Review – Long Distance Calling – Boundless – by Kevin Thompson

There’s always the clamour to decide what has been album of the year every annum and the good and great are voted for. In conversation the other day it arose that what is voted best, may not always turn out to be the most played.

Some albums push their way into your play-list and you find yourself returning to them regularly to get your fix. Long Distance Calling’s “Trips” is one of those albums for me. I can’t count the number of journeys in the car, where it has been played, you just have to be careful one doesn’t drive too quickly to some of the tracks. It is a real energiser of an album and always picks me up.

I have all their albums and the addition of vocals on “Trips” seemed to give it an added edge. So I was surprised to find the latest Long Distance Calling (LDC) release “Boundless” sees them returning with an all instrumental album and no Petter Carlson on vocals, a brave or foolish move?

The suitably brooding cover and promotional photos accompanying the music would suggest the promise of something a little darker with plenty of atmosphere and strength in their musical belief.

A crash of cymbals and the heft of drums from Janosch Rathmer feed into a drone, building with a lashing of feedback from guitar duo Florian Juntmann and Dave Jordan to see them Out There. The growling guitars are suppressed to repetitive gentle chords, Jan Offman’s bass blowing across the brown grass and moss covered moors as LDC bend into the stiff breeze and push forward, the mud of sceptics sucking at their boots. Drums drift back into the mix and the music rises to a crescendo as they reach the foot of the mountain and assess the route.

The heavy climb is echoed in the pumping guitars as LDC begin Ascending the second track of the mountainous album, riffs jabbing at them like the bitter wind, scrabbling for hand and footholds, the escalating guitars puncturing the cloud-base as the band strive for the peak and throbbing percussion pushes upwards as looping chords announce the summit.

They are In The Clouds, disorientated with limited visibility as strange sounds and percussion echo around. Strummed chords bend like sirens’ cries and aggressive guitars pull at the fabric of the tune as LDC seek to gain purchase and not lose their way among the rocks and crevices of the atmospheric synths and loops. The instrumentation fluctuates, with the menace of the bass warning of one lost footfall and the subtle percussion tries to wrong foot across undulating, tuneful ground.

Through plucked strings and behind jangling guitars, a sound is heard Like A River, as this accomplished German quartet confidently navigate their way. At one point the sound morphs into something narrowly close to the theme from a spaghetti western, whilst violin and brass make brief dalliances. Pulled back by the whistling winds, the clouds of music are parted revealing unparalleled views of the cruelly beautiful landscapes around them,. LDC admire the aural view as the guitars float down the mountainside and away.

Pushing their way through the heavy waves of riffs that strike them, the band forge their way to The Far Side of the mountain top, drums eddying as bass rolls of thunder meet overhead and the darkening, heavy clouds of guitar speed their way across the sky with determination.

Abruptly finding themselves On The Verge, piano calms the storm as harmonic guitar notes are picked to drift in the air. Looping guitars build and the band members attend to the backpacks they have been carrying and prepare for the descent. The music creates a determined urgency, to take advantage of the break in the weather, as the clouds drift away and pale watery skies are revealed.

Buddy checking they are ready, the band take a few steps back then all instruments rush forward together and leap from the edge………

The cold air moans around them as LDC dive from the precipice, sharpening the senses at the wonder of it all as they feel Weightless, drifting like birds on the thermals of the music as the building bass and drum rhythms quicken the heart. The pace of the descent increases, arms and legs splayed as the music spreads and the guitars fly with complete freedom. A tug of chords, the brief jerk upward as the ‘chutes open safely and they are nearly there.

The ground rushes towards them with all the energy the instruments can muster and percussive blood pumps in the ears. Knees bend as contact is made with terra firma and they roll before standing proud as the music swells their chests and hearts. Rising, the Skydivers acknowledge they have arrived unscathed and begin to draw in the ‘chutes as they congratulate each other in conquering the dramatic mountain of music; they have made it their own.

All gathered in, the band turn and with fading notes in the cooling breeze, LDC head back homeward with tales of their achievement bolstering their distinctive success.

So have Long Distance Calling pulled off the challenge of reinvention? For me it’s another resounding yes, to be shouted from the highest mountain and to echo in every valley. Their bravery has been rewarded and so shall yours if you have belief and buy the album.

Bands are criticised for drifting from their comfort zones at times or relying on tried and tested methods, this is no throwback but yet another push forward for Long Distance Calling whilst holding on to their distinctive sound, well done lads, keep up the good work.

Released 2nd February 2018

Order ‘Boundless’ direct from Inside Out in Europe

Order ‘Boundless’ from Burning Shed (UK)

Photos by Michael Winkler.

Progradar – 2016 – Best of the First Six Months

David

(Yours truly and Prog Guru™ himself)

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the first official Progradar Reviewers and Friends ‘Best Of…’ feature.

I asked those who wished to contribute to cogitate over what great music they had heard, released 1st January to 30th June, in the first half of 2016 and come up with a list of their definitive five favourites.

Not an easy task, let me tell you but, here are the selections of nine (including me) erstwhile wordsmiths and friends, including a few words as to why these particular releases made the cut.

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Emma Roebuck (Progradar reviewer)

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Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence

This is Robin Armstrong on some amazing form.  I loved ‘Capacitor’ and I thought ‘Man Left in Space’ was a hard one to beat. I was clearly wrong and happy about it too. Robin is at his best when looking at the human condition when viewed through a less than regular lens. The mythology of Sisyphus and alien abduction combine to make such a lens.  I will treasure seeing his one and only live performance so far at Celebr8.3 fondly. The album is dark and melancholy which is the way I like my music to be honest.

This film might change your life and Relativity being high points in an album that is a mountain range of achievement.

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Preacher – Aftermath

Their second album, and independently released like the Cosmograf album (and another 2 in my, selection if I remember rightly.) Preacher craft both songs and albums exceedingly well. ‘Signals’, the previous album, shows signs (poor, but unintentional, pun) of a band with tons to offer. They draw their roots from 70s Floyd and the melodic side of the genre.  It could be said that this is the album that Floyd should have released instead of ‘The Endless River’, I could easily agree but this is not that Floyd this is a band that use melody, harmony and song in a way that could go beyond the genre.

Stand out Tracks

War/ War reprise and Vinyl show how we look to emotions and actions and make things or deeds of them as people.

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Drifting Sun – Safe Asylum

I was too young to be really aware of the genuine impact of the classic period of Prog rock. I caught the periphery in my early teens but felt no ownership of Yes, Genesis, VDGG, Floyd, Gentle Giant, etc only a serious attraction to the music as a 14 year old in 1975. In the early 80s, having ridden the horror that was punk, I remember seeing Marillion, IQ and Pallas in small pubs and clubs in 82 and it was a pure emotional and intellectual epiphany. It felt like I was hit in the heart and the brain with a piece of 2 by 4. I found home and ownership of music.  I liked ‘Trip the Light Fantastic’ immensely and when I heard this album I felt all those emotions again. I was in the Sheffield Limit club again hearing something of very high quality and I connected immediately to this music. It is Neo Prog of a very high standard.  They sound like themselves with echoes of the last 40 years resounding through the music.

Standout Tracks Intruder and DesolationRetribution.

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Jump – Over The Top

I have been a fan of Jump for the best part of 21 years. It is the Classic rock society that I owe big style, not just for these but many others, in times of musical desolation.  I found my first sample of these by old school recognition and recommendation by word of mouth. Fast forward to many Jump gigs later, the new album ‘Over the Top’ comes out and it was ‘yes, get in!’. Some of the current live set had been used to fine tune some of the songs over the last 18 months or so and it shows. John Dexter Jones is a storyteller par excellence and the band are an excellent vehicle for those stories. The words are heartfelt and the music comes from the same place. If they lived in medieval times they would be the bards of old. The use of the past to illustrate the way of the world we live in now is the stock in trade here.

Stand out tracks, I want to say all of them but if I was to choose The Beach and the Wreck of the St Marie are those choices.

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Kiama – Sign of IV

Just when you think you have Rob Reed figured out, Sanctuary, Magenta and so on, he does something out of the blue and blows the socks of you. Take good old rock sensibilities from the 60s and 70s, put them in the hands of some very talented individuals and they become a band which sounds like they have been a unit for years. I recently saw them support Frost* and wow, just wow.

This is a hybrid, musically drawn from the past in a very real sense, and is a homage to how they used to work but it does not feel like a tribute band in anyway.  It results in a multifaceted album of light and shade with some fantastic songs and heartfelt lyrics. It is some of Luke Machin’s best work outside of Maschine & Rubidium.  Rob Reed has a blast playing with sound and tone to create things like ‘Muzzled’, which is a tribute to the Floyd Album ‘Animals’, using the tones from the period to reflect the music and the time it came out. Dylans voice is amazing, we need more Kiama …

Stand Out Tracks  Muzzled and Slip away.

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Leo Trimming – (Progradar and TPA reviewer)

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Red Bazar – Tales From The Bookcase

This was my TPA’s review’s conclusion early in the year for this surprise package, and I’ve had no reason to change it since…

This is an excellent collaboration: Red Bazar have helped Peter Jones express more of his serious, darker side and also allowed him to display more vocal dexterity. In return Red Bazar have gained a talented and very fine rock vocalist who has added great lyrical skill and vocal feeling  to their own fine emotional musical palette…

This may be a bit of a dark horse, but Red Bazar may just have released one of the Prog albums of the year.

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Matthew Parmenter – All Our Yesterdays

A favourite on two levels – it’s a great album of subtle artistry and fine music, and on another level the artist & his music  touched me personally. My Progradar review concluded:

Matthew Parmenter has stepped aside from the magnificent, gothic group dynamic of Discipline to create a solo work of art suffused with dramatic shades and emotional lyricism, conveying tragedy and hope. This is an album that is likely to captivate and beguile with subtlety and delicate emotion. It certainly gave me unexpected comfort – Inside.’

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Nine Stones Close – Leaves

A darkly trippy and psychedelic album. Part dream, part nightmare – this is an album for which repeated listens gradually unpeal the layers, like all the best progressive releases. My Progradar review observed:

Nine Stones Close create rich musical landscapes suffused with a sense of the dramatic and psychedelic… They do not stick to their old formula and want to progress. My advice is stick with these guys because you are never quite sure in which direction their songs or this albums may turn, but it sure is an imaginative and fascinating ride!’

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Big Big Train – Folklore

A much anticipated release does not disappoint as the album describes modern folklore, ancient legend, elegies for lost love and epic stories of heroism and loss … plus bees (!) in a rich tapestry of folk tinged progressive rock. Lyrically intelligent and insightful, conveyed with integrity and emotion, and played with consummate skill and passion. Impossible to ignore – we all sort of knew it would be great. Of course it’s great!

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Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence

Simply stunning. Robin Armstrong has imagined a rich narrative of alien incursion (or paranoid breakdown?!) with sonic brilliance. The imaginative story is unnerving, whilst the music is captivating on a human level but cinematic in scope – ranging from crunching Purple riffs, through atmospheric acoustic passages to sweeping Floydian soundscapes. Undoubtedly, major contender for Album of the Year already from one of the best Progressive Rock artists of this generation.

Gary

Gary Morley – (Progradar reviewer)

HAWKWIND The Machine Stops

Hawkwind – The Machine Stops

Everything that Hawkwind evoke distilled into one disc. Great musicianship, tunes and tons of atmosphere make this the top of the pops for me. It’s been a long time since a Hawkwind album had such a buzz about it. Biggest regret – that I missed the live shows. Biggest hope – a proper live blu-ray & CD set is coming.

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Preacher – Aftermath

Prog at it’s best for me needs a driver. Preacher use guitars. Proper guitars like your dad waffles on about when he talks about Pink Floyd, Steve Hillage, Jimmy Page and that time he watched Rory Gallagher play for 3 hours at the Hexagon Theatre and your mum was drinking pints and ended up paralytic, singing along to “Wayward Child” sat on his boss’s shoulders…

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I Am The Manic Whale – Everything Beautiful In Time

Local boy’s debut embraces everything that is good about music. It has great tunes, off the wall lyrics and subjects that place it head and shoulders above most of what passes for modern music from the under 30’s. I’m looking forward to their next offering, be it a live gig in Reading or more music.

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Gandalf’s Fist – The Clockwork Fable

‘The Clockwork Fable’ is a Steam punk opera, like a space opera or a soap opera but without the bad romance and dodgy backdrops.

