The Franck Carducci Band (Featuring Steve Hackett) Release Video For ‘Closer to Irreversible’ – by Progradar

Today sees the official release of the latest video from The Franck Carducci Band.

You can see the full video for the brilliant ‘Closer to Irreversible’ here:

Franck had this to say about the song and the video:

“I co-wrote ‘closer’ with my friends Francesca Laneri and Toff ‘crazy-monk’ a few years ago when I was living in Amsterdam. I recorded the song for my second album ‘Torn Apart’ [2015] and was thrilled when Steve Hackett offered me to play the final guitar solo,  especially because of its psychedelic bluesy feel which is a bit unusual for him. But I totally love the final result!

I wanted to make a music video for it after that, but never got the opportunity until I met the team of La Koloc Production in my hometown of Lyon, France. They’re a gang of youngsters all passionate about video making, and they brought a really fresh touch to the song. The video contains a fictional part and a live part with the band performing on a TV and a smartphone screen. When looking for someone to play the main female character in the fiction, it was pretty obvious it had to be our own backing-vocalist, and tiny dancer: Mary Reynaud I have to say, I was totally impressed by her performance”

 

Review – Tearing The Tour Apart (live DVD) – The Franck Carducci band – by Progradar

Music was always intended to be heard live, that’s how it started. There were no recording devices when the first minstrels and troubadours travelled far and wide singing their stories of incredible deeds and perhaps slightly embellishing them. It was passed by word of mouth and would be centuries before waxed discs, vinyl records, compact discs and digital files were even thought of.

Therefore, to me, live music is music in its natural form and the energy of a live gig has to felt to be believed. I suppose the next best thing to being there is to watch a good quality recording of that concert or show and I think that is why live DVDs and Blu-rays are as popular as they are nowadays.

I saw The Franck Carducci Band live at the Masquerade Festival last December and they were fantastic, a live experience like no other in fact and I’d had chats with Franck about him releasing a live DVD which finally came to fruition with the ‘Tearing The Tour Apart’ live DVD that was released towards the end of 2016 and which Franck graciously gave me a copy to review.

The live DVD was recorded at the Climax Club Legend in November 2015 and features tracks from Franck’s first two albums ‘Oddity’ (2011) and ‘Torn Apart’ (2015).

Pop the DVD in your player and the title menu appears asking you to choose 5.1 sound, stereo sound or pick a track. I got straight in with stereo and the visuals begin, instantly recognisable as being the work of Olivier and introducing the Franck Carducci Band – Franck Carducci (bass, 12 string guitar, vocals), Christophe Obadia (electric guitar, bass pedals, didgeridoo, vocals), Olivier Castan (keyboards, vocals), Mathieu Spaeter (6 and 12 string guitars, vocals), Mary Reynaud (rainstick, tambourine, vocals) and special guest Jimmy Pallagrosi (drums).

The fantastic entertainment begins with an utterly stunning version of the crowd favourite Torn Apart. Franck has always stated his appreciation of the visual art form and you are plunged straight into brilliant musical theatre with a stunning light show and incredible music. The camera work is exemplary and you really feel as if you’ve been transported right into the concert, especially with the close ups of each musician. The high energy blues/rock work out of the track comes across perfectly, you feel the fierce passion of the guitar solos and the funky edge to Olivier’s keyboards and Jimmy Pallagrosi is a modern day version of Animal from The Muppets. The appreciative crowd soak it all and give some serious applause. The elfin-like Mary Reynaud makes her first appearance on the edgey and thoughtful Closer To Irreversible and you can feel the heartfelt pathos and fervent melancholy blues coming across, once again, these musicians really know how to put on a show and this is one that has been honed into a well oiled machine but also one that never loses that required passion you want from a great live performance. Feel the guitar literally weep and the keyboards bleed sincerity as the notes literally leap from the screen and leave you transfixed. The thespian feel continues with the wonderfully melodramatic prog-fest that is Artificial Paradises. With the tense and dramtic keyboard playing of Olivier being central to the opening, the camera focused on his intense expression, you are drawn into the scene completely. The scene opens up with Franck and Mary the focus of attention. This is one song where inhibitions are left at home, a wonderfully thrilling and vivid display of musical excellence and portrayal by the singers. Almost like a three act play, you are caught on every note and nuance when the camera closes in on each performer.

