13 December 2008

James LaBrie new album update

(thanks to DT/Rush fan on mikeportnoy.com for bringing this to my attention)

Here is an update from Marco Sfogli.


“The main difference between Elements Of Persuasion and the new LaBrie record is that I only wrote the solos on the last one. Everything else was more or less pre-written for Elements Of Persuasion, including the guitar riffs. Now I have more freedom when it comes to the actual songs. I’ve written a lot of songs together with Matt Guillory (keyboards). I give him input with the guitars and he’s a master at arranging the songs. The new record will feature me as a writer as well."

“I think it will be heavier, less progressive, and have more hooks," Sfogli continues. "The new songs aren’t as technical as the ones on Elements Of Persuaision. That album was a very good experiment, like a transition point between the Mullmuzzler records and this new, more modern path. Now I think we, and especially Matt, have gotten to the point where we can write beautiful metal songs in the best sense of the word.”

12 December 2008

10 Questions WIth...Matthew Parmenter

Matthew Parmenter is perhaps best known for his two albums with Michigan-based prog band discipline. I admit, I bought a copy of their classic Unfolded Like Staircase because the band's name reminded me of King Crimson. While I certainly didn't get a band that sounded like King Crimson, I did discover a band that hit me on a deep emotional level. Parmenter's poetic lyrics, combined with a dark and edgy symphonic musical backing, help to create a band that grows as much from bands like Van der Graaf Generator and Anekdoten as it does from Yes and so on.

discipline. went silent around 2000, with sparse solo performanced by Parmenter. in 2004, his debut solo release, astray, came out, showing that the passing of years did nothing to dull his incisive writing and arranging skills. For me, it was one of 2004's albums of the year. 2005 saw him re-release a DVD of discipline. live in concert, originally released almost a decade earlier, followed by his second solo album, Horror Express, released this year.

But for many people, the Parmenter highlight this year was the reunion of the band to play a few select shows, including a showcase at NEARfest. For me, this show was one of my Holy Grail moments in music...I never thought I'd see the band play live, and there they were before me playing a selection of material from Push and Profit, Unfolded like Staircase, and...gasp...a new song.

There's a new discipline. album in the works, and now seems like a perfect time to talk with Matthew about everything happening in his musical life.

1) Were you surprised by the reaction discipline. got at NEARfest?

We all felt a little rusty during the set. There were no train wrecks, but none of us expected the positive reaction. I guess the songs were emotionally present even if they had spots technically.

It was strange to see a line of people to greet us afterwards. That just isn't our world. On the other hand, Nearfest is not your typical rock audience either. We were fortunate to be invited.

2) How would you compare the material you've put on your two solo releases to that for discipline.?

One never stops learning. It is impossible to stand still. Even the Discipline releases evolved.

A part of me rejects each release by the time it is finished. I experience a mixture of relief and fatigue. This might be why the albums sound different from one another. The differences probably have more to do with recording production than with the songs on them.

Every release feels like a reaction to the previous. You have to finish the process when you're recording; you have to wrap it up. But I always look ahead to what what could be done better on the next project.

At the same time, your taste and personal judgment change, often by way of the recording process. This leads to new expectations in future writing or recordings. And oftentimes old preoccupations lose significance and just fall away. It is like aging.

The improvisational music on Astray was in part a reaction to the rigid compositional style on Unfolded Like Staircase. I remember getting frustrated listening to Unfolded in that it very nearly never settles down. It is constantly changing and constantly demanding. It takes stamina to play and to listen. Astray purposefully defied this approach in favor of home bases and open spaces for improvised spontaneity.

The dynamics and fluid tempos on Horror Express were in contrast to Astray. On Astray I used a click track during the recording. I thought a reliable metronome would help with the guitar and drum overdubs. But the metronome locked the songs into a safety where they breathed less and became, in fact, harder to play along with.

Horror Express abandoned metronomes, except for the techno sounding songs. The songs flow more naturally, and it became easier to follow along and multi-track drums and other instruments.

If Discipline music is more immediate and forceful, perhaps the solo albums have more delicacy. They may require more investment from the listener because they are less precise. Some listeners might reject them for this reason.

I am sounding like a music critic, so I'd better stop.

3) Do you write a piece and feel "This is more suited for discipline., this one is more suited for a solo album?"

Sometimes. Most often I am just writing to get the song out. A lot of the older songs were written with the band in mind. When the band stopped working in 2000, it took me some time to stop writing for that lineup. Since 1984 when I first met Jon Bouda in high school, I'd imagined the guitar solos as his parts to play. It was not easy to move on and find another space for myself.

4) Horror Express seems a more diverse album than Astray was. Was this intentional, or just a natural evolution?

It is hard for me to see the albums as more or less diverse. The approaches in style and production on each feel cohesive to my ears. Horror Express has some instrumental tracks. This gives it some variety.

5) Were there specific influences you tried to draw from for the material on Horror Express?

I consciously channeled Akira Ifukube when writing the tracks O Cesare and Kaiju. Kaiju was written while I was fiddling around on the violin (no pun). It uses simple parallel chords to get to a somber, mournful place. O Cesare uses a descending chromatic bass line against a dissonant, strident melody. Both these approaches I heard in numerous Toho monster movies as a kid. Later I learned that these movie scores were written by Ifukube. The music of these films influenced me musically and I wanted to recognize this somehow on Horror Express.

It may sound silly. Youthfulness, or a refusal to deny the child, is a part of Horror Express. It is central also to me as a writer. I accept this and keep on writing.

6) discipline. and echolyn have shared the stage many times in the past. What was it like playing with them again at NEARfest?

It is always great playing with Echolyn. They were fantastic at Nearfest, too. We hung out in the wings during their set which was really fun.

7) What musicians or bands have influenced you the most over your career in music?

Surely the music of the Beatles is up there. At an early age I heard art rock through my oldest brother; my first rock album was Free Hand by Gentle Giant. I got to see Genesis in concert as a kid. At home I heard mostly classical music from my parents. Growing up in the 1970s, I was influenced by many mainstream recordings of the day (Manilow, Elton John). As an older listener I spent many hours with recordings by Bartok and Stravinsky. I like Randy Newman's music from the 1970s. Peter Hammill is great and I am glad I was introduced to his recordings.

Basically I am a pop songwriter, but it always goes a little wrong or gets a little broken. I gather that my songs make people uncomfortable. To me it's all just melody, silence, and groove.

8) What can fans of your solo work and your work with discipline expect
in the future?

More recordings and few if any shows.

9) Are there any future live dates coming up for you or the band?

I may be in Montreal in May as a solo guy.

10) Do you have any final words for our readers?

Thank you for listening over the years.

Links of Note:

Strung Out Records.
Matthew Parmenter MySpace
discipline MySpace
MP/discipline discussion group Into The Dream

Slacker Prog Radio info

Some news from Prog programmer Chris Boros:

"I'm the Prog Rock programmer for Slacker.Com. It's a USA service where you can create your own personalized radio stations. Slacker has tons of different formats, but I'm the Prog Rock dude.

I'm just trying to spread the word about the service and thought you'd like to know. You can skip songs and tell the system to play ONLY the bands you want to hear. We have all the classics playing, plus tons of obscurities too. Currently, there are 109 different bands on the station...

You can find it in the Rock section of Slacker.Com. Then click on "edit station" to see all the bands we have playing and to personalize the station.

Thanks for your time.

Chris Boros"

The Rebel Wheel new album news

Direct from bassist Gary Lauzon:

  • there will be a 35 minute song called "The Discovery of Witchcraft"
  • "Black Widow" will be a crazy instrumental and will feature lots of bass tapping goodness like the first one ("Arachnophobia" from our record Diagramma)
  • the album will have a nice booklet this time around, with some cool/eerie art
  • We are in the Time of Evil Clocks will be the name of the album
  • it clocks (pun intended) at over 70 minutes long
  • it is our second record with 10T Records

10 December 2008

Glass Hammer announced for 3RP 2009

The Three Rivers Prog Festival has announced that Glass Hammer will perform on August 9th 2009 at the Pepsi Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Be sure to check the Glass Hammer website for details. www.glasshammer.com

Also signed to perform at 3RP 2009:





UKZ's "One City World Tour" announced

Keyboard and electric-violin legend Eddie Jobson (UK, Roxy Music, Zappa) announces the new UKZ's debut concert for January 24, 2009 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall in New York City. The "One City World Tour" will also feature the U.S. debut of special guests Stick Men, featuring King Crimson's Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. The ticket on-sale date will be announced soon.

The concert will follow the January 6 pre-release of UKZ band's debut EP entitled Radiation, which is slated for full retail release nationally on March 3.

Returning from a self-imposed 27-year retirement from band and touring activity, Jobson set out to find the same caliber of next-generation musicians for the new UKZ project that would equal or surpass the talents of his previous colleagues and collaborators...an impressive list that includes Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, John Entwistle, Ian Anderson, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Allan Holdsworth, and Tony Levin.

Jobson -- who was born and raised in the Durham area of England -- has hand-selected a truly international dream-band of virtuosos from around the world:

Aaron Lippert -- a citizen of Belgium, but born and raised in New York -- the former lead singer and songwriter for Columbia recording artists Expanding Man.

Trey Gunn -- a Texas native, currently residing in Seattle - a ten-year veteran of King Crimson and the leading exponent of the Warr 10-string touch guitar.

Alex Machacek -- from Vienna, Austria -- an award-winning guitar prodigy and composer.

Marco Minnemann -- from Hannover, Germany -- a drumming phenomenon of unparalleled virtuosity.

Opening for the supergroup will be Stick Men, which features Chapman stick players Tony Levin and Michael Bernier, with Pat Mastelotto on drums.

For more information, visit the UKZ web site at http://www.ukzband.com.

DFA to perform at NEARfest 2009

NEARfest '09 is happy to announce that DFA will be gracing the NEARfest stage in '09. The band has very strong ties to NEARfest, feeling that they were catapulted into the progressive world with their 2000 appearance. When they approached us with their desire to perform in '09, we declined so as not to disrupt FMPM's plans. It was their love for NEARfest that kept the band motivating us towards accepting them for '09.

Formed in Verona during 1991 around Alberto De Grandis, drummer, occasional vocalist and main composer, and bassist Luca Baldassari, D.F.A.was initially an instrumental keyboard-led trio, a formula that evolved over the years, first with the arrival of guitarist Silvio Minella in 1993, and two years later with the introduction of vocal parts in the compositions, following the release of a demo tape entitled Trip On Metro.

Later in 1995, Alberto Bonomi replaced the original keyboard player and D.F.A.found its definitive shape. Bonomi was soon to become an essential creative force in the band alongside De Grandis, co-writing most of the material with him. The new quartet made its
live debut in January 1996, and soon afterwards embarked on the recording of their first proper album, Lavori In Corso ("works in progress").

With their second work, Duty Free Area from 1999, D.F.A.broadened their musical palette with new sounds, especially in the keyboard department, putting their mark on the progressive world. The band's watershed appearance at NEARfest in June 2000 was documented on a best-selling live CD. Meanwhile, D.F.A.started work on their next album, aiming to further establish the unique D.F.A.identity. The resulting album entitled, "4TH", (MoonJune Records, www.moonjune.com) was released to both critical and mass acclaim making many best of 2008 lists. NEARfest '09 is extremely pleased to hand the stage to DFA once again.

Free The Red Masque show in Philly 14 December

FREE All Ages Concert Dec. 14 (Sunday)

12.14.08 | The Rotunda at the University of Pennsylvania, 4014 Walnut
Street Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-573-3234. 8 PM. All Ages. Free admission but donations for the bands are accepted at the door. Band order: Offshore Drilling, The Red Masque, Radio Eris.

About the Bands:

The Red Masque

The Red Masque is an original avant rock band from the Philadelphia
area. Part art, part alchemy, the group's experimental songwriting style is both angular and eerie, accented by free-form space rock improvisations, intricate acoustics, dark atmospherics and chunky riffs. Unconventional and eccentric in musical form, the sophisticatedly sinister The Red Masque fuses together such disparate musical references as horror movie soundtracks, rock-in-opposition, progressive rock, experimental, zeuhl, heavy rock, gothic, psychedelia, space rock, and kraut rock.

"From Pennsylvania hails a quartet without limitations to their
purposes and without shame regarding norms and dogma within new rock."
- Tarkus Magazine

"In the Nu-progressive rock underground, few bands are as respected
and feared as Philadelphia's The Red Masque. Without irony or kitsch, the whirlwind that is Masque ... stalks the darkness of Hammer Horror ambience and cursedly complex musicianship (think Gong meets Bauhaus) with only feedbacking noise, sound-collage clustering and the howl of vocalist Lynnette Shelley to light its way." - Philadelphia City Paper

Founded in February 2001 by bassist/keyboardist Brandon Ross and
vocalist Lynnette Shelley, the Red Masque went through several lineup changes over the years, but its intent and integrity has always remained the same. The band's goal was, and is, to create original music that pushes the envelope of the listener's expectations. With such influences as Magma, King Crimson, Hawkwind, Gong, Pink Floyd, Bauhaus, Art Bears, and Van Der Graaf Generator, The Red Masque's compositions are as intense as they are unique.

One of the group's first concerts was at the Prelude to the North East
Art Rock Festival (NEARFest) in 2001. Other notable shows include the 2005 Rogue Independent Music Festival in Atlanta, the 2001 World Con Science Fiction Convention, the New Jersey proghouse series, Orion Studios in Baltimore; the Philadelphia Landing Pad Space Rock Festival; and The Gate to Moonbase Alpha concert series at the Rotunda in Philadelphia. The Red Masque also organized and performed in the 2002 and 2003 Philadelphia Underground Music and Culture Festival. The
Red Masque have also opened up for notable performers and musicians such as Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears), The Muffins, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and Present. They have also performed on stage with such well-regarded drummers and percussionists as David Kerman (5UUs, Present, Thinking Plague) and Paul Sears (The Muffins, Thee Maximalists).

