Today is the birthday of one of the handful of the pantheon of Anglo-Saxon demigod guitarists: Matt Stevens, he of solo and Fierce and the Dead fame. Thank you, Matt–for your artistry and generosity. Each make this world more than a bit better!
Always a treat. From the grand David Elliott.
It’s hard to believe that I first encountered The Fierce and the Dead almost a full decade ago. They’ve been such a part of my musical life over the past eight years, that it’s actually hard to remember a time when I didn’t listen to them.
As I’ve had the privilege of arguing before, The Fierce and the Dead is, essentially, what might happen if Johnny Marr played with King Crimson.
Who needs them? Just know that Matt Stevens and co. give theirs hearts, minds, and souls for the world of music. And, we are all the better for it.
Past Second Springs:
Inspired by Craig Breaden’s brilliant 104-part Soundstream, I’ve decided to post music that reveals that rock and jazz (and some other forms of music) are not the end of western civilization, but the culmination of western civilization up to this point in time. A second spring, if you will.
Love these guys. Enjoy.
I’m thrilled by this news. The first three albums were extraordinary, and I’m sure #4 will live up to expectations. And, to make it all even better, FRACTAL MIRROR is now a part of the Bad Elephant Music family. In addition to Kscope and Karisma, who doesn’t love Bad Elephant!!!
Bad Elephant Music is delighted to announce that internationally renowned progressive rock band Fractal Mirror is joining the family for the release of its new album, Close To Vapour, in early 2018.
For this, their fourth album, core members Leo Koperdraat and Frank L Urbaniak are joined once again by Brett Kull (of Echolyn, and producer for label-mates Valdez) and founder member Ed van Haagen guesting.
“We’re extremely pleased to join the diverse Bad Elephant Music family”, said Frank. “We are confident that together we’ll be reach a wider audience with Close to Vapour. For us this reflects a dramatic step forward in both composition and production, and we’re grateful for BEM giving us this opportunity, and for the confidence they’ve shown in us”.
David Elliott from Bad Elephant had this to say: “I’ve been a keen follower of Fractal Mirror’s music since Strange Attractors, their first album, and we’ve been talking over the last couple of years about working together. The stars finally aligned after I met Frank at RoSFest this year, and with Close To Vapourthey’ve produced their finest work yet. We’re proud to be associated with the guys, and delighted to be once again working with Brett!”
Close To Vapour will be released on CD and high quality digital download in the first quarter of 2018.
Fractal Mirror are:
Leo Koperdraat: voice, Mellotron, guitars, keyboards, recorder and programming
Frank L. Urbaniak: drums & percussion
Brett Kull: guitars, bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Ed van Haagen: occasional keyboards
Leo and Frank formed the band in 2013 (with Ed van Haagen, pictured above), after discovering each other’s demos posted on online music forums. Both have long been involved in the progressive music scenes in their relevant home countries, The Netherlands and the United States. Frank was involved in the progressive scene during his college years in Essence, with Larry Fast, which led to Synergy and Larry’s involvement with Peter Gabriel and others.
Fractal Mirror’s music represents a multitude of progressive, pop, rock and indie influences, having drawn comparisons to David Bowie, Tears for Fears, R.E.M. Psychedelic Furs, Blackfield and No-Man. Their debut album, Strange Attractors, gained positive reviews, with follow up Garden of Ghosts, making the shortlist for a Grammy award nomination. By third album Slow Burn 1 the band had secured the talents of Brett Kull (Echolyn) as producer, and to add additional musical embellishments.
Their new album, Close to Vapour, introduces further influences from the likes of The Grays, Jellyfish, Pugwash and Beck. Lush vocal harmonies abound, with perhaps a rougher musical edge being introduced, all without losing the characteristic Fractal Mirror sound. Close To Vapour will be released by Bad Elephant Music in the first quarter of 2018.
Several new arrivals at Progarchy HQ in Michigan. Thank you so much to the good companies and artists for sending these! We’re honored you would trust us. May we continue to earn that trust.
From Mighty Matt:
This is the final reminder about the Fierce And The Dead’s new live record, thank you to all of you ordering, the response has been incredible. We’re 50 orders off our biggest ever pre-order sale and funding our DVD recording. Amazing.
If you want the limited edition signed postcard version of our new live album this is the last week to order it. The link it here:
Tape cassettes are almost gone too.
All of the band really appreciate the support and it would be brilliant if we can do the final 50.
So, I fell in love with The Fierce and the Dead from the moment I saw online the image of their first proper recording, PART 1. That was seven years ago. The image of the lone tree standing in a field took me back not only to the actuality of my childhood in central Kansas, but it also took me back to the fantasy of my childhood in Tolkien’s The Shire.
As such, The Fierce and the Dead has always occupied that tenuous place in the prog world–something undeniably tangible and real mixed with something almost too good to be true. Certainly, the wordless music of The Fierce and the Dead is analogous to my own inability to articulate fully how much joy this band brings me.
Finally I have unpacked the trunk of album reviews that backed up last year, and this reviews catches up on two albums Bad Elephant released back in October last year, and which are worth having a listen to, before they unleash the new Tom Slatter album on the unsuspecting world.
The Far Meadow: Given the Impossible
Formed back in 2014 this is the first album on Bad Elephant from London based 5 piece, The Far Meadow and was released back in October last year.
As is common with so many of the wonderful artists signed to Bad Elephant, the band defy categorisation, veering from traditional progressive sounds to folk and back with a dazzling array of performances and sounds that make this an excellent album to listen to.
I seem to have spent most of the last few months catching up with a backlog of album reviews that have landed either on my door step or in my inbox which built up during a traumatic move, (I am never spending two weeks sleeping in the living room again!!) and so I fear this latter part of the year has been chasing my own tail, as whilst I’ve reviewed older albums, never ones have appeared!
My new Years resolution is to be more organised (honest!)
This is my first word on Bad Elephant Music this year, wrapping up some of their fine releases last year.
The Fierce and the Dead: If it carries on like this we’ll be moving to Morecambe
This is where it all began, and what better place for a shiny new remastered edition of TFATD debut long player to be released, complete with new artwork by Mark Buckingham, than their new home. BEM and TFATD have become synonymous with adventurous and eclectic music, and as some one who previously bought the original release from band camp, the remastering is absolutely superb, and does make a difference to the sound. Not that there was ever anything wrong with the production originally, but it’s like the difference between watching your favourite TV show on a normal telly and then switching to HD, it highlights certain nuances and little pieces of music on the album that you might have missed originally.