Review – Gazpacho – Soyuz – by Jez Denton

I am by no means a huge fan of progressive rock, there are bits I like, some I don’t, some I find clever and some I find completely over the top and pretentious beyond words. However, I do like to try new stuff, or at least new to me, and when it comes from an act that I’ve heard lots about from friends and acquaintances I’ll certainly give it a good go.

So when I was sent through the new album, released this week, from Norwegian alt-rock experimentalists, Gazpacho, I started listening with great expectation, having heard the name mentioned a few times by people whose thoughts on music I respect.

What I love most about hearing new music is picking up on the references that shape that music, and this album, ‘Soyuz’, is rammed full of great influences that have shaped the sound, whilst not diluting the bands own distinctive voice. It is an album shaped by the experiences of this band growing up in a period of huge political uncertainty, the Cold War, in a country very close to the borders of that conflict.

The sphere of influence that the USSR held over the countries of Northern and Eastern Europe have led to the music on this album having a sinister and dark, perhaps even fearful sound, a sense of foreboding. Across this the band tell stories such as that, in the first single, Soyuz One, of the doomed space mission by the Russians where cosmonaut, Colonel Vladimir Komorav, died; the first in-flight fatality in the history of space flight. The way the stories are told are engaging; making parts of this album seem like a pretty cool history lesson.

Musically the band are very adept at creating clever melodies and tunes, that, in common with many of their contemporaries, wash over the listener, enveloping them in the senses they try to create. However, the band are also more than happy to throw in the odd curve ball, a contrasting surprise. The ending of Soyuz One, for instance, which is a beautiful piece of piano music, is something Vaughan Williams would, no doubt,  have been proud of.

The album has a number of these little vignettes through out, it’s as if the guys have visited Cecil Sharp House and had a go through some traditional English folk tunes with which to enhance the sound of the album. With a bit of folk fiddle or a pastoral piano piece thrown in the album has, in places, the feel of a Fairport Convention album with production by Brian Eno.

This is an album of superior tunes, interesting and engaging subject matter and a brooding Nordic sound that will both appeal to fans of progressive music whilst also be surprising enough to make the album stand out amongst contemporaries and attract new devotees. The band have created a fine work that works of many levels. A mighty fine effort that will reward the listener over multiple listens.

Released 18th May 2018

Order Soyuz here

GAZPACHO RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR “EXIT SUITE” FROM NEW STUDIO ALBUM SOYUZ

Ahead of the release of their brand-new studio album, Soyuz, on May 18th Norwegian Art-rock progressive outfit Gazpacho have revealed their visually stunning and emotive new video for the track “Exit Suite”

Gazpacho’s Thomas Andersen explains the song’s creative birth “Exit Suite is the cinematic sounding result of a night playing with matches in the studio. It is a song about the fear of dawn and the passing of the old day.  The matches were supposed to be our short flickering lives in the dark universe and we ended up making a rhythm out of them and building a song on that rhythm.”

Andersen continues on the creation of the video clip “The short film accompanying the song was made by Dewi Allen from the University of South Wales, Cardiff and we loved it. We had lots of ideas on what the film should be like and he had the wisdom to ignore everything we said and do it his way. It’s perfect, speaks for itself and showcases his very special talent. I hope you all agree.”

Gazpacho have become synonymous for their distinctive art rock that balances tense and beautiful arrangements, sinister and soulful melodic lines, Soyuz furthers their experimental output. With a holistic approach to the album writing process, imbuing each with a captivating concept – in Soyuz the concept was born from the idea of how beautiful moments pass and cannot be “saved for later”, so within Soyuz are interconnected tales of people and lives “frozen in time”. Taking inspiration from a multitude of eras and subject matters, including the doomed Russian space capsule Soyuz and its iconic captain Komarov; the Tibetan Buddhist funeral practice in “Sky Burial”; the inclusion of the oldest recording of the human voice from 1860 and the Hans Christian Andersen inspired “Emperor Bespoke”.

