Big Big Train share live performance of “The Florentine” in advance of ‘The Journey Continues’ Tour

To celebrate and promote the forthcoming ‘The Journey Continues’ Tour this August & September, Big Big Train will be sharing videos of a couple of songs filmed on tour last year. The first of these is “The Florentine” which was recorded in September 2022 at The Boerderij in The Netherlands.
You can see the video here:

Alberto Bravin says: “I was very pleased when we agreed last year that “The Florentine” should be on the set list for our shows last September. After all, what could be better for an Italian than singing about Leonardo da Vinci?! “The Florentine” is a wonderful song to sing and a perfect example of David Longdon’s songwriting genius. We’re very fortunate to have the song as part of the Big Big Train catalogue. 
“Duetting at the start and end of “The Florentine,” with Nick D’Virgilio coming out from behind the drum kit, was fun. It has some great opportunities for ensemble playing as well as some showcasing some terrific solos – I really enjoyed being on stage watching Oskar Holldorff playing that keyboard solo and Rikard rocking out on the guitar solo every night. For the gig at the Boerderij we thought it would be interesting to have a camera on Rikard’s guitar too. I hope we will be playing “The Florentine” live many more times in the future.”

Nick D’Virgilio adds: “I loved singing with Alberto. Seeing the live film of us playing “The Florentine” at the legendary Boerderij venue in the Netherlands is so cool. It still amazes me that this was only our third show playing together with Alberto, Oskar, Clare Lindley and Dave Foster. Our performance may not be 100% perfect but we really rocked and it was very memorable – particularly for a Monday night!”
“Our Boerderij show was also the first time that we had played a standing venue since our Night Of The Prog gig back in 2018. The night had a different vibe to the shows we’ve done in seated theatres on previous tours and I’m really looking forward to us playing a mix of venues when we’re back out on the road in August and September this year.”

You can see a short, recent message from Gregory Spawton about the tour and the next BBT studio album here And a message from Alberto Bravin here


Saturday 26th August – Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Sunday 27th August – Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Monday 28th August – Stora Teatern, Gothenburg, Sweden
Tuesday 29th August – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway
Wednesday 30th August – Fryshuset Klubben, Stockholm, Sweden
Thursday 31st August – Viften, Copenhagen, Denmark

Saturday 2nd September – 2 Days + 1 Festival, Revislate, Italy
Sunday 3rd September – Z7, Pratteln (Basel), Switzerland
Tuesday 5th September – Neuberinhaus, Reichenbach, Germany
Wednesday 6th September – Carlswerk Victoria, Cologne, Germany
Thursday 7th September – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
Friday 8th September – Mozart-Saal, Stuttgart, Germany

Sunday 10th September – The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, UK
Monday 11th September – Town Hall, Birmingham, UK
Tuesday 12th September – Cadogan Hall, London, UK
Wednesday 13th September – Cadogan Hall, London, UK

Support at all shows except Wednesday 13th September comes from rising Norwegian stars Dim Gray, who feature BBT’s Oskar Holldorff. There will be no support at the Wednesday 13th September show

Please see for ticket links to all venue box offices.

Big Big Train will release the album titled ‘Ingenious Devices’ on 30th June 2023 on CD, double vinyl (black and sky blue vinyl) and hi-resolution (24/96) Bandcamp download. ‘Ingenious Devices’ will be available on all major streaming platforms from 28th July 2023.

‘Ingenious Devices’ features 59 minutes of music, including new versions of “East Coast Racer”, “Brooklands” and “Voyager,” which prominently feature an elite 17 piece string section recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and have been re-mixed for this release.

Additionally, ‘Ingenious Devices’ includes a previously unreleased orchestral piece called “The Book of Ingenious Devices”, which links “East Coast Racer” and “Brooklands”, as well as a live version of “Atlantic Cable”, which was recorded on the band’s tour in September 2022.

Ingenious Devices is available to pre-order here:

YES Postpone 2023 Relayer Tour

Picture by Mike Ainscoe

It is with enormous regret that, due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the band’s control, YES have taken the decision to postpone their 2023 Relayer European and UK tour.

YES and their management have explored every possible avenue to arrange insurance cover for the tour in the event of COVID-related exemption or Act of War exclusion. The insurance industry has withdrawn all such insurances which made touring possible pre-COVID and before the Ukraine conflict.

There have always been calculated risk assessments to consider when touring and YES has unfailingly paid a premium to cover against terrorism in addition to conventional cancellation risks. With a view to supporting venues and crew, YES toured the UK in 2022 but the band simply cannot undertake such a large-scale tour with so many risks being uninsured. 

Insurance cover was promised for events in 2023 but this has now been withdrawn until 2024, with confirmations of normality in ’24 following representations to the insurance industry to reassess its attitudes to COVID and Act of War insurance. Bands at some levels can mitigate against these risks but YES’ touring model creates unjustifiable levels of risk.

YES’ 2023 Eventim Apollo (London) show is not happening, and tickets are now being re-funded.  The remainder of the tour dates are being rescheduled to 2024 with new dates to be announced shortly – all tickets will remain valid.  

YES wish to express their sincere regrets to their faithful fans and ask for their understanding. The band has now received the necessary assurances for 2024 and are committed to returning to the stage then.

EINAR SOLBERG launches ‘A Beautiful Life’; second single from his debut solo album ’16’

EINAR SOLBERG – frontman of Norwegian rock mavericks Leprous – is pleased to announce the release of his debut solo album ‘16’ on the 2nd June 2023. Wildly diverse, but spiritually rooted in Einar’s well-established musical world, ‘16’ is an album that brims with surprises and spinning curveballs and features a collection of intimate but extravagant collaborations. 

Today sees the launch of the second single taken from the album, and you can watch the video for ‘A Beautiful Life’, directed by Elena Sihida, here: 

Einar comments: “‘16’ is a very diverse album, and “A Beautiful Life” is probably the most accessible song of the entire record! On most songs I’ve collaborated with other composers, but this is one out of four solo songs.”

‘A Beautiful Life’ features Einar joined by Keli Guðjónsson (drums), Tor Egil Kreken (bass), Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello), Chris Baum (violin), Ben Levin (guitar) & Magnus Børmark (guitar).

Watch the video for the previously released track ‘Grotto’ (feat. Magnus Børmark) here, also directed by Elena Sihida:

‘16’ will be released on Ltd CD Digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP + LP-booklet & Digitally, and is now available to pre-order here:

Einar Solberg is as renowned for the tender honesty of his lyrics as he is for the eccentric majesty of Leprous’ music. But even by his usual standards, ‘16’ is an extremely emotional and dynamic piece of work. Einar describes the record as “the closest I’ve ever come to writing a concept album” and explains that the new songs are about a very specific and transformational period in the musician’s life. This is the sound of a restless spirit in his absolute element. 

“It’s called 16 because that’s when the first really, really bad things started happening to me in life. From 16 to 19, there were a lot of very life-defining moments that happened to me, and that changed me,” he says. “That’s when I kind of lost my innocence and I started realising that life is serious and bad shit can happen. A lot of pretty drastic things happened within those three years. But this album is not only about the bad things. It’s also about some of the career-defining moments, like the moment I started playing with the band and began to find a community to belong to. Emotionally, I’m a bit of everything, so it covers the entire emotional spectrum!”

’16’ finds Einar collaborating with everyone from modern prog contemporaries like Bent Knee’s Ben Levin and Agent Fresco’s Toti Gudnason, to experimental cellist (and regular Leprous live musician) Raphael Weinroth-Browne and Magnus Børmark, best known as a member of Norwegian alt-folk troupe Gåte. He also once again collaborates with Ihsahn and Star Of Ash amongst many others. The record was mixed by mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves) and mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.). The cover artwork was designed by Elena Sihida. 

The full track-listing is as follows:

1.     16 (feat. Raphael Weinroth-Browne)

2.     Remember Me

3.     A Beautiful Life

4.     Where All The Twigs Broke (feat. Star Of Ash)

5.     Metacognitive

6.     Home (feat. Ben Levin)

7.     Blue Light (feat. Asger Mygind)

8.     Grotto (feat. Magnus Børmark)

9.     Splitting The Soul (feat. Ihsahn)

10.  Over The Top

11.  The Glass Is Empty (feat. Tóti Guðnason)

Einar will debut his solo material live with two exclusive shows at the Eindhoven & London editions of Prognosis Festival (15th & 22nd April respectively). You can find more details here:

US Progressive Rock Group Ascher Release Debut Album ‘Beginnings’

New US progressive rock group, Ascher, release their debut album ‘Beginnings’ today, March 16th. The album, containing five instrumental pieces and four songs, clocks in at fifty-seven minutes. From the opening instrumental title track to the bonus track closer, “The Instrumental Divide,” the album flows seamlessly through a sonic landscape of guitar-driven rock, vintage keyboard wizardry, and a lofty hook-laden ballad. The instrumental pieces power through enough time signature and meter changes to keep the die-hard prog fan happy while the thought provoking songs reveal a more grounded down to earth feel. 

The band features Doug Bowers (Guitars/Keys/Bass/Vocals),  Blake Dickeson (Rhythm Guitars), Rob Perez (Lead Guitar), and Kyle Graves (Lead Vocals).

