Kristoffer Gildenlöw asks us to Pass the Torch

Once upon a time, there was a man called Kristoffer Gildenlöw, a musician. This man Kristoffer got caught by the cuteness of baby elephants, which is perfectly understandable if you know how cute these can be. He also noticed that baby elephants and their cuteness may not be available to future generations, if we continue to allow their habitat to be destroyed and their parents being hunted down and shot just for the ivory of their tusks.


That is why in December 2014, Kristoffer and some of his friends and partners organised a campaign to raise money the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The campaign raised €3000, to be spent on care for orphaned.

As a follow up to that, on May 1st 2015, Kristoffer releases a single called Pass the Torch, to once again raise money to save and protect elephants. On this single, he is accompanied by a large group of Dutch, Swedish and English fellow musicians, who agreed to the cause and to submitting all profits made from the sales of the single to the wildlife trust.

The single itself is a 5 minute piece of somewhat surprising music. Kristoffer has a background in metal and progressive rock, but the opening of the track reminds somewhat of circus music, mixed with the jazzy piano of Paolo Conté (for those who know his 80s hit ‘Max’).  After the intro, the song gets more of a somewhat jazzy rock feel, with the continued presence of Kristoffer’s organ and bass playing. This gradually develops into a multi vocal, slightly rock musical like piece.

Halfway, a short narration might have a familiar ring to it for Genesis fans (“It’s one o’ clock…”), after which female vocals and the accompanying music take us to what could be a fifties music performance, before the circus like music returns, this time including a youth choir in the background.

Musically, there are some more surprises to be found, but I don’t want to spoil the fun of discovery by doing a second by second description. Rest assured that it will be fun to listen to, and to discover the organ, the bass, the singing saw, the copper section, the cello and so on. Not exactly a hit parade song, rather a full blown mini musical about being more respectful to Mother Earth. This of course goes back to what I described in the introduction to this little review – killing animals for fun and financial gain only, and cutting down forests is not exactly the way to preserve the planet. As Kristoffer puts it in the lyrics:

We need a way that we can show our brilliance.

To pass the torch as human race

Set an example for a brighter future, or we will stand for a big disgrace.

A great single, for an important cause. I’d suggest anyone interested in good music and the well being of our planet head over to Kristoffer’s web site (or CDBaby) and get this single in exchange for a donation of €1 or more. Kristoffer is also releasing an album in January 2016 (follow up to 2010’s RUST), which will not contain this single, there you have another reason to get it.

Line up

Kristoffer Gildenlöw – piano, electric piano, organ, bass, guitar, vocals

Guest musicians:

Collin Leijenaar – drums

Maaike Peterse – cello

Anne Bakker – musical saw

Victoria Rule – trumpet

Rupert Whitehead – trombone

Ray Heame – tuba

Stephanie Tepper – flute and piccolo

Johan Hallgren – vocals

Taloch Tony Jameson – vocals

Maria Catharina – vocals

Students of Wateringse Veld College – Youth Choir


For further inquiries contact:

Spectral Mornings 2015

Those who know Steve Hackett‘s work also know the center piece of his 1979 master piece Spectral Mornings. On April 27th, so yesterday, a charity EP was released which contains four different versions of that track.


The first version is a re-recording of the track, with vocals (male and female) of the song, the second a piano version of the same. After these, a new rendition of the original follows, and the EP is closed with the classic mix, which stays closest to the original from 1979. Each of the four has its own merits, but played after one another they resemble a long, very enjoyable version of Spectral Mornings.

The EP is sold through Cherry Red Records, and as said, it’s a charity EP: all proceeds will go to Parkinsons Society UK, who are funding research into preventing and curing Parkinson’s Disease.

Tiger Moth Tales – Cocoon

“Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… This is a cautionary tale, and it concerns a man, a gifted man, living on an island made out of musical instruments….”


That could be the beginning of an album review for Tiger Moth Tales‘ album Cocoon, crafter by multi-instrumentalist Peter Jones. To be honest, it is the beginning of such a review now. As I write this review, I have heard the album quite a few times, but during the final listen before writing this, the hairs on my arms still stood upright during the closing track. That must mean something, so let’s have a look at what Cocoon is, and what it has to offer…

As said, this is an album by the English multi-instrumentalist Peter Jones. A blind musician at that, one who has to rely fully on his ears, and what that means clearly shows on this album, on which he sings, and plays keyboards, talkbox, guitar, saxophone, whistles, sarod, zither, melodica, bells and percussion. The drums are programmed and Mark Wardle plays flugelhorn, but everything else is done by this one man, who als wrote all music and lyrics. I mentioned before that one man bands are quite common these days (in my review for Steam Theory), and here’s another one that proves that this can actually work well when focus is on releasing an album.

