Live in Auckland, New Zealand and have collected and listened to Prog since when it first started being played here on radio back in the very early 70's. First LP I bought was 'Close To The Edge' by Yes. Years later I wrote music articles and reviews for a number of local magazines for 20 years or so. i also worked on local radio with my own weekly show playing mostly instrumental music. I then wrote reviews and articles for an international screenwriting magazine for a couple of years. I loved 3 or so years playing prog rock on an online radio station with my own show called 'Too Close To the Edge' and got to play all types of prog-related music and make a lot of friends with fans and artists. My hobbies and spare time include writing my own music and playing guitar, collecting and reading books, mostly Science Fiction, still have the itch to write the next best novel, and I mooch around various FB pages and prog forums making a nuisance of myself. Glad to meet you.
As one of the contributing writers here at Progarchy I look forward to what this year brings with new and exciting Prog. We have the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Yes and their music which us Yesfans are excited about. This will be Prog’s year to celebrate and enjoy all the music expected. Look forward to your comments on each article.
And let your Prog friends know about us! Happy New Year!
Of course Elrond was talking about the one ring, but equally so, he could have been recommending the band with almost the same name’s (give or take an apostrophe) new album titled, “Off the Radar.” If you’re not familiar with this Swedish group then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Pigeon-hole Isildurs Bane at your peril.
There are so many layers to this to ponder on and encompass; so many ‘Colours Not Found In Nature’ as was aptly titled from their previous album with Steve Hogarth onboard. Each track deserved of your attention with so many talented musicians finding their place within to infuse a delicious pattern of sound joined or blended, but never dulled or confusing, even though sometimes you feel there is madness to their avant garde method, no borders left unturned, they have created an orchestral fusion of shifting melody which works wonderfully.
It all depends which direction you follow, and you’d be hard pressed finding a chorus on any of the six listings including a live bonus classically inspired track titled ‘Uvertyr / Open (Live 2016)’ at the end, but that is the beauty and charm of this band who are now well into their 41st year of “changes in personnel, straying far from their symphonic rock origins to become a rock-based chamber ensemble.” Or so they represent themselves claiming their very own niche in Prog along paths the likes of Frank Zappa or perhaps a jazz-inspired Gong have walked. It’s a sound they’ve reinforced over the years, and I have to admit I’ve only heard a couple of their albums in the past including the ever haunting ‘The Voyage – A Trip to Elsewhere’ released in 1992. just listen to the oh so brief ninth track ‘Picassiette – Third Walk’ and you’ll know where I’m coming from.
Apart from the blatantly stereotypical header above, ‘Game Of Thrones’ isn’t the only strong namedropping connection to Yorkshire at the moment. Hailing from what was once dubbed the County of York, a new Prog band calling themselves THIS WINTER MACHINE has emerged in an area starved of such bands. When asked what the Prog scene was like locally, vocalist, AL WYNTER replied, “The short answer is that there isn’t really one. There are a couple of bands, and an organisation that puts on gigs but there is no scene to speak of. No dedicated venues or prog nights anywhere and its hard to get decent gigs playing original material.” That hasn’t at all deterred the band from playing and recording what was their debut album now with F2 Records titled ‘THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS.’
