Ramble On For Tolkien Week

Though the references may be brief, Led Zeppelin never shied away from their Tolkien influences. Enjoy this one during Tolkien Week 2017. While you’re at it, go buy Brad’s awesome book on the Professor. You can also buy his book on the Professor of Prog. The books are so good that I’m not even being paid for this advertising!

Drifting Sun at Twilight: An Inter-Review

Drifting Sun, Twilight (2017)

Tracks: Twilight(9:27), Wings of Hope (5:13), Mystery of Lies (5:46), Soldiers (7:23), Summer Skies (10:49), Remedy (5:19), Outside (5:24), Remain, (8:11)

Drifting Sun have made another leap forward with their latest album, Twilight. With their last two albums both reviewed favorably here at Progarchy, that is no light praise. A UK based studio project, Drifting Sun has re-emerged over the last few years from their initial formation in the early 1990s to produce high-quality music worthy of any progressive rock fan’s collection.

The lineup has remained relatively stable since their last album, 2016’s Safe Asylum, with only one member changing: Mathieu Spaeter replaces Dan Storey on guitars. Other members include founder and keyboardist Pat Sanders, vocalist Peter Falconer, bassist Manu Michael, and drummer Will Jones. All of these guys are at the top of their game. Throughout the album I found myself thoroughly enjoying the musical complexity of drums, guitars, keyboards, and bass. New guitarist Spaeter adds a classic touch of rock brilliance to the band’s overall sound. Furthermore, Peter Falconer has a fantastic voice with a remarkable range. At times smooth and others times rough, his voice matches the music perfectly.

Continue reading “Drifting Sun at Twilight: An Inter-Review”

The Thrill of Fresh CDs

Look what showed up yesterday! Cheers to Lasercd for the prompt delivery.

I originally wasn’t going to purchase Big Big Train’s Stone & Steel Blu-ray because of the supposed issues with it not playing on some American Blu-ray players. Thankfully, it works perfectly on my home player, and I’m glad I was still able to get a copy before they ran out. The packaging is beautiful, much like everything Big Big Train does. I should have bought it a year ago.

My intro to BBT was English Electric: Full Power, so I still haven’t heard the English Electric albums in their original format. I figured I’d add these to my BBT collection before they too are unavailable. I may be young, but I despise the whole streaming thing. When I can afford it, I love to buy actual CDs. Even though I typically use iTunes to listen to music, I love having the physical CD with great packaging and a booklet. If the artists are going to go to such lengths to make a beautiful product, I want to experience it the way it was meant to be experienced.

Thank you to all the wonderful progressive rock bands out there making excellent music and caring enough about your craft to keep going. You make life for the rest of us a little bit easier.

Unrequited Love: Nad Sylvan’s The Bride Said No

Nad Sylvan, The Bride Said No (Inside Out Music, 2017)

Tracks: Bridesmaids (1:14), The Quartermaster (5:39), When the Music Dies (7:00), The White Crown (6:17), What Have You Done (8:30), Crime of Passion (6:01), A French Kiss in an Italian Cafe (6:00), The Bride Said No (19:25)

Nad Sylvan’s latest album, The Bride Said No, finds Steve Hackett’s touring vocalist truly coming into his own. While I don’t want to detract from his past solo efforts, I feel that Sylvan’s 2015 album, Courting the Widow, played the Genesis card far too safely, making the album sound a bit stale. This new release, however, finds a pleasant balance between new and old.

I decided to listen to the whole album after seeing the music video for “The Quartermaster” (see below), and the album gradually grew on me with subsequent listens. “The Quartermaster” is one of the best rock songs released this year, and if the wider music industry was concerned with actual music instead of money, ratings, and appeasing idiots, then maybe it would be a huge hit. The quiet, eerie opening soon gives way to a synth driven track that also features a healthy dose of harpsichord. I’m a sucker for the harpsichord.

Continue reading “Unrequited Love: Nad Sylvan’s The Bride Said No”

Apollo’s Fire Play Vivaldi – Live at Ravinia, 7/27/17

Apollo’s Fire – Slightly different lineup than the show at Ravinia

As Apollo’s Fire artistic director, conductor, and harpsichordist Jeannette Sorrell aptly pointed out in the program for last night’s concert at Ravinia, Antonia Vivaldi was the rock and roll composer of the eighteenth century. While that statement might seem odd for one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period, his melodies and use of instrumental solos share much in common with contemporary progressive rock. Indeed, I don’t believe it would be too much of a stretch to compare Vivaldi’s music with that of Dream Theater.

Apollo’s Fire was founded by Jeannette Sorrell in 1992 as an ensemble dedicated to Baroque music. Having taken their stage debut only recently in 2010, this Cleveland-based troupe are beginning to turn heads worldwide. Sorrell is well educated in music and conducting, having studied the latter under Leonard Bernstein and other great conductors. As a harpsichordist, she is masterful. Considering Vivaldi was often called “the Redhead Priest,” it is fitting that Sorrell has bright red hair.

Continue reading “Apollo’s Fire Play Vivaldi – Live at Ravinia, 7/27/17”

Big Big Train Release Free “London Song” EP

Big Big Train is awesome. Earlier today, the band announced they are giving away a compilation of all their London-related songs, appropriately titled “London Song.” Just click the “Buy Digital Album” button on the page linked below, enter 0.00 into the box, and enter your email. Click the link in the email they send you, and enjoy the free download by following the on-screen instructions.

Via the BBT Facebook page:

All of Big Big Train’s songs with a London theme have been brought together into a song cycle for a download only EP which has been released on the 28th July. As all of the individual pieces of music which make up London Song have been previously released, there is no cost for downloading the EP. An email address is required and email addresses will be included on the Big Big Train mailing list.

https://bigbigtrain.bandcamp.com/album/london-song

London Song (34:02):

(i) Turner on the Thames (Spawton)
(ii) London Plane (Spawton)
(iii) Lost Rivers of London (Spawton)
(iv) London Stone (Sjoblom / Manners)
(v) Skylon (Longdon / Spawton / Sjöblom)
(vi) Mudlarks (Spawton)

https://bigbigtrain.bandcamp.com/album/london-song

This band just keeps on giving!