News

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/04/25/mouse-on-the-keys-out-of-body-ep/

Following on from the pleasant discovery, late last year, of the rather intriguing Cubic album from LITE, I noted that regular touring partners were fellow countrymen and Tokyo based trio, Mouse on the Keys. At the time I remember checking out a few Youtube videos and making a mental note do some research after the festive season. Needless to say it completely slipped my mind until the recent press release, announcing that the trio would be performing in the U.K. and across Europe during April and May 2017, triggered the grey matter.

The press sheet also mentioned a new release from this keyboard-led trio.

Immediately dispel all thoughts of similar formations as not only do Mouse on the Keys comprise a variation on this theme, with two keyboard players and a drummer, but they travel a different musical pathway. Mouse’s music is rather more minimalistic in approach, although not without its own complexities, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, ambient and electronica. Perhaps mindful of the pitfalls of their rhythmically challenging, often quirky arrangements, the trio never lose sight of musicality and the playful Afterglow is a prime example here.

Curious, I decided to backtrack and Mouse’s previous album, The Flowers Of Romance (2015), which certainly pushes the boat out with it’s unfriendly foot tapping beats and rhythmically angular keyboards. There’s also a firmer grasp on the dissonant, however it still retains many of the aforementioned elements. I suppose there’s more meat on the bone with The Flowers Of Romance, clocking in at just under forty minutes, whereas Out of Body doesn’t quite get into its stride. Or perhaps I’m just being greedy? At just under eighteen minutes I’m not entirely convinced that Out of Body has enough time to fully work. What’s there is fine and the sombre and evocative Dark Lights, for instance, is delicious.

Out of Body does suggest a slightly more introspective phase for Mouse on the Keys, but given the underlying theme of death, or near-death experience, perhaps not unexpected.

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Above is Leviathan, a track taken from the band’s previous album The Flowers Of Romance – and well worth checking out.

TRACK LISTING
01. Intro (0:11)
02. Earache (3:10)
03. Dark Lights (4:50)
04. Afterglow (3:44)
05. Elegie (3:25)
06. Out Of Body (2:33)

Total Time – 17:53

MUSICIANS
Akira Kawasaki – Drums
Atushi Kiyota – Piano & Keyboards
Daisuke Niitome – Piano & Keyboards

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Top Shelf Records
Catalogue#: n/a
Date of Release: 25th January 2017

LINKS
Mouse on the Keys – Website | Facebook

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This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/04/25/cast-power-and-outcome/

Cast are a powerful band from Mexico who are well known throughout Latin America and the World, recognized and reviewed on progressive outlets in North America and Europe for many years. They are prolific with 20 albums released over 30 years and they deliver with each new recording, Power and Outcome being no exception.

The title itself is an important and relevant one today, many countries adopting populist, “home first” stances whilst adopting leaders who exert tighter controls over freedom and decision making. The album questions the outcomes that we can expect from this use (misuse?) of power, and that is something that we should all be asking. It’s a great title for an album full of thematic questions.

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From the massive theatrical instrumental wonder that is Rules of the Desert right through to the closing notes of Dialect for the 21st Century, Power and Outcome provides many reasons why all of us, as citizens of the world, need to understand that we are the power, and we should be careful about who we elect as leaders of our nations and states.

Rules of the Desert is one of the best tracks on this or any other album this year and a fine introduction. The title track Power and Outcome helps to lay out the choices we make when we give power to others. The two parts of Details provide many exciting improvisational instrumental wonders for all to enjoy.

Through Stained Glass is a Yes/Starcastle–like wonderland of high notes and intricate synth, guitar and drum interplay, the violin from Italian Roberto Izzo only adds cream to the mix. Bobby Vidales’ vocals are similar to Jon Anderson of Yes, although with a less high range. The deeper bass sounding Illusions and Tribulations helps to punctuate the outcomes of our choices, the keyboards, lead electric guitar and magic from the rhythm section having an inspirational, lifting sensation that is amazing. Likewise, the inspired keyboard work on The Gathering is just stunning.

Conquest is a moving electric guitar piece with great support from the other instrumentalists and symphonic orchestration. Full Circle is a vocal–driven track with great string support, full of discussion about the ability of one vote to make a difference. Dialect for the 21st Century is the symphonic closer that is required to close this complex and exciting new release from a truly great band.

Savour every note, string, beat, word, and key of this extraordinary release. It is currently at the top of my list of favorite albums of the year.

TRACK LISTING
01. Rules of the Desert (Instrumental) (11:35)
02. Power and Outcome (7:25)
03. Details:
– a) Circle Spins (5:47)
– b) Start Again (Instrumental) (8:43)
04. Through Stained Glass (8:46)
05. Illusions and Tribulations (9:27)
06. The Gathering (8:16)
07. Conquest (Instrumental) (3:30)
08. Full Circle (1:57)
09. Dialect for the 21st Century (5:16)

Total Time –

MUSICIANS
Alfonso Vidales – Keyboards
Antonio Bringas – Drums
Claudio Codero – Lead Guitar
Bobby Vidales – Vocals
Lupita Acuna – Vocals
Roberto Izzo – Violin
Carlos Humaran – Bass

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Progressive Promotion Records
Country of Origin: Mexico
Date of Release: 7th March 2017

LINKS
Cast – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/dark-tranquillity-north-american-tour-2017/
DARK TRANQUILLITY Announce North American Headlining Tour

Swedish Melodic Death Metal innovators Dark Tranquillity are pleased to announce their return to North American soil; this time taking form as a month long headlining tour. The band continues to support their latest studio album, Atoma, and have been touring worldwide on the strength of the 2016 release. Joining Dark Tranquillity on these upcoming shows in the US & Canada are veteran thrashers Warbringer and heavy metal rebels Striker.

There are both regular tickets available as well as special VIP packages including a meet and greet with the band and a poster. Tickets & VIP packages for all shows are available now via the following link: http://www.enterthevault.com/artist.php?id=451

Tour dates:

September 6th – Margate, FL @ O’Malley’s
September 7th – Winter Park, FL @ The Haven
September 8th – Tampa FL @ The Orpheum
September 9th – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
September 10th – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground
September 11th – Durham, NC @ Motorco
September 12th – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
September 13th – Halethorpe, MD @ Fish Head Cantina
September 14th – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
September 15th – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
September 16th – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
September 17th – Montreal, QC @ FouFounes
September 18th – Toronto, ON @ MOD Club
September 19th – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge
September 20th – Joliet, IL @ The Forge
September 21st – Sioux Falls, SD @ Icon Lounge
September 22nd – Minneapolis MN @ The Cabooze
September 23rd – Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theatre
September 24th – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
September 25th – Calgary, AB @ Dickens
September 26th – Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room
September 28th – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater
September 29th – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
September 30th – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
October 1st – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
October 2nd – West Hollywood, CA @ Whiskey a Go Go
October 3rd – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
October 4th – Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
October 5th – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
October 6th – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
October 7th – Dallas, TX @ Trees

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/uncategorized/tetrafusion-dreaming-of-sleep-review/
Tetrafusion - Dreaming of Sleep review

Tetrafusion’s first album in five years, and a follow-up to 2012’s Horizons EP, titled Dreaming of Sleep, comes out on April 28th. After their departure from Scale the Summit, for bassist Mark Mitchell and drummer J.C. Bryant it was a no-brainer what comes next. They have invested a lot into writing and releasing Dreaming of Sleep, and the result is really fascinating.

Nine tracks of perfect musicianship and instrumentation topped with Gary Tubbs fantastic vocal delivery will satisfy both Prog Metal geeks and Jazz Fusion gourmets. Indeed, on Dreaming of Sleep Tetrafusion display a variety which goes all over the place—one moment you hear Prog Metal pounding riffs, the other you are carried by a lush clean guitar melody, courtesy of Brooks Tarkington, in the vein of John McLaughlin, with expressive rhythm section and more than convincing singing of Tubbs.

This switching between the stylistically diverse elements and moods feels rather smooth. Comparing with their previous work, the songs on Dreaming of Sleep are more structured and the flow of each song is flawless, allowing each idea to express itself fully without sounding jarring and misplaced. You can hear each member’s influence within their sound: some parts wouldn’t sound out of place in metal, there are very melodic elements and there is not one genre left untouched by this album.

The opening “Blank Pages” rips right in with bass and drums hammering and guitar wailing overhead. It’s groovier and at the same time more frantic and frenetic. This leads in to “Echo Chamber,” a brutal and off-kilter song that leads into the more thematic and dramatic “The Void.” “10,001” tears into itself with some jazz bass noodling, and atmospheric keyboard which give it an unsettling feeling. The guitar, on the other side, adds on dynamic by employing the series of riffs. About a minute in, “Sisyphus” recalls Sean Malone’s bass work with Cynic before it engages into a passage entirely filled with repetitive piano line and Tubbs’ singing. It is the second part of the song where the band goes free, letting their inner King Crimson in a Cynic mosh pit—you get the point.

By the end of the album, Tetrafusion continue to constantly shift their mood, volume and tempo, delivering much more than complex structures. Dreaming of Sleep is a record that, in shortly, collects and summarises influences from Frank Zappa, Weather Report and King Crimson to Cynic, TesseracT and Opeth.

