Live music prog extravaganza tonight at Vancouver’s Space Centre!

44305581_301424893783976_1512316207498264576_oDaniel James’ Brass Camel honours progressive rock legends tonight, underneath the unreal visuals of the HR MacMillan Space Centre’s 360 degree Star Theatre: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Rush, and more!

Video from the rehearsals is viewable here and here.

Buy tickets here.

Get the DJBC band’s new album here and also on iTunes.

2018: Reasons to Be Cheerful …

… If you’re a prog fan, that is.  Some of what’s in the forecast for the rest of the year:

3.2, The Rules Have Changed Robert Berry’s one-man tribute to and posthumous collaboration with Keith Emerson; released August 10.  Details and a teaser track here.

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Star Clocks.  I’ll be writing more about Stewart & Gaskin’s music soon; suffice to say it’s some of the best intellipop you’ve probably never heard.  (With Gavin Harrison on drums, no less.) The new album is out August 17; pre-order it and investigate their back catalog at Burning Shed.

The Pineapple Thief, Dissolution.  Bruce Soord and the TPT crew are joined by Gavin Harrison — him again! — as drummer and co-writer.  Released August 31. Details and a teaser track here; check out Sonic Perspectives’ interview with Soord (which hints at a possible 2019 US mini-tour) here.

Soft Machine, Hidden Details.  The pioneer psych/prog/jazz-rock collective is back for a 50th anniversary world tour — and they’re bringing a new album with them!  Three members from the 1970s versions of the band plus sax/flute progger Theo Travis (Robert Fripp, Steven Wilson, David Gilmour) tackle new compositions and a couple of vintage classics.  Released September 9; watch for a Soft Machine retrospective series from me during the run-up. Tour info herepre-order options for the album and a sample track here;

Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin & Rick Wakeman, Live at the Apollo.  The “unofficial” version of the band (albeit one with two “classic era” members plus the musical mastermind of 90125) weighs in for the band’s 50th anniversary year.  Released September 9 in various audio and video formats; details and a teaser here. 

Coming soon from In Continuum: the debut album by Dave Kerzner’s new supergroup, with contributions from: vocalist Gabriel Agudo (Steve Rothery Band / Bad Dreams); guitarists Fernando Perdomo (Dave Kerzner Band), Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact) Randy McStine (Sound of Contact, The Fringe) and John Wesley (Porcupine Tree); drummers Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats), Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train, Spock’s Beard) and Derek Cintron; and special guests singer Jon Davison (Yes) and guitarist Steve Rothery.  Release date TBA; more info here. 

Coming soon from King Crimson: Based on the liner notes in Crimson’s 2018 Tourbox, we can anticipate: a reissue/revamp of the band’s 2001 album, The ReConstruKction of Light; a related, more exhaustive box focusing on the era of the ProjeKcts and the Double Duo Crimson, Heaven and Earth; and a fresh concert set from the current Crims, Live in Mexico. Release dates TBA.  Meanwhile there have been rumblings from Robert Fripp ruling out Europe for Crimson’s 50th anniversary tour in 2019.  Does that rule in the USA?  Stay tuned …

Coming soon from Marillion: deluxe edition of Clutching at Straws (release date TBA); mass market reissues of the Racket Records live sets Happiness is Cologne, Popular Music (U.S. release in September), Live in Glasgow and Brave Live (U.S. release in November).  Clutching rumors to be found in the Lucy’s Friday Questions group on Facebook; live reissue info is here and here.

Coming soon from Steven Wilson: Home Invasion Live at the Royal Albert Hall, with guest appearances by Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree), Mark Feltham (Talk Talk), Dave Kilminster and Ninet Tayeb.  (Oh, and a Bollywood dance company).  Release info for the video TBA;  details here.

Bonus round from the Pink Floyd camp: Nick Mason expects to tour the USA next year with his new band Saucerful of Secrets.  The group’s set of early Pink Floyd classics (from the albums Piper at the Gates of Dawn through Obscured By Clouds) went down a storm in London earlier this summer; they embark on a European tour in September.  More info on the band and Mason’s box set reissuing his solo albums here.

— Rick Krueger

Meditative Prog: The Genius of Nosound’s LIGHTDARK

Lightdark Nosound
Listening to this album is more of an affair than an adventure.

Ten year ago this fall, the brilliant Giancarlo Erra was in the studios writing, recording, and mixing what would become his magnum opus, LIGHTDARK, one of the first releases from the then-brand new KScope Records.  Nothing Erra writes and records is unimportant, of course, but nothing he has done has quite matched the flawless LIGHTDARK, in its composition, its harmonies, its reach, and its flow.  Never could this be wallpaper music.  It is music that demands full immersion.  As with T.S Eliot’s Four Quartets, Erra’s LIGHTDARK demands that we the listener stand within the art itself, seeing the world form the perspective of the art.  As such, Erra is a genius, bringing us fully into his music.

As with some of the best composers of the past century, Erra eschews all forms of bombast as he whispers longingly toward the true, the good, and the beautiful.  He is not afraid of silence, knowing that the notes that surround silence, do so affectionately and even passionately.

Imagine Mark Hollis writing music for Pink Floyd while serving as the backup band to Arvo Part, and you might get close to the genius and talent of Giancarlo Erra.

“Vision and Ageless Light” by Eye ★★★★★

I couldn’t agree more with my fellow Progarchy editor, Brad Birzer, who has recently been singing the praises of Pink Floyd’s Meddle album and Live at Pompeii film. Back in the day, that was one of my most frequently played VHS tapes, as I watched “Echoes” over and over again. When the Floyd gets their groove on in that track, there is simply nothing better. It has set the standard for my aesthetic judgment of great prog in so many ways. No wonder Brad and I are brothers in prog!

Recently I have belatedly discovered one of the very best albums of 2016: Vision and Ageless Light by Eye. I must say that, if you like Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” and other such perfectly psychedelic prog, you will love this album. Eye has truly assumed the mantle of classic Pink Floyd for the present day. No one is making better music than this when it comes to groovy tunes laced with spacey synth sounds. Only Dave Kerzner’s mastery of vintage keyboard sounds is in the same league.

Listening to Eye, I am reminded of the excitement generated upon first hearing those classic sounds on Dark Side of the Moon. We forget how innovative and thrilling those sounds are, but Live at Pompeii can serve to remind us whenever we overhear the Floyd crafting that epochal album in some of the documentary stretches of the film. They are sounds both familiar (from the subsequent album) and unfamiliar (from the nascent album, in progress but not yet finished) that tantalize us with the brilliant experimental studio genius of the Floyd. Well, just like the Floyd, Eye has the uncanny knack for such innovation.

“Book of the Dead” starts things off with a slowly building instrumental that highlights Eye’s penchant for classic keyboard sounds. It crossfades into the next track, as does every track on the album, a feature which ends up shaping this album into an integrally perfect progtastic whole.

“Kill the Slavemaster” shifts things into higher gear as the band shows off their full psychedelic capabilities when it comes to rocking out. The aural delights in this song will seal the deal, if you have any doubts. If you like it old school, this is the album for you. The instruments all have a classic sound, but the music is truly fresh and exciting. It’s like entering a time machine and experiencing what it was like to hear a classic for the first time.

“Searching” is my favorite track on the album. It’s perfectly placed in third position here. By the time it arrives, the listener has been slowly primed for this maximally groovy experience. Seriously, I have not heard a song in years that more justly deserves the epithet of “groovy” than this one. The singing and the lyrics are so cool, especially with that perfectly timed echo at the end of the phrases. The back half of the track slips into such awesome grooving and then it even surprises with some exciting Jimi Hendrix Experience-like drum fills and guitar breaks to keep things going even longer.

“Dweller of the Twilight Void” is an appropriately mysterious pause between my favorite track and the extended psychedelic rock opera about to follow. Again, Eye shows off incredible instrumental mastery here, creating the sort of Floyd-like mood that no one else is able to generate these days.

“As Sure as the Sun” is the 27-minute track that the entire album culminates in. It will take a few listens for you to wrap your mind around it but, once you do, it becomes seriously addictive and wholly enjoyable, much like that all-time favorite track of mine by the Floyd, i.e., “Echoes.”

The sprawling grand finale track contains many highlights, but perhaps my favorite point arrives at 21:44, when the band suddenly morphs into sounding exactly like classic early Rush, right up until 23:14.

In short, if you have any good taste at all, you will delight in the magnificent aural feast served up by Eye on their latest album. It’s truly the uppermost upper-echelon prog that you should not be missing out on.

When Pink Floyd was a Classic(al) Band

pf-live-at-pompeiiOver the past several months, I’ve been rather taken with Pink Floyd.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved the band. . . as far back as I can remember, their music was a part of my life.  Certainly, in my little town in central Kansas, I could hear someone or some station playing Floyd at any time.  As I’ve had the chance to mention before, our local planetarium played lots of Laser Floyd.  I heard them so much and so often that I started to take them for granted.

Several months ago, I picked The Wall up after years of not listening to it.  There was a time I thought it was a masterful work of art.  I still think it’s brilliant, but it’s way too depressing for me to pick up casually.  If I’m in a good mood, I certainly don’t want to be brought down by the album.  If I’m in a bad mood, I don’t need it to bring me down any further.

There’s no doubt, however, that its message of anti-fascism and anti-conformity influenced my own thinking on the world profoundly.

Continue reading “When Pink Floyd was a Classic(al) Band”

Congratulations, Jerry Ewing

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Yesterday, I received in email, a copy of PROG’s history of Pink Floyd.

Today, I received notice that PROG magazine issue 73 is ready for iPad download.  And, downloaded it is.

So proud of Jerry.  He took his team of writers, editors, and artists from tragedy to success.

Jerry is, to say the least, nothing if not tenacious.

Welcome back, PROG.  Very proud of you.  Not surprised, but certainly proud.

A Bright Ambassador of Morning: Remembering Rick Wright

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Rick Wright: Citizen of the Great Gig in the Sky

As with almost everyone my age, Pink Floyd hovered over significant parts of my childhood.  Our local rock station, Wichita’s T-95, played Floyd constantly.  Sometimes (and the station was fantastic), T-95 would play just a part or all of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.  The same was true of THE WALL.  Never would a day go by without hearing at least one song by PF.

Kids wore PF buttons on their denim jackets and wore a variety of different PF t-shirts.  The planetarium in my hometown even hosted a number of shows of Laser Floyd, the music of the band set to the then extremely high tech flashes of light and image.

Continue reading “A Bright Ambassador of Morning: Remembering Rick Wright”