 Beginnings will be available via the band’s Bandcamp page as well as all digital music retailers and streaming sites. Lyrics are also available on Ascher’s Bandcamp page.

To coincide with the release of the album, Ascher has released video for the track, “What the World Can’t Give,” which you can see here: 

The band released their first single, “The Great Divide,” in February accompanied by a video:


1. Beginnings (6:03)
2. In the Clear Distance (5:07)

3. The Great Divide (7:44)
4. Ransom For the Righteous (6:19)
5. De Profundis (7:58)
6. Nail Soup (5:27)
7. What the World Can’t Give (6:03)
8. Wheels Turning Now (4:12)

Doug Bowers (Ad Astra, KDB3, Vertical Alignment) and Rob Perez (Visual Cliff, Bluesyndrome) have been collaborating on one another’s projects for years. A short-lived band formed in 2021 and disbanded in early 2022 yielded many co-written instrumental pieces that never saw the light of day. Toward the end of 2022, Doug began collaborating with guitarist, Blake Dickeson, fleshing out some musical ideas that Blake had developed over the years, Rob was brought in to add tasty lead guitar to the effort. When Rob suggested that the trio revisit some of the unfinished instrumental pieces, it was decided that a band might be the best expression of their growing repertoire. Thus Ascher was born. It quickly became apparent that Doug was not up to singing the melodies he was writing for his lyrics and the search for a proper singer was soon underway. Rob suggested a singer that he had recently encountered. Kyle Graves was writing lyrics for an upcoming album for Rob and Rob felt he would be a perfect fit for Ascher. Rob was right and the band was complete.

Review – Pryzme – Four Inches – by John Wenlock-Smith

Another new band (to me at least), Pryzme are a French four-piece outfit of two guitarists a bass player and a drummer, who all sing on this album. Their music is intricate and often delicate yet at other times, it thunders along. This breadth of styles gives plenty of room to explore, experiment, develop and enliven the songs. The guitars do not compete but rather they encourage and syncopate to craft the great textures you hear on ‘Four Inches’.

Fusion opens the album and has an interesting riff and sound, both hard and yet melodic with a repeated motif being used to fine effect. The band cite influences like Steven Wilson and Yes, among others. To be fair, some of these influences are fairly obvious and apparent, others less so. Taken together, the band are a highly effective unit, the use of all four musicians singing together is really good and sounds great. The song is enlivened by some great guitar lines and parts, solid bass and the ever excellent drums. Vision is a fairly muscular track with elements of Rush with great bass work holding everything together nicely. This song really impresses, especially the chugging guitar riffs that work really well and the great guitar break at the track’s end, powerful stuff indeed. After Wichita has a majestic and solid bass riff opening the song after the street noises, cars and footsteps set the tone. Another impressive saunter of a track that reminds me of Pat Metheny in places, which is possibly appropriate as he had a track called Wichita Falls earlier in his career.

Nothing To Say has more arpeggio guitar lines and solid bass work. This song has got some real meatiness to it with great guitar lines, it’s really a fine song made better by the gracefully inclined guitars that meld so well together, the lightness of touch and shimmering skills superbly on display. It’s magical and one for guitar nerds to salivate over for sure. Pretty Princess has a very Rush like opening of sustained guitar sounds and the volume swells leading into sweeping cymbal brushes and bass pedals before taking a jazzing turn with an almost danceable rhythm emerging. The vocals sound a little off key in this song though, for some reason. There is a most excellent guitar part on acoustic guitar that really enhances this track and that gives way to a beautifully fluid guitar solo, in a David Gilmour style, that is followed by a faster, funkier part and it all works well together. The Ride Of Your Life takes the album in a harder direction and tone, with crunchy guitars and metal riffs working together to make something pretty special and the multi-part vocals are used again to very fine effect. This is all very impressive really and makes for a fantastic song.

Morning Song opens lightly enough with gentle guitars before some really hard and kicking guitars soon enter the arena, laying down some fierce riffing tones. More excellent guitar solos follow proving just how exciting and excellent this band are. The final, and longest, track, Four Inches brings the album to a close but not before its thirteen minutes and fifty seconds have taken you for a exhilarating ride. Again, this track has pace and elements of Rush abound once again, especially in the bass playing and the arpeggio guitar. There is much to savour here really, gentle but effective guitar playing and plenty of space for the music to percolate well. The guitar playing throughout this album is highly impressive, tasteful and expressive. When the song reaches the middle section there is a brilliant solo section with everyone played along and the bass holding everything together before some solid riffing and bass interaction really grabs your attention. Everything then settles into a more melodic groove thereafter, although this is played against a sustained guitar note and a jazzy guitar line that accompanies the vocals. The song then moves back to a faster tempo and more dynamic parts with bass and guitars interacting once again with the bass notes high in the mix. Aa vocal section draws the song towards its climax and it ends with voices playing out against some fiery guitar tones to conclude the album.

A very different and yet rewarding album and one that bodes well for the future that awaits this extremely impressive and talented French band. An entertaining and rewarding release, Rush fans will love it!

Released 12th September, 2021.

Order from the band here:

Album Four inches – Pryzme

Or digitally from bandcamp:

Four Inches | Pryzme (



Faroese electronic artist/throat singer and double Icelandic Music Prize winner Eivør, Emmy winner & Ivor Novello/BAFTA nominee John Lunn and composer Danny Saul (Shetland, Jamestown) will release a new album ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’, featuring music created for and inspired by hit Netflix show The Last Kingdom (produced by Carnival Films, and one of the Top 20 Most Globally Streamed Series – with 10.4 billion streams – whose soundtracks have also been streamed over 22 million times to date). The new album – due for a Record Store Day release on April 22, 2023 – is comprised of music created for the soundtracks of the fourth and fifth seasons of The Last Kingdom, as well as new material which will debut during Seven Kings Must Die, a feature-length movie (also produced by Carnival Films) which will air later this year.

When John Lunn and Eivør first began working together back in 2015, they quickly discovered the kind of chemistry that leads to rarefied magic. Chosen for the formidable task of creating the soundtrack to The Last Kingdom – a wildly popular series set in Viking-ravaged 9th century England – the two musicians soon dreamed up a darkly hypnotic sound that draws from their singular musical gifts: the vast imagination and sophisticated musicianship Lunn has brought to his scoring work, and the otherworldly vocals and genre-warping artistry Eivør has infused into her nine acclaimed albums and spellbinding live show. In a continuation of their musical partnership, Lunn and Eivør are now set to deliver their most elaborately realised output yet—a full-length project expanding on their work for The Last Kingdom, resulting in an immersive album that inhabits a strangely enchanted world all its own. 

As heard throughout The Last Kingdom’s five-season run—and on The Last Kingdom (Original Television Soundtrack), a 2018 release featuring music from the show’s first three seasons—Lunn, Saul, and Eivør’s collaboration has continually defied sonic convention. “On the show there’s a lot of epic battles and other moments you’d normally associate with orchestral music, but I wanted to do something new and different and focus on electronic instruments,” says Lunn. “I was looking for something to accompany that and saw a video of Eivør and her extraordinary throat singing, and she completely captured the energy that The Last Kingdom required.” An artist who’s endlessly mined inspiration from the dramatic landscape of her Nordic homeland—and who’s earned comparison to the legendary Kate Bush in the pages of MOJO—Eivør felt an immediate affinity for the source material. “Growing up in the Faroe Islands, I was always fascinated with the Vikings, so the series feels very close to my heart,” says Eivør, who also recently featured in God of War Ragnarök score and on the soundtrack to the hit video game. “It felt so natural to fit my singing into what John had come up with, and many of the lyrics I ended up writing were inspired by the old Nordic sagas that imprinted on me as a child.”

This dynamic is captured on album-opener ‘The Beloveds’, a slow-building yet frenetic track that encapsulates the moody intensity of ‘Destiny Is All’. It soundtracks a highly charged opening scene in Season Five of The Last Kingdom in which rogue female Viking Brida issues a call to war—a scene in which Eivør and Saul make cameos, leading the chants with her famous Nordic drum. “Our initial idea was for all the actors to sing the chant along with me, which meant I had to teach everyone to sing in Faroese. It was so powerful to be there with everyone with warpaint on our faces—it really felt like we were in ancient times.” Saul adds: “Working on the show I think we tend to inhabit that world mentally for many months on end, so finally stepping onto the set was a surreal, larger-than-life experience.”

‘The Beloveds’ centres on Eivør’s ominously chanted vocals, an element informed by her roots in Faroese folk music. “Those chants are very much a big part of my culture; it’s something I remember hearing my grandfather doing when I was younger,” she says. Eivør’s modern electronica and throat singing has long been deeply informed by the brutal beauty of the Faroes, since growing up in Syðrugøta, a tiny community on one of the northerly Faroe Islands, surrounded by the windswept North Atlantic. She immersed herself in music from 13, fronting a trip-hop band after discovering albums by Massive Attack and Portishead. Gigs soon followed, held afloat in rowing boats, in the pitch-black of a huge cave on the island of Hestur.

The winner of the 2022 Nordic Council Music Prize (which has been previously won by Björk), Eivør is part of a new wave of Nordic artists (alongside the likes of Wardruna and Heilung) rapidly building passionate international fan bases with music that honours their ancient cultural & musical folklore. At last count, Eivør’s music has been streamed over 93 million times.

