Pangaea Ultima

Pangaea Ultima

BY Moore, Steve

(Customer Reviews)
$17.00
$ 10.20
SKU: SP032CD
Label:
Spectrum Spools
Category:
Electronic
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Latest solo album from the quite prolific keyboardist associated with Zombi and Titan.  This is heavily sequenced Berlin School electronics that owes a huge debt to 1980s Tangerine Dream.  There are some ocassional rhythmic beats that turn up but nothing too out of the realm of the genre.  Late night space music.  Bliss out!

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  • After a 10 year absence Enchant are back.  The band started in 1993 making them one of the earliest prog metal band.  Actually they are sort of an interesting band in that they seem to exist in both the prog rock and prog metal realms.  Some metal fans think of them as a bit lightweight and some prog rock fans think they are too heavy!  One thing is for sure they are wildly successful.  This is definitely prog but it never loses sight of the melody.  Fronted by the great Ted Leonard (who is now doing double duty with Spock's Beard) this one is a no-brainer - whether you are metal or prog head.  "irst impressions are the similarities to Spock’s Beard. Hardly surprising since Ted Leonard has been singing with them since 2011. He’s been with Enchant longer; their first CD came out in 1993. And familiarity doesn’t breed contempt here, fortunately.Bay area progressive rockers, they steer a straight course composing guitar-structured songs that they extemporise over. Guitarist Douglas A Ott is also the band’s main producer, with The Great Divide having been recorded at his own studio, but if in the past the band’s followed his direction they’re now more involved after a ten year gap working on other projects. Also, while integral, Ott doesn’t dominate Enchant’s sound but flows in and out adding a hard rock bias to their generic musical flavouring. Drummer/percussionist Sean Flanegan and bassist Ed Platt have the solidity of early Kansas and musically there are some pretty snazzy and often too brief keyboard solos from Bill Jenkins.A rolling cyclical bass line forms the basis of opening number ‘Circles’ with Leonard pondering life going round well, like a circle – while the lyrics aren’t profound they feel right and though this isn’t a concept album, despite the band stating otherwise, there are common themes concerning the human condition in a loosely existential manner. Mainly straight verse and choruses ‘Circles’ breaks out into more complicated time signatures before an acoustic comes to the fore, vocals return, an electric guitar take over and it concludes with a nicely warm keyboard solo. ‘Within An Inch’ follows with a steady rock backbeat over which Ott’s playing echoes Camel’s Andy Latimer interrupted briefly by some John Ellis punk-styled sirening. ‘The Great Divide’ follows suit in a more epic manner, the arrangement akin to Genesis in their golden period.Enchant don’t play with the fairies, despite what their name suggests. If anything they’re two steps removed from an AOR sound leaning in towards early Asia with some latter day Beatles thrown in, and a less grandiose take on Spock’s Beard. One might refer to them as technically proficient rather than emotionally overwrought, meaning there is a heartfelt flavour to their songs, and they tend to grow on you.The subdued opening to ‘Life In A Shadow’ throws a brief curveball echoing the Canterbury sound of Hatfield & The North before a heavy chorded chorus takes this into a rocking tune with soulful harmonies. ‘Deserve To Feel’ pours on the technical drumming and dribbling triplet bass figures with some flashy pyrotechnics predominantly on guitar but with keen keyboard flourishes, moving into a more intricate musical score as Jenkins and Ott trade inspired lines towards its conclusion. Likewise, ‘Here And Now’ builds reflectively moving towards emotional drama.Finely composed, played well, Enchant’s The Great Divide might not have you falling under its spell, but you may well be surprised how you find yourself being drawn to playing it." - The Midland Rocks
    $12.00
  • "Using the same line-up as their eponymous sophomore album, this weird but prophetically- named album W.W.W. is the very proud follow-up taking the same kind of psychey-jazz brass-rock and perfecting (if that was possible) it to reach a sort of perfection that is rather hard to achieve in this controversial style. With another weak artwork and a bizarre name, this album had better have good tracks on it.Obviously BRI was having time to tour England (this is sufficiently rare to mention as England was a bit of a impenetrable or closed market, due to strong musician union and enforced quotas) and they wrote this excellent track about their hotel in Croydon after a gig in Fairfield Hall (where Genesis and Caravan were regulars) where Menzer's flute resembles that of Traffic's Chris Wood. Some of the other sonic similarities that can be heard are reminiscent of the excellent German group Out Of Focus. The title track starts out dreamily as an oriental-desert psyched-out trip: you could almost see the early 70's hippies crossing Iran on their way to Kathmandu in their Combi VW while listening to this. Close to the best German groups such as Embryo, this track is a pure delight. With almost no transition we veer into Kaskelain (these guys were most likely smoking some dynamite stuff), which is definitely more dynamic and brilliantly played and ends up in motif that is exactly the one that the next track uses to pick up the pieces. Karsemore (give me their dealer's name, I must taste the stuff ;-), this tracks starts almost basic but soon veers into a demented jazz-psyched out rock. Cool stuff and BRI is on top of their game in this lengthy three-piece suite (mmmmmmmhhh!!!.. Not even going to touch that one ;-). After another stand out track Oblong Serenade is a phenomenal succession of blistering solos over a great rhythm and a fitting outro for the album.Traffic, Out Of Focus, Colosseum. Does it not make your mouth salivate better than a naked Mcpherson? Run for it guys!!! After their next album Miley Smiley, a live-in-the- studio album recorded in 8 hours, Karsten Vogel will leave the band to form one of the best Danish band Secret Oyster (after a track on their second eponymous album) and will enjoy a long solo career as a jazz muso." - ProgArchives
    $16.00
  • Probably the best Argentinian prog album of all time and one of the great prog albums of the 70s. Bubu was a large ensemble led by composer and arranger Daniel Andreoli. The instrumentation features violin, flute, sax, guitar, bass and drums. Apart from some piano parts the soundscape is devoid of keyboards. The album consists of three epic tracks. The music has a dark vibe through out. There is a strong musical connection with King Crimson, particularly from guitarist Eduardo Rogatti who is cut from same cloth as Robert Fripp, using a lot of sustain. The interplay between guitar and Sergio Polizzi's violin evokes Lark Tongues period King Crimson but there is something else at work here. This album is a real white knuckle listen - lots of tension as a Zeuhl element is introduced when the choir kicks in. This really is quite the masterpiece. Highest recommendation. Essential disc in any prog collection.
    $15.00
  • "It only seems like a couple of weeks since Caravan announced in August 2013 that they were to record a new album that would be financed by money pledged by fans, and yet here it is already!What should have been a joyous time for the band and fans alike was sadly marred by the death of long-time drummer Richard Coughlan on December , however it is fitting that the digital download of the album was released to fans who had pledged on December 20, the day of Richard’s funeral!Musically this has classic Caravan stamped all over it. It is not, however, a hark back to the halcyon days of the 70′s and In the Land of Grey and Pink or For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, there are not anywhere near as many long instrumental sections in there for a start and the longest song I’ll Be There For You clocks in at a mere 6:14. What we do have here is a stripped down, and updated 2013 version of everything that Caravan fans look for. The classic songwriting is there, as is the excellent musicianship and whimsical lyrics, and let’s face it, with that instantly recognisable, trademark voice, Pye Hastings could re-record Never Mind The Bollocks and it would probably still sound like Caravan.All This Could Be Yours is a belter of an opener, and despite what I said above, this is one track that would not have been out of place on Grey and Pink or Girls Who Grow Plump! With an excellent, albeit short, viola solo from Geoffrey Richardson, and a great hook in the chorus, it skips along merrily in classic Caravan style.One of the ways of financing the album was to get people to pledge extra to go to the studio and get involved in the recording, I don’t want to pour cold water on anything but sadly I think this is where the band have shot themselves ever so slightly in the foot. Despite being a great song, I’m On My Way, has some awful, flat backing vocals in the chorus which almost ruin the song. The same applies to This Is What We Are where a slightly naff chorus comes close to ruining what is otherwise a very strong song, being slightly heavier than we are used to from Caravan including an infectious piano motif and an excellent, soaring guitar solo towards the end.The slower Dead Man Walking is the perfect pacer, leading into the very emotive Farewell My Old Friend. As an ode to the passing of a close friend, this song is made all the more poignant following the death of Richard Coughlan and brings a lump to the throat!In typical Caravan style, no-one is allowed to get too maudlin, as the next two songs Pain in the Arse with the vitriolic closing line ‘I don’t care if you sue me now, you are insane’, and Trust Me I Am A Doctor put the collective tongues firmly back in the cheek. Doctor takes an irreverent stab at a GP, who I’m quite sure, given the amount of names dropped in the song is a real person and should have no difficulty in identifying himself! But it is all done in good fun and I’m sure no umbrage will be taken!The album finishes on a mellow note with the wistful I’ll Be There For You and the title song Paradise Filter which kicks off  really slow and  melancholy with a late night jazz feel, before breaking out into a middle section that is very reminiscent of the instrumental break in The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again!Overall this is an excellent return for a band that has been absent from the recording studio for too long (it is ten years since the release of The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2003). Not that they have been resting on their laurels as they have still been playing live gigs, but it is nice to know that they can still cut it and write well crafted, catchy and extremely listenable songs.It also proves that the pledging route is a very viable way of financing studio time and album releases, sadly, however, I doubt very much that would work for new bands as you would have to have a name for yourself in order to create the initial interest. Maybe extensive gigging and as the old saying goes ‘paying your dues’ would help. Now there’s an idea (take note potential XFactor and The Voice contestants)!" - jonb52
    $20.00
  • "From Rotterdam in the Netherlands comes Sky Architect, and their third and latest effort, A Billion Years of Solitude, introduces a space rock/science fiction element into their brand of melodic progressive rock. Hints of Genesis, Porcupine Tree, Hawkwind, Gentle Giant, Eloy, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, and King Crimson pop up from time to time, especially on the rousing 18-minute opener "The Curious One", which kind of combines all the influences of the band into one killer epic. But, before we really dive into the music, let me report that the current line-up of the band consists of Tom Luchies (vocals, guitars), Wabe Wieringa (guitars), Guus van Mierlo (bass), Christiaan Bruin (drums, backing vocals), and Rik van Honk (keyboards -Mellotron, Grand piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes piano, - Clavinet, Moog synth, Wurlitzer, plus flugelhorn, trumpet, backing vocals).Back to that opening epic, it's an explosion of space rock and heavy prog musical & lyrical themes, with waves of Mellotron and various keyboards floating over throbs of bass, jagged guitar, intricate drumming, and layered vocals. Gentler than Hawkwind but more explosive than Genesis, it's a perfect half-way meeting point of both styles, and there are some sizzling solos here and plenty of haunting atmosphere. It's easily one of the 'must hear' songs of the year. "Wormholes (The Inevitable Collapse Of The Large Hadron Collider)" is a more rocking piece, but still firmly in the prog camp, reminding at times of Spock's Beard as well as Todd Rundgren's Utopia, and it's a real workout for guitarist Wieringa but also containing some great vocals courtesy of Luchies. "Tides" is one of the shortest tracks on the album, but it's also one of the heaviest, as churning guitar & keyboard riffs blast away over intricate rhythms, eventually giving way to lush acoustic guitar and floating vocals, before succumbing once again to Dream Theater/Gentle Giant styled complex bombast. The mighty Mellotron comes back for the engaging "Elegy of a Solitary Giant", another lengthy number complete with sci-fi drenched lyrics and plenty of spacey sounds, a perfect trip for all the Hawkwind/Eloy/Nektar/Pink Floyd fans in the house. After the quick little heavy space rock instrumental "Jim's Ride to Hell" (an awesome piece that I wish was longer), the band deliver one of the quirkiest numbers on the album, the complex "Revolutions". With plenty of keyboard textures from van Honk and acrobatic guitar from Wieringa, this one is a wild ride that zig zags from intricate prog-rock to ethereal space rock and back again. Closing 13-minute epic "Traveller's Last Candle" is another sci-fi yarn with some incredible musical passages, and the way the band go back and forth between lush atmospheric sections, to spacey explorations, to rumbling, bombastic heavy prog is just amazing.There have been a lot of excellent albums released here in 2013, and A Billion Years of Solitude certainly is among those and will be looked at closely when people are putting together their 'best of the year' lists. I just love the way this band perfectly meshes heavy progressive rock with the more otherworldly sounds of the space rock genre, making for a truly intoxicating listening experience. Stunning stuff really, and highly recommended." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $17.00
  • Willowglass is the vehicle for British multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marshall.  He plays guitar, keys, and bass.  Accompaniment is courtesy of Hans Jorg Schmitz on drums and Steve Unruh on violin, flute, and guitars.The music is all instrumental and harkens back to the classic British progressive sounds of the 70s.  The album kicks off with the 20 minute "A House Of Cards Pt 1", which is a pure love letter to the Mellotron.  Reminds me a bit of King Crimson's Lizard.  The music never gets overly heavy.  Marshall tends to rely on acoustic guitar quite a bit and Unruh's violin figures quite prominently.  We always say they don't make 'em like they used to but apparently they still do.  If you miss the glory days of Genesis and Camel you need to fill that spot in your collection.  Highly recommended.
    $16.00
  • Submarine Silence is a side project from Moongarden's Cristiano Roversi.  The bands first album was released 12 years ago on Mellow Records.  It was an instrumental album that paid a huge debt to early Genesis.  This low awaited follow up album is cut from a similar cloth but it does feature vocals.  Most of the band is fleshed out with other members of Moongarden and Mangala Vallis.  Vocals are sung by Mirko Ravenoldi, who frankly I'm not familiar with.  He sings in English and truth be told he's a much better guitarist than singer.  Luckily the album features long swathes of instrumental passages - all cut from the Genesis cloth.  Roversi's keyboard arsenal is chock full of all the old favorites - Mellotron, Hammond organ, Arp and Moog synths, etc.  Lots of similarities to Tony Bank's set up and I believe that is the whole point.  Not very Italian sounding at all.  If you long for the old school sounds of Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot check this one out.
    $18.00
  • Top rarity mined from the Vertigo catalog once again (it was briefly available on CD from Repertoire). Odin was a British band that migrated to Germany where they achieved a modest level of success. Recorded in Germany at Windrose Studios in 1972, the music had a decidedly English feel. In fact the album kicks off with "Life Is Only" a lengthy work out in which Jeff Beers, the band's keyboardist, channels Keith Emerson. Curiously this is followed by a short instrumental called "Tribute To Frank" which can only be a reference to Zappa - the music is a dead ringer for his style of writing. Long Hair Music did another fine job, giving us detailed liner notes and even a near 14 minute live bonus track.
    $18.00
  • Glass Hammer get all existential on us...Perilous is the new band's new concept album about a man dealing with grand scale issues like mortality.  A bit of a downer but like all Glass Hammer projects there is a ray of sunshine at the end.  Glass Hammer is fronted by Jon Davison who was plucked away by the remaining members of Yes for current tours and cruises.  He remains a member of GH as well.  Naturally with the voice of a Jon Anderson sound alike, the music bears remarkable similarity to Yes.  Some of Fred Schendel's piano work reminds a bit of Going For The One.  When Fred is hammering away on the organ the music takes on a Kansas quality.  So essentially not much has changed.  Glass Hammer's sound has pretty much evolved into a Yes/Kansas hybrid over the past decade and there it remains.
    $13.00
  • A new release from Causa Sui is like money in the bank.  The new Live At Freak Valley is no exception.  The live milieu is where the band really shines.  If you are unfamilar with the band you should know that the band's origins date back to the stoner scene but they evolved into something different - something more psychedelic - more organic.  The quartet features Jakob Skott (drums), Jonas Munk (guitar), Jess Kahr (bass), and Rasmus Rasmussen (keyboards).  The band goes off on looooong instrumental jams.  Munk's guitarwork has a beautiful fluidity that plays off of Rasmussen's keyboards which tend to surge to the forefront like waves on the ocean - or sit back and become a nice supporting backdrop for Munk's lead work.  I love when Munk burst out with a chunk of heavy riffage that recalls their stoner days.  Reminds me of vintage Zeppelin!  Highly recommended.
    $23.00
  • "The first album by Flying Colors got mixed reviews. Some people loved it (I was one of those) whilst others were disappointed that a band that included Mike Portnoy and Neal Morse had made an album that wasn't very "prog." Well, the second album from this band can't be criticised in that way because this is most definitely a prog album. Opening with a 12 minute song, and ending with a 12 minute, three part suite, these are the obvious progressive songs, but most of the shorter songs also mix pop/rock with progressive elements.So, starting at the beginning, Open Up Your Eyes is like a mini-Transatlantic epic, with the first four minutes consisting of an instrumental overture before the vocal come in. There are plenty of swirling keyboards and lead guitar, and Portnoy's characteristic drumming is there too (something that was largely absent from the first album.) The next two tracks are more in a heavy metal style, something not usually to my taste, but certainly Mask Machine has a catchy hook and is an obvious choice for a single. After Bombs Away comes a more straightforward ballad, then the rocker A Place In Your World with some nice guitar riffs and keyboard lines, plus a singalong chorus. Lost Without You is another Power Ballad and the shortest song on the album at under 5 minutes. Then we get to the point at which the album really hits the heights. I defy anyone to listen to the last 3 tracks, one after the other, and not be amazed at the genius of this band. Kicking off with One Love Forever, which has an infectious acoustic guitar riff and a celtic feel, we then move on to what is probably my favourite song on the album. Peaceful Harbour has a beautiful spiritual feel to it, and the beginning and end put me in mind of Mostly Autumn. Finally we have a real gem. Cosmic Symphony is a three part suite with sections approximately three, three and six minutes long. It starts with thunder and rain effects and a simple repeated piano line before vocals, drums and guitar come in. Finally these are joined by a melodic bass line. The second section is more jazz keyboard based and then we move on to the final part which reminded me of REM. The song ends with the same piano line and thunder effects which began it.A superb album, even better than their first and certainly proggier." - ProgArchives
    $6.00
  • Well Steve is done resucitating the Genesis catalogue and back to concentrating on fresh solo material.  The new album Wolflight is a bit of a loose concept album and I find it to be one of his strongest releases in years.  The album is filled with lots of guests (including Chris Squire) contributing exotic instruments to the mix adding an old world sound.  Steve's trademark sound is locked into place so if you are looking for the wailing guitar, liquid runs and acoustic delicacy you won't be disappointed.  His vocals has never been my favorite part of a Steve Hackett album but either I've mellowed in age or his voice has - not sure which.  Regardless it fits the music just fine.  Classic Hackett and nothing less.  BUY OR DIE!
    $12.00
  • "Andy Tillison, the mastermind behind The Tangent, isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears newbie when it comes to the world of prog rock. He knows he’s taken a risk with the band’s new album, Le Sacre Du Travail, but ten years of leading the band on its journey and seven albums to show for it have given him the strength and courage to present something decidedly different in today’s world of prog.Spurred on by the growing resurgence of progressive rock to do something unexpected that stands outside the box, he zeroed in on the idea of creating an orchestra suite in the spirit of artists like Camel and Deep Purple’s dearly departed Jon Lord. The naysayers might consider the new album to be too far afield from what’s considered prog rock these days, but The Tangent enjoys a broad international fanbase that respects the fact their heroes are bent on being as big and bold and as adventurous as the people who originally started the progressive rock movement off in the late ‘60s.“Big and bold” i this case doesn’t mean loud and in-your-face. On the contrary, Le Sacre Du Travail serves up everything from ‘70s rock to smoky blues to jazz to classical music. Given the conceptual nature of the record, Tillison sees it as a soundtrack without a film.“Hopefully that's what I'm getting across with this music,” says Tillison. “I want to give the music the excitement I felt when I first started hearing classical music. That’s why I got into progressive rock music; hearing classical music as a child, I used to be off and away imagining pictures and scenes and telling myself stories to go along with it. What I wanted to do was tell those stories to somebody else with my own music.”Le Sacre Du Travail is, in brief, a story about 7 billion people that all have the same name; “You”. The Tangent wanted to put the listener into the picture, having decided that if they were going to present this story, it had to be something that absorbed everyone on a familiar level.Tillison: “We avoided the concept album idea for a really long time, and finally we’ve done one. Most of the lyrics came pretty easily; I never wrote them down, I just sang what I felt, lots and lots of different things. I had many takes and many ideas, so I had to go back and pick out the best ones, and eventually I got the idea of what I wanted to sing about. It came out very naturally.”Looking back on The Tangent’s catalogue, Tillison – who started his musical career writing punk songs and pays tribute to that era on a the bonus track ‘Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979’ – admits that The Tangent’s evolution is something of a surprise. At the same time, given that he’s had a decade to refine his craft as a prog artist, “I knew this was coming.” Looking back on his roots, Tillison knows exactly what influenced the outcome of Le Sacre Du Travail“The obvious influence is one of the very first progressive rock albums ever made: The Days Of Future Past by The Moody Blues. They had the idea of breaking a day into pieces and running through it on the album. It must have been there in the back of my mind, although I must say I probably haven't listened to that album in 30 years. I never really thought about it while I was recording, but at some point I realized I was doing the history of a day with an orchestra and a rock band. Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group and Orchestra was a big influence, and at the same time Roger Waters' Amused To Death album is definitely in there.”“We know we’re taking a risk,” Tillison adds. “Some people will go ‘What the hell is this?’ because it’s a big piece of music to get into and you have to find your way around it. But that’s where I want to be; on the leading edge of progressive rock music.”"US jewel box edition with 3 bonus tracks. 
    $10.00
  • RPWL are a popular German prog band. They began life as a Pink Floyd cover band. The vestiges of that sound are still apparent. It would probably be safer to say that the material bears some similarity to David Gilmour's recent solo work but there are other influences at play here as well - particularly Porcupine Tree's harder edge."12 years after the formation of one of Germany's most successful modern Prog/art rock bands, RPWL takes its first shot at a concept album. Beyond Man and Time is a musical journey through the world outside of Platon s cave. The basic idea is a so-called revaluation of value in terms of a new way of thinking. In this world beyond man and time there exists creatures of higher knowledge that the protagonist meets allegorically along his journey: the keeper of the cave, the willingly blind, the scientist, the ugliest human, the creator, the shadow, the wise man in the desert and the fisherman. These create the musical themes for the characters in Beyond Man And Time , and along with oriental percussion, expanded Moog-soli and Indian sitar, create a well placed, atmospheric and colorful adaptation of the theme. RPWL have always been about originality and experimentation and Beyond Man And Time is a vast sociological journey through the depths of man s psyche and a welcome addition to their catalogue of exceptional and creative releases."
    $14.00