Read all about The Tragedy of iTunes and Classical Music:
Apple, which long paid classical more mind than other big tech companies, debuted Apple Music with dismal classical options, as NPR’s Anastasia Tsiouclas and The New Yorker’s Alex Ross have documented.
And even beyond the streaming service, the new version of Apple’s signature music software seems especially broken. In the name of creating a “complete thought around music,” iTunes 12 has crammed a streaming service and a media library and a recommendation service and a file store and a device manager into one interface. The sum is that nothing “just works”—and MP3s especially don’t work well.
Apple has already discontinued its iPod Classic, the last media player that could conceivably let you tote around your entire music library in one device. The company is floating to a streaming model.
If classical listeners are ill-served by streaming services, though, they will stick with music files; and that means they represent, as a bloc, the set of listeners who will continue to maintain personal libraries of owned music even as the larger public rents their digital music instead.
The CDDB is the database which iTunes used to detect what was on a CD while ripping it.
Classical is not the only genre that works poorly with this tagging system, said Jonathan Sterne, author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format, a history and meditation on the technology. Audiobooks, lectures, and sound art don’t really adapt well either.
If anything, said Sterne, the long-playing record and the compact disc—the two great audio formats of the late 20th century—might have been special cases.
With both the CD and the LP, he said, “it just so happened that things that were of interest to the broader world of people who made recorded media, and people who were in the music industry, lined up with those of classical performers and audiences.”
Analogously, perhaps the technology for prog also peaked with the gatefold LP?
Or with the 70-minute epic prog CD that had a fold-out booklet with liner notes and poster?
Greetings from the Radiant Team!
It’s time for our Weekly Featured Product! This week we’re featuring the upcoming release from Neal Morse, Morsefest 2014 LIVE and with it, announcing the winner of our Morsefest 2015 VIP Giveaway! This live release contains over 5 hours of great performances including the entire Testimony and One albums plus special encores of the Spock’s Beard classic, “The Light” featuring Alan Morse, and the Transatlantic epic “Stranger In Your Soul.” Also included is a behind-the-scenes documentary with footage of Neal’s exclusive acoustic concert, rehearsal footage, “Name That Prog Tune” game with Mike and more! And now, we’re excited to announce that the winner of the Morsefest 2015 VIP Gold Package is Philippe Ranellucci! (email email@example.com to claim your ticket!)
Morsefest 2014 “Testimony” & “One” LIVE
Available in Double BluRay or a Special Edition 6 Disc Set. Official release date: August 21st, 2015. Pre-order here!
Take a sneak-peek at Morsefest 2014 LIVE!
Filmed during night one of Morsefest 2014 in Cross Plains, TN.
Team Radiant Records
Great moments in parenting: “I’ve discovered that my teenage daughter is a genuine metalhead!” @philosopher70
Read this great post by The Heavy Metal Philosopher about “Generations of Metalheads: Passing On My Bass.”
It’s a wonderful true story about a father and a daughter and a shared love of great music!
Here’s just a taste:
I learned to play bass while I was a young man in the Army, and then when I came back to the States, with my very first paycheck (working at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, in Waukesha, Wisconsin), I went down to the pawn shop and picked her out — a beautiful blue bass guitar that I ended up giving a name to later on, Betsy. I played countless hours over the next five years, jamming with a number of other musicians, practicing and improvising on my own, playing along with tapes and records. I experimented with various amps and effects. Out of necessity, I learned how to use a bass along Lemmy-lines, like a rhythm guitar, but instead of just overdriving it, I ran it through distortion and a bit of chorus into a 200 watt power preamp, down into a 15-inch speaker, with my old 12-inch practice amp taped into the circuit as well.
So, when my daughter asked, “Dad, can I take the bass home?” I had to think — and feel my way through a surprisingly tough decision. I deliberated over it a long time, both by myself and with my wife. And at the end, I made the right decision — but it was tough.
Check out this great list (complete with YouTube videos):
H/T Jennifer Ouellette @JenLucPiquant
No list of classic female bass players will ever be complete—there’s always one more name to add, one more bass riff to savor, one more argument to be had over who is over- and underrated.
Maybe it’s the professional historian in me, but I love dates, and I love anniversaries.
This year is the fifteenth anniversary of Transatlantic’s first album, the rather stunning and never aging SMPTe.
I’d not heard of the project until one of my students handed me a copy of the CD in the fall of 2000, about six months or so after its release. I knew Morse (I’d been one of the first–if not the first–persons in Bloomington, Indiana, to purchase THE LIGHT from Spock’s Beard), I knew Trewavas (having been a Marillion fan since BRAVE), and I knew Mike Portnoy, having purchased every Dream Theater release since 1992’s IMAGES AND WORDS. Roine Stolt? Didn’t have a clue at that point, though I’d heard of The Flower Kings.
My first reaction upon seeing the CD cover was one of elation. This looked like a very modernized Yes cover. And, of course, I loved the starship/blimp. I thought the album title, SMPTe, was kind of weird, as I didn’t quite get why the names of the members were so important, but, then, it was a “supergroup.”
Looking at the credits, I thought, “Ok, this is a Morse project. I wonder why he isn’t finding enough fulfillment in Spock’s Beard?” Not that I knew much about anything going on in any of the bands represented in Transatlantic. I knew the music, but I didn’t know any details about any of the bands.
In fact, the only real music news I kept up on at the time was for Rush, Yes, Tears for Fears, and Talk Talk. Admittedly, I did a very good job of keeping up with these bands, but I was aided by some really good user groups and news groups (remember those?!!?).
When I put the Transatlantic cd on my stereo, I was completely floored. The first minute of sound effects not only grabbed me, but all 31 minutes of the epic rooted me in place. I was utterly blown away. Yes had given us songs at 22-24 minutes, and Rush had come close, but 31 minutes? Holy schnikees. This was flat out amazing. Then, “We All Need Some Light,” which I thought sounded much like a Spock’s Beard song. Thus, I Iiked it. And, it was the perfect breather after “All of the Above.” I didn’t fall in love with this track, though, until I heard it live on LIVE IN AMERICA.
The third track, “Mystery Train,” really caught my attention as well, pulling me back into the depths of the album. I loved the psychedelia of it, and I was especially taken with the Beatle-esque refrain. This was an updated version of something off of the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR–yet it was an homage not a mimicry.
If I’d been captivated by tracks 1 and 3, I was once again thrown into a tizzy as I listened to the sixteen minutes of “My New World.” The references to the Doors and Jimi Hendrix sold me. And, I’m a sucker for Stolt’s voice. As soon as I heard this album, I immediately purchased all of The Flower Kings up to that point.
SPACE REVOLVER, by the way, became and remains one of my top ten favorite all-time albums.
As I looked back over the first four tracks of SMPTe, I came to realize how very different each song had been. There was no distinctive “Transatlantic” song. They each hit me in different ways.
Then, as though I deserved dessert (which I didn’t!), Transatlantic gave me a remake of one of the best Procol Harum songs ever written. Granted, it wasn’t “Simple Sister” but it was the next best thing.
When Transatlantic played live over the internet, I listened. When the live album of that recording, LIVE IN AMERICA, came out, I bought it–the day it came out. And, I’ve done the same with every single live or studio CD since. I will admit that I was horribly shocked by Portnoy’s language on the live releases. At the time, I was only recently married. My wife comes from a very conservative Texas family, and she knew nothing about prog. As I was listening and Portnoy said inappropriate things, I cringed. Astoundingly, my wife either didn’t hear Portnoy or chose not to hear. She’s now as much a Morse/Portnoy fan as I am. So, all’s well that ends well!
I will admit that it’s a bit hard for me to accept that I first heard SMPTe fifteen years ago. At that point, I was newly married, and my oldest child was just a year old! Now, he’s sixteen, and he has six siblings! Sheesh.
And, my wife is now a prog fan. Again, the times do change.
A huge thank you to Morse, Portnoy, Trewavas, and Stolt. That one album from a decade and a half ago introduced me to the Flower Kings, and it made me realize that third-wave prog was and remains pure, unadulterated love and beauty.
I began writing this post several months ago, in January, carried along on the brief rush of excitement that comes with a new year. “2015! How about noting a bunch of anniversaries of great albums?” And, in fact, one of the great strengths of Progarchy.com is the sense of music history and the awareness of anniversaries: “Forty year ago….thirty years ago….twenty-five years ago…twenty years ago…”, as opposed to the dominant model out there, which is “Forty minutes ago…thirty seconds ago…twenty tweets ago…” But then life overwhelmed me and the burst of focused energy dissipated for a while. Now it’s back. Best strike while the vinyl is hot—or something along those lines.
The idea here is very simple: I listen to hundreds of new albums every year, along with hundreds of older albums that I come back to for various reasons; but how much of that music has real staying power? And what, in the end, makes a person return repeatedly to This Album rather than That Album? Sure, of course it is because of impeccable taste and a rare instinct for timeless music. (Duh.) But there is a wonderful mystery to it all, for so much of what resonates in a particular album comes from accidental things: the time, the place, the event, the moment. Certain songs bring back great memories; certain songs make you want to jump off a cliff (yes, I’m looking at you, Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”).
But it isn’t simply a matter of nostalgia, which can only go so far; it is, I hope, more often a matter of discovery, of hearing something new—or, in some cases, hearing something old and suddenly hearing it. Really hearing it.
My criteria is this: what albums from 60, 50, 40, 30, 25, 20, and 10 years ago do I still listen to now on a regular basis? And never tire of hearing? And why? With that, here goes!
1955: In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra and It’s a Blue World by Mel Tormé. I was not raised on Sinatra’s music; quite the contrary—I was raised on decent hymns and mediocre to rotten “Christian” music; I hardly paid attention to Top 40 pop and rock until I was in junior high. And I didn’t really listen to Sinatra or Tormé until a dozen years ago. Prior to that, I simply didn’t “get it”. Then I did. Why? I’m not sure. But since then, I’ve collected some 1300 Sinatra songs. The Chairman of the Board produced many classic albums, but this one is my personal favorite: dark, lush, aching, beautiful, gut-wrenching, perfect. I sometimes fall to sleep listening to it, especially when it’s 2:00 in the morning and I’m wide awake. Sinatra had the rare gift of making you, the listener, believe The Voice was singing only to and for you. It’s impossible to describe; it simply has to be heard and experienced. And don’t forget: Sinatra is the God Father of Prog. Really. Sinatra, by the way, was born a hundred years ago this year.
Tormé did not have the edge or darkness of Sinatra, nor did he ever plumb the depths of emotional despair as did the legend ten years his senior. But Tormé had range, talent, and genius to burn, not just as one of the greatest vocalists of the 20th century, but also as an accomplished songsmith (he penned 250 songs or so), fabulous arranger, top-notch drummer (and decent pianist), novelist, biographer, author, actor, screen writer, consummate showman, and collector (guns, cars, movies, etc.). It’s a Blue World is a lush, impeccable set of songs, likely influenced by Sinatra’s Wee Small Hours. While Sinatra packs an emotional punch, Tormé thrills with pure beauty and dazzling musicality, all delivered with an effortless ease that reminds me of watching Roger Federer play tennis at Wimbledon. Bing Crosby, asked late in life to name his favorite musicians, named only one vocalist–Tormé–saying, “Any singer that goes to hear this guy sing has got to go and cut his throat.” For a taste, check out Tormé singing Duke Ellington’s “I’ve Got It Bad, And That Ain’t Good”. Read the rest of this entry
Originally posted on The (n)EVERLAND of PROG:
Yes, I do plan to add some actual NEW content very soon (reviews, Top-Ten lists, etc.) but for now, here is another song that has some nascent proggy elements that I really like.
It’s not the killer “rock” chorus (which is good on its own merits) but the almost Genesis like vibe around the 1:18 to 1:50 mark, and again from the 2:25 to 3:00 mark that earn this track inclusion.
Mellotron set to 11
echolyn’s musical style, progressive in the truest sense of the word, defies any one musical categorization and yet all their albums have achieved critical acclaim from around the globe as they continue to release new music.
echolyn started in the late 1980’s when Brett Kull, Raymond Weston, and Paul Ramsey played in a cover band named Narcissus; however in 1988 that band disbanded as the members tired of playing cover tunes.
A year later Christopher Buzby joined Kull and Ramsey to form echolyn, making a conscious decision to focus entirely on original music. Weston soon returned to the band and they began recording the eponymous CD “echolyn” in 1990. Jesse Reyes covered bass duties until Thomas Hyatt joined the band permanently during the recording process of this first studio album.
“echolyn” was released independently on their own Bridge Records label and the first pressing sold out quickly. The CD was even a sought-after collector’s item for a while, fetching high $$’s on several internet auction sites. echolyn was indeed a welcome addition of new, unique and challenging music in a generally lean time for progressive rock music.
In 1992 the band released “suffocating the bloom“, now regarded by many as an early ’90s progressive rock classic. The album honed echolyn’s trademark two-and three-part vocal harmonies with tight, angular and contrapuntal instrumental musicianship, and featured the 25-minute opus “A Suite for the Everyman.” Lyrically “suffocating the bloom” deals with the loss of childhood innocence and idealism.
In the spring of 1993 the band released a 4-song unplugged mini-CD “…and every blossom,” however it was “suffocating the bloom” that attracted the attention of executives at major label Sony Music/Epic Records, and the band signed a multi-album deal in the summer of 1993, tied to the release of their next full-length album on Sony/Epic/550 Music.
During this time period echolyn performed live extensively, playing sold-out shows throughout the Philadelphia region, most notably at the Ambler, 23 East and Chestnut Cabarets and at the Theater of the Living Arts on South Street in Philadelphia, as well and a featured set at a progressive rock music festival (ProgFest ’94) in Los Angeles, CA, just prior to the release of their own Sony/Epic/550 Music album debut.
A major label deal would not corrupt echolyn’s musical ambitions. “as the world” was, and is, an uncompromising piece of echolyn’s musical output. Recorded in Nashville, TN in the spring of 1994, the album was released in March of 1995 to critical acclaim as it broke down musical and lyrical stereotypes, making honest and artistic statements about conformity, coupled with the plight of being human.
At the time, many spoke of echolyn as the best chance for wider mainstream acceptance of progressive music, however Sony maddeningly refused to support touring, echolyn’s best way to reach new ears and their musical lifeblood, and thus marked the beginning of the end to echolyn’s short-lived major label career. The band headlined the inaugural ProgDay Festival in North Carolina in September 1995, without label support, and shortly thereafter were dropped by Sony. Hyatt and Buzby next left the band, and after over 250 live shows and 4 studio album releases, echolyn had seemingly met its end.
A posthumous fifth album recording entitled “when the sweet turns sour,” was released on SynPhonic and Cyclops, GFT in 1996. This CD consisted of working demos of unreleased new songs, an acoustic version of “Meaning and the Moment,” a cover of “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” originally arranged and recorded for a Genesis tribute album, and live tracks from the ProgDay ‘95 show in North Carolina.
The members of echolyn, however, remained very active in music…
Kull, Ramsey, and Weston formed Still, which released “Always Almost” in 1996, focusing on song-writing in a hard-rock format with a powerful, melodic approach. Re-named Always Almost, the same trio released “God Pounds His Nails” in 1997, which featured a Gentle Giant cover of “Aspirations.” Both of these recordings were released on Georgia-based Pleasant Green Records. Kull and Ramsey also started recording and touring as session musicians with the major-label folk-rock group Grey Eye Glances on both studio albums & live shows/tours.
Meanwhile Buzby formed a new band named finneus gauge with several other musicians, including his brother Jonn on drums, and released two albums of intricate jazz-fusion influenced progressive rock, “more once more” (1997) and “one inch of the fall” (1999) to worldwide critical acclaim. Keyboard magazine picked “more once more” as “One of the Top 5 Records of 1997″ in an editor’s poll, while Guitar World recognized finneus gauge as “One of the 10 Best in the Current Progressive Rock Underground” in 1998.
In the spring of 2000, 4/5ths of echolyn reunited and released a brand new collection of 10 songs and their first studio album in over four years, titled “cowboy poems free.” The line-up featured original members Buzby, Kull, Ramsey, and Weston, along with new drummer and percussionist Jordan Perlson, a student of Buzby’s at the time. echolyn played a couple of live shows in support of “cowboy poems free,” most notably the stifling-hot and jam-packed NEARfest pre-show in 2000 in Allentown, PA.
echolyn retired again to the studio after the summer of 2000 to begin meticulous work on their next album titled “mei,” released in June of 2002. Always striving for the next challenge and musical adventure, “mei” is the most diverse echolyn recording to date. Featuring several guest musicians on timpani, marimba, vibraphone, clarinet, flute, violin and cello, and clocking in at just under 50 minutes in length, “mei” is echolyn’s modern day version of a symphonic tone poem.
Following the success of “mei,” echolyn decided to take the current live show on the road for a few shows in Philly, Baltimore, Canada and Boston. Following a positive worldwide reception to “mei,” the band also decided it was time to truly empty the vaults and give the newer fans everything they had been looking for + old fans and completists all of the non-released tracks and out-takes from years past.
Thus “a little nonsense: now and then” was born. Released in December of 2002, the box set included the entire re-masters of echolyn’s debut album, “and every blossom” and “when the sweet turns sour.” The release of this box set finally, and officially, closed the door on the first 13 years of echolyn. It also included the return of Tom Hyatt as guest bassist for a few live shows, followed by Tom’s official return to the band in the fall of 2003.
At this point in their career echolyn still did not have one thing on their resume: a “live” album. It was finally time for an official live bootleg album “The Jersey Tomato.” Released as a 2-CD limited-edition pressing, it sold out before the actual CDs and jewel cases were even ready for shipping. Featuring 13 live echolyn tunes, and a powerful, complete band version of “mei” (without the chamber orchestra), this release was recorded at a show echolyn performed at The Jersey ProgHouse in September of 2002.
Always looking for the next challenge, echolyn also began planning work in a new medium. During 2003 the band played several live shows in Baltimore, Quebec, Lowell, MA and Pennsylvania, the latter being filmed for a DVD release. In 2004 production took place on “Stars and Gardens,” which contained film footage of live echolyn from the previous year plus a video documentary spanning the band’s entire career. Released on September 7, 2004, the DVD finally lets fans outside the USA see the band on stage and in the studio. With positive reviews coming in from around the world, the DVD further promotes the success of a one-of-a-kind American band that continues to defy the odds and push the boundaries of original progressive rock music.
Brett Kull’s solo album releases, “Orange-ish Blue” (2002) and “The Last of the Curlews” (2008), plus Ray Weston’s ”This is My Halo” (2003) are further proof that the originality and musical output from the members of echolyn is never done, nor complete. All three solo album releases were heralded by music fans from around the world as bold, necessary, and musical steps forward for both Brett and Ray.
With the re-release of the album “as the world” in July 2005, along with a companion DVD of the band performing many selections from “as the world,” filmed in Michigan just 2 days before the original March of 1995 album release, the band completed and released a brand new album titled ”The End Is Beautiful” – an urban, angular, somewhat back-to-basics, rock album on August 23, 2005 – followed immediately by the band’s first-ever European tour in early September of 2005.
With 9 shows in 6 countries over 15 days, the European tour was wildly successful in that the band not only did all their own leg-work in lining up the shows, tour bus, venues and cartage/gear, but actually more-than-broke-even financially – proving once again their DIY approach to writing, releasing and promoting their own music and tours still has its benefits. With many new friends and fans across the pond – and actual faces to place with e-mail addresses – echolyn came home tired, but fulfilled, from another bucket-list adventure. The tour even inspired the band to write a new song, “15 Days,” which was exclusively featured on the Hurricane Katrina survivor benefit album, “After the Storm.”
Seven long years would next unfold with the band working on-and-off to release another studio album and playing brilliant shows in North America. With multiple false-starts and release dates, the band eventually realized that this next set of songs would, and could, only be released when it was time…and time it took.
Finally, in the winter of 2012, all the right songs, arrangements and recorded tracks fell-into-place to create a new double-CD (and limited-pressing double vinyl release) titled eponymously, just like their debut album: echolyn. This beautifully melodic, mature and introspective set of 8 songs best captures echolyn doing what they do best – writing songs about life and living life – an ever-important reminder to the band members why echolyn was formed back in September of 1989 in the first place: to create truly honest and original music together. With album sales over 30,000 copies to date, this 2012 album release, lovingly titled “the windowpane album” by fans, continues to leave its mark in the music world with introspective, moving song lyrics, lush and powerful music, coupled with intimate and sparse, musical arrangements.
On July 31, 2015 echolyn will release a brand new and powerful musical statement titled
“i heard you listening” – 9 new stories of life – delivered with a musical and lyrical sensibility that is still echolyn. Music written to be both heard and felt, echolyn has hit a new stride for their musical future with an album that is, for them, another giant step forward. echolyn hopes to hear you listening…