This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/11/23/the-magnetic-south-sea-level/

One problem facing the new swathe of progressive rock bands is how to update the genre and carry it forward. Some bands don’t even attempt an update, and simply mimic the sounds of the ’70s, with varying degrees of success. But a few noble bands stretch out into the unknown, forging a new path. One such band is The Magnetic South, formed in Los Angeles.

Blending heavy riffs, grungy guitars and the choicest of drum samples, their debut album Sea Level is a fascinating compromise between the bleak expanse of post-rock, and the structure and style of modern progressive music. Odd time signatures aren’t on display here, as the band focuses on painting dark ambient landscapes.

The grungy effect was actually heightened the first time I listened to the album. I was a full five minutes into Porcelain Branches when I realised the low-fi quality wasn’t intended: the signal between my Bluetooth speaker and my laptop was terrible. Interestingly, however, the band does employ a low-fi effect on the penultimate track, Faceless. Needless to say, the album is great whatever quality you hear it in, as the strong riffs drive the songs.

As a drummer, I’m normally averse to drum samples in music, believing it’s putting good drummers out of work. That said, the way the samples are used on these tracks is quite ingenious. Faceless, for example, features a biting, mechanical drum sample that peculiarly drops to zero decibels for a split second before repeating. The clinical effect is quite jarring, so obviously manufactured, and yet so obviously built for the purpose. Zombie Death Grip features a drum cycle as well, based on a repeated snare pattern, like a marching drum. In the latter half of this song, the ambient droning sound and the relentless drums roll on for several minutes, quite hypnotically.

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Other songs see different kinds of musical ingenuity. Sunrise and Gravity shows an effective use of the bass guitar, left to undulate solo between blasts on the drums and guitar, and finally grunging by itself before the outro. The anthemic closing title track features a fantastic guitar riff, that plays at odds with the bass and drums, forming a polyrhythm.

But the heart of this album is the chugging heavy riffs that have made bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor so beloved. If you play few solid chords well, with the right timbre and the right accompaniment, you will begin to make some epic-sounding music. It’s a formula that works. Fortunately, The Magnetic South are able to see beyond the formula and are able to add their own touches. This album sounds superb cranked up loud, and that’s why you should check it out today.

TRACK LISTING
01. Porcelain Branches (6:34)
02. Sunrise and Gravity (7:42)
03. Zombie Death Grip (4:48)
04. The Carnival (3:33)
05. My Sun (7:45)
06. Faceless (6:02)
07. Sea Level (8:19)

Total Time – 44:41

MUSICIANS
John Sperger – Vocals, Guitars
Steve Giles – Bass

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 3rd September 2017

LINKS
The Magnetic South – Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=22115&IdCompany=8

Legendary Dutch progressive rock band KAYAK will release their seventeenth studio album entitled “Seventeen” on the 12th January 2018. Today they have launched the track ‘Feathers & Tar’, the first single from the album, listen to it here: https://youtu.be/eodTrI0Qink 


Ton Scherpenzeel comments: “While being a straight-up, very rousing track musically, ‘Feathers and Tar’ is a hard one to explain lyrically. The lyrics are basically part of a larger story that is not quite finished yet, but can stand on its own as well, metaphorically. I put it into a kind of ‘Game of Thrones’ like context, to point out the seemingly inevitable cycle of wars, because of greed and general human misconduct – history repeating as it were. Not a very happy tale yet a really powerful song!”


They also recently released a teaser featuring snippets of three tracks, and you can watch that here:
https://youtu.be/_428wBMD1AQ


  Founding member Ton Scherpenzeel has this to say about the upcoming new record: 


“Who would have thought that the quirky Dutch prog band that began its journey in 1973 (the year “See See The Sun” came out) would still have a future some 45 years later. Yes, we have had our share of ups and downs. Often it seemed the band would either break up for good or fade into oblivion. But we didn’t. So here we are, a new line up, but as dedicated to the music as we were in the beginning. If there is a secret to KAYAK’s longevity, it must be that.


