Over at The Imaginative Conservative, I had a chance to post (though the graces of the main editors, Winston and Steve) the second part of a multipart series I’ve written on dystopian literature. My argument is that dystopia is the natural and most important genre of the twentieth century.
I realize this is not quite a music post, but there’s so much science fiction and so many dystopian themes in rock and, especially, in progressive rock, that this might be of interest to a number of you who might not visit The Imaginative Conservative on a regular basis (And, just FYI, our form of conservatism is artistic, not political). Additionally, at one point in the series, I analyze Rush, the various projects of Arjen Lucassen, and the same of Andy Tillison.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy. And, of course, feel free to leave any comments and/or reactions. I’m hoping this series will serve as the basis of a book.
Originally posted on The (n)EVERLAND of PROG:
3RDegree: THE LONG DIVISION
Released 4 September 2012
Listen at Bandcamp: https://3rdegree.bandcamp.com/album/the-long-division-cd-quality-24bit-441khz
George Dobbs/ Lead vocals, keyboards
Robert James Pashman/ bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Pat Kliesch/ guitar, backing vocals
Aaron Nobel/ drums, percussion
Eric Pseja/ guitar, backing vocals
Political manifestos aside, this is a darn fine album that I recommend. Political manifestos that in reality are passionate socio-economic critiques of injustice and manipulated inequality are both needed and welcome. From the striking album art on the cover to titles of several of the tunes (A Nihilist’s Love Song, Incoherent Ramblings, The Socio-Economic Petri Dish) this album is pure Prog-concept “BIG” in theme and rewarding in execution.
Track 1: You’re Fooling Yourself (6:51)
There is almost a Spock’s Beard vibe with this tune; something about the vocal harmonies hearkens back to Neal & co. The lyrics plead for self introspection and reflection, i.e. “take the…
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TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED
11 May 2015
|OZRIC TENTACLES – NEW ALBUM ‘TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED’ – RELEASED ON MADFISH ON MAY 26th 2015
For over thirty years, OZRIC TENTACLES has pursued their defiantly independent, free-thinking and fundamentally groovy path through contemporary music. They were the rock band that joyously united the free festival crowd and the rave scene back in the late eighties and early nineties, and through successive passing trends and the abatement of the mainstream music business have fearlessly let their freak flag fly, shrugged off the urge to compromise and stuck to their core values. Consequently, the result is pure music, made for love and joy, and the ecstatic reward that comes from habitually pushing their boundaries to create beauty to the limit of their current human capabilities. It’s with great pleasure, therefore, that we announce the release of an all-new DOUBLE CD and vinyl album set, Technicians of The Sacred, to be released on the Madfish label in North America on Tuesday, May 26th 2015.
Technicians of The Sacred is a superb sojourn to the world of Ozrics. Richly layered, evocatively ambient, and ethereal musical landscapes, seamlessly morphing through beatific freeform dub trips, incredible rave grooves, and psychedelic progressive rock, create a heady, kaleidoscopic mixture of tones and textures. The aim is not just to make truly unique and culturally diverse music, but also to harmoniously unite all in attendance, and create portals for astral travel. Many fans and listeners report feelings of euphoria, an immediate connection to nature as well as others around them, and intense feelings that they have journeyed to other dimensions or met with other-worldly beings. It’s an open exploration of music and the soul.
“T.O.T.S.” will be their first double since the classic “Erpland” over 20 years ago. The aesthetics of the album is heavily themed in Mayan Astrology. Technicians of the Sacred is a characteristic trait of the “tone“ in each member’s “dreamspell” (Mayan astrological symbol). “Many years ago in a tent just prior to performing at Glastonbury Festival, we were given our Mayan Astrology reading”, says the Ozrics Ed Wynne, smiling as usual. “The man doing the readings was getting more and more excited the further he went, he said he was going to tell us something that would change our lives forever. He proceeded to reveal that we are actually Galactic Activation Portals sent to channel messages of love to the world. Upon hearing this statement we questioned, “Now that we know this, should we be doing something different with our lives?” He paused for a moment, then laughed, and as the crowd roared said, “Hurry up then, the audience is waiting to hear you!”
Technicians Of The Sacred tracklisting
OZRIC TENTACLES LIVE
In support of this epic 90+ minute offering, the band will kick off their tour dates through Europe and the UK on April 25th with their first performance in Warsaw. Another first on the tour will be Belgrade, Serbia. The tour will continue through May, before arriving stateside in June for a run of festivals and club performances.
More dates to be announced
RUSH GUITARIST ALEX LIFESON TO GUEST ON RENMAN MUSIC & BUSINESS WEB SHOW “RENMAN LIVE” NEXT WEEK
Tune in live Wednesday, April 22 to join the conversation!
LOS ANGELES – Renman Music & Business, the music industry mentoring website founded by longtime industry veteran, Steve Rennie (aka “Renman”), will broadcast another episode of its Renman Live web show next week, Wednesday, April 22, with special guest, legendary Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. The show will air live starting at 5:00 p.m. PDT / 8:00 p.m. EDT on the Renman MB YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/renmanmb. Head over to Renman Music & Business at: http://www.renmanmb.com/live/renman-live-w-rush-guitarist-alex-lifeson for more info and to submit questions in advance. Viewers can also ask questions live on air by calling the Renman Live hotline: 1-310-469-9067 during the show.
“People ask me all the time how you learn the music biz,” said Rennie. “Simple. Hang out with smart people.
“On my web show, Renman Live, I’ve been lucky to have had some of the smartest, most talented people in the music biz join me to share their stories, insights and advice with aspiring artists and music pros who are dreaming of doing something big on their own and need some inspiration and direction. If you are interested in the music biz, watching an episode of Renman Live is the next best thing to sitting on the couch with me and my guests.”
Guests who have appeared on Renman Live include Nate Reuss (FUN.), Pretty Lights, Brandon Boyd (Incubus), Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), Grouplove, Paul Tollett (Founder, Coachella), Charles Attal (Promoter, Lollapalooza), Kevin Lyman (Founder, Warped Tour), Troy Carter (Manager, John Mayer), Richard Griffiths (Manager, One Direction), Pat Magnarella (Manager, Green Day), Tom Corson (President, RCA), Mike Caren (President A&R, Warner Bros), Aaron Bay-Schuck (A&R Exec, Bruno Mars), Jeff Castelaz (President, Elektra Records) and many more.
Over the last 36 years, Renman Music & Business mastermind, Steve Rennie, has become one of the most successful and respected professionals in today’s music business. He has amassed a broad swath of experience as a concert promoter (Sr. VP Avalon Attractions now Live Nation 1984-1990), record company executive (Sr. VP GM Epic Records 1994-1998), internet entrepreneur (ArtistDirect 1998-2000) and artist manager (Incubus 1998-2014). Now, he is dedicating himself to mentoring this next generation of artists and music pros who will shape the music industry of the future.
In 2012, Rennie founded Renman Music & Business: http://www.renmanmb.com, an online education portal for the music industry featuring a YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/renmanmb with over 500 video clips with tips from industry pros, a web show, Renman Live: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaCGuUBKBfsuEGSchAEyI9fFuMXzJVuun, which has livestreamed over 100 episodes so far, and more.
Earlier this year, Rennie launched Renman U, an online course designed to be “an insider’s guide to today’s music business,” at: www.renmanu.com. Once enrolled, Renman U students receive an interactive set of online video lessons designed to teach aspiring artists and music business professionals what it takes to succeed in the music industry. Course lessons are based on Rennie’s more than 36 years of experience at the highest levels in the business, and include quizzes, written exams and more.
Rennie recently spoke with Forbes.com about his Renman U program. Check out the interview at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ruthblatt/2015/04/16/a-coaching-approach-to-becoming-a-music-business-insider/.
Keep up with Renman Music & Business on the new Renman MB app for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/renman-music-business/id912847478?ls=1&mt=8 and Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.beachfrontmedia.renmanmusicandbusiness and online at: www.renmanmb.com.
The new album by Sufjan Stevens is excellent and I give it five stars. My favorite track is “Drawn to the Blood” (which is simply an astonishing track, with even a prog-worthy soundscape generated at the end).
There is a very good review of the album over at CWR. Here is a taste:
Stevens’ new release, Carrie & Lowell, is his most delicate and difficult offering to date, due to the subject matter that drove him to be the conduit for these songs. This collection is an exploratory guide to what grief demands of us. He admits the album was born from a terrifying inner place he entered after pain overwhelmed him following the death of his mother Carrie in 2012. Her life had been fraught with alcoholism, depression, and schizophrenia; their relationship was nearly nonexistant, marked by her leaving Stevens as a child. What ensued was a gaping distance and Sufjan’s longing to know her—a knowing that never arrived. He returned to Oregon to make parts of the record, the coastal state holding his only fading childhood memories of his mother.
The subject matter is truly grim, but Sufjan’s signature touch of genius is an ability to draw listeners into intimate places—terrifying places of loss and longing that may never be reconciled—and reveal them in exquisite ways. From start to end the songs are woven together with a thread of almost-whispered vocals, minimal production, and background room noise. Upon first listening you expect an eventual lift from the muffled vocals—a lift that never comes during the entire record, which after many listens to me feels just what grief is like: a pressing in, a weightedness, always there, never letting up.
Here’s the official press
CHRIS THOMPSON TAKES THE HELM
AT NEAL MORSE’S RADIANT RECORDS
April 15, 2014-Nashville. As of today, Chris Thompson is taking the helm at Radiant Records, the progressive rock independent label founded by Neal and Cherie Morse. Thompson will be responsible for overseeing Radiant’s current releases and distribution, and further expansion of the label.
Radiant currently serves as the in-house label for several of Morse’s artistic endeavors: his acclaimed solo work, and the Prog Award winning super-group Transatlantic. Radiant also serves as the label for Neal’s inspired worship albums. Additionally, Radiant sells releases by other leading progressive artists, as well as being the exclusive outlet for products from Morse’s #1-charting super-group, Flying Colors.
In addition to being a label, Radiant has a publishing arm, Big Hatter Music. There is also an in-house recording studio available for Radiant artists, and outside clients. Its high-end capabilities allow to also serve as the primary recording facility for Morse’s solo work, Transatlantic, and Flying Colors.
Radiant has direct label deals with other labels for some of Morse’s work, and serves as a primary label. Its North American distributor is Sony/RED through Metal Blade Records. In Europe, the distributor is Sony through New Century Media. In the digital realm, Radiant is a direct iTunes label.
“Chris’s dedication and service to people, combined with his knowledge and work ethic, are unsurpassed,” says Morse. “We are very excited that he is taking over the reins of Radiant Records and allowing me more time to focus on my calling in music.”
“I couldn’t be more excited by the chance to lead Radiant,” Thompson offers. “The only limit on our future is us-we plan on doing some amazing things to serve those who love the music. In addition to current mission, we will nurture and record new artists, leverage our iTunes label status to establish Radiant as digital distributor, and further expand into the global marketplace.”
Press Contact: Heather Thompson