Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Oriental Wind - Aroura Borealis (2014)

An excellent new album from the Turkish master of jazz percussion. Featuring an array of top musicians and performances from Önder Focan and Ozan Musluoğlu, among others.

This is very much in keeping musically with his earlier albums with a fusion of Anatolian, Sufi and Balkan tunes and elements of jazz and contemporary music, although this is on the whole more jazz oriented. Of particular note is the track "kabak" with some truly wonderful percussion. Highly recommended indeed for world / jazz fans.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Pineapple Thief - Tightly Unwound (2008)

Like a thief in the night leaving tasty fruit you might overlook, this Somerset, England based bittersweet progressive rock band founded by Bruce Soord (once upon a time with Vulgar Unicorn) quietly amassed a six-album discography from 1999-2007. A one-man show for some of their existence, the Pineapple Thief still earned a small but enthusiastic fan base around the world and loads of critical acclaim, but total sales of 25,000 translates to way too many people being deprived of their unique, expansive atmosphere meets in-your-face industrial rock sound. Tightly Unwound opens in a dream state, with Soord's hypnotic voice rising over a simple spacy keyboard vibe; then the strumming begins and "My Debt to You" becomes a cheerfully jangling delight -- until it slows again. "Shoot First" brings in the band's more progressive, high energy electric guitar rock fire, which bursts out between midtempo verses that breeze along in symphonic harmony until the next flare-up. The title track captures both flavors simultaneously as Soord's soothing vocals seem a bit lost amidst the boom of the drums and high-powered rock machinery and sound effects. Tracks like "The Sorry State," which is scaled back and allows the listener to drift along with the dreamy melody are more emotionally effective. Still the balance between easy and sensual and totally blistering ("My Bleeding Hand") is pretty irresistible and should finally help the Pineapple Thief appeal beyond their small rabid base. ~ Jonathan Widran Review from Rdio

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. My Debt to You (5:19)
2. Shoot First (4:12)
3. Sinners (4:52)
4. The Sorry State (4:11)
5. Tightly Wound (6:35)
6. My Bleeding Hand (4:20)
7. Different World (10:44)
8. And So Say All Of You (4:05)
9. Too Much To Loose (15:12)

Total Time: 59:30
Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Soord / vocals, guitar
- Wayne Higgins / guitar
- Steve Kitch / keyboards
- Jon Sykes / bass
- Keith Harrison / drums 

Banco Del Mutou Soccorso - Darwin (1972)

Darwin! will remain Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's masterpiece. This album, the band's second, is the proud equal of Premiata Forneria Marconi's Per Un Amico and Le Orme's Felona e Sorona in the Italian progressive rock hall of fame. In Darwin!, every promise made by Banco's eponymous debut was realized. Vittorio Nocenzi's writing has flourished into complex songs blending Italian songwriting, bel canto, and progressive rock. The arrival of guitarist Rodolfo Maltese crystallized the band's luxurious sound, all topped by Francesco Di Giacomo's operatic vocals. The majestic "L'Evoluzione" opens the album, providing some of the best moments ever recorded by this band (along with "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico"). "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" ("The Conquest of the Wrong Position") reproduces the same pattern as "Metamorphosi" from the first album: a frenetic instrumental theme, scaled down toward the end to let room for a very emotional verse. "La Danza de Grandi Rettili" is a rare jazzy number. Di Giacomo shines on "750,000 Anni Fa...L'Amore?," a heart-wrenching ballad much closer to Italian pop music than progressive rock. The album comes to an end with "Ed Ora la Domando Tempo al Tempo," a short piece inspired by merry-go-round music. The original version of the album bears a cover with a pocket watch. Never satisfied with the sound quality of the original tapes, the band re-recorded the whole album in 1991 and issued it with blue cover artwork. Purists turned their back on this new version, but it is actually very well performed, even though it has lost the vintage 1970s Italian flavor. The original Darwin! was eventually also reissued on CD. ~ François Couture. Review from Rdio

Songs / Tracks Listing
  1. L'Evoluzione (13:59)
2. La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta (8:42)
3. Danza Dei Grandi Rettili (3:42)
4. Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (5:22)
5. 750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore? (5:38)
6. Miserere Alla Storia (5:58)
7. Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho! (3:29) 
Line-up / Musicians

- Gianni Nocenzi / clarinet, piano, keyboards
- Pier Luigi Calderoni / drums, tympani
- Renato D'Angelo / bass, guitar, guitar (bass)
- Francesco DiGiacomo / vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / organ, synthesizer, keyboards, clavinet
- Marcello Todaro / guitar (acoustic), guitar, guitar (electric), vocals 

The Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mountain Flame (1971)

There are no words to describe this album. At first listening you won't be fooled around, you'll know you're in the presence of one of the greatest albums ever made. A grandiose symbiosis between rock music, neo classical music, psychedelic jazz music with further elements from blues to Celtic music. First of all, this album is an instrumental. If you think that, because of this, it would never reach a supreme level. you're judging wrong. The diverse instrumental arrangements, the superb playing, very virtuous and strong, offers an extremely enjoyable listen. Particularly I am referring to the magnificent drumming all over the album, very paced with many speed transitions, constituting a true independent instrument (but obviously well orchestrated with the rest), the high skilled guitar playing as well, with many speedy harmonious solos and also the beautiful violin playing.
The album's production is also very good, not resembling at all a 1971 record, it could be perfectly an album edited a few years ago, as you'll not have any sound complaints. Every track is fantastic but my personal favourites are: the first, Shadow of the Moon, where the instrumental explosions, the guitar leading solo and the beautiful main riff impresses an astonishing ambience; Dawn with its skilled and beautiful violin; Noonward Race for more instrumental explosions; A Lotus On Irish Streams because of its emotional neoclassical arrangements, with violin, piano and acoustic guitar conferring a relaxing ambience very enjoyable; The Dance of Maya which has some blues influence; and the climax ending track Awakening.
If you are a progressive rock collector and you DON'T have this album, God how can you live with such a great lack? This album is OBLIGATORY! It represents a perfect odd to symphonic progressive music in the genre of Canterbury/Jazz Fusion. It should not let anyone indifferent to it. If it lets, there's definitively something wrong with you.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. Meeting Of The Spirits (6:52)
2. Dawn (5:10)
3. Noonward Race (6:28)
4. A Lotus On Irish Streams (5:39)
5. Vital Transformation (6:16)
6. The Dance Of Maya (7:17)
7. You Know, You Know (5:07)
8. Awakening (3:32)

Total Time: 46:34

Line-up / Musicians 
- John McLaughlin / guitar
- Jerry Goodman / violin
- Jan Hammer / piano, electric piano and organ
- Rick Laird / bass
- Billy Cobham / drums

Kraan - Flyday (1979)

After Wiederhoren which is my favorire Kraan album ,I was not too happy when this album came out.I did not think it was the same quality and was a let down. Jan Friede the great original drummer was replaced by Udo Dahmen.Dahmen it a good drummer ,but I have a soft spot for Jan.

