Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (2CD Digibook)

Import digibook is identical in content to the domestic version but just fancier packaging.

"In some ways, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was inevitable. Just as Steven Wilson, his partner in No-Man, ultimately took what is, at the very least, a hiatus from, in addition to No-Man and other projects, his primary gig with Porcupine Tree—pursuing a solo career that's led to increasing success, most recently with the studio recording The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and the live/studio EP Drive Home (both Kscope, 2013)—it appears that the time for singer Tim Bowness to step out on his own has also arrived. It's a risky move for an artist whose reputation has been built on more egalitarian projects like the progressive-minded Henry Fool, the aptly dark dance music of Darkroom—and, of course, No-Man—and for more than one reason, but the two most obvious are: that there's nobody to hide behind or blame for decisions made; and, as ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett told Wilson, what Bowness can expect is for about 20% of his No-Man fan base to go along with them when he takes the leap.

But the rewards can be many, too—and, as Wilson has proven, Hackett's advice can be greatly underestimated. Abandoned Dancehall Dreams may have begun as a follow-up to No-Man's dreamily cinematic Schoolyard Ghosts (Kscope, 2008), it soon became clear that, rather than the collaborative effort that was No-Man, this was a record that more clearly reflected Bowness' more personal predilections. The result is an album that may well be his best recording to date under any name, and certainly continues some of No-Man's visual-rich music while, at the same time, stretching well past the boundaries of that group's defining characteristics to become something more powerful, more majestic...more monumental. While 2004's My Hotel Year (One Little Indian) was the first album to bears Bowness' name alone, as he describes in the extra booklet being provided to those who pre-order Abandoned Dancehall Music from the shopfront he has co-managed since 2001, burningshed.com, it was an album ..." created as a means of tying together several incomplete (and very different) projects I had on the go at the time. A solo album in name only, it never wholly felt mine."

Not so, with Abandoned Dancehall Music. There are, of course, many participants on the album's eight songs, inspired by dancehalls of the 1920s through the '60s in many places around the world—most now sitting empty, razed, or converted—but the overall concept belongs to Bowness, and perhaps the biggest surprise is that, while his breathy, romanticized vocal delivery remains as definitive as ever, the music of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is on a much grander scale than anything suggested by his past work. From King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto's thundering propulsion of the opening "The Warm-Up Man Forever"—a song which could be read as autobiographical, were it not for Bowness' assertions to the contrary, possessing ..."elements of people I've come across on the fringes of the music, literary and art worlds over the last few decades and was an attempt to understand certain ways of thinking that are more than a little alien to me"—it's clear that there's the Tim Bowness people have come to know, and then there's the more ambitious and expansive Tim Bowness of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams.

Musically, the opening song's tribal drums reference the '80s work of artists like Peter Gabriel, while at the same time, Henry Fool guitarist Michael Bearpark adds more suitably contemporary guitar work and Andrew Keeling—the man who collaborated with King Crimson co-founder Robert Fripp and engineer/producer David Singleton on the innovative The Wine of Silence (DGM Live, 2012)—contributes some truly heady string arrangements (here, and elsewhere throughout the album ) that are created, single-handedly by renowned concert violinist Charlotte Dowding, one overdub at a time.

"Smiler at 50" is only eclipsed by the even more epically dynamic "I Fought Against the South" as Abandoned Dancehall Music's longest track, though they're both only half a minute apart, and both exceed the eight-minute mark. The two tracks begin in somewhat balladic territory, with Mastelotto's backbeat-driven groove and Anna Phoebe's lyrical violin driving the first, song-form six minutes of "Smiler at 50"—its bittersweet lyrics best described by its concluding lines: "She weeps for places where she's been / And those she'll never know." But a near-silence interlude leads into flat-out symphonic progressive rock territory for its final two minutes, Mastelotto thundering behind an orchestral/choral tour de force from Henry Fool keyboardist Stephen Bennett that's turned heavier still by Bearpark's crunching power chords, referencing past precedents like Genesis as well as some of Steven Wilson's own contemporary work, albeit less emphatic on the chops front and more decidedly on mood—though Wilson's work is, of course, never shy on mood either. Still, Bowness' music has never sounded this magnificent, this magisterial.

The sequencing of a record's material into a cogent whole—one which represents something far greater than the sum of its individual songs—often makes the difference between a good record and a great one. Following "Smiler at 50" with the sparer, piano-driven "Songs of Distant Summers" makes clear that Bowness knows how to pace an album, delivering a respite from what came before as the singer, in collaboration with pianist Stuart Laws, shapes a song about that very thing: collaborative writing, and the perils of life experience getting in the way. Still, this isn't just a simple ballad; instead, processed and wordless vocals, synth lines, orchestral swells and other atmospherics, as well as volume pedal and delay-driven guitar, turn its 90-second ending into an evocative instrumental passage of glorious, enveloping warmth and grace.

But more than simply being his best recording to date, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is also Bowness' most eclectic. Electronics, synths and atmospherics may define much of an album that sits somewhere between the dreamy romanticism of No-Man and the more energetic progressive leanings of Henry Fool, but Bowness isn't afraid to unplug and use acoustic guitars, courtesy of Keeling—who turns out to be an even greater talent than already known, contributing guitars, bass, organ and percussion to the brighter "Waterfoot." Keeling also plays a major role on "I Fought Against the South," his flute work reminiscent of Court of the Crimson King-era Crimson, acting as a mid-song segue to a dramatic coda that builds—with Bearparks' power chords blazing over Henry Fool drummer Andrew Booker and one-time No-Man bassist Pete Morgan's august pulse—to a climactic peak before dissolving to a gentler conclusion, Keeling's multilayered flutes once again coming to the fore.

"Smiler at 52" acts as a linking premise, picking up on the character of "Smiler at 50" who, just two years later, is alone, as Bowness sings: "There were days when she was missed / There were days not like this," his delivery as poignant as ever on a tune also defined by the electronic texture of programmed drum beats, near-celestial wordless vocals and subdued but soaring strings, all anchored by Porcupine Tree's Colin Edwin, revealing more about his own talents by playing double bass, rather than the electric bass he uses on "Smiler at 50" and "Dancing for You," the latter one of two tunes where Steven Wilson (who mixed the album) contributes musically, in this case drum programming that's juxtaposed with Mastelotto's acoustic kit. Wilson also adds some guitar to the brief, tuned drum-driven closer, "Beaten By Love," broadening Bearpark's extant work as Booker's tribal drums bring the album full circle.

If there's never been any doubt about Bowness' talents, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is, nevertheless, a revelation. His vocal style has long since grown into an instantly recognizable one, but as a writer he's never asserted himself as he has here. Lyrically he may still continue to explore the darker, more melancholic subjects with which he's long been associated, but with Abandoned Dancehall Dreams Bowness has stepped up his compositional acumen, drawing on sources ranging from Peter Gabriel and Japan to Talk Talk and King Crimson, but the end result sounding like nobody but Tim Bowness. It appears that live appearances to perform this material will be limited to a small handful of dates—where, in collaboration with the rest of Henry Fool, he'll also be performing music from that group's small but strong discography, as well as some tunes from the No-Man repertoire—but if this album achieves the critical and popular acclaim it deserves—and the advance buzz certainly suggests it will—then it will also, hopefully, be an opportunity for Bowness, like Wilson, to step out from the shadow of a group and become the leader that, based on the destined-to-be-classic Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, he's clearly ready—and meant—to be." - Jon Kelman/All About Jazz

Track Listing: CD1 (Abandoned Dancehall Dreams): The Warm-Up Man Forever; Smiler at 50; Songs of Distant Summers; Waterfoot; Dancing for You; Smiler at 52; Beaten By Love; I Fought Against the South. CD2 (Abandoned Dancehall Outtakes and Mixes): Songs of Distant Summers (extended band version); The Warm-Up Man Forever (band version); The Sweetest Bitter Pill; Abandoned Dancehall Dream; There Were Days (Smiler at 52, Grasscut mix); Dancing for Youth (Dancing for You, UXB mix); Sounds of Distant Summers (Sounds of Distant Summers, Richard Barbieri mix).

Personnel: Tim Bowness: vocals; mellotron (CD1#1), piano (CD1#1), keyboards (CD1#6), drum programming (CD1#6), guitar (CD1#7, CD2#5), instruments (CD2#4); Michael Bearpark: guitar solo (CD1#1, CD1#5, CD2#6), guitars (CD1#2, CD1#3, CD1# 7, CD1#8, CD2#1-3, CD2#5, CD2#7), guitar atmospherics (CD1#5, CD2#6); Charlotte Dowding: violin ensemble (CD1#1, CD1#4, CD1#6, CD2#3); Andrew Keeling: string arrangement (CD1#1, CD1#6, CD1#7, CD2#3), acoustic guitars (CD1#4), bass (CD1#4), organ (CD1#4), percussion (CD1#4), flutes (CD1#7); Pat Mastelotto: drums (CD1#1, CD1#2, CD1#5, CD2#6); Pete Morgan: bass (CD1#1); Stephen Bennett: Nord Electro 3 CP70 (CD1#2, CD1#3, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-7), Novatron M400 (CD1#2-5, CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5-7), Godwin String Concert (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-6), Moog Minimoog OS (CD1#2, CD1#4, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5-6), Oberheim OB8 (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-6), the Spitfire orchestra (CD1#2), Fender Rhodes MK1 (CD1#2, CD1#4, CD1#8, CD2#3), upright piano (CD1#2), Korg MS20 mini (CD1#4), drum machine programming (CD1#5), Nord Electro 3 organ (CD1#7, CD2#5), keyboards (CD2#1-2); Colin Edwin: bass (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD2#6), double bass (CD1#6); Anna Phoebe: violin (CD1#2, CD1#7, CD2#5); Steve Bingham: violin (CD1#3, CD2#1-2, CD2#7); Stuart Laws: piano (CD1#3, CD2#7), synth pads (CD1#3, CD2#7), Taurus bass (CD1#3, CD2#7), atmospherics (CD1#3, CD2#7), percussion (CD1#3, CD2#1-2, CD2#7), keyboards (CD2#1-2), effects (CD2#3); Eliza Legzedina and Matt Ankers: The Spontaneous UEA Vocal Ensemble (CD1#5, CD2#6); Steven Wilson: drum machine addition (CD1#5, CD2#6), guitar (CD1#8); Andrew Booker: drums (CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#1-3, CD2#5); Pete Morgan: bass (CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5); Andrew Phillips (Grasscut): additional instrumentation (CD2#5), programming (CD2#5); Pete Morgan (UXB): additional instrumentation (CD2#6), programming (CD2#6); Richard Barbieri: keyboards (CD2#7), synthesizers (CD2#7), percussion programming (CD2#7).

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Second part of the English Electric concept dealing with life across the UK landscape.  What a beautiful album.  First off lets make it clear - Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford made a huge mistake.  Vocalist David Longdon should have been Phil Collins replacement in Genesis.  He would have fit like hand in glove.  The album features the band augmented by a variety of guest musicians including Andy Tillison of The Tangent who contributes organ, Moog, and Mellotron parts.  Its all very British sounding and once again a wonderful mix of old school prog and a more contemporary neoprog sound.  Highly recommended.
    $13.00
  • "For composer and keyboard player Carl Westholm humanity's future is bleak, and ends in death. The apocalypse is at hand, and Westholm's Jupiter Society tells its inevitable and fateful story in the third effort From Endangered to Extinction. Again Westholm is helped by members of several Scandi bands including Carptree, Krux, Candlemass, Soilwork, Opeth, and Evergrey.Needless to say, with the bleak concept, this is a dark and despairing album, from lyrics to music, with Westholm's ominous synth layers establishing the foundation. Lyrically, the story revolves more around the invaders and destroyers of the earth, led by the Queen of Armageddon, possibly aided by some satanic element, mentioned in the song Invasion, rather than the people of earth.The latter, the people of earth, get some reference in the last three songs, but with little hope. The song Fight back is crushed in the vice of No Survivors and Defeat. It's not good day on Planet Earth. And this is where Westholm's song composition comes to the fore. The music intentionally propels the frustration, devastation, and defeat of humanity in both tone and power. In other words, this dark and bleak story gets played out in a proper musical context and, therefore, makes From Endangered to Extinction creative and engaging. But considering the subject matter, again, entertaining may become a highly contested moot point. Recommended." - Dangerdog.comThird album in the futuristic prog metal series from Carl Westholm.  You may know him from his involvement from Carptree, Krux, and Candlemass.  Westholm always puts together an interesting cast of musicians for these projects.  This time he draws from bands like Krux, Carptree, Candlemass, Soilwork, and Evergrey.  Most notable are the great Mats Leven (as one of a few lead vocalists) and Leif Edling of Candlemass.  Intense apocalyptic stuff with a cyber metal angle to it.  Highly recommended. 
    $15.00
  • The Custodian is a new British post-progressive rock band formed by Richard Thomson, vocalist for cinematic death metal band Xerath.  Unlike Xerath, The Custodian is an outlet for the more melodic, rock oriented writing from Thomson.While there are moments in the album that harken back to old school bands like Genesis and Yes, the music of The Custodian is contemporary in sound.  Necessary Wasted Time is an album full of dynamics - light and dark shadings balancing acoustic vs electric, heavy vs pastoral.  While atmospherics and tension are a strong component of the album, the band demonstrates their adept musicianship offering up long instrumental passages to complement the emotion filled vocals.  When needed the band unleashes some complex electric runs.The Custodian's debut should deeply resonate with fans of Steven Wilson, Riverside, Pineapple Thief, and Anathema.Necessary Wasted Time was mixed by noted engineer Jacob Hansen and give the full audiophile mastering treatment from Bob Katz. 
    $14.00
  • The Yes Album is the second in a series of remixed and expanded Yes albums.Presented in a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve (with protective inner sleeves) with booklet featuring new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, along with rare photos and archive material, the album has been mixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson and is fully approved by Yes.The CD features a new stereo album mix by Steven Wilson, the studio version of Clap and an extended version of A Venture.The blu-ray features:- 5.1 PCM Surround Sound and High Resolution Stereo mixes (24bit 96khz).- the original album mix in a hi-res flat transfer from the original stereo master tape source (24bit/192khz).- a complete alternate album running order drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mix.- exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).- exclusive needle-drop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.The ultimate way to enjoy the album that helped establish Yes's reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with.CD - New Stereo Mixes:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Tracks:7. Clap (Studio Version)8. A Venture (Extended)Blu-Ray (Region 0, NTSC):Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio- Album mixed in 5.1 Surround- New Album mix- Original Album mix (flat transfer)- New Album mix (instrumental version)- Alternate version of The Yes Album drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mixPlus further audio extras some exclusive to the Blu-Ray edition.NTSC, all regions, LPCM playable in all Blu-Ray players & Blu-Ray drivesBlu-Ray - Full Track Listing:New Stereo Mixes 24/96 MLP Lossless:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeSurround Mixes (24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeOriginal Stereo Mixes (Flat Transfer from original master 24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Material:The Alternate Album :1. Yours Is No Disgrace (Live, London 1971)2. Clap (Studio Version)3. Starship Trooper (single edit)Life seeker4. I've Seen All Good People (Live, London 1971)5. A Venture (extended mix)6. Perpetual Change (Live, New Haven 1971)Blu-Ray Exclusive:Single versions, edits & live:1. Your Move - single version, stereo2. Clap - single version, mono3. America - Live, London 19714. It's Love - Live, London 19715. Your Move - single version, monoNew Stereo Instrumental Mixes (24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeNeedle-drop (A1/B1 UK vinyl transfer 24/96 LPCM):Original stereo, archived master transfer (Flat Transfer 24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual Change 
    $25.00
  • Excellent debut release from this progressive folk band from Italy.  The band is led by multi-instrumentalist Valerio Smaldoni who sings (in English) and plays keyboards and some guitar.  The music has a definite prog flavor particularly from the keyboard work - some nice atmospheric Mellotron-type sounds as well as Mini-moog soloing.  Guitarwork is acoustic based that never gets overly agressive.  I'm reminded of Celeste and W&W period Genesis.  This is the kind of thing I can listen to as a Sunday morning wake up call.  
    $18.00
  • New remastered 2 CD set is either one of the greatest live albums or worst - depends on how you feel about Hawkwind I suppose. This is the essence of Hawkwind - a sonic orgy of heavy psychedelic space rock. Features three bonus tracks.
    $15.00
  • "As suggested by its title, 'II' is the second album by multi-national band Corvus Stone. They continue with their merry blend of various musical influences, for an explosive cocktail of colours and sounds. Drummer Robert Wolff is now an official member of the band, while vocal duties were shared between several recording artists of Nick Katona's label, Melodic Revolution Records (later shortened in MRR). Sonia Mota, the biggest David Bowie fan on earth, was involved again for the artwork, as enchanting as on the first album.As announced in preamble of this review, this album is a festival of musical sounds, as diverse as the origin of the musicians involved. While music in general is in the field of progressive rock, it's easy to notice that the band doesn't care about labels. Progressive rock is a means to sublimate their influences rather than an end in itself. Therefore, you will hear pop (the baroque echoes of the harpsicord in the opener with beatlesque vocal harmonies, the pastoral accents of "Eternal universe"). Other popular forms of music are also represented. Let's start with blues-rock. First with the cover of Murky Red's "Boots for hire", where the virile voice is provided by none other than Murky Red's frontman, Stef Flaming, yet in a context slightly different from the original version, through its spacey keys and arabesques. Then, the blues influence is also obvious in the languid "Mystery man", with its eerie keys and reminiscences of The Beatles' "I want you (she's so heavy)" in the closing section. Rock'n'roll is there as well with the hellish "Purple stone" and a short wink to Deep Purple's "Highway star". Folk music, highlighted by the use of finnish in the lyrics ("Campfire"), has also its place in this monumental album. On the other hand, "Uncle Schunkle" with its groovy rhythms and its vintage hammond, recalls the golden age of jazz-funk. And obviously, since Corvus Stone are regarded as a progressive rock act, the instrumental "A stoned crow meets the rusty Wolff" is a piece that goes in this direction, with many rhythm changes and colourful keys. The title of the song is a pun on the drummer's name but might also be a reference to Happy The Man's humorous piece "Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest". Besides those influences, some dances are honoured throughout the record: salsa ("Scandinavians in Mexico"), cha cha cha ("Mr Cha Cha"), waltz ("Early morning call" with echoes of Stranglers' "Golden Brown"), bolero ("Camelus bactrianus"), flamenco (Colin's guitar opening to some tracks). Moreover, some neo-classical interludes intersperse the album, be it in a mozartian way ("Lisa has a cigar"), or romantic fashion ("Dark Tower"). More surprising is the pastoral symphony in four movements "Moaning Lisa" (two movements in the tradition of british songs of the elisabethan era, separated by a mouth organ-lead boiling instrumental movement, and a final waltz closing the symphony).Besides the lack of interest for any specific label, the band deals with a lot of humour, never grotesque, always delivered with profesionalism. This is made possible thanks to a wide range of keyboard sounds and versatile guitar soloing, among other factors. In fact, keyboard sounds are very diverse, ubiquitous and tasty. While guitar gently weeps with touching short spastic licks, it can also turn aerial, fiery or even delve in a classical spanish realm as seen before. The presence of drummer Robert Wolff on all tracks is an improvement over the previous album. In fact, his play blends the elegance of Barriemore Barlow and the punch of John Bonham, and is instrumental in the support of the music's humorous and eclectic flavours. Vocals are diverse this time, as singers from several MRR acts were invited for the project. Blake Carpenter's high-pitch and sense of derision is tempered by more seriously delivered vocals from his mates of MRR, the whole adding to the versatility of the work.Corvus Stone are a band that don't take themselves seriously, and this aspect should be taken into account when reviewing their works. Thanks to their experience in music, a great musicianship and a sense of humour, they deliver a music that is heartfelt, not dictated by any trend of the moment, and that will put a smile on your face and certainly make your day." - ProgArchives
    $12.00
  • So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended."Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report 
    $12.00
  • Withem is an up and coming Norwegian progressive metal band, inspired by the likes of Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind, Dream Theater and Circus Maximus.The band started to take shape in 2011 when Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (guitars) and Ketil Ronold (keyboards) met the gifted drummer Frank Nordeng Røe. Soon they were joined by the vocal talents of Ole Aleksander Wagenius and bass duties were taken care of by the special guest Andreas Blomqvist from Seventh Wonder.Withem’s debut offers varied sonic landscapes for the listener to explore, ranging from guilty-pleasure choruses permeated with memorable vocal hooks, to symphonic epic themes.  The unique vocal range of Ole Aleksander Wagenius gives the band a distinctive touch to tackle the overcrowded progressive metal scene.The passion and dedication put into the album is emphasized by the countless hours spent in studio perfecting each individual performance and making sure that the end result is a world class blend of progressive, symphonic and power metal.The Point Of You was mastered by Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Saga, Spock's Beard)
    $13.00
  • "New album  from Daniel Cavanagh of Anathema, introducing the brilliant Sean Jude.Leafblade was born out of a calling. A calling to bring the writing of Sean Jude towards a wider audience; or so thinks Mr. Cavanagh of Anathema, who originally formed Leafbladewith Jude several years ago.In May 2013 Leafblade release their new album, The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh, on the Kscope label.Daniel and Sean are joined on the new album by Anathema's portuguese multi instrumentalist Daniel Cardoso who plays drums, supported by Kevin Murphy and recorded by Mark Ellis who worked on anathema's 2010 masterpiece, We're Here Because We're Here.Produced by Cavanagh, The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh steps up the dynamics from debut albumBeyond, Beyond.Showcasing Cavanagh's unmistakable production work, his signature electric guitar playing and heartfelt 'musical weaving', all of which is built around Jude's unique and brilliant progressive songwriting, his lute-like nylon strings, his articulate lyrics and passionate vocal delivery.Cavanagh feels that the album has found a natural home at Kscope, the label that he has worked with extensively over the past few years, "the writing is absolutely top class and the progressive and organic nature of the music makes it very much part of Kscope's orbit."He continues; "we feel the album is a special one thanks to the beautiful lyrics, top class arrangements and excellent musicianship, and it should appeal to Anathema fans and progressive fans alike."""
    $15.00
  • While the Rising Force album was not Malmsteen's first entre into the metal world it certainly turned it upside down.  The Swedish guitarist was heavily influenced by Uli Roth and Ritchie Blackmore as well as classical composer/violinist Niccolo Paganini.  Essentially his extreme virtuosity defined the "neoclassical metal" sound and has remained a signature of his ever since.The Rising Force debut featured a killer lineup - Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull) on drums, Jens Johansson (keys), and Jeff Scott Soto (vocals),  Malmsteen handled all guitar and bass parts as well as the Moog Taurus pedals.  Very much a classic.  Highly recommended.
    $5.00
  • This is the third album from Syndone - a reunion album - that was originally released in 2010 on Electromantic Records.  Apparently it received little distribution and has now been reissued in a remastered edition via Fading Records.  It features one bonus track."Prolusion. The Italian band SYNDONE is the project and creative vehicle of composer and keyboardist Nik Comoglio. Formed in 1990 and disbanded three years later, following the production and release of the albums “Spleen” in 1992 and “Inca” in 1993. 17 years later Syndone is once more a going concern, and the first chapter in this band's second lease of life arrived late in 2010 in the shape of the CD "Melapesante", issued on Electromantic Records.Analysis. The last couple of decades have seen something of a tradition establishing itself in the music scene, with old bands deciding to get going again after a lengthy hiatus. Quite a few of these ventures seem to come as a direct result of either reviving faltering careers by the band members or just to use a well old name to get enough money into the bank account to survive whilst plying the musician trade. Others are less obvious, but a desire to create music and being at a stage in their lives, where the individual members have the possibility to spend the time needed, will often be the cause in those instances. Syndone is most likely a good example of the latter category. Musically we're dealing with an outfit with both feet well set and grounded inside the symphonic art rock tradition. Tangents of various kinds are constantly used, a minor army of reeds, brass and string instruments supply additional details and strengthen the musical companionship with classical symphonic music quite nicely, and the rock element is provided by a tight and creative rhythm section, and a lead vocalist conforming to what appears to be a strong Italian tradition for expressive, dramatic delivery. The only element some may feel missing will be the guitars, making a cameo appearance on a single track only on this production and then in the shape of classical rather than rock guitar in style. The compositions as such appear to be the result of extensive and painstaking planning, with a minor army of guest musicians providing numerous details of a sophisticated nature, more often than not emphasizing the symphonic aspects of the individual pieces. The vocal passages tend to be calmer, with organ, piano or synth gently underscoring the dominant lead vocals. Bass guitar and drums maintain momentum when applied, the latter more often than not adding a number of subtle intricate details to the proceedings. The instrumental sequences tend to be more energetic, featuring plenty of additional instrumentation and fairly advanced use and blend of harmonic themes and dissonant and at times disharmonic effects. In terms of stylistic expression, a fair few tracks incorporate details that jazz fans should easily recognize, be it the piano and drum-based motif that opens Mela Pensante or the ragtime tendencies that appear in efforts such as Malo in Adversity or final piece 4 Hands Piano Boogieprog. Gentle ballad-oriented pieces and efforts of a richer, tighter and in general more elaborate nature divide this disc more or less evenly. But none of the songs can be said to be conventional or predictable; a lot of effort has been used to provide surprises on each track, some more subtle than others. The haunting oboe solo on Dentro l'Inconscio is among the more delicate features, and the nifty harmonica and organ combination on Mela Di Tell an example of the more obvious kind. All of this splendidly put together, and utilizing Abbey Road studios for the mastering of this disc seems appropriate. How much better that studio is than others I can't say myself, but it is a name that that brings forth associations this production deserves.Conclusion. While not quite meriting a pure perfection grade from me, Syndone's comeback album is an inventive, high quality production through and through, of the kind that should warm the hearts and souls of even the most jaded symphonic art rock fans. In particular those who generally enjoy typical Italian lead vocals and the extensive use of traditional classical symphonic instruments. A strong production and one likely to be regarded as among the best albums of the genre released in 2010." - Progressor
    $17.00
  • "The Royal Scam is the first Steely Dan record that doesn't exhibit significant musical progress from its predecessor, but that doesn't mean the album is any less interesting. The cynicism that was suppressed on Katy Lied comes roaring to the surface on The Royal Scam -- not only are the lyrics bitter and snide, but the music is terse, broken, and weary. Not so coincidentally, the album is comprised of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's weakest set of songs since Can't Buy a Thrill. Alternating between mean-spirited bluesy vamps like "Green Earrings" and "The Fez" and jazzy soft rock numbers like "The Caves of Altamira," there's nothing particularly bad on the album, yet there are fewer standouts than before. Nevertheless, the best songs on The Royal Scam, like the sneering "Kid Charlemagne" and "Sign in Stranger," rank as genuine Steely Dan classics." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • "Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Arena) returns with his new solo project - ‘Alchemy – a musical”, a Victorian adventure set in 1842. Next to Clive Nolan himself, the album feature the artists well known in the world of progressive rock including Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers on a Train), Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Paul Manzi (Arena), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Paul Menel (ex-IQ), David Clifford (Red Jasper) as well as the leading lady of Nolan's previous musical 'SHE', Agnieszka Świta and Noel Calcaterra - a Uruguayan singer/actress and the voice of Clive Nolan South American 'Otra Vida' project from 2010. The Caamora Company musicians - Clive Nolan (keyboards), Mark Westwood (guitars), Scott Higham (drums), Claudio Momberg (keyboards) and Kylan Amos (bass) will once more take charge of the instrumental part of the project. The core members of the company will be joined by special guests and a chorus. This release will be preceded by the world premiere of 'Alchemy' show at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland on February 22, 2013, where it will be recorded and released on a DVD by Metal Mind Productions in Autumn 2013."
    $17.00