Thursday, 30 November 2017

House of The Mind (Comedy of Errors, 2017))

This band was already responsabile of some excellent neo-prog music (and you can find a few posts about them in this blog), but their 2017 album has a somewhat richer taste. This title song is an enjoyable and unpredictable collection of moods,  some old and some new, some rough and some elegant.
 
"House of The Mind" was the band's fourth studio album.
 
There's a great guitar work, both rythm anGrazie d solo ones and, of course, a good choice of atmospheric keyboards. Last but not least, the melodies are all very well found and the arrangements are all effective. And as I also like the dynamic tempo changes, I can only recommend this track to you all.     

Sunday, 26 November 2017

In The Dark (Matthew Parmenter, 2008)

Matthew Parmenter of Discipline fame (see elsewhere in this blog) is a very interesting musician and composer, during both his band member and solo careers. This song, taken from the album "Horror Express", is strongly influenced by Hammill and VDGG moods, and is a highly dramatic one, matching irregular melodies and dark lyrics. Sad and hypnotic passages, based on obsessive piano and percussion paces, deeply dig into the singer's and the listener's souls, with no concessions to easy tunes nor predictable developments.

No doubt this is a disquieting cover art. Well, the music inside too.

Each note here has its own part of sorrow, still the whole composition is such a beautiful emotional clockwork that it mixes sad thoughts and majestic beauty. That's why "In The Dark" isn't a mere musical trip, but an inner experience I highly recommend to you all. And if you happen to share my opinion, don't hesitate and go on discovering other songs by Mr. Parmenter. Something tells me you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Différences (Arrakeen, 1990)

When I first lisened to Frernch band Arrakeen's CD titled "Patchwork", I immediately appreciated Maïko's voice, something between Annie Haslam and Kate Bush. But very soon I loved all the rest. Meaning good arrangements, beautiful melodies, skilled musicians and - last but not least - a rather eclectic approach to neo-prog, including classic quotations, Marillion hints (Steve Rothery also appeared on the CD's last track) and folk passages.

"Patchwork" was Arrakeen's debut album.

This song, the longest one from the album, is intended as a dialogue between five characters (She, He, The Painter, The Other One and The Echo) and is mostly based on a fluid mid-tempo and melodic pattern. Some good guitars and a clever keyboard background are also among its highlights. Unfortunately, Arrakeen were a short lived act and only released two albums. Such a shame, IMHO.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Parlour Games (Groundburst, 2017)

Ireland is a fairy land, probably that's why it dishes out some fresh and unpredictable music. Groundburst are an eclectic band from Dublin, ranging from electronic sounds to solid rock tracks and - last but not least - very good at communicating emotions. Take this "Parlour Games", for example. They mix post-rock, jazz hints and a light, proggy atmosphere in one coherent song, where you get hints of King Crimson, Radiohead and Police at the same time. 

"Parlour Games" comes from the band's "Triad" EP.

These three musicians know how to experiment new sound solutions without giving up consistency and agreeableness, so that this track is both challenging and blooming. I actually like the way Groundburst mix delicate and trenchant passages making use of skilly tempo changes... and you'll find a lot of this in their "Triad" EP. In our era of useless noises and ostentation, I'm glad to find here a rare example of good taste.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The New Kings (Marillion, 2016)

"The New Kings" was a Marillion fans' favourite from the very start and for many good reasons, IMHO. Firstly, the leading melodies are excellent, enjoyable and far from trivial. Secondly, the plot of this suite, divided into four movements, is coherent and diversified. Thirdly, the instrumentation is rich and intriguing, including a string quartet, a hammered dulcimer (played by Hogarth) and some beautiful backing vocals.

"The New Kings" was the F.E.A.R. album leading single.

Last but not least, the lyrics about the illegal gain underworld are topical like never before. The warm and well mixed acoustic / electric sounds are fascinating and richly arranged, full of sharp changes and liquid solos, the way Marillion have to be both classic and modern. After all, the F.E.A.R. album is likely the band's proggest work in twenty years... excellent news, no doubt.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

King of Hearts (Drifting Sun, 2016)

A little neo-prog today. Drifting Sun are an International band including French, British and American members and based in the UK. I happen to like their rather eclectic approach to a sub-genre usually considered as an immutable canon. Listening to this song, taken from these musicians' "Safe Asylum" album, you'll find some Fish-era Marillion and IQ hints, but also a sprinkling of metal riffs and some Asia-like epic sounds. 

"Safe Asylum" was Drifting Sun's fourth studio album.

The melodies are well found and the ever changing arrangements add a less predictable side to this band's music. Peter Falconer's vocals perfectly match with the music and its contrast-based pattern, while the rest of the band plays as one, even if some very good solos  and even better duos enrich the track. In short, if ever you're into enjoyable, creative and inspiring (neo-)prog, this song and this band were made for you. Anyway, they surely were for me. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Lady of Shalott (Atmosphera, 1977)

Back to the Seventies, here you are a long epic by Israeli band Atmosphera, taken from their only album, released in 1977 and re-released in 2002 with an entire bonus CD. Efrayim Barak's voice sounds much like Jon Anderson's, but Atmosphera aren't just another Yes clone: their music ranges from Procol Harum to Camel, including glimpses of Genesis, Pink Floyd and - of course - Yes. Rather easy and melodic, this composition also features more tricky passages, some interesting keyboard and guitar solos (Moti Fonseca has an excellent touch, IMHO), and I especially like Yuval Rivlin's piano and Alon Nadel's intriguing bass lines. 

The 2 CDs version  also includes a videoclip of Lady of Shalott.

This suite (well, it is virtually a suite, even if an undivided one) has a solid and coherent pattern and isn't a mere period piece, being as enjoyable as it was in 1977. Some tempo changes actually strike me, and each passage seems to me well conceived and even better performed. In short, if you're searching for neglected jewels from the Golden Era of prog rock, this one's for you.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Outlines (The Chant, 2012)

The Chant are a Finnish band born during the 1990s, but their debut album was only released in 2008. This track, "Outlines", features some of their best qualities: it begins like many other post-rock compositions, then it unfolds a succession of diversified and fascinating atmospheres. Being a 7 members band, The Chant can put into their melting pot a good deal of instruments, encouraging an open-minded approach and a well assembled songwriting.

"A Healing Place" was the third studio album by The Chant.

I like the way they alternate full-bodied, thick passages and almost bare vocal-piano or vocal-guitar breaks. Sure, some of their moods aren't brand new and follow the contemporary post-rock trend, but The Chant are more than this, and a warm and definitely prog soul springs up when you don't expect it.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Pareidolia (Haken,2013)

"Pareidolia" is one of the two long epic tracks included in "The Mountain" album and also one of the most interesting songs by Haken, IMHO. I like the way the band mix different moods into a highly coherent composition: hard rock, eclectic prog, Eastern scales, introspective breaks and devilish solos are all gathered here. The atmospheric passages and the high tempo riffs follow each other and create a dynamic and riveting musical plot, where each idea seems to pop up at the right moment.

"The Mountain" was the third studio album by Haken.
 
The lyrics are about the human effort to find the meaning of life beyond the surrounding chaos and fragility. Pareidolia is the well known phenomenon in which we recognize familiar images where they don't exist, such as the man in the moon or animal shapes among the clouds. Such a challenging subject is very well supported by the band's music, summoning ancient civilizations and suggesting a rather pessimistic mood evolving in a majestic and even dreadful crescendo. A very special song, if you believe me.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Le fantôme de Galashiels (Mona Lisa, 1974)

Mona Lisa surely are one of the best French bands from the Progressive rock golden era and IMHO they deserve prog fans' attention (and gratitude). This track comes from "L'escapade", the band's first album, released in 1974 and features all the best known and most loved elements of their music. The theatrical vocals (in the wake of Ange, but with more acid accents) are there, and also the tempo changes and the well performed union of acoustic and electric instruments, including some psych passages here and there. 

This is the original artwork of Mona Lisa's debut album.

