Category Archives: Progstravaganza XIV: Timeshift

Le Maschere di Clara

Le Maschere di Clara

Everything arises from the desire to develop a sort of artistic “venting” coming out from classical studies and a visceral passion for rock, trying to tie two cultural currents so far and, at the same time, idealistic nearby.

Lorenzo Masotto (vocals, bass, piano), Laura Masotto (vocals and electric violin) and Bruce Turri (drums), all three with classical studies behind themselves, play in various chamber ensembles and for a variety of projects ranging from pop to rock, from jazz to electronic experimentation.

Two-thirds of Maschere (Lorenzo and Laura) are brothers and have played together since childhood, respectively, the piano and violin. Being three allows them to work harmonically on the concept of Bachian counterpoint, using bass as tonal harmonic carpet and the violin as regards the melody. Voice is intertwined between the two instruments, creating a sort of chamber trio, spiced with the rhythmic precision of the battery.

In 2009 Le Maschere di Clara release an EP “23″ for Jestrai Records and in 2010 the debut album“Anamorfosi” for the label Black Widow.

Anamorfosi reprinted in 2011 in a makeover with valuable unreleased songs, produced by Max Monti (Quintorigo), shock critics and audience who consider it one of the best productions of 2011 (the album is available as a free download on

In September 2012Le Maschere di Clara win the contest “Modena 29 Settembre: Via Mei di Faenza” with the best cover of the beat song “29 Settembre” written by Battisti and Mogol in 1966. They open the concert in Piazza Grande, Modena, and perform at TEK Faenza for MEI – Meeting of Independent Labels.

After months and months of touring around the peninsula and great hard work, finally they enter the studio to record the new album “L’Alveare”, released in April 2013, only vinyl and digital format.

L’Alveare marks the evolution of a rock full of distortion and melody, focusing on the human being as a whole, with its emotions and its history. Very strong messages and themes permeate the fabric: evil, war, racism, disillusionment and reflection on pain and constructive power of love.

The album is refined, complicated and pays homage to the authors of Italian literature in the titles of the nine tracks. First single video is “A SE STESSO” homage to the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi.

L’Alveare Summer Tour 2013 brought Le Maschere di Clara to perform around Italy and abroad to Burg Herzberg Festival, historical festival active since 1968, which takes place in Germany, near Alsfeld.


Samuel Hällkvist

The brainchild of Swedish guitarist/composer Samuel Hällkvist, Variety of Loud is a truly international band with a solid musical reputation. Samuel has established himself as one of the most creative and fearless guitar-ists to ever come out of Sweden.

With a contemporary progressive outlook on guitar playing and a healthy sense of lack of respect, Samuel’s flexibility and openness has made him an in-demand musician and award winning bandleader. Among the musicians Samuel has performed with are Tony Levin, Trey Gunn, Morgan Ågren, Jakko Jakszyk and Swedish chamber rock band Isildurs Bane.

Among the members of the band, we find legendary King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, certainly one of the foremost keepers of the true progressive drumming flame with his unique and imaginative approach to mix acoustic drums with electronics.

Not to be left behind, the other members of Variety of Loud are top musicians from the fields of contemporary jazz, avant-garde rock and performance art.

What you hear on the self-titled album is music without compromises but a given for anybody who has a record collection that comprises Béla Bartók, Steve Coleman, King Crimson, Mr Bungle and Ennio Morricone. This is contemporary music. Distinct and uncompromising yet emotional with an athletic beauty.

Samuel Hällkvist: “When I composed the mu-sic for the album, the guiding words for me were ‘asymmetrical dance music’. I wanted to lose control and trust what the other musicians could bring to the table. The result was some-thing I didn’t expect.”


Humble Grumble

Crazed jazzy and avant-proggy Belgian ensemble Humble Grumble seem “Zappa-esque” in their meld of anything-goes music and sometimes outrageous, sometimes incongruously dark lyrics, but the roots of the band are on the somewhat folkier side. Hungarian singer/guitarist Gabor “Humble” Vörös wandered around Europe before settling in the Ghent, Belgium area in 1993. He participated in a number of musical projects, including a somewhat oddball folk-rock outfit named Dearest Companion, also featuring multi-instrumentalist Tom Theuns. Vörös (on guitar and vocals) and Theuns (on bass) formed Humble Grumble in 1996, and a quintet version of the group toured Switzerland and Germany and recorded a pair of demos that year, The Golden Pile and The Tom and Gabor Special. (Singer/guitarist David Bovée was another member of Dearest Companion, and Bovée later went on to form Think of One, whose debut disc, 1998′s Juggernaut, featured appearances by Humble Grumble‘s musicians.) Theuns would soon depart the group, however, to form Ambrozijn with violinist Wouter Van Den Abeele, and Humble Grumble largely became a vehicle for realizing whatever ideas might spring from Vörös‘ imagination.

After the privately released Dreamwavepatterns in 2000 and Rockstar in 2004, Humble Grumble issued 30 Years Kolinda on the Pan Records label in 2005. Vörös had become enamored of the music of Hungarian folk outfit Kolinda, and embarked on the 30 Years Kolinda project and album after meeting group mainstay Peter Dabasi in Budapest. To mark Kolinda‘s 30th anniversary, Vörös invited Dabasi to perform live with Humble Grumble, and, aside from one track, the associated 30 Years Kolinda album featured Dabasi compositions exclusively. The album also marked the arrival of several musicians who would remain key members of Humble Grumble in the future: saxophonist Pol Mareen, clarinetist Pedro Guridi, and bassist Jouni Isoherranen.

Several years would pass between the release of 2005′s 30 Years Kolinda and Humble Grumble‘s next album, The Face of Humble Grumble, which arrived in 2008 on the Cocktail Soul Productions label and featured re-recordings of material from Dreamwavepatterns and Rockstar. In addition to Vörös, Mareen, Guridi, and Isoherranen, the musicians on The Face of Humble Grumble also included Pieter Claus on marimba, Jonathan Callens on drums, and a pair of singers, Megan Quill and Franciska Roose, who good-naturedly harmonized with decidedly quirky frontman Vörös. From that point forward, Humble Grumble would settle into a lineup of guitar/vocals, saxophone, clarinet, marimba/vibraphone, bass, and drums, plus female vocal chorus and other guests.

Meanwhile, to the south in Milan, Italy, producer Marcello Marinone and friends at the AltrOck label were taking notice of Humble Grumble, and ultimately concluded that the group would fit in well with the imprint’s avant-prog artist roster. Providing the group with its widest distribution yet, AltrOck released the ambitious yet crazily offbeat Flanders Fields CD in 2011; the album featured Vörös, Mareen, Guridi, Isoherranen, Claus, and Callens, plus Quill and Lisa Jordens (replacing Roose) among a slew of 11 guest musicians, most of them vocalists. Two years later, Humble Grumble returned with their second AltrOck release, Guzzle It Up!, featuring the same basic core lineup plus guests; singer Quill was now deemed a full bandmember but Jordens had departed, with Liesbeth Verlaet joining Quill in the band’s female vocal duo (with matching nautical motif miniskirts and over-the-knee socks), and Joren Cautaers was the group’s new vibraphonist, although Pieter Claus took a “guest” marimba solo on one track.

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Circle of Illusion

Composer, keyboarder Gerald Peter and his eight-person-band Circle of Illusion released their first progressive symphony. An epic piece of music, which tells the story of “Jeremias – Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms” deals in its final version with the ambivalence of human emotion. Hence the borders between various progressive influences of the rock/metal genre, the jazz-funk-soul and the cinematic music get blurred. Moreover you are taken on a journey through the fantastic worlds of the subconscious of a cast-out and self-critical character. In a mastermind fashion the composer/keyboarder Gerald Peter and lyrics-writer/vocalist Taris Brown were able to give way to their creative urge. With the lofty and complex kind of composition, instrumental virtuosity and an orchestral bandsound “Circle of Illusion” enters new musical paths and is hence a must for all fans of progressive, classic as well as sophisticated rock-music. The band’s line up features Gerald Peter on keyboards, Rupert Träxler on guitar, Stephan Först on bass, Aaron Thier on drums as well as Ulrike Müllner on the e-violin. Taris BrownCara Cole and Elga Shafran are the lead vocals of Circle Of Illusion, who are representing the characters Jeremy, Jelena and Sarah of COI’s prog-rock-concept-album Jeremias.


Mirror of Dreams

Mirror of Dreams: Kris Tilbury (harp, vox, all mixing and mastering)

Kris Tilbury is a vocalist/instrumentalist (with a minor in Vocal Performance) who has been recording music since 2006. A friend (Robert Nunnally)  invited her to read poetry for an electronic mix; shortly thereafter, he taught her to create ambient music. A few months later, Kris released a dark ambient digital album under the name “Nakjaarna.” She no longer records under this name.

Her former bands include: Paper Gods (Neoclassical), Wintryfrost (Metal), and Above the Skyline (Ambient Chillout).  She is currently the member of Christian extreme metal band, My Darkest Time.

Now, she is currently working on her ambient solo project, Mirror of Dreams, and is planning to release her debut album “Amaranthine.”

Alessandro Bertoni

Alessandro Bertoni

Few have managed to start their solo career in a more impressive way than Alessandro Bertoni: The L.A.-based keyboardist gathered three of the best musicians of the international jazz/rock fusion scene for his debut album Keystone:

  • Brett Garsed, guitar(Uncle Moe’s Space Ranch, Planet X)
  • Ric Fierabracci, bass (Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Dave Weckl)
  • Virgil Donati, drums (Planet X, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai)

„I have always wanted to collaborate with the musicians I chose for this record – since a was a teen, “ says Bertoni. „Virg, Ric and Brett have been hitting for years and they currently are among the most expressive and versatile players around.“

The album was produced by none other than keyboard star Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), who gave his protégé access to the keyboard arsenal at his Beachwood Manor Studios, famous for its superb sound. The result is a totally natural-sounding mix of progressive rock and jazz fusion where complex guitar riffs, powerful Hammond chords and intricate improvisations are interwoven seamlessly.

Alessandro Bertoni first stepped onto the international prog stage with the instrumental band Aphelion, who released their debut album Franticode in 2008. The disc was mixed by Derek Sherinian, which became the start of a long-standing collaboration. „As a keyboard player I’ve always pointed to Derek as a role model and I have known him personally since his work on Franticode“, says Bertoni. „It was really an honor for me to work with him, he has crazy skills as a producer. We are friends and we share the same musical taste, so everything went so smooth and musically pleasing.“

Despite the all-star lineup, Keystone is not just a showcase for the musicians involved: „I want the songwriting to be at the center first and foremost. I wrote the music with the goal of making it sound like a real band. But of course the musicians enhanced my songwriting to the stars with brilliant performances. And most of all they had the capability to get into my music easily and to understand my musical intentions.“

„It is a great pleasure for me to welcome Alessandro Bertoni to Generation Prog Records,“ says label founder Michael Schetter. „The fantastic backing band that accompanies him on his debut album speaks volumes about both his talent and his good taste. The parallels to Derek Sherinian’s own debut Planet X are obvious and in part clearly intentional, like the trilogies that open both albums. Fortunately, this is a comparison that Keystone need not fear at all!“

Get your copy of Keystone from Progify Store HERE.