My good friend Steve Horwitz just sent me a link to this article from the American libertarian magazine, REASON. Enjoy.
In 1977, I bought my first Rush album. I was 13. The title of the disc was 2112, and the foldout jacket had a very cool and ominous red star on the cover. As soon as I got it home from the store, I carefully placed that vinyl record onto the felt-padded turntable of my parents’ old Motorola console stereo.
The moment I dropped that stylus, and that needle caught the groove, I became obsessed with Rush like only thirteen-year-old boys can get obsessed. I turned up the volume as loud as I thought I could get away with, and I rocked.
To keep reading, please go here: http://reason.com/archives/2014/04/22/matt-kibbe-book-excerpt-rush-and-aynrand
Arjan Lucassen has just released the following on Facebook:
Time has come to finally disclose my new project… it will be a collaboration between my favorite female singer Anneke van Giersbergen and me! Expect an epic concept double album, a combination of ‘classical meets metal’ and ‘acoustic folk’. More details later!
A progarchist take: God bless the Dutch. Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Andy Tillison continues to be brilliant. Homage to Tangerine Dream.
As Andy describes it:
Andy Tillison (Keyboards) and Luke Machin (Guitar) of THE TANGENT rehearse their Berlin School Electronica section of the Tangent’s set for the forthcoming European Mini Tour in May/June 2014. The tour features the two full progressive rock bands The Tangent and Karmakanic including members of Maschine, The Flower Kings and in London the band will be joined by Theo Travis, longtime associate of Tangent and currently the wind player with the Steven Wilson Band. All tour dates can be found at the Tangent website http://www.thetangent.org.
This piece was recorded by Andy in Yorkshire, England in one take and similarly by Luke Machin in Brighton, England using an internet link. The music is all live with no overdubs from either musician. There are two parallel 4 note sequencers running for the duration of the song in the same way as Tangerine Dream would have used analogue step sequencers. This piece features the (currently) new Roland FA-06 workstation which is responsible for all the keyboard sounds you hear (minus the ebow guitar patch and the Mellotrons) – regardless of which keyboard appears to be being played. The laptop computer in the video is creating these other sounds and the large desktop computer is only switched on because it happened to be switched on. It’s not doing anything. The arpeggios are generated by the FA-06.
Sigh. . .
In keeping with the Easter spirit, here is Marillion’s beautiful song Easter. A happy Easter to all. Enjoy.
Happy Easter, Progarchy. Today is the day when those of us who call ourselves Christians celebrate Jesus’ triumphal resurrection from the dead, defeating both sin and death at the same time. As some of you may know, John Elefante released a fantastic album last year entitled, On My Way to the Sun, which received a very well written review by our very own Carl Olson. My favorite song off of that album is “This is How the Story Goes.” This song does a great job of celebrating the resurrection, and it also shares the Gospel of Christ in a powerful way. The song features Rich Williams (guitars) and David Ragsdale (violin) of Kansas. I hope you have a wonderful Easter. God bless.
Originally posted on The Blog of Much Metal:
In a slight deviation to what I promised in my introduction, I want to start my more in-depth analysis of the musical strength of the Scandinavian countries with a country that I didn’t initially mention and that, strictly-speaking, is not part of Scandinavia.
Let me explain…
It may not be part of Scandinavia as such, but the country’s history is closely interwoven with their Scandinavian cousins, having been inhabited by the Norsemen well over 1000 years ago. As such, is referred to as one of the ‘Nordic countries’ and therefore, I’m including it in my series. I am, of course, referring to Iceland.
This decision has been brought about thanks to a couple of trips to this magnificent and intriguing country, the last of which was just a few weeks ago. What struck me during both visits, apart from the rugged beauty, the isolation and the tranquillity, was the…
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Much to my happiness, I had the chance to talk with John Bassett, Integrity’s Minstrel, about his new solo album, UNEARTH. UNEARTH has already received a properly enthusiastic reception from the music community. For good reason. John is simply brilliant, and every note radiates goodness, creativity, and substance. For all intents and purposes, John is the Neil Peart of his generation, though with less of a Nietzschean streak than the younger Neil possessed. So, without further blathering on my part, it’s my honor to present an interview with the mastermind behind Kingbathmat, John Bassett. As you’ll see, John is as intelligent as he is musically talented. His insights here speak volumes.
Progarchy (Brad): John, thanks so much for talking with us. I know how busy you are. It’s a great honor to talk with you. As you know, we progarchists are huge fans of yours. So, let’s get started. What is your goal with a solo album? Why do one?
JB: Hi Brad, I’ve got a bucket list of musical projects I want to achieve before I pass into the next world and one of them was an acoustic album, so that is now crossed off my list. I suppose overall, I was attempting to recapture the days when I was first started learning guitar, and writing my first songs. I was astonished to find that I could create tunes out of nothing, it was a revelation to me, an individual, who at that time was quite unconfident, lost and unsure of himself. I would listen back to recorded cassette tapes of those early songs with a sense of pride thinking that there may actually be something that I may be good at after all and that I might not be as I first thought, completely useless. Around that time I became quite infatuated with writing songs and was obsessed with the album “Pet Sounds”. So this is me now, recreating that past frame of mind and musical sensibility with the more modern outlook that I have today.
Progarchy: When writing songs, do you come up with lyrics or music first? How does it all come together?
JB: Music always comes first for me. It usually happens in this order, I’ll sit down, in a comfy chair with a tasty beverage, pick up an acoustic guitar and create garbled, wordless vocal melodies over a sequence of chords which sound pleasing to me or emotionally meaningful. The vocal melodies are always very precise and there are usually no words assigned to the tune, lyrics always come later. I don’t know if this is a commonplace procedure for people who write songs but its the way I’ve always done it, especially in regards to vocal melodies. Sometimes when mumbling these incoherent melodies over these chords a word will abruptly spring out of nowhere that fits perfectly with the tune, this happened recently with the song “Comedian” (last track on “Unearth”), the word “comedian” came out of nowhere whilst composing and when this happens I feel obliged to keep that word in the song even if it means I have to change the entire concept of that song so as so to fit that one word into it. Luckily with that word “comedian” it subsequently reminded me of a situation in my childhood from which I then drew on for the rest of the lyrics for that particular song.
Progarchy: Why take the solo album into more acoustic and acid folk?
JB: I never intended for it to have a psychedelic folk slant, but I suppose I just can’t help tinkering with different sounds in the studio. I love acoustic records, there’s something pure, honest and unfiltered about that style and that’s what attracted me to making this album and for the nostalgic reasons already mentioned above.
Progarchy: Any chance you’d make a Kingbathmat album incorporating some of the style of Unearth? Maybe a concept album, alternating between soft and hard styles?
JB: I’m unsure where to go with the next KingBathmat album, I’ve got a concept idea, I’ve also got some instrumental tracks I’m curious to make. I don’t know, there are a few tracks that I’ve started working on. It will probably be more cinematic and more experimental. I do want to take that emotional vibe with “Unearth” and introduce some musical shocks within it. Set up a musical pretext and then flip it around but of course it would have to work musically and not undermine it.
Progarchy: Who are your artistic (music, lit, etc) heroes?
JB: I feel the best artists are those individuals who achieve something worthwhile for themselves and others and yet all the while, retain their original sense of self. Being honest and truthful is all important to me. I don’t like an artist who adopts a facade generated by his over inflated ego, you can see this with numerous successful artists who start to delude themselves. In my opinion, musical artists that have achieved huge success but then also remained true to themselves would include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa and Rory Gallagher, I’m sure there are many others but those are the notorious ones that first spring to my mind. This level of authenticity shines through when you observe them in interviews, there’s seems to be no bullshit with them, and I think it is this attitude that not only endears them now to the public but also enabled them to create brilliant music. Many may have died through drink and drugs, yet artistically, I feel they remained unaffected. So I suppose it is this authenticity element that I admire and would like to emulate from these people.
Progarchy: Anyone currently you’d love to work with?
JB: There’s loads of people I’d like to work with, If I was to start mentioning names this page would turn into an infinite scroll of people that would never unravel. Ideally the best people to work with in a musical sense are those that can do what you can’t do or what you’re lacking in. Someone who has a different musical sensibility to you and therefore can inspire you to think in a different way which then resets your sonic freshness button.
Progarchy: Your lyrics and videos possess both surrealism and biting cultural criticisms? What message, if any, would you like the listener to take?
JB: Well I suppose with this latest album I’m just speaking from my own personal mindset, yes I maybe overly paranoid, and I may have a deep mistrust of authority but I’m hoping that other people will identify with my individual thoughts and emotions, as effectively we are all the same aren’t we? I don’t really have a pre-composed message that is deliberate I’m just literally expressing my thoughts as they come. Fear is a commodity that is openly traded virtually through mediums, I don’t believe it exists in of itself, it’s only created in our minds, but fear can and is placed into our minds by others for means of control through suggestion and the success of that placement of fear is dependent upon their power of influence. Music is a hugely motivational and powerful force that can inspire and influence people, it can remove the obstacles of imposed fear and encourage people to be brave and make a change. Yet popular mainstream music as supplied by the music industry into the millions of homes around the world has never been so uninspiring, worthless and devoid of any true meaning. If there is a message to be taken from popular music today it is that of a uniformly materialistic message to go and buy unnecessary things that will help you inflate your own personal idea of status. It is unbelievable really, the turgid, vacuous, corporate entities that are bandied around and promoted with serious money under the banner of music. This is now considered the norm for mainstream music. I find it hard to believe that this is a natural stagnation that has occurred as some state and rather more so a deliberate removal of an influential and motivational force available to the public, perhaps it is a controlled demolition of music? There is plenty of good music out there, whether its pop, rock whatever, but unless you actively search it out, its not going to find you and your not going to find it. I like this quote that I read last week from a guy called Tim Hall – “Never forget that the majors’ business model is based on keeping the public from hearing music that the majors don’t own” – this I feel is very true, and over the many years I have been doing this, the options for self promotion seem to be decreasing, and if any new avenues appear they are very soon closed off. In some ways its a reflection of the world today where corporations grow bigger, monopolise and restrict individuality, creating an identikit world of mundanity. The only real way for any music that is both created and produced independently to become successful is through people power, word of mouth and endorsements from the public, just as any change in society can only truly be achieved through a collective show of strength. So if you like my songs or any other musicians/bands that self release their own music, please share and tell your friends about them as it means so much.
Progarchy: Thank you so much, John, for your time as well as your insights. You are the future of prog.
“The Last Day” is an excellent song from a very promising new group from Denmark:
********** Forever Still **********
You can find the new video at Beneath the Grid Music.
You can also listen to their debut EP Breaking Free at Bandcamp and even download a song for free.
Maja Schønning is a gifted vocalist who pours everything into her stunning performances.
Supported by the careful craft of top-notch musicians, she is clearly someone to watch.
I am very much looking forward to the LP that she has in the works. The EP is superb.