If Dominique Le Guennec's lead vocals immediately attract the listener's attention, a keener listening will show a skilled and well organized group. A special mention goes to Jean-Luc Martin's bass guitar, whose plain and effective lines strongly characterize Mona Lisa's sound. And there's more than sounds in this track, as "Le fantôme de Galashiels" has a strong emotional side, lining up sombre moods and dreamy flashes in a rich and unpredictable pattern that still amazes me. 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Mystic Queen (Camel, 1973)

Something in this song reminds me of the Hippy festivals and of proto-prog sounds. I know we're in 1973, the very heart of the progressive rock Golden Era, but there is a scent of Woodstock and Summer of Love mixed with proper prog here. Even the song title goes back to the upper class girls wearing long coats and necklaces and searching for another world. That said, "Mystic Queen" is a great ballad, featuring one the best sung themes in Camel's career along with heartwarming instrumental sections.

"Mystic Queen" comes from Camel's self-titled debut album

Bardens actually wrote a masterpiece and the rest of the band added that unique smooth flavour Camel are famous for. Last but not least, it's incredible how this track - bearing all the traits of the early '70s - aged so well... I like it today even more than fourty years ago and I'm delighted to say that I know many millennials that are fond of it.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Custody of The Knave (Argos, 2010)

Argos are one of the most interesting prog bands from the 21st Century German scene. Certainly influenced by both first and second generation progressive rock groups, they developed their own style, an introspective and challenging mix of symphonic rock, neo-prog and experimental music. This song, taken from the album "Circles", actually dig into the listener's soul and reminds me of VDGG,Hammill solo ballads and also The Flower Kings.

"Circles" was the second studio album by Argos.

It's a moving and well written song, including essential and effective drumming solutions, atmospheric passages, very good vocal harmonies, a beautiful, sad piano, some spiritual keyboard touches and, of course, a stunning vocal performance by Robert Gozon. Please don't hesitate and listen to other songs by Argos: you'll find many different musical worlds and (what's more) you'll appreciate the way this band can touch you giving new life to prog.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Divine Attribution (SETI, 2005)

...And now something for those among you loving atmospheric, melodic prog. SETI is an international project aimed to find radio signals coming from intelligent extra-terrestrial forms of life. But since 2005 it is also an interesting chilean prog band. Founded by multi-instrumentalist Claudio Momberg and Others members of Subterra (see elsewhere in this blog). This song comes from their debut album "Life Signs" and has a strong spacey and floydian influence, but also an easy-going melodic pattern in the neo-prog style.

This album also includes an excellent five parts suite.


Some beautiful keyboard and guitar solos perfectly top the cake. The SF theme adds a somehow arcane taste to the song, but it never deviates the band's sound toward math-rock landscapes. There is a warm and dreamy soul behind those radio telescopes...

Monday, 22 May 2017

Distances (The Pyramidis Project, 2015)

The electronic side of prog is too often underrated or even neglected by fan sites and reviewers, and that's too bad if only one remembers the essential contributions to our genre provided by such artists as Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and so on. That said, Austrian band The Pyramidis Project is one of the most interesting projects out there when it comes to elecronic prog. This track is the perfect gate into their world for prog fans. "Distances" is taken from the album "Emotional Distances" and actually the CD title says it all, as electronic keyboards and space rock effects perfectly match with genuine (and strong) emotions.

"Emotional Distances" was the second CD by TPP.

If you're convinced that electronic devices are but stiff things, this track will change your mind. Mario Buchinger, the mind behind The Pyramidis Project, knows how to mix different soundscapes and musical influences, so that his tracks are never flat nor hazy. Take "Distances" for example: beautiful melodies flow along with diversified samples and a stingy musical research. Oldest fans (like me) will find echoes of Alan Parsons, Floydian hints and even early Genesis moods. Please note that such a rich blend leads to a highly original atmosphere, and never to a derivative sound. It's challenging and unpredictable... that's why I call it prog!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Remember Us (The Pineapple Thief, 2003)

No doubt the closing track from the album "Variations on A Dream" is one of the best achievements by The Pineapple Thief and not only because of its duration time (some 16 minutes). This song is based on beautiful chords and strongly build on melodic grounds. The instrumental passages are simply perfect, exploring both modern and traditional prog, settng up a deep and atmospheric mood. The central spacey section also has a psychedelic taste, and the following arpeggio introducing the electronic side of the track couldn't be more suitable.

This is the 2011 K-scope remix artwork. The original release
on Cyclops catalogue (2003) came with a different cover.

Different horizons seem to match into an evocative and diversified musical trip, where wonders and emotions follow each other. And if Prog Rock main problem lies on transitions, The Pineapple Thief certainly worked it out, providing unpredictable and moving gateways between their different worlds. In a word, this is an unmissable track, one of the 21st Century milestones of our genre.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Don't Go Deep Into The Forest (Aican, 2016)

These Russian musicians really got me. Their approach to music is original and challenging, featuring a great deal of moods and inspiration sources. Even without keyboards, their 2016 second album is full of progressive treasures and musical charms. This title track, for example, ranges from modern prog to space/ambient music, including some metal hints here and there.

Lena Kotek is responsible of this beautiful cover art.

The arcane background of the song, the strongly effected riffs and the sweet, even melodic sections build up a long and evocative journey through an inner forest of sounds and emotions. I especially like the final part of this epic, a beautiful specimen of guitarist Vitaly ‘Krikston’ Pereladov's eclectic style, including dreamy, distorted and even bluesy elements, beautifully supported by the rythm section, namely Roman Varaksin and Max Shein. Believe me: this is worth your next twenty minutes of spare time.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Desert (Steve Linnegar's Snakeshed, 1982)

These musicians come from South Africa and this is maybe their proggest track, a 14 minutes song deeply influenced (IMHO) by Animals-era Pink Floyd and some pastoral British bands. Guitarist duo Steve Linnegar and Martin Kopelowitz  founded this band in Cape Town and recorded theirt first album between South Africa and London. I do think this is a fascinating and enjoyable composition, featuring atmospheric passages and beautiful tempo changes, even if I read many ungenerous reviews about this track and "Classic Epics" album, labelled as a derivative and "less than average prog pop" release.

The cover reveals Linnegar & Kopelowitz's passion for martial arts.

Likely because of my musical ignorance, I confess that I enjoyed "Desert" very much, and I still listen to it from time to time. What I especially like here is the open minded approach of the band, melting so many different styles in one coherent song, with a liquid and warm texture where prog meets soul. I'd like to know my progfriends' opinion about this old piece of music.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spartacus Concerto I, II, III (Rumblin' Orchestra, 1998)

Rumblin' Orchestra's album "Spartacus" is a very good example of flamboyant and orchestral progressive rock, still it never goes too tricky and keeps a pleasant and not-too-intellectual mood. These Hungarian musicans resumed the Roman gladiator Spartacus's history also inspiring the German act Triumvirat for their 1975 album. I especially like this three part Concerto, classically lining up two lively sections and a central melodic interlude.

Rumblin' Orchestra only released two albums between 1998 and 2000.,

Not only the music is very well played and arranged, but it is build up on solid compositions and beautiful tempo variations. Even if keyboards are the foremost instrument here, a great deal classical instruments provide a coherent and original sound. And after all, coherence and union aren't so strange when family ties are concerned: five Rumblin' Orchestra members out of six belonged to the same family!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Take A Pebble (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1970)

I don't need to introduce such a masterpiece to my readers. I just like to remember how important "Take A Pebble" was in the powerful trio history. Not only this track is one of their early achievements, but it also features all the highlights they'd be famous for. A gentle ballad, an awesome piano, a diversified and unpredictable structure and, of course, a mix of different genres, from folk to jazz and from the symphonic rock arrangement to the improvisation-like section.

Young and prog... ladies and gentlemen, ELP.

The rythmic pattern is a very original one, including soft percussions and hand clapping, while Greg Lake's beautiful voice tops the cake. This is how prog rock should sound like: gentle and sparkling, flowing and - most of all - open minded. About the lyrics, the metaphor sea = life can be a largely exploited one, but is beautifully written and matches the music perfectly. What else? Just listen to this once more...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Formas-Pensamento (Violeta de Outono, 2012)

Just a few bands around the world chose the eclectic and winding road to prog this Brazilian band took. From their first psychedelic and Sixties-oriented albums to their latest prog releases, they created their own original and interesting musical world, each record adding some new ingredients to such a spicy recipe. This track opens the album "Espectro" (meaning "Spectre") and fluctuates in and out of space rock, folk ballads, classic prog and fusion with a surprisingly natural and mild mood.

"Espectro" was the sixth studio album by Violeta de Outono.

The soft vocals and the space rock touches provide the atmospheric part, while the instrumental breaks - solos and interplays - add a lively and thrilling side to the track. The psych roots are also there, along with a vague Italian Prog echo. Really, this is a great way to start an album and a brilliant, diversified example of eclectic prog.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Stories (Eela Craig, 1974)

Eela Craig were one of the first Austrian prog bands ever, as they released their debut album in 1971. These boys from Linz gathered many influences from the English early progressive bands, mainly Pink Floyd and Genesis, and eventually enriched those (very good) roots with an original mellow twist, a strong symphonic pattern, a pinch of jazz and also some Christian lyrics.

The original 7" single b/w "Cheese". Both tracks are available
on the CD version of Eela Craig's debut album.


I especially like their pastoral side, something you'll find in "Stories", a non-album song, released as a single in 1974 and now available as one of the bonus tracks of their debut self-named album's CD re-release. This Mellotron-driven track has a spacey background and a vaguely folk melody, a combination I happen to like. You'll also appreciate the instrumental final section, midway between Trespass-era Genesis and early King Crimson. Relax and listen to them...

Friday, 24 February 2017

Place Called Home (The J Conspiracy, 2015)

New bands are more and more into streaming free distribution and among those I put into my blog a very interesting German act called The J Conspiracy and whose longest track, "Place Called Home", is a fine example of eclectic prog. I like the way these musicians line up different moments and moods to create a diversified and coherent suite divided into six parts. Modern as it can be, this song is also well rooted into the prog history solid ground and offers many interesting soundscapes.

 
The J Conspiracy: Ralf Brand, Chris Buß, Heiko Löb and Karl Schlesinger.

What's more, the band builds up their songs on strong melodies and very well found themes... not a common feature in a musical world where effects and arrangements take the main role. That said, the instrumental performances are first-rate and so is the visual project accompanying this song and available on the band's offical site (see below). Last but not least, the lyrics provide a poignant overview of the daily struggle between our need of a deep truth and the shallow commotion of modern life. Finally, here you are an excellent way to spend your next twenty minutes, if you ask me.
Enjoy the slide-based presentation for this song:  http://thejconspiracy.de/fotoslide/

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Dreaming Light (Anathema, 2010)

Anathema are a very well established band and their musical evolution from metal to atmospheric prog is universally known. I could have chosen more intricated and longer tracks to put here, but I'm fascinated by this plain and dreamy song. It comes from the album titled "We're Here Because We're Here" and features one of the best melodies Anathema found in their career, IMHO.

"We're Here Because We're Here" was th eight CD by Anathema.

Light is an important topic of the entire album, as the cover art proves very well and the video for this song is also based on alternating shadows and lights. Its arrangement highlights are the atmospheric, ethereal keyboards by Les Smith (leaving the band soon after this CD), the dreaming, Gilmour-esque guitar solo (thanks, Mr. Vincent Cavanagh!) and - last but not least - the clear, moving vocals by Lee Douglas. Six minutes of wonder.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Avskjed (Neograss, 2012)

Prog rock is the land of contamination, as we all know, and this Norwegian band is a perfect specimen of such a musical graft. More than this, Neograss promote an unusual and promising blend including prog, of course, and bluegrass, a specially rich and joyous kind of country music. As you can imagine, their Scandinavian origins also provide a bonus atmospheric element.


"Overtru Fra Yttersia" is the fourth studio album by Neograss.

This track, "Avskjed" (meaning "Goodbye"), opens their 2012 album titled "Overtru Fra Yttersia" (that's "Superstition from the Coast") and is a beautiful example of both traditional and modern prog, with all the good old ingredients we love, plus a chamber orchestra and a fresh, lively rythmic addition of folk instruments, especially willow flute and banjo, both played by Emil Bekkevold. Surprising and enthralling, this is real prog, folks!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Mind over Matter (Us, 2006)

Prog rock ballads are quite rare, so I'm happy to add this "Mind over Matter" to my blog. It's the opening track from the album "The Young and Restless" and has the mellow, pastoral taste of some Golden Era bands (a "Trespass" feeling, if you ask me). The sung melody is simple and effective, while the instrumental breaks are light and redolent. Sure, this is not a musical revolution, but I sometimes indulge to plain and delicate flavours, especially when the musicians know how to write and play their music.

"The Young And Restless" was the fourth studio album by Us.

After all, the Dutch band Us is an experienced one, lining up a rich discography and an indisputable skill when it comes to melodic prog. See how guitars and keyboards melt into a coherent sound in this song and how the vocal harmonies are well found. Six minutes of peace... not a negligible gift nowadays!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Gusliar / Гусляр (Pesniary / Песняры, 1979)

This is the only track included in Pesniary's album bearing the same title and released in 1979. This Byelorussian band is responsible for several long suites based on local legends and poems and featuring music by contemporary composers from the Soviet Union. This track is divided into twelve sections and has a strong folk flavour, but also a recognizable symphonic plot.

The 1979  LP release on Melodiya label. You'll also find a
2000 CD re-release by Boheme Music.
 
The tempos follow one another with the most enjoyable variety and the vocal harmonies (a Pesniary's well known trademark) are simply impressive. Of course, the classical infuence is everywhere, but "Gusliar" is never too grandiloquent and has many intimate passages. If you like an unclassifiable kind of music and the orchestra / band interplays, this one is for you.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Estonia (Marillion, 1997)

What a sad and beautiful song! And the story behind it is also interesting: it's about the sinking of the passenger ferry Estonia in 1994 in the Baltic Sea, the worst European shipwreck since WWII. 852 people died and 138 were rescued alive, including Paul Barney, one of the two British passengers on the ship and the only survivor. Marillion's singer Steve Hogarth met him on an aeroplane and got the inspiration for the lyrics .

MS Estonia gave rise to a great disaster and, also, to a great song.

The music was also strongly influenced by the disaster and the morn, spritual mood of the song - especially of the dreamy instrumental part - is a heartbreaking depiction of death experience and after-death expectations. "Estonia" starts with Barney's story, but is more about the loss of loved ones than the actual sinking of the Estonia ferry. As a matter of fact, Hogarth's firts lines are still linked to the disaster's physical circumstances, then the focus moves to the unwordly side of such a painful occurrence. Moving and inspiring, IMHO.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Intoxicatingly Lost / 沉醉不知處 (Zhaoze / 沼澤, 2016)

Zhaoze (Chinese for "marsh") finally produced in 2016 a CD aimed to the International market and this is its title track, a 12 minutes instrumental. The blend of traditional and rock instruments set in a post-rock frame is fascinating and the beautiful variations bring a rather progressive mood into the song, a mood that is also invigorated by a dreaming electric guitar.  The creative drumming and the firm bass lines also beong to the rock side of Zhaoze, so that one couldn't label this instrumental as a mere atmospheric song.

This beautiful cover art reminds me of Eastern watercolors.

And after all the plot of "Intoxicatingly Lost" is a strongly structureted one, lining up crescendos and calandos, still interludes, interesting interplays and sweet passages. The final flute section  surely is one of my personal highlights from this track, featuring a perfect specimen of melodic deconstruction without any useless tangles. In short, this song is worth our attention and will encourage further explorations on Zhaoze planet.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Path of Your Dream (Aunt Mary, 1973)

Aunt Mary are one of the oldest (and most interesting) Norwegian prog rock bands and this track comes from their third studio album "Janus", released in 1973, during their fully progressive phase. The lively intro with its keyboards / guitars interplay states the symphonic nature of the track and of the entire album. The melodic sung section also has a folkish taste in the wake of the best Scandinavian traditions, but I'm especially impressed by the finalrumental part, a real treat for any classic prog lover.

It's an impressive cover art, isn't it?

And if you decide to listen to the whole album, the following Beatles-like song is simpy perfect after such a pièce de rèsistance! Aunt Mary should have known a wider recognition for their work, but they actually had too many contenders back in the early Seventies. But they're back now and they deserve our attention, IMHO.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Shadow of The Lake (Mystery, 1998)

Here you are some well conceived and well performed neoprogressive rock. "Shadow of The Lake" is a 15 minutes track by Canadian band Mystery from their album "Destiny?". Like all the best examples of this sub-genre, you'll find here references to some of the classic bands from the Seventies and also a good deal of passion and emotion. In addition to this, the sung parts are very good, with a ballad-like flavour that Mystery know how to mix with the symphonic side of their music.

This is the original cover art of "Destinhy?". It also exists a 2009
10th anniversary edition with a different cover.

Some strong electric guitars and a series of beautiful changes provide more charming moments and enliven the track. Michel St-Père - the mind behind the band - plays both guitars and keyboards, and builds up a rather complex plot for this song, probably the first full-progressive one in Mystery's discography. I surely enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Free Hand (Gentle Giant, 1975)

Luckily one of the most devilish prog rock songs ever, based on jazzy (and also folkish) keys and a fast tempo ballad, but also including an amazing series of changes, interludes, musical instruments and variations on the main theme. It is almost impossible to label such a song (and any GG's song, as to that), but "Free Hand" has what I call a touch of magic, with all those luna park sounds and syncopated rythms.

"Free Hand" was the seventh studio album by Gentle Giant.

The unifying sung theme dances between the incredible list of instruments required by this track, things like clavinet, synth, electric piano, woodbklock, cowbell... simply anything they could get their hands on! This is Gentle Giant, my friends: nothing is predictable or usual, still such a challenging music is never unpleasant. As they say: Now my hands are free from the ties!

Monday, 2 January 2017

18400 TL (21.Peron, 1975)

First of all, 1975 can be only considered as an approximate recording year for this track. 21.Peron were no doubt one of the best Turkish rock bands of their era, but they never released an official album during their active years, so that their 1975-77 songs were only made available on a physical support in 2003. This song is simply perfect to me: sweet and melodic, but also experimental and acid.... that's what I call prog rock!
 
Arkaplan label released this compitation including 12 songs.
 
The bass lines are the unifying frame of "18400 TL" (by the way, TL stands for Türk Lirası, the national currency unit), but I higly recommend Andreas Wildermann's organ too, so warm and so... Seventies! Here and there you'll recognize Turkish folk elements (mainly provided by Alp Gültekin's viola), bluesy measures, heavy rock riffs and psychedelic memories, but the whole pattern is solidly symphonic. When I listen to such short lived bands, I wonder how many good albums never saw the  light...

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Someday (Laghonia, 1971)

Here you are a proto-prog Peruvian band from the very early Seventies, a politically and musically difficult time for their Country.This "Someday" beautifully opens their second and last studio work, titled "Etcetera". A Hammond intro is followed by a lively rythm guitar and a catchy melody. Some well found changes and a series of instrumental bridges enrich this song's texture, so that a three minutes track actually features a whole changing world, ranging from the hippy generation to the search for new artistic dimensions.

Colourful I said... and colourful they actually were...

A colourful palette Laghonia know how to exploit and generously sprnkle all over their canvas. It's wonderful to see how widely the new musical deal circulated between the late Sixties and the early Seventies and how many different forms it took following the cultural scenes and the local traditions. Such a pity this band released both their albums in 1971 then called it a day...