Friday, October 28, 2005

Lots of New Releases

Funny how this time of year sees a stream of new releases! The last few months have been very quiet, but now there is lots to look forward to.

This week has seen the new soundscapes album by Robert Fripp, Love Cannot Bear. This is more of an applied soundscapes album than pure soundscapes as he has tinkered with a few tracks by adding acoustic guitar on one and vocodirised vocals on another. Still, the meditative quality and pure tonal sound of his treated guitars is very intoxicating. Fripp is always a great improviser and soundscapes is the purest example of his abilities.

Next up is Snow Borne Sorrow by Nine Horses. This group project is David Sylvian, Steve Jansen and Burnt Friedman. This first two names I know of very well, the last not at all. After The confusing Blemish and the patchy Dead Bees on the Cake, this latest offering is Sylvian back on top form and actually writing songs! Very jazzy, atmospheric and organic, very good indeed.

Finally this week, The Dreams Of Men by Pallas. An excellent slice of prog rock and a worthy follow up to their last epic CD The Cross and the Crucible.

More prog to come in the form of Second Light Syndrome from Riverside, and excellent Polish outfit who produce very atmospheric modern rock in the style of Porcupine Tree amongst others. Their debut album was very impressive indeed.

Still lots more to come: Neal Morse, Roine Stolt and of course Guy Manning. A very good end to the year I think!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lands End ~ The Lower Depths

Lands End ~ The Lower Depths

I wanted to post about this album as hardly anyone has reviewed this apart from DPRP as far as I can tell. Lands End are an American prog group who have been around for a few years but been quiet of late. In fact the band are in essence no more. The project is now mainly the work of keyboardist Fred Hunter with contributions for what were members of the band, like vocalist Jeff McFarland and drummer Mark Lavallee and other guests artists.

Lands End’s music is very symphonic. Lots of Pink Floyd type soundscapes, circa “Wish You Were Here”. There are lots of aquatic references in their albums and their sound can be described as very oceanic. They have produced three main studio albums, plus a live album and compilation of older material. Signed to the excellent British Cyclops label, it has taken Fred Hunter around 4 years or so to compile this latest album. Without doubt it is their best and that is mostly down to two tracks, “Digital Signatures” and “A New World Order”. Both are epic in length, the first around 14 minutes, the latter clocking in at just over 24 minutes. What distinguishes these tracks is the inspired choice for vocalist. Fred has employed vocalist Cathy Alexander on both these tracks. She is singer with The Morrigan, a band I have not heard of, but appear to be a folk-prog type of band. All I know is that Cathy has an excellent voice, very powerful and emotive and is stunning on those two tracks. Fred has really pulled out all the stops on these compositions and they are truly excellent and stand out head and shoulders over the rest of the album. Those in themselves are pretty good, with Bruce Soord from Pineapple Thief appearing on a couple. But it’s those two epics that really make this the best Lands End album and one of the best for the year! One final comment. I prefer the originally planned black and white cover over the blue one actually used for the final CD. Just a small point.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Second Postings Are Always Difficult!

OK, that first posting loaded fine so getting the hang of this.

To start things off here is my list for best albums of this year, so far. I expect this will change a bit as there are a few interesting releases coming up in the next month or so. It’s that time of year again. The pre-Christmas release schedule kicks in just about now. Of course the most anticipated album of the year surely must be Aerial by Kate Bush on 7th November.

I heard the single playing in the background in the machine shop at my work. It sounded pretty good!! Hounds Of Love is still my favourite of hers. Brings back so many memories of 1984!

But personally, most anticipated release is One Small Step… by Guy Manning. He is an extraordinary songwriter who has been making wonderful music for many years. He is also part of Andy Tillison’s The Tangent project which have made two excellent albums. But that’s another story. Guy’s new album should be out sometime this month.

Best Of Year (so far!):

Arena ~ Pepper's Ghost
Spock's Beard ~ Octane
The Mars Volta ~ Frances The Mute
Kino ~ Picture
Porcupine Tree ~ Deadwing
Lana Lane ~ Lady Macbeth
Dream Theater ~ Octavarium
Glass Hammer ~ The Incosolable Secret
Wobbler ~ Hinterland
Lands End ~ The Lower Depths
Opeth ~ Ghost Reveries

First Posting

First Posting

This is my first posting on this blog and hopefully not my last. Not sure what I will be saying here. The title may give some indication. I am a Doc and I love Prog. Not necessarily related though! I have written some reviews for which can be found here:

Let’s see if I can now post this on the site!!
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