1. The Man Who Never Was (16:05) :
– a) Asleep
– b) Dreaming
– c) Snow
– d) Awake
2. The Wheel (9:28)
3. Lullaby (Interrupted) (4:53)
4. After Tomorrow Comes (7:58)
5. Fractured (10:26)
Total Time 48:50
There were a couple of lineup changes but for the sake of this album released in January 2017 we’ll go with Al Wynter (Vocals), Marcus Murray (drums), Mark Numan (keyboards and backing vocals), Gary Jevon (guitars), and Peter Priestley (Bass). I asked Al how the band got together. “Well I put an ad out,” he explains, “and Marcus and Mark, and a different bassist came and jammed and we got on okay. After a couple of rehearsals it was clear the bassist wouldn’t be able to commit and put in the required time so Pete, who I’ve known for many years, offered to step in. Then Jevo came on board and the album was written and recorded in a matter of weeks. We started writing from the first rehearsal. When Jevo left we advertised and Graham was a friend of Marks (keys player) and joined. Then Pete had the idea of having 2 guitarists so Scott came through the auditions and joined. And now here we are. ”
When asked about the origins of the band’s name, the vocalist acknowledges, “My surname is a play on the band name. The idea of a Winter Machine came from a daydream I had where an old style horse and plough pulled a Victorian kinda machine through a field changing the land from Autumn to Winter.” He went further into some of the song selections on this album and I asked him how personal the lyrics were on such tracks as, ‘After Tomorrow Comes’ and Fractured’ and especially ‘The Man Who Never Was’ (“Watching the seasons unfold from a safe place I know. A design never ending. Covering all of my thoughts in a blanket of snow That is gone by the morning“). Was it at all biographical in any way? “I’m usually telling a story in character,” Al added. “The songs are partly autobiographical to a degree I suppose, but its not really about me. I observe things then write about it. But I don’t like to explain my lyrics in detail, I think its better that people take from them what they want. All I will say is that it all means something, at least to me. I try not to use too many throwaway lines.” Al followed this up with: ” This Winter Machine existed before my stage name, Al Winter, and all tracks are group written to varying degrees. For instance ‘After Tomorrow Comes’ was almost complete and brought to the band by Mark. ‘The Man Who Never Was’ is a song I’d had for almost 10 years, but we all put our own stamp on them. They’re definitely group efforts. But on the new album we’re writing now pretty much everything is co written from the ground up. ”
The artwork on the album sleeve is very interesting to. Not sure if anyone else has noticed but the British have this deep fascination with telephone boxes! “The telephone box for me represents a vanishing British tradition,” Al explains. “It’s an iconic image that many associate with the UK but actually red telephone boxes are very rare and more likely to be seen in country villages. Also I liked the juxtaposition of the old and the 20th century. Those were my reason for including it in the art.” Every picture tells a story, and there is definitely one in there with the fox and hooded person, and the owl and the gears…
On a sadder note, Al advised me the artist for this album, Sandor Kwiatkowski passed away last month in Switzerland. If you listen to Clepsydra you’ll know his work on their album covers. Sandor also did the amazing art posters for the Night of the Prog Festival recently.
Early days yet but I did ask the Yorkshire vocalist how he felt things were tracking for the band. “We have a good and supportive label,” he reflected. “… not to mention building a solid and dedicated fan base. It would be nice to be moving faster but things are going in all the right directions so its hard to complain. What I think we need is a dedicated manager. A modern day Peter Grant to get us to that next level! But I think we have done okay for a band only together a year or so. Any ideas would be appreciated!
Al started his vocal career at a very young age sing in bands when he was just 15. “It was standard heavy rock of the day, kind of in the vein of Ozzy or Ratt or Van Halen. Very 80s haha..!” He went on to say into his relation with Prog, “I was at a friend’s house in my early teens and we were looking through his brothers albums and I liked the look of the sleeve for Rush – ‘Permanent Waves.’ So I looked at the lyrics and decided ‘Jacobs Ladder’ looked like a short song (only a couple of verses, what did I know!) and put it on the turntable and it blew me away. I’d never heard anything even remotely like that. From then on I was a fan, and to this day they’re still my favourite band.“
This included bands bands like Marillion and I asked him if it was it mainly listening to Geddy Lee and Fish that drew him into wanting to sing vocals?
“Not so much, no, although they have been an influence (especially Fish and Peart) on my lyrics,” Al points out. “I sang from an early age, and got involved with musical theatre. I’ve always listened to a wide range of singers. Ozzy was great for a while, and the great rock singers like Gillan and Rodgers and Dio definitely made me sit up and listen. But I’d say people like Hogarth or Gabriel have also inspired me, along with a lot of soul singers from the 60’s and 70’s and even some folk vocalists. If its good, I will try to take something from it. However, I think its important to try to sound like yourself. Too many desperate copyists about, in Rock and Prog in general.” And that’s one of the reasons I’m not going to take the liberty and compare this band to any other. I listened to the album a couple of time today through the speakers, up loud, and it rocks! The title four-part song ”The Man Who Never Was‘ has a good lead in with a piano playing in a room filled with folk that segues into a short instrumental, building with ominous tones, and opens up into an epic long track filled with vocals and a story worth listening to. Al’s got a voice made for Metal or Melodic Rock if he wishes to, but he’s doing just fine in Prog. I like his tones. Not hard, but not soft either. The second track, ‘The Wheel‘ opens up some mice bass work and with the drumming heralds some cruisey lead guitar which then moves into top gear with more melodic licks. it’s a track that builds on itself. ‘Lullaby‘ showcases more standout guitar rips. A favourite track of mine is ‘After Tomorrow Comes‘ which has radio play written all over it. The weaving of piano with vocal and interplay of guitar and other keys with drum bass emphasizes a beautiful power ballad type song with a touch of Yorkshire muscle behind it. The song also has a memorable chorus that hangs around long after the track has finished. The last track bookends a song longer than 10 minutes which starts off with a staccato melody on guitar and then a quick burst of synth that would even have Rick Wakeman tapping his toes to. This is ‘Fractured‘ and it’s a good song to end with. It starts quickly then softens but doesn’t take long to pick up speed and take you to the end. A song of many colours. I was expecting a somewhat bleak and darkened collection of tracks but nothing could be further from the truth. If the movie ‘Labyrinth’ needed a heavier soundtrack then this one would fit the bill perfectly. Hearing this makes you want to see the band perform these songs live. Al promises they ae looking into a video following a live performance. As to what’s next… “Our next concert is in Wakefield on 16th of September. After that we have gigs with bands like German proggers Crystal Palace in October and with rock legends Magnum in November. Then next year we have some dates with Martin Barre from Jethro Tull. We also have some great things to announce in the near future.”
