Sunday, 25 June 2017

Custody of The Knave (Argos, 2010)

Argos are one of the most interesting prog bands from the 21st Century German scene. Certainly influenced by both first and second generation progressive rock groups, they developed their own style, an introspective and challenging mix of symphonic rock, neo-prog and experimental music. This song, taken from the album "Circles", actually dig into the listener's soul and reminds me of VDGG,Hammill solo ballads and also The Flower Kings.

"Circles" was the second studio album by Argos.

It's a moving and well written song, including essential and effective drumming solutions, atmospheric passages, very good vocal harmonies, a beautiful, sad piano, some spiritual keyboard touches and, of course, a stunning vocal performance by Robert Gozon. Please don't hesitate and listen to other songs by Argos: you'll find many different musical worlds and (what's more) you'll appreciate the way this band can touch you giving new life to prog.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Divine Attribution (SETI, 2005)

...And now something for those among you loving atmospheric, melodic prog. SETI is an international project aimed to find radio signals coming from intelligent extra-terrestrial forms of life. But since 2005 it is also an interesting chilean prog band. Founded by multi-instrumentalist Claudio Momberg and Others members of Subterra (see elsewhere in this blog). This song comes from their debut album "Life Signs" and has a strong spacey and floydian influence, but also an easy-going melodic pattern in the neo-prog style.

This album also includes an excellent five parts suite.


Some beautiful keyboard and guitar solos perfectly top the cake. The SF theme adds a somehow arcane taste to the song, but it never deviates the band's sound toward math-rock landscapes. There is a warm and dreamy soul behind those radio telescopes...

Monday, 22 May 2017

Distances (The Pyramidis Project, 2015)

The electronic side of prog is too often underrated or even neglected by fan sites and reviewers, and that's too bad if only one remembers the essential contributions to our genre provided by such artists as Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and so on. That said, Austrian band The Pyramidis Project is one of the most interesting projects out there when it comes to elecronic prog. This track is the perfect gate into their world for prog fans. "Distances" is taken from the album "Emotional Distances" and actually the CD title says it all, as electronic keyboards and space rock effects perfectly match with genuine (and strong) emotions.

"Emotional Distances" was the second CD by TPP.

If you're convinced that electronic devices are but stiff things, this track will change your mind. Mario Buchinger, the mind behind The Pyramidis Project, knows how to mix different soundscapes and musical influences, so that his tracks are never flat nor hazy. Take "Distances" for example: beautiful melodies flow along with diversified samples and a stingy musical research. Oldest fans (like me) will find echoes of Alan Parsons, Floydian hints and even early Genesis moods. Please note that such a rich blend leads to a highly original atmosphere, and never to a derivative sound. It's challenging and unpredictable... that's why I call it prog!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Remember Us (The Pineapple Thief, 2003)

No doubt the closing track from the album "Variations on A Dream" is one of the best achievements by The Pineapple Thief and not only because of its duration time (some 16 minutes). This song is based on beautiful chords and strongly build on melodic grounds. The instrumental passages are simply perfect, exploring both modern and traditional prog, settng up a deep and atmospheric mood. The central spacey section also has a psychedelic taste, and the following arpeggio introducing the electronic side of the track couldn't be more suitable.

This is the 2011 K-scope remix artwork. The original release
on Cyclops catalogue (2003) came with a different cover.

Different horizons seem to match into an evocative and diversified musical trip, where wonders and emotions follow each other. And if Prog Rock main problem lies on transitions, The Pineapple Thief certainly worked it out, providing unpredictable and moving gateways between their different worlds. In a word, this is an unmissable track, one of the 21st Century milestones of our genre.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Don't Go Deep Into The Forest (Aican, 2016)

These Russian musicians really got me. Their approach to music is original and challenging, featuring a great deal of moods and inspiration sources. Even without keyboards, their 2016 second album is full of progressive treasures and musical charms. This title track, for example, ranges from modern prog to space/ambient music, including some metal hints here and there.

Lena Kotek is responsible of this beautiful cover art.

The arcane background of the song, the strongly effected riffs and the sweet, even melodic sections build up a long and evocative journey through an inner forest of sounds and emotions. I especially like the final part of this epic, a beautiful specimen of guitarist Vitaly ‘Krikston’ Pereladov's eclectic style, including dreamy, distorted and even bluesy elements, beautifully supported by the rythm section, namely Roman Varaksin and Max Shein. Believe me: this is worth your next twenty minutes of spare time.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Desert (Steve Linnegar's Snakeshed, 1982)

These musicians come from South Africa and this is maybe their proggest track, a 14 minutes song deeply influenced (IMHO) by Animals-era Pink Floyd and some pastoral British bands. Guitarist duo Steve Linnegar and Martin Kopelowitz  founded this band in Cape Town and recorded theirt first album between South Africa and London. I do think this is a fascinating and enjoyable composition, featuring atmospheric passages and beautiful tempo changes, even if I read many ungenerous reviews about this track and "Classic Epics" album, labelled as a derivative and "less than average prog pop" release.

The cover reveals Linnegar & Kopelowitz's passion for martial arts.

Likely because of my musical ignorance, I confess that I enjoyed "Desert" very much, and I still listen to it from time to time. What I especially like here is the open minded approach of the band, melting so many different styles in one coherent song, with a liquid and warm texture where prog meets soul. I'd like to know my progfriends' opinion about this old piece of music.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spartacus Concerto I, II, III (Rumblin' Orchestra, 1998)

Rumblin' Orchestra's album "Spartacus" is a very good example of flamboyant and orchestral progressive rock, still it never goes too tricky and keeps a pleasant and not-too-intellectual mood. These Hungarian musicans resumed the Roman gladiator Spartacus's history also inspiring the German act Triumvirat for their 1975 album. I especially like this three part Concerto, classically lining up two lively sections and a central melodic interlude.

Rumblin' Orchestra only released two albums between 1998 and 2000.,

Not only the music is very well played and arranged, but it is build up on solid compositions and beautiful tempo variations. Even if keyboards are the foremost instrument here, a great deal classical instruments provide a coherent and original sound. And after all, coherence and union aren't so strange when family ties are concerned: five Rumblin' Orchestra members out of six belonged to the same family!