Now for the album.

Far West is a wonderful opener,a classic Kraan instrumental.Short and dreamy.Like walking without touching the ground.Love it,but a bit short.

My Brother Said,is stoner rock kraut style.OK.

Ausflug is amazing.Another one of those instrumentals, that these guys always have one or two of on each album. Got 3 parts: Slowish intro which drifts along nicely,for then to shift into a great upbeat groove,carried by guitar with a hypnotic bassline in the back.Then it drits back into a groove like the beginning,for then to fade out.Definately the high point on this record. An I-Tunes purchase if there ever was one.

Gayu Gaya.Nice lazy groove in the beginning,but drifts into a bit of a messy middle.Not too exciting for me.

You're Right.So so,upbeatish tune.

Young King'd Son.Nice slow paced song but the lyrics are silly and gets a bit annoying.

Buy Buy.Nice kind of instrumental.Kinda,because Buy Buy are the only lyrics.Melody is a nice one of those slow melodies,but the singing is kinda in the way,though there are not too many of them. Does that make sense?

Flyday.Very mellow instrumental,but it doesn't really go anywhere.

3* may be a touch much.But the 2 songs Far West and Ausflug really are amazing,I will be generous. Good,but not essential.

The cover made by Peter Wollbrandt ,the guitar player is quite unique. Hellmut Hattler and Peter have done most of their own covers.Well done.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. Far West (2:29)
2. My brother said (3:40)
3. Ausflug (7:13)
4. Gayu Gaya (5:06)
5. You're Right (5:55)
6. Young King's Song (5:35)
7. Buy Buy (3:33)
8. Flyday (3:21)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ingo Bishof / Moog synthesizers
- Udo Dahmen / drums
- Helmut Hattler / bass, percussion, backing vocals
- Peter Wolbrandt / guitars, vocals, strings, percussion

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Oresund Space Collective - Good Planets Are Hard To Find (2009)

Not very different in overall scope from their previous official album though; but more maintaining the qualities of that one. Smooth transitions and evolvements is a key feature in these snippets of studio jams assembled into six tracks here; and if memory serves right there are less synths and keyboards involved this time around than on previous occasions. Also worth noting is the raga-inspired sitar that is the key element in the tracks opening and closing this excursion.

Still, a mostly bass and guitar dominated affair embellished with careful use of spacey synths and organ still makes for some trippy space music; where the main negative asset is that the segments where the band seems to be searching for a main direction still get to be a tad lengthy. Once in their stride they are impeccable though; and the last half of final track MTSST must be amongst the strongest material I've heard of this outfit.

If improvised space rock jams sounds like a good thing to you, this is a very good place to start exploring this particular brand of music. 

   1. Good Planets Are Hard To Find (9:43)
2. Space Fountain (8:51)
3. Orbital Elevator (16:12)
4. Pf747-3 (19:36)
5. My Heel Has A Beard (6:01)
6. MTSST (19:28)

Total Time: 79:51 
Line-up / Musicians

- Tobias / guitars
- PIB / drums
- Thomas / bass
- Jocke / bass
- Luz / percussion
- Mogens / Hammond, synths
- Dr. Space / Synths
- KG / sitar, guitar, Hammond

Oresund Space Collective - Organic Earthly Flotation

This is way more relaxed than many albums beforehand, the groovy, partially jazzy vibe is nearly gone here, except on the closing Neptune Rising maybe. And indeed, the line up saw a major change, as there is the complete PAPIR crew involved this time, additionally Americano Daniel Lars, who had his first trip ever to Denmark for playing with the ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE. Only synthesizer wizzards Mogens and Scott (Dr. Space) are staying, acting restrained though, 'Organic Earthly Flotation' is yet another album which works more guitar laden.

Walking On Clouds manifests in two sections, originally developed by Daniel, that means you can't really say that the music is completely improvised. Backed by a solid rhythm branch this is smooth, cheerful, featuring nice inspired guitar interplay, partially enriched with spacey patterns as well as chirping synths. Not quite a spectacular album - as I'm familiar with the complete studio discography - but surely something to dig. 'Organic Earthly Flotation' again proves their ambitious approach to update the sound with every entirely new production. Review from
Songs / Tracks  
1. Walking on Clouds (19:23)
2. Walking on Clouds (Pt.2) (6:17)
3. Carlos on the Moon (16:57)
4. Neptune Rising (5:08)

Total Time 47:45

Line-up / Musicians 
Mogens - Synthesizers
DR. Space - Synthesizers
Kristoffer (Papir) - Drums
Nicklas (Papir) - Guitar
Pär (Sgt. Sunshine, Carpet Knights, Hoofoot) - Bass
Daniel Lars - Guitar
Christian (Papir) - Bass on Neptune Rising

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Univers Zero - Heresie (1979)

 Having thought the debut album was unsurpassable the boy's go one better on this one. Denis's 'La Faulx' is a slow builder, the textures at the beginning are rich with wheezing bass Harmonium and Michel Berckmans Bassoon whilst Bassist Guy Segers incants in the background. Tracks 2 & 3 are the work of Roger Trigaux, later to produce a solo album called 'Triskadecaphobie' under the band name of Present. Entitled 'Jack the Ripper' & 'Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu' once again Roger and the band excel themselves. Play it in the dark if you dare!

The music is incredible dark,sombre,as depressive as can be.Pessimism to the max!If someone informated me well than I believe that the texts are spoken in the languages of druids.Together with the slow creeping cello's and bassoon it createds an incredible anguished atmosphere.

Some people overemphasize the scary boogeyman nature of Univers Zero (usually to promote their virtues), I think, but certainly their music is quite moody and dark, and this is likely their darkest sounding record. All the pieces are slow and ponderous, with sustained, repetitive lines and harmonies that are often "dissonant" to traditionalist ears. Certainly you can hear the influence of interesting European composers like Bartok and Messiaen, as well as, if not Zeuhl, the same sort of avant-jazz sources as Magma was tapping. Reeds and strings are the lead instruments, making this more of a jazz/chamber fusion than anything to do with rock music in the usual sense. The kind of music that would be good scoring a old silent horror movie, this is definitely a classic of its genre- I have to be in the mood for it, but it fits that mood perfectly.Reviews from

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. La Faulx (25:18)
2. Jack the Ripper (13:29)
3. Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu (12:56)
4. Chaos Hermetique (11:51) *

Line-up / Musicians Lineup on the original album:

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, oboe
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion
- Patrick Hanappier / viola, violin
- Roger Trigaux / guitar, piano, organ, harmonium
- Guy Segers / bass, voice

