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All posts for the month January, 2021

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2021/01/19/steve-hackett-under-a-mediterranean-sky/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=steve-hackett-under-a-mediterranean-sky

After the worst year in living memory, here we are back in lockdown and holidays are becoming a dim and distant memory. While there is no imminent prospect of foreign travel (5 miles is frowned upon in some quarters!) Steve Hackett’s new album Under A Mediterranean Sky is the perfect antidote to brighten your day and whet the appetite for better times to come.

With this album Steve Hackett, Genesis’s guitarist through their classic period in the 1970s, paints such wonderful and vivid images of the wide and varied cultures and landscapes of the Mediterranean region, one has the feeling of being on a whistle-stop cruise!

“I think you’re right,” Steve agreed when we spoke recently, “and, because we can’t really travel substantially and safely at the moment, I hope this album will take people on that journey. It’s the quickest way to travel, in the mind, and it celebrates the Mediterranean which is just a beautiful area. Whether you sit down and listen to it or whether you drift off with a glass of wine…”

That would be very easy, me thinks.

“Well, I think it goes with that, really,” he laughs. “I’m very happy to do that! This sort of music, whenever we have friends round, always seems to go down well as a background to things. You don’t have to play it at vast quantities of volume, it works when it’s gentle.

“The Mediterranean is special because it connects lots of disparate cultures from the Europeans to the Arabic. We’ve had lots of extraordinary visits and it gave me a chance to look at classical roots of music and the flamenco aspect of ethnic music.”

Steve Hackett photo Geoff Ford

Following his departure from Genesis in 1978, Steve released a string of critically acclaimed albums. While most of his albums fall into the rock category, Under A Mediterranean Sky is Steve’s sixth classical/acoustic guitar album and his first acoustic outing since Tribute in 2008. It is a project Steve has had in mind for a while but, when his American tour was cut short last March by the accelerating global pandemic, he returned home without his electric guitars. They arrived later and were quarantined, leaving Steve at home with just his nylon-stringed acoustic guitar.

“I fell in love with the sound of nylon guitar from the first note that I heard Segovia play,” Steve says. “It is a completely different sound and, within the compass of what the nylon string guitar can do, there are a lot of different tones. You can do the full-on attack, the kind of salvos that you expect from the flamenco players but it can also be very gentle, gentle as a harp, and it conjures a number of different tones. It’s shades of black and white but, if you love it, that’s what it does for you. The idea that all that was even possible on one guitar seemed like a miracle.”

As he explains, the first lockdown was just the opportunity Steve needed to focus on the new acoustic project. “It made me concentrate solely on that for some time. I’d been putting in long hours, as I have over the course of a lifetime. It’s a mixture of thrill and frustration in equal measure as you always want to make it better and you’re dealing with your own limitations. Sometimes those limitations give way to surprising results. I didn’t rely entirely on technique and speed but it’s fairly nippy in places, so it’s not all laconic.

“When I first tried doing acoustic albums, like Bay Of Kings, I was thinking of music to accompany siestas, all the pieces were pretty slow. The last acoustic album I did was called Tribute, a tribute to lots of different composers, and I really had to work hard to be able to play those pieces. But, working with the speed of some of those pieces, I thought ‘Come on, now’, I had to make sure that speed must not be a limitation, I had to think like a composer. The great thing about classical composers is that great technique and speed is a foregone conclusion. They were my influences, if I could play it like a virtuoso then it gave a lot more possibilities. You could lay into it and gild it with speed but if you use enough chords it’s not just one more solo after another. There has to be a reason for it, to give it shape.

“Those records inch their way forward, bit by bit, and technique builds up, the imagination takes over and, over the years, it erodes the internal invalidator, thinking that ‘I can’t do that, I’ll never be able to play that well.’ When you work at it, bit by bit, despite yourself, I found that it led to areas that I’d previously rejected.

“When I started out I was a plectrum player on steel strings and I thought ‘The only way to do this is with two fingers, thumb and forefinger,’ and then, reluctantly, all the others come into use, even if it’s just to pick out chords. So many people have been my guitar teacher over the years. I’d be watching somebody on a street corner doing something, ‘That’s a good sound, that’s good.’ I never needed to have a guru, I just always picked up things that I saw other people do.”

Our journey around the Med begins on the island of Malta, in Mdina – The Walled City. It’s imposing strength is portrayed by Roger King’s dramatic orchestration while Steve’s guitar weaves through the atmospheric streets describing the creativity, love and strength that held Malta together between all the waves of conflict.

With Steve’s delicate guitar work, Adriatic Blue paints an enchanting view of stunning scenery as tall cliffs of forested mountains plunge into the deep blue sea along the Croatian coastline. Sirocco is altogether more atmospheric, inspired by the winds playing through the imposing structures of Egypt.

The lively Joie de Vivre expresses the unique sense of joy the French have through their wine, food and folk music, with paintings reflecting family gatherings, spectacular vistas and the vibrant colours of their cities. The art of dreaming is embodied in their sensual love of life.

“At first hand, I’ve marvelled at the mystical whirling Dervishes,” says Steve.  Along with otherworldly beings such as the Djin (Genie) they sprang from Persia’s dreaming past. The Dervish and The Djin captures the extraordinary atmosphere of this most exotic of civilisations with the help of (Steve’s touring band regular) Rob Townsend’s soprano sax, the tar of Malik Mansurov (from Azerbaijan) and Armenian Arsen Petrosyan’s duduk. “Of course, those countries are virtually at war with each other,” he adds, “and there has been something like a thousand casualties (at the time of speaking) on both sides. Again, it’s a case of music being able to do things that politicians fail to do, to do something constructive.”

The Memory of Myth embodies the deep and rich history of Greece and features the violin of Christine Townsend (no relation to Rob) while Lorato – ‘love’ in the language of the African Tswana tribe – is a pretty folk tune.  Love is the force that heals and links all disparate peoples of the Mediterranean.

Steve and his wife Jo were enchanted by the little Faun statue in the House of the Faun, Pompeii. “The villas there seemed to come back to life as we walked through those wonderful atriums and gardens,” inspiring Casa del Fauno and featuring the light and airy flute of Steve’s brother John.

The only non-original piece is Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata. This embodies the Baroque music of Italy, a sensitive interpretation embellished with cross-string trills, a technique introduced to Steve by the fine classical guitarist, the late Theo Cheng.

Steve also expresses his admiration for the flamenco guitarists of Andalusia who are celebrated on Andalusian Heart. “One of the flamenco guitarists was showing me the extraordinary things they are able to do,” he explains. “Seeing the gypsies playing and dancing in caves there, you get the feeling that these people are dancing for their lives. I think that they are the best players in the world, the flamenco players.

”There’s a couple of videos with the album,” Steve adds. “Some of it was shot while we were away, they’re very much travelogues, in a way. It’s a chance to celebrate those things on film. It’s a mixture of things Jo shot – we originally met when she wanted me to do some film music for her. And then Paul Gosling has put stuff together as well. It’s interesting the way those videos have come out, really nice.”

Our journey comes to an end with The Call of the Sea, a gentle and peaceful reflection of the vast body of water that unites these many civilisations, both ancient and modern.

“I had a great time doing this album,” Steve reflects, “seeing it take shape, and I’m very pleased with the outcome and very proud of it. When I work on rock stuff, I often wish I could get that degree of subtlety into it.”

TRACK LISTING
01. Mdina (The Walled City) (8:45)
02. Adriatic Blue (4:51)
03. Sirocco (5:13)
04. Joie de Vivre (3:42)
05. The Memory of Myth (3:29)
06. Scarlatti Sonata (3:40)
07. Casa del Fauno (3:51)
08. The Dervish and The Djin (4:57)
09. Lorato (2:29)
10. Andalusian Heart (5:34)
11. The Call of the Sea (4:44)

Total Time – 51:15

MUSICIANS
Steve Hackett – Nylon, Steel & 12-string Guitars, Charango, Iraqi Oud
Roger King – Keyboards, Programming, Orchestral Arrangements
John Hackett – Flute (track 7)
Malik Mansurov – Tar (tracks 3 & 8)
Arsen Petrosyan – Duduk (track 8)
Christine Townsend – Violin (tracks 8 & 11)
Rob Townsend – Soprano Sax (track 8)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: U.K.
Formats: Limited CD Digipak | Gatefold 2LP + CD + LP-booklet | Digital
Date of Release: 22nd January 2021

LINKS
Steve Hackett – Website | Facebook | Twitter

THE PROGRESSIVE TRACKS SHOW #39 (Turning The Corner…)

What do you do when you’re turning the corner from the 300’s to the 400’s… and you find yourself in a corner, as to what to play?
You play lots of great new music, of course!  Join Mike to hear stuff you haven’t heard… yet.
PLAYLIST:

Feel free to contact me any time via email:  ProgTracks@KPTZ.org

And remember, you can access podcasts of any previous Progressive Tracks Show at: http://www.progzilla.com/?s=progressive+tracks (there are over 235 podcasts now!).

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

 

Welcome to From the Attic 12, the latest in Brian’s continuing battle to get Graham Harfleet to number his podcasts. In this week’s episode you’ll SWOON, as we play Solaris by Ronny Stilts and the King Flower Band, GASP as we we tackle a Giant Hogweed. And in the end remember, as if you even needed to be told, that The All Is One.

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2021/01/18/the-grand-astoria-from-the-great-beyond/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-grand-astoria-from-the-great-beyond

Whoa! I can’t believe I’ve gone all this time without being aware of the wonder of Russian band The Grand Astoria, a band that has put out a dizzying array of singles, EPs and albums since 2009, with their own unique take on many different musical sounds and styles – even a song sung in Kobaïan, and a series of (literally) solo pieces inspired by Roscoe Mitchell. The band seems to have a revolving carousel of members, with the only constant being the musical mastermind Kamille Sharapodinov. The only other long-standing members I can discern are Igor Suvorov and Danila Danilov. Of particular interest to some, I’m sure, will be the presence of Gleb Kolyadin (of iamthemorning) on this release. I would love to get inside Kamille’s mind and see what makes it tick, but in the meantime, listening to The Grand Astoria will do very nicely. I’m slowly working my way through their discography, after being introduced to the band by From the Great Beyond.

So what do The Grand Astoria sound like? Well, based on what I’ve listened to so far, there’s very little consistency in their sound at all – and that is no criticism. Indeed, to the contrary, I love not knowing what to expect next from the band. There’s not yet been an unpleasant surprise. I guess you could call the band psychedelic, as psychedelia does seem to pervade the great majority of their work – but very rarely in the same guise. The journeys may be similar, but every trip is different. From The Great Beyond was potentially a good starting point for me as it definitely eased me into their world of weirdness.

The opening title track welcomed me to their home, and continues to do so. It’s almost a spacey prog version of Violent Femmes, with its vocal and percussive acrobatics and sparse minimal feel. The clean sound disappears in a wave of fuzz as Wasteland follows. The percussion is heavier and darker, the chanting hypnotic and shamanic. Waves of Tangerine and Pink float over the rhythmic barrage, and now there’s the galloping riffy intro to Njanatiloka, like a psychedelic Iron Maiden, before erupting into something more like Black Sabbath, and that’s just the beginning. It jumps all over the place over its ten or so minutes and is easily my favourite track here. However, while I’m mentioning names, realistically The Grand Astoria doesn’t really sound like any of these. It’s just an attempt to show how nimbly the band leaps from one sound to another. So let’s add some more. How about Queen and Chrome Hoof?

Like many Russian bands I’ve encountered, The Grand Astoria seem to draw influences from the East as much as the West, which only adds to the eclecticism of their sound. I am kind of reminded of Faith No More or System Of A Down, not in sound, more in the way that the band so fluidly experiments with sound impulsively and indulgently, without it ever sounding overwrought or overindulgent. The way that they translate their experimental tendencies into something quite melodic, and verging upon mainstream despite very definitely coming from the fringes. The way that they subvert their instrumentation and approach their music from unexpected directions. Interestingly, I tend to be mentioning names that are not normally the ones that might come to mind as prog (though if you think they’re not progressive, I’m not sure what you’re hearing).

By the time Anyhow hits with its unlikely jazz-cum-bluegrass fusion, if you’re not ready to expect the unexpected and expect to enjoy it, then The Grand Astoria is not the band for you. Again, I have to reiterate how well they play with the various styles, so no matter how disparate they might seem, they never feel disjointed. The Grand Astoria takes their listeners on a series of ambitious adventures to the Great Beyond, but for sure always returns them and welcomes them back home. The band manages to pack a lot of punch into any track, no matter the length, and not one of the longer tracks ever feels too long. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the wonderful The Mighty Few album which comprised only two tracks in its fifty minute duration – both of which are incredible in their pacing and structure, revealing many intricacies and leaving no room for attention to wander.

The track lengths may be considerably shorter on From The Great Beyond (it is an EP, after all), but the multitude of ever-changing sounds and textures are still present – and still not one ever feels extraneous or forced. Listening to The Grand Astoria from their beginnings really reveals how far the band has travelled to reach this point. While I don’t think I could ever call them a stereotypical stoner band, their debut does reveal the band started out closer to those desert (or perhaps tundra) horizons. But the depth and breadth they have traversed since is quite astounding. A lot of the heavier moments still lean towards doom (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but some of their composition is almost classical in nature, and this interplays with improvisation (or, at least, a lot of the music sounds joyfully spontaneous). They flirt with jazz, blues and funk, the only constant is the psychedelia – which, as I pointed out earlier, does not present itself in the same way, meaning even the only constant is not particularly constant.

It’s possibly worth stating that while the band call From The Great Beyond an EP (because they believe it not long enough to call an album, in the context of their discography), their label (Addicted/No Name), considers it a full length album. Personally, I don’t really care, so long as the music is good, and damn, this is good music. The only difference it would really make to me at this point of the year is that as much as I love it, I might struggle to find room for it in my list of favourite albums of 2020. However, if I call it an EP, it’s a sure fire contender for the top spot. Whatever you want to call it, this is a fantastic release that is worthy of your attention. It almost passed me by – don’t let it pass you by!

TRACK LISTING
01. From The Great Beyond (5:14)
02. Wasteland (2:51)
03. Njanatiloka (10:18)
04. Us Against The World (8:31)
05. Anyhow (4:23)
06. Ten Years Anniversary (1:49)

Total Time – 33:06

MUSICIANS
Kamille Sharapodinov – Guitars, Vocals, Percussion
Danila Danilov – Vocals, Percussion, Keyboards (track 2)
Alexander Vorontsov – Bass
Konstantin Smirnov – Drums
~ with:
Gleb Kolyadin – Keyboards (tracks 1,3,4 & 5)
Igor Suvorov – Lead Guitar (track 3)
Kirill Ildyukov – Lead Guitar (track 4)
Denis Kirillov – Flute (tracks 3 & 5)
Boris Shulman – Banjo (track 5), Backing Vocals (tracks 1 & 5)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Addicted/No Name
Country of Origin: Russia
Date of Release: 30th November 2020

LINKS
The Grand Astoria – Facebook | Bandcamp

Edition 244 of THE PROG MILL for Progzilla Radio (464 in total), first broadcast 17 January 2021, is now also available to stream on demand or download. Two hours of fantastic melodic and symphonic progressive rock.

Also this week.. Andrew Halley from The Progressive Aspect reviews the latest album by The Flower Kings, and (if listening in time) you can win a great Polish prog rock double CD. (Competition closes midnight UK Tues 19 Jan).

Here’s THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST

1 Rain – Devils Will Reign (Singularity)
2 Argus – Depressed (The Outsider)
3 The Ryszard Kramarski Project – First Spirit (Mr Scrooge)
4 Kosmos – Ajan Peili (Ajan Peili)
5 Pierpaolo Bibbo – Ritratto D’Inverno (Razza Umana)
6 The Flower Kings – Solaris (Islands)
7 Omega – Gammapolis II (Gammapolis)
8 Friendship Time – Anonymiteten (Friendship Time)
9 Checking for Echo – The Distant Sunrise (Life & Other Short Stories)
10 Tim Morse – Voyager (The Archaeology Project)
11 The Mastelotto’s – Elephant Talk (A Romantic’s Guide to King Crimson)
12 Nick Bensen – Vegetable Man (Love You – A Tribute to Syd Barrett)
13 Bo Hansson – Black Riders/Flight to the Ford (Music Inspired by the Lord of the Rings)

You can hear The Prog Mill on Progzilla Radio at these times every week (www.progzilla.com/listen – via the tune in and other internet radio apps and platforms – or ask your smart speaker to “Play Radio Progzilla on Tune-In”)

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

Plus: A podcast of the show which you can stream anytime or download as a mp3 file is normally online by Monday evening each week, with links here and at progzilla.com/podcasts

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

101 Dimensions Curated by Daniel Zambas

Project Citizen

Broadcast  16th Jan  2021 @ Midnight GMT

https://projectcitizen.bandcamp.com/album/less-than-equal-to-greater-than

  • Citizen – Less than
  • Ghost in the Shell – making of a Cyborg
  • Aphex Twin – Pulsewidth
  • Nine Inch nails – Shit Mirror
  • The Fierce and the Dead – The wait
  • Radiohead – Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box
  • We Are Kin – The Speech
  • Citizen – The wait
  • Shineback – Faultlines
  • Mothertongue – The Isle of not quite right
  • We Are kin – Nothing More
  • Shineback – The gentleman
  • Nine Inch nails – ahead of ourselves
  • Frank Zappa – Sy Borg
  • Radiohead – kid A
  • Metroid – Title theme
  • Shineback – I called him in vain (blog 4)
  • Isan – Cathart
  • Aphex twin – Xtal
  • Citizen – Second
  • The fierce and the dead – Part 6 (the eighth circuit)
  • Brian Eno – The Big Ship
  • Shineback – Kill Devil Hills
  • Citizen – The Construct
  • Streets of Rage opening theme

Connect the dots and connect with 101 Dimensions via any of the Curators Cliff Anthony or Emma

Cliff@progzilla.com , Emma@progzilla.com  or Progsquatch@progzilla.com

Every Saturday night from Midnight UTC  (GMT) till late all music no chat Electronic Ambient and Progressive

 Repeated  as Ambient Afternoon on Friday 1:00 pm UTC  (GMT)

www.progzilla.com/listen

https://tunein.com/radio/Progzilla-Radio-s242911/

Tales From The Tiger Moth

Edition 135

Broadcast 2nd Jan 2020

Album Round Up 2020

Kansas – The Absence of Presence
Swappers Eleven – Distance
Haze – See You On The Other Side
Lee Abraham – The World Is Falling Down
The Tangent – Life On Hold
Steve Thorne – He Who Pays The Piper
Colin Bass & Daniel Biro – Summer
That Joe Payne – By Name. By Nature.
Dyble Longdon – France
Built For The Future – Zenith
Pendragon – Soul and the Sea
Lonely Robot – Life Is a Sine Wave
Robert Reed – Erthynge
Marathon – Amelia
Nick D’Virgilio – Where’s The Passion
The Bardic Depths – Legacies
Abel Ganz – The Light Shines Out
John Holden – The Golden Thread
Magenta – Reach For The Moon
Long Earth – Summer
Camel – Long Goodbyes

KRAZZ LOFT VINYL SHOW

Broadcast 17th  January 2020

Show 144

1.    In the Beginning/Lovely To See You Moody Blues
2.    She Said Barclay James Harvest
3.    Have A Cigar Pink Floyd
4.    You Got Lucky Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
5.    Catapult R.E.M.
6.    Islands On the Coast Band of Horses
7.    Tenderloin Blue Oyster Cult
1 Set, 3 Cousins of Prog 3 eras = Prog
8.    I Love You (Miss Robot) The Buggles
9.    The Error Lives On Phideaux
10. D-Rider Hawkwind
36 Minute Mystery 6-Pack  
11. Time of the Season The Zombies w/Rod Argent
12. Season of the Witch Steven Stills & Al Kooper
13. Stevie’s Blues Spencer Davis Group
14. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen Santana
15. Highway Star Deep Purple
16. People Get Ready Vanilla Fudge
17. Take  A Chance With Me Roxy Music
18. Love Over Hurt Rob Bonfiglio
19. Ebony Eyes Bob Welch
20. The Lady Don’t Mind Talking Heads
SIAS: Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles-Live! Santana & Mile Live! Side 2
21. Free Form Funkafide Filth Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles
22. Sad Lisa Cat Stevens
23. Sixty Years On Elton John
24. I Won’t Mind Uriah Heep
21st Century Music
25. Back In Brazil Paul McCartney
26. Jigsaw (Falling Into Place) Radiohead
27. Solving & Running Kiev
28. Miles Away Pt.3 Keith Emerson Band feat. Marc Bonilla
29. Devil In Disguise Green Desert Tree
30. Headhunter Flash & the Pan
Time To Get Jazzed
31. Just You, Just Me Brian Auger and the Trinity
32. Senior Mouse Al Di Miola
33. Jean Pierre Miles Davis
34. Bemsha Swing Thelonious Monk
Take a Breath & Chill
35. Crazy Man Michael Fairport Convention
36. When A Man Loves A Woman Percy Sledge
37. Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy Bonnie Raitt
38. Nights, Winters, Years Justin Hayward / John Lodge
39. Mockingbird Barclay James Harvest

 

 

 

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

Krazzloft@yahoo.com

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=24363&IdCompany=8

TRANSATLANTIC – the Prog Supergroup of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas – are pleased to announce their fifth studio album ‘The Absolute Universe’, set for release on the 5th February 2021. Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s ‘Kaleidoscope’, with ‘The Absolute Universe’ the band have done something unique and created two versions of the record: ‘The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’ & ‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’.

Today they have launched the video for ‘Looking For The Light’, a track which features on both versions of ‘The Absolute Universe’. Watch it now here: https://youtu.be/OvhvY-vUkLI 

Mike Portnoy comments: “Looking For The Light is one of the heavier tracks on The Absolute Universe. In the tradition of Transatlantic sharing all lead vocals, this track gave me my showcase to deliver the lead vocals as it called for a bit more of an aggressive approach. 
This is one of the few tracks that remains primarily the same and appears on both versions of the album. However not content to keep it simple, the version included on the music video is actually a unique version which combines both Looking For The Light and its Reprise from later in the album into one combined version available only here in this video.

Watch the previously released video for ‘The World We Used To Know’ here:
https://youtu.be/xULvfo6rpvE 

Watch the previously released video for ‘Overture/Reaching For The Sky’ here:
https://youtu.be/SP5HwWbCQvg

Each album will be available on CD, LP & Digitally. But there will also be what has been called ‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’, which collects both versions together in one lavish package that includes 5LP’s, 3CD’s & a Blu-ray that includes a special mix that combines both versions into a third unique version in 5.1 surround sound with visuals and a behind the scenes documentary. All editions have artwork created by Thomas Ewerhard featuring the airship by Pavel Zhovba. 

As Mike Portnoy explains: “We’ve got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one – that’s 60 minutes. However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you’ll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.” Pete Trewavas adds: “We did write some new music for the single CD, what’s more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.

The full list of formats is below, and you can pre-order now here:
https://transatlantic.lnk.to/TheAbsoluteUniverse

The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version)’
Available as:
Single CD Edition, Gatefold 2LP+CD, or Digital Album

Track-listing:
1. Overture
2. Reaching For The Sky
3. Higher Than The Morning
4. The Darkness In The Light
5. Take Now My Soul
6. Looking For The Light
7. Love Made A Way (Prelude)
8. Owl Howl
9. Solitude
10. Belong
11. Can You Feel It
12. Looking For The Light (Reprise)
13. The Greatest Story Never Ends
14. Love Made A Way

‘The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version)’
Available as:
2CD Edition, 3LP+2CD Boxset, or Digital Album

Track-listing:
Disc 1:
1. Overture
2. Heart Like A Whirlwind
3. Higher Than The Morning
4. The Darkness In The Light
5. Swing High, Swing Low
6. Bully
7. Rainbow Sky
8. Looking For The Light
9. The World We Used To Know

Disc 2:
1. The Sun Comes Up Today
2. Love Made A Way (Prelude)
3. Owl Howl
4. Solitude
5. Belong
6. Lonesome Rebel
7. Looking For The Light (Reprise)
8. The Greatest Story Never Ends
9. Love Made A Way

‘The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition’
Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster. Includes both versions of the album over 5LP’s and 3CD’s, plus a Blu-Ray with 5.1 mix & documentary. Watch the trailer for the box here: https://youtu.be/vqWllzuScyA 

Blu-Ray Track-listing:
1. Overture (5.1 Surround Mix)
2. Reaching For The Sky (5.1 Surround Mix)
3. Higher Than The Morning (5.1 Surround Mix)
4. The Darkness In The Light (5.1 Surround Mix)
5. Take Now My Soul (5.1 Surround Mix)
6. Bully (5.1 Surround Mix)
7. Rainbow Sky (5.1 Surround Mix)
8. Looking For The Light (5.1 Surround Mix)
9. The World We Used To Know (5.1 Surround Mix)
10. The Sun Comes Up Today (5.1 Surround Mix)
11. Love Made A Way (Prelude) (5.1 Surround Mix)
12. Owl Howl (5.1 Surround Mix)
13. Solitude (5.1 Surround Mix)
14. Belong (5.1 Surround Mix)
15. Lonesome Rebel (5.1 Surround Mix)
16. Can You Feel It (5.1 Surround Mix)
17. Looking For The Light (Reprise) (5.1 Surround Mix)
18. The Greatest Story Never Ends (5.1 Surround Mix)
19. Love Made A Way (5.1 Surround Mix)
20. The Making of The Absolute Universe (Documentary)

Initial tracking began in September 2019 when the band met up in Sweden to write and arrange the new material. As Portnoy explains: “Over a period of 10-14 days, we mapped out the songs. Then we all went back to our home studios and did the recording. That’s the way we always do it. At one point, though, it was suggested that instead of doing what was by that time going to be a double album, we should just be content to do a single CD.”

What happened was that everything kept expanding and expanding,” recalls Stolt. “Therefore we decided it made sense to make it a double album. It was Pete and Neal who then came out and said they felt this would be too long, and we should reduce it to one…But we were already recording, and it didn’t seem feasible to cut it back. There were so many pieces that each of us loved in what we were planning and didn’t want to lose. That’s when we ended up in discussions over the best way forward.”

This album also marks a return to the concept album for Transatlantic. “Well, the idea of Transatlantic deciding to do a concept record this time around won’t shock anyone, right?” laughs Portnoy. “What we have is essentially one giant composition, split into chapters. The storyline is about the struggles facing everyone in society today.” “We didn’t start out with the idea of this being conceptual,” admits Stolt. “The way things work with us is that we have a load of ideas, and these are developed spontaneously when we meet up. Everything happens in the moment.

So, how does this new ground-breaking album compare to Transatlantic’s previous four albums?

I always try not to compare albums as much as possible,” insists Morse. “It’s very difficult when you’re trying to be creative, because your natural instinct is to constantly compare. But in order to create you have to kind of step away from that. Having said that, I would say this would have more in common with ‘The Whirlwind’ album (the band’s third, from 2009) than others that we’ve created.” 

For Trewavas, ‘The Absolute Universe’ is a momentous project.“I think it is right up there with the very finest albums we’ve done. As the others have said, it compares very well to ‘The Whirlwind’, which I believe represents Transatlantic at our best. As on that album, we took our time to write and arrange everything, and that shines through. I am very excited for people to hear it.

Transatlantic were originally formed in 1999, releasing their debut album ‘SMTPe’ the following year as well as its follow-up ‘Bridge Across Forever’ in 2001. Following a 7-year hiatus, the band reconvened to record and release the much-acclaimed epic 77-minute, single-track album ‘The Whirlwind’ followed by a world tour in 2010 which included an appearance at High Voltage Festival in London where they were joined by legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The band’s fourth album ‘Kaleidoscope’ arrived in 2014, going on to win ‘Album Of The Year’ at the Progressive Music Awards.

TRANSATLANTIC online:
https://www.transatlanticweb.com/ 
https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticMusic/ 
www.instagram.com/transatlanticofficial
www.twitter.com/transatlantic99

This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=24364&IdCompany=8

Lyrically, and musically, the award-winning Dutch artist lays her soul bare with the most evocative record of her career – captivating song-stories told with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, percussion, and Anneke’s hypnotic vocal harmonies

Anneke van Giersbergen announced the release of her new solo album ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ last year. Today sees the release of the second single and video of said album, called “Hurricane”.

Anneke comments on the single as follows: “For the new album I wrote a lot of songs filled with messages of love and heartache, but I also went on a more propulsive journey, with darker storytelling. The percussive opening groove of ‘Hurricane’ is maintained until a slightly ominous middle section. The track closes with heavy drums and a glorious trumpet solo.

You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/T8PA4w1iSug 

‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ is available for pre-order. The album will be available as eco-friendly CD Digipak (plastic-free), as 180g Gatefold LP (incl. the album on CD) & as digital album. It will be released on February 26th, 2021.

Click here to pre-order the album: 
https://annekevangiersbergen.lnk.to/TheDarkestSkiesAreTheBrightest

“The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest” – Tracklist:
01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You


The album’s title, ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’, refers to the idea that, when facing personal challenges, we are forced to find answers to life’s biggest questions. But, at this point in her near-three-decade-long music career, this solo album – and, crucially, the heartbreak that inspired it – was not something Anneke van Giersbergen ever anticipated writing.

In 2018, Anneke began working on new material for her metal band, VUUR. Although their debut album, ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’, was met with a mixed reception, fans were warming up to their heavy, progressive sound. Therefore, a rapid follow-up album would surely establish Anneke’s return to fronting a metal band. However, behind the scenes, these were troubled times.

Anneke shares, ”My belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording VUUR’s debut album and taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks.

To make matters worse, in 2018, her long-lasting marriage, which had always been wonderful, unexpectedly saw a storm approaching. Anneke adds, “I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life. This creative endeavour would be far too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude.

With just her acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, Anneke retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She let go of the pressures of what VUUR’s future might be, and fell into the meditative process of writing a solo album. In 2019, work continued on the new songs. In 2020, Anneke asked her friend and producer, Gijs Coolen, to help finish the album.

Throughout the completion of the album, Anneke’s fragile, acoustic song-stories were fused together with an alchemy of panoramic strings, horns, and percussion. The resulting 11-track record has all the intimacy of Anneke serenading an audience of one, combined with surprising departures into swampier, foot-stomping grooves.

The Japanese art of kintsugi has inspired Anneke to use a repaired heart as the album’s symbol. Kintsugi teaches that bringing together the pieces of a broken object – with the use of a precious metal – adds value and uniqueness to it. And, instead of giving up on their marriage, Anneke and her husband decided to take the time to mend their bond. They now cherish the repaired heartbreak as something profoundly valuable. 

Their journey through this personal storm, and the album that Anneke created in the eye of it, proves that the darkest skies truly are the brightest. 

About Anneke van Giersbergen:

‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ is Anneke’s 23rd career album. It proves, once again, that the award-winning Dutch artist defies being pigeonholed by any genre. 

After thirteen years as the front woman for melancholic metallers, The Gathering, she struck out on her own in 2007. Since then, her creativity has known no bounds. Anneke quickly solidified a successful solo career (initially under the moniker Agua de Annique), and has recorded and performed with Canadian metal genius Devin Townsend multiple times. She has also lent her serene yet powerful voice to the likes of: Anathema, Icelandic folk group Árstíðir, Within Temptation, Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, Amorphis, and prog legend John Wetton.

2012’s ‘Everything is Changing’ was something of a milestone in Anneke’s solo career. The album, which was the first to be released under her own name, received two Edison Award nominations – Holland’s most prestigious music prize – in the categories ‘Best Female Artist’ and ‘Best Album’.
In 2015, Anneke van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) released their collaborative album ‘The Diary’ under the name The Gentle Storm.
In October 2017, Anneke’s progressive metal outfit VUUR released their much-anticipated debut album. ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’ entered the Dutch Album Top 100 at number 2, Anneke’s highest-ever chart position.

Forever the unpredictable artist, in late 2018, Anneke released ‘Symphonized’, an 11-track live orchestral album. It was recorded at two career-spanning concerts alongside Residentie Orkest The Hague, and features rearrangements of songs from her entire back catalogue.
2019 saw Dutch music copyright organisation Buma Cultuur honor Anneke with the Buma ROCKS! Export Award. This is their award for the Most Successful Dutch Artist Abroad in Heavy Music.
In 2021, the release of her new solo album ‘The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest’ will see Anneke surprise her fans all over again.

ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN online
www.annekevangiersbergen.com
www.facebook.com/annekevangiersbergenofficial
https://instagram.com/annekeannique
https://twitter.com/AnnekeAnnique
www.youtube.com/AguaDeAnniqueMusic