This autumn is about to become more and more exciting, as Avandra has now announced the title, tracklist and coverart for their upcoming album! The album shall be called Skylighting and features 7 brand new songs. The four core bandmembers, were joined this time around by keyboardist extraordinaire Vikram Shankar (Redemption, Silent Skies, Lux Terminus) who provided additional layers to the songs.
Production duties were shared by Christian Ayala and Daniel Schwartz (Astronoid) and mastering was in the hands of Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, Scale The Summit, The Contortionist and more). The symbolic, spacey artwork was made by Mark Facey.
The band’s singer and guitarist Christian Ayala had the following to say about this album:
“This new album is the response to our current situation in the world due to everything that has happened to us. It became a voyage of loss and return through cosmic cycles in which I both searched inward and outward, combining my love for philosophy and current events into songs. We are really excited to share this record with all of you guys!”
The album will feature the following tracklist:
1: Celestial Wreaths (5:08) 2: Noetic Probes (5:12) 3: Life is not a circle, but a sphere (5:15) 4: Eternal Return (9:36) 5: ProcGen (5:44) 6: Afferent Realms (6:49) 7: New Origins (4:07)
This album will be released worldwide on the 20th of November 2020 through Layered Reality Productions on both CD and digital formats.
“No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
Crikey, there’s a quote that’s stood the test of time and how true it is. I am sat here listening to the much anticipated new album from the Norwegian masters of artful, melancholic prog, Airbag and it really has hit a nerve in the times we are living in. The soaring solos and mournful vocals paint a sparse musical scene but stir the soul and touch the heart in ways nothing else can.
‘A Day at the Beach’, the band’s fifth album, was released on 19th June, a mere four years after its predecessor ‘Disconnected’. Lyrically, it is very much a story of us and them, told by a husband, father and brother leaving his family behind into an unknown future. It’s the contrast between the desperate individual struggling to survive and people in power observing at a safe distance.
For the production of “A Day at the Beach”, Airbag has once again teamed up with long-time collaborator and engineer Vegard Sleipnes and it was mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo. The album is produced by Asle Tostrup and Bjørn Riis and, as always, the cover is designed by vocalist Tostrup. The album, which is their first as a trio, also features talented guest musicians including Kristian Hultgren (Wobbler).
‘A Day at the Beach’ consists of six new songs recorded during autumn and winter of 2019-20 and inspired by the resurgence of 1980s electronica, new wave and movie scores. The album is an ethereal soundscape of cinematic vastness with a brooding, primeval backdrop.
Asle Tostrup’s vocals almost have a krautrock sensibility to them as he delivers each perfectly enunciated word. The music is full of tension and yet there is a wistful, almost nostalgic undercurrent that lies beneath. Central to the band’s sound is the incredible guitar work of Bjørn Riis, the vivid precision of his playing lends an otherworldly aura to every track and when he unleashes a solo it is a thing of iridescent wonder.
Every track is a mesmerising wonder of restrained grace, elegance and class with world weary feel deep at their core. Opener Machines And Men is ten minutes plus of Scandinavian theatrical brilliance with a driving, graphic urge that almost puts you in fight or flight mode and the complimentary A Day at the Beach (Part 1) puts you in a state of calm reflection with its laid back, almost intangible air washing over your senses.
The highlight for me is the utterly magical Into The Unknown, a mesmerising two-part melting pot of electronica inspired synthesisers, beats and percussion complimented by Asle’s halting vocals and a faint, background guitar that fades out before returning in all its guitar blazing glory. A jaw-droppingly brilliant piece of music that I listen to all the time, the guitar playing is just entrancing and spellbinding and will take you to another world (unfortunately only metaphorically!), take a bow Bjørn…
Sunsets is a much more in your face and urgent song with a rather funky bassline that is delivered with a compelling and weighty overtone. A powerful guitar riff, dominant drums and an authoritative vocal driving the track along with a much heavier vibe before swathes of stylish keyboards and punchy guitar wash over you. A Day at the Beach (Part 2) is an instrumental that gives a Scandinavian left field vibe to a Tangerine Dream soundscape, it draws you in and captivates you with its mesmerising repetitive tone.