Writing this, I realize that the album title does not only mark the number of studio albums


KAYAK has made up until now. It also represents that exciting feeling of being 17 all over


again, embarking on a musical journey, full of expectations. And just like in 1973, I don’t know


where it will lead us, but we’re on our way. Here’s to new horizons.”


“Seventeen” is now available to pre-order on 2CD Digipak (featuring an extra disc with 36 minutes of demo material), gatefold 2LP + CD & digital download. 


An exclusive, strictly limited blue Gatefold 2LP+CD (200 copies only) as well as the 2CD Digipak are available at the band’s own official store: #
https://kayak.merchandise-entertainment.com 


Digital pre-orders through iTunes & Amazon receive the track ‘Feathers & Tar’ immediately, further pre-order / streaming options are available via http://smarturl.it/KAYAKSeventeen


The full track-listing is as follows:


Disc 1
1. Somebody (3:04)
2. La Peregrina (11:42)
3. Falling (3:08)
4. Feathers And Tar (3:14)
5. Walk Through Fire (10:23)
6. Ripples On The Water (3:40)
7. All That I Want (3:47)
8. X Marks The Spot (1:58)
9. God On Our Side (3:30) 
10. Love, Sail Away (3:12)
11. Cracks (8:50) 
12. To An End (3:32)


Disc 2
1. Cracks (Demo 2016) (10:16)
2. La Peregrina (Demo 2016) (12:21)
3. Falling (Demo 2016) (3:00)
4. Walk Through Fire (Demo 2016) (10:41)


The band will play some headline dates in the Netherlands in January, and support will come from Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly:


24th January – 013, Tilburg
25th January – Neushoorn, Leeuwarden
26th January – Victorie, Alkmaar
27th January – De boerderij, Zoetermeer
Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.nl  


28th January – Luxor, Arnhem
Ticket: https://luxorlive.stager.nl/web/tickets/160745 


Furthermore, the band’s creative core – Ton Scherpenzeel, Marcel Singor, and Bart Schwertmann – are confirmed to appear at several in-stores in the Netherlands, too: 


Saturday, January 13th, 2018
11:00 CET Velvet Music – Leiden
13:00 CET Velvet Music – Den Haag (Frederik Hendriklaan / Paagman)
17:00 CET Velvet Music – Delft


KAYAK was founded in 1972 by keyboardist/composer Ton Scherpenzeel and drummer/composer Pim Koopman, along with lead singer Max Werner, guitarist Johan Slager and bass player Cees van Leeuwen. Often compared to contemporaries like Yes and Focus, the band quickly developed their own style of symphonic rock that was rather concentrating on songs than elaborate solos and long instrumental passages while KAYAK never shied away from including epic, longer tracks and captivating, dramatic arrangements. Throughout the years, KAYAK has seen many line-up changes with Ton Scherpenzeel now being the only original member and leader of the band.


KAYAK achieved tremendous success from the late 70’s onwards, cracking the US top 50 charts with the single ‘Want You To Be Mine’ in 1978, holding number #1 in the Dutch charts for several weeks with the Platin awarded “Phantom Of The Night” album released in 1979 with its single ‘Ruthless Queen’ reaching #5 on the Dutch single charts. This first era of KAYAK ended after eight albums in 1981. All members went their own way, Ton Scherpenzeel for instance played and recorded with groups like Earth & Fire and Camel, whereas former singer/drummer Max Werner scored a number #2 hit in Germany with ‘Rain In May’ from his second solo record “Seasons” already in 1981.


But the story of KAYAK was not over.


Fast forward to 1999: after an 18 year absence, Ton Scherpenzeel and Pim Koopman restarted KAYAK, with Max Werner again taking over lead vocals. This second era was marked by an explosive, new creativity making the band’s output exceed the early days. In 2009, disaster struck when Koopman died of heart failure in the middle of the “Letters from Utopia” tour. In 2011, the band had overcome this big loss and returned to the stage and with a new album. A couple of years later KAYAK completed their rock opera trilogy “Merlin”, “Nostradamus” and “Cleopatra” but when lead singers Cindy Oudshoorn and Edward Reekers left the band shortly after, Scherpenzeel realized he had to completely renew the line up in order to maintain his creativity as well as keep the band going.


Now, with singer Bart Schwertmann and guitarist Marcel Singor joining Ton Scherpenzeel as the band’s creative core and additional members Kristoffer Gildenlöw (bass / ex Pain Of Salvation) and Collin Leijenaar (drums / Affector, Neal Morse, Dave Bainbridge), a reborn KAYAK once again proves that the band’s name – though chosen randomly back in 1972 – is as appropriate as ever. Just when everyone expects the boat to sink, it miraculously resurfaces and sails on.


KAYAK online
www.kayakonline.info
https://www.facebook.com/Kayak-209230952473801/
https://www.facebook.com/ton.scherpenzeel


INSIDEOUTMUSIC online:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/insideouteu

Edition 120 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!

Playlist:

Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover)
Spock’s Beard – Southside of the Sky (Yes cover)
Yes – America (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
Ray Wilson – That’s All (Genesis cover)
Fish – I Know What I Like (Genesis cover)
Anthrax – Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas cover)
Dream Theater – Paradox (Kansas cover)
King Crimson – Heroes (David Bowie cover)
Between the Buried & Me – Three of a Perfect Pair (King Crimson cover)
Voivod – The Nile Song (Pink Floyd cover)
W.A.S.P. – Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull cover)
Boundary Exception – Limelight (Rush cover)
Oceans of Slumber – Nights in White Satin (The Moody Blues cover)
The Red Paintings – Mad World (Tears For Fears cover)
Dreamscape – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox cover)
Muse – Feeling Good (Cy Grant cover)
Threshold – Supermassive Black Hole (Muse cover)
Clive Nolan & Alan Reed – Love Song (Twelfth Night cover)
IQ – Apathetic And Here, I… (Geoff Mann cover)
Pagan’s Mind – Hallo Spaceboy (David Bowie cover)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Veteran of the Psychic Wars (Blue Öyster Cult cover)
Opeth – Soldier of Fortune (Deep Purple cover)
Ólafur Arnalds – Say My Name (feat. Arnór Dan) (Destiny’s Child cover)
Brian Johnstone – Heart Attack (Pallas cover)
Steven Wilson – Sign o’ the Times (Prince cover)
Marillion – Hocus Pocus (Focus cover)
The Carpenters – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognised Anthem Of World Contact Day) (Klaatu cover)

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/mikael-akerfeldt-about-touring/
Mikael Akerfeldt

Opeth mastermind Mikael Akerfeldt was asked by Overdrive about his recent comments on touring becoming increasingly difficult to him and whether he could see Opeth become “a band that releases music with the occasional live show,” to which he replied:

Honestly? I would love that.

I’ve been touring a lot of the last few decades and I have to say that I’ve lost my a desire for attention.

The attention whore in me has reached its quota and I’m just more interested in creating music in the studio.

If I could survive by just writing and creating music, with a little bit of feedback, I would probably be very happy indeed.

Mikael added:

I just like to write in a controlled environment, I’m not an improvised type of player and like to be in control of everything.

So I really love the studio environment because it’s a place where you can create something from nothing and that concept is really fascinating to me and it makes me feel like I’m actually good at something.

When I’m on stage, I spend most of my time thinking about how shit I am, so I really need that studio time to make me feel like I’m actually doing something. I need to feel like I’m creating something and not just shaking my ass up on stage cracking jokes.

Asked to single out the accomplishment he’s most proud of, Akerfeldt replied:

I would have to say, the longevity of the band. This business is not easy and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult as each year rolls by. We’ve had members come and go over the years and problems with the business side of things which makes me think sometimes, ‘How the hell did we get through that?’

I was a complete slacker when I was growing up. My grades were average and all I was interested in doing was playing music. I had no real interest in getting a job of any kind and just wanted to create and write music.

I guess I’m proud of myself for making the decision of wanted to be a musician and just going for it. I would have been happy with a tin of beans and a guitar if anything else, just as long as I was making music for a living.

From that decision I made 27 years ago to today, it’s hard not be proud of what I have achieved over the years with the band and I just want to keep doing what I love, which is making music that makes me happy and excited.

Proving that prog isn't just for dinosaurs!
I’m delighted to announce that the podcast for edition 220 of Live From Progzilla Towers is now available.

In this edition we heard the following music:

  1. High Wheel – Into Voyage
  2. Steve Hackett – Ace of Wands
  3. Battles – Summer Simmer
  4. Von Hertzen Brothers – War Is Over
  5. Big Big Train – The Road Much Further On
  6. Queensryche – Eyes Of A Stranger
  7. Ambeon – Ashes
  8. Ayreon – The Day That The World Breaks Down
  9. Emerson Lake & Palmer – All I Want Is You
  10. David Sylvian – The Boy With The Gun
  11. Jethro Tull – Budapest
  12. IQ – 1312 Overture
  13. Harry Thumann – Sphinx
  14. Ulver – Rolling Stone
  15. Anubis – While Rome Burns
  16. Marillion – No One Can
  17. Anathema – Back To The Start
  18. Woodkid – I Love You

iTunes/iPod users*: Just search for ‘Progzilla’ or subscribe to: http://podcasts.progzilla.com/cliff/podcast.xml

Enjoy!

Edition 110 of Steve Blease’s Heavy Elements is now available as a podcast.

Playlist:

Blotted Science – The Insomniac
Mastodon – Blue Walsh
Dreamscape – Short Time News
Crush it to Death – Queen of Troubled Sleep
Johari – Void
Periphery – Erised
Toska – Chasm

Live at 11: The Butterfly Effect
Window and the Watcher (Live)
A Slow Descent (Live)
In These Hands (Live)

Lotus Thief – Circe
Isis the band – Hall of the Dead

Album of the Week: Conception – Flow
Tell Me When I’m Gone
Reach Out
Cry

Psygnosis – Storm

This news story was originally published here: http://theprogressiveaspect.net/blog/2017/11/22/a-different-aspect-10-november-2017/


BIG|BRAVE – Ardor
Hadouk – Le Cinquième Fruit
KAMP – Clairvoyance
Chris Stark – Juxtaposition
Markus Stauss Art Genossen Companions – Treasures Of Light
House of Rabbits – Songs of Charivari

It’s getting chillier as we head into Car Scraping Season, so here are some warming and spicy items to raise the temparature, lovingly crafted into another ADA (TPA’s occasional ‘A Different Aspect’ series). Again, quite quickly on the heels of the last one, this is in danger of becoming a regular feature! This is where we sweep up some of the worthwhile releases (and one other…) that we might have missed in the main reviews section and which could have got away otherwise. Have a listen via the links provided and hopefully you’ll find some new sounds to investigate further. Enjoy!

BIG|BRAVE are a young trio from Montreal who make a huge racket belying their unassuming appearance. Kevin Shields’ styled guitar howl buried beneath lumbering monster riffs created by downtuned six strings – there is no bass guitar on this record – result in a thunderous bass rumble that together with crashing cymbals establish the Sound. Most surprising is the impassioned yelp of frontwoman Robin Wattie. Where the easy route would have been industry standard indecipherable razor wire gargling from a musclebound, tattooed and no doubt hirsute male “singer”, instead BIG|BRAVE play their ace card, and Robin’s piercing intonations make for a fetching combination.

Lull is just that to begin with, but there is nothing particularly soothing about this as the monster lurks, waiting to pounce, the atmosphere is very dark, brooding, and edgy. Pounce it does, as another lurching riff accompanies the wake from disturbed slumber. Borer invites metaphors concerning giant drill bits with diamond teeth remorselessly eviscerating solid granite, and it comes and goes like a suffocating smog cloud, occasionally cleared by the anguished pleas of Robin.

This is post-rock from the MBV school of intense and feral noise, put through a Sunn O))) filter, and channelled into long form art rock on an atramentous canvas. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking to be found here, but if you are in the mood for some cathartic headbanging of the real or imagined kind, Ardor will not let you down.


