LEPROUS Drummer BAARD KOLSTAD Talks “Pitfalls,” Band’s Position on the Scene, Rendezvous Point & More

LEPROUS Drummer BAARD KOLSTAD Talks “Pitfalls,” Band’s Position on the Scene, Rendezvous Point & More

Leprous and Rendezvous Point drummer Baard Kolstad did an interview before the Leprous show in Istanbul on February 13th where he talks about the group’s latest effort Pitfalls, the Prog scene, the upcoming edition of the Prognosis Festival in Eindhoven, and more. The full video interview, as well as a few excerpts, can be seen below.

Asked to comment about the new Leprous album being arguably the most dynamic release the band put out to date, Baard said: “We’ve always been suckers for dynamic and whatever is making the right vibe; it that’s to play soft or if it’s to have everything soft but the drums extremely hard. It’s difficult to point out exactly what’s going on when we make very variated album as that, but of course there were some barriers or not barriers, but it was like new Leprous kind of stuff happening. For instance from my point of view as a drummer, when I heard demos for ‘By My Throne’—it’s just like, ‘okay, that’s a new kind of Leprous, let’s make this sound like us and try to put that into the Leprous setting.’”

About whether or not Leprous defy progressive rock and metal conventions with Pitfalls, Kolstad commented: “When I’m searching new music I’m not going only for progressive bands, I’m going for all kinds of music. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but of course we have a background we love, like Opeth and Tool and Dream Theater—not the others but I love Dream Theater—bands like that, Meshuggah. But that’s tools again—not the band Tool—but tools for us to use in composition and musicianship. We don’t try to care much about expectations, but I guess like the way we write or like Einar writes, the way we play will naturally be for people that only play stoner rock. We will always be a prog band, but for the proggers we will probably not be a prog band. And for a pop group we will definitely be proggy or weird or something like that. We kind of don’t belong anywhere.

During the interview Baard also talks about the expectations fans usually have from bands in terms of the sound and musical direction, Leprous’ 20th anniversary next year, the current Rendezvous Point tour with Anathema, drum clinics, his tips for aspiring drummers, and more. Watch the full interview below.

Insideout: 25th Year

Spock’s Beard & Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’s celebrate InsideOutMusic’s 25thanniversary on tour

InsideOutMusic, the leading light in today’s progressive rock scene, celebrate their 25th anniversary of being a label in 2018, in what will be one of their biggest and busiest yet. To coincide with this, two of their longest serving artists, Spock’s Beard & Roine Stolt’s The Flower King’s, will head out on a European co-headline tour in Winter 2018.

Spock’s Beard comment: “Spock’s Beard is excited to announce an upcoming Winter tour!  It will be a co-bill with Roine Stolt’s THE FLOWER KING’s revisited band, so each show promises to be a great evening of music.  We’ve been getting a lot of questions about who will be playing drums on this tour, so at this time let me introduce our new touring drummer, Mr. Mike Thorne, from SAGA!  We are really excited to have him on board and are looking forward to seeing you on tour.”

Roine Stolt adds: “Asked to put together a band  to go on the road, celebrate our label Inside Out’s 25 year anniversary – I was thinking of the ‘treasure’ that is the music I wrote for The Flower Kings during that same period. I felt compelled to bring out this music for yet another round – and in the process bring in some old friends and some new.
The music is universal – some songs timeless – and by November I hope to have an exciting set-list – to not only celebrate my 1st album and the origin of all things  “The Flower King” – but to cover the rest of TFK’s history – and eventually a new tune & a few new faces. Tune up the engine – Time to prog!”

You can find the full list of dates below:
30th November – Cosmopolite, Oslo, Norway
1st December – Kulturhuset Studion, Stockholm, Sweden
2nd December – KB, Malmo, Sweden
4th December – Zeche, Bochum, Germany
5th December – Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland
6th December – La Machine, Paris, France
7th December – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
8th December – Hedon, Zwolle, Netherlands
9th December – Islington Assembly Hall, London, UK
10th December – Academy Club, Manchester, UK

Formed back in 1993 in Kleve, Germany, the label made their name with acts such as Enchant, Spock’s Beard, Symphony X & The Flower Kings, many of whom they still work with now – a rarity in this day and age. Since that time, the label has played a key & continued role in the survival and resurgence of progressive rock in recent years, and has always prided itself on shining a light on leftfield music. Now the band count some of the biggest & most exciting bands amongst their roster, including Dream Theater, Steve Hackett, Devin Townsend, Sons of Apollo, Kansas, Haken, Riverside, Leprous & more. On the label’s 20th anniversary back in 2013, one of the labels founders, and current label-head Thomas Waber was given the Guiding Light award at the Progressive Music Awards, praising his aforementioned role in the continued celebration of progressive rock.

Many of InsideOut’s longest running relationships will see new albums released in the labels 25th year, including Spock’s Beard’s 13th album ‘Noise Floor’, a new collaborative project called The Sea Within that features Roine Stolt, Daniel Gildenlow & Jonas Reingold (all veterans of the label), a landmark live album from Devin Townsend filmed at a special performance at a Roman Theatre in Bulgaria, a new studio album from Riverside & much more.

This year will also see InsideOut release a whole host of lavish catalogue releases throughout 2018, including the second part of The Flower Kings ‘A Kingdom of Colours’ CD boxsets, a series of Devin Townsend high-end vinyl boxes, a CD collection covering the whole of Enchant’s illustrious career, & much more yet to be announced.

The Progressive Music Awards 2018 recently announced their nominations, with InsideOutMusic seeing 10 nominations in total, including Spock’s Beard for best international artist, as well as nods for Perfect Beings, Toundra, PFM, Sons of Apollo, Kino, Leprous & Caligula’s Horse. Find more details here: https://www.loudersound.com/features/vote-now-in-the-2018-progressive-music-awards

Watch out for more news throughout 2018!

Highest Prog Fantasy: Unfold The Future by the Flower Kings

A review The Flower Kings, UNFOLD THE FUTURE (2002; remastered and reissued, 2017). Tracks: The Truth Will Set You Free; Monkey Business; Black and White; Christianopel; Silent Inferno; The Navigator; Vox Humana; Genie in a Bottle; Fast Lane; Grand Old World; Soul Vortex; Rollin’ the Dice; The Devil’s Schooldance; Man Overboard; Solitary Shell; Devil’s Playground; and Too Late for Tomatos

Grade: A+.  Glorious.  Full.  Enchanting.  Mesmerizing.

tfk unfold the future
UNFOLD THE FUTURE, 2002–remastered in 2017.  InsideOut Music.

As noted last week on progarchy.com, the Flower Kings released its first boxset, A KINGDOM OF COLOURS (Insideout Music), in very late 2017.  Granted, we’re more than a bit late coming to the news, and I (Brad) only realized that the boxset had come out when seeing an advertisement for the forthcoming second boxset.

This set—a gorgeously packaged one at that—is part 1 of 2, re-releasing the band’s first official seven studio albums.  Missing are any b-sides, extra tracks, live releases, and the album that started it all, Stolt’s 1994 solo album, THE FLOWER KING.  But, these absences are certainly fine, as the boxset is what it is.  The next set, according to Insideout, will have three full disks of new or previously unreleased material.  Additionally and spectacularly, of those original albums re-released for A KINGDOM OF COLOURS, the final one, 2002’s UNFOLD THE FUTURE, has been completely remastered by the Flower King himself, Mr. Roine Stolt.

Continue reading “Highest Prog Fantasy: Unfold The Future by the Flower Kings”

Hierophantic Hackett

Hwaet!  The Genesis in days gone by

and the guitarist who ruled them had courage and greatness.

We have heard of that guitarist’s heroic campaigns.

 

A comfort sent by God to the peoples of the world.

He knew what they had tholed,

the long times and troubles they’d come through

without a leader; so the Lord of Life,

the glorious Almighty, made this Hackett renowned.

–With apologies to the Beowulf poet.

 

Steve Hackett - Wuthering Nights_ Live in Birmingham
InsideOut Music.  Released today in the United States.

Hackett is back, and, of course, he’s greater than before.  He has already conquered Grendel and Grendel’s mother.  Now, he returns to fulfill the prophecy of the Hierophant.

If you’ve not guessed, my copy of Hackett’s latest live offering, WUTHERING NIGHTS: LIVE IN BIRMINGHAM, arrived in my post box today.  And, oh, what a joy it is.  I’ve listened through it all, and, now, I’m rather stuck on this version of “Shadow of the Hierophant.”

As I listen and watch it repeatedly, I am reminded what first brought me to prog rock, oh so many years ago.  It is this, most certainly, this.  The build, the lingering, the apex, the mystery, and the certainty.

I’ve always considered VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE the lost Genesis album of 1975, much like Squire’s FISH OUT OF WATER is the lost Yes album of the same year.  “Shadow of the Hierophant” was stunning in 1975.  It’s even better in 2018.