Tracklist:

01. Blank Pages
02. Echo Chamber
03. The Void
04. 10,001
05. Sisyphus
06. Simulate:Captivate
07. Awakening
08. Vestige
09. Perfect Silence

Line-up:

* Mark Michell – bass
* J.C. Bryant – drums
* Gary Tubbs – lead vocals/keys
* Brooks Tarkington – guitars/vocals

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/tetrafusion-dreaming-of-sleep-review/
Tetrafusion - Dreaming of Sleep review

Tetrafusion’s first album in five years, and a follow-up to 2012’s Horizons EP, titled Dreaming of Sleep, comes out on April 28th. After their departure from Scale the Summit, for bassist Mark Mitchell and drummer J.C. Bryant it was a no-brainer what comes next. They have invested a lot into writing and releasing Dreaming of Sleep, and the result is really fascinating.

Nine tracks of perfect musicianship and instrumentation topped with Gary Tubbs fantastic vocal delivery will satisfy both Prog Metal geeks and Jazz Fusion gourmets. Indeed, on Dreaming of Sleep Tetrafusion display a variety which goes all over the place—one moment you hear Prog Metal pounding riffs, the other you are carried by a lush clean guitar melody, courtesy of Brooks Tarkington, in the vein of John McLaughlin, with expressive rhythm section and more than convincing singing of Tubbs.

This switching between the stylistically diverse elements and moods feels rather smooth. Comparing with their previous work, the songs on Dreaming of Sleep are more structured and the flow of each song is flawless, allowing each idea to express itself fully without sounding jarring and misplaced. You can hear each member’s influence within their sound: some parts wouldn’t sound out of place in metal, there are very melodic elements and there is not one genre left untouched by this album.

The opening “Blank Pages” rips right in with bass and drums hammering and guitar wailing overhead. It’s groovier and at the same time more frantic and frenetic. This leads in to “Echo Chamber,” a brutal and off-kilter song that leads into the more thematic and dramatic “The Void.” “10,001” tears into itself with some jazz bass noodling, and atmospheric keyboard which give it an unsettling feeling. The guitar, on the other side, adds on dynamic by employing the series of riffs. About a minute in, “Sisyphus” recalls Sean Malone’s bass work with Cynic before it engages into a passage entirely filled with repetitive piano line and Tubbs’ singing. It is the second part of the song where the band goes free, letting their inner King Crimson in a Cynic mosh pit—you get the point.

By the end of the album, Tetrafusion continue to constantly shift their mood, volume and tempo, delivering much more than complex structures. Dreaming of Sleep is a record that, in shortly, collects and displays influences from Frank Zappa, Weather Report and King Crimson to Cynic, TesseracT and Opeth.

Tracklist:

01. Blank Pages
02. Echo Chamber
03. The Void
04. 10,001
05. Sisyphus
06. Simulate:Captivate
07. Awakening
08. Vestige
09. Perfect Silence

Line-up:

* Mark Michell – bass
* J.C. Bryant – drums
* Gary Tubbs – lead vocals/keys
* Brooks Tarkington – guitars/vocals

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/paul-gilbert-about-meshuggah/
Paul Gilbert with Captain

Paul Gilbert was recently a guest at Captain Anderton‘s, and he talked about growing up, picking a guitar, influences and more. He’s also played along. You can watch the full video below.

Gilbert also expressed his opinion on Meshuggah, saying:

All heavy metal past about 1989, I don’t know anything about it. The band I play with, my solo band, the bass player is a younger guy so he knows a lot of these things.

He tells me like, ‘Oh, Meshuggah will blow your mind! You gotta go see ‘em!’

And I listen to it and I just go like, ‘I’m not ready for that kind of harmony.’ My musical DNA was shaped around The Beatles and ’70s pop hits.

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/burnt-city-interview/
Aydin Zahedi

Burnt City is a project of Australian guitarist and composer Aydin Zahedi, who together with the help of Gus Monsanto, Mike Lepond, George Kollias and Bob Katsionis recorded an EP titled ‘Resurgence.’ In an interview for Prog Sphere, Zahedi talked about the release, working with the mentioned musicians, technical aspect of the record, and more.

Define the mission of Burnt City.

Making music playing gigs and collaborating with other musicians.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut EP Resurgence and the themes it captures.

For each song it was different, Usually when I come up with a riff that I like it doesn’t take long to build the whole structure base on that riff, probably a day or two usually and I might add some details down the road. for instance the song Metamorphosis was my translation of the song ‘fuel for hatred’ by Satyricon, one of my friends came to my home Home and showed me Satyricon’s video clip and when he left I spent the rest o the day writing Metamorphosis. the song Seven happened in half a day in studio while I was playing around with my new Guitar. the intro riff of the Clown Parade by Annihilator inspired me to write resurgence. When I have a riff that I like I play it over and over again and I write variations and then I write down the whole structure.

Then I explained the atmosphere and what I had in my mind to my friend Amir Ghaderi, and send him the drafts that I had with demo songs, and he wrote these brilliant lyrics. I use MIDI and drum loops for demos, and I play the other instruments with Guitar and explain the sound that I have in my mind. but with Monsanto, Kollias, Lepond and Katsionis it was different I just sent them the demos, and they came up with their own original lines.

What is the message you are trying to give with Resurgence?

It is mainly about personal experience and feelings, I don’t want to specify the message or meaning because someone might interpret the songs in a different way and I don’t want to destroy that image and interpretation by specifying what the message is and what each song is about.

Resurgence

The EP includes a great line-up with Gus Monsanto as singer, Mike Lepond on bass, George Kollias on drums, Bob Katsionis on keyboards, and of course you as a guitarist. How did you go about bringing them to work on the record?

I contacted them on Facebook, I sent them the demos and asked them if they like how it sounds and if they have time and interest to play in this EP. it was a great experience working with them, I have met George Kollias few times, and I met Mike Lepond once when he visited Sydney with Symphony X, but I have never met Gus and Bob, hopefully someday soon. But for me it was very unreal that they accepted to work with me, because I was their fan and it was great feeling!

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

First I record the Guitar riff that I like so I won’t forget it, and then I play some variations until I find the right rhythm for other sections of the songs, and then I write it down as MIDI, then I record the Guitars and add drum loops. I check the whole While we were recording, I backed up every file that they sent to me on 3 external hard drives and cloud services.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

I hope so hehe, honestly the songs are not connected in any way, but I came up with the ideas in a short period of time and I was thinking of the other songs as I was moving forward. it took me about a month to decide the order of the songs. The first song prelude was the intro of the song seven, but since it was a minute long with a different tempo I decided to separate it, because I wanted the song Seven to grab instant attention with it’s eastern theme, and I wanted to finish the EP with Armageddon because it has a different theme and has a catchy chorus, hence I think it is a good way to finish the EP. But I would say yes, I thought about it a lot and I listened to the whole EP with different orders to make a decision.

Describe the approach to recording the EP.

I recorded the demo Guitars, and George Played and recorded the drums in his own studio, so I had the demo Guitars with Drums, and then Mike recorded the Bass lines at LCBW recording studio in New Jersey, after that it was Gus’s turn to write and record vocal melodies, and then Bob recorded The Keyboards at his own studio. I recorded the Guitars again at home, with Axe FX-II then I sent the DI signals to Alex for re-amping (we used Mesa Boogie rectifier and EVH III head). The only part that I didn’t re-amp is the pre solo section in the song Wild Hunter, that’s just Axe FX-II.

Aydin Zahedi

Aydin Zahedi

How long Resurgence was in the making?

With the current line up 2 years, and it was due to busy schedule that each member had, they were touring and I had to wait until they go back to their country and find time to go to studio. But I tried to record these songs since 8 years ago with different people, but it didn’t work out, and I lost all the files 2 times for various reasons, and it didn’t work out well. But I am happy, because I ended up working with these awesome musicians.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Annihilator, Megadeth, Helloween, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Firewind, Ark, Judas Priest, Satyricon.

What is your view on technology in music?

It is fascinating, it made things a lot easier. It made music accessible for everyone with any budget, people can unleash their creativity with cheap and portable stuff, which is awesome, not everyone has the privilege of having a massive house and a 100 Watt amp, or an acoustic piano and analog synth, but almost everyone has a smart phone that they can use to create music. I have seen people writing beautiful pieces on smartphones or record really good quality demos with a free app and a cheap interface. I think that is brilliant. As long as it is about creativity I am all for it.

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

Frankly I have never thought of that, I know there are some bands with certain agenda, but I have never thought like that, it is a form of expression for me, of course I have things to say and I have my own ideology but in general for me music is music, I enjoy playing it and I love the whole process of writing.

What are your plans for the future?

I am working on the new album, although it is very hard with little time that I have, but I am hoping to finish the album as soon as possible, in the meantime I am looking for local musicians to start playing some gigs and hopefully record the upcoming album here in Sydney with local musicians.

Resurgence is available now and can be ordered from Burnt City’s official website here. Follow Burnt City on Facebook.

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