Lineup on the bonus track on the 2010 remaster:
- Daniel Denis / drums
- Patrick Hanappier / violin
- Guy Segers / bass
- Roger Trigaux / guitar
- Vincent Motoulle / keyboards

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Pineapple Thief - All The Wars (2012)

The Pineapple Thief has managed to maintain an excellent level of production and composition in their music since VARIATIONS ON A DREAM. All The Wars is the last album they have worked on and it is really excellent in quality and, as I said above, composition. The musical arrangements are outstanding, the use of orchestration in songs like "All the Wars" or the use of the Prague choir in "Reaching Out". This album along with the bonus CD are really amazing and they should be considered a must for every fan of progressive music or fan of music. I have shown this album to many experts in other types of music and they acknowledge the good level The Pineapple Thief has. Even though, Bruce Soord is compared to Corgan, I would say, they are a way different one from the other! Lovely album! Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. Burning Pieces (4.10)
2. Warm Seas (3.56)
3. Last Man Standing (5.09)
4. All The Wars (3.35)
5. Build A World (3.53)
6. Give It Back (6.58)
7. Someone Pull Me Out (3.58)
8. One More Step Away (3.05)
9. Reaching Out (9.43)

Bonus disc
1. Warm Seas (acoustic version)
2. Reaching Out (acoustic version)
3. Last Man Standing (acoustic version)
4. One More Step Away (acoustic version)
5. All The Wars (acoustic version)
6. Every Last Moment (acoustic version)
7. Someone Pull Me Out (acoustic version)
8. Light Up Your Eyes 
Line-up / Musicians
 - Bruce Soord / guitars, vocals
- Jon Sykes / bass guitars, backing vocals
- Steve Kitch / keyboards
- Keith Harrison / drums, backing vocals

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Pineapple Thief - Someone Here Is Missing (2010)

For years i've felt like I was the lone voice on this site telling any who would listen how good this band is.Yes i'm a fanboy although i'm not as rabid as many of their fans are (I can tell you some stories). They still have that blend of RADIOHEAD, SMASHING PUMPKINS and PORCUPINE TREE thing happening which is probably why most Prog fans don't dig them. This latest album is without a doubt their best record yet.They've added a little more heaviness but kept the emotion and great lyrics.The album cover is cool of this guy looking out the window with his arms folded covered with paper notes. As you open the booklet inside each page you turns to reveals more and more what these notes say.

"Nothing At Best" builds to a heavy sound then settles back and vocals arrive before a minute. Heavy outbreaks come and go. What a great track ! "Wake Up The Dead" opens with a beat as vocals join in. It's louder 2 1/2 minutes in, in fact it's pretty intense. "The State We're In" has this cool guitar line as vocals join in. Drums a minute in. It all stops for a second then returns with emotion. "Preperation For Meltdown" opens with electronics as guitar then vocals join in. It kicks in heavily before 2 1/2 minutes then settles as contrasts continue.

"Barely Breathing" is led by strummed guitar and vocals before the drums join in. "Show A Little Love" has this in your face drum/bass section with vocals. It kicks in before a minute as themes are repeated. "Someone Here Is Missing" opens with acoustic guitar and fragile vocals. Drums and a fuller sound kick in quickly. How good is this ! "3000 Days" kicks in quickly then it settles before 2 minutes. Vocals follow. Incredible sound here. It kicks back in after 4 minutes. "So We Row" opens with precussion-like sounds as guitars join in. Vocals 2 minutes in as it settles some. It's a little experimental before 5 minutes then it kicks back in at 6 minutes. Love how Bruce sings "Row, row, row, row..." over and over. Review from

A top five for 2010 for sure. 

Songs / Tracks Listing
 1. Nothing at Best (4:09)
2. Wake Up The Dead (4:24)
3. The State We're In (3:19)
4. Preparation For Meltdown (7:27)
5. Barely Breathing (3:44)
6. Show A Little Love (3:59)
7. Someone Here Is Missing (3:53)
8. 3000 Days (6:10)
9. So We Row (8:19)
10. Long Time Walking (4:48)*
11. Nothing at Best (Acoustic Version) (3:52)*

Line-up / Musicians

- Bruce Soord / Guitar, vocals and programming
- Jon Sykes / Electric and acoustic bass guitars, backing vocals
- Steve Kitch / Keyboards
- Keith Harrison / Drums and backing vocals

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Grace For Drowning - Steven Wilson (2011)

One of the most diverse, brilliant, haunting, heart-felt, transcending, contemporary, daring, progressive, eclectic, creative, beautiful works of music I've ever heard.

I'll try to make this a shorter review, because otherwise it would be too long for anyone to read. A five star rating is a very significant thing from my expectations.

I supposed I should give a big THANK YOU to this website and the collaborators above me for giving this album a high enough rating to encourage me to check it out. I've never heard any of Steven Wilson's work before the past few days, so I honestly had no idea what to expect, except that it might sound something like Porcupine Tree. In fact I was somewhat skeptical, given the many fanboys this musician has that it was probably overrated. And I've definitely never been one of those, Porcupine Tree has always just been and "pretty good" band to me.

In this album, however, Steven Wilson demonstrates his uniqueness as a composer and his knowledge of prog and contemporary "classical" composition techniques at a level of such height that's it's almost scary to fathom that he's actually human. What I mean is the fact that this shear amount of music could have this amount of substance and be mostly his doing (depending on the contribution of the enormous list of musicians) is far more rare than it is common. Many of the heavier parts sound very much like Red, especially in Sectarian and Raider II. A lot of the softer, more reflective tracks sound similar to those in The Incident, only I would say this material is far more creative and well done. The eclecticism using contemporary classical and jazz music (especially with the incredible harmonies in the Synergy vocals, and the virtuoso saxophone and flute players) often reminds me of Maudlin of the Well. It is progressive in every sense of the word that a progressive rock fan could expect, cutting edge, artistic, or the whole "asymmetric time- signature, long songs, and virtuoso musicianship" package. Grace for Drowning has it all.

I sincerely believe that if Steven Wilson continues to produce music of this caliber for several more albums (as we can all hope for), he could potentially be considered the rock equivalent of Beethoven, as in the artist who's work first defined and then reshaped the entire landscape of artistic music. As a music educator and historian, I can say without any doubt or shame that most if not all of the material in this album exceeds the artistic level of much classical music, save perhaps the main composers of their respective eras.

God knows whether this will be considered a masterpiece for the ages revered by musicians in the future, or just another "prog" album that will fade out with the passing of several generations, or if it will end up a hidden jewel of music that slipped through the cracks of fame and is known only by a few people. My guess is it won't be the second scenario, but as with all art, time will be the judge of quality.

Every second of this album is so perfect and effective that I really can't describe it in words. The reader should just hear it for themselves, and hopefully just might be as enthralled and captivated by this work as I am. Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

 Disc 1

1. Grace for Drowning (2:06)
2. Sectarian (7:41)
3. Deform to Form a Star (7:51)
4. No Part of Me (5:45)
5. Postcard (4:29)
6. Raider Prelude (2:23)
7. Remainder the Black Dog (9:27)

Total Time: 39:38

Disc 2

1. Belle de Jour (2:59)
2. Index (4:49)
3. Track One (4:16)
4. Raider II (23:21)
5. Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye (8:01)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) (2013)

Steven Wilson is arguably a modern genius of the prog community along with Mikael Akerfeldt, yet when they both came together for the Storm Corrosion project it had little impact on me. Wilson however as a solo artist has become intensely passionate about his music, and his solo albums are incredible masterpieces, especially 'Grace For Drowning' that floored me to the point where I had to obtain the deluxe version. Having to follow up such a brilliant album is not an easy thing but somehow Wilson has done so with a flourish that has heralded in the 2013 year in admirable style. Alan Parsons was on board to engineer this album so one would have to expect a high quality sound and it doesn't disappoint.

The album cover is like a rash all over the net with the astonished moon looming full and iconic in the darkness. The artwork is simple but embeds itself into the conscious easily and thus does its job to gain attention. The rest of the artwork in the Deluxe Version booklet consists of line drawings, some colourful paintings of the dishevelled looking kid in dense locations, a miserable man looking into a beer glass, later drinking a shot, some disturbing scratchy drawings, darkened stairwells and window frames, creepy faces staring out, images of a house, a tree and the scrawny watchmaker at work as his wife looks on, frames from the 'Raven' video clip with snow falling down in the forest, and the shivering old man pursuing the elusive bird. The booklet is extensive and arty as one might expect, and ends with an amusing drawing of the band playing looking like thin men with Wilson headbanging away. The artwork on the CD is the Raven looking mystical and enigmatic, and of course if you did get the Deluxe package you also have a 7 song demo to indulge in and the album in 5.1 sound on a blu ray and a DVD thrown in with all the clips and interviews.

'The Raven That Refused To Sing' has been promoted with film clips hovering about on the internet way before its release date and the film clip images that accompanies the title track are extraordinary. Wilson has reinvented himself again on this album, discarding the darkness of 'Grace For Drowning', and embracing a sound more akin to Porcupine Tree, oddly enough. The title track is masterful, and as it was the first track I heard initially I will start here. It is laced with beautiful keyboards and a pretty melody masking the downbeat lyrics that focus on the man's dead sister, that haunts the storyteller like the raven, and he misses her terribly and dreams of her to return to him; 'Just because I'm weak, You can steal my dreams, You can reach inside my head, And you can put your song there instead.'

Lyrically the poetry in the song has a melancholy edge. The images on the clip of an old man in a forest encountering a raven and then pursuing it finally capturing it and then dying, have a profound symbolic resonance. According to Wilson, the songs have classic Gothic ideas interspersed with suggested dread, regret, loss and the fear of mortality, or impending death, thus the omen of the Raven. It is these ideas that create a very unique atmosphere on the album. The raven essentially becomes, in the mind of the old man, a reincarnation of the old man's dead sister, and in his own delusion he believes if he can capture the raven and hear him sing he can recapture the life of his dead sister. The music is stripped back at times to a piano reverberating in the stillness. Wilson knows how to build on musical ideas and surpasses himself with such tracks, the mesmirising and haunting beauty is superb.

The album opens with 'Luminol' with a delightful pulsating bassline and reverb wah wah guitar splashes. Musically the album is faultless and the flute enhances the quality. There are some wonderful Yes-like multilayered harmonies for a moment and then the extended musical break dominates, with an odd time sig, an intense spectrum of bass, pounding percussion, floating flute, and Mellotron sounds. The electric piano runs have a 70s vibe especially when it builds with a shimmering soundscape, and utilising distortion devices and a ring modulator to good effect. At 4:35 it settles into a minimalist rhythm guitar and Wilson's vocals, in his reflective mood, with references to pop culture, 'the songs he learned from scratched LPs, stops in mid flow to sip his tea.' The lyrics centre on a protagonist who has died even in death continues to discover answers through reminiscing on the past or reflecting on a life that has faded; 'He strums the chords with less than grace, Each passing year etched on his face', is a reflection on how one might feel as we are 'born into a struggle, To come so far but end up returning to dust.' This ghost is a metaphor of fear and our obsession with mortality, according to Wilson in his online interviews.

Wilson doesn't labour on grim themes or death however throughout, and this album has more rays of hope than the shadows of despair found on previous releases, and leaves one with a profound sense of fulfilment. The music is uplifting and energetic, infused with passion throughout and progressive ideas using all the musicians at Wilson's disposal. The flute playing of Theo Travis is exquisite, but I am a real fan of that grinding organ by Adam Holzman, and the way the guitar interplays creating those endearing melodies. 'Luminol' is a masterpiece of the album and a promise of things to come.

Next is 'Drive Home' that opens with a sweet Neo-Classical melody that sounds partially like 'Castle In The Clouds' from 'Les Mesirables'. When Wilson comes in on vocals, the signature locks into a steady measured pace. All is held back like the old days of Porcupine Tree or the 'Deadwing' era. There is a remarkable beauty that emanates from the Mellotrons that sound like violins. The chorus is Wilson at his most melancholy with thought provoking lyrics; 'You need to clear away all the jetsam in your brain, And face the truth, Well love can make amends, While the darkness always ends, You're still alone so drive home.' The instrumental break is stripped back to a nice fingerpicking guitar motif, like Steve Howe, and Travis's achingly beautiful flute is layered over. The lead guitar break of Guthrie Govan that follows is incredible, soaring emotionally and adds so much depth to the overall atmosphere.

'The Holy Drinker' is a glorious throwback to the eclectic prog of vintage King Crimson meets Van der Graaf Generator, with elements of jazz fusion and mind blowing dissonant saxophone blasts. It opens with the wavering keyboard sound heard on Van der Graaf Generator's 'A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers', then breaks into a cacophony of sound like a jazz shop exploded. Theo Travis is master at the sax helm and Wilson is the commander as he constructs this disharmony of musical instruments. I adored this on first listen and it soon became the quintessential track of the album for me. After this outlandish intro, the song finds some semblance of structure and Wilson sings some odd lyrics that I don't want to think about too deeply; 'With shaking hands and blackened heart, The glass he pours, this time it's also the last, In rapt communion with himself, The Holy Drinker is going straight in to hell.' On cue the song breaks into extended soloing with some wonderful organ and chirping flute taking centre stage. I love how the organ has that Keith Emerson 'Tarkus' sound at 6:25, but a special mention goes to the sporadic drumming of Marco Minnemann and Bass of Nick Beggs that are always on target and played to perfection. The song settles into Wilson's echoing gentle voice at about 8 minutes in, but it feels ominous as though the jazz fusion will break out at any moment. Then a grinding Van der Graaf Generator organ sound growls viciously with a downbeat tone, joined by odd rhythmic guitars. This feels like the coda of VDGG's 'White Hammer' and it is ferociously off kilter enough to jar the senses to their most awakened state. AlI in all a furious blast of masterful music and one to seek out for those interested in checking out the best on the album.

Thus far the album is astonishing, nothing less than brilliant prog, so I was looking forward to the next half. 'The Pin Drop' is the shortest song at 5.03, and has Wilson on his highest register tone singing; 'Carried away by the river that passes through bulrushes on to the sea, Dragged by the current to rest on the stakes of the breakwater shaded by trees, Beginnings and endings, love intersecting a rift that will break us apart.' The return of the sax is so welcome, and Travis lifts off with massive runs and haunting squeals of jazz ecstasy. The song moves into a Twilight Zone like atmosphere melodically, and feels again like vintage Porcupine Tree. The layered harmonies are exceptional and create a wall of sound, and all is augmented by the accomplished lead guitar solo of Govan. All this in 5 minutes, simply incredible work from Mr Wilson.

'The Watchmaker' is another of the album's epics, and showcases Wilson's poetry in the lyrics; 'The watchmaker buries something deep within his thoughts, A shadow on the staircase of someone from before, This thing is broken now and cannot be repaired, Fifty years of compromise and aging bodies shared, Eliza dear, you know there's something I should say, I never really loved you but I'll miss you anyway.' The music is appropriately like a music box chiming, very Gabriel-era Genesis in fact, and is enhanced by dreamy flute embellishments. There is a glorious lead guitar solo, perhaps the best on the album with Govan taking on speedy licks effortlessly and the squeaky sax joins in and it suddenly reminds me of Pink Floyd. The song takes on a new format then with piano runs and Wilson's voice emanating thoughts of the Watchmaker who reminisces on a dark deed involving the murder of his wife who has returned from the grave; 'But for you I had to wait, Until one day it was too late.' The music and harmonies become more romantically intertwined utilising old school 'do do do's' and then finally it breaks out into an odd time sig and some glistening piano sparkles, a booming bass solo reminding me of Rush's Geddy Lee. Finally the next phase of the music becomes dissonant with weird off tones in a 7/8 meter, being used where they should not, creating a disquieteing effect. This is a complex piece of music and perhaps the darkest track on the whole album, more like the 'Grace For Drowning' themes than others on offer.

It ends of course with the beauty of 'The Raven That Refused To Sing' and we are left with an astonishing album of dark haunting power as only Wilson knows how to create. This is certainly a different creature than 'Grace For Drowning' and did not impact me like that masterpiece, and yet this latest release is mesmerising on every listen. It is an album to listen to with unwavering focus, as is all of Wilson's work; music designed for headphones. It is hard to rate this album as everything is so well placed and perfect; Wilson throws in so many ideas that it is impossible not to enjoy this if your ears are attuned to experimental progressive ideas. It did not measure up to 'Grace For Drowning' for me, but still is a masterful album presented in a compact form of less than an hour. If you want more, the Deluxe version is ample enough though did not add that much musically, but more artistically. The experience is sheer joy when an album comes out that embraces all that is great about prog. The sax, the organ, the lead guitars, the rhythms; all are played to perfection. Wilson's voice is faultless and his ideas are poetically conveyed to precision.

Perhaps it is too perfect and too calculating for some listeners and I can understand how this can be off putting, and why it has received mixed critical reactions. However, Wilson is nothing short of passionate about his music and every note is placed to generate a congenial effect to enhance the overall experience. This is a series of stories, as the album titles states, and each story has its own atmosphere and style though there is a consistency in the thematic juxtaposition of music and vocals. It is a far superior album to some of the earlier Porcupine Tree albums and indeed Wilson's debut solo. I would rank it easily among his greatest triumphs, and certainly it is going to be one of the albums of the year. An album this bold and inventive deserves full recommendation and thus far it is the best release in 2013, so 5 shining stars to a modern musical genius that continues to produce prog at its highest caliber.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Luminol (12:10)
2. Drive Home (7:37)
3. The Holy Drinker (10:13)
4. The Pin Drop (5:03)
5. The Watchmaker (11:43)
6. The Raven That Refused To Sing (7:57)

Total Time 54:43
Line-up / Musicians
 - Guthrie Govan / lead guitar
- Nick Beggs / bass guitar
- Marco Minnemann / drums
- Adam Holzman / keyboards
- Theo Travis / saxophone, flute
- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitars, keyboards 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Anathema - Distant Satellites (2014)

It's been quite a past few years for the incredible Anathema. Honors have been bestowed upon them, they've released an instant classic album in "Weather Systems", and last year they released one of the best live concert films I've ever seen, "Universal". Anathema is on top of the world, and they are only getting bigger. With all of this on their shoulders, they approach the world once again with their new album, "Distant Satellites", a fitting name for a massive album. Again, with all of their recent success creating huge expectations, can this band meet such critical reception? Needless to say, Vincent Cavanagh on vocals, Danny Cavanagh on guitar, Jamie Cavanagh on bass, John Douglas on percussion, Daniel Cardoso on drums, and Lee Douglas with her wonderful vocals were all up to the challenge.

"Distant Satellites" is a very different album from "Weather Systems", or anything else they've done, for that matter. It is different, yet somehow instantly familiar. It includes everything that makes them Anathema, but adds new and exciting elements to their already excellent formula. If you've never heard Anathema, their formula (in their last few albums, anyways) includes soaring guitars, amazingly catchy melodies, spiritual lyrics, and emotional flow both vocally and structurally. They are the masters of melody, and they remain complex and progressive even while being simple and accessible. They are truly masters of their craft.

This new album, then, is no different in those terms. The melodies return in force, such as the serene beauty of "The Lost Song" parts 1-3. And, yet, there is something different here. The melodic lines are somewhat more complex, less in-your-face, and more organic. This especially shows in the song lengths, most of them being over five minutes. This allows for more growth and more progression. Indeed, then, the melodies on "Distant Satellites", while not being as instantly lovable or recognizable, are certainly more difficult and possibly will have a longer "shelf life" in my mind. Yes, the orchestrations seem to be lower key, as well, allowing the vocalists to express themselves more personally then ever.

There are other improvements, too. I feel that the musicianship is more fervent and on a higher plateau of difficulty than Anathema has tried. Drummer John Douglas, especially, plays amazingly well from start to finish, accenting the music with awesome pounding and fills. The rest of the band are at their peak, too, with Vincent and Lee being especially great with emotional and meaningful vocal performances.

"Distant Satellites" is different in more meaningful ways, too. Utilizing post-rock/metal structures is nothing new for Anathema, but they really do perfect them here, as on "Dusk", a dark, climactic song. Yet, there is a sense of continuity between tracks, too. This is obviously the case between the three parts of "The Lost Song", but it's also apparent throughout the album, as if Anathema is telling us a story, convincing us of our true selves and our connection with the universe and with each other.

