Sunday, 31 December 2017

Timer Makers (Mavara, 2017)

I listened to some Mavara's songs some years ago and liked it, so I was tempted to introduce them to my blog's readers. When their fourth album  "Consciousness" was released, however, I definitely made up my mind and I decided to put this song in my blog. "Time Makers" shows how much the band improved and is now able to make an eclectic and unpredictable kind of prog.

I'm in love with this cover art. Aren't you too?

They mix math-rock elements with classic prog and just a little bit of metal providing bright edges to their compositions. Their wall of sound effect remind me of Riverside, but you'll find hints of H-era Marillion, Porcupine Tree and, of course, King Crimson. Not only the melodies are enjoyable, but there are also clever changes and a beautiful dreaming guitar solo. What else could I ask for? Fairy tales and solid sounds... and they're from Tehran, Iran. Prog is everywhere you go.

Friday, 29 December 2017

About to Fade (AltaVia, 2016)

Italian prog never dies. It even evolves and conjures up new landscapes. This is the case with AltaVia, whose rather eclectic approach to prog never betrays our favourite genre's roots. This track, taken from the album Kreosote, features a fully enjoyable mix of classic prog, space rock and - why not? - mainstream pop-rock. Andrea Stagni's keyboards and vocals follow the narrow and winding path between familiar sounds and contemporary moods, building up a fairy (but never too fragile) musical architecture.
Kreosote is the second studio album by AltaVia.
The rest of the band is also up to such a tricky task: please take Mauro Monti's hearty guitar solo or the creative rythm solutions provided by Giuliano Vandelli and Marcello Bellina. This everchanging song has the spicy flavour of the Seventies and the fragrant taste of a freshly baked cake. That's exactly the kind of musical food I just can't get enough.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

House of The Mind (Comedy of Errors, 2017))

This band was already responsabile of some excellent neo-prog music (and you can find a few posts about them in this blog), but their 2017 album has a somewhat richer taste. This title song is an enjoyable and unpredictable collection of moods,  some old and some new, some rough and some elegant.
"House of The Mind" was the band's fourth studio album.
There's a great guitar work, both rythm anGrazie d solo ones and, of course, a good choice of atmospheric keyboards. Last but not least, the melodies are all very well found and the arrangements are all effective. And as I also like the dynamic tempo changes, I can only recommend this track to you all.     

Sunday, 26 November 2017

In The Dark (Matthew Parmenter, 2008)

Matthew Parmenter of Discipline fame (see elsewhere in this blog) is a very interesting musician and composer, during both his band member and solo careers. This song, taken from the album "Horror Express", is strongly influenced by Hammill and VDGG moods, and is a highly dramatic one, matching irregular melodies and dark lyrics. Sad and hypnotic passages, based on obsessive piano and percussion paces, deeply dig into the singer's and the listener's souls, with no concessions to easy tunes nor predictable developments.

No doubt this is a disquieting cover art. Well, the music inside too.

Each note here has its own part of sorrow, still the whole composition is such a beautiful emotional clockwork that it mixes sad thoughts and majestic beauty. That's why "In The Dark" isn't a mere musical trip, but an inner experience I highly recommend to you all. And if you happen to share my opinion, don't hesitate and go on discovering other songs by Mr. Parmenter. Something tells me you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Différences (Arrakeen, 1990)

When I first lisened to Frernch band Arrakeen's CD titled "Patchwork", I immediately appreciated Maïko's voice, something between Annie Haslam and Kate Bush. But very soon I loved all the rest. Meaning good arrangements, beautiful melodies, skilled musicians and - last but not least - a rather eclectic approach to neo-prog, including classic quotations, Marillion hints (Steve Rothery also appeared on the CD's last track) and folk passages.

"Patchwork" was Arrakeen's debut album.

This song, the longest one from the album, is intended as a dialogue between five characters (She, He, The Painter, The Other One and The Echo) and is mostly based on a fluid mid-tempo and melodic pattern. Some good guitars and a clever keyboard background are also among its highlights. Unfortunately, Arrakeen were a short lived act and only released two albums. Such a shame, IMHO.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Parlour Games (Groundburst, 2017)

Ireland is a fairy land, probably that's why it dishes out some fresh and unpredictable music. Groundburst are an eclectic band from Dublin, ranging from electronic sounds to solid rock tracks and - last but not least - very good at communicating emotions. Take this "Parlour Games", for example. They mix post-rock, jazz hints and a light, proggy atmosphere in one coherent song, where you get hints of King Crimson, Radiohead and Police at the same time. 

"Parlour Games" comes from the band's "Triad" EP.

These three musicians know how to experiment new sound solutions without giving up consistency and agreeableness, so that this track is both challenging and blooming. I actually like the way Groundburst mix delicate and trenchant passages making use of skilly tempo changes... and you'll find a lot of this in their "Triad" EP. In our era of useless noises and ostentation, I'm glad to find here a rare example of good taste.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The New Kings (Marillion, 2016)

"The New Kings" was a Marillion fans' favourite from the very start and for many good reasons, IMHO. Firstly, the leading melodies are excellent, enjoyable and far from trivial. Secondly, the plot of this suite, divided into four movements, is coherent and diversified. Thirdly, the instrumentation is rich and intriguing, including a string quartet, a hammered dulcimer (played by Hogarth) and some beautiful backing vocals.

"The New Kings" was the F.E.A.R. album leading single.

Last but not least, the lyrics about the illegal gain underworld are topical like never before. The warm and well mixed acoustic / electric sounds are fascinating and richly arranged, full of sharp changes and liquid solos, the way Marillion have to be both classic and modern. After all, the F.E.A.R. album is likely the band's proggest work in twenty years... excellent news, no doubt.