Monday, April 29, 2013

Days Between Stations to Release Second Album

Possibly the most anticipated prog release of 2013 will be released on May 15 – the sophomore album by celebrated LA prog duo Days Between Stations titled 'In Extremis'. Boasting an incredible guest line-up of music legends featuring Colin Moulding (XTC), Rick Wakeman (YES), Peter Banks (YES/Flash) Tony Levin (King Crimson/Peter Gabriel) and Billy Sherwood (YES/CIRCA:), Days Between Stations reach a new level of creative artistry on their new album. With a title like 'In Extremis' (Latin, In extremity – A term used in reference to the last illness prior to death) one can begin to understand the intensity and sepulchral mood of the musical direction.
Keyboardist Oscar Fuentes explains the concept behind the album, “There's the saying that your life flashes before your eyes in near death – and, presumably, actual death – experiences, so the album begins at the climax with 'No Cause For Alarm' and, as told on 'Visionary', 'flashes back to the beginning' and then in not strictly chronological order tells the story of our protagonist's life. Not cheerful stuff, I know, but there's some humor in there and if you read the lyrics I think ultimately it's a positive message. I've had some personal losses in the last few years, so I tend to grapple with that in my lyrics, while Sepand is going to be a father soon...we tried to integrate those two themes, birth and death, into the lyrics.”
Billy Sherwood comments, “I really enjoyed working with Days Between Stations, the music is very deep and has a mystique about it that was intriguing from the first time I heard the songs. I can't wait for people to hear this record. Rick Wakeman and Peter Banks of YES, Colin Moulding of XTC and Tony Levin of Peter Gabriel and King Crimson (playing all the bass), all appear as guests on this record which makes it even more unique. I played drums and sang lead vocals on the record and it was a pleasure to do so.”
Founded in 2003 by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, the duo named themselves after the cult novel by Steve Erickson and have devoted themselves to, as they say, Art Rock and Post Prog -music that reflects their varied influences, as well as shared disregard for stylistic boundaries. This eclecticism continues apace on this follow-up. At times the music recalls Peter Gabriel or 'Duke'-era Genesis (as on the propulsive “Visionary”, which features Sherwood's multi-layered vocals and Levin's driving Stick bass work), or an ambient marriage between Pink Floyd and Lisa Gerrard and Debussy (“In Utero”), or even a cross between Ultravox and Marillion and 'Abacab'-era Genesis (the Moulding-sung“The Man Who Dies Two Times”), but the band is about more than influences. As Oscar says, “We always try to create something new and not just re-hash a particular sound from the past. Sometimes it's the unlikely pairing that gives you something fresh.”
Although, Days Between Stations 'In Extremis' in some ways retains the dark somber mood of the group's first album (released to great acclaim in 2007), in other ways the music is completely different.
Says Sepand,“There are four clear distinctions between the two albums. The first, is that we are five years older. Which means we have grown as players and have higher expectations of ourselves. The second, which is most noticeable is that we have vocals (with lyrics) on this album. The debut album provides landscapes and layers of sound that allow the imagination to run free. One negative aspect of having vocals is that the mind mainly focuses on the rhythm and lyrical content and often times constrains the music. We wanted a healthy marriage between the two. Even so, there are several instrumental tracks on this album, one in particular is 'Blackfoot'.” Oscar continues, “It wasn't really a conscious decision to add vocals to this one – I mean vocals with lyrics. It's just how the writing went. Sometimes a song tells you what it needs. So that's different. Also, the album is more thoroughly composed or let's say it's more structurally thought out. Although Sepand and I entirely wrote the music, the lyrics were written collaboratively with Billy Sherwood, who was invaluable in bringing more focus to the whole theme, and who in some cases took the idea in a different direction.”
Sepand concludes, “I feel the third difference on the new album is the extensive use of classical and exotic instruments; a full orchestra was employed on the first track, 'No Cause For Alarm', an instrumental overture that weaves together many of the main themes from the album. While the track 'Waltz In E Minor' is performed by a string quartet, the full orchestra returns (along with an unexpected Barbershop quartet) on the closer, 'In Extremis', a 21-plus minute multi-part epic that also features founding YES guitarist Peter Banks. Additionally, a Persian lute called a Tar is featured on the track 'Eggshell Man', a song that also features a blistering Moog solo from YES maestro Rick Wakeman. In fact, on 'Eggshell Man' Rick Wakeman, Billy Sherwood and Peter Banks play together. This brings me to my final point; when all these legends came together to contribute on this album, we developed a certain obsession to be at our best. Sadly Peter Banks passed away during the making of 'In Extremis', making these recordings even more meaningful and special to us."
Although not necessarily connected to the Prog world, legendary XTC member Colin Moulding graced the album with a sublime lead vocal on the track “The Man Who Died Two Times”, which has also been issued as the album's first single. Says Oscar, “Billy Sherwood had the idea that Colin's voice would be perfect for the song and he was right. 'Oranges and Lemons', 'Skylarking', 'The Big Express'...all of these I've listened to a million times. Another surreal moment for me!”Sepand adds, “Colin began communicating his thoughts on his first listen. I felt so much excitement and creativity from him, there was a great vibe between us. He really brought the song to life.”
Colin Moulding comments, “I had been doing some fun sessions for producer Billy Sherwood when he approached me with a side project that he was working on. It was this band Days Between Stations – an LA group I had never heard of before. It was inventive, extremely melodic, and had a lot of the qualities that got me excited about songs. So it was agreed that I would sing lead vocal on this track 'The Man Who Died Two Times'. As things have turned out it seems to have been a marriage made in heaven; I think with a little careful handling and the right choice of material, this lot could go a long way.”
Along with the legendary guest artists, the 'In Extremis' album cover art was created by famed artist Paul Whitehead, best known for his work with Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator.
Says Sepand, “To us, the artwork for an album is just as important as the music. We met with Paul at a coffee shop and I vaguely discussed the concept of the album – as the songs were not fully conceptualized at the time. He came up with some great images – on the spot – about this guy lying on a hospital bed while he was – as our lyrics say -'retracing all of the memories'. These memories are whirling around him, while he is in extremis. The great collaboration that we shared with Paul allowed the music and the artwork to become symbiotic...creating a true, tangible concept.”
Veteran engineer William Kaylor (Fleetwood Mac, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson) was also recruited to the project in order to improve the sound quality of the recordings. Once again, Grammy Award winner EvrenGöknar, from Capitol Mastering,joins Days Between Stations to master 'In Extremis'.
As far as future plans for Days Between Stations, a full documentary about the recording of the 'In Extremis' album is currently in the works. There is a strong possibility that the debut album will be remixed. Both albums will most likely be issued on vinyl as a limited edition release. Also talks of live performances are being discussed at the moment. In closing Sepand and Oscar have this to impart to their fans and listeners, “Thank you very much for your unequivocal support and for giving us confidence. Sorry for the wait, hope it was worth it!”
Days Between Stations – 'In Extremis' CD available May 15, 2013
Days Between Stations – 'In Extremis' CD can be pre-ordered at:
For more information:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Playlist for IPRS 122

On Friday the 26th of April's International Prog Rock Show, heard live on UK70s Prog Rock Radio Station, we had a bit of catching up to do. A host of new releases have come out in the apst few months, and since the last show was dedicated to the wonderful Nine Stones Close, we hadn't had time to play most of the new 2013 releases. We also had a live review from Andrew Woods of the Jolly and Riverside shows in England.

In the first half hour we played the wonderful Snow Goose by Camel since they have recently announced that they will be touring this album for its 40th Anniversary! The radio show will repeat next Friday on UK70s Prog Rock at 2PM Easter (7PM in the UK).

Here is the play list:

1. The Great Marsh / Rhayader / Rhayader Goes to Town / Sanctuary / Fritha / The Snow Goose / Friendship, by Camel (A Live Record (RM 2002), 1978)
2. Breathe, by Silhouette (Across the Rubicon, 2012)
3. Guidance Three, by Jolly (The Audio Guide to Happiness Part II, 2013)
4. You Against the World, by Jolly (The Audio Guide to Happiness Part II, 2013)
5. Despite the Shell, by Jolly (The Audio Guide to Happiness Part II, 2013)
6. Escalator Shrine, by Riverside (Shrine of New Generation Slaves, 2013)
7. Aeons, Parts I & II, by Verbal Delirium (From the Small Hours of Weakness, 2013)
8. Welcome to the Future, by Seconds Before Landing (The Great Deception, 2013)

