A day in the life, The Gift return revitalised – new single, ‘Think Of England’, released and details of new album, ‘Seven Seasons’, announced…

What have Mike Morton and The Gift been up to since ‘Antenna’ was released?

So much has happened to the world since ‘Antenna’ came out, it was released early in the summer of 2019 and as soon as it was released David Lloyd decided he wanted to leave! I felt something was amiss with Dave because he was quite frustrated throughout the recording of ‘Antenna’, largely because he wanted to move quicker.

As a band of six people, it was always difficult getting us together, all of us did jobs that were demanding and most of us had kids. It was like herding cats, getting us to rehearse but we did. We said to David Elliott at BEM that we’d get the album ready for delivery in June and Dave (Lloyd), being the producer, did night after night of mixing, working against the clock, and I think he was burnt out because we over promised on the deadline.

Neil Hayman, our drummer, was really loyal to Dave also frustrated by the lack of rehearsal and so he left. So that was another big thing. As soon as we launched it (Antenna), the band lost two key members. We replaced Neil with Joseph (my son) who brought a lot to the sound because he’s got a good swing to this play and Leroy (James) managed to fill the sound out with just one guitar.

Then we were about to play a whole series of gigs in 2020 when you know what happened, lockdown! We’d recovered from losing a key member and then literally nothing except band zooms for almost two years! I will say that through that time, those two years, I was writing, I sat down at the piano, picked up my guitar and wrote. So, in the absence of The Gift activity for that time, I built up these songs. In 2022 the five man band did a few gigs but Leroy said that he wanted to pursue different types of music and bowed out and so did Gabri.

I really wanted to record these songs I’d written, they became the story of a life from beginning to end and I like stories, they also got me through the lockdown. I think ‘Awake and Dreaming’ still works because it is a story, all the best music has a story behind it. We did consider pausing The Gift and me doing this as a solo project but they decided in the end to leave and we are all still friends. We recruited Ben Croft on keyboards, had Chris Taylor on drums, Stef Dickers has always been with me and we recruited Chris Tortoioli on guitar. This version of the band did its first gig at the Nene Valley Rock Festival last September and has been working steadily on the new album since.

‘Seven Seasons’ is an album that was inspired by a song on ‘Antenna’ called Back To Eden. David called it an epic in five minutes and wondered if I’d read Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Seasons of Man’ before I wrote it, a piece by Shakespeare that charts seven seasons of a life. I decided that I would take that story and make a whole album based on it. It’s split into ‘The Seven Seasons Suite’ and three other songs at the end that stand outside of it. The suite starts with an overture and then the first part, Coming Down To Land, a gentle ballad about a baby arriving and the infant years. The second part, Baby Blue Eyes, is about going to school, taken from the idea of ‘Little Boy Blue Come Blow Your Horn’ and that, while school is essential, it can crush your spirit if you go to the wrong place. The third part, Sweet Bird of Youth which, itself, is the name of a Tennessee Williams, is about when you leave the clutches of school or college and are in your prime, you’ve got a job and are dating, the testosterone is rushing around your system, the world is your oyster, my son! The fourth, Lay Your Heart On Me, is about falling in love and settling down, love and marriage. It’s a gentle song. Part five is the midlife crisis song, Yours Sincerely. It’s about feeling yourself age and your efforts being wasted as your relationship breaks down. It’s entirely autobiographical and it’s quite cynical, an epic about the mid-life dark point. There’s an instrumental interlude which leads in to part six, Evensong, a song that’s very dear to me. It’s another gentle ballad about old age and probably the most Genesis-like, they are a big influence to me. It’s about an old man looking back over his life, he’s benign now and sees it all as learning. He’s wiser and not holding on to things any more. The last part, part 7, is about end of life and is called Where We’re From, a lot of work went into it and it’s a big song. It’s not a religious song but it is hopeful.

The three other songs at the end that stand outside of the suite are Keep Calm And Carry On, which is a crazy instrumental, Harbour Lights, which is a love song and then Think Of England ends the album.

Think Of England will be the first single and this song is saying that Brexit was a very bad idea! It’s outside of the main song suite on the album because it is a stand alone topic, it is a lament for some of the collective decisions that this country has taken. It’s not an angry song and it’s not saying that those who voted to leave the EU were foolish, it takes a fairly careful line. The song comes from the Victorian idea of ‘Close your eyes and think of England’, the idea that we are being violated by some of the decisions that are being made at the top. I like to think it’s slightly hopeful at the end, that we will find a better way, “Wait for miracles again”.

