TRANSATLANTIC – launch video for ‘Overture / Reaching For The Sky’/ first single from ‘The Absolute Universe’

TRANSATLANTIC – the Prog Supergroup of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas – are pleased to announce their fifth studio album ‘The Absolute Universe’, set for release on the 5th February 2021. Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s ‘Kaleidoscope’, with ‘The Absolute Universe’ the band have done something unique and created two versions of the record: ‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’ & ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’.

Today they have launched the video for ‘Overture / Reaching For The Sky’, taken from ‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’. 

Mike Portnoy comments: “’Reaching For The Sky’ is the first single off Transatlantic’s latest Magnum opus ‘The Absolute Universe’. It’s a great introduction to this epic album as it sets the tone in traditional TA style: proceeded on the album by an extended Instrumental Overture and then launching into this upbeat first song.

I love that it features one of my favorite qualities of the band in the sharing of the lead vocals…in this case: Neal singing lead on Verse 1, myself singing lead on Verse 2, Pete & Neal sharing the Chorus with myself and Roine on backups and Neal taking the glorious Bridge…all leading to Roine’s distinctive guitar solo. 

 Also interesting is that this version exclusively appears on the Abridged 1CD Version of TA5 (“The Breath Of Life”) while the Extended 2CD Version of TA5 (“Forevermore”) opens with the alternate version ‘Heart Like A Whirlwind’ which has different lead vocals and lyrics .”

Each album will be available on CD, LP & Digitally. But there will also be what has been called ‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’, which collects both versions together in one lavish package that includes 5LP’s, 3CD’s & a Blu-ray that includes a special mix that combines both versions into a third unique version in 5.1 surround sound with visuals and a behind the scenes documentary. All editions have artwork created by Thomas Ewerhard featuring the airship by Pavel Zhovba. 

As Mike Portnoy explains: “We’ve got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one – that’s 60 minutes. However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you’ll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.” Pete Trewavas adds: “We did write some new music for the single CD, what’s more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.”

The full list of formats is below, and you can pre-order now here: https://transatlantic.lnk.to/TheAbsoluteUniverse

The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’

Available as:

Single CD Edition, Gatefold 2LP+CD, or Digital Album 

Track-listing:

1.     Overture

2.     Reaching For The Sky

3.     Higher Than The Morning

4.     The Darkness In The Light

5.     Take Now My Soul

6.     Looking For The Light

7.     Love Made  A Way (Prelude)

8.     Owl Howl

9.     Solitude

10.  Belong

11.  Can You Feel It

12.  Looking For The Light (Reprise)

13.  The Greatest Story Never Ends

14.  Love Made A Way

 ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’

Available as:
2CD Edition, 3LP+2CD Boxset, or Digital Album

Track-listing:

Disc 1:

1.     Overture

2.     Heart Like A Whirlwind

3.     Higher Than The Morning

4.     The Darkness In The Light

5.     Swing High, Swing Low

6.     Bully

7.     Rainbow Sky

8.     Looking For The Light

9.     The World We Used To Know

Disc 2:

1.     The Sun Comes Up Today

2.     Love Made A Way (Prelude)

3.     Owl Howl

4.     Solitude

5.     Belong

6.     Lonesome Rebel

7.     Looking For The Light (Reprise)

8.     The Greatest Story Never Ends

9.     Love Made A Way

‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’

Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster. Includes both versions of the album over 5LP’s and 3CD’s, plus a Blu-Ray with 5.1 mix & documentary. 

Blu-Ray Track-listing:

1.     Overture (5.1 Surround Mix)

2.     Reaching For The Sky (5.1 Surround Mix)

3.     Higher Than The Morning (5.1 Surround Mix)

4.     The Darkness In The Light (5.1 Surround Mix)

5.     Take Now My Soul (5.1 Surround Mix)

6.     Bully (5.1 Surround Mix)

7.     Rainbow Sky (5.1 Surround Mix)

8.     Looking For The Light (5.1 Surround Mix)

9.     The World We Used To Know (5.1 Surround Mix)

10.  The Sun Comes Up Today (5.1 Surround Mix)

11.  Love Made A Way (Prelude) (5.1 Surround Mix)

12.  Owl Howl (5.1 Surround Mix)

13.  Solitude (5.1 Surround Mix)

14.  Belong (5.1 Surround Mix)

15.  Lonesome Rebel (5.1 Surround Mix)

16.  Can You Feel It (5.1 Surround Mix)

17.  Looking For The Light (Reprise) (5.1 Surround Mix)

18.  The Greatest Story Never Ends (5.1 Surround Mix)

19.  Love Made A Way (5.1 Surround Mix)

20.  The Making of The Absolute Universe (Documentary)

Initial tracking began in September 2019 when the band met up in Sweden to write and arrange the new material. As Portnoy explains: “Over a period of 10-14 days, we mapped out the songs. Then we all went back to our home studios and did the recording. That’s the way we always do it. At one point, though, it was suggested that instead of doing what was by that time going to be a double album, we should just be content to do a single CD.”

“What happened was that everything kept expanding and expanding,” recalls Stolt. “Therefore we decided it made sense to make it a double album. It was Pete and Neal who then came out and said they felt this would be too long, and we should reduce it to one…But we were already recording, and it didn’t seem feasible to cut it back. There were so many pieces that each of us loved in what we were planning and didn’t want to lose. That’s when we ended up in discussions over the best way forward.”

This album also marks a return to the concept album for Transatlantic. “Well, the idea of Transatlantic deciding to do a concept record this time around won’t shock anyone, right?” laughs Portnoy. “What we have is essentially one giant composition, split into chapters. The storyline is about the struggles facing everyone in society today.” “We didn’t start out with the idea of this being conceptual,” admits Stolt. “The way things work with us is that we have a load of ideas, and these are developed spontaneously when we meet up. Everything happens in the moment.”

So, how does this new ground-breaking album compare to Transatlantic’s previous four albums?

“I always try not to compare albums as much as possible,” insists Morse. “It’s very difficult when you’re trying to be creative, because your natural instinct is to constantly compare. But in order to create you have to kind of step away from that. Having said that, I would say this would have more in common with ‘The Whirlwind’ album  (the band’s third, from 2009) than others that we’ve created.” 

For Trewavas, ‘The Absolute Universe’ is a momentous project.“I think it is right up there with the very finest albums we’ve done. As the others have said, it compares very well to ‘The Whirlwind’, which I believe represents Transatlantic at our best. As on that album, we took our time to write and arrange everything, and that shines through. I am very excited for people to hear it.”

Transatlantic were originally formed in 1999, releasing their debut album ‘SMTPe’ the following year as well as its follow-up ‘Bridge Across Forever’ in 2001. Following a 7-year hiatus, the band reconvened to record and release the much-acclaimed epic 77-minute, single-track album ‘The Whirlwind’ followed by a world tour in 2010 which included an appearance at High Voltage Festival in London where they were joined by legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The band’s fourth album ‘Kaleidoscope’ arrived in 2014, going on to win ‘Album Of The Year’ at the Progressive Music Awards.

Anneke van Giersbergen announces ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ – Brand new solo album: out February 26, 2020

Lyrically, and musically, the award-winning Dutch artist lays her soul bare with the most evocative record of her career – captivating song-stories told with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, percussion, and Anneke’s hypnotic vocal harmonies

The new album’s title, ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’, refers to the idea that, when facing personal challenges, we are forced to find answers to life’s biggest questions. But, at this point in her near-three-decade-long music career, this solo album – and, crucially, the heartbreak that inspired it – was not something Anneke van Giersbergen ever anticipated writing.

In 2018, Anneke began working on new material for her metal band, VUUR. Although their debut album, ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’, was met with a mixed reception, fans were warming up to their heavy, progressive sound. Therefore, a rapid follow-up album would surely establish Anneke’s return to fronting a metal band. However, behind the scenes, these were troubled times.

Anneke shares, ”My belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording VUUR’s debut album and taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks.”

To make matters worse, in 2018, her long-lasting marriage, which had always been wonderful, unexpectedly saw a storm approaching.
Anneke adds, “I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life. This creative endeavour would be far too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude.”

With just her acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, Anneke retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She let go of the pressures of what VUUR’s future might be, and fell into the meditative process of writing a solo album. In 2019, work continued on the new songs. In 2020, Anneke asked her friend and producer, Gijs Coolen, to help finish the album.

