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All posts for the month January, 2018

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-kreutzer-sonata-interview/
The Kreutzer Sonata

February 14 marks the release of a new album from Chicago hardcore punk four-piece The Kreutzer Sonata entitled ‘The Gutters of Paradise,’ out via Don’t Panic/Collision Course/No Time Records. The band has launched two singles off of the album, available now for pre-order via their Bandcamp. In a new interview for Prog Sphere, they give us an insight to the new album, influences, and future plans.

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Describe the musical vision propelling your upcoming album The Gutters of Paradise.

With The Gutters of Paradise, more so than a unified vision, there were themes that popped up through random batches of song writing, that ended up being strung together as one work commenting on the social and political state of the world and its affect on our microcosm of living and working in the city of Chicago. With the instrumentation it seems we have always maintained a growing vision of fast paced high energy punk music taking influence from old school street punk and hardcore, while bringing a modern guitar sound into the mix. Karl and Adam have been writing together from the start in 2011 and have always focused on trying to write guitar riffs, songs and lyrics unique to their own lives. We wanted to write hardcore punk albums that strayed away from the cookie cutters while still being catchy. And we wanted to take the personal effect of old rock and folk music story telling through music but onto the hardcore stage. This ended up with the group of songs that we dubbed The Gutters of Paradise.

What made it the right time to pursue that vision?

In early 2016 the band was at a crossroads. Long time members Kat (Bass) and Skyler (Drums) had departed the band for various reasons and we ended up meeting up with Jack (current bass player) and Logan (current drummer). Instead of dwelling on the old material, we took time off to write and learn the 15 tracks that would make up The Gutters of Paradise. On October 28th, 2016 we played our first show with the new lineup, opening up for Total Chaos and One Way System in Lombard, IL with local punks, The Horrids. That show kicked off a year of multiple tours and out of state bouts, opening up for World/Inferno Friendship Society, recording the tracks at Atlas Studios in Chicago and hooking up with Don’t Panic Records and subsequently No Time and Collision Course Records for this Vinyl/CS release. I guess you could say it happened organically once we found the right people.

The Gutters of Paradise

Tell me about what you’re communicating with the album cover.

The Gutters of Paradise itself can come across as an oxymoron. Why would a paradise have its gutters? It insinuates things are not as they seem. The hyena has always been an interesting animal to us as it is equally misrepresented and misunderstood. There is a duality to the animal. Often viewed as evil and associated with witches and cowardice and in the same time living in a chaotic society where the female of the species are more courageous and tougher than the males and adorn false phallus that have confused humans for years. In reality an animal is an animal and the symbolism humans give natural bodies are just ways of explaining the world to themselves. The world will always have a balance of good and evil and people’s interpretations of that will always vary. Paradise will have its gutters and often people or animals viewed as filth (punks included) are cast aside in society despite their merit. Thus, the misrepresented Hyena, and the name The Gutters of Paradise. It also works as a little jab to people blindly believing in the greatness of modern America when most of the nation is currently living poorly. This theme is definitely discussed in the second to last track “Old Glory.”

What was the creative process for The Gutters of Paradise like?

Usually Karl and Adam will come up with an individual song and record a quick scratch track of it on a computer program. If Karl doesn’t have any bits of lyrics, the song is sent to Adam to listen to for a bit and come up with lyrics. The songs usually sit in files on our computers for months and sometimes over a year before they are brought to Jack and Logan and learned as a band. There edits are made to give the song better flow, style and hooks. We mess around with the vocal and backing vocal styles and then start on a few months of practicing and adding songs to learn each week. Once we had enough rough demo files added up we picked and chose what tracks would make the cut to record the full length and sat on the rest. Some songs just get thrown in the trash forever, and some of the songs on the album are revisited from years before.

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Speaking of the album’s creative process, provide some insight into it. How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Karl has some garage band type program on his home computer, and we record basic guitar and bass (no vocals) then add in a bare-bones computerized drum track and send it out to the rest of the band to mull over and decide if it works for us. Once we introduce songs into the live performance we like to film our gigs with some cheap camera equipment, often VHS, but we have moved on to go pro. Adam and Karl often go over the image like a sports team would a athletic reel and see what we wanna change about the songs going into the next slew of gigs.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

The dynamic flow definitely develops over time. Usually whoever composes the music will have a vague idea of dynamics and song structure open to changes when they are actually practiced. Once we get to real instruments and a live practice flow, the energy and vibe of the song usually changes to sound more natural and aggressive and we start to get ideas of the sound and structure that should be upheld.

Which bands or artists influence your work?

In The Kreutzer Sonata we all have a varying range of influences. Logan our drummer listens to a lot of mathy, intricate and rhythmic obscure punk bands, definitely some more lo fi stuff than our sound. In the van on tour we usually get more of a taste of Logan‘s musical style on the long rides.

Karl is a great example of our range of influences because you can find him rocking A Global Threat and Morning Glory but then in his downtime at work recording motown and Elliot Smith style covers on his guitar.

Jack is a huge World/Inferno Friendship Society fan with probably the worlds largest collection of T-shirts of said band, and also listens to metal bands like Ghost as well as hardcore punk. I’d say our biggest similar influence through out the band is A Global Threat.

Adam listens to 80′s/90′s hardcore and street punk mostly. He is a big Monster Squad and Unseen fan, but at the same time can be found listening to Tom Waitts and The Pogues for inspiration.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

The reason a lot of us got into punk and hardcore as kids was because for people truly into the genres the music always serves a purpose intertwined with a lifestyle, attitude, community and sub culture. The message of punk has always been important to all of us, and instead of regurgitating a lot of the old stale punk slogans and lines, we strive as a band to add our lives to the general message and inspiration of punk while staying true to our roots with the music. Playing music is enchanting to a lot of young people because you see the opportunity to have a voice and inspire and get your views across, and that stays with us today. So ideally somewhere, someone if at least one person would listen to The Gutters of Paradise and find some sort of hope, motivation or inspiration.

What are your future plans?

We are already at work on some new songs believe it or not. We are also trying to make some more videos of The Gutters of Paradise tracks to put online, and hit the road a little bit for some weekend runs. We are going to do a release show for the vinyl in Chicago in March with label mates and friends in Bombflower, who play a really dark reggae and political ska punk sound. At this point we are just trying to hit the ground running and never stop.

The Gutters of Paradise is out on February 14th; pre-order it from Bandcamp. Follow The Kreutzer Sonata on Facebook and Instagram, and visit their official website for more info.

Progressive Tracks Show #246 (Music On My Mind), originally broadcast on Friday, January 26, 2018, is now available to download or listen to anytime you desire.

This week’s show features some of the music that has been going through my head recently… along with some serendipitous tracks that appeared just in time to fit in the show.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  C’mon… has there ever been such a Progressive Tracks Show?    ;o)

PLAYLIST:

  • Rez Abbasi & Junction – “Holy Butter” from Behind the Vibration on Cuneiform Records
  • Crowey – “Spurious Lucidity” from Crowey on Crowey Music
  • Major Parkinson – “Munchausen By Proxy” from Munchausen By Proxy – Single on Degaton Records
  • Thank You Scientist – “Mr. Invisible” from Stranger Heads Prevail on Evil Ink
  • CIRKU5 – “The Chosen One: Transfiguration” from CIRKU5 on ST Productions
  • Tool – “The Grudge” from Lateralus on Volcano
  • Crowey – “Horizon Fire” from Crowey on Crowey Music
  • Dwiki Dharmawan – “Spirit of Peace” from Pasar Klewer on MoonJune Records
  • miRthkon – “Zhagunk” from The Illusion Of Joy on OMUA
  • We Stood Like Kings – “Machines” from USA 1982 on Kapitan Platte
  • Brand X – “Malaga Virgen” from Nuclear Burn: The Charisma Albums 1976-1980 on Virgin Records
  • Thank You Scientist – “My Famed Disappearing Act” from Maps of Non-Existent Places on Evil Ink Records

If you have comments (always welcome), or suggestions for show topics/music, feel free to contact me anytime via email:  ProgTracks@KPTZ.org

But first… enjoy the show!

Mike “ProgTracks” Pollack

Audio Player

Fractal Mirror – Close To Vapour

Scarlet INside – EGress

Kino – Losers’ Day Parade

Zombie Picnic – Democracy Cannot Survive

The Flower Kings – The Flower King (1998 version)

Roine Stolt – Scanning The Greenhouse

Mike & The Mechanics – Nobody’s Perfect

Karfagen – Volcano Rabbit and the Frog

Kazumi Watanabe – The Sidewinder

Kiyomi Otaka – Brainweather

Gungfly – In This House

Servants of Science – Kaleidoscope

 

 

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/01/29/pixie-ninja-ultrasound/

The flow of great music coming out of Norway continues with this excellent debut release from Pixie Ninja, who hail from Rognan in the north of the country. OK, let’s deal with the name first; it is a strange but interesting one, a pixie defined as a supernatural being in folklore, a ninja is a warrior or assassin trained in stealth. Not two words you would expect to find together, but who knows what lurks in those dark Norwegian forests.