Hadouk – Le Cinquième Fruit
by Kevan Furbank

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It has been 20 years since Gong’s sax and flute blower, Didier Malherbe, joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Loy Erhlich to create Hadouk – named after the hajouj African bass and the doudouk Armenian oboe. Now a quartet with percussionist Jean Luc Di Fraya and guitarist Eric Lohrer, Hadouk offer up another slice of gentle, hypnotic multi-ethnic jazz-folk that washes over you like a warm wind carrying scents from the four corners of the world.

If you love the simple yet hypnotic swirl of their music, the sound of a North African bazaar in which all the customers are completely stoned, and the almost childlike humour in Didier’s wistful, expressive playing then Le Cinquième Fruit hits the spot. But it’s not all just music to meditate to – there’s a gentle bass-driven funkiness in Tidzi, Eastern influenced psychedelia in So Gong, while the title track at times sounds like the soundtrack to a gentle 1960s French movie comedy.

If you own any of their previous albums then you know pretty much what to expect, with a few surprises. If your collection is bereft of Hadouk then you need to rectify that pretty smartly, and this is a tasty little offering for starters.


KAMP – Clairvoyance
by Jez Rowden

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The solo project of John Kampouropoulos, ex-lead singer of the Greek alternative rock band Closer, Clairvoyance is his second album under the KAMP name.

John certainly has a rich and impressive voice and the songs on Clairvoyance, guitar led and fairly straight ahead but with interesting textures, are a good showcase for his talents. The ‘indie’ feel is there but shot through with some classic rock and anaologue ’70s textures. Despite the basic guitar/bass/drums instrumentation, the variety is present and John’s voice has the quality to carry the album along. It’s sometimes edgy, at times positive and upbeat, occasionally funky, but all of the songs are well put together, with a more experimental approach than he has tried previously in 14 self-written songs about Galileo, the Greek financial crisis and the problems facing refugees.


Chris Stark – Juxtaposition
by John Wenlock-Smith

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Chris Stark is a guitarist living in Hawaii who is influenced by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and whilst he can certainly twiddle with the best there is also a melodic sensibility on display here, and actually very little “Fretwank”, which makes this both an unusual and also more pleasurable album to listen to.

Very strong melodies and harmonies are also on display during Surfing The Jetstream, with the effective piano motif and background making it especially memorable. A nice clean tone on Highway One also impresses and proves that it’s not all about how many effects one can employ at any one time.

This is a very good instrumental album and I’d certainly like to hear more of his work as his talent continues to evolve. I really enjoyed this one, and admirers of the aforesaid Satriani or Vai will find much to relish here.


Markus Stauss Art Genossen Companions – Treasures Of Light
by Bob Mulvey

Swiss born saxophonist Markus Stauss occupies a rather unique place within the musical spectrum, impossible to categorise, but one thing is certain – he is never going to form a tranquil backdrop or sit quietly in the background. Throughout his many solo, collaborative and side projects, Markus is a free spirit, left to roam the darkest recesses of free-form experimental jazz.

I am happy to report that Treasures of Light is no exception, so intermingled within the tuneful ensemble passages are sections that would test the patience of Job. If we take it as read that all the musicians here are hugely gifted, then what this, recorded live in the studio, double CD represents is free expression in its truest form.

I love this from Markus’ site where Edgar Varèse begs the question: “But is this Music?” Later offering the term “organised sound”. Yeah, I can go for that! Crazy, wonderful, exasperating, brilliant – Fortune favours the brave…


House of Rabbits – Songs of Charivari
by Tony Colvill

Discordant, lacking melody and direction, described as hardcore vaudeville art-rock, it is a mess, to my ears unlistenable.

I hate being negative but I cannot find any positives. I am sure there are some somewhere, possibly in a room with soft walls, and there is some people who may enjoy this, but not I.

Given the proclivities of Leporidae creatures, please, please, don’t let them breed. A definite no from me. Any redeeming features you may ask? It’s over.


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