A Prog Odyssey

 

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

Continue reading “A Prog Odyssey”

PROG Magazine Issue 74

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For better or worse, the latest issue of PROG is just slightly too big for my scanner to handle it all.  Ian would be proud, I’m sure.

I suppose it seems a bit silly for me to state the following.  After all, who I am–a goofy, middle-aged American professor and historian?

Still, when PROG issue 74 showed up in my post box today, I was both thrilled and proud.  Yes, the proud part is the silliness.  Does Jerry Ewing need me to be proud of him?  Well, I am.

After everything PROG has gone through over the past three months, how great is it that I get issue 74 only days after it’s released.  Under the previous company, it took about a month for each issue to get here (in the states).  In fact, issue 73 just showed up this past weekend.  Now, 74 is already here.

Amazing.

And, it looks gorgeous.  Jethro Tull, Tim Bowness, The Mute Gods, ARW, Dream Theater, and Blackfield are all covered.  And, best of all, Greg Spawton shows up on page 10 and Andy Tillison and Matt Cohen on page 11.  Call me a very happy fanboy.

Congratulations, Jerry!  You are our leader.  No question.

Ghost Community: The Unceasing Brilliance of Matt Cohen

A review of Ghost Community, CYCLE OF LIFE (2016).

Tracks: Rise Up; Mirror Lakes; Anything and Everything; Blue December Morning; Ghost Community; and Cycle of Life

Ghost Community: Jake Bradford Sharp (drums); Matty Cohen (bass); Moray Macdonald (keyboards); Simon Rogers (guitars); and John Paul Vaughn (vocals).

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Ghost Community

Imagine if Styx hadn’t gone down the AOR and pop road in the second half of the 1970s, but instead had remained deeply embedded in the prog tradition of the early part of that decade.

Imagine, for just a glorious moment, that we remembered Styx not for KILROY WAS HERE, but rather for CRYSTAL BALL and EQUINOX?  Then, throw in some British rockers to replace the ones from Chicago.  Then, add the perfectionist and never-wavering mighty bassist and Welshman, the brilliant and steadfast Matt Cohen.

What you might find yourself with is a little piece of perfection in a rather dreadfully fallen world.

And, thus, you’d hold in your hand, Ghost Community’s CYCLE OF LIFE.

From the opening note to the closing one, Ghost Community is nothing if not utterly earnest.  I’m not sure if everyone in the prog community would classify this as strictly prog—but, then, really, what is?  The more unclassifiable the better—at least to me, when it comes to art as well as to individual human lives.

I must admit a bit of bias here.  I have rather proudly enjoyed the friendship of Matt Cohen (though, strictly through the internet) for many years, and I find him to be one of the most compelling artists of our day.  He loves to rock, he loves to get things exactly right, and he possesses the will power of ten great men.   No matter what life throws at him, Cohen NEVER sits down and he never wallows.  He thinks, and he acts.  And, the world is so much better for it.

He’s also one incredible bass player.

As I listen to this album, I can’t help but feel immense satisfaction.  It’s full of intensity and enjoyment.  There are great lyrics, great playing, great flow, great engineering, and great production.  There’s nothing more to desire.  At one level—hence, the comparison to early Styx—the album is rather obvious and straightforward.  Upon several listens, however, especially when paying attention to the lyrics, several more layers emerge—all quite subtle and nuanced.  My guess is that even a decade of listening will still reveal more nuances.

This is an intelligent release, an excellent contribution to the current wave of prog rock.  Maybe more rock than prog, it’s a delight.

“Light up, everybody.”

Progarchy Radio Episode 7

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Episode 7

Hey everyone, my apologies for taking so long to get episode 7 recorded.  Still, I hope you enjoy it–over two hours of prog and New Wave.  This episode features new songs from Big Big Train, Frost*, Mike Kershaw, Airbag, and Ayreon.

In addition, songs from Neal Morse, The Tangent, Salander, The Reasoning, New Model Army, New Order, Foo Fighters, Catherine Wheel, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Cure.

Terrible News: The Reasoning Are No More

I was terribly sorry to wake up to the news that The Reasoning have disbanded.  They’ve been a major part of my life–the soundtrack of so many articles, books, and trips–over the last decade.  Matt, we love you, and we wish you nothing but the best–Brad.

A very good afternoon to you one and all, I hope you are well? I promise to keep what we are about to say very short, sweet and to the point. It is with a very heavy heart that we impart the following bit of news – The Reasoning have decided to call it day. We part in the knowledge that we have achieved many wonderful and great things as a band and as individuals but, the time has come to be honest and realise that as a musical group, we have explored as much as we can. Though we have enjoyed our journey with you immensely, we have also had occasions where it seemed so tough to carry on and as we approach the 3rd anniversary of the disappearance of our dear friend Owain, this seems like the right time to gently put the band to bed.

We want to thank all the bands, press and fans for the amazing loyalty, support and love. We have done many incredible things, been to many amazing places and played to so many amazing people. Our music lives on with you and in our hearts. This is not the last you will hear of us as musicians but I’m afraid, it is the last you will hear from us as a band. We are all parting on good terms and with firm friendships established. This is a decision we all feel is the best thing for the band and its musical legacy.

Thank you all once again, you will never know how much we truly love you all. Be well, take care and we’ll all see you on the road sometime soon. “The View From Where I Stand Begins To Change, Something Is Happening To Me…….”

The Reasoning xxxxx

PS The main website will remain online until the domain name expires so, please feel free to pop over. Please be aware, this will be our last announcement xx

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Painful. Fare ye well, Matt. We’re eager to see what you do next!

Latest The Reasoning News

And, my hearts beats faster. . . . The Reasoning reports at their own website:

Album and Tour News

So it would seem that Pink Floyd, Opeth, The Pineapple Thief, The Steve Rothery Band, Amplifier, Threshold and Flying Colors, to name but a few, are all releasing new albums in the latter part of 2014. As you know, The Reasoning had the very same idea (great minds, and all that), but after much deliberation, we have selflessly decided that the above-mentioned bands deserved to catch a break for once. We have therefore postponed the release of our album until the early part of 2015, to avoid unfairly creating a situation in which these other bands simply don’t get a look in. We care too much, obviously…

With tongue firmly removed from cheek, our album is sounding amazing already, harking back to some of the much-loved musical and vocal elements from our earlier days, but with a great deal of contemporary pizazz. After the whirlwind experiences of the past couple of years, we’re going to take some extra time to really develop and embellish this new piece of work, craft it to its very richest potential and, most importantly, ensure that we give YOU, our dear followers, your most enjoyable Reasoning experience to date. This is going to be a big financial investment for us – outsourcing the recording of drums and, for the first time, vocals, to some “big” studios. We’re also in talks with several mix engineers, both here and on the other side of the Atlantic – more on this soon. Particular time and attention will be paid to the capturing of voices this time around, with Rachel and Seb (our young French floozy) leading the way, ably embellished by Rob and Jake.

This leads us very nicely on the other reason for postponing the launch of album 5. Next year, 2015, is the 10th anniversary of the formation of The Reasoning, and so this new release offers us the perfect way of celebrating such an auspicious occasion. Not only will there be a very special tour to promote the album, we will be doing other things to make sure we share the whole thing with you – with bells on! Watch this space.

tourpostergreatescapeOur October/November tour this year will still be going ahead as planned, and will be entitled “The Great Escape Tour 2014”. During these shows, we intend to perform our Awakening album in its entirety, and to throw in some additional tracks – some not heard live for a LONG time! – from “Dark Angel”, “Adverse Camber” and “Adventures In Neverland”. Oh yes, and we’ll be road testing some brand new material from album 5 as well. This will be a rare opportunity for you to hear yet-to-be- recorded music and, for us, will be a really organic way of putting the final touches to the songs before we commit them to their final digital destinations. There will be plenty of scope for you to be involved as listeners, too, so more on that in the very near future.

We’re looking forward already to our autumnal Great Escape from the studio, and we can’t wait to hook up with you all for fun and frolics on the road, Reasoning style. In the coming months we will release the name of the album as well as some of the artwork, and will give you details of a little something special that’s planned for the 10th Anniversary tour next year. Finally, we will be setting up a special group on Facebook (if you are on Facebook) based purely around “The Great Escape Tour” where you can talk openly about your thoughts, expectations, and share anecdotes of past gigs etc. We won’t be setting up individual ”Events” on Facebook this time either. Part of the new approach to promote these shows is to utilize the use of modern, portable technology and therefore, we have set up the band on the app “BandsInTown”. Here is a little blurb about what is does…….

Not only does BandsInTown allow us to keep our schedule up to date easily, it provides fans with a really excellent way to be notified about bands they don’t want to miss when they’re on tour. It’s an intelligent app that pro-actively informs fans of new tour dates for all the bands they connect with and show interest in.

Our BandsInTown schedule can be displayed on our website, on Facebook, and other places so that any updates are sure to be seen everywhere.

Our own website diary will also be up to date and may contain even more details than is available on the BandsInTown app, and our Great Escape Tour group will be filled with a compilation of ALL tour related information.

So, there you have folks, I know this is a lengthy piece but, we never do anything by halves, after all! Don’t forget also, that the wonderful “HeKz”, who will be promoting a new album, will be joining us on the road. It’s going to be a corker so, come along, have fun and sing with us as you always do. We cannot wait to see you. We’ve missed you a lot. Be well and love to you all as always,

Rach, Matt, Jake, Keith, Rob and Seb xxxxxx

What Matt Cohen and Eva Brann Have in Common

Image borrowed from The Imaginative Conservative.
Image borrowed from The Imaginative Conservative.

For regular progarchy citizens, please forgive this unusual post.  As some of you might know, the founding editors of progarchy are also each deeply immersed in the world of the Liberal Arts, the greats of Western Civilization, and liberal education.  It’s what we do when we’re not progging out.  Promoting liberal education by day, prog by night.

Every once in while the world of antiquity and the world of progressive music meet and harmonize.  Here is one such example.  Two weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege of seeing Dr. Eva Brann, tutor at St. John’s College, Annapolis, and widely regarded as the foremost proponent of liberal education in the world.  No exaggeration.

Here’s her talk–well worth reading.  http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/06/odysseus-patron-hero-liberal-arts.html

But, of course, how could I think of Odysseus and not think of my favorite The Reasoning song, a song I’ve listened to at least weekly since it came out?  “A Musing Dream.”

So, a huge salute to Homer, to Eva Brann, and to the Cohens for advancing so much beauty, truth, and goodness.

Sending Our Love to The Reasoning

In my recent attempt (scattered–some with a three- and a five-year old happily crawling all over me as I typed–and completed too hastily) to improve the progarchy website, I neglected to list one of my all-time favorite bands, an essential element of third-wave prog, THE REASONING.  To Matt and Rachel, my sincere apologies.  The love continueth from this side of the Atlantic!

Here’s to brilliant Welsh Prog!!!

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The Reasoning Honor Owain Roberts

reasoning missing personsFrom our friends, Matt and Rachel Cohen, of that astounding band, The Reasoning.  God bless, the Welsh.

Two years is a very long time, and yet it passes by so quickly. What have we really done over the past couple of years that we truly remember? How many people have we passed in the street and paid them no real attention? After all, why should we? What kinds of opportunities to visit particular places have we turned down over the past twenty-four months, or decided against… and what impact might those decisions have had on the present? Fate, destiny – an infinite number of questions, so many uncertainties, and endless faces in the crowd as we rush busily around in our day-today lives.

We all have our private moments of reflection, and we have certainly experienced many of those ourselves over the past couple of years. Quite honestly, not a day goes by when we don’t reflect on the “what ifs”. Could we have done more? Should we have tried the phone just one more time? Where on earth do we start to look? It goes without saying that we’re unable to answer a single one of these questions. We’ve therefore decided do something that is within our power to help maintain the search for our dear friend Owain and, in doing so, to raise some money for a wonderful charity that helps the families and friends of missing people.

This is how it’s going to work. On the second anniversary of Owain’s disappearance – March10th 2014 – we will be releasing as a download single a reworked song that Owain, Matt and Rach wrote together, entitled Pale Criminal. The track originally appeared on our EP And Another Thing……. This was in fact the last time that Owain wrote, recorded and played with the band. The song has subsequently taken on a huge personal meaning for all of us who share the great memories of having worked so closely together with Owain.

The track has been rearranged and recorded with just piano and vocals, and is beautiful, haunting, and very poignant. We hope very much that when you hear it, you will be reminded of the wonderful soul and spirit that Owain possesses. We also hope that the single will not only help to remind Owain that he is still greatly missed, but to raise awareness for missing persons more broadly, too. The single will only be available through our BandCamp site thereasoning.bandcamp.com with all proceeds going to www.missingpeople.org.uk.

Owain, if you read this, hear the song or just feel the need to reach out, please get in touch and come home to your family and friends. We love you and we miss you xx

#findowainroberts

lyrics

Blood, sweat, tears and chemistry
In stormy weather it’s down to you and me
Eternal returning – and starting over
Always reminding me.If I could have it all, if I could do it all, do it again
If becoming you means nothing new
Just more of the same.

Make me a memory don’t leave me alone
Cuts deep with every heartbeat
Our will to love survives.

Could be some kind of alchemy
‘Cause there’s no shelter: time’s up for you and me
Eternal returning – for a true pale criminal
It’s only destiny.

credits

released 10 March 2014
Song Written by Matthew Cohen, Owain Roberts & Rachel CohenPale Criminal 2014

Vocals – Rachel Cohen
Piano – Robert Gerrard

Mixed & Mastered by Matthew Cohen & Robert Gerrard

To order the song and support the search for Owain Robert, please go here: http://thereasoning.bandcamp.com