Recorded at Krypton Planet & St. Croix Fredrikstad in Norway, engineered by Thomas Andersen, Kristian Torp and Mikael Kroemer, mixed by John Rausch and mastered by Sonovo Mastering’s Thor Legvold. The artwork, designed by painter Antonio Seijas, is inspired by Russian Cold War colours and fonts from the Soyuz One flight era.

Soyuz will be released on CD / LP and digitally (with pre orders receiving “Soyuz One” and “Exit Suite” as instant downloads) and is available to pre-order HERE

Gazpacho have confirmed they will be taking Soyuz on the road this summer with a series of headline shows and an appearance at Be Prog! My Friend Festival in Barcelona, with more dates to follow 

Soyuz Tour 2018
 
24/05 – NL –  Maastricht, Muziekgieterij,
25/05 – NL-  Uden, De Pul
26/05 – NL-  Zoetermeer, De Boerderij,
28/05 – UK – London, The Dome
31/05 – DE – Aschaffenburg, Colos-saal
01/06 – DE – Cologne Die Kantine,
02/06 – NL – Leeuwarden, Neushoorn,
23/06 – NO – Oslo, John Dee
30/06 – ESP – Barcelona, Be Prog Festival

For tickets see www.gazpachoworld.com

Gazpacho are:

Jan Henrik Ohme (vocals)

Thomas Andersen (keyboards, programming)

Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars)

Mikael Krømer (violin, mandolin)

Kristian Torp (bass)

Robert Risberget Johansen (drums & percussion)

Follow Gazpacho online:

https://www.facebook.com/Gazpacho.Official.BandPage

www.gazpachoworld.com

GAZPACHO REVEAL DETAILS OF NEW STUDIO ALBUM ‘SOYUZ’ – RELEASE FIRST SINGLE ‘SOYUZ ONE’

Norwegian Art-rock progressive outfit Gazpacho are set to release their brand-new studio album ‘Soyuz’ through Kscope on 18th May 2018.

Known for their distinctive art rock that balances tense and beautiful arrangements, sinister and soulful melodic lines, Gazpacho’s Soyuz furthers their experimental output.  To launch Soyuz the band have revealed their first single “Soyuz One”:

A band who are used to seizing headlines with bizarre stories, including The Independent (UK) branding Molok as “An album that could destroy the world”, Gazpacho have a holistic approach to the album writing process, imbuing each with a captivating concept. The themes of ‘Soyuz’ were born from the idea of how beautiful moments pass and cannot “be saved for later”, so within ‘Soyuz’ are interconnected tales of people and lives “frozen in time”. Taking inspiration from a multitude of eras and subject matters , including the doomed Russian space capsule Soyuz and its iconic captain Komarov; the Tibetan Buddhist funeral practice in “Sky Burial”; the inclusion of the oldest recording of the human voice from 1860 and the Hans Christian Andersen inspired “Emperor Bespoke”.

Recorded at Krypton Planet & St. Croix Fredrikstad in Norway, engineered by Thomas Andersen, Kristian Torp and Mikael Kroemer, mixed by John Rausch and mastered by Sonovo Mastering’s Thor Legvold. The artwork, designed by painter Antonio Seijas, is inspired by Russian Cold War colours and fonts from the Soyuz One flight era.

Soyuz Tracklisting 

1. Soyuz One

2. Hypomania

3. Exit Suite

4. Emperor Bespoke

5. Sky Burial

6. Fleeting Things

7. Soyuz Out

8. Rappaccini

Soyuz will be released on CD / LP and digitally (with pre orders receiving “Soyuz One” as an instant download) and is available to pre-order HERE

Gazpacho have confirmed they will be taking Soyuz on the road this summer with a series of headline shows and an appearance at Be Prog! My Friend Festival in Barcelona, with more dates to follow:

Soyuz Tour 2018
24/05 – NL –  Maastricht, Muziekgieterij,
25/05 – NL-  Uden, De Pul
26/05 – NL-  Zoetermeer, De Boerderij,
28/05 – UK – London, The Dome
31/05 – DE – Aschaffenburg, Colos-saal
01/06 – DE – Cologne Die Kantine,
02/06 – NL – Leeuwarden, Neushoorn,

23/06 – NO – Oslo, John Dee

30/06 – ESP – Barcelona, Be Prog! My Friend Festival

For tickets see www.gazpachoworld.com

Gazpacho are:

Jan Henrik Ohme (vocals)

Thomas Andersen (keyboards, programming)

Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars)
Mikael Krømer (violin, mandolin)
Kristian Torp (bass)

Robert Risberget Johansen (drums & percussion)

Band Photography Credit Justin Lambert.

Artwork Credit Antonio Seijas.

 

GAZPACHO & PERSEFONE ADDED TO THE BILL FOR BE PROG! MY FRIEND FESTIVAL 2018

Named as the ‘Event of the Year’ at this year’s Progressive Music Awards, Barcelona based festival Be Prog! My Friend recently announced that Sons of Apollo, Pain of Salvation and Australian virtuoso Plini will play in 2018. Now the festival have added Gazpacho and Persefone to the line-up for next year. They comment:

Gazpacho have been one of the most requested bands to play the festival since we first started Be Prog! My Friend. Musically it’s not easy to classify them but some call them ‘art-rock’, others label them as ‘alternative’ and even the phrase ‘neo-progressive’ has been mentioned. Many say they sound similar to Radiohead or The Porcupine Tree. What we do know though is that we are honoured to finally have them at the festival. The tour to support their most recent album ‘Molok’ was a complete success with several sold out shows all over Europe. We are glad fans of Be Prog! My Friend will finally get to enjoy Gazpacho in 2018 and the band have also told us that they will be releasing a new album then too.
 

We are also pleased to add one of the most promising bands in the progressive scene, Persefone. The Andorra based outfit stylishly and powerfully combine prog and metal. With their fifth album ‘Aathma’ they have really strengthened their position as one of the best new bands around. Welcome!’

Be Prog! My Friend which has played host to the likes of Opeth, Steven Wilson, Anathema, Devin Townsend, TesseracT, The Pineapple Thief, Magma, Agent Fresco, Camel, Meshuggah, Katatonia, Riverside, Ulver, Animals as Leaders, Ihsahn, Alcest, Jethro Tull and Marillion will take place on 29th and 30th June next year.

Held in the beautiful open air surroundings of Poble Espanyol – a huge stone built architectural museum – the site is one of the most important and striking landmarks of tourism in Barcelona. Whilst by day the Catalonian hotspot may play host to some of Barcelona’s most interesting historical articles, by the end of June it will instead play host to some of the world’s finest progressive artists. 

Tickets are on sale now priced at 130 Euros.
Gazpacho band pic by Justin Lambert.

Wallet Emptier – Sunday 18th October 2015

Welcome to a serious bumper edition of The Wallet Emptier, no less than nine albums in this latest round up of new releases and music that I feel may be of interest to you lot out there.

Keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming full sized reviews of some of these albums here at Progradar!

VANDEN PLAS chrII COVER

Vanden Plas – Chronicles of the Immortals : Netherworld II

I still have a bit of  a soft spot for some tasty, classy progressive metal and Vanden Plas certainly fulfill that brief. The follow up to 2013’s ‘Chronicles of the Immortals : Netherworld carries on the concept  with aplomb. Excellent songwriting combines with some superb riffing and symphonic metal music. Having one of the best vocalists around in Andy Kuntz doesn’t hurt either. Pure theatre from start to finish, a brilliant release.

Releases 6th November 2015

Stand out track – Vision 11even – In My Universe

Pre-order from Amazon

 

Cover

Vly – 1 / Time

A remote international collaboration between musicians from different backgrounds crystallized into a new band. A real conglomerate of musical might that throws in touches of progressive rock, classic rock, folk, post rock and epic riffs to deliver something quite uniquely brilliant. I expected nothing and the band delivered an exquisite release, really well worth buying, it should be in your collection.

