THE CELEBRATED STUDIO ALBUM CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF TANGERINE DREAM NOW COMPLETE WITH QUANTUM KEY EP
(Artwork by Bianca Froese-Acquaye)
Following the release of Tangerine Dream’s latest studio album, QuantumGate, Kscope are set to release the album as a 2CD set with the inclusion of the EP Quantum Key.
Quantum Gate released on September 29th 2017, to coincide and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the band, was the first studio album since the passing of EdgarFroese,Tangerine Dream’s visionary founder, by the remining band members Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss and Hoshiko Yamane.
The Quantum Key EP preceded Quantum Gate, and both delivered an updated, contemporary development of their trademark sound: sequencer-driven electronica covering a wide range of moods and atmospheres from ambient soundscapes to energetic, upbeat moments. The Quantum Years material began as a concept and series of musical sketches by Froese before he passed away in 2015. Remaining band members Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss and Hoshiko Yamane worked together to realize Edgar’s visions and expectations of a conceptual body of work that attempts to translate quantum physics and philosophy into music. New member Ulrich Schnauss comments: “at the moment hardly any other area of science questions our concept of reality (linearity of time etc.) as profoundly as research in Quantum physics – it’s no surprise therefore that Edgar was drawn to these ideas since he had always aimed at reminding listeners of the existence of ‘unopened doors’.”
This version of Quantum Gate with the inclusion of Quantum Key EP, brings together Edgar’s vision as a 2 disc set for the first time.
Tangerine Dream have been a fundamental influence on electronic and progressive music since their formation in West Berlin, 1967. Inspiring genres, musicians and other art forms, from The Future Sound of London to Porcupine Tree, the widely popular TV show Stranger Things (for which their music also featured in) to seminal video game Grand Theft Auto V (for which they helped to write the soundtrack). The group have also received seven Grammy nominations, written over 100 studio albums and were led by Edgar Froese, who developed an instantly recognisable synth-based instrumental music based on a meditative musical experience that came to prominence in the 70s and 80s.
The current line-up are currently supporting their latest material with a string of headline events in Europe, including a two-night booking at London’s Union Chapel plus the opening event for Amsterdam’s cutting edge electronic music summer festival, Dekmantel.
13/04 – DE, Halle/Saale – Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Halle
Released and remastered on Esoteric Recordings, these are the first three studio albums from musical pioneers Colosseum, covering a magical musical period in their life from 1968-1970, and complete with in depth sleeve notes, bonus tracks, and on ‘Valentyne Suite’, the complete American version of the album ‘The Grass is Greener’, which differs substantially from the English version.
As a band Colosseum were to have a massive impact on the nascent progressive music scene (a differentiation from what has been lumped together as prog, subtle but vitally important to understand) where they came from the ranks of the Great British Blues bands that stalked the land and led to the emergence of other bands as important as Fleetwood Mac, Cream and CCS among others.
These three groundbreaking albums came from the time when musicians were keen on creating something new, something vital, something brave and original and it shows here, these are no mere copyists doing what someone else does because that’s how it’s done, these are some of the true pioneers of musical innovation.
From John Mayall and Graham Bonds bands came Jon Hiseman, band leader and renowned drummer, Dick Heckstall-Smith legendary jazz saxophonist (whose solo album ‘A Story Ended’ is a tour de force of musical genius) bassist Tony Reeves. Dave Greenslade came from working with Chris Farlowe and there’s James Litherland on guitar fresh from the Manchester music scene.
Having worked together the core of Jon, Tony, Dave and Dick were already musically tight, and with James adding extra guitar and vocals, the band appeared almost fully formed, and with lots of experience in the jazz and blues scene, and a very clear vision from Jon Hiseman about what the band wanted to achieve.
As a result the debut album, released in March 1969, ‘Those Who Are About to Die Salute You’ (from the phrase Roman Gladiators said to the Emperor before going into the Colosseum – Hiseman is a bit of a Roman History buff) which is reflected in the bands name, and indeed a rather spectacular track Ides of March, which is where they start with a Bach piece and end with a stunning musical moment between Litherlands guitar and Greenslades organ work.
