The Flower Kings Revisited Lineup Becomes The Flower Kings

If you were waiting for a miracle, it’s here. From the Flower King himself:

“The Flower Kings announce studio double-album ‘Waiting For Miracles’

Progressive rock legends THE FLOWER KINGS are pleased to announce the release of their brand new studio double-album ‘Waiting For Miracles’ on the 8th November 2019. The album is comprised of 15 new tracks, recorded over the summer at RMV studio in Stockholm, Sweden – a vintage studio space owned by ABBA star Benny Andersson.
Band leader Roine Stolt comments: “We have gone back to the joyful and playful style that made the band famous in the late 90’s. So here ‘more’ is always ‘more’! At time the lyrics have a bit of a serious concern about the state of our world, but overall the theme is full of joy and colour.”
The band, currently comprised of Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Hasse Fröberg, Zach Kamins & Mirko DeMaio (the most recent live line-up), have crafted an adventurous collection of pure prog-rock. Expect boat-loads of vintage keyboards, odd time signatures and long guitar solos – with elements of pop, symphonic and cinematic music.

The album will be released as a 2CD, Gatefold 2LP + 2CD & as digital album, featuring beautiful artwork by American artist Kevin Sloan. Find the full track-listing below:
Disc 1:
• House Of Cards
• Black Flag
• Miracles For America
• Vertigo
• The Bridge
• Ascending To The Stars
• Wicked Old Symphony
• The Rebel Circus
• Sleep With The Enemy
• The Crowning Of Greed
Disc 2:
• House Of Cards Reprise
• Spirals
• Steampunk
• We Were Always Here
• Busking At Brobank
The Flower Kings also recently announced they would be heading out on tour this December with label-mates KAYAK. Roine Stolt: “We’re happy to go on tour in Europe again in December – We will present The Flower Kings music from the early days – concert favourites – plus some brand new music – that is along the lines of the early music of the band – symphonic rock. We’re happy to bring our friends in KAYAK along for this proggy double bill – it will be a monumental meltdown of melodic prog – not to be missed.”
The two bands will perform 12 dates across 6 countries, and you find the full list of shows below, tickets on sale now:

1st December – Bahnhof St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany
2nd December – Musikzentrum, Hannover, Germany
3rd December – OK Andaluzia, Piekary Slaskie, Poland
4th December – Klub U Bazyla, Poznan, Poland
6th December – Burgerweeshuis, Deventer, Netherlands
7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
8th December – Scala, London, UK
9th December – Piano, Dortmund, Germany
10th December – Columbia Theater, Berlin, Germany
11th December – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark
12th December – Brewhouse, Gothenburg, Sweden
14th December – Kraken, Stockholm, Sweden

The Flower Kings started as an outlet for guitarist/singer/composer Roine Stolt in 1994 – a time when prog-rock wasn’t mere history, nor a dirty word. The band quickly gained momentum and was one of a handful of bands helping to revive the progressive rock scene worldwide. Roine has since collaborated with a host of legendary musicians across various projects, including his acclaimed 2015 album with Yes-legend Jon Anderson, progressive-rock supergroup Transatlantic alongside Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy & Pete Trewavas, and a year as bass player with Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The Flower Kings however, has always felt like home for Roine and the other band veterans Jonas Reingold & Hasse Fröberg.
TFK former bassplayer,singer – Michael Stolt guest on 4 songs – and there is also real strings on one track by Paul Cartwright; Violin & John “Zach” Dellinger; Viola.

THE FLOWER KING’s online:…/www.reverbnatio…/theflowerkings

INSIDEOUTMUSIC online:…/InsideOutMusic”

The Invention of Knowledge!

Original message from Stolt:

“Jon Anderson & Roine Stolt team up for ‘The Invention Of Knowledge’

Anderson / Stolt, the brand new duo of legendary Yes vocalist & singer/songwriter Jon Anderson and progressive rock veteran Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic), have announced the release of their collaborative album ‘The Invention Of Knowledge’ for 24th June 2016 via InsideOut Music.
Jon Anderson had this to say: “…..Music is always the driving force in my life…working with such a wonderful musician as Roine Stolt made the creation of this album very unique,we are very excited with the release of ‘Invention of Knowledge’.“
Roine Stolt adds: “It is not aiming at being new Yes music; just new music, modern and classical, rock and ethno, tribal and orchestrated, grooving and floating. Hopefully in the true spirit of “progressive” – leaning forward, surprising and also comforting with familiar run-arounds.
We’ve been “inventing” as we go along – Jon is an endless source of new ideas. We’ve been bouncing ideas back and forth for months and as a result there are probably dozens of versions of these songs. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding time and the result is just insanely detailed.”
InsideOut label-head Thomas Waber comments: “I have been talking to Jon for ages about making an album of ‘Yes music’ – as Jon calls it – and Roine seemed like the perfect guy for him to work with. I am really happy that it has finally happened and I am also thrilled with the material they have come up with. I think it will please a lot of fans!”
The idea came to life swiftly off the back of a performance from Roine’s band Transatlantic, and Jon Anderson on the Progressive Nation At Sea Cruise in 2014, and was initially instigated by InsideOut Music label boss Thomas Waber. The duo set about crafting new music in the spirit of early epic works such as ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’, ‘Awaken’ & ‘Olias Of Sunhillow’, but giving it a modern twist.
Written & recorded over the course of 1 and a half years, the tracks have been in a state of constant change as Roine and Jon swapped & refined ideas by sending tracks to each other via the internet. In March 2015, an ensemble was put together by Roine to realise the music live in the studio. Joining him there was Tom Brislin (who played on the Yes Symphonic tour) & Lalle Larsson on keys, Jonas Reingold & Michael Stolt on bass and Felix Lehrmann on drums. The sessions were also bolstered by appearances from Daniel Gildenlöw, Nad Sylvan, Anja Obermayer, Maria Rerych and Kristina Westas who all provided backing vocals.
The full track-listing for the album is as follows:
• Knowing 17:45
• Everybody Heals 13:20
• Invention Of Knowledge 23:10
• Know 11.20
Keep an eye out for more news in the coming weeks!

Artwork: Silas Toball”

Anderson and Stolt!

After watching Transatlantic close Progressive Nation at Sea 2014 with Tales from the Topographic Oceans with Jon Anderson himself on stage for the finale, it doesn’t surprise me that Jon and Roine have been collaborating. However, Jon’s casual bomb dropping that this truly is a thing and that we’re going to be graced with the music this summer couldn’t have me any more excited. This is the kinda thing that’s right up my alley.

Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – HFMC – The Clock’s Ticking

Tracks: Seconds; Can’t Stop the Clock; Everything Can Change; Pages; Genius; In the Warmth of the Evening; Something Worth Dying For; Someone Else’s Fault; Minutes

Geddy Lee I. Rating: 10/10

Right out of the gate this album starts with the ticking of a clock, though I can’t help thinking I’m listening to a metronome, in a song aptly called “Seconds”. That then transitions into a bit of synth that paves the way for the Prog to follow. And boy does it follow. In less than two minutes we’re in track two “Can’t Stop the Clock” and it’s not waiting around. At times it’s playful, heavy, got some wonderful guitar runs, and boy does it have a chorus that you can’t help but want to sing along with the moment you hear it. Lyrically, Hasse sounds like he’s in a good place with lines like: “… still think music is rather uplifting – Back on the road again it’s more fun than it’s ever been.”

“Everything Can Change” switches things up a bit and is kind of all over the place with a beautiful guitar solo that’s immediately followed up by a piano diddy. Again I love the chorus here and can really feel it “…moving through my system.”

At nearly fifteen and a half minutes “Pages” is a lot of what you’d hope for in a Prog “epic”. Strong and seemingly watery bass tones, pleasantly surprising horn work, great rhythmic passages, strong keyboard sounds that really set the tone of the song at times, and naturally more stunning guitar work. All of these things serve to take the musical theme of the song and prod it, exploring different parts of itself as it runs it’s musical course. Not to mention there’s a lot of great vocal work including harmonies, and it’s really great to hear the other voices of the Musical Companion chiming in. And of course the the song title “Pages” is a metaphor that lends itself to the idea that life is a book waiting to be read. Keep turning pages. That’s about as Prog-friendly as you can get. There’s also a section in here that reminds me strikingly of the opening to Rush’s Xanadu. Whether that’s intended or not, being a Geddy I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

“Genius” is an emotional ballad with some slide guitar (I think) that really tugs at the heart strings. It’s beautiful through and through and based on a real person, someone who died of disease whose work really touched Hasse, though I’m still trying to puzzle out who that might be.

“In the Warmth of the Evening” begins continuing the ballad theme but quickly ditches it to go frolicking through a multitude of musical ideas. I love hearing more of the slide guitar as well as the acoustic guitar that is riddled throughout. During the second half of this song we see a unique keyboard solo that borders on spacey followed up by a wonderfully solid groove. It’s at this point in the album that I realize that something HFMC (the band, not specifically this album) capture very well are the splendid moments where they’re just grooving along and it’s so much fun you start to think that here’s a bit of Prog you might actually be able to dance to. But who likes dancing anyway. 😉

“Something Worth Dying For” puts the rock in Prog at it’s finest. The chorus has some chugging guitar and we get some really tasteful shredding.

“Someone Else’s Fault” offers more Prog fun and to be had. The intro reminds me of how a Transatlantic song might kick off, and seeing as Roine Stolt is my favourite guitar player, I couldn’t really offer a higher compliment as I could totally see him playing here.

If the opening track “Seconds” was short clocking just under two minutes, then “Minutes”, the closing track, is even shorter at just barely more than a minute. We close the same way we opened with seconds ticking but without the keys this time. I thought it was funny/clever to have the first and last tracks named “Seconds” and “Minutes”, a reminder that the clock on the cover and one of the key underlying themes of the overall album being time, are just as relevant at the end as it was in the beginning.

Speaking of the cover, the artwork for this album is fantastic. From the wonderful colours, to the brilliant HFMC logo, to the photos of the band members used in the booklet, it is a work of art unto itself that strongly supports the music waiting inside.

As usual Hasse provides thought provoking, imagery filled lyrics and soaring vocals that serve only to push his music further and higher. However, he went out of his way to make sure that he wasn’t the only voice to be heard on this record, no matter how powerful it is, and this album is filled with something the prior two didn’t have much of, and that’s vocal harmonies and lovely ones at that. Hasse and the boys have really outdone themselves creating a body of music that has all of my favourite elements of Prog: beautiful and memorable melodies, virtuosity applied appropriately and with restraint, that seemingly randomness that leaves me initially wondering what’s happening but quickly sucks me in and only makes each additional listen even better. HFMC is another great step for the Musical Companion, and if we find ourselves thinking that the Prog scene is particularly lively and strong right now, it is in part because an album like this surfaced during it.

Steven Wilson – HAND. CANNOT. ERASE. LOVE.

Steven Wilson – HAND. CANNOT. ERASE. (Kscope, 2015).

Tracks: First Regret; 3 Years Older; Hand Cannot Erase; Perfect Life; Routine; Home Invasion; Regret #9; Transience; Ancestral; Happy Returns; Ascendant Her On

Geddy Lee I. Rating: 9.5/10

If you’re looking for a review comparing HAND. CANNOT. ERASE. to any of Wilson’s other solo albums, his work with Porcupine Tree, the fruits of his many side projects, or the work of other artists, this isn’t the review for you. This review is solely about HAND. CANNOT. ERASE. within it’s own context and within my ear. It will be flawed and fraught with me struggling to put into words that which the music captures so easily.

Something about the ambient intro of First Regret gives me imagery of children running around on a playground, having the time of their lives. Then the music really takes off and suddenly I feel like I’m no longer observing the children, but one of them, and now I’m running frantically after the others, having the time of our lives. Track 1, First Regret, is strangely named, to me at least, unless the frivolity of childhood is regretful. To this point, I’m probably missing what this song is really about.

In track two, 3 Years Older, I dig the break for some melodic acoustic work, especially accented by that bass in the opening. Lyrically we seem to be departing from the schoolyard heading into life, a complicated life, filled people we cannot connect to for long. The imagery I get is of someone despondently sliding through life catching a few highs and lots of lows. After a few verses, the music peaks again and when it crashes it hits this beautiful piano section that I never saw coming, but man does that hit my ears just right. Lovely stuff that. Then the music rips off again but harder than ever and we get some really proggy stuff as the piano is substituted for some intense organ work and the musical theme spirals out a bit exploring other parts of itself.

The title track Hand Cannot Erase will, to some, sound like pop, but I think this song ends up being a prime example of Wilson’s ability to take simple musical ideas and push them further in such a way that the listener never trips and is along for the whole ride. Also, the lyrics, while still hinting at the difficulties of love and life, are surprisingly positive and perhaps help drive the upbeat nature of the song.

Perfect Life sees us slipping into ambient narrative performed by a female I believe to be the character the theme of this album seems to be shaped around. This song is steady and offers a slow build that you’ll probably only enjoy if you like listening for the subtle little shifts of things in the background of the music that really make up the song.

I’ve just realized that I’m not quite halfway through the album and that I’m running out of ways for me to say basically the same thing time and again which is that, I’m a creature of melody, and this album offers so much on that front that I can’t help but love it. We get some beautiful female vocal work, the tone of the guitars isn’t mired in distortion but rather a shimmering ambience, there are several musical themes explored making for a dynamic listen throughout, and we see an album that is essentially about love, and not the cliche kind of love song where it’s pure bliss or about ridiculous break ups. It’s a realistic approach to having a heart and traveling through a world where those you love can give you great joy one day and immense pain the next. Such is love.

Though I only covered the first four tracks in detail, this isn’t to say that the latter half of the album has less to offer or that I didn’t enjoy it. I flat loved it! I’m just trying to avoid writing a book about it. For me, this album is 63 minutes of beautiful melody, both musically and lyrically. It’s not flashy though it does have moments of awe inspiring musicality. It’s musical exploration and the attention to the mix and the overall sound quality is immaculate and really what drives this album home. I admit, I’m not the most versed in Wilson’s works, but HAND. CANNOT. ERASE. offers so much that my ears enjoy and revel in that it will sit on its own at the top of my mind for some time when thinking about Wilson.

Anticipating the Next Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion Album!

Apparently putting together a new album (or going on tour as is the case with Rush) means redesigning your website. The new look is pretty grand, and I for one am really looking forward to getting my ears around the lastest Companion’s work!

Hasse had this to share on Facebook:

“If I told you all the things that has happened during the recording of Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companions new album HFMC you wouldn’t believe me. For instance when I was going to activate the official website after a short hiatus, the adress was nowhere to be found. Good friend Johnny Taxén acted like a true detective and was able to trace my webadress to a “domain adress hotel” in Japan, that neither answers phonecalls or e-mails.

To make a long story short, we changed the adress, my daughter Malvina designed the new page (guess her next shopping adventure is on me), that also includes our brand new logo made by Jesse Loboda who’s responsible for the artwork of HFMC. This + new interviews, an updated biography as well as new photos and much more can be seen on our brand new official website and not to forget…the new releasedate of our upcoming album HFMC. Feel free to check it out:” – Hasse Fröberg