Released 18th September 2015

Stand out track – Perfect Place

Buy the album from Amazon

 

Cover

Yuka and Chronoship – The 3rd Planetary Chronicles

Trust the Japanese to come up with something out of the ordinary and downright extraordinary. Formed in 2009, a progressive band that majors on technical brilliance, thoughtful lyrics and a philosophical bent. There are lots of 70’s cues throughout the music but Yuka and Chronoship live in their own micro-climate and there isn’t anything else quite like it.

Released 25th September 2015

Stand out track – Age of Steam

Buy Yuka and Chronoship from Cherry Red Records

 

Cover

IO Earth – New World

My first outing with this band and I didn’t know what I would be getting. The album cover screams symphonic progressive rock and the first couple of tracks on this double album did nothing to change my thoughts but, give this very long player time to work on you and you find some seriously intelligent and compelling music that knows no genre-defining bounds. The second disc is the best of the two but, overall, it is a very good listen.

Released 20th may 2015

Stand out track – The Rising

Buy New World direct from the band

 

Cover

Thieves Kitchen – The Clockwork Universe

I was surprised to find that this great band have actually been around since 2000 and I’m only hearing about them now. One of the most intelligent and compelling groups to be part of the current progressive scene, they innovate and create dazzling music that seems to come alive before you. They call themselves ‘A Canterbury tinged Scandi/Brit progressive rock group with classical and folk influences’ and, even though it is a bit of a mouthful, it is a just about perfect description of their imaginative sound.

Released 23rd September 2015

Stand out track – The Scientists Wife

Buy The Clockwork Universe from The Merch Desk

 

Cover

Gazpacho – Molok

Coming from the darkness of Scandinavia, it is no surprise that Norway’s Gazpacho release some of most intense and complicated music that inhabits this world. Their latest offering ‘Molok’ is no different, continuing their exploration of different concepts. The fact that they are as mad as a badger poked with a stick helps, I suppose and, this time,there are religious themes going head to head with modern day new science ideas and theories. Whatever the dense, macabre background, it is bloody good!

Released 23rd October 2015.

Stand out track – Know Your Time

Buy Molok from kscope

 

front

Anderson Ponty Band – Better Late Than Never

After 30 years of talking about it these two musicians have finally got together. Not an album of totally new material, it presents some new musical compositions, rearrangements of classic Yes hits like Owner of a Lonely Heart and Wonderous Stories, as well as some of Jean-Luc Ponty’s compositions with lyrics penned by Jon Anderson. In parts it is very good, in others (especially the limp rearrangements of the Yes material) it flatters to deceive but, have a listen and see what you think?

Released 25th September 2015

Stand out track – One in the Rhythm of Hope

Buy Better Late Than Never from Amazon

 

CoE Spirit

Comedy of Errors – Spirit

The eagerly awaited new album from the well respected Scottish proggers Comedy of Errors sees the band progressing on their signature sound. Stylish music backed by Joe Cairney’s emotive vocals grabs your attention. Always a band who major on expressive and intelligent songwriting, this new release embellishes that even further. An intensive and reflective musical journey that sees each song crafted individually and lovingly. I think they might just have delivered another great piece of musical drama.

Released 20th October 2015

Stand out track – Spirit

Buy direct from the band’s shop

 

A look back to the recent past……

Album cover

Aisles – 4.45 A.M.

There is an emotional intensity to 4.45 AM that is delivered with aplomb, I feel drained of emotion after listening to this album and it touches you to the depths of your soul. Like a fine wine, you will not want to experience this album every day but, keep it in someplace special so that, when the mood arises, you can bring it out and enjoy it all over again. I applaud Aisles for producing something that is as unique as they are, long may it continue.s far beyond that while creating a very powerful and unique type of music and sound.

Released 29th October 2013

Stand out track – Melancholia

Buy direct from the band