A favorite musician (and supporter) from the opening days of progarchy, Cailyn Lloyd is an absolute gem in the music world. And, from what I know of her, she’s a gem to her family and community as well. Not surprisingly.
Thanks for including us in your lovely ad, Cailyn. Much appreciated!
If you’ve not had the pleasure of listening to Cailyn’s music–Stevie Ray Vaughn meets ELP meets Hayden–you’re in for a huge treat.
In a world of true justice, Flying Colors would be blaring from every car stereo tuned to album rock radio across North America. Not only does SECOND NATURE have the single best album cover of the year, but the album is absolutely riveting. It’s not quite prog, though, as with the best of AOR, it contains great prog elements. Everything fits perfectly here. The lyrics are solid, the vocals are superior. The final two songs—Peaceful Harbor and Cosmic Symphony (sort of a gospel prog)—alone are worth the entire album. But, the entire album is, thankfully, worth the entire album. For me, every time I listen to this album, I’m transported back to 1985. This would have sounded great next to Power Windows. And, unquestionably, Peaceful Harbor would easily outdo almost any contemporary worship song should churches look for some good new music.
Largely unsung in the press, Mike Kershaw offers a rare noir beauty, a kind of moody deepness rare in almost all popular art, on 2014’s major release, ICE AGE. Kershaw’s music reminds me quite a bit of another profound prog act, Fractal Mirror. Each looks to the Bauhaus of the early 80s, progging it up, making it relevant in the modern age. Kershaw offers us a rather dark Narnia.
One of America’s greatest gems is Cailyn Lloyd, though too few Americans know of her. In every way, Cailyn is a wonder. She arranges and writes her own music, plays all of her own instruments, and records and engineers her albums. Her specialty—bringing classical music and blues (think Stevie Ray Vaughn)—to the rock world. Reading this, you might first think of ELP. And, there’s a connection. But, whereas ELP was always “over the top,” Cailyn is as tasteful as tasteful can be. Her latest release, VOYAGER, is a must own for any lover of music, whatever the genre.
America’s newest and coolest immigrant, Simon Godfrey, has taken up residence in the City of Brotherly Love. For whatever reason, though, Philadelphia seems to have made him even more English, especially in his unrelenting wit. Godfrey’s latest, MOTHERLAND, is more in the “singer-songwriter” camp than prog, but it matters not. His voice drips with conviction, and this very warm album will enliven the soul of any listener. The best song of a great album is “The Inaccurate Man.”
America is doing quite well in 2014. Everyone’s favorite Kerry Kompost (FB name) is back with Heliopolis and the new album, CITY OF THE SUN, a stunning work of art that has taken several years to make. And, the time was well worth it. Of all prog releases this year, this is one of the two or three most unapologetically prog in the traditional sense. Quite heavy and eccentric, it builds and builds throughout the album, taking the listener on a psychedelic ride. Mix Black Sabbath, The Doors, and King Crimson, and you start to get a sense of what Heliopolis is. Whether Heliopolis takes its name—band and/or album title—from the famous Renaissance poem of the same name or not, I’m not sure. But, I do know that these guys have delivered something well worth adoring.
Nothing Matt Stevens does is unimportant in our world. His vocal-less music carries more voice and speaks more humanely than almost anything else in the music world. The man loves his guitar, and he love beauty, and he loves harmony. LUCID takes Matt’s voice a step further. He’s also had a King Crimson/Leo Kottke strain to him, but this album is even more Matt than Matt. It’s so incredible that no words I could employ right now could do justice to it. And, speaking of justice, Matt has received some huge accolades. But, he deserves so many more.
Who would have thought an EP would make it into a best of list? Well, Galahad already has. Now, it’s Haken’s turn. Unlike Galahad, though, Haken gives us three brand new songs with RESTORATION. I have to thank my great Facebook friend, Richard Thresh, for first introducing me to Haken. Chris Morrissey has already reviewed the EP here at progarchy, and I agree with every word. So, no need for me to blather more.
Finally, for part III of my best of, the band that Richard and I were discussing when he brought up Haken: Threshold. I really, really like these guys, though I’m generally not quite as metal as all of what’s to be found on their latest album, FOR THE JOURNEY. It’s as dark in its metal as MARCH OF PROGRESS was driving. There’s a lot in common between the two albums, especially thematically. Each deals with the fragility of life and social stability. The two albums seem to me to be two sides of the same thing, much in the way that it’s rather natural to listen to HEMISPHERES after listening to FAREWELL TO KINGS. If you like prog metal, it doesn’t get better than Threshold or Haken.
RPC consists of five instruments on the Rosetta orbiter that provide a wide variety of complementary information about the plasma environment surrounding Comet 67P/C-G. (Reminder: Plasma is the fourth state of matter, an electrically conductive gas that can carry magnetic fields and electrical currents.)
The instruments are designed to study a number of phenomena, including: the interaction of 67P/C-G with the solar wind, a continuous stream of plasma emitted by the Sun; changes of activity on the comet; the structure and dynamics of the comet’s tenuous plasma ‘atmosphere’, known as the coma; and the physical properties of the cometary nucleus and surface.
But one observation has taken the RPC scientists somewhat by surprise. The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased by a factor of about 10,000.
The music was heard clearly by the magnetometer experiment (RPC-Mag) for the first time in August, when Rosetta drew to within 100 km of 67P/C-G. The scientists think it must be produced in some way by the activity of the comet, as it releases neutral particles into space where they become electrically charged due to a process called ionisation. But the precise physical mechanism behind the oscillations remains a mystery.
“This is exciting because it is completely new to us. We did not expect this and we are still working to understand the physics of what is happening,” says Karl-Heinz.
RPC may also be able to help in tracking Philae’s descent to the surface of 67P/C-G on 12 November, in tandem with the lander’s on-board magnetometer, ROMAP .
The sonification of the RPC-Mag data was compiled by German composer Manuel Senfft (www.tagirijus.de).
Progarchy friend Cailyn Lloyd’s Voyager has been a labor of love for many months now. Her cosmic tone-poem concept album is now all mixed to perfection, and the mastering was completed on November 7th in Chicago at Rax Trax Recording. It should have gone to production today, November 12th. You’ll be able to pre-order it soon. Right now, an advance preview is currently being listened to here in the Republic of Progarchy. Stay tuned!
Our friend, Cailyn (she of Four Pieces fame), just released information today about her fourth album, VOYAGER. Here’s a bit of what she has to say:
I am in the studio, working on a new project called Voyager. This project arose from my interest in the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst. Problem was, the music as it stood did not easily lend itself to a rock interpretation and the opening movement, Mars, had already been explored extensively by better artists than I. The idea gradually evolved from there to a musical interpretation of the Voyager Space Project.
Voyager will include excerpts from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune from the Planets Suite as well as ten original pieces of music (see track listing below). I have finished the composition for all of the tracks and I am now working on the instrumentation and programming.
While I originally imagined this as a progressive rock suite, it will be more eclectic, not adhering to any single genre. Much of it is classically inflected symphonic prog, particularly the Planet Suite excerpts as well as Io, Titan, and Triton. Europa and Pale Blue Dot are more New Age with blues inflections. Enceladus is free form without time or key signature. Ariel and Miranda are classic-progressive rock hybrids.
Voyager will primarily be an instrumental work though I have sketched wordless vocals for several of the tracks. Most of the drumming will be recorded on an acoustic set and I am now looking for the right a session drummer for this project. The bass guitar and keyboards will be more prominent, especially the keys as much of the original music is being written at the keyboard.
Run time: about 56 minutes. Track listing with brief descriptions:
Voyager – A quiet symphonic introduction leads to a bluesy guitar progression followed by a powerful progression of chords that builds to a grand crescendo before a return to the opening theme complete with synths, voices, guitars, and drums.
To find out more (and you should!), including a full track description, click here.
There several things I (Brad-ed.) want and have wanted to accomplish with Progarchy.
First and foremost, I wanted to form (and have certainly achieved) a cadre of great writers. It’s my opinion that any reviewer (of any form of art) should be as good in her or his craft as those being reviewed. Who wants to read a poor writer when reading about works of beauty, goodness, and truth? The disconnect is too great. Frankly, I think we Progarchists have accomplished this; we’ve been successful, and we’re not even quite a year old. And, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I think the writers of Progarchy can match any writers anywhere on the internet in terms of depth, craft, wisdom, and empathy.
Not a single writer of Progarchy wants to put a thing of nastiness next to a work of greatness. It’s not in the nature of any one of us. Not to be Nietzschean, but we want excellence to match excellence. Really, why do a thing without excellence–whether it’s cleaning the kitchen floor or writing a novel? Why waste the time. Mediocrity hovers like a cancer over much of history and the world (I blame big governments and big corporations for this, but I’m merely express an opinion). But, if we look at the culture and civilization that gave us progressive rock, we see a society of amazing persons, whether we agree with every aspect of those persons or not: Socrates, Cicero, Hillel, St. John, or King Alfred. Not a single one of these persons is mediocre.
Second, we want to connect reviewer to artist and reviewer and artist to listener. If we (and by we, I mean me–Brad) err, it’s probably on the side of being Fanboyish/Fangirlish at times. But, again, I think as reviewers we should be fine with this. While I greatly admire, for example, biographers who can explain the evil of a Josef Stalin or an Adolf Hitler, in my own work, I want to look at J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, persons I admire and consider heroes. I’m not interested in hiding their flaws, but I am intensely interested in finding their greatnesses. Even in this world of egalitarianism, I want heroes. Nothing excellent is based in equality. It can’t be. If it were average, it wouldn’t be excellent. All excellences are particular and individual.
Additionally, I don’t want to spend my time analyzing someone through the lens of hatred, no matter how necessary it is for us as a civilization and as–simply–humanity to deconstruct and analyze such horrors in our society. So, while I’m glad there are folks dedicating their lives to studying the writings and actions of a Hitler, I want to think deeply about people I love and admire.
Give me, for example, a Greg Spawton or David Longdon over a Justin Bieber (in full disclosure, I’ve never heard a song by Bieber). Give me a Matt Stevens, not a Madonna (yes, I’ve heard Madonna songs). Give me a Matt Cohen, not a Lady Gaga (ok, don’t know her either). Give me a Giancarlo Erra and Nosound, not a corporatized boy band. Give me a Jerry Ewing, not an (don’t even know the name) editor of People! Give me a Neil Peart or a Mark Hollis, not a Nicholas Sparks. Give me a Brian Watson not a Thomas Kinkade. Well, you get the point.
In the spirit of this editorial, let me state that I’m very, very happy to inaugurate a new irregular feature at Progarchy–a discussion with the artists themselves about what is happening right now in their lives. How they’re responding to their older works; what they think about art and beauty; and what they want for their futures. Our first such feature comes from a beloved artist at Progarchy, Cailyn Lloyd. And, so it begins. . . .