This album is wonderful in the first half, but my excitement reached new heights in the second half. Anathema has taken it upon themselves to change things up a bit. They wanted to progress their sound, but make it all seem so natural. So, in the second half, the album climaxes with one of the best songs, simply called "Anathema". But then, we are thrown for a loop somewhat, as "You're Not Alone" features a hefty portion of electronic vibe. It's great, but the best is still to come.

Next, "Firelight", a darkly ethereal instrumental track that is completely electronic, is thrust upon us, and is followed up by what may possibly be the best song Anathema has ever produced, "Distant Satellites". This track combines everything that has ever made Anathema great: soaring melodies, climactic structure, gentle spirituality, amazing vocals, and now an electronic beat that is both complex and catchy. Vibrant, mesmerizing, and pure, this track elates me every time I hear it. It takes this album, and my heart, to new heights. The album finishes with a gentle ballad that just seems so fitting, yet it still has the strong electronic influence.

So, is "Distant Satellites" a winner? In every way! Is it their best album? I don't know; it has the potential, but it might take time, just like "Weather Systems" did. What I can tell you is that this new album is more mature, more progressive, more interesting and eclectic, and less formulaic then anything Anathema has crafted yet. It does sacrifice some accessibility and some instant likability for these things, but I respect their decision massively, and I fully expect to see "Distant Satellites" at the tops of many lists at the end of 2014. Review from
Songs / Tracks Listing

"The Lost Song, Part 1" - 5:53
"The Lost Song, Part 2" - 5:47
"Dusk (Dark Is Descending)" - 5:59
"Ariel" - 6:28
"The Lost Song, Part 3" - 5:21
"Anathema" - 6:40
"You're Not Alone" - 3:26
"Firelight" - 2:42
"Distant Satellites" - 8:17
"Take Shelter" - 6:07
Line-up / Musicians
 Vincent Cavanagh / Voice, Guitar, Vocoder
- Danny Cavanagh / Guitar, Keyboards, Voice
- Jamie Cavanagh / Bass
- John Douglas / Drums, Keyboards
- Lee Douglas / Voice

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Anathema - Falling Deeper (2011)

Anathema goes grandiose and exaltedly symphonic on this release, the target being a reworking of older songs and fitting them into a massive orchestral glow that is simply put, irresistible! Their usual gloomy veneer has been coated with a colossal melancholia with torrents of effective symphony strings courtesy of the London Session Orchestra. Accordingly, this evolving group of musicians search out new sonic horizons, eschewing any formulaic approach to their discography and boldly take their craft to new heights. This is a most welcome philosophy for it underlines a definite progressive tendency to constantly alter their scope and hone their artistic vision, unafraid to experiment and rejoice in the results. Being relatively new to the Anathema phenomenon (the masterful "Judgement" is what sucked me in), I need to visit their past discography but with music of such sheer beauty, I have no wish to run too fast , helter-skelter. I know I will get there. In the meantime, the aura of grandiose ennui becomes evident on "Crestfallen", a perfect title of a perfect song expertly portrayed amid a wave of crushing symphonicity. It segues directly into "Sleep in Sanity" a downright killer track, wielded by a sensational female wailing by Lee Douglas , while the three Cavanagh boys really lay it on thick and creamy, as befitting such a spectral arrangement. "Kingdom" wallows wildly in a steamy, delirious and yet consistent aural mist, emotionally charged and breathtaking. "They Die" is short but oh so bittersweet! The most glorious 2 minute piece you have ever heard. "Everwake" is a stunning slice of Annike van Giersbergen (The Gathering), a wonderfully adept vocalist, specializing in the fragile/powerful arsenal of pipes. She can howl, wail and sing with total ease. When a piano lulls you into an orchestra of trembling strings, how can you not melt? "J'ai Fait Une Promesse" is such a highlight then! Melancholic restraint. Desperate gorgeousness. "Alone" is cinematographically creepy by comparison, acoustic guitar gloom and despondence invade the air with morbid intensity (lack thereof, actually) until Lee swerves into our ears, screeching some distressed plea, the relentless plucking strings of the forlorn acoustic guitar weeping in the foreground. Thunderstorm effects add to the murkiness, Lee doing an encore wail and figuratively ushering the funeral choir forward. Chilling to be alone for some. "We the Gods" is another piano and string cameo that meanders along, unobtrusively carving an elegant route. "Sunset of Age" ends this voyage on an uplifting note, massive strings shepherd in some irresistible male and female vocals, a steady beat and a thunderous chorus. The violins are stupendous, a dazzling foray into the senses confused by all the contrast and the stop and go rhythm, the piano refereeing the crew, putting them into a resemblance of order. Yes, the music is that powerful and evocative, yet treated in a classical way. Wow!. Their material is ideally suited for this kind of overhaul, hence it's successful! The screeching guitar twining with the strings is exemplary, proving they are damn fine musicians to boot. A triumph of adventure, courage and musical vision
This is a petite one, barely a half hour of music but quite a stellar performance. Brief album, brief review.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crestfallen / Sleep In Sanity (6:43)
2. Kingdom (3:59)
3. They Die (2:20)
4. Sunset Of Age (7:32)
5. Everwake (3:09)
6. We The Gods (3:00)
7. I Made A Promise (4:10)
8. Alone (6:36)

Total Time 37:29

Line-up / Musicians 
 Vincent Cavanagh / vocals, guitar
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitar, vocals, keyboards, Piano
- Jamie Cavanagh / bass
- John Douglas / percussion, keyboards, guitars
- Lee Douglas / female vocals
- Les Smith / keyboards

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Anathema - Weather Systems (2012)

"Weather Systems" is a well organized collection of (occasionally) gorgeously stunning pieces of music.

'"We're Here Because We're Here" was an almost drastic change in direction for former Doom Metal band Anathema; this band had released for over a decade music that incorporated progressively smaller amounts of Metal influences, and had gone towards a cleaner, more Alternative Rock/Progressive rock type of path. But the 2010 release was the most peaceful and softest album yet by the band; it contained beautifully enlightening songs, had a wonderful flow, and was simply a delight to listen to all the way through. "Weather Systems", two years later, attempts to do the same thing, and, while it is successful in many ways, it doesn't quite live up to the sheer bliss of "We're Here Because We're Here".

I personally doubt Anathema would get any quieter than this: this album is in many ways a sort of WHBWH 2.0: the production is the same, the atmospheres barely change, the melodies are still haunting, melodramatic, and emotional. They are some undeniable changes that can be heard, like the massive presence of the acoustic guitar, and a heavier use of electronics in some spots. But, other than that, the album doesn't bring anything new up to the table.