I loved the variety of musical genres used to tell a totally bonkers tale of clockwork suns and steam powered boys looking for missing cogs in a giant machine all played out in a cavernous underground city. There are rock tracks, some great drumming, some “epic” prog , some plaintive melodies and a host of guest vocalists and musicians, all of which add to the mix without overegging the lily.

The first time you listen you get sucked into the world presented here. It’s a Post apocalyptic, dark dystopian world but there are flashes of humour and the absurdity does not detract from the sheer brilliance of the effort here.

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Steven Wilson – 4 1/2

“left over’s” from ‘Hand .Cannot .Erase’ these track might have been, but as a snapshot of Mr Chuckletrousers ( © Angus Prune I Think) and his Zeus like stature in the modern Prog pantheon  this is sublime in its perfection. Hints of Zappa referencing impossible “stun guitar”, epic soundscape that demonstrate his skill as an arranger and bleak yet beautiful lyrics are all wrapped in a package that sticks 2 fingers up at the download and go generation. This is a quality production in every detail, lovingly constructed and presented for your pleasure.

Shawn Dudley

Shawn Dudley – (Progradar reviewer)

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Messenger – Threnodies

It took several spins for this album to truly work its magic on me, but once hooked it just won’t let me go.  A beautifully organic record, informed and powered by vintage sounds but not a slave to them.  The tastefully arranged guitar work on this album is a particular highlight.  Favorite tracks:  Balearic Blue, Celestial Spheres. 

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Haken – Affinity

Haken leaves the 1970s sounds of ‘The Mountain’ behind, makes a brief stop in the 1980s for the song 1985 and then ventures forward into the future on Affinity.  An endlessly inventive collection of intricately designed and passionately performed pieces it’s one of the most thrillingly forward-looking albums of 2016.  It’s time to drop the “Prog Metal” genre tag, these guys have transcended it.  Favorite tracks:  The Architect, Red Giant

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Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre

Purson’s follow-up to ‘The Circle And The Blue Door’ is essentially a solo album from Rosalie Cunningham who wrote, arranged, produced and performed the majority of D.M.T. herself.   A conceptual psychedelic journey influenced by her Father’s record collection and her own experimentation with mind-expanding substances.  Another case of an artist using the canvas of vintage instrumentation and production techniques to create very personal and unique modern music.   Favorite tracks:  The Sky Parade, The Bitter Suite.

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Big Big Train Folklore

Another beautiful collection of immaculately arranged and produced “pastoral prog” from this master collective of musicians.  I recommend going for the extended track-list available on the LP and High-Res download editions, I believe an even stronger collection than the shorter CD version.  Favorite tracks:  Salisbury Giant, London Plane

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Knifeworld – Bottled Out OF Eden

A wonderfully quirky concoction of pop sensibility, progressive experimentation and the harmonic sophistication of jazz all mixed together into a thoroughly accessible brew.  And it’s fun!  Favorite tracks:  I Am Lost, I Must Set Fire To Your Portrait.

Roger

Roger Trenwith – (TPA reviewer and Astounded by Sound blog)

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Bent Knee – Say So

An unparalleled triumph of invention, melody, and strangeitude, it will take some beating for album of the year.

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David Bowie – Blackstar

Hardly seems right relegating this poignant artistic statement and full stop on a career of a true visionary to No.2, but from a purely musical point of view, them’s the breaks.

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Knifeworld – Bottled Out OF Eden

A chronicle of loss leavened by hope, Knifeworld get better with each release. Criminally underrated.

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Body English – Stories of Earth

Is there a sub-genre called “prog-pop”? If not, this is it. A truly joyous record shining a light in this dark Year of Stupid.

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King Crimson – Live In Toronto – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, Canada, 20th November 2015

Whatever I put here means leaving out at least half a dozen albums equally as good, so this came out on top after a complicated mathematical randomisation process involving dice, incantations, dead frogs, toads, and copious amounts of single malt. The mighty Crim remake, remodel like no-one else. The version of Epitaph will make you shiver, unless you have no soul. Superb!