Steadily growing an audience within the underground progressive and
psychedelic music communities for their uncompromising and intense style of music, The Red Masque have released to date one EP ("Death of the Red Masque" in 2001), and three albums ("Victoria and the Haruspex" in 2002, "Feathers for Flesh" in 2004, and "Fossil Eyes" in 2008), as well as one single (2003). "Feathers for Flesh" was released through the Big Balloon Music label out of Washington state and garnered critical reviews in the press, including Wire Magazine,
Harmonie Magazine, Progresiste Magazine, iO Pages, Colussus Magazine, Tarkus Magazine, Progression Magazine, Expose Magazine, the Philadelphia City Paper, Metro Philadelphia, and various online newsletters, blogs, and review sites. Interviews in various progressive music media also followed, including Progression Magazine and Expose Magazine.

The band is currently signed with RER USA / Ad Hoc Records and
released their highly anticipated third album, "Fossil Eyes" in August 2008. "Fossil Eyes" is widely considered the band's most daring release to date is garnering critical reviews in the media and radio
airplay amongst the more independent radio stations.

The Red Masque is:

:: Brandon Lord Ross: bass guitar, moog, echo theremin

:: Lynnette Shelley: vocals, lyrics, noises & percussion

:: Brian "Vonorn" Van Korn: drums, keyboards, theremin

with David Pym, guitar


Radio Eris

"Radio Eris craft discordant loveliness from poetry and sound. Founded
by shamanic poetess Lora Bloom and studio visionary Matt Stevenson, their live shows are cathartic and overpowering, a vibrant wall of sound incorporating dance, improvisation and spontaneous anarchy into a heady mix. " Adam Fieled, Philadelphia Independent.

Eris is a lost goddess in Greek Mythology: the goddess of discord,
known for only one story: the throwing of a golden apple that began the Trojan War. Philadelphia psychedelic band Radio Eris channel this discordian spirit in their music, bringing her back to life in their
own image as a powerful symbiotic force, a source of transcendence. The Radio Eris mythos is a series of fortunate accidents leading to a magical bond, something a little more than just a band.

Began as an ambient poetry project between Matt Stevenson and Lora
Bloom, two flawed but driven artists who knew little about music but nevertheless possessed the holy fire, Radio Eris has matured to become a band with a powerful energy and unusual sound. Radio Eris can be
ambient and ethereal, as loud and harsh and any noise punk band, or psychedelic and offbeat like a reincarnated 60s space rock band. They utilize improvisation along with non-ordinary song structures to accommodate free-verse poetry and often incorporate lighting, costumes, dance, performance art and other theatrical elements into their live shows, creating a surreal atmosphere.

Radio Eris consists of five elements: Matt Stevenson, genius
mastermind and sound engineer, plays both keyboards and bass in the band, plus provides the sound direction; vocalist Lora Bloom illustrates her strange poems with inhuman wails, odd vocal experiments and breathy chants; legendary lead guitarist Dan "Redbeard" Baker pumps energy and passion, "sets the stage aflame with piercing garage-style blue notes" (A. Fieled); drummer Lisa Sunshine a
guiding light of driving momentum, yet ready at a moment's notice to collapse into formless ambience; and Kenny the Extremist, sound terrorist and mad experimenter, hides behind his massive machine of keyboards, effects, purcussion and theremin.

In accord with the DIY spirit, Radio Eris has recorded and self
-released 4 full albums: "Loralaii", "Beautiful Losers", "Strength" and most recently, "Monkey Island" (at their new gallery/studio/living space Eris Temple). They have also released a track on an Orange
Entropy Compilation, and recorded the critically acclaimed "Apesma" on the Captain Beefhart tribute album "Mama Kangaroos" from Genus records.

Radio Eris has performed everywhere from warehouses (Killtime,
Highwire Gallery, C.O.D.E.) to coffee houses, bars (The Fire, The Khyber, J.C.Dobbs) to basements, and from after-hours strip clubs to afternoon arts festivals. They have participated in West Philadelphia's legendary Clark Park Festival and are regular performers in the Landing Pad, Doug McMahon's annual space rock festival hosted in the University of Pennsylvania's spacious Rotunda. The also often appear in A.D. Amorosi's Monday Night Club at The Balcony and have performed at events hosted by October Gallery, Pink Hanger Presents, Orange Entropy and Genus Records. Most recently they played a European tour and festival.


Offshore Drilling

"Offshore Drilling is a drummer and a guitarist fighting and dancing
like old friends on a good gin drunk."

Experimental/Noise band Offshore Drilling is a new project by
guitarist Brandon Morsberger (of the Philadelphia band Drums Like Machine Guns) and drummer Gray Hender. Offshore Drilling consists of melody and noise clashing, and exchanges of soft then brutal passages.


04 December 2008

15 years...

4 December 1993...


I think many of us miss you more now than ever...I wonder what he'd be creating today...

26 November 2008

Some thoughts on boxed sets...

A few days ago I posted a review of the new Ayreon boxed set, Timeline. It got me to thinking about boxed sets in general. A bunch of progressive rock bands have released (in some cases, several) boxed sets, with varying degrees of success.

What do I mean by success?

That can be measured in so many ways. Certainly commercial sales is one way, but come on…this is prog. More importantly are artistic degrees of success and content. A label can repackage an artist’s catalogue, but if the artist him (or her) self is involved, the results are often superior. Related to that would be the contents of the set…is it a simple collection of previously released material, or is it filled up with interesting stuff that we may never have heard before?

The following is a smattering of boxed sets that I’ve found to offer very good value for one reason or another.

King CrimsonEpitaph, The Great Deceiver. Sure, they released one of the better career retrospective boxed sets in Frame by Frame. But save for the fourth disc of live material and a few curious edits (re-recording vocals and bass on "Cadence and Cascade" and "Bolero" respectively, among others), FxF doesn’t offer a huge amount to the hardcore Crimhead. Better to look at Epitaph, a 4-CD set of material from the first incarnation of the band (including some awesome BBC session stuff), or The Great Deceiver, 4 discs of concert material from 1973-1974. Both are well nigh essential…the first really allowed people to re-evaluate the first band and what they were capable of, while the second showed the 1973-1974 band for what they were…perhaps the first progressive metal band, and one who could jam as well. Awesome stuff all the way around.

GenesisArchive 1968-1975. Full Lamb Lies Down concert? Check. Another disc of live material from the Selling England period, along with some hard to find B-sides? Sure, why not? An entire disc of material from the Genesis to Revelations era? Well…interesting, to be certain. It’s a shame the band didn’t visit this idea for the second boxed set (1976-1992)…if they had, I’d recommend both. Add in some excellent liner notes and recollections from all parties involved, and I am more than willing to overlook the re-recorded bits (yes, it was hard to mic Gabriel when he was in the Slipperman costume, but…). Now, all we need to find is a previously unknown high quality professionally filmed Lamb show and release it on DVD…that sound you hear is the sound of 500,000 devoted Genesis fans combusting spontaneously in thought…

Magma Trilogie au Triannon. It’s tempting to say you need no more Magma than this. This is the essence…the first trilogy from Christian Vander and his Kobaian band mates. MDK, Wurdah Itah, Theusz Hamtaakh…Orff-ian, minimalistic, orchestral, intense. You get lyrics! You can sing along! It sounds like I making fun of this, but…I’m not. Magma is one of my favourite bands ever, and this boxed set is one of the best ways to discover what this underrated band has to offer. Not many groups can claim to have created a whole genre of music…Magma did just that. Essential. Essential in extremis.

Frank ZappaThe MOFO Project/Object. Zappa’s had a bunch of things that could be considered a boxed set. Lather is one, one might consider the YCDTOSA series as one, especially if you have the road case to put the volumes in. But that one was released in 6 individual releases, while Lather is more a repackaging than anything else. MOFO is…more. Yes, you have the original Freak Out! Album, but it’s a mix no one has heard in almost ever. Plus loads of studio sessions, outtakes, interviews…it gives the listener a great look into Zappa in 1966, the Mothers of Invention at their early onset, and it smokes to boot. I am not too keen on the packaging (the plastic seems to stick a little bit), but it’s an impressive looking thing, to be sure. And the music matches it.

EcholynA Little Nonsense. Yes, I wish the debut release were in print by itself. Same with …and every blossom, or When the Sweet Turns Sour. But we get all of them here, along with some remakes of older songs, some outtakes, and so on. 3 discs, a bugger of a package (yes, it looks all nice, but the discs can be a beast to get out carefully), and a nice booklet that offers up some historical background to the music in hand. If you’ve got everything else the band released and are missing these, get the box. It’s less expensive by far than trying to dredge up an original pressing of the debut, which at one point was selling for $200 or more.

RenaissanceDa Capo. A bit slight at only 2 CDs, this set is, however, what the old Sire released Tales of 1001 Nights dreamed it could be. More inclusive by far, it covers the old Keith Relf era of the band up through unreleased material from the Time Line/Camera Camera era band. The booklet is informative, there’s some great photos of the band from throughout the life of the group, and over all, it’s the best package a Renaissance fan has right now. It serves as a great intro to the band for those unfamiliar with their glorious classically influenced progressive rock. And really…you can never have too much Annie Haslam.

Emerson Lake and Palmer – Where do I go here? I don’t have the most recently released boxed set, so I am limited to looking at The Return of the Manticore and the 3 Bootleg Boxes. The original 4 CD boxed set really only offered up one disc of interest to hardcore fans…the first, with some reworkings of songs from each band member’s past (i.e., a Crimson cover, a Nice cover, an Arthur Brown cover), as well as a reworking of Pictures at an Exhibition. There’s a few previously unreleased live tracks tossed in to spice things up, but overall, this is pretty much a career retrospective and not much more. The bootleg boxes are illuminating, and occasionally offer up some great sounding live recordings (the pair from 1992 and 1993 specifically), but in the end they are for absolute die hard fans only, the ones who can handle listening to a recording that is muffled or imperfect in order to hear the band taking risks.

I have a hard time with Yes. All I really have is the old YesYears set. I do not have In a Word, nor do I have The Word is Live. So I can’t recommend either of those. And YesYears…out of print, out of date (only covers up to Union), and some curious selections in tracks. Not a lot of unreleased goodies either…and very unessential now that Rhino has repackaged and re-released all the original studio albums with a plethora of bonus tracks and stuff.

I'll probably revisit this subject in a few days as well, once I've had a chance to mull over a few other boxed sets and artists...watch this space!

Rush Snakes & Arrows DVD previews

Courtesy of the people at Rounder Records, I've got some streaming previews from the forthcoming Snakes & Arrows live DVD from Rush. Sadly, I have yet to figure out how to get streaming video like this to work here (gotta read the manual!), but for the moment, I think if you click the following links, it should work just fine:

Far Cry
The Spirit of Radio

The DVD is due for release on...well, 2 days ago, really :-)

24 November 2008

REVIEW: Karmakanic - Who's the Boss in the Factory

There seems to be a cottage industry of Flower Kings related bands.

This can be seen as both right and wrong. For example, is Kaipa a Flower Kings related band, or is it the other way around, especially as Kaipa predates the Flower Kings by several decades? Is The Tangent a Flower Kings related band, or a Parallel or 90 Degrees related band? Transatlantic? And so on…it just keeps going.

The lines remain somewhat blurred with Karmakanic. Bassist Jonas Reingold’s band, Karmakanic explores a jazzier side of progressive rock. Reingold’s a hell of a bassist, and in a genre filled with a plethroa of great names, that’s saying a lot. He has chops to spare, but he can play with remarkable subtlety and grace. Fretted or fretless, it really doesn’t matter…put a bass in his hands and magic will shortly follow. Karmakanic’s latest release is Who’s The Boss in the Factory, a 5 track (with the closing track indexed with two track numbers) showcase for his excellent playing and solid compositional skills. Joining him on this release are Zoltan Csörsz on drums, Lalle Larsson on keys, Krister Jonsson on guitars, and Göran Edman on vocals. Also guesting are a few familiar names…Andy Tillison of The Tangent (here we go again), Tomas Bodin (the Flower Kings, natch) and Theo Travis (Gong/Tangent/et.al.).

Where Reingold’s playing on Flower Kings releases may lean ever so slightly toward the jazzier side of things, his work with Karmakanic seems a bit more punchy and powerful. This isn’t a complaint about his presence in TFK at all…but as Karmakanic is his project, it’s only understandable that he’d be a bit more to the fore. Having said this, the album opens with a song that honestly could have possibly been lifted from nearly any Flower King’s release, the 19-plus minute epic “Send a Message From the Heart.” Filled with positive lyrical messages and some wonderfully deft instrumental interplay, it’s an audacious choice as opener. For anyone thinking that Karmakanic is just another TFK-related band, “Send a Message From the Heart” will do little to disavow them of that notion…unless they take the time to listen deeper into the song. There are some great jazzy interludes and instrumental excursions…great keyboard playing, light and airy bass/percussion playing at an almost telepathic level, and so on. In general the arrangement, while perhaps more complex at one level, is also far more stripped back…less orchestrated, less symphonic.

Things change up on “Let In Hollywood.” A series of chopped acoustic guitar chords lead into some cool singing from Göran Edman and a nice groove from Csörsz. This is a powerful, bass-driven song, with cynical lyrics deriding the pre-packaged entertainment that so many people swallow whole. I love the lyrical bit that goes “I can’t hear a single, this song is 7/8”…I can catch myself singing this from time to time, so the hook did its job. The synth work is excellent, and as for Reingold’s playing…it’s almost as if he were channeling the spirit of John Entwhistle through Chris Squire’s fingers…and saying that is almost a swipe at Reingold, for his instrumental voice is entirely his own. I just can’t think of any better way to describe the power he pushes through his instrument on this track.

The title track is the second ‘true’ epic on the album, at 13:04. The opening is quiet and piano based, with a touch of acoustic guitar to sweeten the mix. Vocally darker as well, the introductory moments are far more sombre and almost malevolent than anything else on the album. The track builds gently, evolving into a slightly more orchestrated take on the Karmakanic sound, with string stabs and moments that verge on progressive metal.

I also want to make note of the 2-part album closer, “Eternally.” Written in memory of Reingold’s parents, both of whom passed way late in 2007. The opening movement is a gentle piano piece that may sound out of place on an album such as this, but which is played with such delicacy and beauty that it simply must be heard. I hesitate to use the word gorgeous, but…the piece is gorgeous. No doubt about it. The second part drips with raw emotion, with grand string arrangements and passionate, from the depths of the soul singing. Reingold plays a fretless on this track, judging by the sound, and his playing is subdued, restrained, yet the intensity of emotion of his playing can be heard and felt in every quavering note. It may sound odd, but for such a sad song, the piece is uplifting and affirming at the same time…it never falls into a pit of despair and wallowing pity.

I greatly enjoyed Who’s the Boss in the Factory, and can’t say enough good things about it. The album has it all…impressive playing, great vocals, and writing and arranging that keeps songs fresh and interesting throughout. Don’t look at this as another Flower Kings related band and album…Karmakanic deserves far better than that.

Send a Message from the Heart (19:29)
Let in Hollywood (4:53)

Who's the Boss in the Factory (13:04)

Two Blocks From the Edge (9:51)

Eternally Pt. 1 (1:51)

Eternally Pt. 2 (6:22)

Jonas Reingold on bass

Zoltan Csörsz on drums

Lalle Larsson on keys

Krister Jonsson on guitars

Göran Edman on vocals

Symphony X 2009 Asian Tour dates

13 February, 2009 Bejing, China MG Live House
15 February, 2009 Shanghai, China Wanping Theater
17 February, 2009 Kowloon, Hong Kong HITEC Auditorium
20 February, 2009 Bangkok, Thailand AUA Auditorium
22 February, 2009 Taipei, Taiwan Sword Lake Youth Activity Center

As a semi-reminder, I will be writing up a piece on the new Paradise Lost special edition release. I've been living with the album the past few days, and...well, I don't have any other SymX albums to compare it to, so I can't say how it rests among previous releases like V or Divine Wings of Tragedy or anything else, but...I like it quite a bit. I'm not much into progressive metalthese days, having pretty much overdosed on it, but I'd say SymX may have a bit more in common with the European power metal bands in many ways.

And yes, Russell Allen is probably THE voice in prog metal as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, expect a more in depth review in the next day or so, once I get Karmakanic's review up on the blog (later today, I'd wager).

The Rebel Wheel news

Direct from David Campbell:

Right now we are hard at work preparing for our next album for 10T Records. The album is titled "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks" and features the same line-up that we had at the Nuance fest (and the Rosfest after-hours party) with:

Angie Macivor on saxes, keys and vocals
David Campbell on guitars, keys and vocals
Gary Lauzon on bass and keyboards
Aaron Clark on drums and keyboards

We are also proud to feature guest artists
Rick Barkhouse on keys (http://www.widowswalk.ca)
and Guy Leblanc on keys (http://www.nathanmahl.ca)

The rehearsals are well underway and all the material is written and arranged. We intend to hit the studio in early January.

We just started a blog about it, so if anyone is interested please stop by:


23 November 2008

NEARfest announces Cabezas de Cera for 2009

Well folks, it's been a long time coming, but here we are with an announcement of avant proportions. NEARfest '09 is proud to present Mexico's Cabezas de Cera as the opening act for NEARfest '09. Along its path, Cabezas de Cera (CDC, Candle-Wax Heads) has gone through various phases: as a trio (1995 - 1997) with Cristóbal Pliego on the bass and brothers Mauricio and Francisco Sotelo on the electric guitar and the drums respectively. In 1998 CDC became a quartet with Ramsés Luna; in this way, CDC close their first cycle. Finally, in 2000 CDC consolidates as a band formed by Mauricio Sotelo on the strings, Ramsés Luna on the winds, Francisco Sotelo on drums and Edgar Arrellín as the sound designer.

CDC grounds its compositions on a diversity of styles and contemporary genres. However, it is in this creation of unique metal instruments, as well as their extraordinary execution and experimentation where CDC finds a rich balance between acoustic and electronic styles. A Cebezas De Cera concert is full of emotions and colors, which seems from time to time to evoke the endeavor of forging metals in an atmosphere of strength and fire. The compositions encompass experimental music, jazz, world music and Mexican popular music, but they find in rock and improvisation, the liberty to merge these sounds into a unique style. Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson fame states: "At a time when so many are sounding the same its a delight to

hear a band as unique as Cabezas de Cera".

With albums such as Un Segundo, MetalMúsica, Fractal Sónico and their latest Hécho en México, live, and countless festival performances under their collective belt, CDC is on the forefront of
the current avant/world/jazz metal scene. If instruments such as The Charrófono, Jarana Prisma, Tricordio, Wind Midi, Chapman Stick, Handsonic and Alto Sax stir your musical soul, then prepare for a unique journey and join us as we welcome to the NEARfest '09 stage,
Cabezas de Cera.

Cabezas de Cera, "Nocturo Incandescente"


22 November 2008

Caravan: The Future?

This from the official Caravan news site...not a promising post, sadly:

I can confirm that Jan Schelhaas has moved to Scotland and now lives outside Perth. While this makes collaboration between Pye (Hastings) and Jan a tantalising prospect, it dampens the possibilities of Caravan regrouping, as the costs of meeting up to rehearse and tour are more or less prohibitive.

Pye also feels that a guitarist would be essential, and finding the right person would take a huge commitment of time and energy. Doug (Boyle) regretfully does not wish to play live (although he and Pye are on good terms, having met in London fairly recently). Added to that is the on going question about Richard's (Coughlin) ability to be able to cope with a series of dates.

The best prospect at present therefore is to look forward to releases by individual band members. Jan's very good album is out and Pye is beginning to reflect on who he would like to support him on his solo album, which he is working on. He is keen to involve members of the band...

LE ORME to headline FMPM 2009

Next September, one of Italy's greatest progressive rock bands performs for the first time in Montreal, as Le Orme headlines the fourth edition of the FMPM. Founded in 1966, Le Orme have released 18 albums, have headlined almost every significant music festival while maintaining a loyal fan base in Italy, and continue to produce acclaimed studio material forty years after their inception.

After releasing several beat and psych singles, the classic trio formation of Aldo Tagliapietra, Michi dei Rossi, and Toni Pagliuca was in place by 1970. This formation released four canonical Italian prog releases during this time, "Collage", "Uomo di Pezza", "Felona e Sorona", and finally "Contrappunti". Like many of the more popular Italian groups, Le Orme tried their hand with an English release, with "Felona & Sorona" coming out on Charisma with translated lyrics by Peter Hammill. Due to the instrumental configuration of keyboards, bass, and drums, and with a very classical sound, it is easy to compare this period to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, without the maudlin stabs at honky tonk and the like.

In the late 70s a fourth member joined on guitar, and releases such as "Florian" and "Piccola Rapsodia dell'Ape" take on a different flavour, with an emphasis on acoustic textures. In the 80s the group was down to the core trio but less active. A reunion took place in the late 90s with the release of "Il Fiume", and a well-received appearance in Quebec City (among others). The group was now a quartet, with Michele Bon and Francesco Sartori sharing Pagliuca's old keyboard duties.

Not content to rest on their laurels, this decade has seen the release of two conceptual studio works, "Elementi" and "l'Infinito". Unlike many progressive groups who have continued from the early 70s to today, Le Orme's current work is considered by many to be of the same quality as their classic period albums. Le Orme headlined NEARFest several years ago and a CD/DVD release called "Live in Pennsylvania" came out this year to commemorate that event. Le Orme is now back to a trio formation, with Michele Bon handling all keyboards along with stalwarts Tagliapietra and dei Rossi, and have maintained a busy gig schedule in Italy this year. They are currently at work on a new album.

In September, Montreal will be the place to be, as Le Orme joins a top caliber line-up including Magenta, DFA, Thieves' Kitchen, and Rouge Ciel. More information about the festival, including our official hotel, is available at http://www.fmpm.net.

10 Questions With...Lynnette Shelley

The Red Masque are a Philadelphia based avant/space/I'm not sure how to describe/label them progressive band. They embrace so many different styles of music, from the fragile and beautiful to the primal and aggressive...often within the same song. Each album builds from the successes of the previous, and they are always pushing their musical boundaries on each release.

I became a fan of theirs based on a single song..."Beggars and Thieves," released as a single a few years back as a teaser for their 2004 album Feathers for Flesh. That album got a huge amount of play at my place, and if I had been putting together top ten albums of the year lists back then, it would have easily earned a spot. It's been four years since that album came out, but the band has finally unveiled their latest opus, Fossil Eyes, released on adHoc/ReR USA Records.

I was pleased when vocalist Lynnette Shelley agreed to pen some replies to my questions for this blog. She's a professional designer when not working with them band, and in fact much of the band's visual style on record is the result of her art and design work (the debut EP, Feathers for Flesh and Fossil Eyes all feature her cover art). Her replies are expansive and insightful, and my hope is that they will help you, Constant Reader, get a better feel for this unique, boundary pushing band.

1) Can you give us a brief history of how The Red Masque came together?

Brandon and I started The Red Masque in February 2001. Previously, we had played together in a few bands in Delaware, where we are both originally from. I moved to Philadelphia in 1999 for a job, and Brandon followed a few months later. We auditioned musicians for a while (even playing with some others in Baltimore, MD, for a while, before forming the prototype The Red Masque band lineup in 2000. Brandy of the Damned (from the George Bernard Shaw quote) featured original TRM guitarist Steven Blumberg, and keyboardist/concert harpist Nathan-Andrew Dewin, and another drummer. That drummer quit before our first gig, and we eventually replaced his spot with Kevin Kelly in February 2001. Our first gig as The Red Masque was less than two months later.

2) How would you say your recent album Fossil Eyes departs from or expands upon the previous release?

Well, I think this album is the first album of ours that is true concept album. We specifically structured the album with “intercessionals” situated between the main material. These intercessionals can be considered like mood pieces or mini-soundtracks to carry over between major album pieces (“Carbon 14”, “Das Snail”, “The Spider Is The Web”, “The Anti-Man”, “Polyphemus” and “Carbon 13.”) As for the album theme, lyrically, the songs use the natural world to explore various human philosophical/moral questions. For example, “The Anti-Man” is about war, told through the point of view of the rebels. In this case, the rebels are insects warring against humans. Or, in the case of “Das Snail”, the protagonist wonders who he or she is. Do past events and current circumstances define a person or is there an innate sense of self that breaks free from these boundaries? Is a person like a snail, whose body conforms to the shape of the shell it inhabits or does he or she have his or her own unique mental structure?

From an auditory point of view, Fossil Eyes is definitely sonically denser and, in my opinion, the songs are better written. The song production also has a more organic approach.

3) Your first two releases, Death of the Red Masque and Victoria and the Haruspex, came out on CD-R. Is there any chance that they will be reissues, perhaps by ReR?

I doubt it. Physical CD sales are going down across the board while downloads are going up, and many predict the death of physical cds in the next few years. From a monetary point of view, it wouldn’t be worth it to release them as physical CDS. However, we are releasing them for “pay what you want” digital downloads from theredmasque.com.

I do hope to re-record “Tidal” (from DotRM) and “Birdbrain” (from VatH) at some point though, and release them as bonus tracks on album album perhaps.

4) You've provided cover art for almost all of your album releases. How do you feel the artwork ties the package together?

Well, I am a professional artist and a graphic designer so I like making artwork for the albums (though I would redo the album covers on the first two albums as they look a bit amateurish at this point. But I was an amateur designer back then, and the first two albums were very DIY projects.) It ties the package together in that I think the artwork matches the music and makes it seem a little more ‘complete’ as opposed to a collection of electronic files. I don’t like CDs for artwork as much as an actual LP cover, but with the right budget, you can make some really beautiful booklets and packaging.

5) There was a long period between the release of Feathers for Flesh and Fossil Eyes. Do you feel the majority of the difficulties that hindered the album's release are behind you?

Well, yes and no. Yes in that the major problems we suffered on the last record were due to Vonorn’s health situation. We had to wait for him to get out of the hospital, and learn to walk again, let alone learn to drum again. But the band is also not a full-time gig, so we don’t get to work on it 24/7. We also have to do most things ourselves, so all of these things take time.

But, knock on wood, we will have a live CD out next year on a label, and hopefully another new album will be out in much sooner than four years. I’d ideally like to release something new every other year.

6) Who do you think have been the biggest influences on you as a musician and artist?

I don’t have a biggest influence. There are bands and artists I like for various reasons and you could point out various things in our music that sound influenced by this or that band, but I’ve never sat down and thought I wanted to sound like a particular band.

I know I like the controlled chaos approach of Van Der Graaf Generator. I love the live shows of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Acid Mothers Temple. I like Diamanda Galas’ and Peter Hammill’s vocal theatrics. I love the rhythms and heavy bass of groups like Magma. I like the heavy distortion of King Crimson mixed with moments of quiet beauty. I admire the Art Bears songwriting tremendously. I love the lyrical melodies of Pentangle and Fairport Convention. And I love the mix of light and dark in Comus.

But the music of The Red Masque, for better or for worse, is its own entity.

7) The Red Masque's music is very dramatic, relying on dynamics, shifts in tone, and deep lyrical content. Would you like to see the band work in anything from a multimedia/theatrics standpoint in a live setting?

LS: This is something the band has talked over many times. In theory I would say sure. From a practical point of view, I find the simpler the shows are the better the result. Unless you have your own sound crew, lighting crew, a lot of time to soundcheck etc., all of that would overcomplicate things. We are usually lucky to get 20 minutes to do a soundcheck at most venues.

