The Progressive Aspect

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/24/best-of-2018-so-far/

As we approach the half way point of 2018 and enjoy the delights of many fabulous releases,  The Progressive Aspect, in collaboration with Anthony Rowsick’s radio programme Prog-Watch, have collected together our “Best Albums of 2018 (so far)”. The programme will air on Progzilla Radio on Sunday 24th June 2018 at 1:30 pm, will be repeated again on Monday at 6:30 pm, and Wednesday at 11:00 pm (UK times). A podcast will be available for download later in the week.


Mel Allen

Midas Fall – Evaporate
This is an album that draws you into their bewitching, spellbinding and powerful musical world. Elizabeth Heaton’s vocals are nothing short of wonderful, heartfelt and yearning supported by some great choices of instruments, all played by Rowen Burn and Elizabeth.

[Read the full TPA review]

Midas Fall – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

 


Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro
The band has released another excellent album that is compelling, imaginative and multi-layered. The music being both cinematic and almost ambient at times, yet still retaining those unsettling moments the band can do so well.

[Read the full TPA review]

Frequency Drift – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube
Gentle Art Of Music – Website | Facebook


Malady – Toisen Toista
A Seventies prog influenced album which is an easy listen, creating a dreamlike feel with at times some edgy moments containing a lot of depth and detail, which rewards repeated plays.

[Read the full TPA review]

Malady – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

 


Agusa – Agusa
This is an excellent album and if you are not familiar with the music coming out of Scandinavia at the moment, then this is a good place to start. The flute and organ lead the melodies and they have become an important part of their current sound.

[Read the full TPA review]

Agusa – Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Plenty – It Could be Home
There is quality throughout this album, from the production, sound, song writing and performances. This is an album that is a labour of love and attention which has brought these songs up to date without losing sight of their origins. An insight into what Tim Bowness brought to his next band No Man.

[Read the full TPA review]

Plenty – Facebook | Bandcamp


Tony Colvill

Perfect Beings – Vier

I thought when they split that was the end and mourned; but the band have returned, some new personnel, stronger and different. This is the album Yes may have produced had they taken their Jazz chops further, an excellent and challenging album for PB but well worth the time and effort.

[Read the full TPA Review]

Perfect Beings – Website | Facebook


Weend’o – Time of Awakening
Loved this when first heard, strong vocals, thoughtful lyrics and thought provoking, broad influences all delivered to a high standard. Great live too, so look out for them.

[Read the full TPA review]

Weend’ô – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Dave Kerzner – Static

Initially I thought, same as…but no, it has its own style and I suspect more of DK in presentation than his much loved prog influences. A really good 2nd album, and gets better with repeated loud listens.

Main Website: Dave Kerzner    Social Media: Facebook    Audio: Bandcamp    Availability: Burning Shed | The Merch Desk

 


Shan – Confessions

A surprise, nicely laid back, broad in scope and delightful to relax with. Worth a punt if you’re looking for something away from the norm.

 

 

 


Mothertongue – Where the Moonlight Snows

As wonderful as the first album, proof of the three minute prog song. No Shango, the thunder and roar remain though. Hints of broader appeal as Ben aged 15 asks who is that?

[Read the full TPA review]

Mothertongue – Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Rob Fisher

My Indigo – My Indigo
A most unexpected album from Sharon den Adel, lead singer of  symphonic progressive metal band Within Temptation. And what an album it is. Filled with the often sad wisdom of the journey on which life takes us all, yet powerful in expressing an organic and almost tribal celebration of life and the joy of being alive. A simply wonderful triumph of melodic music.

[Read the full TPA review]
My Indigo – Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube


Subsignal – La Muerta

A wonderful showcase for the restless and creative spirit which lies at the very heart of progressive rock. Soaring melodies which fondly linger in the memory are cradled in layers of delicious harmonies, built on the bedrock of a spellbinding musical and technical virtuosity which provides a compelling enthusiasm and energy.

[Read the full TPA review]
Subsignal – Website | Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter | Youtube


Riversea – The Tide

A beautifully rich and resonant album, filled with poignant lyrics and emotionally creative music. It speaks to the passing of time, the absence of familiar presences and the ever flowing tides of life on which we are all carried. Haunting, powerful and moving.

[Read the full TPA review]
Riversea – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


Arena – Double Vision

A masterful return to the classic Arena song-writing of twenty years ago; heavy, moody atmosphere blended with wonderful melodies which linger in the mind. An album which needs repeated listens to understand just how much is going on, echoes of the past merging with the heady rush of the new.

[Read the full TPA review]
Arena – Website | Facebook


Yuka and Chronoship – Ship

The return of the epic. Fiercely intelligent keyboard driven compositions, weaving mythical narratives with heavily textured soundscapes that express spellbinding technical virtuosity and sumptuous musical creativity in equal measure. Mesmerising.

[Read the full TPA review]
Yuka & Chronoship – Website | Facebook | Twitter

 


Bob Mulvey

Neil Campbell – The Outsider ~ News From Nowhere

Neil Campbell’s The Outsider is a slight departure for Neil, in that this latest release is his first concept album and based on William Morris’ 19th century, utopian socialist novel, ‘News from Nowhere’.

Once again Neil has delivered an inspired album and one that bodes well for parts two and three later this year.

For those interested Neil will be playing alongside Gong at this year’s EppyFest…

[Read the full TPA review]
Neil Campbell – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


Emperor Norton – Emperor Norton

Based in York, U.K., and formed less than a year ago, Emperor Norton have wasted little time writing and recording their self-titled debut. What is more impressive is the confidence and surety of this release, from the overall concept, the individual performances and the cohesiveness of the ensemble as a whole.

…Emperor Norton have delivered a well thought out and crafted debut that is certainly an impressive calling card. Miss these guys at your peril.

[Read the full TPA review]
Emperor Norton – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


Professor Caffeine & the Insecurities – Video Game [EP]

The Video Game EP is half an hour of great fun with a backdrop that promises much for the future. It took a couple of listens before it started to fully gel, although the aforementioned DO A BARREL ROLL!!!!! was an instant hit. It is pretty intense from start to finish, so the other instant winner and the final cut Momo (Peach), was very welcome. It also shows a different side to the band and one that I hope they will explore more fully on their first full length album.