It’s saying that because we cling to the past and archaic, unhelpful ideas of what England particularly is about, it doesn’t make us very happy. There’s three verses to it; the first verse is about a disaster capitalist who profited from the financial crisis of 2008 and just plays our economy like a casino, the second verse is about someone who’s clinging to a world that’s gone and will be bitterly disappointed when these sunlit uplands do not materialise and the final verse is about an enigmatic woman on the streets. It’s compassionate towards her because she’s the one that’s really struggling to get by. It’s not a cheerful single! It kind of flips what a lot of so-called prog songs do, the ones from the classic genre that start quiet and get more intense and aggressive as they go along the gentle beginning and the ferocious climax. This five minute single flips that, it starts with heavy guitars and is quite aggressive, it may surprise people. It’s not metal but it punches your face hard but, by the time it gets to the third verse, it becomes a piano elegy and so the end is really soft. It’s almost like all the anger has gone and all that’s left is sadness. There’s anger in this song but I’m not pointing the finger as we have enough division already. I’m asking look at where we are now, are we making sensible choices as a nation? This is just a song of regret.

Watch the video for Think Of England here:

TIM BOWNESS ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM ‘POWDER DRY’ AND SHARES FIRST SINGLE ‘ROCK HUDSON’ + VIDEO

SET FOR RELEASE ON KSCOPE ON 16TH AUGUST

Tim Bowness has today shared details of his new album Powder Dry. Set for release on 16th August, the album will be Bowness’s first release on the Kscope label. The first single from Powder Dry is the propulsive Rock Hudson, a paranoid ode to online discourse. Produced and performed by Tim Bowness and mixed by his partner in no-man Steven Wilson, the song is accompanied a vibrant abstract video by Matt Vickerstaff, which echoes Carl Glover’s artwork for the album.

Bowness says of the song, ‘Like all of the album Powder Dry, the song resulted from an attempt to capture a fleeting feeling as accurately as I could. This time the mood was dark, and there’s something of the spiky Post-Punk and Electro-Pop music of the early 1980s that captivated me as a teenager in the mix. Joy Division, The Cure, The The etc…’ 

Watch the video for Rock Hudson here:

Featuring 16 pieces over its restless 40-minute duration, Tim Bowness’s eighth studio album Powder Dry represents a new beginning on a new label. 

A collection of acute contrasts, the album is a vibrantly accessible and wildly experimental genre-blurring assault, embracing Industrial Rock, Electro Pop, singer-songwriter directness, haunted carnival soundscapes and more.

Entirely produced, performed and written by Bowness (a first), Powder Dry was mixed (in stereo and Surround Sound) by Bowness’s partner in no-man (and The Album Years podcast), Steven Wilson, who also acted as Bowness’s sounding board during the mixing process. 

‘I’ve had the pleasure to work on most of Tim’s solo albums, and for me this is the best and most creative of them all, partly because this time it’s truly a ‘solo’ album, showcasing not only his unique vocals, but also his distinctive approach to production and performance. It’s totally Tim!’ – Steven Wilson

Chronicling descents into ideological extremism, eco-apocalypse, and the all-too human quest for love in a time of crisis, the album is a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of sound; chasing feelings, searching for meanings and trying to capture the ever-elusive nowness of now.

‘Powder Dry’ tracklist

Rock Hudson

Lost / Not Lost 

When Summer Comes

Idiots At Large

A Stand-Up For The Dying

Old Crawler

Heartbreak Notes

Ghost Of A Kiss

Summer Turned

You Can Always Disappear

Powder Dry

Films Of Our Youth

This Way Now

I Was There

The Film Of Your Youth

Built To Last

Artist picture by Bryan Taylor.

Pre-order Powder Dry here:

Tim Bowness (burningshed.com)

Powder Dry’ will be presented on two beautiful, coloured vinyl LP editions – pink and yellow – alongside a bonus CD edition with 5.1 surround sound DVD included. Standard black vinyl LP and standard CD editions will also be available. Released on 16th August.

UPCOMING SHOWS

MAY 26, 2024

Load Street Studios, 3 Edwin Ave, Kidderminster UK

2 SETS – 2pm + 7pm

Only 25 tickets will be available for each set, so early booking is recommended for what promises to be a unique experience. 