Let’s change the intensity and ramp it up with the schizophrenic heavy rock of Mr Hyde & Dr. Jekyll, a real throwback to the excesses of the late 1970’s. A really energetic rock out that is as infectious as it is utterly enjoyable. You really want to be there in font of the stage headbanging and rocking away to the ferocious guitar work and Franck’s great frontman performance. Franck introduces Articifial Love as ‘something more psychedelic’ and he’s not wrong. The music, performance and light show is all a little tripped out and drags you willingly into the mood. Mary and Franck are quite transfixing front of stage as they deliver their psychotropic performance, I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, it really is musical theatre and, to me, is how this music is at its best. At this point things get a bit more interesting with Mathieu and Olivier giving a really spaced out guitar and keyboard combo before Mary and Christophe ultimately blow your mind with a duel didgeridoo display that is as theatric as anything that has gone before and actually made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, quite spooky and eerie actually. Next we have what can only be described as ‘Star Wars with swords’, the Achilles Sword Fight where Olivier and Christophe do (choreographed battle) to a soundtrack not too dissimilar from The Imperial March all bathed in an ominously ghostly red glow. This segues immediately into another leviathan prog track Achilles. An engrossing opening perfectly captured by the camera as Franck gets his twin necked bass out to play. The quality on this DVD is excellent, both in sound and picture, the close ups are sharply in focus and there is a smooth transition between shots, no jerking or jumping around. There’s a Genesis feel to the song both in the music and the vocal delivery and this is more a music performance than a theatrical one this time, just focus on the excellence of the performers and the blazing guitar solo from Mathieu Spaeter, music at its purest and played with skill and aplomb.

A Brief Tale Of Time brings a science fiction story to life and an allegorical tale of how life isn’t always greener on the other side (or in the future). A powerful central performance from Franck is the core to this track, proper progressive rock both in content and delivery. It’s a slow burner to begin with, wistful and dreamy with the lights down low and the shadowy musicians playing in the twilight, the skill and dexterity is the main focus here. Things get a bit more upbeat when Mary joins Franck at the front of the stage, a winsome musical journey which leaves a contemplative footnote as it wanders across your mind, the visuals enforcing this feeling. Some Wakeman-like keyboard ingenuity and finesse from Olivier ramps up the prog quotient even more and Franck’s edgy bass line joins the party as the stage is awash with a rainbow of light and you are treated to something that I’m sure even ELP would have been proud of. Add in the great little video (made entirely out of animated cartoon drawings by Olivier ‘Casoli’ Castan) and you couldn’t really ask for more. The last song (before encore) is The Last Oddity (from ‘Oddity’ funnily enough), another superb twelve minutes of progressive rock fused with Gallic flair. The musicians own the stage and Mary and Franck are the centre of attention with their earnest and fervent vocal performances. The camera wanders around the stage picking out the individual musicians in their reverie as this intricate and dreamlike song is played out before you. When the camera pans out to the audience you can see their rapt attention as they focus on every note and word. Christophe delivers a punky, truncated riff and the fuse is lit, get ready for the explosion! Off we go on a convoluted rock out, Mary’s waif like figure throwing herself around as things get altogether more funky and 70’s inspired, where’s my flares man??!! The atmosphere comes across as utterly electric as Franck decides to go for a wander off into the surprised audience, now where’s he gone? The trippy and psychedelic aura pervades all and leaves you wondering what illegal substance was slipped into your coffee as these musical artists deliver a completely demonstrative spectacle, the highlight being  the four-armed guitar playing performed by Christophe and Mathieu, you’ve got to see it to believe it, pure theatre! The band move straight into a spine-tingling four minute sequence from Genesis’ ‘Supper’s Ready’, nostalgia for the fans deep at its heart with Franck, as animated as ever, delivering a great homage to Peter Gabriel and Mathieu delivering a superbly emotive guitar piece. Franck goes round doing the obligatory band introduction to the audience and things come to a close, or do they?

Well there’s always got to be an encore hasn’t there? The camera sweeps around the incredibly appreciative, lively and passionate audience who have lapped up everything laid before them and then back to the stage. Franck is stood there with his Mad Hatter’s top hat on and we are going to be treated to The Franck Carducci Band’s way out version of Alice in Wonderland, Alice’s Eerie Dream. This is pure musical theatrics at their most extreme, almost like a circus sideshow from the 1930’s, titillating and thoroughly enjoyable and you can’t take your eyes of it. It’s an absolute blast from start to finish with its blues-rock roots and vivid visuals. Mary arrives as a very provocative Alice indeed and gives a real sensuous feeling to proceedings. Just let yourself go with the flow and enjoy this fourteen minutes of unabashed entertainment, guitar solos fly by, Jimmy is as ebullient as ever behind the drums and you just know that everybody is enjoying themselves to the utmost. As the song and performance come to a close you know they have left nothing behind and given everything of themselves during this thrilling, engrossing and captivating show.

