Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recommendation: Druckfarben - Druckfarben (2011)

I usually try to avoid this type of comparisons when recommending bands, but I'll make an exception in this case.

Fancy some sharp and poignant keyboards-drenched, guitar-driven progressive rock a-la Rush, Kansas, Gentle Giant, ELP and YES?

Canadian band, Druckfarben, released in September this year (2011) their debut album, though the band's roots go back. From listening to the album it seems the band members love a lot of classic rock and classic prog bands. Hard evidence for this is found when looking for videos of the band online - you'll find many live performances of theirs covering songs from classic prog bands. 
They took those influences and created a highly energetic album with very tight musicianship and clean sound. The 9 songs on here are catchy and successfully mingle a light, "pop-ish" sound and a more elaborate and complex side in the song-writing. Being a keyboards player and enthusiast, I'm particularly thrilled with the keyboards work on the album; it's enriching the sound, giving it power and volume and embellishing the songs with beautiful curves and decorations.

Druckfarben's first album is a tasty album that grabbed me from the first moment I listened to it and it got better with more listens. There is a lot to discover on it with subsequent listens, more layers and hidden intricacies. 

Go listen to the album on their bandcamp or website (links below).

Here's their bio from their website:
" The Druckfarben story began in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough in the mid 1980s, where guitarist Ed Bernard and drummer Troy Feener began exchanging musical interests in grade 9 art class. Ed introduced Troy to the progressive rock of Yes and Gentle Giant—---and soon the two started playing music together. One day, in the hall of their abandoned factory rehearsal space, the young musicians discovered some black barrels with a strange word stenciled on them...… Druckfarben. As they tried to imagine the contents of the mysterious barrels, Ed joked that one day they would be in a band together, and they would call it Druckfarben.

Meanwhile, at a nearby high school, young keyboardist Will Hare was working out on Bach and Rachmaninoff; at Jarvis Collegiate in downtown Toronto, young bassist Peter Murray was gaining a reputation as the guy who could play “"YYZ"” by Rush; and, further south in Rochester, New York, singer Phil Naro was already a full-fledged professional front-man in the metal band Talas, alongside legendary bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan. The five musicians, still for the most part unknown to each other, shared two notable traits: all were very talented on their chosen instruments, and all were big fans of progressive rock.

Years went by—---and not surprisingly, all five became professional musicians. This entailed separate stints with unsigned and signed original bands and artists; cover bands and tribute acts; teaching and writing; jingles and studio work. All became highly respected in their local scenes. But the prog rock that had initially inspired them all seemed to be left behind---the stuff of nostalgia, of fantasy. It wasn't commercially or professionally viable; to form a prog band was simply unthinkable. At least for a while...…

Many years later, Troy became the main drummer for Classic Albums Live, a collective of musicians who perform classic records note-for-note. He longed to put on a prog show, and eventually the powers-that-be agreed to stage a recreation of the Yes albums Close to the Edge and The Yes Album. Predictably, all the future members of Druckfarben were called for the gig. Peter had to pass because he was producing an album in Germany at the time, but he attended the now-historic show at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto on September 20, 2007. Performing this challenging, brilliant music inspired the forming of a band... and Druckfarben was born.

Druckfarben started off performing covers of prog classics by Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Kansas, Rush and others, and the band's first set (March 1, 2008 at Roc ’'n Doc’'s in Port Credit, Ontario) kicked off with the tour-de-force “"Close to the Edge."” The band solidified their chemistry with a monthly gig at Toronto'’s Orbit Room (co-owned by Alex Lifeson of Rush) and a monthly prog jam (perhaps the world's one and only!) at Roc ’'n Doc’'s. Area prog fans had much to celebrate, as a new community of musicians and fans was born, with Druckfarben at the center. As the band’'s reputation grew, audiences included Kim Mitchell, Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard), Terry Brown (Rush producer) and other prog luminaries.

Although Druckfarben built up their collective performance chops on prog classics, the band always intended to apply the fruits of those labours to their own music. Work on original material soon started, with Ed leading the songwriting and production charge, and in October, 2011, the band's debut self-titled CD emerged in all its glory. It’'s a tribute to the enduring love that all members of this quintet have had for progressive rock since their high school days. Maybe they should have been doing this all along... but two things are for sure: firstly, there could have been no shortcuts to where Druckfarben is now—---the band is the sum of its varied and extensive collective experience. And secondly: the road ahead is long and scenic! "

- Learn more about the band, listen to the album and find places to buy the album on their Official Website
- Stream and buy the album on the band's Bandcamp
Buy CD or digital download at Melodic Revolution

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