Stormfields

Review: Little Sparrow – ‘Wishing Tree’ (2014)

Progarchy

Something new, yet something familiar…

It’s a given that many progressive rock fans grew up on a diet of the beautiful, quirky songs of Kate Bush through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, many of whom will have probably paid out massively to see her on her upcoming tour in the UK, such is the lasting love for her unique, beautiful sound.

If you are a fan of that sound or indeed that of other singers such as Tori Amos then there is a strong likelihood you will find something exciting and new, yet familiar and classic about ‘Little Sparrow‘.

Electric, yet acoustic... Electrifying, yet acoustic…

Hailing from London originally and now Manchester, UK, Little Sparrow, aka Katie Ware, has been slowing but surely burning a slow course to stardom with her own delicate, acoustic style which reflects some influence and character from the likes of Bush and Amos but also some of the…

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The Fire Garden of Infinite Delights

Progarchy

[The first of at least two reviews of Fire Garden, Sound of Majestic Colors (Fire Garden Music, Chicago, IL, 2014).  Official Website for the band and label: .  Kevin Williams will also be reviewing the album.  Frankly, I’m not qualified enough re: prog metal to review this.  But, my love of the album kind of forced my hand.–BjB]

Fire Garden's SOUND OF MAJESTIC COLORS comes out, officially, tomorrow, June 10.  Order now! Fire Garden’s SOUND OF MAJESTIC COLORS comes out, officially, tomorrow, June 10. Order now!

***

With no intention of being jingoistic, I’m very happy to see a nice resurgence of progressive rock in America.  The English and the Scandinavians currently provide the touchstone, but I would hate to see the Americans not compete at all!

Of course, when it comes to North America, we’ve had some great prog bands and individuals in for the long haul: Rush, Glass Hammer, IZZ, Dream Theater, John Galgano, Kevin McCormick, 3RDegree, Neal Morse, Spock’s Beard, and a…

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An Edwardian Trip through Hades: CAPACITOR by COSMOGRAF

Progarchy

Stunning album cover.  A progged-out version of Dolby's GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS.  Brilliant. Stunning album cover. A progged-out version of Dolby’s GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS. Brilliant.

Cosmograf’s CAPACITOR is everything a rock album should be.  And, I do mean EVERYTHING.  EVERY.  SINGLE. THING.  It is wholesome, fractured, creepy, uplifting, contemplative, mythic, existentialist, moving, intense, wired, dramatic, contemplative, Stoic, mystifying, weird, satisfying, honed, nuanced, dark, and light.

The Meaning of It All

If I could capture the album in one sentence, comparing it to other forms of art, I would and will put it this way: CAPACITOR is an Edwardian journey into the Hades of the Ancient Greeks but emerging in BIOSHOCK.

Then, think about the artists involved.  Andy Tillison plays keyboards on it.  Matt Stevens plays guitar on it.  Nick Beggs and Colin Edwin play bass on it. NVD plays all of the drums. Our modern master of sound, Rob Aubrey, the Phill Brown of our day, engineered it.

Then, of course, there’s…

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Merely Instrumental? (3) – Ollocs, Life Thread

Progarchy

One of the ways in which Immanuel Kant formulated his Categorical Imperative is this:  Always treat other people as ends, never only as means.  In other words, never treat others as “merely instrumental.”  For Kant, this was THE moral imperative.  Failing to follow it is failing to be a reasonable person in practical matters, which is the same as failing to be morally good.  Another way to state the principle:  Never treat other people as “merely instrumental.”

ollocs Ollocs

Yeah, I know it may be a little over the top, but I will go there.

If there’s a message that emerges from my little trilogy on “instrumental prog” (was Birzer being incurably trinitarian giving me THREE discs to reflect upon?), it is that one should never treat music as “merely instrumental.”  The Aesthetic Imperative.  Sure, if you want to add “especially prog,” I won’t complain.  As long as you’re buying this round.

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University Bookman (full), Winter 1967

And, lo and behold, a second issue scanned in one evening.  Winter 1967.  Vol. 7, No. 2.

Includes an excellent article by George Scott-Moncrieff on education in the U.K.

ub Winter 1967 full

University Bookman (full), Winter 1974

I’m sorry it’s been a bit since I’ve uploaded any issues of the University Bookman.  Here is the Winter 1974 edition.  Vol. 14, No. 2.

As always, a huge thank you to Annette Kirk for encouraging me to scan and make available.  And, of course, to the current editor of the University Bookman, Gerald Russello the magnificent!

ub winter 1974

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship – Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and “Moving Pictures”

Progarchy

mp

I don’t know how many people can actually point to a single moment that changed their lives forever and for the better.  Yes, many would point to traditional milestones such as a graduation, wedding day, the birth of their children, etc. All valid events and experiences, to be sure.

I’m talking about something different. Something that might be best termed, to quote Robert Fripp, a “point of seeing.” A singular experience that truly alters your life’s course, where you can look back on that point, that one moment in your life where “your earth” seemingly moved under you. Everything in your world, everything you know, the very lens in which you viewed the world forever changed because of that moment.

Many might cite a religious experience as fitting the bill described above. For me, it was a musical experience.

First, a little backstory…

As a pre-teen kid from around 1978 to 1980, my musical…

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The Siren Songs of Se Delan

Progarchy

Se Delan Cover  There are music labels, and there are  music  labels. By which I mean: occasionally a label appears that maintains such a high quality roster of artists, and its production is so consistently excellent, that discerning listeners will buy anything that label releases. 4AD (home of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Lush, and This Mortal Coil, among others) was such a label for many music fans in the ’80s and ’90s. ZTT was another, with its over-the-top Trevor Horn productions, and copious and entertaining liner notes that more often than not baffled rather than illuminated the reader.

In this decade, KScope has become the go-to label for fans of edgy and intelligent music. One of my first posts (back in 2012) on Progarchy was a brief overview of KScope’s roster of “post-progressive” artists. Since then, they have expanded their offerings to include many new artists, and the latest star in their…

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Tangent News

Progarchy

My great friend and hero, Andy Tillison, just posted this on Facebook:

So… Jonas Reingold promises to make the Karmakanic set as simple as possible to play for everyone. Nice Guy.

Three weeks ago we received the set, which includes a brand new piece. None of their band has played it before. It is a little ditty which clocks in at around half an hour. It has about 30 sections in it. It takes as its lyrical subject matter that oft discussed little chestnut.. THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE ITSELF.

“this is some definition of the word ‘simple’ i wasn’t previously aware of….”

CELEBR8.3 May 31 and on tour in Europe late May….The insanity goes on…

Andy Tillison and Jonas Reingold.  Andy Tillison and Jonas Reingold.

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IQ The Road Of Bones A review of Sorts

Progarchy

Cover I am on Holiday. Having endured the drizzling rain and wind for the past month in the North of England, I am sitting in the sunshine of Lanzarote nursing a small beer and listening to some new albums. Usually when on holiday, I load up the I Pod with 1500 tracks, press shuffle and let it do its thing. A sort of radio station full of prog ( but with no DJ’s ) and not knowing what’s coming on next.

But this time it’s different. I am listening to full albums in their entirety. And not just once. Many times over. Serious listening. All in the Progarchy cause. In the sun. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

The first album up is     IQ  The Road of Bones. I listened to it on the Plane coming over. Noise cancelling headphones of course. Further listening’s over the last couple…

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Fighting Generation Bland: The Short Career of Ordinary Psycho

Progarchy

One EP, two LPs, and an insert with a mission statement.  What they lacked in quantity is made up for, a million times over, in quality. One EP, two LPs, and an insert with a mission statement. What they lacked in quantity is made up for, a million times over, in quality.

The English band Ordinary Psycho enjoyed a short but brilliant burst of life from about 1997 to 2004.

Their first EP, “Introducing Ordinary Psycho, Special Limited Discovery CD (With Marion Crane,” offered the world only twenty minutes of music. So well crafted, though, the music continues to speak to me after innumerable listens over the past sixteen years. Enjoying its pleasures as I type this piece, the music seems as alive to me today as it did in 1998. In 2000, they released their first LP, The New Gothick LP (sometimes just The New Gothic–without the k). A year later, they released their second and final LP, Vol. II.

http://progarchy.com/2013/09/24/ordinary-psycho-calling-david-gulvin/

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post—back in September 2013—I first encountered…

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Making Memories

Progarchy

rush2

You know we’re havin’ good days
And we hope they’re gonna last,
Our future still looks brighter than our past.
We feel no need to worry,
No reason to be sad.
Our memories remind us
Maybe road life’s not so bad.

Thank you, Alex, Geddy & Neil.

It’s been an immense pleasure and privilege to have you in my life for the last 35 of your 40 glorious years as rock’s greatest trio. On behalf of all Rush fans, let me wish you well and say that we are looking forward to more road life memories in 2015!

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