This is how music should be consumed, the high energy performances of all the musicians are utterly addictive and leave you wanting more. There’s a primal force at play here and it comes across in every word and note as if the artists are giving something of themselves to the audience. Skillfully filmed with a superb light show and stunning sound, ‘Tearing The Tour Apart’ is a musical tour-de-force and should be on anybody’s wish list!

And just to spice things up, Franck has told me that there will definitely be a Blu-ray release of this wonderful gig.

Released 13th December 2016

Buy ‘Tearing The Tour Apart’ on DVD from The Merch Desk

 

Summer’s End Festival announces (almost) complete 2017 line up…

We are delighted to announce the (almost) complete line up for Summer’s End 2017, to be held at the Drill Hall, Chepstow on October 6-8 2017.

Leap of Faith tickets have now come off sale and will be replaced by standard tickets on Tuesday 17th January.

• Hero tickets (including a t shirt and our very special thanks) priced £120
• Sponsor tickets (including a T shirt) priced £105
• Standard weekend tickets priced £85

A very limited number of day tickets will be available soon. The festival sold out quickly last year and we are already 50% to sell out just with LOF tickets, so very early purchasing is recommended. With one band still to announce, we are already very proud of what is our most varied and internationally-orientated line up yet!

Here’s the line up -with one major band still to announce. Day splits will be announced soon.

FROST* (UK)
www.frost.life

Our Saturday headliners are the inimitable Frost* making their first appearance at the festival since their remarkable performance in 2008. The line up of the band – Jem Godfrey, John Mitchell, Nathan King and Craig Blundell – is now stable and playing regular live gigs in support of last years’ excellent “Falling Satellites”,

THE TANGENT (UK / Sweden)
www.thetangent.org
KARMAKANIC (Sweden / UK)
www.facebook.com/KarmakanicOfficial/

As they did in 2014, The Tangent and Sweden’s Karmakanic will be touring in 2016 as an intriguing double act, comprising of (largely) the same members playing two sets, closing the festival on Sunday 8th October. The band(s) will comprise Andy Tillison, Jonas Reingold, Luke Machin plus Marie Eve De Gaultier and other members to be announced. The Tangent will be making their third appearance at the festival and release “The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery” in 2017, while Karmakanic released “DOT” in 2016 and last played Summer’s End in 2010.

FRANCK CARDUCCI (France)
www.franckcarducci.com

Those that have had the pleasure of seeing Franck Carducci and his superb band perform will know that they are one of the best – and most colourfully extravagant – live acts playing today. Mixing Prog with hard rock and just a touch of psychedelia, the band are sure to be one of the bands of the weekend following a successful UK tour in late 2016.

SOUTHERN EMPIRE (Australia)
www.unitopiamusic.com

Following his performance with Damanek in 2016 (and with Unitopia in 2010), Australian keyboard wizard Sean Timms returns to the festival with his current band Southern Empire. The band are riding high following the release of their superb debut album and will be touring Europe in late 2017 with Karibow.

MASCHINE (UK)
www.maschineuk.com

Few who were there will have forgotten the performance of a young band called Concrete Lake at Summer’s End 2011. Now called Maschine, guitar wizard Luke Machin‘s brilliant young band, which also includes bassist Dan Mash, released their magnificent second album ‘Naturalis’ during 2016 to great acclaim.

KARIBOW (Germany)
www.karibow.com

This well known German band have had an award winning, 20-year history. Led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rusing, their powerful, crunchy, song orientated brand of Prog is often compared to Saga and It Bites. The band will tour Europe in 2017 with Southern Empire in suport of most recent album ‘Holophinium’.

ELEPHANTS OF SCOTLAND (USA)
www.elephantsofscotland.com

Following Phideaux, K2, Discipline and 3rDegree, Elephants of Scotland will become the 5th band from the USA to play the festival. Formed in Vermont in 2010, the band have 3 studio albums under their belts and played a triumphant set at the Rosfest festival in 2014 , later released as a CD and DVD set.

MIDNIGHT SUN (UK)
www.facebook.com/midnightsunprog/

Making their first appearance at the festival, but with several members that have played for us before are Midnight Sun, which comprises various former members of Unto Us and Also Eden in a combination which moulds the progressive and melodic textures of those bands with some heaver elements. Recording of the band’s debut album will begin in early 2017.

