All posts for the month December, 2019

(The Chromatic Blender)

New Music…Not-So-New Music…but ALL eclectic music.  And you know when Mike says eclectic, he means it!

So why listen to the same ol’ stuff, when you can listen to The Progressive Tracks Show and clear your head?


  • Mats-Morgan Band – “Thanks For Flying With Us” from Thanks For Flying With Us on Cuneiform (2005)
  • Tripod – “Conversation Drag” from Tripod on MoonJune Records (2003)
  • Bent Knee – “Bone Rage” from You Know What They Mean on InsideOutMusic (2019)
  • NeBeLNeST – “Redrum” from Nova Express on Cuneiform (2002)
  • Jack O’ The Clock – “The Pilot” from Witness on Independent (2019)
  • Thinking Plague – “This Weird Wind” from In Extremis on Cuneiform (1998)
  • Bent Knee – “Garbage Shark” from You Know What They Mean on InsideOutMusic (2019)
  • Cabezas de Cera – “Pretexto a un Texto Fragmentado from Cabezas de Cera on Fonarte Latino, SA de CV (2000)
  • Unit Wail – “Dédale” from égarés on Mutant (2019)
  • Bent Knee – “lovemenot” from You Know What They Mean on InsideOutMusic (2019)
  • Jack O’ The Clock – “Salt Moon” from Witness on Independent (2019)
  • Jack O’ The Clock – “Slow March-Schlitzie, Last of the Aztecs, Lodges An Objection in the Order of Things” from Witness on Independent (2019)
  • Unit Wail – “09 Le monde d’en dessous” from égarés on Mutant (2019)
  • October Equus – “¡Abre los ojos!” from Saturnal on AltrOck  (2011)

If you have comments or suggestions for show topics/ music (always welcome), feel free to contact me any time via email:

And remember, you can access podcasts of any previous Progressive Tracks Show at: (there are almost 180 podcasts now!).

Most importantly, SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST below, so you’ll have it delivered to your fingertips weekly! ˅˅˅˅˅˅˅˅

This news story was originally published here:

This review concerns the latest album from French Neo-Proggers Nine Skies, a collection of twelve thematically linked songs that unfold a story of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as experienced by soldiers in wartime. Appropriately, the review was written on the day that we remember those fallen during those dreadful conflicts of World Wars One and Two, and other wars that have occurred since.

The album is a double CD with some very interesting tracks and guest musicians who lend their talents, and in doing so add significantly to make this a very well-crafted album that deals with its concepts with both dignity and sympathy.

The album opens with a brief piece called Vestige which includes the sounds of war to a gentle musical backdrop and the sound of a woman sobbing. This is a very sad piece, but it sets the tone for much of what follows, it’s not an easy listen as the album addresses the horrors and the futility of war head-on. It is best enjoyed with the lyrics close to hand so you can follow the story, I certainly found that very useful.

Burn My Brain features Craig Blundell, of Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson fame, on drums and percussion, using some complicated, almost fusion stylings to drive the song along, and that ties in very well with a stylish guitar line from Eric Bouilette. His work is spot on here, very moving, elegiac and with great feeling. The song is based on words from Lord Byron which adds some weight to its feelings, tone and mood.

The third track is The Thought Trader, featuring well-established and critically acclaimed drummer Johnny Marter, but on this occasion he shows another skill, playing guitar with some great parts that add excellent colours to the sound. All in all, this is a fine song with some interesting ideas and thoughtful lyrics; the next track is somewhat different. Catharsis is primarily a gentle acoustic song, but one that contains some soul searching lyrics as it explores the feelings of the soldier regarding what he has seen and experienced. This is an emotive and thought-provoking piece.

Alone features a spoken voice reciting Edgar Allan Poe’s poem of the same name. Suitably macabre in tone, it acts as a prelude to the major song on the album, the title track Sweetheart Grips, which tells of the practice whereby soldiers would take a photo of a loved one or their girl and use it as a part of their gun’s grip or the trigger, encased in plastic (usually from bomber plane’s broken windows) to create what became known as ‘Sweetheart Grips’.

This song is sung by Riccardo Romano (of Ranestrane and Steve Rothery Band fame), and it is a very emotional piece with heartfelt lyrics and an equally strong musical backdrop. Somewhere Inside Mankind is much lighter, more dreamy type song with some lovely fluid guitar work from either David Darnaud, Eric Bouilette or Alexandre Lamia. I’m not sure which it is, but I suspect it’s from Eric’s finger that this great playing originates. The stirring synths are from Alexandre Lamia though, that I can say with confidence. It’s not an overlong piece but it has lots going on throughout and it conveys a sense of emotional turmoil which adds real class to this great song, also eloquently present in the magnificent saxophone of Laurent Benhamou.

The shorter Fields of Perdition takes us into the last section of the album, more mood focused and generally instrumental in nature. Here we hear from the soldier’s mother who laments that her son has gone to potentially meet his end on a foreign field somewhere unknown, followed by the instrumental Tyrant or Nothing with some gentle acoustic guitar and a fine violin solo from Eric Bouilette. It’s again very moving with some great tones and sounds to portray the scene. Soldiers of Shame features Pat Sanders of London proggers Drifting Sun on keyboards, adding some great soundscapes to an impressive song with nice guitar work throughout, all anchored with those fabulous keyboards. The lyrics speak of the horrors he now has to live with every day, another sad song that brings the effects of war all too much into focus. The outro is gently acoustic and lighter in tone.

Flowers of Pain opens with what sounds like a jolly hunting section, but after 30 seconds it becomes somewhat darker, although the tune is subsequently repeated. This is rather a strange track and seemingly out of place – or is it? We then move to the final song, Isolation, another instrumental that showcases the fluid and skilful, not least to say tasteful, bass guitar of Bernard Hery, playing what could be a fretless. It sounds wonderful and evocative in equal measures, you can feel the atmosphere and almost picture the setting, very continental in some ways, it’s a worthy close to a very interesting and satisfying album.

The performances throughout are strong and solid and this represents a good step forward for Nine Skies. It’s an album I highly recommend and endorse as being worthy of investigation. It’s a moving listen with a sense of solemnity to it. Any proceeds will be used to help suicide prevention by supporting a charity called Ian’s Chain, a most worthy cause and all respect to the group for doing this so selflessly. So, this is a difficult subject, but it is handled with much dignity and maturity and the resulting music is very fine indeed.

01. Vestige (1:18)
02. Burn My Brain (7:00)
03. The Thought Trader (7:11)
04. Catharsis (6:00)
05. Alone (4:45)
06. Sweetheart Grips (10:13)
07. Somewhere Inside Me (7:15)
08. Fields of Perdition (3:03)
09. Tyrant or Nothing (6:17)
10. Soldiers of Shame (6:50)
11. Flowers of Pain (2:11)
12. Isolation (4:47)

Total Time – 66:50

Aliénor Favier – Vocals
David Darnaud – Guitars
Eric Bouillette – Guitars, Keyboards, Piano, Violin, Vocals
Alexandre Lamia – Guitars, Keyboards, Piano
Anne-Claire Rallo – Keyboards
Bernard Hery – Bass
Fab Galia – Drums
Laurent Benhamou – Saxophones
Penny Mac Morris – Flute
~ Guests:
Craig Blundell – Drums (track 2)
Dave Foster – Guitar (track 8)
Johnny Marter – Guitar (track 3)
Clive Nolan – Keyboards (track 2)
Riccardo Romano – Vocals (track 6)
Pat Sanders – Keyboards (track 10)

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 1st November 2019

Nine Skies – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

Marillion – Gazpacho (Michael Hunter 2019 remix)

Yes – To The Moment

Jethro Tull – Orion (live)

The Flower Kings – Steampunk

Thieves’ Kitchen – Uffington

Jethro Tull – Dark Ages (Steve* Wilson 2019 remix)

Lee Abraham – Numb parts 1 & 2

Opeth – The Garroter (English version)

Karamoi – The Day is Done

Tangekanic – A spark In The ether (live, excerpt)

*Don’t call him Steve, he’ll throw his shoes at you. 

Edition 187 of THE PROG MILL for Progzilla Radio (407 in total), which is also the 8th birthday of the show, first broadcast on Progzilla Radio 8 December 2019, is now also available to stream anytime or download.

Two hours of superb melodic and symphonic progressive rock. Just click play (or download) and dive into this stunning music!

This Week’s Playlist

The playlist for last night’s PROG MILL (edition 187 for Progzilla Radio and 407 in total), the shows 8th birthday! first broadcast Sunday 8 December, was:

1 Downes Braide Association – Tomorrow (Live in England)
2 Cromwell – Waiting for the Prince (Burning Banners Remastered)
3 Exploring Birdsong – The Downpour (Things With Feathers)
4 Sound Diary – Reprise/Windows (Anamnesis – Letter in a Bottle)
5 Finally George – Life is a Killer (Life is a Killer)
6 Yesternight – Solitude (The False Awakening)
7 Bjorn Riis – Stormwatch (A Storm is Coming)
8 Kaprekar’s Constant – All You Wish Yourself (Single)
9 Media Octava – Like Soft Days (The Abolition of Skyscrapers)
10 Seconds Before Landing – 36 Dogs (Cosmonaut)
11 Beggars Opera – The Witch (Pathfinder)
12 Dandelion Charm – Isolate Resolve (Maybe Dreamers)
13 John Lennon – How Do You Sleep (Imagine)
14 Affinity – Three Sisters (Affinity)

You can hear The Prog Mill on Progzilla Radio at these times every week ( – via the tune in radio app and on internet radios):

Sundays 10pm – Midnight UK (2200UTC) – main broadcast
Tuesdays 0300-0500 UK (0300UTC) – For North America – Mon 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern
Tuesdays 2300-0100UK (2300 UTC) – 1500 Pacific/1800 Eastern
Saturdays 6-8pm UK (1800 UTC) – Family friendly Saturday evening repeat

Your melodic and symphonic progressive rock music suggestions for the show are very welcome. Just email, or message via twitter @shaunontheair or


Broadcast 8th December 2019


1.   Starship Trooper; a. Life Seeker, b. Disillusion, c. Wurm Yes
2.   Fermented Hours Wobbler
3.   Night Shift Bob Marley and the Wailers
4.   Twist My Arms The Tragically Hip
5.   Dr. Jimmy The Who
6.   Sooner Or Later Pilot
7.   Gone Hollywood Supertramp
8.   Welcome To The Machine Pink Floyd
9.   Cadence & Cascade King Crimson
21st Century Progressive Rock 6-Pack
10.               Girl Loves Me David Bowie
11.               All I Need Radiohead
12.               Fruit of Tulum Moksha
13.               Lonely Man Hammerhead
14.               Down For The Count POA
15.               Cast Out and Cold Phideaux
16.               Iron Man Black Sabbath
17.               Promise and Threat The Call
18.               Under The Gun Lita Ford
19.               Back Street Love Trapeze
20.               A Set of the Blues
21.               Reconsider Baby B.B. King
22.               If You Will Cold Blood
23.               Some Unholy War Amy Winehouse
SIAS: Jethro Tull – A Passion Play (side 1) Jethro Tull
24.               Vitamin Q The Dregs
25.               Man In The Moon The Yellowjackets
26.               Heat Wave Ben Sidran
27.               That Which I have Lost George Harrison
28.               Grand Ennui Michael Nesmith & the 1st Nat’l Band
29.               Lola Kinks
30.               Chicago Graham Nash
31.               Country Comfort Elton John
32.               In The Beginning / Lovely to See You Moody Blues
33.               Watcher of the Skies Genesis
34.               Summer Soldier Barclay James Harvest
35.               And the Gods Made Love / Have You Ever Been / Cross Town Traffic The Jimi Hendrix Experience
36.               The World’s On Fire Strawberry Alarm Clock
37.               Overture/I Stand Alone Al Kooper
38.               Dust In The Wind Kansas
39.               Holdin’ On To Yesterday Ambrosia


If you want to get in touch with Alan about requests or the show please use

The Progmeister On Progzilla

December 2019 Show


  1. Whichone – Glacier
  2. Paradise Road – Euphoria Station
  3. Bitches Crystal – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  4. All This Will Be Yours – Bruce Soord
  5. President Gas – Psychedelic Furs
  6. Darktown Riot – Steve Hackett
  7. Hapiness Is Easy – Talk Talk
  8. The New Kings parts 1,2,3 & 4 – Marillion
  9. The Game – Glorious Wolf
  10. Nantucket Sleighride – Mountain
  11. Ascending To The Stars – The Flower Kings
  12. Up Yours – Edgar Broughton Band
  13. Titoli – Ennio Morricone
  14. Ghost Notes – Pymlico
  15. Is It A Star – Daryl Hall & John Oats
  16. Stranger – Goldfrapp
  17. It’s Not You Lady Jane – Black/Colin Vearncombe
  18. Turn Me Down – Combination Head
  19. For God’s Sake – IQ.


The Progmeister Theme (Theme to Miss Marples) Ron Goodwin


Asteroid (Pearl & Dean) Pete Moore

This news story was originally published here:
Arabs in Aspic
Strange Frame of Mind – 2010
Arabs in Aspic - Strange Frame of Mind

Continuing the theme of prog bands who don’t take themselves too seriously, Arabs in Aspic were firing on all cylinders when they produced their good-natured second album at the beginning of the decade. One only needs to hear the opening ⅞ theme to The Flying Norseman to tell that this will be quite the romp. Combining English and Norwegian lyrics with no discernible pattern, the songs themselves don’t seem to fall into one camp either; Camel-y atmospherics will lead into Heep-y heaviness which will, in turn, lead to Zappa-esque satire with shades of Genesis or Pink Floyd just round the corner. And all of it is done with the light-hearted touch that ensures the album feels brisk and effortlessly entertaining.

Moreover, with the longest song lasting no longer than eight minutes, this is a masterclass in how to write good, concise prog rock. Interestingly, one of the album’s heaviest rockers Mørket would spawn a pair of epic sequels totalling half an hour in the band’s most recent studio album, 2017’s Syndenes Magi.

A Tower of Silence – 2011
Anubis - A Tower of Silence

Listening to this band from down under, one starts to ponder what makes them so ‘neo-prog’. Is it the fact that the rhythms are all quite straight, with no jazziness to them? Is it those squeaky clean lead guitar hooks? What about the lack of eclecticism between songs or the envelope failing to be pushed? While it’s easy to get drawn into academic squabblings over what category the group belong to, the quality of music on this album is clearly undeniable.

Catchy turns into epic turns into heart-wrenching on this bold album that pulls no punches. Shades of Pink Floyd are masterfully incorporated into pieces such as the 17-minute The Passing Bell and the epic The Holy Innocent which features a four-minute coda in ⅞ showcasing a beautiful saxophone solo. While it may sound derivative, A Tower of Silence is more like a tower of gratitude presented to its forebears, and what a lovely tribute it is too.

A Tower of Silence by Anubis

Steven Wilson
Grace For Drowning – 2011
Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning

When compiling my list, I decided I’d only include one album per artist in order to give a more diverse selection of albums for you to peruse. That being said, it’s clear to me that two of Wilson’s album easily make my actual top ten, his second studio album Grace for Drowning and 2013’s crowd-pleasing follow-up The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories), which will no doubt feature heavily in other folks’ top tens. Looking over the two, I had to make the difficult choice of which to include here. While Raven certainly stands as a dazzling, consistent work – if somewhat derivative – Grace for Drowning is the more daring and innovative of the two, and for that, it clinches the victory.

Like Astra’s The Weirding before it, Grace does also suffer from the problem of too much fat, but in perspective, it’s a lot leaner than most double albums. Bangers like Sectarian, Deform to Form a Star and Remainder the Black Dog crowd Disc 1 with their brilliance, while the avant-garde 23-minute epic Raider II takes centre stage in Disc 2. Notably influenced by King Crimson’s oft-maligned epic Lizard, Raider II confidently opens with several lengthy periods of silence which apparently caused audiences to go quiet at concerts too. The lengthy periods of dense, technical prog that follow are sure to keep all fans of the genre happy.

Le ore, i giorni, gli anni – 2011
Moogg - Le ore, i giorni, gli anni

Le ore, i giorni, gli anni could feature on this list for its sterling sound quality and outstanding production, featuring crisp drums, warm bass and keys as well as clear guitars and vocals. Fortunately, this Italian quartet have the chops and songwriting ability to back it up and turn this disc into a shimmering jazz-prog experience. While frenetic moments are peppered throughout the album, this is a mostly laid-back affair though never dull.

The songs all feel organic with the band seeming to know instinctively how to make every moment count. Impressively, the highly skilled drummer also acts as the singer on a few tracks – a feat not mastered by many. In crowd-pleasing style, the band supply a fourteen-minute epic to finish the album, which surprisingly fuses jazz fusion with symphonic prog with considerable success.

The Black Chord – 2012
Astra - The Black Chord

You might have forgotten that Astra released their sophomore album this decade and I can’t say I’d blame you. Astra’s only studio albums, 2009’s The Weirding and the follow-up The Black Chord have such a classic feel to them – no doubt enhanced by the retro instruments and sound production – that they feel as if they may as well have been released in the ’70s. Moreover, with the band’s unexpected hiatus now continuing into its eighth year one can’t help but feel as if the modern world has left Astra far behind.

While The Weirding was an impressive double album – OK, it technically all fit on one CD, but the track times all supported the 2LP format – it suffered from the same flaw as nearly every other double album: too much fat that needed to be trimmed, resulting in some unfortunate unevenness. The Black Chord consolidates the mindset behind The Weirding into the single LP format, trimming that fat and delivering a powerful, driven album that thrills from start to finish. The highlight, of course, is the fifteen-minute title track that showcases everything great about the band in a single sitting. Let’s hope Astra will make their comeback soon.

The National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats
Vaaya And The Sea – 2012
The National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats - Vaaya And The Sea

One of the biggest surprises of the decade was the National Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats whose atmospherically epic first studio album helped me understand the meaning of soundscapes. Cinematic at every level, never has 43 minutes felt more like an odyssey. Though the album is split into several tracks, it’s quite clearly meant to be listened to as a whole – starting in the middle just feels like cheating.

Organically written songs ensure that you’ll feel on the same page as the band throughout the whole story; musical ideas are allowed to ride out their full potential and are finished when it feels correct. Vaaya and the Sea is also a perfect showcase of how to use dynamics properly, to build tension, to relieve that tension and to move the story along. It’s a pity their third album Huntress was such a disappointment, as I had UKOG pinned to be one of the best bands of the decade. Vaaya and the Sea remains a sonic masterpiece.

Tank Goodness – 2012
Panzerballett - Tank Goodness

If you consider yourself to be an aficionado of prog rock, you might think you have a pretty high standard for musical technicality. Panzerballett are here to smash through any conceptions you might have of what it means to be a tight, technical and dazzling musical troupe. I don’t think I’ve been quite as impressed by anybody since I first heard their fourth studio album Tank Goodness – the album name happens to be one of my favourite as well. Put on the album and be prepared to be blown away by sharp twists, changing time signatures and complete unpredictability all in the first ten seconds of Some Skunk Funk. Stay for the remaining 47 minutes to experience musicianship on a new level as this 5-piece of German jazz experts find more ways to mangle your mind with all the force of a tank.

Panzerballett are known for their covers too, turning simple pop tunes into dark-jazz-metal nightmares, and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life does not let down, barely recognisable from the original. The Brubeck classic Take Five also receives the Panzerballett treatment, now filled with more polyrhythms than you can shake a stick at. Tank Goodness indeed!

Plastic Overlords
Sonic Astronomy – 2012
Plastic Overlords - Sonic Astronomy

Plastic Overlords follow in the rich tradition of obscure American prog bands such as McLuhan, Babylon and Birds And Buildings of taking everything including the kitchen sink, throwing it together and seeing what sticks. Plastic Overlords differ by having the greatest sense of humo(u)r about the whole thing, with track names like Star Avenger Vs. the Winged Hippopotamus and The Sunburst Going Sour?. Each song on the album is unique and magical, such as A Moment of Silence for Unsynchronized Watches which takes the listener through an onion-like structure, travelling through different layers before repeating those layers in reverse order.

Though it may be prog for prog’s sake, the band are all enormously skilled and pull off a very convincing ’70s sound replete with retro keyboards and melodic bassline. Very tasty indeed.

The Mountain – 2013
Haken - The Mountain

Above everything else we’ve heard in the last ten years, the 2010s were the decade that brought us Haken, the new kings of the progressive metal oeuvre, coincidentally taking over right at the moment Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater. The band’s seminal first album Aquarius – which would have also featured high on my top ten list, if not for my self-imposed rule mentioned above – was released in 2010, which amazingly means any of the band’s five albums to date would qualify for this list, and I’m sure they’ll all be featured in some order. However, the top pick for me has to be 2013’s The Mountain, the most complete, consistent and extraordinary work put out by the group to date. While the band have since followed a more technical, punishing, math-rock route since The Mountain which I simply cannot follow – though I have tried – in the early days, Haken had a talent for blending diverse genres seamlessly to create cinematic soundscapes with epic payoffs.

Nowhere was this more present than on songs like Atlas Stone, Cockroach King and the sublime Falling Back to Earth. Aquarius may have been a more inventive album, but The Mountain is where the band finally found their wings and flew.

Accordo dei Contrari
AdC – 2014
Accordo dei Contrari - Adc

If Panzerballett were able to supply the blistering musical chops and Moogg, the smooth Italian jazz fusion, Accordo dei Contrari manage to take the best of both worlds on their instrumental third album AdC. However, while Moogg were warm and welcoming, the swiftly changing rhythms of AdC give off a sense of anxiety and melancholy, which turns out not to be such a bad thing. Without lyrics to distract from the music, you can expect the cold, bracing rhythms wash over you for a fully refreshing experience.

No pretension here, just some really great progressive jazz fusion, and further proof that the AltrOck label really is one of prog’s best-kept secrets.

AdC by Accordo dei Contrari

This news story was originally published here:

When the opportunity came to review Concrete Vitalist, I had to review it. I didn’t know why, but I felt compelled.
It turns out that, some time ago, while I was dabbling with making some ambient music, I’d been listening to Noisepoetnobody (AKA Casey Jones from Seattle) on Soundcloud, but having a brain like Swiss cheese…

“The album was inspired by concepts of musique concrète, sonic construction and modern portable recording. A plethora of bus transfers and miles walked into public and remote recording locations over a year’s time are represented.”

Concrete Vitalist by noisepoetnobody

Music is defined as “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion”. Are all these elements present?

Arguably, no. But music is in the ear of the beholder. You can hear music in the rhythmic breathing of a sleeping loved one, or the footfall on a dark street on the way back from the pub.

Whilst one word that springs to mind is “ambient”, another is “experiment”. One might be tempted to associate ambient music with music to which you might relax, do yoga, chill, accompanied by whale and bird song (though probably not in the same track). There is also a darker side. In these instances, Ambient music sometimes borders or overlaps experimental sound design.

It is, therefore, sometimes a blurred distinction. Perhaps this is why sound design is a big thing in certain types of video game. There are some games where you spend time hiding in cupboards from monsters and the sound design is an intrinsic component to that… ambience. It frames your imagination, whether you’re the prey to some kind of predator made of pixels or imagining dancing below the waves with a Humpback while you’re chilling in the dark on a beanbag.

To my mind, this experimental music thrives on one person’s audience participation. Your imagination is a vital instrument that you must employ to derive any kind of reward from such music. Concrete Vitalis shows this perfectly.

Case in point: In Part 2, seemingly arrhythmic pulsing and throbbing mechanical noise forms the backdrop to the sound of a bowed instrument. Much like the band who played on while the Titanic sank, I imagined a lone woman, playing a two-stringed Erhu while all around her the burning village is decimated by a helicopter gunship. On the other hand, sometimes the images are too faint to name, but there’s a menace to this intangible collection of noises from machines and modular synthesisers, marshalled together to make something that is unconventional but truly interesting.

I like it.

01. Concrete Vitalist, Part 1 (9:26)
02. Concrete Vitalist, Part 2 (9:32)
03. Concrete Vitalist, Part 3 (9:50)
04. Concrete Vitalist, Part 4 (8:54)

Total Time – 37:42

Noisepoetnobody – Field Recordings, Contact Mic Performances, Analogue Modular Synthesizer, Audio Production, Mixing and Mastering

Record Label: Scry Recordings
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 22nd November 2019

Noisepoetnobody – Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

Edition 221 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!


Big Country – In A Big Country (from The Crossing)
Alan Reed – Used To Be Someone (from Honey On The Razors Edge)
Comedy Of Errors – Disobey (from Disobey)
Ian Anderson – The Turnpike Inn (from Homo Erraticus)
Simple Minds – Belfast Child (from Street Fighting Years)
Halo Tora – The Bones that Rock the Cradle (from Omni\One)
Midas Fall – Evaporate (from Evaporate)
Abel Ganz – So Far (from Shooting Albatross)
Beggars Opera – Time Machine (from Waters of Change)
Captain Marryat – It Happened to Me (from Captain Marryat)
Grand Tour – Little Boy And The Fat Man (from Heavy On The Beach)
Long Earth – The Source (from The Source)
Fish – A Gentleman’s Excuse Me (from Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors)
Pallas – The Bringer Of Dreams (from The Dreams of Men)
Mogwai – I Know You Are But What Am I? (from Happy Songs For Happy People)
Sputniks Down – Atonement (from Much Was Decided Before You Were Born)
Nazareth – Simple Solution, Parts 1 & 2 (from No Mean City)
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Give My Compliments To The Chef (from Tomorrow Belongs To Me)
Marillion – Margaret (live) (from Garden Party)

This news story was originally published here:

“Pick your ten best albums from the decade about to end” you said. Never ask me to do something like this again… I jest, I’m a glutton for punishment and we all love a good list, eh? Anyway, from a starting point of well over 200 albums that I’ve bought in the last ten years, I whittled it down to a mere 28 some weeks ago by a process involving much wailing and gnashing of teeth that inevitably ended with a bout of pinning the tail in the metaphorical donkey. The resulting lucky winners stared at me menacingly, daring me to pick ten “best”. In a blind panic as the submission deadline loomed, a near-random process arrived at what you see below. I regret it already.

Mike Keneally
Wing Beat Fantastic – 2012
Mike Keneally - Wing Beat Fantastic


We start with an intelligent pop record of the highest order, from former Zappa sideman Mike Keneally. Occasional assistance from Andy Partridge no less, what more could you want?


Scott Walker
Bisch Bosch – 2012
Scott Walker - Bisch Bosch


An art statement from a true maverick that still confounds and frightens in equal measure. Who said being a part of an audience should involve no work at all?


Arve Henriksen
Places of Worship – 2013
Arve Henriksen - Places Of Worship


If you need an antidote to the unsettling experience of the previous album in this list, this is it. “Elegiac” is an over-used word in the world of reviewing, but this album is its definition.



Snack(s) – 2013
MiRthkon - Snack(s)

How many bands could write songs about parasitic tubeworms living off the carcasses of dead whales? And make the much-repeated urgent refrain “There are men living inside of me” rather funny?

miRthkon are a brainiac’s idea of dance music, where XTC collide with Zappa in five-dimensional musical blender. After all, what is the point of covering something as well-known as Fairies Wear Boots if you’re not going to re-invent it as a jazz-prog blast from the other side of the snack-based galaxy we live in, the Milky Way? Eh? Eh…


Snack(s) by miRthkon

Messe I.X-IV.X – 2013
Ulver -Messe I.X-IV.X


This band constantly re-invent themselves, and never make the same album twice. I believe that might be a definition of progressive, don’t you think? This album is a stunning piece of music, that for the 45 minutes of its duration describes sadness and melancholy perfectly. Confounding expectations is what Ulver do best, and they are now a darkwave electronic dance-band.

I kid you not.

Billy Bottle & The Multiple
Unrecorded Beam – 2014
Billy Bottle & The Multiple - Unrecorded Beam


Still criminally unknown to the wider world, in 2014 Billy Bottle and his superb group of musical friends crafted a delightful album of varied sumptuous tuneage that was almost completely ignored. We live in an age where Stupid has won, and it’s artistic endeavour like this that stops me going completely ga-ga.


Unrecorded Beam by Billie Bottle & The Multiple

Peter Hammill
…all that might have been… – 2014
Peter Hammill - ...all that might have been...

The ever-prolific Thin Man has a few contenders across the decade, but I chose this, as it is a conceptual triumph.

The centrepiece of this three disc set is the disc entitled the CINÉ which presents 21 pieces as one long form piece, a technique Hammill has used occasionally throughout his solo career, perhaps most famously on Flight from 1980’s Black Box album, and most recently in 2004 with the album/song suite Incoherence. It is no word of a lie to say that the CINÉ ranks up there with Flight, both as a piece of music and as a complete artistic statement. The result of a long creative process, the individual songs which appear on the SONGS CD were subjected to a cut’n’paste to eventually be reformed as the CINÉ, with Hammill putting together song fragments, “stringing them together to into a continuous whole, in exactly the way that a film is constructed.” The third part of the jigsaw is the RETRO CD, “a reconstruction of the work-in-progress” that became the CINÉ.

A truly marvellous set!

David Bowie
Blackstar – 2016
David Bowie - Blackstar


The Brixton Magus left us with a not-so-cryptic album of dark clues, and tear-jerking cues. Without question, the best musical sign-off by any popular artist ever, bar none. I can barely bring myself to play it, an odd thing to say about my Album of The Decade.


North Sea Radio Orchestra
Folly Boloey – 2019
North Sea Radio Orchestra – Folly Bololey


A sumptuous cover of Robert Wyatt’s art rock classic, Rock Bottom, plus a couple of other Wyatt songs thrown in as a juicy bonus. This album sees NSRO at their most full-on, aided and abetted by John Greaves & Annie Barbazza, the end resulting being an uplifting and beautiful record.


Emmett Elvin
The End of Music – 2019
Emmett Elvin - The End Of Music


An appropriate title for the last album in this list, wherein we are treated to everything from cinematic vignettes to phat chunky riffage. Mr Elvin has made his best music to date on this fantabrous record.


These lists always have several significant omissions, and here’s a few that suffered the near-random culling to get it down to a reasonable “final round” size. In rough chronological order:

Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning
Ske – 10000 Autumni
Ulver – Wars Of The Roses
Dave Willey & Friends – Immeasurable Currents
douBT – Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love
Cosa Brava – The Letter
Gazpacho – March Of Ghosts
Gavin Harrison & O5ric – The Man Who Sold Himself
Janel & Anthony – Where Is Home?
Motorpsycho – The Death Defying Unicorn
OTEME – Il Giardino Disincantato
Travis & Fripp – Follow
Fantomas – Delerium Corda
Henry Fool – Men Singing
Juxtavoices – Just another antichoir from Sheffield
Sand – Sand
Not A Good Sign – Not A Good Sign
Beck – Morning Phase
Kayo Dot – Hubardo
Messenger – Illusory Blues
Moe Tar – Entropy Of The Century
North Atlantc Oscillation – The Third Day
Nathan Parker-Smith – Not Dark Yet
Tim Bowness – Stupid Things That Mean The World
Elder – Lore
Martin Archer & Julie Tippetts – Vestigium
The Unthanks – Mount The Air
Kamasi Washington – The Epic
Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Richard Dawson – Peasant
All Them Withches – Sleeping Through The War
Lost Crowns – Every Night Something Happens
Elephant9 – Psychedelic Backfire I &II
Flying Lotus – Flamagra
Charlie Cawood – Blurring Into Motion
Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean
Afenginn – Klingra

Apologies to literally dozens of others that got missed!

Final note – I thought it fair to only include albums that have actually been bought by me, all review freebies have been excluded.