Ultrasound is a result of Jostein Haugen and Marius Leirånes’ love of Scandinavian progressive music, beginning work around late May 2015, the recording process began the following year, with the duo playing most instruments themselves. They decided to contact Mattias Olsson (Necromonkey, ex Änglagård) who joined, mainly as the producer but also contributed drums and overdubs of Mellotron. Later Johan Hals Jørgensen came on board to provide keyboard support, the album also featuring Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (Weserbergland, White Willow, Wobbler) who adds flute to one track. This was originally only intended as an album project, but they have since been asked to perform live, so Jostein, Marius and Johan added drummer Geir Martin Langvad to fulfil some dates.

The album consists of six tracks ranging from two and a half minutes to over eleven, all instrumental with an electronic and sometimes ambient feel, but with a darker edge to some of the songs. Opener Auditory Hallucinations has an ambient start with the keyboards building up the theme, but in the background there is faint tinkling, chiming sounds, which don’t detract but you gradually become aware that they are there. This effect could be seen as attempting to demonstrate the unsettling condition of the title; who knows, but that’s my view. Things change half way through and the song develops more drive towards the end.

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The album’s longest track, Personal Development Cult, starts with almost a King Crimson feel before things change and soften, at around four and a half minutes the bass taking on a throbbing, darker feel. This darker effect is taken up by the keyboards as the song picks up pace, developing a harder edge before building to a near symphonic finish which suddenly changes to a lone keyboard ending. The song is seamless in its movement through its various moods and parts, an excellently constructed song worthy of its eleven minutes running time.

Elusive The Wind Vane features Ketil Vestrum Einarsen’s flute contribution, at times his wonderful playing a counterpoint to the music but it works so well. Une Promenade is a beautiful piano-led piece provided by Johan, who also features on Polysomnographic; here we have a sci-fi feel to the music, provided by the keyboards pulsing with increased frequency before the drums join in. Again the music moves seamlessly through its various stages, providing an enjoyable listen.

Overall this is an excellent debut, there is directness to the music on first listen but repeated plays reveal hidden depths and textures, and it becomes clear that a lot of care and attention has gone into creating this work. It would be great to see this album played live, but alas living in the U.K. that isn’t likely to happen.

TRACK LISTING
1. Auditory Hallucinations (9:13)
2. Elusive The Wind Vane (6:45)
3. Une Promenade (2:37)
4. Polysomnographic (5:30)
5. Personal Improvement Cult (11:20)
6. Ultrasound (2:56)

Total Time – 38:21

MUSICIANS
Marius Leirånes – All Instruments
Jostein Haugen – All Instruments
Johan Hals Jørgensen – Keyboards (tracks 3,4 & 5)
Mattius Olssen – Drums & Overdubs (mainly Mellotron)
Ketil Vestrum Einarsen – Flute (track 2)

Current Live Line-up:
Marius Leirånes – Bass
Jostein Haugen – Guitar
Johan Hals Jorgensen – Synth
Gair Martin Langvad – Drums

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Apollon Records
Catalogue#: ARP006
Formats: CD, Vinyl, Digital Download
Country of Origin: Norway
Date of Release: 23rd June 2017

LINKS
Pixie Ninja – Facebook | Bandcamp

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Edition 91 of THE PROG MILL – originally broadcast on Progzilla Radio on 28th January, is now available to listen to anytime or download.

This weeks playlist

1 PFM – The Lesson (Emotional Tattoos)
2 Kayak – Cracks (Seventeen)
3 Bla Lotus – Omnistellar Firefly (Tube Alloys)
4 Xavier Asali – Brothers in Arms (Perspectives)
5 The Forty Days – Restart (The Colour of Change)
6 Marco De Angelis – Back Again (Next Station)
7 The Scarlet INside – See How She Moves (The Room of Mundane THings)
8 Red Bazar – Calling Her On (Tales from the Book Case)
9 I Am The Manic Whale – The Milgram Experiment (Gathering The Waters)
10 Johnny Harris feat Yes – All To Bring You Morning (All To Bring You Morning)
11 Beardfish – Comfort Zone (+4646 Comfortzone)
12 The Osmonds – War in Heaven/Traffic in My Mind (The Plan)
13 Sproingg – Sugar Wax Nail Face – Live in Freiburg

You can hear The Prog Mill at these times on Progzilla Radio – www.progzilla.com and via the tune in radio app plus all major internet radio platforms:

Sundays 10pm-Midnight UK (2200UTC) – MAIN BROADCAST
Tuesdays 3-5am UK (0300 UTC) for North America (7pm Mon Pacific, 10pm Mon Eastern)
Tuesdays 11pm-1am UK (2300n UTC)
Saturdays 6-8pm UK (1800 UTC) – Family friendly teatime repeat.

Your melodic/symphonic progressive rock suggestions or music submissions for the show are very welcome. email shaun@progzilla.com or message via facebook.com/theprogmill or twitter @shaunontheair

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/terraterra-interview/
TerraTerra

TerraTerra is a one-man band from Russia founded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Ayli K., who has been working past four years on what’s become the project self-titled debut album, launched on January 10th. Described as a “piece of loneliness and melancholy,” TerraTerra brings out “cold and gloomy music, filled with despair and desperation” on an eight-track instrumental release.

Define the mission of TerraTerra.

My only mission is to express the visions and emotions, which I find touching and important to capture. I believe that every piece of art exists for that reason. Aristotle deemed that art exists to help people get to catharsis. It’s possible only with true emotions captured within the work. That’s what I’m trying to do. Hope, successfully.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your self-titled debut album.

The only thing I can tell – it was hard. Of course, it must be like that, when you do everything yourself, from the first recorded note to the final render.

Although it’s an instrumental release, is there a message you are trying to give with “TerraTerra”?

It’s storytelling in a certain sense. I imagined the story of the only survivor in the post-apocalyptic world. His loneliness, thoughts, and everyday life. How he wakes up in the morning, goes out to get supplies, gets sick, goes to sleep every night and maybe cries remembering some lovely faces and better times, when he was actually living – not surviving every single day, being helpless and too scared to end his own life in this suffering.

TerraTerra - TerraTerra

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I tried to record everything right away. “Here and now” thing works best for me. Spontaneity makes music more free and powerful, I think. Of course, sometimes I had an idea before sitting down with my guitar. But those times I already had an image of how to play this.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

My music is very cyclical as you can hear. I love looped riffs and parts, putting new layers on, which makes original riff sound little different. It was always interesting for me to have even one-note riff and then put clean or distorted leads upon it to add more colors. It feels like real-time mutation of the song. It’s changing right now, while you’re listening to it. Wherein, I like unexpected things, like suddenly disappearing drums, changing key or making a little bridge sounding surprisingly hopeful in pretty dark track like “Still”. Of course, in every track I try to surprise the listener at least once. I want my songs to feel alive, breathing and constantly moving.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

I just let it flow right from under my hands and fingers. Most of the times I didn’t even know what it was going to be. But when I felt the music start to go continuously, it became easy to put the pieces together and actually hear the next step in my head. So, most of the tracks were recorded pretty fast, though the period between making one and another could take even few months.

How long “TerraTerra” was in the making?

I worked on music for two years and then it took a year or more to make a sound. Why so long? Well, I didn’t have a certain plan and vision of what I should have in the end. Only impulsive desire to make it. So, I decided to work until I hear it sound right. I mean, when the sound gets the right character and emotion. At a certain moment it felt like my brainchild began to talk and explain what it wanted to be, and I just tried to follow. I understood that I was making not just a new album of a band somebody knows of – it was the album, which presents the new band. That’s why I took my time with no hurries and finished it the way I thought it should be.

[embedded content]

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I can’t name specific bands or artists which inspired or influenced me. I’d rather say that there are different kinds of music I tried to combine in my work. It’s industrial, modern, progressive, black, post-metal and post-rock.

What is your view on technology in music?

I thought about it while making my album. Some people say that technology kills soul but I disagree with that. You see, after every kind of music such as electronic or rock – there’s always a human being who takes something from their heart to put it in front of people. And I can surely say that without technology I wouldn’t be able to make my album the way I did it. I’d have to spend hours and hours in studio, pay lots of money and then do it again if something went wrong. But instead of this I can just play guitar in my home, take my time if I need it with nobody interrupting me. I can dig deeper into myself and find something more to say musically and make something on impulse. To me it’s very important to have such a chance.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I believe in the “art for art” concept. My music comes to the world just to stay and be heard. I agree with the idea of autonomous value of everything that’s created, though I might not like some things. If someone made something it means that there’s a place in the universe for this.

What are your plans for the future?

To make a lot more new records. I’m already working on the second album by the way. And I can tell you that it’s going to be different from the first one – way more dark and heavy.

TerraTerra is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow the project on Facebook for more info and news.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/terraterra-interview/
TerraTerra

TerraTerra is a one-man band from Russia founded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Ayli K., who has been working past four years on what’s become the project self-titled debut album, launched on January 10th. Described as a “piece of loneliness and melancholy,” TerraTerra brings out “cold and gloomy music, filled with despair and desperation” on an eight-track instrumental release.

Define the mission of TerraTerra.

My only mission is to express the visions and emotions, which I find touching and important to capture. I believe that every piece of art exists for that reason. Aristotle deemed that art exists to help people get to catharsis. It’s possible only with true emotions captured within the work. That’s what I’m trying to do. Hope, successfully.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your self-titled debut album.

The only thing I can tell – it was hard. Of course, it must be like that, when you do everything yourself, from the first recorded note to the final render.

Although it’s an instrumental release, is there a message you are trying to give with “TerraTerra”?

It’s storytelling in a certain sense. I imagined the story of the only survivor in the post-apocalyptic world. His loneliness, thoughts, and everyday life. How he wakes up in the morning, goes out to get supplies, gets sick, goes to sleep every night and maybe cries remembering some lovely faces and better times, when he was actually living – not surviving every single day, being helpless and too scared to end his own life in this suffering.

TerraTerra - TerraTerra

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I tried to record everything right away. “Here and now” thing works best for me. Spontaneity makes music more free and powerful, I think. Of course, sometimes I had an idea before sitting down with my guitar. But those times I already had an image of how to play this.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

My music is very cyclical as you can hear. I love looped riffs and parts, putting new layers on, which makes original riff sound little different. It was always interesting for me to have even one-note riff and then put clean or distorted leads upon it to add more colors. It feels like real-time mutation of the song. It’s changing right now, while you’re listening to it. Wherein, I like unexpected things, like suddenly disappearing drums, changing key or making a little bridge sounding surprisingly hopeful in pretty dark track like “Still”. Of course, in every track I try to surprise the listener at least once. I want my songs to feel alive, breathing and constantly moving.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

I just let it flow right from under my hands and fingers. Most of the times I didn’t even know what it was going to be. But when I felt the music start to go continuously, it became easy to put the pieces together and actually hear the next step in my head. So, most of the tracks were recorded pretty fast, though the period between making one and another could take even few months.

How long “TerraTerra” was in the making?

I worked on music for two years and then it took a year or more to make a sound. Why so long? Well, I didn’t have a certain plan and vision of what I should have in the end. Only impulsive desire to make it. So, I decided to work until I hear it sound right. I mean, when the sound gets the right character and emotion. At a certain moment it felt like my brainchild began to talk and explain what it wanted to be, and I just tried to follow. I understood that I was making not just a new album of a band somebody knows of – it was the album, which presents the new band. That’s why I took my time with no hurries and finished it the way I thought it should be.

[embedded content]

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I can’t name specific bands or artists which inspired or influenced me. I’d rather say that there are different kinds of music I tried to combine in my work. It’s industrial, modern, progressive, black, post-metal and post-rock.

What is your view on technology in music?

I thought about it while making my album. Some people say that technology kills soul but I disagree with that. You see, after every kind of music such as electronic or rock – there’s always a human being who takes something from their heart to put it in front of people. And I can surely say that without technology I wouldn’t be able to make my album the way I did it. I’d have to spend hours and hours in studio, pay lots of money and then do it again if something went wrong. But instead of this I can just play guitar in my home, take my time if I need it with nobody interrupting me. I can dig deeper into myself and find something more to say musically and make something on impulse. To me it’s very important to have such a chance.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I believe in the “art for art” concept. My music comes to the world just to stay and be heard. I agree with the idea of autonomous value of everything that’s created, though I might not like some things. If someone made something it means that there’s a place in the universe for this.

What are your plans for the future?

To make a lot more new records. I’m already working on the second album by the way. And I can tell you that it’s going to be different from the first one – way more dark and heavy.

TerraTerra is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow the project on Facebook for more info and news.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/al-kryszak-interview/
Al Kryszak

Al Kryszak from Buffalo, New York has been composing music for theatre and film for over 25 years, but the composer has still managed to manage a solo career releasing music that’s personal and relevant. His new solo album is titled ‘Soft Clowns of the Sea,’ and is scheduled for the February 2nd release. In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Kryszak talks about the upcoming album, the circumstances that inspired it, and more.

Describe the musical vision propelling your upcoming album Soft Clowns of the Sea.

Soft Clowns… is a guitar instrumental and song collection dealing with the current ‘human climate change’ in America. The baritone electric, fretless bass & acoustic guitar tracks chronicle a father calming his son as they drift off in the night sea, from a destroyed past to a future as permanent foreigners. When something stirs in night water, he jokes to his kid that it’s just “clowns in the sea”, to keep him quiet.

What made it the right time to pursue that vision?

Soft Clowns… was born in the first month of Trump on America. “Time Without Guilt” (first-written but last track) was written after a friend in NY City was harassed by ICE Police on the way to her job, pushed against a wall because she was “not quite white” as the song goes. I directed a documentary this year: “Who Made You In America”, and one stop was the “Immigration Holding Center” on the Boston docks, where Italians were held in the mid-1800’s due to their assumed danger to America. I thought of any refugee coming to America & the convenience of time: OK if you’re Irish, German, English or Polish like me, but we draw the line because some frightened white boys emerged like tapeworms from Right Wing internet holes, to find shelter & power in the Oval Office.

Al Kryszak - Soft Clowns of the Sea

Tell me about what you’re communicating with the album cover.

As an artist, I usually do my own design to keep it close to the music, but this time, I told my youngest son, Neil, that I fired the art director (me) because I’m tired of his recent work. So Neil, an internationally acclaimed photographer, sent 7 incredible night shots from the Pacific Ocean: exposed for long periods because he was looking at nothing but blackness. I saw these images as a universal shoreline and knew it provided a perfect allegory to the universal time frame: a refugee of any era, from any shore.

What was the creative process for Soft Clowns of the Sea like?

It was a very focused solo album, & liberating at the same time. The first record produced completely in my Down East Maine studio.

I recorded Mike Brydalski from our Buffalo band, REV, months earlier… just sketches of songs played for him on my Danelectro baritone guitar: hardly finished thoughts. And he somehow predicted future dynamics & changes & played great drum tracks on thin air for me to take back to Maine. Then, I played dozens of takes of baritone, acoustic guitar, fretless bass, piano & organ. After I finished the lead vocals, Maine folk legends Duane Ingalls & Stephen Copel contributed harmonies, so it’s all performable live.

My dog sat there, and I gave her ‘quieter bones’ to chew on, and my wife Joyce, an awesome songwriter, singer & writer, provided merciless yet invaluable critiques of the weaker vocal takes.

Speaking of the album’s creative process, provide some insight into it. How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

As I wrote the songs, I would just pull the car over in Coastal Maine, and yell something or play a beat into the iPhone. Despite being a guitar player & ‘singer’, playing the beat on the steering wheel established the feel of some songs.  As far as documenting the process, I got a lot of exercise running up & down the stairs to my car’s CD player, to double-check the drums, especially kick, & make sure it showed up for the fight.

The upright electric fretless bass kept me honest, setting aside pick technique & getting even closer to the strings & neck board in songs like “Sometimes No Sound”. The FX on “Soft Clowns…” are real, right through the wintertime window pane. The wind howled on February mornings & the frogs (peepers) went nuts on March nights, so I gave up & just let them all be in the recording. (The first track starts with frogs.  “Sun In My Eyes” has constant wind through the mic).

Al Kryszak (Photo by John Guinane)

Al Kryszak (Photo by John Guinane)

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected? 

The songs with lyrics are like pillars, suspended by the instrumental tracks. Like everyone else, I guess you use your instincts to shape the order & pace of songs. Growing up on Prog & double albums, I finally sequenced the songs to set the listener off from an immigrant’s shoreline (instrumental) to the final landing song: “Time Without Guilt” (a hit on trump’s use of ICE as a secret police force supporting his personality disorder). I directed an accompanying video for the track, compositing archival government footage from the last US Civil Rights crisis.

As an album freak, used to the 2-sided format, the first half of the CD descends in tempo & pitch, sinking from an aggressive acoustic funk down to the lowest depths of baritone electric guitar blues. The second half gradually rises in intensity as you get frighteningly closer to your goal, then it blows out on Track 18 with a drum & baritone guitar ‘duel’.

Which bands or artists influence your work?

I have been devouring the Prog bands I grew up on as a 1970’s aspiring guitarist. Steve Hackett and Pete Townshend took me from guitarist to composer, where I followed the trail into experimental concert and film music for Turner Classic Movies, KINO & Lincoln Center. Neil Young and John Lennon taught me to say absolutely anything you sincerely believe, and Floyd, Crimson and Genesis illuminated ways to take listeners on a transformational voyage with nothing but headphones for the trip.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I hope it means something to someone, but I’ve been writing in a void for so long that I couldn’t say for sure. Some of my older songs like “Lost Girls of Juarez” try to represent people without a voice. “Sun In Your Eyes” from the new CD, and other tracks, reference God, not the god of porn star-hiding, teenage mall-chasing, white supreme-cysts, but the other one.

What are your future plans?

A Work for Guitar & Orchestra and performing the new release. And thank you for supporting independent artists and looking for Prog in the present tense.

Soft Clowns of the Sea is out this Friday, February 2nd. For more information visit Al Kryszak official website.

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/al-kryszak-interview/
Al Kryszak

Al Kryszak from Buffalo, New York has been composing music for theatre and film for over 25 years, but the composer has still managed to manage a solo career releasing music that’s personal and relevant. His new solo album is titled ‘Soft Clowns of the Sea,’ and is scheduled for the February 2nd release. In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Kryszak talks about the upcoming album, the circumstances that inspired it, and more.

Describe the musical vision propelling your upcoming album Soft Clowns of the Sea.

Soft Clowns… is a guitar instrumental and song collection dealing with the current ‘human climate change’ in America. The baritone electric, fretless bass & acoustic guitar tracks chronicle a father calming his son as they drift off in the night sea, from a destroyed past to a future as permanent foreigners. When something stirs in night water, he jokes to his kid that it’s just “clowns in the sea”, to keep him quiet.

What made it the right time to pursue that vision?

Soft Clowns… was born in the first month of Trump on America. “Time Without Guilt” (first-written but last track) was written after a friend in NY City was harassed by ICE Police on the way to her job, pushed against a wall because she was “not quite white” as the song goes. I directed a documentary this year: “Who Made You In America”, and one stop was the “Immigration Holding Center” on the Boston docks, where Italians were held in the mid-1800’s due to their assumed danger to America. I thought of any refugee coming to America & the convenience of time: OK if you’re Irish, German, English or Polish like me, but we draw the line because some frightened white boys emerged like tapeworms from Right Wing internet holes, to find shelter & power in the Oval Office.

Al Kryszak - Soft Clowns of the Sea

Tell me about what you’re communicating with the album cover.

As an artist, I usually do my own design to keep it close to the music, but this time, I told my youngest son, Neil, that I fired the art director (me) because I’m tired of his recent work. So Neil, an internationally acclaimed photographer, sent 7 incredible night shots from the Pacific Ocean: exposed for long periods because he was looking at nothing but blackness. I saw these images as a universal shoreline and knew it provided a perfect allegory to the universal time frame: a refugee of any era, from any shore.

What was the creative process for Soft Clowns of the Sea like?

It was a very focused solo album, & liberating at the same time. The first record produced completely in my Down East Maine studio.

I recorded Mike Brydalski from our Buffalo band, REV, months earlier… just sketches of songs played for him on my Danelectro baritone guitar: hardly finished thoughts. And he somehow predicted future dynamics & changes & played great drum tracks on thin air for me to take back to Maine. Then, I played dozens of takes of baritone, acoustic guitar, fretless bass, piano & organ. After I finished the lead vocals, Maine folk legends Duane Ingalls & Stephen Copel contributed harmonies, so it’s all performable live.

My dog sat there, and I gave her ‘quieter bones’ to chew on, and my wife Joyce, an awesome songwriter, singer & writer, provided merciless yet invaluable critiques of the weaker vocal takes.

Speaking of the album’s creative process, provide some insight into it. How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

As I wrote the songs, I would just pull the car over in Coastal Maine, and yell something or play a beat into the iPhone. Despite being a guitar player & ‘singer’, playing the beat on the steering wheel established the feel of some songs.  As far as documenting the process, I got a lot of exercise running up & down the stairs to my car’s CD player, to double-check the drums, especially kick, & make sure it showed up for the fight.

The upright electric fretless bass kept me honest, setting aside pick technique & getting even closer to the strings & neck board in songs like “Sometimes No Sound”. The FX on “Soft Clowns…” are real, right through the wintertime window pane. The wind howled on February mornings & the frogs (peepers) went nuts on March nights, so I gave up & just let them all be in the recording. (The first track starts with frogs.  “Sun In My Eyes” has constant wind through the mic).

Al Kryszak (Photo by John Guinane)

Al Kryszak (Photo by John Guinane)

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected? 

The songs with lyrics are like pillars, suspended by the instrumental tracks. Like everyone else, I guess you use your instincts to shape the order & pace of songs. Growing up on Prog & double albums, I finally sequenced the songs to set the listener off from an immigrant’s shoreline (instrumental) to the final landing song: “Time Without Guilt” (a hit on trump’s use of ICE as a secret police force supporting his personality disorder). I directed an accompanying video for the track, compositing archival government footage from the last US Civil Rights crisis.

As an album freak, used to the 2-sided format, the first half of the CD descends in tempo & pitch, sinking from an aggressive acoustic funk down to the lowest depths of baritone electric guitar blues. The second half gradually rises in intensity as you get frighteningly closer to your goal, then it blows out on Track 18 with a drum & baritone guitar ‘duel’.

Which bands or artists influence your work?

I have been devouring the Prog bands I grew up on as a 1970’s aspiring guitarist. Steve Hackett and Pete Townshend took me from guitarist to composer, where I followed the trail into experimental concert and film music for Turner Classic Movies, KINO & Lincoln Center. Neil Young and John Lennon taught me to say absolutely anything you sincerely believe, and Floyd, Crimson and Genesis illuminated ways to take listeners on a transformational voyage with nothing but headphones for the trip.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I hope it means something to someone, but I’ve been writing in a void for so long that I couldn’t say for sure. Some of my older songs like “Lost Girls of Juarez” try to represent people without a voice. “Sun In Your Eyes” from the new CD, and other tracks, reference God, not the god of porn star-hiding, teenage mall-chasing, white supreme-cysts, but the other one.

What are your future plans?

A Work for Guitar & Orchestra and performing the new release. And thank you for supporting independent artists and looking for Prog in the present tense.

Soft Clowns of the Sea is out this Friday, February 2nd. For more information visit Al Kryszak official website.

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This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/puzzlewood-gates-of-loki-review/
PuzzleWood - Gates of Loki

This is my first dose of PuzzleWood’s debut album Gates of Loki, but sometimes one dose is all it takes to become a junkie. This is an example of one of those times.

Upon listening to the second song on the album, “Remember My Bame” which follows after the intro aptly titled “Intro (Gates of Loki),” I knew that there is something exceptional about this Russian art rock trio. They are comparable with their quality sound that combines alternative and artsy progressive rock with plethora of ethnic motives.

On Gates of Loki, PuzzleWood has mastered the art of transcendence as they intoxicate the listener with the deep, dark beauty of their music. The soothing vocals are complimented by remarkably graceful musicianship. Everything is in order here.  It is difficult to single out a particular favorite as all the tracks flow easily into one another. The songs all have the same general pace, including “Come Back Home,” which comes across as more depressing than aggressive.

Puzzlewood

The music of PuzzleWood is far from being mundane. You do not just listen to it; you feel it. You will then notice the multi-faceted splendor, the spiritual essence of both light and dark. You should allow yourself to sink into each song as in tranquil waters and experience the sense of rapture that each has to offer.

Entrancing and at times even melancholic, this is a softer and slower rock album that is not something I could listen to everyday. It requires the listener being in the right mood. However, if you are indeed in that right mood, than this can carry you a million miles away on a mesmerizing dreamscape ocean, while escalating your consciousness into otherworld dimensions.

So, close your eyes leave your cares behind and lose yourself on this musical journey with PuzzleWood and Gates of Loki.

Tracklist:

1. Intro (Gates of Loki) 03:39
2. Remember My Name 04:29
3. Obsessed 05:36
4. Come Back Home 03:18
5. Tyrant Who Fall In Love 05:44
6. Твой Дом (Your House) 05:28
7. To The Void 05:57
8. Hollow 06:51
9. Jerusaelem 07:20
10. Road Will Lead 06:46

Line-up:

* Tony Legatov – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, vocals
* Nikita Lipatov – bass, keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals
* Eugen Semenov – drums

With:

* Kirill Rossolimo – percussion
* Dmitry Ignatov – bouzuki (track 7)
* Basem Al-Ashkar – arabic oud (track 10), violin (track 9)
* Olga Scotland – flute (track 3)
* Anastasia Lipatova – backing vocals

Links:

Bandcamp

Website

Facebook

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