As is usual with debut albums from this period, the majority of the music is what was the band’s live set, recorded on the hoof in between gigs, and features a couple of covers in amongst the bands originals, setting out their stall with a cover of the Graham Bond classic Walking in the Park, complete with Henry Lowther guesting on trumpet, this lays out the band’s stall right at the start.
They were an amazingly tight musical unit, and the combination of Hiseman and Reeves on drums and bass, provide the foundations for Litherland’s guitar, Greenslade’s organ and Heckstall-Smith’s sax to flow freely.
Coming from that loose improvisational musical scene, the melding of the jazz and blues influence into a harder rockier sound comes naturally to the band, and on songs like the Leadbelly cover Backwater Blues, Litherlands vocals, and the astonishing sax of Heckstall-Smith’ takes the blues and pushes it into a completely different direction to the one taken by other former blues merchants like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin.
Original material like Dick’s The Road she Walked Before, or the sort of title track Those About to Die, which has some amazingly taut musical twists and turns, with some fantastic jazz rock drumming from Hiseman, who always seems to be overlooked when lists of ‘best drummers’ appear, and yet on here he combines power and subtlety as well as being the timekeeper, and holding the band together, again you only get music as good as this from musicians who have all played live together, and can turn that spontaneity and improvisational skill into great music.
To modern ideas it seems inconceivable that you can literally tour and then pop into a studio and bang out your live set as a new release, you know that if you did that today then it would be up on You Tube or some Russian Streaming site before the lights had gone up.
By the second album, ‘Valentyne Suite’, (the three part title track of which makes up the original second side of the vinyl) the band had made an impact, and their debut had made number 15 in the album charts (again with the perspective of time and distance, it’s hard to imagine that happening in this day and age with the whole industry fragmented). With the same line up, and the same producers of bassist Tony Reeves and Gerry Bron, the band had by this time started improvising and writing new material to fit into their live shows.
Again the band were a hard working band, and the albums would be recorded in the daytime before they would fly off in their van to another gig in another town.
The ‘Valentyne Suite‘ record is notable for a number of different reasons, 1) it was the first record released on the nascent Vertigo label, 2) It features that stunning enigmatic cover by Marcus Keef in his own inimitable style, 3) it’s a bloody good record.
From the opening The Kettle, the band have melded into a tight and powerful unit, and that shows in the fact that the only guest writer was Pete Brown (Jack Bruce lyricist and friend of the band) who contributed the exceedingly accurate lyrics, foreshadowing events in his usual style, to The Machine Demands a Sacrifice, James Litherland’s maturity as a songwriter and guitarist shows here as he adds his vocals to the damn fine Elegy, as well as the driving Butty’s Blues.
However the centrepiece here, and one of the most important tracks on the album, and indeed in the bands career, is the three piece suite Valentyne Suite, which with it’s linked parts, musical themes and powerful performance was responsible for showing bands how long suites can work on record, and is as fine a piece of true progressive music as ever there was. From recurring musical motifs, some sublime sax work from Dick Heckstall-Smith (there is nothing finer in the world than hearing a sax solo in full flight) and the combined musical prowess of the band, every member shines as the Valentyne Suite propels music forward at a rate of knots. Flitting dexterously from jazz to blues, to rock, and with recurring themes and riffs reappearing, the idea that rock music can create mini concerto’s is shown here to best effect, with the band making it seem effortless as the music fills the room. Ably aided by arrangements by Neil Ardley throughout the album the band’s ambition matches their performance. The Valentyne Suite is an absolutely brilliant piece of music, and released in November 1969, a scant 8 months after their debut was released, it shows just how far they had come in terms of compositional style and musical prowess.
This expanded edition includes the American release ‘The Grass is Greener’ (named after the closing section of the Valentyne Suite) in January 1970, by which time James Litherland had left the band and been replaced by Bakerloo guitarist Clem Clempson (and if you haven’t heard Bakerloo’s album, it’s worth a spin) and this release took the tracks Elegy, Butty’s Blues, The Machine Demands a Sacrifice and The Grass is always Greener, remixed and with Litherland’s guitar work replaced by Clempsons (although Litherland’s vocals remain on Elegy) and 4 new tracks recorded by the new line-up, the powerful rock song Jumping off the Sun (a track given to Hiseman by the late Mike Taylor) which shows Clempson’s different style to Litherland, and how easily he fitted into the ethos and sound of Colosseum, whilst the Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith composition Lost Angeles (with Clempson’s superb vocals adding to the sound), with the power underneath, hints at how the band were developing, especially with Clempson’s sublime solo work. Rope Ladder to the Moon is a cover version of the Jack Bruce song, with some great swinging performances from Heckstall-Smith and Greenslade, showing how versatile this band could be, whilst Bolero is exactly as it says on the tin, Ravel’s Bolero Colosseumed up to the max, with some great guitar work from Clempson, and some musically deft touches from Greenslade.
