Cruise to the Edge 2018 closes in on selling out.

With just under 9 months away from sailing, Cruise to the Edge has announced that they are over 80% sold out. The 6 day journey from February 3-8 features Yes (on their 50th anniversary), Marillion, Stave Hackett, Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Saga, Anathema, Gong, Haken, Glass Hammer, Adrian Belew Power Trio and many more incredible prog acts.

I attended CTTE17 and highly recommend the experience, especially to anyone who hasn’t been on a prog cruise before! This time around they added an extra day to the trip as they sail from Tampa, Florida to Belize and Costa Maya for optional daily excursions.

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Past attendees of CTTE got first dibs on cabins so all of the VIP Suites are sold out, but anyone can join the wait list, as specific cabins may pop up closer to the event.  They are also offering a International Airpass Credit ($100 per person or $200 per cabin max) for travelers from outside the United States.  For International travellers, type in “AIRPASS” for the promotional code when booking- by June 30. For more information and to check out payment plans, go to http://cruisetotheedge.com/

Happy Sailing!

 

 

Ulver – The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

New music from Norwegian experimentalists Ulver is always something to savour, and its diversity might surprise you. 2016’s cryptically-titled ATGCLVLSSCAP was mostly instrumental and partly-improvised, veering from ambient to intensely atmospheric post rock and back again. Their latest release is a quite different proposition, however.

The Assassination Of Julius Caesar channels progressive, pop and electronica influences to utterly glorious effect. Repeated listens variously bring to mind Pure Reason Revolution, Anathema, New Order, Propaganda, early Simple Minds and Massive Attack, amongst others (a list of musical reference points that will have a few Progarchy readers salivating, I’m sure).

It’s difficult to pick out highlights in an album of such consistently high quality, but right now I’m particularly enamoured by the expansive dark groove of Rolling Stone (at over 9 minutes, the album’s longest track), the elegant pop of Southern Gothic and the achingly beautiful chorus in Transverberation.

I’m calling it now. One of the best albums of 2017.

Neal Morse Inner Circle Goes TOTALLY Digital. NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

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Not cool.

Over the last several weeks, Neal Morse has announced that his venerable INNER CIRCLE club is going exclusively digital.

To state that this infuriates me would be going way too far.  To state that I’m unhappy, however, would not be an exaggeration.

Not only have I been a proud INNER CIRCLE member for years, but I’ve also got my own Neal Morse display in my office–in all of its tangible (yes, TANGIBLE) and technicolor glory.

Do I want downloads?  No.  I don’t want downloads from Neal Morse or from Glass Hammer or from The Tangent or from Riverside or from NAO or from Big Big Train.

As far as I’m concerned, sadly, Neal Morse’s INNER CIRCLE is done.  Whatever it was (and, it was brilliant), it’s over.

I’m so tired of the world moving toward nothing but digital.  We (or, at least I) love prog because everything is so well done–the lyrics, the music, the playing, and the art.  I want an album or a CD or a DVD or a blu-ray.  A down load is just not cheap, but, frankly, tacky.

Mr. Morse, please, please, please reconsider this.

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Very cool.

 

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My Neal Morse Shrine.  Very, very cool.

 

Is Prog Really Still Prog?

J.C. Harris posted this in the comments, and I thought it was too interesting to leave it there.  Thanks, J.C.–BB

Samey. I honestly can’t tell one of these ‘new prog’ bands from the other. And I have tried. What originally drew me to progressive rock almost 50 years ago now was the -originality- of the best groups. Each band had a truly distinctive voice. And on almost every album, the groups were really -trying- to incorporate new instruments, cultures, chord structures, rhythms, techniques, etc.; -anything- to widen the variety. -That- was the essence of ‘progressive’. How far things have fallen.

The only response people have to the above critique seems to be, “Man you’re -old-.” Which doesn’t address the point. Whenever I hear almost any new (cough) ‘progressive’ group it makes me wonder, “Are bands like this -really- the best we can manage in 2017?”

IOW: this will sound naive, but back when I was 15, I thought that progressive rock would -grow- just like jazz and classical and other serious art forms. And that the ‘prog’ records of -today- would feature even -better- playing, more outrageous compositions and even more imaginative stories. And mostly? That hasn’t happened.

Should We Remember Big Country?

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Perhaps the band’s best song.

Big Country is one of those bands that still gets me rather excited, even after three decades.  That excitement, however, leads to joy as well as to disappointment.  For me, all of the first album, THE CROSSING, eight of the ten tracks of STEELTOWN, and two of the ten tracks of THE SEER are perfect.  Yes, perfect rock songs.  The rest are not just “meh,” but actually kind of bad.

Your thoughts?  Am I being unfair to the rest of Big Country’s output?

Continue reading “Should We Remember Big Country?”