31 July 2015

Metal Review: OH-Synemotion (Limited Edition 2 LP Set)

Genre: Metal
Release Date: 24 April 2015
Label: Olitunes

Olivia Hadjiioannou is the multi-instrumentalist OH. This lady knows how to rock and shred on the six string and it does not stop there. She composes all of her work and plays bass, drums and keyboards and sings. 

Synemotion is her second release. Sleeping World was her first release two years ago; I remember how it got my attention immediately. My expectations were sky high for the new release. I know I should not place expectations upon an artist but when you respect the artist and love what you heard the first time you ever listened it’s hard not to look forward to something new and exciting.

OH was kind enough to send me the limited edition 2 LP set. There were 300 copies produced and only a few are left if you are interested in being one of the select people in the world to own this collectable slice of metal. I was expecting progressive metal but what I got was flat out metal tracks. While diverse and a showcase for the talent of this artist it simply did not sound progressive as I know it. It is however progressive in other ways such as what drove the artist to create the music in the first place, relating it all to the human condition and the choices we have. The artwork is eye catching to be sure and the LP set is beautifully packaged. Music is whatever you want it to be so listen and make your choice and or categorization. 

According to the artist the album Synemotion is a journey through the complex emotional states we experience when we are overwhelmed by concerns and fears. I like the premise on which this music was created and that means a lot to this listener.

OH composes, performs, records and mixes all her tracks and does it all very well. Most of the tracks include very heavy fat power chords with sharper more pin point riffs sandwiched in between. Anyone that is into guitar virtuoso types of music will love this release. Some of the tracks I found exhilarating and others interesting but in the end an appreciation for the overall talent this artist brings to the table. You can count on some amazing six string runs throughout this listen.

The first two tracks are at a lightning fast pace and I really enjoyed them then after that things get a little more complicated. Depending on your taste you will find something to enjoy if you are into guitar based music without vocals. I liked the way “Runaway” and “Rumpus” kicks things off on Side A but by the time I got to side C it was starting to sound like organized confusion if you will (like life can be sometimes). I know that sounds negative but it is not that way. I am merely interpreting what I am hearing and trust me it’s all good. This approach and the way the compositions come together are very purposeful and it all makes a musical statement that matches the title of each track. When I gave Side D a spin “Beckoning” provided more of the variety that I heard previously and some hard and fast then slower more delicate moments that showed how diverse this artist can be. As a point of interest for musicians, her guitar was tuned at A=444Hz (C=528Hz) for  Synemotion,” “Runaway,” “Rumpus,” “Deception” and “World of Warcraft.”

The title track “Synemotion” finalizes the album with OH’s voice narrating all of the words listed on the inside sleeve of the album. It is prolific and it can be a life changing message if you truly digest it and own it. I found it interesting that it ended the album rather than open it up. It makes you pay more attention to the music then decide what it all means at the end for you the listener.

There are a lot of things to appreciate with OH and I will look forward to future projects. This is one more step to the next level for an artist that will continue to get more attention with each subsequent release. She has my utmost respect for such a huge accomplishment. I know it was labor of love and it shows. 

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Runaway, Beckoning, Synemotion

Side A:
1.Run Away

Side B:

Side C:
7.World of Warcraft

Side D:

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder
July 31, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music

Guitar Virtuoso and Composer Stephen Duros To Release Highly Anticipated Concept Album ‘AEAEA’

“This sense of balance between aesthetics and virtuosity is a real measure of talent, and this album displays plenty.” - Culture Court

Oakland, CA - Much to the excitement of music aficionados worldwide, guitar virtuoso and composer Stephen Duros will be releasing a concept album titled ‘AEAEA’ on July 31, 2015! The rippling, rhythmic sounds Stephen Duros coaxes out of his nylon string acoustic guitar has roots in the traditional sounds of flamenco, but he's developed his own style. Bluesy bent notes with a hint of Asia and the Middle East in their tone, octave melodies and rhythms that include suggestions of jazz, reggae, pop and Arab music join the familiar pulse of flamenco's gypsy rumba in his emotionally satisfying compositions.

Stephen Duros performed with Ottmar Liebert from 2006-2009. His playing is featured on Ottmar Liebert’s Grammy nominated album ‘The Scent of Light’ and on his own three solo albums ‘Miranda’, ‘Urban Flamenco’ and ‘Thira’, which won Duros a place on the Grammy Ballot for a nomination in the Best New Age Album of the year category. He has worked with Billboard top 10 World Music artist, Lawson Rollins as the associate producer on the “Urban Trilogy” section of Rollins’ newly released album ‘Traveler’. He also plays in a band called “Path of Light” with Haitian percussionist, Jeff Pierre.

Duros explains that the concept behind the album is, "to recount a musical journey or odyssey. The album tells a story, much like a book does.  Instead of songs, the album has 12 chapters that are filled with twists and turns in the place of traditional songs. If listened to continuously, all the music connects into one long piece. The album title 'AEAEA' (ee-EE-a) is actually a mythological island found in the Greek poem 'The Odyssey'.  The album isn't about that island per-se, to me it was more of a great starting point for the journey.”

On ‘AEAEA’, Duros played the flamenco, electric and bass guitars, oud, keyboards, percussion, palmas and drum programming. Andrew Reissiger played the charango and also co-produced the record along with Duros. Louis Romanos played the drums and percussion, Gary Moser played the riq and darbuka, Jeff Pierre played a conga solo and the album also features a special guest electric guitar solo by Nouveau Flamenco pioneer, Ottmar Liebert.

Says Duros, “I came up with the first 10 minutes of 'AEAEA' in late 2011, shared it with Ottmar and he was really intrigued by not only the music, but also the concept. He suggested that I continue the journey and see where it goes without worrying about staying in the traditional boundaries of song length and I loved that idea. It was total musical freedom, no boundaries and the writing process was addicting. I do most everything in my home studio from writing, playing, engineering, you name it. Some great musicians also played on some of the sections including an amazing trippy electric guitar solo by Ottmar. I was thrilled he played on the record, he’s such a great musician and friend, I’ve learned so much from him over the years.”

Duros has also been the head lighting designer for the Grammy award winning band Toto from 1999-2014. His lighting work is showcased on Toto's 35th Anniversary – Live in Poland DVD. Also an artist, his cartoon work is featured on on Steve Lukather's signature pedal ‘The Luke’ made by the award winning pedal company, ToneConcepts.

“Stephen Duros is not only one of the most gifted guitarist musicians I know, he is also a renaissance man in that everything he touches in art, music and beauty becomes his own. You hear it in his playing... and my God he is also the best rock ’n roll lighting designer I have ever worked with at the arena level.  He did the lighting for our TOTO Live in Poland DVD which went # 1 worldwide in 2014 and is a total pro with humor, love and passion screaming for his work in any and all of these areas. When I heard his music I was floored because not one person could have all this diverse talent and soul.”  - Steve Lukather, 2015

“You can dig this, people. Romanticism and the call of history, lost civilizations, dream chambers and the effigies of Kings.”   - Culture Court

To purchase Stephan Duros 'AEAEA' CD:

STEPHEN DUROS - AEAEA: “Chapter II” video on Vimeo:

For more information: http://www.stephenduros.com/

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

30 July 2015

UK Acoustic Ensemble Auburn To Release New Album “Mixed Feelings”

London, UK – Much to the excitement of music aficionados worldwide, UK acoustic ensemble Auburn is releasing a new album titled “Mixed Feelings” on September 11, 2015! Last year proved to be a hugely exciting year for the band, who reformed in 2011 after almost a decade apart. With a new album and a major UK tour supporting the legendary Jefferson Starship's 40th anniversary tour, Auburn has been captivating audiences around the country with their unique blend of Americana, blues and roots music.

Fronted by female vocalist Liz Lenten, who's voice has been described as “so sweet it'll make your hair curl” and “husky, with an emotional frailty”, who isn't afraid to show her full range of vocal tones or emotions. With varied influences from Bonnie Raitt, Billie Holiday, Ricki Lee Jones, Amy Winehouse, Kate Bush and Janis Joplin to name a few, Liz's songs grab you melodically, but also tell a story of love and life.

Says Liz about the band's forthcoming album, “It's been a funny old year! Lots of confusion and uncertainty in my life- which is really what 'mixed feelings' is about - love and hate (or at least anger - if not hate!) are very close emotions, and I wanted to explore them.”

“Mixed Feelings” has 12 brand new songs, covering all the usual emotional issues, including love, loss, domestic abuse and manslaughter, confusion, perseverance, trust, friendship and psychotic-stalker-dumped-girlfriends!

Auburn's critically acclaimed 2014 album, “Nashville”, also featured songs written by Liz Lenten, and established the band's place as a compelling force in contemporary Americana. Showcasing Liz's versatility as a writer and vocalist, the album's sonic world fuses elements of blues, Alt-country and roots music, with soulful lyrics and catchy pop rhythms.

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with award-winning producer Thomm Jutz (Nanci Griffiths, Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey) “Nashville” featured musicians who have played with everyone from Roy Orbison to Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton. Three tracks from the album were made available on ReverbNation prior to its release and within a few weeks had reached No.1 in the UK Americana charts and No.7 in the Global Americana charts. “Nashville” has gained extensive airplay and great reviews across Europe - notably Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal and France.

In January 2015 Liz returned to Nashville, TN, and again with producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz, and fantastic Nashville Musicians, and recorded the new CD “Mixed Feelings”. The album features Lynn Williams on Drums (Tinsley Ellis, Mary Gauthier, Delbert McClinton, The Wallflowers); Mark Fain on Bass (Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Jonny Cash, Mac Wiseman); Barry Walsh on Keys ( Gretchen Peters, Tom Russell); Justin Moses on Banjo, Dobro and Fiddle (Alison Krauss, Emmy-Lou Harris, Sierra Hull, Ricky Skaggs); and JT Brown on Harmony Vocals (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nancy Griffiths)

Says Liz, “The songs were written over about 2 months, on my beloved vintage Martin guitar called Rosie (the one I 'stole' with a little persuasion, from my good friend and sound engineer Justin) and I was meant to go to Nashville in October last year to record them, but due to my son needing an operation (thankfully he's fine now), and my Mum becoming very ill, I had to cancel most of the last 6 months of 2014. So I went very early January, in the snow and ice, and we had a fantastic time recording the album. Thomm Jutz, the producer, and the rest of the musicians were as amazing as before, and we actually finished a day early! The whole album was recorded, and mixed in 6 days! It was so relaxed and easy - I just love the place, feel so at home in Nashville. I could live there easily!”

Here's what the press have raved about Auburn:

“A remarkable energy is ever-present” – David Innes, R2

“A sound that is as evocative as it is moving” – Neil King, Fatea

“Auburn have cemented their place within the genre with this album” – Ravenheart

“We’ve been stopped in our tracks by Liz Lenten and Auburn’s dramatic genre-amalgam Nashville” - Flying Shoes

“A cultural microcosm of the new sound for American roots music!” – Bop n Jazz

“Despite the harrowing subject of domestic abuse….Auburn succeeds through the quality of the song writing and in vocalist Liz Lenten’s delivery” – R2 Un-Herd Volume 51 May/June 2015

To get the year started with a bang, they played a few live dates, again supporting Jefferson Starship on their 2015 UK tour.

“Opening up the musical proceedings were 'Auburn', a British group led by Liz Lenten, they played a set consisting of country. blues and Americana which really hit the spot on a cold, miserable February evening. The set consisted of 6 tracks, spanning their 2 CD's ('Indian Summer' and more recently 'Nashville') and a couple of tracks lifted from their forthcoming album 'Mixed Feelings'which is due to land later in 2015. Liz's voice echoed the stars of the Nashville country musicscene and the stripped back band produced a balanced platform for her to launch herself, winning many hearts with this solid performance.” - EXETER PHEONIX – LIVE REVIEW FEB 2015 –WWW.MUSICMUSO.COM

Auburn live dates 2015:
11th Sept -The Artrix, Bromsgrove (Supporting The Strawbs)
12th Sept - The Met, Bury (Supporting Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick)
13th Sept - The Glasshouse, Peterborough
15th Sept - Club Wotever, London
18th Sept - The Drill Hall, Lincoln (supporting Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick)
25th Sept - Voodoo Lounge, Stamford
4th October - The Convent, Gloucestershire - to be netcast LIVE @  9pm - www.theconvent.net

In closing Liz has this to impart, “There is a lot of very blatant personal misery and hurt in the songs, including one about domestic violence and manslaughter (that one is actually a fictional story - I have yet to shoot anyone!) some of the songs were inspired by a close friend who was separating from her partner, after a very long relationship, although they do have some resonance for me too in terms of adjusting to new situations and dealing with uncertainty. I just hope the listener can find something in the songs that they can relate to - and most of all, enjoy the superb playing of the band on the record.”

To purchase Auburn's “Mixed Feelings” CD:
http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15865 ;

Management - Scarlet Records – 01775841750 info@scarletrecording.co.uk
EPK: www.reverbnation.com/weareauburn
website: www.auburn.org.uk
facebook: www.facebook.com/weareauburn
twitter: @weareauburn

International Press & Radio: Peter Holmstedt (www.hemifran.com) - peter.holmstedt@telia.com
USA Radio and press: Billy James, Glass Onyon PR glassonyonpr@gmail.com
Publishing: World Domination Music Limited
Distribution/Label: Bat Country /Gonzo Media

New Age Instrumental/Neo Classical Review: Kerani-Equilibrium

Release Date: May 18, 2015
Label: Indie

Kerani was influenced and inspired by some of my favorite artists such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Electric Light Orchestra and Mike Oldfield. It came as no surprise that I immediately identified with her music. 

Equilibrium is dedicated to women and their role in this world and how the artist wants to see a fundamental change, a balance shift or equilibrium transfer to equality between men and women. Turning back the clock to the way things were when the human race began is going to be quite a task but there is hope. Perhaps if we all get on the same frequency with the help of music like Kerani creates we once again can unite so all human beings walk on equal ground.

Kerani played piano and synthesizers on the recording, handled all the female vocal parts, and also arranged, orchestrated and produced. Artist such as this have my admiration and respect and they always have. Then when a work of art is created...something that touches your soul, then it all becomes special.

The elemental force that inspires the creation of this music is a thing of beauty and then translated and discovered within each track. The title track which was featured on our Rate The Tracks site is a fine way to open the curtain to this wondrous music. There is new age, classical and world all mixed together on this strong release. 

“O, Aeterne Deus” is a medieval chant by Hildegard Von Bingen. I found this track to be quite beautiful and moving. It is most definitely a slice of heaven on earth and serves the purpose of the original intent to heal.
There is so much about this recording to enjoy. I do not think it is a prerequisite to be a fan of new age music to find something to integrate into your life with this music. I did not hear one track that I did not absolutely love. This music transforms me, it’s magical, and all of my worries and stress just evaporate like a drop of water in the hot sun. 

“Ladys Grace” is significant because of the title however the music is elegant and moving and it envelops you in its movement and spirituality. All of the right instruments are utilized to make this one of the most outstanding tracks on the album. 

I think the goal was reached on this project and the message Kerani is delivering will be received. This is a lovely representation of new age and classical music that should not be missed.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Equilibrium, O, Aeterne Deus, Ladys Grace


1. Equilibrium
2. Fragrant Mountain
3. Anchoress
4. Bouddica, Heart On Fire
5. Hypatia's Universe
6. O, Aeterne Deus
7. Lady's Grace
8. Avane
9. The Wyse Wytch

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
July 30, 2015
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

29 July 2015

AndersonPonty Band Featuring Music Icons Jon Anderson & Jean Luc Ponty To Release New CD/DVD “Better Late Than Never”

Los Angeles – One of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2015 by the AndersonPonty Band, featuring music icons Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty, is scheduled to hit the streets early Fall 2015! “Better Late Than Never” is the new album taken from a live performance, and enhanced with innovative production. The package includes a bonus DVD featuring outstanding performances by the band captured in September 2014 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado.

The AndersonPonty Band has created some breathtaking new musical compositions. “Better Late Than Never” also showcases rearrangements of classic YES hits like “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, “Roundabout” and “Wonderous Stories”, as well as some of Jean Luc Ponty’s beloved compositions, with Jon’s lyrical vocals and melodies enhancing the music and creating a very special and unique sound such as “Infinite Mirage” a new song incorporating Jean Luc’s classic tune “Mirage”.

YES’s original singer/songwriter for 35 years, Jon Anderson has had a successful solo career, which includes working with such notable music artists as Vangelis, Kitaro, and Milton Nascimento. International violin superstar Jean Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of his instrument in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music. Together these two music legends have formed a musical synergy that is unparalleled!

“A breakthrough feeling came as I sang with Jean Luc’s music, to be in a band again is very exciting on many levels, we will play and sing our way around the world and have fun, for music is pleasure, music is all that is.” – Jon Anderson

“Collaborating with Jon who is such a creative singer/songwriter is unlike any project I have done before. I knew that we had plenty of musical affinities to make it work, but the result is way beyond my expectations. It is also a lot of fun to reunite with these excellent musicians who played with me in the past, they really put their heart in this project and with Jon’s creative input we are not just rehashing the past but giving a new life to the music we started developing decades ago.” – Jean Luc Ponty

The AndersonPonty Band also includes Jamie Glaser on guitars – well known guitarist who has worked with Jean Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Bryan Adams and Lenny White; Wally Minko on keyboards – virtuoso player and composer who has performed and recorded with many worldwide stars including Pink, Toni Braxton, Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jones, Gregg Rolie and Barry Manilow; Baron Browne on bass who has played with Steve Smith, Billy Cobham and Jean Luc Ponty; and Rayford Griffin on drums and percussion, who has played with Stanley Clarke Band, George Duke, Jean Luc Ponty and Michael Jackson. The band visit the music created by Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty over the years with new arrangements, virtuosic performances and new energy.

Jean Luc Ponty was originally approached by Jon Anderson with the idea of working together as far back as the 1980’s. Now 30 years later the dream has finally come to fruition! In support of the new release, a world tour is currently in the works. Also, a videography documenting the making of the “Better Late Than Never” album will be released along with videos and performances.

AndersonPonty Band tour dates:

10/27 – Philadelphia – Keswick Theater
10/29 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie
10/30 – Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse

11/1 – Pittsurgh – Carnegie Theater
11/3 – Chicago – Arcada Theater
11/4 – Milwaukee – Milwaukee PAC
11/6 – Detroit – Detroit Music Hall
11/7 – Toronto – Danforth Music Hall
11/10 – Washington, DC – Howard Theater
11/11 – Long Island – Paramount Theater
11/13 – NYC – Ethical Culture
11/14 – Boston – Berklee Performance Center
11/17 – San Francisco – Regency
11/18 – Sacramento – Crest Theater
11/20 – Los Angeles – Saban Theater
11/21 – Scottsdale – Talking Stick

For more information and forthcoming tour dates visit the official AndersonPonty Band website: http://www.andersonpontyband1.com/
AndersonPonty Band Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/andersonpontyband1?fref=ts

Jon Anderson official website: http://www.jonanderson.com
Jean Luc Ponty official website: http://www.ponty.com

Manager: Jim Lewis, andersonpontyband@gmail.com

Booking agent: APA
O: (212) 205-4328 | C: (310) 895-6144 | F: (212) 245-5062
JLashnits@apanewyork.com| http://www.apa-agency.com

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com
(interview requests contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR)

Photos: Ioannis (artwork – top), Deborah Anderson (photo of Jon Anderson – top)

26 July 2015

Progressive Rock: Landmarq-Roadskill

Release Date: 9thJune 2015
Label:  Synergy Records

This new release by the band Landmarq, is the live CD/DVD Roadskill recorded at the De Boerderij in the Netherlands as part of the 2013 tour. The release can also be viewed as another part of their 25thanniversary celebrations, along with the previously reviewed Origins, A Landmarq Anthology 1991-2014.

The Landmarq band at the time of the concert tour was Tracy Hitchings (lead vocal), Steve Gee (bass, bass pedals + backing vocals), Uwe D’rose (guitars), Daniel Martin (drums) and Mike Varty (keyboards + backing vocals).

Roadskill, the CD, is an 8 track album with a playing time only a couple of minutes short of the 80 minute maximum that a CD can hold before the quality falls away (77:47). The DVD has a couple of extra tracks in addition to the contents of the CD. The longest track on offer on Roadskillis the 3 part “Calm Before The Storm” at 16:33 minutes and the shortest is “Stormbrewing” at under 2 minutes (1:36). All of the tracks are taken from the 2012 release by the band, Entertaining Angels.

The opening track on the Roadskill CD is “Turbulence” (10:47) and is heralded by a short burst of applause from the crowd ensuring you are aware this is a live recording. The track is quickly into a chunky guitar riff plus “strings” before the voice of Tracy Hitchins soars above the music. The sound quality is phenomenal and the track seems to have a higher intensity than the studio version. There is a terrific keyboard passage in the second half of the track. This is a superb opening track to the album.

Up next is “Personal Universe” (9:14) and is an almost note/pitch perfect replica of the studio recording. The guitar, wielded superbly by Uwe D’rose, gets a chance to shine just after the halfway point. This is another winning track and fades out to be replaced by “Glowing” (11:51). Although the studio version of this track is in two parts separated by another track the live version is a single entity. Once more the clarity of the recording and the skills of the musicians shine through as the live track is almost indistinguishable from the studio version.

The short “Stormbrewing” (1:36) follows with some stunning piano playing from Mike Varty and leads into “Thunderstruck” (14:02). Uwe gets another chance to show his guitar skills as the tracks builds in intensity before Mike’s keyboards join the fray. On this track there is a slight hint that Tracy’s voice sounds slightly forced, but this track is a majestic slice of progressive music.

There is almost a malevolent wave of sound at the outset of “Calm Before The Storm” (16:33) and then it is into chunky guitars and soaring keyboards, supported admirably by the thumping bass and drums of Steve Gee and Daniel Martin. Again, the sound of the live track is probably as near to studio quality as you can imagine, and this is achieved by the band “doing everything just right.” The vocals are handled superbly by Tracy and are always to the fore in this track. The final part of the track, “Into The Abyss,” is a chance for the band to flex their collective muscles and they certainly take the opportunity so to do.

The final track, “Entertaining Angels” (8:07) is the title track of the 2012 album release. Starting with some very enthusiastic audience appreciation, the atmospherics of the track just build with the addition of a simple electric guitar theme which is very relaxing and shows Uwe in his more melodic stance. Slowly the track builds with bass, drums and a guitar riff that announces the arrival of the vocals by Tracy. This is a very good choice of ending track as it is a very gentle paced entity. Some excellent piano, and what sounds like a saxophone, propel the track to its finale. A track which makes you want to go back to the beginning and start again.

This is Landmarq at their live best, with the music being as close to the studio sound as you can get, while still injecting an intensity that is only possible with a live performance. All the members of the band should take a bow (I’ve not viewed the DVD, but maybe they did), as I think I have just heard the best live recording since my all-time favorite, for quality of sound, and that was from 2005, Maximum Minimum by Kraftwerk.

No new music from Landmarq, but Roadskill is an excellent addition to their catalogue and should certainly enhance their, still growing, reputation. Give Roadskill a few listens and smile as you hand over your money to add the album to your collection.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Turbulence, Thunderstruck, Calm Before The Storm


CD Disc
Personal Universe
Prayer (Coming Home)
Calm before The Storm i)   strange but beautiful
                                      ii)   spiderman
                                      iii)  into the abyss
Entertaining Angels

DVD Disc

Mountains of Anglia
Personal Universe
Prayer (Coming Home)
Walking On Eggshells
Calm Before The Storm  i)   strange but beautiful
                                        ii)   spiderman
                                        iii)  into the abyss
Entertaining Angels

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
July 26, 2015
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

22 July 2015

Psych/Pop Rock Review: Blurred Vision-Organized Insanity

Release Date:  6th April 2015
Label: Cherry Red Records

The Ancient One finds yet another new band, Blurred Vision, with their debut release, Organized Insanity, has landed on the review desk. The band have been backed/endorsed by one Roger Waters (yes, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd) which has brought them a fair bit of acclaim, which I have to admit has passed me by totally.

Blurred Vision is a 3 piece band comprising Sepp Osley (vocals, guitar), Sohl Osley (bass) and Ben Riley (drums), although there is a guest also listed on the album information, Joel Lightman (keyboards, vocals). The information from the record company suggests the band has a style that would be classed as prog/psych/pop rock, which seems to be a fairly wide grouping.

Organized Insanity is an 11 track album with a total playing time of around 48 minutes, with the title, and final, track “Organized Insanity” being the longest on offer at 5:30 minutes. At the other end of the scale, the shortest track is “All I Wanted” running on for just over 3 minutes (3:21).

The opening track on the album, “No More War” (4:02) is a slice of very pleasant guitar pop which starts with the voices chanting the title. The track continues with some very catchy guitar riffs behind the clear vocals provided by Sepp. Around the halfway point there are media messages about war behind the catchy themes. Latterly, the music drops away to give a melancholic trumpet passage, which then builds up to a recurrence of the opening them. The track leaves with a last chant of the title and has gone.

“Rollin On” (4:35) retains the immediacy of the opening track but is taken at a slightly slower pace. “Tonight” (3:40) is again a gentler tempo track with a simple acoustic guitar, piano and vocal starter. The track builds up to a higher tempo with some excellent drumming and a very powerful piano presence. This is one of the shorter tracks but it still is very quick to “get into your head.” “Long May You Run” (4:41) has a drum/organ intro with more of the crystal clear vocals. This is a very gentle track with some stunning electric guitar work around the halfway mark.

A return to the more up-tempo driving guitar style on “The Promise” (4:08) is immediately followed by another acoustic led anti-war song, “Dear John” (4:26), which although gentler in tempo has more of that superb lead guitar work. Track No 7, “Arms of our World” (4:26) sees the piano play a more prominent part in the intro. This is a very harmonious gentler track with some (synthesized?) strings which provide real depth to the track, and another of those shimmering guitar passages takes the track out.

“All I Wanted” (3:21) has a very familiar feel to it, with jangly guitars and a hook line that just gets you right away. Around the 2 minute point there is a wondrous keyboard passage that simply soars. “Wherever You Are” (3:48) is a step into the gentler piano/guitar arena again, although after the 1 minute mark the pace builds up and the track drives along.

“The Keeper” (5:11) has the sound of the countryside fading into a “killer” guitar passage. The vocals appear, but not in English, although it is the feel that sets the scene and the vocals revert to the norm after a few moments. Another tremendously catchy track with some of the little guitar riffs getting under your skin very quickly. Tempo changes and chunky guitar passages ensure your attention is always kept on the music.

The title track “Organized Insanity” (5:30) has a symphonic style start with an ascending scale into drums and guitar. The keyboards continue with a stunning theme before the vocals arrive with some excellent harmonies. Tempo changes keep your senses on the track as the music builds and ebbs and flows. There are some terrific chunky guitar riffs and keyboard/piano themes. Towards the end of the track, the lead guitar gets a chance to soar, and does exactly that.

This is an immensely enjoyable debut album by a new band, and I would go more for the psych/pop rock rather that prog as a descriptor of the music. Not a poor track on the album, with hooks here, there and everywhere mean that even on a single hearing, some tracks have embedded deep into your grey matter.

This release, Organized Insanity, should very quickly increase the fan base of this band. This is definitely worth a listen, or two, and although I normally suggest making up your own mind, I feel quite sure that there will be no disappointed listeners. Watch out for the name, Blurred Vision, becoming a much wider known name in music circles.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: No More War, Long May You Run, Organized Insanity

No More War
Rollin On
Long May You Run
Dear John
Arms Of The World
All I Wanted
Wherever You Are
The Keeper
Organized Insanity

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
July 22, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

21 July 2015

Greg Lake's Legendary 1981 Performance At the Hammersmith Odeon In London To Be Issued On CD & Vinyl

Los Angeles – Purple Pyramid Records will be releasing legendary Greg Lake's live album from the Hammersmith Odeon in London, November 5, 1981, featuring guitar hero Gary Moore on CD & vinyl! The concert recording features ELP and King Crimson classic tracks such as “Lucky Man”, “Karn Evil 9”, “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “In The Court of The Crimson King”, as well as songs from his critically acclaimed first solo album from 1981. As a founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Greg Lake has been a major force in music for over 40 years. He has long been considered a legendary voice and musical powerhouse whose impact changed the landscape of rock and roll. Many simply refer to him as “The Voice”.

The Greg Lake Band made its live debut on one of the biggest stages available to it, the annual Reading Festival in England in August 1981. Much of the set was new to the audience – Greg's first solo album would not be released for another month. But the band received a wild reception regardless, and there were enough old favorites on display to ensure the fans remained happy…including the show opener “Fanfare for the Common Man,” truly one of the most effective showstoppers ever to have opened a concert.

The band's full tour kicked off in October. Purposefully, Lake demanded smaller venues, the theaters and universities that truly represented a refreshing change from the monster domes he'd visited the last time he hit the road in 1977 with ELP. The string of shows launched in Wales, at Aberystwyth University, then moved onto Cardiff University, Dunstable Queensway Hall, Norwich University, Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, Newcastle Mayfair, Glasgow University, Edinburgh Playhouse, Sheffield Lyceum, University of Kent Canterbury, Birmingham Odeon, Leicester Polytechnic, Bournemouth Winter Gardens, Exeter University, St Austell Cornwall Coliseum, Crawley Leisure Centre and, finally, London's Hammersmith Odeon.

It was not an extravagant performance - no lasers, no levitating keyboards, no priceless Persian carpets. The myths and legends that surrounded ELP when they toured were all firmly locked away. The Greg Lake Band toured like a band, and on stage they simply took up their positions and played. Brilliantly.

That last date on the tour is where this disc was recorded, in front of 2,000 fans who now had every note of Greg's new album memorized, and the rest of the set firmly entrenched in their DNA: the snatch of “Karn Evil 9” that eased out of the opening “Fanfare”; “Love You Too Much,” the song Lake co-wrote with Dylan in what remains another of the tantalizing collaborations of the age; “Retribution Drive” and “The Lie” from Greg Lake. “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “The Court Of The Crimson King,” from Lake’s stint with King Crimson, wrapped up the evening in positively rhapsodic fashion, and, finally, “C'est La Vie,” from ELP's Works. (The version of this track included on the CD is taken from a show in New York City 1981)

“A single night at the tail end of a single tour, alive with promise, bristling with presence. And welcoming back some new friends, too” - Dave Thompson, writer

Medley: Fanfare For The Common Man / Karn Evil 9
Nuclear Attack
The Lie
Retribution Drive
Lucky Man
Parisienne Walkways
You Really Got A Hold On Me
Love You Too Much
21st Century Schizoid Man
In The Court Of The Crimson King
Bonus Track: C'est La Vie (Live in NYC 1981)

To purchase:
Pre-order the CD: http://flyt.it/GregLakeCD
Pre-order the Vinyl: http://flyt.it/GregLakeLP
Pre-order the digital: http://flyt.it/GregLakedig

Greg Lake's official website: www.greglake.com

Press inquiries:
Glass Onyon PR
Billy James
PH: 828-350-8158

11041 Santa Monica Blvd #703
Los Angeles CA 90025

20 July 2015

Audio Fidelity To Release Mahavishnu Orchestra's “Birds Of Fire” On Limited Edition 4.0 Quad SACD

“...sets out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction.”

Camarillo, CA - Marshall Blonstein's Audio Fidelity is releasing the classic fusion album Birds of Fire by the Mahavishnu Orchestra as a limited edition Hybrid 4.0 Quad SACD. Birds of Fire is Mahavishnu Orchestra's second album. It was released in the first half of 1973 and is the last studio album released by the original Mahavishnu Orchestra line-up before the group dissolved. The album became a major crossover hit, rising to number 15 on the pop album charts, and it remains the key item in the slim discography of the first Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Although it has much of the screaming rock energy of the band's first album, Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading - with John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham's machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird's dancing bass.

Birds of Fire consists solely of compositions by John McLaughlin. This includes the track “Miles Beyond (Miles Davis)”, which McLaughlin dedicated to his friend and former bandleader. The SACD booklet features a poem entitled “Revelation” by Sri Chinmoy.

2. MILES BEYOND (Miles Davis)

Produced by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Stereo CD & SACD mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
4.0 Analog to Hi Def DSD Digital Transfer:Gus Skinas
Quadraphonic Sound Supervision: Harold J. Kleiner
Quadraphonic Re-Mix Engineer: Don Young

Audio Fidelity’s Hybrid Super Audio CDs offer three layers on the same disc
o    Single layer  2-channel stereo
o    Dual-layer  - SACD
o    As an added bonus Surround Sound 4.0 all in one disc
Every Audio Fidelity Hybrid MULTICHANNEL Surround Sound SACD is compatible with all standard CD players.

For more information: www.audiofidelity.net
Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Rock/Contemporary Review: John Wetton and The Les Paul Trio-New York Minute

Release Date: 2ndMarch 2015
Label:  Primary Purpose

John Wetton is an English singer, songwriter and bass player who has been part of several iconic bands, including Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. He formed UK after leaving King Crimson and also fronted the supergroup, Asia. John has also managed a successful solo career, with many studio and live albums to his name. This album, New York Minute, is one of those live albums, dating back to 14th October 2013 at the Iridium Club in New York, and appears to have been recorded to highlight prostate and testicular cancer.

The musicians involved in the recording of this album are John Wetton (vocals, guitar), with The Les Paul Trio, comprising Lou Pallo (guitar), Nikki Parrott (bass) and Rodney Holmes (piano).

New York Minute is a 9 track album with a running time of around 37 minutes, which in todays’ cd market is a little on the short side. The longest track on offer is the finale, “Battle Lines” with a playing time of 5:52 minutes and the shortest is “Lady Madonna” running to 2:26 minutes. All of the tracks on the album are cover versions, including Steely Dan, Marvin Gaye, Beach Boys, Blind Faith, Bob Dylan, Don Henley, Beatles, Asia and John Wetton (solo).

I always approach live albums with slight concerns, although the sound quality has improved by leaps and bounds, I genuinely feel that live recordings are for the most part, bought by fans that attended that particular concert.

The first track up on New York Minute is “Do It Again” (4:03), the classic Steely Dan track and it starts with a little intro of John Wetton and some very sparse applause. Either there is a very small collection of people, or it is a very intimate setting, possibly a series of short sets by several artists? The music commences with some good piano and is soon joined by John on vocals. Although the piano is initially interesting, it is very repetitive before reaching a short piano solo section. The track almost shouts out for the vocals of Donald Fagen and this is at best a very average cover.

“What’s Going On” (4:13) by Marvin Gaye, is next up with more piano provided by Rodney Holmes, but there is nothing to tempt me to listen to the track again. There are some la-la’s and some woos from John between lyrics, a small jazz guitar riff and it is gone.

A Beach Boys cover is next, “God Only Knows” (3:39) with a short chat from John explaining that these are tracks that were important milestones in his career. The piano carries the track along, but yet again the vocals possess no depth and there are more vocalizations of doo’s and woo’s.

Track 4, the Blind Faith cover of “Can’t Find My Way Home” (3:20) is next and the piano and vocals work very well on this particular track. This track is head and shoulders above what has gone before.

Unfortunately, the kudos built up by track 4 evaporated very quickly with “All Along The Watchtower” (4:04) which slips back into the style of the opening tracks. There is a little more “grit” to the vocals on the title track “New York Minute” (4:59) but the track I feel just never gets going. “Lady Madonna” (2:26) being a piano driven track originally is relatively well done but again there are more vocalizations which do not add anything to the music, indeed do the opposite. 

An Asia original, “Heat Of The Moment” (4:47) works well, being instantly recognizable, but the vocals fit like a glove, as John was the original vocalist. This is the second track on the album that does work very well.
The final track, “Battle Lines” (5:52) is a John Wetton solo track and having heard both acoustic and electric versions of this song on the Anthology album (to be reviewed soon) I was well aware of what I was in for. This is the third track that works and finishes the album off with a bit of a flourish.

Unfortunately, there are few highlights on this live collection and whilst the reason for the concert to highlight prostate and testicular cancer is to be applauded, the content does not match the sentiment. Lackluster cover versions from the majority of the 9 tracks mean that this album, I feel, is destined only to be of interest to aficionados of Johns’ work who want to have completed collections of his music.

The Ancient One recently reviewed another live album by John, together with District 97, and although not a terrific album, it eclipses this release. As always, give New York Minute a listen or two and decide for yourself, but for me, this is not an album I will revisit.

3/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Can’t Find My Way Home, Heat of the Moment, Battle Lines


Do It Again
What’s Going On?
God Only Knows
Can’t Find My Way Home
All Along The Watchtower
New York Minute
Lady Madonna
Heart Of The moment
Battle Lines

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
July 20, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

17 July 2015

Chris Braide, Ash Soan & Lee Pomeroy Launch This Oceanic Feeling With Debut Album “Universal Mind”

London, UK - New exciting three-piece This Oceanic Feeling, fronted by prominent singer/songwriter and producer Chris Braide, has announced the release of their debut album Universal Mind on 17th July 2015 through Cherry Red Records.

Chris and drummer Ash Soan had developed a strong musical connection as founder members of The Producers with Trevor Horn, before Braide moved to the US in 2009. When they linked up again, the old chemistry was still there and the idea of forming a new band immediately took shape.

The muse was swiftly awakened and an album’s worth of new songs came to life, the lyrics facing the unresolved dualism between fake and real self and their eternal fight for dominance. “It's a positive album, one that I'm proud of and one that I had to make” - says Braide enthusiastically.

Outstanding bassist Lee Pomeroy was called to join Chris and Ash in their distinctive creative venture and This Oceanic Feeling was born. Braide compares the album’s sound to ‘The Police or YES 90125 era, big shiny new wave pop music with rock trousers on and occasionally prog sandals!’

The 12 songs on Universal Mind feature some of the most rich, dynamic musicianship of 2015. In times of self-obsession, virtual personas and overpowering ego, the thought-provoking lyrics are bound to strike a chord with the more conscious listener.

For all those liking their melody with a meaningful aftertaste, this is possibly your album of the year; take the journey across its cinematic landscape, from darkness to light, to escape the person you were and embrace the person you really are.

Tracklist as follows:

1. Lie Detector
2. Put Down The Gun
3. Radio
4. Logotherapy
5. Universal Mind
6. Intensive Care
7. Wake Up
8. I Play Debussy
9. Johnny Tragic
10. Karma Camera
11. Season of Light
12. Finale

About This Oceanic Feeling 

Chris Braide’s prestigious curriculum includes producing and writing songs for Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta and Sia amongst others. He recently produced and co-wrote Marc Almond’s new album The Velvet Trail.

As well as performing in the band for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert (Tom Jones, Robbie Williams etc) and for the return of ELO in Hyde Park last year, bass and guitar specialist Lee Pomeroy has worked in the past with Rick Wakeman, It Bites and James Morrison; more recently was busy performing with Steve Hackett on the 2014 Genesis Revisited Tour and is currently working with Take That.

British drummer Ash Soan has played with the likes of Adele, Lily Allen, Rumer, Mark Owen, Cher, Dido, The Wanted, Nelly Furtado and on Billy Idol’s latest album Kings And Queens of the Underground.

Amazon CD edition: http://geni.us/3Zmo

CD Pre-order link:  http://shop.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=5104

Vinyl pre-order:  http://www.planegroovy.com/planegroovystore.html

UK publicity contact:
Sharon Chevin
Tel: (020) 8450 8882
Website: www.thepublicityconnection.com

International PR:
Glass Onyon PR,
PH: 828-350-8158 (USA),

Rock Review: Kwame Binea-Shakedown EP

Release Date: July 17, 2015
Label: Indie

Kwame Binea’s debut Shakedown EP gives potential listeners a chance to focus in on a positive message backed by great music.

The first track “Let Go” features a driving back beat, stinging guitar leads punctuated by a horn section and the deeply emotive and rich vocal tones of Binea. This kicks things off on an upbeat note and the rest of the tracks follow that lead.

There are trumpets, saxophones, and background vocals to compliment the lead singer but it’s the conglomeration of it all together that makes all the musical magic happen.

“Hang On” is very similar in tone as the first track and it has parts that really rocks with leads from the guitar that cut like a razors edge. Binea sings “Hang on little brother, save your soul.” This track moves along like a locomotive down the tracks and it never lets up for a second. I like the momentum that carried over from the first track over into this one.

“Little Lady” changes the pace and approach. The driving horns and complimentary background vocals are there. Binea’s vocals are softer for the musical backdrop and it works very well. It sounds appropriate for a pop hit on the radio while the first two tracks could fit anywhere as well, they just rocked along harder. This one shows that the band is not only talented but versatile when they decide to take that route.

“Waiting” rounds out the EP and closes the curtain on this nice taste of the Kwame Binea presentation. This track starts off with a nice acoustic guitar and smooth vocals and beautiful background vocals for an extra texture. After about a minute the pace picks up with the instrumentation and the vocals just ride on that wave perfectly. Then everything begins to come to apex and blend together with a punctuation point. It is a nice way to end the EP.

The Shakedown EP is an excellent introduction to an emerging artist to keep an eye on. All the talent is in place to go back into the studio and create a fantastic full length album now. I am certain when that arrives it will be impressive.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Let Go, Waiting

1. Let Go
2. Hang On
3. Little Lady
4. Waiting
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder
July 16, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music

16 July 2015

Hard Rock Review: Lucifer’s Friend-Awakening

Release Date: April 6, 2015
Label: Cherry Records

There is nothing like the sound of some good hard rock to start the day.  Founded in 1969 when British singer John Lawton moved to Germany and met the other founding members of Lucifer’s Friend, Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, Peter Hecht, and Joachim Reitenbach.  With a career that spanned the seventies and early eighties, this hard rock band was not afraid to experiment with their sound, by incorporating progressive rock, heavy metal, and jazz into their music.  After decades of silence, they have reunited with John Lawton (vocals), Dieter Horns (bass), and Peter Hesslein (guitar) of the original line-up returning, and Jogi Wichmann (keyboards) and Stephan Eggert (drums) round out the band. 

ning is a two-disc compilation album featuring ten songs from their former albums, and four songs of new material.  This album gives a nice overview of Lucifer Friend’s career.  There are songs from 1970’s Lucifer’s Friend (“Ride the Sky,” “Toxic Shadows,” “Keep Goin’,” “In the Time of Job”), 1972’s Where the Groupies Killed the Blues (“Burning Ships”), 1974’s Banquet (“Dirty Old Town”), 1976’s Mind Exploding (“Moonshine Rider,” “Fugitive”), and 1981’s Mean Machine(“Hey Driver,” “Mean Machine”). 

“Ride the Sky” is the perfect song to start this compilation album.  The opening screams act like a call to attention that is completed by the thundering horns, which have me thinking of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”  It is one stellar rock song with weighty guitar parts, powerful vocals, and that booming horn to round out the sound.  With its heavy opening riff, “In the Time of Job” is a lively, spacey hard rock song, with a sound that is both memorable and jarring. The surreal atmosphere created during the instrumental parts is definitely a plus. Changing up the tempo is “Keep Goin’”. The sound is slower and heavier than the previous two songs, with a sweet guitar solo in the middle of the song. 

“Toxic Shadows” is a guitar-driven rock extravaganza.  It is a sweet jam that has seventies hard rock written over its long instrumental parts. Next up is the acoustic “Burning Ships”.  Its sound is sweet and sobering and conjures up images of watching a setting sun on the beach, complete with wave sound effects. “Fugitive” is a fun, funky song, with a sound slightly reminiscent of the classic “Shaft” theme song.  The song runs about a minute too long, as the music gets a little weird at the end and sounds out of place. 

“Moonshine Raider” has lots of energy and a nice beat.  Its catchy chorus is the song’s strong point, but the music tries to do too much in between and I find myself waiting for the chorus to come back around.  

“Dirty Old Town” is a fantastic acoustic song.  The music is pleasant and controlled, as it moves toward a brilliant chorus that makes for a memorable experience.  It rivals “Ride the Sky” for best song on the album.  “Fire and Rain” dazzles with its early eighties rock sound. “Hey Driver” is a solid way to finish the disc.  It is a hard rock song with plenty of energy and attitude that would feel right at home in an eighties action movie.

The second disc features four new songs and they are so-so.  The first one, “Prey,” is one that I like.  The song rocks pretty hard with its pulsating bass line and the vocal performance is very solid, even after all these decades.  “Riding High” is okay, but it could use some tightening up, as it takes too long to get going and too long to end.  The final two songs, “Did You Ever” and “This Road” are fairly average, as well.  It sounds like they are trying to recreate their seventies sound, it is just not the same and ends up being forgettable.

All in all, Lucifer’s Friend’s Awakening is a fine compilation and a solid introduction into their diverse sound that they experimented with throughout the seventies and early eighties.  This is the type of band whose music is just waiting to be rediscovered.  Lucifer’s Friend should definitely be given a look at by any fan of hard rock music, with Awakening being a good place to start.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Ride the Sky, Dirty Old Town, Hey Driver

Disc 1  
01.Ride the Sky
02.In the Time of Job
03.Keep Goin’
04.Toxic Shadows
05.Burning Ships
07.Moonshine Raider
08.Dirty Old Town
09.Fire and Rain
10.Hey Driver

Disc 2

2.Riding High
3.Did You Ever
4.This Road

Brian McKinnon - Write A Music Review Sr. Staff
July 16, 2015
Review Provided By Write A Music Review