Although Lunn and Saul mostly worked with analog synths in sculpting the musical foundation to ‘Destiny Is All’they also experimented with such instruments as the kantele (a zither-like object used in traditional Finnish music) and the double bass (an instrument Lunn processed with distortion pedals to generate a particularly ferocious sound). Over the course of its 11 riveting tracks—including all-new recordings and reimagined arrangements of two essential tracks, fan-favourite ‘Lívstræōrir’ and the theme title to The Last Kingdom (The Return 2023) – ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’ radiates a raw emotionality that ultimately transcends the confines of television, a testament to Lunn, Saul, and Eivør’s depth of connection to the music. Throughout the creation of ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’, Lunn, Saul, and Eivør have followed their most experimental impulses and adorned their songs with unexpected details, such as the jazz-like textures and gorgeously eerie beats of ‘Blues For Halig’.

“This project has changed my approach to my music, and reconnected me with certain parts of myself that I may have left behind at some point,” says Eivør, who’s also incorporated songs from Destiny Is All into her live set. “I hope that the album helps The Last Kingdom come even more alive in the minds of people who love the series. I hope that in its own way, it can become part of the soundtrack to their lives.” Lunn, meanwhile, adds; “The Last Kingdom score IS Eivør, without Eivør there would be no unique score”.

More Info on Eivør

At 16 Eivør quit school, moving alone to Reykjavik to release her debut album and pursue classical singing training. She has since won the Icelandic Music Prize, twice – the first non-Icelandic artist to do so. The approval of contemporaries including John Grant and Ásgeir (who featured alongside Wardruna on her latest album ‘Segl’, produced by Land Del Ray collaborator Dan Heath), a move from Iceland to Copenhagen, and numerous sync spots across TV and film are all testament to the crossover appeal of her music. 

Eivør made her commercial UK debut in 2016 with the widely-praised ‘Slør’, an English-language version of her 2015 album, whose Faroese lyrics she spent an 8-month period translating into English, alongside fully re-worked music. That release triggered her debut appearance on Later…..With Jools Holland, and Eivør’s music has also featured on the soundtracks for Hunger GamesDeep Water Horizon, Silence and Metal Gear Solid. Further collaborations with doom metallers Hamferõ, a stint playing Marilyn Monroe in an operatic production and fronting symphony orchestras – peg Eivør as a restlessly dynamic artist.

YES announce new studio album ‘Mirror To The Sky’ for release 19th May 2023; launch first single ‘Cut From The Stars’

YES, who are Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison, Billy Sherwood & Jay Schellen, are pleased to announce their new studio album Mirror To The Sky on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music on the 19th May 2023. “This is a very important album for the band,” says Steve Howe, Yes’ longest serving member, master guitarist, and producer of Mirror To The Sky“We kept the continuity in the approach we established on The Quest, but we haven’t repeated ourselves. That was the main thing. As Yes did in the seventies from one album to another, we’re growing and moving forward. In later years, Yes often got going but then didn’t do the next thing. This album is demonstrative of us growing, and building again.” For Yes, that “next thing” is a collection of high energy, intricate, lush and layered new studio songs for an album which adds to the band’s much heralded legacy, while charting a path to exciting future times ahead.

Today also sees the launch of the first track taken from the album. Listen to Cut From The Stars & watch the video here:

‘Mirror To The Sky’ will be available on several formats, all featuring artwork by longtime Yes artist & collaborator Roger Dean: 

Ltd Deluxe Electric Blue 2LP+2CD+Blu-ray Artbook with poster

Ltd Deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook

Ltd 2CD Digipak

Standard CD Jewelcase

Gatefold 2LP+LP-Booklet

Digital Album

The blu-ray editions include the album as Dolby Atmos, 5.1 Surround Sound, Instrumental Versions & Hi-Res Stereo Mixes.

Pre-order now here:

The tracklisting is as follows:


1. Cut From The Stars 05:27

2. All Connected 09:02

3. Luminosity 09:04

4. Living Out Their Dream 04:45

5. Mirror to the Sky 13:53

6. Circles of Time 04:59


1. Unknown Place 08:15

2. One Second Is Enough 04:04

3. Magic Potion 04:08

As they were wrapping up The Quest, Yes found themselves with song sketches, structures, and ideas that were demanding attention. Yes received unconditional support from InsideOut boss Thomas Waber, who encouraged them to keep going in the studio, months before The Quest would even go on sale. It was like throwing gasoline on their creative fire.

“When we delivered everything, and they were just getting the vinyl and everything into production for manufacturing, we were still very much in that creative zone,” explains Steve Howe. “That belief that Thomas had in us really meant a lot,” he says.

“We truly get along as people,” says Jon Davison“I feel like everyone’s focused inward to the greater circle, concentric to the core of highest standards that define Yes. It’s a wonderful thing to witness and of which to play a part. I believe this reflects vibrantly in the music and the creative input that each one is willing to apply, not for the benefit of the individual, but for the greater whole that is Yes.”

“There was a lot of material floating around because the band hadn’t done anything in the studio for so long. Ideas were just copious,” says bassist Billy Sherwood“The pace of it was fast. As soon as we were finished with The Quest, and the mix had come out, we took a couple of little breaks there to catch our breath. But there was still music flowing around in the loop. It was just constantly being looked at and worked on. As we were all home and in that mode, things started progressing quite swiftly. We just went one album into another without really announcing, ‘Hey, we’re working on a second record right now.’ We just continued to work on material. It came about pretty naturally, and then we refined it as the process went on. But the initial bursts — there was a lot of material around!”

Much to everyone’s delight, including that of longtime-fan Thomas Waber, Yes have pushed into territory they practically invented — the prog rock epic — albeit in a thoroughly new and modern way. “I always felt that it would be great to have stuff that’s a little bit more epic,” he says, although he resisted the temptation to push for something that would be too formatted and could come off as contrived. He just gave the band space to do what they do and let things develop. “They were so excited by The Quest and the momentum they had that they went straight back in to the studio. What they were writing, even early on, was obviously headed in that epic direction — what Yes music really is to me. It is almost a genre onto itself. It is ‘Yes Music.’ Mirror To The Sky certainly is Yes Music.”

Mirror To The Sky features not one, but four tracks clocking in at over eight minutes, with the sweeping and cinematic title track coming in just shy of fourteen minutes. What’s more, the tracks, like Yes’ best, take the listener on a wide dynamically ranging journey of soundscapes which also showcase Steve Howe’s dazzling guitars, keyboard wizard Geoff Downes’ impeccable sounds, exquisite melodies and fills, Jon Davison’s angelic, crystalline vocals, Billy Sherwood’s deftly dancing bass and Jay Schellen’s masterfully controlled explosions, on drums.

Jay Schellen, who has been touring with the band since 2016, was hand-picked to step into his mentor and friend Alan White’s role when White sadly passed away in 2022. “I had done the 2016 Topographic Drama tour on my own for Alan,” say Jay. “From late 2017 onwards, we had a partnership, and a beautiful partnership, I might add. I learned so much, and discovered so much about Alan’s style, and why it was the way it was. It fit his personality so perfectly. This album has Alan’s presence all over it. It is inside of us. So this is still, in my heart, Alan just being present and with us, and with me, in a big way.”

Review – Jade Warrior – Wind Borne – The Island Albums 1974 -1978 – by John Wenlock-Smith

There is a certain irony in that most progressive rock fans have a tendency to, in the words of Jethro Tull, be found Living In The Past. I can often be guilty of this myself,  is it that I hanker after a bygone age where I was young, free and single or is it more that I was growing up in an era where music had meaning and a certain quality? That’s probably a whole different essay, either way, whilst there are very many exciting new bands around that are taking prog forward again once more, there are also more opportunities to delve into the hidden corners and recesses of progressive music and to rediscover the overlooked, unsung artists who helped make the 1970’s such an interesting and innovative age, in the time before punk’s angry young men came along, wiping out much of that innocence and the beauty away.

Whilst it may be argued that it was time for another musical direction to emerge, it was the sheer disdain and hatred for what had been unceremoniously dumped that was such an affront to most serious prog fans who found this new development and style a very bitter pill to swallow and adapt to. Well it seemed that way to me as an 18 year old boy from the Midlands. Which brings us to this great set of albums that Jade Warrior made for Island records between 1974 to 1978, comprising the four albums made in that period, ‘Floating World’ (1974), ‘Waves’ (1975), ‘Kites’ (1976) and finally ‘Way Of The Sun’ (1978). This set, called ‘Wind Borne’ brings all four together in a nifty and attractive set with an always excellent sound and a great and informative booklet outlining the history of the band and how these albums came about.

I was aware of these albums and had often seen them about in the record shops that I was a frequent visitor to in Birmingham, yet I’d never actually listened to them properly. None of my friends were raving about them, they received little or no press that made them figure on my radar, so, like many others, I simply ignored them, considering them unworthy of my attention. There were lots of bands that met a similar response, sadly, I missed out on much fine music in those days.

