Archives

All posts for the month February, 2017

Abba – Eagle

The Wonderstuff – Radio Ass Kiss

Arena – Bedlam Fayre

Kyros – Monster

Detour 33 – Sleeping With .44

Tom Slatter – Name In A File

Agents of Mercy – Last Few Grains of Hope

Combination Head – Combination Head

Stewart Bell – The Probability of Improbability

William D. Drake – Heart of Oak

Patrick Moraz – Cachaca Variations

dEUS – Secret Hell (Live)

Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Galleon – Ghost Ship

 

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/02/26/carl-palmers-elp-legacy-world-tour-dates/

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy announce “EMERSON LAKE & PALMER LIVES ON!” World Tour

PRESS RELEASE:

A celebration of the late Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and the instrumental rock classics of ELP Carl Palmer, among the most renowned drummers in rock history and a founding member of both ELP and ASIA, has announced an extensive 2017 World Tour, EMERSON LAKE & PALMER LIVES ON!, a musical celebration of his late band mates Keith Emerson and Greg Lake and their group, ELP.

“I will deeply miss Keith and Greg, both of whom the world lost in 2016,” said Palmer, as he prepares for the longest solo tour of his career. “It is now down to me to carry on flying the ELP banner and I will be playing that great music with my band for many years to come. The outpouring of support from ELP’s fans has been astounding, so, I felt I owed it to them to continue the music we made as a group.”

The tour comes with the international release of a DVD/ CD combo featuring Palmer’s 2016 Pictures At An Exhibition tribute to Keith Emerson (that featured Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Vanilla Fudge keyboardist and vocalist Mark Stein and drummer David Frangioni, who made guest appearances) and the band’s Live In The USA CD. The official release of these titles will be through M.I.G, a German-based record and video label.

In addition to Palmer’s compelling stage show, the tour will also highlight his collection of fine art, recently done in conjunction with California’s Scene Four Art Studios. Palmer recently created two new images: Welcome Back (dedicated to Emerson) and Lucky Man (dedicated to Lake). The images in these collections are the result of collaboration between Palmer and the acclaimed Los Angeles Art Team, Scene Four and feature a series of signed and numbered prints of stunning visual images constructed by capturing rhythm. The images combine motion, color, and lighting into some of the most compelling fine art visuals ever created. These very limited Palmer art collections are available at Carl Palmer.

Palmer will present bold, new arrangements of the best-loved instrumental music of ELP, and other composers. A multi-media experience combining music and video projection, the show promises to be among the most musically compelling tours of the year. Carl Palmer ELP Legacy is a red-hot power trio that features Palmer on drums and percussion; guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick.

“Since 2001, I have been playing with my own power trio, replacing the keyboards with electric guitar,” says Palmer. “I felt that was the only honest way to approach the music of ELP. I didn’t want to have a singer trying to sound like Greg Lake. ELP did so much instrumental music, this format made sense to me. The idea was to re-invent the music; there will be several new classic ELP tunes this time around.” Palmer also recently launched his official ELP website: Emerson Lake & Palmer Worldwide

In between dates on his extensive Emerson Lake & Palmer Lives On! tour, Palmer will be performing in North America, with his other world famous group, ASIA. ASIA will be the special guest of Journey on its 2017 arena tour during March, April, June and July. (See all the dates Carl Palmer Tour Dates). An extensive summer package tour, which will also feature Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy will be announced soon, as with additional fall US and Canadian shows.

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy will play nearly two hours and drum enthusiasts can expect an evening of compelling percussive skills, from the man who brought the drum set to the forefront of rock n roll music.

Visit the Carl Palmer Tour Dates page for all the dates.

SOURCE: Carl Palmer

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/02/25/blackfield-blackfield-v/

If you are reading this then Blackfield, the well-known collaborative project between Steven Wilson and Israeli artist Aviv Geffen, probably need little or no introduction. There have been four albums previously, the last two, Welcome to my DNA and IV seeing Steven take a bit of a back seat, but with V his contribution is back to being a fuller remit.

What Blackfield provide could be described as prog/pop, but certainly here there are lush melodies aplenty with somewhat reflective lyrics which can be viewed as a little sombre. But here is the trick; the music lifts the songs above that creating an uplifting atmosphere at times.

This album was recorded in a variety of studios in Tel Aviv and London, and of course in Steven’s No Man’s Land in Hemel Hempstead, the production duties split between Aviv and Steven but with Aviv taking the greater share. There is also a guest producer, the renowned Alan Parsons, who contributes his skills to three songs, also providing backing vocals on How Was Your Ride. The album was mixed by Steven Wilson and Simon Bloor, doing seven and six tracks respectively.

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Opener A Drop in the Ocean starts things off gently with some atmospheric strings from the London Session Orchestra arranged by Aviv, we then get straight into the more upbeat Family Man which is more rock orientated. The string arrangements appear on a further five tracks, adding lush textures and a fuller feel to the overall atmosphere. None of the songs outstay their welcome, the longest being four and a half minutes; this is a concise and consistent effort and there appears to be room between all the instruments in the mix, allowing each to have its own voice and make its contribution felt. Life is an Ocean is a good example of this, with a beautifully placed piano throughout, and the same can be said for the piano played by Mike Garson on October combining well with the overall keyboard sounds. Alex Moshe provides backing vocals on a number of tracks, also sharing lead vocals with Steven on Lately, her voice adding another dimension to these songs.

It would be difficult to close this review without discussing the first promotional release, 44 to 48, written, produced and mixed by Wilson, which contains reflective lyrics that could maybe relate to most people at some time in their lives. A well-constructed song which has Steven’s trademarks all over it from the opening few bars, well paced and atmospheric with some good guitar phrasing. It’s just a shame that the end seems to fade to a sudden stop.

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This is a very good album and appears to be a return to form; indeed it could possibly be their best effort since Blackfield and Blackfield II. This is definitely in the vein of a prog/pop/rock album; it does what it says on the tin, so to speak. It has the trademark acoustic guitar, with stabs of electric wrapped around it with piano and strings to create a certain ambience that is recognisably Blackfield. I don’t think I need to make any recommendations here; if you are a fan of Steven and Aviv’s work you most likely have this already, if not you probably intend to get it. Enough to say that I have enjoyed this album and if you not familiar with Blackfield this is a good place to start.

BLACKFIELD

TRACK LISTING
01. A Drop in the Ocean (1:36)
02. Family Man (3:40)
03. How Was Your Ride (3:59)
04. We’ll Never be Apart (2:55)
05. Sorrys (3:08)
06. Life is an Ocean (3:27)
07. Lately (3:25)
08. October (3:31)
09. The Jackal (3:57)
10. Salt Water (2:41)
11. Undercover Heart (4:02)
12. Lonely Soul (3:51)
13. From 44 to 48 (4:31)

Total Time – 44:43

MUSICIANS
Aviv Geffen – Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Electric & Acoustic Guitars & Bass String Arrangements
Steven Wilson – Lead & Backing Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Piano, Keyboards & Drum Programming (track 12)
Tomer Z – Drums
Hadar Green – Bass
Eran Mittelman – Piano, Hammond Organ & Keyboards
Omri Agmon – Acoustic Guitar & Space Guitar
Alex Moshe – Backing Vocals
Alan Parsons – Backing Vocals
Mike Garson – Piano
The London Session Orchestra

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Kscope
Country of Origin: U.K./Israel
Date of Release: 10th February 2017

LINKS
Blackfield – Website | Facebook

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/02/24/eclection-eclection/

This album is a real throwback to the late 1960s.

Eclection made their first public appearance supporting Tom Paxton at the Royal Festival Hall in 1967. Their debut album was originally released on the Elektra Records label in 1968, amidst the era and the sounds of Peter, Paul and Mary, The Seekers and their ilk. Probably best described as progressive folk rock, the band yield some interesting connections, namely, Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway, who later formed Fotheringay with Sandy Denny, and Georg Kajanus (known then as Georg Hultgreen) who went on to form ’70s pop outfit Sailor.

The songs on Eclection’s self-titled album have a broad sound, thanks to intelligent use of strings, and are all fairly simple. As Georg Kajanus explains, most of the songs were written by a Norwegian who couldn’t speak English very well, which is a fair summation. In fact, Eclection is a particularly international group, as well as the Norwegian Hultgreen there were Australians Kerrilee Male and Lucas, Canadian Michael Rosen and Briton Conway.