Doors Open – 1.30pm and 6.30pm for 2pm and 7pm performance times.

TICKETS

JUL 27, 2024

EppyFest 11 @ Smokey Joe’s Diner, 16 Bennington St, Cheltenham, GL50 4ED

Cheltenham, UK

TICKETS

DEC 1, 2024

The Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden, London NW5 3HS

Prog The Forest. Tim Bowness and Butterfly Mind will headline this year’s Prog The Forest. 

RETURNED TO THE EARTH announces new album Stalagmite Steeple and single “Dark Morality”

Album available for pre-order now!

UK-based prog band RETURNED TO THE EARTH are pleased to announce the new album Stalagmite Steeple due out on June 14th via Giant Electic Pea.  The follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Fall of the Watcher,’ the new album is another intriguing journey through main man Robin Peachey’s particular take on life.

You can listen to the album’s opening track and first single “Dark Morality” here:

Robin Peachey on the new album:
“The writing for Stalagmite Steeple began in late 2020 during the recording of Fall Of The Watcher, my previous album. It’s been a 2 1/2 year recording process to get the album finished and I have worked again with Paul Johnston as producer/engineer/additional musician. Steve Kitch (The Pineapple Thief) has again mastered the album for me.

“‘Dark Morality’ is the opening track of the album Stalagmite Steeple and sets the scene for the album’s themes. “I saw a story about an elderly couple who were separated during the first Covid lockdown and unfortunately the lady passed away from natural causes. I found it incredibly sad that we couldn’t find a way to bring loved ones together in their final moments during this difficult period of our history. It seemed empathy and compassion were lost but the money spent for the privilege of being in the care home facility still rolled in. I didn’t want this event to be marked by just a single song so it formed the backdrop for the whole album.”

Tracklisting:
1. Dark Morality  7:19
2. The Final Time  5:00
3. Stalagmite Steeple  9:58
4. Meaningless To Worth  6:09
5. Die For Me  9:09
6. The Raging Sea  5:36

Pre-order ‘Stalagmite Steeple’ on CD here:
https://gep.co.uk/products/returned-to-the-earth-stalagmite-steeple-pre-ord

All songs written by: Robin Peachey
All music performed by: Robin Peachey & Paul Johnston

Kaipa release first single & share music video of upcoming album “Sommargryningsljus” / now available for pre-order 

Sweden-born, folkloric progressive rock band Kaipa proudly announce their new album Sommargryningsljus. 49 years after the release of their debut album, the band is set to reveal the 15th longplayer of their musical journey, Sommargryningsljus, which will be released via InsideOutMusic on June 28th, 2024.  Sommargryningsljus is now available for pre-order:

Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) (lnk.to)

The announcement comes with the release of the first single of the album, which is a mélange of both the opening and closing track of Sommargryningsljus, subsequently named “Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit)”. Two of the songs from the album, the opening track Sommarskymningsljus and the ending track Sommargryningsljus, can be heard together in this single edit version, as they were originally written.

The song is about dusk and a journey through the night to meet the light again at dawn. The single comes with a lyric video that showcases the mystical vibes of twilight and gives a glimpse of the album aesthetics and illustrations.

Watch the video for Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) here:

Listen to Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) on your favorite DSPs here:

Kaipa – Sommargryningsljus (lnk.to)

Hans Lund comments:

I had written all the songs for the album and the total playing time was 70 minutes, but then something unexpected happened. One day when I was recording with Aleena Gibson, we took a break and went out into my garden to have a cup of coffee. Suddenly Aleena started singing some notes and I said it was beautiful. Okay, let’s write a song, she said. So we returned to the studio and 15 minutes later a new song had been born. We were both delighted with the result and said that this song must be on the album and the lyrics must be in Swedish. I developed the song and created an interlude built on the same chords. The melody was hovering around in the studio and it landed gracefully in my fingers when I started to play. One early morning a few weeks later, the words suddenly came floating down and landed in my consciousness.