HALF PAST FOUR (Canada)
www.halfpastfour.com

Our first participants from Canada, Half Past Four have won a deserved reputation for their quirky, jazzy, playful take on prog. So strong was their 2016 third album ‘Land of the Blind’ that we knew that it was high time they made their debut at the festival.

WEENDO (France)
www.weendo.fr

This superb band from France – fronted by vocalist and keyboard player Laetitia – mix Prog with slightly more metallic textures. The band are currently working on their second album following their excellent 2011 debut ‘You Need to Know Yourself’.

More news soon!

Best wishes

Huw and Stephen
www.summersend.co.uk

Our facebook page:
www.facebook.com/…
Our facebook group: www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=98170444873
One twitter: www.twitter.com/summersendfest
Email: stephen@summersend.co.uk

Franck Carducci to release Live DVD – Tearing The Tour Apart – Crowd Fund Link Added

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Seems like things have been very quiet lately with the Franck Carducci Band but Progradar has learned that they have been busy like bees, working on the production of a live DVD of the “Tearing The Tour Apart” tour.
The recording for this DVD was made during 2 concerts at Climax Club Legend at the end of 2015 and will feature special guest Jimmy Pallagrosi (Karnataka) behind the drums! There’s no news yet regarding any release date but, suffice to say, we will keep you updated!

The band have released a teaser for the forthcoming release:

I spoke to Franck himself about the making of the DVD and he told me this:

“It’s an absolute delight to be able to release a DVD of our live show. For me, the visual aspect have always been a full part of live music. That’s why acts like Genesis & Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Alice Cooper and of course Pink-Floyd have always been huge influences of mine. So a DVD was completely necessary to be able to share the full experience of our show and I do hope people will enjoy it!”

Franck Carducci has started a Crowd Funding Campaign for the new DVD, sign up at the link below:

Franck Carducci Band Crowd Fund at Kiss KIss Bank BaNK

You can buy Franck’s superb last album ‘Torn Apart’ (as well as his debut ‘Oddity’) on CD from The Merch Desk here:

The Merch Desk – Franck Carducci

And on digital from bandcamp here:

Franck Carducci – Torn Apart – Bandcamp

And here is what some sage music industry stalwarts have had to say about ‘Torn Apart’ :

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http://www.franckcarducci.com/

https://www.facebook.com/franckcarducci/

Review – Mary Reynaud – Make It Together – by Progradar

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As I travel though this world full of incredible highs and unbelievable lows my companion has always been music. The type of music has changed through the years but one thing has been constant, it is music written not to make money but to enrich the lives of those that would hear the notes.

Obviously, since I started writing about music, the vast majority has been progressive rock and all of its variants but every now and again I hear something that people would not expect me to listen to but which really moves me in many ways.

The little beauty that grabbed my attention this time was the solo EP by long time Franck Carducci Band member Mary Reynaud, a delightful little bluegrass/folk/singer-songwriter concoction called ‘Make It Together’.

Consisting of six tracks and featuring Dorian Ricaux and support from Manu Bertrand and Franck Carducci himself, from the first listen it has brightened my day and washed away the blues.

Mary

“Like a Polaroid snapshot, this record represents the capture of a moment in time. It was not conceptualized and prepared as one normally prepares an album. However, during one evening in March, there was Franck, Manu and Dorian reunited in my living room gathered around me and my songs. Notes began flying, musical arrangements were settled and the idea to seize the moment was born. Two weeks after being in the studio, all three of us in a room and we recorded. Everything was captured as is, our hearts, our respiration, the ideas that came, our voices broken with emotion, the movements, the tiny flaws … just like in my living room. We mad it, together. And now, all you have to do is take a seat with us.” – Mary Reynaud.

So, all we have to do is press play and immerse ourselves in these wonderful pared back songs of wistful beauty, longing, joy, love and remorse, go on then!

“Last night a comet crashed in my dream, I first thought it might be a real bad thing…”

Magic Passerelle is an upbeat, fast paced little toe-tapper with some excellent fret work on Mary’s 1974 Martin D18 guitar and her delicate, yet sultry voice is the only accompaniment required. Just let the music wash over you and enjoy the feeling of the sun and wind on your back, a song for the summer for definite. The guitar playing is an utter joy.

“Close your eyes and stop your cries cause I will always be there, To dry your tears and take your fears and keep you warm with me…”

We turn to wistful and winsome with Make It Together a soft hued and soft timbred delight. The guitar playing drips emotion and Mary’s vocal is full of melancholy and yet gives a feeling of hope. The guitar playing and the way this delightful troubadour sings give a real feeling of gallic bluegrass. A song for warm nights sat around an open fire with a fine red wine, French of course!

“The sky is blue and I”m in a cloudy mood, I say I’m cool but my face don’t move…”

A sort of jazz/folk track with a light blues infusion (well, to my ears anyway), Sad For Nothing really hit home with me as it mirrored my feelings exactly, going through a difficult phase in my life. Stylish guitar playing, polished and earnest vocals and yet a feeling of remorse or something similar lying in wait in the background. The wonderful guitar picking is a delight to hear, a song for those close to us, late nights and serious discussions.

“I think I have a crush on you, It seems like I am falling for you, I know I’m wrong, I’m so young, but there’s not much that I can do…”

A passionate song of love and longing, No Way You Can Guess is full of beautiful fragility from the compassionate vocals through to the dreamy and contemplative guitar playing. I feel summer days and grassy banks alongside a jewel like, burbling stream, sepia tinged and nostalgia filled, where there is love, there will always be hope.

“Let’s spend the afternoon under the figtree, I’m Alice in wonderland and you are a pixie, Undercover of the leaves, there is no distance…”

The upbeat feeling returns with the utterly charming bluegrass hues of Under The Figtree. A three minute ditty with clever lyrics, clever guitar playing and Mary’s knowing vocals. You get a feeling of the mystery that Mary shows when she is in character as Alice in the live Franck Carducci shows. One to stand up and dance to under the stars, carefree and happy with life and yourself. A song of pure good-feeling, happiness and an utmost joie-de-vivre, bravo Mary!

“Stuck in frontof that white page, Wondering what you’d want me to say, I’m lost in an ocean of question marks, Time to give a piece of me…”

I loved reading the lyrics to 3 Chords And The Truth, the never ending battle about whether the songwriter should write to please the audience or just give a bit of themselves in the hope that the honesty will strike a chord. It is a wonderful song, straight from the heart of Mary Reynaud and you can hear the inner turmoil in her voice, a creation of sheer charm, elegance and grace. This is music pared back to the basics with the refined guitar adding a subtle backing to Mary’s heartfelt lyrics. Always be true to yourself, give all of yourself and no-one can ask for anymore, a parable for modern times perhaps?

Music truly is the food of love and you can’t help but adore this beautiful collection of songs from this talented lady. They lifted my soul from some very dark places and this EP should be on everybodys wish list. A natural feel-good lift for the body and mind and songwriting of the highest calibre, Mary Reynaud has released something true to her heart and we should all be thankful.

Released 14th September 2016

Orders will be available from 14th September from Mary’s website

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Honourable Mentionables and Wallet Emptiers of 2015 – by Progradar

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So, I’ve done my ‘Best of 2015’ list but there were so many that nearly made the list and should still be on your ‘Wallet Emptying’ selection that I couldn’t let 2015 close out without giving them a mention………..

Mandala 'Midnight Twilight' â digital cover

Mandala – Midnight Twilight

Psychedelic, dark and groovy.

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Mew – +/-

Uplifting and slightly mental.

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Progoctopus (now Oktopus) – Transcendence E.P.

Cracking Progressive rock with an unusual edge.

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The Enid – The Bridge

Symphonic, classical, brilliant.

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Franck Carducci – Torn Apart

Progressive, bluesy, funky and with a whole lot of soul and some scorching guitar solos, love it!

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Djam Karet – Swamp of Dreams

What they do is make brilliant, spaced-out, psychedelic music that could only come from Djam Karet and ‘Swamp of Dreams’ is a perfect example of their skill and flair.

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Corvus Stone – Unscrewed

Mad bad and brilliantly dangerous, whether you’ll come out the other side with all your mental faculties is another matter entirely.

Unified Past - Shifting the Equilibrium - cover-art by Ed Unitsky

Unified Past – Shifting the Equlibrium

It’s Power-Prog, will it appeal to everyone? I doubt it but, those that do appreciate this band’s excellent music have really dropped lucky this time, well done chaps!

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3rDegree – Ones & Zeros Volume 1

2015 continues to deliver some very high quality releases and 3RDegree have muscled their way well up that list.

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Kinetic Element – Travelog

It feels like a labour of love and the skill, energy, blood, sweat and tears that have been invested in this production can be felt by all who hear it.

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Geof Whitely Project – Supernatural Casualty

I found ‘Supernatural Casualty’ to be a box of delights. At sixteen tracks it is perhaps two or three songs too long but that doesn’t detract from what is a thoroughly satisfying piece of music.

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Methexis – Suiciety

Aided by some superb musicians and a vocalist who has the skill and inherent ability to deliver everything needed, what we actually have here is an outstanding musical release.