As a holding exercise, this is a great album, and one that shows the power of this line-up, being the only music recorded prior to Tony Reeves departure, and now again it’s inconceivable that the same band would have a record released in the States that was different to the one in the UK.
Pulling together this collection is great as it shows how the band were evolving and developing as they grew. I would say if you are a fan of truly progressive music (not just prog) then you need the ‘Valentyne Suite’ in your life, and it’s probably as good a place as any to start with Colosseum.
Released in December 1970, their third album ‘Daughter of Time’ saw the bands line-up evolve even more when Tony Reeves left to go into production, being replaced initially by Louis Cennamo from Renaissance, who didn’t quite fit, so Mark Clarke came in on bass joining the core of Hiseman, Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith and Clempson. The band also decided that they needed a vocalist, so Greenslade approached his old colleague Chris Farlowe, who surprisingly said yes.
This is a revelation of this album, as the bands compositional scope grew, so did their musical ambitions, and with Neil Ardley helping with arrangements for brass and string sections augmenting the mighty six piece, this is an album that could only have been recorded and released in 1970.
That doesn’t mean it has aged or dated at all, it just has that power, that scope and that imagination that musicians in those days had, the idea that nothing was beyond your reach or aim and that freedom to do what you wanted.
The opener Three Score and Ten, Amen is a statement of intent, with Farlowe’s powerful vocals even stronger than Ian Gillan’s, and the addition of Clarke on bass to replace Reeves is perfect, as he works so well with Hiseman, and throughout the musical confidence is so strong that this is a track that grabs you by the scruff of the neck, pulls you in and demands you listen.
On this, what would turn out to be their last original studio album, the only cover is the Jack Bruce/Pete Brown track Theme From an Imaginary Western, given some real musical clout here (and again showing how close these bands all were, with members of Colosseum having played with Bruce in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, as well as contributing to his solo albums) and Farlowe is again outstanding on vocals.
Musically at this point Colosseum were a big band, and they needed someone with the vocal chops to stamp his mark all over the material, and Farlowe more than puts his stamp over it.
Again when you look at your Gillans, your Plants and your Rod Stewarts from this era, its astonishing Farlowe doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as he has everything on this album, power, swagger, an amazing range, and in parts his voice is another instrument to be utilised.
New boys Clarke and Clempson fit right into this incendiary musical mix, as Dave Greenslade stamps his personality on this, with all but two of the original tracks being co-writes (and in certain areas you can see where he’d go next with his eponymous band).
The fantastic Take Me Back to Doomsday features Clempson on lead vocals, recorded prior to Farlowe joining, and it sounds amazing, and Clempson, despite having a superb voice would rather focus on his guitar work.
That is not to the detriment of the album, each musician, particularly Greenslade, Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith had developed a groove and a natural way of working together, and as Clempson, Farlowe and Clarke gelled so well, this album is the most accomplished, most satisfying and most ambitious of the three studio sets.
Of course, this being 1970 it features a drum solo by Hiseman, recorded live and included on the record called The Time Machine (because that’s what he was) and yes, it’s a drum solo, but John Bonham was doing them, even Ringo Starr did on Abbey Road, so it’s very of it’s time, but as an example of Hiseman’s musical prowess it is a fantastic calling card.
This was a fantastic run of musical quality by anyone’s standards, and it just seems that in this musical world today there aren’t enough musicians out there willing to take the risks that Colosseum did, and make this kind of music.
If you are looking for real progressive music and not just prog, then this is for you. This is musicians flying by the seats of their pants, doing it because they could and working their arses off touring it and playing it, working on the old adage if we make it they will come.
