ISSUE 2017-056

Mini Review Special
Reviews in this issue:

Grice - Alexandrine
Grice - Alexandrine
Country of Origin: UK
Year of Release: 2015
Time: 56:22
Links:
Track List:
Alexandrine (7:16), She's in my Garden (3:45), Eclipse (6:25), Flaw 1 (Fracture) (0:58), Leftside (3:59), The Magic of Changing Colours (2:15), 12 Syllables (5:55), Flaw 2 (Silica) (2:52), Incomplete (6:05), Frozen Water (9:40), Clear, Conscious & Free (4:30), Flaw 3 (Fractal) (3:44)
Mellow, art rock, avant garde, dreamy and mind soothing. Those are just a few of the words that spring into my mind when listening to Alexandrine by Grice. When we take a closer look at the participating musicians and techs working with Grice, you may get a clearer picture as to why the album is as it is.

Former Japan musicians Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen are joined by Gavin Harisson (Porcupine Tree and many others) in helping Grice make this wonderfull album of spheric, easy-going art rock with a high standard in musicality. At times you will get hints in the music of another ex-Japan giant, David Sylvian. A very well crafted album.
I Will Kill Chita (IWKC) - Cargo Cult
I Will Kill Chita (IWKC) - Cargo Cult
Country of Origin: Russia
Year of Release: 2016
Time: 18:22
Links:
Track List:
Survival Instruction (4:55), Cho Blya!? (4:05), Patris et Filil et Spiritus Sancti (3:36), Keine Angst (5:46)
Generally speaking, Russian band I Will Kill Chita (or IWKC) play post rock, math rock, and experimental rock. Most of the music is instrumental, at least on this mini four-track album featuring Nikita Samarin (drums), Nick Samarin (guitars and keyboards), Andrew Silin (keyboards), Aretem Litvakovskiy (bass, cello and sampling) and Ramil Mulikov (trumpet and trombone). Roman Karandaev provides limited vocals on one song.

Cargo Cult is my first encounter with IWKC and I can honestly say I was not surprised by the music at all. Musically I have heard much better experimental or post rock music. That doesn't make Cargo Cult a bad release as it contains four tracks of different character, which makes it more interesting for the listener, and at just over 18 minutes in length, it is easy to listen to.

Being my first encounter with this outfit, would make it hard for me to rate this album, but IWKC has made a good enough impression, for me to check out more of their work.
Kerani - Stardust
Kerani - Stardust
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Year of Release: 2017
Time: 63:02
Links:
Track List:
Stardust (6:09), Cosmic Sunrise (7:43), Rosetta (8:07), Perpetuum Mobile (6:12), Beyond (6:25), The Next Step (5:16), Infinity (5:50), Gravity (6:20), Worlds Unknown (6:35), Stars (Instrumental) [Remix] (5:32)
Belgian-born, Dutch-based keyboardist and composer Kerani, made a lot of people happy with her 2015 CD Equilibrium and she's poised to make the same people even more happy with her new release. The ten-track CD is a fully-developed symphonic-sounding New Age masterpiece that draws upon, and combines, a range of musical genres.

Featuring Kerani performing on Steinway & Sons grand piano and all types of electronic synths, Stardust also features key contributions from the Roermond Symphonic Orchestra and the Canto Rinato choir. The sweep of the orchestration is brilliant throughout and some of the Stardust tracks echoes Pink Floyd during their highly-orchestrated Atom Heart Mother heyday. Other tracks are more purely orchestral New Age / electronic in scope.

A number of musicians appear including Terry Oldfield (flutes), Romain Van Beck (guitars) and Erwin Gielen (drums). With its futuristic artwork and insightfully-written essays, the theme of Stardust is space exploration. The descriptive liner notes by Kabir Sehgal make strong points as to outer space being man's best hope for the future. The combination of neo-classical, progressive electronica and New Age instrumental sounds is brilliantly explored and celebrated here.
Martigan - Distant Monsters
Martigan - Distant Monsters
Country of Origin: Germany
Year of Release: 2015
Time: 65:00
Links:
Track List:
Theodors Walls (12:15), Lion (9:40), Simplicius (7:53), Complicius (6:00), The Lake (14:40), On Tiptoe (5:34), Fire on the Pier (11:50), Take Me or Leave Me (7:50)
Going back to the year 2011 as Martigan was one of the acts that I reviewed on the acclaimed Night Of The Prog festival held at Lorelei Freihlicht Bühne, (DPRP review here). It was my first encounter with the band in a live setting.

Their fifth and most recent studio album, Distant Monsters, missed being reviewed in 2015, but it is not too late to give it a try. Call Martigan art-rock, cinematic prog whatever you like, they play music in the neo-prog region, and they do it well.

Creating musical pieces of considerable length whilst being able to captivate a listener, is an art in its own right. Distant Monsters is such a creation; sometimes great but never boring. It reminds me a lot of Twelfth Night and Fish.
Old Fire - Songs From the Haunted South
Old Fire - Songs From the Haunted South
Country of Origin: USA
Year of Release: 2016
Time: 48:12
Links:
Track List:
Old Fire 3 (3:04), Along Came a Sadness (1:40), Helix (4:27), Know How (3:52), It's Easier Now (4:58), A Stranger in the Family (4:12), Bloodchild (4:04), Faust (2:02), Shadows (4:55), A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold (3:58), Laser Beam (4:26), The Orchids (3:08), Deadhouse Dream (4:14)
What would you think if someone tells you about an album that has taken ten years to become true? (I am not talking about the new Tool album!) What would you think if I say it has more than 20 collaborators? (I'm not talking about Ayeron´s new effort either!) I´m talking about Old Fire´s collection of songs, and covers, under the name of Songs from the Haunted South.

I guess it may not mean much to progressive rock lovers but it deserves attention. Please don´t read reviews talking about this album as "ambient country" or "americana nostalgia progressive" or similar terminology. Just give it a try and discover these songs. They will get bigger with each listen and you will enjoy the atmosphere and the nostalgia that the mix of old and new songs creates. The variety of male and female singers also helps to feel very different emotions through the whole album.

I really like this kind of music, although it´s not easy to write a review because it's even more difficult to find the time to listen to it in proper conditions. But if you have nothing to do on one of these summer nights, it would be a great idea to go outside, lie on the grass, press play and watch the stars, while listening to this great album.
Regna - Meridian [EP]
Regna - Meridian
Country of Origin: Spain
Year of Release: 2016
Time: 17:40
Links:
Track List:
Meridian, Part One: Black Crows (4:24), Meridian, Part Two: Collapse (in Technicolor) (3:48), Meridian, Part Three: Awake Again (7:14), Meridian, Part Four: Coda (2:06)
As almost everyone knows, Spain is not a paradise of progressive rock music, but recent years have seen many interesting underground bands like Cheeto´s Magazine and Pervy Perkin begin to break out to a wider audience. I´m not saying that Regna are at that same level yet, since what you can hear in Meridian is just their first effort, but this EP promises a lot.

They describe their music as a mix of classic prog, in the vein of Camel, with energic sounds that may recall Riverside and early Dream Theater. Well, I understand that it is important for a new band to name their influences as a way to get attention, but in this case it's better if you take a listen to this conceptual suite and decide for yourself. I´m pretty sure you won´t be disappointed because it´s good progressive rock with great players (just listen to the piano) trying to break into the new era of Spanish progressive rock.

You won´t hear a great production here but, that is a good thing, at least for me. I´m sure you have experienced that feeling when you discover a new band with terrible sound, but a band that is just being really honest. I´m not saying the production in Meridian is terrible but you will understand what I mean while listening to this EP. (Ed: It is currently available as a Name Your Price download from their Bandcamp page).
Saint-Samuel - Machine Code for Beginners
Saint-Samuel - Machine Code for Beginners
Country of Origin: Canada
Year of Release: 2015
Time: 19:00
Links:
Track List:
Syntax Error (4:52), 1983's Edition (4:16), Machine Code for Beginners (4:52), Visual Basic (5:10)
The moment the music on this four-track EP begins, you jump back to the 1970s and 1980s. Saint Samuel (a.k.a. Stéphane Richard) has created a mini album with synth sounds so much like those of the great synth virtuosos of the first era of electronic music.

It is a similarity that brings instant recollection, but also the sheer joy of hearing such a creation from this day and age, that makes you reconsider your thoughts about electronic music.

This is a mini album that is too good to be left unseen on a shelf somewhere. Think Jarre, Vangelis or Tomita in a Canadian jacket.
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Published Thursday 3 August 2017

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