News

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2020/10/30/howard-jones-cross-that-line-expanded-edition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=howard-jones-cross-that-line-expanded-edition

Released in 1989, Cross That Line saw the twilight of Howard Jones’ chart career. The music maintains the high standard he always set, though time and the oncoming of Britpop meant his time had passed. The music is still great and, despite the few tell tale ’80s motifs, an entertaining listen. The ’80s, I tend to think, was the decade that time forgot, my love turning new nostalgic music more often than current, although Mr Jones (along with Nik Kershaw) provided me with good entertainment. This is a synth-driven album in the proto-guitar-driven era, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it though, and had all the charts and divisions we currently have existed then it might be better remembered. Not wishing to be cruel, it brings to mind the drummer/drum machine jokes, as no amount of beating will alter the machine’s rhythm. Thirty years later I would say that the drummer you have to feed has more heart and soul.

I like the two openers The Prisoner and Everlasting Love, even though they seem more at home mid-decade. Powerhouse, in all its multiple forms found here, seems to be State of Independence meets Duran Duran, again okay, but two minutes later, I cannot remember it. Last Supper does tick the memory buttons though, a really nice ballad, and a tune that does linger.

The title track Cross That Line has a synth-meets-jazz vibe and I rather like it. Out of Thin Air follows, a more than pleasant piano-based piece, in an album that sticks to synth core values it stands out – more skill, less programming and a strong instrumental track.

Guardians of the Breath is really nice, with a feel of both Japan – country and band – at its worst it is a really nice chill out track. Starting from the beginning, the album progresses as if Howard is saying “walk with me through my life”, approaching middle age, indeed a waltz through time, Fresh Air Waltz delivering with style and panache.

This, I think, was Howard Jones’ transitional album. He starts out with pop of the early eighties and does Cross That Line into a more adult presentation of his music. To me, this is clearly demonstrated by Wander to You and the surreal Those Who Move Clouds. It is here that I feel growth has been achieved, producing something longer lasting. Two really tasty tracks.

Modern Man is a bit of a flashback, though I have to say quite a grown reflection of that distinguished past, and the same again with The Brutality of Fact. If you are a fan of Howard, you will enjoy the growth, Cross That Line is quite a strong album in that sense; the numerous mixes and remixes, though interesting, add very little, there is no ‘Woah!’ You have to listen to this mix moment.

The booklet is useful and informative – personnel, the studio, breakdown of songs, etc. – actually a good read. Here in 2020, Mr Jones continues, plus numerous appearances, and I suspect still bunkered down and recording. It would be interesting to hear. In the meantime, the core of this album is a good and worthy record of 1988/9.

TRACK LISTING
Disc One: CD

01. The Prisoner (4:38)
02. Everlasting Love (4:16)
03. Powerhouse (3:26)
04. Last Supper (5:18)
05. Cross That Line (4:42)
06. Out Of Thin Air (3:07)
07. Guardians Of The Breath (7:34)
08. Fresh Air Waltz (3:59)
09. Wanders To You (5:08)
10. Those Who Move Clouds (5:46)
~ Bonus tracks:
11. Modern Man
12. The Brutality Of Fact
13. Power Of The Media
14. Powerhouse (Danny D 12” Edit)

Disc Two: CD
01. The Prisoner (Alternative 7″ Mix)*
02. Everlasting Love (Julian Mendelsohn Mix)*
03. Modern Man (Early Mix)*
04. Powerhouse (7″ Instrumental Mix)*
05. Fresh Air Waltz (Early Mix)*
06. The Prisoner (The Portmeirion Mix)
07. Rubber Morals
08. Have You Heard The News?
09. Powerhouse (Danny D 7″ Edit)
10. The Prisoner (Us 7″ Edit)**
11. Everlasting Love
(Original Mix – Aka The Institute Mix)**
12. Cross That Line (Early Mix)*
13. Powerhouse Of Love (Early Mix)*
14. The Prisoner (Ac Edit)*
15. Powerhouse (Danny D Acid Mix Edit Version 1)*
* Previously Unreleased
** Previously Unreleased Digitally

Disc Three: CD
01. Everlasting Love (Instrumental Mix)*
02. The Prisoner (Battery Studio Mix 1)*
03. Powerhouse (7″ Alternative Mix)*
04. Everlasting Love (Julian Mendelsohn Tv Mix)*
05. The Prisoner (Original Album Mix)*
06. Cross That Line (Marquee Rehearsal, 18th June 1988)*
07. Powerhouse (Marquee Rehearsal, 18th June 1988)*
08. Rubber Morals (TV Mix)*
09. Everlasting Love (Alternative Institute Mix)*
10. The Prisoner (Instrumental Mix)*
11. Powerhouse (TV Instrumental Mix)**
12. Everlasting Love (808 Mix)
13. Powerhouse (Danny D Acid Mix Edit, Version 2)*
14. Everlasting Love (Peter Collins Master Mix)*
15. Powerhouse (Alternative Album Mix – Aka Danny D Delay Mix)*
* Previously Unreleased

Disc Four: DVD
01. Interview with Howard Jones May 2020:
• Creating Cross That Line
• Track By Track Commentary
02. Everlasting Love (Promo Video)
03. The Prisoner (Promo Video)
04. Everlasting Love (Alternative Version) (Promo Video)

MUSICIANS
Too numerous to list…

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Cherry Red Records
Catalogue#: PCDEXRED813
Date of Release: 9th October 2020 (originally 1989)

LINKS
Howard Jones – Website | Facebook | Twitter

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2020/10/29/314-bombyx-mori/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=314-bombyx-mori

If there’s one genre label I’ve never been entirely comfortable with, it’s so-called “World” music, which comes ominously close to being racist, and sometimes crosses that line. And yet, with 3,14’s debut release, it’s hard to think of an adjective that better describes Bombyx Mori. The product of three musicians of different nationalities, and utilising instruments and instrumentation from a range of nations and cultures along the ancient and legendary Silk Road. It’s a glorious fusion of traditional non-Western music, reinterpreted in a modern form – all the strands interwoven into one glorious whole of extraordinary beauty.

Before I’ve listened to even one note, I’m already drawn in by the beautiful cover art – of Bombyx Mori, naturally (more commonly known as the domestic silk moth). Perhaps deliberately, there is more than one moth – as the Silk Road was never one road, so much as a network of interconnected trade routes, connecting Asia to Europe and Africa. Besides trade, the Silk Road played a significant role in the exchange of religions, philosophies, science and technology. The idea of cultural trade seems central to the music of 3,14 (314π), as the three European musicians weave together strands from Asia, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, using the instruments from those regions. Bombyx Mori features ten instrumental tracks including both old and original compositions inspired by raga/makam music from India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Persia, Egypt and Greece, recorded live in the studio last year. Old and new are seamlessly integrated, exposing a range of moods and styles.

I find Eastern classical music, whether traditional or modern, far more vibrant and colourful than Western. I often feel it is a shame that for most people, classical evokes dead Germanic composers. Classical music was the first Progressive music, and continues to progress today. There are numerous avant-garde and progressive record labels releasing fantastic albums that remain frustratingly under the radar. I’m sure this is not The Secret that 3,14 is implying in the title of the opening track for Bombyx Mori, and yet it is the first thing that comes to my mind every time. If it’s true that a secret is something you tell one other person, then tell one other person about 3,14. Conveniently, The Secret was the first single released, allowing it to be shared – at least as a YouTube video link. This track is an impressive opening number, which begins at a slow pace, and by the end is anything but.

Actually, let’s face it, The Secret must surely refer to the fact that the Chinese guarded the secret of silk production for centuries. For while the album may trace the route of the Silk Road through the instrumentation and instruments of the nations and cultures it traverses, the music is inspired by, and is a homage to, the silk moth, rather than the Silk Road. It’s a quite novel way to celebrate the Silk Road, and adds to the enjoyment. So many Western artists have recorded tributes to the Silk Road, but focussing on the insect, rather than the trade route creates some interesting variations to what might otherwise be a well-worn theme.

The second song is also the second single. The Prism is 3,14’s interpretation of Kürdi Peşrev, an Ottoman instrumental written in the 17th Century, but not sounding anywhere near as ancient when played by 3,14. The Prism here refers to the shining and iridescent quality of silk (its shimmering appearance is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles). What The Prism does show is that despite having a compositional backbone, it still very much sounds as if it is played with the freedom of improvisation that plays such a part in much Asian and Indian classical music. I’m drawn back to my earlier statement, that I find Eastern classical music more colourful than Western. Perhaps it is because it is played through a prism of improvisation. The composition is refracted through that prism, and the result is akin to an aural interpretation of the cover art to Dark Side of the Moon.

After the rather sedate vibe of The Prism, the tempo is raised considerably by 3,000 Feet. I love the vocal percussion in this piece. Whether Padhant in Hindustani, or Konnakol in Carnatic, these performances of vocal percussion always sweep me in and away. The music is suitably swirling, given the title which refers to the fact that unravelling a silkworm cocoon can result in a single thread 3,000 feet long. It’s easy to envisage the unwinding of the silk as you listen to the music, slowing cautiously at points to ensure the thread does not break, before picking up the tempo again.

Having covered only three songs so far, it’s becoming obvious that to continue in this way isn’t practical. Suffice to say, 3,14 continue to offer a range of colours and textures, with some unexpected twists along the way. Sometimes calm and peaceful, and sometimes fast and furious, but always engaging and enjoyable. Qazzaz (a surname that means silk trader) is a percussive delight with some interesting modulations, and one of my favourite tracks on the album; and Resham (a female name meaning silk) has a driving and impassioned intensity. The title track is the longest on the album, and yet it flies by. The following track, I assume refers to artificial silk (‘6A’ being the highest quality silk, and ‘7A’ largely used to describe replica/fake goods online), and its another full throttle assault. Kota Doria is suitably fine and light, like the fabric it’s named for; and the closing number, Cocoon, is beautiful in its simplicity, wrapping things up perfectly.

Ultimately, this is probably the most impressive album released from the Worlds Within Worlds label yet – and that’s saying something, as they have been releasing only quality albums since their inception. And, as mentioned at the beginning of this review, Bombyx Mori is truly a world album, too, taking inspiration from the music of multiple countries and peoples, along the route of the legendary Silk Road. It’s an absolutely addictive album, which I find myself returning to time and time again, and which (if it does not remain too guarded a secret) will surely find itself competing for a place on the end of year lists of those who fall for its charms.

TRACK LISTING
01. The Secret (Sampurna Kanada) (10:47)
02. Prism (Kürdi Peşrev) (7:48)
03. 3,000 Feet (Madhuvanti) (4:10)
04. The Red Kite (Manj Khamaj) (7:32)
05. Qazzaz (Lahen Tayyah) (10:34)
06. Resham (4:37)
07. Bombyx Mori (Pahari) (13:49)
08. A. A. A. A. A. A. A. (8:42)
09. Kota Doria (4:46)
10. Cocoon (Deepchandi / Devr – i Kebir) (2:56)

Total Time – 75:41

MUSICIANS
Efrén López – Herati Dutar, Fretted Hurdy Gurdy, Oğur Sazı, Tanpura, Oud, Sagat, Gong, Azeri Tar, Daf, Afghan Rabab, Basslaute, Swarmandal, Kudüm, Zil
Ciro Montanari – Tabla, Udu, Kayamb, Calabash
Jordi Prats – Sarod
~ with:
Evgenios Voulgaris – Yaylı Tanbur, Rebab
Kirill Osherov – Riq
Nuno Silva – Persian Santur
Gloria Aleza – Cello

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Worlds Within Worlds
Country of Origin: Spain/International
Date of Release: 2nd October 2020

LINKS
3,14 (314π) – Facebook | Bandcamp

This week’s Prog-Watch is all about ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT! With songs concerning things supernatural from White Willow, The Strawbs, Blue Oyster Cult, Asia, Uriah Heep, Pattern-Seeking Animals, Agents Of Mercy, Ken Hensley, The Syn, Styx, Jethro Tull, Rush, The Rocket Scientists, Drifting Sun, Todd Rundgren, Warren Zevon, and Anekdoten! Join me…if you dare!

