Tag Archives: Progstravaganza sampler

DIALETO: Based On Improvisation

The fact this Brazilian instrumental power trio, led by guitarist Nelson Coelho, signed for NYC label MoonJune Records to release this year’s “The Last Tribe” speaks enough. Being in a superleague with other great players such Allan Holdsworth, Chad Wackerman, The Wrong Object and other MoonJune artists, Dialeto had a tough task to accomplish and they did it in a heartbeat with “The Last Tribe”.

Dialeto_progtrio

Your new, third album „The Last Tribe“ is also your first on MoonJune Records. How are you satisfied with the release?

Very satisfied, if it wasn’t for Leonardo Pavkovic there will be no album at all, because there is very little interest in this kind of music here in Brazil and Moonjune is making a terrific work promoting us worldwide, we’re getting great reviews in the Prog niche in places we couldn’t imagine otherwise, like Poland, Greece, Croatia, Holland, Korea…

You play instrumental progressive rock with guitar leading the way. How much of your work is based on improvisation, and how much space you set aside for planning the song structures?

Everything is created from some sort of improvisation even the Themes and the Riffs. I start playing and when I find something that I like I separate it and become to elaborate more and more. In terms of song structure I like the simple Jazz approach of “Theme-Improvisation-Theme” and I use it a lot, but there are some songs that asks for something else , Chromaterius and Vintitreis , for instance, then some other parts emerge naturally .

With „The Last Tribe“ you go completely instrumental comparing with your previous work „Chromatic Freedom“. Did you come into a stage where you think that your instruments can tell the story rather than singing about something?

Well, to be honest, I’m much more attracted to the guitar playing than to singing and I think that this is clear in our previous works, the voice plays a small role in the compositions. It just happens that in this new album I didn’t feel the need of this 4th instrument even because I’m using a loop pedal or because Pescara’s touchguitar is filling the space pretty nicely.

Nelson CoelhoWhat can you tell about your guitar technique? It’s obvious that you pay more attention to melody through your soulful solos rather than shredding.

That’s right. I’m not a very technical guitarist, I do have some skills but just enough to express myself and sometimes I may do some very dirty licks that I think it’s much more expressive than if it was perfect and clear. And yes, my main focus when improvising is to create a nice melody with strong emotion attached, so I pay a lot of attention in the articulation of the notes, bends up and down, vibratos, pickings, legatos, slide and pick, pick and slide, whamy bar, all mixed up to work as if the guitar was a character speaking in a language that you may not understand but you can feel the intention and the emotion very well.

There is King Crimson in traces in the sound of „The Last Tribe“, referencing „The Power to Believe“ album. Which artists influenced your work on this album? What are some of your all-time favorite albums?

King Crimson was always a great influence for us, but there are lots of other influences as well and I couldn’t tell if there are some specific influences on this album. The influences are always unconscious and mixed up in these so many years of music listening. As my personal influences I’ll say: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, KC, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Mahavishnu, Santana, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, UK, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Bela Bártok, Stravinsky, Bach, Ligetti and many others.

Some of my all-time favorite albums would be: King Crimson – Red, Larks Tongues in Aspic and Starless and Bible Black; Frank Zappa – Shut up and Play Your Guitar, Zoot Allures, Grand Wazoo, Joe’s Garage; Jimi Hendrix – Are you Experienced, Band of Gypsys, Electric Ladyland; Fripp & Eno – No Pussyfooting (this is a masterpiece); Brian Eno – Another Green World, Before and After Science, Music for Films; Pink Floyd – Ummagumma, Wish You Were Here; Mahavishnu – Birds of Fire; Santana and John Mclaughlin – Love Devotion and Surrender; Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells, Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge; Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer Group Live; Led Zeppelin – everything except “In Through the Out Door”; Deep Purple – Machine Head, Deep Purple in Rock, and this is really important, Captain Beyond’s 1st album.

Well… There is a lot of albums, hehehe, sorry.

tlt

Prog rock and progressive music in general are the subject of many debates. How do you see the evolution of the genre? Does it need to change? Do you think that a lot of today’s progressive music is about musical virtousity and not about actual bringing something new?

Well, frankly, I don’t care that much about the genre discussion, it’s not that I wanted to do. Prog music or fusion or whatever, it just happens that the music that I like to play is usually catalogued under this genre and sometimes, in Dialeto’s case is Heavy Prog or Fusion or Art-rock or Hard Prog. But, thinking about the original meaning of progressive music I think it should really bring something new, something that you have never listened before, something that you probably will not understand at first listening and will be very curious about what’s happening. That’s what I felt when I first listened to Larks Tongues in Aspic back in the 70’s and more intensively with Fripp & Eno’s “No Pussyfooting”, this one took me many listening to fully understand and appreciate but then it really opened a new door of perception for me. In that vision it’ll be very hard to find some real progressive music these days. There are bands that try to emulate Yes, Genesis, Floyd, ELP, KC , which I think is a really bad idea, there are bands that focus on virtuosity as you said, which is legitimate and sometimes cool but often boring and soulless as well, and there are bands like Dialeto that just deal with musical concepts traditionally associated with Prog, such as odd time signature, dissonances, exotic scales, moods and textures, which is not usual in the mainstream but not necessarily innovative by itself. In “The Last Tribe” the only song that I think may be considered progressive in these terms is “Chromaterius” , you’ll need to listen to it many times to fix the chromatic melodies in your memory. Another Dialeto’s song in that same page would be “Divided by Zero” from “ Chromatic Freedom” it takes some time to understand the main riff and its form. I love that feeling of strangeness.

„Windmaster“ opens your new album and also this is a song you chose for the Progstravaganza sampler. It kicks off with a very nice melody and keeps the pace steady all the time during its almost six and half minutes. What does this song mean to you as a composer/performer? Does it give you any special feeling when you are playing/listening to it?

As a composer I’m very happy with the main theme which constitutes a long melody that has many well articulated parts that brings a nice sense of movement and seems to tell a little story. Then, as a performer, there is the improvised solo that evolves in different parts and then grows and grows..and then grows a little more. I like that adventurous intensity very much.

What does the art cover for „The Last Tribe“ mean?

I’m also a 3D artist so, this image (which some critics hated so much) was created as part of an animated short movie for the song “The Last Tribe”. The characters are members of a hypothetical tribe that are facing its own extinction. In this very dark ambient that they are living they find this very curious and luminous bird that came from the moon. The bird will lead them to a place where they will see their future. The movie is in production but…well…it will take some time to finish.

Last five albums you listened to:

Espectro – Violeta de Outono
Copo D’Água – Rainer Tankred Pappon
Conjure – Herd of Instinct
Burden of Proof – Soft Machine Legacy
Heritage – Opeth

and, of course, all Moonjune Sampler and Moonjune Recommends digital albuns.

What the future holds for Dialeto?

Maybe we should also follow the luminous bird to see our future. But the plan for now is to play live everywhere, some Prog Festivals would be really nice.

Thank you very much Nick and Prog Sphere team for the questions.

Cheers,
Nelson

Dialeto online:

http://www.dialeto.org/

http://dialeto.bandcamp.com/

Eva Morelli

Interview With Eva Morelli Of Ornithos

Italian heavy prog band Ornithos was formed in 1999, but due to the employment with other projects and bands they released their first album in 2012. Unlike many other bands cominng from Italy, with „La Trasfigurazione“ Ornithos brough different approach to a genre emerged in their home country during 70’s, employing heavy factor in their music. This year brings another release, single called „Invettiva al Potere“, from which we featured a song on our new Progstravaganza sampler. That was a reason to talk with the band’s flutist/saxophonist Eva Morelli.

prova-definitivo4

Your music is largely based on heavy groove with tons of other elements coming from different genres. Heavy (even thrash) metal crossed with progressive rock, I would say it’s pretty inventive. How do you maintain cohesion on these diverse music styles?

We have a very eclectic musical character, and in the compositions we tried to merge the different kinds of music mainly based on the content and what we wanted to tell.

The cohesion comes from the mixture of the sounds of each of us that engage in the compositions of Diego Petrini, the union between the seventies prog, soul and jazz, metal and funk and the new sound of modern rock is our main goal!

It’s interesting that Ornithos predates Il Bacio Della Medusa, but your first album „La Trasfigurazione“ appeared in 2012. Why did you wait that long with the release of your debut, knowing that the band was formed in 1999?

The band is the brainchild of Ornithos Diego Petrini and Federico Caprai, with the desire to create music based on improvisation and experimental sound.

After several collaborations from 1999 to 2002, the project was temporarily shelved for the birth of the band Il Bacio della Medusa, which unlike Ornithos did not have an improvisational character, but united rock, prog songwriting and compositions typically Italian.

In 2007, the project was finally taken Ornithos with the entrance on the staff of me on flute and sax. Following a number of auditions come to work in the project Simone Morelli (guitar), Maria Giulia Carnevalini (vocals) and A. De Caesar (lead guitar on La Trasfigurazione).

The band brings us to the recording of the album La Trasfigurazione (2012) and the single CD Invettiva al Potere (2013).

Ornithos-La-Trasfigurazione

How much of RPI heritage you implement in your music? It seems unavoidable for a band coming from Italy not to include elements of this genre that emerged back in 70’s. What is your take on it?

The musical legacy of the great experimenters of Italian progressive rock was accepted and absorbed into our musical DNA.

Area, as well as Arti&Mestieri, Dedalus, Allusa Fallax, Goblin and Pholas Dactylus have contaminated our musical taste; however, a large swath of influences comes from listening to the great American music (from the blues and jazz roots up to the big Zappa) and of course the English Prog of Camel, Affinity, Colosseum, King Crimson… and the whole school of Canterbury!

The Ornithos logo includes the ibis, which symbolizes Thoth, the Egyptian god of knowledge, music and time. How does this reference to your music?

Knowledge, Music and Time are the pillars that support our music will inspire and most of our lyrics and compositions.

In particular, the search for inner awareness was the first theme of La Trasfigurazione, and continues to be of great importance for us. Music and Time then are our lifeblood!

Would you introduce us to the concept story of La Trasfigurazione“? The interesting fact about this concept story is, to paraphrase my colleague Raffaella Berry,unlike many albums that share similar features, the concept is mainly conveyed through music rather than singing. Why did you decide to abandon this conventional way of telling the story and change it for a soundscape attitude?

Since our main interest of musicians has always been to tell images in music we preferred to create a musical texture that accompany the listener, guiding on our journey through the development of of instrumental compositions.

In it you embed the gems of lyrics that enhance all of the musical path, without removing the possibility of imagining to the listener…

More and more bands are searching for the ways to consolidate traditional music styles with modern, but there are not many of them that actually succeed in it. However, Ornithos proves opposite. What is your secret?

Secret? We have no secret! We only want to play our music with energy and above all expressing our style!

It’s very difficult today to think about creating something totally new, so the only way forward is to create its own sound and a personal… And we believe we have succeeded!

2013 brings a new music in the shape of “Invettiva al Potere“, single comprised of three songs in total, with title track in two versions (short and long) and acoustic version of “This is What We’ve Got – The Flute Song“ extracted from “La Trasfigurazione“. Where do you think this new music is taking you, in terms of the band’s evolution?

The sound of „Invettiva al Potere“ was, in our opinion, the perfect way to express our outrage at the degeneration of Institutions and Society.

In the first part, “La Caduta dei Giganti” the music is bloody and tight, while in the second part of “Meritocrazia” the sound changes dramatically, becomes more progressive and experimental with quick changes of time until you get to the climax, where flute and guitar cry a willingness to change!

copertina invettiva

Anything you could tell us about “Invettiva al Potere“ song which is the part of our new Progstravaganza sampler? What are you talking about in its lyrics?

The lyric of “Invettiva al Potere” says primarily the desire to destroy the current system headed by the “Giants” (symbol of the established power and untouchability of those who continue to move the Economy and Wars for centuries).

Emerge from the mud the Death squads
The death of the masterminds behind the Wise revealed
It ergon masters and false political…”

The second part of the text is a message of hope: remove the old political order with a new global reality, incorruptible, meritocratic, that encourages artistic expression and that does not stifle the individual taking it or to isolate themselves or to comply with the mass …

Giants fall from their residences
It restores the artist and with him his dignity …”

I can’t not mention Il Bacio Della Medusa, with whom you released “Deus Lo Vult“ last year after 7 year break. How are you satisfied with the album’s reception?

In our opinion Deus Lo Vult is, without detracting from the previous ones, the best record of the BDM, as it captures the spirit of the rock band.

Lyrics and music are perfectly balanced and there is no voltage drop across the concept! In response to some criticism made ​​to us on the duration of the album that we believe are often used in the field of musical wanderings prog unnecessary, often harmful to the ultimate success of the work, which aim only to increase the playing time but not the content. Quality, not quantity!

Eva Morelli

Recommend us some new progressive rock artists from Italy that we should check out.

Well, I don’t know, really… The problem is that many groups emulate those who have preceded us in the Golden Age of Music. Most often stifle the personal character of the bands of today.

What are your future plans with Ornithos?

We are laying new compositions for the next album, but the main goal is to present our songs around the various festivals and live music club! Even in the context of progressive rock has exploded the phenomenon of tribute bands that clog the market live and do not contribute to creating musical innovation and new perspectives of cultural growth. The ones who manage the live music events should think a lot about all this.

Is there anything you would love to add that I didn’t cover in my questions?

I just want to underline the great value that we have always given to the artwork of our album: Federico Caprai care pictorially the execution of each cover, as I have always worked on the graphics, both in Ornithos that in BDM.

For printing of the CD Invettiva al Potere my brother and guitarist Simone Morelli and I have collaborated on the layout, while the artwork (fusion between painting and photography) is the work of Federico!

Thank you very much for taking the part on our compilation. Keep up the great work!

Thanks to you all and enjoy our music!

Ornithos online:

http://www.ornithos.it/

https://www.facebook.com/ornithosfreeformusic

ARABS IN ASPIC And On Progstravaganza

With a naughty band title, and an even naughtier album covers, Norwegian group Arabs In Aspic deliver a deliciously indulgent yet light-hearted music which is sure to win over the hearts of prog fans everywhere. The band has been active over 15 years, changing its name from Arabs to Aspic to Arabs to Aspic II and again to Arabs in Aspic. These Arabs from Norway open our newest Progstravaganza compilation and it was a right moment to talk with the Northerners about their music.

 arabs_group_2013_photo_by_J.E.Bjoroy

How did the story with forming Arabs in Aspic go?

ARABS IN ASPIC II emerged in 1997 from Norway led by guitarist and vocalist Jostein Smeby and rythm guitarist & Theremin player, Tommy Ingebrigtsen. Since they met through their common love for 1970s heavy rock music, especially Black Sabbath, they’ve been playing together with different personnel, each playing different kinds of heavy music until ARABS IN ASPIC surged.

They said goodbye to playing covers and the band was ready with Hammond organ player Magnar Krutvik, drummer Eskil Nyhus and his brother, bass player Terje Nyhus. The quartet was later joined by Stig Arve Jorgenson on backing vocals and Hammond organ, as Magnar changed to playing acoustic guitar and synth. After a few years and two releases (Progeria, EP and Far Out in Aradabia, CD) the band was put on hold due to various reasons.

In 2006 Jostein, Eskil and Stig hooked up with bass player Erik Paulsen and formed what was briefly known as Arabs in Aspic II. The new spirit and musicianship led to some serious song writing, and numerous demos were recorded during the following years.

I have to say that the whole thing about the name of the band is a bit confusing for me. You have your latest album on iTunes listed under the name Arabs in Aspic.  So, what’s the deal with the name?

When Arabs in Aspic resurrected after a few years on ice, the lineup changed and we called ourselves Arabs in Aspic 2, since this was the second lineup. However, when we decided to change it back to just Arabs in Aspic, our facebook page had too many likes and we weren’t allowed to change the name of our page. It’s as simple as that :D

One of the first impressions I got when I listened 2010’s „Strange Frame of Mind“ was if Black Sabbath would go prog, they would sound like you do. Could you tell us something more about your influences?

Strange+Frame+Of+Mind+coverFor Jostein, Sabbath has been the main inspiration to study music. His vinyl collection contains mostly music made between 1969-1973, that probably colors our music. He’s listened to a lot of classic heavy as you might hear, but also a lot of Krautrock. Jostein’s living room is filled with strange music… However, we all get inspiration from all kinds of music, artwork, facts or even news. Stig and Erik have a more “technical” prog backround with Genesis, King Crimson, Zappa, Yes, PFM, Weather Report, DT and more, which blends very well with the more heavy style of Jostein and Eskil.

You have three full-length albums released so far and one EP released in 2003. When you look now on your opus would you dare to say you made a drastic change in your sound (in terms of music, not production) since your first offering „Far Out in Aradabia“ (2004)?

Without a doubt. We sound different, cause we are a different band. Our current lineup has only two original members left, me and the drummer Eskil. We also have 3 singers instead of one, and much more keys by Stig of course.

Your latest release is this year’s „Pictures in a Dream“ and though you maintained to keep the heaviness in your music, the album sounds a lot proggier than previous albums. Do you agree? Is that a natural progress or you decided to force that prog side during the recording process?

That depends on your definition of prog. In some reviews of “Pictures in a Dream”, we don’t play prog at all. Some call it classic heavy or classic hard rock. I agree with you and with the opposite opinion actually. I think the album has a lot of classic heavy, but it also contains all sorts of music and temper-/tempo changes. I call that prog. We don’t care to much what we put together as long as we like it. For the reviewers who only listen to Neo Prog, Arabs in Aspic isn’t progressive rock. People can call it what they want. Our opinion is that there are only two kinds of music, good and bad music :) We like to define ourselves as Heavy prog. It’s a natural process that we get proggier, since our newer members Erik and Stig are prognerds, but we actually tried to prog this album down a bit, and focus more on classic elements and vocal harmonies. On our next album you will need a calculator to get it :)

Pictures in a Dream

„Pictures in a Dream“ is personally one of my favorite albums released in 2013 and I am interested to hear what albums did you guys listen to during the recording process of the album? How much what you listen while writing music influences the final product, in your opinion?

 Jostein: Oh, thanx! That’s nice to hear:) When I get in the process of recording an album, I don’t listen to similar music at all. I feel sorry for my friends who come and visit in this process. I play only raw tapes of Arabs in Aspic:) The writing process is something that happens all the time. We have enough music almost ready for two or three  more albums, but when it comes to recording, we have to puzzle our pieces right to get an album, not just a bunch of music or a bunch of songs. Our coverart designer is also important in this process. I often re-write all the lyrics after the recordings are done, to make it fit the temper of the music, and the artwork. My vinyl collection is in my backbone, so I guess that colours our music. But as I said earlier, I can get inspiration to write music about anything. A punchline in a movie, a picture or a painting can give me enough to come up with a riff or a melody line. I record every idea at once. If I don’t have a guitar I sing it.

How much were you active in playing live in the past? What’s the response of audience on your music?

Then years ago we played a lot, but only in Norway. We did about 30 gigs a year. We had a faithful audience, who appreciated a wall of sound. People buy improbable amounts of beer when we play:) I don’t know if that is cause they are happy or if it’s to kill the pain :)

We haven’t been too active with the new line up yet, but we will. Last summer we had a gig in Quebec and a couple in Norway, and we have been asked to play some places in Europe. Our adience seems to get in a good mood and like our energy. We have gotten great feedback from all kinds of people from 12-70 years, male and female. Jostein’s wife, Helena, will participate in the Winter Olympics this winter, so that is our main priority now. But after that, there will be lots of live music… :)

Arabs in Aspic, Live in Quebec 2012 (Photo: Rejean Lafortune)

Arabs in Aspic, Live in Quebec 2012 (Photo: Rejean Lafortune)

Your song „You Are Blind“ opens our latest Progstravaganza compilation. What can you say about the song in particular?

This is the heaviest part of our new album. It’s made to hear in context with the previous and the next song. The previous song is a real heavy piece of music, but this one starts even heavier, on the last beat of the previous song. The next one is a instrumental floater, to tighten up our sholders :) “You are blind” is a tribute to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Beatles if you listen close. And that is not a secret. It’s composed this way to make you smile if you hear the codes. The lyrics are a settlement with system vs individuals. The strange mid part is a funny story. Only Jostein knew what it would contain when we recorded it. He asked Eskil to keep the beat on his signal. Afterwards, Erik got one attempt to do a far out bass solo. The space echo guitar is also done in only one take, but reversed and fucked up with fx. This part is most likely inspired by the time Jostein studied modern classic music, with composers like Edgar Varese, Arne Nordheim and Igor Stravinskij. Most likely, many of his compositions are inspired by this era.

What would be your choice to share a stage with, if you had that chance to pick a band?

That would be bands that are in some way related to our music. This would give the audience a good evening. And if the audience have a great time, I’m sure we will enjoy it also. It’s no primary goal for us to support a famous band, playing on a large stadium. When we do gigs we hope that the audience is there to check out our music. None of us like the thought of an audience just waiting for us to be finished. But we must admit, that if Tony Iommi had asked us to do a support job, we would have said yes:)

What comes next for Arabs in Aspic?

Holy Moses, we have plans! This August we will do 3 gigs in France. Later this year we will do at least 2 gigs in Norway and maybe 2 gigs in Stockholm. But priority number one is more recordings. We have started a pre production of what is ment to be a triple vinyl, with the working title; Heavy Progressive Rock. This is planned to be a heavy record, a very progressive record, and a record in between, the way we do things now. Most of the music is written already, so stay tuned for more madness from Norway!

And don’t forget to find us on http://www.facebook.com/arabsinaspic, Spotify, iTunes and your random record store.

Arabs in Aspic is:

Jostein Smeby – guitars + vocals
Stig Jørgensen – organs + vocals
Erik Paulsen – bass + vocals
Eskil Nyhus – drums + cymbals

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.