Hackett’s recent outings and return to the beloved prog of the 1970s only makes me realize how alive this music remains. Watching Hackett, King, O’Toole, Townsend, Beggs, and Lehmann perform “Shadow of the Hierophant” reminds me that even in this world of sorrows, heroes arise, called forth by the God to remind us of what beauty still remains.

 

A Highly Rewarding Outing: SLOW RUST from The Tangent

The Tangent, SLOW RUST OF FORGOTTEN MACHINERY (Insideout Music, 2017).  Tracks: Two Swings; Doctor Livingstone; Slow Rust; The Story of Lead and Astatine; A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road; and Basildonxit.

tangent slow rust
The antithesis.

Andy Tillison is not a happy man.

From the art work, to the vocal work, to the lyrics of this latest The Tangent album, SLOW RUST, Tillison has embraced a critical response to the rapidly growing and evolving fascistic, fascist-lite, and insular movements of the western world over the last several years.  As artist, as man, and as thinker, Tillison hopes to stay the dark trajectory of the West or even, God willing, reverse it.  While the great red-headed man of prog mischief has never backed away from controversial viewpoints, he’s rarely been this explicit.

Even the album cover makes one pause.  Previously, Tillison has joked that he represents the dark side of prog, the antithesis, in particular, to Big Big Train, and the cover seems to project this rather profoundly, as a (presumably) single Muslim mother walks along dilapidated railroad tracks, holding the hands of her two daughters.  The once majestic train has derailed, and the crossing sign (the closest thing to the viewer of the album) reads “go.”  Clearly, several things have gone very, very wrong.  There’s no hedgerow in the distance, only a ruined, collapsed, and spent civilization.  There’s some blue sky showing, but it’s obscured by the ruddy reds of smoke and grit floating all too freely in a broken and war-torn world.

Continue reading “A Highly Rewarding Outing: SLOW RUST from The Tangent”

The Tangent: SLOW RUST OF FORGOTTEN MACHINERY–Album information

tangent slow rust

FROM INSIDEOUT music MAY 9 2017

The Tangent, the progressive rock group led by Andy Tillison, have announced the release of the first new music since 2015. Their new ninth studio album ‘The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery’ is set for release on 21st July 2017. The line-up for this album once again features Tillison on keyboards, vocals (and for the first time on a Tangent record – drums), Jonas Reingold on bass, Luke Machin on guitars and vocals, and Theo Travis on sax and flutes plus new member Marie-Eve de Gaultier on keys and vocals. There are also guest appearances from author/playwright and Chumbawamba founder Boff Whalley on vocals, and upcoming DJ/producer Matt Farrow.

Band leader Andy Tillison had this to say: “Roger Waters did prove the ability of Progressive Music to act as a vehicle to communicate ideas about the current world scene. In both Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut” and his “Amused To Death” albums, Waters set a challenge to others in the genre. A challenge which has not been frequently accepted.”

The album sees The Tangent in political commentary mode once again – this time often focussing on the horrendous plight of refugees from war torn parts of the world – and the way in which they are treated by the West, and in particular by the tabloid press. The album laments the new trend in building walls and defending borders across the world yet takes time to look at the breakup of friendships and other more personal issues – along with a song about the fate of wildlife in the modern consumer world.

And it’s a Progressive Rock Record. Full of intricacies, long developed pieces, challenging arrangements and virtuoso playing from all members. New sounds and styles (the band have brought a DJ on board for some sections) – new voices and techniques (first female vocals in The Tangent since the “Not As Good As The Book” album 10 years ago). A new producer in the form of Luke Machin whose open and deep/clear sound is a major factor of this album, a new drummer in the form of Andy Tillison who decided at long last (after drumming for 30 years) to let his own performances guide the rest of the band rather than adding another musician later. And after 13 years of asking, Jonas finally agreed to play some double bass in a song where Luke also plays some Scat guitar and Andy does a full on drum solo.

“The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery” also features stellar artwork from Marvel / DC Comics artist Mark Buckingham. The sleeve of the album is totally based on the music it contains and was especially created for this project.

