Thank you, Cailyn Lloyd

Page 76 of PROGRESSION (issue 69)

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.



Space Rock from the Comet Landing

It doesn’t get much more prog than this. “That Comet We Landed On? We Just Got Back a Sound Recording – And It’s Terrifying.” So, while you are waiting for Cailyn’s cosmic Voyager album to be released, enjoy these space sounds:

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 (

H/T: Leah

Cailyn Lloyd’s VOYAGER in Progress

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.


The Best 15 Albums of 2012, The Greatest Year in Prog. Ever.

IMG_3725by Brad Birzer, Progarchy editor

One of my greatest pleasures of 2012–and there have been many–has been listening to massive quantities of progressive rock, mostly for pleasure.

Being a literary and humanities guy, I’d contemplated rejecting the entire numerical ranking scheme.  Rather, I thought about labeling each of my best albums with various qualities of myth.  These albums achieved the level of Virgil; these of Dante; these of Tolkien, etc.  But, I finally decided this was way too pretentious . . . even for me.

Below are my rankings for the year.  Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by any of these choices.  I’m not exactly subtle in what I like and dislike.  Before listing them, though, I must state three things.

First, I loved all of these albums, or I wouldn’t be listing them here.  That is, once you’ve made it to Valhalla or Olympus, why bother with too many distinctions.  The differences between my appreciation of number 8 and number 2, for example, are marginal at best.

Second, I am intentionally leaving a couple of releases out of the rankings: releases from Echolyn, The Enid, Minstrel’s Ghost, Galahad, and Kompendium, in particular, as I simply did not have time to digest them.  Though, from what I’ve heard, I like each very much.

Third, I think that 2012 has proven to be the single greatest year in prog history.  DPRP’s Brian Watson has argued that we’re in the “third wave of prog.”  He might very well be right.  But, I don’t think we’ve ever surpassed the sheer quality of albums released this year.  This is not to belittle anything that has come before.  Quite the contrary.  I am, after all, a historian by profession and training.  The past is always prologue.  Close to the Edge, Selling England by the Pound, and  Spirit of Eden will always be the great markers of the past.

Ok, be quiet, Brad.  On with the rankings.

Continue reading “The Best 15 Albums of 2012, The Greatest Year in Prog. Ever.”

Astra and Cailyn: Proof of Revival

AImagestra, “The Black Chord,” (Metal Blade Records, 2012). As my English friend Richard Thresh has stated (and I’m paraphrasing here), “There are really only two types of folks in the world.  Those who love Astra and those who have yet to hear Astra.”  Richard’s right.  This is stunning stuff, but it’s not for the faint of heart.  Astra rocks more than just about any other band I can think of in the present day.  They never, however, venture into metal.  At least with the guitar.  The dirty organ has a metal feel at times.  Still, it is seriously hard, psychedelic, progressive rock.  In terms of writing and production, this album could’ve have emerged sometime around Iron Butterfly’s (also a San Diego band) 1968 “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” or Led Zeppelin’s first album in 1969.  “The Black Chord” is intense from the opening note to the last, and it really never gets old.  It also never stops moving; perpetual motion, it seems, once the Prime Mover kicks it off.  The gritty organ, the dark vocal harmonies, punctuated guitar riffs, roaring bass, and pounding drums make this, frankly, a real treat, and the band is to be congratulated for so brilliantly mixing the present and the past in a way that would be and is entirely acceptable for both.  My guess is that this album will become legend and this band will continue to grow, rather exponentially, in terms of its own abilities and in the audience it deserves.  At the risk of sounding jingoistic (for all that, I’m an Anglophile), I’m also glad to see some domestic prog living up to current British and Scandinavian standards of brilliance and excellence.

ImageCailyn, “Four Pieces,” (Land of Oz Music, 2012). Cailyn is another progressive act from the U.S. who is starting to garner attention, here and aboard, but her music sounds nothing like Astra’s.  These two albums, if nothing else, reveal the immense variety in the current progressive music scene.  Cailyn has taken three relatively well-known classical pieces–by Thomas Tallas, Antonin Dvorak, and Samuel Barber–and given them progressive rock arrangements.  Unlike some bands (such as Yes) that have unsuccessfully attempted to put orchestras behind their music, Cailyn follows much more in the tradition of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  Cailyn’s arrangements, though, are far more beautiful and tasteful than ELP’s recording, for examplel, of Pictures at an Exposition.  Much like the Dutch composer and musician, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Cailyn can seemingly play any instrument, but she also plays everything well, with precision and charm.  Somewhat shockingly, the CD credits list her as guitarist (and it soars and is surprisingly bluesy; hard not to think of Stevie Ray Vaughn, though Cailyn is from Wisconsin, not Texas), bassist, keyboardist, and drummer.  If you’ve been trying to get someone interested in progressive rock, this would be a perfect place to start.  I give this my fullest recommendation for any lover of music.  I’m eager to see what she does next, and I hope she’ll make an appearance (or many) here at Progarchy sooner rather than later.