We do have a guy, David Pym, who is working on videos for us, so we hope do things with him that involve video projections and the like. The one thing I am sure of is that I don’t want the theatrical/visuals to hamper the music because I think that will make the live show worse for wear. I’ve seen bands with these huge multimedia presentations and the music usually becomes secondary at that point. I wouldn’t want that to happen to us. I like our live shows to have a very primal, intense feel.

8) What would you say has been your biggest moment musically with The Red Masque?

I am still looking for that biggest moment. There are definitely great shows though. I know the last show we played at Orion was probably one of our best. Playing at the NJ Proghouse is always fun. Playing with Dave Kerman and Paul Sears was a definite trip. Meeting other bands from all over is definitely a highlight. But I don’t think we’ve reached our biggest moment yet.

9) What's next for the band?

A live CD on a label in 2009 (can’t go into details just now), plus working on new song material for the next album. We will also be putting out a video of an entire concert out for free download, hopefully within the next couple of weeks. I have been talking with the band Comus about possible East Coast, USA, show(s) so we’ll see how that pans out. We are also looking to possibly add on a multi-instrumentalist. Any interested parties should email theredmasque@theredmasque.com. We are also looking for festival gigs that we could possibly hang a short tour around, so if anybody wants to book us, also email theredmasque@theredmasque.com.

10) Do you have any final thoughts for us?

Thanks for the interview.


21 November 2008

REVIEW: Ayreon - Timeline

So, let’s talk about the new Ayreon boxed set (click the picture above to be linked to my post with the initial announcement and set contents).

It’s a 3 CD, 1 DVD set titled Timeline, covering Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s releases from 1995’s The Final Experiment through 2008’s 0101001. 33 songs were culled from his catalogue of thematically written opuses, and there’s a veritable who’s who of prog rock, metal, and European rock stars guesting throughout. I could pad out this review by listing them all…

Bruce Dickinson, James LaBrie, Devon Townsend, Russell Allen, Daniel Gildenlow, Lori Linstruth, Lenny Wolf, Fish, Sharon den Adel, Damian Wilson, Neal Morse, Devon Graves, Heather Findlay, Eric Clayton, Mikael Akerfeldt, Marcela Bovia, Mike Baker, Bob Catley, Tom Englund, Anneke van Giersbergen, Jorn Lande, Hansi Kursch, Floor Jansen

…and that’s just the guests that appear on the tracks selected for this retrospective.

Now, Ayreon’s albums are all thematically linked, and as each album is a self contained theme album, it may seem odd to extract individual pieces from the releases for fear of losing that connection. It’s a fear that Lucassen even had, which kept him from doing such a retrospective in the past. By using the expansiveness of a multi-disc boxed set, some of these concerns are alleviated somewhat.

I don’t know what tracks I might have selected differently, but I am sure that others have their own favourites from Ayreon’s releases that they’d like to see in exchange for any of these. Having said this, the song that introduced me to the world of Ayreon (“Isis and Osiris,” from 1998’s Into the Electric Castle) is on here, as well as enough highlights from his back catalogue to really impress to the listener how consistent Lucassen has been from a writing and performing standpoint.

When I reviewed 0101001 a few months back for another website, I said this:

Several things can be taken as givens when it’s time to review a new Ayreon album:

1) It will be a massive concept album
2) The number of guests will be immense

3) The word count for song titles and album personnel will probably outnumber the word count for the whole review.

I also said this in closing:

In the final analysis, I think I can say the following two things fairly:

1) If you love Ayreon, everything you love is here on 01011001, and then some.
2) If you find Ayreon’s material to be overwrought and twee...you’ll probably continue to feel that way with 01011001.

And when you are looking at almost 4 hours of music across 3 CDs, all the same can be said several times over.

This is not a complaint; Lucassen has a signature style, and he has honed that style to near gleaming perfection. But his material is a love it or leave it proposition…I don’t think I know anyone who inhabits a middle ground with him. I might come close…I genuinely like a lot of his releases, but I’m not a devout Ayreonaut. But even with me, I can’t say I’ve walked away from an Ayreon album genuinely disliking it. There’s always been something there to make me say “Yeah, I’m gonna come back to this one for another listen.”

I’m pleased by the selections he’s made across the board…he’s picked a good mixture of heavier pieces, lighter fare, material with a more electronic sound, and so on. I think he’s taken great care to ensure that the collection draws from as many releases as possible, showcasing the vast variety of styles that make up his C.V. Everything’s been tweaked and slightly and lightly remastered to ensure a smooth transition from album to album, and the end result almost qualifies as a 3 CD concept piece in and of itself.

Additionally, Lucassen has included a newly recorded track, “Epilogue: The Memory Remains,” tying up the whole audio package with a nice bow and ribbon on top.

I wish I could be as positive about the DVD.

Oh, there’s great stuff here…extended excerpts from his Star One and Stream of Passion side projects, concept videos, and so on. Sadly, unless I am the least observant person in the world, I can’t find a simple play all feature on the DVD. I want to sit back and be engrossed by 80 or 90 minutes of Ayreon on DVD…not 10 minutes, go back to the main menu, select the next feature, and so on. It’s frustrating and detracts from what is otherwise a very good video retrospective that fills out the package nicely.

The booklet has much to offer too…along side lyrics for each song in the set, Lucassen has added newly written notes explaining the set, his thoughts on each album, and his thoughts for the future of Ayreon. So many boxed sets miss this, I think…being the product of a record company wanting to push product, many sets come off as overly clinical and cold even as they push out familiar material with a smattering of the unreleased. Timeline really comes off well in that regard…it feels more personal, more like the creator’s vision than just another slab of plastic paper and cardboard.

Now, the big questions?

Who is this boxed set for?

Are hardcore fans really going to buy this?

Neither question is easy to answer. I think people unfamiliar with Ayreon will find much to offer here, but the fact that the tracks are still parts of concept albums means that new listeners will maybe be at a loss for some of what is going on. Long time listeners, on the other hand, likely know these albums inside and out, have them all, and are looking at buying this release for the new song and portions of the DVD. I don’t know if that is enough to warrant the purchase, and it’s something that I could honestly say for a majority of boxed set purchases

The final question…what do I think of this set?

I like it. A lot. It’s nice to have a broad cross section of his work in a single package. I think the boxed set format (a small square box just larger than the disc sleeves) selected is nice…it fits on the shelf along with my other Ayreon releases. I think the new cover art is excellent, and I am hugely glad that Lucassen took the time to pen some personal thoughts for the liner notes. My quibbles are minor (except maybe for the DVD…can someone out there who has this box verify that there is in fact no play all feature), and in the end I’d offer a recommendation to check it out. It works well as a retrospective of the past 13 years of musical travels in time and space, and closes this chapter of his career nicely.

One only wonders what the next step is…

A breather...

Well now...

My other writing out of the way for another month or two, I can finally turn energies back to here. Thanks for your patience over the past few days as I worked diligently at getting other stuff out of the way :-)

I'm working on 'nagging' a few of my outstanding interviewees to get back to me. I am pleased to say most of them are busy with new projects, including live dates and recording, so it's understandable that their energies and attentions are elsewhere. But I hope to have a new spate of interviews to post for you soon. And there are several reviews in the works as well...

I will be reviewing the new Ayreon boxed set, Time Line.

I will be reviewing the new Frost* album, Experiments in Mass Appeal.

I will be reviewing the new Gamma Ray 2CD 2 DVD set Hell Yeah!

I should be reviewing the new Karmakanic release, Who's The Boss in the Factory?

All this and more. So stay tuned, wouldn't you?

echolyn and Brett Kull preorders now available


echolyn's 2000 album release of "Cowboy Poems Free" has been totally remixed & remastered with all new artwork and a 20-page color booklet — this disc is not to be missed — echolyn's very own slice of Americana now released in the way it was supposed to sound — loud and proud!

Brett Kull's second solo release "Last of the Curlews," featuring Paul Ramsey on drums, is a mature, sonically rich album of picturesque songs and stories! Cover artwork by Tara Jane O'Neal.

Pre-Order Your Discs Today!

All orders received (via PayPal thru echolyn.com by midnight Sunday evening, December 14, 2008) OR check/money order (must be postmarked by 12/13/2008) will receive signed copies by the band! All pre-orders will be signed and shipped by Friday, December 19, 2008.

17 November 2008

Quarkspace - Spacefolds 9 imminent

The Spacefolds series features raw, improvisational, experimental work from our studio - the best of which gets mixed for release.

Spacefolds 9 is imminent. It will be available soon from the usual host of digital services (iTunes, eMusic, etc.) and on lossless autographed CD-Rs directly from us.

This is a very psychedelic Spacefolds featuring special guests Brandon and Lynnette from The Red Masque and Carl Howard from Nomusic. Here is the track listing:

1. Is it Really? 6.59

2. red melt 7.34

3. Third Score 8.59

4. Ghost Satellite 8.42

5. Al Neri Sleeps with the Angels 7.59

6. Fake Leaping Violinists 6.30

7. six of purple 2.52

8. See How the Stars Fade 10.05

You can check out "Red Melt", one of the tracks of Spacefolds 9 at our myspace website -

This is one of the tracks with all 3 special guests - Lynnette and Brandon from The Red Masque and Carl Howard from Nomusic. It sounds like some warped version of the Jefferson Airplane from an alternate universe.

The queue grows...

...and I swear, I'll never get to the end of it.

Especially not this week, as deadlines approach for a half dozen articles I owe someone. I shouldn't even be blogging here, instead focusing on the other writing I owe. But I'd be remiss if I didn't add to the queue list of music I have to look at for here.

Just in this weekend:

Frost* - Experiments in Mass Appeal
Gamma Ray - Hell Yeah! 2 DVD set
Ayreon - Timeline 3 CD/1 DVD boxed set
Symphony X - Paradise Lost special edition (CD/5.1 DVD with 2 videos plus the album in DD 5.1)

Hopefully, when I find an extra 2 hours to add to each 24 hour day, I will get these listened to and reviewed here!

Magma - boxed set retrospective with bonuses forthcoming


A must for MAGMA fanatics, fans and freaks everywhere. An opportunity not to be missed. For the first time ever, the full set of 9 incredible studio albums - from Kobaia to K.A - in deluxe digipack form.

Each volume has its own 32 to 48 page booklets, containing photos and previously unpublished documents re-telling the story of MAGMA in 9 detailed chapters. Also includes a bonus double CD of archive documents: the first demo recorded by the band in 1970, the original sound track from the film 24 heures seulement recorded that same year by the line-up playing on the first album, a demo version of MDK with just rhythm section and a vocal guide track , and a version of "Eliphas Levi" with drums.

Thank you for your faithfulness
The Seventh Team

Wobbler news

Compiling several comments from Lars Fredrik Frøislie posted on ProgressiveEars:

...Our second album "Afterglow" is just around the corner - this time released on both cd and vinyl on our own label; Termo Records sometime early next year.
I put out two songs on myspace if you're interested.

...after all these songs were made back in 1999.

...Anyway, it'll be nice to put out this records without any hype or anything like that that (like the last one got). This is our medieval-album i guess, with lots of crum-horn and recorders and stuff (though i believe there even is some mellotron in there).

The album will have new-recordings of both the old demos - with some changes, better sound, real instruments and so on. The old demo was only ever released on mp3, so we thought it would be nice to finally release it properly on cd and lp.

There will also be other songs on the album as well of course.


15 November 2008

Script for a Jester's Tour part the second

Ex-Marillion drummer Mick Pointer continues his celebration of the music that brought him to public attention in the early 1980's with a second Script for a Jester's Tour, featuring, as before, Nick Barrett, Mike Varty, Ian Salmon, and the man they call Brian "Brish" Cummins.

Tickets and info at http://www.wiventertainment.com/jester/

see them here........
16/01/09 - UK London The Peel
17/01/09 - UK London The Peel
18/01/09 - UK Dudley JB's
19/01/09 - UK Manchester Academy
20/01/09 - UK York The Duchess
21/01/09 - UK Frome Cheese & Grain
23/01/09 - NED Zoetermeer De Boerderij
24/01/09 - NED Uden De Pul
25/01/09 - BEL Verviers Spirit of 66
26/01/09 - GER Aschaffenburg Colos-Saal
27/01/09 - GER Stuttgart LKA Longhorn
28/01/09 - GER Lorsch Musiktheater Rex
29/01/09 - SUI Pratteln Z 7
30/01/09 - GER Dinslaken Kulturkantine
31/01/09 -GER Cologne Live Music Hall
02/02/09 -GER Berlin Frannz Club
03/02/09 -POL Bielsko Biala Club Pomarancza
04/02/09 -POL Krakow Club Studio
05/02/09 -POL Warszawa Club Progresja
07/02/09 -ITA Milano Rolling Stone
08/02/09 -ITA Roma Staziona Birra
10/02/09 -FRA Paris Scene Bastille

14 November 2008

Celtic Frost documentary to air this weekend

This Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 11.30pm, Swiss national TV station SF1 will premiere the first full-length documentary film shot about celebrated and controversial Swiss extreme metal group Celtic Frost.

"Celtic Frost - A Dying God" was directed by Swiss journalist and documentary filmmaker Adrian Winkler, whose team followed Celtic Frost for two years on the road during the group's final undertaking, the Monotheist Tour, in 2006 and 2007. Winkler captured Celtic Frost across Europe, Japan, and the United States, as well as at the Wacken and Hole In The Sky festivals. In addition, the documentary features dedicated interviews with the group's members.

Winkler: "The film documents Celtic Frost striving to do justice to their own legendary reputation. It is an emotional journey, capturing, among other things, the band members facing their
own, dark past."

SF1 will re-broadcast the documentary on November 23, 2008, at 5.30am.

Website of Swiss national TV station SF1 on the documentary: