Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trey Anastasio to induct Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I'm not entirely sure how they decide these things, but it looks like Phish's guitarist Trey Anastasio will be inducting Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be on March 15th in New York. As you probably already know by now, Peter Gabriel will not be there. The rest of the band, including Steve Hackett, should be on hand to accept the induction. I'm not sure if Anthony Phillips will be in attendance, but he should be.

Trey Anastasio, Wyclef among Rock Hall presenters - Yahoo! News:
"Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio is inducting rock group Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month."

News: Possible Rush Documentary in the works

Apparently, Rush's induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame has finally spurred on the creation of a documentary about the band. Apparently Geddy Lee is having a hard time reliving the past during the making of the film:

"To be involved in the documentary has been hard from that point of view, because they're making so much of things we've done in the past, and asking questions about details 25, 30 years ago — a lot of them have just gone out of my head," Lee told Walrus magazine.

"It's a bit uncomfortable dwelling so much on what has happened. I'm more comfortable looking forward and not being constantly aware of how long i've been in the same band.

"The very business of looking back — through archival footage and photographs — can feel self-indulgent. You want to spend your time thinking about things other than your own face."

Personally speaking, I think it's about time for one of Canada's most important bands to finally get a proper retrospective documentary made. I'll be looking out for future news on this and I'll post whatever I find right here.

Rush Documentary Out In May? | CHARTattack:

"But that will change with Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen's aptly titled Rush: The Documentary, which could be released as early as May 18, according to Rush fansite Power Windows. No official announcement's been made yet."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The High Voltage Festival to feature Emerson, Lake & Palmer amongst a slew of Progressive Rock bands

It looks like that the High Voltage Festival in London is going to be a huge event for British Prog Rock fans. Classic Rock magazine is putting on a three stage musical festival this July at Victoria Park in London. Of interest to readers of this blog would have to be that an entire stage is going to be dedicated to Prog Rock. The lineup includes Transatlantic, Zappa Plays Zappa, Asia, Marillion, Argent, Steve Hacket, Focus, Pendragon, Uriah Heep, Magnum, Wishbone Ash and more. They've recently announced that Emerson Lake and Palmer would be featured on the main stage as well. You can find out more details at the festival's official website. News | High Voltage announce Emerson, Lake & Palmer and ZZ Top & more:
"High Voltage is the must-see rock event of 2010 – a two-day festival featuring the very best in classic rock, progressive rock and metal. Custom built by rock fans, for rock fans."

Monday, February 22, 2010

DVD Review: Porcupine Tree's Arriving Somewhere... (2006)

There's a new Porcupine Tree DVD/Blu Ray in the works. Since it won't be out for a while I decided to dig out PTree's first and only other concert DVD to date. Filmed during the Deadwing tour of 2005 (wow, 'Time Flies' indeed) it shows the band at the peak of their abilities. While you can find plenty of reviews elsewhere focussing on content of the disc, I'm going to do things a bit differently and focus on the production values. I really appreciate Steven Wilson's style and taste in surround sound mixing, and his work on his first concert DVD does not disappoint. The direction of album art designer Lasse Hoile is first-rate and the editing is artsy yet tasteful. The package is also loaded with an extra disc of bonuses that give you plenty of value for the reasonable price of the disc.

The best thing about this disc, and with pretty much anything Mr. Wilson has done in the last five years or so, is the audio mix. I've reviewed many of his DVD-Audio mixes already, and it's safe to say that the guy has proven himself to be the master of multi-channel rock mixes. This DVD-Video is no exception. The DTS 5.1 mix is demo quality and great to show off your surround system to friends (or enemies). There are a few different approaches one can take when it comes to doing a surround mix for a concert video. Most often, one might try to create the ambiance of sitting in the venue, with the band and music in front and the audience behind. Mr. Wilson prefers the more adventurous route. For the opening ambient introduction Revenant you are instantly surround with music. The rears often feature instrumental solos and keyboard pads. It's an engrossing experience that recalls some of efforts 70s Prog bands took to surround the audience with music.

The highlight musically speaker would personally have to be the back to back epic punch of Hatesong and Don't Hate Me. Gavin Harrison has established himself as the king of modern drummers, and you will not miss a single cymbal tap thanks to Wilson's perfect mix. In another highlight, Wilson's guitar in Hatesong swirls around the room as he screeches and soars on some of his most atonally ambitious solos. Buying New Soul is always an emotional high point of any Porcupine Tree concert, and the performance on this DVD doesn't disappoint. Heartattack in a Layby features the vocal harmonies emerging from every corner of the room. It's a beautiful moment. The concert comes to an end with Trains. Always a fan favorite, it features the only error musically on the whole disc. Steve gets a bit too excited for the big chords of the song's mid-section and breaks a string on his guitar. "We were all doing so well..." he says in a funny moment that probably has already gone down in PT folklore. He gets a backup from his roadie and continues playing to a rousing conclusion.

Lasse Hoile's editing has been the subject of some criticism. The DVD is ripe with digitally added effects that include artificial film grain and colour adjustments. While normally overloading a concert video with special effects is not a good idea (see Yes' Keys To Ascension), I feel it all works pretty well here. The pace is quick, and there are plenty of cuts, but it all seems to work because it always compliments the music. Cutting to Gavin Harrison for a split second might be a silly idea until your realize you get to see one of his massive fills before the focus switches back to Wilson's solo. You never at any point feel that the cuts are made just for the sake of it, and it always goes with the music perfectly. Any music fan knows how irritating it is when the focus is on the keyboardist when the guitarist is soloing. That never happens here. If I have one complaint it would be that, while all the artificial film grain compliments the music visually, it often gets caught up in the MPEG2 compression of the DVD and ends up looking blocky. This is a very small detail that I'm sure most viewers won't even notice. The next PTree concert video will be released on Blu Ray, which will probably not suffer from this.

This DVD is a must for any fan of Porcupine Tree, period. Even if you don't have a fancy TV or surround sound system, you'll get plenty of enjoyment out of performances. The disc does a great job of capturing the feel of a PT concert perfectly. Every member is in top form, and any fan of drumming will be completely floored by the skill of Gavin Harrison. His original composition Cymbal Song is featured on the bonus disc and is a great showcase for the guy's originality and creativity with cymbals of all sorts. The bonus disc also features complete footage of the on-stage projected films used during the concert. It's a great classic performance that will surely keep you entertained until the new DVD comes out in a month or two.

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News: Adrian Belew to unveil new material at the Big Ears Festival in March

This piece of news almost slipped passed my radar, but it seems Adrian Belew will make an apperance at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. While things on the King Crimson front seem to be quiet (outside of the 40th Anniversary reissue campagain) the legendary Belew appears to be hard at work. Unless I'm mistaken, this is his first new material since his Three Sides project of a few years ago. Should be exciting.

Big Ears Festival 2010 expands its lineup |
"Rock guitar legend Adrian Belew (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson) will introduce his new solo work during the festival."

"The second Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee during the weekend of March 26 – 28, 2010 continues to expand with Sufjan Stevens, Adrian Belew, William Basinski, Liturgy, Konk Pack, Abe Vigoda, and Ches Smith now slated to join the lineup."

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Found Link: Vinyl record grooves under an electron microscope

I love vinyl records. I adore them. They have always represented a unique way of listening to music that no other format has quite equalled. The large packaging, the physical feel of pulling out the plastic disc and flipping sides every 20 minutes; it's an experience beyond simply listening to sound. But I can't forget the sound. The quality of audio reproduction to emerge from those plastic grooves is quite outstanding. But how does it work? A needle vibrating to the friction of the grooves. It all seems like magic. But what does it look like close up? The following link has some pretty impressive images of the grooves of vinyl under an electron microscope. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Record grooves under an electron microscope:
"Chris Supranowitz is a researcher at The Insitute of Optics at the University of Rochester. Along with a number of other spectacular studies (such as quantum optics, trapping of atoms, dark states and entanglement), Chris has decided to look at the relatively boring grooves of a vinyl record using the institute’s electron microscope. Well, not boring for me.

From what I read, it’s not just a simple matter of sticking a record under a fancy microscope, as there is a lot of preparation (such as gold-sputtering the surface) and post-processing to be done. Having said that, the results are very cool:"

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Found Link: The Enid offering up every album for free download

I'm actually just getting into The Enid. From what I can understand, the band had a fallout with their record company and have since begun offering all their music for free on their official website to get back at them. The band is also starting to tour again. They suggests to donate a bit of money when you download the music to help with legal costs from the ongoing battles with Innersanctum.

The Enid Home

Found Link: Listen to Gabriel's new album on The Guardian's website

It's hardly the best sound quality, but if you want to hear Peter's new album before you decide to spend your hard earned money on it, here's your chance. My first impression: piano and orchestra, makes UP look like a heavy metal album in comparison. Not sure if I like it or not yet, but Ill give it a chance. I'll say it again: I really wish he would devote his time to original material instead of these covers. What do you think?

Exclusive album preview | Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back | Music |
For his first studio album in eight years, Peter Gabriel came up with an audacious plan. He decided to cover the work of his favourite artists and, in exchange, they would do the same for him. Scratch My Back is the first instalment of this project, and sees the 59-year-old, ex-Genesis man cover the likes of Radiohead, Talking Heads and David Bowie. The artists whose songs you hear here will be returning the favour by performing Gabriel's songs on a forthcoming album, I'll Scratch Yours.

Found Link: Interview with Alan White

One great side effect to Yes being on tour is that the press actually get to have fresh interviews with the band as it makes its way from town to town. This interview's a bit of a gem. Alan White muses not only on how he joined the band in the first place, but working with John Lennon and George Harrison. It's great stuff. | Music | Yes keeps progressive rock relevant — Baton Rouge, LA
“So I flew back to London next morning and Jon Anderson and Chris Squire came around to my apartment. ‘We want you to join the band or we’re gonna throw you out this third-floor window.’ ‘OK, Chris you’re a big guy, so let’s see if we can make this work.’ ”

As Anderson and Squire were exiting White’s door, Squire added, ‘Oh, by the way. We have a show in Dallas, Texas, on Monday. Learn this stuff and we’ll be fine.’

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Surrounded By Prog - Steven Wilson's Insurgentes

To start, a quick apology: if you feel that the posts have slowed somewhat here at the Prog Rock Blog, you'd be correct. The fact of the matter is that the Vancouver winter Olympics are well underway and most of my time has been dedicated to keeping an eye on the Canadian TV coverage for my Canadian media blog. Fear not though, while the Olympics are on for a few weeks, the world of Prog never sleeps. I'll post as often as I can here and will resume to full-tilt Progland once the closing ceremonies are over. Prog On! (hahaha that's a silly thing to say)
As much as I adore what Porcupine Tree has done over the last couple of decades, my favorite album by Mr. Wilson probably has to be the one he released under his own name. Steven's first solo album is not just another Porcupine Tree album. There are hints of the PT sound to be found for sure, but what makes Insurgentes so special for me is that it's really a compendium of everything Steven Wilson. Take a dash of Porcupine Tree, add some No-Man, sprinkle a bit of Bass Communion and heap in a health dose of Blackfield. This album features just about every aspect of the man. We often mention about how diverse and prolific the guy is, but I'm not sure we've ever considered what it would sound like if he brought all of his masks to the same ball. That really is the essence of what makes Insurgentes what it is: a work of art unique to one man. There is always a question of how much of the artist should be apparent in his art. This album is pure Steven Wilson.

Frankly, I have no idea why I haven't presented this album earlier in this series. The great thing about it is if you own it, you have the DVD-Audio. As far as I'm able to tell, every CD comes bundled with the DVD. That means that if you're even remotely into contemporary Progressive Rock, you probably already own it. And wow, what a disc it is to own. In fact, looking over my fairly large collection of surround sound music discs, this album probably ranks amongst the all time best. What I mean by this is that never has there been a better 5.1 music release in the history of the format. (It's likely that The Incident may take the crown once it comes out in a month or so, but for now Insurgentes is king) Everything about this disc is perfect: the music, as previously mentioned, is amongst the most diverse and interesting of Wilson's long career. When it comes to mixing music for surround sound, there are simply none better than Steven Wilson. He's taken what could have been sheer novelty and elevated it to level of beautiful art. Every track on this album creates a 3D sound-field that will envelope and surround you.

The album starts off with what I consider to be the least interesting track. Harmony Korine will probably remind you of Blackfield. This automatically means a focus on the pop song structure. It's a good pop song for sure, and the surround mix is excellent, but compared with what's to follow it seems tame and bland. Things start to get very interesting with the next track: Abandoner. As soon as it starts you are immersed in a world of vinyl crackle and analog warmth. Steven's voice takes to the centre channel with a chilling dry delivery of cynical verse. The first instrumental break occurs when one acoustic guitar plays a Spanish flavoured line in the front left speaker and a second responds in harmony in the rear right. Second verse (well if you can call it that, this is hardly standard songwriting here) comes with a chorus of Wilsons backing up the initial lone voice from the rears. Then we enter a state of quiet suspended animation. The delicate glockenspiel in the left rear doesn't prepare you for what's happening next. Suddenly a wall of white noise and distortion surrounds you like a veil of evil descending creating a thick fog of sound. It's an amazing effect that has to be heard to be believed. If you're familiar with this song in stereo, you aren't getting the full effect of this section.

Veneno Para Las Hadas. If the opening guitar chords remind you of Porcupine Tree's Sky Moves Sideways, you're not alone. What really makes this song unique and special is just how much better Wilson has gotten at creating lush atmosphere. This is a great track to play to anyone who is convinced that digital is incapable of the warmth of analog vinyl. The bounding bass and lush harmonies surround you and fill your body with warmth. This is a delicate track and the surround mix is ripe with soft detail. It'll send a shiver down your spine. And then there's the woodwind. You can hear the reeds vibrating! This is a master recording engineer at his finest.

No Twilight Within The Courts of the Sun is definitely the hardest rocking piece here. Fans of Porcupine Tree are going to see (hear) plenty to like. Check this out: Tony Levin on bass and Gavin Harrison on drums. What an out of this world rhythm section! The Fripp-like screeching and searing guitar that permeates this track is some of Wilson's most interesting. If there was any track you could use to show off the extended dynamic range of DVD-Audio, this would be it. It goes from ear bleeding loud to whisper quiet. A couple of moments will surely make you leap out of your flesh. Fantastic production. Check out the cool moment when Wilson's whispering vocal first enters: it's a cool effect that really sounds like he's inside your head.

My award for best-of-the-best surround (that is the best track on the best album) would go to Twilight Coda. This soft and beautiful instrumental is definitely a demo piece. Turn off the lights and crank up the sound. The rich guitars and piano (by Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess no less) creates the perfect audio replica for that eerie feeling you get at twilight. This is 5.1 bliss right here. (That's no over exaggeration my friends). Get All You Deserve is as creepy as creepy gets. Wilson's voice is so delicate and soft, at yet for some reason I feel it's subliminally threatening. The song ends with what Wilson dubs "Total Fucking Noise". I suggest you listen to it yourself to see exactly what he means by this. (Hint: it's very loud)

As we've come to expect from Mr. Wilson over the years, the album comes to an end with a beautiful and moving piano ballad. This track was apparently recorded in a church and the 5.1 recreates the cavernous space perfectly. It's a subdued and emotional way to conclude the disc. (Did I mention the koto? My oh my: the koto!)

I could really go on and on (and on and on and on...) about how great this album is. This is the perfect work of art and one of the best examples of artistic rock we've had in decades. It's completely original. Steven Wilson has put just about every other modern rock artist to shame. This is miles away from what you're going to hear on mainstream radio. You can't say that there aren't any original things being done in rock after listening to this masterpiece. This album came out early 2009 and completely blew out anything else created around the same time frame. Why do the majority of people continue to listen to what the mainstream rock stations are oozing out when there is such real creativity going on under the radar? The fact that this work, and pretty much everything Wilson's done in the last few decades, has been largely ignored by most rock critics and fans just goes to show you how miserable the mainstream has become (at least here in North America).

Do yourself a favour, if you don't already own this, you have to pick it up today. Keep in mind that if you buy the CD you are also getting the DVD-Audio. If you don't own a surround sound system but know a buddy who does, then ask to borrow it for an hour or so. It is the best mix I've ever heard coupled with some of the most original and dynamic rock music produced in the last decade. The Incident is about to come out on DVD-Audio very soon so expect me to review that as soon as I get my hands on it. There is no doubt in my mind that it's going to be fantastic.

Now, if you don't mind I have to get back to watching the Olympics. There's an exciting curling match underway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Found Link: Chicago Sun Times kinda likes Peter Gabriel's Scratch My Back

This review sure is lukewarm. As I'm sure you all know by now, Gabriel is missing out on Genesis' Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I'm not surprised and you shouldn't be either. You also shouldn't be terribly surprised by this review. I've yet to here the Gabriel cover album yet so I'm not too sure of my own opinion. I know that I can't take this review too seriously considering Jim DeRogatis didn't like Up. Up is my favourite of Gabriel's solo albums. So now you know.

Jim DeRogatis
In the end, "Scratch My Back" doesn't break new ground, and it is unlikely to win new fans--unless we count some of the folks Gabriel has covered. But it ultimately is a much richer and more satisfying effort than his last studio disc, "Up" (2002), and it shows that he is still willing to stretch, take chances and challenge our vision of the singer we think we've known for more than four decades.

Found Link: NY Daily News diggs the King Crimson reissues

While barely touching on the technical merit of the set, the New York Daily News gives a fairly glowing review of the Steven Wilson produced reissues of King Crimson's debut, Lizard and Red. As with most mainstream reviews of "obscure" Prog, they tend to focus on the music as if we never heard it before. How about more detail on the new 5.1 mixes? (FYI, they're fabulous)

If anything, these reissues are allowing people to reconsider what I've always thought of as one of Crimson's most underated albums of all time. Steven Wilson has taken an album that most dismissed (Fripp included) and transformed it into the audio treat that it always (really) was.  Check out the review, and if you have the chance pick up these sets.

King Crimson '40th Anniversary Series' reissues: Apocalypse wow in seminal guitar rock
More than four decades after the band began - in the Spring of 1969 - the young leader of a modern prog act, Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson, took it upon himself to not just re-master Crimson's great works but to refigure them for cutting-edge 5.1 sound.

News: Porcupine Tree's The Incident DVD-Audio edition available for pre-order

The more I listen to Porcupine Tree's latest opus, the more I love it. It's a well known fact amongst Progophiles (I made up a word! Look at me!) that whenever a band releases an album consisting of one very long song, you have to give it some time before you can decided whether you like it or not. The Incident is surely a great grower of an album. If you've only given it a couple of spins, I suggest trying it again. It gets better with each and every listen.

If you haven't yet realized, I adore listening to music in 5.1 surround sound. Every Porcupine Tree album going back to Stupid Dream has been released in this format and each one count amongst the best surround mixes of rock music ever. Simply amazing stuff. You can now pre-order The Incident on DVD-Audio exclusively on the PT store starting today. If you have a decent stereo system and love listening to music on the couch, then this is a must have. Not only is there the entire album mixed in high-resolution 5.1, but also a higher quality version of the regular stereo mix. Count all that in with a photo gallery, music videos and exclusive instrumental versions of Black Dahlia and Flicker and surely you have a winner. Steven Wilson's mixing of the King Crimson catalogue has been just excellent and you can be sure he treats his own music with as much skill and respect.

Porcupine Tree - Official Website
This edition features the 5.1 mix of the album in advanced resolution/MLP lossless 5.1 surround, DTS 5.1 digital surround sound, and 24 bit stereo, and also includes the videos for Time Flies and Octane Twisted, a 30 second TV spot, and a photo gallery set to exclusive instrumental mixes of Black Dahlia and Flicker.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Peter Gabriel

The Genesis birthdays just keep on coming. Peter Gabriel is also celebrating his 60th. Happy birthday!!! Here's some pretty rare footage of the man in his Rael costume performing Back in NYC from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in 1975. This footage has only recently surfaced so it may be new to many of you. It was recorded in Bern, Switzerland. The quality isn't great and it cuts out way too early, but as I'm sure you know this tour was tragically never professionally filmed. So enjoy this piece of Prog history as a bit of a tribute to a man who has done so much for fans of adventurous rock.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Steve Hackett!!!!

Guitar legend and my personal favourite member of Genesis is turning 60 today. Happy birthday!!!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vintage Vinyl #4 - Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Peter Gabriel's last album with Genesis might just be the band's all time best. Watch and see why I think this LP must be in any serious vinyl aficionados collection. The dark brooding classic is a deep tale filled with bizarre imagery and beautiful lyrics by Peter Gabriel.

Interview: Alan White talks about Jon Anderson

From all that I've read about the reasons of Jon's continual absence from the Yes line-up, it would seem that the boys in the band are quite happy to leave him out in the cold henceforth. Basically, my outsider scooping around has lead me to believe that the rest of Yes think Anderson's a bit of a jerk. They've picked up a nice well mannered Canadian dude that most seem completely content with and they're choosing to hang on to him instead of allowing founding member Jon back into the fold. I must point out that this is mostly speculation on my part, but I really can't see any reason for Jon to be touring on his own while the rest of the band he helped start is touring around America without him.

This interview with Alan White doesn't really get into this debate in the way I was hoping, and you wouldn't expect him to say anything bad about Jon since he's a nice guy and all that. What do you think? Are Yes snubbing Jon?

Saying Yes to change - : Article Ee8421da-168a-11df-9b01-001cc4c002e0.html
Question: Let's get some personnel business out of the way. With Benoit David now an official member, where does Jon Anderson stand with the band?

Answer: Jon is doing a one-man show these days. Benoit David is doing an excellent job - he sounds almost like Jon and looks slightly like Jon, as well. Oliver Wakeman, who is Rick Wakeman's son, is the same thing - he looks just like him and plays just like him. If you close your eyes, the band is virtually the same.

Q: Jon made some negative public comments when the band first went out on tour with Benoit. Has there been a need to smooth over any ruffled feathers?

A: I don't know if I'm out of place saying this, but it seems like Jon just likes doing his solo shows. These long arduous tours do take a lot out of you. We just carry on. Who knows about the future? It's hard to say right now.

Found Links: 3/5 Yes continue to get positive reviews

Ah yes, 3/5 Yes. Featuring son Oliver Wakeman and random Canadian Benoit David. You know how much I love reading these mainstream reviews. They always seem so surprised that Yes aren't quite a bunch of useless washed up geezers like The Who seem to be (shudders at Super Bowl halftime show). Steve Howe really tends to make these critics do a double take. They kinda forget he's always kinda looked liked a walking skeleton of a man. Sure he looks older and greyer, but if anything his playing only gets better with age. Today I'll share two reviews with you all. First from the Boston Herald and then from The Republican.

Yes, they can -
“Heart of the Sunrise” and “And You & I” came with their graceful tunes, dramatic soft-to-loud shifts, and David, Howe and Squire nailing the essential three-part harmonies. For fans there were a few rarely played numbers, including the ballad “Onward” and two from 1980’s “Drama” (the only Yes album that didn’t include Anderson). Another rarity, “South Side of the Sky,” sported a tricky, a cappella-like midsection and built to a guitar/synthesizer exchange between Howe and Wakeman: a grand, very Yes-like moment.

Yes proves it's no Tribute Act -
 The latter track was one of several in which the thin and professorial Howe mesmerized the throng, locking into thick power riffs with his rhythm section, later spinning just as easily through highly intricate quieter sections. He played various stringed instruments, including pedal steel guitar on a very melodic "And You and I," sparkled on a couple of brief acoustic guitar solo instrumentals, and frequently locked in with Wakeman for perfectly synchronized spins such as during "Machine Messiah."

News: Anglagard's Epilog to be re-released

German music site JustForKicksMusic has announced that Anglagard's epic intrumental masterpiece Epilog is going to be re-released. I'm not quite sure what the availability is going to be here in North America quite yet. If you haven't picked up this legendary Swedish band's second and final album yet, this looks to be an excellent opportunity. The site also hints at a limited edition with bonus material. Surely I'll take anything I can get from this much too short lived group. I've ran the German blurb through Google translate. The results are quoted just below.

Just For Kicks Music - ANGLAGARD:Epilog
Release Date: 05/03/2010 Revised edition of the grandiose second album by the Swedish ProgLegende Anglagard from the year 1994! [If necessary there is a limited edition with bonus material - we'll keep you up to date] The successor of hubris, "and I really do not know which of the two is the better record." Epilogue "has a similar basic sound, but this time entirely instrumental, more quiet and still a good bit of melancholy, gloomy as "hubris". An incredibly dense atmosphere is created that persists for the entire disk. Moreover, there are few real tunes

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Brand X - Unorthodox Behaviour (1976)

Phil Collins. Is he a Rock star or Pop icon? Neither. Despite what this article and many others tend to believe, Phil Collins isn't really that great a singer or front-man. What I mean by this is, when the dust settles, Phil Collins will not be remembered for his time as Genesis' lead vocalist or his endless parade of hit records in the 1980s. No my friends, Phil Collins was and will be long remembered in history for being one of the most creative drummers to sit behind a Jazz Fusion band. Allow me to explain.

Have you listened to one of Phillip's multi-million selling Pop albums from the 80s recently? Sure, catchy tunes aplenty. But really, these are dated artifacts so full of cheese and corn you could feed your livestock with them for decades to come. Quite frankly, after the marketing hype has died down and the radio stations stop playing them over and over and over again, those albums stink. They have dated worse than Chris Squire's hair circa 1986. Yugharchbleachhhh.

Now, plop this little plastic disc onto your turntable. As the first track, Nuclear Burn, takes off you immediately realize what Phil's legacy really is. That drumming is simply out of this world! It's so full of tricks and twists and precise speed that you have to wonder why the guy isn't hailed as one of the all time greats behind the kit. Probably because he spent the vast majority of his career dancing around the front of the stage acting like a stupid deranged lunatic on drugs. This album, the first by the Collins founded Brand X, is a major statement from one of the Prog world's great talented drummers.

The most incredible thing to me is, that despite how impressive his drumming was in Genesis around this time (Lamb Lies Down, Trick of the Tail, Wind and Wuthering) he was clearly holding back. Brand X is Collins unleashed. Untethered from the chains of tight structure that is a Genesis song. Just listen to the way he handles the tricky time changes in Born Ugly. Not only does he play them with a smooth, almost smug confidence, he also finds time to add all sorts of complex jaw-dropping fills seamlessly into the mix. Why this album isn't required listening for an aspiring drummer is way beyond me. Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria indeed! That's another track with simply inspired playing by Collins. In fact, the rhythm section here with Percy Jones on bass, is one of the best I've heard in all the many Jazz Fusion albums I own.

So while I wouldn't recommend this sucker to those who think Phil's No Jacket Required album is the next best thing to rubbing his bald little head in person, this is required listening for anyone who wants to hear what Collins was really capable of behind the drum kit. It's sitting on the drummer's throne that he is really most at home and put to most use. Sadly, Phil's drumming skills seemed to decline as his rank of Pop star rose. With all that ails the man today, I doubt we'll see him drum ever again. As for me, I'll do all I can to remind folks that Phil Collins' name should be mentioned along side the likes of Bill Bruford and Neil Peart and not with Michael Jackson and Prince. If you like your Jazz Fusion with catchy hooks and complex rhythms you will adore Brand X's Unorthodox Behaviour.

Found Link: Yes review for concert in Northampton USA

Yet another largely positive press review of the 3/5 Yes lineup. If there is one complaint usually had about this tour is that concerts usually take a while to find their footing. I'm pretty sure this has something to do with the fact that Yes aren't into soundchecks. This leaves the audio crew to do all the adjustments to the sound of the venue during the first few songs of the actual concert.  So when critics complain of the harmonies being off early on in the show, it probably has to do with the mic levels being out of wack.

Also of note, critics continue to cite Jon's respiratory problems as the cause for his continual absence from the touring lineup. Since we know that Mr. Anderson has been out doing quite a few solo concerts in the last few months,  this isn't the reason any longer. You'd think a paid journalist would be responsible for figuring this out, but why should a mainstream critic care about the nuances of a Progressive Rock band? That, and she refers to Chris as "an ogre-sized man". Ha!

Classic Rock Act Yes Finds Its Way at Calvin in Northampton -
Equally impressive was Squire, an ogre-sized man whose trademark bass lines, such as the ones on the set closer, "Roundabout," are a defining part of the Yes sound.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Found Link: The Vine reviews Porcupine Tree's concert in Brisbane

No band has done more to challenge the preconceived notion that many have about Progressive music in the last decade. While the idea of playing a 55-minute song to open up a concert is an unthinkably pretentious notion to many, Steven Wilson and crew have been opening up the notion that longer can indeed be better to many around the world during The Incident tour. This rather thoughtful review touches on this fact and many others aspects of Porcupine Tree's very entertaining show that has been travelling to all parts of the world over the last six months or so. If you've already seen the tour then you'll find the review a nice reminder of many aspects of the tour.

Live Review - Porcupine Tree, Brisbane 2010 - Music |
Though song lengths can be used as a fair marker of an act's pretension - that is, the longer the song, the larger the sense of self-infatuation - when you're making music this beautiful, one might see little point in conforming to convention. Porcupine Tree hope to create music whose attraction crosses boundaries; the wide array of humanity assembled at The Tivoli tonight reflects this. Emotive, considered and dramatic, this is music that demands your full attention if you're to begin to reciprocate.

News: Dream Theater to tour Mexico and South America in March

Attention all Mexican and South American Dream Theater fans (and I know there are plenty of you out there). The legendary American Prog Metal band will be making its way to your part of the world this upcoming March, starting with Monterrey, Mexico on the 5th. Tickets are already on sale for the Santiago, Chile date at the Movistar Arena. Check out the official Dream Theater site for more information.

Mike Portnoy loves playing in South America. Check out this interview on the Silver Tongue blog:

Dream Theater - The Official Site
The Mike Portnoy-endorsed BIGELF will continue their trek across the globe under Dream Theater's wings by joining DT as their Special Guests for their March 2010 shows in Mexico and South America.

Date Location Venue
Thu Mar 11, 2010 Santiago, Chile Movistar Arena
Fri Mar 05, 2010 Monterrey, Mexico Esenica
Sun Mar 07, 2010 Mexico City, Mexico National Auditorium
Mon Mar 08, 2010 Guadalajara, Mexico Diana Theater
Sat Mar 13, 2010 Buenos Aires, Argentina Luna Park
Tue Mar 16, 2010 Porto Alegre, Brazil Pepsi On Stage
Thu Mar 18, 2010 Curitiba, Brazil Master Hall
Fri Mar 19, 2010 Sao Paulo, Brazil Credicard Hall
Sat Mar 20, 2010 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Citibank Hall
Mon Mar 22, 2010 Lima, Peru Jockey Club
Wed Mar 24, 2010 Caracas, Venezuela Poliedro

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Prog Rock Guide to the Project/Object - Apostrophe (') (1974)

1974 was the year that critics began to turn on Prog Rock. You see, up until that point Prog was generally considered a good thing. Critics appreciated the creativity and musicianship that was growing out of the scene up until that point. It was all happy and cheery and lovely for all... until Yes released Tales From Topographic Oceans. "That's it! They've gone too far! This is the most pretentious overblown piece of self-indulgence in the history of music bla bla bla" It went slowly but surely downhill from there.

There is an album that came out right around the same time that shows the other side of what Progressive Rock could be. Apostrophe(') has just as much musical skill on display as Tales, but instead of the serious 'high-art' that Yes were presenting, Zappa brought his silly sense of humour and irreverent satirical style to the table. When people are quick to harp on Prog's excessiveness and cite Topographic Oceans as example, I quickly 'whip-out' this sucker as counter argument. It has everything that any Prog fan wants: insanely jaw-dropping instrumental and compositional creativity, a complex and surreal concept and even an extended suite of continuous songs. What it lacks is the self-important arrogance that some listeners perceive when they dismiss Progressive Rock. (I have a hard time picking up on such things personally, Tales is pure fun to my ears) Zappa brings so much excitement to his compositions that an unknowing listener may not even realize just how complex things are instrumentally.

The album starts with the infamous tale of Nanook the Eskimo. The suite of four tracks that starts things off is really so bizarre and funny that it really couldn't be by anyone except Frank Zappa. I won't get into the details because, well, frankly (heh) it's hard to explain. Just know that you must "Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow". As absurd as that line is, you only really realize the true silliness of it all when you find out that the backup singers are Tina Turner and the Ikettes. No foolin'.

But the Ikettes are hardly the main attraction of this album. The gigantic lineup assembled to play here is quite amazing. Who else but Frank Zappa could bring names like George Duke, Jack Bruce, Don 'Sugar-Cane' Harris, Sal Marquez and Jean-Luc Ponty to play on an album with songs titled "Nanook Rubs It" and "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast"? The level of musicianship on display is simply mind-boggling. Ruth Underwood's percussion alone is worth the price of admission. Please watch this video:

So while you are laughing away at the silly lyrics, keep in mind that there is really serious complex music happening here. Zappa's compositional skills were out of control by this point of his career. Take Cosmic Debris for example, a fairly simple and straight forward attack on the 'self-help' gurus that were popping up around that time in the States. Not only are there beautiful backup harmonies by the Ikettes, but the constant shifting rhythm section is superbly tight. The guitar solo is one of Frank's most classic and the tempo shift is so well executed that it almost appears seamless. The instrumental title track is a super professional jam session with Jack Bruce and Zappa on bass and guitar respectively. Imagine Cream but with Zappa taking the lead. Bruce's fuzzy bass tone goes so insanely well with Frank's lightning fast yet completely melodic lead guitar solo.

George Duke co-wrote Uncle Remus with Zappa. The gorgeous piano underlying the song is probably a direct result of this collaboration. The Ikettes are again very prominent here as Zappa's lyrics take on racism and civil rights. The final track "Stink-Foot" is probably an attack on advertising agencies who make up "imaginary diseases" to push products you don't really need. It features more interesting time changes and ends with one of Zappa's most explicit explanations of "Conceptual Continuity". We'll get into that whole subject in another post, on another day.

This is an album that works on so many levels. From the instrumentation to the silly and yet often poignant lyrics, this is Zappa at the peak of his abilities and is required listening to anyone who like Prog and Zappa - best served together.

News: Porcupine Tree returing to Canada in May

This is a heads up to all Canadian Porcupine Tree fans (hey, that's me!). There was fear that Steven Wilson and the band were going to go back on their promise to return here in the spring. Well, fear not! Mr. Wilson is a man of his word. Porcupine Tree will be coming back to Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto on May 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. No word as to when tickets will go on sale. Keep an eye on Porcupine Tree's site for more information.

Found Link: Neil Peart says Rush may abandon the 'album', but might follow Porcupine Tree and write longer material

Well well well. When I posted previously that Rush's drummer Neil Peart was saying Rush might abandon the album format, it was assumed that meant that they might become a 'pop-single' band. That assumption, it would seem, was a bit presumptuous. According to an interview in the Belleville Intelligencer, Peart says that after seeing Porcupine Tree playing all 55-minutes of The Incident in concert, he understands that just because the physical medium may be irrelevant in a digital world, it doesn't mean that writing extended musical excursions is automatically impossible. The quote goes as follows:

I went to see a band called Porcupine Tree not long ago. And I was talking with (singer-guitarist) Steven Wilson. They just put out a 55- minute piece. That's a finger to the whole iTunes shuffle thing, and he intended it as such. And I thought, 'Yeah, that's another way of rebelling against it -- by just saying no.' There's too much lost in giving up the integrity of an album -- what it represents to you as a musician, and as a human being, for that matter. So I like that approach. That's very possible for a band like us. So there are no limitations; we might go big or we might go small.
 This makes me very happy. Steven Wilson is a guy that clearly understands the power of the extended musical journey. It's almost ironic that after being influenced by Rush's albums of the past, he now is having an influence on their future songwriting. What goes around comes around.

Rush Blog - Rush is a Band Blog: New Neil Peart interview with the Belleville Intelligencer

Found Link: Boston Herald Inteview Alan White, wonder why Hall of Fame hates Prog

What makes your day more than waking up to a rare mainstream-press reference to one of your favourite bands?  How about an interview with a legend like Alan White? What if the article containing said interview was littered with cheap shots against Prog fans? So what? Sure Jed Gottlieb couldn't resist in taking a low blow or two as to the 'dweeb' nature of Prog fans (ha I've been called worse), he actually gets some decent quotes from Mr. White and even questions the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's neglect of the all-too-deserving Yes. The days of complete disrespect towards the great Prog bands are quite over, I think. Read on:

Yes, we get no respect -
“This was a band interested in progressing music, not one just looking for hits,” White said. “We played music that was influenced by jazz and classical as much as rock with very, very picky fans. When I replaced Bill Bruford there were fans who analyzed everything I did.”

News: Robert Fripp + Adam Jones = Collaboration in the works?

If nothing else, Robert Fripp's online diary is a treasure trove of witty observations, fascinating photography of all sorts and a glimpse inside one of Progressive Rock's most intelligent minds. In some cases, however, you might just uncover some pretty exciting news. A few weeks back, Robert posted about a meeting he had with Tool guitarist Adam Jones. There is little secret that Tool and King Crimson share a fondness for each other that has lead to them touring together in the past. You may not know that Fripp and Jones have already started working on an album together almost 6 years ago. It would appear that the two are interested in going back to work together.
From Fripp's mind to yours:
"A fabbo lunch with Adam covering a wide range of common interests & experiencing, among which: the possibilities of continuing our album, begun in Los Angeles some 5-6 years ago; and go out speaking together."
It would make sense, considering Tool's last album was in 2006 and Maynard James Keenan is far too busy with his vineyard and other projects to bother with fronting another Tool album at the moment.  I for one think a collaboration between these two guitarists would be a match made in Prog heaven.

Robert Fripp's Diary for Thursday, 21st January 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

News: Keith Emerson winner of the Frankfurt Music Prize 2010

The legendary Keith Emerson, pictured here with his Moog and Hammond, is going to be awarded the 2010 Frankfurt Music Prize. The Head of the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Frankfurt, Prof. Felix Semmelroth, will present Emerson with the award on the 23rd of March at the Römer in Frankfurt. Greg Lake will also be on hand to give a speech in honour of his long time collaborator and fellow co-founder of ELP. Congratulations Mr. Emerson! - Press release - Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH - Frankfurt Music Prize 2010 for Keyboard legend Keith Emerson
The Frankfurt Music Prize 2010 goes to Keith Emerson, keyboard player and founding member, with Greg Lake, of the progressive-rock band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

News: Steven Wilson tops a poll and contiues work on the King Crimson remixes

This just in from the official Porcupine Tree website: It seems as though the readers of Poland's biggest rock magazine, Teraz Rock, have voted Mr. Steven Wilson "The Best Foreign Instrumentalist/Musician of 2009". He beat out an impressive field of nominees which included The Edge, Jerry Cantrell, Jack White, Kerry King, Kirk Hammett, More Gore, Tom Morello, Mark Knopfler, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. That is quite an honour. On behalf of the Prog Rock Blog we extend our congratulations to Mr. Wilson. Also congratulations to Polish Rock fans who clearly have an excellent taste.

In other news, Mr. Robert Fripp and Mr. Wilson have been busy remixing King Crimson's back catalogue in stereo and surround sound. They've released three titles thus far, including: In The Court Of The Crimson King, Lizard and Red. Unlike the Genesis remixes of a couple of years ago, I have no complaints about the quality of the Crimson releases thus far. Here's a link to Robert Fripp's diary from last week when he payed a visit to Steve who was in the middle of mixing In The Wake of Poseidon into 5.1 surround. Cheers Mr. Wilson. You are doing excellent work.

Also in Fripp's diary entry, he payed a visit to Jakko Jakszyk's studio. Jakko is doing the latter Crimson albums in 5.1 (from Thrak through Power to Believe). The highlight of the diary entry includes the following quote:

"VROOOM VROOOM, the only metal instrumental I know which features retrograde inversion & contrary motion as major thematic elements."
-Robert Fripp, 2010


Porcupine Tree - Official Website

Essay: The Loudness Wars and Prog

Your familiarity with the term 'Loudness Wars' will probably depend on how much you care about audio quality when listening to music. I don't think, however, that this is an obscure matter solely for obsessive audiophiles despite how particular and nit picky it may come off to the uninitiated. If you like listening to music, regardless of how much attention you pay to the finer details of sound quality, this affects you. Let me start by explaining what the Loudness War is.

This video has been used as the default educational film on the net for explaining the loudness wars:

That video was made in 2006. Since that time, things have only gotten worse. If you look at almost any modern release, the waveforms no longer have any shape to them at all. They tend to look more or less like this:This scary looking beast is from the much beloved modern Prog Rock supergroup Transatlantic's newest album released last year. As you can see, even an album where you have to sit down and listen to the whole 77 minute thing in one go is compressed to the max. If you enjoy listening to music on a set of decent speakers and headphones this can really cause some extreme hearing damage. I find it nearly impossible to sit through this album in one go, and if you have read my other posts here, you know how much patience and love I have for long continuous albums.

Now, many of you may think I'm crazy. You might say "But Paul, I listen to this album all the time and it sounds fine". Well, maybe. If you listen to it on cheap iPod earbuds or on a tiny stereo while making diner it might be ok. But if you really love listening to music like I do, and love to sit down on the couch in front of the stereo and focus on the music, you'll not only find it a painful tedious listen, but you might even catch some distortion or 'clipping'. You see, when digital audio is maximized in this manner, it tends to peak over the limit of loudness and cause distortion. It is one thing that any audio engineer is taught to stay away from. The record labels tend to ask mastering engineers to unlearn this basic principle.

Why are record companies doing this? Well, when the average music listener is judging music, they tend to automatically assume that louder sounds better. The last decade has seen the rise in average volume of CDs in what seems to be a competition: The Loudness Wars. These loud CDs may serve a purpose for those who like to listen to music in the background at low volumes, but if you want to focus on an album and crank it up, you're liable to loose your hearing. While I can see the 'louder is better' model having some merit for the distracted pop music listener, it really has NO purpose in the world of Progressive Rock.

Take the recent Genesis remasters for example. Genesis' music is clearly meant to be dynamic. There are parts of a song that are quiet and then a loud powerful part comes in. Take the section in the Musical Box where Peter sings: "And I want, and I feel, and I know, and I touch...". This part is clearly meant to be quieter than the powerful next line: YOUR WARMTH
Here's how that section looked on the original CD release of Nursery Cryme from the 80s:

It gets completely whisper quiet and then blasts through with a wall of loud. Notice how, despite it being loud, there is plenty of room before it reaches the top and never comes close to distorting.

Now here is the same section from the 2008 remix and remaster:
Not only are the quiet parts louder, but the loud thunder goes right to the top, turning Phil's once powerful drumming into a plastic-sounding distorted mess. The sad thing is this is one of the better sounding new releases. Just take a look at this example from Trick of the Tail:

Here's Squonk in the 80s:

Here's 2008's LOUD Squonk:The difference is night and day. You don't need to look at waveform images to discern this. If you have the two versions on CD do a comparison yourself. Use your volume control to match the levels and you will not believe how much better that old rusty unremastered 80s disc sounds.

Sure, I'm a bit of an audio nerd. The difference in between myself and the average audiophile is thousands and thousands of dollars. I don't have the money to buy fancy speakers and fancy cables and all that sorta stuff. I don't think that this is a matter of audiophillia. Even if you don't know anything about the art of sound recording and reproduction you're going to be able to hear this difference. It might be subconscious but you can surely hear it. I have a theory that the decline in music listening in the past decade is a direct result of the loudness wars. The CDs released in the past ten years, whether they be new albums or remastered classics, are all very tiring to listen to. Your ears are met with a deafening wall of sound. No wonder people get tired after one three-minute song.

This brings me to vinyl. There is no secret that I love the vinyl LP. Just check out my Thick as a Brick video. While most people claim that vinyl sounds better than CD, they really have no scientific explanation as to why this is so. The secret may lie in the format's limitations. Vinyl records have a much smaller dynamic range than CDs. The fact of the matter is you could not make a vinyl record as loud and distorted as a modern "loudness war" CD. It's physically impossible. This is why, even with brand new releases, the vinyl tends to sound much more alive than the CD counterpart. Vinyl records are more or less immune to the Loudness Wars.

While it's one thing to make a brand new album as loud and dry sounding as Transatlantic's The Whirlwind, taking classic Genesis albums and killing them like they did with the new remix/remasters should be considered a crime. In the 1970s, the role of a mastering engineer was to squeeze as much excellent sound as they could out of those limited vinyl grooves. Most original vinyl LPs sound terrific as a result of this. Today, the mastering engineer has been reduced to someone who makes music as constantly loud as possible while trying to keep the distortion as unnoticeable as possible. We live in very dark times my friends. Thankfully there are heroes like Steven Wilson. The King Crimson remasters that they have been releasing recently are so much better than the crap job done to the Genesis albums. Mr. Wilson understands the Loudness War and how negatively it affects the listener's ability to appreciate music. Good guy!

For more information, I highly recommended the Wikipedia article on this subject.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Found Link: Yes interviewed in Washington

Ahead of their concert in Washington this weekend, Yes was interviewed by a local publication. Here are the results.

Squire laughs off the Prog epics of the 70s as foolish juvenile excessiveness. I doubt they would have got that quote from Steve Howe, whom is still quite proud of the work that Yes were able to accomplish in the glory years.

Express Night Out | Arts & Events | Affirmative Action: Yes
The band's 1972 pair of albums — "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" — form the foundation of prog rock, a divisive genre whose musical, sartorial and narcotic excesses would inspire a backlash that led to humbler DIY styles like punk rock. "It was a wild ride back then," laughs Squire. "We were young, and it was a great time to be excessive."

Found Link: Local ABC station in Michigan says Rush holds the key to life

I perpetually find fascination when a mainstream broadcaster muses on a Prog Rock band. Then again, it's not like Rush is an obscure relic of a bygone era or anything of that sort. Just flip on your local Classic Rock FM station. There are many Rush classics that get heavy rotation there, but I always get a kick out of hearing Subdivisions on the radio. For one, it has a really rocking bass line courtesy of Willodale Ontario native Geddy Lee. It also has a very un-radio-like killer time signature change for the instrumental break. Despite all these features, the lyrics always strike me as being incredibly relevant.

"Subdivisions: In the high school halls, in the shopping malls; conform or be cast out. Subdivisions: In the basement bars, in the backs of cars; be cool or be cast out. Any escape might help disprove the unattractive truth, but the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth."

Anyone who grew up in the suburbs, southern Ontario or otherwise, can certainly identify with this statement. Neil Peart captures the feelings perfectly.

The article linked to below goes on to try to explain Rush, or rather, explain how unexplainable they are. Regardless, it's a mainstream outlet musing on the importance of things like virtuosity in Rock. You might guess the conclusion they draw, but it's fun to read nevertheless.

The ABC12 Listening Room | 'Subdivisions': Listening Room chief learns Rush holds the key to life - 2/01/10 - Flint News and Saginaw News -
"Subdivisions" is an exacting look in the mirror for all of us even at middle age and beyond, and it speaks volumes about having the guts to chase your dreams and claim your identity and truly live free, and not live up to anyone else's expectations or judgments.

Vintage Vinyl - Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick

One of the most original album art designs in the history of the format, Thick As A Brick still stands out today in the used record bin. I give you my take on the album: its cover and music as well. Don't forget this album went to the top of the US charts in 1972!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Found Link: Peter Gabriel talks about his new cover album Scratch My Back

He isn't going to show up to Genesis' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but that doesn't mean the man isn't hard at work. While I would much rather see him recording more original material, this upcoming album of cover songs should be a pretty interesting release. This article features Gabriel walking through the album track-by-track, giving us some insight into why these specific songs were chosen for the project. He has me interested, to say the least.

What do you think? Considering how long Gabriel takes to record new material of his own, wouldn't you rather see the man putting his time into original work? He surely isn't getting any younger, and the clock is ticking. I would deeply love a new Peter Gabriel album of original material before time runs out.

Scratch My Back is going to be released on the 15th of February.

News: Hocus Pocus -- Focus 10 is on the way

Following Focus on Twitter? If you're a fan you should be! The veteran Dutch Prog band is starting to post there and it looks like there are interesting things in the works. According to this post, it seems as though the 10th self titled Focus album is in the works. The official Focus website is also listing details for the upcoming UK tour.

Louis Rentrop (Focustheband) on Twitter
Bobby just rehearsed 4 new Focus songs of him with Niels for Focus 10. Yes we are busy.

Focus- Hocus Pocus (live '73)

News: Icelandic band Sigur Rós on hiatus, new album scrapped.

Well there you have it. If the banking collapse wasn't bad enough news for the people of Iceland, it seems as though one of their premiere bands is on indefinite hiatus. This seems to be really sad news considering the new album was apparently so "near completion". I'd love to hear from fans of the band. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Sigur Rós on indefinite hiatus after scrapping new album | Music |
Sigur Rós have scrapped their new album, binning recordings described last year as "near completion". Frontman Jonsí Birgisson has revealed that the Icelandic band are on indefinite hiatus, as they are busy "having babies" and releasing solo albums.