All posts for the month September, 2017

This news story was originally published here:

This band hail from Norway, and I’ll bet they’re from Trondheim, without looking at the PR blurb, I hasten to add… actually, they appear to be from Oslo. No prizes to me for that then, but listening to this fat bottomed Viking raider of an album it’s fairly clear they’ve saved all their imaginative powers for the music, which is exactly as it should be.

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Sometimes The Trons seem a little unsure of their intended direction, like a car full of stoned students on a road trip, but heck, who cares what the destination is, it’s the travelling there that’s the fun part. So, we have Sabs-like bottom end mixing with furious wah-guitar and a saxophone blown to within a millimetre of its reeds’ life on Mogadon head shaker The Crossing, its extreme heaviosity bookended by two jazz-blues tunes that lay a path for, and clear up after the lead-booted beast has done its worst. A Quiet Flame eventually bursts out of its slumber, with the guitar and sax giving it another round or three as the tune bounces off the ropes.

The sole entry under “Band interests” on their Facebook page is “Fly fishing”, which explains the curiously titled Catching the Nile Perch, a piece that both ends the album and encapsulates the band with it’s jazz-inflected rhythms, off the wall Rypdal/David Torn guitar homage, tumultuous saxophone, and general menacing heaviosity, building to a roiling thunder.

The perch, needless to say, got away, but we’re told it was THIS BIG…

01. Die Streif (3:49)
02. Maelstrom (4:50)
03. No Country for Young Men (3:53)
04. Light as a Feather, Heavy as a Lead Balloon (4:13)
05. The Crossing (5:21)
06. A Quiet Flame (6:48)
07. Catching the Nile Perch (5:59)

Total Time – 34:53

Per Harald Ottesen – Electric Bass
Ivar Loe Bjørnstad – Drums
Ole Jørgen Bardal – Saxophone
Øyvind Nypan – Guitars

Record Label: Losen Records
Catalogue#: LOS 174-2
Year of Release: 2017

The Tronosonic Experience – Facebook | Soundcloud | Losen Records


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The PROG MILL Long Ones Special No. 8 – first broadcast on Progzilla Radio on 24th September. Is now available to hear anytime or download.

Just six epic progressive rock tracks in two hours featuring music from Unreal City, Monarch Trail, Kaprekars Constant, Grand Tour, Capability Brown and Steve Hackett.

So kick back, pour a glass of something appropriate, and enjoy some simply amazing music.

The Prog Mill returns to its normal format next week. Starting Sunday at 10pm UK. With repeats on Tuesday at 0400 and 2300, and Saturday at 1800 UK. Plus the podcast.

The PROG MILL LONG ONES SPECIAL No. 7 is now available to listen to any time or download.

This show was first broadcast on Progzilla Radio on 17th September.

Just five epic progressive rock tracks in 2 very proggy hours, featuring music from Abel Ganz, Comedy of Errors, Moon Safari, Big Big Train and The Tangent.

Just kick back, enjoy a tipple of whatever you fancy and wallow in some amazing music!

This news story was originally published here:

Well, that was just magical.

In the beautiful setting of Acapela Studio, in Pentyrch, north of the M4 outside Cardiff, the North Sea Radio Orchestra beguiled an audience that couldn’t have numbered many more than 100 with their shifting tapestry of exquisite music. Led by Craig Fortnam, they moved effortlessly through a set taking in pieces from all four of their albums to date, including 2016’s Dronne.

As seems fitting, following on from NSRO’s long history of playing in religious spaces, the Acapela Studio is housed in the former presbyterian Capel Horeb, dating from 1835, the wooden floors and interiors creating a wonderful resonance that lifts the music as it fills the high ceilinged hall. There are individual tables for much of the audience, but those of us sat in the hard pews were grateful for the cushions provided. The welcome was warm and the beer delicious, and there is also a pizza oven on site, all adding to a friendly and relaxing experience, perfectly complemented by the beauty of the music presented.