743: Things That Go Bump In The Night

 

Mike Rutherford – Smallcreep’s Day Side 1:

I Between the Tick and & the Tock

ii Working in Line

iii After Hours

iv Cats and Rats (In This Neighbourhood)

v Smallcreep Alone

vi Out Into the Daylight

 

Marillion – Best.Live Side D:

This Strange Engine

 

The Flower Kings – Unfold The Future Side A1:

The Truth Will Set You Free pt. 1

 

Genesis – Duke Side 2:

Turn It On Again

Alone Tonight

Cul-de-Sac

Duke’s Travels

Duke’s End

 

Damanek – Ragusa

Profuna Ocean – Thousand Yard Stare

Warmrain – Live the Dream

Tygers of Pan Tang – Love Potion No. 9

Røsenkreütz – True Lies

Jadis – Truth from the Lies

Karmakanic – Who’s the Boss in the Factory?

Karfagen & Sunchild – Stars of Cardiff Bay (live)

Minor Giant – On the Road

United Progressive Fraternity – What Happens Now

This news story was originally published here: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProgNewsProgarchives/~3/SxIInId2J1w/forum_posts.asp

Rodrigo San Martin announces Arcana (Act 1), first progressive rock album mixed with 8D Audio.

The sixth record of the argentine musician will be released on November 14. However, a pre-release will be streamed on October 30 at 22 p.m (Buenos Aires time zone) on La Resistencia Progresiva Argentina’s Youtube Channel.

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Rodrigo San Martín (Buenos Aires, 1988) is an argentine multi-instrumental Progressive Rock musician. His first encounter with surround sound was with “1”, his debut record in 2010. It’s the first Latin-American album mixed in 5.1 surround.
His five solo albums has been greatly recognized by the international specialised press, as well as his involvement with the bands: Vanished from Earth and Souls Ignite. Nowadays, he is the leader of The Astral Platypus, an audiovisual project that is a parody of Progressive Rock. The project includes a comedy web series that narrates the story of a fictional band between the 60´s and 80´s, and the complete discography of said band.
Rodrigo is considered one of the main figures Argentina’s progressive rock’s revival, since he is the founding member and leader of La Resistencia Progresiva Argentina: a group of progressive bands, with whom he works with in different projects to promote the genre. One of these initiatives is the Baires Prog Fest, a music festival in Buenos Aires, which has already had fifteen editions.

Bandcamp (free discography):
https://rodrigosanmartin.bandcamp.com/

Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/SanMartinPhase7

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/sanmartinphase7/

 

The AmericanPrög Show Blue Öyster Cult Album Release Special slash Halloween Thingy:

 

The Alchemist – from The Symbol Remains

Blue Öyster Cult from Imaginos

Wings Wetted Down from Tyranny & Mutation

The Vigil from Mirrors

Manic Depresso – from Bad Channels 

Screams – from 45th Anniversary Live in London

Death Valley Nights from Spectres

Nightmare Epiphany from The Symbol Remains

 

—Blue Coupe – More Cowbell (Gotta Fever)

Fire of Unknown Origin from Fire of Unknown Origin 

One Step Ahead of the Devil from Curse of the Hidden Mirror

See You In Black from Heaven Forbid

Tainted Blood from The Symbol Remains

There’s a Crime from The Symbol Remains

Perfect Water from Club Ninja

 

—Albert Bouchard – Black Telescope (from Re Imaginos)

—Heaven 17 – Don’t Fear (The Reaper) radio edit

Dominance & Submission from ETL

The Machine from The Symbol Remains

Veins – from The Revolution By Night

The Marshall Plan – from Cultösaurus Erectus

 

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2020/10/28/william-shatner-the-blues/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=william-shatner-the-blues

First things first… you’ll need to get very drunk. No, I mean it. Open that bottle of plum brandy you’ve had since returning from that works trip to Poland where you won Employee of The Month during the firm’s Katowice shindig. Whaddya mean, you’re not sure? What special occasion are you waiting for? Are you waiting for Karen from HR to offer a repeat of the drunken messy encounter in room 408 of the Katowice Ibis? Or maybe for Americans to be suddenly possessed of enough self-awareness to vote the Orange Shitgibbon out? Neither of those things are happening, and you know it, so just open the damn thing, pour out an over-large measure, and down it as fast as possible. Done that? Right, do it again.

Now the sickly sweet and very alcoholic beverage is working its magic, you’re in the just the right state of uncoordinated incoherence to enter the strange, wobbly and queasy fat kaleidoscopic netherworld of almost-nonagenarian William Shatner. Never knowingly undersold, if Bill was any more hammy, he’d be made of more gammon than Kent.

Bill’s latest musical misadventure starts off hilariously, and only gets weirder. Bill shouts into the mic with a vocal power someone half his age would be proud of, “C’mon, baby don’t you want to go… to Sweet Home Chicago”, in a comically vaguely threatening manner. If baby has any sense, she’ll stay home. Next up, listen in awe as Bill wails “Weeeelllllllll, I caaaan’t quit you baby”, putting his back out, as he needs to “put you down for a while”. He sounds like a wounded bull seal, the poor bugger. Later he implores of us “I don’t know what to do, my heart is filled with pain”. Ha! He should be so lucky!

The Thrill Is Gone sees Bill improvising on a theme of “Waiting for me to die. No, waiting for you to die”, while Ritchie Blackmore twiddles away in the background like he’s phoning it in, which he probably was, metaphorically speaking. Ah, yes, there’s guest plank spankers aplenty, all giving it their best 12-bar fret wrangle while Bill staggers through the lyrics, adding his own words in random interjections that pay little attention to the beat. Don’t forget, this is a man who claimed to have taught his daughter to ride a horse “in a prog rock way”.

As y’all know, the blues is 50% tragedy writ large, and boy does Bill write it LARGE, and 50% boasting of sexual prowess, so I’m A Man goes: “I’m good, but I’m old… don’t hurt me child, cos I love ya. Know why I love ya? Cos I’m a man, oh yes.” Muddy will be laughing his socks off.

By now, you may be feeling a little like one of those always doomed “red shirts” from Star Trek. The excess Slivovitz has made you wonder if you’re feeling sick because of the drink, or from listening to Bill thesp to the max as he hollers at you he was “born under a baaaaad sign…”. Only one thing for it, must be time for more of Poland’s finest doncha think? Pat Travers knocks out a mean guitar accompaniment to I Put A Spell On You, while Bill lurches around the studio looking for a stage to fall off. “Cos you’re mine”, he bellows at no-one in particular, pressing his bleary face against the control room window, leaving a trail of slobber as he falls to his knees, imagining he is a Betazoid Elvis on a space unicorn.

Smokestack Lightening sees our indefatigable troubadour a-weeping and a-moaning as crocodile tears of pure bathos (ham flavoured) splatter in pools of sticky schmaltz around his cowboy boots. This is actually painful to listen to. Or hilarious. See… I told you that being seven sheets to the wind was an essential prerequisite for listening to this musical aberration. What I want to know is, who in this dimension, or any other, come to that, is actually going to buy this? If you know anyone who is likely to, it means either they need a shrink, or they missed their last couple of AA meetings.

Funny, or simply tragic, it has to be said that Bill’s pulling power is amazing, just look at that list of guitar players! Even James Burton makes an appearance. Bill probably wanted Jimi too, but he was unavailable, being in an alternative universe at the time. He’ll be there next time, just you see. William Shatner is an actor. He is 829 years old.

TRACK LISTING
01. Sweet Home Chicago (2:54)
02. I Can’t Quit You Baby (4:38)
03. Sunshine of Your Love (4:21)
04. The Thrill Is Gone (4:53)
05. Mannish Boy (5:01)
06. Born Under A Bad Sign (2:44)
07. I Put A Spell on You (2:35)
08. Crossroads (3:12)
09. Smokestack Lightnin’ (3:06)
10. As the Years Go Passing By (3:49)
11. Let’s Work Together (2:45)
12. Route 66 (2:53)
13. In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company (3:47)
14. Secrets or Sins (3:12)

Total Time – (Sometime after closing time… which is quite early these days.)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Cleopatra Records
Catalogue#: CLO 1943
Date of Release: 2nd October 2020

LINKS
William Shatner – Facebook | Bandcamp

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2020/10/27/anathema-eternity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=anathema-eternity

With Anathema announcing themselves another casualty of 2020, and being placed on indefinite hiatus, I’m sure many have been reacquainting themselves with their full discography. Everyone has their own special and favourite albums from the band, as their mood and style have changed several times over the years. There are, however, pivotal and transitional moments, and 1996’s Eternity is possibly the most important of those. There’s probably some bias in my statement, as Eternity is one of my three favourite Anathema albums – and yet, it’s hard to deny that this album was a big change for the band. All traces of extremity are gone from the music, and there are no harsh, guttural vocals.

The album is dark, tortured, melancholy, and yet hopeful. It’s powerful, emotional and expressive – all of which are key components to the success of Anathema’s latter day albums, and the new legion of fans accorded to them when they signed to Kscope. There will be some who argue otherwise, I’m sure, but in my opinion it all started here. Anathema retain the heaviness of their previous releases, but it is a heaviness more akin to gravity than to sound. This is music that weighs down upon the listener, all-encompassing and all-enveloping. The music may be less sonically heavy, but it’s crushing nevertheless.

The album begins with a beautiful and minimal instrumental, Sentient, with keening guitar over piano. It has a Gothic and Floydian sound which provides the mood and atmosphere for much, if not all, of this album. Angelica follows, and is possibly the album’s most well-known song, thanks to its reinterpretation on the Hindsight album. It’s also the first we hear of Vincent Cavanagh’s tortured vocals – not growls, but certainly nowhere as polished as they will become. Everything about Eternity screams transitional. The music is caught between what was and what will be. The vocals, too. And that transitional nature has often seen this album be viewed more harshly than I think is fair. Vincent’s vocals no doubt come as a shock to those who have come to Eternity off the back of later albums, as they did to those who came to it at the time.

In fact, the Anathema album I find most akin to Eternity is the far more recent Distant Satellites – another transitional album, heralding another change in sound. But while a lot of people seemed to regard Distant Satellites as a step backwards, after the beloved Weather Systems and We’re Here Because We’re Here, I see it more as looking back, than stepping back. Besides the aural similarities to Weather Systems, the Anathema album I am mostly reminded of is (you guessed it) Eternity. There is a return to the bleakness and darkness, after a couple of overwhelmingly “happy” albums. This is perhaps more a minor melancholy than the more oppressive gloom of Sternirt, but the change in mood is inarguable. Vocally, obviously, there is little comparison to Eternity (though the song Anathema certainly comes close), but musically it has that same Gothic Floydian vibe, albeit with an added flirtation with electronic sounds.

Both albums also have a song in three parts, in Eternity’s case the title track(s). The first part screams pain and sorrow, while the second is another gorgeous instrumental, as expressive without words as the first part is with. The pain may be gone, but the sorrow remains – until the end, where hope springs eternal. And this has to be deliberate, as the next song is one of the absolute highlights of the album – an incredible cover of Roy Harper’s Hope, from his album with Jimmy Page, Whatever Happened to Jugula?. Even better, they presage the track, as it was on the Jugula album with Roy’s recital of Bad Speech. I love both the original and Anathema’s cover, and it deserves its centrepiece spot on Eternity. With music written by David Gilmour, Hope is of course tailor made for Anathema’s dark and Gothic take on Floydian splendour.

Suicide Veil is even greater, with its slow and dramatic crescendo. It’s probably my favourite song on the album, the dynamic control on this track is awesome, instrumentally and vocally. Radiance is another slow burner, though with nowhere near the punch of a Suicide Veil. It’s cold and abrasive, but it pales in comparison. That said, when it ups the tempo in the last couple of minutes, it’s really quite impactful, and the guitar sounds at this point are irresistible. This is the weakest song on the album, for me, and it still has moments of glory. Eternity truly doesn’t have a dud track – which is quite phenomenal when you consider that it is a transitional album. Generally speaking, transitional albums can be quite clunky, but somehow Anathema has made the journey as exciting (possibly more so) than the destination.

Far Away remained a live staple long after Eternity was released, and you can hear why. With very little tweaking, it fits the more modern Anathema aesthetic, and features female vocals (those of Michelle Richfield) prominently. The final part of Eternity is suitably climactic, with squalls of guitar. Cries on the Wind has a glorious bass-driven introductory passage, which leads me to finally acknowledge one of the ingredients vital to the vibrancy of Eternity – Duncan Patterson. Patterson stayed on with Anathema for their next album, before moving on to different things. His bass played a huge part in Anathema’s sound at this point, and was certainly one of the reasons, I think, that this transitional album is as smooth as it is.

Eternity then ends as it began, with an instrumental. However Ascension is a very different beast to Sentient, and actually a quite surprising end to the album. Spirited and spritely, Ascension dances its way towards a fade out, before returning in a more sombre, yet still overtly optimistic fashion. Hope seems a key concept to this album. Through all the darkness, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can only hope that Anathema’s hiatus will not be final. There may yet be light at the end of that tunnel, too. And even if that never comes to pass, the band have left behind an incredible discography. If I can not objectively say Eternity is one of Anathema’s best, I can say it is one of my favourites.

TRACK LISTING
01. Sentient (2:59)
02. Angelica (5:51)
03. The Beloved (4:44)
04. Eternity, Part I (5:35)
05. Eternity, Part II (3:12)
06. Hope (5:55)
07. Suicide Veil (5:11)
08. Radiance (5:52)
09. Far Away (5:30)
10. Eternity, Part III (4:44)
11. Cries on the Wind (5:01)
12. Ascension (3:21)

Total Time – 58:11

MUSICIANS
Vincent Cavanagh – Vocals, Guitars
Daniel Cavanagh – Guitar, Keyboards
Duncan Patterson – Bass
John Douglas – Drums
~ with:
Michelle Richfield – Vocals
Les Smith – Keyboards, Arrangements (track 1)
Roy Harper – Spoken Word (track 6)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Peaceville
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 11th November 1996

LINKS
Anathema – Website | Facebook | YouTube

This news story was originally published here: https://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2020/10/26/israel-gil-aisles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=israel-gil-aisles

Something Old, Something New…
Aisles were first presented to me with their 4:45 AM album, I loved it, it was different and exciting, it was quintessentially English or (North) American. Now there are changes, the core of the band remains but with a new singer being introduced, Israel Gil. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions, which I hope you will find as enlightening as I have…


Aisles have been around for a while now, mixing a variety of musical styles, but throughout this they have sustained their South American feel. With your classical background in music theory, what do you think you will bring to the band’s sound?

The classical influence and my career as a violinist will be noticed in the songs and in the way I create vocal melodies. Anyway, this will just be another ingredient to the formula that Aisles have been working with. I would say that I sing in a way that an instrument will, but always taking care of the interpretation and the feeling on the lyrics. On the other hand, my way of learning music will be noticed in the research I’m doing to be in touch with the progressive style (that’s the music theory influence).

How would you describe yourself and your influences?

I’ve had many influences. As a kid I used to hear a lot of Michael Jackson’s music, I enjoyed his performances and versatility. Later I started listening to rock music (when I was about 10 or 11 years old). I remember hearing Bohemian Rhapsody and watching Freddie Mercury again and again every night, while in the morning I listened to Depeche Mode, especially Personal Jesus and Enjoy the Silence. Sometimes a bit of Guns ‘n’ Roses. I loved Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City. Anyway, in my teenage years I focused on classical music (hearing lots of versions of Ivry Gitlis, a real violinist virtuoso (from my point of view, he is a rock star), and Jazz. Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and I was obsessed with A Love Supreme by John Coltrane.

The band you’ve joined are acknowledged in Progressive Rock circles, other than Aisles do you listen to Prog, and if so, whom? Exclusive of genre, who are you favourite artists?

I’ve been listening to progressive rock music since my adolescence without knowing it. I remember my uncle showing me lot of rock and metal bands since I was a kid, like Yes, Marillion, Genesis, Rush and Tool. I’m not a person that has favourites, but recently I’ve been hearing lot of The Mars Volta. I would say that my favourite prog rock bands are the Mars Volta and Yes. I really enjoy listening to Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice. And I could listen to Yes for hours. The different moods that they can manage in their music is simply genius.

Do you want to continue with the thematic style that the band have pretty much followed to date, or will the new songs be more self contained?

I think that expressiveness is important, but everything is made around the feelings of the band. I will be the person that shows that emotion with my voice, but the songs are the ones that will drive the final sound. I can bring intensity to that sound or I can bring some introspection. It all depends. Anyway, the next album will have both.

What excites you most about the future of the band?

I think the future is very promising. I’m willing to learn a lot from my very experienced bandmates and having fun with the interaction between our music and the listeners. Anyway, I think that the most challenging part will be making everybody feel what I will be feeling at that moment. That will be fun.

The PR mentions new material, how far on this new path have you travelled?

Well I was recording in the studio about two weeks ago. I’m preparing for something big. The pandemic has been something difficult, but it has also given me the chance of focusing in my thoughts and I have been singing a lot. The new material is also a part of that training.

And when can we expect to hear some? The thought of waiting until June 2021 is quite daunting?

Well, don’t feel disappointed. Remember that we are starting to put things in motion, so things will be happening quickly. Meanwhile, you will be seeing us doing different material that we will be posting on our social media. I strongly recommend you to follow my bandmates’ profiles in social media. We will be sharing videos for everybody! And I like interacting with the people. Don’t miss that chance.

Recruited as a singer, do you play any musical instruments?

I am a very well-trained classical violinist.

Your biography says your background is classical, and that you have studied music theory, progressive rock quite often stretches the boundaries of any perceived genre and styles, by the use of odd time signatures and/or unusual instrumentation. How does that fit with your background and studies?

Well you’ve said that better than me. I’m very serious about using the violin as a new string for the band. They know it and you will hear it. The theoretical part is just a means to an end. I’ve heard lot of classical, Palestrina to Steve Reich, and technique or musical literature knowledge is not as important as the study of aesthetics. And by that, I mean the way you make something new and attractive. The way you innovate or what’s important to attend to when you’re doing something artistic. I think many people understand it without studying it. It is just a feeling. For me, taking references is a way to get there, it is not everything. You can make something epic without doing an intense research of every genre of music that exists. That can even be counterproductive if you want something very new and with your own touch. So, I take things very calmly. I would say that I take my own references in the many styles I’ve studied, but at the end of the day, many times it’s very spontaneous.

The lifeblood of many a band is live performance, are you still able to perform in Chile?

Not yet. Venues are still closed and we are going through a process called “step by step”, where cities are opening up slowly as the number of cases decreases. We will be ready when this process is over. Meanwhile we’ll be sharing some performances in the social media. So, follow us!

While the current global situation continues, how will it influence yours and the band’s writing?

That will be a part of the new album, of course. Our last single, Smile of Tears, had that influence. All people involved in the arts have felt it. I’m very sure that all of us artists have something to say about it. The loneliness and the feeling of surviving every day in a dangerous scenario is very shocking. But when the band returns to the stage, the people will bring that surviving instinct to the concerts and we will share different and new concepts with everybody. I’m very sure that this pandemic will change many things from now on.

Freedom to travel, I missed Aisles last time in London, once free to travel again, where do you want to perform?

Hopefully in every corner around the world. I think that given the situation the first performances will be here in Chile, and then the rest of South America. I hope we travel to Europe and the UK later on. It depends. I personally would love to go to London.

I liked the single, you have a fine voice. Is it difficult to perform and interpret other people’s words?

Yes, it is, but the more time I spend with my bandmates, the more adapted I feel to those feelings. The words and music are made by five other people, so I think that it suits me very well, because I can adapt very easily to different moods.

We have the press release, but how would you describe yourself?

I always describe myself as a person that enjoys having fun and enjoys being with others. The problem is off stage. I´m not as social as it looks, and I get introspective really easily. As I told you, I can adapt to different situations, but I think I’m always looking for something new. Something that could represent a way of doing things in different ways every day. I feel like I was born to be a progressive rock vocalist. I can express my inner world properly and I’m very happy about it, because I need to express what I want to.

What is your favourite Aisles track at present?

Upside Down is a song that I’ve been hearing a lot. It doesn’t represent the emotions that I usually have, but the apocalyptic feeling that it gives me is just astonishing. I don’t know how they did it, but it works so well. Of course, I like the melody, the use of the piano and the rhythms. I think that will be a very fun song to play and show the neurotic side that sometimes appears (in a good way, obviously).

Thank you Israel for your open and interesting answers, I will follow and look forward to the new material. In the meantime here is Aisles’ cover of Rush’s Red Sector A


LINKS
Aisles – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp