27 January 2020

Prog Rock Review: DBA-Geoffrey Downes/Christopher Braide-Live In England

Release Date: November 29. 2019
Label: Cherry Red Records
Geoff Downes and Christopher Braide are DBA. DBA stands for Downes Braide Association. Both gents are well known in musical circles and Downes has carved out a legendary slice of time with Asia and Yes and several other projects over the years, with his keyboard wizardry. Braide is a multi-talented artist, vocalist, musician, producer, and collaborator.

This matchup is one to die for with excellent musicianship and vocals beyond compare. Besides those two key players, there are important parts of the whole to make all this music complete, including Andy Hodge (bass), Dave Colquhoun (lead guitar) and special guests David Longdon (vocals and flute) and narration by Barney Ashton Bullock.

Live In England folds out into four sections holding two CDs and one DVD and an informative booklet.

I have always loved Yes and Asia including the 80s version of Yes with Downes. As all fans know that is why Asia was born. What you will hear in this immense set are 16 audio tracks then the same in the DVD. So, you get the best of both worlds. I watched the DVD first, of course, to get the full in-house impact when it was recorded at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex on September 28, 2018. The stage was normal and no-frills, just straight-ahead great music which suits me just fine thank you very much.

Christopher has an amazing voice, there is no other way to explain it. For me, it was goosebump time when the lead-off track “Prelude/Skyscraper Souls” kicked in. He has a smooth voice that can hit those high notes and perfectly enunciated for every part of each song. I did notice that when he sings in the lower register it reminded me somewhat of David Gilmour. When he goes high forget it, there are not too many vocalists that can pull off a performance as Christopher did on so many songs in one performance. I particularly appreciated that I could understand all the lyrics thanks to Christopher’s pinpoint vocal style. So enough about the vox humana.

Where would all of those beautiful vocals be without an amazing soundtrack to sing along to? That is exactly what Downes and company provide from start to finish on this performance. Downes is and was the musical centerpiece of the presentation and he even gets the stage all to himself to perform some familiar music instrumentally for the audience.

This is not just progressive rock its prog! And with some of the best-seasoned talent on the planet to present it all, fans of this kind of music will find a lot to enjoy on this set. The music covers their studio releases with precision and energy that will greatly be appreciated even with
the most particular listeners.

If you don’t have the three studio albums, after hearing Live In England you likely seek out all of those releases, I know I will.

Watch for the vinyl version of Live In England to be released on February 14th!


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 26, 2020

Founder of:

Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

Tracks

DISC ONE:

 1. SKYSCRAPER SOULS
2. MACHINERY OF FATE
3. LIVE TWICE
4. VANITY
5. SUBURBAN GHOSTS
6. BOLERO / VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
7. GLACIER GIRL
8. ANGEL ON YOUR SHOULDER


DISC TWO:
 

1. TOMORROW
2. LIGHTHOUSE
3. SKIN DEEP
4. DARKER TIMES
5. FINALE
6. HEAT OF THE MOMENT
7. THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES
8. DREAMING OF ENGLAND


DISC THREE – DVD (NTSC REGION 0)

1. SKYSCRAPER SOULS
2. MACHINERY OF FATE
3. LIVE TWICE
4. VANITY
5. SUBURBAN GHOSTS
6. BOLERO / VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
7. GLACIER GIRL
8. ANGEL ON YOUR SHOULDER
9. TOMORROW
10. LIGHTHOUSE
11. SKIN DEEP
12. DARKER TIMES
13. FINALE
14. HEAT OF THE MOMENT
15. THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES
16. DREAMING OF ENGLAND
 

Italian Prog Ensemble MANGALA VALLIS To Release 4th Album "VOICES"


“VOICES” is the fourth album by the Italian new prog band MANGALA VALLIS. An album that, once again, moves out of the path marked by the previous one, this happens because every creation of the band is the result of an ever changing journey, accelerated, mostly, by the events that occur inside the same band. It happened that the old members Cavalli Cocchi, Consolini, Milazzo and Tiranti were joined by an old friend of the band, Gianfranco Fornaciari, as a keyboard player and song writer.

The common thread of the songs in “Voices” is represented by the voices we hear from our deepest inner self, coming from our head, our heart or our soul. Voices that become louder and louder, and that need, as time goes by, the urge of coming out: to scream !! Voices that increase, little by little, their intensity, because the positive aspect  of aging is that we understand better who we are and what we want. The time has come to say stop compromising and no more suffocating our real personality. The album´s cover represents this concept: we are that planet, and those speakers represent our Voice exploding with all its self consciousness towards the rest of the world.

Mangala Vallis is an Italian rock band formed in 1998 thanks to an idea of Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums and percussion), Mirco Consolini ( guitar and bass) and Enzo Cattini (keyboards). The band´s name is a canyon on Mars, which appears in the novel Sphere by Micheal Crichton. Their main genre is progressive rock, influenced by other kinds of music coming from the background of the musicians´ past artistic experiences. Major elements of their production are the care and the quest of the best sounds and nuances.

On February 8th 2002 their first CD is released, “The Book of Dreams”, a concept album inspired by the fantastic adventures created by the great French writer Jules Verne, special guest is Bernardo Lanzetti (former vocalist of Acqua Fragile and PFM ).

During the next two years Mangala Vallis played in major prog rock festivals in Belgium, Germany and Holland. “Lycanthrope” is the band´s second album, released in November of 2005. Bernardo Lanzetti is now officially the band´s vocalist and becomes the writer of the lyrics. David Jackson, ex saxophone player with Van Der Graaf Generator, is the special guest of this new concept album inspired by the modern human being,  who is confused and struggling between the modern society´s constraints and his own instinctive nature.

The third album comes out in 2012, and is called “Microsolco”, a new concept album, virtually a follow up of the former album. On this cd songs about the fast pace of modern times and the idea of returning to a quieter and more natural dimension are the main elements of the story. It talks about what happens on 21st December 2012, and the theory that that would be humanity´s last day. Actually in Microsolco there is ´the end of a certain kind of world´ when a hacker, on that exact day, infects the whole internet with a virus capable of destroying all the digital memories of the planet. This act will force everybody into thinking deeply about life and lost values, and make people retrieve ways of life lost in time. Basically a reconciliation between Mankind and Mother Earth.

In 2018 the band started to work on the new project called “Voices” which will be released and distributed worldwide by Maracash Record on February 8, 2020.

MANGALA VALLIS
ROBERTO TIRANTI : vocals
GIGI CAVALLI COCCHI : drums and percussions
MIRCO CONSOLINI : electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, vocals
NIKY MILAZZO : electric guitar
GIANFRANCO FORNACIARI : keyboards and vocals

To pre-order:
CD: http://store.maracash.com/product_info.php?products_id=523

LP: http://store.maracash.com/product_info.php?products_id=524

For more information: www.mangalavallis.com

Maracash Records: http://store.maracash.com/

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

25 January 2020

Prog Rock Review: Nektar-The Other Side

Release Date: January 24, 2020
Label:  Independent
Website



Early influencers of the ’70s prog-rock movement, Nektar has returned with a satisfying new release. The Other Side reaches into the past and skillfully carries the band’s groundbreaking sound into the modern age. Like many prog-rock pioneers, Nektar took chances. Their debut album, for example, contained a single 40-minute song. As with any early 70s band that is fortunate enough to remain together, Nektar has gone through changes. Today, Nektar consists of three original members (Mo Moore, Ron Howden & Randy Dembo), a returning stint player (Ryche Chlanda), and a new keyboardist (Kendall Scott).

These are experimental rock songs with driving, complex rhythms supporting flights of fancy on keyboard and guitar. Think of Jones & Bonham of Led Zeppelin meeting Rick Wakeman of YES meeting Steve Hacket of Genesis. The most enjoyable moments on this album come when the band flies away from the derivative and predictable choruses and allows Chlanda and Scott to take the listener to new heights.

Case in point is the opening track, “I’m on Fire.” The lyrics Mo Moore wrote in 1978 for his fiancé fall flat against the imaginative underlying sonic texture. “SkyWriter” is a more accessible and reminiscent of an Asia track bridging prog with pop. On the other side of the coin, “Love Is/The Other Side” is a masterful progression of melodies and tempos taking off mid-way and not relenting until the end. “The Light Beyond” and “Look Through Me” are slower, more orchestral, and introspective songs heavy on keyboard with strains of Alan Parsons.

At times it feels as if The Other Side is attempting to combine the experimental and ethereal nature of progressive rock with down-to-earth hard rock sensibilities. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As a listener, I found myself tuning out for the chorus and turning in for the jams. Overall, the offering is strong, and the experience is worthwhile. The better news is that Nektar is still producing quality albums and is still touring. Legend has it that they do not let their live audiences down, so check out their tour list and go see this iconic band while you have the chance.

Tom Endyke - MuzikMan.net Staff
January 23, 2019

REVIEWS PROVIDED BY:
Rate the Tracks

Tracks:
1. I’m On Fire
2. SkyWriter
3. Love is/The Other Side
4. Drifting
5. Devil’s Door
6. The Light Beyond
7. Look Through Me
8. Y Can’t I B More Like U

24 January 2020

Metal Icon DON DOKKEN Steps Into The Spotlight On This Superb Solo Album "Solitary"!


Los Angeles, CA - He’s the voice behind multi-platinum selling albums and heavy metal classics such as “Breaking The Chains,” “In My Dreams,” “Dream Warriors” and many more! But for the aptly named album Solitary, Dokken vocalist Don Dokken strips away the metal trappings and takes center stage as a singular creative force on this acoustic album that includes both original songs and imaginative reworkings of other’s songs. Dokken’s powerful singing truly shines throughout these recordings, bringing both fiery passion and gentle emotion.

To help bring this project to life, Don reached out to several high-profile musicians including The Firm/Whitesnake bassist Tony Franklin plus renowned drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa / Sting).

Solitary will be released January 31 on Deadline Music, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc, on all digital platforms plus CD and on a very special limited edition RED vinyl pressing!

Buy the album here: https://orcd.co/dondokkensolitary

Track List:
1. In The Meadow
2. I'll Never Forget
3. Where The Grass Is Green
4. Jealous
5. Ship Of Fools
6. You Are Everything
7. Venice
8. Sarah
9. My Heart Will Go On
10. The Tragedy
11. Someday
12. All That Love Can Be

Press inquiries: 
Glass Onyon PR
Billy James
PH: 828-350-8158
glassonyonpr@gmail.com


DEADLINE MUSIC, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc.
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CLEOPATRA RECORDS, Inc.
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www.CleopatraRecords.com

New Age/Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer- piano2

Release Date: December 31, 2019
Label: Dreamworld Productions

Previous to Doug Hammer’s 13th proper studio recording piano2, I had the distinct pleasure to cover two entirely different releases. Christmas Lights in 2015 and Americana in 2016. The titles are self-explanatory however this title leaves you thinking what could be coming out of your speakers.

What I can say with unequivocal joy is that piano2 is as diverse musically as the last two I heard and reviewed. Doug likes to mix it up and play many different styles, touching upon a multitude of genres. 

There is new age, contemporary classical, like “A Rainy Night with You” or some jazz-inflected honky-tonk like on “Chasin’ Possum.” Or one of my favorites that I added to my New Age Music Review Spotify Playlist, “The Sunshine in You.” That one sounds as bright and energetic as the title implies. If the shoe fits wear it right? I believe that applies to all of this music, titles of the tracks are a lead into what you will hear. Everyone will hear something different but the one commonality is that if there is a love for instrumental piano music. The consequence of that is piano2 will be your cup of tea straight away.

The changes can be dramatic from one track to the next and that is exactly what makes it such a great listen. It will hold your attention from beginning to end. 

One thing that always fascinates me is the process an artist goes through creating a recording from scratch. This what Doug said about his process with piano2:

 “I would work on an accompaniment first and then listen to that and record melodic ideas on another track. Then, I would go back and refine the accompaniment and then again go back and refine the melody.”

So, the very beginning steps then turns into refinement on different levels of production. What you get after all that passionate piano playing and structuring of compositions is nothing but beauty. To be more specific, this is musical bliss that anyone could enjoy and or appreciate. 

My entire being is touched by music like this because I do not have to think about any lyrics, I just let the music take me to another mindset, a place where I love to go time and time again. I am giving thanks to Doug Hammer and every artist out there that has given me that gift. If you are looking for something like I am, then give piano2 a spin or stream it with the player provided right now.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
January 16, 2020
 
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks:

 01. Shimmer in Disaster
02. You're the One
03. The Sunshine in You
04. Across the Plains  
05. Reaching for the Moon    
06. Strut Your Stuff  
07. Chasin' Possum
08. A Rainy Night with You     
09. The Uncertainty Principle
10. Round and Round      
11. Fanfare      
12. Celtic Heart
13. Walking with You
14. Shine Bright  
15. The Last Goodbye  
 



YES and KING CRIMSON Members Collaborate on the New Album by Peter Banks and David Cross – Crossover is OUT NOW!


David Cross was a member of King Crimson during the 1970s and the late Peter Banks was the original guitarist in YES.

The guitar and violin parts for this NEW STUDIO ALBUM were recorded on the 10th August 2010 in an afternoon of improvisation.

Of the release David Cross said “The response from the guest musicians was truly wonderful in the way that they gave their time and talent to this project and I would like to thank them on behalf of Pete and myself. They were asked to ‘interpret the music as freely and creatively as you wish’ and they have turned in incredibly skilled and inspiring performances which were not easy given the improvised nature of the starting material and the spontaneity of the structures.”

The resultant album was produced by Tony Lowe and David Cross and the guest appearances were recorded during 2018 and 2019 and Crossover features:
Pat Mastelotto
Tony Kaye
Billy Sherwood
Randy Raine-Reusch
Andy Jackson
Oliver Wakeman
Jay Schellen
Jeremy Stacey
Geoff Downes

David Cross added: “When I recall the original recording session with Pete I remember his fresh almost naïve approach, his positive energy and his constant and restless search for something new. It was a joy to know Pete Banks and an honour and a privilege to play with him: I think he would be pleased with the way our album turned out.”

This is the last new album of material from the late Peter Banks, who passed away in 2013, and had wanted to see this material released.

CD Edition: https://geni.us/DCPBcrossover

iTunes: https://geni.us/DCPBcrossoveriTunes

GooglePlay: https://geni.us/DCPBcrossoverGP

Spotify: https://geni.us/DCPBcrossoverSpotify

A YouTube trailer can be seen here:


Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 1-828-350-8158 (US), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

23 January 2020

Award Winning Documentary "MELODY MAKERS The Bible of Rock 'n Roll" Companion Interactive Apple Book Now Available


Featuring ERIC BURDON (The Animals), IAN ANDERSON (Jethro Tull), YES (Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White), DAVE COUSINS (The Strawbs), JUDY DYBLE (Fairport Convention), Nazareth (PETE AGNEW & DAN MCCAFFERTY) and STEVE ABBOTT (UK Decay)

In tandem with the theatrical and home entertainment release of the film MELODY MAKERS (December 17. 2019) comes the release of the Melody Makers Companion Apple Book. An immersive experience, this interactive book takes users through the rise of Melody Maker magazine through a series of rock trivia games, photo puzzles, embedded interviews, and a photographic gallery full of Barrie Wentzell's Legends Series from his iconic rock photographic archive (1965-1975). The book is a robust partner to the film that offers viewers an added music history experience. The book was “invented” - designed, curated and created - by Canadian filmmaker, and film festival producer Leslie Ann Coles.







For more information:
http://www.melodymakersmovie.com/ibook
https://books.apple.com/au/book/melody-makers/id1471754506?mt=11&app=itunes

MELODY MAKERS is not just another music doc. It chronicles the birth of music journalism and the world’s oldest and longest standing seminal music magazine; Melody Maker. Through a series of interviews from artists (Ian Anderson/JETHRO TULL, Eric Burdon/THE ANIMALS, Alan White, Steve Howe and Chris Squire/YES, among others) and journalists of the time, the film tells the true story of the rise and fall of the world’s most influential music publication and uncovers an era of tremendous creative freedom.

At the heart of the story is Barrie Wentzell, Chief Contributing Photographer of Melody Maker Magazine (1965-1975) and his iconic photographic archive of legendary musicians during the birth of the rock 'n roll era, who along with his journalist colleagues gained unprecedented access to bands and musicians that would go on to become the legends of rock n' roll. Wentzell's photos are the touchstone of this documentary as the photographer and others recount the many untold stories from behind the pictures. Barrie recalls a Peter Townshend telling him about an idea he had for a rock opera when Tommy was a concept. Melody Maker journalist, Chris Charlesworth recalls when the magazine tried to expand into the US market without paying off the mobsters who controlled magazine distribution in key cities such as New York, and PR Keith Altham shares an anecdotal story about a publicity stunt gone awry involving the notorious drummer, Keith Moon and a hovercraft.

