Prog Rock news outlet The Prog Report is pleased to announce an All-Star event featuring some of the biggest names in the Progressive Rock. The event titled ‘Prog From Home’ will premiere on The Prog Report YouTube channel on Saturday, May 9th at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm UK / 8pm CET.
The virtual concert will feature curated at-home performances by Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo/Neal Morse Band), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Steve Hackett, Neal Morse, Michael Sadler (Saga), Ray Wilson (ex-Genesis), Nick Barrett (Pendragon), Oliver Wakeman, Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train), Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief), Casey McPherson (Flying Colors), Haken, Enchant, Magenta, The Reign of Kindo, John Wesley (ex-Porcupine Tree), Paul Beilatowicz (Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy), John Mitchell (Lonely Robot), Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band), Novena, Moron Police, Dave Kerzner & Fernando Perdomo, Randy McStine & Adam Holzman, The Fierce and the Dead, Randy and Pamela George, Dani Rabin (Marbin). Also included are some guest performers and presenters.
The show is in support and celebration of doctors, nurses, first responders and all health-care workers.
*** The Prog Report is one of the premiere destinations for progressive rock news, interviews, reviews, and more. The Prog Report podcast is ranked as one of the Top Ranked Music Commentary podcasts on Apple, with various programming including Prog Report Top 5, Artist and album profiles, and interviews with the biggest artists in Prog. Launched in 2013, The Prog Report has a worldwide audience with an extremely passionate social media following.
Progressive rockers Haken recently revealed their new studio album ‘Virus’, the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed album ‘Vector’, will be released 5th June 2020. Now they are pleased to launch the video for the album’s second single ‘Canary Yellow’, a striking animated clip created by Crystal Spotlight. Watch it now here:
The band comments: “For Canary Yellow, we went in a more alternative direction, since we’re all big fans of bands like Radiohead, Elbow and Peter Gabriel. Those are artists who can portray quite dark subject matter through really beautiful music. Since the ‘Virus’ album is intended to be a metaphor for various negative tropes of society, we wanted to explore this idea in a variety of ways.
Canary Yellow deals with the suppression of physical and mentally abusive relationships; something that can often remain hidden behind a seemingly happy facade.
We once again returned to long time visual collaborators ‘Crystal Spotlight’ for this ambitious animation and we’re absolutely thrilled with how well the visuals complement and enhance the atmosphere of the song. The video shows a seemingly idyllic family environment, but with a sense of sadness beneath the surface and absolute devastation looming on the horizon. They go about their day oblivious to the fact that they are mannequins living in a 1950s style ‘Doom Town‘ experiment.”
he video for the album’s first single, ‘Prosthetic’, has reached over 200,000 views so far and the song has over 300,000 streams. You can watch the video now here:
The band recently started broadcasting from their new Twitch channel, and they will be going in-depth on how ‘Canary Yellow’ was written and produced on the 8th May at 6pm UK time. Watch here:
By way of introduction, the band recorded a special video message to give some background to the new record:
Since releasing ‘Vector’ in October 2018, Haken have completed headline tours the world over, played sold-out shows across Europe and North America as support for Devin Townsend and picked up a Prog award for their efforts too! All the while, they have been quietly, secretly working on the follow-up album, entitled ‘Virus’.
Drummer Ray Hearne reveals, “since releasing ‘The Mountain’ in 2013, one question has been asked of us time and time again, ‘who is the Cockroach King?’. This is something we were interested in exploring more deeply too, so we essentially did that through our music; elaborating and expanding upon the intervallic, harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical themes of that song. The end result is in an arc which spans across two albums: ‘Vector’ and ‘Virus’”.
Once again, Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood has mixed what is perhaps the most eclectic Haken album to date, with the 7 tracks revealing hints of influences from multiple genres, all intertwined with Haken’s own recognisable sound. Guitarist Richard Henshall had this to say about the production, “Using Nolly again was a no-brainer, as we wanted the two albums to be sonically connected. But having just spent a day mixing with him in his studio, it’s obvious that this album will be an evolution of the ‘Vector’ sound. These songs seem to allow a lot more freedom of creativity with the production, so we’re excited to see where it leads”.
Longtime Haken collaborators, Blacklake, have designed the visuals and artwork and the album will be available as a Limited 2CD, Standard CD, Gatefold 2LP + CD & as Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://haken.lnk.to/Virus
The track-listing is as follows:
4. The Strain
5. Canary Yellow
6. Messiah Complex i: Ivory Tower
7. Messiah Complex ii: A Glutton for Punishment
8. Messiah Complex iii: Marigold
9. Messiah Complex iv: The Sect
10. Messiah Complex v: Ectobius Rex
11. Only Stars
‘Virus’ is the culmination of a musical thought experiment which started with the ‘Vector’ writing sessions in 2017 and holds intriguing potential for the band’s future, as vocalist Ross Jennings explains, “whilst ‘Virus’ can absolutely be enjoyed as a stand-alone work, it is thematically and conceptually linked with ‘Vector’, so our intention is to perform both albums back to back for a special performance someday”.
Lunatic Soul’s, talented creator, singer and multi-instrumentalist, MariuszDuda, has been busy during this current lockdown period and is ready to reveal exciting news on a new Lunatic Soul album and the follow up to 2018’s highly praised Under The Fragmented Sky, that will be released later this year on Kscope.
I hope you are all safe and sound, and that you are taking a good care of yourselves, both physically and mentally. These are tough times, filled with fear of what the future might bring us, of how our lives will change, because they surely will. But I also believe that together we can cope with everything.
I’m thinking that Lunatic Soul fans who have patiently waited, deserve to finally receive some news! I haven’t posted anything for quite a while and I hope you can forgive me for that. Let me start by saying ‘thank you’ for supporting my new project, which is individual songs released under “Mariusz Duda”. But don’t be deceived by “The Song of the Dying Memory”, my “subcutaneous songs” will come in different shapes and forms 🙂
A month ago, I started up a new website, www.mariuszduda.md where I gathered and graphically organised all the musical endeavors I have taken part in, leaving free spaces for future plans. In the Lunatic Soul section, there are two empty slots. One of them is for this year’s album, which will be released in the autumn of 2020.
Many of you already know that I have been working on the seventh Lunatic Soul release. There have been occasional news from the studio, some short clips, pictures from a forest 😉 and bits of information in various interviews. I must say it wasn’t easy to find sufficient time during the intense “Wasteland tour” with Riverside, but, somehow, 75% of the new Lunatic Soul album is ready.
Currently, I’m finishing working on the lyrics. The final recordings, vocals and overdubs,will be planned in May and June, and the seventh Lunatic Soul album will be released in October.
Lunatic Soul has its cycle, and all the albums have their timeline (let me refer you again to www.mariuszduda.md ). The seventh album will be a musical continuation of the black and white albums, the third release “on the side of death”, and the “opposite” album to “Walking on a Flashlight Beam”, where there was a transition from life to death. Here, we will have a transition from death to life. I know it may all sound a little complicated and I promise to explain it all better one day, in a visual form 😉
What is important and what I can already share with you is that:
– it will be a dark folk, organic, Slavic-Scandinavian album. Exactly what you have always expected from Lunatic Soul 🙂
– the colour palette of the album and its cover will be connected with… a dark forest 🙂
– there will be 6 tracks on the album, about 40 minutes in total.
– there will also be a double disc edition with additional… 40 minutes of music, mainly instrumental, including a 26-minute suite called “Transition 2”. That gives us nearly 80 minutes of new material.
I think before the summer arrives, I will be able to reveal more information, both audio and visual, about this new release. It will be a melodious, dense and coherent album. Very close to nature and to my heart. I come from the Masurian land of forests and lakes, that’s where I was born, that’s where I grew up, and thus “sylvan and Slavic moods” have always been and will remain a part of my life.
I don’t know yet what will happen with this year’s concerts of Riverside but I can promise you now that in the autumn of this year you can expect the new Lunatic Soul release.
I hope that it will bring you a lot of intense emotions and perhaps make going through this incredibly difficult time at least a little bit more bearable.
Jakko Jakszyk is pleased to announce he has signed a worldwide contract with InsideOutMusic for the release of his forthcoming new solo album ‘Secrets & Lies’ in late 2020.
Jakko comments: “I’m genuinely thrilled to be signing to Inside Out.
I’ve gotten to know Thomas Waber over the last few years and he has continually encouraged me and subsequently given me the confidence to make music for myself again.”
InsideOut label-head Thomas Waber adds: “I am really happy that Jakko has finally found the time to finish another solo album and that we are going to be working with him on it. We are always looking to work with the best talent in our genre and Jakko is most definitely someone who fits that description!”
Though best known for his work as a vocalist and guitarist in King Crimson since 2013, with whom he has played sold-out nights at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the ancient Amphi-theatre in Pompeii and three nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Jakszyk has enjoyed a busy and diverse career spanning nearly five decades.
Encompassing late 1970s art-rock outfit, 64 Spoons, once memorably described as ‘Stravinsky meets the Barron Knights,’ he’s been signed to the legendary Stiff record label, toured with Canterbury Scene legends Dave Stewart and Pip Pyle as a member of Rapid Eye Movement. Along with numerous studio sessions both as player and producer, including becoming a member of The Kinks for a week, Jakko’s musical career has been nothing if not eclectic.
Named by Guitarist Magazine as one of the top guitarists in the 1980s, his playing caught attention the Mark King who brought him in to replace the legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth, in Level 42 with whom Jakko recorded and played live with for four years in the early 1990s.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, his ability to work within the rigours of avant-garde rock through to sleek, intelligent pop have seen him work with a wide and diverse array of artists that includes Golden Palimino’s Anton Fier, Mica Paris, Tom Robinson, Peter Blegvad, Henry Cow’s John Greaves, Japan’s Mick Karn, and Richard Barbieri, Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson.
A recipient of the ‘Chris Squire Virtuoso award’ at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Jakszyk has also earned a reputation as an in-demand remixing engineer and producer. In this role, he has been commissioned to remix several classic progressive rock albums in stereo and 5.1 surround sound including ELP’s Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery, Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water, King Crimson’s THRAK, The Moody Blues’ In Search Of The Lost Chord and several in-concert performances of Jethro Tull included on the multi-disc reissues for Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses, Minstrel In The Gallery and others.
Look out for more information on his forthcoming new solo album in the near future.
The Bardic Depths is an all new progressive rock project formed from the writing team of multi-instrumentalist, Dave Bandana with lyrics and concept from Bradley Birzer. The self titled debut album releases in March 2020 and features performances from Peter Jones – Saxophone/ Vocals (Camel/ Tiger Moth Tales), Tim Gehrt – Drums ( Streets/ Steve Walsh), Gareth Cole – Guitar (Tom Slatter/ Fractal Mirror) and Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf) amongst a host of other amazing musicians from the progressive rock community.
To say that this is an unusual album is nothing odd, but such is the way of modern music making in that this one stands out for being very different, especially when you consider that this collective has never actually met in full or in person, as yet. In fact, up to a few weeks ago Dave and Brad had not even spoken by phone, skype or similar, this despite them having collaborated on two of Dave’s previous albums.
This group or project came to be because all involved are “Passengers”, the collective noun used by fans of the group Big Big Train for their Facebook group forum. When Lanzarote / Canary Island based musician Dave Bandanna put out a message looking for some musicians to help him with a new project, The Bardic Depths came into being, albeit it through the virtual world of file swapping and editing..
Dave, whose normally work entails entertaining holidaymakers by providing music in the evening at various holiday resort and hotels (he also feeds the islands large stock of feral cats) was inundated with great responses. These came from the likes of Gareth Cole, Peter Jones and Professor Bradley Birzer of Hillsdale College, Michigan among others, with Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf) acting as a producer. This album is certainly different because of all these factors.
The album itself is a celebration of the friendship between C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, both of whom were members of the Oxford University literary group The Inklings, where they would meet to talk about their writing projects and read to each other.
This album explores that friendship across its seven lengthy tracks. The music wears its influences openly with a touch of Pink Floyd and snatches of latter-day Talk Talk’s prog sensibilities, to name just a couple. All are very lovingly collated together to create a highly impressive, moody and emotionally moving musical collage of ideas, influences and performances that, when taken together, merge to create a series of epic pieces reflecting on friendship through the storms of one’s life.
I know I say this about many of the albums I review, but I feel this really is a remarkable project and one that will be viewed very positively come the end of year listings. Well I certainly think that will be the case here, I know it will be for me. Once again this album will need some time for its treasures to become fully apparent for it is only with increasing familiarity that this will become clear. There is so much great music here for your ears to embrace and enjoy that this journey you take will be a most worthwhile and revealing one for you to both start and to appreciate.
Opener piece, The Trenches, refers to the first world war experiences that both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien endured and it is very evocative. Greek literary characters are used to ask the questions about the decisions made, and what the impact of those choices had, on the average man in the trenches. Biting Coals, speaks of the writing group and how, as war survivors, they meet and discuss and talk things over. This song has a lot of atmosphere that is utilised to great effect creating both a safe and cosy environment for the conversation.
Depths of Time is the first real epic, clocking in at 12:33 which gives this three-part piece lots of room for some very extensive instrumental sections. These include some fine, airy sax from Peter Jones amidst some fabulous rhythmic guitar playing from Gareth Cole. The music here is rather ethereal sounding in tone with lots of space surrounding it to give an open effect and a chilled and relaxed tone, all very impressive really. The next piece is Depths of Imagination which opens with spoken word from Brad Birzer and a strong pulsating bass line from Dave Bandanna along with some great keyboards from Paulo Limoli that offset Dave’s vocal delivery.
Depths of Soul follows, opening with some fiery lead guitar from Gareth and more spoken word from Brad. It’s all very evocative sounding and moves onwards fiercely, fuelled by the drums of Tim Gehrt drums and Dave’s fine bass playing once again. The End is another atmospheric piece that contains some great cello from Mike Warren, a fine piano melody from Paulo Limoli and some lovely flute from Dave. This song has a great melody which suits its gentle tone, the music has passion and depth and sounds exceptionally fine indeed. It is all very musical and tuneful with great melodies that really suit the tone of the songs.
The final song, Legacies, opens with bells and a powerful drumbeat. This piece is about what this friendship leaves in its wake and why it made a difference then and still does for us today. How these men lived, what they believed in and lived for still matters for us today and that is the legacy they left us.
What we live for is important, the final spoken words draw the circle to a close with the words and a truly epic guitar solo opened Gareth and finished by Robin. It is simply sensational and a stunning close to what has been an enjoyable album. One of the best of the year so far and one that you really need to hear for yourself.
Legendary Yes guitarist Steve Howe has announced he is to release Love Is on 31st July through BMG Records. Love Is is Howe’s first solo album since the all-instrumental Time in 2011 and has a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs.
The album will be available as CD – gatefold digi-sleeve with 12 page booklet and LP – Black vinyl 180gm with gatefold sleeve, liner notes and lyrics.
Steve Howe sings lead vocals and plays electric, acoustic and steel guitars, keyboards, percussion and bass guitar on the instrumentals while Yes vocalist Jon Davison provides vocal harmonies and plays bass guitar on the vocal tracks. The album also features Dylan Howe on drums.
Many years in the making, Love Is brings together a consistently strong and polished listening experience, forging the very best from the writing and playing throughout the album. This may well be considered the real ‘stand out’ album of Howe’s solo career. The instrumentals keep a highly progressive rock guitar style to the fore, with songs that explore stories of lives lived and lives only just begun. Love Is A River is the central longer song with several textural shifts, featuring a theme played on 12 string and steel guitars.
“I called the album Love Is because it hints at the central idea that that love is important but also love of the universe and the ecology of the world is very important,” says Steve Howe. “Alexander Humboldt went around the world and recognised we are destroying the planet but that was 200 years ago! We are still destroying the planet and, I suppose, my songs show the yearning I have for the love of nature and how beauty, art and music all stem from nature. There is a theme about those things, love, beauty, ecology, nature and wonderful people.
“Love Is A River just seemed a very important track to me, a sort of quintessential track with lots of moods, lots of interesting things going on with steel guitars and acoustic guitars. Further tracks grew from time spent writing in my studio.
“See Me Through looks at the idea that we get through life by not driving ourselves that hard but attempting to achieve things with people who help you along the way and Imagination is dedicated to my granddaughter Zuni. It’s about how I see some of the things she’s experienced in her short seven years.”
“I invited Jon Davison to sing harmonies with me and add bass on the songs. If he was singing on the songs I thought why doesn’t he play bass as well and it turned out nice. He’s been with Yes for seven or eight years and he’s a great guy, great performer and a great interpreter of Yes songs.“I’ve been singing for years, mainly in harmony but I’ve sung lead on lots of my own albums before and I feel that, as I’ve got older, I’ve got a grip on that and, hopefully, it’s improved over the years.”
The album includes many distinctive Steve Howe signatures among the instrumental tracks from the delicate beauty of Fulcrum, Beyond The Call and Pause For Thought to upbeat rock, The Headlands, and the jazz-tinged Sound Picture.
“The instrumentals are like a mood, a place I went to one day, thought this is nice and then I develop that to a point where it’s a finished track. There might be key ingredients that I thought about using musically that I like, that I’m drawn to, and then developing them into something.”
Love Is was written, engineered and produced by Steve Howe with further engineering and mixing by Curtis Schwartz. “I write in my own studio and then go to see Curtis in his studio,” Howe explains. “We expand the tracks and put them on Pro Tools and everything starts to be possible. At some point, probably around 2 years ago, Dylan came down to Curtis’s studio and we recorded the drums on some of the tracks. I could see a balance of five instrumental tracks and five songs and there was a feeling that it was an album, sitting there, looking at me.”
The track listing for Steve Howe’s Love Is album is:
1 Fulcrum (instrumental)
2 See Me Through
3 Beyond The Call (instrumental)
4 Love Is A River
5 Sound Picture (instrumental)
6 It Ain’t Easy
7 Pause For Thought (instrumental)
9 The Headlands (instrumental)
10 On The Balcony
CD Catalogue No. 538608592 Gatefold digi leeve with 12 page booklet with liner notes by Steve Howe & lyrics
LP – Catalogue Number – 538608601180gm Black vinyl in Gatefold sleeve with liner notes by Steve Howe & lyrics
PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS, the California-based band featuring Ted Leonard (lead vocals & guitars), Jimmy Keegan (drums & vocals), Dave Meros (bass) and John Boegehold (keyboards),
is set to release its second opus, “Prehensile Tales”, to be released through InsideOutMusic on May 15th, 2020.
Now the second single and album opener “Raining Hard In Heaven” has been released.
Listen to the track here:
For the six songs on the album (the longest clocking in at over 17 minutes), the band introduced violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel to the sound palette that was once again recorded & mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House.
The album, featuring cover art by Polish artist Mirek (https://www.facebook.com/mirekis7/), will be released as Gatefold 2LP plus CD, Limited Edition CD, and on all digital platforms. Presales are now available!
Scottish progressive rock legends Abel Ganz have released a video of the first track to be taken from their forthcoming new album ‘The Life Of The Honey Bee and Other Moments Of Clarity’.
Arran Shores is an instrumental written by the band’s guitarist David King, the band tell us more…
“We just wanted to say another huge thank you to everyone that has so far taken part in the pre-sale for our new album ‘The Life Of The Honey Bee and Other Moments Of Clarity’. We have been nothing less than awe-struck at the response and it’s really incredibly humbling.
We would like to share a little video with you of one of the tracks from the album : Arran Shores.
This is a tune written and performed by our guitar player David King – inspired by the beautiful Isle of Arran. Please feel free to share – and please also be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.”
You can still pre-order the new album, due for release on 15th June, from the link here:
Gambling is such a widespread activity that you would think that there would be an endless chasm filled with songs that have it as a central theme. Well, to my surprise, it’s not so. It seems that gambling served more as an inspiration to country singers and bluesmen of yesteryear. In the post-1970s era, the influx of gambling-associated songs seems to have slowly dried up.
Which is weird, given that if you check google for annual gambling revenues, they seem to go up each year, for both land-based and digital establishments. If people, musicians included, are doing more and more gambling, why aren’t they exploiting this activity that is a roller coaster of emotion in their music, which is also all about feelings?
Maybe, it’s because online casinos like www.novibet.co.uk are slowly taking over the industry. And the ease of use they provide doesn’t seem as fascinating as gambling in a shed in Mississippi did to folk artists back in the day. Though, the experience is unmatched. They couldn’t choose from thousands of slot games, win progressive jackpots in free spin rounds, and play skill-based mini-games. Or get dealt a hand of blackjack from a dealer on the other side of the globe and win life-altering sums.
So, it wasn’t easy to take a deep dive and try to locate gambling music that’s in some way associated with the progressive rock genre, but I managed to squeeze out a few examples.
The Turn of a Friendly Card
Here’s part of an album instead of just a song. It’s the fifth one from The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1980. This second side of this two-sided LP tells the tale of a middle-aged man who visits a casino where he proceeds to bet it all and lose it all. It’s broken down into five sub-tracks and spawned the hits “Time” and “Games People Play”.
Death Is a Great Gambler
Okay, now here’s a full album from German band Coupla Prog. The band only existed for roughly seven years and they reached their peak in the early 1970s. After the death of member Rolf Peter, due to a drug overdose, they decided to commemorate the loss by writing and recording – “Death Is A Great Gambler but If I Win, Finally I Can Die”.
Youngsters might not know who Wishbone Ash is, but this British band had its run in the mid-1970s. In 1977 they released their eighth album – Front Page News, which was a departure from their previous releases, featuring mostly soft ballads. It peaked at No. 31 in the UK Albums Charts, and featured the song – “Diamond Jack”. The last one on side two.
Upper Sixth Loan Shark
Many still wonder why isn’t Jethro Tull in the rock & roll hall of fame? It’s known that progressive rock bands don’t have a great track record with it comes to joining the illustrious society, even though they’ve been eligible since 1993. However, Ian Anderson is good-enough to grace my list, as he makes it with this solo effort.