So… Cocoon, I reckon the best way to describe this album is by calling it a trip into the world of Peter Jones, fan of Steve HackettGenesis, Big Big Train, Frost*, Haken and many more. A fan of the kind that writes and plays his own music almost in tribute to his favourites – his own Four Seasons if you will (short tracks named after the seasons interleave the songs on this album).

That shows in many ways on this very versatile album, that echoes both the sounds of the 70s and modern rock. The opening Overture is not so much an overture of the music on the album, as an overture of the instruments the man can play and who his inspirations are. There is a dark keyboard melody in there, followed by a saxophone solo and then wild keyboard work that (on slightly less modern instruments) might not have been out of place in the heyday of Yes and ELP.

The follow up The Isle of Witches, on which the intro to this review is based, starts with a narrative and is the followed by dark music – telling the tale of a war between witches and wizards over an island. A song that has organ pieces, vocal effects, and even a metallic mid section (somehow reminded me of something on the very first Ayreon album). A track that requires listening – not suited as background music nor as a lullaby – unless you want to provoke nightmares.

Tigers in the Butter is a 14 minute track that has every aspect of a 1970s epic in it – it consists of different musical movements, one rocky another based on a piano melody and yet another having an eastern feel to it. The lyrics are slightly absurd, but at the same time thought provoking (we live our live in fantasy), and sung in a style that has aspects of what Peter Gabriel and John Wetton did in their younger years. Another listener, that is followed by a great instrumental, The First Lament. Great for those who love guitar, and especially guitar in (at least to my ears) the style of Gary Moore‘s Parisienne Walkways or The Messiah Will Come AgainPeter has a knack for keyboards, but the guitar is a very close second, if not equal. The additional touch of the flute in the beginning makes it into a Tiger Moth Tale yet again.

And then… the fun really kicks in with The Merry Vicar, a happy track with folk and musical influences in the versus, but with a fitting, more rock oriented keyboard and piano mid section. The lyrics about a vicar using music and absurdism to spread the word of God are brought in an equally absurd way as the vicar would himself. To me, this clearly gets the message across that it’s only too human to take everything so serious.

With the vicar gone, A visit to Chigwick is our next stop, and it’s all about childhood memories. Chigwick doesn’t exist – except in the singer’s head, as he sings (even though the name resembles that of Chiswick in London ). In reality, the town is based on English children’s TV shows Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley – the name being a combination of the latter two [Added this explanation after Peter explained it]. The song starts out folky. It even reminds me briefly of Dirty Old Town, if it weren’t a folk traditional song but a modern composition. The keyboard, guitar and bass work on this track are brilliant, and the build up from folk to full instrumental rock is absolutely wonderful (and yes, there is a melodica on this one…, and it fits too). It’s almost a pity it only lasts for just under 9 minutes. Almost, not quite though, because there is that one closing track remaining that made the hair on my arms stand up, some 800 words ago, remember? That track is called Don’t let go, Feels alright. If we talk about emotion and build up in a song, this one has it all. Starting with a musical box, it quickly moves to a piano piece on which Peter sings in a wonderful emotional voice, accompanied by strings where needed. Later on drums and more layered, choral vocals are added, but only after two superb instrumental sections, with saxophone, guitar and keyboard solos that make you wonder whether this is really a single man playing…

Looking at Peter Jones’ bio on his web site, he is no stranger to the music business – having been appeared on a BBC program at age 8, and being a performing artist in the duo  2 to Go (playing clubs and corporate events). However, what he does on this album is in a completely different league, and it is a shame this album is drowning in the attention paid to the new works of old names. Tiger Moth Tales should be, has to become, a known name at some point, but for the time being this album has every aspect in place of a cult classic.

And just to raise the hairs on my arm again, I include a video here, of Peter’s rendition of the Genesis classic More Fool Me (also to make up for not having posted a Track-of-the-Day for almost two weeks). Tiger Moth Tales and Peter Jones, two names to keep in mind.