Throughout the completion of the album, Anneke’s fragile, acoustic song-stories were fused together with an alchemy of panoramic strings, horns, and percussion. The resulting 11-track record has all the intimacy of Anneke serenading an audience of one, combined with surprising departures into swampier, foot-stomping grooves.

The Japanese art of kintsugi has inspired Anneke to use a repaired heart as the album’s symbol. Kintsugi teaches that bringing together the pieces of a broken object – with the use of a precious metal – adds value and uniqueness to it. And, instead of giving up on their marriage, Anneke and her husband decided to take the time to mend their bond. They now cherish the repaired heartbreak as something profoundly valuable. 

Their journey through this personal storm, and the album that Anneke created in the eye of it, proves that the darkest skies truly are the brightest. 

The album will be available as CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD & as digital album.

01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You

‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ is Anneke’s 23rd career album. It proves, once again, that the award-winning Dutch artist defies being pigeonholed by any genre. 

After thirteen years as the front woman for melancholic metallers, The Gathering, she struck out on her own in 2007. Since then, her creativity has known no bounds. Anneke quickly solidified a successful solo career (initially under the moniker Agua de Annique), and has recorded and performed with Canadian metal genius Devin Townsend multiple times. She has also lent her serene yet powerful voice to the likes of: Anathema, Icelandic folk group Árstíðir, Within Temptation, Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, Amorphis, and prog legend John Wetton.

2012’s ‘Everything is Changing’ was something of a milestone in Anneke’s solo career. The album, which was the first to be released under her own name, received two Edison Award nominations – Holland’s most prestigious music prize – in the categories ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Album’.

In 2015, Anneke van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) released their collaborative album ‘The Diary’ under the name The Gentle Storm.

In October 2017, Anneke’s progressive metal outfit VUUR released their much-anticipated debut album. ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’ entered the Dutch Album Top 100 at number 2, Anneke’s highest-ever chart position.

Forever the unpredictable artist, in late 2018, Anneke released ‘Symphonized’, an 11-track live orchestral album. It was recorded at two career-spanning concerts alongside Residentie Orkest The Hague, and features rearrangements of songs from her entire back catalogue.

2019 saw Dutch music copyright organisation Buma Cultuur honor Anneke with the Buma ROCKS! Export Award. This is their award for the Most Successful Dutch Artist Abroad in Heavy Music.

In 2021, the release of her new solo album ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ will see Anneke surprise her fans all over again.

TRANSATLANTIC – invite you to enter ‘The Absolute Universe’ on fifth studio album

TRANSATLANTIC – the Prog Supergroup of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas – are pleased to announce their fifth studio album ‘The Absolute Universe’, set for release on the 5th February 2021. Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s ‘Kaleidoscope’, with ‘The Absolute Universe’ the band have done something unique and created two versions of the record: ‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’ & ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’.

As Mike Portnoy explains: “We’ve got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one – that’s 60 minutes. However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you’ll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.” Pete Trewavas adds: “We did write some new music for the single CD,” adds Trewavas. “What’s more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.”

Each album will be available on CD, LP & Digitally. But there will also be what has been called ‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’, which collects both versions together in one lavish package that includes 5LP’s, 3CD’s & a Blu-ray that contains a 5.1 surround sound mix with visuals & a behind the scenes documentary. All editions have unique artwork created by Thomas Ewerhard. The full list of formats is below, and pre-orders start on the 20th November:

‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’

Special Edition CD Digipak

Gatefold 2LP+CD

Digital Album

‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’

Special Edition 2CD Digipak

3LP+2CD Boxset

Digital Album

‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’

Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster

Initial tracking began in September 2019 when the band met up in Sweden to write and arrange the new material. As Portnoy explains: “Over a period of 10-14 days, we mapped out the songs. Then we all went back to our home studios and did the recording. That’s the way we always do it. At one point, though, it was suggested that instead of doing what was by that time going to be a double album, we should just be content to do a single CD.”

“What happened was that everything kept expanding and expanding,” recalls Stolt. “Therefore we decided it made sense to make it a double album. It was Pete and Neal who then came out and said they felt this would be too long, and we should reduce it to one…But we were already recording, and it didn’t seem feasible to cut it back. There were so many pieces that each of us loved in what we were planning and didn’t want to lose. That’s when we ended up in discussions over the best way forward.” 

This album also marks a return to the concept album for Transatlantic. “Well, the idea of Transatlantic deciding to do a concept record this time around won’t shock anyone, right?” laughs Portnoy. “What we have is essentially one giant composition, split into chapters. The storyline is about the struggles facing everyone in society today.” “We didn’t start out with the idea of this being conceptual,” admits Stolt. “The way things work with us is that we have a load of ideas, and these are developed spontaneously when we meet up. Everything happens in the moment.”

So, how does this new ground-breaking album compare to Transatlantic’s previous four albums?

“I always try not to compare albums as much as possible,” insists Morse. “It’s very difficult when you’re trying to be creative, because your natural instinct is to constantly compare. But in order to create you have to kind of step away from that. Having said that, I would say this would have more in common with ‘The Whirlwind’ album  (the band’s third, from 2009) than others that we’ve created.” For Trewavas, ‘The Absolute Universe’ is a momentous project.

“I think it is right up there with the very finest albums we’ve done. As the others have said, it compares very well to ‘The Whirlwind’, which I believe represents Transatlantic at our best. As on that album, we took our time to write and arrange everything, and that shines through. I am very excited for people to hear it.”

Transatlantic were originally formed in 1999, releasing their debut album ‘SMTPe’ the following year as well as its follow-up ‘Bridge Across Forever’ in 2001. Following a 7-year hiatus, the band reconvened to record and release the much-acclaimed epic 77-minute, single-track album ‘The Whirlwind’ followed by a world tour in 2010 which included an appearance at High Voltage Festival in London where they were joined by legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The band’s fourth album ‘Kaleidoscope’ arrived in 2014, going on to win ‘Album Of The Year’ at the Progressive Music Awards. 

Steve Hackett announces the release of a new acoustic album – Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January.

Iconic guitarist Steve Hackett, releases his new acoustic album Under A Mediterranean Sky on 22nd January 2021 as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet and Digital Album via InsideOut MusicUnder A Mediterranean Sky is Steve Hackett’s first acoustic solo album since Tribute in 2008 and takes inspiration from Steve’s extensive travels around the Mediterranean with his wife Jo.

Working closely with long-time musical partner Roger King, Hackett has used his time during 2020’s lockdown to take us on an extraordinary musical journey around the Mediterranean, painting vivid images of stunning landscapes and celebrating the diverse cultures of the region. Famed for his rock roots with Genesis, and through his extensive solo catalogue, Hackett demonstrates the exquisite beauty of the nylon guitar at times venturing into the exotic ethnic and often supported by dazzling orchestral arrangements.

“A lot of acoustic ideas had been forming over the years, and it felt like the perfect time to create this album,” notes Hackett, “a time to contemplate the places we’ve visited around the Mediterranean with the kind of music which evolved from the world of imagination.

“Because we can’t really travel, substantially at the moment, I hope that the album will take people on that journey. Whether you sit down and listen to it or drift off to it with a glass of wine…”

Track Listing:
Mdina – The Walled City (Steve Hackett / Roger King)

Adriatic Blue (Steve Hackett)

Sirocco (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Joie de Vivre (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett)

The Memory of Myth (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Scarlatti Sonata (Domenico Scarlatti)

Casa del Fauno (Steve Hackett / Roger King)

The Dervish and the Djin (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

Lorato (Steve Hackett)

Andalusian Heart (Steve Hackett / Jo Hackett / Roger King)

The Call of the Sea (Steve Hackett)

Our journey around the Med begins on the island of Malta, in Mdina – The Walled City. It’s imposing strength is portrayed by Roger King’s dramatic orchestration while Hackett’s guitar weaves through the atmospheric streets describing the creativity, love and strength that held Malta together between all the waves of conflict.

With Hackett’s delicate guitar work, Adriatic Blue paints an enchanting view of stunning scenery as tall cliffs of forested mountains plunge into the deep blue sea along the Croatian coastline. Sirocco is altogether more atmospheric, inspired by the winds playing through the imposing structures of Egypt.

The lively Joie de Vivre expresses the unique sense of joy the French have through their wine, food and folk music, with paintings reflecting family gatherings, spectacular vistas and the vibrant colours of their cities. The art of dreaming is embodied in their sensual love of life.

“At first hand, I’ve marvelled at the mystical whirling Dervishes,” says Hackett. Along with otherworldly beings such as the Djin (Genie) they sprang from Persia’s dreaming past. The Dervish And The Djin captures the extraordinary atmosphere of this most exotic of civilisations with the help of Hackett’s touring band regular – Rob Townsend’s soprano sax, the tar of Malik Mansurov (from Azerbaijan) and Armenian Arsen Petrosyan’s duduk. “Of course, those countries are virtually at war with each other,” Hackett adds, “and there has been something like a thousand casualties (at the time of writing) on both sides. Again, it’s a case of music being able to do things that politicians fail to do – something constructive.”

The Memory of Myth embodies the deep and rich history of Greece and features the violin of Christine Townsend (no relation) while Lorato – ‘love’ in the language of the African Tswana tribe – is a pretty folk tune. Love is the force that heals and links all disparate peoples of the Mediterranean.

Hackett and his wife Jo were enchanted by the little Faun statue in the House of the Faun, Pompeii. “The villas there seemed to come back to life as we walked through those wonderful atriums and gardens,” inspiring Casa del Fauno and featuring the light and airy flute of Hackett’s brother John and Rob Townsend on flute.

The only non-original piece is Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata. This embodies the Baroque music of Italy, a sensitive interpretation embellished with cross-string trills, a technique introduced to Hackett by the fine classical guitarist, the late Theo Cheng.

Hackett also expresses his admiration for the flamenco guitarists of Andalucía who are celebrated on Andalusian Heart“One of the flamenco guitarists was showing me the extraordinary things they are able to do,” Hackett explains. “Seeing the gypsies playing and dancing in caves there, you get the feeling that these people are dancing for their lives.”

Our journey comes to an end with The Call Of The Sea, a gentle and peaceful reflection of the vast body of water that unites the many civilisations both ancient and modern.

Under A Mediterranean Sky features Steve Hackett playing nylon, steel string and twelve string guitars, charango and Iraqi oud. Keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements are by Roger King. Featured musicians are John Hackett and Rob Townsend, flute (Casa del Fauno); Malik Mansurov, tar and Arsen Petrosyan, duduk & Rob Townsend, Sax (The Dervish And The Djin); Christine Townsend, violin (The Memory of Myth and The Call Of The Sea). All tracks were produced by Steve Hackett and Roger King with all tracks recorded and mixed by Roger King at Siren.

“I had a great time doing this album, seeing it take shape, and I’m very pleased with the outcome. I’m very proud of it,” says Hackett. “The nylon guitar has a very individual sound but, within the compass of what the nylon-strung guitar can do, there are a lot of different tones. You can do the full-on attack, the kind of salvo that you expect from the flamenco players but, at the same time, it can also be very gentle, gentle as a harp. It’s shades of black and white. It’s also exciting to play alongside instruments from around the world, as well as a wide range of orchestral sounds.”

THE ANCHORESS CONFIRMS FOLLOW UP TO HER AWARD-WINNING, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM

Photo credit: Isabella Charlesworth

ANNOUNCES NEW SINGLE ‘SHOW YOUR FACE’

New London Show: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London – July 10th 2021

‘The Art of Losing’, the second album from Welsh multi-instrumentalist The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies), will be released on March 5th 2021 (via Kscope). The first single ‘Show Your Face’ is available from today, following its radio premiere by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music; a Depeche Mode flavoured retort to toxic masculinity that features guitar from Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield (who also sings a duet on the album) and drums from Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, Duran Duran). 

The new single weaves its dark synth magic following up on her sonically audacious debut, ‘Confessions of A Romance Novelist’, which was named amongst the Guardian critics’ Albums of the Year, nominated for the Welsh Music Prize, named HMV’s Welsh Album of the Year, and won Best Newcomer at the PROG awards. 

Written and produced by Davies, ‘The Art of Losing’ navigates the detritus of death. It’s a record made in the process of trying to climb out of grief about how we make something from the losses in our lives. Written in the aftermath of several years of huge personal loss, the album follows Dylan Thomas’ instruction to “rage against the dying of the light” – and there is nothing “gentle” about its enquiry. Despite the traumatic backdrop to its composition, it is a far from dour affair. Rather, all fourteen tracks create a technicolour eruption of emotions, firmly concerned with how to find purpose in the midst of grief: “Was there some purpose to losing my mind?”, she asks on the album’s title track: “What did you learn when life was unkind..?” 

The new album was written and recorded during an unfeasibly busy few years as Davies found solace and purpose in a range of projects whilst navigating her griefs. Most recently this came via the release of her collaborative album ‘In Memory of My Feelings’ with Bernard Butler (on Pete Paphides’ label Needle Mythology), duetting and touring with the Manic Street Preachers on their thirteenth album ‘Resistance Is Futile’ (which reached #2 in the UK charts), and being personally invited by The Cure’s Robert Smith to perform at his Meltdown Festival. She also brought a new generation of ears to legendary Scottish rock band Simple Minds, where she spent much of the last five years touring the world on keyboards, guitar and additional vocals. She joined the line-up in 2014, appearing on the Big Music (2015) and Walk Between Worlds (2018) albums before departing in 2019 after playing over 400 shows with the band.

Mountain Caller Release Epic New Video For ‘I Remember Everything’

DEBUT ALBUM ‘CHRONICLE I: THE TRUTHSEEKER’ RELEASED 6TH NOVEMBER (NEW HEAVY SOUNDS)

‘a stunning example of the band’s complete presentation. While many make the claim to have a balance of sight and sound, Mountain Caller underscore the totality of their talent with the video for “I Remember Everything.’ – KNOTFEST

Heavy, progressive, instrumental three-piece Mountain Caller, who are ready to engage hyper-drive and launch their debut album into the riff time continuum on 6th November (New Heavy Sounds) have shared the epic new video for ‘I Remember Everything’. Guitarist Claire Simson comments, 

The video for “I Remember Everything” was directed and produced by ridiculously talented friend of the band Tom Le Bon. It tells fragments of the story written in tandem with the album and even features The Protagonist. It’s not a literal dramatisation but the scenes are symbolic parts of the story and the film team did an outstanding job bringing it to life. We are beyond stoked with how it turned out and can’t wait to share it with the world.’

Recorded in January of 2020 at No Studio in Manchester by producer Joe Clayton of Pijn, and mastered by Magnus Lindberg of ‘Cult Of Luna’. For the band, it’s a labour of love; the fruit of three years of jamming, crafting, and conceptualising; a collaborative piece, where each instrument takes centre stage, within a heady mix of chasmic riffs and panoramic, reflective soundscapes.

If one needs a sonic ballpark, think the infectious jamming of Elder and the dynamic cinema-scapes of Mogwai, underpinned by the mantric riffs of Sleep.

Chronicle I: The Truthseeker is a feminist allegory created in tandem with the music. As the band describe it …

‘In The Truthseeker, we join The Protagonist at the edge of the Twilight Desert, compelled by an indefinable but urgent need to set forth on an Odyssean journey to rediscover her memory and her voice. Over the course of 42 minutes, we travel from barren wastelands to mysterious cities, encountering trials of both body and spirit.’

It is indeed a 6 track instrumental journey. Full of winding roads, brooding valleys and strange encounters, all vividly evoked by a canny grasp of dynamics, melody and heavy, but hooky riffs, executed with peerless playing.

Chronicle I: The Truthseeker is the beginning of the Chronicle saga, and also one senses, the beginning of a high-reaching career.

Set for release on November 6th 2020, the vinyl version comes in a lavish gatefold sleeve, with a full colour printed inner housing a 2 colour red/purple galaxy disc, also available on cd and download.Pre order now: 
https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/mountain-caller-chronicle-i-the-truthseekerhttps://newheavysounds.bandcamp.com

Mountain Caller are

Claire Simson, guitar. El Reeve, bass. Max Maxwell, drums.

Porcupine Tree – The Delerium Years- Limited Edition 13 Disc Box Set Coming November 20th on Transmission

Having recently announced that Snapper Music will be representing Porcupine Tree’s Transmission label worldwide, we are excited to release details of the first release under the new deal – Porcupine Tree – The Delerium Years  – a deluxe 13 CD box set chronicling the evolution of Porcupine Tree, bringing together all of the band’s recordings issued by the Delerium label between 1992-97

This period in the band’s illustrious career will be documented visually though a 140-page book with rare photographs and other archive material, plus biographical liner notes by Stephen Humphries (adapted from his sleeve notes for the Delerium Years vinyl box sets), and replicas of the full width original artwork for Signify and an October 1995 tour poster. 

The 13 CDs – packaged in digi-sleeves – are presented in a heavyweight lift-off lid box designed by long-term collaborator Carl Glover. This includes the 5 full length albums officially released on Delerium in their most recently remastered form:

• On the Sunday of Life…

• Up the Downstair

• The Sky Moves Sideways (2CD – also includes Stars Die EP)

• Signify

• Coma Divine – live (2CD) 

Plus:

• Voyage 34: The Complete Trip – with the original full-length version of Phase IV

• Staircase Infinities – mini album (newly remastered)

• Metanoia – studio improvisations recorded 1995-96 (newly remastered)

Plus 2 releases originally created for subscribers to the PT information service Transmission, both newly remastered for this set:

• Transmission IV – all 40 minutes of an unedited Moonloop

• Insignificance – a selection of Signify demos, including tracks not recorded for the final album

Finally a newly compiled and mastered 9 track disc called The Sound of No One Listening rounds up stray single and compilation tracks, including 2 demo versions of the song “Disappear” which were previously only available on a bonus 7 inch with the first vinyl edition of Coma Divine.

This beautiful deluxe box set is a “must have” for Porcupine Tree fans.

Porcupine Tree – The Delerium Years is released on 20th November and is available to PRE-ORDER HERE (https://burningshed.com/store/porcupinetree )

Lunatic Soul Premiere First Single & Video For “The Passage”

FROM THE NEW ALBUM THROUGH SHADED WOODS

RELEASED ON KSCOPE ON 13TH NOVEMBER

Following the announcement that Lunatic Soul will release their new and seventh album Through Shaded Woods, through Kscope on 13th November: the band have premiered ‘The Passage’, the first single and video to be taken from the forthcoming album:

Of the new track Mariusz Duda comments “’The Passage’ is a signature piece of the new Lunatic Soul album, on which we enter a mysterious forest full of dynamic, ritual dances. The title “passage” is the destination for the main character, where he is to be cleansed and reborn.  “Shaded Woods” are our worst traumas and nightmares, the most difficult moments in our life. Going through them symbolises facing and overcoming them. “Through Shaded Woods” is about reaching a better place in life, about giving yourself another chance.

“Shaded Woods” is also symbolic of our present, difficult times. Let us hope that at the end of this dangerous path we are on, we will have become richer in new experiences, wiser and much stronger, which is my wish for everyone. May this song, as well as the whole album, be like a torch, which not only makes the darkness disappear, but might come in handy when fighting monsters.”

On album number seven Mariusz Duda, the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and mastermind behind Lunatic Soul is extending his musical explorations to include dark Scandinavian and Slavic folk referencing bands like Heilung or Wardruna. Following the heavily electronic sound of previous albums Fractured and Under the Fragmented SkyThrough Shaded Woods is completely devoid of electronics and is the first album in Duda’s discography, on which he plays all instruments.

Mariusz found his inspiration for the album from his childhood home, an area of Poland known for its forests and lakes, ” I think I have always wanted to create an album steeped in nature and woodlands. These bring to my mind freedom, breathing and a dance ritual of coming back to nature, so I wanted the album to include such ritualistic primal dances, shamanic, Slavic and Viking moods. I wanted to mix it all up and put it all together, making “Through Shaded Woods” the most intense, dynamic and the most danceable album in my career.

Mariusz Duda appears to have put the personal darkness that inspired his previous albums behind him, as more optimistic elements shine through in his new music. The album becoming musically “brighter” as it progresses – from the atmospheric introduction of “Navvie” through to the title track, which leads the listener to a melodious, trance like “Oblivion”, echoing the style of Dead Can Dance

Through Shaded Woods will be released on CD; 2 CD featuring a bonus disc of 3 additional tracksincluding a 26-minute suite called “Transition 2;  black vinyl LP in gatefold sleeve and digitally and is available to pre-order HERE (https://lunaticsoul.lnk.to/ThroughShadedWoods)

Image of Mariusz by Tomasz Pulsakowski.

Avandra Reveals Album Art, Track List and Title of Forthcoming New Album

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.

New Studio Album From Jon Gomm – The Faintest Idea – Due To Be Released Through Kscope on 16th October

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

Artist image by Elizabeth Gomm.