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Kevin Thompson (LHS) – (Progradar reviewer)

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Big Big Train – Folklore

Does this really need a reason?, best of the Band’s excellent output so far and an album that will always be on my desert island disc list. As near to perfect as it gets…

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Long Distance Calling – Trips

There are so many bands in this area of music it’s hard to stand out, but, on this release, Long Distance Calling have…..

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Gandalf’s Fist – The Clockwork Fable

A tremendous 3 disc concept package of such quality. Never been better value for money and shames the bigger bands!!

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Iamthemorning – Lighthouse

A delicately beautiful album from this Russian duo added further poignancy with the heartfelt vocals from Mariusz Duda on the title track.

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Downriver Dead Men Go – Tides

Another band who came recommended and I’d not heard before buying. Slow, dark and emotional, this Dutch band surpassed my expectations.

David

David Elliott – (Prog Guru™, TEP, Bad Elephant)

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Lazuli – Nos Âmes Saoules

There is nothing else quite like them, and they keep on going from strength to strength….

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Bent Knee – Say So

My first exposure to this amazing American band…genuine innovators, and hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck exciting!!

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The Dowling Poole – One, Hyde Park

Unashamedly unoriginal, but huge fun, and immaculately crafted. Big smiley music.

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Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden

Banging tunes, a great groove, and more bassoon!!

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Frost* – Falling Satellites

A great return to the arena from the masters of modern progressive. Progressive rock with pop sensibilities – what’s not to like?

John Simms

John Simms – (Progradar reviewer, Rev Sky Pilot blog)

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Big Big train – Folklore

Consistently turning out excellent pastoral English progressive music, BBT have hit the motherlode again with this suite of songs celebrating the British folkloric tradition. From the sublime beauty of ‘Transit’ to the quirky tale of ‘Winkie’ the Pigeon, this is music of the highest calibre.

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Anderson/Stolt – Invention of Knowledge

This, for me, is simply the best music anyone connected with Yes has produced since ‘Awaken’. It draws on the bestaspects of Yes and Flower Kings and produces something sublime and beautiful. It was a very close call between my Top 2.

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Southern Empire – Southern Empire

One of the up sides to Unitopia folding a few years ago is that we now have both UPF and Southern Empire to carry on the legacy. This is a fine collection of melodic progressive rock music, exhibiting high levels of virtuosity and songmanship.

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Knifeworld – Bottled Out of Eden

Another band with a unique style and approach to music making. This is a wonderful follow-up to ‘The Unravelling’ and Kavus and his band of minstrels continue to delight.

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Mothertongue – Unsongs

The best music is that which stands out from the crowd, and Mothertongue certainly do that. Ecclectic, bizarre, unexpected and bonkers, this is a wonderful collection of (un)songs.

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And finally my thoughts, this selection of five albums was incredibly difficult to pick but I’m pretty certain that, at this moment in time, it is my definitive top five!!!

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Mothertongue – Unsongs

With its incisive, intelligent lyrics and first-class musicianship, Unsongs is unlike anything you will have heard in recent years. The music will lead you on a roller-coaster journey of acid jazz inventiveness that’s a big heap of noisy and light and also includes a lot of brass because everyone likes brass, right? A musical breath of fresh air that you will return to again and again, it’s just brilliant!

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Big Big Train – Folklore

The acknowledged masters of pastoral progressive rock and intelligent and incisive storytelling return with a fresh collection of tales gleaned from our heritage and history. With their penchant for heartfelt lyrics and beautiful music it is an involving and mesmerising journey that everyone should take at least once in their life.

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Cosmograf – The Unreasonable Silence

Thought provoking, questioning and inventive, ‘The Unreasonable Silence’ has all that I ask for in my music. A well constructed and intelligent concept brought to reality by a gifted musician with incomparable support from some incredible guests. It makes you really think about what you have heard and, above all, is a peerless, outstanding and incomparable listening experience that you will not forget any time soon.

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Iamthemorning – Lighthouse

‘Lighthouse’ is an amazing musical journey from the first note to the last. It is bewitching and beguiling and removes you from your everyday life to a place of wonder. Darkly captivating, it is not all sweetness and light but is a musical legacy that iamthemorning can build on and the ‘Lighthouse’ can light the way. These two exceptional artists have now moved into the major leagues and it is well deserved, album of the year? why not!

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Tilt – Hinterland

A superb album by a cast of very accomplished musicians. Brilliant vocals, burning guitar solos, a thunderous rhythm section and songwriting of the highest quality combine to deliver one kick ass release that I keep returning to again and again. By the way, three of these guys are better known as Fish’s backing band but, oh my god, have they risen well above that soubriquet now….

So, there you have it, a small selection of our own, very subjective, opinions on what has been the best music of a highly impressive first six months of 2016. You may agree, you may not but, one thing that everything agrees on is that the music just keeps getting better, and long may it continue!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Long Distance Calling – TRIPS – by Progradar

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Spofify, is it the Death Star of streaming that could, one day, lay waste to what most of us (of a certain age) perceived to be the music industry? Or, is it being lambasted unfairly? Is it the modern musical world’s way of allowing more people to find music that they like (despite only paying the artists an absolute pittance for their work?).

Nowadays, I would say that I sit firmly in the seat of the former but, in days gone by, it would have been fair to say that I discovered a lot of music by the use of this algorithm that is seen as the very essence of evil in some quarters.

To be fair, I wouldn’t have discovered Long Distance Calling if it hadn’t been for Spotify with its memorable green logo. By using the ‘similar artists’ feature built into the software, I came upon many artists whose music I enjoy today, this German prog infused industrial metal outfit among them….

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

Where other bands vainly tried to live up to wannabe-avantgarde terms like retro-futuristic or Post-whatever, LONG DISTANCE CALLING lived in their own bubble from the very beginning. After emerging as an instrumental Rock band of wonders with their soaring debut ‘Satellite Bay’ in 2007, the Münster based outfit quickly earned a genre defying fan base, touring with everyone from Deftones to Anathema and Dredg. They never stood still and always did what their music demanded – even if it meant to welcome a permanent vocalist in their ranks, a trick they pulled in 2012 by adding Martin Fischer to their line-up.

2008 saw the ‘090208 Split’ EP which was followed by 2009’s ‘Avoid The Light’. The eponymous ‘Long Distance Calling’ was released in 2011, ‘The Flood Inside’ in 2013 and, lastly the ‘Nighthawk’ EP in 2014.

David Jordan (guitar), Florian Füntmann (guitar), Janosch Rathmer (drums) and Jan Hoffmann (bass) are joined by Norwegian vocalist Petter Carlsen (replacing Fischer) and Marsen Fischer (keys, piano, electronica) on their latest extraordinary musical odyssey ‘TRIPS’.

A stunning album carefully translating old structures into a new universe, a marvel in its own right. What used to be an amalgamation of the band member’s eclectic tastes has now become a many-headed beast, a Janus figure feeding off Rock, Metal, Alternative and Pop – and Prog, to be exact: ‘TRIPS’ is not so much a continuation of established virtues, but a bold move into the unknown……

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

The album opens with Getaway, an electronica tinged instrumental that makes your ears prick up almost immediately with its flowing keyboards that invoke dystopian scenes. The edgy guitars and insistent drum-beat open up into a really retro feeling tune, almost akin to Kraftwerk meeting Tool in a dark alleyway and having a jam session. My memories of Long Distance Calling were supremely heavy industrial and instrumental metal so this is a real chip off a new block for me and I really like it’s addictive nature and upbeat feel. Reconnect carries on with the electronic aspects of the music but, this time, with an edgy and urgent tone. We also hear Petter’s stylish vocals for the first time. This guy has a great range to his voice, he can do earnest pop music right the way up to heavy metal and do it very well indeed.  The track has an almost ‘stadium rock’ vibe to it (if a lot heavier), you can imagine this powerful and echoing industrial music filling any arena that the band would choose to play at. The strident, twin guitar sound, thumping bass and energetic drums all add to the impressive dynamism.

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

Rewind is superb, there, I’ve said it. A slow burning, pensive, mournful track that builds up gradually to finally erupt, volcano like. Petter’s opening vocal is low down and ardent, the piano adding a sombre note. The vocals become more impassioned, the virility of the music following suit. The monstrous chorus with the weight of the world upon it is really rather good. It is a brooding piece of music, perhaps formed in the forges of the bleak musical hell but they have realised a thing of stark musical beauty. It may be dark in places but it just adds to the attraction, really rather impressive. Now, Trauma, that’s more like the Long Distance Calling that I remember. A thunderously powerful instrumental with huge riffs carved out of granite. You know, this would scare small children if they stumbled across it by accident, I love it. There is a monstrously large soundscape at play here and one these guys know extremely well. The band have expanded their musical nous immensely but, boy, do they do heavy instrumental prog-metal as good as anybody out there. Even the laid back, almost cultured interludes are magnificent.

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

Lines begins with a touch of Porcupine Tree, intricate musical interplay and Petter’s dynamic vocal but, that’s where the comparison ends as the whole thing is blown apart by a rapid drum beat and discordant guitar note that heralds a real heavy thrash metal attack on your senses. A breakneck guitar riff and a rhythm section founded on something illegal don’t give you time for pause or even a breath and, bloody hell, is it addictive! An idiotic grin plastered across my face, I’m really enjoying the carefree attitude to the music. Sleek, cultured interplays break the speed-fest and give you time to think, the squirreling guitar solo is excellent but, it’s the riff-fest we’ve come for and we will not be denied or disappointed. Coming in at under two minutes Presence is almost a musical palate cleanser after the hell-bent musical barrage of the previous track. A laid back, calm and collected voice-over with a wistful and pensive note and very tasteful.

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

Skillful electronica returns with another instrumental, Momentum, the drums providing focus before some rather sci-fi inspired keyboards and a probing guitar take on the mantle. Intelligent and clever it may be but, it never loses sight of the core progressive and metal roots of the band. There is a real feeling of exploration of the unknown to the song. In places it actually reminds me of Public Service Broadcasting’s last album, ‘The Race For Space’. It plays along with a metaphorical ‘wry smile’ on its features, all playful and fast paced. Once again you see the band taking a big step away from what they had become known for and becoming a much more rounded package because of it. Towards the end the guitars and drums become much more pronounced and give it a harder edge, mixing the old with the new. Plans opens with a mournful, almost funereal tone. Dark-edged and slightly mysterious, Petter’s vocal only adds to the uncanny feeling. A haunting and jangling guitar adds an uneasy aura and the electronic effects an eerie undertone. The languid pace and unearthly vocal do nothing to ease the feeling of dread, it is deliciously spine tingling and then it is as if the beast has been unleashed. The guitars, drums and keys march on in a steady immovable fashion, where this is leading to, you have no idea. Crunching riffs arrive, the drums go up a notch and you are in the middle of musical maelstrom of incredible force. It throws you from side to side, caring nought for your safety and, yet, you do not fear anything, this is where you belong and want to be.

Hauschild-Fotodesign, BFF

We have arrived at the near thirteen minute instrumental climax of the album, Flux requires more than one listen to plumb its herculean depths. It is a psychedelic trip of excess and grandeur building from a humble opening. Lay back, turn out the light and let the twin guitars wash over you as they build the scene and the story. The drums and the bass are the punctuation in a musical odyssey too big for mere words to describe. The opening minutes are quite hypnotic and mesmerisng as this unique musical tapestry opens up to your inner heart and soul. It gives a feeling of treading water, no rush and no need to be any where else than hear, listening to the song. The guitars clash and then the pace quickens as you are pulled out of your near-trance, a new urgency abounds as the drums pick up the beat. The track begins to ebb and flow, quiet sections seamlessly segue into intricate, guitar based, interludes as you are delivered a veritable musical extravaganza to explore. It is said that, on ‘TRIPS’, the band utter the wish to travel through time, to relive certain moments, but also to undo certain things they said, to spend more time with lost ones they once held dear. While making this album, five grandparents of members in this band died and a baby was born. This left its marks on them and only adds to the fact of what a strange and fascinating thing time actually is and it is explored in full on this memorable closing track.

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A monumental exercise in making music, a huge, herculean creation of impressive proportions yet, deep at its core, there is an overlying vestige of humanity and everything that makes us great, ‘TRIPS’ is Long Distance Calling’s most impressive effort to date and reminds me of why I liked them all those years ago. Very good indeed.

Released 29th April 2016.

Pre-order ‘TRIPS’ from Inside Out Music