[Read the full TPA review]
Professor Caffeine & the Insecurities – Facebook | Bandcamp


Bob also chose the following, echoing the sentiments of the other reviewers:-

Riversea – The Tide
Dobbeltgjenger – Limbohead


Roger Trenwith

Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance

Atmospheric psychedelic-folk-jazz-soul backing fabulous song craft from the troubled Chicagoan troubador.

 

 

 


Dobbeltgjenger – Limbohead

Prog-pop for folk who answer the door wearing nowt but a shocking pink merkin and a leery grin.

[Read the full TPA review]

Dobbeltgjenger – Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Weedpecker – III

Monumental stoned colossus tramples everything underfoot, in between being rilly, rilly chilled. From the windblown deserts of Poland.

[Read the full TPA review]

Weedpecker – Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Sonar with David Torn – Vortex

The world (well, my world, anyway) was waiting for this fabulous marriage made in a particle accelerator.

[Read the full TPA review]

Sonar – Website | Facebook | Sonar at RareNoise Records
David Torn – Website | Facebook

 


The Fierce & The Dead – The Euphoric

This is here as much for the craic as the music, which barrels along like an unstoppable lumbertruck. Gig of The Year (so far) was undoubtedly the album launch gig in deepest Camden. A fab night!

[Read the full TPA review]

The Fierce And The Dead – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

 


Leo Trimming

Galahad – Seas of Change
Q. Does politics have a place in progressive rock music?

Whilst we could focus on the political content of this album (about Brexit) but one crucial question we have to ask is:

Does it actually work as a piece of music, a piece of art?

The answer is a resounding ‘YES’ – this is music brimming with ideas, variation, creativity, subtlety and power. I would suggest sitting down with a pot of tea, or maybe a nice bottle of red wine, and let the waves of Seas of Change sonically wash over you, allowing you to embrace the full scope and feeling of the music. Lee Abraham’s guitar work is impressive on this album alongside Nicholson’s excellent vocals and lyrical input. However, the real star of this whole album is Dean Baker on keyboards. Baker wrote all the music, arrangements and ‘orchestration’ – and ‘Orchestration’ is a very relevant term as he generates a bewildering range of sounds and effects from his keyboards akin to a full orchestra, giving this album a widescreen, cinematic effect. This album just sounds so ‘MASSIVE’ with impeccable and crystal clear production by the band. It’s truly epic and captivating.

[Read the full TPA review]
Galahad – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


John Holden  –  Capture Light

This is a flowing, melodic and diverse debut album, encompassing straightforward hook filled rock such as Crimson Sky,  the world music rhythms of Dreamcatching, the gentle acoustic sentiment of Seaglass Heart, the jazz inflections of No Man’s Land, the theatrical drama of  the West End musical-like One Race, and most impressively the ornate progressive rock of Tears from the Sun. The gallery of singers Holden has assembled gives each song a distinctive character with songs suited for their voices.

The range and pedigree of the artists  Holden persuaded to collaborate with him reveals the musical influences that permeate this album – there are definite echoes of Yes, Big Big Train, Steve Hackett, Mystery and Tiger Moth Tales amongst others, but Holden has also managed to produce an album with its own distinctive flavour and ‘feel’.

This remarkable debut album is definitely worth exploring and its origins are also rather inspiring. Of course not everyone has an album inside them as they lack the musical ability so evident in John Holden, but maybe we should all consider what may be locked  inside us that could be expressed in some way…

[Read the full TPA review]
John Holden – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


Gazpacho – Soyuz

Gazpacho return with their distinctive and trademark haunting, moving music with Soyuz, their tenth studio album since 2003. There really is no band quite like these Norwegian artists, who imbue each new release with their own unique brand of ambitious music full of idiosyncratic themes, inventive ideas, melancholy, emotion and drama.

Gazpacho’s music is sound architecture with subtle phases switching to waves of epic noise, underpinned by Kristian Torp’s powerful and measured bass. Andersen’s widescreen sweeping keyboards fill the mind with a range of sounds and atmospheres, Vilbo’s guitars with his variety of guitar effects are crucial in accentuating the juxtaposition of dark tragedy and melancholy. Ohme’s singing is outstanding, as throughout the album, as he vocalises contrasting soft melancholy with much more powerful passages. A challenging album at times but so satisfying in the end.

[Read the full TPA review]
Gazpacho – Website | Facebook


C;Live Collective  –  The Age of Insanity

The main man behind the C: Live Collective is Clive Mitten from the notable progressive rock band of the 1980’s, Twelfth Night.  This is a fascinating debut album from this new band, featuring Fudge Smith (previously of Pendragon) on drums, the multi-talented Mark Spencer (previously of Twelfth Night and now Alan Reed and the Daughters of Expediency )on guitar and vocals, and Stephen Bennett on piano and keyboards. This album announces this band as a bold, imaginative and truly progressive act. The three instrumental sections of  The Fifth Estate meld together all sorts of styles including orchestral sounds, trance dance rhythms, jazz inflected sections and rock. This is complex music with a mixture of styles. Truly ‘progressive’ and challenging, and definitely more artistically daring – particularly their modern, pulsating and intensive take on the classic Twelfth Night song ‘We are Sane’. Spencer vocals are sinister, dramatic and impassioned. Mitten atmospherically orchestrates the eerie opening with effective but restrained sound effects and adding thundering bass with Fudge Smith pounding along. Filled with anger and feeling in a post-Trump / post Grenfell world it’s hardly surprising!

[Read the full TPA review]
C:Live Collective – Facebook | Bandcamp | Merch Desk


Riversea  – The Tide

Riversea return with their first album since 2012, The Tide, a fine release of emotional maturity expressed beautifully through a skilled and sensitive synthesis of music and lyrics. It is clear that both Marc Atkinson and Brendan Eyre, the songwriters in Riversea, have been through some trying personal times, facing loss. All our lives ebb and flow over the years, and as we grow older we become increasingly aware that in the end nothing or no-one can hold back The Tide – it’s how we cope with those changes and losses that really matters.

Riversea have produced a beautiful, resonant and at times brave album – maybe part of it may have helped them cope with the changing Tides of life. It will certainly provide great food for thought and some solace for listeners.

Musically and lyrically this album is sheer class, and one of the best releases of 2018 so far.

[Read the full TPA review]
Riversea – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp


John Wenlock-Smith

The Aaron Clift Experiment – If All Goes Wrong

Because good prog comes in many forms and all these great albums reflect that brilliantly both respecting the past but also bravely breaking news ground and sounds

 

 

 


Fernando Permodo – Out To Sea

This is a totally instrumental tour de force from Fernando, and one which harks back to classic era progressive rock from the 1970s, with tracks dedicated to some of his musical heroes, including Peter Banks (The Architect), Focus (De Boerdeij), Curved Air (Sonja) and John Wetton (Starless).

[Read the full TPA review]

Fernando Perdomo – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Cherry Red Info Page


John also chose the following, links above:-

C:Live Collective – The Age of Insanity
Mothertongue – Where the Moonlight Snows
The Fierce and the Dead – The Euphoric
Riversea – The Tide


 

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/23/barclay-james-harvest-barclay-james-harvest-limited-edition-deluxe-box-set/

This 3CD and 1DVD boxed set consists of the recent Esoteric Recordings reissue of Barclay James Harvest’s self-titled debut album, originally released in 1970. Esoteric have a good relationship with the band, previously reissuing expanded versions of Octoberon, Live Tapes, Gone to Earth, XII and Everyone is Everybody Else, to name a few.

Barclay James Harvest was formed in 1966 in Oldham, an area of England with a rich history in coal mining and engineering, by Les Holroyd, John Lees, Stuart “Woolly” Wolstenholme, and Mel Pritchard who came together from such groups as The Keepers and Heart and Soul and The Wickeds. According to the liner notes the band’s name came from the Barclays Bank, as they wanted to make money, James was the middle name of Rod Buckley who used to sing with them, and Harvest was a nod to the farmhouse in which the band was living during that period.

Cut to December 1968, the band were performing at The Roundhouse where they met conductor, composer, and pianist Robert John Godfrey, who would later find aclaim with his own band, The Enid. He saw the interest in BJH’s music and formed a scratch orchestra from students he found at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy, changing the name from The London Symphonia to The Barclay James Harvest Symphony Orchestra. Robert conducted the band with a little help from his acquaintance Martyn Ford leading the orchestra.

I’ve admired BJH since first discovering them in the fall of 2005 when I bought a copy of MOJO magazine covering the story of Prog Rock. Their second album, Once Again, appeared at number 39 in the list of top 40 Cosmic Rock albums, so I had to dig beyond Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Genesis to search the hidden treasures of the genre and see what I was missing. Barclay James Harvest was one of them. The late great Harvey Pekar said in the 2003 film about his compulsive collecting of Jazz records and comic books as a teenager, American Splendor, “It’s like the Treasure of the Sierra Madre or something. You know you go to Thrift Shops and you go to garage sales because you going to find something that’s real rare. And you know most of the time it’s a total waste of time, but once in a while, you’ll come up with something and it’ll whet your appetite.” That’s how it was with me; I wanted to discover something that was hidden and under the radar, something beyond the big names of Prog Rock.

Barclay James Harvest was recorded at Abbey Road Studios between November of that year and 26th January 1970, originally released on the Harvest label in the U.K. and on Seymour Stein’s Sire Records in the States. Listening to the album again, it is like a giant flower ready to burst open at any second. This box set contains the original mix on the first disc, a new stereo mix on the second disc, the third disc containing a soundtrack version of Mr. Sunshine, Woolly’s demo of The Sun Will Never Shine, and BBC Sessions from John Peel’s Top Gear, along with a 1971 live recording of a killer performance of Dark Now My Sky. The DVD contains the 5.1 mix and the original mix along with a short film called Mr. Sunshine, which I will get to later on.

The album begins with the quirky, trippy anthem for Hippies, Taking Some Time On which shows Barclay’s sense of humour. Sung by Les Holroyd, it features a psychedelic swirling introductory riff with a Beatles-esque sound that goes into an underwater voyage like something straight out of the groundbreaking 1968 animated classic, Yellow Submarine.

The band takes you into those places between the sky and the sea, meeting interesting people in this new world. Good Love Child is probably inspired by the early beginnings of the Power-Pop genre. It’s a crossover between The Beatles’ Day Tripper and Badfinger’s first two albums, Lees and the band taking a little break from their symphonic approach and having a bit of fun here.

Woolly Wolstenholme’s Mellotron sets up a mournful background on The Sun Will Never Shine, I can imagine it is set in a dystopian landscape as Lees’ guitar sets up grey clouds in the sky, as if the chance of seeing a ray of light is never going to happen. Woolly’s vocals send up emotional vibes as he and the band follow suit. I can almost imagine Woolly writing this song for the opening sequence of the film version of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

The 12-minute Dark Now My Sky begins with a booming timpani and some insane dialogue, Woolly taking inspiration from Peter Sellers’ Shakespearean take of A Hard Day’s Night. When the dialogue ends, Godfrey’s maniac laughter comes in, right on time before the orchestra goes into a bright morning piece, somewhere between Jean Sibelius and pre-Phillip Appleby’s score for Tony Collingwood’s 1988 animated short, Rarg. It has a morning-rise epic score with an overture from the piano, haunting guitars, crescendo drums, and organ. The string sections walk through this hopefully glorious day, but then it becomes a nightmarish atmosphere. Woolly’s keyboards, Les’ bass and his singing of a wonderful concept of hope for peace and happiness has suddenly vanished. The last two minutes of the piece takes ideas from Pink Floyd’s Celestial Voices, from A Saucerful of Secrets, and Procol Harum’s Grand Finale from In Held ‘Twas in I.

There are some amazing moments amongst the bonus tracks, Sgt. Pepper meeting Days of Future Passed-era Moodies with Eden Unobtainable. You can hear some of the Mellotron elements of The Court of the Crimson King too, and there is a never-before heard demo of Wolstenholme’s The Sun Will Never Shine, Woolly playing acoustic guitar on a folk-like work-in-progress.

Now on to the new stereo mixes by Mark Powell and Ben Wiseman. On Taking Some Time On I can hear Lees’ guitar and the clapping section very clearly, along with Mel’s drumming, claves, and cowbell which are at the front of the mix. On Pools of Blue, which is the Chappel Studios version on both discs 1 and 2, the flute, Mellotron, and guitar come together melodically in the new mix. At first I thought the new stereo mix was going to be an instrumental version of the piece, but the lyrics are there and it gives a chance to dive into the ocean to discover this new area. The DVD contains both the original and 5.1 mix of the album, including the short film Mr. Sunshine from 1968. Directed by Lawrence Moore, the film was shown originally on Granada TV and it shows some of the earliest footage of the band, along with alternative versions of Early Morning and Mr. Sunshine. There’s also the Vaudeville meets Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band banjo sing-along of Washing the Dishes.

The box set contains a 66-page book with liner notes by Keith and Monika Domone, who run the International Barclay James Harvest fan club. It contains photos of the band, newspaper articles, photo sessions from March 1968, pictures of the original EMI and Chappel Studio master tapes, ads, reviews and pictures of the Early Morning single, along with other international singles, the original acetate of Early Morning and a recording sheet of Dark Now my Sky. There is a promo poster for the debut of the ’68 single, PR from Harvest and EMI, postcards of the band members, and a program of their performance with the Barclay James Harvest Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall which contains four of the songs from the band’s second album, Once Again.

Barclay James Harvest have not always been given the credit they deserve in Progressive Rock history. There’s no denying that the band took aspects of both Progressive and Symphonic music to a new place. They are still one of my favourite bands and this album shows how far ahead of their time they were. I hope that Esoteric Recordings reissue more of the band’s Parlophone-Harvest years from 1971 to 1972 as they have scored a home run here and I look forward to what the label will deliver next.

TRACK LISTING
Disc One – Original Stereo Mix

01. Taking Some Time On (5:29)
02. Mother Dear (3:18)
03. The Sun Will Never Shine (5:05)
04. When The World Was Waken (5:47)
05. Good Love Child (5:08)
06. The Iron Maiden (2:41)
07. Dark Now My Sky (12:00)
08. Early Morning (A-side of single) (2:32)
09. Mr. Sunshine (B-side of single) (2:53)
10. Pools of Blue (Advision Studios, Aug. 1968) (3:08)
11. I Can’t Go On Without You (Advision Studios, Aug. 1968) (2:12)
12. Eden Unobtainable (Advision Studios, Aug. 1968) (3:02)
13. Pools of Blue (Recorded at Chappell Studios) (4:52)
14. Brother Thrush (A-side of single) (3:04)
15. Poor Wages (B-side of single) (2:33)
16. Taking Some Time On (Single version) (4:35)

Time – 68:28

Disc Two – New Stereo Mix
01. Taking Some Time On (6:38)
02. Mother Dear (3:17)
03. The Sun Will Never Shine (5:09)
04. When The World Was Waken (6:02)
05. Good Love Child (5:07)
06. The Iron Maiden (2:42)
07. Dark Now My Sky (12:06)
08. Pools of Blue (5:07)
09. Brother Thrush (3:43)
10. Poor Wages (2:32)

Time – 52:29

Disc Three – Bonus Tracks & BBC Sessions
01. Mr. Sunshine (Early Morning Film Version) (2:57)
02. Early Morning (BBC Top Gear, 14th April 1968) (2:59)
03. So Tomorrow (BBC Top Gear, 23rd April 1968) (3:26)
04. Eden Unobtainable (BBC Top Gear, 23rd April 1968) (3:09)
05. Night (BBC Top Gear, 30th July 1968) (3:16)
06. Pools of Blue (BBC Top Gear, 30th July 1968) (3:27)
07. Need You Oh So Bad (BBC Top Gear, 30th July 1968) (1:15)
08. Small Time Town (BBC Top Gear, 30th July 1968) (2:11)
09. Dark Now My Sky (BBC Top Gear, 30th July 1968) (3:41)
10. The Sun Will Never Shine (Woolly Wolstenholme Demo) (1:54)
11. Dark Now My Sky (BBC Radio Theatre, 11th Feb. 1971) (9:38)

Time – 38:00

Disc Four – DVD: Original Stereo & 5.1 Surround Mix
01. Taking Some Time On
02. Mother Dear
03. The Sun Will Never Shine
04. When The World Was Woken
05. Good Love Child
06. The Iron Maiden
07. Dark Now My Sky
08. Pools of Blue (Chappel Studios, 10th Aug. 1968)
09. Brother Thrush (Abbey Road Studios, 11th March 1969)
10. Poor Wages (Abbey Road Studios, 11th March 1969)
Visual Bonus Material – Mr. Sunshine (1968 Short Film)
11. Early Morning
12. Washing the Dishes
13. Mr. Sunshine

MUSICIANS
John Lees – Guitar, Vocals, Recorder
Stuart “Woolly” Wolstenholme – Keyboards, Mellotron, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Mel Prichtard – Drums, Percussion
Les Holroyd – Bass Guitar, Vocals, Cello
Jim Litherland – Guitar, Percussion (disc 1 tracks 1 & 16, disc 2 track 1)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Esoteric Recordings
Catalogue#: PECLEC 42627
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 25th May 2018

LINKS
Barclay James harvest – Website 1 | Cherry Red Product Page
John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest – Facebook | Twitter
Les Holroyd’s Barclay James harvest – Facebook

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/22/lost-crowns-kavus-torabi-steve-davis/

Servant’s Jazz Quarters, Dalston, London
Thursday, 14th June 2018

Proceedings were preceeded with possibly the best value pizza to be found in London Town, and the freshly oven-baked thin crust delight with its accompanying scrumptious salad was just the thing to satisfy the wanton esurient desires of our motley crew, and it was a fabulous way to start the evening. Sadly, I can’t recall the name of the place, and it doesn’t seem to be on Google Maps. That’s no use at all, is it?

Servant Jazz QuartersAfter wandering around for half an hour, having been put off the scent by the testy barman who greeted our original arrival at the Servant Jazz Quarters with “They’re still soundchecking”, the follow up “What would you like to drink?” being conspicuous by its absence, we eventually descend into the avant-maw of the SJQ, where no expense is met on lighting up the stairwell to such an extent that my ancient peepers struggled to see my feet.

The cellar probably holds around 60 punters when full, and the crowd who were arriving down the dimly lit stairs in a slow but steady trickle were entertained by Steve Davis’ esoteric tastes, as he spun various slices of vinyl exotica for our delectation. My TPA companion Phil Lively was soon being presented with record sleeves in answer to his queries as to what was going down, much to his glee. He’s probably still catching up with the mental list as we speak. Me, I recognised… ooh… at least two of the records spun, and earned one brownie point by discovering that Steve had yet to hear the new Jon Hassell album. It’s groovy by the way.

After a while the dark wizard and psychedelic magus of this and every parish, not to mention all-round good egg, Kavus Torabi took to the small stage, entertaining us with songs from his Solar Divination EP, some works in progress from a forthcoming album, and a couple of Knifeworld covers. Armed only with a harmonium and an acoustic guitar, this was stripped back and personal, and the vocals were as clear as a bell. A crack’d bell painted black, of course. I took a liking to Slow Movements, a song about space travel which unfolds in a state of grace as it wends its way through outer and inner space.

All in all a fine way to loosen us up for the headliners.


SETLIST
The Sentinel (instrumental)
A Body Of Work
The Invocation (instrumental)
Radio To Their World
Brighter Visions
Lowered Into Necromancy
Fatal Leap
Slow Movements
The Skulls We Buried Have Regrown Their Eyes
You Broke My Fall
MUSICIANS
Kavus Torabi – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonium

LINKS
Kavus Torabi/Knifeworld – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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Kavus introduced Lost Crowns as “the best band in London”, which is some billing to give a group that we later discover is playing only their fourth gig. As is the way nowadays, most of this line up play with other bands, and this musical coming together forms something of an underground supergroup. As it turns out both those descriptors are literal as well as metaphorical, for Kavus was not that wide of the mark. You see, Lost Crowns were new to me before tonight, so much so that I was engaging Charlie Cawood in conversation until he said “I should be up there”, a minute before he was due on the stage, me not realising he was part of the band. Eek! Sorry, Charlie!

My ongoing gig mission is to try to see as many bands as I can that I’ve never seen before, rather than see Hector’s Splendid Tricycle for the 105th time. What is that about, then, those folk who boast of such things as if it’s something to be proud of? Open yer ears, fer feck’s sake! There’s a whole sonic whorl out there, me lad… or lass, but it’s usually a lad, isn’t it? The girls know the score! Anyway, my search and destroy policy usually makes for an enjoyable experience, but seldom have I had my shell-likes tickled to eargasm in such a splendid fashion as they were on this warm summer’s evening in deepest London Town.

The first thing I notice is the drummer, given the name “Keepsie” in the personnel list I was given, probably because they want to keep their hands on him. Some of his fills, occasionally of the thunderous variety, and his many and varied rhythmic shifts were really quite something to both see and hear.

Drawing on members of North Sea Radio Orchestra, Knifeworld, Prescott, and probably others that escape my enfeebled memory, the matchless panoply of sound washing over us is given an added sweetener by Nicola Baigent’s clarinet, and to my left as I look, keyboard player Rhodri Marsden supplies stoicism aplenty as leader from a starry sky Richard Larcombe makes several attempts to get a bewilderingly complex guitar melody intro into some sort of order. Or as my TPA companion Phil L put it “Guitar based hand gymnastics and complex arrangements so convoluted that Mr Larcombe entered into drawn out but hysterically funny procrastination.” This involved the most surreal shaggy dog story you will hear this side of the river… drawing prolonged concentrated stoic stares from Rhodri. Rehearsals must be a minefield!

One song leads the listener down the rabbit hole with its lyrical convolutions, concluding with the statement “Bent spoons and women sawn in half, You think that’s true, Don’t make me laugh”, by which time even the most splenetic curmudgeon would be throwing shapes and grinning like a loon.

What else?… Oh yes, Sharon Fortnam of NSRO fame made a guest appearance on a couple of numbers, and looked like she was having a great time, as they all did. If you joined all the grins together, from band and audience, they would stretch all the way back to Euston and our train journey home. And they did!

Charlie… what can you say about Charlie? Apparently he learned the bass parts by rote rather than from a score. Knowing him it probably took him a whole ten minutes. Josh Perl, the Quiet Man of the scene, provided sterling support from the right hand side of the stage as we looked.

For all that, this is Richard Larcombe’s band, and boy he’s not made it easy for himself. Arrangements tie Gordian Knots in my noggin as I attempt to boogie my mind out of a corner it has willingly let this confounding but beguiling tuneage box itself into. Comparisons are both odious and indicative of lazy journalism, but nonetheless useful especially when a band has yet to release any of its music… so… imagine if Fred Frith had joined XTC, and they decided to cover Sound Chaser in the style of Cardiacs. Imagine that and multiply by a febrile imagination, and chuck in some spare cutlery for good measure.

And they covered a Cardiacs song! What’s not to like? Somebody sign this band now, it will knock the spots off your leopard.


SETLIST
Lost Crowns
Sound As Colour
Let Loving Her Be Everything
Midas X-Ray
Goosegash (Cardiacs cover)
She Saved Me
Housemaid’s Knees
~ Encore:
The first two songs again!
MUSICIANS
Richard Lacombe – Vocals, Red Guitar
Rhodri Marsden – Keyboards, Vocals
Nicola Baigent – Clarinet
Josh Perl – Keyboards, Vocals
Charlie Cawood – Bass Guitar
“Keepsie” – Drums
~ Guest:
Sharon Fortnam – Vocals

LINKS
None!

  • 19
  • 17
  • 18
  • 15
  • 10
  • 12
  • 11
  • 8
  • Lost Crowns - Charlie Cawood
  • 7


[Photos by Gary Franklin, used with many thanks, Lost Crowns whole band and Kavus Torabi full length by Roger Trenwith.]


This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/20/the-sea-within-the-sea-within/

What is a supergroup these days? It is now common place for artists to exist within different groups as fellow musicians or as guest musicians. In this case all the players in The Sea Within have excellent pedigrees; the list of their contributions is very impressive and you would like to believe that this coming together of minds and styles will provide something exciting and different. It sometimes works, at others not.

So, who are The Sea Within? Marco Minnemann, Jonas Reingold, Tom Brislin, Roine Stolt, Daniel Gildenlöw and Casey McPherson, all of whom I am familiar with, excepting Casey who was a member of another supergroup, Neal Morse’s Flying Colors. The Sea Within describe themselves more as “an amalgamation of some serious talents, than a regular supergroup”, the band starting to take shape in the autumn of 2016 before going into Livingston Studios in London last September to begin assembling and recording the material they had written. This recording process took around six months and features special guest appearances from the likes of Jon Anderson, Jordan Rudess and Rob Townsend.

The album is presented across two discs, tracks one to eight being the main album, the second disc classed as a bonus and containing four extra tracks. The overall feel of the album is of a progressive pop/rock vibe, most of the songs being of accessible length with only one that you might call an epic, running to fourteen minutes. Most of the songs are really band compositions, ideas being triggered by them all with each adding parts, melodies and chord sequences.

It’s a carefully constructed album, perfectly executed – and herein lies the flaw. In my opinion you do not get that feeling of the unexpected, and it just appears a little too predictable. That said the playing, as you would expect, is nothing short of top quality. A special note should be made of Tom Brislin, whose keyboard playing is excellent throughout, especially his jazzy contributions on An Eye for an Eye for an Eye.

The album opens with Ashes of Dawn, which was the first track released to promote the album. This is the heaviest track here, with some excellent saxophone work from Rob Townsend. The second track, They Know my Name, begins with a lovely and gentle piano, the song being very pleasant concluding with a nice guitar solo. It is not until track four, the aforementioned An Eye for an Eye for an Eye, that things pick up pace; this is brighter and more up beat, breaking midway through into a jazzy lead from Brislin’s piano, ably supported by some excellent work from Reingold and Minneman, which then gradually drifts back to main melody to finish.

The longest song, Broken Chord, features more great drumming and bass work, along with guitar and keyboards, and there are some excellent vocal melodies at work here too. However, I feel that the flow is not easy here, it coming across like a number of songs and ideas put together to create a whole. That said, after a number of plays it does appear to work.

The main album contains fifty minutes of music, with the bonus coming in at around twenty-six minutes. The additional material is of good quality and sits well with the main album, the tracks The Roaring Silence and Denise standing out.

There is quality playing throughout, as one would expect with musicians of this calibre, and although there is some predictability, the album has benefited from repeated plays, to some extent overcoming those thoughts and revealing an album of skilful quality with melodies and structures that creep into your subconscious in a positive way.

TRACK LISTING
Disc One

01. Ashes Of Dawn (5:59)
02. They Knowing My Name (5:10)
03. The Void (4:54)
04. An Eye For An Eye For An Eye (7:01)
05. Goodbye (5:31)
06. Sea Without (2:23)
07. Broken Chord (14:11)
08. The Hiding Of Truth (5:35)

Time – 50:44

Disc Two – Bonus Disc
01. The Roaring Silence (8:06)
02. Where Are You Going (5:54)
03. Time (7:19)
04. Denise (5:16)

Time – 26:35

Total Time – 77:19

MUSICIANS
Marco Minneman – Drums & Percussion, Vocals, Guitar
Jonas Reingold – Bass
Tom Brislin – Keyboards, Vocals
Roine Stolt – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Daniel Gildenlöw – Vocals, Additional Guitar
Casey McPherson – Vocals (on Broken Chord, The Hiding of Truth & Goodbye)
~ With Guests:
Jon Anderson – Vocals (on Broken Chord)
Jordan Rudess – Grand Piano (on The Hiding of Truth)
Rob Townsend – Soprano Saxophone (on Ashes of Dawn)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Format: Special Edition 2-CD Digipak, 180g Gatefold 2-LP edition (including 2-CD), Digital Download
Country of Origin: Sweden/U.S.A./Germany
Date of Release: 22nd June 2018

LINKS
The Sea Within – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/19/robert-reed-sanctuary-iii/

Has anyone visited the Harry Potter Experience at Leavesden studios? The attention to detail with the sets and props is unbelievable, but even more surprising is the quality of the commodities they pedal in the various gift shops. Beautiful facsimiles of the wands, maps, and clothing made in the same Scottish factory that made the film’s costumes.

There must be somewhere else nearby called The Mike Oldfield Experience, modelled on the same principles, where you can buy an Ommodawn box of chants, drum and gated effects from Islands, Hergest Ridge pads, and maybe a bottle of Celtic vibe distilled from the Voyager album.

Musical Welsh Wizard Robert Reed has definitely spent his pocket money there and, by the sound of it, borrowed “the” guitar from the display cabinet. The third homage to a certain Mr. Oldfield’s oeuvre is called Sanctuary III but mercifully does not bear any resemblance to the Ibiza drenched third outing of the Tubular Bell variety, but what we do find is a superb folk rock symphony of the very highest playing standard with classical dynamics aplenty.

There’s whistles and bells (quite literally), great guitar lines, toe tapping bass, and a full drum kit courtesy of Simon Phillips. Recorder player Les Penning is back along with the original producer Tom Newman, who first recorded Vivian Stanshall introducing the vast array of TB’s instruments way back in 1973. The Bodhrán cements the connection too, with its nod to the Incantation period further adding to this recording’s lineage. Uilleann pipes, happy keyboard arpeggios and David Bedford styled girls voices end Part 1 with the sun rising on a rare rain free morning in The Valleys and it is as uplifting as it gets.

Part 2 uses even more of the souvenir shop’s merchandise as lilting voices flow over a backdrop of folky acoustic and the return of the mighty Irish Bodhrán, mic’d up millimetres from its skin. This album is expertly recorded by Reed who knows his equipment inside and out and it’s a perfect album to show off your own playback paraphernalia.

The bonus disc is probably even better due to the variation in the music, El Paso is Yul Brynner galloping across the plains whilst the opening organ of Moonsinger Rising is a nod to the true Mike Oldfield fan as it borrows greatly from the Oldfield enriched Instructions For Angels by the aforementioned Bedford.

If this was a new album by the man himself, it would be talked about as a glorious return to form, as it is Sanctuary III might yet again be dismissed as a tribute act daring to relight past glories. And if that is the case, why not? Support Rob’s brave decision with this instrumental album that is played from the heart and with true love for the man who saved our Olympic opening ceremony from the banal.

TRACK LISTING
Disc One

01. Sanctuary III Part 1 (21:13)
02. Sanctuary III Part 2 (20:48)

Time: 42:01

Bonus Disc
01. The Moonsinger Suite Parts 1 – 3 (21:52)
02. Troy’s Lament (3:14)
03. Perpetual Motion (3:41)
04. El Paso (3:03)
05. Moonsinger Rising (2:17)

Total – 34:07

Total Time – 76:08

MUSICIANS
Robert Reed – Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Stringed Instruments, Percussion & numerous others
Simon Phillips – Drums
Les Penning – Recorder, Narrator
Gethin Liddington – Trumpet
Troy Donockley – Uilleann Pipes, Whistle
Angharad Brinn – Lead Vocal
Shan Cothi – Vocals, Opera Vocal
Synergy Vocals – Vocal Chants

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 20th April 2018

LINKS
Robert Reed – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
Nineteen-73 Artist Promotions – Facebook

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/17/comus-first-utterance/

47 years ago, one of the most surreal and scariest albums ever came out on the Dawn label. I was only 23 years old in 2008 when I first heard Comus’ music on a progressive rock podcast, it just took me by surprise hearing the song Diana for the first time and I bought the album straight away. I wouldn’t say that my life changed, but it certainly took me to a whole new level discovering what is known as Acid, Psych, Pagan or Progressive Folk.

This wasn’t just Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and the Kingston Trio, it was raw, in your face, and it gave me chills every time I listened to the album from start to finish. I would listen to it again and again and again. Comus’ debut is not for the faint hearted. This was something that came out of nowhere and I was hooked right from the start.

Now, ten years later, the good people at Esoteric Recordings have reissued this unearthed and unsung treasure, and among supporters, including Current 93, Lee Dorrian, Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt, and the late great David Bowie who was an early champion of the band, First Utterance is the album that refuses to die. The band’s music and lyrics weren’t about protest or traditional themes but went right to the core by tackling the subjects of mental illness, violence, and rape.

According to an interview in issue 12 of PROG Magazine with Lee Dorrian (Napalm Death, founder of Rise Above Records), Roger Wootton described that the inspirations came from the essence of Jefferson Airplane, Captain Beefheart, and The Velvet Underground.

Taking their name from the Greek God and John Milton’s masque in honour of chastity, Comus launched in the late ’60s when Wootton and Glenn Goring met at Ravensbourne College of Art in Bromley, where David Bowie himself studied. They performed regularly at The Arts Lab at 182 Drury Lane in London and Bowie appreciated what Wootton was doing, asking the band to be one of his supports at the Purcell Rooms in 1969.

Comus also admired what Bowie was doing and the direction he was going, and they appreciated the support he gave them. Comus played on the college circuit and appeared briefly in Lindsay Shonteff’s obscure 1970 film, Permissive, also providing the opening theme, incidental music and songs. The plot line of the movie is about a girl who comes to London and meets a friend named Fiona who is involved in a relationship with a bassist played by Alan Gorrie (Average White Band, Forever More). Violinist Colin Pearson would later work with Shonteff’s on the scores for two more films, Big Zapper (1973) and The Swordsman (1974).

Comus signed to Pye’s progressive label, Dawn Records, in 1970, also the home of Demon Fuzz, Heron, and Titus Groan, and recorded their debut album. First Utterance is one of those albums you might want to prepare yourself for, given the controversial subjects they tackle, and believe me, they are not easy topics, the insights are not pleasant and it might be a dangerous area that you want to stay away from.

John Milton once said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven”, and that’s what First Utterance does, it shows the listener those dangerous locations you need to avoid. The opening track, Diana features the eerie guitar slide that Glen Goring adds to bring some intensity, followed by Colin’s violin, Bobbie Watson’s vocals and Andy Hellaby’s bass, walking through the spider-webs on a loop.

Roger’s calm and snarling vocals deal with the character’s fate, picking up the pace before intensive percussion and violin signifies the victim’s reign of terror as she runs to find shelter before it’s too late. When you listen to the 12-minute composition The Herald, Watson’s vocals are at times reminiscent of Mellow Candle’s Alison Williams and Clodagh Simonds. It’s one of those pieces that feels like you’re walking through a forest at night, goosebumps and chills running down your spine. Wootton’s incredible half-speed guitar increases the tempo before Rob Young’s flute sets up a sun rising scenario, oboe giving us a quick view of a ghost town as Pearson’s violin takes us towards it through a dusty sandstorm. You can hear a pin drop. Roger’s theatrical performance on Drip Drip has a Quasimodo-like vibe, carrying the essence of Family’s Roger Chapman. He and Pearson duel between the rhythms and the melodies, racing towards the finish line and giving the band a chance to add some unbelievable folk-like improvisations, Roger and Colin’s guitar battling it out in the ring, Hellaby’s bass sliding and Watson’s howls nodding towards Zappa before Roger’s Munchkin-esque vocals cry out to the gods to being gentle.

Now Song to Comus, a disturbing Gothic fairy tale with a hopping and skipping dance thanks to the acoustic guitar introduction. It is perhaps one of the scariest songs tackling the subject of rape, Wootton pouring his heart out as his vocals go from calm to nightmarish terror, as if there’s no one to help the victim.

I feel that there is some acknowledgement of Anthony Burgess’ novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 cult classic, A Clockwork Orange, where Alex and his droogs go into town and hurt people because they just don’t care, and of course Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror classic Evil Dead where Cheryl, portrayed by Ellen Sandweiss, is attacked and raped in the woods. Comus know how to tackle these controversial subjects and let the listener know that a dangerous monster is on the loose so you’d better get out of there as soon as possible because you’ll be next.

The Prisoner takes on the subject of mental illness, guitars suggesting the eerie scenario of going inside the asylums and meeting one of the characters sent there to be cured. It has suggestions of the case of actress Frances Farmer’s time at the Kimball Sanitarium where she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and given insulin shock therapy, before being committed again to the Western State Hospital after she physically attacked her mother, and Ken Kesey’s critically acclaimed play, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is a person who wants to remain free from the hell that he’s in, the issues of paranoid, delusional confusion and shock treatment, Comus tackling it very well as while it has gentle surroundings, inside the asylums, it is not pleasant. The last minute and 57 seconds sees Comus raising the pace, Pearson laying down some violin work as the person frees himself from the hospital and runs away from the treatments and torture.

The four bonus tracks on this Esoteric reissue feature three songs that were on the Maxi-Single RPM release, containing Diana plus In the Lost Queen’s Eyes and Winter is a Coloured Bird. There is also a All the Colours of Darkness, which previously appeared in the 2005 box set of the band’s recordings, sung by Bobbie Watson. Acoustic and electric guitars slide back and forth with a melodic, waltz-like piano and mournful violin. Wootton’s guitars set up the snowy storm, Watson is almost like a ghostly spirit that has haunted this house for eternity, describing the chilling scenario before turning away from it, never to return.

When the album was released in 1971, it didn’t sell. Although NME and Time Out gave First Utterance generous reviews, it received negativity. But according to Comus, a postal strike might have been the reason why the album did not make an impact. The band split in ’72 until Virgin Records became interested, a second album, To Keep From Crying, being released in 1974, produced by Family’s Roger Chapman.

Nothing was heard from Comus until Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt showed his appreciation, naming his band’s third studio album My Arms, Your Hearse after a line from Drip Drip, and their eighth album Ghost Reveries where the track The Baying of the Hounds is from a line in Diana. The band reunited, thanks to Mikael’s support and persuasion to get them back together for a performance at the Mellotronen Festival in Sweden ten years ago.

And Comus are still going strong. The 20-page booklet contains liner notes by Malcolm Dome, interviews about the history of the band, photographs, promos, programs, an ad for the Penny Concert tour, and a newspaper article about the band. Comus deserves more recognition, it is time to open the doors and give them the warm hand shake they deserve. First Utterance is still one of the scariest folk albums I’ve ever listened to, and ten years later for me, it still holds up.

TRACK LISTING
01. Diana (4:35)
02. The Herald (12:10)
03. Drip Drip (10:51)
04. Song to Comus (7:29)
05. The Bite (5:29)
06. Bitten (2:18)
07. The Prisoner (6:17)
08. Diana (Maxi-Single Version) (4:24)
09. In the Lost Queen’s Eyes (2:50)
10. Winter is a Coloured Bird (8:01)
11. All the Colours of Darkness (7:21)

Total Time – 71:52

MUSICIANS
Roger Wootton – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Colin Pearson – Violin & Viola
Glen Goring – 6-string & 12-string Acoustic Guitars, Slide & Electric Guitars, Hand Drums, Vocals
Andy Hellaby – Fender Bass, Slide Bass, Vocals
Rob Young – Flute, Oboe, Hand Drums
Bobbie Watson – Vocals, Percussion
Gordon Caxon – Drums (tracks 8-10)

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Esoteric Recordings
Catalogue Number: ECLEC 2629
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 25th May 2018 (originally 1971)

LINKS
Comus – Website | Facebook | Cherry Red Product Page

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2018/06/16/tangekanic-hotel-cantaffordit/

With the anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack not far behind us, this might be a good time to review the Tangekanic live release. Not to trivialise the atrocity in any way but because the album contains the most powerful and moving musical comment I’ve yet heard on the recent spate of horrific concert attacks. In between a selection of songs from the back catalogues of The Tangent and Karmakanic comes Sanctuary In Music, composed and performed by Andy Tillison. Now, some people think Mr Tillison’s voice is not the best in the world and it is true he is no Freddie Mercury, but there are times when a raw, honest, unaffected delivery of a lyric is what a song needs – and this is certainly one of those times.

A bit of background: In order to double their audience appeal The Tangent and Karmakanic joined forces and toured at the end of last year (I can see this taking off – anyone for Yes Club 7?). At the same time a crazy nutjob gunman opened fire on the audience at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring 851.

It was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and came after the Manchester Arena bombing that killed 22 and the deadliest concert shooting of all time, Le Bataclan in Paris with a death toll of 130. When Tillison heard about the Las Vegas attack he scribbled some words together and performed the song at the Summer’s End festival, mostly just himself and a solo piano. He said:

“We were among friends wherever we went, and walking around the festival that day I just knew I had to say something about the special place that music holds for us and everyone in that audience. I went behind stage and scribbled some lyrics out and the band agreed to come on and join in at the end of the piece – which they’d never even heard on the first performance of it.”

In the hands of Roger Waters this would have involved a lot of swearing and manic screaming, his “Victor Meldrew on the verge of a nervous breakdown” schtick which, quite frankly, has become a bit wearing. That last album… pah! But Tillison performs it in a restrained, bitter-sweet style that lets the words speak for themselves. Over simple piano chords – A minor, F and the occasional tasty Bb major seventh – he expresses what I think most of us feel about the music we love, whether it’s prog, jazz or Ariana Grande.

“I claim sanctuary in music”, he sings. “It’s not a request; it’s a basic human right”, and he sings about a place we all can go to, a different kind of home “where the musings of the artists are similar to my own”. A place where we can lose ourselves in the sheer breathtaking, heart-lifting joy of music, whether from a little shiny disc or a collection of noughts and ones or live from a stage, in the company of like-minded celebrants wearing the same T-shirts and carrying the same pot-bellies. I am by no means a religious man but any spiritual moments I’ve experienced have been in a concert venue – frequently with the late Daevid Allen up on stage.

Because of music’s astonishing ability to inspire, to heal, to bring joy and banish pain, because a live concert is a celebration of creativity and a bringing together of people, the savage attacks seem so barbaric, so unfathomable, almost sacrilegious in their wanton destruction of something so beautiful and precious. How dare they invade our place.

Tillison’s song contains an unusual middle-eight – just 30 seconds of respectful silence. Just before that he sings the line that always brings a lump to my throat: “Dancing with their daughters for the last time”. I have two daughters and I want to dance with them until my ticker gives out, not when a sad sack of shit with a gun decides.

I wasn’t sure how to end this review, and I’m aware I’ve said very little about the other tracks on the album. But nothing else packs the same emotional punch as Sanctuary In Music and, quite frankly, everything else sort of fades to grey in comparison.

I think I can only say that I, too, claim sanctuary in music. And I’m thankful that I can share that sanctuary with artists whose musings are so similar to my own.

TRACK LISTING
01. A Spark In The Aether [The Tangent] (5:41)
02. Doctor Livingstone (I Presume) [The Tangent] (12:13)
03. God, The Universe & Everything Else Nobody Cares About [Karmakanic] (25:48)
04. Sanctuary In Music [Tangekanic] (9:08)
05. Two Rope Swings  [The Tangent] (9:47)
06. Steer By The Stars  [Karmakanic] (14.42)

Total Time – 77:19

MUSICIANS
Andy Tillison – Keyboards, Vocals
Göran Edman – Vocals
Jonas Reingold – Bass Guitar, Pedalboard, Vocals
Steve Roberts – Drums
Luke Machin – Guitar, Vocals

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Reingold Records
Countries of Origin: U.K./Sweden
Date of Release: 11th February 2018

LINKS
The Tangent – Website | Facebook
Karmakanic – Facebook