After working with others in the Cardiacs orbit, Craig and Sharron Fortnam formed North Sea Radio Orchestra in 2002 to perform Craig’s more classically inclined compositions, using Sharron’s voice, a blend of traditional and contemporary styles, to create an uplifting and engagingly melodic hybrid: it isn’t classical, it isn’t rock but employs elements of both alongside folk and world influences. The earlier albums provided musical settings for poetical works by the likes of Blake, Tennyson, Yeats and Hardy, but in recent times the words have mainly come from the Fortnams themselves.


With an ensemble that has in the past ranged from two to twenty players, tonight we have a septet taking in guitar, violin, cello, bassoon, clarinet and keyboards, Craig’s phone acting as unofficial eighth member to provide rhythm tracks for a couple of the pieces, some of which are instrumental, taking in various groupings of the available musicians, but Sharon’s beautiful singing is featured prominently throughout, sometimes in duet with Craig, who himself alternates between his main instrument of guitar and the piano. The overriding feel is of 19th Century Romanticism, but this does not tell the whole story as elements of Cardiacs and other influences drop in and out serenely to produce an intriguing sound that is all its own, the idiosyncrasies of James Larcombe’s unorthodox keyboard lines adding an abstract quality.

From the opening Hole in the Sky, where Craig’s guitar duets with cellist Harry Escott, into The Wound with Sharon’s voice entering for the first time, singing Thomas Hardy’s words from the pulpit above the players, the set progresses through a variety of instrumental combinations, including the woodwind introduction to the more rhythmic Berliner Luft which segued into The Earth Beneath Our Feet via Morpheus Drone, with local guest violinist Naomi Thomas taking the lead, the rousing sound of the whole ensemble playing together making for a completely absorbing performance, immaculately delivered and magnificently refreshing. Each musician had the opportunity to shine but within the group setting rather than solo, and this gave the evening a warmth and wholeness, all of the contributions clear within the inspiring arrangements. Above it all, Sharon Fortnam is a thing of wonder, the settings favouring the unusual facets of her strong and clear voice, delivering the words to glorious effect.



The shifting textures of Dronne‘s Vishnu Schist was a highlight, as was Alsace Lorraine which ended the first set, separated by a captivating reading of the hymn When Floods the Tempest High, which had been requested by Craig’s father, who was present.

The sound and view was spot on from anywhere in the hall. We stayed downstairs for the first half, moving up to the balcony during the interval where about 15 of us sat for the second set, with plenty of space to move around for different vantage points, the music rising beautifully to the upper level. This set began with the woodwinds getting a solo introductory piece, Luke Crookes’ bassoon and Nicola Baigent’s clarinet complementing each other to fine effect. The music ebbs and flows, rises and falls and is completely captivating throughout, Sharon and Craig (at the piano) dueting on a brittle When Things Fall Apart. After two pieces from the Birds album, Morpheus Miracle Maker is another wonderful showcase for Sharon that builds into a sweeping ensemble, woodwinds leading into strings and a marvellously enigmatic second half. Not of any genre specifically, just gorgeous.

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Kingstanding is a wistful piece, guitar and organ setting a pastoral scene that easily brings the English countryside to mind, before a more strident Heavy Weather ends the set to rapturous applause. It’s been a great set showing all of the intricacies of NSRO’s repertoire, and with Craig intimating that there is no need for the faffing about of leaving the stage only to be called back for more, positions are re-taken for the encore of a majestic Personent Hodie from Birds, underlining Craig’s Renaissance influences from the works of John Dowland and others, and finally an uplifting He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven sends everyone home on a cloud.



A haunting and otherworldly experience throughout. Craig introduced some of the pieces, others merging into the next and throughout the audience was rapt and silent. I found myself being drawn into the music and fully absorbed in a way that doesn’t happen very often these days. At one point I noticed a tear rolling down my cheek, must have been something in my eye…

At the end I felt more relaxed than I have in ages, uplifted and cleansed. This was a very special performance of organic music performed in a space that was designed for just that purpose, and if you get the opportunity I urge you to catch one of NSRO’s sporadic live performances, the next being a matinee show with the inestimable Mr. William D. Drake supporting, in London in November.

Hope in the Sky
(drone improv in D into…)
The Wound
Berliner Luft – Morpheus Drone – The Earth Beneath Our Feet
Vishnu Schist
When Floods the Tempest High
Alsace Lorraine
~ Interval
‘Intro’ (woodwind)
When Things Fall Apart
A Poison Tree
Morpheus Miracle Maker
Heavy Weather
~ Encore:
Personent Hodie
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven

Craig Fortnam – Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Sharron Fortnam – Vocals, Drum
Harry Escott – Cello
James Larcombe – Phillicorda Organ, Jen Monosynth, Piano
Naomi Thomas – Violin
Luke Crookes – Bassoon
Nicola Baigent – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet

NSRO – Website | Facebook

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Möbius Strip are a young Italian band who come from small towns in the Lazio and Abruzzo areas, they are all in their early twenties but on this debut appear to show considerable maturity. The band states that they got their inspiration from the object from which they took their name; a möbius strip geometrically connects the two sides of the same surface by starting a path on one of them. This then became the purpose of the band, to combine different styles and influences to make a whole sound. They have crossed a number of genres but have created a sound which is still firmly rooted in jazz.

The six tracks presented here have all been written by keyboardist Lorenzo Cellupica, with the entire band contributing to the arrangements. What they have produced is a selection of carefully crafted songs with some excellent arrangements, which gives each instrument the room to excel, but all the while interlocking carefully with each other. There is no guitar used here, but that is not immediately obvious, such is the standard of the playing. The piano and keyboards from Lorenzo and the wonderful saxophone of Nico Fabrizi take the lead alternately, supported by some great drum work from Davide Rufo, ranging from subtle to more forceful and matched by Eros Capoccitti’s marvellous bass lines. The rhythm section provides the drive and energy allowing the keys and sax to fold around each other.

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Things kick off with Bloo, a gentle start creating a piano-led groove before we get to an easy saxophone, getting a little more frenetic as it gives way to keyboards and then return to sax. All of this is supported by the rhythm section to push it to the end. The bright piano of Déjà Vu alternates the lead with the sax to create some melodic passages. This upbeat, almost feel good vibe continues throughout the remaining tracks; on Andalusia the playful keyboards give an Iberian feel to the start and throughout, the shortest track Call It A Day at just under three minutes has a lovely gentle feel provided by the piano and supported by some great bass work. The title track has a lovely drive provided by the rhythm section, this song having the jazziest feel of the album, Eros providing us with a wonderful bass solo.

This is a beautifully paced album, and at forty-five minutes long does not outstay its welcome, leaving you with a satisfied feeling and wanting to hit repeat. The tracks can be accessed individually without spoiling the enjoyment, but equally work well as one straight listen from the beginning. A very good debut album with an upbeat feel, played with great energy and providing some nice gently melodic grooves.

01. Bloo (9:38)
02. Déjà Vu (8:25)
03. First Impressions (7:49)
04. Call It A Day (2:44)
05. Andalusia (8:21)
06. Möbius Strip (8:48)

Total Time – 45:45

Lorenzo Cellupica – Keyboards
Nico Fabrizi – Saxophones & Flute
Eros Capoccitti – Electric Bass
Davide Rufo – Drums

Record Label: Musea Records
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 27th March 2017

Möbius Strip – Facebook | Bandcamp


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This week on Prog-Watch: another great show of mostly new stuff! We’ll hear from The Tangent, How Far To Hitchin’, Big Big Train, Cosmograf, Nad Sylvan, Karmamoi, Aisles, and Karibow! Plus, our friend and resident reviewer, Dr. Rob Fisher, will take us on another trip of Progressive Discovery with the intense new solo album by Bjørn Riis, of the Norwegian band Airbag!

438: (Almost) ALL NEW Variety