Now whilst these were the only studio albums, prior to them splitting they did release one live album, the imaginatively titled ‘Colosseum Live’ was released in 1971, and remastered and expanded back in 2016 on Esoteric, but I thought it worth revisiting it here as part of the bands original story.
This is the classic ‘Daughter of Time’ Colosseum line up of Hiseman, Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith, Clempson, Farlowe and Clarke, and whilst they are imaginative on record, live they had to adapt as they didn’t have the brass and string section from the studio. But as all great bands prove live is where there power came to the fore, and this is a double disc expanded set of the legendary double album from 1971.
The original album contained only a couple of tracks that had been on the studio recordings, with material like Rope Ladder to the Moon and Lost Angeles only being available on the American ‘Grass is Always Greener’, and Walking in the Park kicking off their debut album.
Here, the 6 piece band were at the peak of the powers, and this set reaffirmed their skill and power, as they adeptly worked their way through a collection of classic live tracks like Skellington and Tanglewood ’63 and the musicianship throughout is superb, as Hiseman’s drums and Clarke’s bass anchor the sound, allowing Greenslade’s organ and Heckstall-Smith’s sax free range whilst Clempson’s guitar work is superb and, as you would expect, Chris Farlowe is never less than magnificent. Originally released on two LP’s the original live album is now on disc one of the set. Meanwhile it’s on the second disc of additional live material recorded at the same time that we get a full live version of their Valentyne Suite, which is worth the price of admission alone, the ambitious musical works getting an amazing live rendition, which not only does the original work justice, but adds so much to it, as any live performance honed over the years really perfects the track.
I see with bands like Colosseum the studio works being the starting point, and it’s only as the band work and perform and improvise and hone the music night after night, do you get the finished product (well at that particular gig anyway) as the music grows and evolves, and listening to this album you see how far the band have travelled in such a short space of time, before they splintered and continued on solo or other group journeys, where they took the Colosseum ethos and spread it even further across the genres.
This was a highly regarded live album from a potent live band who managed to straddle a multitude of genres and create something genuinely new when they arrived on the scene, and with the bonus tracks it just reminds us of what an innovative and powerful band Colosseum were.
‘Prolific’ is a word that I have to use when you talk about album releases from the Geof Whitely Project. The man behind this musical phenomenon, Arny Wheatley, has released a bewildering number of albums over the last few years and it is a testament to his songwriting that they have remained high calibre with no loss in quality or content.
So, imagine the shock when it was announced that ‘Sempiternal’ would be the only album release from the Geof Whitely Project in 2018? Well, if it is going to be the solitary one, it had better be good eh?
Arny always seems to give some a little different but without straying too far from his so far successful formula and the new release is no exception, delivering powerful and brooding tracks like opener Stir of Echoes. It’s perhaps the most dark and serious track on the album and it really hits a nerve with me, lengthy at over nine minutes, there is no wasted space and every note has meaning. There’s a lifting of the obfuscation with Hidden Depths but not the serious overtones, a really mature piece of music where Arny’s thoughtful vocals work their usual magic. The signature keys and guitar sound all add to the mix to give another melancholy and yet contemplative track. A wistful and reflective two minutes follows with the measured instrumental delights of Isolation. Like a calm oasis, it mops your fevered brow before you carry on further on your musical exploration.
Low End Distortion has a slow burning intro before an aggressive riff takes over and gives it a seriously edgy feel. This is a real departure from the signature sound, a more hard rock infused track that Arny pulls off really well. That driving riff is the key to the song, powered on by the effective and dynamic rhythm section. Arny takes the vocal duties in his stride as usual and you are left with one of the best Geof Whitely Project tracks I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. A stirring and involving song, Overseer is measured and studied, the sax style keyboards are a real delight and instill a real grace and calmness to the music. This is a track with real passion at its core and Arny’s sparse vocal delivers that with aplomb. Another fast paced, rockier piece, Fairground Distraction even gets my foot tapping to the beat. I like this edgier, more vibrant direction that Arny takes on these tracks, giving them a dynamic and energetic flow that you really engage with.
There’s a lovely piano tinged opening to the emotive Momentary Lapse and its steady,measured pace does remind you of a certain Pink Floyd in places, Arny’s voice even sounding David Gilmour like (that could just be me though!). It is a moving and poignant sounding piece of music that once again shows that Arny is at the top of his game here, just check out the instrumental section around two thirds of the way through and you’ll know what I mean. A powerfully inspiring song that I really like. Ooh another guitar riff! The Voice isn’t as in your face as the earlier, harder tracks but has a great opening that includes a forceful riff and potent rhythm section that imbue it with authority and stature. The verses have a more reflective feel to them but the chorus is significant and substantial and the juxtaposition between the two works exceedingly well. The final track on the album is On a Strange Tide and it has feel of Floyd to its opening again, a bit ‘Shine On..’ with its mysterious and moody synth sound that builds slowly. A wistful and nostalgic song that has a hint of melancholy running through it. Arny’s voice is reflective and musing and the music has a touch of longing at its centre. Swirling synths and brooding guitars abound and there’s a weighty and significant atmosphere that builds all around. A serious and meaningful track to close out this impressive album.
Well, if ‘Sempiternal’ is the Geof Whitely Project’s only album release of this calendar year then Arny has delivered what is, in my opinion, far and away the best GWP record so far. High praise that may sound like but it is worth every word. A more expansive and harder sound combined with some excellent songwriting, one not to be missed.
Paul Draper has announced details of a new EP release. EP Three features new versions and acoustic recordings of some of the stand out tracks from Draper’s acclaimed 2017 album Spooky Action. Lead track Jealously Is A Powerful Emotion is a tale of betrayal and coldly plotted revenge that builds from twisted, spectral electronics into a glorious swooping, swooning crescendo. Also featured on the EP are acoustic takes on Jealousy… and previous single Things People Want as well as epic overhaul of the EP Two lead track Friends Make The Worst Enemies by Public Service Broadcasting.
Paul Draper plays a series of previously announced shows in February and March. At those shows, Paul and his band will play a set of solo material before performing Mansun’s classic debut Attack of the Grey Lantern in full for the first time ever on the 21st anniversary of its release. The dates are:
Mon 19th Feb – Brighton, The Haunt (sold out)
Tues 20th Feb – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
Weds 21st Feb – Bristol, Bierkellar
Fri 23rd Feb – Dublin, The Workman’s Club
Sat 24th Feb – Belfast, Limelight 2
Mon 26th Feb – Edinburgh, The Caves
Tues 27th Feb – Glasgow, The Art School
Thurs 1st Mar – Manchester, O2 Ritz
Fri 2nd Mar – Sheffield, Leadmill
Sat 3rd Mar – Newcastle, Riverside
Mon 5th Mar – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Tues 6th Mar – Norwich, The Waterfront
Weds 7th Mar – Oxford, O2 Academy
Thurs 8th Mar – London, Brixton Electric
Following the UK shows, Paul Draper heads to the States to play a series of shows supporting Steven Wilson in North America in April/May. A limited edition signed vinyl LP – Live at Scala – will be available on the UK tour dates. The album features a recording of Paul’s recent sold out headline show at the iconic London venue. A CD version of the album will be available via independent record shops from February 16th 2018 or as a part of a double deluxe Spooky Action reissue.
If EUROPE’s 2015 album WAR OF KINGS was the album that made the rock world realise what a formidable act EUROPE had become then WALK THE EARTH is the album that is set to establish the band as one of the most exciting contemporary rock acts of current times.
“We’re simply a different band today,” says lead singer Joey Tempest. “Ever since we started up again in 2004, we have constantly explored our limits and new parts of our musical universe. After around 1,000 shows, we feel comfortable just improvising, jamming and pushing our lyrics and songwriting with much more ease. We have now been together recording and making albums longer than the early period of the band. Five albums in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Now six records with WALK THE EARTH. When we started up again in 2004 we all agreed to think ‘long-term,’ to take the long road and build up a new relationship with listeners and media. We all agreed on writing together, owning our music, and license it out to labels that really care and support us in the long run.
“We also agreed to not look back! And never stop looking for that deeper expression. We don’t have much in common with our contemporaries from back then. We have taken a different path, making sure we are constantly moving forward. We have little regard for outside influences and opinions. In order to enjoy this new journey and feel creative, it needed to be completely on our terms.
“In a EUROPE live show, there is of course some room for nostalgia, but in the studio there is none. Every album is a reaction to the one before, a new journey a new adventure. The music of a rock band needs to constantly move, challenge, upheave, evolve or the band will automatically become a nostalgia act. We are proud of our past and previous albums, but we simply can’t identify, recapture, emulate any of it. We simply can’t write like that even if we wanted to. We are a new act with a different expression.
“Over the years, we have learned how important recording techniques and recording equipment is by trying to search and research which producers, engineers and recording studios that can actually inspire and keep us wanting to be adventurous and daring. It has now taken us six albums to get here.”
The new album WALK THE EARTH will feature original artwork by famed Los Angeles artist Mike Sportes of Filth Mart.
“We were in the studio a few days into recording and Dave (Cobb, Producer) comes in wearing this very cool T-Shirt with one of Mike’s designs on it. Immediately we knew we had to check Mike’s other work and have him come up with an exclusive design for us based on the vibe of the album. We are very proud to have his amazing artwork as the WALK THE EARTH album cover!’ – Joey Tempest on the appointment of Mike Sportes to do the cover.
WALK THE EARTH tracklisting:
1. Walk The Earth
2. The Siege
3. Kingdom United
5. Election Day
9. Whenever You’re Ready
10. Turn To Dust
From the anthemic sound of the opening track “Walk The Earth” to the heavy vibe that is “Haze,” from the instant melody of “Election Day” to the lyrical content of “Kingdom United,”WALK THE EARTH is the album that should see EUROPE rightly acclaimed as a band at the height of their powers. The wonderful melodies and depth of Joey Tempest’s vocals along with a powerhouse rhythm section and the guitar playing of John Norum, one of the great underrated guitarists. Norum’s guitar playing shines across the record. This is an album that is big in its scope and sound. Much like previous album “War Of Kings,” WALK THE EARTH is an album that has instant appeal but is also an album that needs to be lived with, in order to uncover it’s depth. The album was recorded at famed Abbey Road Studios in London with Grammy@ winning producer Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton).
Late 2016 saw EUROPE perform a series of “The Final Countdown Anniversary Shows” across Europe – culminating in a show at The Roundhouse in London. The show has been immortalised in a July 2017 DVD release The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Show – Live at the Roundhouse.
Preceding the landmark event, fans were also treated to a live performance of EUROPE’s last album, 2015’s WAR OF KINGS, a release which re-established them as one of the top rock bands in the world.
Since forming in 1979 EUROPE have sold over 25 million albums, toured across the world and become one of the greats of modern rock music. The bands all conquering THE FINAL COUNTDOWN album has alone sold over 15 million copies worldwide and the single of the same name was #1 in 25 countries.
With the release of Lunatic Soul’s new album Fractured imminent, Mariusz Duda, the talented creator, singer and multi-instrumentalist behind Lunatic Soul has revealed a new track and video for the song “Anymore”. Mariusz has previously spoke of how the new album Fractured is an album of catharsis after a challenging year in his personal life and here he reveals the influence behind the album’s most deeply emotional and personal track.
“’Anymore’ is different from all the previous Lunatic Soul compositions and opens a new music chapter in my career. Experimenting with subtle electronics and inspiration with the sound of the 80s have always been close to my heart and this time, more than ever, I wanted to introduce all that into the world of Lunatic Soul. The lyrics are inspired by the tragic death of my father.”
Fractured, Lunatic Soul’s is the fifth album and the follow up to 2014’s acclaimed Walking On A Flashlight Beam. Here, sees a conceptual development for Lunatic Soul with Duda gaining the self-confidence to allow himself greater creative freedom with the new material, experimenting more with electronics and rhythm.
Fractured features Poland’s Sinfonietta Consonus Orchestra, conducted byMichał Mierzejewski, on two of the album’s most personal tracks “Crumbling Teeth And The Owl Eyes” and “A Thousand Shards Of Heaven”; the album also features saxophonist Marcin Odyniec who first worked with Mariusz in Riverside. The album was recorded in Poland at Serakos Studio and Custom 34 Studio, mixed by Magda & Robert Srzedniccy and Mariusz Duda, and the artwork was created by long time collaborator, renowned cover artist Travis Smith, whose previous work includes the likes of Anathema, Katatonia, Opeth & Riverside.
Legendary Swedish progressive rockers Kaipa, led by mastermind Hans Lundin, have announced the release of their new studio album ‘Children of the Sounds’ for 22nd September 2017. The band’s 13th album, and 8th since the act were reborn in 2002, this album features the line-up of Lundin, accompanied by Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Morgan Ågren (Karmakanic), Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic), Patrik Lundström (Ritual) & Aleena Gibson, plus a guest appearance from violinist Elin Rubinsztein.
This album is a thing of great beauty, and if you know the extended catalogue of the band, it sits right at the top!! Since Per Nilsson replaced Roine Stolt from the 2007 album ‘Angling Feelings’, there has been subtle change to the style of music. Always melodic, with great interplay between Nilsson’s sometimes frenetic guitar, Reingold’s bass and Lundin’s keys.
Just 5 tracks on here, the opening title track, Children Of The Sounds, sets off with swapped female/male vocal leads interspersed with Nilsson’s piquant guitar floating over all. The rhythm section drive the music along for 11 minutes, and not one minute of this is filler. Aleena Gibson’s voice is an acquired taste I’ll admit, but I can’t imagine anybody else singing her parts!
Track 2 is a 17 minute epic composition that builds right from the off. On The Edge of New Horizonsis a lovely long-form work that Kaipa is noted for. Just when you think it is over, Lundin brings in a new melody or revamps an earlier one. Excellent.
The 3rd track Like A Serpentine does what it says on the tin. Beautiful melodies again and great vocal harmonies, Lundin himself taking the lead. Nilsson excels yet again!! The rhythm section to be so understated carries the tune along very sweetly. The violin places yet another layer overall.
The Shadowy Sunlight, track 4, is the shortest at just under 7 minutes. Beautiful folky violin with some fascinating guitar/keyboards interplay here. Multiple key-changes as the tune ascends to a heady climax – the subtle shift from minor to major really awaken a longing for resolution and finally Nilsson delivers! But I wonder why it finished so soon?
The last track What’s Behind The Fields, opens with a feeling of déjà vu… Have we heard this before? Indeed the track develops into a showcase for all the great features of this band:- harmony vocals and instrumental wizardry of the highest calibre!!
I’ve had very little listening experience of Leprous, so the offer of a chance to review this album was eagerly grabbed! Firstly, my credentials. Since July 5th 1969 (a date famous for King Crimson’s appearance at The Rolling Stones “Free in Hyde Park” gig) I’ve been an avid “prog” fan. OK, that’s out of the way so here goes:-
The amount of “prog” hurled at us these days is bewildering, and a chance to get an early listen to a new album free of any expectations or recommendations aroused my curiosity.
Norway’s Leprous isn’t easily “pigeon-holed” in a sub-genre… The album opens with Bonneville – a beautifully thought out track that shows off Einar Holberg’s ethereal voice to perfection. The depth of sound gradually increases drawing the listener in… to… Stuck – a more upbeat song with a twanging guitar backing those soaring vocals once more. The drums lay down a compelling rhythm complimenting everything else. This is a longer track at 6 minutes 49 seconds but it flies by, never getting stuck at all. A very pleasing satisfying experience.
Next up is From The Flame – another song with drive and a great hook that is still going round my head! Job done – can see this one becoming a favourite and possibly released as a single? Ahh – Captive – a punchy opening to the shortest track (3.44), melodic vocals over a pizzicato guitar and strange rhythms. Great harmonies too but it will take a bit of time to understand I think.
Illuminate & Leashes – two 4 minute tracks, slower in pace and highlighting the soaring counter-tenor voice of writer/keysman Einar. His is a voice that intrigues me, soft and gentle at one point, rocky and strident at another… I could listen to him all day long!! (I now plan to seek out the Leprous’ back-catalogue)…
Shimmering keys work opens the next track, Mirage, leading to a wall of sound that then fades to a song that shows traces of a Middle-Eastern structure… Intriguing bass line around 3.30 into the track… “I have been trying to break out for too long from the cage…” sings Einar! Oh definitely they’ve done that!