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The music is of its time and the lyrics tend to be a tad simplistic but the tunes are very convincing with some great refrains, the opening numbers, In Her Mind and Nevertheless, showing exactly this. At times the orchestration reminds me of The Moody Blues, and Kerrilee Male was a great vocalist and a looker to boot. The band were good instrumentalists too.

Featuring three bonus tracks originally released as singles in 1968, including the re-make of Please recorded with vocalist Dorris Henderson following the departure of Kerrilee Male from the band, this is another fine expanded remaster from those incredible folks at Esoteric. Again the remastering is spot on and the disc sounds awesome with great dynamics and sound, and as always there is an excellent booklet which tells the story of the band and this, their sole album, with rare and previously unseen photographs and liner notes featuring exclusive interviews with Georg Kajanus and Gerry Conway.

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It is a very fine album which comes highly recommended if you like Fotheringay, The Seekers or even Fairport Convention, an example of early genre merging music that was not uncommon in the late ’60s.

So, not a major marker on the progressive rock road map but certainly an intriguing and worthwhile diversion.

TRACK LISTING
01. In Her Mind (3:59)
02. Nevertheless (2:52)
03. Violet Dew (3:51)
04. Will Tomorrow Be The Same (4:19)
05. Still I can See (3:39)
06. In The Early Days (4:27)
07. Another Time Another Place (4:11)
08. Morning of Yesterday (3:06)
09. Betty Brown (4:58)
10. St George and the Dragon (Up The Night) (5:09)
12. Please (2:53)
13. Mark Time (2:52)
14. Please (Mk.II) (2:56)

Total Time – 48:26

MUSICIANS
Trevor Lucas – Bass, Vocals
Georg Hultgreen – Guitars, Vocals
Gerry Conway – Drums, Backing Vocals
Kerrilee Male – Vocals
Michael Rosen – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Trumpet

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Estoterc Recordings
Catalogue#: ECLEC2552
Date of Release: 26th August 2016

LINKS
Eclection – Cherry Red Product Page

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/compilations/progotronics-i-now-available/
"Progotronics I" Sampler Out Now; Submissions for "Progotronics II" Open

Progotronics is Prog Sphere‘s new compilation series, and the first part has been launched via Bandcamp. Stream/download the sampler here.

Progotronics I brings 15 stylistically diverse, but always progressive, songs from artists all around the world. Listeners will also have an opportunity to read interviews with bands, as well as the reviews of the releases on the Prog Sphere‘s website. The new compilation series is focused on bringing some of the greatest bands in the underground scene and showcasing them to wider audience through the number of features.

Prog Sphere is already working on compiling the next part of the series, which will be available in late March. Interested artists can get in touch at info @ prog-sphere . com (make sure to remove spaces).

Progotronics I Track Listing:

1. Signals of Bedlam – The Fix

2. Synaptik – Esc Ctrl

3. Althea – Revenge

4. Emperor of Mind – Some Funky Molecules

5. Burnt City – Ressurgence

6. Increate – The Crawling Chaos

7. Farwatch – Water Turns the Wheel

8. Cloudspeak – Storm Clouds

9. Konstant Singularity – Echo of Your Voice

10. Sons of Ra – Antifragile

11. Koronal – Usurper

12. Sun of Gaia – Peril

13. Aeonic Impulse – Existing Within the REM

14. Second Horizon – Panoptikon

15. Future Was Perfect – Traces Unknown

Download Progotronics I from Bandcamp here.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=18634&IdCompany=8

Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett), Roger King (Steve Hackett) and Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Aristocrats) aka The Mute Gods are pleased to announce the release of their new album “tardigrades will inherit the earth” today.

Check out the new official video for the album’s title track here: https://youtu.be/AlmmvkV5olE

Nick had this to say:
“Just in case you have any hope left for the future of mankind,
this video includes help for the hard of understanding.”

They also recently released a series of highly entertaining track-by-track interviews with Nick Beggs and Roger King. You can watch them here:

THE MUTE GODS – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth (Track By Track Pt.1)
https://youtu.be/0vgvzRpqd-8
THE MUTE GODS – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth (Track By Track Pt.2)
https://youtu.be/kcAx5LzVYeE
THE MUTE GODS – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth (Track By Track Pt.3)
https://youtu.be/r93AHnBauyo

Following the release of 2016’s debut album ‘do nothing till you hear from me’, and a Progressive Music Award 2016 win in the Vanguard category, the trio deliver adventurous rock effort infused with timely perspectives on the state of religion, politics, media, and the environment.

The Mute Gods examine these and other major queries facing our planet on its second album for InsideOut Music. It’s a darker, deeply thought-provoking follow-up to its acclaimed 2016 debut recording Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. It picks up from where the first album left off, with its examination of societal control mechanisms, and looks at the inevitable outcomes should we continue down dark, dogmatic pathways. Musically, the album is an expansive rock effort with a heavier, more metal-oriented focus than its predecessor, yet steeped in melodicism and addictive hooks.

Nick Beggs had this to say:

“I know I’m not the only person who feels the way I do,” says Beggs. “Other people understand the state of the world and what’s at stake as we make one terrifyingly bad decision after another. This album asks people to take off their rose-tinted spectacles and consider the reality facing us. At this point in my career, I feel strongly that it’s important to use music as a vehicle for truth, not just feel-good entertainment.”

The album is available as a limited edition CD digipak (with bonus track), gatefold 2LP + CD & digital download. The full track-listing is below:

01. Saltatio Mortis
02. Animal Army
03. We Can’t Carry On
04. The Dumbing Of The Stupid
05. Early Warning
06. Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth
07. Window onto the Sun
08. Lament
09. The Singing Fish Batticaloa
10. Hallelujah (bonus track)
11. The Andromeda Strain
12. Stranger Than Fiction

Buy the album now on all formats here: http://smarturl.it/TheMuteGodsTWITE

The Mute Gods was founded in 2015 by Beggs, a celebrated bassist, Stick player, songwriter and vocalist who has sold more than three million records with his own groups. His contributions also grace the work of myriad artists and genres, including progressive rock, pop, Celtic, funk, and soul.

Beggs records and tours with Steven Wilson, one of the best-selling alternative rock artists of this generation, as well as Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis. In addition, Beggs has worked with legends across the pop and rock worlds, including Belinda Carlisle, John Paul Jones, Gary Numan, Kim Wilde, Englebert Humperdink and Seal. In the progressive rock realm, he’s also performed with Steve Howe, Iona, Lifesigns, and Rick Wakeman.

Unlike the debut Mute Gods album, which included many special guests, Beggs chose to keep this release to the core trio ensuring a laser focus and consistency throughout. Roger King, the album’s keyboardist and producer, also works with Beggs on Hackett’s sold-out world tours. King has long been Hackett’s right-hand man, serving in production, arrangement and writing capacities for the guitarist. Marco Minnemann, considered one of the most important, explosive drummers of our time, has worked with Beggs extensively on many Wilson tours and recordings.

The Mute Gods Online:
http://www.themutegods.com
https://facebook.com/themutegods
https://twitter.com/themutegods

INSIDEOUTMUSIC online:
http://www.insideoutmusic.com
http://www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
http://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
http://www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

Visit the new InsideOut Shop:
http://www.insideoutmusicshop.com

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=18632&IdCompany=8

Guitar virtuoso and rock legend, Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis), is set to release his latest album ‘The Night Siren’ on 24th March 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). As implied in the title, ‘The Night Siren’ is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of strife and division, and he discusses the album in detail in this
brand new interview video which you can find here:https://youtu.be/nKSRel6HnHc

Steve recently revealed the first track to be taken from the new album, and you can listen to ‘In The Skeleton Gallery’ here: https://youtu.be/M2NnwWt138I

Steve had this to say about the song: “I’m excited by the imminent release of my new album, The Night Siren, which includes this track, “In The Skeleton Gallery”. You know that ancient childhood night terror which creeps up on you in a dark moment when you’re least expecting it… This track moves from a dream-like groove with a Middle Eastern tinged accompaniment through to a sinister march and on to an out-there nightmare ride, before the child’s box of tricks reclaims it and the lid is finally closed…”

‘The Night Siren’ showcases Steve’s incredible guitar playing as strongly as ever, along with regular Hackett collaborators and also musicians from several different countries who Steve Steve invited to join him in celebrating multicultural diversity and unity. This includes singers from Israel and Palestine, who both actively campaign to bring Jewish and Arabic people together. There are also instrumentals from the USA and Iraq and a multiplicity of sounds, including the exotic strains of Indian sitar and Middle Eastern tar and oud, the ethnic beauty of the Peruvian charango and the haunting Celtic Uilleann pipes.

Steve is widely travelled, making friends everywhere he goes and has always embraced multicultural diversity. In these times of unrest, he has been inspired to express his belief that the world needs more empathy and unity. His wish to involve a range of musical sounds, instruments, musicians and singers from different parts of the world is both a development of his eclectic approach to music and shows how people can be brought together, even from war torn regions.

Talking about his latest work, Steve says, “This latest waxing represents a bird’s eye view of the world of a musical migrant ignoring borders and celebrating our common ancestry with a unity of spirit, featuring musicians, singers and instruments from all over the world. From territorial frontiers to walled-up gateways, boundaries often hold back the tide. But while the night siren wails, music breaches all defences. To quote Plato, ‘When the music changes, the walls of the city shake’.”

The musical journey takes us from ‘Behind the Smoke’, focusing on the plight of refugees throughout the ages, to the penultimate track ‘West to East’ which reflects on the damage of war and the hope for a better world. From personal to universal, the themes celebrate the life force, breaking free from chains of repression.

The album features: Steve Hackett (guitar & vocals), Roger King (keyboards & programming), Nad Sylvan (vocals on Inca Terra), Rob Townsend (all things wind), Amanda Lehmann (vocals), Gary O’Toole (drums), and Benedict Fenner (additional keyboards & programming). Also featured are singers Kobi and Mira (Israeli and Palestinian), Nick D’Virgilio (drums) from the USA, Malik Mansurov (Tar) from Azerbaijan & Gulli Breim (drums & percussion) from Iceland. Additional musicians who add to the rich flavour of the album are Christine Townsend (violin & viola), Dick Driver (double bass), Troy Donockley (Celtic Uilleann) and Leslie Bennett (keyboards on The Gift).

‘The Night Siren’ will be available as a special edition CD/Blu-Ray Mediabook featuring 5.1 surround sound & making of documentary, Standard jewelcase CD, Gatefold 2LP vinyl + CD & digital download. Pre-order the album digitally from iTunes or Amazon and receive the track ‘In The Skeleton Gallery’ immediately: http://smarturl.it/SteveHackettTNS

01) Behind The Smoke
02) Martian Sea
03) Fifty Miles from the North Pole
04) El Niño
05) Other Side of the Wall
06) Anything But Love
07) Inca Terra
08) In Another Life
09) In The Skeleton Gallery
10) West to East
11) The Gift

Steve Hackett is returning with an exciting new show Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett for both UK/European & US tour dates. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic Genesis album ‘Wind and Wuthering’, Steve and his band will be performing several tracks from the album as well as fan favourites such as ‘The Musical Box’ and other Genesis numbers never performed before by Steve’s band including ‘Inside & Out’ and ‘Anyway’ as well as material from ‘The Night Siren’.

Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett 2017
24th February – Santander PAC, Reading, PA, USA
25th February – Playstation Theater, New York, NY, USA
26th February – Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA, USA
28th February – 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
1st March – Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI, USA
2nd March – The Oakville Centre, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
3rd March – Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY, USA
23rd March – Gran Teatre De Liceu, Barcelona, Spain
24th March – Kursaal, Sala de Camara, San Sebastian, Spain
26th March – Trianon, Paris, France
27th March – Kulturfabrik Kofmehl, Solothurm, Switzerland
29th March – Teatro Colosseo, Torino, Italy
30th March – Teatro Galleria, Legnano, Italy
31st March – Teatro Astro, Schia, Italy
1st April – Teatro della Conciliazione, Rome, Italy
3rd April – Posthalle, Wurzburg, Germany
4th April – Capitol, Offenbach, Germany
5th April – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark
7th April – Union Scene, Drammen, Norway
8th April – Nalen, Stockholm, Sweden
10th April – Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
11th April – Laeiszhalle, Hamburg, Germany
12th April – Ruhr Congress, Bochum, Germany
13th April – Haus Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
15th April – Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
16th April – Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Netherlands
26th April – Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland
28th April – St David’s Hall, Cardiff, UK
30th April – Hexagon, Reading, UK
1st May – Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK
3rd May – City Hall, Sheffield, UK
4th May – Colston Hall, Bristol, UK
5th May – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK
7th May – Philharmonic, Liverpool, UK
8th May – Guildhall, Portsmouth, UK
10th May – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, UK
11th May – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, UK
13th May – New Theatre, Oxford, UK
14th May – Corn Exchange, Cambridge, UK
16th May – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, UK
17th May – Sage, Gateshead, UK
19th May – Palladium, London, UK

About Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett is renowned as an immensely talented and innovative rock musician. He was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of their classic line up with Gabriel, Collins, Banks and Rutherford, who produced several of the band’s most acclaimed albums including ‘Selling England by the Pound’ (a favourite of John Lennon) and ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’. With Steve’s extraordinary versatility in both his electric guitar playing and his composing, he involves influences from many genres, including Jazz, World Music and Blues. He is equally adept in his classical albums that include renditions of pieces by composers from Bach to Satie, his own acoustic guitar compositions that have gained the admiration of many, including Yehudi Menuhin, and ambitious guitar/orchestra albums such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic.

STEVE HACKETT Online:
http://www.hackettsongs.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Hackett/123101228589
http://www.twitter.com/HackettOfficial

INSIDEOUTMUSIC Online:
http://www.insideoutmusic.com
http://www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
http://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
http://www.twitter.com/insideouteu
http://www.myspace.com/insideoutlabel

InsideOut Shop:
http://www.insideoutshop.de

INSIDEOUTMUSIC online:
http://www.insideoutmusic.com
http://www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
http://www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
http://www.twitter.com/InsideOutUSA

Visit the new InsideOut Shop:
http://www.insideoutmusicshop.com

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/02/23/the-mute-gods-tardigrades-will-inherit-the-earth/

The Dance of Death (Saltatio Mortis) casts an ominous, foreboding shadow over the future of the human race. Roger King’s menacing funeral march for humanity is a ghastly premonition which sets an urgent and anxious tone for what follows on this second release from The Mute Gods. Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth effortlessly carries on from their disconcerting 2016 debut album, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me, but this time explores the tormenting and disturbing questions of personal and social responsibility with much greater ferocity and bite.

The album is brutally uncompromising: it plucks commonplace examples and experiences from everyday life and holds them up for a withering, critical examination which exposes the sheer folly and absurdity of the present course on which we find ourselves. Individually each case may be easy to minimise or dismiss; collectively, however, they provide ample and damning evidence for the predicament which confronts us.

Taking the album as a collective whole, which builds a cascading momentum as it progresses, is exactly the way to experience what is being offered. Nick Beggs unapologetically believes that “at this point in my career, I feel strongly that it’s important to use music as a vehicle for truth, not just feel-good entertainment”. Beggs is convinced he is not alone in worrying over the profound plight created by our propensity for self-destruction and whilst it may not make for easy or even comfortable listening, taking these songs as a montage of seemingly diverse yet interconnected experiences certainly gives the album added poignancy and force.

The opening six tracks are an unforgiving lyrical and musical onslaught, the music powerful, discordant, relentless, driven by lyrics which are intense, piercing and almost overwhelming. Having featured a number of guest musicians on the first album, the band took the deliberate decision to record Tardigrades… with just the core members. The difference is immediately noticeable; there is a more cohesive feel to the playing, a cutting intensity born of greater consistency and a decisive clarity which enhances and underscores the aggression and turbulence of the soundscapes.

We are presented with the prophecy of nature rising up and reclaiming the earth we have stolen (Animal Army), the casual distractions and deflecting escapisms of the media (The Dumbing of Stupid), the small, seemingly insignificant things which indicate warnings of worse things to come (Early Warning) and the as yet unknown and unintended consequences of the ever expanding rise of science and technology in all aspects of our lives (Window Onto the Sun).

[embedded content]

But then something unexpected suddenly intrudes into the lyrical menace and the musical muscle which has been building such an impressive and seemingly unstoppable head of steam. A gap appears in the overcast clouds in the form of Lament, a gentle, lilting reverie of peaceful reflection and bewildered hope, like shafts of sunlight piercing the gloom. The effect is utterly transforming and literally stops you in your tracks just at the point when you felt you would be engulfed and overpowered.

It also marks a noticeable turning point. Whilst the remaining four songs continue with the same pace and thematic intensity, these tracks seem to be musically lighter, less ferocious, invitingly melodic and more welcoming of a calmer, contemplative response to the problems being considered. Indeed, it feels akin to a reprieve, a welcome relief from the bludgeoning discord and conflict which has come before.

An olive branch to hope is offered in the closing track Stranger than Fiction, a song written by Beggs for his wife. It is a solitary candle amidst the winds of despair and madness which surround us which dares to believe that if love can indeed be found in the depths of iminent crisis and disaster, then maybe – just maybe – there is the faintest sliver of hope for us yet. With love comes meaning and the chance to build something that is of worth and value.

Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth is an explosive, arresting album which exudes a disarming passion and thorny menace in music which is vigorous, compelling and forcible. I am largely sympathetic to Beggs’ mission and the message he seeks to convey. I worry, however, that in making music a ‘vehicle for truth’ it perhaps runs the danger of having exactly the opposite effect. I often turn to music precisely to escape the awfulness of the world, the ghastliness of the news and the feeling of gloom about our future. The last thing I want is for the music to which I listen to take me straight back there again, no matter how good it is.

There will be times when I simply will not be able to bring myself to listen to this album. This is not in any way a slight or a criticism; rather, it speaks volumes about a job which has been very well done in portraying the painful realities of the times in which we live.

TRACK LISTING
01. Saltatio Mortis (1:57)
02. Animal Army (5:00)
03. We Can’t Carry On (5:11)
04. The Dumbing Of The Stupid (7:09)
05. Early Warning (3:56)
06. Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth (5:20)
07. Window Onto The Sun (6:00)
08. Lament (2:01)
09. The Singing Fish Of Batticaloa (8:24)
10. The Andromeda Strain (2:57)
11. Stranger Than Fiction (4:21)

Total Time – 52:16

MUSICIANS
Nick Beggs – String Basses, Guitars, Chapman Stick, Programming, Keyboards & Vocals
Roger King – Keyboards, Programming, Guitars, Backing Vocals, Production & Mastering
Marco Minnemann – Drums & Additional Guitars
~ With:
Lula Beggs – Backing Vocals
Lauren King – Backing Vocals

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Inside Out Music
Date of Release: 24th February 2017
Formats: Standard Edition CD, Deluxe Edition CD with extra tracks, Vinyl

LINKS
The Mute Gods – Website | Facebook | Twitter

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PW 408

If you missed this week’s Prog-Watch, you can still listen HERE

Our special guest this week on Prog-Watch is Keith Buckman of the UK band The Far Meadow! Keith and I talk TFM, as he and the band get ready for a great Evening Of Bad Elephant Music in London on 25 February! (Konchordat and The Rube Goldberg Machine are on the bill, as well!) Of course I also play a lot of great TFM music and even slip one in from the new Mike Oldfield album!

TalesFromTheTigerMoth
Edition 46 of Peter Jones’ ‘Tales From The Tiger Moth’ show is now available as a podcast!

In this edition, Peter presents his album roundup for 2016.

Playlist:

  1. Big Big Train – Lost Rivers Of London
  2. Kansas – Summer
  3. Seven Steps To The Green Door – Ordinary Maniac
  4. The Far Meadow – Himalaya Flashmob
  5. Haken – 1985
  6. George Michael – Precious Box
  7. Iamthemorning – Too Many Years
  8. We Are Kin – We’ll Have To Say
  9. We Are Kin – Reaper
  10. Regent – Three Minutes To Midnight
  11. Regent – Horizons
  12. Let’s Eat Grandma – Rapunzal
  13. Anderson-Stolt – Invention
  14. Tom Slatter – Ironbark
  15. Colin Tench Project – And So Today
  16. The Gift – The Tallest Tree
  17. Frost* – Nice Day For It
  18. Frost* Hypoventilate
  19. Frost* – Last Day
  20. Barock Project – Back To You