoegazing than by Curved Air’s regular fans – which might find the musical contents a bit heretical. Nevertheless, “Curved Space & Infinity” reveals the great ability of Curved Air’s musicians to make impressive improvisional music – an act that was for them as natural as breathing “curved” air (ha-ha)! The resulting material may sound raw or spontaneous, but is still fresh and relevant for the present times – an irrefutable proof that intuitive musicians are the true agents responsible for the endurance of the long-lasting bands. Let us analyze the albums separately. Disc One: “Curved Space”, features nine tracks, including a bonus. In 1991, Francis Monkman (guitar), Rob Martin (bass), and Florian Pilkington-Miksa (drums) – three members of Curved Air’s original formation – performed and recorded several jam sessions instigated by their friend and guitarist Mike Gore. The material was divided in eight tracks, and originally released as Monkman's solo album called “Jam” (2002), which is now being transmuted into this new “Curved Space” release. Fifteen years after the original sessions, Monkman and Pilkington-Miksa alone played a private session using a riff produced on a Korg Z1 synth. The resulting improve was called “Rose” and included on “Curved Space” as a bonus track, together with a fragment of the original sessions, called “Towards Infinity”, which was recuperated and reinstated on the final segment of the tryptic “Baghdad Café”/“Return to Calvary”/“Towards Infinity”. Overall, “Curved Space” has the spirit of the late 1960s, when most musicians liked to jam together, because they regarded this activity as an important part of their creative process. “Curved Space” is therefore loaded with Acid and Psychedelic Rock vibes, strongly influenced by Oriental modes. The initial tracks – “Towards Tomorrow” (5:18), “Sea of Tranquillity” (7:22), and the tryptic “Baghdad Café”/“Return to Calvary”/“Towards Infinity” (14:31) are stuffed with lysergic guitars, trippy bass, ritualistic drums, and cosmic sound-effects that echo in an astral ambience, pulled by soaring sounds of Hindu ragas that reverberate against the nothingness. Those sounds stretch to “Sol y Sombra” (8:12) which mix Spanish-sounding guitars with powerful drums and bass machinery and Arabian modes. From this track on, the music leans to a Psychedelic Blues-Rock mode, bringing groovy riffs and never-ending guitar solos that start on “Harp Riff” (3:13), continue on the Space-Krautrock “Free Tibet” (9:50), and finish on the bluesy “Blue Yonder Blues” (7:23) and “Playin’ Away” (9:21). The closing piece is the aforementioned “Rose” (14:10), which is less improvised and more structured, based on Electronic sounds and modern drums beats. Disc Two: “Infinity”, features six new tracks that were recorded by members of three different incarnations of Curved Air. In September 2011, founding drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa recorded a jam session with keyboardist Robert Norton (who had integrated Curved Air in 2008 on the “Reborn” tour). Using two keyboards, Norton played the bass, electric piano and synths simultaneously with the drums. In November 2014, the guitar parts were added by guitarist Kirby Gregory (who had played on Curved Air’s 1973 album, “Air Cut”, and had rejoined the group in 2013). Although being also improvised, the music of “Infinity” differs from that recorded on “Curved Space” on two aspects. At first, the improvisation was performed by veteran musicians who were far experienced in 2011, and their resulting pieces sounded much more structured, approaching a fully-arranged, finalized, composed piece. And second, the music has a stronger lean to the Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Fusion, and Free-Jazz styles, an influence that started on the creative sounds that Norton extracts from his keys – an incredibly deep bass sound, a vivid electric piano, and a joyful clarinet-sounding synth – going through Gregory’s passionate, elegant, and eclectic guitar solos; and reaching the bottom end on Pilkington-Miksa’s vigorous drumming, which became at times soft, cool, or jazzy. Tracks like the groovy “Labyrinth” (13:32), the pulsing and live-breathing “Aphelion” (7:03), and the mysterious, dark, and pachyderm-skinned “Megalith” (14:18) revive the Experimental Jazz-Fusion of bands like “Soft Machine”, “Weather Report”, and “King Crimson”. Fragments of the soaring “Elevation” (15:15) and of the eerie, primeval, and free-spirited “Expansions” (12:30) recall the music of “Focus”, “Return To Forever”, “Allan Holdsworth”. Finally, the cosmic and transcendental atmosphere of “Celestial Dance” (16:38) evokes the image of a gigantic nebula moving slowly in space-time! Although not being a standard Curved Air album, “Curved Space & Infinity” is an amazing album, full of inspiring and spontaneous musicianship, which will surprise all fans by revealing a different musical facet of the band’s members. “Curved Space & Infinity” is greatly recommendable for fans of Instrumental Improvisional Music and Jam Bands, Psychedelic Rock, West Coast Psychedelic Rock, Acid Rock and Shoegazing, and “Grateful Dead”, “Hendrix”, “Quicksilver”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Blues Traveler”, “Umphrey's McGee”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Curved Air are: Current line-up: Sonja Kristina – Lead Vocals; Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Kirby Gregory – Guitar; Chris Harris – Bass; Robert Norton – Keys; Paul Sax – Violin. “Curved Space” line-up: Francis Monkman – Guitar; Rob Martin – Bass; Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums, Synths, Drum/Synth Programming; Mike Gore – Guitar; Mike Cooper – Additional Guitar on “Towards Tomorrow”. “Infinity” line-up: Florian Pilkington-Miksa – Drums; Robert Norton – Electric Piano, Synths; Kirby Gregory – Guitar. Produced by R. Norton; Co-Produced by F. Pilkington-Miksa. Graphic Design by Carl Glover... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017..............................More information about the band? Better check it out for yourself at: CURVED AIR HOME PAGE...
. CARAVELA ESCARLATE - "Rascunho"
Caravela Escarlate is a Brazilian Progressive Rock outfit based in Rio de Janeiro that integrates the so-called “Cena Carioca de Música Progressiva” – a cooperative Progressive Rock movement growing in Rio de Janeiro that congregates bands such as: “Arcpelago”, “Chronus”, “Panaceah”, “Anxtron”, “Syntagma”, “Únitri”, and “Eduardo Aguillar”. Caravela Escarlate (or “Crimson Caravel”) was founded in the early 1990s by David Paiva (electric and acoustic guitars, stringed instruments), a young musician who had been creating songs and poems since his teenage years. Paiva was an admirer of Progressive Music and his main influences included: “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Yes”, “Renaissance”, “Rick Wakeman”, “ELP”, “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Eloy”, “Triumvirat”; and Brazilian groups “O Terço”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “Terreno Baldio”, “Clube da Esquina”, and “Boca Livre”. Paiva’s favorite bassists are “Chris Squire”, “Giorgio Piazza” (“PFM”), and the Brazilians “Novelli” (a requested bassist from the “Brazilian Popular Music” movement), “Pedro Baldanza” (“Som Nosso de Cada Dia”), and “Fernando Gama” (who has played with “Vimana”, “Os Mutantes”, “Boca Livre”; and recorded one album for “Patrick Moraz”). His favorite guitarists are “Steve Howe”, “Jan Akkerman”, and the Brazilian “Toninho Horta”. Under the leadership of David Paiva, Caravela Escarlate sailed across the ‘90s with different formations, but never managed to record any material during that time. David Paiva then anchored his “Crimson Caravel” near safe shores, waiting for better winds. By the end of 2010, Paiva decided to restart Caravela Escalate, and began to search musicians for a new line-up. Following an advice by producer Cláudio Fonzi, Paiva contacted keyboardist Ronaldo Rodrigues, a talented musician who had come from São Paulo to Rio in 2009, and who was also looking for partners to form a Progressive Rock group. In 2012 Rodrigues would also become a founder member of band “Arcpelago” (featured at PR&PM as “Best Band of the Month”, June 2016) on which he still plays. Ronaldo Rodrigues was inspired by a wide range of genres and styles, including Classical Music, 60’s to 70’s Rock (“Led Zeppelin”, “The Doors”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Yes”, “Pink Floyd”, “Steve Hillage”, “Jeff Beck”, “Jon Hiseman”), Jazz and Fusion (“Herbie Hancock”, “Jimmy Smith”, “Miles Davis”, “Larry Coryell”, “Alphonse Mouzon”). His favorite keyboardists are: “Keith Emerson”, “Jon Lord”, “Dave Stewart” (“Khan”, “Hatfield and the North”), “Rick Wakeman”, “Patrick Moraz”, “Thijs Van Leer”, “Jan Hammer”; and the Brazilians “Manito” (“Som Nosso de Cada Dia”), “Elias Mizhrai” (“Veludo”), and “Luiz Paulo Simas” (“Módulo 1000”, “Vímana”). Finally, after the arrival of drummer Tadeu Filho, the new formation of Caravela Escarlate was officially stablished in March 2011, when the band started to rehearse and rearrange David Paiva’s earliest compositions. Some of those pieces appear on Caravela Escarlate’s debut CD, entitled “Rascunho” (2016, self-produced). “Rascunho” brings 8 instrumental tracks that have been recorded by Paiva and Rodrigues alone, without the participation of drummer Tadeu Filho. The tracks possibly represent early versions of Paiva’s initial songs, hence the name “Rascunho” (which means “rough”, in English) to designate them collectively. The music of Caravela Escarlate is essentially electro-acoustic, melodic, and symphonic, combining vintage Progressive trends with influences of both Brazilian-Folk (with emphasis on regional rhythms, mainly of Northeastern Brazil) and Brazilian Academic Music (names like “Heitor Villa-Lobos”, “Alberto Nepomuceno”, “Radamés Gnattali”, and “Antônio Madureira” and his “Quinteto Armorial” may be mentioned). Arrangements, although a bit minimalist, focus on the guitar tunes and on the rich palette of experimental textures that Rodrigues extracts from his keyboards and synths. The mood varies from track to track: some pieces are relaxing, introspective, and eerie (like old lullabies and nocturnes); others transmit the happiness of Brazilian folkloric rhythms. “Rascunho” starts with the psychedelic guitars and fuzzy sonorities of “De Sol a Sol” (4:09), pervaded by an eerie atmosphere that also invades “Pedra do Sal” (3:13) – one of the best compositions, immersed in “Mellotronic” sounds that create a dreamy soundscape, reminiscent of early “Genesis”; and “Hipocampo” (4:19) – an introspective chamber piece with acoustic guitars and a sad tune on the flute. Brazilian musical influences are realized on “Metamorfose” (3:44) and “Maino” (5:00); two outstanding pieces based on Northeastern rhythms; and on the academic sonority of “Circo Imaginário” (3:49) – on which the combination of acoustic guitars and a futuristic moog reflect the inventiveness of “Heitor Villa-Lobos”. Listeners searching for an universal Prog-Rock approach will be pleased by “Cavalo de Fogo” (3:18) – which has electric guitars and gritty organ reminiscent of vintage-styled “Rock Progressivo Italiano”; and by “Século XIV” (5:27) – a musical piece influenced by the Renaissance Epoch, which starts with acoustic guitars that later change for electric, accompanied by a church organ that creates a religious aura – recalling “Rick Wakeman” and “Focus”! In spite of being a “Rascunho”, Caravela Escarlate’s debut album is full of promising musical ideas that will unfold to great Progressive works in the future! Highly recommendable for fans of Brazilian, Italian, and British-styled Progressive Rock, who love instrumental music in electro-acoustic format, as made by “Quaterna Requiem”, “Sagrado Coração da Terra”, “Bacamarte”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Violeta de Outono”, “Som Nosso de Cada Dia”, “O Terço”, “Banda do Sol”, “Arcpelago”, “Únitri”, “Cartoon”, “Aether”, “PFM”, “Yes”, “Patrick Moraz”, “Focus”. Band members and collaborators involved in Caravela Escarlate are: David Paiva – Bass, Nylon Craviola, Guitars, 12-String Guitar, Synthesizers; Ronaldo Rodrigues – Organ, Synthesizers, Keyboards; Élcio Cáfaro – Drums. “Rascunho” was recorded as a duo by David Paiva and Ronaldo Rodrigues. This album was Recorded & Mixed by Caravela Escarlate; Mastered by Luciano Siqueira. Cover Artwork by Fábio Gracia. All titles by David Paiva, except “De Sol a Sol” & “Cavalo de Fogo”, by Paiva & Rodrigues... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.....Interested to know more about this great Brazilian Prog Rock Band? Visit CARAVELA ESCARLATE HOME PAGE...
. SHAMBLEMATHS - "Shamblemaths"
Shamblemaths are and exciting Progressive Rock band hailing from Trondheim, Norway! The core members are Simen Å. Ellingsen (guitars, saxophones, vocals) and Eirik M. Husum (bass). They had gathered together still as students in 2004 under the moniker “Fallen Fowl” and recorded a couple of demos and an EP. Their next collaboration, which would result in Shamblemaths, began as a side project of “TiaC”, a band which was active from 2002 to 2005. Actually, some material of Shamblemaths was originally from “TiaC”. But a hiatus ensued when Ellingsen went to London to pursue his two post-graduations (in Quantum Physics and Political Sciences!). In the meantime, bassist Husum played on other bands, such as “Svermere” (Folk/Jazz), “Garden Of” (Prog-Metal), “Trondheim World Music Ensemble”, and “Strindens Promenade Orchester”. The project could have been relegated to oblivion, but thanks to the Gods of Prog, the Shamblemaths resurrected in 2016! With help of Eirik Øverland Dischler (keyboards), Halvor Lund (Hammond organ), Jon Even Schärer (drums), and a few additional musicians, Shamblemaths gave birth to their vengeful debut album – the eponymous “Shamblemaths”! “And when in March of 2016 “Shamblemaths” saw the light of day, the light of day ran screaming!” Definitely “not for the faint of ear”, and with absolutely zero of commercial potential (so that the band brags about their fan-base being “so numerous, they wouldn't all fit comfortably in the same phone booth”), the music of Shamblemaths attacks the listener with the devouring attitude of a Jurassic predator! With a radical mix of Progressive styles and other genres – including Hardcore-Zeuhl, Jazz-Rock, Neo-Classical, Canterbury, R.I.O., Folk, Krautrock, and Metal – Shamblemaths congregates influences of many revolutionary bands, such as: “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg”, “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Henry Cow”, “Kraan”, “Secret Oyster”, and “Anglagard”! And if all that is not a clue for the excellent Progressive stuffing of their music, I shall add that the compositions are also lengthy, instigating, intricate, surprising, unpredictable, uncanny, and executed with bursting energy and unearthly technical skill; otherwise being also strongly melodic, emotional, and inspiring! Fans of old-school Progressive Rock will be astonished by Shamblemaths’ tightly packed arrangements, within which punching guitars alternating from Canterbury melodies to shocking Metal waves clash against duets of soprano/baritone saxophones that are as jazzy and furious as on “Soft Machine”, “King Crimson”, and “VdGG”. Vintage Hammonds recall the neo-classical style of “Egg”. Haunting Mellotron/Moog sounds are reminiscent of “King Crimson” and early “Genesis”, and strengthen the surrealistic ambience that recalls “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg” and “VdGG”. The rhythmic section is marked by a ferocious groovy bass and hellish Jazz-Metal drumming, engaged in odd-metrical experiments of the magnitude of “KC”, “Henry Cow”, and “Soft Machine”. The hazardous effect of all this opulent instrumentation is soothed down by occasional apparitions of a classical piano; and by passages of acoustic guitars accompanied by vocals that recalled me of the troubadour mannerism of “Ian Anderson”, his quirky lyrics, and ironic sense of humor (with a dash of “Peter Gabriel” thrown in). “Shamblemaths” – the album – has three addicting tracks subdivided is parts, like suites. The opening track, “Conglomeration (or: The Grand Pathetic Suite)” (26:54) is divided in: “a. Bloody Racket”; “b. Your Silly Stare”; “c. A Mockery in the Making”; “d. The Different Tastes of Sick”; “e. A Mockery Well Made”; “f. Life Is Tough (When You're Me)”; “g. Saucy Tiara Woman!”; “h. Another Pear of Ice”; “i. Con-Girl Omen Ratio 1”; “j. Overture”. So many things happen on this suite, that it deserves dozens of spins to be totally assimilated. It begins with a combat between Zeuhl-Metal arrangements (with typical male-female syllabic choirs) and visionary Jazz-Rock odd-metrical rhythms, containing slicing guitars, frantic sax, and bouncing Hammonds. Middle part has ethereal Gothic organ, mellow vocals, Romantic piano, and soaring sax. The third part has acoustic guitars, windy Moogs, and epic choirs. The whole piece is like a metamorphosis: from “Magma” and “Soft Machine” to “King Crimson”, “Egg”, and to “KC” again! Track 2 – “A Failing Ember” (9:26) – is divided in: “a. Never Innocent Again”; “b. The Winding Stair”; “c. Three Flowers”; “d. Deus Caritatis”. It is mostly acoustic and accompanied by vocals, with an influence of “Jethro Tull”, but these softer parts are alternated with really insane interludes containing explosive guitar riffs, R.I.O. structures (like “H. Cow” and “U. Zéro”), and haunting Nordic Mellotron (like “Anglagard”), ending on a line of Gregorian chant. Track 3 – “Stalker” (19:52) – is divided in: “a. Stalker Begins”; “b. Bad Conscience Underneath Your Gown”; “c. Stalker: Persistance”; “d. Stalker's Lullaby”; “e. Stalker: The Harrowing”; “f. Stalker: Inevitable Anticlimax and Fade-out”. “Stalker” is originally a “TiaC” number, never previously recorded, and sounds more modern and less hectic than the other two. With parts reminiscent of “Jethro Tull”, “Genesis”, “VdGG”, and even “Porcupine Tree”, it employs a well-defined motif that evolves in a symphonic progression, spreading from the powerful Metal riffs to the sax, being balanced by “Tullesque” classical acoustic guitars and vocals, growing steadily until the startling end! “Shamblemaths” is amazing, original, and supernatural; surely one of the best Progressive Rock albums that I heard in 2016! A must-have item for fans of bands like: “Magma”, “Univers Zéro”, “Egg”, “King Crimson”, “Soft Machine”, “Jethro Tull”, “Henry Cow”, “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Genesis”, “Kraan”, “Secret Oyster”, “Anglagard”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Shamblemaths are: Simen Ådnøy Ellingsen – Electric, Acoustic and Spanish Guitar, Alto, Soprano and Baritone Saxophones, Vocals, Zither, Jaw Harp, Percussion, Occasional Keyboards, Sundry Implements; Eirik Mathias Husum – Bass. Guests: Eirik Øverland Dischler – Keyboards; Jon Even Schärer – Drums; Halvor Lund – Hammond Organ; Colin Howarth – Tenor Sax Solo on “3c” & “3d”; Karl Yngve Lervåg & Helene Hesselberg Rendal – Choir on “1a” (and “1j”); Marit Høye Ådnøy – Vocals on “3a”; Jan Røe (member of “TiaC”) – Guitar Parts on “3b”; Eivor Ådnøy Ellingsen – Baby Vocals on “2e”. CD info: Regular edition: 4-panel digipak in matte finish with 6-page booklet in inside pocket. First print edition: Strictly limited edition, 200 copies. 6-panel full-color digipak, semigloss finish, printed lyrics; professionally duplicated, premium quality disc. Produced by Simen Å. Ellingsen; Recorded in Eigenstudio Oct. 2011 to Oct. 2015. Bass recorded in the Room of Mystery and Magic. Drums recorded in Røffsound Studio, Oslo, engineered by Vegard Liverød. Tenor sax recorded at Colin's place, Raufoss. Mixed by SÅE. Additional mixing and mastering by Stein Bratland at Skansen Lydstudio. All tracks written by SÅE, except “1f” & “2b” by SÅE & E. Ø. Dischler. “3c” originally by “TiaC” (SÅE, J. Røe, EMH, S. Gjelten Bakken, M. Tvedt), re-worked by SÅE with EØD and EMH. Lyrics by SÅE except “2d”, by H. Ibsen, translated by SÅE. "Saucy Tiara Woman!" contains musical quotes from a song by “Ian Anderson” of a curiously similar name. “Life Is Tough” is to “K. Pietersen” and the England cricket team of 2012. Recorded with support from the Trondheim Kommune... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017..........................,.....Interested to know more about this Band? Then, you must visit  SHAMBLEMATHS HOME PAGE...
. ELAINE SAMUELS AND KINDRED SPIRIT - "Phoenix Rising"
Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit are a Progressive Folk-Rock band from the U.K. The present line-up features Elaine Samuels (vocals, guitars, and songwriting), Martin Ash (violin), Catherine Dimmock (flute, harmony vocals), Emily Nash (saxophone, harmony vocals), Mike Hislop (bass) and three non-fixed drummers: legendary Les Binks (ex-“Eric Burdon”, “Roger Glover”, “Judas Priest”, “Lionheart”), the veteran Alan Barwise (ex-“The Sutherland Brothers”, “The Aldbrickham Band”, “Clayson and the Argonauts”), and the young professional, Chris Goode (who can also play keyboards!). Two former members have been important for modeling the band’s sonority: Gavin Jones (violin) and David Rowe (drums, percussion). Elaine Samuels has been performing her songs in clubs, at festivals, and even on television since 1993. Along the ‘90s, she progressed from playing alone to playing with a complete band, and that was how Kindred Spirit got started! Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit have already performed at Art Centers (Windsor, Farnham Maltings, Cranleigh), theatres (Leatherhead, The Kenton), festivals (Weyfest), and clubs (the climax was the Cavern Club, in Liverpool). The band also released independent albums, including: “Dance of Life” (featuring a seminal incarnation of Kindred Spirit), “The Watchers” (2002), “In the Doghouse” (2005), “Metamorphosis” (2009), and “Phoenix Rising” (2015). In 2016, Kindred Spirit welcomed the new members Martin Ash (a classically-trained violinist, also interested in Jazz, Blues, British Folk, and Church Music) and Emily Nash (a multi-instrumentalist, singer and song-writer who had played for “Astrea & The Elements” and “Them The Sky”). The album on focus herein – “Phoenix Rising” (2015) – has contributions by guest musicians and ex-members of the band. The sound of Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit congregates elements of Traditional Folk with a Celtic root; 70’s Folk, Hard & Psychedelic Rock; Progressive-Folk; and modern-trended Neo-Folk, sharing a resemblance with: “Curved Air”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Pentangle”, “Lindisfarne”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “Donovan”, “Moody Blues”, “Jethro Tull”, “Clannad”, “Solstice”, “Mostly Autumn”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, “Estampie”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Schandmaul”, and “Skyclad”. The music transits from the acoustic textures of traditional Folk to the electric-electronic textures of Rock and Prog. The acoustic elements include plentiful guitars, a preponderant thrilling violin with a Celtic-Irish accent, pastoral flutes with some “Tullesque” vibrant upheavals, and medieval drums and percussion (hand drums, tambourine). The modern counterpart include powerful electric guitar solos and riffs in Hard-Rock style, an electric violin that emits distorted sounds, a driving bass that resounds in a Progressive style, rocking rhythms, and a heated saxophone! The arrangements are stuffed with dueling solos of violins, guitars, and flutes, soothed by the lovely harmony vocals. The songs are fronted by the beautiful voice of Elaine Samuels – who can be as mellow and sweet as “Candice Night”; or as haunting and bewitching as “Sonja Kristina”! Her lyrics focus on mystical, spiritual, and environmental subjects, dictating the mood on each song: innocent, joyful, or critic. “Phoenix Rising” features 12 tracks. 1. “Kindred Spirit” (6:21); 5. “It’s Not Too Late” (6:38); 6. “Horse With No Name” (5:21); and 7. “Drunken Landlady” (2:15) are mostly traditional, having a preponderance of acoustic over electric elements. If “Kindred…” has a festive reunion of sweet voices, flutes, fiddles and percussion, “It’s Not …” is somber, having witching-hour vocals and a great solo of violin. Also on this line, there is an amazing Celtic-styled cover of “America’s” “Horse With No Name”; which melds with the folkloric dancing violins of “Drunken Landlady”. On the non-traditional side, tracks 8. “Feed The Fire” (5:18) and 10. “Let The Music Set You Free” (5:23) are energetic Folk-Rock songs that combine 70’s Hard-Rock riffs, “Tullesque” flutes, and distorted guitar and violins that will conquer fans of “Curved Air”, “Jethro Tull”, “Skyclad”, and “Garmarna”! In between, tracks 2. “Life Is a Circus” (4:59), 4. “Let’s Be Happy” (3:48), and 9. “Beautiful Day” (3:42) are instilled with the joyful Psychedelic-Pop vibes of “Fleetwood Mac”, “Moody Blues”, and “Lindisfarne” – the highlights being the Irish vocal/harmony vocals of “Let’s Be Happy”. But fans of “Curved Air”, “Solstice”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, and other bands belonging to the Prog-Folk and Neo-Folk trends, will really rejoice with 3. “Wolves At The Gate” (6:56), 11. “Children Of The Stars” (7:41) and 12. “The Phoenix” (7:02). “Wolves …” is majestic, starting with a memorable violin tune (later transferred to the saxophone), having breathless dueling solos with electric guitars! “Children …” is a Neo-Folk that hybridizes Folk-Pop vocals, modern bass, drums, and sax with old-fashioned violin solo that drifts on long instrumental parts! And “The Phoenix” transcends the Folk, Psychedelic, and Classic Prog Eras, alternating cinematographic passages with calmer interludes that are sewed together by the burning strings of an electrified violin! Honestly, I have found Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit one of the best Folk-Rock acts in activity in the U.K.! Their amazing album, “Phoenix Rising”, is full of the finest Folk-Rock songs around, being indispensable for fans of: “Curved Air”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “Pentangle”, “Fairport Convention”, “Steeleye Span”, “The Moody Blues”, “Jethro Tull”, “Lindisfarne”, “Clannad”, “Solstice”, “Blackmore’s Night”, “Willowglass”, “Mostly Autumn”, “Estampie”, “Faun”, “Garmarna”, “Schandmaul”, “Skyclad”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit are: Elaine Samuels - Lead Vocals (all tracks but 7), Acoustic Guitar (all tracks but 8), Electric Guitar (tr. 8, 10), Percussion Programming (tr. 1, 5, 12); Catherine Dimmock - Flute (all tracks except 3, 11), Sax (tr. 3, 11), Backing Vocals (except tr. 1, 7); Mike Hislop - Bass, Backing Vocals (tr. 5, 8, 11, 12); James Leslie Binks – Drums (tr. 2, 5, 8, 10); Chris Goode – Congas (tr. 2), Tambourine (tr. 5), Keyboards, Synths (tr. 5, 8); Gavin Jones - Violin (all tracks), Backing Vocals (tr. 2, 12); David Rowe - Drums & Percussion (tr. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12). Additional Musicians: Steve Hutchinson – Backing Vocals (tr. 1, 5, 10); Jez Larder – Additional Programming with Synths (tr. 1, 3, 5, 11) and with Percussions (tr. 1, 3, 5, 12); Phil Martin - Electric Guitars (tr. 3, 4, 12), Backing Vocals (tr. 6, 9, 11, 12). Kindred Spirit’s members that did not play on “Phoenix Rising”: Alan Barwise - Drums; Martin Ash - Violin; Emily Nash - Saxophone, Harmony Vocals. All songs by Elaine Samuels And Kindred Spirit, except “Horse With No Name” (by “Deway Bunnell”, of “America”). Engineered and Produced by Jez Larder at the “Skyline Studios”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit ELAINE SAMUELS AND KINDRED SPIRIT HOME PAGE...
. RALFE RODRIGUES - "Século XVII"
Ralfe Rodrigues is an acoustic guitar player and composer who lives in the historical city of Sabará, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. His main goal is to preserve and divulge the Baroque artistic legacy, which is strongly present in that Brazilian state. Ralfe Rodrigues became interested in music in his childhood, and as a teenager he started to learn acoustic guitar in classical style, with emphasis on the Baroque style. As a talented and passionate performer, Ralfe Rodrigues followed a musician’s career, by writing music and playing in various bands. During this time, he also experienced with Rock and Progressive Rock (performing from “UFO” to “Jethro Tull”), but his main interest has always been the Baroque music. The continuous process of refinement of his pieces and the positive response of the audiences stimulated Rodrigues to study composition to an academic level. His most inspiring composers are masters such as “Sebastian Bach” and “Johann Pachelbel”. At present, Ralfe Rodrigues’ solo career is characterized by shows on which he sings and performs alone with his acoustic guitar, being occasionally accompanied by guest singers. Besides acting as a solo artist, Ralfe Rodrigues plays the electric guitar on two different projects: “Opus IV” – a Progressive outfit that blends Classical Music and Rock; and “Pedra Lascada” – a Classic-Rock band that is based in Belo Horizonte (capital city of Minas Gerais). Ralfe Rodrigues’ debut CD, entitled “Século XVII” (“17th Century”), was independently released in 2006. This record focuses on the music of the Renaissance Epoch and on the Baroque period typical of the state of Minas Gerais. It contains 8 instrumental tracks, played on the classical acoustic guitar. Rodrigues is a talented musician, who knows how to balance sensibility, emotion, mellowness and technique on his pieces. These are soft, relaxing, and beautiful, being enveloped in a nostalgic atmosphere that recalls the distant past. The impressive academicism of “Século XVII” (2:13) – the title track that opens up the album – is wonderfully counterbalanced by the vivid disposition of the next track, “A Taberna” (“The Tavern”) (1:28), driven by a joyful plucking that invites to dance, drink, and love. The calmness and soothing feeling transmitted by “Solidão” (“Solitude”) (1:27) leads the listener to a mourning introspectiveness; while “Inquisição” (“Inquisition”) (1:50) – evokes the image of Lute-playing minstrels trying to hide the horrors of Medieval times behind a diaphanous curtain of smooth notes and graceful tunes. “Lembranças” (“Recollections”) (2:32) is deeply immersed in a nostalgic melancholy, magnificently transposed to the strings with beauty and sensitiveness. The bittersweet mellowness of “Minas Gerais” (1:52) pays homage to the pastoral landscapes of Rodrigues’ native land. The aristocratic chords of “A Última Sinfonia” (“The Last Symphony”) (1:39) bring to mind the images of Medieval castles and royal halls, illuminated by the sparkling candle lights; while the final track, “Lamentos” (“Laments”) (2:31), dissolves every memory in a pool of nostalgia, sadness, and relaxing tunes. Ralfe Rodrigues’ “Século XVII” is a highly academic work in the field of Classic Acoustic Guitar that will be greatly appreciated by fans of “Bach”, “Fernando Sor”, “Antonio Lauro”, “Francisco Tárrega”, “Andrés Segovia”, “Paco de Lucía”, “Al Di Meola”, “Yamandu Costa”; while, in the Progressive sphere, it will be a disputed item among fans of “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Steve Howe”, “Gordon Giltrap”, “John Renbourn”, “Ritchie Blackmore”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Ralfe Rodrigues are: Ralfe Rodrigues – Acoustic Guitar, Compositions. Recorded in November 2002 at Estúdio Sintonia, Sabará, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Production, composition and arrangement by Ralfe Rodrigues; Engineered by Beto Salomão; Artwork by Emmerson Gonçalves. Also you must visit Ralfe Rodrigues's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017................Interested to know more about this Brazilian Musician? You must visit RALFE RODRIGUES HOME PAGE...
. YURT - "Yurt III - Molluskkepokk"
YURT is an Experimental Space-Psychedelic Progressive Rock trio based in Dublin, Ireland. Boz Mugabe (bass, vocals, electronics), Steven Anderson (guitar, vocals, electronics) and Andrew Bushe (drums, percussion) – a.k.a. “the sonic elders of YURT” – gathered together at the dusk of 2006 with criteria of conducting experiments in the broader field of brain-melting experimental noisy Progressive Rock. Since then, YURT released two self-produced albums: “Ege Artemis Yurtum” (2009) and “Archipelagog” (2011). Their third album – “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” – was released on May, 28, 2016, on both physical and digital formats (available via Bandcamp). The CD is offered in a beautiful green digipack cover that features the lyrics and really freaking-out artwork. Warning: the album may contain conceptual proteins! “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” contains six tracks – and some of the most unconventional music ever heard around our solar system! YURT blends together a number of discrepant styles – mostly Experimental Metal, Psychedelic Progressive Rock, Sludge Metal, and Space Rock – delivering their impious sonic attack armed with granite-heavy bass, anti-gravitational Metal guitars and pro-gravitational drums that float together amidst fuzzy interferences and noisy frequencies inside a gigantic bubble-sounding Space-Rock ambience. The vocals are a weird hybridization of proto-Punk shouts with ritualistic alien chanting, which promise to be most effective in stablishing contact with an extraterrestrial life-form than the entire S.E.T.I. experiment! Being most of the time heavy, aggressive, distorted, and driven by the metallic reverberation of a resounding hypnotic bass, the sound of YURT recalled me of a number of bands such as “Tool”, “Blind Illusion”, “Iron Maiden”, “Blotted Science”, “Outopsya”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, “Animals As Leaders”, “Primus”; but with a Space-Rock component that links it to bands like “Hawkwind”, “Ash Ra Tempel”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Orange Goblin”, and “The Flaming Lips”. “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” opens up with “A Lesion In The Chrysalis” (3:43) – a cosmic bubbling-sounding intro for “Parasitic Cabal” (12:18) – an epic song on which a metallic-sounding bass and Stoner riffs are propelled by Space-Rock drives, in a kind of “Tool” meets “Hawkwind” in an extraterrestrial party! Vocals are like an interplanetary anthem to invocate “Cthulhu”! The space-rocking guitar solos rise up and down throughout the song, while keyboards instill it with a heroic feeling! Two tracks – namely, “Sjambok” (5:05) and “Unknown Component” (9:09) – are mostly Metal-influenced pieces that follow a Stoner-Sludge trend, featuring Prog-oriented twists and turns and resembling a mix of bands like “Blind Illusion”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, and “Primus”. “Sjambok” is weird, sludge, distorted, hallucinogenic, and totally instrumental; “Unknown …,” with a minimum of vocals, has long instrumental sequences dominated by odd-metrical beats, lysergic atmospheres, and speed-of-light accelerated Experimental Metal parts. But YURT brakes the space-time barrier on “Ruptured By The Shrapnel” (16:22) and on “Testament Zero” (11:23). Both are Space-Rock/Metal hybrids that come with the energy of a massive black-hole to swallow the listener up! On them, the bass is more relaxed, albeit still heavy, jammed together with primitive tribal drums to form long Space-Rock chains that have the typical signature of “Hawkwind”. They are also underlined with YURT’s idiosyncratic singing style; and bathed in noisy frequencies caused by the friction of solar particles on Earth’s magnetic field! “Ruptured …” has an incomprehensible transmutation of “Iron Maiden’s” galloping bass to “Hawkwind’s” stoned-bass derivatives on the first part, backed up by groovy guitars and unhuman outer-space alien vocals! The middle part is mostly a Space-Rock instrumental tour-de-force; and the last third has an eccentric guitar riff never heard around our galaxy before! And “Testament Zero” – the closing track of this uncanny album – is a ritualistic Space-Rock covered with a metallic luster and infused with oriental modes reminiscent of Krautrock. The instrumentation is powerful, and drives this song through an ascending path, getting faster and faster, until being reduced to humming sound that disappears inside the nearest cosmic worm-hole – probably to plague upon another universe! In sum, the sound of YURT upholds a rare and exciting blend of Space-Rock and Metal trends that is capable of waking up the parasitic alien that inhabits inside your mind! “YURT III - Molluskkepokk” is highly recommendable for fans of “Hawkwind”, “Ozric Tentacles”, “Blind Illusion”, “Tool”, “Blotted Science”, “Behold … The Arctopus”, “WatchTower”, “Spastic Ink”, “Primus”, “Orange Goblin”, “The Flaming Lips”, “Outopsya”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in YURT are: Steven Anderson – Guitar, Vocals, Electronics; Boz Mugabe – Bass, Vocals, Electronics, Artwork; Andrew Bushe – Drums, Percussion. Recorded & Mixed July 2014 - November 2015 by Tommy O’Sullivan at Silverline Studios and Deep In The Woods; Mastered by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks; All noise, text and visuals by the sonic elders of YURT. Also you must visit YURT's BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.....................................Want to learn everything about the musician and his fantastic band, visit YURT HOME PAGE...
. FRENCH TV - "This is What We Do"
And here I am again; reviewing another fantastic work of the amazing band French TV. The present album, entitled “This Is What We Do" (2005, Pretentious Dinosaur Records), is the 9th record of French TV’s long and prolific musical career. Guided once more by bassist Mike Sary, the incredible core musicians Chris Smith (guitars, violin, exotic strings), Warren Dale (keyboards, winds, reeds, mallets) and Jeff Gard (drums) join forces with old friends Paolo Botta (keyboards), Pam Thompson (trombone) and Steven Dale (trumpet) with the only intention of transmuting Music into Art. And, really, this is what they do (hence the album’s title), as if it was possible to transpose immaterial sound to the physical world in the form of surreal sculptures (as they pretend on the funny album-cover). Listening to French TV’s previous albums, it was evident that the band was looking for the point of equilibrium between Jazz/Fusion and R.I.O./Avant-garde Progressive. On “This is What We Do", they finally spotted that precise point, therefore reaching the apex of a distinctive style that they had been depurating for so long. Stretching to the infinite their own “Jazz-Fusion-Lego-Progressive" style, they employed their musical bricks to build a solid fortress of sound, the foundations of which are deeply rooted into almost three decades of experimentation, pumping creativity and originality into extant Music. Using a kind of “cerebral-tempestuous-hyperbolic-harmonization" methodology, French TV reaches the impossible by merging a gargantuan plethora of sounds. The result is heard along the five instrumental tracks of “This Is What We Do". Each piece is a potpourri of rhythms and melodies that aligns French TV with the best moments of any other Jazz-Rock, Fusion or Prog icon, namely “National Health", “Soft Machine", “Weather Report", “Mahavishnu Orchestra", “Bruford", “Allan Holdsworth", "Zappa", “Henry Cow", “Gentle Giant", “Van Der Graaf Generator", “King Crimson", “Yes“, “UK", “Refugee", “The Dixie Dregs", “Return to Forever" or “The Flower Kings". The opening track - “Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously"– features Jazz-Rock guitars, trumpet solos and many up-and-down keyboards progressions, being lavishly adorned with melodies that bounce out from the record direct to the listener’s lap. Also “Ska Face" is lively, humorous and frantic - almost a blend of “Zappa", “Gentle Giant" and “The Dixie Dregs" – featuring eloquent dialogues between the trombone of Pam Thompson and the trumpet of Steven Dale. “My Little Cicada" is based on somber bass lines that brings something of a terror-movie atmosphere, mainly because of the “insect" sounds that are created by keyboardist Paolo Botta; and the ET voice at the end. “Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears!" is frenetic and funny, having many sessions of keyboards, acoustic guitars and a kind of “Gentle Giant" percussive base. The closing track - “Theme From ESPN X-Treme Cobalt Blue 4"X4" Bathroom Tile Installation Games"– even being part of an already excellent album, attracts all spotlights to it. Lead by the spine-chilling bass of Mike Sary and the precise drumming of Jeff Gard, this track goes through 13 minutes of dazzling changes of pace and instrumental outbursts of pure geniality, specially when the tempestuous Jazz-Fusion guitars of Chris Smith clash against the effusive Prog-keyboards of Warren Dale amid myriads of violins and saxophones. French TV‘s “This Is What We Do" is definitely their most brilliant work so far – a real masterpiece, and an indispensable item for any Jazz-Fusion or Progressive fan.  Band members and collaborators involved in French TV are: Mike Sary – bass, scary cicada voice, regrets; Chris Smith – guitars, violin, exotic strings, anguish; Warren Dale – keyboards, winds, reeds, mallets, suffering; Jeff Gard – drums, outbursts, crushed hopes. Guest musicians: Paolo Botta – all keyboards on "…Cicada"; Pam Thompson – trombone on “Ska Face"; Steven Dale – trumpet on “Ska Face" and “Colorless"... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.............................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit FRENCH TV HOME PAGE...
. GOD INC. - "Minstrel’s Tale"
God Inc. is a Rock project from Montreal, Canada, which is influenced by Progressive Rock with a mainstream direction. The line-up features A-J Charron (vocals, guitars), Sylvie St-Amand (vocals, keyboards), Jean-Marc Bruyère (bass), and Gordon Howard (drums). God Inc. debuted with the full-length album entitled “Minstrel’s Tale” (2015, Artic Records). God Inc. is fronted by A-J Charron – a web-columnist, guitarist, and composer from Montreal, who has a penchant for Progressive Rock. His solo album, entitled “Humouring Gods” (2012, Azimuth Records), was featured at PR&PM in 2013. “Humouring Gods” featured instrumental music with an impressionist vein and an ample emotional approach, arranged in a simple orchestral pattern that blended the Medieval and Renaissance styles of music with futuristic New-Age/Progressive electronic textures. God Inc.’s album “Minstrel’s Tale” follows the same line, unless it is plentiful in vocals parts (both male and female, and in duos); driven by a rhythmic section composed of slow and deep lines of bass and atmospheric martial drumming; being also adorned with harmonic keyboards. The songs, although long, are slow and driven by melancholic vocal tunes, reviving the sadness of the ancient medieval times and evoking images of grey skies. The arrangements and melodies are simple and, although I am sure that the band has made its best, the quality of the recording is low, as the music is not as opulent and resounding as one would expect nowadays. But the booklet that comes inside the physical CD contains nice artwork and lyrics. The music of God Inc. features diluted influences or bands such as: “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Mike Oldfield”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Solstice”, “The Enid”, “Willowglass”, “Pink Floyd”, “Eloy”, and others on the same line. “Minstrel’s Tale” is a concept album that has been divided in one “Prologue” and three “Chapters”. The album starts with “Prologue: The Condensed Story”, which is composed from the single song “Prologue/The Final Stand (including The Distant Light)” (9:10) – this one is a Medieval Prog that sets the right atmosphere for the rest of the record, for it unrolls slowly, revealing delicate tunes and bittersweet harmony vocals that anticipate the next chapters of the story. “Chapter 1: Honourable Soldiers” is composed of the piano-ballad “Helen” (4:19) and the somber “Battlefield (including The Journey)” (8:26) – both having sorrowful vocals and nice medieval tunes on keyboards; with “Battlefield …” also presenting some Neo-Prog guitar harmonies. “Chapter 2: The Lovers” starts with the Cosmic ambience of “Gone Forever” (2:26) and delves into the adventurous theme of “Minstrel’s Tale” (7:20), finishing with minimalist piano lines that introduce the claustrophobic “Shelter Me From The Storm” (4:27), which resembles the early Space-Rock music of “Pink Floyd” on bass and drums, having compatible fuzzy guitars. This “Chapter 2” continues with the darkened “The Tolling Bell” (7:15) – which is more vigorous, martial and dramatic than the previous songs; and finishes on the instrumental folk-acoustic “A Sonata for Annabella” (2:57). Finally, “Chapter 3: Yearning for Home” is the main piece of the album, being composed of: “Walking Home” (1:33) – which reminded me of the ballads of “Greg Lake” and “John Wetton”; the long “Euphoria” (15:50) – which alternates soaring moments (driven by eerie female vocals and celestial vocal harmonies) with vigorous moments (driven by male vocals and guitars), being mended by a patchwork of instrumental parts and a long guitar solo; and “Onward” (2:01) – an instrumental coda. Although the quality of the record mixing is not satisfactory, I think that God Inc.’s album “Minstrel’s Tale” might be appreciated by fans of Medieval-oriented Prog-songs, as played by “Genesis”, “Steve Hackett”, “Anthony Phillips”, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer”, “Jethro Tull”, “Pendragon”, “Landmarq”, “Solstice”, “The Enid”, “Willowglass”, “Pink Floyd”, and “Eloy”, to whom God Inc. is specially recommended. Band members and collaborators involved in God Inc. are: A-J Charron – Guitars, Vocals; Sylvie St-Amande – Keyboards, Vocals; Jean-Marc Bruyère – Bass; Gordon Howard – Drums and Percussion. All songs written by A-J Charron. Recorded at Jack In The Back Studio, Montreal, QC, Canada; Produced & Mixed by God Inc.; Mastered by Glen Robinson at Studio Multisons, Montreal, QC, Canada. Artwork by Julia. Also you must visit God Inc.'s BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017..........................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit GOD INC. HOME PAGE...
. LEON MUHUDINOV - "Tasty Guitar Treats"
Leon Muhudinov is a guitarist and composer based in the New Jersey/NYC area. His musical repertoire is stylistically eclectic, including Romantic Classical Guitar, World Music, New Age, Ethnic Fusion, Psychedelic, Progressive, and musical scores for films and TV. Muhudinov’s versatility has led him to collaborate in many studio recordings. He is an active advocate for humanitarian causes, and helps to bring people’s attention to issues like animal rights and environmental problems. Leon Muhudinov is also a passionate guitar teacher, and keeps a busy schedule in Bergen County, NJ. Since 2003, Muhudinov has been an active performer, also venturing on a solo career. His musical themes are inspired on eccentric, idiosyncratic characters and ideologies, mysticism, enlightening discoveries, the struggle to tread on difficult paths, and living in harmony with nature. Muhudinov’s first independent album was titled “Tasty Guitar Treats” (2003), on which he played alone. He later formed Adventures of Leonid, an instrumental group with a non-fixed line-up. They released one album, “Adventures of Leonid” (2005, Mad Hands Records), which featured “Mad Mike Cullens” (drummer of “Chuck Berry”, “Mick Taylor”), and music combining elements of Rock, Classical, Funk, Surf Rock, and Eastern melodies. In 2011, Muhudinov composed a segment for the series “Project Oliver”, directed by “Andy Cockrum”, which intended to raise funds for building a sanctuary for apes rescued from laboratory testing. He also was selected by “Roger Taylor” (“Queen”) as a semi-finalist for the “Extravaganza Tour”. Muhudinov and Adventures of Leonid recorded a cover of the song “I’m the One”, that was included on the “Van Halen” Tribute album, “Take Your Whiskey Home: A Millennium Tribute to Van Halen 1977-1984” (2012, Versailles Records). This CD also featured Rockers “Jeff Scott Soto”, “Vinnie Appice”, “Jake E. Lee”, “Jimmy Crespo”, and “Rowan Robertson”. Muhudinov also released three digital singles: “Romance Anonimo” (2011), “Debussy: Suite Bergamasque L75: III, Clair De Lune” (2013), and “America the Beautiful” (2013). He is currently working in the “Combo Combo” duo, and has performed on “Guitar Wizards” (2015, Versailles) – a compilation featuring members of “Aerosmith”, “Whitesnake”, and “Guns N' Roses”. Muhudinov’s album on focus here is the physical version of his solo CD, “Tasty Guitar Treats” (2003). On this record, Leon Muhudinov is the sole performer, playing the acoustic and electric guitars, and a few passages of bass and percussion. Muhudinov is a really talented and accomplished guitarist. His technique is clean and precise, and he feels comfortable playing scholar-styled, classical acoustic music and modern, electrified jazz-pop pieces alike. The key words to define his style may be: eclecticism, elegancy, softness, and sensitiveness. And, although Muhudinov always delivers his music accompanied by a gentle, soothing, and relaxing mood, he is also able to cloak his strings with an aura of mystery and seduction. “Tasty Guitar Treats” has nine instrumental tracks. The first five belong to an assorted repertoire that includes two Romantic Classical pieces and three versions of famous Ragtime, Rock, and Jazz standards. The last four tracks are original compositions written by Muhudinov. The album starts with “Natalia Vals Venezolano No. 3” (2:40) – a magnificent and heartfelt rendition of “Antonio Lauro’s” piece; later followed by a jovial and spirited version of “Cajita de Musica” (2:05), by “Francisco Tárrega”. Those pieces are executed by Muhudinov with skill and mastery. In between them, he performs a calm and sensitive version of “Eleanor Rigby” (3:10), by “The Beatles”, mixing acoustic sounds of strings with crystal-clean notes that come from his electric guitar. Additional lines of electric guitar are employed in combination with bass and percussion on a vivid version of “Caravan” (3:01), by “Duke Ellington & Juan Tizol”. Finally comes “The Entertainer” (2:00), a Ragtime classic composed for piano by “Scott Joplin”, and re-arranged for acoustic guitar by “Chet Atkins”. On Muhudinov’s hands, this piece retains all the joyful and provincial mood of an innocent Musical Era. “Floating Funk” (3:41) is the first of Muhudinov’s compositions to appear on the CD. “Floating …” swings to the funky sound of electrified guitars, bass, and drums; but the last three tracks are performed only on the acoustic guitar, and invite the listener to enter a world of soft chords, gentle plucking, and introspective feelings, that converge to create a kind of inspiring music. If the Classical “The Color of Travel” (2:23) elevates the soul with its scholar style, it is “Nostalgia Waltz” (4:43) that brings peace of mind with its romantic, nostalgic mood. And the long-lasting “Life” (11:11) – only available on the physical CD – is a true masterpiece: a nuanced and transcendental piece that reverberates against a New-Age background, instilled with a profoundly spiritual nature. This beautiful album by Leon Muhudinov is a rewarding surprise in the Instrumental Music scene, and I shall strongly recommend it for fans of Acoustic Guitar, as played by “Gordon Giltrap”, “Steve Hackett”, “Steve Howe”, “Ritchie Blackmore”, “Al Di Meola”, “Paco de Lucía”, “Yamandu Costa”, “The Ventures”, “California Guitar Trio”, “Sam Coulson”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Leon Muhudinov are: Leon Muhudinov – Guitars, Arrangements, Compositions; except: “Natalia” (“Antonio Lauro”); “Cajita de Musica” (“Francisco Tárrega”); “Eleanor Rigby” (“John Lennon & Paul McCartney”); “Caravan” (“Duke Ellington & Juan Tizol”); “The Entertainer” (“Scott Joplin”, arranged by “Chet Atkins”). Produced by L. Muhudinov & Harry Liang. Recorded by H. Liang at Tera Studios, Paramus, NJ; Mixed & Mastered by Tony Van Hoorn at Granite Alps Studios, Wayne, NJ (except “Eleanor …”, Mixed & Mastered by J. Liang)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017............................................,.....Interested to know more about the Musician? Visit LEON MUHUDINOV HOME PAGE...
. ABRAHAM SARACHE - "The Gardener"
Abraham Sarache is an Amsterdam-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who experiments with unique folk instruments and different music genres. Since 2007 he has been introducing the Venezuelan Cuatro and the Ukulele in the Alternative Progressive Rock & Metal scene. Abraham Sarache began to play the electric guitar at the age of 15. After taking part in many bands, he felt himself experienced enough to open a new alternative path in Progressive Music. By employing modern electronic devices, such as the Electro Harmonix POG2 pedal, Sarache was able to create sad and gloomy melodies with his Cuatro and with the Ukulele, and profit from the unique tuning of those instruments. In that way, Sarache could go beyond the Folk and Pop music, infiltrating the sonorities of those instruments into the dark and melancholic atmospheres of the Dark-Progressive and Prog-Metal styles. His effort and inventiveness have already paid off: Abraham Sarache was awarded a first place on Mel de Galicia's “Melómanos” music contest (2013) and a “Best Alternative Hard Rock Song” by The Akademia Music Awards (May 2015), besides having a publication of his course, “Modernizing the Cuatro” (2015), on the internet site www.en.tucuatro.com. Sarache’s own brand of “Venezuelan Cuatro & Ukulele-oriented Progressive Rock and Metal” was registered on his debut album, entitled “The Gardener”, which was released in a Digipack Special Edition on February 29, 2016, via independent label TuCuatro. Besides Abraham Sarache (vocals, cuatro, ukulele), the record also features Tristan Turner (vocals, bass) and Garri Snowman (drums). The music of Abraham Sarache consists in an original formula that combines Progressive Rock, Prog-Metal, and a dash of Grunge, underlined with the innovative sounds of the Venezuelan Cuatro and of the Ukulele. His influences come mainly from “Porcupine Tree”, “Deftones”, “Alice In Chains”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Rammstein”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “No Use For A Name”, and “The Ataris”. “The Gardener” is a concept album based on the fact that, in any interpersonal relationship, the agents involved may adopt either an active, or a passive role (referred as “The Gardener” and “The Flower”, respectively). All people have already identified themselves either as one, or the other, depending on the situation experienced on a certain time of their lives. “The Gardener” discusses the concept on 9 songs that simulate the emotional phases of a stressful relationship; so covering a wide range of moods – passionate, angry and even hopeful, to sad, introspective and profoundly melancholic. This complex palette of emotions is conveyed on the vocals, which are expressed in various registers, ranging from soft and melodic to whispered or raspy. Synthesizers and pads have been used to create an electronic texture. Few solos have been made with an electric guitar, but the low-tuned acoustic guitars and Cuatro have been used massively, contributing for the birth of a quite unique electro-acoustic sonority that is different from any other known band. The multicultural nature of the acoustic instrumentation of this record, coupled to the dynamic and vigorous rhythmic base that is common in Modern Progressive Rock, has kept the songs bounded in a haunting and gloomy atmosphere that impresses and intrigues the listener. The new sound of Abraham Sarache will promptly attract listeners who are used to the sounds of the Grunge Era, magnetically gluing them to the rocking force of songs like: “The Crush: Eyes of Fire” (4:16); “First Round: Anymore” (4:36); “Unwrap the Masks: Reflections” (4:01); and “Acceptance: Escapism” (4:13). The first two are fuzzy, energetic and impacting, recalling “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “Alice In Chains”, and “Stone Temple Pilots”. “Unwrap …” and “Acceptance …” are darker, gloomier, and more dramatic, delivered with a devious groove and malignant vocals that reveal a stronger influence of “Alice In Chains”. The deep bass notes that Sarache extracts from his strings on all of those pieces are just awesome! Equally awesome is the oneiric atmosphere that Sarache creates on “The Hunt: Always With You” (4:50), by plucking the strings quickly. By adding snapping electronic noises and keeping his voice as a whisper, he slowly heads towards a final Grunge-Metal explosion that really surprises the listener! And on “Hope: Expect the Worst” (4:49) – a sad ballad that recalled me of “Pearl Jam” – one will find the last echoes of the Grunge movement. On the other hand, fans of Dark-Prog and Metal in the style of “Porcupine Tree”, “A Perfect Circle”, and “Tool”, will plunge into the depressive anguish and smothering psychedelic clouds of “Silence: A Sacred Place” (5:34) and “Sweetness & Honesty: Confession” (7:01) – the most outstanding tracks of the album: the first is haunted by ghostly backing vocals; the other is a “complete guide” for Spanish-Andalusian-Gipsy guitars, being both crowned with the only two electric guitar solos of the album, in lysergic-Metal style! Finally, the listener will be imprisoned inside “Closure: Fear is a World for Fools” (4:24) – the hypnotic final track! With specific use of the Venezuelan Cuatro and Ukulele, Abraham Sarache has made an original, instigating, and very distinctive first album. The Gardener” is highly recommendable for fans of Dark & Heavy-Prog, Prog-Metal, Grunge, “Porcupine Tree”, “Deftones”, “Alice In Chains”, “A Perfect Circle”, “Tool”, “Rammstein”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “Stone Temple Pilots”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Abraham Sarache are: Abraham Sarache - Vocals & Venezuelan Cuatro, Ukulele; Tristan Turner - Vocals & Bass; Garri Snowman - Drums. All Songs Written, Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Abraham Sarache. Photos by A. Sarache & Jennifer Grube; Cover Artwork by Iago Domínguez. Also you must visit Abraham Sarache's SoundCloud Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017..........Would like to know more about this musician and his history, please visit ABRAHAM SARACHE HOME PAGE...
. THE TILT ROOM - "Nostalgic Future"
The Tilt Room is an Indie Acoustic Alternative Rock trio based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The present line-up features Mike Swindell (guitars, vocals), Justin Hackett (drums, percussion), and Anthony Pandolph (bass). The Tilt Room plays regularly around Pittsburgh, and has already toured the State of New York, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island; and parts of New Jersey. The Tilt Room was originally formed in 2003 under the name Bacchus. The band consisted only of Mike Swindell and Matt Dacierno, who performed as an acoustic duo for years, until they realized that their songs would improve if they had a drummer. In 2014, they choose Justin Hackett for the task. In 2011, under the new moniker of The Tilt Room, the trio released the first full-length album, entitled “Confront Your World”. But in 2015 the band was hit by Dacierno’s death. Nevertheless, Swindell and Hackett decided to go on with the band, to keep Dacierno’s musical legacy alive. So, bassist Anthony Pandolph was admitted in The Tilt Room, and the band finally completed their second independent album, “Nostalgic Future”. “Nostalgic Future” was released on May 20th, 2016, and comes in a Digipack edition containing 11 songs. The music of The Tilt Room is a kind of Electro-Acoustic mix of Indie Rock, Classic Rock and Folk delivered with vigor and tied together by clever songwriting. Their intricate sound is founded on an aggressive approach to the acoustic guitar, not present on other acoustic groups; a free-flowing, energetic, and very integrated rhythmic section; and Mike Swindell’s melodic vocals, which are very emotional and have a surprising high-pitched inflection. Among the dozens of influences cited by the band, the ones that I regarded as having some resemblance with The Tilt Room’s electro-acoustic format are: “Radiohead”, “Beirut”, “Elliott Smith”, “Daniel Johnston” (on the melodicism and emotion of the vocals); “Bright Eyes”, “Kaki King”, “The Decemberists”; Indie Rock icons “Green Day”, “Eddie Vedder”, “Smashing Pumpkins”, “NIN” (when playing in unplugged mode); “The Strokes”, “Modest Mouse”, “The Black Keys”, “Peter Bjorn and John” (on rhythmic drives); “The Beatles”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Shins”, “Rolling Stones” (limited to the their acoustic side); and “Led Zeppelin” and “Grand Funk” (on the Folk/Blues songs). According to the band, the lyrics in “Nostalgic Future” depict the beauty of Western Pennsylvania and reflect the haunting and gritty past of that industrial city, capturing life in a changing American landscape. Although not being a true Progressive Rock act, I found the sound of The Tilt Room to be vibrant, emotional, and consistent enough to make a good figure around the modern “Indie Folk-Rock” scene, especially if they do play groovy, sticky, and straightforward songs like “The Crutch” (2:06); “Five Boroughs” (4:08); “Wishful Thinking” (4:58); “Ceremony to the Faithless” (4:22); and “Define Yourself” (4:59) – all driven by frantic strikes on the acoustic guitars that are straightly intertwined to groovy bass, contagious drums, and tuneful Indie-Rock vocals, loaded with soulful emotion. Traditionalists will prefer the folk and tuneful “On the Edge of Time” (4:20); or “Same Old Same New” (5:16), which cradles a mild “Led Zeppelin” swing. My favorites are: “Nostalgic Future” (5:58) – the title track that combines tribal drumming with swinging driving bass, and traditional folk guitars to give support to a beautiful solo of violin (performed by Laura Simna, recalling the style of “The Decemberists”); and “You Stand for Something” (6:49) – driven on a slow pace that makes it sound like a primordial Blues song. I also liked the vibrating energy emanating from “Autonomous” (4:49) – in special for its rocking great drumming; and its modern follower, “Near Life Experience” (5:26), which closes the album with the same uplifting spirit of the beginning. If you want to listen to a different and fresh Indie band that has a unique acoustic signature, which is absent from most of the other independent bands, I suggest that you try The Tilt Room and their new album, “Nostalgic Future” – an interesting work, specially recommended for fans of “Radiohead”, “Beirut”, “Elliott Smith”, “Daniel Johnston”, “Bright Eyes”, “Kaki King”, “The Decemberists”; unplugged “Green Day”, “Eddie Vedder”, “Smashing Pumpkins”, and “NIN”; rhythmic “The Strokes”, “Modest Mouse”, “The Black Keys”, “Peter Bjorn and John”; and mostly acoustic “The Beatles”, “Fleetwood Mac”, “The Shins”, “Rolling Stones”, and “Led Zeppelin”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Tilt Room are: Mike Swindell – Vocals, Guitar, Lyrics; Justin Hackett – Drums, Percussion; Anthony Pandolph – Bass. Additional Musician: Laura Simna – Violin on “Nostalgic Future”. Recorded & Engineered by Greg Davis at Gallagher Studios (California University of Pennsylvania); Violin Recorded & Engineered by Jim Stewart at Jim Stewart Recording. Mixed by Jim Stewart at Jim Stewart Recording; Mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio. Cover by Michael Vincent Manalo; Layout Design by Dan Rugh. Also you must visit The Tilt Room's Facebook Site and BandCamp Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017...................................,..........For more details and in the meantime please check out THE TILT ROOM HOME PAGE...
. THE LIVESAYS - "Hold On … Life Is Calling"
The Livesays are an American Rock/Pop quartet with a Bluesy edge. Originally from Hialeah, Florida, the band is presently based in Miami (Ft Laud, West Palm Beach). The line-up has Billy Livesay (guitar, lead vocals), Jorge Laplume (bass), Eddie Zyne (drums), and Victor "Cuqui" Berrios (Hammond B3 organ, vocals). The Livesays are fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Livesay, who spent 12 years performing, recording and touring with “E-Streeter Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons” on his band “Temple of Soul”, with whom Livesay recorded and released the albums “Live in Asbury Park – Vols I & II” (the second one featured “Bruce Springsteen”). Livesay has also shared the stage with “Mickey Thomas” (“Jefferson Starship”), “Gerry Beckley” (“America”), “Jimi Jamison” (“Survivor”), “Steve Augeri” (“Journey”), “Mike Reno” (“Loverboy”), “Wally Palmer”, “Davey Jones” (“The Monkees”), “Willie Nile”, “Coz Canler & Dave Petratos” (“The Romantics”), “David Jenkins” (“Pablo Cruise”), “Brian Howe” (“Bad Company”), “Nicko McBrain” (“Iron Maiden”), “Wayne Nelson” (“Little River Band”), “Phil Kenzie” (“Al Stewart”, “Rod Stewart”, “Eagles”), “David Pack” (“Ambrosia”), “Kelly Keagy & Jack Baldes” (“Night Ranger”), “Eddie Money” and more. Livesay is a regular performer on the South Florida music scene with his band “Slyder” (a favorite at the Button South and Sunrise Musical Theatre). Livesay’s songs have been placed in television shows and movies (his song "Little Bit of Hurt" appeared in "Promised Land", starring “Matt Damon”). He is also the lead singing guitarist for “Tony Stevens' Slow Ride” (original “Foghat”) who tours internationally, most recently in Canada and California. Eddie Zyne plays drums since 1974, and has toured and/or recorded with “Todd Rundgren”, “Desmond Child”, “Monkees”, “The Grass Roots”, “Gary Puckett”, “Lonesome Dave Peverett” in “Foghat”, “Tom Dowd”, “Rick Derringer”, and “Brian Howe” of “Bad Company”. Zyne’s been with The Livesays since 1998, and also plays drums in “Slow Ride”. Bassist Jorge Laplume hails from Havana, Cuba; and his bass sounds both funky and thunderous. Laplume also plays on “Slyder” with Livesay. Victor "Cuqui" Berrios grew up in New York, and adds a flavor of the Big Apple to the band with his Hammond B3 and vocals. The chemistry shared by the quartet on stage creates an energetic and dynamic live performance. The Livesays have released the albums “Rose Colored Glasses” (2011) and “Faith, Hope & Love” (2014); both on Echo XS Records Label. The Livesay’s most recent release is the album “Hold On... Life Is Calling” (Oct. 2016, Echo XS). It contains 13 short songs, in Americana, Blues Rock, Country & Southern Rock, and Classic Pop-Rock styles, with influences of “Bruce Springsteen”, “John Mellancamp”, “Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “Rod Stewart”, “Tom Petty”, “Bob Seger”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “John and Edgar Winter”, “Foghat”, “The Who”, “Free”, “The Traveling Wilburys”, etc. The lyrics are moving, telling stories about search for love in teenage and adult ages and other sentimental and nostalgic issues. The music is composed of memorable tunes inserted in accessible Rock-Pop arrangements, presents wailing guitars and bluesy organ in combination with a solid Classic Rock-styled rhythmic section. The vocals deliver emotion and most choruses stick to the listener’s mind. My favorite songs are those closer to the Classic Rock style, with a blues feeling instilled within, such as the opening track “I'm Coming Home” (4:55); the Southern Rock “Angels of the New Millennium” (3:45); and the Blues-Rock “I'd Change Everything” (5:13). Also standing among my favorites are the energized Rock “I've Heard the Truth Before” (4:29); and the Electro-Acoustic Blues, “This Side of Town” (4:41) – driven by a contagious groove and a bouncing piano, being finished with a never-ending guitar solo. The Rock-Ballads are represented by the romantic “No Promises” (4:46) and “It's What I Have To Do” (4:11); and by the hit “Libertine” (4:02), a sad ballad that irradiates a nostalgic mood from the piano and guitars, being embellished by short guitar solos and lovely harmony vocals. A number of songs are vibrant Pop-Rocks that deliver passionate instrumental performances combined to powerful sticky choruses (recalling “Bruce Springsteen” and “Rod Stewart”), being aimed for the great arenas: “Pop Star” (3:52) is heated by a great guitar solo; “Pick Yourself Up” (5:02) has lyrics inspired on true life experiences, and another great guitar solo; and “Call on Me” (4:42) turns up from sad to cheerful in a few seconds. This kind of lively mood is kept on the easy-listening Pop-Rocks, “Why You Wanna Keep On Lovin’ Me” (4:09) and “Turn It Around” (4:18) – two songs that are able to attract the largest audiences to any Rock n’ Roll party! The Livesay’s new album, “Hold On... Life Is Calling”, is really far from being a Progressive item. Nevertheless, if you like to listen to good old Rock n’ Roll in the style of “Bruce Springsteen”, “John Mellancamp”, “Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “Rod Stewart”, “Tom Petty”, “Bob Seger”, “Lynyrd Skynyrd”, “Allman Brothers”, “John and Edgar Winter”, “Foghat”, “The Who”, “Free”, “Roy Orbison”, “The Traveling Wilburys”, and others like them, this album is greatly recommendable for you! Band members and collaborators involved in The Livesays are: Billy Livesay – Guitars, Lead Vocals, Piano, Percussion; Eddie Zyne – Drums, Percussion, Cajon; Jorge Laplume – Bass; Victor ‘Cuqui’ Berrios – B3 Organ, Vocals. Additional Musicians: Timothy Murphy – Background Vocals, Piano (on “Call On Me”, “This Side of Town”, “Why You Wanna Keep On Lovin’ Me”); Luke Sipka – Piano (on “It’s What I Have to Do”); John Quinn – Piano (on “Libertine”, “I’d Change Everything”); Victoria Livesay, Erminia Laplume, Debi Berrios, Susan Zyne – Background Vocals (on “Turning It Around”). Produced by Billy Livesay; Recorded at Casa de Fufi; Mixed by Billy Livesay & Steve Gordon at The Royal Palace; Mastered by Michael Fuller at Fullersound for Echo XS Records. Also you must visit The Livesays's Facebook Site and Also you must visit The Livesays's Reverbnation Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017...................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE LIVESAYS HOME PAGE...
. OAK - "Lighthouse"
Oak is a new Art-Rock band hailing from Oslo, Norway. Oak was formed in 2013, and its present line-up consists of Simen Valldal Johannessen (vocals and keyboards), Ole Michael Bjørndal (guitars), Øystein Sootholtet (bass), and Sigbjørn Reiakvam (drums). In 2013 Oak released a digital version of their debut album, entitled “Lighthouse”. In 2016, “Lighthouse” was re-issued on physical format, on both CD and vinyl, via the Apollon Records Prog record label. Besides the aforementioned line-up, “Lighthouse” features guest appearances by Henrik Skjervum (guitars), Steinar Refsdal (saxophone) and “Airbag’s” guitar player, Bjørn Riis. The unique sound of Oak is delightfully emotional, moving and melancholic, passing on to the listener a sensation of finitude before the vastness of our surrounding world. But far from being minimalist, Oak’s music is rich in melodies, textures and harmonies, which are carefully and cerebrally arranged by the band to form a complex multilayered structure that, to be totally assimilated, must be continuously explored and experienced by the listener. The instrumentation features delicate guitars, mild-mannered bass and drums, and a dreamy piano with modern classic style, all being supported by synths and immersed in a soft electronic ambience. The electric guitar is the main solo instrument, soaring over the songs on sensitive solos. Vocals are a strong point of Oak: tuneful, melodic, and especially haunting, the leading voice of Simen V. Johannessen is perfectly harmonized on the arrangements, in sequence with the instrumental parts. The harmony backing vocals and the poetical figurative lyrics are also strong points of the excellent music delivered by Oak! As a matter of comparison, Oak’s sonority is like a mix of the music of their fellows of “Gazpacho”, “Airbag”, “Ulver” (most recent works), and “A-ha” (on a sad rainy day); with elements also reminiscent of “Marillion” (“Hogarth”), “Pineapple Thief”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Sigur Rós”, “Mr. Gil”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Nosound”, “Nordagust”; and even “White Willow” and “The Gathering” (with a man’s voice, instead of a woman’s). “Lighthouse” is a solid and amazing album that contains 12 tracks. The songs are arranged in blocks, separated by short instrumental interludes. The first block starts with the angelical, synth-driven, “Prelude” (1:13), that precedes the softly rocking “Home” (5:15) – this one, a kind of British Neo-Prog instilled with Pop-Rock vibes, like a mix of an unhappy “A-ha” with “Pineapple Thief”, and with a breeze of Scandinavian Folk music blowing in. But on “Perceiving Red” (6:24), Oak begins to reveal the band’s mostly real, melancholic face, in special on the haunting vocal melodies – which transmute sadness into a form of Art, and Art into a form of music – Oak’s music! The band then initiates a dramatic escalation on “Munich” (4:32), by combining soaring pianos, guitars, and deep vocals with a heavy Electronic base, conveyed on a powerful Post-Metal progression, in a way that will impress fans of “Gazpacho”, “Ulver”, “Anathema”, and “The Gathering”! The climax of the first block of songs happens on “Stars Under Water” (5:22) – and awesome piece, delivered with ghostly vocals, icy piano, and solitary keyboards that create a somber atmosphere, causing a creepy sensation that recalled me of some songs of “Gazpacho”. The second block of songs is enveloped in the religious aura of “Interlude I” (1:17), which transmits a profound sentiment of introspectiveness to the songs “The Sea” (8:36) and “Fire, Walk With Me!” (6:20). “The Sea” drowns in a pool of sadness, cradled by the sound of sea waves – the stillness of the echoing backing vocals and the primeval flute-like sounds (which recalled me of “White Willow”) being disrupted by a Gothic-Psychedelic instrumental sequence that grows to the cathartic end (like “Porcupine Tree”)! And “Fire, Walk With Me!” makes the “Sea” water to evaporate, forming clouds of emotional vocals, eerie instrumentation, and brilliant soaring guitar solo (by Bjørn Riis, of “Airbag”!). Finally, the songs of the third block have a different musical orientation, experimenting with various stylistic lines. Starting with the relaxing astral sound of “Interlude II” (0:56), Oak delivers a sensitive ballad; “Where Did The Summer Go” (3:12) – with nice bass, piano, and some celestial backing choirs that recalled me of “Sigur Rós”. Then the band presents the title-track, “Lighthouse” (4:47), which is influenced by 80’s Rock and warmed up by a sax. Finally, “Postludium: Walk Of Atonement” (4:02) closes the album on a totally different path, blending New-Age and World Music, by combining Celtic Folk tunes with Middle Eastern rhythms! In sum, Oak’s “Lighthouse” is a rare album featuring highly sensitive music that will leave a deep mark in the listener’s emotional inner core, therefore being highly recommended for fans of bands like “Gazpacho”, “Airbag”, “Ulver”, “Marillion”, “Pineapple Thief”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Anathema”, “Sigur Rós”, “Mr. Gil”, “Lunatic Soul”, “Nosound”, “Nordagust”, “White Willow”, and “The Gathering”. Band members and collaborators involved in Oak are: Simen Valldal Johannessen – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Lyrics; Ole Michael Bjørndal – Guitars; Øystein Sootholtet – Bass, Guitars (on “Home”, “Perceiving Red”, “Where Did the Summer Go”, “Walk Of Atonement” + “Interludes”), Additional Guitars (on “Munich”, “The Sea”), Additional Keyboards & Programming; Sigbjørn Reiakvam – Drums, Percussion, Programming, Additional Keyboards & Additional Guitars (on “Home”). Guest Musicians: Henrik Skjervum – Guitars on “Lighthouse” & “Munich”; Steinar Refsdal – Saxophone on “Lighthouse”; Bjørn RiisAirbag”) – Lead Guitar on “Fire, Walk With Me”. All Music Written, Performed & Produced by Oak. Engineered by Øystein Sootholtet & Sigbjørn Reiakvam. Recorded at Front Row Studios, Mortensrud Church, Gjerdrum Church, Solbakkeveien Studio & Ljugekroken Studio. Mixed & Mastered by Jens Bogren with Sigbjørn Reiakvam at Fascination Street Studios. Pictures by Michaela Klouda. Design by Deformat. Also you must visit Oak's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.................................Want to learn everything about the musicians and their fantastic band, visit OAK HOME PAGE...
. TOTAL - "Total II"
Total was a legendary Power-Metal band based in Varna, Bulgaria, that was active from 1989 to 1993. Total had different musicians composing its line-up, but most notable were: Yuri Hinkov (lead vocals, who stayed in the band along its entire existence and currently works as a gold-jeweler); Zahari Karabashliev (rhythm guitar, songwriting, one of the two founding members and now a successful writer and novelist, whose novels are set in Sofia by renowned theatre directors); Lyubomir Georgiev (drums, another founding member); Konstantin Jambazov (lead guitar, now a respected musician in Bulgaria – look for his musical projects here at PR&PM); and Plamen Yovchev (keyboards, now a classical pianist and professor of music based in Varna). Total was formed in 1988 by guitarist and songwriter Zahari Karabashliev and drummer Lyubomir Georgiev with the aim of being a local “Total-Metal” band, reuniting influences of groups like: “Black Sabbath”, “Queensrÿche”, “Anthrax”, “King Diamond”, “Crimson Glory”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Metallica”, and “Megadeth”. In 1989, a permanent line-up was completed with Yuri Hinkov (vocals), Stefan Germanov (bass), and Kiril Valkov (lead guitar; ex-“Storm”/“Lucifer”). In 1990, guitarist Valkov left the group and was replaced by Konstantin Jambazov (of “Odessos”), who had already played on Varna’s legendary Thrash-Metal band “Hades”. With his refined Neo-Classical technique, Jambazov pushed Total to Progressive terrains, facilitating the coming of keyboardist Plamen Yovchev, who was then a student of classical piano at the Sofia Conservatory. Total began to raise popularity by playing live around Bulgaria. But in 1991 founding member and songwriter Karabashliev left the band, being soon followed by Plamen Yovchev and Lyubomir Georgiev. Without Karabashliev, Konstantin Jambazov decided to take the lead, reformulating Total’s line-up with Gordan Kaloyanchev (second lead guitar, ex-“Odessos”) and Georgi Radev (drums, ex-“Dynamics”). In 1992, bassist Stefan Germanov also left, and Jambazov invited Julian Kolev (ex-“Hades”/“Lucifer”/“Doctor Dolittle”) to replace him. This third formation, counting with two virtuosi guitarists, a heavy rhythm section, and a powerful singer, expanded their domains to other styles of Metal, incorporating new influences of bands like “Extreme”, “Mr.Big”, “Kings X”, “Faith No More”, “Stryper”, “Manowar”, and “Queen”. The climax was a broadcasted presentation during the “Rock-Hit 1992” – an important Rock contest held in Varna. Unfortunately, by the end of 1992, lead singer Yuri Hinkov suffered from a disease that damaged his voice permanently. Unable to find a new singer, Total disbanded in 1993, becoming a Metal legend in Bulgaria. Not at all lost, in 2014, Japanese label Orphictone became interested in the old studio recordings of Total (made in 1991 and 1992) and issued an eponymous CD, “Total”, in June 2014. In 2015, Orphictone doubled their bet, by releasing Total’s second CD, entitled “Total II”. The album contains 12 tracks, with titles in Bulgarian (translated to English on the cover); and lyrics in Bulgarian (translated to Japanese in the booklet). The selection of songs showcases a solid band that was already mixing the classic Heavy Metal and Hard-Rock styles with the new trends that were arising in the late ‘80s and early 90’s – the Speed Metal, the Neo-Classical Metal, the Melodic Power-Metal, and the Proto Prog-Metal. By making use of the foundations settled by bands like “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Van Halen”, “Vandenberg”, “Alcatrazz”, “Cacophony”, “Loudness”, “Agent Steel”, “Europe”, “Helloween”, and “Angra”, Total helped to push those new styles forwards, favored by the band’s powerful and ultra-fast rhythmic section; a pair of superb Neo-Classical guitar players; a virtuoso and bombastic keyboard player; and an extraordinary singer, owner of a high-pitched voice, comparable to names such as: “Ian Gillan”, “Rob Halford”, “Geoff Tate”, “Midnight”, and “John Cyriis”! Total’s own brand of Speed-Neo-Classical Symphonic Power-Metal is immediately perceived on most songs of this second album, namely on the Speed-Metal “Centrifuge” (4:07); on the Power-Metal “Melancholy” (4:31); on the Neo-Classical “Love” (1:30); on the Proto Prog-Metal “Regression” (5:35); and on the astonishing Power-Metal epics: “Servants Of The Servants” (7:58), “Self-Centered” (6:37), and “Time To Take Care Of Myself” (7:50). All of those songs are aggressively delivered on a dish of super-saturated symphonic arrangements containing intertwined Neo-Classical guitars, complex passages of keyboards, pounding rhythms, and wuthering vocals that, although arranged more than 20 years ago, are still capable of impressing fans of Power-Metal today!  But Total was an eclectic band, and this album offers an additional number of songs in various Metal styles. Most impressive to me are “Dreams In Chains” (3:59) – a Dark Metal ballad with very complex Neo-Classical guitar solos; “Infection” (5:04) – a Country-Jazz Metal, mixed to Thrash-Metal influences of “Megadeth”; and the instrumental “Queen’s World” (4:14), which sounds as an amazing instrumental “Queen”. For fans of Hard-Rock, happy moods, and eruptive guitars, I suggest “I Strive For You” (3:37) and “Hope” (5:48) – two excellent songs in the vein of “Van Halen”, “Mr. Big”, and “Extreme”! “Total II” is a great collection of seminal Power-Metal songs mixed to opulent Neo-Classic instrumentation and Hard Rock vibes that revives all of Total’s glorious past, consisting in an indispensable item for fans of “Yngwie Malmsteen”, “Michael Schenker”, “Van Halen”, “Vandenberg”, “Alcatrazz”, “Cacophony”, “Loudness”, “Helloween”, “Agent Steel”, “Angra”, “Rhapsody”, “Sonata Arctica”, “Derdian”, “Adagio”, “Queensrÿche”, “Crimson Glory”, “Judas Priest”, “Iron Maiden”, “Anthrax”, “Metallica”, “Megadeth”, “Extreme”, “Mr.Big”, “Kings X”, “Stryper”, “Manowar”, “Queen”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Total are: Yuri Hinkov – Vocals (1989-1993); Konstantin Jambazov – Lead Guitars (1990-1993); Gordan Kaloyanchev – Lead Guitars (1991-1993); Julian Kolev – Bass (1992-1993); Georgi Radev – Drums (1991-1993); Zahari Karabashliev – Rhythm Guitars, Lyrics, Music (1988-1991); Lyubomir Georgiev – Drums (1988-1991); Kiril Valkov – Lead Guitars (1989-1990); Stefan Germanov – Bass (1989-1992); Plamen Yovchev – Keyboards (1990-1991). Also you must visit Total's Facebook Site... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017...................................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit TOTAL HOME PAGE...
. BILLY SHERWOOD & TONY KAYE - "Live In Japan"
Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye – two luminaires of Progressive Rock – are welcomed to PR&PM! Tony Kaye is an English keyboardist and songwriter who began to learn classical piano at an early age. In the early sixties he had already embraced Rock music, by playing and releasing singles with the bands “The Federals” and “Winston's Fumbs”. After a meeting with “Chris Squire”, he became a founder member of “Yes”. Kaye released three albums with “Yes” – “Yes” (1969), “Time and a Word” (1970) and “The Yes Album” (1971) – before being replaced by “Rick Wakeman”. In 1972 Kaye formed “Flash” (with ex-“Yes” guitarist “Peter Banks”); later, he helped to found the 70’s Rock bands “Badger” and “Detective”, and later joined “Badfinger” on their album “Say No More” (1981). In the meantime, Kaye worked as a session musician and toured with “David Bowie” (1975-76). In 1983, Tony Kaye was invited to integrate “Yes” once again, just before the release of the “90125” album. He played on the 1984-85 following tour, with highlights for a show at the first “Rock in Rio Festival” in Rio de Janeiro. Kaye also took part on the albums “Big Generator” (1987), “Union” (1991); and was in the “mega-Yes” line-up featuring eight members of different phases of “Yes” that toured around the world in 1991-92. Kaye left “Yes” in 1995, after the release of “Talk” (1994). Billy Sherwood is a North American multi-instrumentalist and record producer, who in 2015 became the new bassist of “Yes” in replacement to the late “Chris Squire”. Sherwood has produced and played for many important artists of the Classic Rock and Progressive scenes. In the early ‘90s, Sherwood stablished a friendship with “Yes” members, yielding his invitation as a support musician for their “Talk” tour (1994). Sherwood also recorded/produced some of the band’s latest albums and DVDs, including “Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome” (2014) and “Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center” (2015). Sherwood released eight solo albums from 1999 to 2014. The last ones, “Divided By One” (2014) and the compilation “Collection” (2015), were reviewed at PR&PM in 2016. In the meantime, Sherwood worked on projects with his friends of “Yes”. With “Chris Squire”, he formed “Conspiracy”, which released two studio albums and one live album in 2006: “Conspiracy Live” (reviewed at PR&PM in 2013). But it was with Tony Kaye that Sherwood’s musical bonds became stronger. With Kaye (and with “Yes” drummer, “Alan White”), Sherwood formed “Circa:”, a band with many releases: “Circa:” (2007), “Circa: Live” (2009), “Circa: HQ” (2009, reviewed at PR&PM in 2013), “And So On” (2011), “Live From Here There & Everywhere” (2013), and “Valley of the Windmill” (2016). Sherwood and Kaye also joined “Bobby Kimball” (“Toto”) to form “Yoso”, which released “Elements” (2010). Another chapter of the solid partnership between Sherwood & Kaye has been recorded on the album entitled “Live In Japan” (2014, Backyard Levitation, distributed via Cherry Red Records). “Live In Japan” comes in a deluxe digipack format featuring a double CD and one DVD. Each CD contains 9 tracks, featuring a repertoire that comprises songs from both Sherwood & Kaye’s careers, including a number of “Yes” hits! The DVD has the same track list as both CDs, plus short clips of the tour, which were captured by Sherwood with his camera and later inserted between the songs. The tour happened in Japan in 2011, and included several cities. On stage, only Billy Sherwood (lead vocals and guitars) and Tony Kaye (keyboards) performed for a selected audience. The bass and drums that are heard on the background were recorded in studio by Sherwood and added later, during the album’s post-production. A few cameras recorded both musicians in action on stage, sometimes making close-ups. Sherwood is a great guitarist, as much as a he is an outstanding bassist, and imprints his own mark on all solos and vocal interpretations. Kaye pilots his Roland X7 with the easiness and experience of the veterans, in perfect unison with his friend. Both of them showcase refined elegance and technique when playing their music, which is a crossover of 80’s Progressive Rock with Sophisticated Pop reminiscent of the most accessible albums of “Yes” (e.g. “The Yes Album”, “Fragile”, “Drama”, “90125”, “Big Generator”, and “Talk”); of “Chris Squire’s” projects (“World Trade” and “Conspiracy”), and of Sherwood & Kaye’s projects “Circa:” and “Yoso”. The highlights of Disc One are the Rocking energy of the songs “Confess” and “Red Light Ahead” (both of “Conspiracy”), which are soothed down by Sherwood’s best ballads: “Together We Are” (with long solo of guitar) and “Fireworks”. A great amount of mellowness has been poured on the excellent covers of the “Yessongs” “Time and a Word” and “Your Move” (on which the “I’ve seen all good people” counterpart has been surprisingly replaced by an amazing cover of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” – featuring a bombastic performance of Kaye on synths!). The highlights of Disc Two are the opening track “I Am Waiting” (a “Yes” song reduced to a magnificent instrumental intro) and “Tony Kaye Solo”, in Classical piano style. They are followed by two other ballads by Sherwood: the cool “The Other Side” and the ironic “Man Over Bored” (with a style that recalls “John Wetton”). But fans of “Yes” will rejoice listening the duo’s interpretation of “Wondrous Stories” (as beautiful as the original), “The More We Live” and “No Way We Can Lose” (having a jammed instrumental end). Sherwood & Kaye finish their act with “Say Goodbye” (“World Trade” cover), before returning for the last round armed with an incendiary version of “Roundabout” that drives the audience to delirium! Considering the talent of the musicians involved, the importance of their historical meeting on stage, and the repertoire they have chosen to perform, Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye's “Live In Japan” is highly recommendable for fans of Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye, and lovers of 80’s to 90’s Progressive Rock, as played by “Yes”, “Anderson, Wakeman, Bruford, Howe”, “World Trade”, “Conspiracy”, “Circa:”, “Yoso”, “Asia”, “Saga”, “Toto”, “Druckfarben”, “Cairo”. Band members and collaborators involved in Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye are: Billy Sherwood – Lead Vocals and Guitars (live), Bass and Drums (studio); Tony Kaye – Keyboard (a Roland X7). Recorded & Mixed by Billy Sherwood. Video Edited by Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye. Produced by Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye. Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, CA. Photography by Naoju Nakamura. Cover Artwork and Design by Michi Sherwood. “Live In Japan” complete track-list: Disc One: 1. “Confess”; 2. “Together We Are”; 3. “Cut The Ties”; 4. “Time and a Word”; 5. “I could”; 6. “Red Light Ahead”; 7. “Fireworks”; 8. “Your Move”; 9. “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Disc Two: 1. “I Am Waiting”; 2. “Tony Kaye Solo”; 3. “The Other Side”; 4. “Wondrous Stories”; 5. “Man Over Bored”; 6. “The More We Live”; 7. “No Way We Can Lose”; 8. “Say Goodbye”; 9. “Roundabout”... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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01/31/2017.............Interested to know more about these great Musicians? Visit BILLY SHERWOOD & TONY KAYE HOME PAGE...
. ESQUIRE - "Esquire III – No Spare Planet"
Esquire is a London-based Rock band formed by singer Nikki Squire (the ex-wife of the late “Chris Squire”, of “Yes”) and bassist Nigel McLaren, always having support of an array of talented guest musicians. Nikki Squire began her career writing, singing and contributing to some songs of “Chris Squire”, who had always been an encouraging teacher. But Nikki had few time to devote herself to music: “Chris Squire” was often on tour, and she had to raise their three daughters. By 1982, their children had grown up and Nikki had more free time to spend on music. In that year she met Nigel McLaren – an accomplished and imaginative musician – that persuaded her to be more creative and confident in regard to music, encouraging Nikki to blossom as an artist. The Esquire duo then released a debut album, entitled “Esquire” (1987, Geffen Records), which featured a few members of “Yes” as guest musician. “Esquire” was acclaimed as a distinguishing Progressive Rock album, but the follow-up, entitled “Coming Home” (1997), would show up only ten years later. The Esquire duo was preparing a third album when McLaren suddenly passed away, on 7th June, 2015. Nikki then delegated to producer and engineer Mark Wallis the task of putting together and mixing all the audio and vocals of the last songs that she and McLaren had written over the previous years. The result was materialized on the album “Esquire III – No Spare Planet”, released on November 11th, 2016, via the independent label Esquire Music. “No Spare Planet” completes the Esquire trilogy as a final tribute to the music and talent of Nigel McLaren. The album has nine tracks and features participations of a few additional musicians (see below). The music of Esquire may be regarded as a cross-over between sophisticated Pop-Rock with strong influences of 80’s to 90’s Synth & Dream-Pop, and Psychedelic Rock covered with 80’s Progressive Rock & Electronic textures. The musical combination of sounds is accessible, varied and modern, but is also emotionally deep, mysterious, and intriguing, sometimes. The main propulsion is exercised by the powerful and marking voice of Nikki Squire, who sings tunes that are creative or peculiar, conveying conceptual and meaningful lyrics. Nikki gets the perfect musical support from Nigel McLaren – a clever multi-instrumentalist who fills the musical emptiness with melodic selectiveness, textural good-taste, and parsimonious performances. The refined interaction of the duo results in a sonic amalgamate that shines with its own uniqueness, and that will please fans of the most ethereal songs of “Yes”; the early works of “David Bowie”; the Techno-Pop of “Human League” and “Portishead”; and the visionary waves of “Peter Gabriel”, “Eurhythmics”, “Annie Lennox”, “Cocteau Twins”, and “This Mortal Coil”. From a Progressive point of view, the opening track – “Ministry of Life” (8:08) – is the one that carries the higher number of “Prog-elements”. It is a magnificent song, divided in three parts that have different atmospheres and emotional levels: the first has Space-Psychedelic bass and powerful vocals; the second has dreamy vocals and cosmic electronic sounds that grow epically, leading to a climax with great guitars and bass passages; the third is melodic and colorful, like late 60’s Psychedelic Rock. The second song is “She Said” (4:29) – a sticky acoustic ballad enveloped in lysergic vibes, but modernized with Progressive synth-harmonies and sparse, but well-placed, guitar riffs. Also with a Progressive vein, track 7 – “Where Is the Love” (4:55) – amazes the listener with its balanced mix of organic vocals, strings and flutes with Techno sounds, resembling a modern hybrid of “Yes” and “Jethro Tull”. And track 6 – “It's Over” (4:39) – in spite of its bouncing beat, advances towards Prog terrains, bringing nice ethereal vocals that recall the melodicism of “Jon Anderson”. Conversely, tracks 3 and 4 – “Human Rhythm” (4:58) and “Tonight” (4:18) – will please most adepts of lounge music with their selection of danceable rhythms. “Human …” is vibrant and contagious, being driven by fast techno-upbeats and 80’s-styled pulsing bass; while “Tonight” descends to a chill-out beat that conveys soft melodies and innocent vocals that recalled me of “Cocteau Twins”. Steering to the sophisticated Pop-Rock, track 8 – “Stay Low” (4:20) – has imaginative guitars, bright hues, and an unusual vocal performance by Nikki, who instils some Soul music intonations to her melodic lines, whilst backed up by a children’s choir. Finally, tracks 5 and 9 – respectively, “Friends & Enemies” (4:38) and “Heaven Blessed” (4:25) – are both fronted by Nigel McLaren, whose voice and style recall the most artistic (and less commercial) side of “Peter Gabriel”, being therefore recommended for his fans. Esquire’s “No Spare Planet” is a great farewell album for Nigel McLaren. It delivers a message of love and friendship – transmuted into refined Pop-Rock embellished with a Progressive dressing – that will be specially appreciated by fans of “Yes”, “David Bowie”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Annie Lennox”, “Eurhythmics”, “Cocteau Twins”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Human League”, “Portishead”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Esquire are: Nikki Squire – Lead Vocals, Music, Most Lyrics, Harmonies; Nigel McLaren – All Instruments (Guitar, Synths, Bass, Drums), Lead Vocals on tracks 5 & 9, Music, A Few Lyrics, Harmonies; Isabelle Meyrignac – Flute on tracks 1 & 7; Gez Murphy – Additional Guitar on track 1; Robbie Blunt – Additional Guitar on tracks 2, 4 & 6; Master Cassian Munro – Lead/Harmony Vocals on track 8; Lisa LaRue – Additional Keyboards on track 8; John Baker – Additional Guitar on track 8. Produced by Nigel McLaren and Nikki Squire; Additional Production and Mixes by Mark Wallis, Good Luck Studios; Mastered by Andy Jackson at Tube Mastering. Gold Leaf Trompe L’oeil body-paint designed by Richard Sharples... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/18/2017...................Want to learn everything about the musicians and more about his history, go to ESQUIRE HOME PAGE...
. EVERSHIP - "Evership"
Evership is a Nashville-based Art Rock/Progressive Rock band that delivers compelling music with influences ranging from “Yes”, “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Styx”, “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, and “Led Zeppelin” to “Chick Corea”, “Al Di Meola”, “Bach”, “Rachmaninoff”, “Ravel”, and “Puccini”! Evership is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, composer, and engineer/producer Shane Atkinson, who had been an active musician in Nashville in the late 80s and 90s, performing and writing for bands, orchestras, commercials, film and theater. After disappointments with the music business, he turned his focus to the software industry. But Atkinson never stopped to write music! Inspired by his favorite genre – Progressive Rock – he composed continuously over the following years. In 2005 he built a studio and opened a soundtrack recording music company to finance an album. However, it would take almost ten years to finish the record! Having enough songs to fill in at least four albums, Atkinson had to choose a repertoire for his debut. In 2009 he started to record demos with singer Jason Beddoe, who could not finish the project. Production was halted until 2013, when Atkinson shut his company down to focus only on the record. By indication of Mike Priebe, he found a new singer for his project: Beau West, who had moved to Nashville in 2005 to pursue a musical career. Atkinson and West shared the same interests and vision regarding musical fulfillment. After a test at Atkinson’s studio, it became clear that West’s voice was miraculously perfect for the project! In the next three years, the duo worked hard to finish Evership’s eponymous CD, “Evership” (July 1st, 2016, Atkinsong Productions). A vinyl edition, mastered by Grammy-awarded engineer Cameron Henry, and featuring surreal artwork by famous Nashville artist Philip Willis, is scheduled for being released on April 15th, 2017. The line-up consists of: Beau West (vocals); Shane Atkinson (drums, keyboards); Shane's brother, James Atkinson (lead guitars); Rob Higginbotham (guitars); and Jaymi Millard (bass). The recordings had participation of Mike Priebe (backing vocals); his wife, Nicelle Priebe (violin); and a choir conducted by Charles Heimermann. “Evership” has six long tracks, some of which are suites. Lyrics are literary and poetic – real chronicles of human’s dreams and expectations in life. Combining sublime melodies, elegance of performance, and epic grandeur, Evership is the band that visitors of this webzine might be looking for! Their music favors the highly melodic themes, which are interchanged from voice to instrumentation. The opulent arrangements have unlimited symphonic amplitude, panoramic cinematographic scope, and impacting rhythmic dynamics – keeping the listener smiling and levitating for hours long! Singer Beau West is the main agent causing this effect: his ample vocal range and precise emotional control can stand any style – Pop, Rock, Operatic, British Victorian or Broadway Theatrical – rivaling with names such as “Steve Walsh” (“Kansas”) and “Freddie Mercury” (“Queen”)! Agreeable harmony vocals and angelical choir passages interact perfectly with West’s awesome performances to complete the vocal scenario! All tunes are cradled in mellow structures stiffened by Classic Rock guitars and covered with orchestral keyboards! The vivid bass is perfectly harmonized on the arrangements, forming a powerful and imaginative rhythmic base with the drums. A soaring violin shows up on the corners, as Shane and James Atkinson (the “telepathic brothers”) contend in the middle, trading blazing solos of synths and guitars! The album opens with “Silver Light” (9:26), which flows vivid as a gypsy dance busted by energetic guitars, flaring violins, and vigorous vocals! Track 2 – “A Slow Descent Into Reality” (I: Everyman; II: A Slow Descent; III: Wisdom of the Ages; IV: Honest with Me; V: The Battle Within; VI: Anyman) (12:39) is a suite for piano with great lead and backing vocals, and harmonic guitars that are mostly like “Queen” (pre-“A Night At The Opera”). But the Hammonds, synths and certain instrumental parts also recall “Kansas” and “Styx”. “Evermore” (A: Eros; B: Agape) (10:09) is a Classic Rock ballad that starts up with the grandiloquence of a Broadway show, but turns soft with the coming of vocals, piano, and soaring harmony vocals (recalling “Yes”). The guitars, bass and drums steer the song to the Rock domain; and the orchestral synths, to the Progressive mode. The outstanding “Ultima Thule” (10:28) is the quintessential Progressive Rock song! Born from an epic vocal theme underlined by classical piano, this song grows steadily as B. West rises his potent voice above subsequent waves of classic guitars, violins, sturdy riffs, dramatic bass and drums, to reach the climax with ascending synths and angelical choirs! “Flying Machine” (I: Dreamcarriers; II: Dream Sequence; III: Lift) (13:44) also grows from an acoustic vocal-guitar-piano base to a lofty tree of sounds that converge to the celestial spheres! The parts of this suite are contrasting: the first is dreamy; the second is dramatic, futuristic and nostalgic; and the third is cheerful, with opulent Progressive instrumentation and optimistic vocal tunes! The album ends on the noisy “Approach” (1:58). Ten years in the making, the release of “Evership” is a great accomplishment for Shane Atkinson and the Evership project. “Evership” is a rare and wonderful album that is born already as a classic of the Progressive genre – for being listened forever – consisting in an absolute must-have item for any serious fan of Progressive Rock who loves “Yes”, “Kansas”, “Queen”, “Boston”, “Styx”, “Pink Floyd”, or “Rush”! Band members and collaborators involved in Evership are: Beau West – Lead Vocals; Shane Atkinson – Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Theremin, Chapman Stick, Dulcimer, Experimental Guitar, Sound Design, Orchestrations; Compositions & Lyrics; James Atkinson - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar; Rob Higginbotham – Rhythm Electric Guitar, Acoustic & Classical Guitars. Jaymi Millard – Bass; Nicelle Priebe – Violin; Mike Priebe – Backing Vocals. Additional Musicians on “Flying Machine”: Brandon Vestal – Electric & Acoustic Guitars; Dan Smalley – Classical Guitar, E-bow. Featuring the Charles Heimermann Chorale. Live Band: B. West – Lead Vocals; S. Atkinson – Keyboards, Assorted Instruments; J. Atkinson – Lead Guitar; Jesse Hardin – Rhythm Guitars; J. Millard – Bass; Joel Grumblatt – Drums. Jason Beddoe – Vocals in Demo-Production. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Atkinsong Studio, Tennessee (2009/2013-2015). Choirs Recorded at the First Methodist Church in Green Hills, Tennessee. “Dreamcarriers” intro record-cutting engineered by Mark Aartun of Innerspeaker Records. Vinyl Mastered by Cameron Henry at Welcome to 1979 Studios. Artwork by Philip Willis... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/18/2017..........................Want to learn everything about this amazing band and its members? Visit EVERSHIP HOME PAGE...
. TEMPLE OF SWITCHES - "Temple Of Switches"
Temple Of Switches is an original Progressive Rock/Metal quartet from Buellton, in the Central Coast of California. Temple Of Switches was founded in June 2012 by the core members Kevin McConnell (keyboards, vocals), Mike Monda (guitar, backing vocals) and Jay Heffner (drums) – three seasoned musicians who had been playing music together in “Jam” bands from the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. Although bassist Kevin Robertson has been often enlisted to perform and record with the band, it was Joe Monda (Mike’s brother) who took part in many gigs and ended up recording the bass tracks on Temple Of Switches’ debut CD, so becoming the fourth member of the band. Temple Of Switches has released two independent albums so far: the eponymous “Temple Of Switches” (Nov. 2015) and “The Circling Sky” (Sep. 2016). The sound of Temple Of Switches evolves from the confrontation of the opposite approaches that the two main songwriters – Kevin McConnell and Mike Monda – have in regard to music. Mike Monda prefers the dark and somber side, the dissonance and the heavy loads. Lyrically, he has a pessimistic view of situations, pain and sadness being on his focus. McConnell prefers the sound vivid, melodic, rounded, and even appealing to the large audiences, besides adopting an optimistic position in respect to life on his lyrics. The rhythm section also follows that division: bassist Joe Monda instils a lysergic swing on his lines, preferring the somber and cloudy ambiences; while Jay Heffner's attack to drums is powerful, free, and exciting, sometimes intricate and creative (akin to “Neal Peart”, according to the band). The resulting music is heavy, surprising, complex, compelling, and dramatic – combining the extremes of light and darkness, melody and dissonance, roughness and smoothness – and cradled in a retro-sounding sonority that is difficult to tag! The instrumentation is marked by the omnipresent sound of a Hammond with a 70’s Hard-Rock gritty texture, screaming Progressive synths, and guitars with a 70’s Metal sonority on riffs – but on solos and harmony anything goes, from 60’s fuzzy effects and intricate Progressiveness to 21st century schizophrenia! The bass counterbalances the colorful keyboards with dark tones of Heavy Psychic-Rock, while rocking drums combine Classic Rock suspension with 80’s Metal propulsion. The vocals are relaxed, akin to 70’s Rock and Metal. The musicians of Temple Of Switches are inspired by the great bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, mainly “Pink Floyd”, “Rush”, and “Kansas”; but their sound has recalled me mostly of early “Presto Ballet”, with a bit of “UFO”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Riot”, “Faith No More”, “Voivod”, “Styx”, and “Schizoid Lloyd” thrown in – without sounding quite like any of them! Temple Of Switches’s work on focus herein is the band’s eponymous album, “Temple Of Switches” (2015). The CD features six tracks, which are all varied in style and mood, nevertheless all featuring the same high levels of rocking energy and extraordinary musicianship! The album starts with “Federal Offense” (4:13) – a kind of keyboard-driven 70’s Metal, which recalls the basics of “Judas Priest”, “UFO”, and “Riot”, but with much more room for guitar soloing and synths; and is followed by “The Vortex” (4:22) – a kind of solar Rock with more melody and swinging rhythms (like old “Styx”), but having a show of synths and a middle part for Spanish guitars. “Vortex” dissolves into the rainy intro of the impressive and melancholic “The Positive Side, pt.2” (7:27) – driven by an atmospheric rhythmic base on bass, guitars, and drums, that recalls the first part of “Rush’s” song “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Iron Maiden’s” “Children of the Damned” – but with more emotional and expressive vocals, and jiggling guitars that give an epic touch to the song. The next track is “Calling All” (3:10) – a dazzling instrumental piece driven by a double guitar/Hammond riff, bombastic synths, jammed bass, martial drums and orchestral timpani that recall something of “Abaddon’s Bolero” (by “ELP”). Conversely, “Time Unwritten” (5:34) is introduced by a line of deep bass that recalls “Pink Floyd’s” “One of These Days”, but turning to another 70’s styled Metal-Rock song, this time propelled by super-groovy bass and complicated drums – almost as an Space-Rock – but instilled with instrumental complexities on guitars, keyboards and drums, and contaminated by Psychedelic/Surf-Music vibes. The album ends with “Desert Sands” (8:56) – a Heavy Psychedelic Progressive Rock driven by lysergic bass, trippy guitars, grandiose keyboards, Arabian modes, and great epic vocals, with dramatic expression and an apocalyptical tone, on which the listener has the best of a Monda-McConnell confrontation! In sum, Temple Of Switches is an instigating and chameleonic-sounding band that, in one moment, can deliver heavy and spontaneous Rock music; on the other, may produce extraordinary Prog-instilled compositions. Highly recommendable for fans of bands that stand on the convergent point of Heavy Rock, Psychedelic and Prog-Rock, like “Rush”, “Kansas”, “Presto Ballet”, “UFO”, “Blue Öyster Cult”, “Faith No More”, “Voivod”, “Schizoid Lloyd”, “Pink Floyd”. Band members and collaborators involved in Temple Of Switches are: Kevin McConnell – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Pipe Organ; Mike Monda – Guitars, Guitar Synthesizer, Backing Vocals; Joe Monda – Bass; Jay Heffner – Drums, Percussion, Korg Wave Drum. All Lyrics by K. McConnell & M. Monda. Recorded at Home Studios 2012-2015. Tracks 1-4 Mixed & Engineered by Emmet Sargeant III at Beagle Studios, Santa Barbara, CA; tracks 5-6 Mixed by Mike Monda; Mastered by E. Sargeant III at Beagle Studios. Cover Art Subject: dichroic art sculpture by Deanne Sabeck. Photo by Mike Monda, Concept: Kevin McConnell. Produced by by K. McConnell & M. Monda... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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02/18/2017...................................,.More information? Better check it out for yourself at: TEMPLE OF SWITCHES HOME PAGE...
. THE MUGSHOTS - "Something Weird"
The Mugshots are back to PR&PM! The Mugshots are a Horror-Rock outfit from Brescia, Italy. The Mugshots were born in 2001 in New York when lead singer Mickey E.Vil was visiting the U.S.A. and listened to a record of “Alice Cooper”. The Mugshots embraced the styles of Horror, Dark and Theatrical Rock, and crime stories have been present on their lyrics from the very start! Their influences come from “Alice Cooper”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “The Misfits”, “Mike Patton”, and Horror Soundtracks, but the band is also inspired by Progressive Rock and Norwegian Black Metal (!). The Mugshots have shared the stage with “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “UK Subs”, “Brian James”, “Hugh Cornwell”, “Tv Smith”, “Baz Warne”, “The Lords Of Altamont”, “Demented Are Go”, “Koffin Kats”, “Zombina & The Skeletones”, among others. The Mugshots has also released demos, songs on compilations, EPs, and full-length albums: “Doctor Is Out” (EP, 2004), “House Of The Weirdos” (2005), “Weird Theater” (2007), “House Of The Weirdos|Weird Theater” (2009, reissue of the first two LPs on one CD) – all via Lombroso Releases. In 2010 The Mugshots released “In Disguise” (EP, Red Vinyl and CD, via Gun Club Management/Alka Records). In 2013 The Mugshots released the EP “Love, Lust and Revenge” (GCM / Black Widow Records / Alka Records), which was produced by Dick Wagner (“Alice Cooper”, “Lou Reed”, “Peter Gabriel”, “Ray Manzarek”, “Kiss”, “Aerosmith”), who also co-wrote, arranged, and played guitars on it. “Love, Lust and Revenge” was reviewed at PR&PM in Sep. 2013. In 2015 The Mugshots released the digital single “Frozen” (Alka Records) – a Dark Rock version of “Madonna's” song featuring the late “Clive Jones” (from legendary “Black Widow” and “Agony Bag”) on flute and saxophone, on his final performance, as he wished. In the Halloween of 2016 The Mugshots released their third full-length album, “Something Weird” (CD & LP, GCM / Black Widow Records). The line-up forms with Mickey E.Vil (vocals, keyboards), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Eye-Van (bass), Gyorg II (drums), and new member Priest, who has replaced MacFly on guitars. “Something Weird” was produced by Freddy Delirio (“Death SS”) and features Matt Malley (ex-“Counting Crows”, Grammy/Oscar nominated artist), Tony Dolan (“Venom Inc.”), Steve Sylvester, Enrico Ruggeri, and others. The cover includes an original band portrait done by renowned comic artist Enzo Rizzi. “Something Weird” has 12 tracks. The music covers different styles, mainly Horror-Rock, Punk and Post-Punk, and Dark Music, with a tinge of Dark/Gothic-Prog thrown in (a contribution of the several guest musicians that have played on the record). Although The Mugshots cannot be categorized as an authentic Progressive outfit, their songs are melodic, catchy, theatrical, and sometimes elaborated on the arrangements. But some songs can be quite surprising, unexpected items on an album made by a band with the non-pretentious, plain Rock orientation that The Mugshots want to follow on! The “back-to-basics” repertoire on “Something Weird” includes: the instrumental opening intro “Introitus” (1:14) and “The Circus” (5:15) – an Horror-Rock with Punk humor, driven by binary drums, a bass drive reminiscent of “Hawkwind’s” proto-Punk Space-Rock, and a backing layer of “clown-circus” synths; “Rain” (4:23), which is almost a continuation of the previous, but having female backing vocals and some “R.E.M.” and “Smashing Pumpkins” melancholy instilled within; and “Sentymento” (3:04) (feat. singer E. Ruggeri) – a crude Dark-Punk propelled by powerful Rocking energy and irresistible bass grooves! The most theatrical and expressive facet of The Mugshots shows off on “An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2” (3:39) (feat. Andrea Calzoni on flute), which is rhythmically a NWOBHM, but including fast waving synths and a surprising Folk-Medieval middle part, ending with an enigmatic sound of musical box; and on “Grey Obsession” (4:27) (feat. Matt Malley on fretless bass, Martin Grice on flute, Mike Browning on percussion and Theremin) – this one a typical late 60’s/early 70’s Dark Psychedelic Rock immersed on a “black mass” atmosphere, in the vein of “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, and “Ultimate Spinach”. But the first songs to really surprise me were “I Am an Eye” (5:49) (feat. Freddy Delirio on keyboards) and “Scream Again” (5:32) (feat. Freddy Delirio; with Steve Sylvester & Ain Soph Aour sharing vocals). Both are Horror-Rock songs with a lean to Doom-Metal, being conveyed on a slow cadence, like a funeral march, surrounded by Gothic keyboards and immersed in a trippy and gloomy atmosphere of a pagan ritual, like a mix of “Black Sabbath” and “Black Widow”. These dark vibes are extended to “Dusk Patrol” (2:08), which has fuzzy synths and tribal drumming sided by Tony Dolan’s narration of the Apocalypse – the perfect intro for the startling and most surprising “Pain” (4:45) – the only true Progressive song of the album (resembling “Pallas” or “IQ”), which has two amazingly epic guitar solos – the first, by Priest; the second, by Manuel Merigo. The album also has two good instrumental pieces: “Ophis” (4:24), which sounds like a blend of “Hawkwind” and “Joy Division”; and “Ubique” (4:08), a kind of electronic ballad that grows with heavy guitar riffs and then dwindles to a delicate plucking. Overall, “Something Weird”, by The Mugshots, is an outstanding album within the Dark, Horror & Theatrical Rock segments, featuring solid players and surprises, being greatly recommended for fans of “Alice Cooper”, “The Misfits”, “Lou Reed”, “The Stranglers”, “The Damned”, “The Lords of the New Church”, “Joy Division”, “Killing Joke”, “Mike Patton”, “Death SS”, “Hawkwind”, “Black Sabbath”, “Black Widow”, “Coven”, “Bram Stoker”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in The Mugshots are: Mickey E.Vil - Vocals & Synths; Erik Stayn – Keyboards; Priest – Guitar; Eye-Van – Bass; Gyorg II – Drums. Special Guests: Freddy Delirio – Keyboards (“I Am an Eye” & “Scream Again”); Andrea Calzoni - Flute (“An Embalmer's Lullaby, Pt. 2”); Enrico Ruggeri – Lead Vocals (“Sentymento”); Steve Sylvester – Lead Vocals; Ain Soph Aour – Screams, Whispers (both on “Scream Again”); Matt Malley – Fretless Bass, Martin Grice – Flute, Mike Browning – Percussion, Theremin (all three on “Grey Obsession”); Tony Dolan – Narration (“Dusk Patrol”); Manuel Merigo – Second Guitar Solo (“Pain”); Francesca Scalari – Backing Vocals (“Rain”, “Scream Again”); Leda Stella – Backing Vocals (“An Embalmer’s Lullaby Pt. 2”, “Scream Again”). Past Member: MacFly – Rhythmic Guitar. Album Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Freddy Delirio at FP Recording Studio, Lammari, Italy; Additional Recordings by Francesco Invernici (Omicron Studio, Capriolo, It); Alessandro Venzi (AV Studio, Brescia, It); Priest (Unreal Studio, Brescia It). Cover Comics Portrait by Enzo Rizzi; Additional Comics by Stefano Alghisi. Produced by Freddy Delirio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017....................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit THE MUGSHOTS HOME PAGE...
. UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA - "Mathematical Mother"
Universal Totem Orchestra is back to PR&PM! The Italian project Universal Totem Orchestra (U.T.O.) was formed in 1998 by drummer Uto Giorgio Golin and bassist Dauno Giuseppe Buttiglione – two musicians who were already performing together in other projects supported by the Black Widow Record label. U.T.O. evolved from another project, L.M.RLaboratorio Musicisti Riuniti”), and released the first album, “Rituale Alieno”, in 1999, via Black Widow Records. The line-up also featured Ana Torres Fraile (vocals), Antonio Fedeli (sax), Marco Zanfei (keyboards), Marco Mauro (guitar), Giuseppe Saiani (guitar), Gianni Nicolini (percussion), Francesco Ciech (cello) and the chorus of the Festi brothers. Following the album’s release, U.T.O. performed some live presentations and appeared on Black Widow’s compilations: “Daze of the Underground” (2002), with the song “Alien (I am)” (“Hawkwind” cover); and “Not of This Earth” (2003), with the song “Lacrima di Tempo”. U.T.O.’s last concert with the “Rituale Alieno” line-up took place at the “Open Air” Festival. In 2004 Dauno Buttiglione resigned his post as U.T.O.’s bassist and became the band’s artistic director until 2005, when he left the project. Uto G. Golin (with support of Black Widow) reformulated U.T.O., recruiting Daniele Valle (guitars), Fabrizio Mattuzzi (keyboards), and Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta (bass) for the line-up. He kept original members Ana Torres Fraile on vocals and Antonio Fedeli (sax), and received guest participation of singers Francesco Festi and Adriano Vianini. With a decade of delay, the new U.T.O. released a second album entitled “The Magus” (2008, Black Widow), which was reviewed at PR&PM in Nov. 2008. With almost another decade passed, nobody was quite sure to see a new release by U.T.O. again. But, all of a sudden, we realized that the band was hidden in the underground, working on their third studio album – the surprising and magnificent “Mathematical Mother” (December 16, 2016, Black Widow Records)! Featuring the same line-up of the previous album “The Magus”, “Mathematical Mother” is U.T.O.’s new masterpiece, showcasing the band at their best compositional moment ever! The U.T.O. sound is inspired on the Progressive Rock subgenre known as Zeuhl – created by the French musician “Christian Vander” of band “Magma”, and later reproduced by bands like “Runaway Totem”, “ZAO”, “Weidorje”, “Dün”, “Eskaton”, and “Bondage Fruit”. Many Zeuhl attributes are present on U.T.O.’s music, such as: lengthy compositions driven by hypnotic instrumentation that combines Classical Music, Jazz, and Rock structures; choirs of male voices that sing phonetic lyrics, rhythmically and repetitively (often compared to an “alien ritual”); and operatic female vocals. U.T.O., however, is not a radical conveyor of the Zeuhl paradigm, and adds to the music a good deal of traditional Prog-Rock with Italian affinities. U.T.O.’s compositions are comparatively more melodious and have more insertions for instrumental solos – of keyboards, guitars and sax. The lyrics go around esoteric and cosmic issues, but are not sung in any invented phonetic language (such as the Kobaïan, employed by “Magma”). U.T.O.’s message is rather transmitted in a multilingual matrix, of which Italian is the main component, and French, Spanish and English have their smaller shares. The awesome Ana Torres Fraile is the spokeswoman of the celestial spheres, and her operatic singing style honors all centuries of the Italian Opera! Finally, the band’s experimentations with odd metrics and jazzy parts hint at an influence of “King Crimson”, “VdGG” and “Soft Machine”; whereas a closer approach to Turkish-Arabian modes seems to be the novelty of “Mathematical Mother”. The album features six tracks. “Terra Cava” (14:06) opens the album, inviting the listener to unveil all magic and mystery of U.T.O.’s enigmatic music. This wonderful piece has three parts. The first is driven by a thrilling and complex guitar riff and jubilating vocals that propel a typical Zeuhl arrangement, being finished with breathtaking guitar solo. The second is a celestial interlude for classical piano and operatic vocals that places Ana Torres at the center of the spots, singing a wonderful operatic tune with superb technique and profound emotion, recalling the “Verdi-Donizetti” style. The third part summons the whole band for a climax that combines the middle operatic theme with Bedouin shouting, rhythmic male choirs, sax, and oriental guitar solo within layers of synths! “Elogio del Dubbio” (7:54) is a thrilling song that also profits from a fresh Turkish-Arabian influence, being driven by vibrant ethnic percussion and featuring the specialized guest singer Samia Charbel chanting a prayer that links nothingness to eternity! “Architettura dell'Acqua” (11:27) starts with a softer modern Jazz mood, with only vocals and soaring sax, before steering to a full-Zeuhl mode that continues throughout the song, including the bouncing piano, mesmerizing bass passages, and jazz-rock infused guitar solo! “Codice Y16” (5:21) is exciting and vigorous, bowing less to the Zeuhl standards (except for the bouncing piano and some celebrative choirs), and leaning more to Italian Jazz-Rock. “Città Infinite” (6:19) is an intriguing piece; an experiment of the band that combines traditional Zeuhl with modern Electronica and groovy bass drives. “Mare Verticale” (7:38) is an impressive closing track that goes back to the traditional Zeuhl pattern: very rhythmic, intricate, ritualistic, and featuring impacting male choirs and austere female singing! Overall, “Mathematical Mother” is a brilliant album that features cerebral musicianship combined to memorable vocal performances, offering to the listener some of U.T.O.’s most melodic and edible songs so far! Highly recommendable item for fans of Italian Prog, Experimental-Prog & Jazz Rock in general; indispensable for Zeuhl enthusiasts, fans of “Christian Vander”, “Magma”, “Runaway Totem”, “ZAO”, “Weidorje”, “Dün”, “Eskaton”, “Bondage Fruit”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Universal Totem Orchestra are: Ana Torres Fraile – Vocals; Antonio Fedeli – Alto & Tenor Saxophones; Daniele Valle – Guitar; Fabrizio Mattuzzi – Keyboards, Piano; UTO G. Golin – Drums; Yanik Lorenzo Andreatta – Bass. Guest Musicians: Adriano Vianini – Vocals; Francesco Festi – Vocals; Oscar Cordioli – Vocals; Samia Charbel – Vocals on “Elogio Del Dubbio”; Alessandro Andreatta – Guitar on “Architettura Dell'Acqua”; Gianni Nicolini – Tabla on “Elogio Del Dubbio”; Mirko Pedrotti – Vibes on “Città Infinite”. Album Recorded at Mass Music Studio (Lavis – TN) by Marco Gadotti & Gianfranco Menotti; Mixed by G. Menotti. All the female voices were recorded by Giacomo Plotegher; the song “Città Infinite” was recorded at Totem Records Studio... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017...........................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA HOME PAGE...
. NUCLEARTE - "Endo"
Nuclearte is an Electronic Ethno-World Music project from Palermo (Sicily, Italy) that conveys a message in different languages, such as Sicilian, Djulà (Ivory Coast), Lingala (Congo/Zaire), and Sanskrit. Nuclearte was founded in 1996 by singer Ramya (Rossana Filippone) and bassist Maurizio Cucuzza. From 1998 to 2001, Nuclearte has taken part on several WOMAD festivals (i.e. “World of Music, Art and Dance”, the multi-ethnic festivals created by “Peter Gabriel” and “Thomas Brooman”), making presentations in Palermo, the UK, Canary Islands, Spain, and South Africa. In 2000 Nuclearte released their first album, entitled “Talè Talè” (BMG, produced by “T. Brooman”). It was followed by “La Via della Sete” (2004, CNI), which had the track “Satarìu” played on radio stations in Germany, Greece, Russia and Scandinavia, and inserted on the soundtrack of “Linea Blù” – a show produced by RAI TV. In 2003 and 2004, Ramya took part on an adaptation of the theatrical piece “Le Vespe” (“Aristophanes”), touring from Greece to Rome. Ramya has also taken part of Stefano Saletti’s “Piccola Banda Ikona”, which reunited important musicians of the Italian World Music scene, like “Mario Rivera” (“Agricantus”), “Leo Cesari”, “Gabriele Coen” (“KlezRoym”). She appeared on their albums “Folkpolitik” and “Stari Most” (from which the song “Tagama” was included on the compilation “Buddha Bar vol. VIII”). In 2008 Ramya published a book, entitled “Biancaneve e i Sette Peccati del Capitale” (Bonanno Editori). In 2010 she started a new project, Ramya & Nuk, together with Maurizio Cucuzza (bass) and Luca Rinaudo (programming), which released the album “Terra Estranea” (CNI Music) and the soundtrack of the theatrical piece “Canti d'Amore” (2012). Ramya & Nuk debuted on stage with Sergio Basile on the art project “Sbarchi” (inspired on “Virgil’s” “Aeneid”, and dedicated to refugees of all times, from Troy to Lampedusa). In 2013, Ramya, M. Cucuzza and Luca Rinaudo, with collaboration of new musicians, reactivated Nuclearte. The result was Nuclearte’s third album, entitled “Endo” (May, 2016, Almendra Music, distributed by Black Widow Records). On “Endo”, Nuclearte starts up a new musical style called “Electro-Exo-World Music.” “Endo” makes a connection between Earth and an imaginary planet belonging to the Pleiades star system. The linking element is an ancestral language, still present in other worlds of the Cosmos, but preserved in the humankind as an ancient fragmented memory. Ramya proposes to rediscover that language, by freeing her lyrics from the known idioms of Earth and creating an experimental interstellar language composed of sounds and pure emotion. The music of “Endo” evolves from the interaction of an Electronic Music rhythmic matrix with an Electro-Acoustic instrumental base, over which the ethereal, surreal, and impressive voice of Ramya floats. The compositions are instilled with a cosmopolitan spirit that combines Mediterranean ancient and folkloric sounds, Oriental and African motifs, which convey sensual and dreamy melodies, driven by multi-cultural ethno-beats. Relaxing chill-out moods or entrancing mid-tempo paces alternate from one song to the other. A mix of styles that include World and Reggae Music, New Age, Electronic Lounge Music, Trip-hop, Oriental Music, and Electronic Progressive Music has a parallel with many bands, such as “Dead Can Dance”, “Enigma”, “Era”, “Kitaro”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Deti Picasso”, “Björk”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Irfan”, “Ataraxia”, “Piccola Banda Ikona”, “Agricantus”, “KlezRoym”, the most experimental side of “Cocteau Twins” and “Portishead”, the less aggressive side of “Massive Attack” and “Snovi”, all artists featured on the “Buddah Bar Compilations”, “Moby”, and “Air”. “Endo” brings ten tracks. My favorites are those having strong affinities with the Turkish-Arabian Music, delivering a mysterious and transcendental sound that evokes images of the deserts, hidden oasis, and invite the listener to unveil the secret of the sphynx. They are: “Argla” (5:08) – an impacting opening song that introduces us to Ramya’s fantastic voice and to Nuclearte’s peculiar palette of electro-acoustic sounds; “Al Akay” (4:21) – with a ethno-folk approach coming from the traditional oud and clapping hands; “Kabesh” (4:10) – which sends a pray from the minaret to the sky, as the sun rises for a new day, plain of humming synths, warm drumming drives, and delicate trippy guitars; and the two most Progressive songs of the album; “Glei Nhoà” (4:51) – driven by dramatic guitars, bass, drums, and Ramya’s Bedouin sensual chanting; and “Hinn'oo” (4:33) – which combines Ramya’s jovial singing with celestial ascending synths, piano, enigmatic cello, great harmonizing bass and echoing guitars. Yet, the song “Ixorius” (5:32) is a hybrid that bridges the predominant style of the aforementioned tracks with the most pulsing and contagious beats of modern Lounge and Chill Out Music, inviting listeners to dance to the sound of the accessible title track “Endo” (5:39), and to the festive beat of the ethno drums of “Ater Tumti” (3:54)! Invigorating relaxing vibes come from the mid-tempo swing of the cosmic Electro-Reggae “Electra” (4:37); and a cocktail of different emotions is offered on the Techno-styled “Iso'h” (4:35). Overall, this new work by Nuclearte is solid, amazing and rewarding, bringing highly qualified instrumental performances by all components of the band, and having the mesmerizing voice of Ramya as the cherry on the cake! “Endo” is therefore highly recommendable for open-minded Progressive fans who like Electronic World Music, New Age, Lounge Music, Trip-hop; or love bands like “Dead Can Dance”, “Enigma”, “Era”, “Kitaro”, “Ole Lukkoye”, “Deti Picasso”, “Björk”, “Daemonia Nymphe”, “Irfan”, “Ataraxia”, “Piccola Banda Ikona”, “Agricantus”, “KlezRoym”, “Cocteau Twins”, “Portishead”, “Massive Attack”, “Snovi”, “Moby”, “Air”, “Buddah Bar Compilations”. Band members and collaborators involved in Nuclearte are: Rossana ‘Ramya’ Filippone – Vocals & Lyrics; Maurizio Cucuzza – Bass & Keyboards; Luca Rinaudo – Programming & Keyboards; Sergio Schifano – Guitars; Antonio Leta – Drums. Additional Musicians: Salvo Totohm Volturno – Hang Drums (tr. 1,5,9,10); Nino Errera – Drums, Percussion (tr. 1,2,4,5,6,7,9,10); Giovanni Di Giandomenico – Piano, Additional Keyboards; Francesco Biscari – Cello (tr. 1,5,7,9,10); Stefano Saletti – Oud (tr. 2). Music and Production by Ramya, Cucuzza & Rinaudo. Recorded by Luca Rinaudo; Mixed by M. Cucuzza & L. Rinaudo at Nuclearte Home and Zeit Studio (Palermo, Italy); Mastered by Anestis Psaradakos at Athens Mastering Studio (Athens, Greece)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017...........................................................,.....Interested to know more about the Band? Visit NUCLEARTE HOME PAGE...
. PRESENCE - "Masters And Following + Live"
Presence - one of the darkest bands of Italian Progressive Rock – is back to PR&PM once more! Presence was formed in the late '80s in Naples around a core trio composed of Sophya Baccini (lead vocals), Enrico Iglio (keyboards, percussion) and Sergio Casamassima (guitars), all of them classically trained musicians with academic graduation. Presence pioneered the Dark-Progressive subgenre upon the release of their debut EP, “The Shadowing” (1990). The band released several full-length albums with support of Italian Label Black Widow Records: “Makumba” (1992), “The Sleeper Awakes” (1994), “Black Opera” (1996), “Gold” (2001), “The Sleeper Awakes + Live” (2004, double CD/Vinyl, remastered reissue of the original album) and “Evil Rose” (2008). The later contained seven original songs and two covers – “The Prophet's Song” (“Queen”) and “Gates of Babylon” (“Rainbow”) – and was reviewed at PR&PM in 2009. Presence also took part on Black Widow’s tribute albums: “… e Tu Vivrai nel Terrore” (1998), “King of the Witches” (2000), “Not of This Earth” (2002). Singer Sophya Baccini has also a solo career. Her albums “Aradia” (2009) and “Big Red Dragon” (2013) were reviewed at PR&PM in 2009 and 2014, respectively. In 2016, Presence released a new album, entitled “Masters and Following” (Oct. 26, 2016, Black Widow Records). It is a double CD containing 27 tracks, distributed in ten new songs, three covers, eight live tracks and a six-part orchestral suite that revisits some of Presence’s early songs. Besides the trio Sophya, Iglio & Casamassima, the record features Sergio Quagliarella (drums) and Mino Berlano (bass). The sound of Presence is an intriguing and eclectic mix of styles bonded together by the “Dark side of the Music”: Symphonic Dark-Prog and Gothic-Metal are the main structural elements composing the arrangements, but occasional upheavals of 70’s Psychedelic and Classic Rock, Cabaret Music, Jazz, Blues, Italian Opera, and Darkwave may leap out from the pentagram. The instrumentation includes the regular Prog-Rock textures with interspersing piano and orchestral strings, combined to create atmospheres that range from dreamy and eerie to frightening and dark-Gothic. The collective performing excellence of the musicians is further enriched by Sophya’s rare amazing voice – bluesy, mysterious, sensual, or operatic, it is her voice that settles the right mood on each composition. Presence connects all those musical elements with creativity and originality, placing the music somewhere on the point of confluence of “ELP”, “King Crimson”, “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “Goblin”, “Art Zoyd”, “Igor Stravinsky”, “Diamanda Galás”, “Kate Bush”, “This Mortal Coil”, “L’Ame Immortelle”, “Lacrimosa”, “Rammstein”, “After Forever”, “Mercyful Fate”, “King Diamond”, and “Coven”. CD 1 contains Presence’s new studio album, “Masters and Following”, and three covers. The instrumentation is encapsulated in a hard matrix of Heavy Metal & Industrial riffs, surrounded by the howling of a tornado vortex. From the matrix, the mesmerizing voice of Sophya escapes out, sometimes accompanied by a piano and orchestral strings. Furious quaking synths, thunderous organ, distorted guitar solos, sub-sonic deep bass, and dense rumbling drums are the powerful followers of these Masters of Dark & Heavy Prog! Most songs follow on this war-path: “Masters and Following”; the horror-Gothic “Deliver”; the Space-Industrial-Metal songs “Symmetry” and “The Revealing”; and the epic Prog-Metal “Collision Course”. My highlights go for the Symphonic Neo-Prog ballad “Now” and for the trippy instrumental “Space Ship Ghost”. The covers are also impressive: “The House on the Hill”Audience”) is cinematographic and followed by amazing guitar solo; “Freewheel Burning” (“Judas Priest”) is a thrashing version of that Metal hymn, propelled by Sophya’s “head-banging” voice, vertiginous guitars, and synths like “Leviathan rising from the sea”; and “This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us” (“Sparks”) was turned to a Dark Metal Opera! CD 2 contains a live show and an orchestral suite. Although the live sound is not pristine, the record captures the energy of Presence on stage and the bewitching power of Sophya’s vocals on songs like “Scarlet”; “The Sleeper Awakes”; and “The Bleeding”. Sophya’s versatility is better explored on songs like the Dark-Jazz “Lightening”, on which she reaches the highest notes; and on the beautiful ballad “Just Before the Rain”, which she sings with profound emotion. The climax comes on “Un di' Quando le Veneri”, a brilliant Prog-Rock fragment of “La Traviata”, by “Giuseppe Verdi”! CD 2 ends on the “Orchestral Suite” – a set of six Symphonic pieces that revisit some of Presence’s oldies, emphasizing the band’s taste for Gothic-Atmospheric songs. Departing from the “Overture”, the listener transposes the gloomy “Hellish” and “J'accuse” lured by Sophya’s spell; dances to ritualistic drums and oriental violins at the voodoo lounge of “Makumba” and “Supersticious”; and attends the ultimate medieval black-mass on “The King Could Die Issue-less”! In sum, “Masters and Following + Live” is a worthy album that offers a comprehensive overview of Presence’s style and musical interests – highly recommendable to fans of Symphonic Dark-Prog & Gothic Metal in the vein of “Antonius Rex”, “Jacula”, “Goblin”, “Il Segno del Comando”, “Art Zoyd”, “Coven” “Diamanda Galás”, “Kate Bush”, “This Mortal Coil”, “Lacrimosa”, “L’Ame Immortelle”, “Rammstein”, “After Forever”, “Mercyful Fate/King Diamond”, “Virgin Black”. Band members and collaborators involved in Presence are: Sophya Baccini – Vocals; Sergio Casamassima – Guitars; Enrico Iglio – Keyboards & Percussion. Guest Musicians: Sergio Quagliarella – Drums; Mino Berlano – Bass. Past collaborators: Emilliano De Luca – Bass; T. Moretti; L. Scalisi; Valerio Silenzi – Drums. “Masters and Following + Live” Complete Track-list: CD 1: New Songs/Covers (01:08:00). 1. “Masters and Following” (7:56); 2. “Deliver” (5:58); 3. “Now” (5:02); 4. “Interlude” (2:17); 5. “The House on the Hill” (6:49); 6. “Freewheel Burning” (4:39); 7. “Space Ship Ghost” (5:54); 8. “This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us” (3:24); 9. “Prelude” (3:22); 10. “Symmetry” (4:39); 11. “Collision Course” (5:31); 12. “On the Eastern Side” (3:37); 13. “The Revealing” (9:38). CD 2: Live/Orchestral Suite (1:14:00). 1. “Scarlet” (5:22); 2. “The Sleeper Awakes” (7:35); 3. “Lightening” (5:43); 4. “The Dark” (0:50); 5. “Eyemaster” (2:33); 6. “Just Before the Rain” (3:03); 7. “The Bleeding” (5:51); 8. “Un di' Quando le Veneri” (5:33). Suite: 9. “Overture” (5:26); 10. “Hellish” (6:47); 11. “J'accuse” (8:23); 12. “Makumba” (5:14); 13. “Supersticious” (5:02); 14. “The King Could Die Issue-less” (7:09). CD 1 Mixed & Mastered by Freddy Pedichini at FP Recording Studio, Lammari, Italy... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017..............................Would like to know more about the band and their history, please visit PRESENCE HOME PAGE...
. COMEDY OF ERRORS - "Spirit"
Comedy Of Errors is a Neo-Progressive band from Glasgow, Scotland. The group was initially formed in early 80’s, at the start of the Neo-Prog revival in the UK. At that time, Comedy Of Errors reached neither commercial success, nor artistic recognition. After various line-up changes and several gigs throughout Scotland for small audiences, Comedy Of Errors dissolved. But a new incarnation of Comedy Of Errors would show up in the 21st century! Consisting of Joe Cairney (vocals), Jim Johnston (keyboards, compositions), Mark Spalding (guitars, bass), and Bruce Levick (drums), this resurrected Comedy Of Errors released an independent debut album, entitled “Disobey” (2011, CD), which was followed by “Fanfare and Fantasy” (2013, CD; also released on double vinyl via Plane Groovy). On October 20, 2015, Comedy Of Errors released a third album, entitled “Spirit”, which was edited on CD via their own label, COE Music; and on Vinyl, via Plane Groovy. “Spirit” is a 45-minute suite that “takes the form of an emotional journey, at once personal and universal, despairing and uplifting.” The Digipack CD edition features: Part 1: “Spirit”; Part 2: “Epilogue”; a bonus-track, “Spirit (Single Edit)”; and a 16-page booklet with art and lyrics. The Vinyl edition features Part 1: “Spirit” and brings a copy of the CD enclosed to it (in basic slip case). Besides Cairney (vocals), Johnston (keyboards), Spalding (guitars, bass), and Levick (drums), the band’s line-up was augmented with a second guitar player, Sam McCulloch, and a live bassist, John Fitzgerald (who had made a brief appearance on the “Fanfare and Fantasy” album). “Spirit” is Comedy Of Errors’ most ambitious work so far, representing the band’s evolutionary step-ahead in direction of a distinguishing Progressive-Rock sonority, in parallel with artistic lyrics that deal with introspective themes such as grief, loss, or hope. The music of Comedy Of Errors combines, with equity and perfection, the rocking effervescence of guitar-driven Neo-Prog with the mellowness of Classical Music – the essential elements of Progressive Rock! The main influences are “Genesis”, “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, and “Arena”. But an influence of “Yes” is also sensed on some vocal tunes; and of “Jethro Tull” and “VdGG” on the epic, literary songwriting. The keyboards contribute to create a substantial symphonic layer that reflects “Rick Wakeman’s” grandeur; and the Classical arrangements have strong influences of the Sacred Music and Renaissance Epoch, inspired by composers of the magnitude of “Purcell”, “Dowland”, “Bach”, “Tallis”, “Mahler”, “Santini”, “Victoria” and “Falconieri” – references that are not usually present on other standard Neo-Progressive bands. This combination of elements makes Comedy Of Errors to resound vibrantly and powerfully, as most modern Neo-Prog outfits; as well as melodically retro, as early 70’s Prog-Bands. The suite Part 1: “SPIRIT” is a continuous composition made of 10 tracks. The bombastic guitar-driven intro of “My Grief Lies All Within” (5:21) dwindles to a gentle bass pulse that drives soaring vocals and keyboards through a bittersweet atmosphere, being crowned with spatial guitar solos that grow aggressively on “Infinite Wisdom?” (1:51), before falling into the spiritual ambience of “Spirit Shines / Spirit” (4:26) – a wonderful Progressive ballad with harmony vocals that recall “Yes”. On “Can This Be Happening?” (3:54) the mood changes from dreamy to dramatic, with the coming of heavy guitars, powerful drums, commanding vocals, imposing church organ – all of which precede the epic ascension of “In Darkness Let Me Dwell” (3:06) – which has layers of angelical choirs superposed to each other, like on a Progressive motet, divided by a Neo-Prog interlude that attacks with keyboards, guitars and drums! “I Call and Cry to Thee” (5:42) is an awesome continuation of the previous track, the celestial themes being engulfed by a “quasi-Metal, Rick Wakeman-styled” instrumental part, followed by vehement vocals conveyed on a “Prog-Bluesy Floydian” cadence! “I Call …” falls down to the farewell song “Set Your Spirit Free / Goodbye My Love Until We Meet Again” (3:22) – a tearful theme written for keyboards that transmits a profound religious sentiment, a tune that invades “Ascension / Et Resurrexit / Auferstehen / Arise in Love Sublime, Arise / Spirit” (6:55), growing in intensity with majestic keyboards, church organ, festive tolling bells, and glorious vocals, finalized with the “Spirit” theme! “Into the Light” (5:04) goes back to the Neo-Prog mode, having participation of all instruments and joyful vocals, before merging with the optimistic “Above the Hills” (5:20), which finishes Part 1 with jubilating instrumentation! Part 2: “EPILOGUE” consists solely of “This Is How It Has to Be” (5:59) – a wonderful classically-infused instrumental piece that starts by choirs (like a “Tallis” motet); then goes on a royal pace, driven by guitar (like “Focus”), finishing like a folk-medieval dance (as a mix of “Gryphon”, “Greenslade”, and “Wakeman”). The bonus-track “Spirit (Single Version)” (4:42) closes the album bringing different arrangements, for piano, strings, and acoustic guitars. Comedy Of Errors’ new album, “Spirit”, is brilliant, amazing and inspiring, taking the listener to a melodic dimension that is strongly appealing and profoundly emotional. Sure that the boys is this band have been born with a “Heart of Lothian”, I shall strongly recommend them for fans of Neo-Prog, “Genesis”, “Marillion” (“Fish” Era), “Pallas”, “IQ”, “Pendragon”, “Twelfth Night”, “Arena”, “Galahad”, “Yes”, “Rick Wakeman”, “Focus”, “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, “Greenslade”, “Martigan”, “Jadis”, “Red Jasper”, “Argos”, “Red Sand”, “Silhouette”, “Flower Kings”, “Kaipa”, “The Tangent”, “Glass Hammer”, and so on. Band members and collaborators involved in Comedy Of Errors are: Joe Cairney – Lead & Backing Vocals; John Fitzgerald – Live Bass; Jim Johnston – Keyboards, Backing Vocals; Bruce Levick – Drums; Sam McCulloch – Guitars; Mark Spalding – Guitars, Bass. Past Collaborator: Hew Montgomery – Additional Bass on first album. “Spirit” Recorded & Mixed at Rigwoodie Studios, Ayr, Scotland. Final Mixing & Mastering by Rob Aubrey at Aubitt Studios, Southampton, England. All songs written by Jim Johnston with references to: Shakespeare, Purcell, Dowland, Bach, Tallis, Mahler, Santini, Victoria and Falconieri; Album released by COE Music, dedicated to Ailsa Johnston... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017.......Want to learn everything about the band and their music, you need to visit COMEDY OF ERRORS HOME PAGE...
. CAP FEATURING Alvaro "Jumbo" Fella - "Coraggio & Mistero"
Fella & CAP are an Italian Progressive Rock project born from the collaboration between singer and multi-instrumentalist Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella and the Progressive Rock outfit Consorzio Acqua Potabile (a.k.a. CAP). Alvaro Fella is mostly known for having been the front-man of explosive Hard & Progressive Rock band Jumbo. Jumbo was born in Milan in 1969 and released the albums “Jumbo” (1971), “DNA” (1972), and “Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?” (1973), before disbanding in 1975. CAP was formed in 1971 in Boffalora, Ticino, located in the Italian province of Novara. CAP’s musicians were inspired by “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, and “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”. In 1973 CAP performed at a local theater their first project: the Rock Opera “Gerbrand”. On May 5, 1977, after holding an important concert at the Sala Borsa (Novara), CAP’s members felt that Progressive Rock was in decadence before the audiences. CAP went on, doing sporadic shows around Novara, but at the end of the ‘70s, the band ceased activities. In the early ‘90s CAP resurrected, thanks to the Prog-Rock revival that was happening in Italy. The band began to release albums: “Sala Borsa Live '77” (1993), “Nei Gorghi del Tempo” (1993), “Robin Delle Stelle” (1998) – all via Kaliphonia. They were followed by “Il Bianco Regno di Dooah” (2003) and “Il Teatro delle Ombre” (2014). The band also took part in tributes and “Various Artists” special releases, such as: “Eyewitness: A Tribute To VdGG” (1995), “Camel Tribute” (1996), “Odissey - The Greatest Tale” (2005), “The 7 Samurai” (2006), “Inferno – A Progressive Rock Epic” (2008). The Fella & CAP collaboration was born from the friendship and mutual admiration that already existed between Alvaro Fella and CAP’s members. With support of Massimo Gasperini of Black Widow Records, their friendship evolved to a recording project! The result was the superb album entitled “Coraggio e Mistero” (Oct. 10th, 2016, Black Widow), which was released on CD and double Vinyl editions. The CD contains a thick booklet featuring lyrics and great artwork, and a bonus track: “Sette e Trenta (di Mattina)”. The Vinyl has all songs of the CD plus “Le Sette Stanze di Dimitrji” (14:58). The line-up consists of Alvaro Fella (vocals, guitars), CAP’s veterans, Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards) and Massimo Gorlezza (guitars), plus: Maurizio Mercandino (vocals), Silvia Carpo (recorder, vocals), Chicco Mercandino (guitar), Enrico Venegoni (keyboards), Luigi Secco (bass), and Maurizio Mussolin (drums). The eight tracks of “Coraggio e Mistero” (CD) bring CAP’s ever technical and refined Progressive music conveying Alvaro Fella’s peculiar singing voice, which resembles an ironic mad troubadour! Fella’s contribution is extended to his corrosive songwriting, which has shifted CAP’s lyrics from fantasy themes to a more critical view of political and universal problems. The album is plentiful in textures and vintage sonorities, with different brands of guitars, basses and keyboards being played, together with a colorful and varied rhythmic base that employs several instruments of percussion. Flutes with a lively “Tullesque” accent do show up often, increasing the complexity and dynamics of the instrumental arrangements. In general, the album sounds like the happy marriage of two contrasting styles of the Italian Prog-Rock matrix: one is Jumbo’s – heavy, acid, psychedelic, and impregnated with early 70’s Blues/Hard-Rock vibes, in the vein of bands like “Il Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “I Dalton”, “Delirium”, “Nuova Idea”, “J.E.T.”, “Panna Fredda”, “I Gleemen”, “Semiramis”, “Calliope”, and “Goad”; the other is CAP’s – melodic, folkloric, medieval and epic, containing moments of sublime symphonism – and strongly influenced by bands such as “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Celeste”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Errata Corrige”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Eris Pluvia”, “New Trolls”, and the British “Jethro Tull”, “VdGG”, “Camel” and “Genesis” in their early times. And Fella & CAP know exactly how to put their divergent styles together – in a way that one never overcomes or excludes the other, rather contributing to add more drama and integrity to the musical wholeness. The title track, “Coraggio e Mistero” (12:01), expresses what has been just said. Coming with the power of 70’s Hard-Prog, Fella’s passionate vocals ride aggressively on groovy rhythms, sided by intricate guitars, swinging bass, piano, keyboards and flutes, boldly trespassing martial instrumental passages, trippy soundscapes and acoustic folky parts put up by CAP’s talented musicians! The energy sensed on this song, even though softened by CAP’s classic musicianship, is transferred to all songs signed by Fella, whose influence imprints on them a sonic resemblance to Jumbo: “Io ti Canto” (6:13) (a pantomimic Rock with nostalgic lyrics about the 60’s, including trippy sounds and eerie female vocals); “Ciao Alvaro (dove vai?)” (4:33) (a bittersweet ballad); and “Sette e Trenta (di Mattina)” (5:44) (a Blues-Rock). The influence of Jumbo is epitomized on “La Strada” (6:33) – a stormy and groovy Hard-Prog with participation of Guido Dipierro (guitar solos) and ex-Jumbo Sergio Conte (Hammond). On the three songs authored by Maurizio Venegoni, however, CAP’s most traditional style rises strongly – for the delight of their fans! On them – namely, “Tra le Scale e il Cielo” (9:26); “Il Cervo e la Fonte” (7:01); and “La Notte e il Mulino di Al” (21:10) – Fella has shared vocals with CAP’s lead singer Maurizio Mercandino, in duos on which Fella’s burlesque- troubadour style has served perfectly to some characters described on Venegoni’s lyrics! “Tra le Scale e il Cielo” is a vivid Prog-Folk based on an ancient Breton dance that has some of a “Jethro Tull”, “Gryphon”, and “PFM” influence; “Il Cervo e la Fonte” is a magnificent piece inspired on a “Fedro’s” fable, on which the listener feels the transposition from pastoral motifs to modern textures of synths – trespassed by some dramatic and dissonant parts; and “La Notte e il Mulino di Al”, in special, stands out as CAP’s magnum opus – a lengthy Prog-Epic told through theatrical vocals and enchanting instrumental passages, with references to early “Camel”, “Genesis” and “Jethro Tull”! A dream made true by the visionary initiative of Black Widow Records, the Fella & CAP’s “Coraggio e Mistero” – having Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella’s marking voice and meaningful songwriting – is CAP’s most audacious album so far! Indispensable for fans of Italian Progressive Rock who love “Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso”, “Premiata Forneria Marconi”, “Rovescio Della Medaglia”, “Quella Vecchia Locanda”, “Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno”, “Biglietto Per L’Inferno”, “I Dalton”, “Delirium”, “Nuova Idea”, “J.E.T.”, “Celeste”, “Errata Corrige”, “Acqua Fragile”, “Eris Pluvia”, “Panna Fredda”, “Formula 3”, “I Gleemen”, “New Trolls”, “Semiramis”, “Goad”, “Calliope”, “Nuova Era”, “Il Castello di Atlante”, “Apoteosi”; the British “Jethro Tull”, “King Crimson”, “VdGG”, “Camel”, and “Genesis”; and “Jumbo” and “Consorzio Acqua Potabile”, of course! Band members and collaborators involved in Fella & CAP are: Alvaro “Jumbo” Fella – Lead Vocals, 12 & 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar, French Midi Musette, some Lyrics/Compositions; Maurizio Mercandino – Lead Vocals, 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar; Silvia Carpo – Recorder Flute, Maedieval Recorder Flutes, Vocals, Backing Vocals; Massimo Gorlezza – Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar, Ovation Acoustic Guitar; Chicco Mercandino – Gibson 355 Stereo Electric Guitar, Wizzard Electric Guitar, Wha Wha Vox Effect, 6 Strings Acoustic Guitar; Enrico Venegoni – Piano, Fender Rhodes Mark II, Mellotron M4000D (clarinet, cello, tibia organ), Mellotron M400 (flute, strings & choirs); Maurizio Venegoni – Low Whistle Flutes, Flute (Midiwind), Organ Hammond L122, Leslie Lombardi 200W, Leslie Pari, Prophet 12 Synth, Minimoog Model D, Bassoon, Highland Bagpipe, Breton Bombarde “C”, Honer Musette, Mellotron (boys choir), some Lyrics/Compositions; Luigi Secco – Rickenbacker 4003 Fireglo Electric Bass, Moog Taurus III, Eko B55 Freetless Electric Bass; Maurizio Mussolin – Drum Gretsch Catalina Ash-Ufip & Istanbul, Cymbals, Tubular Bells. Special Guests on “La Strada”: Guido Dipierro – Lead Electric Guitar; Sergio Conte – Hammond L122, Leslie Lombardi 200W, Fender Rhodes Piano Mark II. Cover Artwork by Sergio Quaranta. CAP’s 1973 line-up: Enrico Cucchi (guitar), Mario Cucchi (drums), Ugo Gorla (violin), Giancarlo Morani (bass, vocals), Gian Carlo Rognoni (congas, organ), and Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards, vocals); soon joined by Massimo Gorlezza (lead guitar), Pippo Avondo (drums) and Romolo Bollea (piano, synths). CAP’s line-up on May 5th, 1977; Sala Borsa concert: Massimo Gorlezza (guitar), Maurizio Venegoni (keyboards), Romolo Bollea (piano), Giancarlo Morani (bass) and Pippo Avondo (drums)... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)
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03/11/2017.............................,.....Interested to know more about this amazing Italian Prog Rock Band? Visit CAP HOME PAGE...
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