Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Taal - Skymind (2003, Musea)

Bienvenue au théâtre du rock-progressif

Welcome to the theater of Progressive Rock.

Creative, original, fun, complex, dynamic and beautiful. Those only begin to tell the story of this album, and yet can’t even scratch the surface of an attempt to describe its brilliance.

Short Personal Note & The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

Determination and time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Cuneiform Releases In May 2011

Go here to see the 6 new titles to be released by Cuneiform in May, including the new Gosta Berlings Saga and Cheer Accident.
You can also hear one track from each album there.






(vinyl lp)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Thieves' Kitchen - The Water Road (2008)

A Beautiful Road

Try this one out - Iszil from Chile

A young Chilean musician who works under the moniker Iszil (whether it's also his name, I don't know), has posted on Prog Archives about his newly released album, Back To The Seed.

I gave it a listen and I must say, I quite like the music. The vocals are, to me, the weak point here, though not bad as to ruin the music (they remind me a bit of Lobster Newberg's singer). There is "classic symphonic prog" in there, melodic but not devoid of heaviness and roughness (a good thing).

He says about himself: "Highly influenced by Rush, Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, King Crimson, Dream Theater, etc - you will get the idea listening to (at leaste) the demo - I've developed my own sound incorporating different styles and "symphonicity" to my art."

Listen for yourself on his bandcamp:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TCP's new album, Fantastic Dreamer, is, well... fantastic!

Nice artwork, eh? Makes you want to listen to the music, no?

Recommendation: Colin Masson

Colin Mason was the leader of the English progressive folk band, The Morrigan. He has also started releasing his own material under his own name, still retaining the folk elements, unto which he adds various lush sounding layers of keyboards, achieving at places a "symphonic prog" sound, particularly in his second album, The Mad Monk And The Mountain.

Review: Poutatorvi - Poutatorvi (2009, Lusti Music)

Not long ago I was contacted by Markus Pajakkala regarding his project, Utopianisti (which I’ve also reviewed). Markus was also kind enough to offer me to listen to two other projects he’s involved in, one of which is Poutatorvi, a band that draws its influences from varied sources but produces a coherent and accessible output.

Recommendation: Fiona Apple - When The Pawn... (1999)

There are those albums that are simply a gorgeous collection of songs. Those can be, of course, more than just a collection of songs, as they can be related, connected, forming a theme and what not. But as a listening experience, those releases provide a sublime musical event.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review/Recommendation: Cast - Originallis (2008)

I review albums for the Progressive Ears website, from which I receive promotional copies. One day (sometime during 2008), I saw the list of available promos and was thinking about which ones I'd like to listen and review. One name that was there was Cast and their then latest album Originallis, released earlier that year. I only knew they are a progressive rock band from Mexico and I had previously only heard snippets of their songs. That was enough for me to decide to go ahead and get ahold of the album.
That was one of the unknowingly wisest "musical picks" I've made. This album is now one of my favourite albums ever (along with Discipline's Unfolded Like Staircase, Opeth's OrchidMorningrise and Blackwater Park and U Totem's s/t album).

Friday, March 25, 2011

So, the new Pär Lindh Project album...

Time mirror has been released recently but I didn't notice too much buzz about it. Perhaps due to it not being promoted too much and/or being easily available for purchase. Or I'm looking in the wrong places.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Song To Transcend With...: Solitude Aeturnus - Trancending Sentinels

What an album...

What a song...

Good night...

Band In The Spotlight: Vortex (France)

Here is the bio I wrote for their Prog Archives page using as a source, the chronology in the inner sleeve of the 2 album pack "1975-1979", written by Aymeric Leroy

Recommendation: Noekk - The Minsterl's Curse (2008, Prophecy Productions)

The Minster's Curse, Our Blessing...

Delirium - Il Nome Del Vento (2009, Black Widow)

One of the releases I'll be reviewing soon is the new DVD of the live show by Italian progressive rockers, Delirium. In anticipation of that, here's the review I wrote for their previous album from 2009, Il Nome Del Vento.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good Night...: Ragnarök - Dagarnas Skum (Ragnarök, 1976)

Here's a gorgeous tune to go to sleep with. Slowly develops from a mellow foundation in a repetitive manner.
From Sweden, delicately.

Prog Archives
Official website

Recommendation: Naikaku - Shell (2006, Musea)

Shell is the second album by Naikaku, a Japanese band, whose origins are in the duo of Satoshi Kobayashi and Kazumi Suzuki, who formed the band in 1998. Expanding into a 6-piece band, they released their first album Wheel Of Fortune in 2003 and Shell in 2006. You can read more biographical details here.

Phideaux's Snowtorch now available on Bandcamp

Phideaux has posted the following on Progressive Ears and Prog Archives:
"Hello friends of Phideaux (and mine enemies too!)

Thanks for your comments and interest in our new project.

I wanted to let folks know that we missed the deadline for physical copies of our new album, however the final version is now available on for 10 dollars.

If you wanted a physical copy and can't wait to buy the album immediately, purchase it on bandcamp and send me an email with your address and I'll send you the CD as soon as I have it back from printers. I'll likely ask for some postage donation if you're far away (but just as likely not because I'll be so touched by your loyalty to even purchase the album to begin with!

cheers and sorry for the delay. However, we wanted to ensure that your listening experience would be safe and productive.

Let me know what you think of the album.

Phideaux Xavier I

In anticipation of Agalloch...

EDIT March 22nd: we won't be able to attend the show due to power beyond our control, which sucks, cause I really wanted to see them. So there won't be any review of the show.

Original post:
I'm quite busy today in the lab and I completely forgot that tomorrow evening my dear spouse and myself are going to see Agalloch and Worm Ouroboros at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.

As I've mentioned here before, I don't like (to put it mildly) going to live shows for various reasons, but essentially, I'm not that type of person to go to live shows.

Yet, since we moved to Long Island almost 5 years ago, I went to more live shows than I've attended my entire life until then. We've seen Porcupine Tree, Advent+Infinite Orchestra, Van Der Graaf Generator, Renaissance, Time Of Orchids, John Zorn+Dreamers, Zoe Keating and some silly Beatles cover band. It's not much, and it shows you how much I went to live shows before arriving here. 

Tomorrow, I'll add to that list the mighty Agalloch who are including the East Coast on their tour. Since it's not a common sight to have them around here, I figured I'll overcome my distaste for shows (and metal shows especially), to go see them. Since we both adore their first two full-lengths (but also, to a lesser degree, the last two albums; I'm leaving all the ep's out of it for now), we couldn't pass this opportunity and we hope they play a tune or two from any of those earlier releases. But I also look forward to hearing songs from Marrow of the Spirit live. 

Perhaps I'll catch Don Anderson, as I'm also a big fan of Sculptured. We had an exchange of emails when I got copy of Embodiment for review (fantastic album by the way). I'd like to know if there are any new sculptures in the making or any plans for a new one.

I hope to put some short report on the show afterwards, like the one I did for Zoe Keating's show in NYC (at the same venue).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Van Der Graaf Generator - A Grounding In Numbers streaming on Youtube

Van Der Graaf Generator's new album, A Grounding In Numbers has just been released. You can stream in on the following Youtube clips. I received my cd last week. I much prefer it to Trisector (and also more than Present), but I'm not as enthusiastic as others, whose opinions I've read. Still, it's great to have a new album from this fine group. 

Review: Paolo Siani & Friends feat. Nuova Idea - Castles, Wings, Stories & Dreams (2010, Black Widow)

Who is Paolo Siani, you may very well ask? He was the drummer of Nuova Idea.
Who is Nuova Idea, you may ask?
Nuova Idea is, or rather was, a progressive rock band from Italy. They released three albums between 1971 and 1973. Though knowing the band, I’ve yet to hear any of their releases (something I will correct shortly).

Review: Secret Oyster - Sea Son (1974, re-issue 2006)

Here's a(nother poor) review I wrote in 2006.
This time it's about this Danish progressive/jazz rock outfit, Secret Oyster and their excellent 1974 album Sea Son.

Reminiscing...: Pink Floyd - Meddle (1971), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977)

I can't say my musical likes and dislikes have been influenced by my parents. Perhaps by by brother at most, when I was a young boy. But my parents, while loving classical music, classic rock, French chanson and other oldies, weren't too much into music, discovering music or trying to influence my musical passion.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Out Of Focus - Wake Up (1970 Kuckuck, 2004 Second Life)

A lame review of mine from 2006 when I just started out.
However, since I like this album a lot, I hope that even this poorly written review will be enough to convey this and make you check it out. I've grown to like this album (and their two others) much more since I wrote it, so when reading this, add more enthusiasm into it :-)

Recommendation: Balinade

I know absolutely nothing about this band Balinade, except that they're from Israel, headed by one Doron Zitner and play a heavy form of slightly progressive rock (sounds more complex than it should, need to re-think that description). There are some fine and catchy moments on there but it's a bit uneven (though I realy need several more listens). Doron has posted on Prog Archives, which is how I found out about this.
They've released their debut album, Horseless Saddle, on February 18th, 2011.

Reminiscing...: Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (1998)

Entering Ayreon's palace

Friday, March 18, 2011

Graviton - Massless is up for pre-order at Translation Loss

Translation Loss will release Graviton's album, Massless on April 26th, 2011.
It's up for pre-order there already.
You can stream a few tunes from the album here.
Expect an interview with Darin Tambascio here in the near future.
UPDATE 13/4/11 - Interview with Darin and Sacha here.

The band members are:
Sacha Dunable - vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, synth, programming 
Darin Tambascio - vocals, electric guitar, Celloblaster, 12 string acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, bass, synth, grand piano, Hammond B3 organ 
Derek Donley - vocals, drums, synth, field recordings 

Review: Zypressen - Zypressen (1996, Belle Antique)

Diversity – is too much good or bad?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reminiscing...: Mr. Bungle - Mr. Bungle (1991)

I tried and tried to remember when I first heard Mr. Bungle and I can't remember.

Recommendation: Hume - Penumbra

The other day I posted here about the new Make A Rising EP. In the band's website, Jesse said that the EP was supposed to be a split with a band called Hume.
So I said to myself "you should check them out".
I usually don't listen to myself. However in this case, I decided to be so stubborn and listen to this Hume band.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reminiscing...: Iced Earth

One day in high-school, in 1992, my friend Or, with whom I discovered and was listening to metal gave me a cassette of this band called Iced Earth and told me that was great metal right there. The album was Night Of The Stormrider. Listening to it, I was hooked by the galloping riffs, their speed and intensity. I couldn't get enough of it. It went on to become one of my all-time favourite albums to this day. It's one of those "to-go-to" albums whenever I want something familiar to relax to or to get pumped with.

I began following this group's releases and quickly got their first s/t album, another very good one and my second favourite by them (yeah I know, not very popular; don't care).

Several years later, during my military service, their 4th album, The Dark Saga came out. In it were stellar songs like The Hunter. However, the album ends with the trio of songs under the name of The Suffering:
a) Scarred b) Slave To The Dark c) A Question Of Heaven.
Three fantastic songs that both my wife and I are hooked to. A Question Of Heaven is in my opinion one of the best and most beautiful songs ever written, metal or not. Matthew Barlow's singing is sublime and his scream at the end is hair-raising. I would listen to this on full volume in my room whenever I would come home from the army on vacations and annoy the hell out of my parents and the neighbours. 
Good times.

Anyway, here are the songs
This needs to be played loud. Really loud.

Band in the Spotlight: Les Fragments De La Nuits

I mentioned this group in my 2010 year-end list. This is a French ensemble from Versailles, playing chamber music/neo-classical music.

Monday, March 14, 2011

3 New Releases From 'Soleil Zeuhl'

Read after the jump what Alain Lebon of Soleil Zeuhl posted on Progressive Ears about these 3 new releases.

Bandcamp Discoveries: The Earth Is A Man

Back to our routine of discovering Bandcamp bands, here's a band I discovered this evening while browsing the site. 
The Earth Is A Man is a band from Chicago apparently, comprised of Maxwell Allison (bass, acoustic guitars, omnichord), Will Crouse (drums, percussion), Doug Kaplan (electric guitar), Zach Robinson (electric, acoustic guitars). 
They play instrumental post/math rock that while not too extravagant or intricate, is nonetheless quite entertaining and a good listen. This sounds like a band on the beginning of its path establishing their sound, though most of it is already there. Check it out!

Review: The Fractured Dimension - Towards the Mysterium (2008, MALS))

This eclectic sounding instrumental album merging classical, jazz and metal influences is the first release by The Fractured Dimension trio. Jimmy Pitts (piano & keyboards), Jerry Twyford (5,6 strong bass) and Alex Arellano (drums & percussion) created here an album that is a homage to composer Alexander Scriabin and named after his uncompleted final creation Mysterium (hence the name of this album).

Free Downloads: Celeste - Pessimiste(s) + Lento - Icon

The Denovali newsletter talks about these new releases and them being available on their website for free download, so if you're interested, head on here.


The second album of the Italian monsters of slowness. CD comes in a matte gatefold digipak. LP comes in a matte heavy gatefold cover + matte printed inner sleeves. 180g vinyl, 100 pieces on ultraclear vinyl + white & black splatter, 100 pieces on grey vinyl, 300 pieces on clear vinyl.
preorder & download here


Finally available again!!! Completely remastered and with new material. LP is comes in heavy gatefold covers. 180g vinyl, 100 pieces on white/blue A/B vinyl with blue splatter, 100 bronze/black A/B vinyl w/ black splatter, 300 ultra clear vinyl w/ cyan haze. CD comes in a thick digipak + 4 page booklet!
preorder & download here

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Musician in the Spotlight: Jean-Paul Prat

This post is dedicated to Jean-Paul Prat and in particular, his 1982 album Masal.

Sounds Heard Today - March 13th, 2011: Indukti - S.U.S.A.R.

I use to this type of post a lot when I started the blog in September last year (2010) but have since stopped. I'm resurrecting this in favour of a "good old album" I re-visited today, one which I used to listen to a lot when it came out (2004) and for a year or so afterwards.

New EP by Make A Rising - New I Fealing

The eclectic/avant-rock group Make A Rising (one of my favourites) have released a new EP called New I Fealing which you can freely download but can donate to the group if you're ever so inclined to.
Carrying on with their sound and style of before, this EP is as creative, progressive and fun as their previous two albums. I've reviewed their album here.

You can listen to it on their website and below.

Here are some notes on this release from the band:

Rhythm tracks engineered by Jeff Zeigler at Uniform. Everything else recorded at the Avant Gentlemen’s Lodge (RIP).
Mixed and Mastered by Colin Marston at Menegroth the Thousand Caves.
Produced by Make A Rising.
On this recording, Make A Rising was: Jesse Moynihan, Justin Moynihan, John Heron, Nick Millevoi, Travis Woodson.
GUEST MUSICIANS: Dave Fishkin (sax, flute), Jesse Sparhawk (harp), Beth Brandon (wurlitzer), Alex Tyson (synths), Eric Slick (marimba), Dan Blacksberg (trombone), John Pettit (trumpet), Brandon Beaver (vox), Eliza Hardy (vox), Cecilia Corrigan (vox), Spooky (vox).
All songs written by Make A Rising.

This 3 song EP was originally intended to come out as a split 12″ with the D.C. band, Hume. Unfortunately, I moved across the country and Make A Rising could not support a physical release. This was also meant to be a teaser for our upcoming double album release, but the status of that project is now up  in the air.
This recording seems like a logical step after “Infinite Ellipse”. We made some internally controversial decisions. I hope it rewards in the same way that 10cc’s “How Dare You” rewarded me after half a year of listening. It took a year and a half to finish these beasts. Enjoy!
<3 Jesse

Recommendation: Dead Sea Apes - Soy Dios (2010)

Dead Sea Apes is the trio of Brett Savage (guitar), Nick Harris (bass), Chris Hardman (drums) from Manchester England.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Recommendation: The Builders and the Butchers - Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well (2009), Dead Reckoning (2011)

This is a band whose music I've been enjoying since 2009 and mentioned here once when posting a song from their second album, Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well (2009).

Check out this Jono El Grande performance at Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo (Dec. 2010)

Review: Sophya Baccini - Aradia (2009, Black Widow)

Sophya Baccini is a piano and keyboards player and vocalist and Aradia is her first album. She has been working as a session musician and is also the lead vocalist for Presence. She has worked as a solo musician before as well as guest musician on albums by Delirium and Osanna. Aradia has been released in 2009 through Black Widow Records in Italy in a digipack format with a booklet containing all the lyrics (sung in Italian, English and French) and the lineup.