Beyond the visual stories told, Melody Maker includes interviews ERIC BURDON (The Animals), IAN ANDERSON (Jethro Tull), YES (Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White), DAVE COUSINS (The Strawbs), JUDY DYBLE (Fairport Convention), Nazareth (PETE AGNEW & DAN MCCAFFERTY) and SEVE ABBOTT (UK Decay); journalists CHRIS WELCH, CHRIS CHARLESWORTH, ALLAN JONES (Senior Editor UNCUT Magazine); ALAN LEWIS; and other notable subjects PETER WHITEHEAD (filmmaker Charlie My Darling), ROGER DEAN (artist), JEFF DEXTER (DJ/ Promoter), KEITH ALTHAM (PR for The Rolling Stones, The Who) and GLEN COLSON (Stiff Records) to name a few.

BIOGRAPHY
Leslie Ann is thrilled to launch her debut feature documentary MELODY MAKERS with the enhanced Apple Book made possible with the generous support of Telefilm Canada’s Marketing and Promotions Program. As the executive producer and director of LA Coles Fine Art Films she is currently engaged in a wide variety of works which include theatrical features, non-scripted TV, documentaries, shorts and interactive digital media. Her company is committed to producing films and cross platform projects that combine art, entertainment and social justice. Coles is a Women In the Director’s Chair alumni, and a recipient of three CTV Banff Fellowships for original series. Founder of the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) in 2001 to address gender parity in the film industry, she has executive-produced 46 short films directed by at risk female youth through the Young Filmmaker Development Workshop (YFDW), a program established under the auspices of the FeFF.  In her capacity as Festival Director for the past 17 years, she oversees the rigorous evaluation and selection of independent films for FeFF from over 2,500 entries every year. Intimately familiar with the local and international filmmaking community since 2001 with the inaugural festival and her debut multiple-award-winning film “In The Refrigerator: Spirit of a Haunted Dancer,” Leslie Ann’s strength is her ability to creatively strategize projects and determine market potential during the development process, always with a critical understanding of a film’s milieu, be it social, cultural, or art-focused.

MELODY MAKERS will see a limited theatrical release on November 29, 2019 at the Arena CineLounge Sunset, 6464 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood CA,  followed by the Apple iBook on the same day and the DVD Release on December 17, 2019.

MELODY MAKERS,  English, Color, Stereo, 5.1 HD, 78 min., Canada 

“A cinematic love letter to late British weekly music magazine Melody Maker — captures a vital passage in 20th century music history.” - Kim Hughes, Original Cin

“This cheerful history of the music weekly Melody Maker has enough inside dope to maintain interest.” - Adrian Mack, The Georgia Straight

“Whimsically titled Melody Makers leans heavily on Barrie Wentzell, chief photographer from 1965-1975, both for his recollections and his amazing collection of images.” - Chris Knight, The National Post

“Melody Makers is charming, informative, and highly entertaining.” - Andrew Parker, The Gate

“The narrator-less film rattles along to the extent that I couldn’t believe it was over, so enthralled was I by the anecdotes, analysis, pictures and film of such an extraordinary ten years of music.” - Martin Webb, A New Day

“The tunes and the images, combined with countless inspiring and entertaining first-hand recollections brilliantly resurrect a time that produced some of the most remarkable artists that have ever lived.” - Amy Balog, 60’s Today

FESTIVAL AWARDS FOR MELODY MAKERS
WINNER Best Music Documentary, 18th Bare Bones International Film Festival 2017
WINNER Best Documentary, 8th Fort Myers Film Festival 2018
WINNER Best International Documentary, 16th Garden State Film Festival 2018
WINNER Audience Choice Award, Hot Springs Women’s Film Festival 2018
WINNER Gold Award Best Documentary, Spotlight Film Festival 2018
WINNER Best International Documentary, Color Tape Film Festival 2018
WINNER Best Documentary, Meraki Film Festival  2018
WINNER Best Director, Borderlands Film Festival 2018
WINNER Best Feature Documentary, Nice IFF 2018
WINNER Best Documentary, MedFF 2019

To purchase “MELODY MAKERS The Bible of Rock 'n Roll” documentary: https://www.amazon.com/Melody-Makers-Ian-Anderson/dp/B07WGJKDNK/








Copyright © Barrie Wentzell

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 1-828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com


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