This would usually annoy me, when an album is simply a photocopy of another release by the same band (or different band), but the songs themselves are for me a huge saving grace: even though the two parts of "Untouchable" that open the album are a little generic, the best moments can be found in the dead center of the album; "The Gathering Of The Clouds", "Lightning Song" and "Sunlight" to me are the most precious achievements the album accomplished; there are heavy Alternative Rock influences in all of these tracks, especially in the hauntingly memorable melodies, but their surrounding aura is undeniably Progressive. "The Storm and the Calm" though is a disappointment, especially the first part of it, where the main hooks don't appeal to me at all. The song runs for nine minutes, and is admittedly very well structured, something you realize when the second part of the song kicks in, but those first couple of minutes are hard to forgive. Even though "The Lost Child" has some nice and delicate tones, it is at times a little too melodramatic, but that is compensated by the final track, "Internal Landscapes", a very strong ending to the album that brings up and seals some reoccurring concepts in an even more explicit way, thanks to the presence of a sample of a man who narrates how he faced a near-death experience,e and found the light consequently; but the song itself also has a very bright, illuminated feel, more than a few of some tracks here.

"Weather Systems" fails only in one thing, which is attempting to distance itself from it's predecessor. Despite a few weaker songs, this Anathema album contains some really pleasurable songs (which is to be expected from this band) and overall, manages to keep the attention of the listener always in sync, a talent that isn't natural for many musicians. But because of the overall accessible nature of these mellow, emotional tracks, Anathema accomplish the task seemingly without much effort.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Untouchable Part 1 (6.14)
2. Untouchable Part 2 (5.33)
3. The Gathering Of The Clouds (3.27)
4. Lightning Song (5.25)
5. Sunlight (4.55)
6. The Storm Before The Calm (9.24)
7. The Beginning And The End (4.53)
8. The Lost Child (7.02)
9. Internal Landscapes (8.52)

Total Time 55:45
Line-up / Musicians
 - Vincent Cavanagh / vocals, keys, programming, guitars, bass, synths
- Daniel Cavanagh / guitars, keys, piano, bass; vocals on tracks 5 & 8
- Lee Douglas / vocals
- John Douglas / drums; synths and programming on track 6

Monday, 28 July 2014

Univers Zero - Phosphorescent Dreams (2014)

Wow, this could be disputably the band's longest album title to date after their Ceux Du Dehors. Does this spell a change of attitude? Well DD certainly changed a few things in his lifelong project and maybe the most shocking one is the change of label. I'm still at odds at guessing why Daniel thought that he would get a better support than Feigelbaum's Cuneiform label, but the resulting album is not only a very expensive album, but it is not well distributed and not available widely on the web? and not at all in brick & mortar record store. Past that first consideration, the band's line- up has been revamped, with ex-PaNoPTiCoN and present day Wrong Object keyboardist Antoine Guenet and on guitar Nicolas Duchêne. Elsewhere, Dimitri Evers (bass, and Budé (winds) are alongside Daniel, but we're also seeing a few guests, such as sonny Nicola on drums for a track, and a horn section comprising of Hugues Tahon (trumpet) and Adrien Lambinet (trombone) on three tracks. Recorded and mixed at Didier De Roos's installations in Braine and Soignies throughout the second part of 2013, PD was released in January of the following year, with a post- atomic (or stormy) artwork, courtesy of Thierry Moreau.

Well, the corridor noises were that UZ's sound was (finally?) going to change a fair bit with the line- up changes and an electric guitar in the fold. The leastr we can say is that the sonic changes are not immediately audible, and maybe the prime culprit is the unchanged songwriting. Indeed seven tracks, ranging from almost-5 to almost-13-minutes, composed by Daniel (4 of them) and Kurt Dubé (the remaining three) are not much of a change in the light of UZ's overall discography. Are we looking at Clivages' obvious successor or at an Implosion-like venture? Little doubt that from the first notes of the 10-mins Shaking Hats, you're looking more at the first option than a divergence from the Universal (and absolute) Zero. Despite DD's French and Japanese liner notes as to turn the band to a more "electric sound" to remedy to what he was seeing the band's stagnation (my words, not his).

Technically, the electric guitar and keyboards (Pierre Chevalier was playing on digital synths anyway), but it's not like it brings a major contribution or change the band's soundscapes a great deal. My guess is that DD's near-pathological perfectionism saw that the band's impetus was waning and thought a revamp was needed. For the audible results on the album, I find the changes so un-remarkable that the risk he took angering the "sacked" long-standing Chevalier and Berckmans not worth it. I'm sure the former got over it (he's a busy man), but not nearly as sure for the later. As with the preceding Clivages and the anterior Implosion, UZ's general mood is relatively lighter than it was in the 80's and 90's, and though I wouldn't qualify PD of light-hearted danceable music, there are moments where a certain warmth reaches your vicinity. Of course, this doesn't apply for the sinister title track.

The big debate around RIO-heads is whether the very-high price of the album (and its shipping from Japan) is worth the investment. Obviously, if you're an unconditional UZ fan, it will be worth the important hassle and costs, but if you're a little more objective, you'll think twice or thrice before doing so, especially if you know that, outside the slight line-up change, Phosphorescent Dream is yet another "normal" UZ album. As such, I don't find it essential per se (the last to date was Implosion, IMHO), but it's a very worthy album nevertheless.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shaking Hats
2. Rêve Mécanique
3. Très Affables
4. Vocation
5. Les Voleurs d'Ombre
6. L'Espoir Perdu
7. Phosphorescent Dream

Line-up / Musicians

- Kurt Budé / clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones and percussion
- Daniel Denis / drums and percussion
- Dimitri Evers / electric and fretless bass
- Nicolas Dechêne / electric and acoustic guitars
- Antoine Guenet / keyboard

Guest musicians:
- Nicolas Denis / drums and percussion (3)
- Hugues Tahon / trumpet (2, 6 & 7)
- Adrien Lambinet / trombone (2 & 6)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Popol Vuh - Bruder Des Schattens - Sohne Des Lichts ( 1978 )

I am not sure if it's a masterpiece of "progressive rock", but certainly of progressive music, or of music in general. Simply the most beautiful and advanced as far as composition is concerned. There are some parts one could call it a pre-post-rock, but it's nothing new as Popol Vuh have developed various sub-genres over their career. But again, even if not the most "interesting", "Bruder des Schattens" is undoubtedly Popol Vuh's most beautiful and most melodious album. At the same time one of my favourite albums of the 70s. 

Wow, what can I say about Popol Vuh? I am rather recent convert and have never been a fan of anything described as 'contemplative.' But an intercontinental flight to Brazil changed my mind. I loaded about 2 hours of Popol Vuh onto my mp3 player prior. It was the least stressful 9-hour trip I've ever had.

It's understandable that reviewers often compare Popol Vuh's work to new age music. Their songs are usually very relaxing and draw from a variety of international sources. Although they influenced the new age sound their music has much more integrity and will take you places new age won't. It's too experimental to fit the template.

Brüder des Schattens ~ Söhne des Lichts is a good place to start if you are interested in exploring PV. It's one of their best. I've just begun to delve into the catalogue so I can't give you the blow by blow on how it stacks up against the rest of the lot.

If you like the dreamier side of Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, second phase King Crimson, Genesis or Grails you may like this one.Reviews from

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Brüder des Schattens ~ Söhne des Lichts (17:10)
2. Höre, der du wagst (5:30)
3. Das Schloss der Irrtums (5:20)
4. Die Umkehr (6:10)

Line-up / Musicians

- Florian Fricke /piano
- Daniel Fichelscher / acoustic & elelectric guitar
- Alois Gromer / sitar
- Bob Eliscu / oboe
- Ted de Jong / tamboura
This div will be replaced

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Anima Mundi - Jagganath Orbit (2008)

For those who are not familiar with this band called Anima Mundi, well let me tell you that first of all you will be surprised because they are a band from Cuba, nowadays it is not common to hear a prog band from that part of the globe, so that simple fact led me to discover the band few years ago when they released their first album entitled "Septentrion", which was a symphonic (with hints of Neo) prog album with a very original and unique style due to the predominant use of bagpipes, and vocals in Spanish.

Last year (2008) they at last released their second album, an album which I was really looking forward to listen to, and whose sound is different from their Septentrion sound, here we will find some different things and nice surprises. The name of this record is "Jagganath Orbit" which is produced by Roberto Díaz, leader of the band and a very nice person who I've been in contact with, the running time is over 65 minutes of great music divided in 7 tracks.

Jagganath Orbit kicks off with the longest song of the album, which named "We are the Light" is reaching almost 18 minutes, and a track that shows the band's step forward and their new sound. It starts with a melodic and spacey background, some piano here and there and other noises, after the first minute keyboards enter along with drums and the other instruments making a clear 90´s symphonic sound ala Spock´s Beard in some moments, then, vocals enter and this was my first surprise, they decided now to sing in English, they do it and sound good, but I personally prefer bands singing in their native language. There is a great instrumentation I like a lot the background during this epic, there are also a sitar sound and some nice guitar riffs. The song has some comes and go's, small musical changes inside it, a predominant keyboard sound and a great progressiveness. The second half of the song has some acoustic guitars and a calmed rhythm, it is not the bombastic keyboard sound, it is more melodic. But then, the initial style returns and the rest of the song continue like this.

The second track is "The Awaken Dreamer in the Soul Garden Dreams the Flower Planets", a long name to a shorter song that has a mid tempo rhythm with some guitars, and after a few moments it turns into a softer and calmer song, with synth effects like the sound of air and a spacey feeling inside it, an instrumental song, another nice surprise.

"Toward the Adventure" has some synth effects that make me feel like being walking in an unknown place, then the song becomes stronger with the help of guitars and other instruments, this time the vocals return, this track is very good but not my favourite though I enjoy the changes they do during the song.

"There's a Place not Faraway" keeps the same line of the previous song, I mean the musical direction and style is very alike, even the running time of both songs just have a one minute gap, the vocals sound very sweet in moments, and the guitar solos with a constant drumming sound and of course the keys as background make this a very good song, though a bit catchy, but it does not lose its essence.

Suddenly, you may thing the same song its running but actually there is a new track, the title track "Jagganath Orbit" (In the Orbit of Love) that lasts 11 minutes with again some time and mood changes through it, but following the same album's style, I mean there are some moments on the song that reminds me to previous tracks, in other words I believe there are some repetitive or unnecessary moments, though the song as a whole is very good actually.

The next song "Rhythm of the Spheres" starts with a didgeridoo sound, then keyboards and small changes, then guitar and drums, and then again some softly and well placed keyboard sound, I have to admit that in some moments the reminded me to Flower Kings, well, the song structure is always building up something, so you can be there listening to the track and enjoying what you are listening to, because the music maintains you there, expecting something. After 5 minutes, the song makes a little stop, those spacey effects and noises appear again. Some minutes later the song changes again, and due to some great sounds they produce, in my opinion the song is becoming better and better through the minutes. Probably my favourite track of the album, beautiful.

And finishing, we have "Sanctuary", the last 5 minutes of the album are filled with nice symphonic prog, and honestly this again reminds me to TFK, nice song anyway.

There is a point that I noticed since the very first listen, because I believe it's obvious, and it is the lack of bagpipes, I mention this because in their first record what made me love the band was their unique and original use of bagpipes in their music, I must admit I missed it a lot in this album.

Jagganath Orbit, is a very good album actually, it does not matter if they changed their sound, I believe the production is great and their new musical style is good as well, I like the album very much and I consider it is very complete and consistent, though right now I still prefer the Septentrion sound, I am also pleased with Jagganath Orbit, and since now I am looking forward to their next release. My final grade, 4 stars, take a look to the Caribbean prog, there are worth listening bands. Review from

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Future Kings Of England - The Future Kings Of England ( 2005 )

Future Kings Of England's self-titled debut is a mesmerizing gem that almost everyone seems to have missed out on. And if it hadn't been for mr Mellotron Storm so would I. A big thanks there! The band released 2 more albums since this debut and while they continued a high quality standard, none of them touches me as much as this one.
Future Kings Of England are a band that has found a unique spot for themselves inbetween majestic post-rock and psychedelic kraut/space-rock. You will also find traces of the mind-expanding 68-71 Floyd era, but it never really sounds like the Floyd to me. The band has more in common to GYBE, be it with more attention to melody and without those extreme quite-loud "dynamics". Both are a plus as far as I'm concerned.
Most songs are quite long, and gradually build, rise and release tension while going through big multiple bars spanning melodies. Fans of minor-key guitar arpeggios and soaring spacious leads will lick their fingers clean on this one. The sound is very open and organic, a bit rough in the drum department but all instruments resonate loud and cleary.
With such a low number of reviews I would certainly dare to call this one low-rated, even though the happy few who have visited this beautiful album have all rated it very highly. Very recommended to lovers of instrumental post-rock and space-rock.Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. At Long Last... (1:01)
2. 10:66 (7:46)
3. Humble Doucy Lane (8:55)
4. Silent And Invisible Converts (7:29)
5. October Moth (3:48)
6. Lilly Lockwood (8:18)
7. The March Of The Mad Clowns (3:35)
8. Pigwhistle (14:00)
9. God Save The King (0:48)

Total Time: 55:30

Line-up / Musicians - Ian Fitch / guitar, xylophone
- Karl Mallet / bass, effect tapes
- Simon Green / drums, percussion
- Steven Mann / keyboards
- Anvar Valiyev / violin, narration 

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