Roine Stolt’s The Flower King announces ‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’

Roine Stolt, known as the guitarist, singer, writer and at times band leader of the groups The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Agents of Mercy, Kaipa DC, as well as from his work with prog icon Jon Anderson and the new super-group The Sea Within, is releasing a new album on November 23rd, 2018. Under the moniker ROINE STOLT’S THE FLOWER KING, ’Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ offers 10 songs and almost 70 minutes of playing time celebrating the style Roine is most revered for: progressive rock, richly orchestrated with all the trademark elements from four decades of the genre.

Roine comments: “Unlike many later albums, where recordings have continued over months, this new album has been a fairly quick and effective affair – we started tracking in Holland at the beginning of July and mix was done by mid-August! The songs are written in a very ‘unorthodox’ way – some melodic content and some riffs are ideas that have been circulating for years – some may even be from before the first TFK album – they just hadn’t found a home in any of the bands/albums I did in the last 15 years yet.”

‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ is a celebration of all the styles that have been part of the colourful, daring and dynamic songwriting and arrangements that Roine masters like no other, yet also offers a more immediate, more hands on approach. “Like that first TFK album, I’m the main lead vocalist here again – it works as these lyrics are important to me and resonate with my view of the world. A lot of the guitar work is actually my spontaneous ‘demo’ guitars” and that goes for much of the synth work, too. I didn’t want to ‘process’ ideas too much as there is much power in the initial creation – I wanted to keep it that way.”

The album features a host of other musicians, including long-time collaborators Jones Reingold, Hans Froberg & Michael Stolt, as well as fellow The Sea Within member Marco Minnemann, Max Lorentz, Zach Kamins, Rob Townsend & Nad Sylvan.

‘Manifesto Of An Alchemist’ features stunning artwork from Shaun Beyond (https://www.instagram.com/shaunbeyond/), and will arrive as a limited edition CD digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP + CD & as digital download.

You can find the full track-listing below:

1.Rainsong

2.Lost America

3.Ze Pawns

4.High Road

5.Rio Grande

6.Next To A Hurricane

7.The Alchemist

8.Baby Angels

9.Six Thirty Wake-Up

10.The Spell Of Money

As previously announced, Roine will take The Flower Kings catalogue on tour later this year, as well as playing tracks from this new album. He comments: “I am excited that the album will be released in November this year and at the same time will be in South America playing The Flower Kings music with a band that also includes Hasse Froberg & Jonas Reingold and also introduces two younger friends; Zach Kamins on keyboards and Mirko DiMaio on drums – both fabulous musicians. We will also bring this to Europe where we join forces with legends Spocks Beard.”

South America 2018
16th November – Carioca Club, Sao Paolo, Brazil
18th November – El Teatrito, Buenos Aires, Argentina
19th November – Teatro Nescafe, Santiago, Chile
21st November – Teatro Del Patronato Peruano Chino, Lima, Peru
23rd November – C3 Stage, Guadalajara, Mexico
24th November – Auditoria Blackberry, Mexico City, Mexico

InsideOutMusic 25th Anniversary European Tour feat. Spock’s Beard & Roine Stolt’s The Flower King
30th November – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway
1st December – Kulturhuset Studion, Stockholm, Sweden
2nd December – KB, Malmo, Sweden
4th December – Zeche, Bochum, Germany
5th December – Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
6th December – La Machine, Paris, France
7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
8th December – Hedon, Zwolle, Netherlands
9th December – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
10th December – Academy Club, Manchester, UK

ROINE STOLT’S THE FLOWER KING online:
www.flowerkings.se
http://www.facebook.com/TheFlowerKings
http://www.reverbnation.com/theflowerkings

INSIDEOUT MUSIC online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA
www.insideoutmusicshop.com

Review – The Sea Within – The Sea Within – by Jez Denton

The idea of a Supergroup is a funny thing. A gathering of very talented and creative musicians get together to pool their ideas to create something, they hope, that is absolutely amazing. Sometimes that happens, bands like Cream or The Travelling Wilburys spring to mid for a start; however, often what ends up being created is an album that is somewhat written almost by committee, something that inhibits the creative process because of the sheer amount of creativity that is thrown at the project. And unfortunately, for me, the new album from the collective known as The Sea Within, being released on the 22nd June 2018, falls into the latter category.

The roster of acts that the members of the band have worked with, including Steven Wilson, Yes, and Steve Hackett, obviously shows that these guys are hugely talented and, indeed, this is proven by the playing on the album and accompanying 4 track E.P. There are some fantastically gorgeous moments recorded, the sub E.L.O. / Supertramp vibe on the first half of the 14 minute epic Broken Cord is sublime. But here also is the problem; this song would be a perfect six to seven minute progressive pop tune, it’s a shame they felt the need to include a huge swathe of jazz improv. showing off onto it.

This is a fault repeated on a few of the songs, it’s like someone in the band came to the studio with something they were desperate to have included with the production team including it where they could instead of asking the pertinent questions, does it add to the tune, does it fit, is it needed?

In 1832, JMW Turner, at The Royal Exhibition, upstaged his great rival John Constable, by adding to his great painting Helvoetsluys, a small smudge of orange paint. Just that, something very small and insignificant on the face of it, but hugely significant in the bigger picture. Turner understood the principle of less is more, he had the ability to recognise when something was finished. He didn’t need to keep on adding, he just knew that what he had created was good, brilliantly, jaw-droppingly amazing.

A little bit of this level of self-awareness would have been something which would have improved The Sea Within immensely. They have created a very, very good, maybe even great album here; it’s just that I don’t think they realised they had, they couldn’t stop; if they were Turner they wouldn’t have stopped at a little orange splash, they’d potentially have taken a spray can to the canvas and covered the painting in orange.

Ironically, though, the four track E.P. proves that The Sea Within have got that awareness; maybe because of the format it is recorded on helped, but these four tracks, The Roaring Silence, Where Are You Going, Time and Denise are focused, unfussy and spell-blindingly good – a really enjoyable 28 minutes or so of driving, clever and immense progressive pop rock.

For me, if I was the producer, I would have taken all the superfluous showy off bits out of the album, lost a couple of weaker tracks and included the E.P. in the album itself. Perhaps it’s a project one of the erstwhile musicians, Steven Wilson perhaps, could get their teeth into – turning this reasonable and worthy album by very talented musicians into the potentially great one that is hidden in it. For the listener it is a worthwhile listen, but I’m convinced it could be, and should be, so much more with a helluva a lot less on it.

Released 22nd June 2018

Order The Sea Within here

The Sea Within – Roine Stolt, Daniel Gildenlöw, Jonas Reingold, Tom Brislin & Marco Minnemann – announce self-titled debut album

The Sea Within – the new art-rock collective comprising of Roine Stolt(Transatlantic, The Flower Kings), Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation), Jonas Reingold (Steve Hackett, The Flower Kings, Karmakanic, The Tangent), Tom Brislin (Yes Symphonic, Renaissance, Spiraling, Deborah Harry) & Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, UK, Joe Satriani) – have announced that their debut self-titled album will be released on June 22nd,  2018.

Let’s get one thing straight from the start. The Sea Within is more of an amalgamation of some serious talents, than a regular “supergroup”. These musicians have come together to create a unique album.  Guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt, bassist Jonas Reingold, keyboard player/vocalist Tom Brislin, drummer/vocalist Marco Minnemann and vocalist/guitarist Daniel Gildenlöw have a vast reservoir of experience. Look at the portmanteau of artists with who they’ve worked: The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Jon Anderson, Steven Wilson,The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Yes, Steve Hackett, Renaissance, Pain Of Salvation, Deborah Harry, Meatloaf, Karmakanic … that of itself tells you this is something very special.

“I suppose it all began to take shape in the autumn of 2016,” explains Stolt“I had a chat with Thomas Waber, the boss at InsideOut Music, about the idea of putting together a new band.  I wanted to move in a fresh direction with new collaborations. So Thomas gave me the ‘go ahead’ to seek musicians for a new project.”First on-board was  The Flower Kings bass player Jonas Reingold.- “He is a long time bandmate and friend and we were also very keen to get keyboardist Tom (Brislin) involved – after seeing his synth pyrotechnics with legends Yes ‘Symphonic’ and with Camel. Then we have been a fans of ‘Aristocrats’ drummer Marco for a long time; I first heard of him 15 years ago and he is a brilliant drummer, unique energy. Then when we discussed ideas for singers, Daniel’s name came up, he has such a great range and dynamic voice and we’ve worked together on and off over the years.” Also added later to the bands line-up for live shows was vocalist & guitarist Casey McPherson of ‘Flying Colors’ & ‘Alpha Rev’, who also sings a couple of songs on the album.

Initially the band went to Livingston Studios in London last September to begin the process of assembling all the material and recording it for the debut album.Most of the material you’ll hear are really band compositions. Of course, ideas were triggered by all of us. Sometimes Jonas would come up with a  part, chord sequence or tune  and  then I or Tom would write melody &  lyric and some new riff section and Marco enhancing  with further  musical metric twists and developments – then Daniel would add or  rewrite some of the lyrics, change or add  more  melodies. Overall, the vast majority of the tracks have been worked on and developed by all of us in one way or another.

The entire recording situation took about six months, and the band also have some very special guests featured on the album. We have got Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater playing piano on one song. The legendary Jon Anderson sings on another track, while ‘wind ace’ Rob Townsend, who plays saxophone and flute with Steve Hackett, is also on the record. Each of them brings a different flavour to the music.” 

“People have asked me how I would describe what we have done, and it is almost impossible. I would have to say it sounds like…us, ‘The Sea Within’. Our tastes are very eclectic – from prog to jazz to classical, to heavy rock, folk, punk, electronica and pop. We all come from a different background – so here everything goes. This has been about putting those diverse influences into the music. I feel you will hear all that’s good about pop – with great melodies and hooks – plus the rawness of metal, improvisations, symphonic and movie soundtracks. We also left room for each of us to take off on flights of instrumental jamming. That was the basic idea, anyway. But until we all got together, we had no idea where it would lead or if it would actually work.” The band have ended up recording close to two hours of music, and will be releasing it all in June on what will be a self-titled album.

The Sea Within as a music collective have plans to perform live, and will make their stage debut at ‘Night Of The Prog’ in Loreley, Germany which happens from July 13-15 and will bring special guests for that evening. As far as I am concerned, we will try do as much touring as possible. We have a great band, great label and our agent Rob Palmen on-board.  We have great artwork by Marcela Bolivar, all looks bright.  However Daniel will not be able to join us for touring now, as he has commitments with main band Pain Of Salvation. With Casey taking the vocal spot, now with us live, we can go out on the road and play this album and beyond and grow as a band. We have so much to offer musically, on record and on stage and I am sure we will develop a lot over the next few years.   But ‘The Sea Within’ album is a great start. I am excited for everyone to hear what we have done and am now thrilled to start working on the songs for the live show.”

The album will be available as a special edition 2CD digipak, gatefold 2LP vinyl + 2CD & as digital download. You can find the full track listing below:
Disc 1:

1.Ashes of Dawn
2.They Know My Name
3.The Void
4.An Eye for an Eye for an Eye
5.Goodbye
6.Sea Without
7.Broken Cord
8.The Hiding of the Truth
Disc 2:
1.The Roaring Silence
2.Where Are You Going?
3.Time
4.Denise

As mentioned, The Sea Within has recently announced their first confirmed live date, taking to the stage at Night of the Prog Festival 2018 at Loreley, Germany on the weekend of 13-15th July 2018. Tickets are available now here: http://www.nightoftheprogfestival.com/en/home-2/

International Super Prog project An Endless Sporadic release new album Magic Machine on September 16th

Front preview

One of the worlds most elusive yet breathtakingly captivating progressive rock bands, An Endless Sporadic, is set to return on 16th September 2016 with a new album, ‘Magic Machine’.

‘Magic Machine’ is a showcase for mind-bending musicianship and rich expressiveness via avante garde film-score soundscapes. An abstract journey through different styles of music and environments, the album offers a coruscating kaleidoscope of colours and joy, flashes of stylistic innovation featuring ensemble work that is staggeringly packed full of drama yet still meaningful from a compositional standpoint. This is an aurally challenging album with an experimentally wide sound palette, but as a whole is assuredly palatable, mesmerising and resides in a class paralleled by none.

Zach 1 small

Joining master multi instrumentalist Zach Kamins on this album is a stellar line-up of virtuoso musicians (we stopped counting at 30 instruments…all recorded live and including Hand Hammered Lasagne Trays!) and special guests including Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Michael Iago Mellender (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) and Navene K (Animals as Leaders, Entheos) to name just a few!

Comments Jordan Rudess: “Zach has an enormous musical talent that I’ve been aware of for a long time. It was my pleasure to play some tracks on ‘Magic Machine’ as well as to be part of this important step in his career journey. The album is filled with awesome compositions and great playing!”

Hailing from the hallowed halls of Berklee College of Music in Boston, the brains behind An Endless Sporadic, Zach Kamins, is no stranger to the synergy or intuitiveness that his particular brand of prog-rock-jazz-fusion offers.  Anyone who has ever played Guitar Hero can attest to the beauty of An Endless Sporadic and their songs. The band gained most of their popularity with the song, “Impulse,” which was placed on Guitar Hero 3. After that they recorded, “Anything,” which was placed on Guitar Hero World Tour. From here they produced more songs to create their first EP, “Ameliorate.” And so An Endless Sporadic was born.

Zach 6 small

Comments Zach: “I feel that Magic Machine was created out of a strong desire to bring out the true intention of the name, An Endless Sporadic. I have always had a passion for music that was part of a bigger story, where ideas can take time to develop and be presented in many different ways. “
Magic Machine’s visually stunning cover art was created by Costin Chioreanu (Arch Enemy, Ihsahn, Opeth, Hexvessel)

Magic Machine track listing:

  1. The Departure
  2. Magic Machine
  3. Galactic Tactic
  4. Finding The Falls
  5. The Assembly
  6. Agile Descent
  7. Sky Run
  8. Through The Fog
  9. Sea Voyage
  10. Impulse I

 

Review – Anderson/Stolt – Invention of Knowledge – by Gary Morley

IoK cover

This could get messy. I’m tasked with scribbling a few lines about the upcoming journey into the “Y” Universe undertaken by 2 legends, Prog heroes that 99% of you reading this know more about than me. Yes, it’s part of “That” band’s DNA, as expected. It shares that “Y” chromosome, with the “X” supplied by the Flower King and his court.

I’d say that it distils the “Yes”sence, the very DNA of that home world and that if the CD underwent a Paternity test, the answer would be in the affirmative.

It could be a fragile creature born in the heart of the sunrise, floating on silent wings of freedom. It could be the owner of a lonely heart…

Oops sorry about that. That’s too easy and a cheap shot. Jon Anderson is a unique and individual vocalist and sounds like, well, Jon Anderson no matter what the setting and here it’s on a grand scale. Mister A and Mr S, with help from Mr R have created a great sounding album that deserves to be played loudly through proper speakers. I am willing to bet that the vinyl sleeve will be at least a gatefold, probably a triptych of Roger Dean Acid fried surreal dreamscapes, and such is the warm 70’s vibe that even the mp3 files radiate.

There are ethereal voices, orchestras, layers of guitar and Big church organs, all heralding back to the heydays, the golden summers of the seventies, when Prog was king and boys (and girls) sat, rapt at the feet of the minstrels playing and singing for them.

The music takes you to this parallel place, you get lost in the swirl of words and notes. The language is a familiar one, but the meaning? Well, “be nice to each other on your journey” seems to be the best my babel fish can provide after listening a couple of times.

To be honest, it’s the whole rather than the sum of the parts that we are celebrating here.

I could break it down, track by track, note by note but I’m neither anal enough nor knowledgeable enough to try.

It’s a thing of beauty, ethereal and floaty. It’s the joy of living rather than documenting. More abstract art than selfie.

Timeless, resonant with that which has gone before, there are echoes of the old- that warm semi hollow body guitar sound, the thunderous bass runs, the big church organ that all go to make up the language of the affirmative.

There are also flashes of the other parents – those vocal harmonies, that guitar sound, that break with just bass and keyboards- Very Flowery, but ultimately this is a celebration of a particular band, and it works beautifully.

band

The first time I played it, it was a grey and cold day and the warmth of the music felt at odds with my mood. Today, it’s bright, sunny and hot and the ambience suits the music, it feels “right” for  summer’s day. The perennial optimism of the lyric lifts the soul, although the deeper meaning passes me by, I get a feeling, rather than a definite statement.

At the final analysis, this is a labour of love, the sounds and vibes are faithful to the era that it celebrates. However, I must confess that the excesses of the period that allegedly spawned punk are echoed here, with it all merging into a body  of work that works on one level, but it’s a bit like angel delight. Tastes good, you get stuck in and before you know it, you’ve overindulged and are suffering from indigestion. There are some lovely parts – A lovely piano piece at the climax of Everybody Heals has just caused me to pause from scratching this to listen to it in full, but this album has that marmite potential. Part of me loves it, but another part says to the inner 15 year old that there is more to life than gatefold sleeves, Science Fiction tinged lyrics and everything including the kitchen sink tracks.

So, hit or myth? I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with this album. It is particular exercise in nostalgia for a world that I was just too young to be a part of, an elder brother’s world whereas I was the eldest. I tried. At the time I adored “Going for the One”, the first album I remember hearing / buying by Yes. I’ve filled the gaps in my collection sporadically over the years and this will join them on that shelf. It will get played, I am looking forward to seeing the artwork and hearing it in its full uncompressed digital glory, but I’ve moved on and whilst the inner 15 year old me will be enraptured, 40 years of exposure to the world outside of Yes means that the modern me will wax nostalgically for the world that this invokes, encourage the artists to be true to their muse by purchasing their efforts and accept that I’ve moved on.

Yes world – a great place to visit, but would I want to live there? I’m an urban dweller now, flouncing around slaying dragons, tripping away across summer meadows to the minstrel’s tune is a dream of an Arcadian land that I’m a stranger in. It’s an aspirational holiday destination; one that for the duration of your visit is perfect as it’s totally removed from day to day living.

Released 24th June 2016 – Europe, 8th July 2016 USA/ROW.

Buy ‘Invention of Knowledge’ from Inside Out