Sommargryningsljus will be available as

·      Ltd. CD Mediabook with extensive 24-pages booklet

·      12’’ Gatefold 180g 2LP black vinyl

·      digital album

Tracklist:

1.    Sommarskymningsljus 00:01:30

2.    Seven Birds   00:09:50

3.    Like Thousand Dawns 00:11:08

4.    Revelationview 00:09:28

5.    Chased by Wolves And Burned by The Sun 00:10:17

6.    Spiderweb Train 00:15:29

7.    Songs In Our Hands 00:13:00

8.    Sommargryningsljus 00:03:58

9.    Sommargryningsljus (Single Edit) 00:05:24

Kaipa are:

Hans Lundin – keyboards & vocals

Per Nilsson – electric & acoustic guitars

Jonas Reingold – bass

Darby Todd – drums

Patrik Lundström – vocals

Aleena Gibson – vocals 

Haken guitarist Richard Henshall announces solo EP; releases first single/video 

Mu Vol. 1 EP set for release 7th June

First single/video ‘Mu’ streaming now

Progressive multi-instumentalist and celebrated guitarist Richard Henshall has announced the release of his new EP – the first in an a trilogy – Mu Vol. 1, on 7th June,. He has also unveiled the first single ‘Mu’, along with a multi-cam play-through video.

Watch the video here:

Preorder Mu Vol. 1 EP here:

Mu by Richard Henshall – DistroKid

During 2020 Henshall started work on his Mu collection, a trilogy of EPs that explore his love for jazz-infused, intricate instrumental music. The EPs will be released throughout 2024 and promise to be some of his most richly textured, adventurous music to date. Richard is joined by drummer Lang Zhao and saxophonist Adam Carillio, while he handles guitar, bass & keyboard duties.

On the Mu EP and launch single ‘Yang’ he comments: “I got the initial rhythmic idea for Mu on a flight home from a Haken tour just before the lockdown kicked off in the UK. Little did I know that it’d end up being the catalyst for a trilogy of jazz-tinged, instrumental EPs. The rhythmic powerhouse, Lang Zhao, is on the drums and his highly creative playing style has really elevated these arrangements to new levels. This new collection of songs has a strong focus on rhythm and explores some new ground for me as a writer and guitar player. I can’t to share what I’ve cooked up with everyone.”

Richard Henshall is a composer, guitarist and keyboardist hailing from London, England. He is acclaimed for his work as founding member of progressive metal juggernaut Haken, as well as his endeavours as a solo artist. Henshall has been named as Music Radar’s no. 11 ‘best prog guitarist’ and in Guitar World’s ‘top 15 best prog rock guitarist’. 

In 2014, Henshall joined forces with Between the Buried and Me’s Dan Briggs and formed Nova Collective. Together they wrote the critically acclaimed ‘The Further Side’, which draws influences from the likes of Chick Corea and Mahavishnu Orchestra. In 2017, Henshall, alongside his Haken bandmates, featured in Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress performing the songs of Dream Theater for a year of very special shows around the world.

In 2019, Henshall completed work on his ambitious debut solo album, entitled The Cocoon, which features Jordan Rudess as well as host of other guests. The music ranges from dense polyrhythmic passages to delicate minimalistic interludes and features Henshall’s trademark guitar and keyboard playing throughout along with his debut performance as a lead vocalist. Prog Radar described it as “a truly impressive release and one that shows Richard at the height of his creative powers.” 

Lesoir announces new album Push Back The Horizon – Released 20th September 2024 (V2 Records)

Lesoir, a five-piece band hailing from Maastricht, Netherlands, and formed in 2009, has quietly cultivated a global fan base and are now ready to step out of the shadows again for their 6th album ‘Push Back The Horizon’ to be released on September 20th 2024.

‘Push Back The Horizon’ includes 10 songs, composed by the bands guitarist Ingo Dassen, and lyrics and vocal lines written by singer and multi-instrumentalist Maartje Meessen. 

The album is produced by John Cornfield, known for his work with Muse, Kashmir, Razorlight, Supergrass, Robert Plant, New Model Army & Ben Howard, among others. In addition, dedicated collaborated for the vocals with Paul Reeve, Matt Bellamy’s (Muse) vocal producer. The instrumentation was recorded at the Muziekgieterij, Maastricht. The vocals were recorded in Cornwall, UK. Mastering is done by Steve Kitch, keyboardist of The Pineapple Thief. String compositions and arrangements by Ingo Dassen, James Merryweather and Maartje Meessen. The album will be released on CD, LP (black), 2LP (Bloody Mary coloured with ‘Babel’ as bonus track) and digitally.

‘Push Back The Horizon’ is preceded by the title track (already released) and new single ‘As Long As Your Girls Smile’ (out today) and delves into the intricacies of human existence, exploring relationships and life’s complexities. A sometimes limited control over circumstances adds nuance to the human experience, revealing a collective tipping point. The album offers a snapshot of relatable stories, emphasizing life’s potential for both thoughtful moments and unexpected events that provide glimmers of hope. Centered on family and brotherhood, it transcends geographical boundaries, highlighting the power of collective action. Instead of dwelling on the past, the album encourages a forward-looking perspective, urging a collective effort to try again for a better outcome.

Listen to the new single here:

Lesoir – As Long As Your Girls Smile (orcd.co)

Or watch the video here:

Lesoir has always had a professional DIY mentality, for the last 4 years Lesoir built a team around them with Glassville Music as their management and bookings agent worldwide. This gives the band the opportunity to focus on their marketing and performance. The band has been completely self-supporting on social media, partly produces its own videos, has a permanent in-house crew, its own mixing desk, IEM, microphone, backline, transport and is equipped to play a show anywhere. For years, the band has been proactive in getting the story of & behind the band across the stage online and offline.

In 2019, the band toured for 5 weeks with prog legends Riverside. After the tour, the band made a real splash within the scene and the subsequent self-released album, with the help of Glassville Records, called ‘Mosaic’ was met with high praise and landed on several annual charts.

The band had about 20 headline shows lined up when the pandemic broke out. When touring was temporarily no longer an option, the band used its time to release the 20-minute-and-20-second epic ‘Babel’ on a ltd handmade etched vinyl. The 250 pieces were independently released and sold out within four weeks.

‘Push Back The Horizon’ is poised for a global release by V2 Records, renowned for their collaborations with Skunk Anansie, Mumford And Sons, Moby, Kaiser Chiefs and Ane Brun.

Pre-order the album here:

LESOIR | Instagram, Facebook, TikTok | Linktree

IVE:

06.04.24 Artrock Festival Reichenbach (D)

09.05.24 Urpop Urmond (NL)

30.05.24 The Waiting Room London (UK)

31.05.24 The Great Estate Festival Redruth (UK)

30.06.24 Openluchttheater Valkenburg (NL)

18.08.24 Crescendo Festival Saint-Palais-Sur-Mer (F)

The Oculist Release New Track, ‘Terminal’, and Video From Acclaimed Debut Album ‘Cautionary Tales’

After releasing the album ‘Cautionary Tales’ at the beginning of the year, The Oculist present their latest offering with a video for their song Terminal. This song explores the sinister tale of Robert Berdella and presents the bands stylistic versatility, featuring stellar musicianship, effortlessly weaving between prog and death metal styles with aplomb.

Watch the video here:

The Oculist is Adam Dunn and Çağrı Tozluoğlu. Track features the extraordinary talents of Simon Fitzpatrick on the bass and James Wise on drums. Terminal mixed at TimbreWorks London and mastered by legendary Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios Sweden. 

Order ‘Cautionary Tales’ from bandcamp here:

Cautionary Tales | The Oculist (bandcamp.com)

Projected Twin Unveils New Single “A Feat of Rage” from Upcoming Album “The Life & Death of Shaun Holton”

Renowned producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Holton, known under the moniker Projected Twin, is set to mesmerise audiences once again with the release of his latest single, “A Feat of Rage,” from the highly anticipated album “The Life & Death of Shaun Holton.”

Holton, who recently assumed the role of lead singer for the critically acclaimed Australian Progressive Rock band Southern Empire, has been making waves in the music industry. Southern Empire’s 2023 album, “Another World,” received widespread acclaim, with Holton’s vocal prowess earning him recognition as one of the best vocalists of 2023 by Prog Press “The Prog Mind.” The album itself was listed among the top 10 releases of 2023 by “Prog Magazine,” standing shoulder to shoulder with progressive icons Steven Wilson and Peter Gabriel.

“A Feat of Rage” marks the first single from the forthcoming Projected Twin album, which represents Holton’s fourth full-length release. This album is highly anticipated as it follows the conclusion of a conceptual trilogy of albums, the cult-celebrated “Earth/World” series.

Projected Twin’s sound is deeply rooted in progressive rock, drawing influences from 90s alternative, pop, rock, and metal icons such as Filter, Incubus, and Alice in Chains. Holton’s journey into the world of prog began in late 2005 when he was introduced to the discographies of Porcupine Tree and Opeth, alongside local Australian alt-rock/prog icons Cog and Karnivool.