The album will be available on limited digipak CD, gatefold 2LP + CD, and digital download, and you can find the full track-listing below:

Two Rope Swings
Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)
Slow Rust
The Sad Story of Lead and Astatine
A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road
Basildonxit

The band will head out on tour in support of the new record, once again joining forces with Sweden’s Karmakanic to present albums by both bands. The full list of dates is as follows:
Aug 26th 2017 – Bierkeller, Reichenbach, DE
Sept 1st 2017 – 2 days of Prog +1 Festival, Veruno, Italy
Sept 9th 2017 – The Boerderij, Zoetermeer
Oct 8th 2017 – SUMMERS END Festival, Chepstow, UK
Oct 21st 2017 – Progtoberfest, Chicago, USA
Oct 22nd 2017 – Shank Hall, Milwaukee WI, USA
Oct 24th 2017 – Token Lounge, Westland MI, USA
Oct 26th 2017 – Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen NJ, USA
Oct 27th 2017 – The Regent Theatre, Arlington MA, USA

Look out for more information in the coming weeks!
The Tangent online:
www.thetangent.org
https://www.facebook.com/groups/alltangentmembers/

INSIDEOUTMUSIC ONLINE:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/insideouteu
www.myspace.com/insideoutlabel

Visit the new Insideout Shop:
www.insideoutshop.de

No Luggage Allowed–Andy Tillison/The Tangent

The Tangent no 7
The Tangent’s masterpiece, THE RITE OF WORK (2013)

Though perhaps not totally polite, I will admit my shock that this album isn’t discussed more among serious proggers.  To my mind, prog really doesn’t get any better or more innovative than this.  Though The Tangent is always extraordinary, this is The Tangent at its absolute best: weird; twisty; intelligent; cutting; affirming; angular; and organic.

My favorite part of the album, part VII of the third movement, “Afternoon Malaise”:

I shear the bolt, he turns the screw
We all have our part, and there’s one for you
And we’re all alone, yet surrounded by peers
Try to make our mark as we work off the years … crawling, marching

And we keep our homes if we pay our tax
I ask myself, “Just who struck that deal and just how far back?”
And some work for fortunes, some work for a dime
And some work for pensions, and some just do their time
And some of ’em build empires and some bring them down
Some work for recognition, ain’t we all just the clowns?

‘Cos you can’t take it with you
There’s no luggage allowed
No you can’t take it with you
No matter how rich or proud
Your kids will sell it off on Ebay
For God’s sake don’t waste their time
‘Cos you can’t take it with you
You can leave just a little bit behind

Progarchy Radio, Episode 14

tftd-part-i
Part I, 2010.

Our first show since Halloween!  Lots of great music on this one.  Four thirty-minute sets with only minimal talking on my part.  A restrained DJ am I!  Promise.

Set I

  • The Fierce and the Dead, Parts I-III

Continue reading “Progarchy Radio, Episode 14”

John Wesley–A Week from Today

InsideOut Music Header
John Wesley launches new track ‘to outrun the light’

 
Renowned singer / songwriter & guitarist John Wesley is set to release his forthcoming 8th studio album ‘a way you’ll never be’ on October 7th, 2016 on InsideOut Music. Following the recent launch of the track ‘by the light of a sun’, he is now pleased to reveal the next new track, the atmospheric seven minutes long ‘to outrun the light’. 
You can watch the lyric video for it here: 


John had this say: “The lyrics in this song try and touch upon that moment when you know your life is going to change forever and there is nothing you can do about it. You begin to question your own identity. You look back on all the years invested and fear that everything you thought you knew, was wrong to begin with. You wonder if perhaps, you have, “outrun the light”.”
 
Pre-order the album digitally from iTunes or AmazonMP3, and receive both ‘to outrun the light’ and ‘by the light of a sun’ immediately:
 
 
Listen to ‘by the light of a sun’ now here: 
 
‘a way you’ll never be’ was produced by Jim Morris at the legendary Morrisound Studios and you can find the full track-listing below:
 
1. by the light of a sun (5:32) 
2. a way you’ll never be (7:18) 
3. to outrun the light (7:07) 
4. the revolutionist (5:57) 
5. nada (5:41) 
6. the silence in coffee (5:09) 
7. unsafe space (4:17) 
8. sun.a.rose (6:44) 
9. epic (4:51) 
10. pointless endeavors (03:38)
 
The album will be available in Digipak CD, Digital Download.
  
 
John Wesley has built a long and varied career as a songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. His music has been called lyrically sensitive and musically dynamic. His song-writing style incorporates emotionally-charged vocals that evoke the honesty and intimacy of Roger Waters and Patty Griffin coupled with a melodic yet intricate guitar style reminiscent of David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, and Jeff Beck. John Wesley has performed as guitarist/vocalist for critically acclaimed UK based recording act Porcupine Tree, during the “In Absentia”, “Deadwing”, “Fear of a Blank Planet”, and “The Incident” world tours with whom he played with for nine years, culminating in 2010 with sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. 
 
In support of the album, John will head out as support to Marillion & Steven Wilson in the US & Canada and you can find the full list of dates below:
 
With Marillion
Friday 21 October 2016 – The Regency Ballroom San Francisco, CA, USA
 Saturday 22 October 2016 – Saban Theater Beverly Hills Beverly Hills, CA, USA
Tuesday 25 October 2016 – Paramount Theatre Denver, CO, USA
Thursday 27 October 2016 – Vic Theatre Chicago, IL, USA
Friday 28 October 2016 – Vic Theatre Chicago, IL, USA
Saturday 29 October 2016 – Hard Rock Live Northfield, OH, USA
Monday 31 October 2016 – Danforth Music Hall Toronto, ON, Canada
Tuesday 1 November 2016 – Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre Montreal, QC, Canada
Wednesday 2 November 2016 – L’Impérial Bell Québec, QC, Canada
Friday 4 November 2016 – Royale Boston Boston, MA, USA
Saturday 5 November 2016 – 9:30 Club Washington, DC, USA
 Sunday 6 November 2016 – Keswick Theatre Philadelphia, PA, USA
 Tuesday 8 November 2016 – Playstation Theater New York, NY, USA
 
With Steven Wilson
Thursday 17 November 2016 – Center Stage Atlanta, GA, USA
Friday 18 November 2016 – The Plaza Live Orlando, FL, USA
Saturday 19 November – State Theatre Tampa, FL, USA
Sunday 20 November – Culture Room Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
 
 
Look out for more information on the album in the coming weeks.
 
Discography:
1994 – Under the Red and White Sky
1995 – The Closing of the Pale Blue Eyes
1998 – The Emperor Falls
2002 – Chasing Monsters
2005 – Shiver
2011 – The Lilypad Suite
2014 – Disconnect
2016 – a way you’ll never be
 

Prog Opera: Ayreon’s THE THEATER EQUATION

Review of Ayreon, THE THEATER EQUATION (Insideout, 2016; 2CD/1DVD).

IMG
Comparison: the voices on the studio album (left) and the live version (right).

Well, I should just come straight out and state it—there are few things (or perhaps no things) that I don’t love about Arjen A. Lucassen.   Is there anything the man can’t do?  Whether its composing, performing, recording, designing, or interacting with his legions of fans, Lucassen is the essence of idealized humanity, prog’s Philosopher King.  Whether it’s Star One, solo, Guilt Machine, Ambeon, Gentle Storm, Stream of Passion, or Ayreon, I embrace everything he creates.  My oldest son, Nathaniel, feels the same.  And, now about a decade of students—whether at Hillsdale College, the University of Louisville, or CU-Boulder—have been introduced to Lucassen as well.  I always bring in this music and proudly show the Ayreon timeline when I’m lecturing on science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian literature.

Which leads me to admit something else.  Well, two somethings.  When I first heard that Lucassen would be performing all of THE HUMAN EQUATION as a visual opera, I was thrilled.  When I first saw the stills from the show, however, I was downright embarrassed.  I thought it looked terribly cheesy.  Smoke, a few vague figures, a hospital bed, and a crashed car.  As soon as it came out, I purchased it, of course, but I only listened to the CDs.  Astounding sound production, by the way.  Indeed, my son and I have listened to the album now (both CDs) repeatedly for about 2 months.  I refrained from watching the show, however, fearing that I would be sorely disappointed.

Then, for whatever reason, I finally popped the DVD in.  Holy schnikees, I am SO sorry that I waited this long to watch it.  Not only is the sound even better than on the CDs, but the show is absolutely riveting.  Almost too many folks to count come and go on the set, and the singers do an incredible job not only in hitting their marks, but also of actually acting!

theater equation poster

This is true opera.

I had assumed the production would be expensive and difficult, but I had no idea just how extensive, expensive, and difficult it must have been until watching this show.

So, I offer two thoughts.

First, Arjen, I’m terribly sorry I doubted you.  How utterly stupid of me.  You’ve never done anything without perfect excellence, so why I thought this would be different, I have no idea.

Second, for you the progarchy reader, do not fail to enjoy this prog opera as it is meant to be: watched.  Get the DVD and immerse yourself.  Believe me, there’s nothing better on your screen.

Thank you, Mr. Lucassen.  Once again, you prove your absolute genius.

lego ayreon