New things coming on Angelo’s Rock Orphanage

Turn up to 11

Well…. it’s been quiet her for the past two weeks, except for the Track-of-the-day. That will change shortly, as new reviews are pending for Manning, This Raging Silence, Harvest and Steam Theory. Also in the making is an article that is not a review, nor a track of the day, but definitely related to an album still on my review list. The title will be Why you should always turn it up to 11, and it will be contain input from Colin TenchJohn MitchellSteven Wilson, and the guys from Rush. Now what could that be about…. I know, and soon so will you. Keep an eye out for my blog the coming week!

P.S. Some time in the next couple of weeks, when I find the time to make some configuration changes, this blog will also become available under 🙂

Track of the Day: Unified Past – Hot

Today, Unified Past announced their new album, due some time this summer. That is going to be a blast, I’m sure, because Phil Naro will join them on vocals – taking over from guitarist Stephen Speelmann, who will focus solely on his magnificent guitar work this time. To celebrate this news, what better track of the day than an instrumental from their previous album, Spots (2013)? Enjoy Hot, and imagine what the voice of Phil will add in a few months…

Track of the day: PFM – La Carrozza di Hans

Of the old Italian prog bands, PFM has always been my favourite. This track, from 1972, shows what this band was capable of – the build up from the quiet, acoustic guitar up to the wild ride at the end… La Carroza di Hans means The Carriage of Hans. A carriage I’d ride anyday… except the day after the previous ride (unless there are soft cushions on the seats). Enjoy the ride!

Gig report – UK at De Boerderij (Zoetermeer, NL) – 28-2-2015

Now you can’t know every track of every band that ever made their way into the progressive rock arena, but one has to know U.K. And maybe to have seen them as well – which will become difficult now that they are on their ‘final tour’. So, I went to see them, at De Boerderij in Zoetermeer. Without my camera, since camera’s and other recording devices were not allowed.


I did bring my phone, but the pictures I took with that are not blog-worthy, so this will be a text only report, unfortunately. I’m glad I left my camera at home though: people’s phones were almost smacked out of their hands by security when they tried to take a photograph. Rules are rules, but prog fans are not exactly hooligans, dear folks of De Boerderij…

Now, to be honest, I had not played any UK album for a few years before I went, so I had to prepare by playing their Reunion live album on the day of the gig. Which I did. And I played it on the way back home as well, to hold on to the feeling of the concert. A concert that was not extremely spectacular, but that made me feel like I had a great evening.

The band opened with Thirty years, initially with only Eddie Jobson and John Wetton on stage, joined soon by drummer Virgil Donato and guitarist Alex Machacek.

The band took us through a nice set of UK classics (see list below), with Jobson and Wetton, the old guys, taking the lead of course. That means that there was a lot of keyboard and violin violence, supported by a massive layer of bass. Eddie sure knows how to send a drone into the audience, glad De Boederij is a solidly constructed building. On the other hand, if part of it had collapsed, the problem of finding a parking space would’ve become much smaller.

Where necessary, John clearly indicated his voice hasn’t gotten worse (nor better), and both men took their time addressing the audience, with short stories about the past of the band and the occasional joke. There’s enough energy there to complete the tour, I’m sure – but apparently these men have had their share over the past 40+ years – of which U.K. only covers a meagre 38.

It’ hard to say which of the songs the band played impressed me most, given that I wasn’t completely up to speed with their works. I enjoyed the concert a lot, and was pleasantly surprised with the power the band still radiates. Only minus was that the Eddie and John show seemed somewhat disrespectful toward Donati and Machaceck. Donati got his (brilliantly executed) drum solo, Machacek remained in the shadows of (mainly) Eddie Jobson. At some point, I saw people wondering how Alex played these high notes on his guitar so low on the neck, only realising after a few seconds they were actually listening to Eddie playing ‘guitar’ on an electrical violin. Pity to see a good musician being overshadowed in this way. This focus on the band’s founders was confirmed again in the encore, which they did as a duo, and the other two did not show up for the final applause.

A small blemish on an otherwise great concert, but I guess the two have agreed to this before for the entire tour. Either way, if you have a chance to catch them on one of the remaining gigs of this tour – by all means make sure you get a ticket.

Thirty Years
Carrying No Cross
Time to Kill
Violin/Keyboard Solo (E. Jobson)
Rendezvous 6:02
Drum Solo (V. Donati)
In the Dead of Night
By the Light of Day
Presto Vivace and Reprise
Forever Until Sunday (Bruford cover)
Caesar’s Palace Blues
The Only Thing She Needs
Carrying No Cross (reprise)

Top blog entries of the past 30 days

These are the 10 most popular entries on my blog over the past 30 days. Great job by Unto Us – this is the only audio recording from their album that is available online as far as I know…


Track of the Day: Unto Us – These Four Walls
Angelo’s Rock Orphanage – how about that?
Edison’s Children – The Final Breath Before November
Colin Tench December 2014 interview
Track of the Day: Fractal Mirror – Stars
Track of the Day: Pain of Salvation – Falling Home
Track of the Day: Peter Matuchniak – Product
TotD: Grobschnitt – Solar Music
Night of the Prog @ Loreley, 17-19 July 2015 (part 2)
Track of the Day: Gong – Fohat Digs Holes in Space


Entity – Il Falso Centro

Entity is an Italian band, founded as far back as 1994. After several years of performing live and going through a few line up changes, the band finally released their debut album Il Falso Centro. The album tells the story of someone going through an identity crisis, based on poems by Yuri Deriu. An interesting idea, and worked out in a surprising way, given that the album is largely instrumental.


In being instrumental, the bass and keyboards of band founders Gigo Lungo and Mauro Mulas dictate the music to a large extend, as with other Italian bands like Le Orme and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. The opening track Davanti alla Specchio is the best example of that, with the main part of the song being piano and bass only. The other instruments only join in to create a bridge to the following track Il Desiderio, which has a jazzy bass line and interesting dialog between the guitar and keyboards.

On Il Tempo, keyboards and strings are the main element, with a metallic guitar riff in the choruses. It is a melancholic track, with a nice piano part at the end. This is a perfect intro for Trip Dell’Ego, which is a full blown progressive rock song. Piano parts, guitar and bass dialogs, and a symphonic eruption of the keyboards lead to a sung poem of Yuri Deriu. This one needs a few listens to sink in, but it is very well composed.

The next two tracks, ANT, and L’Armatura, are the heaviest of the album. L’Armatura is a 12 minute epic with metal influences and emotional vocals. To cool off after that, the band included the six minute piano piece La Notta Oscura Dell’anima.

This album is almost a 21st century tribute to older Italian symphonic rock bands. Keyboards are in the lead, but never overpower the music – and although there are references to the 30 year old Italian prog in there, it never sounds out dated or old fashioned. 

Rush – Moving Pictures

 When I joined the review team of ProgPlanet, I was asked whether at some point I could do a review of my favourite Rush album – being a huge Rush fan for (I’m growing old) over 30 years.

Rush Moving Pictures

First problem with that is finding out what actually would qualify as my favourite Rush album. I ended up counting my favourite tracks to find the album that contained most of them, and I ended up with a tie between Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves. So, flipping a coin did the trick, and here’s my review of Moving Pictures. I’ll probably do one on Permanent Waves as well some time, but not today.

I was too young to catch all that, but Permanent Waves and (to a lesser extend) Moving Pictures were criticised for being being too commercial for a progressive hard rock band as Rush had been in the 1970s. Long debates have since taken place in bars, at birthday parties, on radio and certainly on the internet, but fact of the matter is that Rush are obviously a band consisting of three very smart men. They changed styles a few times, but managed to keep a consistent fan base over 40+ years. Even now, people are asking them to please stick around for a few more albums after they finish their 40th anniversary tour at the end of this year.

These two albums signify the first of these changes in direction (unless you, dear reader, are among the few who consider the step from the debut album to Fly By Night as a separate step), and it’s a step that works very well for me. I appreciate the long epics and hard rock sound of 70s Rush, but have always been drawn more to their early eighties albums. Why? Because of the melodies, because of the richer sounds added by the additional keyboards (which were more than slightly over-dominant a few years later) and because of the great skill of all three band members.

On Moving Pictures, that starts with the rhythmic vocal of Geddy Lee over a Neil Pearts drums, joined by the keyboards until the guitar and bass come in to build a song structure where all instruments seem to echo the vocal melody. This track also emphasises the newly found place for the keyboards and synthesizers, who give it a very much more orchestral sound than 70s Rush work, and who dominate the first part of the instrumental mid section. However, the distinct bass sound of Geddy Lee and the guitar solo of Alex Lifeson are still the things that make it a Rush track.

On Red Barchetta the keyboards take the lead again in the intro and opening verse, but already at the beginning of the song there is an indication that more is about to occur. After all, this is a song about a car, and what instruments are better suited to bring across the sound and emotion of driving a fast car than an electric guitar and electric bass? So, the keyboards are, even more than on Tom Sawyer, accompanied by a heavy guitar and a bass that sounds like a fast running engine (Geddy Lee certainly knows that there are more frets to be found on a bass than just the first 5). The song tells the story of a young man in a not so distant future, when cars are forbidden. In his uncles barn he hides an old Barchetta and uses it to race the police during weekends – the sound and adrenaline perfectly mimicked by the instruments. And that includes the cool off at said uncle’s fire side that ends the song.

My favourite track on this album is the legendary instrumental, inspired by the airport code of Toronto – YYZ. The opening is a play on the morse code for YYZ, and from there the song builds into an instrumental rock eargasm, with Geddy Lee’s bass driving the track, in the beginning, giving way to Alex’s guitar only when this sets in the solo. A solo with a slight middle eastern undertone in the melody. Here again – the keyboards get their place, but only briefly at the start of the last 1.5 minutes.  A song fit for flying low on the motorway, for those who don’t own private jets or fly commercial airliners.

Being a fan of Rush for so long, I’ve also become very fond of the lyrics and books written by drummer Neil Peart. He’s been expressing his own opinions and emotions in his lyrics since the day he joined Rush, although on the first few albums (Fly by Night and Caress of Steel) they were more obscured in legend and phantasy than later on. Limelight, the fourth track on Moving Pictures, is a track in which he expresses how uncomfortable the farmer’s son was, and has always been, about being famous.

This track relies heavily on Geddy Lee again, because of the keyboards, but mainly because of a driving bass pulse that almost hurts when played live. The bass in instrumental mid section is almost worth replaying on its own.

After this, The Camera Eye, tells about the lives in New York and London, metropoles on different sides of the Atlantic. Two different cities with a different feel to them, expressed in layers of keyboard, bass and guitar work. Starting with just keyboards, the song builts up slowly, until all instruments are there, and a bass pulse brings it to the first few verses, describing New York – a city that gives the narrator of the story an uneasy feeling reflected in the keyboard heavy instrumentation. The keyboards and guitars go into an instrumental interlude, taking turns in leading the band on, but without ever dropping into what could be called a solo, and take us to London. A prouder, greener city, with more history than New York. The music and the vocals sound more optimistic here, even though the lyrics question whether the Londoners still see the beauty of their surroundings. Two cities, two faces – and one brilliant piece of rock music.

The gloomy intro of Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) is a different story after this. The voices and noises in the background predict something terrible is going to happen to someone – a burning, a hanging… the dark percussive keyboard sounds add to that atmosphere. The guitar and sparse drum beats underneath the first verse have the same effect in a completely different way – a brilliant move I think.

The lyrics were, according to Peart, based on three theaters of fear: how fear works inside people, how fear is used as a weapon, and the effects it has on mob mentality. These three were spread over Parts I to III of ‘Fear’, which were released in reverse order on consecutive albums, Part III ending up on Moving Pictures. With alternating verses supported by synths and guitar and bass, this track has a dark, recognisable pattern that sticks. I love it, for sure.

And then at the end of the ride, we find Vital Signs. A keyboard pulse leads the way for the vocals and guitar, which plays a slightly reggae like riffing pattern. The influence of keyboards and electronic music on this track is what made people complain about this change of direction for Rush. Limited to one track here, it comes back more on the follow up album Signals – considered the weakest album of the first 10 years of Rush by many.

Perhaps the weakest track of the album, but that may also be because it comes after so many good things that the listening mind is numbed. After all, over time I got to appreciate Signals more as well.

And yes, after writing this, I am convinced that Moving Pictures is indeed my favourite Rush album. This review appeared on ProgPlanet first, and is dedicated to my newly found friends there: Tonny Larsen, Rudy Madsen, and Ronny Wies.

Colin Tench December 2014 interview

Yes, I know, it’s already March 3rd 2015, and this interview should have been published 2 months ago. No need to argue about that, it’s published now – and it’s a load of fun to listen too. More details below the picture…


Picture collage by Sonia Mota

On December 23rd, 2014, I spent a total of two hours on a Skype connection with Colin Tench, guitarist of BunChakeze, Odin (Of London), Corvus Stone, Minstrel’s Ghost, Oceans 5, Colin Tench Project, and a few more new projects coming on this year. Ok, since you asked for it: Transmission Rails and Coalition. Last week, he concluded that he had been working non-stop on recording and mixing music for three whole years, in his snow cave somewhere in the (at this time of year still) freezing cold heart of Sweden. In this interview, he talks about how he ended up being a progressive rock fan and guitarist, how it could happen that the BunChakeze album was released just 25 years after being recorded, and what happened after that.

In passing, he addresses the importance of the internet and social media for modern independent music. In fact, without the internet, he probably would never have found the driving force behind his main project Corvus Stone – a force that is not a musician… Indeed, he is talking about Sonia Mota’s art work, this time without referring to her bum.

Overall, these were two hours well spent. As you may notice, the recording here only covers just over 50 minutes. Reason for that is that we covered some other topics, which are not directly related to Colin’s own work – these will be published in a separate, written article some time in the coming two months.

Happy listening – and please share this interview if you like it. That will encourage me to do more of them.

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Track of the Day: Peter Matuchniak – Product

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When I see the words ‘a progressive blend of jazz/rock/fusion’ on an album description, that sparks some interest. Jazz I can enjoy occasionally, but I don’t know a lot about it, rock I grew up with and fusion I like quite a lot, especially when music fits the defintion of jazz rock/fusion. Hmmm… that’s where the interest starts, we’re only one slash away from that with Peter Matuchniak‘s album Destiny.


An album I have had on my list for a few months and that I started listening to only about a week and a half ago. Glad I did, finally, because I like it quite a bit. Enough to honour it with a track-of-the-day today: Product. Not my first pick, I wanted to go for Go Slow (because of Steve Bonino’s bass work), but that one wasn’t available online for streaming. So, Product it is. A varied track, with piano, guitar, multiple vocalists and definitely a jazz/fusion feel to it. Enjoy, as I do.