Malina– Bulgarian for raspberry – but no raspberries for this album so far! Beautiful lyrics over a lighter beginning that builds to a crescendo and some frenzied drumming from Baard Kolstad. Roses for this one!
Followed by Coma, a shorter track much like 5 & 6. Dare I say that this track didn’t exactly place me in a coma? Great – “I still feel the heat, no retreat” !!!
Next up a heavier song, The Weight Of Disaster – those heart-string tugging vocals again, why hasn’t Leprous loomed over my horizon before?
The Last Milestone is the last song on this fabulous album. This track wouldn’t be out of place performed at a concert of modern classicist composers like Henryk Górecki… Plaintive vocals over strings and keyboards. Eat your hearts out audiophiles!
Altogether, this one album has opened up a new sound-world for me. I thought that, although I’d heard it all, there is always something new around the corner! I shan’t be so smug in future, and indeed will look forward to the NEXT milestone!
I read from the press release that this album is a change in style for Leprous – I hope they continue to develop it further. Now for that back catalogue – my interest has been kicked in the backside and made to wake up!
Lunatic Soul is Mariusz Duda, the talented creator, singer and multi-instrumentalist behind some of the finest and most captivating progressive music coming from Europe, including his output on UK label Kscope and with Poland’s shooting stars Riverside. Duda is now releasing his fifth and long-awaited album Fractured – the follow up to 2014’s acclaimed ‘Walking On A Flashlight Beam’. ‘Fractured’, has been described by Duda as an album of catharsis after a challenging year in his personal life.
Mariusz explains further “the main theme of “Fractured” is coming back to life after a personal tragedy. It’s inspired by what happened in my life in 2016 and by everything that’s happening around us and what’s making us turn away from one another and divide into groups, for better and for worse. Musically it will be the most original album I have ever made as well as the most accessible and personal album in the Lunatic Soul discography.”
Fans can watch the new video & hear the title track “Fractured”:
As well as a conceptual development, Duda gained the self-confidence to allow himself greater creative freedom with the new material, experimenting more with electronics and rhythm and inspiration with influences from the likes of Massive Attack and Depeche Mode to Peter Gabriel and David Sylvian. ‘Fractured’ features Poland’s Sinfonietta Consonus Orchestra, conducted by Michał Mierzejewski, on two of the album’s most personal tracks “Crumbling Teeth And The Owl Eyes” and “A Thousand Shards Of Heaven”; the album also features saxophonist Marcin Odyniec who first worked with Mariusz in Riverside.
The album was recorded in Poland at Serakos Studio and Custom 34 Studio, mixed by Magda & Robert Srzedniccy and Mariusz Duda, and the artwork was created by long time collaborator, renowned cover artist Travis Smith, whose previous work includes the likes of Anathema, Katatonia, Opeth & Riverside.
UK Progressive Rock act Drifting Sun have announced that they are in the final stages of completing their forthcoming new concept album ‘Twilight’ and it is now available as a pre-order ahead of a 1st September release at the band’s official website here:
As a ‘thank you’ for pre-ordering ‘Twilight’, the band are giving away the new single Eternal Cycle with each pre-order. Once you have ordered from the website, you will receive a free download code direct to your email address.
Drifting Sun are a UK-based Progressive Rock studio project which dates back to the early 90’s when Keyboardist/Composer Pat Sanders left his native France for England with Bass Player Manu Sibona. Their music has been described as dramatic, theatrical, & atmospheric, in the true style of prog rock giants such as Dream Theater, Queensryche, Genesis and Jethro Tull, to name but a few of the bands that influenced their sound.
Drifting Sun’s eponymous debut CD was released in December 1996 to positive reviews from across the globe. Following line-up changes, ‘On The Rebound’, the band’s second CD was released in the autumn of 1998. After taking a long break from the music business during which time he pursued other interests, Pat decided to revamp his project, and, armed with a brand new line up, released their third opus ‘Trip The Life Fantastic’ in January 2015.
Pat, Manu, Peter Falconer (vocals), Dan Storey (guitars) and Will Jones (drums) recorded the previous album ‘Safe Asylum’ that was released on the 21st May 2016. This was the last record to feature Dan on guitars and his replacement, Mathieu Spaeter (of The Franck Carducci band) was recruited in time to record the new album ‘Twilight’.