The album finishes with the heart-rending, raw brilliance of Megalomaniac, near ten minutes of painfully exquisite music that leaves nothing out, like a soul laid bare for all to see. It builds slowly with Asle’s touching vocal and Bjørn’s haunting, plaintive guitar and the ever present edge of the percussion, digging deeper into your psyche and breaking down any barriers. A harsh, strident guitar riff then breaks clear before an utterly majestic guitar solo, full of pain but countered by pathos, dominates the song, leaving you spent and overcome with emotion.
Airbag have returned with a complex release, musically and emotionally. A serious album and one that is seriously impressive, combining ethereal soundscapes with their signature guitar driven progressive rock. They have created a mature, powerful sound that inspires on many levels, delivering one of the most sophisticated releases of the year.
B4tF is a progressive/alternative rock band from San Antonio, Texas. The music represents strong elements of prog as well as melodic passages that hope to maintain accessibility.
Drawing on a range of long time influence and admiration of bands such as Rush, Yes, Genesis, Tears for Fears, Gabriel, The Fixx, Ultravox and of course The Beatles. The first objective in the music is to create an emotional connection through melody and the lyrics.
The project began in 2014 when Patric Farrell found his many songs unfinished and at a stand still. The songs written and produced, but stuck. The missing element seemed to be a vocal that matched the level of the songwriting and production.
At the same time, Kenny Bissett was writing and experiencing the opposite, having a great ability to establish melody through his many years as a writer and vocalist. But not being able to hit his target as a producer. Although Patric and Kenny had been friends and musical comrades since the 80’s, they had never worked on a serious project together.
At a chance meeting in a coffee shop, Kenny and Patric comparing projects, Kenny just stated: “I just wish I could do something where I just showed up and sang.”
Realizing that a great vocal was the missing element to Patric’s music, and knowing that he admired Kenny’s vocal style, talent and work..the invite was issued to have Kenny sing on the stagnated music.
The result was the band’s outstanding debut album ‘Chasing Light’, released in 2015. The album had flavours of Yes(Rabin yrs), Rush(mid period), Tears for Fears and later Genesis, with some Beatles ‘peppered’ in as well and sold in over 12 countries around the world, with really kind and generous reaction from fans from so many different places.
‘Brave New World’ is the new album. This album is the next chapter in the metaphorical story that began with ‘Chasing Light’. The album was driven by a desire by Kenny and Patric to be a bit more progressive and a shade darker. Inspired by the emotion that the continuation of the personally driven lyrics would demonstrate, finding a ‘new life’ in a ‘new world’.
Much as I was impressed by the band’s debut release, ‘Brave New World’ is a big step forward. Infused with sc-fi themes, awash with synthesisers and punctuated with vivd guitar solos, this collection of tracks is as vibrant a release as you will hear this year.
Everything begins with the layered construction of the intro to title track Brave New World, a lengthy, immersive song rooted firmly in the world of progressive rock but the sort of prog rock you could imagine as the backdrop to an Aldous Huxley novel. It’s a mighty introduction to the album and a bold musical statement. Breathe takes a more easy going approach and delivers a fast paced track more akin to hard rock but no less impressive or enjoyable. Key to this is Kenny’s rather fine vocal with its unique delivery, adding that futuristic layer to an already modern sound.
This deeply engaging release continues with the elegantly relaxed vibe of The Sheltering Sky, a wistful and nostalgic song that has pathos and humility at its core and one that leaves a lasting impression. Zenith is an edgy and dramatic track that has a feeling of uneasiness around it before breaking out into a more melodic and uplifting song, Kenny’s vocal again at the heart of things.
More than just progressive rock, City of the Sun is a superbly crafted piece of music and one of the highlights of the album for me. The plaintive vocal and haunting music, highlighted by the expressive guitar of David Peña, speaks volumes about what this band are all about as musicians and songwriters. This release was dedicated to the memory of Neil Peart and no more can that Rush influence be heard than on Azimuth, and a fitting tribute to the legendary drummer it is. Dave was encouraged to run loose with his experimental approach to the guitar, and created the incredible otherworldly tone for the songs and it can really be heard here.