Jade Warrior’s story is an interesting one, especially when you take into account that the two men who were the core of the band, Jon Field (flute) and Tony Duhig (guitars), were largely self taught. The music they created was different, other worldly and unique, music that was progressive in its style but was also a reflection of their interest in oriental art forms. You could cite this as being almost new-age in style, certainly it was an inspiration for the likes of Brian Eno who’s avant-garde music of the late 70’s can be traced back to Jade Warrior’s music and style.

The music is not an easy listening experience as it requires real attention to get the most out of it but, heard carefully, you can find much to appreciate in its very mellow and subdued tones. This music shimmers and builds in its intensity like layers of sound emerging and evolving, it is all extremely well crafted and put together with real care and respect for the musical form they were creating. This is subtle music, no blaring guitars as such, and probably all the better for the slow build. I suppose you could say it is minimalist new age music really as it is rather subdued. Unsurprisingly, the outfit’s second album ‘Waves’ is well suited to such an approach as waves are constantly building, growing then crashing and receding, only to return again in an endless cycle.

Their interest and affinity for things oriental came at a time when most Britons experience of oriental fare was a Vesta curry or a Chinese takeaway. Japanese culture was totally alien, apart from the ‘Made In Japan’ album, and had not yet made much of an impact in the U.K. at the time. Jade Warrior received far more critical  acclaim than commercial success, their  record contract with Island came about through the intervention of Traffic’s Steve Winwood when he recommended them to to the label’s Chris Blackwell. Winwood would later appear on their second album ‘Waves’ providing Piano and moog synthesisers. That album is a very interesting album being, as it is, two tracks of side long length that give much space for themes to emerge, develop and evolve throughout. There are also has some exciting  guitar passages that certainly impress. There are some drums on the album but even so this does not rock out much, if at all, it’s more there to add dynamics. The music is largely instrumental, although there are choral parts to the tracks Clouds and Clouds II on the ‘Floating World’ album.

The third album ‘Kites’ features the Chinese tale of Emperor Kite and the boat man, which is a 9th century story about life. This is a very fine series of tracks that together tell the tale of how the emperor interacts with a boat man at the riverside. The tale is detailed in the booklet which makes everything make sense.

The final album, ‘Way Of The Sun’, had a different feel as it concerned itself with a different set of influences, namely Inca and Mayan ones, which allowed for different musical paths to be taken. This approach seems to be effective and the album received significantly more interest than earlier albums but still did not result in more commercial success. Sadly, as a result, they ended their association with Island Records but, undeterred, continued to make music for different labels. They recorded the album ‘Horizen’ (1984) before drifting apart although they did reform in 1989 releasing ‘At Peace’.

Jon Field returned to London and found new musicians to work with though before they could record with Tony Duhig, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Field and co would record three albums under the Jade Warrior banner, ‘Breathing The Storm’ (1992), ‘Distant Echoes’ (1993) and ‘Fifth Element’ before heir final album ‘Now’ in 2008. Sadly their influence, whilst admirable and widely acknowledged, failed to translate into sales. Even so, these Island albums are definitely of interest and value as they show an extraordinary vision and sound that was of its time for sure but all very impressive still and I certainly enjoyed this collection of ambient progressive minimalism.

Released 31st March, 2023

Order from Cherry Red here:

Jade Warrior: Wind Borne – The Island Albums 1974-1978, 4CD Box Set – Cherry Red Records

Review – Dominic Sanderson – Impermanence

Being a music reviewer and a fan of music is always a voyage of discovery and, every now and again, these discoveries are quite remarkable indeed. When 23 year old Progressive Rock artist Dominic Sanderson reached out to me via email and invited me to listen to his debut full length album ‘Impermanence’ I was intrigued by the fact he was influenced by the likes of Steven Wilson, Marillion, King Crimson and Pink Floyd and drawn even deeper into this young man’s web by the striking album artwork, incidentally all artwork and lyrics were handled by Dominic’s dad (who has been instrumental in shaping his music taste and is the reason Dominic loves prog rock).

The PR blurb’s bold claims then sold it to me completely, “Impermanence strikes a perfect balance between a traditional symphonic progressive rock sound, as epitomised by heavy use of mellotron, Hammond organ, flute and baritone saxophone, and modern production techniques that anchors this firmly in the 21st century despite obvious influences such as King Crimson, Steven Wilson, Wobbler and Anglagard. Heavier, movement-led tracks such as ‘The Twisted Hand of Fate’ and ‘Is There Calm Amongst This Chaos?’ contrast softer ballads (‘This Night and the Wounds it Will Bring’) and avant-garde, experimental tracks (‘A False Sense of Promise’). The album was recorded wholly independently by myself, my band and a variety of excellent musicians and producers using the University of Liverpool’s SSL studio over the course of a year. It promises to deliver a truly progressive sound that so many modern ‘prog’ bands fail to capture.”

Would this provocative album live up to the hype?

The solid, if formulaic, opening of I Don’t Think I can Get Over This After All is a good start but things only get better and immensely so. Dominic’s vocals have a early fragility to them and the acoustic guitar adds a sparse background, the track then opens up with a glorious instrumental section overlaid by hushed vocals leaving you wanting more and wondering where the album will go next. Into the stratosphere actually! The Twisted Hand Of Fate has the hallmark of ‘Insurgentes’ era Steven Wilson, all full of mystery and opaqueness. The musicianship is quite remarkable and the angst of the crashing drums, chaotic keyboards and wailing guitars is hypnotic delivering five minutes of modern prog brilliance. The softer tones of This Night And The Wounds It Will Bring brings some calm serenity to proceedings, a pulsating, shimmering track where the music is given space to breathe, the vocals low and hushed. There’s always an undercurrent of something primeval, almost alien threatening to break out and that makes the hairs on the back of your neck rise in a deliciously suspenseful way.

Like King Crimson but without the intransigence, Is There Calm Amongst This Chaos is a superb progressive rock track that would grace any era of the genre. It is a carefully judged and superbly delivered six minutes of clever variation and moods, dark and dangerous yet chinks of light shine through at vital moments and make this an intelligent piece of music where the musicians are given free reign to deliver something compelling and captivating. The ebb and flow of the staccato section is just genius and leaves me open mouthed in admiration. After the thought-provoking intensity of the previous track, the soothing, relaxing composure of delightful instrumental An Empty Room is a welcome contrast and, as it closes on a lifting note, a musical palate cleanser that leads into the avant-garde splendour of A False Sense Of Promise. This intricate journey into the experimental and enigmatic has a fleeting, wistful feel. Almost like a musical narcotic, its soporific nature leaves you mesmerised and entranced as it dances across your synapses.

The album closes with the near twenty minute prog epic Like Shards Of Glass Falling Through My Fingers, a perfectly constructed song that shows the sheer talent and inventiveness of Dominic and this incredible set of musicians. The intro with its awe inspiring organ and choral vocals is nape tingling and only the beginning of this musical adventure. The musical interplay between the keyboards, drums and guitar is just magical, just sit back and enjoy the show as the drama unfolds before you, the soaring guitars adding even more theatre and showmanship. Ethereal, ghostly vocals wash over the music to deliver perfect modern progressive rock and showing a maturity well beyond Dominic’s tender years. It’s an object lesson in how to hold the listener’s attention over an expanded running time, there’s always something going on but nothing is gratuitous or mere padding and the way this monumental track closes is just sheer genius.

‘Impermanence’ is quite possibly the best truly progressive release I’ve heard in many a year, Dominic’s influences are obvious but that’s all they are, he takes those influences and blends them into something distinctive, unique and utterly brilliant. It is an exceptional release and stands well above the norm and, after the relatively disappointing (well, to my ears anyway) ‘Closure/Continuation’, is the album that Porcupine Tree really should have written.

Released 25th February, 2023.

Order from bandcamp here:

Impermanence | Dominic Sanderson (

Prog Ensemble CAIRO To Release 2nd Album “Nemesis” on May 5, 2023

The eagerly anticipated follow up album from 5-piece award winning progressive rock band CAIRO “Nemesis” will be released on May 5th on Spirit of Unicorn Music.

This studio album, recorded with John Mitchell at Outhouse Studios, taps into contemporary global concerns and demonstrates the band’s impressive, genre-defying approach with menacing, angular riffs, pop rock hooks and electronic soundscapes that all beautifully complement powerful and emotive vocals.

In this exciting and purposefully eclectic new album, the band venture into familiar ‘CAIRO rocks’ territory with the dynamic, moving epics. There are also some exciting departures for the band venturing into more melodic rock areas with “The Love” and “Glow,” and upbeat banger “Jumping On The Moon.”

Artwork is by Paul Tippett (It Bites, Frost, Kino, Twelfth Night, Pendragon, Europe, Inglorious, Uriah Heep), with additional artwork consultancy from Andrew Wildman (Marvel Comics, Transformers, X-Men; storyboard artist for Doctor Who; Luther, Poldark).

There is also even a short keys-based orchestral instrumental, “Save The Earth,” which doffs a cap to the likes of the sadly, recently departed Vangelis, and acts as a prologue into the title track.

Track List
1. Asleep At The Wheel
2. Tripwire
3. Glow
4. Rogue
5. The Love
6. New Beauty
7. Déjà Vu
8. Jumping On The Moon
9. Save The Earth
10. Nemesis

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