The Future of Riverside

From the Riverside Facebook page:

Dear Friends,

We’d like to thank you again for your friendship and support throughout this most tragic time for us and we’d like to officially announce that we have made a decision about our future.

We have decided that we are not going to do a casting for a new guitarist. Thus we have ceased to be a quartet and have become a trio. In this line-up we will prepare our new studio album. Both in the recording studio and on tour – if we get back to touring – we will be playing with session guitarists, who are our friends, whom we know and like. But the line-up of Riverside will be as shown in the picture.

Yes, we do realise that this is not going to be the same band. We know that for many of you the story of Riverside ends here, this year, and that “Eye of the Soundscape” might be the last Riverside album you’ll buy. We know that some of you can’t imagine this band without the characteristic guitar of Piotr Grudziński and for you Riverside has ceased to exist. But our story is not over yet; with a flaw, with a scar, with a wealth of new experiences, we have decided to go on.

Continue reading “The Future of Riverside”

Queen and Google Play Collaborate on “The Bohemain Rhapsody Eeperience”, A Musicial Virtual Reality Experiment

Power Of Prog

bohemian_rhapsodyGoogle Play and British rock legends Queen have teamed up to create The Bohemian Rhapsody Experience, a virtual reality experiment powered by groundbreaking immersive audio and interactive technologies that aim to push the boundaries of creative expression and evolve the way we experience entertainment. Soundtracked by a remixed 3D spatialized version of the quartet’s iconic hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” that reacts sonically to the user’s movements, the app gives users the opportunity to travel through an interactive visual narrative developed by VR pioneers Enosis VR along with a team of worldng-class animators and designers.

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Through the new medium of VR, contemporary animation techniques, and aesthetics that draw inspiration from the iconography and symbolism of Queen’s music and artwork, The Bohemian Rhapsody Experience offers a journey through frontman Freddie Mercury’s subconscious mind and recreates the sensation of being onstage with the band, with visual and audio elements that respond…

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Power of Prog- “A Website For The Prog Minded”

“Power of Prog was originally formed in 2009 as a Prog Social Network by Melodic Revolution Records. Moving forward in 2016, Power of Prog is now “A Website For The Prog Minded,” featuring Music News, Reviews, Interviews, and more.

We realize that times are changing as Social Media continues to evolve, however our goals have never wavered. Power of Prog’s main goal has always been to promote all forms of Prog and its Sub-genres.

We hope you enjoy the new site, and thank you for supporting the Power Of Prog music community.”
– Nick Katona

Check out the new “Power of Prog” 

Source: Welcome to Power of Prog

Forget Happy Hour, listen to Prog Hour.

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TONIGHT on the August edition of NegativeSp8ce Radio Show – I will join Nikki and Doug of the band Lucid Fly to be the very first co-host ever!  This episode is actually the “Master of NegativeSp8ce” perk they offered from their successful Indiegogo campaign for their upcoming debut full length album, Building Castles in Air.  I will be there on behalf of 80/20 Records and I had the honor of choosing the playlist which includes recent releases from Haken, The Pineapple Thief, Bent Knee, The Mute Gods, Thank You Scientist, Captain Squeegee, and Lobate Scarp!  I will also be shamelessly plugging  Lobate’s Kickstarter campaign for the new album You Have It All, to be produced and mixed by Rich Mouser (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, Neal Morse, District ’97)

We hope you’ll join us at 5pm PST / 8pm EST on Lucky Star Radiowww.luckystarradio.com for this “progtastic adventure” 😀

In case you aren’t able to tune in today, a day or so later it will posted on mixcloud.com/lucidfly.

 

CIRCA: – Valley Of The Windmill (2016)

I’ve had major A.D.D. lately, so it’s been difficult for me to sit through long songs, much less whole albums, but what I’ve heard so far from the new Circa album, I really dug. I’m looking forward to having a nice listen to Valley of the Windmill soon. Iris over at Grendel Headquarters has lots of great things to say about this album.

Grendel HeadQuarters

The band consists of Tony Kaye, a former Yes member, and Billy Sherwood, who is a current member of Yes. Billy took over Chris Squire’s place as a bassist, who we sadly lost in 2015. However, mister Sherwood provides the lead vocals and guitars instead of bass on CIRCA:’s fourth album, named Valley Of The Windmill. Rick Tierney is providing the bass guitar parts, and Scott Connor does the drums and percussion.

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A Conversation with Haken’s Ross Jennings

Haken03Soon after the release of The Mountain in 2013, and spotting them at the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise in 2014, Haken became one of my new favorite progressive rock bands.  The British quintet, through Inside Out Music, is about to release their fourth album Affinity on April 29.  I had the pleasure of speaking to Vocalist Ross Jennings a few weeks ago about the new Haken album, their upcoming tour, and what we can expect from Haken in the future.

PROGARCHY   Hey, Ross. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

RJ   Oh haha, I’ll tell you that’s more aimed at Ray, he’s the Irish one in the band.

PROGARCHY   Oh ok, so you’re not doing anything to celebrate?

RJ   I’m currently not, but maybe later, we’ll see.

PROGARCHY   Congratulations on the new album. It sounds really good.

RJ   Thanks! It came out better than we hoped.

PROGARCHY   It’s a little bit of a departure from your past albums, which I really like.

RJ   Yeah, we didn’t want to make the same record again.  On our last record, we tipped our hat to the 70’s- gave it a Gentle Giant approach. This time we decided to go the next decade along. At least to just try it. There are no restrictions, there’s no label telling us what to do.  As creative people, we didn’t want to rest on our laurels and repeat the same thing.  We just wanted to throw a few left hands in there and try something completely new and see where it took us.

PROGARCHY   I understand that in the past it was Richard who mostly come up with initial song concepts, on which the rest of you guys added your flair, but for the new album it was more of a collaborate effort?

RJ   Yeah, in the beginning, we all decided we’d start individually come up with our own pieces and then share them with each other, filter out the best ideas and then put them together in some sort of- it was sort of a jigsaw puzzle- picking the best moments from Ray’s piece, and let’s use Diego’s bit in there, and let’s put that together there- that sounds great.-  Yeah, so that’s kind of how it worked this time.

PROGARCHY   What was it like to change the way you do things?

RJ   It certainty worked better this way I think, because what it showed in the end product was how much variety there is. Each track is very different and that was directly because of that process.

PROGARCHY   Do you have a favorite track on the album?

RJ   From the initial demos, “1985” was always my favorite.  I just love it.  But my favorite performance is “Bound by Gravity”.  For me, it’s a beautiful piece and I felt I did it justice personally.

PROGARCHY   “1985” is my favorite track.  I’m a child of the eighties.  There’s this one part in “1985” that reminds me of a 80’s TV show theme like Beverly Hills 90210 or something.  That guitar solo has that perfect tone.

RJ   Yeah, it’s the ultimate 1980’s stereo type.  That was totally deliberate.  It was slightly influenced by Vince DeCola, he was responsible for the Rocky 4 soundtrack and Transformers. So that’s where all those sounds sorta stem from.

PROGARCHY   It had a little bit of Mike Post as well.

RJ   Well we all grew up in the eighties so I guess we have that connection with film and music culture.

PROGARCHY   I noticed you guys have been going “retro” lately. Like in the “Cockroach King” Video.. having the VHS-like beginning and Muppet-esque puppets throwing it back to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” video.  The Restoration EP was retro-Haken, with you guys re-working songs from your 2007 demo. And now with the promotion of Affinity you had a really neat throwback to 1980 computers on your website.  And of course part of the album had vintage synth, guitar, and rhythm lines. Also in your new track, “The Architect”, you also have a section of screamo, which harkens back to Haken’s early days.

RJ   I guess there’s a theme developing there, huh? Perhaps we should do something original next time (laughs). Well, I guess it’s a fine line- that could come across the wrong way, but I don’t think it does this time. And the way I see it, it’s a statement to prog music.  A lot of people say that prog died in the Eighties, but I personally think a lot of the bands made their best work in the Eighties.  That’s obviously subjective, but there was a lot of great stuff from bands like Rush, Yes, and Genesis, came from that era.  We just wanted to make that statement- Prog didn’t die. It was just different.

PROGARCHY   Your website is really cool, by the way. Who designed it?

RJ   Our web designer in Holland, Jeroen, but also Charlie helped come up with the concept. So a team effort between the band and people who know what they’re doing. (laughs)

(Check it out their new website: http://hakenmusic.com/haken-album-four-press-release)

PROGARCHY   I love how you have that cassette tape in the teaser.

RJ   Yeah, all of the PR is just drawing on that 80’s stuff. I feel like there is a lot of modern sounding stuff on this record as well, but as a novelty it was a good route to go down.

PROGARCHY   I heard cassette tapes are coming back. You know Eminem announced that he’ll be releasing his “Slim Shady LP” on cassette. So I think that Affinity should be released on cassette, maybe?

RJ   (With no hesitation) Yeah, well, we’re looking into it.  Actually we’re thinking floppy disc.

PROGARCHY   Is Affinity considered a concept album?

RJ   Not strictly, no. There are themes that reoccur.  There are references to technology, evolution, and human connection. It gets quite deep, but there is no narrative.  It’s really just a soundtrack to a set of themes.

PROGARCHY   I’ve only listened to it a couple of times, (now probably over 15) but I’m trying to follow the lyrics the best I can and see what the stories are.

RJ   Sure, well we got in our minds what it all means.  But I always find it’s best for the listener to take his own meaning from it.

PROGARCHY   Well, that’s one of the great things about your albums.  There’s so much going on- musically, lyrically.  So they leave room for multiple listens.

RJ   It’s always intended that way. You don’t want to overload people, but we like to have enough detail in there that it has a lasting effect, and that you can return to it and find something new each time. Even myself, I find new meanings for my own lyrics.

Check out Haken’s official video for “Initiate”:

PROGARCHY   Haken’s going on tour for a month a half, in Europe. Your first show is in Bristol, May 25th?

RJ   Yes, we’ll be covering a lot of Europe, plus we’ll be going to Israel for the first time as well.  Also it’ll be our first headlining show up in Scandinavia.  And then good news for you guys- we’ll be coming over in September to do some U.S dates.

PROGARCHY   Fantastic! That was actually the answer to my next question.

RJ   We’re still finalizing the details, so I don’t really have an official statement.  But it’s looking good that we’ll get out there for 3-4 weeks.

PROGARCHY   What do you like most about touring and what do you like the least?

RJ   I love it all!  I can think of a million things that are worse.  I used to have a day job as a photographer, which is still quite cool, but it’s not the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. I just love traveling and performing to people and seeing their enjoyment.  That’s a big rush for me. When they’re singing back your lyrics… yeah… it’s a good life.

PROGARCHY   What are you looking forward to on this particular tour?

RJ   Certainly to play the new songs- to see how we developed and what the audience is like now, compared to two years ago when we did our last headline tour in Europe.  To see old faces and just to get back out there!

PROGARCHY   Are you playing songs from different albums or a lot from the new one?

RJ   We’re talking about this at the moment.  We want to play all the new tracks, but whether we play it all in one go or spread them out, we haven’t decided yet.  But there are cities we haven’t played before, so it’ll be a good idea to have a broad set of songs from all the albums in the setlist.  We might have to dig up some old treasures.  But the important thing is to promote the new record.  And we’re so happy with all the tracks, we just want to play ’em all.  We’ll see how it goes in rehearsal, I guess. (laughs)

PROGARCHY   What do you like to do outside of music? You said you’re a photographer.. what else do you like to do?

RJ   That pretty much consumes my life at the moment.  I’m a sporty person.  I like to hit the gym a lot. I’m creative in general, so I used to do a lot of painting and stuff. But music and photography has always been my two focuses.

PROGARCHY   Well you’re doing really well, as far as music is concerned.

RJ   I think it’s been a nice steady upward slope.  I’m really happy with where we are at the moment.  I just hope this new record is received as well as we hope it will be.  So far, the feedback’s been positive, but some people might not dig the Eighties stuff. We’ll see.

PROGARCHY   Well, I think it’s a really cool album. I think people are gonna dig it.

RJ   I like to think of it as a breath of fresh air. Not entirely what you’d expect.

PROGARCHY   You guys are pretty quick to come out with albums. A lot of bands these days come out with albums every 3-4 years. You guys seem to come out with a release every year or two. How are you able to get these albums out so quickly?

RJ   I have no idea, we actually thought we were taking too long with this one. We initially had it planned to come out in 2015, but it took a lot longer to find the finished form. But we don’t want to be dwelling on things for too long.  We want to come out with a new album every two years if possible.

PROGARCHY   The round logo on the cover of the album reminds me of Sierra On-Line games, remember those? And it’s also interesting to note that the Sierra On-Line logo had a mountain in it.

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RJ   Oh (laughs), I didn’t know that. Yeah, we wanted something that had a NASA-like logo as well, something with a sci-fi edge and with Eighties computing.

PROGARCHY   What’s the next step for Haken?

RJ   We just take things as they come I guess.  We want to get a live album out there or a video of us playing live.  We have our 10th anniversary coming up, so maybe we’ll do something for that.  But we haven’t had a meeting to talk about what we’d like to be doing in 3-4 years time.  So that needs to be done.

PROGARCHY   Ah, so THAT’S the next step basically (laughs).

RJ   Yeah, we want to see how well this record does.  Obviously we want to progress and tour a lot more and just become a bigger household name in the genre.

PROGARCHY   I’ve got one last question for ya, I heard that some of the guys in Haken like to knit, is that true?

RJ   To knit? (laughs) I’ve never heard that one before.

PROGARCHY   (laughs) I read it in an interview. I guess Haken means “to knit” in some language. In Dutch or something?

RJ   Ah, I see where you’re coming from. Yeah,  in Dutch, I guess “haken” means to crochet. We were thinking about doing a joke press photo of us all knitting, but that would’ve been lost on a lot of people I think.

PROGARCHY   Anything you’d like to add for the Progarchy readers?

RJ   I just hope they all enjoy it and come see us live because these songs take on another level when you hear them live, I’m sure. We’d love to see people joining us out there on the road!

Haken’s new album Affinity has a release date of April 29.

Check out Haken’s new lyric video for “The Endless Knot”

New Progressive Metaphysical Fantasy Rock Opera by Schooltree

Schooltree, a progressive rock band from Boston, has just released their 30 day Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming double album rock opera- Heterotopia.  They have worked vigorously over the last 3 years, and you can tell just by watching this video that this is going to be something really special.

 

Rewards include digital downloads, including an illustrated libretto, a limited edition beautifully packaged double disc CD,  T-shirts, and a very special limited hardcover print of the illustrated libretto.

In 2013, Schooltree released their debut album “Rise”, which was in my top 10 albums for 2013.  You can check out the album in its entirety on their Bandcamp page: https://schooltree.bandcamp.com/album/rise

Please support this great young band and share their Kickstarter page with everyone who loves prog-rock as well as just plain ‘o good music!  Click on the “K” in the top left of the video to go to the Kickstarter page.

 

 

Bruce Soord- Bruce Soord- A Review.

Before I start my review, I should mention that I have not listened to any of The Pineapple Thief (Bruce Soord’s band) before. Progarchy’s Brad Birzer asked if I was interested in doing a review, and I thought “Why the heck not.” Perhaps, this will be made interesting by someone with fresh ears.

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This is Soord’s first solo album, appropriately self-titled. At first I listened straight through the album (only 40 minutes) and was surprised to learn that this isn’t really prog, at least in the traditional sense. I am a man with many musical tastes but at first listen, it seemed too simple and slow to grab my attention. It wasn’t until multiple listens that some tracks moved me such as “Buried Here”, “A Thousand Daggers”, “Born in Delusion”, and “Familiar Patterns”.

“Buried Here” and “Born in Delusion” tie for my favorite tracks on the album.  While there’s nothing out of the ordinary or original in “Buried Here”, the melody is pleasant while haunting, and reminds me of some of the more mellow Blur songs, perhaps something from their 2003 album “Think Tank”. Bruce Soord’s vocals actually reminds me of Blur’s Damon Albarn with a little of Steven Wilson thrown in.  “Born in Delusion” is another haunting piece here, which suckered me in by its neat 10/8 meter. Lyrically, I felt most connected to “Field Day Part 1” and “Field Day Part 2”. Even though Soord split it up into two tracks, (the first one running 3:15 and the second one only 1:50) to me, it seems like the same piece, where “Part 2” is an encouraging mantra, in reaction to the observations/ feelings in “Part 1”.

Listening to the album the third and forth time straight through, I began to understand its simplicity. The entire album does seem to have a nice arc to it, basically starting with an introduction piece so opposite of prog, it’s as if Soord is saying “Hey guys, this is just me and I’m going to do something way different now.” The album ends fittingly with an epic song “Leaves Leave Me”. And when I say epic, I mean epic in terms of the scale that has been standardized by the rest of the album, in length (5 min 21 secs), and in instruments/sounds (background vocals, children playing), but then just ends suddenly without resolve, which I thought was peculiar.

So overall I liked it, but I can’t see myself listening to it again and again, like I obsessively do with many other works. While not bad by any means, I’m guessing this album will have more to offer fans of The Pineapple Thief and Soord’s other projects, such as his collaboration with Jonas Renske for Wisdom of Crowds (which I also have not heard).

Perhaps I have some homework to do.

★★★

 

NJProghouse cancels Homecoming Weekend.

Sad news indeed for East Coast Proggers. 😦  I attended last year’s Homecoming Weekend and it was a fantastic event.

Folks,

It is with great regret that we inform you of the cancellation of Homecoming Weekend 2015.

Although we had some great support from many people, the ticket sales were greatly lacking, along with the visa issues encountered by Morglbl thus canceling the tour they had planned, we were forced to reach this extremely difficult decision.

Please be patient as we will need time to implement the refund procedure.

Peace,
Jim Robinson and the NJProghouse Staph.

The NJProghouse has some other great shows coming up including an evening with Änglagård, on November 13 for their only USA appearance . Check out http://www.njproghouse.com/ for more info.