Lighting from a Clear Sky: Oak’s FALSE MEMORY ARCHIVE

Oak, False Memory Archive (Karisma, 2018).

false memory archive
The best band I’ve encountered since first hearing Poland’s newspaperflyhunting.

Every once in a while, something so beautiful emerges that it shocks us to the very depths of our most private selves. It reminds us of the glory that can exist in this fallen world. It forces us to remember all the is good in ourselves, in our neighbors, and in our very human existence. C.S. Lewis once described such an awakening when reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He said that the work hit him like lightning from a clear sky. Of course, Tolkien himself had read it out loud to Lewis, so he had the advantage. Maybe someday, I can get Oak to play False Memory Archive for me. I’m sure I’d be every bit as thrilled as Lewis was.

Somehow I missed Oak’s first release, two years ago. I’m sorry I did. Certainly my loss. Looking back now, I remember how fondly Bryan Morey and others wrote of it. Well, I won’t make that mistake again. No new Oak will go unobserved.

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Lee Speaks About Music… #107 — Lee Speaks About…

Story Tellers Part Two – Tiger Moth Tales Introduction… The latest and 4th studio album release of Tiger Moth Tales is the sequel to the 2nd album Story Tellers Part One and I was so glad to that Story Tellers Part Two had been in the making and was to be the next album to hit […]

via Lee Speaks About Music… #107 — Lee Speaks About…

After the flood…

Kudos to Erik and Brad for being willing to step up and speak on this. This post began as a comment on Erik’s post (which was a response to Brad’s posts), but the words kept coming and it seemed better to add to the conversation separately.

I am probably the least informed of all of you with respect to the cutting edge of current Prog. I haven’t had a chance to listen to either album in question, so I shan’t speak to those specifically. I will say, that I’ve come to realize that a lot of the music that I enjoyed when I was younger was filled with political posturing that mostly sailed right over my head. But now, years later, when I listen to much of it I find the perspectives to be quite vacuous and it does spoil my experience of the music. Political criticisms can be powerfully done, but they typically work better when written in prose by people who have been gifted with insights for such things. Poetry can work to that end, but it takes an extremely deft hand (Shakespeare & Eliot come to mind) to really make it art.

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Lost Progarchy: Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much

If anyone has read the attacks below, posted on Progarchy, that are assaulting the latest from both Roine Stolt and The Tangent, I just want to encourage people to ignore the ranting and raving, and to actually go and listen to the music and lyrics instead.

Stolt releases a song called “Lost America” and suddenly some heads explode at Prograchy. Hey guys, calm down. How about you actually listen to the song? Is it too much to thoughtfully digest what an artist offers, before pronouncing premature rash judgment?

The music to “Lost America” is itself not too bad. Musically, there is nothing offensive. I admit the track doesn’t do much for me, because musically it has nothing too innovative or elaborate to get me excited. But, the guitars are great, and it’s still pleasantly enjoyable to listen to, nonetheless.

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A Few More Words on the Politics Thing

One of our esteemed founders, Dr. Birzer, has had a few excellent posts today on the intersection of art and politics, in part to a reaction of some recent releases and in larger part in reaction to some larger trends.  In reading them, I had about 1.5 cents of my own I wanted to throw in.

This isn’t to say I don’t ever like political subject matter intertwined with music.  But some ways of doing it are more appealing than others.  One of my favorite albums this year – Galahad’s sprawling, incredible Seas of Change – is very political in its lyrics.  It’s focused on the tumult in the U.K. over Brexit.  However, which side of that debate it eventually comes down upon is hard to say.  I’ve read reviews that say it’s pro-Brexit, others that say it’s anti-Brexit.  When I pore over the lyrics, I come away with … I don’t know.  It seems like Galahad has plenty to critique on both sides of that debate.  Irrespective of that, one of the things I like about it is that it takes a “clean up your own backyard first” approach.  Nobody is doing a Roine Stolt on Lost America here, sitting back smugly criticizing another polity as if theirs is somehow perfect.  The path Galahad has chosen is one of self-reflection, the one chosen by Stolt is cheap, smug, self-superiority.  Galahad’s path is engaging (as is Marillion’s FEAR), Stolt’s is off-putting.

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Leave the Politics Out: Editorial

Rush Signals
What I think of proggers who get political.

Yes, I realize we’ve had this debate before, with Bryan Morey ably defending the a-political and anti-political standpoint.

Yet, here it is again. One of my favorite bands has released an album that is unapologetically political. It’s even advertised as such!

I’ve been looking forward to the release for a long time, and I’ve done much–in my own small way–to help crowdfund it and other projects and side projects of the band. No matter what, though, I can’t get through the new album (still forthcoming)–at least not yet. Once the album begins and the lyrics come out, I just want to scream. I don’t even necessarily disagree with the politics expressed–I’m just SICK of politics. Thus, I’ve yet to make it beyond the first track.

Enough! Everywhere we look, politics have swamped it all.

Continue reading “Leave the Politics Out: Editorial”

Goodbye, Flower Kings. Goodbye.

With incredible excitement, I opened the email today announcing the new single and video from the Flower Kings. A moment later, I groaned audibly. The song’s title is “Lost America.” How original, Roine.

Kick us.

Kick us good and hard, especially when we’re down.

Then, a moment later, I laughed uproariously at the email. Here’s the official comment from Stolt:

“The lyrics are kind of touching upon the idea that we’ve lost our souls to the golden calf again. Profit, pride and profanity rule over soul, serenity and the sacred. Despite the song title, this is NOT a dig at the American people or culture, but rather a general global observation. We are all at risk.”

Wow, Mr. Stolt. Just how dumb do you think we are?  Your not so subtle meaning: Americans, despite my hatred of you, please make sure you spend your money on our new album. So much for not “worshiping the Golden Calf.”

Two of my favorite bands have gone political this year: The Tangent and The Flower Kings.  I get enough hatred and anger when reading the news and social media.  I don’t need it in my art.

There was a time when even Roine Stolt recognized this. Here are his lyrics from 2006.

“If you really wanted to
You could write a hit
You could cut the corners
And you could make things fit
Are you really ready to believe it?
Are you really taking my advice?
Do you have a mission, can you see it?
Do you really feel that you are alright? ”

And soon you’ll dine with presidents
And soon your name will get that nicer ring
You’ll be “the one familiar face”
In hollow echoes from a world you sing

When a sitcom sinks to nothing but sexual jokes, it’s lost its way. When a rock band becomes political, it, too, has lost its way.

Real criticism is artful, not propagandistic.