9. Solitary Man, by Seconds Before Landing (The Great Deception, 2013)
10. Fanfare for the Broken Hearted, by Comedy of Errors (Fanfare & Fantasy, 2013)
11. The Answer, by Comedy of Errors (Fanfare & Fantasy, 2013)
12. Avalon Part I, by The Minstrel's Ghost (The Road to Avalon, 2012)
13. Camelot, by The Minstrel's Ghost (The Road to Avalon, 2012)
14. The Wheel, by Amplifier (Echo Street, 2013)
15. Echo Street, by Amplifier (Echo Street, 2013)
16. Mellow Days, by Camelias Garden (You Have a Chance, 2013)
17. The Absolute Truth, by Worldengine (Dark Matters, 2013)
18. Letters of a Deadman, Parts I to IV, by Apple Pie (The Gates of Never, 2013)

As always, if you love the music, purchase the CDs either through the linked websites or at your favorite retailer.

Spock's Beard Film New Video

Prog legends Spock's Beard, in support of their newly released and critically acclaimed album, 'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep', are filming a video for the track “Submerged.” The three-day shoot is based in Los Angeles, and inside sources say it is a full-on music spectacle! Released on April 2nd, 'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep', marks the return of Spock's Beard to the InsideOut Music label, and the two-disc set has been garnering rave reviews from fans and critics alike worldwide.

Founding band member Alan Morse comments about the video: “'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep' is a new and exciting direction for us, and when we read the director's treatment for the video, we immediately knew we had found the perfect person to help us bring our musical vision to the screen. It is equal parts performance and concept, and there will be as many twists and turns in the video as there are in our music. You'll never hear 'Submerged' the same way again.”

In their 20 years together, Spock's Beard have built a reputation for invention, musicality and sheer restive energy. Yet perhaps nothing they have done before can properly prepare you for their 11thstudio album. 'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep' is an album that will constantly surprise. Featuring the recording debut of long-time tour drummer Jimmy Keegan (Santana), and vocalist/guitarist Ted Leonard (Enchant, Thought Chamber), it also sees the return of a familiar name to the song-writing credits - Neal Morse, who has co-written two tracks, his first since leaving the band more than a decade ago.

Gary Brown of Classic Rock Radio Dot EU raves about Spock's Beard's 'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep', “Perfect album from start to of the best hard rock/mainstream prog albums I've heard in a long time!” Ytsejam touts, “In the end, it is the Spock's Beard album we all have been waiting for, as Morse, Meros, Okumoto, Leonard and Keegan have produced another excellent offering of musical mayhem. A true testament to what progressive rock is in the 21stCentury and beyond.”

Co-produced by Alan Morse, Rich Mouser and John Boegehold, 'Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep' is described by Meros as, “quirky, edgy, and reminding us a little bit of older times in the band, but also taking us further forward.” In regards to the song the band is filming the video to, “Submerged”,Dave explains, “Ted had originally written and recorded this for his solo album 'Way Home' (released in 2007), and it's a real stadium rocker. We've adapted it to our own sound but stayed faithful to Ted's original arrangement. I wouldn't say it's strictly Prog Rock, but fits what we do and is a great song.”

In closing Dave has this to impart about 'Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep', “I am proud of what we've done. I believe this is the way Spock's Beard should sound in 2013.”

Spock's Bears 'Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep' (2CD)(INO0647-2)

Singer Claire Malin Leaves IOEarth

From the official announcement on their Facebook page:

Due to personal and health reasons Claire Malin is no longer a vocalist for IOEarth, as she is unable to commit to IOEarth to the level the band needs. Together we came to a mutual decision that we have to part our ways so she can focus more on her personal life. IOEarth wishes Claire and her family all the best for the future. x
"I would like to thank the entire... IOEarth family and all our wonderful fans for the best time ever. My time with the band is full of great memories that I will never forget...but it is time for me to focus on my health, my children and my wonderful husband Steph who has been my rock. I wish IOEarth all the best for the future and hope that they get to where they deserve to be. Love to you all, Claire x"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Singer Martin Wilson Leaving Grey Lady Down

Formed in the early 90s when vocalist Martin Wilson, keyboard player Louis David, and guitarist Julian Hunt met with bass player Sean Spear and drummer Mark Robotham, Grey Lady Down has been a fixture of the Oxford live scene. line-up changes plagued the band in the early years, but they still managed to release four studio efforts (the last one dating from 2001) and two live albums.

