Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Phideaux Album to Be Released Dec. 2012

Phideaux have revealed on their Facebook page that a new album is in the works and will be released in late December 2012 or early 2013. The new album, "Infernal" will be a double album follow-up to the excellent "Snowtorch".

"Oh dear, I think we're back to a "double album" for Infernal. Some new songs came into being: Here's the new rundown... Some of the titles have changed:
Side One (21 min) - 01. Cast Out And Cold 02. The Error Lives On 03. Inquisitor
Side Two (18 min) - 04. We Only Have Eyes For You 05. Walk On Water 06. The Order Of Protection (Part One)
Side Three (18 min) - 07. In Dissonance We Play 08. Prickle 09. Metro Deathfire 10. The Sleepers Awaken 11. The Order Of Protection (Part Two)  
Side Four (20 min) - 12. From Hydrogen To Love 13. Eternal
 I'm excited to begin recording at the end of July. We've got the studio booked from July 28 til August 6, Mark, John, Gabe, Mat, Rich, Ariel and I will be toiling for 9 days... 
The aim is to record as much of it "live" as possible (with overdubs to complete later). The vocals will be done a few weeks later, also as much live as possible so we can feed off each other's energy. A good deal of Snowtorch was recorded live and I thought there was some good energy in those performances.
Here's hoping this concluding chapter will cap things off nicely! (and I hope we can finish it in time for the end of the world in December...)"

Rick Wakeman Releases Archival Concert from 2003

"For the last forty years Rick Wakeman has immersed himself in music. Leaving the Royal College of Music Rick has worked with some of the biggest names in rock and pop music playing on some of the biggest hits by artists as diverse as Cat Stevens, Marc Bolan and David Bowie. Likewise he has played with one of the biggest rock bands in the world; As a member of YES Rick played some of the biggest arenas in the world and released massively successful albums including 'Fragile', 'Close To the Edge' and the live album 'Yessongs'. In 1973 he released his first proper solo album 'The Six Wives of Henry the VIII' following that album up in the seventies and eighties with other hugely popular and successful albums. In the eighties Rick also recorded albums in the then popular genre entitled “New Age”, releasing such popular albums as The Aspirant Series of recordings ('Aspirant Sunrise', 'Aspirant Sunset' and 'Aspirant Sunshadows').

After leaving YES following a world tour in 2004, Rick concentrated on his solo career and collaborated with Jon Anderson on a number of projects including tours of the UK and US and a studio and live album. The latest release from Rick Wakeman is an archive live album titled 'In The Nick Of Time', which was recorded in 2003. The album was recorded during the tour to promote the then current studio album 'Out There'. Rick performed with the “New English Rock Ensemble” which featured Rick alongside old hands Ashley Holt, Tony Fernandez and new boys Ant Glynne and Lee Pomeroy. Tracks featured include: "Out There", "Catherine Parr", "No Earthly Connection", "White Rock" and "Wurm". The album has been much anticipated by the large and dedicated Rick Wakeman audience and this release will be the first time this album has been commercially released."
 Track listing is as follows:
1. Catherine Parr
2. Out There
3. No Earthly Connection
4. Dance of a Thousand Lights
5. The Cathedral in the Sky
6. White Rock
7. Wurm

For more information visit Rick Wakeman's official website

Marillion Ready for North American Tour

Just received this e-mail by Marillion and thought I'd share it with you all.
"So it's May 31st and we're on our last day of rehearsing before our equipment gets shipped off to the USA for our North American Tour which starts next week. We've heard today that we've sold 10,000 tickets so far - thank you all so much for your support! There are tickets left for most gigs if you haven't got them already - see - we won't let you down and we even promise to play a couple of the new songs from Sounds That Can't Be Made!"
Also in the email, a sneak peak at the cover of their forthcoming album "Sounds That Can't Be Made", and it is stunning in it's simplicity and so evocative. Enjoy, and comments are open!

You can still pre-order the album through the marillion website. It is expected to come out next autumn.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jellyfiche Live This Friday

Canadian progressive rock band Jellyfiche will be playing live this Friday, June 1st 2012 at the O Patro Vys, 356, ave. du Mont-Royal E, in Montreal. at 8 PM.

Jellyfiche is poetry. Jellyfiche is rock. Jellyfiche is musical theater. Jellyfiche is symphonic. Jellyfiche are talented.

They will play from both their best selling albums "Tout ce que j'ai rêvé" and their latest "Symbiose". Tickets are 15$ in pre-show, and 20$ at the door on the night of the show. You can purchase your tickets here.

I saw them open for Saga, doing an acoustic show, and they were great. This tmie around it's an full electric show, so it promises to be even better! See you there!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Eloy Cancel NEARfest Gig

Eloy have had to cancel their NEARfest Apocalypse appearance due to lead guitarist/singer Frank Bornemann being struck by a delivery van in March while riding his bicycle.

The following was posted on the band's website:
"Dear ELOY FriendsAs most of you probably already know, Frank was hit by a car on a bike, landed in the hospital and needed surgery. Although we are all convinced that he will be fit again in a few weeks, we were nevertheless forced to postpone the entire tour from March to autumn. Of course, tickets remain valid, even where we have to switch to other venues.
Frank has been able to leave the hospital again and sends you his best wishes from his sickbed at home. He also thanks you from the bottom of his heart for the many condolences and get-well wishes. He hasn’t lost his sense of humour, despite the neck brace and leg splint, as he is aware of how lucky he was and cannot wait to make music again. He is very optimistic about being able to start again soon and is looking forward to the upcoming shows where we all want to surprise you with a very special program.

Best wishes
Your ELOY boys
Matze, Hannes, Michael, Bodo & Steve"
And this was posted on the NEARfest website:
"We regret to inform the progressive rock community that the legendary German symphonic prog band Eloy must cancel its planned NEARfest Apocalypse headline appearance due to a serious medical exigency. Back in March, lead guitarist/singer Frank Bornemann was struck by a delivery van while riding his bicycle. Frank’s injuries required surgery, hospitalization, and extensive rehabilitation. Nevertheless Frank was hopeful he could recover in time to perform with Eloy at NEARfest in June. Unfortunately some recent setbacks in his recovery have made this impossible, with doctors verifying that any traveling or gigging could lead to the damage becoming permanent. All the members of Eloy were dearly looking forward to coming to play in the USA for the first time. Airline tickets, work visas, and the necessary backline had already been procured. They, and we, are extremely disappointed that they now cannot perform at NEARfest. But Frank’s long-term health is the paramount consideration here for all of us involved; no concert is worth permanent physical damage. Eloy is hopeful that their already-rescheduled German concert dates can proceed in Autumn 2012, of course depending on the pace of Frank’s continued recovery. Frank asks for your warm thoughts and healing energy as he continues in his difficult rehabilitation. 
Even though we are deeply disappointed, the final NEARfest show must go on and we are unbowed in our aim to bring the festival history to a close in a blaze of glorious progressive music. We are presently in advanced negotiations with a first-class, world-renowned, legendary, headliner-status progressive rock band to fill the Sunday night slot at the NEARfest Apocalypse. We hope to have all the necessary details squared away within the next couple of days, and begin publicity once the ink is dry on the performance contract."
As stated above, Eloy will honor their commitments and will be touring in the Autumn, and european fans will have the pleasure of seeing them live. Here are the european dates:

September 24th, 2012 – Hamburg, Markthalle
September 25th, 2012 – Berlin, Postbahnhof
September 27th, 2012 – Munich, Theaterfabrik
September 28th, 2012 – Pratteln (Switzerland), Z7
September 29th, 2012 – Mainz, Frankfurter Hof
September 30th, 2012 – Stuttgart, Longhorn
October 1st, 2012 – Cologne, E-Werk
October 3rd, 2012 – Hanover, Capitol

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Peter Gabriel Announces New Tour

Peter Gabriel will tour again this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of So (Now I feel old). The tour starts in Quebec, the second date being in Montreal (great news). This is the e-mail I received this morning:
Peter Announces North American Tour 'Back To Front' To Celebrate 25th Anniversary of 'So'

Following a critically acclaimed New Blood tour in 2011 that reignited Peter Gabriel fans across the world by re-imagining his best known songs through stunning orchestral arrangements, Gabriel announced today his return to U.S. stages to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking, iconic album So.

Focusing on the entirety of that multi-platinum album, the tour, entitled BACK TO FRONT, will feature Gabriel with many of the members of the original band he toured with 25 years ago and will feature the album's songs from start to finish plus some of his other biggest hits.

Fan Pre-sale and VIP Packages

Lucky Peter Gabriel fans can
purchase advance tickets from May 23 (10am) depending on the venue, prior to the general public pre-sale which begins on May 26 (10am).
VIP packages for all the shows will also be on sale from May 23. Choose from Front Row Package, Hot Sound Package and Hot Ticket Package. Discover more about the VIP packages.
16 SepColisee PepsiQuebec City, QCPending
18 SepBell CentreMontreal, QCPending
19 SepAir Canada CentreToronto, ONPending
21 SepWells Fargo CenterPhiladelphia, PAPending
23 SepNikon at Jones BeachWantaugh, NY Pending
24 SepTD GardenBoston, MAPending
26 SepPalace of Auburn HillsDetroit, MI Pending
27 SepUnited CenterChicago, ILPending
30 SepRed RocksDenver, COPending
2 OctHP PavilionSan Jose, CAPending
5 OctPlanet Hollywood ShowroomLas Vegas, NVPending
6 OctHollywood BowlLos Angeles, CAPending
9 OctSanta Barbara County BowlSanta Barbara, CAPending

**Additional dates could be announced and itinerary subject to change.

To coincide with the tour, So will be re-issued on Sept 17 (UK/Europe) Sept 18 (USA) as a CD, special edition 3-CD set, and Super Deluxe Box Set .

Google Celebrates Robert Moog's Birthday

Everybody who uses the internet knows about the Google doodles, those little Google logos that celebrate an event or an anniversary. Most of the time a doodle is simply a graphic illustration of the event, but sometimes they are an interactive graphic interface, such as when the google logo became a Miss PacMan game, or the Jules Verne one where you could voyage to the bottom of the see in captain Nemo's submarine.

Well today Robert Moog would have been 78 and Google celebrates this by offering an interactive logo where you can play on the keyboard and turn the knobs up or down to modify the sound. Pretty cool.

Why then am I writting about this here? The reason is simple: prog artists have used Moog instruments from its inception. From Banks, to Emerson, to Wakeman, the Moog and Mini-Moog have been staples of classic prog music. so enjoy the doodle while you can

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Flower Kings' Banks of Eden Teaser

Another album scheduled to come out in June (on the 18th to be precise), is the long awaited TFK album. We've got less than a month before we hear the whole thing, so here's a teaser to wet our appetites.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Spock's Beard Album Teaser

A new Spock's Beard CD is scheduled to come out this Fall!! That was quick, considering the time it took for X to come out, but it is welcome news. Here is a 7 minute album teaser containing the rough mixes of all the track of the as-yet-untitled new album.

Echolyn New Album June 11th

Echolyn is set to release their new, five-years-in-the-making, self titled album. It seems The End wasn't just Beautiful, it wasn't the end for echolyn. Here's the press release:

The feel of this double-album evokes yet another new, and truly progressive, listening experience and interpretation. A sense of beauty and great openness pervades both the production and songwriting. Each piece of music stands on its own and yet, at the same time, cohesively fits with all of the other songs. Neither tedious nor overbearing, this album will make you want to start-it-over-again each time it ends, as you are enveloped by the music. 
One of the items on the band’s “bucket list” has been to release their music on vinyl. echolyn is happy to finally check this item off that list with the help of the UK Label, Plane Groovy. echolyn will be releasing the new album on double vinyl in a classic gatefold package complete with lyrics, song credits and beautiful artwork. These records will be individually numbered with a limited run of 500 copies on high quality 180g-heavyweight vinyl. To enhance the vinyl experience, the music has been mastered at a sample rate of 88.2kHz and EQ’d specifically for these 500 copies. 
Of course, “echolyn” will also be released as a double CD complete with an eight-page booklet. The mastering engineer, Robert Hadley (The Mastering Lab in California), has done a remarkable job preserving the dynamic range of the performances and sonically making each song project accurately to the listener, as fully intended by the band.
echolyn would love to accept the gracious offer of many of our friends and fans by offering a pre-order to help offset some of the cost of this new endeavor. And yes, these pre-order albums and CDs ship first – our promise!

All pre-orders will ship the week of June 11th – Official release date is June 19, 2012.

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Day Before Terra Incognita - Beardfish

Sweden's Beardfish is the band that will close the Terra Incognita festival, and boy what a band. If you haven't heard Sleeping in Traffic Parts 1 & 2, run to your favorite record shop and purchase them. I had the pleasure of interviewing Rikard Sjoblom in 2010 as he was recording what became Mammoth a year later.

This video is taken from the Mammoth DVD. Enjoy... and see you tomorrow in Quebec for the opening gig!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Days to Terra Incognita - Mars Hollow

Mars Hallow is a recent american prog band that has, in its short time, made quite an impression. Their first album, self titled, was a promissing effort and allowed them to play at Prog Day. Their second CD, World In Front of Me, shows them maturing musically, and playing all over the world. Here is the title track of their second CD, performed live at ROSfest. They will be playing after Alex Carpani, on Sunday and it promises to be a grand show.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Three Days Before Terra Incognita - Alex Carpani Band

The Alex Carpani Band literally started with an accident. After being forced to rest after having a fractured ankle, Alex Carpani composed, arranged, performed, and recorded all the parts of his debut concept album Waterline. He formed the band later to be able to perform the album live. Since then they have recorded a second album, The Sanctuary, which they will be presenting live in Quebec on Sunday. Here is the band performing in Genoa, Italy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Four Days Before Terra Incognita - The Tangent

As regular listeners know, The International Prog Rock Show has had a long long affair with The Tangent. Andy Tillison has been gracious enough to be interviewed on this show a couple of times, and we even got a credit at the end of the Going On Off Two DVD. No need to tell you all that I am most excited at seeing them live. So here for your listening pleasure is the fantastic Titanic Calls Carpathia taken from COMM and recorded live at Southend. (See you both soon Andy and Sally!).

Five Days to Terra Incognita - IZZ

The second band that will hit the stage on Saturday is american band IZZ. I have just received their latest release and it is fantastic (I will post a review soon). The video is from IZZ Live DVD and is a track taken from their "I Move" CD. Enjoy.

Six Days Before Terra Incognita - Arabs in Aspic

The Terra Incognita Prog Rock Festival opens next Saturday in Quebec City. As you may see on the Festival Page of this blog, the line-up for this year's festival is a great one. I will be there, so anyone wanting to meet up in Quebec, just shout out. There are still a couple of tickets left for the festival, so scoop them up before they all disappear.

To give each one of you a taste of what awaits you in Quebec at the end of the week, I will be posting one video per day from each band that will be presented, in order of appearance on stage, except today where I will be posting two. Today's first video is from norwegian band Arabs in Aspic (btw, they do a great version of Focus' Hocus Pocus).

Next post: IZZ.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Paul Buff Extreme Rarities 5-CD Box Set

Early Frank Zappa recording released for the first time!!
Crossfire Publications will release a 5-CD set of recordings from the pre-Mothers era, with many tracks making their CD debuts. The set is entitled "Paul Buff Presents Highlights From The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives." Paul Buff, owner of Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California from 1957-1964, first opened up his archives in 2010 for a large series of download-only releases. This 156-track collection features 58 early masters by the late Frank Zappa, recorded at Pal and Original Sound Recording Studios. These recordings feature Zappa as performer, writer and/or producer.

Multi-instrumentalist Paul Buff created Pal Recording Studio in December 1957 with a simple two-track Viking recorder. The demand for stereo recording led Buff to create a homemade, five-track recording studio when the industry standard was still mono or two-track stereo recording.

Buff's studio creativity and complete openness in recording musicians of all backgrounds and styles naturally resulted in studio bookings by many local artists. Pal Recording Studio quickly became a place where musicians could record their rehearsals and repertoire and leave with high quality recordings. One of those groups of musicians was The Surfaris, who recorded "Wipe Out" at Pal in late 1962. This surf standard is the best known Pal recording.

“Paul Buff Presents Highlights From The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives” has many in-demand rarities and unreleased tracks drawn from Paul Buff’s mixdown tapes and reference discs. Original releases of the records represented in this box set literally cost hundreds of dollars apiece, reflecting the impressive historical and musical value of Crossfire’s set.

Pal functioned as the recording home for Buff's record labels (Pal, Emmy, Yukon, Plaza and Vigah!) and for The Pal Studio Band, a group of musicians revolving around Paul Buff, guitarist Dave Aerni and young guitarist/drummer Frank Zappa. Buff taught Zappa the art of recording studio operation as The Pal Studio Band created a large body of work. On many occasions, this group succeeded in licensing their tracks to larger record labels. When these recordings could not find a home, in-house labels by Buff or Dave Aerni (Daytone, Ador, Daani) released them.

Emmy's releases featured three singles by The Masters, cut by Buff and guitarist Ronnie Williams. The B-side of the second Masters single, "Breaktime," featured overdubbed guitar leads by Zappa. Other early singles that spotlighted Frank Zappa were by The Penguins, The Hollywood Persuaders, The Tornadoes, Buddy And The Crickets, Ron Roman, Baby Ray And The Ferns, Brian Lord And The Midnighters, Mr. Clean, The Heartbreakers, Ned & Nelda, Bob Guy, Conrad And The Hurricane Strings, The Cordells, The Rhythm Surfers, The Woody Waggers, The Decades, and Johnny Barakat And The Vestells. Many Pal Studio Band tracks with Zappa involvement make their CD debuts in this box set, including some with original Mothers Of Invention vocalist Ray Collins.

While still at Pal, Paul Buff started working with Art Laboe, owner of Original Sound Records. Laboe asked Buff to create a new recording studio for Original Sound artists, and in 1964, Paul finished creating his own ten-track recording gear. Buff was already in place as Original Sound's studio engineer when he sold Pal Recording Studio to Frank Zappa on August 1, 1964. Many Original Sound artists were engineered by Paul Buff, who had started making his own recordings at the studio the previous year.

Paul Buff's Original Sound output was credited to his own name as well as many other artists. Tracks recorded with Dave Aerni were released as by The Bongo Teens and The Rotations. One-man-band recordings issued as The Hollywood Persuaders include the well known "Tijuana" and "Drums A-Go-Go." Paul also recorded with his first wife Allison as The Catalinas, Lori Allison, The Buff Organization and with vocalist Ricky Dean. The Friendly Torpedoes featured Buff with The Music Machine's Sean Bonniwell. Nearly the entire output of the All-American label (known for Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense And Peppermints") was engineered by Buff, as was Sugarloaf's "Green-Eyed Lady" for Liberty.

"Paul Buff Presents Highlights From The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives" is available in DVD-sized packaging, with a 40-page, illustrated color booklet containing detailed information about the artists and the recordings. The five CDs in the set feature reproductions of the Pal, Plaza, Yukon, Emmy and Vigah! labels.

The first 200 pre-release orders from Crossfire Publications will be accompanied by two additional CDs – The Tornadoes' "Now And Then" and "Charge Of The Tornadoes" – featuring an additional 11 tracks that Frank Zappa engineered at Pal during 1962-1963.

The drawing on the front cover of Crossfire's set is Frank Zappa's "A Day At The Beach," which Frank created in the early 1960s for his sister Patrice "Candy" Zappa. This set joins the book reissues of Candy Zappa's "My Brother Was A Mother: Take 2" and father Frank V. Zappa's "Chances: And How To Take Them."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chris Thompson Releases Vintage Live Concert on DVD

You've heard his voice on such classic Manfred Mann's Earthband hits as "Blinded By The Light" "Spirits In The Night", "The Mighty Quinn" and many others, a staple of FM radio for the past 40 years, legendary vocalist Chris Thompson has released a vintage live solo concert from Berlin, Germany. Available as a 2CD and bonus DVD package, Chris Thompson 'Live In Berlin' features all the Manfred Mann Earthband hits you have loved for the past four decades, along with many beloved solo songs.

Chris Thompson has had a long and varied career in the music business. Born in the United Kingdom but raised in New Zealand Chris first experienced local success with bands in New Zealand before relocating to the UK in 1973. Chris’s first big break came when he replaced Mick Rogers in Manfred Mann’s Earthband. His debut with the band was on the 'Roaring Silence' album which contained the worldwide number 1 hit single "Blinded By The Light". Following that single the band re recorded another Bruce Springsteen song "Spirits In The Night" which had featured on the bands previous album 'Nightingales and Bombers'.

Whilst with Manfred Mann’s Earthband Chris also featured on Jeff Wayne’s concept album 'War of the Worlds' recording the track “Thunder Child” which was also a UK hit single. (Chris would regularly perform the song live in the concert presentation of the 'War of The Worlds' album). He also enjoyed massive worldwide success with Manfred Mann’s Earthband recording the albums 'Watch' and 'Angel Station' and hit singles "Davy’s On The Road Again", "Mighty Quinn", "Don’t Kill It Carol" and "You Angel You" before deciding to leave the Earthband to concentrate on his solo career by way of the band Night which Chris led for two albums.

Following his time with Night, Chris returned to the Earthband but also continued to record solo albums. More recently Chris has been performing concerts with the Mads Eriksen band where the band perform both new material from Chris alongside other songs Chris is rightly famous for from the Earthband catalogue. To date the band has filmed two live DVDs and live albums for release.

This live 2CD and bonus DVD package is a mixture of a live radio concert and a previous rehearsal and concert that took place ion Aschaffenburg. The Aschaffenburg material was salvaged from a full concert film and recording and is included as a bonus as it was felt that the material contained in the salvaged footage conveyed the excitement of the concert. The Berlin concert is just as it came from the radio transmission and as such is the complete concert as fans heard it at the concert and also on the radio

Chris is backed by a full band which includes Mads Eriksen, Gunnar Bjelland, and Frank Hovland with Szolt Meszaros on drums for the Berlin concert and Steinar Krokstad drumming on the Aschaffenburg material.

Chris Thompson’s profile as an artist is currently high due to extensive touring and also as a result of his previous work with Manfred Mann’s Earthband and also as a solo artist and as such this package will be an attractive and much anticipated release.
DVD Tracks from the Live at the Colos-Saal are:
1. Martha's Madman
2. Land of the Long White Cloud
3. Whole Lot to Give
4. If You Remember Me
5. Demolition Man
6. Redemption Song
7. Don't Kill It Carol
8. Mighty Quinn
9. Drum Solo
10. You Angel You
11. Davy's on the Road Again

CD Tracks from Live at Radio Berlin are:
1. Father of Day
2. Wasting Time
3. Hot Summer Night
4. Spirits in the Night
5. Martha's Madman
6. Land of the Long White Cloud
7. Whole lot to Give
8. If You Remember Me
9. Demolition Man
10. Redemption Song
11. Don't Kill It Carol
12. Runner
13. Mighty Quinn
1. Piece for the Wicked (Mads Eriksen)
2. You Angel You
3. Davy's on the Road
4. Blinded by the Light
5. For You
6. You're the Voice
7. Questions

Devin Townsend Project Live in London 2011 DVD box-set


As you all know, in 2011 I fell for the Devin Townsend Project's two releases, Deconstruction and Ghosts, so much so that I included both in my own top 20 of 2011. He and his band did a succesful world tour, culminating with a series of shows in London, one of which was recorded for posterity.
Renowned multi-instrumentalist Devin Townsend will be releasing his DVD box-set, By A Thread - Live in London 2011, on June 18th in Europe and June 19th in North America through HevyDevy Records / InsideOut Music. This special box-set contains a 4-DVD set with footage from the unique, sold-out UK shows from last fall where he performed all four DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT albums (Ki, Addicted, Ghost, Deconstruction), along with a 5-CD set with the four DTP albums and one disc of encores. All of the box-sets are autographed and numbered with a collector's certificate of authenticity.
In addition to the 4 DVDs and 5 CDs, all pre-orders of By A Thread - Live in London 2011 will include an exclusive 7" with take 2 of the track "Coast" (Devin's hand-drawn etching is on the B-side), which was taken from the Ki performance.
To pre-order By A Thread - Live in London 2011, head over to CM Distro now:
More information about By A Thread - Live in London 2011 will be revealed soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Marcelo Paganini with Gary Husband and Billy Sherwood

One of the most intriguing guitarists to emerge from South America, Marcelo Paganini, a French/Brazilian guitarist/composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist/actor/journalist, who is best known for his hit song “Blues de Ninguem” with Brazilian rock band Kamikaze, has resided in Paris since 1984, and through the years has garnered a number of impressive accomplishments to his credit. Marcelo, whose YouTube channel has had over 33,000 views, most recently created a new video for his 2007 single "Technodream", which is now available for viewing on YouTube.
"Marcelo Paganini always reminds me of Glauber Rocha: 'A guitar in hand and an idea in your head'." Arrigo Barnabe (Brazilian avant garde composer of "Clara Crocodilo")
"Marcelo Paganini is a truly unique musician. His style and vision are one of a kind and it is written into the DNA of his music. In a world of pastiche and imitation, Marcelo actually has something original to say which we should all sit up and take notice of." - Guy Michelmore (Award-Winning film composer, Marvel Films)
Marcelo Paganini first started performing back in 1975, and has worked with the likes of renowned guitarist Tiberio Nascimento, as well as legendary Belo Horizonte ensemble Tribo de Solos. In 1985 Marcelo made a guest appearance on the album 'Four French Forms' released on Luc Mariani's Delphes Records, which has become a cult classic amongst progressive rock fans. His one-man Midi band show 'Marcelo Paganini is the Band' was one of the first Brazilian live electronic acts back in 1986 and had influenced countless musicians and bands. He has his own studio on the countryside close to Le Mans, in Normandy, and leads the only Brazilian funk/rock band in France. Over the past 30 years Marcelo has written over 300 songs, and in 2004 he composed his first symphony titled 'Belo Horizonte'. From 2003 to the present Marcelo has been active in film making and has won the Oddball TV 69 Hours Film Challenge at the Portobello Film Festival in London in September 2011. In recent years Marcelo has formed the Marcelo Paganini Hendrix Tribute and has performed in France and the US; most recently at Billy Bob's Disneyland Paris in November 2011.“There is 'before' and 'after' Jimi Hendrix,” says Marcelo. “He changed music forever. I felt that I had to pay tribute to him in a special way 40 years after his tragic death. To understand him better I bought a white left-handed Strat and turned it upside down, bought almost the same gear he had. The first gig ever of The Jimi Hendrix Experience was in Evreux in 1966, close to where I live in France. We played our first gig 50 miles from there one day after his birthday in November 2010, celebrating his life instead of his death. I also went to London and NYC, played at Cafe WHA and visited Electric LadyStudios. We are looking forward to playing more gigs to celebrate Jimi's 70thanniversary this year.”
Marcelo Paganini is busy in his studio now recording an album for his friend Michael Molenda to be released later this year on the new label Guitar Player Magazine Records. Eumir Deodato, Gary Husband and Billy Sherwood kindly accepted Marcelo Paganini's invitation to join the project. Expect some more surprise guests among the best musicians in the industry. Marcelo's single from 2007 “Technodream”, described as an intense, frantic, intricate piece of music with virtuosic guitar playing throughout, is about hit 30,000 plays on MySpace, creating a major buzz among the worldwide guitar community. “Every time I buy a new piece of gear I write a new song to celebrate,” explains Marcelo. “ 'Technodream' was made the day I bought my iMac and tried out Logic on it for the very first time. Then I uploaded it to MySpace and it became an instant hit there. To celebrate 5 years since it all begun, I uploaded an experimental video I made for 'Technodream' on YouTube, it will be screened at Portobello Film Festival next September."
"Marcelo Paganini represents what's coming in music. And by that I mean the future!! His guitar concepts are out of this world! Check out his 'Technodream' concept." - Eumir Deodato (legendary Jazz artist)
"Really good, so crazy and interesting." - Dinho Leme (drummer from legendary Brazilian psychedelic rock band Os Mutantes)
"Marcelo Paganini, a guy with conceptions that smokes!" - Jan Dumee (former guitarist with Focus)
"Check out this cool track from my good friend Marcelo!" - Jack Hotop, Korg
Lastly Marcelo has this to impart to his fans and listeners, “Great music and musicians helped me get through the hard times in my life and inspired me to become who I am today. I hope someday young people who listen to my music will be inspired to express themselves in an original way too.”

Rick Wakeman Biography Out Now

One of my favorite keyboardists is the subject of a biography written by veteran broadcaster and journalist Dan Wooding. Here's the press release:
Gonzo Media Group has just released 'Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman In The 1970s' by veteran author, broadcaster and journalist, Dan Wooding, with a foreword by Elton John.

The book, the authorized biography of Rick Wakeman, who is arguably the world's greatest rock keyboardist, is lavishly illustrated with dozens of photos from Wakeman's extraordinary career which includes the time his career took off when he joined the folk group, Strawbs, in 1969, and played on three of their albums.

But the ultimate accolade - the biggest break of Rick's career at that time - came shortly afterwards when a giant picture of Wakeman filled the front page of the Melody Maker in London, England, with the headline, "Tomorrow's Superstar?"

The article said: "This is the man Keith Emerson hired a box at London's Lyceum to hear. Since the twenty-one-year-old keyboard virtuoso joined the group [Strawbs], along with Ford and Hudson, [and] they've evolved into one of the most exciting bands of the folk-rock scene."

Wooding's book also includes fascinating descriptions of his several excursions with the British super group, Yes, and his many themed solo albums, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974) and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1975).

Richard Christopher Wakeman (born May 18, 1949), was trained at the Royal College of Music in London, where he also went on to feature on songs by artists including Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens.

Wakeman has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies.

Elton John, in his foreword for the book, said, "Rick's mastery of electronic instruments only adds to his abilities, and I think it is fair to say he was one of the reasons I stuck to the piano. I also admire his attitude to stage shows - always willing to take a gamble, but never sacrificing his musical ideals. Just as important, never losing his sense of humour and his sense of the ridiculous. Anyone who can put on an ice show at Wembley must be all right. I must add that Rick loves cars and is a fanatic when it comes to soccer. Therefore, he and I have an unbreakable bond.

"It has become fashionable to knock musicians who have been around a while, and who are still determined to persevere in what they believe in. It is very easy to be misunderstood along the way, but it is vital to ignore trends and get on with what you want to do. Rick will always do this because, quite simply, he's that much better than everyone else."

Wooding, 71, founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service (, and the author of 45 books, was the first journalist to ever write a story about Rick Wakeman. It occurred more than 40 years ago while he was working on a local newspaper in Ealing, West London.

"I was looking for stories for the paper and had just called in on a shop called the Musical Bargain Centre in South Ealing Road, and it was then that I heard someone playing amazing keyboards at the back of the store," said Wooding. "I waited until he had finished and then talked with him. That person was Rick Wakeman and he told me that he was then a student at the Royal College of Music in London and was also doing sessions with different musicians. He told me had had just played piano on and arranged Morning Has Broken for Cat Stevens and also played Mellotron on Space Oddity for David Bowie. Both went on to become number 1 hits both in the UK and the USA.

"Rick told me that he had never been interviewed before, so I wrote up the story for the paper and we became best friends. He invited me to his home in Northolt and I sat there spellbound as he played for me on his home piano. I had never heard anything like it.

"I shared with him a little about my background, explaining to him that I was born of missionary parents in Nigeria, and it was then that Rick told me that he was also a Christian and had been baptized at South Harrow Baptist Church and, at that time, was also a Sunday School teacher there.

"As his career blossomed, I went on to write his authorized biography, and this latest one, which contains some updates, has been reissued along with Elton John's foreword, and the three of us even had our picture taken together at Brentford F.C. for the back cover of the book."

Wooding, who now lives in Southern California, added, "Rick and I have remained close friends for all these years and he has also performed several concerts for ASSIST in the United States.

"I am delighted that his incredible story, or at least the earlier part of it, can be told again for those in this new generation, who possibly don't know too much about the 'Grumpy Old Man' that they see on British TV, will be able to learn about his incredible talents as a keyboard player, composer and songwriter."

Why the title? Wooding says it comes from the fact that the blond figure of Wakeman would wrap his glittering shimmering cape around his giant frame and head on stage at arenas around the world to start another incredible performance on his battery of electronic keyboards.

And, even today, the "Caped Crusader" continues to push back the limits of music with his extraordinary talents.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review of Delusion Squared II

Posted here as well as on the CD Review page:

DSIIRating: 9/10

1. Double Visions
2. Necrogenesis
3. Faith Mission
4. Recipe for Disaster
5. Verdical Paradox
6. Revelation
7. Abduction
8. Naked Solipsism
9. Unexpected Messiah

Lorraine Young : Lead vocals and guitars
Steven Francis : Guitars, keyboards and drums
Emmanuel de Saint Méen : Bass and eyboards

This is the sophomore release by French trio Delusion Squared, and is simply titled “II”. I readily admit that I am a fan of their music since I first heard their debut album two years ago, a sci-fi themed concept album that had some very strong melodies.

With this new release we can definitely say that the band have found their sound, a mix of hard driving guitar and bass mixed with deftly played acoustic guitar and atmospheric keyboards. As with the first CD, “II” tells a story in nine tracks grouped into four movements: Providence, Primordial Sin, Oblivion, and Atonement. The story, in a nutshell, is one of a religious battle where an ancient goddess, the Holy Mother, comes back to exact revenge against those who used her as a symbol to gain control over others. In a sense it seems to continue the story line from the first CD.

Although the story itself is interesting, it is the music that brings the story to a whole new level. Delusion Squared have mastered the art of music layering, a production style that is sleek and full while being minimalist. Each instrument can be heard clearly, none overwhelming the other, each complimenting the ethereal voice of Lorraine Young. It must be said that the French have long had a love affair with that kind of whispery voice that so exudes from this album. Think Vanessa Paradis, only better. Lorraine also plays the acoustic guitars which play a much bigger role in this album than on the previous one.

Steven Francis plays his guitars with admirable restraint, sometimes moving in and out of a song, giving it space, never showing off. And when he does use his guitar with forcefulness in a song, as in Veridical Paradox, he shines. Steven is also credited as playing the drums, and they are tight. A colleague thought they sounded artificial, though I do not hear it. One way or the other, the drums are magnificent. Emmanuel de Saint Méen’s bass playing is also excellent and tight, giving the songs a rock solid anchor on which the other instruments simply attach themselves to produce slick songs. Emmanuel also takes control of the keyboards and uses them as ambient additions, augmenting the musical content here with a touch of piano, there with some otherworldly sound, and elsewhere, as in Recipe for Disaster, with a great little solo.

But what of the songs themselves you may ask. Well, they are all catchy. Yes they are prog in their structure, but they are also catchy in the best sense of the word. Some melodies still linger in my head, weeks after having listened to them (Veridical Paradox, Abduction & Double Vision), still other surprise me every time I listen. Steven, Emmanuel, and Lorraine are great songsmiths that have produced a worthy follow up to their excellent debut album.

Now, if only this trio augmented the band and started touring, I am sure they would get the acclaim they richly deserve.

And Speaking of Festivals

As I wrote in my earlier post, festivals get cancelled and new festivals get created. I mentionned the Y-Prog Festival, the one being announced for 2013.

The Yorkshire Prog Festival will be a progressive rock festival with 16 bands over two stages. Originally scheduled as a two-day event, it was recently expanded to three days. As of today 10 bands are already booked with 6 more to be announced during the coming months, and it is an impressive roster: The Enid, The Tangent, IO Earth, It Bites, Riverside, Mangrove, Manning, Crimson Sky, Jump, and the Declan Burke Band. And this week they unveiled their logo, created by the great Ed Unitsky.

The event will take place on the 15th, 16th, and 17th of March 2013 at the Corporation in Sheffield. Ticket prices are £70 for the 3-day tickets, while the individual day ticket prices are to be announced later. The 3-day tickets go on sale this coming Tuesday, on May 8th 2012.

To date, this is what the schedule looks like:

Friday the 15th
Supporting bands: TBA
Headliners (time TBA): Riverside (Poland)

Saturday the 16th
11:00 - 12:00 (Stage 1): TBA
12:15 - 13:15 (Stage 2): TBA
13:30 - 15:00 (Stage 1): IO Earth (United Kingdom)
15:15 - 16:15 (Stage 2): The Declan Burke Band (United Kingdom)
16:30 - 18:00 (Stage 1): The Tangent (United Kingdom)
18:15 - 19:45 (Stage 2): TBA
20:15 - 22:15 (Stage 1): The Enid (United Kingdom)

Sunday the 17th
11:00 - 12:00 (Stage 1): TBA
12:15 - 13:15 (Stage 2): TBA
13:30 - 15:00 (Stage 1): Manning (United Kingdom)
15:15 - 16:15 (Stage 2): Crimson Sky (United Kingdom)
16:30 - 18:00 (Stage 1): Mangrove (Netherlands)
18:15 - 19:45 (Stage 2): Jump (United Kingdom)
20:15 - 22:15 (Stage 1): It Bites (United Kingdom)

The websites are:

This is starting to look like the motherlode of prog festivals! Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Festival Bites the Dust

Just as ROSfest starts comes news that England's Fused Festival has been cancelled. This unfortunate turn of events comes on the heels of other cancelled or postponed festivals such as the Electric Gardens Festival, the High Voltage Festival, the Ohio Prog Festival, and the Prog Resiste Festival. And of course, this year's NEARfest is its last. Here is the press release:

It is with great regret that we must announce the cancellation of Fused Festival for 2012. 
We started the festival last year knowing that it would take several years for the event to become established. However, against expectation, ticket sales for this year's festival are considerably down on last year's and we simply cannot afford to continue with the event. As things are, we will sustain a very considerable loss; continuing would be utterly disastrous. 
Full refunds for tickets purchased will be made over the next few weeks; please bear with us as we have to sort out all the implications of cancelling.
But all is not lost, a new festival, FarFest, was is set for Octoberand seems to be selling out, and the Y-Prog Festival has been announced for March 2013 and its roster of acts has already secured Manning, The Tangent, Crimson Sky, and IO Earth. Sounds good to me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

ROSfest starts today

To all my friends and listeners going down to ROSfest for the weekend I wish a happy prog-filled three days. And for those of us not in attendence this weekend, here is the list of bands that will be appearing.

Rites Of Spring Festival IX
May 4-6, 2012, at the Majestic Theater, in Gettysburg PA, United States. (

Friday May 4th
DeeExpus (United Kingdom)
Karmakanic (Sweden)

Trespass (United States) - After hour party
Saturday May 5th
Aaron English Band (United States)
Resistor (United States)
Hasse Fröberg and the Musical Companions (Sweden)
IQ (United Kingdom)
Sunday May 6th
Sanguine Hum (United Kingdom)
IO Earth (United Kingdom)
Discipline (United States)
Agents of Mercy (Sweden)

You lucky, lucky festival goers!! Have a great weekend!