Marc3

The Analogue

Marc3

The Analogue was created by Music student Marc Ciufo Green as part of his Major Project at university (the project has now been awarded a first). Now 21 years old, Marc has been playing the piano from the age of 7, and is an accomplished composer and multi-instrumentalist.

The concept of The Analogue started with a very simple idea: what if a person awakened one day in a world with nobody else, and no memory? Thus The Analogue was born. The title character was conceived as an analogue for humanity, hence his name. The music on the record follows The Analogue in his travels following his awakening, whilst offering few clues about his origin and nature. Through the story, the piece explores ideas surrounding energy, from its deadly use in weapons to renewable power and it’s ultimate role in the life and death of the universe.

The Analogue was initially presented as a ‘Sound and Vision live experience’ with a live band and accompanying photographic projection. The Analogue band are planning more live shows from September.

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A Devil’s Gin

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A Devil’s Din are 4 men who play Rock music that, while maintaining melodic pop sensiblities, is not afraid to take it to a level that is considered psychedelic and progressive. It is a darkly intense foray of vocal hooks and fuzzed out guitar riffs; thunderous drums rolling around a deep, pulsing bass; a sonic journey that engages both body and mind.

Formed in 2008 by David Lines, a Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist and session player, A Devil’s Din has been steadiliy establishing itself as a dynamic and powerful live band in the ever-expanding sea of mind-altering rock music coming out of the city.

Currently working on their sophomore record, they have just recently released their new single “Skylight” in the digital domain, and slated for vinyl 7″ in the fall of 2013, with the full-length LP in the winter of 2014.

“One Day All This Will Be Yours”, the debut album by A Devil’s Din, was officially released in June 2011 and has been steadily growing in popularity in the underground music community. Lorraine Carpenter, then-music editor of the Montreal Mirror described it as,

“Rock ’n’ roll on the timeless precipice of psychedelic, progressive, transgressive danger. Be warned.”

 

adevilsdin.com

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adevilsdin.bandcamp.com

Corvus Stone Album Cover

Corvus Stone – Corvus Stone

Corvus Stone Album Cover

Corvus Stone are another band made possible by the convenience and networking of the internet. It’s a story most of us can appreciate really; Finland’s Pasi Koivu got in touch with Bunchakeze guitarist Colin Tench in hopes of a collaboration, and within no time at all, the online jam had grown to include a host of likeminded musicians. Although the strings remain ultimately pulled by Koivu, Corvus Stone may be seen as a meeting place and dialogue for some of progressive rock’s underground heroes. In a sense, it’s refreshing to hear an album that’s come together with such enthusiasm and sincerity. Indeed, the talent of those involved makes Corvus Stone’s self-titled debut an enjoyable piece of composition- oriented instrumental rock, although the fluid, as-it-comes way the album came together keeps the album’s pieces from coming together as a fully satisfying whole.

Although Colin Tench is the musician I am most properly familiar with (for his work in the symph prog act Bunchakeze), some of these musicians I have been at least aware of. For one, Pasi Koivu has a longrunning association with the classic band Black Widow as their archivist, and I have more recently heard the work of guest vocalist Blake Carpenter, with his solo project The Minstrel’s Ghost. Last, but surely not least, the charmingly ubiquitous Sonia Mota lends her talent with visual art to the project, giving the record an appropriately diverse and dense album cover. Although I have not been introduced to the others (through their music or otherwise), it’s clear that Corvus Stone consists of a remarkably consistent and skilled ensemble of musicians so involved because they enjoy what they do. It’s as if the intention of Corvus Stone is to take in all of the best things from these artists, and forge something exciting out of it. Fortunately, this open dialogue results in some great musicianship across the board. With so many ideas inbound however, “Corvus Stone” often feels unfocused and even aimless.

At twenty one tracks and almost eighty minutes long, it’s clear that Corvus Stone are not worried about being succinct in their music. Their largely instrumental work is divided either into bite-sized idea sketches, or drawn out jams that recall Pink Floyd. Although a handful of songs are able to escape the clutches of either fault, there’s very little balance here. Pasi Koivu is evidently a strong composer as some of the album’s better tracks attest; the record’s shooting star “Ice King” is effective, concise and haunting. “October Sad Song” is a little more jam-oriented, but never forgets to throw in a firm hook or two. Unfortunately, too many of these songs seem to end before they begin. Most of Pasi’s compositional ideas hold their weight on their own, but they are never explored to their potential. An intriguing idea that could have been fleshed out into a full song is often left as a two minute sketch, giving “Corvus Stone” the feeling of a compilation album, or a work in progress. On the other hand, the eight minute title track and eleven minute “Cinema” feel too longwinded. Colin’s omnipresent lead guitar is soulful and a joy to the ear, but there’s the nagging feeling that the ideas and musicianship would have been much better served with a more consistent approach to the compositions.