This Winter Machine isn’t letting the dust settle though. “We are working on the follow up album,” Al reflects. “Which has the title of ‘A Tower Of Clocks.’ It’s a full blown concept album and much more dense and diverse than the debut. That’s coming on well and we are optimistic we can release it this year. I know our label would approve of that ha,ha…!”
Al advises you can buy their album at the usual online places such as Google Play, Amazon, iTunes etc
“Every name is real. That’s the nature of names.” Jerry Spinelli,
Name your favourite bands of all time. Mine would be Yes, The Beatles, Big Big Train, Pink Floyd, Prefab Sprout, Genesis… and the list goes on. Those few are just off the top of my head and always at the tip of my tongue. Not only do the names of these bands conjure up what their respective music does for me as far as enjoyment and even enlightenment goes, it also enables us if connected to convey mood within the musical genre we follow. By that I mean these names help shape thought around their successes as bands. For someone who likes “Yes,” just being up the simple name in conversation to someone you know also loves the band and the sound of that syllable will transport that person’s thoughts and feeling back to a time where the music was so intrinsically and emotionally tied to them. Words have power. Names have symbolic baggage (in a good way and place) we carry around for the rest of our lives, and in the age we live in, just as in any other age, symbols and icons are everything. In music we can express such names in logos, and the visual impact can not be underestimated. It further binds us to the name.
Now what does such mad mutterings have to do with anything? Well, I’m glad you asked because right now there is a new Prog band who has relinquished their right to create a band name themselves, and have gladly offered such an important task to Prog fans on social media. They have a working name at the moment but with four or more other bands using the same name they now think it is the right time to go with a brand-spanking new name that will be there’s to own and use as they see fit. The challenge will be for members on the very popular Prog Magazine Readers page on Facebook to come up with the name the band agrees will suit their musical personae.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so although this is a bit of fun, it’s no laughing matter for the band. This will be the name they will rap (hopefully not rap in the literal sense) around their whole group existence, and dare I say it, make a name for themselves. So no pressure.
Who are they?
I asked Keys and Programming wiz, Dave Hilborne that very question. They formed purely by chance in an internet gaming chat room. Initially these musicians started talking (over three continents) and they haven’t looked back since! “Collaborations are achieved via file sharing. No member has any real idea what the other will bring to a particular project. This makes the writing process incredibly exciting and the dynamic of songs are shifting constantly!
We are :
Dave Hilborne – Keys/Vox/Programming (I started writing music in 1987 after I got my first acoustic guitar. Songs flowed fairly easily for me, but I soon found I was better suited to the piano. Over the years I recorded and gigged, gradually developing my own style. I formed a few bands and even managed to release a vinyl single at one point. My most ambitious project was an opera based on the short story ‘Masque of the Red Death’ by Poe. I love musical challenges, so a high point for me was performing a solo 14 minute song I wrote called ‘Box Man.’ In 2017 I was fortunate to meet Dave Fick and Alessio Proietti. We clicked as musicians and arguably more importantly as people. I look forward to our future projects together).
Alessio Proietti – Guitars/Vox(I learned to play the guitar at the age of 14, in 2004 I decided to form my first band called Raccoon Balls (Punk/Rock/Alternative). We did many gigs around Italy for about 6 years then we released an album. In the past years I have had many projects and collaborations. Recently I got involved in this brand new Alternative/Ambient/Progressive. We come from different backgrounds of music, but we have so many ideas to bring to the table as shown on our first single ‘Continuum’).
Dave Fick – Bass (Born July 30th 1980. I got my first Bass Christmas of 1993. I was 13. I’ve played in many different bands with many different genres of music. We got hooked up through a mutual friend, Lord Rage, and are doing something quite different from what I’m used to. I love a good challenge and we hope to bring you some great tunes).
Recently we were delighted to welcome Charlie Bramald Flute/Vox to our project.
We are an Ambient/Progressive Rock band taking their cues from many different influences. Our aim is to constantly surprise and to challenge, whilst staying melodic and above all memorable. The aim of the band is to produce what we like to call “Immediate Prog” This is possibly one of the trickiest things to get right in Progressive Rock, but we are always up for a challenge! Atmosphere and melody are two guiding principles that we have in the band. If there’s a future goal,then right now its to produce a full album and then? Well who knows. Prog is forever shifting and so are we!”
So this contest of sorts starts right now.
It really is in the hands of those who decide to put forward their original recommendations to giving this band a name. This is exclusive only to Facebook page members on PROG MAGAZINE READERS (see link to join below). Sometimes you can come up with more than one good name so members will have up to five of their nominations allowed. Just look for the post “NAME THAT PROG BAND!” and add your choices.
The contest starts today and will run two weeks where upon the band will select ten of their favourites for the final selection to choose one which will announce the following week. The band has indicated they will
There’s even an incentive provided by the band.
An exclusive signed copy of the CD, including work in progress demo’s of the tracks. A personal thank you written by each member of the band. Access to the band’s private chat server. Plus a video call with one or more band members.
I would also add there is also on offer “bragging rights” to actually giving a band its name. How often does that opportunity come about?
So in a nutshell you can enter this challenge by joining the Prog Magazine Reader page and find the thread NAME THAT PROG BAND and send through up to five posts with one original name you came up with for the chance of give the band a name. Good luck!
“I realised a long time ago that instrumental music speaks a lot more clearly than English, Spanish, Yiddish, Swahili, any other language. Pure melody goes outside time.”
Here we are, 2017 and have to admit it’s been a long time since I last heard a new Prog instrumental album. You almost fell over them back in the 70’s. They were everywhere. You had the likes of Camel’s ‘Snow Goose‘ rubbing shoulders with Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells‘ selling over 16 million albums, thank you very much. In some ways this was rocking up Symphonic Music and then some. Tangerine Dream were up for it and put out many an acid tripping the keyboard fantastic LP, and of course Vangelis was no slouch with his unique blending of electronic sounds on such albums such as ‘Albedo 0.39′ and ‘Opéra sauvage’ which also included Jon Anderson on harp.
Fast-forward thirty-five years or so and a handful of artists and bands are recording and releasing the odd instrumental album or three. You only have to look at Pink Floyd’s mostly instrumental 2014 album, ‘Rattle That Lock‘ to see the interest is still there. Something Canadian multi-instrumentalist (keyboards/bass/guitar) , Art Griffin is well aware of as demonstrated by his new album recently released, ‘Visions From The Present.’ The band is known as Art Griffin’s Sound Chaser and includes some of Canada’s finest musicians such as the drummer from Saga, Steve Negus, with Victoria Yeh on electric violin (amazing performances on this album) only equaled by Kelly Kereliuk‘s guitar work. That’s not to say Art is far behind. Is he what? If his mind-blowing keyboard solos are anything to go by, he’s charging ahead encouraging the others to keep up!Having the likes of well respected Ken Baird throwing down the occasional keyboard solo makes it an extra bit special moment to listen to.
“In short for me, the new CTP album is one of my all time favorites,”says Prog fan and collector, Robert Len Stallard. “I could go into extreme detail here because as a guitarist-composer myself, I have a special appreciation for Colin’s craft. “
High praise indeed from one of the lucky ones who has heard Colin’s new album, ‘Hair In A G-String (Unfinished but Sweet).’ “I was introduced to Colin and his music through mutual friends on Facebook,” Robert continues. “When I listened to his music for the first time I was blown away by his very unique music and guitar stylings that I had to listen to everything he had out there. The more I listened, the more I was entranced by it. So when I discovered he was creating a new album with featured musicians that I admire very much I was very excited.”
CORVUS STONE’s guitarist, COLIN TENCH is cautiously philosophical about his new album. “The COLIN TENCH PROJECT is not a designer album. It is melodic, much of it instrumental music and almost classical in areas; then suddenly a bit mad for fun.” He’s got that right. It really is hard to really define this album within a safe harbour of genres. Take your pick really. One minute you’ve got a musical play with all its dramatic flair Freddie Mercury would tip his hat at, and the next there’s an almost a solo Spanish guitarist caught in the beam of a stage spotlight. There’s touches of Prog with a handful of AOR, and a dab of Metal, and back around for a sweet ballad or three. If anything, something for everyone. As Colin has stated, “I love music. I hate music by numbers. If there is one album I consider to be a template of how to do things – The BEATLES White Album would be it. Something I realized recently, is that I am not a fan of the genre we call Prog. If I list every piece of music I love, all of it falls in to that genre tho’! There is a reason. Almost none of my favourite music was aimed at a prog market. It didn’t exist! Did GENESIS, ZAPPA, STEVEN WILSON, BEETHOVEN, PINK FLOYD design prog albums? Nope! Neither will I ever want to.”
Colin has handed some amazing and talented musicians known to a lot of us for their various projects and recordings. In my very own top five current Progressive Rock singers of all time is PETER JONES (now in Camel) and he provides for me, IMO, the jewel in the crown, the track “And So, Today,” a sad but respectful homage to a number of artists we’ve lost oh too soon. Peter’s own album under the band name of Tiger Moth Tales is one I would highly recommend you listen to and purchase. Peter’s also provided vocals for the band Red Bazar recently. worth checking out his work.
The album’s recordings also include:
– Phil Naro / vocals
– Gordon Bennett / orchestra, string section, horns, basses, triangle, thing that goes boing
– Steve Gresswell / piano, keyboards, orchestration
– Petri Lindström / bass guitar
– Jay Theodore McGurrin / drums
– Sonia Mota / artwork
– Gary Derrick / bass guitar
– Marco Chiappini / keyboards
– Victor Tassone / drums
– Stef Flaming / keyboards
– Oliver Rusing / drums
– Angelo Hulshout / fretless bass
– Robert Wolff / drums
– Pasi Koivu / synthesisers, organ
– Ian Beabout / Flute
– Gary Hodges / drums
– Kelly Brown / keyboards
– Tina Sibley / violin
– Kirsten Weingartner / violin
– Ned Horner / violin
– Aleksis Zarins / violin
– Stephen Speelman / stunt bass guitar
All instruments and arrangements on Lisa’s Waltz by Gordon Bennett based on the original Lisa’s Waltz by Colin Tench.
As you can see – quite a turnout, and you’re not short for the structure and depth of sound. As music fan, Robert Len Stallard puts it: “In general, the mix production is such that it provides the listener (well, me at least) with a very satisfying immersive experience. It feels as if you are in the middle of the stage. It’s very refreshing to listen to this music that is not over-compressed and squashed for loudness sake.”
” The instrument arrangements and sound production are amazing and very creative. The sound quality and clarity (tonal balance, EQ, effects, etc.) were excellent in all playback and listening devices (computer, mobile devices, studio monitors, headphones, etc.). The sound stage and spatial aspects (stereo image/spread, instrument placement/panning, reverberation, etc.) are spot on and well distributed. The dynamic range (amplitude span, quietness, loudness, wide, narrow, etc.) is exceptional without clipping or excessive compression/limiting. So in conclusion I can state that in my very humble opinion, this album is close to perfection and is an audiophile’s and prog music aficionado’s dream. The entire album is soul-touching and mesmerizing, transporting me to a happy place of sonic wizardry.”
Thanks and well said, Robert. Given the buzz on Colin’s social media pages there is a lot of positive feedback coming through and approval. A link to check out the album and also purchase is provided below.
In the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Colin recently on his new project and album.
INTERVIEW WITH COLIN TENCH ON HIS NEW ALBUM
PAUL:What inspired you to pick up the guitar?
COLIN: I suddenly had time on my hands. I had just emigrated to Australia. Prog was in its death throws in 1977, so I had a go. I quickly joined a band who weren’t all that good but we were dedicated and we improved. That band inspired me to not give up. We were attempting to play Santana, Beatles, Alex Harvey. All of it could be labeled prog.
Colin in Sydney in 1978 at ‘The Battle Of The Bands.’ “The drummer in this pic appears on drums on two tracks on “Corvus Stone Unscrewed ”
PAUL:Do you recall hearing your first Prog Rock album and what it was?
COLIN: Prog didn’t exist as a term. Underground music was what we called it. It started with The Beatles of course. They brought it in to the mainstream, so we all heard it on radio and I learned to expect a lot from music from then on. I never really was attracted to straight pop, rock or blues etc. They all sounded boring to me.
PAUL:‘Hair in a G-String’ (Unfinished But Sweet) could almost be considered a double entendre in some circles. Is the origins around the title an inside joke? What’s the meaning around the album title?
COLIN: Bach’s “Air on the G String”! What I started with on this album, was very slightly orchestral, and unfinished (suite?). All of that stuck and became the title. Maybe the Beatles’ habit of not being obvious, stuck with me. So I like a good laugh and if the titles or the music raise a smile, all the better!
PAUL:Why a solo album now? Why not another Corvus Stone album?
COLIN: This time I wanted to make an album that is totally melodic, with surprising turns. Corvus Stone is almost the opposite. So this is quite different. It made sense for me to write most of the music this time and even lyrics. I have a love of simple music that has a lot going on. orchestrated in a way. This album is like that.
PAUL:How was the idea of doing a solo album received by your bandmates?
COLIN: I think they all like that I did this. In fact, Corvus Stone’s Petri Lindström is the main bass player on this.
PAUL: If this is a solo album why bring on some of your fellow Corvus Stone band members to play on this?
COLIN: I don’t even describe this as a solo album. It is a band but the band members vary throughout. I don’t even like solo albums. Ha! I love real bands that all have an input to the song they are playing on. That is the case here. All of the main players are on this but Petri is on most of it.
PAUL:You stated in your notes, “The album structure could be labelled Prog before there was Prog.” That would take you back to the mid to late 60’s in what got to be called Proto-Prog around various psychedelic and Space Rock type bands experimenting with sound and mood to compliment the times. Can you cite any musical influences you may have drawn from while you were writing these songs?
COLIN: Most of what was done from 1966 to about 1974 has influenced me. Outside of that time, prog was kept well clear of mainstream radio. The combination of incredible playing, comedy, uniqueness, song writing and arrangements was everywhere. Music that doesn’t make people switch it off but still has content that is unexpected, tho’ never losing the melodies. That’s what I wanted to do. It isn’t prog, it’s just fairly simple music with no rules.
“That was ‘Odin’ gigging in London when I was 28 in 1984. That’s Gary Derrick who is also playing bass on two tracks on this album.“
PAUL:Certainly you can pick up the vibe within some of these tracks that early Prog is very important to you. Did it ever occur to you the irony of bands in the 21st century trying to get out of the shadow of their bigger brother (70’s Prog Rock) and at the same time paying attention to it through the concept of this album?
COLIN: I wonder if a lot of bands are starting to think the way I do. Prog is doomed if it can be defined. Prog was just a term that contained anything not quite definable. It can wander from rock to pop to jazz. It can be long, short, have singing or not. Ian Anderson came up with “Thick as a Brick” to poke fun at the concept album idea. He says “I’ll give you the mother of all concept albums” because reviews said Aqualung was a concept, which it wasn’t. Thick as Brick is now considered the best concept album ever, by many prog fanatics and it was just a joke. I think that says a lot about the difference between fans a bands. This album is not a concept at all. It flows musically (Part 1,2,3, And so Today, The Sad Brazilian & Part 4b) Then I stuck loads of other songs in between them.
PAUL: You’ve kind of mixed up the song order with both vocals and instrumental, not to mention a number of musical styles such as recognising Progressive Rock moments and well Classic rock if not a touch of Metal as well as Classical guitar here and there and to top it all off you’ve thrown in the odd Musical Play moments. So I guess you had all these ideas for a number of projects it would appear that you’ve fashioned into one album. Was this intentional to begin with all did it just work out that way?
COLIN: I only had a few bits before I started this. I like all different kinds of music, so there are influences of all of that in here. As I said, the “Hair in a G-String” parts, are very simple. It may not sound that way because of the arrangements that keep changing but you do start to think you recognise something as it goes along. It actually isn’t from some old album, it is from the early part of THIS album. “And so, Today” is pretty much 2 chords most of the time, except for a very short part that Peter’s Clarinet appears in. They come back for most of Part 4b. Nobody seems to have spotted that though. The voice is an instrument. It was never the most important thing in music to me. When it is used like an instrument, all other instruments can be removed but the song remains the same (I think someone said that once). Our band isn’t a backing band. The guitar also is not the main thing. Nothing is.
PAUL:What do you consider as the essential elements of this album?
COLIN: Tunes and melodies. Also a great deal of fun. Some of the lyrics are supposed to make you smile but they don’t get in the way of the tunes. You can listen to the album in different ways. Ignore the lyrics and it is still great (IMHO). Next time, listen to the lyrics and get a different feel. It can be played at low volume when your mum is round for dinner, or as loud as hell and it still works. Maybe that is my version of good music and is now seen as 60s/70s Prog.
PAUL:First impression for me is that with both this album and what you do with Corvus Stone; collaborating with others is more of an important side to creating and playing music for you personally rather than just being in a band?
COLIN: Exactly. Like a recipe. That only happens with real band. I know that Yes would throw loads of their own bits at one song. It would be stitched together and then arranged to become a special and unique piece of music. Whole albums were that way back then. Every time someone went solo, no matter how much I liked them, the magic just wasn’t there. Soy sauce maybe amazing but not all that much good drunk neat. Ha ha! If someone on a song on this album, did something I loved and didn’t expect, that could change the course of the song. Stay flexible and it is a lot of fun.
PAUL: Sonia Mota is known to a lot of us who spend a lot of time inside social media for her positive and very hands on efforts within the Prog Rock fan community. How did she become involved in this project?
COLIN: Sonia has been the artist for Corvus Stone and Oceans 5 from the start. More than that, she named Corvus Stone and critiques everything we all do. If she says it sounds wrong, I know it does! We all have friends that say all the mixes are wonderful but that doesn’t help. You need someone who is honest and has an uncanny appreciation of music. Sonia has that. She says things like “It’s boring”, “You’ve ruined it”, “That’s horrible!” “OMG” and as much as I want to hit her with a big stick, in the end, we arrive at the album we wanted. Also, she paints while listening to the early mixes as we go along. The artwork is incredible and totally unique. Even the booklets with the CDs are her work.
PAUL: ‘And So Today’ and you have Peter Jones singing lead vocals on this song. This for me personally is the highlight of the album in relation to the vocal track. Not only does it have a superb melody, but also some great lyrics that Prog and Classic Rock fans will easily identify with. Did you have him in mind while you were writing or was Peter bought in later into the process?
COLIN: There you go! A great melody. Simple in a good way. I knew Pete would be singing it. I only wrote what I did because I knew he would feel the same way I do about the characters it refers to. Also that he sings like an actor. He makes you feel it. All the lyrics I wrote, were for Peter. It made it easy to write funny or serious. He can also make funny lyrics sound serious and that can be tricky.
PAUL:Looking back, and I guess it wasn’t that long ago, but for you personally – what was the highlight of creating a solo album? Did you have any challenges in the process of getting this made?
COLIN: The mixing finished the day I released it! Mixing never really finishes. You just stop, wait a few days and listen at low volume. Nothing sounds off, it’s done. So this isn’t looking far back at all. Mostly all the challenges were good ones. Everyone is busy, so it’s an honour that they put so much thought and care in to what they did. So many people involved but for good reasons. it would be easier to have a small band and do an album. Then it would not be THIS album. I go about this being simple melodic music but I did throw in quite a few WTF moments and they can be a bit difficult for someone to play to or figure out what the hell to do. Challenging but loads of fun for us all (I hope). In the end, the mixing is the nightmare, then the technical difficulties of producing everything correctly for the CD makers. We have to do everything these days!
PAUL: Are you playing to release a music video in conjunction with any of these tracks?
COLIN: So far only, “Part 4b” and “The Brazilian” have short videos that I made during the recording. There will be more but I never promise anything that may not happen. Something will tho!
PAUL:With the release of ‘Hair on a G-String’ have you made any plans to play the album live in concert?
COLIN: That is impossible. We are all over the world. There is always a hope that “And so, Today” will get attention in the mainstream. Or “A Beautiful feeling”. That could trigger all kinds of possibilities.
Thanks to Colin for providing input into this article on his new album. Also to Robert for his thoughts on the album. For me, I really got into it last Sunday when sitting back and relaxing in the warm evening with the album playing in the background. It really is a mood setter and one I’d recommend for yourself and as a gift for a friend or relative.
Hair In A G-String (Unfinshed But Sweet) can be purchased either as a digital download or on CD at this link:
The CDs are in and even on their way to the really early birds already. It takes quite a bit of work to get to this for any band. Our band is rather a big one!
Colin will talk as little as possible about it with Tony this Saturday and maybe others will join us too.
The album will get played of course!
If there are any free albums knocking around, that will happen only in the chat room
1. Hair in a G-String part 1 (The opening) [6.25]
Peter Jones: Vocals, Saxophone
Colin Tench: Guitars, Piano
Steve Gresswell: Piano, Keyboards, Percussion
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Stef Flaming: Percussion
2. Can’t see it any other way [4.36]
Colin Tench: Guitars, Synths
Phil Naro: Vocals
Gary Derrick: Bass guitar
Marco Chiappini: Piano
Victor Tassone: Drums
3. Hair in a G-String part 2 (The Hairy Part) [6.04]
Colin Tench: Guitars, Synthesisers, Drum programming
Phil Naro: Vocals
Steve Gresswell: Keyboards
Stef Flaming: keyboards
Oliver Rüsing: Drums, Percussion
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Stephen Speelman: Stunt bass
4. The Mad Yeti [2.54]
Colin Tench: guitars
5. The Sad Brazilian [7.19]
Colin Tench: Guitars, Piano
Gordon Bennett: Orchestra, Shaving cream
Petri Lemmy Lindström: Bass guitar
6. And so, Today [4.12]
Pete Jones: Vocals, Clarinet
Colin Tench: Guitars, Piano, Percussion
Gordon Bennett: Orchestra
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Jay Theodore McGurrin: Drums
7. Hair in a G-String part 3 (I’m Going Down) [10.09]
Peter Jones: Vocals
Colin Tench: Guitars, Synthesisers, Piano
Gordon Bennett: Orchestra
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Oliver Rusing: Drums
Steve Gresswell: Keyboards
Angelo Hulshout: Fretless Bass
Sonej Retep: Sciryl lanoitidda
8. Lisa waltzes back in with no G-String [3.53]
Colin Tench: Guitars
Gordon Bennett: String Section, Horns, Basses
Petri Lindström: Bass Guitar
Robert Wolff: Drums
Pasi Koivu: Synthesisers, Organ
Sean Filkins: Tamborine
9. Lisa’s Entrance Unplugged [3.09]
Colin Tench: Guitars, Synthesisers
Ian Beabout: Flute
10. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Screwed [7:32]
Colin Tench: Guitars, vocals, Percussion, Piano
Gary Derrick: Bass guitar
Marco Chiappini: Keyboards, Piano
Victor Tassone: Drums, Percussion
11. La Palo Desperado [5.54]
Colin Tench: Guitars, Annoying noises
12. A Beautiful Feeling [5.58]
Phil Naro: Vocals
Colin Tench: Guitars, Piano, Percussion
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Gary Hodges: (Buckingham Nicks): Drums
Kelly Brown: (Ozark Mountain Daredevils): Keyboards
Vic Tassone: Percussion
Violins: (String Section) http://www.springfieldmosymphony.org/
Tina Sibley (Springfield Symphony)
Kirsten Weingartner (Springfield Symphony)
Ned Horner (Springfield Symphony)
Aleksis Zarins (Springfield Symphony)
13. Dnieper Summer Day [1.38]
Colin Tench: acoustic guitars
David Knokey: Rhythm Guitar
Stef Flamming: Bass guitar
14. Part 4b [7.56]
Peter Jones: Lead Vocals
Phil Naro: Lead Vocals
Colin Tench: Guitars
Gordon Bennett: Orchestra, Percussion, Triangle, Thing that goes boing
Petri Lindström: Bass guitar
Angelo Hulshout: Fretless bass
Jay Theodore McGurrin: Drums (We fired Neil Peart)
15. Part 4b Redux [0.23]
Peter Jones: Piano
Peter Jones: Main vocal
Peter Jones: Backing vocals
Peter Jones: Foley guy
Peter Jones: Production
Colin Tench: Bugger all
BONUS TRACK: Liza’s Waltz with full orchestral arrangements [4.23]
All instruments, arrangements & Production by Gordon Bennett
Based on the original Lisa’s Waltz by Colin Tench