Now comes word that lead vocalist Martin Wilson is leaving the band he helped create.

This is a press release to inform you that I have left the Grey Lady Down project. 
The reasons are many, primarily around my personal life and the fact I can foresee major conflicts with my new project The Room. (
I would like to thank the all the guys in GLD past and present, GLD has been a major part of my life for 20 years and I will miss the camaraderie. 
But at this time there can only be one band in my life and as we have released our first album and are itching to tour, I have only a certain amount of time, something had to give.
The Room are to begin the festival season soon to promote our debut album Open Fire, with appearances at Cambridge Rock Festival and others the debut album Open Fire is now available via our web site ( and I tunes, CD Baby and Amazon Etc.........
Martin Wilson
Best of luck to Martin and The Room! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Camel Expand Snow Goose Tour

UPDATED (April 20): Added more dates and links:

More dates are being confirmed for the long-expected comeback of Camel. As mentioned before on this blog Andrew Latimer will be joined by Colin Bass, Denis Clement, Guy LeBlanc and special guest Jan Schelhaas for the shows – their first since their farewell tour in 2003.

The band previously explained of the now sold-out London appearance: “The evening pays tribute to former band member Peter Bardens, who died of cancer at the same time as frontman Latimer was battling a terminal illness.
“Ten years later, Latimer has regained health and is willing to celebrate a career that spans over four decades. This two-set show will also embrace compositions recorded throughout those years in a personal covenant of appreciation for a deeply rewarding life of music.”
Meanwhile, the band have addressed fan inquiries as to the possibility of a new album. They explain: “It’s somewhere in the making. When you spend two full years trying to anticipate – and outwit – the worst scenario possible, it takes a rather insidious toll. When the storm passes, it’s an involuntary reflex to get right back to business. We wanted to get Camel back on the road, write a new album, record a new DVD;, just get on with it in general.
“But we hadn’t grasped one very important aspect of having gone through a life-changing experience: we are survivors. And that, in itself, is life-changing. Survivors need to exhale deeply and learn to inhale without the imposition of dread.
“Unexpectedly, we needed time to recover from the battle itself. Finally, we’re ready for the challenges ahead.”

 Dates for October/November 2013 Tour:
Oct 19UKHarrogateRoyal Hall
Oct 20UKWolverhamptonWulfrun Hall
Oct 21UKManchesterRNCM
Oct 22UKSalisburyCity Hall
Oct 24BelgiumLimbourgLe Kursaal
Oct 25HollandGroningenOosterpoort Main Hall
Oct 26HollandAmsterdamRabozaal
Oct 28UKLondonBarbican
Oct 30GermanyBochumChristuskirche (TBC)
Oct 31GermanyMannheimAlte Seilerei (TBC)
Nov 1GermanyFuldaOrangerie (TBC)Information to follow

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Storm Thorgerson Dies Aged 69

Photo by JHeald for Wikipedia.

The man who is partly responsible for how we view album cover art died peacefully today surrounded by family and friends. Mostly known for the art he conceived for Pink Floyd, Storm Thorgerson was also responsible for The Alan Parsons Project album covers, as well as countless other artists including Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Brand X, Led Zeppelin, Rick Wright, Styx, Muse, Anthrax, The Scorpions, The Mars VoltaAudioslave, 10 CC, Black Sabbath, The Cranberries, and many more.

The iconic image of the prism on a black background for Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon revealed his genius in economy when needed and brought him to international stardom as an conceptor. He is also responsible for the reviled album cover for Yes's Tormato album.

A teenage friend of David Gilmour's, he started working on album covers as part of the Hipgnosis team of artists. After the dissolution of Hipgnosis in 1983, he formed his own design company named Storm Studios formed by a loose group of freelancers. Storm also worked on music videos for Yes, Robert Plant, David Golmour, and Pink Floyd.

His last work was on the 2011 and 2012 reissues of the Pink Floyd catalogue, including the fantastic box sets for DSotM, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall.

A statement on the Pink official site said: "We are saddened by the news that long-time Pink Floyd graphic genius, friend and collaborator, Storm Thorgerson, has died.

"Our thoughts are with his family and many friends."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sound Of Contact Reveals Teaser for 'Dimensionaut'

I've had the pleasure of seeing this band live at the Marillion Weekend here in Montreal. Jonathan Schang subbed as drummer and John Wesley on guitars and they were great. The crowd really wanted to hear more and hoped the CD would be available at the CD stands, but they weren't. I am really looking forward to hearing their output!
SOUND OF CONTACT is set to release their debut album, Dimensionaut, May 28th in North America (May 20th in Europe). To give fans a preview of this upcoming release, the band has unveiled a sampler of the concept album here:
The band recently played their first-ever live show as support to MARILLION. "It was a thrill playing our first SOUND OF CONTACT show at the Marillion Weekend in Montreal to thousands of people who had never heard our songs before," says Simon Collins, lead singer and drummer for SOUND OF CONTACT.
"The reception was incredible" adds Dave Kerzner, keyboardist for SOUND OF CONTACT. "It really got us pumped for the upcoming InsideOut 20th Anniversary tour of Europe with SPOCK'S BEARD and BEARDFISH."
The brainchild of Simon Collins (son of legendary musician Phil Collins) and keyboardist/co-producer Dave Kerzner, SOUND OF CONTACT marks the beginning of something that Collins had always wanted to put his hand to after ten years of promoting his own solo career. Recorded with Kerzner, Matt Dorsey, Kelly Nordstrom and Hannah Stobart (WISHING TREE), and mixed by Nick Davis (GENESIS, XTC, MARILLION), Dimensionaut brings his vision to life.
Before Dimensionaut's release, the band will begin a stint with legendary prog band SPOCK'S BEARD and label-mates BEARDFISH as part of the InsideOut Music 20th Anniversary Tour, a premier event that will see the band taking their music to Europe for the first time. The line-up for these shows will feature Collins and Kerzner as well as Matt Dorsey, John Wesley (PORCUPINE TREE, FISH) and Ronen Gordon.
Check out the video that unveiled Dimensionaut here:

May 2013 European tour dates feat. SOUND OF CONTACT, SPOCK'S BEARD, BEARDFISH
(G/S/A dates presented by: Rock Hard, Eclipsed & Dragon Productions)
5.3.2013--Corporation--Sheffield, UK
5.4.2013--The Arches--Glasgow, UK
5.5.2013--Academy--Newcastle, UK
5.6.2013--Robin 2--Bilston, UK
5.7.2013--The Garage--London, UK
5.8.2013--La Scene Bastille--Paris, France
5.9.2013--Z7--Pratteln, Switzerland
5.10.2013--Hirsch--Nürnberg, Germany
5.11.2013--Majestic--Bratislava, Slovakia
5.12.2013--A38--Budapest, Hungary
5.14.2013--Szene--Vienna, Austria
5.15.2013--Colos-Saal--Aschaffenburg, Germany
5.16.2013--Das Rind--Rüsselsheim, Germany
5.17.2013--Zeche--Bochum, Germany
5.18.2013--De Boerderij--Zoetermeer, Netherlands
5.19.2013--Markthalle--Hamburg, Germany

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Electric Garden Festival Wants You to Pledge

The second edition of the Electric Garden Festival is gearing up and will take place on May 3 and 4 in Blackpool, but they needs your support if it is to survive and prosper. The First edition of the EG Festival in 2011 was a huge success, with positive feedback from all who attended. In 2012 the festival took a hiatus due to the Olympics being hosted by England. Now they return with a fantastic line-up.

  • IT
  • Karnataka
  • Comedy of Errors
  • The Fierce & The Dead
  • Nth Ascension
  • Counterparts (Rush Tribute)
  • Knifeworld
  • Trojan Horse

  • Now all they need is you to make it happen. No tickets will be available at the door. Instead those who want to attend are asked to support the event’s Fundervine campaign, with a live DVD option available for people who can’t make the date. I will order the DVD since going to England is a bit much for me this year. Different options are available so choose one and participate. If they cannot reach their goal, the festival will be cancelled.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Rock'n'Roll Fantasy Camp with Yes

    When you were a kid you probably went to camp during the summer. There are all kinds of camps for kids: music camp, astronomy camp, nature camp, farm camp, even camp camp! Now that you are an adult you probably even send your own kids to camp during the summer. It is always a great experience when groing up.

    Now, as an adult lover of prog, you can go to camp too, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    One of the most successful progressive-rock bands in history, Yes combined virtuosic musicianship, suite like neoclassical structures, and three-part high vocal harmonies to form an intricate whole that audiences loved and are now coming to Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp!

    Surpassing other progressive rock bands in the 1970s and 80s, Yes' incredible, innovative sound has gotten nine of their albums on the top ten charts in the US and UK. Once Yes dipped into the pop rock pool, album sales peaked, especially after their remarkable album "90125". This massive album includes the number one hit single "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Singles "Leave It" and "It Can Happen" caught them national attention, making it onto the Billboard Charts. Yes also earned their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1985 for the two-minute track "Cinema". Their music received positive recognition throughout the music community, earning the band several Grammy Nominations, such as Best Pop Performance by a Due or Group With Vocals with "Owner of a Lonely Heart", Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Amazing Grace" and "Masquerade".

    Now's your chance to surround yourself and become part of YES with the epic vocals of Jon Davison, the multi-layered keyboard sounds of Geoff Downes, the precise percussions of Alan White, and the legendary guitar playing by Steve Howe and Chris Squire. It's time to JAM with YES!   

    For more info on prices and bookings go to Yes Rock'nRoll Fantasy Camp.


    Bass Virtuoso Jeff Berlin to Release New CD

    Jeff Berlin has been called the greatest electric bass soloist in the world. While the terms “great”and “genius” are bantered about much too frequently, the accolades for Jeff Berlin are not hyperbolical – Jeff is indisputably one of the best bass players to ever play his chosen instrument. Geddy Lee (bass player for Rush) calls Jeff “The greatest bass player on the planet,” while the late Jaco Pastorius considered Berlin a better soloist than he was. Known worldwide for his innovative style, Jeff has graced bandstands and recordings with legendary players like Bill Bruford, Dennis Chambers, Neil Peart, Billy Cobham, and Allan Holdsworth, and has led bands and recorded his own CDs for nearly 30 years. He has recorded for vocalists Patti Austin and KD Lang; he has traversed the progressive rock realm with former Yes members Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe; Jeff famously turned down an offer to join rockers Van Halen. Jeff is also hailed outside the usual musician ranks: Actor Gary Sinise (also a bassist) is one of his biggest fans, and renowned boxing trainer and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas refers to Jeff as “the best in the business.” From straight ahead Jazz to Fusion to Prog-Rock: Jeff plays it all, always at the very highest level of proficiency and musicality.

    On his debut release on Random Act Records, Jeff and his incredible cohorts, Acoustic Bassist//Pianist Richard Drexler and Drummer Mike Clark, offer a sizzling set of Jazz standards. Drexler, one of the most versatile of jazz players, nimbly switches from upright bass to acoustic piano, or vice versa, on most tracks. Having performed for years with Berlin, his walking lines and supportive grooves perfectly blend with the leader’s electric voice. Clark’s percussion discussions are legendary: Initially making a mark on the international scene with Herbie Hancock’s funkified Headhunters, Mike is a jazz warrior at heart. Together, the trio present unique versions of strong material culled from the Jazz songbook.
    Jeff comments about the inspiration behind Low Standards: “I wanted to play on a four stringed electric bass as a guitarist or pianist might play in the same situation. The concept of this CD was to leave me completely exposed as a player. On this recording, there was no way to hide from my present abilities as a bassist. Great players are always exposed in their abilities to play. For this reason, I always had Gary Burton or Keith Jarrett somewhere in my mind while I was recording the CD, wondering if they might play like I did if they played my instrument.”

    Wayne Shorter, perhaps the most heralded of modern jazz composers, is well represented: Berlin and company burn on three of Shorter’s beguiling concoctions. “E.S.P.” kicks off the set, with Berlin stating the melody and Drexler’s bass lines walking in rhythm with Clark’s swinging ride cymbal. After Jeff amply illustrates his penchant for unmatched melodic improvisation, his electric instrument skips in tandem with Clark as Drexler moves to the ivories. On six of eight cuts, the trio represents as a quartet, thanks to Drexler’s multi-instrumental skills. Next up is “El Gaucho,” first heard on Shorter’s ADAM’S APPLEalbum. To complete the Shorter trilogy, the trio speaks no evil as they soar through “Fee Fi Fo Fum.” Berlin is the giant here, ingeniously stating the melody before launching into an astute improvisation. Drexler sticks to the upright, soloing with thoughtful elegance. One of only two piano-less tracks of the set, this outing touches all the basses, exposing new facets of Wayne’s compositional gem.
    Fellow electric bassist Steve Swallow’s “Falling Grace” is awash in harmonic beauty; as on every track, Jeff reinforces the accolades accorded him by legions of fellow musicians. His distinctive voice on the electric is organic – It belies those who disdain a bass that requires an outlet. Swallow’s longtime partner Carla Bley penned “Vashkar,”a tune probably more associated with drummer Tony Williams and his groundbreaking group Lifetime. Drexler opens, and stays, at the piano; Berlin strives for new lows; Clark’s hi-hat and snare interplay nods to Tony.
    Pianist Bill Evans’ lilting “Very Early” awakes with a more extroverted treatment compared to the composer’s retrospective approach. Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not” swings with Jeff speaking first, Richard eschewing the piano while soloing with his own low tones while Mike tips lightly. The stellar session closes with Pat Metheny’s modern classic “James,” the guitarist’s homage to one Mr. Taylor. Richard Drexler’s stately pianistic introduction leads to Jeff Berlin effortlessly executing the gorgeous melody, as Mike Clark ably supports the proceedings. The album appropriately concludes with Jeff’s unique, sustained ringing tone.
    Jeff explains his song selections for his new release: “Because I am such a huge fan of Keith Jarrett's 'Standards' CDs, I wanted to follow my last project, High Standards, with another standards recording, but this time playing on lesser-known tunes, lesser known to the general public... However, Jazz fans should know every tune that I chose to play. I chose compositions with lots of harmony so that I was forced to seek out non-typical bass lines. The harmony in these tunes demanded that I find something different to play on my bass. I also heard in my head how each composer played their own songs, often while we were recording. That was a strange experience.”

    Low Standards is obviously an ironic title for an album that achieves such a pinnacle of musicality. Seldom, if ever, has the combination of two bass clef compadres created such a harmonious marriage of tone, verve and vigor. With this latest effort, Jeff Berlin proves, once again, that his is the highest standard of virtuosity in the low-end spectrum.
    Low Standards Release April 16, 2013
    Random Act Records, USA
    Jeff Berlin Low Standards CD can be purchased at, iTunes, and at most music stores.
    For more information:
    Random Act Records:

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Dates Confirmed for Hogarth/Barbieri Tour

    Steven Hogarth and Richard Barieri have confirmed dates for a small European tour. They will be performing songs from their album Not the Weapon but the Hand, as well as music from their respective solo and band efforts. They are in the process of getting a band together and are hopeful to have a new EP ready for the tour.


    Aug 29 Germany, Berlin - FritzClub (Tickets)
    Aug 31 Poland, Inowroclaw (with Riverside, Anglagard, Believe, and Osada Vida) - Ino-Rock Festival (Tickets)
    Sept 1 Poland, Krakow - Klub Studio (Tickets)
    Sept 3 Germany, Munich - Backstage (Tickets)
    Sept 4 Germany, Bonn - Bruckenforum (Tickets)
    Sept 5 Belgium, Verviers - Spirit of 66 (Tickets)
    Sept 7 France, Paris - Le Trabendo (Tickets)
    Sept 8 Holland, Uden - De Pul (Tickets)
    Sept 9 Holland, Amsterdam - Paradiso (Tickets)
    Sept 11 UK, Manchester - Ritz (Tickets)
    Sept 12 UK, London - Scala (Tickets)

    More news to come.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Magenta Planning Two Release Parties

    Magenta will be releasing The 27 Club at the end of this summer and are planning two different release parties.

    To tie in with the release of the next studio album ‘The 27 Club’ Magenta will play two launch gigs later this year.
    The Borderline in London on Saturday August 31st
    The Robin in Bilston on Sunday September 1st
    The Robin will also host an exclusive launch party/buffet in the afternoon.
    Rob Reed says “I’m really excited about the release of ‘The 27 Club’. To my ears it’s full-on prog with a capital ‘P’ and in the vein of ‘Seven’ meets ‘Metamorphosis’. I personally can’t wait to play the songs live and I’m sure the fans won’t be disappointed”.

    Steve Hackett to Release "Selections" Before World Tour

    Artwork by Vicedomini

    As the Genesis Revisited live experience is about to be unleashed in the UK, Steve Hackett announces the release of Selection on 13th May; the single CD album will feature a collection of songs taken from Genesis Revisited II and include a newly recorded version of Carpet Crawlers, a pre-tour treat from the legendary guitarist with Ray Wilson on vocal duties.

    Carpet Crawlers will also be available as a single track for digital download.

    "This single CD album features some of my favourite shorter songs and highlights from Genesis Revisited II" - says Hackett enthusiastically - "along with additional track 'Carpet Crawlers' sung by Ray Wilson, who joined Genesis as singer on Calling All Stations. He does a great job here filling Gabriel's shoes, but with his own special style. It's great to be flying the flag once more for the early Genesis sound on the eve of the World Tour..."

    Since its release in October 2012, when it entered the UK album chart at number 24, Genesis Revisited II has collected rave reviews: works wonderfully (Classic Rock), It's faithful, full-blooded (Mail on Sunday), a wonderful listen (Music News) are only a few of the expressions used by critics to describe this outstanding tribute to the unforgettable prog pioneers. The album celebrates the Genesis period between 1971 and 1977 - known as the band's 'Golden Era' - and follows the first instalment released by Hackett in 1996.

    The Genesis Revisited Tour will be Hackett's biggest production to date, incorporating classics from both Genesis Revisited albums in a unique show not to be missed. Steve Hackett is the first member of Genesis to revisit this phase of the band's history and fans have welcomed the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, with many dates already sold out. Selection offers fans a handpicked anthology in preparation for the shows and, later, to relish the memory of one of their finest live music experiences.


    Release dates for Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited II Selection



    SPAIN / ITALY: Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

    SWEDEN / HUNGARY: Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

    Album tracklist

    Carpet Crawlers
    11th Earl of Mar
    The Lamia
    Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
    Shadow of the Hierophant
    Can-Utility and the Coastliners
    Blood on the Rooftops

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Big Elf Return with Mike Portnoy

    InsideOut Music is immensely pleased to announce the signing of progressive-rock powerhouse BIGELF for the release of their forthcoming new album later this year. Label-head Thomas Waber says about the signing: "We have been talking to BIGELF for quite some time now and I am really pleased that we finally managed to make this happen! BIGELF are an excellent addition to the InsideOut Music roster!"
    It's been a few years since we've heard any activity from the BIGELF camp, so who better to explain to us what's been going on than the band's mastermind Damon Fox himself:
    "Finally! BIGELF lands on a planet whose atmosphere is synonymous with progressive rock and heavy metal. One of my all-time favourite quotes is, 'Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid...'
    I'm ecstatic that InsideOut/Century Media and Mike Portnoy have joined 'forces' with BIGELF.
    First, I want to elaborate on what has been happening 'inside' the band since 2010, there have been numerous rumours on the internet that I fired everyone in BIGELF, this is completely untrue.
    After the juggernaut of 'Cheat The Gallows' came to a halt, the business and personal infrastructure of BIGELF imploded and an unexpected hiatus occurred leaving the band in complete disarray. A myriad of personal, financial and domestic matters had enveloped myself as well as certain members of the group. There also comes a time when deep down inside it just doesn't feel right anymore, and one has to face the music that the end is near. Transparency no longer exists and with that, clarity and perspective are lost. I'm speaking for myself now but clearly this was a mutual feeling and I believe it was obvious amongst the band. Subsequently, Ace Mark decided to move on and left BIGELF in the summer of 2011, and a request by the remaining members for a dissolution of business followed. To put it simply, we went our separate ways without malice.
    I had been keeping in close touch with Mike Portnoy after his very public and difficult departure from DREAM THEATER. At this time, my musical future seemed quite bleak and I was very vocal to Mike about not being able to sustain the band any longer on my own. He implored me to carry on and to not let BIGELF slip away, his encouragement and enthusiasm meant the world to me. Recognizing that I needed some new allies, I asked him if he would help fight the good fight and lend his extraordinary drum majesty to the new BIGELF record and he readily agreed. Also...sharing a passion for all things rock & roll, my good friend Duffy Snowhill climbed aboard the Viking ship for another round of thundering bass guitar and for that too I am grateful.
    I also want to acknowledge our amazing and dedicated fans that send emails all the time saying how they feel about BIGELF. These emails inspire me greatly and they're the reason that I continue to play this kind of music, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait for everyone to hear the new wondrous landscapes we've been sculpting, there are lots of surprises around the corner, stay tuned."
    --Damon Fox
    BIGELF online: