What Lies Beneath – Bad Elephant Special part 2, an interview with Mike Kershaw.

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Hello Progarchists, welcome back to the second part of my look at the current releases from our friends over at the naughty pachyderm, today I have a review and an interview with Mike Kershaw.

Self taught singer songwriter Mike Kershaw has been working solo for several years now putting out releases that have got better and better, and more acclaim with each release, and his latest album What Lies Beneath (the follow up to 2014s critically acclaimed Ice Age) is Mikes first full length album since signing to Bad Elephant, and Mike was kind enough to chat to me about the album, before we hear from the man himself, lets see what I thought of What Lies Beneath.

Mike Kershaw4

This is the second release that Mike has made using guest musicians, and like the previous EP (Departure) signposts a new direction of Mikes working, instead of being fully solo, he has opened the doors and invited in a list of talented musical collaborators and label mates, including the inimitable Tom Slatter, who adds his unique sound to Wounds, whilst Leopold Blu-Sky of Unto Us adds his bass,guitars,keys and drum programming to the mix as well as producing the record, Gareth Cole plays guitar on the album whilst Fractal Mirrors Frank L Urbaniak drums on a few tracks and Leo Koperdraat co-wrote and guests on Two Eyes.

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soundstreamsunday: “I’ve Been Walking (part 2)” by Gazpacho

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gazpachodemonIn 2014, Gazpacho’s Demon  was to progressive rock what, in that same year, Hozier was to pop and Sturgill Simpson was to country — voices that raised the bar, made others take notice and take stock.  Demon was Gazpacho’s eighth album, and many would argue they’d been producing classic, 5-star records since 2007’s Night.  This is true, but the organic, earthy power in Demon marked a new high.  Possessed of one of the most articulate, disciplined songwriting teams I can think of, Gazpacho’s fantasies are psychological, unsettling, symbolic, while their musical fire is in the restraint of their performances and a deep melodic sensibility that is immediately recognizable.  There are no baroque runs here, or an interest in shredding.  Everything is in service to the song.  I never get the sense Gazpacho is attempting to make PROGRESSIVE ROCK; they’re just trying to create the coolest music they can think of, and to share it with sympathetic audiences, much as prog’s first generation did.  And so Demon for me reads more like a folk opera, like Procol Harum’s A Salty Dog or Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, and like those records too the production is simple, naturally spacious, working dynamics as if all the instruments were acoustic and the songs traditional, even when the electrically crashing guitar/organ power chords could be straight outta Deep Purple.  In “I’ve Been Walking (part 2)” the best of Gazpacho is on view: Jan Henrik Ohme’s voice floats as a second melodic center over Thomas Alexander Andersen’s piano, and as the first part of the song blossoms with the added rhythm and violin, the texture and mix of the instruments convey the message as much as the lyrics.  There is a reflective reprise of the first track of the album before a segue into one of the more beautifully heavy, baffling songs I’ve heard this side of Fragile-era Jon Anderson, building its arpeggios into mellotrons and a stormfront of guitars. And then it’s over, and even at 12-plus minutes, this song ends too soon.

Gazpacho website

soundstreamsunday playlist and archive

*Above image is a detail from the liner notes to Demon, designed by Antonio Seijas.

VALKYRIE: A Supreme Achievement

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VALKYRIE is an astounding achievement by any measure.  It’s not only the best album of 2016, but it’s one of the best albums of the rock era, a relentless drive toward poetic and tonal excellence.  Glass Hammer is a band that never stops challenging itself, and it never fails to succeed.

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Susie Bogdanowicz, the Best Voice in Rock.

This is, by far, Glass Hammer’s best album.  Amazingly so!  In fact, it’s the perfect, but more intense, sibling of LEX REX, INCONSOLABLE SECRET, and PERILOUS.

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Jon Anderson’s Instructions to His Dog Sitter on National Dog Day

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I have no idea if Jon actually wrote this, but it is pretty funny.

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/yes-frontman-jon-andersons-instructions-to-his-dogsitter

Dear Frank,

Overture—Heart of Sunrise

Total Breakfast: Alpo-calypse

ii. Comb of Life

iii. The Solid Bowel Movement

Bridge—A Venture (Outside With Leash)

Fetch/Play Dead

a. Fetch

b. Play dead

ii. Long Distance Runaround (seg. into The Calling)

iii. Starship Pooper (use grocery bags!)

Requiem—Edge of the Sun

The Revealing Science of Dog (food)

ii. Sweet Dreams

Da Capo

Progressively,
Jon

Personal Playlist by Iris (26 August 2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

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My latest playlist was next month, so it’s time for a new one! This playlist also contains some FREE music downloads, yippehyayeeeh! Here are some albums I’m listening to lately…(go click on the link below to see all the albums!)

via Personal Playlist by Iris (26 August 2016) — Grendel HeadQuarters

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