Arrived at Progarchy HQ: Molesome Dial

Today, much to my surprise, a nice package arrived from Sweden.  And, to make it even better, inside, I found not just a beautiful new cd, but also a three-page handwritten note.

molesome dial
The CD.  Beautiful.  I’ll keep the three-page note to myself, though.

Now, that’s excellence!

Thank you, Mattias Olsson.  I’ve not listened to a single note yet, and I’m already your fan!

The Klug: On Mozart and Beethoven (TIC)

Did Beethoven steal tunes from his older contemporary for the “Eroica” Symphony, the Ninth Symphony, and for his most popular and beautiful song?… It is one of the most popular tunes in all of classical music, nay, in all of music, period. 1,085 more words

via Copying Mozart: Did Beethoven Steal Melodies for His Own Music? — The Imaginative Conservative

Marketing Marillion: More

With their USA tour winding down, Marillion have announced street dates for the rest of their 2018 limited edition live reissues through earMusic,  listed below with original years of release:

  • March 23: Unplugged at the Walls (1999) and Tumbling Down the Years (2010)
  • May 25:  Smoke and Mirrors (both 2006)
  • July 6: Happiness Is Cologne (2009) and Popular Music (2005)
  • September 21: Live in Glasgow (1993) and Brave Live (2013)

Merch copies of the “Limited USA Tour Edition” of FEAR (which includes a sampler of the live reissues) sold out at Marillion’s recent Grand Rapids show, but it’s still available from Amazon at this writing.

Other confirmed upcoming releases include:

  • March 9: Brave Deluxe Edition
  • Spring: Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Fall: Marillion Weekend 2017: Chile
  • ??? (nope, can’t say any more …)

Finally, watch this space for a review of that Grand Rapids show, coming soon!

 

— Rick Krueger

Utopia Live in the USA

For the first time in 32 years, performer/producer Todd Rundgren is reuniting his band Utopia for an extended tour of the United States.

Founded as a progressive septet specializing in synthesizer-heavy, instrumentally-oriented wigouts, Utopia served as both Rundgren’s dedicated live band and an outlet for his more experimental music.  However, as Rundgren’s solo albums kept getting wilder, Utopia went a different way, shedding two of three keyboard players, picking up Kasim Sulton as bassist and co-vocalist, and morphing from the proggy hard rock  of Ra (including the tongue-in-cheek epic “Singring and the Glass Guitar — An Electrified Fairy Tale”) to sleek power pop with cooperative songwriting, tight harmonies and a high-tech sheen.

With Roger Powell on keyboards and Willie Wilcox on drums, Utopia hit a commercial peak on the albums Oops! Wrong Planet (including “Love Is the Answer,” later a pop hit for England Dan & John Ford Coley) and Adventures In Utopia (intended as the soundtrack for a Monkees-like TV series that never happened).   The band’s highest visibility may have been as the backing group for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album, which Rundgren produced.

True to Rundgren’s restless musical tastes, Utopia then veered off into the commercial dead ends of Deface the Music (an album of Beatles pastiches) and Swing to the Right (a concept record slamming early Reaganism).   Rundgren’s pioneering video work for the band gained extensive play on the fledging MTV, but the quartet petered out in 1985, only reuniting for a 1992 tour of Japan.

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The Traffic of Gazpacho

Dream Gerrard
1974.

Purely by chance (if such a thing as chance exists), Fidelia played Traffic’s “Dream Gerrard” from WHEN THE EAGLE FLIES, then Gazpacho’s “Vera” from LONDON.

From such “chances” emerge the stuff of dreams.

What hit me hard–in fact, for the first time–is how similar the style of the two bands is.

Separated by decades as well as countries of origin, Traffic’s epic “Dream Gerrard” blended stunningly into Gazpacho’s “Vera.”  Same style of bass, keyboard swells, and atmospherics.

Cool.

H8ers Gonna H8: Fergie’s Star-Spangled Banner

Haters are always gonna hate: case in point, Fergie’s unexpected rendition of the U.S. national anthem last night.

It was widely ridiculed as the “worst rendition ever,” but its jazzy take is arguably quite fitting.

Does it not bring on some old school cool to the proceedings?

Hey, I like prog, so my distinctively refined tastes diverge quite definitely from those of the masses…

Interview: RING OF GYGES

Ring of Gyges

Iceland has been very active when it comes to the Progressive Rock genre in the recent years. It could be said that Ring of Gyges is one of the bands that represent this wave of the Icelandic Prog very well. Formed in 2013, the quintet released an EP titled “Ramblings of Madmen” in 2015 and a single “Witchcraft” in 2016, before launching their debut full-length release “Beyond the Night Sky” in November last year.

Vocalist and guitarist Helgi Jónsson told us about the band’s beginnings, new album, the Icelandic Prog scene, and more.

Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites as a young man? Please tell us something more about your early life.

I come from a musical family, my dad plays bass and my parents raised me with their old vinyl records; Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, that kind of stuff. I started learning classical guitar when I was a kid, probably around 9 or 10 years old, though I wasn’t really interested in that kind of music. I grew up in the countryside and the music school I went to wasn’t very good so the only proper tutoring I was getting at the time was from my dad, who taught me my first chords on the guitar (the power chords were particularly interesting to me!). When I was 13 I scraped together some money out of birthday cards and bought my very first electric guitar and amplifier, both shitty no-name brands, but I was ecstatic. I quickly formed a band with two of my schoolmates. We were mostly playing covers but I wrote one original song as well. Later on, my parents gave me an American Fender Stratocaster as a confirmation present, which remains to this day my favorite guitar and a good portion of our album was recorded with it. In high school I started to really get into prog, Rush, Dream Theater and Focus were some early favorites, but Blackwater Park by Opeth is probably the album that really sealed the deal for me on this whole prog metal thing.

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