I’m not the-list-kind-of-guy but…

…nevertheless I have done my homework and now will present my list of the best albums from this absolutely fantastic year of prog! 🙂 I mean 2012 and 2013 have been excellent years both of them but 2013 has been special. I think we can agree on that even though our personal lists may differ a bit. Not to be spoiling too much, but the number one was a no-brainer really, but then it was extremely hard to distinguish between albums 2 to 6. These are five albums that actually can interchange their positions depending on what kind of day it is for me. 🙂 This is how it all ended up today at least. So off we go!

10. Camelias Garden – You Have A Chance

You Have A Chance

Lovely debut album by this Italian band. Folky prog a bit in the vein of Harmonium.

9. Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep

sb

Well, who would have thought that my favourite SB-album would be the one without both Neal and Nick? But so it is!

8. Haken – The Mountain

haken1

Rawk’n’rawl and some real quirkiness in a fine mix! Will always remember sitting in Mr Ian Greatorex’s listening room with high end stereo equipment, giving this a first listen…with a Big Big Beer in my hand.

7. Lifesigns – Lifesigns

Lifesigns CD (2)

After feeling it was a bit “meh” to start with this lush album has grown and grown. Some really beautiful songs here!

6. The Tangent – Le Sacre du Travail

tangent 2013 cover

Mr Andy Tillison’s magnum opus to date! Greatness! And with Gavin on drums and Jonas on bass, what can possibly go wrong?

5. Cosmograf – The Man Left In Space

cosmograf

Superb album by Robin Armstrong’s brainchild, comsograf! It’s one of those you just have to listen to from beginning to end totally undisturbed. 

4. Moon Safari – Himlabacken Vol. 1

Himlabacken Vol. 1

I can’t resist this band’s music! It always makes me so very happy and warm inside! Lovely peeps in the band as well!

3. The Flower Kings – Desolation Rose

"Pure Flower Kings, pure prog and Kingly epic."

Best TFK album since Space Revolver I dare say. So glad they’re back and sounding so fresch and on their toes again!

2. Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing

Raven That Refused to Sing

What can I say? It’s a gorgeous album!

1. Big Big Train – English Electric: Full Power

Progarchy Best Packaging, 2013: Big Big Train, English Electric Full Power.

Well, nobody’s probably really surprised about this being my number one of 2013. 😀 It’s a stunner and will be for many years to come! It’s the best album of any genre for me this year. Without competition.

So…that’s it folks. Outside my list of Top 10 you can find some that are very fine albums and would have made any Top 10 from any other year before 2012. Vienna Circle – Silhouette Moon, Days Between Stations – In Extremis, Johannes Luley – Tales From The Sheepfather’s Grove and Shinebacks fine album Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed (added 20130103) are examples of albums bubbling just beneath position number 10. Then we find albums that I haven’t found the time, motivation or curiousness to listen to more than very casually at the best. Riverside, Airbag, Fish, Nemo, Maschine etc are among those bands or artists that I haven’t given proper attention as of yet.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year everyone!

PS. Best prog-related and most fun and interesting experience of the year: Big Big Weekend 14-15 September in Winchester and Southampton!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sIveLBgVl8

Himlabacken Vol. 1!

So the new Moon Safari album has been out for a while! Their music really has a special place in my heart! They hail from the same town (Skellefteå) where my significant other and mother of my three children comes from.  The music is easily recognizable but yet again the boys are presenting some new ingredients to the tasty stew that is prog Moon Safari-style! A little quirkier in places and also some heavier guitar riffs (Barfly). Since I’m a sometimes rather embarrassing fanboy I’ve got problems finding anything not to like here. Perhaps that Lover’s End was a bit more consistent but then again, Himlabacken Vol. 1 is also an album filled to the brim with beautiful melodies and of course their  trademark, breathtaking vocal harmonies written by maestro Simon Åkesson. The theme of the album is about growing up. Not that it is a conceptual approach on the subject at all but more of a red thread that the lyrics refer to in different ways. It’s nicely done. A fine example is from the song Diamonds.

My uncle on my father’s side’s a farmer, he is old now but smiles just the same, spent his life working way over yonder, in the fields among the rocks and the clay / He says: ”Tell me what more is a diamond, son, than a stone in the blind man’s hand, if you’d see what I see then you too could be king with a kingdom in hand”

The title of the album refers to the small hilltop where the, then small boys and now young men in the band, went bobsleighing down in winter. A small hilltop stretching up into to the sky…a Heaven Hill.

I have seen this band perform four times now and they just get better. Last time was Friday night 13th September together with fellow Progarchist, Mr Ian Greatorex at House of Progression at the music pub The Peel (“a rather grotty place”, according to Mr G) in  London. Once again I was absolutely blown away by their performance and how they nail all the intricate harmonies live is beyond me. The band was on fire and I have never seen them better. The band stated in an update on their FB-timeline that the audience at The Peel was the loudest on their European Tour so far….no surprise with a roaring viking in the crowd. What happened during the rest of that magic weekend you can see in the video footage by another Progarchist and dear friend, Russel Clarke, here.  

Appetizer: