|Porcupine Tree||Harridan||7:51||Closure / Continuation||2022|
|Tempest||Jolly Roger||5:01||Going Home||2022|
|Vietgrove||Miller’s Wood||8:15||The Stellar Nursery||2012|
|Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate||Another Plague||7:23||The Confidence Trick||2022|
|Vangelis||El Greco: Movement V||3:37||El Greco||2017|
|Fearful Symmetry||Shifting Sands||4:00||The Difficult Second||2022|
|Ludovico Einaudi||Temple White||4:13||Underwater||2022|
Not on Bandcamp, but significant release:
Porcupine Tree: “Closure/Continuation” Many years since their last release, PT is here with a strong comeback. There is a sense of melancholy and also disquiet to much of the material, but plenty of the signature hard edges and mood shifts that characterize the band. This feels like a more mature PT to me, lots of sadness for what has become of everything, both personal and global. Hard to decide between the first single and the sinister Herd Culling, but going with Harridan as being the most indicative of the whole release, almost an overture in parts: Harridan
Tempest: “Going Home” Tempest have been around a good long time, I’ve seen them live a few times. This is mostly upbeat “Euro-Celtic” music with a rock twist, jigs and reels aplenty, plus a piratical sea shanty and even some Cajun seasoning. Fiddle, mandolin, mandoguitar and mandolas, electric and acoustic guitars, drums and bodhrán, keyboards, and hurdy-gurdy comprise the instrumentation. The male and female vocals in English and Norwegian blend perfectly into this high-spirited collection. Favourite Track: Jolly Roger
Thanks to Ian Carrs and his Progrock.com show, Vietgrove came to my attention. All instrumental music, rooted in 70s style, in the best possible way, with a delicacy that is sadly lacking in so much modern progressive music. Electric and acoustic guitars, synthesizer and organ are to the fore throughout, with bass and drums as the backbone. This is lofty stuff, with a 20-minute epic that is truly transporting. I particularly love the misty and melancholic “Miller’s Wood.”
The Confidence Trickby Hats Off Gentlemen It’s AdequateThis concept album explores variations on the theme of cognitive errors and the glorification of confidence mistaken for competence. Malcolm presents the music as a sort of hard sci-fi social observation and commentary. There are just three personnel here, utilizing guitars, synths/keys, bass and Chapman Stick, and flutes. this is a progressive thought-provoking musical treatise on why we should all be willing to admit that we might just be wrong about our preconceived notions
Vangelis “El Greco” Vangelis himself will need no introduction here. I heard a piece from this release during a recent tribute after his death and was intrigued to hear more. Inspired by the Spanish Renaissance painter and sculptor of the same name, this film score is performed primarily on electronic instruments, with some choir elements. It, like most works of this composer, is majestic, soaring, and inspiring. Hard to decide between the very harp-y Movement III and Movement V, but going with Movement V, as it is more typical of the whole (And does have some harp-ish moments).This concept album explores variations on the theme of cognitive errors and the glorification of confidence mistaken for competence. Malcolm presents the music as a sort of hard sci-fi social observation and commentary. There are just three personnel here, utilizing guitars, synths/keys, bass and Chapman Stick, and flutes. this is a progressive thought-provoking musical treatise on why we should all be willing to admit that we might just be wrong about our preconceived notions
The Difficult Secondby Fearful SymmetryThe second release from an artist is often the most difficult, but here, Suzi James and company have pulled it off with flying colours. Suzi’s deft and distinctive guitars are very present, as is the addition of oud to the several Middle Eastern tinged pieces. Yael Schotts once again provides the clear vocals that were a trademark of their first recording. There is a fantasy sort of epic, along with some prog that occasionally sidles up to tasteful pop.
Ludovico Einaudi: “Underwater” Ludovico Einaudi is a contemporary classical composer who caught my ear several years ago. During his career, he’s ventured through classical to minimalism, film scoring and blending pop, rock, folk, and world music. His latest (and first in 20 years) is a pandemic release, like so many artists have done, with his particular minimalist spin on it. All solo piano, each piece is an exquisite contemplation, an intimate collaboration between musician and listener.
Favourite Track: Temple White
New psychedelia and prog blend from San Diego really capture the experimentalism and sound of the original periods as they began to merge with one another. Indeed, this is a marriage between two bands, Astra, and Psicomagia, that is a very successful one. Instruments are synths, electric piano, organ, electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums. This band mixes all of the best of psych and prog and creates a satisfying mélange that deserves repeated listenings.