18 March 2009
"...here is the first part of the 35 minute epic, this is a 6min instrumental. I had fun playing bass on this, enjoy!
Part 1/7 of The Discovery of Witchcraft
"It's unclear whether this is a 're-imagining' or a straightforward sequel, but the new Pallas album sees the band returning to the extended musical themes and narrative arc of 'The Sentinel' album.
It's twenty-five years since the Crystal Dome vanished beneath the ocean waves. East no longer threatens West, but already the lessons learned from that confrontation have been forgotten.
Humanity has found new ways to express its darker side, and growing insecurity and diminishing resources have exposed fresh divisions.
Has the time come for The Sentinel to rise again?"
4 demos for the new project have been posted for your aural pleasure :-)
As posted to Steven Wilson's webpage on 17 March:
"King Crimson's label DGM have announced that they will start to release Steven's 5.1 surround sound mixes of the King Crimson back catalogue in June, with "Lizard" and "Red", followed by a special 40th anniversary edition of "In the Court of the Crimson King" in October. Where appropriate new stereo mixes and out-takes / alternates have also been mixed, although we don't know yet if DGM will approve these for release as part of the new editions."
Steven did the surround mixes for the albums at his studios over the past not sure I remember how many months. Robert Fripp has had a good bit to say about this project in his diaries on DGM Live.
Certainly something interesting to look forward to.
17 March 2009
Robin Taylor is perhaps the most prolific artist I've had the pleasure of discovering over the past few years writing about progressive music. Each album is different from the one before it, or the one to follow. He's worked with Michael Denner of Mercyful Fate, Karsten Vogel of Secret Oyster, and noted bassist Peter Friis Nielsen, among others, on a discography that currently covers a massive 26 releases over the last 18 years. With another new album, Return to Whatever, imminent, I felt it was a great time to sit down with this diverse and eclectic musician to get his thoughts on his career, the state of live music in Denmark, and a few other topics as well...
1) For our readers who may be less familiar with your work, can you give us a brief sketch of how you got involved in music?
RT: As most musicians my generation (I'm 52), I started out at age 12, with a very cheap electric guitar. Together with a couple of classmates from school, we formed a band. Soon after I picked up the bass guitar, which became my main instrument all way up
through the 1970s.
We had grown up with the Beatles, and around the time we started playing ourselves, we became very fond of the psychedelic scene (Cream, Hendrix) as well as the blues. During the 70s, where I played in several local groups, I discovered progressive rock (ELP, Crimson, Oldfield) and also found a great interest in jazz-rock (Mahavishnu, Weather Report etc.) By the end of the decade, I lost interest in playing in bands; I found more satisfaction in recording (my own) music, after years of experimenting with tape recorders. Though I'd never had any formal musical training, I found great joy in composing and piecing bits together on my (poor) recording equipment, which was also how I expanded my abilities in means of arranging music and playing the different instruments, that were needed in the process. I earned my first royalties by having a lot of this stuff airplayed on a radio show (for upcoming talents) on the national radio.
By the end of the 1980s I decided to take the big step and record an album, Essay, which was released by a small independent record label in 1991. Funny to think about - but that's 27 albums ago!
2) Your catalogue covers a wide swath of styles (ambient, composed, free music). Do you have any notion before the material comes out what style it will be, or do you decide "Now's the time for a Free Universe album," and write to that want?
RT: My choice of style is basically based on the mood I'm in, when I plan a new album. Also it may depend on some "new" music I've listened to (I buy a lot of records), maybe it's a new instrument I've been introduced to - not to mention a bunch of new players...
Because I work as an independent artist (most of my albums have been released on my own label), I have full control and a total freedom to do whatever I like. I'm not trying to make a living of it, so as long as I'm able to pay the studio bills, that's alright with me. Like most people I do get fed up, if I've been doing the same thing for too long. It's my priviledge, that I can turn a page in the book and yell out: Now to something completely different!
3) Many of your albums feature extensive electronic treatments and tweaking. How much do you use the studio as another unstrument in creating your material, and how did that come about first?
RT: The recording studio IS my instrument. I feel safe in this environment, because I know of all the think- and unthinkable possibilities hidden there. I learned about it "the hard way" in the early days, when nothing came easy - due to my primitive equipment. I had to use my imagination. I'm always hearing music in my head, and my job is to bring it down to a media, so other people can share it. The studio is like a piece of canvas, I'm the painter, and the musicians I work with, are the bright colours on my palette.
4) How did you first become involved with Karsten Vogel (Secret Oyster, Burnin Red Ivanhoe)?
RT: In 1996 I was invited to join the formation of Communio Musica, which was the brainwork of trumpeter Hugh Steinmetz (who had played on a couple of my albums). CM was a kind of avant-garde big-band with players, Hugh had all worked with before. This was where I met Karsten Vogel for the first time, and such an honour it was, as I'd always been a huge fan of Secret Oyster and BRI. The band played a few concerts, recorded a couple of albums - and that was it.
Next I asked Karsten if he would come and play his horns on the new Taylor's Universe album (Experimental Health) I was about to record, so he did - and after that we worked together for the next 10 years.
5) Do you think you'll be working with him in the future?
RT: Karsten has been quite busy, since Secret Oyster reunited in summer 2007, but we still have some unfinished recordings lying around, which we intend to complete sometime in the near future.
6) Likewise, how did you get Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond) to guest on Soundwall?
RT: I've known Michael for years, as I frequently visit his second hand vinyl shop here in Copenhagen. Because of his shop, Michael can't avoid listening to all kinds of music everyday, and though his background is in metal, he will often make new discoveries. He'd been listening to some of my stuff, and one day he asked me, if I'd ever concidered adding him to one of my projects. I'd never given it a serious thought, as I assumed he was used to large payments, every time he entered a studio - but I was wrong. Michael didn't expect anything apart from getting the chance to play some guitar on a prog album. That changed my attitude immediately, so he became part of Soundwall, and it worked out perfectly. He's now in TU.
7) Do you have a "dream list" of musicians you'd like to work with, but haven't yet?
RT: My main vehicle right now is Taylor's Universe, who have undergone some radical changes recently, and I have great expectations for this new line-up (including most of the Art Cinema members). This is about my "dream list" come true.
8) Do you have many opportunities to play out with any of your groups?
RT: No! I'm not all that keen about playing gigs; I prefer working in the studio - but that said, Taylor's Free Universe was kind of fun, because the music was totally improvised; we never knew, what was going to happen when entering the stage. The interesting bit for me was the colossal amount of concentration always present, the energy and the fact that not two gigs were alike. I'm sure, it would bore me to death in no time, if I went touring with any of my other groups, playing the same stuff night after night. Not that I find composed material less interesting, but every time I've finished the recording of a project in the studio, I'm always feeling relieved: never will I have to face this material again. Turn the page.
9) What is the Danish live music scene like?
RT: The Danish music scene is terrible. People are terrified about anything new. The big trend is bands playing tribute; in Denmark they're called "jam bands"; bands copying no matter what - as long as it's popular: Beatles, U2, Tina Turner, George Michael - you name it. You can have a pretty good group playing original stuff to 5-10 people in a small club, and across the street there's another club with a jam band playing Tom Jones covers - and the place is absolutely crowded.
In addition to that, progressive music is very looked down on in Denmark today; both radio and press ignores it completely.
10) Do you feel that the diversity in your material makes it harder to 'place you' musically?
RT: In Denmark it makes no difference; Robin Taylor, Taylor's Universe, Taylor's Free Universe or Art Cinema... all "dinosaur music".
In foreign medias I've spotted the tendency of confusion - especially because of the two Universes.
11) What's coming up next for you? Do you have any plans for what will follow Return to Whatever?
RT: I'm already working on my follow-up to Return to Whatever. As I said, I have great expectations for the new TU.
Also I've been talking to my friend, Pierre Tassone (my "regular" violin player), about the two of us recording a duo album together. Could be an interesting challenge.
12) Do you have any final words for our readers?
RT: Hmmm... Do yourself a favour and go to www.cdbaby.com. There might be one or two releases of mine, that will interest you!
LINKS OF NOTE:
http://www.progressor.net/robin-taylor/ (Official Website, including discography)
http://cdbaby.com/cd/taylorsfu (Representative CDBaby link; other releases listed on the left side...samples galore!)
A quick word from the Racket Office team before we depart for the biggest & hopefully the best ever Marillion Convention at Centre Parcs in sunny Holland.
As we are about to jump on the bus, there's just time to let you in on some exciting new releases which we will be selling at the weekend ....read on for more!
The first is a 2 Disc 3 concert live DVD - filmed at the 2007 Convention titled 'This Strange Convention'. It features the whole of 'This Strange Engine' performed live, plus the Saturday and Sunday nights as released on the live CD's 'Friends' and 'Family'. You can check out a couple of the songs at www.youtube.com/marilliononline and get a glimpse of some of the delights awaiting you on 'This Strange Convention' ...enjoy!
Second is the first new Racket Records Live CD since 2007: 'Happiness is Cologne' is a 2CD live album from the band's 2008 Happiness is the Road performance at the E-Werk in Cologne. This concert has been beautifully mixed & mastered to a high quality & serves as a fantastic document to what has proved to be a hugely successful tour."
DVD link: http://www.marillion.com/music/dvd/tsc.htm
CD link: http://www.marillion.com/music/racket/cologne.htm
15 March 2009
This message from Malcolm Mortimore: Woohoo!
To all our friends,
After all the interest and encouraging comments from those attending the Rentle Giant gig and also those commenting on the YouTube snippets there has been further developments .......
Gary, myself and the boy's have been joined by Kerry, with the addition of the singer Mike Wilson.
Rentle Giant is now "Three Friends", a name chosen so as to not offend the legacy of Gentle Giant but hopefully to add to it by playing faithful interpretations of Gentle Giant's music.
We also hope that new music will be created as a result of this group.
Our first gig as "Three Friends" is 16th April 2009 at The Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham on Sea, England, UK. With more to follow. (details going up on Ropetackle site soon)
Love and best
We are thrilled to announce the next two bands for the Summers End Festival, to be held at Lydney Town Hall, Gloucestershire on October 9, 10, 11.
Aberdonian legends Pallas will be familiar to most Prog fans as forerunners of the 80s revival. Following up their brilliant 2005 album "Dreams of Men", the band promise a return to the story first begun in "The Sentinel" 25 years ago in their new album due for release later in 2009. We are therefore very excited to welcome the band for their first appearance at Summers End - and not before time!
Quantum Fantay from Belgium have been making waves internationally with their dynamic and accessible brand of liquid space rock fusion. With an appearance at the prestigious US festival Nearfest scheduled for June this year, we are particularly delighted to have lured them to Summers End as well!
Previous bands announced:
Parallel or 90 Degrees www.po90.com www.myspace.com/po90degrees
Further details of the Festival, including further bands and first news of the weekend schedule will be posted very soon.
13 March 2009
Marred Productions is pleased to announce the coming of MARPROG '09, the first of what is hoped to be many more annual events featuring the finest of the Prog Rock world from in and around Connecticut. The show is scheduled to be held at Toad's Place, 300 York St. in New Haven, on July 19th, 2009. Doors open at 12:30 PM and music starts at 1:00 PM.
The five bands (in order of appearance) are Brett Bottomley's Toy Masheen, IZZ, Helmet of Gnats, Advent, and Holding Pattern. The event will take place throughout the afternoon and last into the early evening, and is expected to be an excellent representation of what the area has to offer in the genre of original Progressive Rock.
Tickets are now on sale at: http://tinyurl.com/
Progressive metal veterans DREAM THEATER have announced BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS as the title of their tenth studio album. The band commenced work on the album – their second for Roadrunner Records, following up 2007's Systematic Chaos — in October of last year.
Roadrunner will release the record on June 23. In addition to the standard version CD, the album will also be available on vinyl LP, as well as a 3-disc Special Edition CD that will include the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs, the titles of which will be revealed at a later date. Six weeks prior to the June 23 street date, Roadrunner will release one cover song per week through digital retailers.
Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci are once again at the helm as producers, while Paul Northfield mixed the record.
The band will embark on a world tour in support of the album beginning in Europe throughout June which will be followed by the second edition of the band’s PROGRESSIVE NATION tour featuring Zappa Plays Zappa, Pain Of Salvation and Beardfish throughout North America in July/August.
A video for the first single, "A Rite of Passage" will be shot in late March.
The track listing for BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS is as follows:
1. A Nightmare to Remember
2. A Rite of Passage
4. The Shattered Fortress
5. The Best of Times
6. The Count of Tuscany
12 March 2009
Blue Mouth Promotions LLC, in association with Vigier Guitars, Laney Amplifiers, and LaserCD.com is proud to announce the return of Morglbl to the USA. Stunning audiences and dropping jaws across Europe for over 10 years, Morglbl is led by the extraordinary guitarist, Christophe Godin, who is widely regarded as the best guitarist in France.
At NEARfest X last June Morglbl became the critics darling after receiving a standing ovation and a double encore.
Christophe Godin ~ Guitar and Vocal
Ivan Rougny ~ Bass
Aurelien Ouzoulias ~ Drums
The following dates are now confirmed:
Wednesday April 15 - Guitar Clinic at the Inn at Crestwood, Blowing Rock NC 6-8PM
Thursday April 16 - Drum Clinic at the Inn at Crestwood, Blowing Rock NC 6-8PM
Friday April 17 - Bass Clinic at the Inn at Crestwood, Blowing Rock NC 6-8PM
Friday April 17 - Morglbl live at Canyon's, Blowing Rock NC 10PM
Saturday April 18 - Morglbl live at Canyon's, Blowing Rock NC 10PM
Tuesday April 21 - Morglbl live at the 10 High Club, Atlanta GA - 7PM
Friday April 24 - Morglbl live at Mike's DownUnder Pub, Jefferson GA 10PM
Sunday April 26 - Morglbl Band Clinic at the Excalibur, Florence SC 3-5PM
Monday April 27 - Guitar Clinic at the Excalibur, Florence SC 6-8PM
Tuesday April 28 - Bass Clinic at the Excalibur, Florence SC 6-8PM
Wednesday April 29 - Drum Clinic at the Excalibur, Florence SC 6-8PM
Friday May 1 - Morglbl live at the Excalibur, Florence SC 10P
Friday May 8 - Morglbl live at The Capital Ale House, Richmond VA with special guest Kinetic Element, doors open 9:30PM
Saturday May 9 - Morglbl live at Orion Studios, Baltimore MD 8PM
Friday May 15 - Interview and performance taping for the Gagliarchives radio show
Saturday May 16 - Morglbl live at the New Jersey Proghouse - details pending
Sunday May 17 - Morglbl live at the North Star Bar, Philadelphia PA - doors open 8PM
Wednesday May 20 - Morglbl live at Martyrs, Chicago IL doors 8PM with Kick the McGee (members of Umphrey's McGee and Kick the Cat)
Thursday May 21 - Morglbl live at the Crystal Corner Bar, Madison WI - details pending
Friday May 22 - Morglbl live at Tail Gators, Kokomo, IN - 10PM
Saturday May 23 - Morglbl live at Tail Gators, Kokomo, IN - 10PM
Additional shows and clinics are still in the works. Stay Toon Tuned here for the latest updates!
11 March 2009
11 Spokane Knitting Factory
13 Seattle Snoqualimie Casino
14 Portland Roseland
15 Grant's Pass Rogue Theatre
16 Kelseyville Konocti Harbor Resort
19 Santa Cruz Catalyst
20 San Francisco Fillmore
21 Jackson Ranchero Casino
22 Fresno Tower Theatre
23 Lake Tahoe Harrahs Casino
26 Agoura Hills Canyon Club
27 San Diego House of Blues
28 Los Angeles House of Blues
29 Orange County House of Blues
30 Las Vegas Boulder Station
31 Scottsdale (updated) Martini Ranch
04 Austin La Zona Rosa
05 Houston House Of Blues
06 Dallas House Of Blues
07 Tulsa Cains ballroom
10 Columbia, MO Blue Note
11 Kansas City Harrah's
12 St. Louis The Pageant
13 Cincinnatti Bogart's
16 Fort Wayne Pierre's
18 Columbus Newport Music Hall
19 Cleveland House of Blues
20 Royal Oak ROMT
21 Bay City, MI Prime Event Center (updated)
22 Indianapolis Egyptian Room
25 Milwaukee Summerfest
26 Chicago House of Blues
28 Minneapolis Fitzgerald Theatre
According to TrowerPower:
"We anticipate the band will be the same as 2008:
Davey Pattison: vocals
Glenn Letsch: bass
Pete Thompson: drums"
Stick Men (United States of America) feat. Tony Levin Pat Mastelotto & Michael Bernier to headline day two
Daevid Allen's University of Errors (Australia/USA) confirmed to day three
Koenji Hyakkei (Japan) confirmed to day three
PFM - Premiata Forneria Marconi (Italy) to headline day three
Volapük (France) confirmed to day two
Gatto Marte (Italy) confirmed to day two
October Equus (Spain) to open day one
Gordon Giltrap (England) confirmed to day two
Focus (Holland) to headline day one
KBB (Japan) confirmed to day two
10 March 2009
FRENCH TV is based out of Louisville, Kentucky. Led by founder, bassist and main composer MIKE SARY, FRENCH TV’s music is challenging and complex. They are often compared to bands like NATIONAL HEALTH, SOFT MACHINE, BRUFORD, BRAND X and HAPPY THE MAN, and their sense of humor recalls FRANK ZAPPA and SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA.
Since their beginning in 1983, the band has released 8 studio albums and 1 live album to great reviews from both the progressive rock press and fans. The band’s most recent album, “This Is What We Do,” was released in 2006 and continues their tradition of creativity and risk-taking.
The band has also toured all over the world, gaining an international audience. Along with their previous ProgDay performance, the band's festival appearances include Baja Prog in Mexico (2003), The Gouveia Art Rock Festival in Portugal (2005), and The Altrock Festival in Italy (2008). Returning to the US festival scene, French TV will be sure to provide another unforgettable performance at ProgDay 2009.
ProgDay is the world's longest running progressive rock event. The 15th edition will take place on September 5th & 6th, 2009, at beautiful Storybook Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Join us for another great weekend of the best in progressive music! For more information and to hear music from announced bands MÖRGLBL and FRENCH TV, please visit us at www.progday.com.
Derek Sherinian’s got a pretty heady career when you think about it. The list of musicians he has played with or guested on releases for is pretty impressive. His work includes jobs with Alice Cooper, KISS, Billy Idol, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gilby Clarke, and countless others. One can’t forget his tenure with Dream Theater as well…while he may only appear on one full length studio album (1997’s Falling into Infinity), he also appears on a live album, the classic EP A Change of Seasons, and handled keyboard parts for the tours from Awake through his departure in 1998.
After leaving Dream Theater, his solo career took a front seat, with 6 solo releases wrapped around a quartet of albums with his newest band, Planet X. 2009 sees the release of a new solo effort, the intriguingly titled Molecular Heinosity. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, it’s a tightly packed blast of intense progressive metal instrumentals (and one vocal track) based around Sherinian’s always impressive keyboard chops.
Sherinian is joined on this latest release by Brian Tichy on drums, replacing frequent collaborator Simon Phillips. Says Sherinian in the press release for the album, “Unfortunately, I was not able to work with Simon Phillips on Molecular Heinosity, sometimes schedules just do not permit. The result has less of the jazz fusion influence that Simon brings, and I was forced to lean more towards my metal side. Molecular Heinosity is more focused than my past releases. This record is more progressive metal.” Zakk Wylde is perhaps the biggest name on this release, adding some guitar as well as offering vocals on album closer “So Far Gone.” Also appearing on Molecular Heinosity are Virgil Donati (Planet X) on drums and Tony Franklin (Whitesnake) on bass.
The album opens with an impressive epic, “Antarctica.” Long time Sherinian listeners know that his first solo album, titled Planet X, opened with a lengthy multi-part epic, and here Sherinian echoes that release with another multi-faceted instrumental composed by Planet X drummer Virgil Donati. This may come closest to the kind of material Planet X fans are most familiar with; while less fusion-based than some of Planet X’s material, it shares a similar complexity and direction toward intricacy. It’s perhaps a bit less powerfully intense than one might think considering Derek’s statement that the release is “more progressive metal,” yet don’t let that fool you…it’s far from unimpressive.
I’m also pretty fond of “Primal Eleven.” The drumming sounds slightly tribal, and even though I’m not great at counting out time, I’m going to assume the title implies the song is in 11. The guitar work is crunchy and filling, Derek’s choice of keyboard patches is enjoyable and keeps things fresh without sounding too tricksy or cute, and the playing is tight and enjoyable throughout. I especially enjoy the guitar solo about 3:30 in…a bit laid back, even with the quicker tapping bits (or is it sweep picking? Probably more sweep picking, just slowed down), over a restrained Sherinian piano line. It’s just sweet sounding…very enjoyable. This may well be my highlight track on this release.
“Molecular Heinosity” is perhaps the most intense workout on the album. Not letting up for a single moment, it is sheer balls to the wall prog metal, with the only respite being brief interludes of martial drumming with chopped guitar and bass. Elsewhere it is simply sheets of sound, single note lines flying from all corners, asking no quarter and taking no prisoners. If you ever used the word heinous to describe something nearly indescribably intense and impressive, then you’ll be using it here.
The album closes with the strangely eerie “So Far Gone.” Zakk Wylde’s vocals come frightenly close to sounding like Ozzy Osbourne, and they fit the song’s title to a T. I admit that I heard the wind and church bells and expected to have them followed by crashing tritone guitar chords a la Black Sabbath, but the cracked vocals and piano that make up the base of this song are almost more suitable. The song doesn’t remain in a single mode, however, and the heavier bits are all the more heavy for being enclosed in quieter piano-based sections. Almost bluesy in a way that only Sherinian could do, the twisted piece is a fitting closer for this release.
It’s a good thing this release is as ‘short’ as it is; I think 60 or 70 minutes of material like this might have almost been too much to bear on a single listen. Derek’s certainly bloomed in the past 10 years, and Molecular Heinosity is a nice way to celebrate 10 years as a solo artist.
03. Primal Eleven
04. Wings Of Insanity
05. Frozen By Fire
06. The Lone Spaniard
07. Molecular Intro
08. Molecular Heinosity
09. So Far Gone
Robin Taylor, it seems, just can’t quite take a break.
Oh, I’m actually sure he does…here and there, and maybe for 5 or 10 minutes. Then, it seems, something inspires, and a new album starts to form. It may be ambient, or song based, or a thought about a set of totally free, improvised music. It may be inspired by Canterbury, or the German electronic music scene. Whatever little irritant has lodged itself in his brain gets coated in countless layers of sound, and the pearl that results is then placed on an ever lengthening shelf displaying his extensive curriculum vitae.
Today we are looking at his most recent but one release, Isle of Black (as reported a few days ago, another new Robin Taylor album is imminent). Essentially a trio album, Taylor is joined by longtime collaborator Karsten Vogel (he of Secret Oyster…and hey, the pearl analogy comes full circle!) on saxophones and Rasmus Grosell on drums. Louise Nipper again contributes voice to a few pieces (mostly wordless vocalise), while Taylor again covers a wide swath of instrumental voices…guitar, bass, keys, and additional percussion.
The album opens with the smoking “Confession,” a 6 minute rocker of an instrumental that seems to draw as much from pre-Lightbulb Sun/Stupid Dream Porcupine Tree as it does King Crimson. Long time readers know I hate making comparisons from band to band…but there’s no other way really to describe a song. Might as well dance about architecture, I suppose. The beat is insistent and driving, the bass work locks in with the drums, and Taylor’s guitar snarls and buzzes in a most nasty way. I love it. This is followed by the slower, moodier “Johannesburg,” another 6-minute instrumental that brings the mood down suitably. A gentle piano line opens the piece, followed by layers of organ, synth and vocal. Grosell’s drums keep the beet, pulsing and occasionally breaking up the hypnotic flow just enough to keep the listener from getting too at ease.
“Swingers” sees Taylor hitting the jazz clubs for a smoky, hip little number. Vogel shines on saxophone while Grosell and Taylor swing and jive behind him. It’s a different vibe and feel from the vast majority of Taylor’s material, and evidence that he’ll try out almost any style of music once (now, if a future Taylor album features a song that draws from early 2000’s girl fronted pop, we may have some cause for alarm. But I digress…). “Swingers” is a cool, infectious little number that I am absolutely smitten with. “Isle of Black,” the obligatory title track, sees Taylor back in more familiar territory, with a driving, insistent number that features some nifty syncopation, intense organ, and more change-ups and shifts in song than tracks twice as long or more (the song clocks in at 4:55). In some ways, one could say this is one of the ultimate distillations of Taylor’s modus operandi…
The album proper closes with “Mind Archaeology.” The longest proper track on the release at 9:13, it opens with an intense riff, which quickly drops out in favour of a suspended synth line, a few pings, and brushes on hi hats. A very angular, processed guitar line breaks the ‘silence,’ ascending in pitch and volume with each iteration of the theme. Taylor is joined by Karsten Vogel’s almost unhinged sax playing, all the while underpinned by Grosell’s almost tribal drums. Like much of Taylor’s material, the song does anything but remain static, shifting and changing in an almost life-like, organic way. Vogel gets an extended opportunity to solo, and the rest of the band drops out to the point of being almost inaudible, allowing tenor and alto sax to swirl around each other almost playfully.
I say the album proper closes with that track because the following piece, “Izmit,” is listed as a bonus track. At 11:05, it is the longest track on this release, and it is responsible for bringing the album over 40 minutes in length. It really doesn’t fit in to the album for me, based around a looped bit of percussion, some synth, and various bursts of sound intermixed with occasional vocal bits. I’d have been happy with a 30 minute EP of the first 5 tracks, as I find them to be a cohesive whole despite their variety of style. “Izmit” is a piece I think I’ll probably play less often than the rest of the album…it’s not a ‘penalty track’ (as contrasted to a ‘bonus track’), but it’s not overly essential.
Isle of Black is another strong release from the prolific Danish multi-instrumentalist, one showing him still striving to progress and try new things with each release.
ISLE OF BLACK – ROBIN TAYLOR
Confession – 6:10
Johannesburg – 6:09
Swingers – 4:01
Isle of Black – 4:55
Mind Archaeology – 9:13
Izmit – 11:05
Robin Taylor – guitars, bass, keys, percussion
Karsten Vogel – saxophones
Rasmus Grosell – drums
Louise Nipper – voice
Composed, arranged and produced by Robin Taylor
Released on Transubstans Records, catalogue number TRANS 031
As mentioned briefly yesterday, I am not what one would call a huge fan of Pain of Salvation. I know for some people it is perhaps blasphemy (especially in some of the progressive metal forums and circles I frequent), but the fact of the matter is that…well, while I find their playing to be pretty good, I don’t find the songs to be that memorable. I don’t find the lyrics to connect with me like they apparently do for so many others, and as for Daniel Gildenlöw’s voice…well, it’s flexible and wide ranging, but I’d not say it’s all that unique really.
People reading this may say, “Well, you’re saying this because you didn’t like Scarsick,” or “You are saying this because you disagree with Gildenlöw’s politics.” And it’s true…sort of. And on only one count. I found Scarsick to be tedious and long overstaying its welcome in my CD player. But I also found myself less than impressed with the majority of The Perfect Element, didn’t think BE lived up to the lofty expectations that the concept presented, and so on. As for Gildenlöw’s politics…they are his, and who am I to tell someone what to think?
(I do think change is best attempted from the inside, not the outside, but that’s not a story for this blog.)
All of this is preface for my position reviewing Ending Themes (On the Two Deaths of Pain of Salvation), the new 2 DVD set from Pain of Salvation. If you don’t want to read the rest, having already been offended by my blasphemous opening paragraphs, let me cut to the chase so you can move on to more pleasing material; I actually enjoyed the DVD set more than I thought I would, and while it has not brought me any closer to becoming a fan of the band, I feel it has succeeded in presenting a few years in the life of a band on the road.
Packaged as 2 seasons of a TV series, the first ‘season’ covers the band’s 2005 tour, which led to the requested departure of bassist Kristoffer Gildenlöw from the band. His moving to Holland from Sweden made it difficult for the band to rehearse and play together as much between tours as they would have liked, and it led to a personal gulf that apparently was too wide to breach. 8 vignettes cover a good bit of the first leg of the tour, from last rehearsals (sans Daniel, who is sick and authoring the DVD with back projections for the stage show) through shows in Essen, Paris, and the Netherlands, among others. One gets a very good sense of what touring is like for a band at this level…for many prog fans, PoS is a fairly major band, yet we see them moving their own gear, thrilling over the sale of 45 DVDs and 60 shirts at a single show, and concerts with presales of 400 tickets. I think in some ways this first disc should be almost essential viewing for people who find it perfectly fine to download loads of music illegally…you want to see who you’re affecting? It’s right on the screen.
Moving on…the first disc is enlightening on many levels. One picks up some of the stress that is going on behind the scenes. People calling home to talk to wives and children that are missed, band members not showing up for meet and greets, and so on. The tension seems palpable, and often one sees the band, and then Daniel…as two separate entities. There’s not a lot of performance footage on this first disc, but we make up for that soon.
Disc or “Season” 2 is a film of a full performance from the 2007 Scarsick tour…the tour that led to Johan Langell’s departure to spend more time with his wife and child (hence the second death of Pain of Salvation). Filmed in Amsterdam, the footage is fairly straight forward…no special effects or overlays or film intercuts. What you get is pure, unadulterated Pain of Salvation playing 16 tracks for a wildly appreciative audience and filmed in 16x9 widescreen. The show opens with Scarsick and America from the band’s most recent album, and flows through a range of material from throughout the group’s 6 album back catalogue. Add in a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and you have a pretty enjoyable show, all told. I liked pieces like Ashes and Undertow, while finding the Scarsick material in general just as tedious as ever (having said this, Flame to the Moth comes over better live than in the studio).
The 2 DVDs are packed with extras, but it’s the set on disc 2 that are of more interest…mostly because they take work to get to. They are all locked, and require you to go through a series of quizzes based on the material on the DVDs. Yes, you actually had to pay attention to the documentary in order to access the bonus features. Once in, you can see photo galleries, listen to demos of material from Scarsick, and more. It’s an interesting way of doing things, and while it may seem tedious, it’s something unlike anything I’ve seen on a music DVD before (thankfully, once you unlock them all, you get a ‘secret code’ that allows you to unlock them again without going through the quiz process again).
Later this year, this set will also be released in 2 CD audio format and a limited edition 2 CD/2 DVD set.
So, I mentioned earlier that this set didn’t make me any more of a fan of the band than I already was…or perhaps more accurately, was not. I did enjoy watching it, I did see some of the reasons why they have the fervent, devoted fan base they do, and I can state without feeling forced to do so that they are certainly powerful on stage. For fans of the band, Ending Themes will be most enjoyable. For the audient less familiar with the band, the live album that comes later this year (taken directly from the second DVD) may be a better choice than the 2 DVD set. For the music fan interested in what goes on behind the scenes of a band on the run, the first DVD is essential. The set dies try to offer something to a wide rangeof people, and I think it succeeds at that pretty well.
DVD1 - The First Death Of
SixWorlds/EightDays (80-minute documentary of 2005 world tour by Per Hillblom)
DVD2 - The Second Death Of
Touching You Harder: Live From Amsterdam
- "Handful of Nothing"
- "New Year's Eve"
- "This Heart of Mine/Song for the Innocent"
- "Chain Sling"
- "Flame to the Moth"
- "Disco Queen"
09 March 2009
The first studio album with new singer Rob Moratti, The Human Condition, will be released in time for the upcoming European tour.
1. The Human Condition
2. Step Inside
3. Hands Of Time
5. A Number With A Name
6. Now Is Now
7. Let It Go
8. Crown Of Thorns
9. You Look Good To Me
I’ve been spending the past week moving, hence the lack of more original material up here. But I have been doing some listening/viewing, and here are a few brief notes on what I’ve been checking out.
Robin Taylor – Isle of Black. Back together with Karsten Vogel, this is a variety pack of material, from upbeat, jazzy stuff to intense instrumental workouts that channel King Crimson and “Burning Sky”-esque Porcupine Tree. The playing is excellent, the material very strong. Like many of Taylor’s releases, it’s brief, but the result is that the album never feels laboured or over-padded. Every piece is a finished work, and the album is solid as ever. I am really enjoying this one, and I’ve got to give it a proper review soon.
Derek Sherinian – Molecular Heinosity. One usually knows what one is getting into with a Sherinian release. The balls are firmly against the wall, the material is fast and furious, and the instrumental virtuosity is second to none. This new album is really no exception, and while it may lead to some ear fatigue (Too many notes! Aargh! Run!), no one can deny that this is the kind of material Derek was meant to be playing. One vocal track features Zakk Wylde, sounding eerily like one John Michael Osbourne. Quite an interesting release, to be sure. Expect a proper review soon.
The new official Phish downloads. If I said I doubt I’ve ever listened to a single Phish song all the way through, would you believe me? Maybenot, but it’s true. Still, I felt this was as good a way as any to check them out without risk, and sanctioned by the band. The recordings are excellent, the playing seems very strong, and the vocals…it’s a jam band. Vocals are weak. But that’s OK. I’m not sure that Phish is a band that I’d become a huge fan of, but I can see how they have developed such a strong fan base. 4 hour concerts…different songs each night…reminds me of classic Zappa in many ways…
Ending Themes (On the Two Deaths of Pain of Salvation). The new 2 DVD set from Pain of Salvation. I just got this in on Saturday, and with moving, have barely watched it. People who know me know I am not a huge fan of this band. I’ve watched about 45 minutes of the first DVD, which is a documentary on the 2005 tour, and one can pick up some of the tension that may have been ongoing at that time. The second DVD is a concert film of a show from the 2007 Scarsick tour, and as the performance leans heavily on that album, I may find it somewhat less involving (didn’t really care for that album). But I’ll certainly be going in with as open a mind as possible. Expect a deeper review of this release as well.
Other stuff due a review at my first convenience...
Redemption - Frozen in the Moment DVD/CD
Klaus Schulze - Rheingold DVD
08 March 2009
The long expected final European show with singer Michael Sadler will be released on March 16th, 2009 (2DVD and Limited Edition). The double CD version will be released on Jan. 26th, 2009. In USA/Canada the double CD will be available on Jan. 27th and the 2DVD and Limited Edition on March 24th.
New album in spring 2009 Guests: Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) & Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth)
Experts consider the music of the creative duo, OSI, a perfect example of inventiveness and innovation. Kevin Moore and Jim Matheos have released two albums to date (Office Of Strategic Influence, 2003, & Free, 2006) and are currently working on their new, as yet untitled third recording, scheduled for release in spring 2009.
Along with Moore and Matheos, the new album will also feature Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison. In addition, there will be a guest appearance by Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) on ‘Stockholm’, which the Swede co-composed. Mixing is scheduled to begin in early December with engineer Phil Magnotti.
FROST* + NICK D’VIRGILIO (NDV)
Frost* are very pleased to announce that Nick D'Virgilio will be joining them for their first American appearance at RoSFest on May 2nd 2009. Replacing original drummer, Andy Edwards, Nick brings a wealth of experience and talent to an extremely challenging role. Nick first met Frost* when the band supported Spock's Beard on their European dates during summer 2008.
Jem Godfrey said "I'm really thrilled that Nick has been mad...sorry, brave...sorry, kind enough to become an honourary Frostie for one of our most eagerly anticipated performances. We're already working on it and I think it's going to be a belter of a show. We can't wait."
Nick D'Virgilio said "WHOO HOOO!!! I get to be a Frostie for a day!
"Seriously, after Spock's and Frost* toured I knew they were a great band with great music. But I was never really able to get into the music that deeply on tour because I was always getting ready for the Spock's set while they were on stage. Then recently I was asked to sit in for the Rosfest show. I said yes immediatly and then started really listening closely to the CD's. Man-o-man do I have my work cut out for me. In a great way. I am very excitied to be a part of this gig and thank you FROST* for having me along.
Make sure you're there for this unique occasion!
Riverside is working on the new album - "Anno Domini High Definition".
The band has already begun recording, this time in Studio X in Olsztyn. We keep you up-to-date with the process of creation on a special "record" website.
Mariusz Duda: "We have gone from Warsaw, we have changed the studio and the producer. We care deeply about creating a coherent record and that is why most probably there are only going to be 5 songs on it. The material will be energetic, multifarious, and - I hope so - very good for live performances. It will be a story about liquid modernity, life in a constant hurry, stress and anxiety about the future. A picture of our times in 1920 x 1080 definition."
The expected release date is June 2009.
The John Lees' Barclay James Harvest tour schedule for 2009 is as follows (dates courtesy of the band's official website):
- 12.04.09 Manchester Lowry Centre, Quays Theatre (SOLD OUT)
- 03.05.09 Keswick Theatre, Philadelphia (RoSfest)
- 06.05.09 Toronto Opera House
- 07.08.09 Cambridge Rock Festival
- 09.08.09 Memories of Woodstock Festival, Shrewsbury
- 06.09.09 AudioDénia Festival, Spain
- 03.10.09 Lisbon, University of Lisbon, Aula Magna
- 23.10.09 Perth Concert Hall (01738 621031)
- 24.10.09 Glasgow Òran Mór (0141 357 6200)
- 25.10.09 Holmfirth Picturedrome (01484 689759)
- 27.10.09 Cheltenham Town Hall
- 28.10.09 Milton Keynes, Stables Theatre
- 29.10.09 Colchester Arts Centre 01206 500900)
- 30.10.09 London, Bloomsbury Theatre
- 31.10.09 Portsmouth New Theatre Royal
May 08 - Canyon Club Agoura Hills CA
June 02 - The Birchmere Alexandra Va
June 03 - Rams Head Annapolis MD
June 06 - Colonial Theater Phoenixville PA
June 07 - Starland Ballroom Sayreville NJ
June 09 - Regent Theater Arlington Boston
June 11 - Paramount Theater Peekskill NY
June 12 - BB Kings New York City
June 13 - IMAC Theater Long Island NY
June 14 - The Chance Poughkeepsie NY
June 17 - Toad's Place New Haven CT
June 20 - Showcase Live Foxboro MA
July 17 - Boerderij Zoetermeer Netherlands
July TBA - Burg Herzberg Festival Breitenbach Germany
just have a look at: http://www.livephish.com/
Says Trey Anastasio, "We really wanted to show our gratitude to all the Phish fans for their support and the overwhelming response they've had to these shows. It's going to be an amazing celebration and we only wish everybody could be there," Phish will be recording the Hampton shows in a mobile multitrack studio, and mixing the shows overnight for immediate delivery on LivePhish.com. 256kbps MP3s will be available for free download for a limited time. FLACs and CDs are also available.
THE ENID IN CONCERT AT THE BUSH HALL
SHEPHERDS BUSH - LONDON
Friday 29th May 2009
A brand new special studio recording featuring featuring the new line up performing all the music featured in the show will be available on the night.
The venue itself is a rather splendid old music hall with excellent acoustics and seated space as well as standing.
Click here for ticket details, directions etc.
06 March 2009
Thu, April 23 – New York, NY (Iridium)
Fri, April 24 – New York, NY (Iridium)
Sat, April 25 – New York, NY (Iridium)
Sun, April 26 – New York, NY (Iridium)
Mon, April 27 – Piermont, NY (Turning Point)
Tue, April 28 – Somerville, Boston, MA (Johnny D's)
Wed, April 29 – Northampton, MA (Iron Horse)
Fri, May 1 – Huntington, NY (IMAC Theater)
Sat, May 2 – Ridgefield, CT (Ridgefield Playhouse)
Sun, May 3 – Buchanon, NY (U-Music)
Tue, May 5 – Schenectady, NY (GE Theater at Proctors)
Wed, May 6 – Rochester, NY (The German House)
Thu, May 7 – West Seneca, NY (The Guitar Factory)
Fri, May 8 – Pittsburgh, PA (Rex Theater)
Sat, May 9 – Dayton, OH (Gilly's)
Mon, May 11 – Detroit, MI (Jazz Caffe at The Center for Performing Arts)
Tue, May 12 – Detroit, MI (Jazz Caffe at The Center for Performing Arts
Wed, May 13 – Palatine, Chicago, IL (Durty Nelly's)
Thu, May 14 – Palatine, Chicago, IL (Durty Nelly's)
Sat, May 16 – Cleveland, OH (The Winchester)
05 March 2009
1. Les Malheurs
2. Victorious Cupid
3. i) Keep Me Sane/Insane
4. ii) Apogee, iii) Requiem for the Lovers
5. Deus Ex Machina
8. The Gloaming
1. Deus Ex Machina (Live at NEARfest, video)
2. Victorious Cupid (Live at NEARfest, video)
3. Les Malheurs (Live at Rockpalast, video)
4. The Gloaming (Live at Rockpalast, video)
5. Documentary (video)
Taylor's Universe was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1993 by composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor. Through the years a lot of very fine players have taken part in Mr. Taylor's jazz influenced - and often quirky - progressive rock, which has given TU a great load of friends in the world press. Worth mentioning is, that sax ace Karsten Vogel (of Secret Oyster fame) was a key member for several years.
Now Mr. Taylor presents his Universe featuring a brand new line-up for their ninth release, Return to Whatever:
Michael Denner: guitar
Carsten Sindvald: saxes
Pierre Tassone: violins
Taylor: keyboards, percussion and "laser" guitar
Flemming Muus Tranberg: bass
Klaus Thrane: drums
With this stronger-than-ever line-up, Taylor's Universe are ready to show the world, that little old Denmark is still among the prog nations - though this band is probably one of the very few today still renewing prog.
03 March 2009
GOUVEIA ART ROCK 2009 proudly presents...
STICK MEN (feat. TONY LEVIN, PAT MASTELOTTO and MICHAEL BERNIER) live in concert!
Focused on exploring the unique sound of the Chapman stick, the project combines Bernier's highly technical experimentalism with Levin's and Mastelotto's avant-garde maturity, with a strong emphasis on rhythm and electronics in compositions that carry a slight influence from the latter period of Robert Fripp's Crimson music.
Tony Levin's well-known passion for the Chapman stick inevitably had to lead to the creation of a musical project dedicated to this instrument. The idea took shape in 2007, when Levin recorded his latest solo album,'Stick Man'. Among others, the album included Pat Mastelotto, Levin's companion throughout many adventurous years with King Crimson, and indirectly Michael Bernier, a master of the Stick, and whose technique Levin admires greatly. The year after, the trio founded Stick Men and eventually began performing last October.
Despite being a recent project and not having recording any album of their own, Stick Men is a musical project whose stage performances must not be missed for the sheer talent of Bernier and Levin' and Mastelotto's vast experience - with the former having played with some of the most important English progressive acts, from King Crimson to Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel's band and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, and the latter having played in countless highly renowned projects such as King Crimson, XTC, Mr. Mister, KTU, The Flower Kings and Tuner, with whom he performed at the 2007 GAR.
06/12/2009 - 02 Academy - Leads, UK (DT Headlining show with Special Guests FROST)
06/13/2009 - Guildhall - Southhampton, UK (DT Headlining show with Special Guests FROST)
06/14/2009 - Download Festival - Castle Donington UK (FESTIVAL)
06/16/2009 - Exhibition Grounds - Tel Aviv, Israel (DT Headlining show with Special Guests EPHRAT)
06/18/2009 - Coliseum de Lisboa - Lisbon, Portugal (DT Headlining show with Special Guest TBA)
06/20/2009 - Kobetasonik Festival - Bilbao, Spain (FESTIVAL)
06/21/2009 - Hellfest - Clisson, France (FESTIVAL)
06/26/2009 - Graspop Metal Meeting - Dessel, Belgium (FESTIVAL)
06/27/2009 - Sportzentrum - Wettingen, Switzerland (DT Headlining show with Special Guests TBA)
06/28/2009 - Gods Of Metal Festival - Milan, Italy (FESTIVAL)
07/01/2009 - Sportarena - Budapest, Hungary (DT Headlining show with Special Guests TBA)
07/03/2009 - Kaliakra Rock Festival - Kavarna, Bulgaria (FESTIVAL)
Alvarsdotter Music & Production now exclusively manages distribution of the Änglagård CDs: Hybris and Epilog. The re-issue of Hybris is planned to be available in early March 2009.
More to come...
02 March 2009
The new album of SPACE MIRRORS (Majestic-12: A Hidden Presence) will be released next Tuesday, March 3.
Third album for this fantastic space rock band! After 3 years SPACE MIRRORS returns with their new epos “Majestic-12: A Hidden Presence”, a magic journey beyond the galaxies.
It's a new chapter in Space Mirrors history, which brings you a research into the UFO conspiracy subjects in the form of a modern Space Metal, with many mixed elements from dark metal to classic rock (similar to Ayreon, Sigh, Arcturus, Ozric Tentacles).
Featuring Nik Turner (Hawkwind co-founder, Space Ritual, Inner City Unit), Martyr Lucifer (Hortus Animae, Opposite Sides) and Cyndee Lee Rule (Spaceseed, Scattered Planets).
You can listen to the samples from the album and watch videos here on our myspace page:
Read interview with Alisa Coral and an exclusive review of the album in Aural-Innovations:
"MJ-12" album should be available to buy in the main distribution outlets soon. Check out the list of distributors at record label website for more information.
Meanwhile it's available to buy directly from Sleaszy Rider Records:
More news coming soon! Thank you all for your support!