Considering the album has (presumably) come together via the transference of files between countries and personal computers, the production here is remarkably solid and consistent. Colin Tench’s Floydian guitar style remains the album’s highlight, although the presence Blake Carpenter’s warm vocal style usually tends to indicate the album’s best tunes. There is some great talent at work in Corvus Stone, and many of the musical concepts therein are promising. For all of its enthusiasm and skill however, the album’s messy flow and utter lack of structure keeps Corvus from achieving their potential this time around.

This debut has me thinking of a child’s playroom. There is colour, joy, and vitality here, but the the floor is dirty and things are scattered everywhere. Of course, as children grow up, they tend to adopt a greater focus. If Corvus Stone are able to realize the potential that’s plainly evident here, there could be a very impressive album in their midst. Until then, I’m left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

Tracklist:

1. The Curtain Rises (1:32)
2. October Sad Song (4:58)
3. Highway to Emptiness (2:28)
4. Ice King (3:11)
5. I’ll Leave It All Behind (3:36)
6. Corvus Stone (8:20)
7. Moron Season (3:27)
8. Horizon (1:51)
9. Intermission (0:41)
10. Moustaches in Massachusetts (4:17)
11. Pilgrims (5:17)
12. JussiPussi (2:45)
13. Iron Pillows (5:17)
14. After Solstice (4:05)
15. The Rusty Wolff Attack (2:34)
16. Lost and Found (2:15)
17. Scary Movie (4:22)
18. Cinema (10:50)
19. You’re So Wrong (3:52)
20. Ice King (3:10)
21. Ten Inch Lisa (0:31)

Line-up:

* Pasi Koivu – keyboards
* Colin Tench – guitars
* Petri Lemmy Lindström – bass, various instruments

With:
* Robert Wolff – drums
* Blake Carpenter – vocals
* Stef Flaming – guitars, vocals
* John Culley – guitars
* Victor Tassone – drums

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CorvusStone

Progstravaganza 13

PROGSTRAVAGANZA 13 Artwork Revealed

Progstravaganza 13

Prog Sphere have revealed the cover art for Progstravaganza 13 compilation, to be released in the coming week. 

The artwork was designed by Chris van der Linden of Linden Artwork (also mastermind of Fourteen Twentysix and Bow), who will be designing full PDF booklet of the sampler, as well. Asked about artwork itself, Chris comments:

I talked with Nick about his ideas for the new release. After fiddling with the idea of “13″ and all related horror stuff we decided to not go down that route, and I then pitched some ideas that I think would be awesome for “prog” fans. One of them was a robot like creature on long Dali-inspired legs walking through a landscape. I started the artwork on paper, with a pencil sketch to quickly block the anatomy and shape of the creature and painted it with some acrylic paint, then in Photoshop I started adding the photographic material like engine parts, tubes, wires. I chose a sort of sc-fi steampunk font and colors to finish everything off.

Progstravaganza 13 includes 76 tracks in total from artists coming all around the world and will be available as free download from Prog Sphere’s Bandcamp page. 

Methexis - The Fall of Bliss

Methexis – The Fall of Bliss

Methexis - The Fall of Bliss

I am always tremendously impressed by albums which are by and large the work of a single person. It is often unfathomable to me that one person can be talented enough to not only write a complete progressive rock album but also perform the entire thing.

Well, add Nikitas Kissonas the list of those who have pulled it off, and maybe make a new list for those who have pulled it off with such flying colors. The Fall of Bliss is an absolute stunner of an album, finding common ground with many other progressive rock bands while simultaneously finding its own niche and excelling there.

I think that, in an alternate universe, Storm Corrosion could have come out sounding a lot like this album, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. From the very first twanging notes of “Eradicated Will,” I can hear a lot of both Steven Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt’s softer moments in this music, and, quite frankly, you can’t do much better than to be compared to those two.

I certainly don’t mean to suggest that this is anything other than extremely fresh, original music, though. The Fall of Bliss is one of those albums that seems at the same time familiar and completely unique, and it’s never content to sit for too long in the same place. Even within the first track the music goes from lilting, off-kilter vocal harmonies to epic guitar solos to climactically heavy motifs and back again, and never once does it feel forced or disjointed.

With such a satisfying opener there might be some worry that the album is bound to go downhill, but fortunately it doesn’t. “Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes” makes perfect use of gorgeous vocal harmonies to create music that is simultaneously epic and extremely relaxing. “Those Howling Wolves” drops into a darker, more sinister vein, and yet, like magic, it still manages to keep the album’s chilled-out, atmospheric, almost breezy feel going. It’s simply stunning.

“Lines on a Bust” comes next, and I think it would have fit very well on Pain of Salvation’s Be. Gorgeous piano and high vocals create an incredibly emotional atmosphere that bring the listener into a very relaxed place before metaphorically smacking them over the head with the relative heaviness of “Track the Saviours.” “The Aftermath” reminds me very strongly of Opeth’s quieter moments circa Watershed, with beautifully, slightly atonal guitars and a very effective symphonic interlude, complete with simulated vinyl cracks and pops.

And then, of course, we have the wonderful four-part title track to close out the album. From the delicately beautiful intro, replete with sampled birdsong to the noisy, crashing conclusion, the track(s) is (are?) a trip for the duration of their combined run time of more than 20 minutes. A multitude of atmospheric sonic textures and wonderful instrumental interplay take the track from the relaxing motifs that have dominated the album to more intense and climactic themes, the latter figuring especially prominently in Part 2. The Interlude, too, I feel deserves special praise, featuring some of the most beautiful music on the album and of course transitioning very well between the more relaxed Part 1 and the more intense Part 2.

Overall, The Fall of Bliss is one of the most impressive albums I’ve heard this year, especially considering that it essentially a solo project. Fans of Storm Corrosion should find a whole lot to like hear, as will anyone who’s ever listened to a progressive metal album and thought that the softer, more atmospheric bits were the best parts. A killer album overall and one that has one of the most impressive ambiences I’ve heard in a long while.

Tracklist:

1. Eradicated Will (8:57)
2. Poetic Mirrors Wound Heroes (4:52)
3. Those Howling Wolves (8:07)
4. Lines on a Bust (3:42)
5. Track the Saviours (4:14)
6. The Aftermath (4:13)
7. The Fall Of Bliss (Intro) (1:41)
8. The Fall Of Bliss (Part I) (8:20)
9. The Fall Of Bliss (Interlude) (4:22)
10. The Fall Of Bliss (Part II) (6:38)

Line-up:

* Nikitas Kissonas – vocals, guitars, bass, mandolin, keys, programming
* Nikos Miras – drums
* Jargon – piano (4)

Links:

http://methexis.bandcamp.com/

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Gekko Projekt – Electric Forest

GekkoProjekt_ElectricForest_FrontCover_1500

Long before the time Gekko Projeckt and their debut “Electric Forest” rolled around, each of the musicians that comprise this quartet were experienced performers, and this maturity translates well into their poppy melange of prog rock. At forty minutes and ten tracks, they have created an album that even the most delicate rock listener could appreciate. Their talent is evident throughout, although this relatively unambitious take on prog leaves me in want for excitement.

The sounds of King Crimson, Rush, and Camel all find a place in Gekko Projekt. Above all, “Electric Forest” may be seen as an instrumental rock guitar album with a smattering of ‘vocal’ songs. Instrumentally, Gekko Projeckt find a familiar nook for themselves, drawing in the exploratory nature of fusion jazz with the classic style of symphonic prog. “Electric Forest” is then filtered through a sheath of poppy melodies and accessible song structures. For the most part, this works pretty well, thanks in large part to guitarist Peter Matuchniak’s elaborate performance. With particular regards to the beautiful instrumental “Cognitive Dissonance”, Peter is skilled with melodic lead playing as much as he is with finding the perfect guitar tone for the mood.

GP

Though fairly few in number, Gekko Projekt throw some vocals our way. Of these, “Black Hole” is the most memorable, a warm and catchy track with some vocals I might expect to find in a folk rock album. The voices- performed on the album by Vance Gloster and Alan Smith- are not excellent from a technical perspective, but warmth and feeling is there. Instrumentally, the music is rarely complex, and, with the exception of Peter’s guitar work, the musicianship does not really stand out, although I have a feeling that this is more a result of the fairly straightforward song structures rather than the talent of the musicians themselves.

In short, “Electric Forest” is a pretty enjoyable album to listen to; a fine piece of music to put on while relaxing. It delivers the warmth and sound of prog, however exchanging the genre’s typically challenging song structures for accessible compositionship. Fans of Camel will enjoy what Gekko Projekt have to offer.

Tracklist:

1. Particle Dance (3:42)
2. Black Hole (4:54)
3. Cognitive Dissonance (4:44)
4. London Vibe (2:21)
5. Avatar Jones (6:03)
6. Erdinger (5:00)
7. Martian Sunrise (5:25)
8. State of Siege (2:32)
9. October Skies (5:48)
10. Particle Coda (1:12)

Line-up:

* Peter Matuchniak – guitars
* Vance Gloster – keyboards, vocals
* Rick Meadows – bass
* Alan Smith – drums, vocals

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