Taken from "Waterloo Lily" album, this is undoubtely one of the best prog ballads ever and a blooming flower into Canterbury musical garden. Caravan mix the acoustic set with a soft vocal performance, conjuring up a spring smelling track, a true love song, including all the I love yous one can imagine.
Caravan: all is so Seventies in this picture!
Still, the original way the band wrap up their gift and the never too sweet sound we enjoy is true Canterbury prog, full of warm guitars and also featuring a misty mix and a folk inspiration. True, this is a catchy song, not so far from the best pop songs from the early Seventies, but if all of them were as good as this one, well, I'd listen pop music 24 hours a day!
Since the early 2010s Gazpacho evolved from a mellow and captivating mix of pop and prog to a darker and somehow spiced post-progressive sound, including moments of ethereal beauty and a rich, even ethnic choice of instruments. This song, taken from the album "Molok" is a good example of this phase of the band's career. Arcane sounds and solid guitars surround the vocals by Jan-Henrik Ohme, much in the style of Marillion's Steve Hogarth.
Another fascinating cover. I really like the colours here.
The mood changes are very well done, especially when a tight line gets a wider breath, or when an acoustic passage follows electric ones. That's why I like "Know Your Time" and its unpredictable stream of creative music. I won't even try to explain the tricky theories about God and ancient religions behind this track and the whole album, but I confess I love the way Gazpacho approach such a challenging concept keeping their feet well on the ground.
I listened to some Mavara's songs some years ago and liked it, so I was tempted to introduce them to my blog's readers. When their fourth album "Consciousness" was released, however, I definitely made up my mind and I decided to put this song in my blog. "Time Makers" shows how much the band improved and is now able to make an eclectic and unpredictable kind of prog.
I'm in love with this cover art. Aren't you too?
They mix math-rock elements with classic prog and just a little bit of metal providing bright edges to their compositions. Their wall of sound effect remind me of Riverside, but you'll find hints of H-era Marillion, Porcupine Tree and, of course, King Crimson. Not only the melodies are enjoyable, but there are also clever changes and a beautiful dreaming guitar solo. What else could I ask for? Fairy tales and solid sounds... and they're from Tehran, Iran. Prog is everywhere you go.
Italian prog never dies. It even evolves and conjures up new landscapes. This is the case with AltaVia, whose rather eclectic approach to prog never betrays our favourite genre's roots. This track, taken from the album Kreosote, features a fully enjoyable mix of classic prog, space rock and - why not? - mainstream pop-rock. Andrea Stagni's keyboards and vocals follow the narrow and winding path between familiar sounds and contemporary moods, building up a fairy (but never too fragile) musical architecture.
Kreosote is the second studio album by AltaVia.
The rest of the band is also up to such a tricky task: please take Mauro Monti's hearty guitar solo or the creative rythm solutions provided by Giuliano Vandelli and Marcello Bellina. This everchanging song has the spicy flavour of the Seventies and the fragrant taste of a freshly baked cake. That's exactly the kind of musical food I just can't get enough.
This band was already responsabile of some excellent neo-prog music (and you can find a few posts about them in this blog), but their 2017 album has a somewhat richer taste. This title song is an enjoyable and unpredictable collection of moods, some old and some new, some rough and some elegant.
"House of The Mind" was the band's fourth studio album.
There's a great guitar work, both rythm anGrazie d solo ones and, of course, a good choice of atmospheric keyboards. Last but not least, the melodies are all very well found and the arrangements are all effective. And as I also like the dynamic tempo changes, I can only recommend this track to you all.
Matthew Parmenter of Discipline fame (see elsewhere in this blog) is a very interesting musician and composer, during both his band member and solo careers. This song, taken from the album "Horror Express", is strongly influenced by Hammill and VDGG moods, and is a highly dramatic one, matching irregular melodies and dark lyrics. Sad and hypnotic passages, based on obsessive piano and percussion paces, deeply dig into the singer's and the listener's souls, with no concessions to easy tunes nor predictable developments.
No doubt this is a disquieting cover art. Well, the music inside too.
Each note here has its own part of sorrow, still the whole composition is such a beautiful emotional clockwork that it mixes sad thoughts and majestic beauty. That's why "In The Dark" isn't a mere musical trip, but an inner experience I highly recommend to you all. And if you happen to share my opinion, don't hesitate and go on discovering other songs by Mr. Parmenter. Something tells me you won't be disappointed.
When I first lisened to Frernch band Arrakeen's CD titled "Patchwork", I immediately appreciated Maïko's voice, something between Annie Haslam and Kate Bush. But very soon I loved all the rest. Meaning good arrangements, beautiful melodies, skilled musicians and - last but not least - a rather eclectic approach to neo-prog, including classic quotations, Marillion hints (Steve Rothery also appeared on the CD's last track) and folk passages.
"Patchwork" was Arrakeen's debut album.
This song, the longest one from the album, is intended as a dialogue between five characters (She, He, The Painter, The Other One and The Echo) and is mostly based on a fluid mid-tempo and melodic pattern. Some good guitars and a clever keyboard background are also among its highlights. Unfortunately, Arrakeen were a short lived act and only released two albums. Such a shame, IMHO.
Ireland is a fairy land, probably that's why it dishes out some fresh and unpredictable music. Groundburst are an eclectic band from Dublin, ranging from electronic sounds to solid rock tracks and - last but not least - very good at communicating emotions. Take this "Parlour Games", for example. They mix post-rock, jazz hints and a light, proggy atmosphere in one coherent song, where you get hints of King Crimson, Radiohead and Police at the same time.
"Parlour Games" comes from the band's "Triad" EP.
These three musicians know how to experiment new sound solutions without giving up consistency and agreeableness, so that this track is both challenging and blooming. I actually like the way Groundburst mix delicate and trenchant passages making use of skilly tempo changes... and you'll find a lot of this in their "Triad" EP. In our era of useless noises and ostentation, I'm glad to find here a rare example of good taste.
"The New Kings" was a Marillion fans' favourite from the very start and for many good reasons, IMHO. Firstly, the leading melodies are excellent, enjoyable and far from trivial. Secondly, the plot of this suite, divided into four movements, is coherent and diversified. Thirdly, the instrumentation is rich and intriguing, including a string quartet, a hammered dulcimer (played by Hogarth) and some beautiful backing vocals.
"The New Kings" was the F.E.A.R. album leading single.
Last but not least, the lyrics about the illegal gain underworld are topical like never before. The warm and well mixed acoustic / electric sounds are fascinating and richly arranged, full of sharp changes and liquid solos, the way Marillion have to be both classic and modern. After all, the F.E.A.R. album is likely the band's proggest work in twenty years... excellent news, no doubt.
A little neo-prog today. Drifting Sun are an International band including French, British and American members and based in the UK. I happen to like their rather eclectic approach to a sub-genre usually considered as an immutable canon. Listening to this song, taken from these musicians' "Safe Asylum" album, you'll find some Fish-era Marillion and IQ hints, but also a sprinkling of metal riffs and some Asia-like epic sounds.
"Safe Asylum" was Drifting Sun's fourth studio album.
The melodies are well found and the ever changing arrangements add a less predictable side to this band's music. Peter Falconer's vocals perfectly match with the music and its contrast-based pattern, while the rest of the band plays as one, even if some very good solos and even better duos enrich the track. In short, if ever you're into enjoyable, creative and inspiring (neo-)prog, this song and this band were made for you. Anyway, they surely were for me.
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