The final two tracks on the album, Distant Land and Line of Sight, are true epics in the sense of the word, both coming in at over twelve minutes long. The great thing about long tracks is that, when done right, it gives the artists chance to expand on a story and give it more life and B4tF do that here with mighty aplomb. These songs draw the listener in on an emotive musical journey, one where you feel welcomed and inclusive and Patric and Kenny are proving themselves to be master storytellers and skilled exponents of their art. Listening to DavidPeña’s articulate and masterly guitar, you feel that they have found the added layer of finesse that makes the band complete.
‘Brave New World’ has shown that the so-called ‘difficult sophomore album’ doesn’t happen to everyone. B4tF have created a masterful musical odyssey that builds on their debut release and brings everything full circle into a highly satisfactory conclusion and I recommend it very highly!
Pain of Salvation have been firmly at the forefront of the progressive rock and metal scenes for nearly three decades now. Led by mercurial multi-instrumentalist Daniel Gildenlöw, the Swedish band have consistently demonstrated a sincere passion for moving their own extraordinary music forward, while always remaining lyrically enlightened and ferociously intelligent.
The leaders in thoughtful, pained and poignant progressive-metal music, the band have had a stellar career that has produced ten studio albums and included such highlights as ‘Scarsick’, ‘Remedy Lane’, ‘Road Salt One’, ‘Road Salt Two’ and their brilliant previous release ‘In the Passing Light Of Day’. From elaborate and pointedly metal early classics through obtuse wizardry and genre-blurring mischief, Pain of Salvation’s all-encompassing musical vision has delivered some of contemporary prog’s most brave, bold and startling moments.
The band returned this year having deftly weathered the departure of guitarist Ragnar Zolberg, discovering a newfound enthusiasm for what happens next in the process.
“We did In The Passing Light Of Day and that ended with the departure of Ragnar from the band,” Gildenlöw recalls. “In the past, 10 or 20 years ago, that would probably have made me doubt the future of the band and all of that. I went through that a lot in the past with members leaving or things not turning out in a good way! It’s always difficult and it’s always something that makes you sad, when your little band family is disrupted, but I never came to the point where I doubted where to go or what to do. The other band members were pushing us on to continue, so I just kept writing music.”
The result of that sustained surge of creativity is ‘PANTHER’, the eleventh Pain of Salvation album and a very obvious landmark release in a career full of them. ‘PANTHER’ is a concept piece that delves into the conflicts and contradictions between so-called normal people and those who are wired entirely differently.
This is an album full of creativity and power, a simmering melting pot of brooding desire and thunderous riffs that creates a body of work leviathan in scope and content.
The edgy, almost funky opening track Accelerator gives a restless, tense feel to the music before opening into a sparse soundscape dominated by Daniel’s vocal before the stark, blasted landscape of Unfuture hoves into view, hewn from granite and taking no prisoners, “Welcome to the new world…”, indeed…
Gildenlöw has always been the master of simple, severe beauty and that is delivered in spades on the sublime Restless Boy, a song thats rawness is there for all to see. “This is not a test..”Pain of Salvation have a knack of producing songs that drip with bare emotion and Wait drops perfectly into that category with a simple piano note and acoustic guitar laying the foundations for a wistful and nostalgic piece of music that lives long in the memory. As graceful a song will be hard to find on any progressive-metal album.
So, who fancies a bit of electro-ambient progressive rock? Sounds an odd combination doesn’t it but PoS make it work brilliantly on Keen to A Fault, a fast paced, stylish track that works amazingly well. Fur is a short interlude that speaks to me of Eastern European 50’s film noire and segues into the title track. Well, what can I say about PANTHER? It’s superb, a complete melding of rap, oriental sounds and electronica that sounds like nothing else the band have ever done. It’s more akin to Linkin Park than anything else and, well, it’s just brilliant!
The final two tracks are Pain Of Salvation at their very, very best. The slow burning, monolithic power of Species has a simmering build up to a crescendo of crushing guitars and heartfelt vocals and then Icon closes the album out with humility and style in a similar vein to the title track from ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’. At once intense and dynamic, then calm and thoughtful, this is a song that contains all that is best about the band and showcases Daniel Gildenlöw’s consistent ability to write masterpieces of music.
One of the highlights of the year and an album that could become a seminal progressive-metal release, Pain Of Salvation have created a piece of music that could well be their finest yet.
There’s nothing else that sounds like a Tim Bowness album, they have such a unique palette of sound and a feeling that the music is washing over you with Tim’s soothing vocal deep at the core.
Tim is primarily known as the vocalist and co- writer with the band no-man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson. Tim’s recent quartet of solo releases on InsideOutMusic/Sony have entered the official UK Top 5 Rock, Progressive, and Vinyl charts, as well as the official Scottish charts. Along with Steven Wilson, he is also the co-host of “The Album Years”, which has reached the Top 5 Music Podcast charts in over 25 countries (#1 in 10).
I’ve been a fan of Tim’s solo work since his first release with InsideOut/Sony – ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ about which I said… “Tim Bowness is not a slave to his art, he has added soul to the creativity and invention and has delivered an album that engages the listener on all levels.”
Each release since has shown how Tim’s stock, as not only a songwriter but as an artist who paints pictures with music, has risen exponentially. He is a musician who sees what he does as art and each album is a carefully crafted masterpiece which, to this listener at least, deserves to be listened to on vinyl with no distractions and preferably in a darkened room with a glass of full bodied red wine to hand.
To me, progressive music, be it neo-prog, art rock or similar, has all the attributes of what constitutes art. The intricate and sometimes complex music that weaves convoluted soundscapes around our conscience that we are left to decipher and then revel in has often left me speechless and held in a thrall as my mind leisurely decrypts it for me to savour and appreciate.
To listen to the first few notes of a Tim Bowness solo album is to enter a world of beautiful creativity where every note has its place and every word is carefully selected and then curated into perfection by his warm and soulful vocal.
‘Late Night Laments’ is another collection of superbly created musical gems where, contrasting with the sensuous beauty of the music, the frequently dark lyrical themes include meditations on generational divides, ideologically motivated violence, social exclusion, and a much-loved children’s author’s descent into madness.
This is a complex and ever evolving musical journey that, once drawn into, you remain, hypnotised by the elegance and grace of songs such as Northern Rain, We Caught The Light and Never A Place.
Delivering complex, sophisticated music without leaving the listener somewhat bewildered is an art in itself. This emotionally rich album combines a plethora of musical styles to create an intense, poignant and impassioned entry into Tim Bowness’ increasingly impressive solo catalogue.
UK HEADLINE TOUR FOR 2020 / 2021 CONFIRMED 1st Single – Cocoon released – video here
Jon Gomm, the UK based acoustic guitar virtuoso, has announced the details of his new album The Faintest Idea, due for release on Kscope on 16th October 2020, with this new album he has found new emotional depths in immense melodic pop landscapes.
When most people look at an acoustic guitar, they see exactly that – a wooden box with strings. As one of the pioneers of the modern fingerstyle sound, however, Jon Gomm has a rare gift for turning one instrument into what feels like an entire orchestra…
The Blackpool-born singer-songwriter’s 2003 home-recorded debut, Hypertension, was nothing short of a musical revelation: drumming beats, tapping chords and striking harmonics on his acoustic underneath that warm, soulful voice. Things changed for Jon with landmark single Passionflower racking up 17 million plus views on YouTube and other media platforms in 2012 – with British legend Stephen Fry describing him on mainstream television as someone “playing the guitar in a way I’d never seen it played before” and “an all-round genius”. Follow up album Secrets Nobody Keeps arrived in 2013, further cementing his stature as one of the driving forces behind an acoustic revolution – but now, having signed a label deal for the very first time in his career, he’s managed to truly refine the pop sensibilities and emotive expression within that unmistakable wall of sound. Latest full-length The Faintest Idea is set for release this October.
“I didn’t realise that my songs were worth anything beyond the crazy guitar playing,” shrugs the songwriter reborn, who originally started out on ukulele at the age of two. “When people started getting my lyrics tattooed on them, I had to accept that they’re not doing that because they’re fans of percussive guitar”
Perhaps one of the greatest surprises with The Faintest Idea is how it contrasts the incredible human warmth of Gomm’s acoustic articulation with more icy affairs, thanks to the synth parts and production work from Australian musician Andy Sorenson. Instead of a war between man and machine, the collaboration delicately cross-pollinates simple honesty with more forward-thinking atmospheres. It is a contemporary masterpiece – rich in its sense of paths travelled and roads taken, while also daring to gaze into the unexpected future.
“Andy has taken my raw, intimate solo acoustic performances, and placed them in an artificially expanded landscape of his own creation. I feel like I’m playing a gig, but the venue is a synthetic reality dreamworld. I strum a chord, and it bounces off a cyan cloud releasing a shower of notes, I hit another, and it echoes through a crystal chamber” Gomm muses.
The album earned its title through the notion that all of us, to some extent, are just The Faintest Idea. The singer/guitarist notes how that everything is made out of vibrating strings of probability, and it’s this scientific and spiritual meaning – as well as the more literal translation of total guesswork – that felt like the perfect summation of album number four… “It’s an enigmatic title,” smiles Gomm. “There’s a fine line between a metaphor and a pun, so I guess it dances on that.”
The album is complemented by the delicate hand drawn pen and ink cover art created by Lee Zimmerman.
Often cited as one of the most naturally gifted acoustic artists of the modern age, a one-man band with seemingly no limit to expression, it’s little surprise that the new music drew from the musician’s own experiences over the last five or so years. And while there have been moments of joyous celebration, by his own admission there has also been plenty of personal upheaval “This album has been a long time coming,” he reflects. “I tend to write in a really painstaking way. The last few years of my life have involved a lot of personal trauma – from me and my wife losing a pregnancy, through to losing other people in my life.”
There’s a sense of reinvention that arrives in The Faintest Idea’s 11 tracks – documenting a musician coming to terms with the talents that got him recognised and choosing to evolve into the unexpected. Despite having already gone viral and established himself as one of the modern-day masters of acoustic, this could very well be the release that sees the virtuoso transition to a mainstream audience far removed from the guitar community he’s long been revered by… “People knew I could play, I didn’t need to write an album to make that point anymore,” summarises Gomm. “And being aware of that brought out my music in a better way. The technique side can feed into the ego after a while. This is still acoustic guitar music, but the sound, approach and experiences behind it are totally different. I didn’t need to force myself to follow any musical philosophy when I could just make a beautiful-sounding album that was totally immersive and more emotional.”
Indeed, it’s as immersive and emotional as music gets. And while these are the most expansive recordings of JonGomm’s career so far, it still really just boils down to the magic of one man with his guitar and voice. And what a powerful magic it is.
The Faintest Idea is due to be released on 16th October on the following formats: *CD *Double gatefold LP with D-side artwork etching * Digitally *As a stunning limited edition deluxe 3 disc hardback book edition which will feature: CD1 – The Faintest Idea album CD 2 – The Naked Artist Mix – a stripped back version of the album a DVD containing6 exclusive performances filmed in a medieval church Guitar technique presentations A 35 minute Jon Gomm interview Song description videos The Faintest Idea in high resolution stereo audio. The beautiful book will feature Lee Zimmerman illustrations, song descriptions, handwritten lyrics and full guitar tablature for the song “Check You’re Still Breathing”.
The Faintest Idea – UK & Eire headline tour – tickets on sale now December 2020 Sat 5 – Huddersfield – Parish Pub Sun 6 – York – The Crescent Thu 10 – Trowbridge – Emmanuels Yard Fri 11 – Cheltenham – Frog And Fiddle Sat 12 – Swansea – Sin City
Jan 2021 Mon 4 – Southampton – Joiners Tue 5 – Brighton – Komedia Wed 6 – Bury St Edmunds – Apex Fri 15 – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms Sat 16 – Bristol – Thekla Sun 17 – Birmingham – Hare & Hounds Fri 22 – Manchester – The Bread Shed Sat 23 – Liverpool – Leaf Fri 29 – Leeds – Brudenell
Feb 2021 Wed 3 – Runcorn – Brindley Theatre Fri 5 – Milton Keynes – Craufurd Arms Sat 6 – Haverhill – Haverhill Arts Centre Sun 7 – Reading – Sub 89 Thu 11 – Cardiff – The Globe Fri 12 – Blackpool – Bootleg Social Thu 18 – Preston – The Ferret Fri 19 – Newcastle – Cluny Sat 20 – Glasgow – Oran Mor Sat 27 – Dublin – Academy 2
March 2021 Fri 5 – London – Bush Hall Sat 6 – Guildford – Boileroom
Many of you will be saddened with the cessation of daily routine and life, especially in the area of live music. Big Big Train have certainly had a rough time of all this with their inaugural headlining show at Rosfest in Florida being cancelled due to the virus. During this time David Longdon has not been idle, instead he has been able to complete a rather significant and a very personally special project with Judy Dyble (whose pedigree includes being Fairport Convention’s original vocalist and also being latterly of Trader Horne, alongside an interesting solo career of late). When Big Big Train undertook a run of shows at King’s Place in 2015, Judy was introduced to multi instrumentalist David Longdon and they bonded over their shared love for words and history to the extent that Judy performed a duet with David on The Ivy Gate from the band’s ‘Grimspound’ album and they expressed the desire to work together further at some point.
This new album is a further and, sadly, final chapter to that friendship as Judy passed away shortly after the completion of the album. So this release will be a celebration of that very special friendship and act as both a testament and a tribute to Judy.
‘Between A Breath And A Breath’ is a very fine album indeed, there is a lot of very fine music compositions and sublime lyrics on offer on this release. The artwork by Sarah Louise Ewing is exquisite & sensitive and the photos are lovely and dignified, especially the lovely photo of Judy and her beloved greyhound Jessie.
Of interest to many will be the appearance of most of BBT in some form or another and whilst the music is far more folky than rock, there is still enough punch to bring this into the progressive rock realm, especially on the longer tracks like the epic France and Whisper, both of which are intriguing compositions.
Judy wrote interesting lyrics and she often said strong things within her songs, as evidenced by her scorn for Astrologers who dupe people with their false promises. This song is the first single from the album and it is a great opener with a fine guitar line from Dave Gregory, whose complex playing adds layers of depth to the song. Obedience follows which is a wonderfully expressive track that swoops and soars with David providing an impressive vocal performance, especially on the chorus. Possibly the most powerful track on the album and one on which the BBT influence can be heard the most.
Tidying Away The Pieces is another song that speaks of preparing for death but is still somehow a positive experience. It is a beautiful song, very emotional but not cloying, rather it is practical and decisive. This song made me smile and cry at the same time. Between a Breath and a Breath is the title track for the album and is a duet between David and Judy in which they swap lines to great effect. A subdued song that has a totally other worldly feel to it.
Then we are onto side two of this remarkable record and the lengthy epic track France at nearly eleven and a half minutes. The song is split in two sections linked by a mirror ball dance section and is about impressions captured on a trip to France and the history encountered whilst there, how war came and changed the home again. This is a sombre piece but the music it contains brings great pathos to the proceedings. It is very expressive and has great guitar solo performed by David Longdon, sweeping accordion from Rikard Sjoblom, in fact pretty much all of BBT bring this song to life beautifully and sensitively, a truly magnificent piece of music.
Whisper is next and is another strong piece, the playing on this track is graceful and full, very satisfying. It rewards the listener with repeated playing, unlocking different nuances as the song plays on. It is about being isolated and left out but still being able to listen.
Final track Heartwashing is a bit different in that Judy doesn’t sing on it but she does speak the words. I gather that illness had consumed Judy by this stage and she couldn’t sing but she did speak with the final lines telling much of the tale when Judy says, “For what will be the next adventure, should there be such a thing…” Sadly it was not to be as she died on the 12th July in advance of the release of the album.
It is an absolute pleasure to be able to recommend this music to you all, between them David and Judy have gifted us with a graceful poignant and touching record that is a fine testimonial to the unique gentle talent of Judy Dyble and one that is brought to life by the great skills of David Longdon, the members of Big Big Train and a few others.
This is an album that you must listen to or you miss it at your peril. I cannot recommend this highly enough, I think it is one of my albums of the year. Indeed the beautiful music and the grace that the album offers make this worthy of a place in any albums of the year listing. Yes, it is that good, truly remarkable in fact!
Clockwork is the second single taken from Fireworker, the new album by Gazpacho.
The new single doesn’t feature on Fireworkerin this form; it is part of the album’s opening track “Space Cowboy”.
ThomasAnderson from the band explains the song is about ” a trip into the mind to uncover the animal that, the main character believes, lives there and how much of him it really controls. As the main character of the song ventures deeper and starts sensing that the animal is near, his consciousness tries to warn him that there are some things better left alone and communicates this through a dream”
Gazpacho have reigned as the kings of atmospheric and affective art rock, no small feat, as the subgenre is full of wonderfully moody, ornate, and emotional artists; yet, none of them manage to achieve the same level of exquisite baroque resonance and hypnotically introspective weight as this Norwegian sextet. Gazpacho never fail to provide awe-inspiring examinations of the human condition, and their latest observation, Fireworker, the follow up to 2018’s album “Soyuz”, is no exception. It is undoubtedly among their greatest achievements, as well as one of the most profound pieces of music you’ll hear in 2020.
Conceptually, the album follows the band’s tradition of blending grand philosophical quandaries, stimulating literary leanings, and haunting personal turmoil. In a way, it acts as the culmination of the themes and techniques that has decorated earlier collections. Fireworker comes across like the overarching umbrella under which all of its predecessors occur.
Fireworker is truly life-changing experience, so you would be wise to turn off all of the lights, clear your mind as best you can, and prepare to meet the Fireworker.
Fireworkerwill be released on Kscope on 18th September, on CD, a gatefold 2LP on 180g black vinyl (3 sides audio, 1 side art etching) and digitally (digital pre-orders receive the title track “Fireworker” as an instant download) and is available to pre-orderHERE
Sadly, due to the current covid-19 situation the band’s European and UK dates scheduled for October 2020 have been postponed to October 2021. Gazpacho are:Thomas Andersen – keyboards, programmingJan-Henrik Ohme – vocalsJon-Arne Vibo – guitarsMikael Krømer – violin, additional guitarsKristian “Fido” Torp – bassRobert R Johansen – drums
Marillion join virtually with their fans, for a weekend of music and togetherness.
This coming weekend, UK Rock legends Marillion will come together with thousands of fans globally, for their first, and in the own words ‘hopefully only’, Marillion Couch Convention.
“We have a rare and beautiful relationship with our fans,” says Steve Hogarth, the band’s singer. “We wanted to do something to let them know that we are with them; find a way to show our appreciation for the support they give to us and more importantly in strange times like these, each other.”
The band will broadcast their three most popular gig films on YouTube across the three nights, with support acts, introductions from the band and even a live Q&A hosted by Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing. The band will also be hosting virtual Q&A’s with fans, music masterclasses, a quiz, fan club meetups with band members, and even a run-along with keyboard player Mark Kelly and a cocktail class with guitarist Steve Rothery. There are opportunities to win a virtual photo with the band, virtual coffee with a band member and all sorts of other competitions, including an online dog show and prizes for the best photos from the weekend.
Lucy Jordache, the band’s manager for the last 20 years, says, “When I realised that our 2021 conventions would not be going ahead, I wanted to give our fans something that might help them experience the amazing feeling our conventions famously have. As the COVID 19 crisis deepened, it became more and more important to bring our fans together in a virtual space, where they can feel the love and support from one another and the band.”
All events over the weekend are free. The band have pre-sold merchandise (t-shirts, cushions, wine and beer glasses, banners and even confetti) to help fans get into the spirit of the event, and a rarities auction will take place over the weekend. With tough times being experienced across the globe, Marillion were keen for this to be a free event. However, an online tip jar will be live all weekend, for fans who might want to help out Marillion’s crew who have been hit hardest by the lack of live events.Hogarth adds, “We’ve been completely amazed by the response of our fans to the idea of the Couch Convention and the merchandise we created for it. We sincerely thank them for their continuing love and support and hope to see them out on the road soon.”
Marillion are a British rock band with a successful 40-year history. Their last studio Album F E A R, debuted at number 4 in the UK Album Charts, claiming a top 20 slot in many European countries and charting across the world including the United States.
The band are known for their uniquely close relationship with their fans, and are widely attributed with reinventing the way bands work commercially, including the revolutionary crowdfunding of their 2000 album Anoraknophobia.
Marillion held their first global convention in April 2002. And now play Marillion Weekends all over the world including their bi-annual hiring of Center Parcs in Holland where they play to over 3000 fans from over 50 countries.
Following the outstanding success of their 2019 American tour, YES are to release The Royal Affair Tour, Live From Las Vegas through BMG Records on 30th October. Eager fans will be able to get hold of the PHYSICAL formats from 2nd October if ordered exclusively through the YES Store. Formats are: CD digi sleeve with 12 page booklet; 2LP gatefold with 12” booklet and digital. Pre-Order the album here: https://YesBand.lnk.to/RoyalAffairPR
All YES concert tours are special events for their legions of fans and The Royal Affair Tour was no exception, conceived as a wonderful celebration of the best of British progressive music. Guests on the tour were Asia (with YES keyboardist Geoff Downes and a special appearance by Steve Howe), John Lodge of The Moody Blues and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy featuring Arthur Brown.
Of The Royal Affair Tour album, Alan White says: “The Royal Affair tour album, being released in October, is a welcome new chapter in the wide expanse of YES live recordings. I hope you enjoy it.”
Steve Howe adds: “Having the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well refined set of songs that captures the bands true potential is simply an honour for me.”
The show features many classic tracks across the period 1970 – 1980. The set opened with No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, the Richie Havens cover from YES’ second album Time And A Word (1970). Tempus Fugit was taken from Drama (1980), Geoff Downes’ first as a member of YES, while Going For The One, I’ve Seen All Good People and Siberian Khatru are from some of YES’ iconic mid-70s albums. The set included a rare live performance of YES’ cover of Paul Simon’s America and John Lodge shared vocals on YES’ cover of John Lennon’s Imagine. Soon-to-be YES drummer Alan White played on the original studio recording.
The Royal Affair Tour live set and album, recorded at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, in July 2019, reaches a climax with two of the best-loved YES tracks Roundabout and Starship Trooper, always a high note on which to close the set.
YES are Steve Howe (guitar) who joined in 1970, Alan White, drums since 1972, Geoff Downes (keyboards) who first joined in 1980, vocalist since 2011 Jon Davison, Billy Sherwood, who played guitar/keyboards in the 1990s and was the late Chris Squire’s choice to take over bass/vocals in 2015 also played with Asia on this tour. Jay Schellen played additional drums.
The Royal Affair Tour also featured an exhibition of original art by Roger Dean whose artwork is synonymous having designed the iconic YES logo and the band’s best-loved album covers. Roger Dean recently painted The Royal Affair Tour album artwork live on Facebook while also fielding questions from fans.
The 26-date The Royal Affair Tour and YES’ performances were critically acclaimed: “Yes proved again that they are, after all these years, still the kings of progressive rock.” (Vintage Rock)
“It was a unique night of rock music history that has endured for half a century.” (Grateful Web)
As always, YES put on a magical show and took the crowd on a journey through their hits (Music Connection Magazine)
The band sounded great and had brilliant visuals to accompany the songs. Sherwood’s bass playing is perfectly suited to capture the essence of the late Chris Squire while Geoff Downes and Steve Howe are still at the top of their games. Vocalist Jon Davison… looks extremely comfortable on stage, hitting each note with ease. (the progreport.com)
The Royal Affair Tour – Live in Las Vegas track listing: 1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
2. Tempus Fugit
3. Going For The One
4. I’ve Seen All Good People
5. Siberian Khatru
10. Starship Trooper
Recorded live at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, Friday 26th July 2019, The Royal Affair Tour, Live From Las Vegas was mixed by Billy Sherwood and is released by BMG Records. Customers who order via the YES Store will receive their albums on 2nd October with the album on general release from 30th October.
About Yes For half a century YES have been one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history and consistently at the fore-front of the progressive rock movement. Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and the late, and much-missed, Chris Squire, their 1970s albums The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, the triple live album set Yessongs, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer and Going For The One were ground-breaking in musical style and content. Their music also became synonymous with artist Roger Dean whose distinctive YES logo design and artwork adorned the lavish gatefold presentation sleeves of many YES albums.
With sales of over 50 million records, the Grammy-award winning YES were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017, where they performed Roundabout from the album Fragile and the FM radio-friendly Owner Of A Lonely Heart from the 1985 album 90125.