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Robert John Godfrey’s Sad News

Robert John Godfrey, maestro of The Enid, has written to members of fan club The Enidi confirming the sad news that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He writes

I suppose I had “known” that I was ill for maybe a year. I began to notice changes with the way I perceived my surroundings and with my day to day activities. I felt there was something wrong and I suspected it might be dementia (or worse).

My diagnosis has come as no surprise. It is just my very short term memory that is different and my ability to recall the names of people I know well. I still have all my long term memories – I probably will have right up to the end. My intellect still seems as good as ever, though that will probably not last. I have not noticed any changes with regard to my creative abilities and so far nothing has changed with regard to playing the piano.

The search now begins for a successor. Robert hopes he will have two or three years in which to get this new band member settled in the role:

He will need to be young and have a good piano technique with a background in classical/romantic music rather than jazz; a knowledge of music technology; a talent for finding a good tune and a thorough understanding of harmony. Above all he will need to be generous in spirit and willing to collaborate with those who have different but nevertheless just as valuable abilities as his own.

Robert signs off with characteristic grace and dignity:

I have had a great life doing nothing but music – I have wonderful friends within the band and the Enidi. I feel very much loved and appreciated – I lost any fear of death many years ago and the story of my life will come full circle as indeed it must. A symphony with a silence at either end.

God bless you, sir.

HRHProg In Pictures

Y-Prog Cancelled

Sad news tonight from organiser Kris Hudson-Lee of the cancellation of the weekend part of Y-Prog here in the UK, intended to be Yorkshire’s first progressive rock festival.

Saturday 15 March was to feature Dec Burke, Also Eden, IOEarth and The Enid; Sunday 16 March had Crimson Sky, Knifeworld, Manning and It Bites on the bill. Thankfully, the Friday night show featuring the mighty Riverside goes ahead.

I have no further information on the reasons for cancellation, but I presume poor ticket sales are at the heart of it. Y-Prog may have been hit by the subsequent announcement of HRH Prog, a bigger festival at a more glamorous venue a few miles away, just three weeks later.

It’s a salutary reminder that, despite prog’s resurgence, the audience remains finite. Too many events in too short a span of time and some are going to struggle.

Nick’s Best of 2012 (Part 1)

2012 has been a fantastic year for progressive music. I’ve listened to a huge pile of albums and still don’t feel like I have scratched the surface of all the great material that’s out there at the moment. I know of albums that would probably be on my ‘Best Of’ list if only I’d had the time (and money) to hear them in full before now – Katatonia’s Dead End Kings, Mörglbl’s Brutal Romance and The Void from Beardfish spring immediately to mind. But a list must be produced, so let’s activate the ERTEM and get on with it!

First, some restrictions. My list considers only original releases of full albums from 2012: no reissues or remixes and no EPs. (Hey, I’ve got to simplify things somehow, OK?)

I’ll also split my list into three parts: ‘Highly Commended’, ‘Top 5 Contenders’ and ‘Top 5′. To avoid the paralysis of indecision, only the last of these will actually be ranked; the other two will be listed alphabetically.

We’ll begin with my Highly Commended category: 10 albums that I have enjoyed hugely this year.

AstraAstra – The Black Chord

Follow-up to their 2009 debut The Weirding, boasting higher production values. Variously described as ‘retro’ or ‘classic’ in sound, I suppose because of the liberal use of Hammond organ and Mellotron. I don’t know what you’d call it, but it’s trippy, atmospheric and darned good! The epic title track is particularly splendid.

CrippledBlackPhoenixCrippled Black Phoenix – (Mankind) The Crafty Ape

A big brooding monster of an album from the stoner prog legends, probably their best yet – although I have yet to hear the follow-up that appeared recently, No Sadness Or Farewell. (Yes, you read that right: two albums in one year). Pretty much how I’d expect Pink Floyd to sound if they’d all been born 25 years later.

District97District 97 – Trouble With Machines

Yes, yes, “former American Idol finalist”, blah blah blah. Forget all that nonsense about vocalist Leslie Hunt and concentrate instead on the music – precise, technical and totally absorbing, all crunching guitars and shifting time signatures, with Hunt’s voice weaving intricate and unusual melodies throughout. Top-class prog metal. John Wetton guests on one track.

TheEnidThe Enid – Invicta

How do you even begin to categorise such a unique band? Some people simply don’t ‘get’ The Enid, but if your tastes encompass the classical or symphonic, there’s a good chance you will fall in love with them. This latest release features a wonderful new lead vocalist, Joe Payne. There is high drama here – think opera or musical theatre – but also moments of great beauty and delicacy.

FlyingColorsFlying Colors – Flying Colors

Given my innate scepticism regarding supergroups, I really wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it is. Album opener Blue Ocean starts off like a more upbeat version of a track by The Doors, and Kayla is a superbly catchy pop anthem. There’s even some real, honest-to-goodness prog in here, in the form of long-form album closer Infinite Fire. A thumbs-up to all concerned; on this evidence, the second album really will be something to relish.

SteveHackettSteve Hackett – Genesis Revisited II

What can I say? A set of well-crafted, tasteful reinterpretations of classic Genesis tracks spanning the entire Hackett era, plus new versions of a few songs from his solo career. Call me a heretic, but I think some of them improve upon the originals. There are things on here that will make you smile and probably one or two that will make you frown, but discovering which is part of the fun. See my review for more details!

NineStonesCloseNine Stones Close – One Eye On The Sunrise

The follow-up to 2010’s Traces. Powerful and atmospheric, achieving true Floydian grandeur in places, with plenty of long liquid guitar solos that would would make Dave Gilmour proud. The excellent vocals of Marc Atkinson – sadly now moving on to pastures new – are also worthy of note. Stand-out tracks are probably The Weight and Frozen Moment.

AlanReedAlan Reed – First In A Field Of One

The solo format allows this former Pallas front man’s vocal talents to really shine. Well-crafted songs with a varied mix of styles, successfully blending prog, pop, rock and even folk influences. The finger-clicking jazzy opening of final track The Usual Suspects is unexpected, to say the least!

TheReasoningThe Reasoning – Adventures In Neverland

Reviewed elsewhere in the hallowed pages of Progarchy. A real statement of intent from a band still mourning the disappearance of former guitarist Owain Roberts. I might quibble with the production, which needs to be more crisp and dynamic, but the songs are very good – particularly those on the second half of the album.

ShadowOfTheSunShadow Of The Sun – Monument

Debut album from ex-Reasoning guitarist/singer Dylan Thompson’s new band. More straight metal than prog, with only hints of The Reasoning here and there. A very enjoyable blend of heavy stuff with one or two quieter and more mellow pieces. Definitely worth a listen.

Scam involving The Enid. Beware.

Dear Bradley,

SOMETHING SHABBY THIS WAY COMES?

ewcd03 390x390INNER SANCTUM IN ANOTHER REPACKAGING SCAM?

If past releases by these Tin Pan Alley scumbags purporting to be something special are anything to go by, this latest scam is very likely to be just another naff attempt to rip you off.

I can tell you now that Inner Sanctum does not possess the original masters for any of these tracks. Therefore recordings can only have been compiled from ripped retail products which in the past have included washed out cassettes and second hand vinyl served up as “digitally remastered”. We posses all the original masters here at Enid HQ.

Whatever may be the content of the claimed exclusive 2,000 word commentary on The Enid’s chequered history”, it has not been authorised by the band and could consist of almost anything.

So – If you do decide to buy this item from Inner Sanctum and it turns out not entirely to your satisfaction, send it back and demand a refund.

 

Yours as ever,

Robert John Godfrey

 

New Enid

Wow, if you’re in the mood for some pure drama, some serious symphonic prog, here it is.  Wow, again, wow.  I’m rather blown away by this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dVf35B22mw&list=UL9dVf35B22mw

N.B.  A huge thanks to Philip Lort for letting me know about this.

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