Commenting on “A Feat of Rage” and the upcoming album, Holton shares, “This single is a glimpse into the sonic journey of ‘The Life & Death of Shaun Holton.’ It’s a blend of progressive elements with the raw energy of alternative rock, offering listeners an immersive experience.”

“The Life & Death of Shaun Holton” represents an ironic take on Holton’s public display of an identity crisis since Projected Twin’s conception, questioning whether he is, in fact, the artist ‘Projected Twin’ or ‘Shaun Holton.’

Listeners can immerse themselves in the captivating sounds of “A Feat of Rage” on all major streaming platforms starting 12/4/2024. Stay tuned for the release of “The Life & Death of Shaun Holton” for a musical experience that transcends boundaries and genres.

Listen to, and order, the track from bandcamp here:

https://projectedtwin.bandcamp.com/track/a-feat-of-rage

About Projected Twin:

Projected Twin is the musical brainchild of producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Holton. With influences ranging from 90s alternative to progressive rock icons, Projected Twin’s music offers a unique blend of sonic textures and emotive storytelling. “The Life & Death of Shaun Holton” represents the next chapter in Holton’s musical journey, promising an immersive experience for listeners.

Dark folk / prog artist Marjana Semkina (Iamthemorning) announces new album and streams first single

Sirin album out 31st May; ‘We Are The Ocean’ lyric video streaming now

Album guest features include Jim Grey (Caligula’s Horse) & Mick Moss (Antimatter).

Progressive dark folk artist Marjana Semkina has announced the release her second solo LP – Sirin – on 31st May 2024 along with a Kickstarter campaign. She has also unveiled the first single ‘We Are The Ocean’ along with a stunning lyric video.

Watch the lyric video for ‘We Are The Ocean’ here:

Pre-order Sirin here:

SIRIN by Marjana Semkina — Kickstarter

Known for her work as the vocalist of prog duo Iamthemorning, self-exiled Russian Marjana has forged a successful solo career with two critically acclaimed solo releases: her 2020 debut solo album Sleepwalking, and 2021 follow-up EP Disillusioned. Like its predecessors, Sirin is a journey of dark stories and fairy tales, told with Marjana’s uniquely captivating voice, on a foundation of detailed musical arrangements. However there is a prevailing darkness and grief, inspired by of Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the first single about by the protests.

On new single ‘We Are The Ocean’ Marjana comments: “This song was inspired by all of my Russian friends coming out to protest against the war when it started, despite the fact that there was a very good chance they’d get arrested for doing so – a lot did in the end. I wrote lyrics to this song on a train to one of those protests in London, Trafalgar Square in early March 2022.”

On the album Sirin, she continues: “Sirin is a mythical creature from ancient Slavic mythology, half-bird half-woman, she’s a harbinger of bad luck and death, and it’s believed that if you meet Sirin a big catastrophe will happen – except in case with the events surrounding this album it’s already happened. Sirin cries and mourns for humankind, and nothing can be more appropriate in this day and age. Sirin is one of very few creatures that can travel between worlds – a world of gods of light, a world of dark deities (in some versions an alternative to the underworld) and a world of mortals. This felt appropriate because the album is quite diverse in sound and some might think parts of it sound happy, but the subject matter is almost always quite morbid, which creates a contrast that I enjoy.

“I was never very political and I always tried to keep my art within the realms of lore, literature and imagination. But when events like the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine happen, it is impossible – and I’d even say, unforgivable – to stay silent and do nothing. Thankfully being based in the UK I feel rather safe speaking out against the current regime and I do have a platform that I can use to try and show the world that Russians disagree with the actions of the Russian government, and there are so many of us that only wish for this to be over. I’m just trying to show it in the most artistic way I can muster.”

Now permanently based in the UK, Marjana has been an active campaigner against the Russian occupation in Ukraine and has raised thousands of pounds via her activities to support the victims of war. She will continue her work, including selling a number of a limited run of handwritten lyrics from Sirin, with the money going to Ukrainian charities. Acts punishable by 15 years imprisonment should she return home.

Marjana is joined by an array of world class musicians (detailed below), which includes two very special guest vocal performances from Jim Grey (Caligula’s Horse) and Mick Moss (Antimatter).

Marjana has previously collaborated with many incredible artists, including The Flower KingsJordan RudessBlackbriar, as well as Anna Murphy with their Maer project. Combined with her work in Iamthemorning, her experiences have enabled her to become one of the most unique and exciting solo artists in the progressive world today. 

Recording musicians:
Grigoriy Losenkov – piano, bass guitar, synths, drum programming
Vlad Avy – electric guitar, synths, drum programming
Keli Guðjónsson (Agent Fresco) – drums 
Charlie Cawood (Medieval baebes, Knifeworld) – acoustic guitar, bouzouki, glockenspiel, hammered dulcimer, luiqin, guzheng
Liam McLaughlin (Sithu aye, IATM) – electric guitar
Margarita Chernyshevskaya – 1st Violin 
Petr Chepelev  – 2nd Violin 
Julia Uliashcenkova – Viola 
Julia Romashko – Cello 

Trifecta, the trio of Nick Beggs, Adam Holzman and Craig Blundell release new single and video for “Stupid Pop Song”

Taken from The New Normal Released 12 April 2024 on Kscope

Following the announcement of the soon to be released second musical observation in the form of The New Normal from Trifecta, the collaboration of singer songwriter Nick Beggs, keyboardist extraordinaire Adam Holzman and internationally renowned drummer Craig Blundell; the fearless trio have released a new single – “Stupid Pop Song”.

The single is accompanied by a glorious, animated video created by Willow Beggs (@_willowbeggs www.willowbeggs.com )

Watch the video:

As Nick Beggs explains the song was not destined to be released by Trifecta “Stupid Pop Song was written for my daughter Willow who had a band for a while and was looking for material. I wrote it in the car one day whilst thinking about her musical journey.

It obviously has a different narrative and irony when sung by me which is what happened in the end owing to the fact her band split up.

I played it to Craig and Adam who both thought it would work well for Trifecta, but at the time I was unsure.  They kind of talked me round after playing with the arrangement in their studios.

I think it worked out rather well.”

Stream the single here:

Trifecta – Stupid Pop Song (orcd.co)

It is often said that the greatest musical groups are the ones with the right mixture of ideas, talent and chemistry. These are things Trifecta have in abundance. It is, of course, no secret that the three members – keyboardist Adam Holzman, bassist/Chapman Stick mastermind Nick Beggs and drummer Craig Blundell – have spent their most recent years touring some of the world’s biggest stages as part of many bands including with Steven Wilson. So when they decide to form a largely instrumental offshoot as a trio, eventually writing and releasing 2021’s Fragments debut, they were already off to a head start, with a tangible sense of creative familiarity that had been stunning audiences in every corner of the globe. 

For listeners seeking to escape the confines of the normal world, ‘The New Normal’ will enable a window into vistas in a multitude of sonics and in concept. By combining elements of Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion all with a dash of typical English wit the band bring the listener into a world where sound is malleable, time is a mere concept and vegetables have otherworldly properties like the ‘Stroboscopic Fennel’. 

This new 19 track, epic sees the band building upon the innovative ambition and genre-hopping skulduggery they so fearlessly introduced themselves to the world with on ‘Fragments’. The New Normal could easily have carried on in that same direction and comfortably delighted fans of all three musicians, as well as their associated projects. But if there’s anything we know about Holzman, Beggs and Blundell, it’s that they are bursting with ideas of every kind. Which explains why this album is guided by an uncontainable brilliance and bravado that packs in so many twists and turns, practically laughing at any notion of genre or boundary. 

Joining the trio of masterful musos is Alex Lifeson (Envy of None / Rush) for additional guitar on ‘Once Around The Sun With You’ and Theo Travis (Steven Wilson) on saxophone for insectoid grooves of ‘Daddy Long Legs’. Alongside John Paul Jones’ very chapman stick from 1979 that was sent to Nick and used to record ‘The New Normal’. 

 The album was recorded in the Bermuda Triangle of normality that is Leighton Buzzard, Bedford and New York between 2019 and 2023, engineered by the band and mastered by Andy VanDette (Beastie Boys / Rush / Whitney Houston), adorned with artwork that was inspired by an original idea from Hajo Muller.

Available on Limited edition white 2 LP / CD / 2 LP and digitally – with pre-orders available here:

Trifecta – The New Normal (lnk.to)