Nice Beaver @ JJ Music House 10-04-2015

A few weeks before this gig, I heard Nice Beaver for the first time, on Marty Dorman‘s The Waiting RoomA shame really, given the musical power this band has shown since the late 1990s, and the fact that all band members live within an hours drive from my house. To make up for that, I wanted to go to their CD presentation, for the 2015 album The Time it Takes. Since I couldn’t make it, I decided to go see them a few weeks later at JJ Music House in Zoetermeer. Armed with a friend, Guido Kruyswijk, a camera and money to buy their back catalog I took off and was treated to a nice surprise: this very tight, driven live band.


Due to the late announcement of this gig, and the fact that Renaissance were playing at De Boerderijjust a few kilometers away, the audience was a bit less than Nice Beaver deserves, but they weren’t playing to an entirely empty room either. During the gig, I heard the few tracks that were played in The Waiting Room, and many (for me) new ones, and I never got bored. Nice Beaver holds a recipe for powerful prog, with super tight drums, melodic bass, Camel like guitar and keyboards – and loads of melodic solos.


Hans Gerritse


Peter Stel


Corné van Disseldorp



With a decent sound (the guitars could’ve been a bit higher in the mix, that’s all) and a slightly nervous vocalist Erik Groeneweg (who didn’t always reach the high notes the way he can) the band guided uit through most of their new album, three tracks from On Dry Land (2002) and a medley from Oregon (2004). A lovely set, and the band clearly enjoyed it, given the fact that drummer Corné and guitarist Hans were caught smiling more than once by the present cameras (including mine).

After the performance, we had a nice chat with the band, about how they record albums, how drummer Corné joined the band a few years ago and who does what outside just playing. Four great musicians, with an open mind and a good sense of humor were more than willing to talk – and to sign their album. Best joke of the evening: we were talking to Corné when the lights went of, indicating start of the performance so he had to go on stage. Upon leaving he said ‘We’ll continue this later’ – to promptly show up at our corner of the venue after the show saying ‘Sorry, I had to go do something quickly, where were we?’


Erik Groeneweg


The powerful prog rock of Nice Beaver is a fairly unknown export product of The Netherlands, with their album being distributed world wide through Polish Oskar label. I’d recommend anyone to give them a try, and buy the new album – or see them live if you can (which is for the time being a hard thing to do outside The Netherlands and perhaps Germany or Belgium). Sometimes, the best music is made next door…


  • River So Wide
  • Close to Proximity
  • Culley on Bleecker Street
  • Oversight
  • Rainbow’s End
  • Timeline
  • Wintersong
  • The Time it Takes
  • Sound behind Sound
  • Lawnmower’s Day Off
  • Oregon
  • Beaver state
  • Waiting for the Bell
  • Love on Arrival

Sunny sunday morning

The wind moves the curtain
The wall shows patterns of the sun
I hear the sounds of children playing
Another day has just begun

I erupt from the blankets
In my sleep new plans were spun
I hear the sound of music playing
Each day my life becomes more fun

As I put my clothes on
A beautiful song one sings
And as I hum along to that one
I hear my phone, the future rings

The wind moves the curtain
The wall shows patterns of the sun
I hear the sound of music playing
My life anew begun

The Tangent – Spark in the Aether

The Tangent, that was band I hadn’t heard of until 2008, when on an evening at the former Progwalhalla web shop’s owner I got to hear (and buy) Not as Good as the Book. That was good, and what followed I liked as well – and now, there is Spark in the Aether, also known as The Music That Died Alone Volume Two, after The Tangent’s debut album.


I think reviews of albums should avoid being ‘over the top’, certainly when new albums come out that have not yet had the time to prove or disprove their quality at the time of reviewing. With this one, I may have a hard time keeping myself to that, so please bear with me. This album is something that sticks to your mind, and since it is not released yet at the time I write this, I have no clue how long it will stick.

The album opens with Spark in the Aether, the title track, which is an up tempo, in your face track – driven by an energizing keyboard, and a driving bass. In your face, is the phrase that I expect will come to the mind of many fellow reviewers. Every once in a while a band comes up with a tune, a riff or a lick that makes you want to go back, and with this one it’s The Tangent’s turn. I posted this one earlier as track of the day, check that out if you want to sample it before convincing yourself you should get this album. Lyrically, this one is a first look at what master mind of The Tangent, Andy Tillison has in mind for us – here starting with a call to stop listening to the same old tunes and make up some new once, looking for the spark in the aether.

After such a fun opening, the rest better be very good as well. With Codpieces and Capes, that is well assured – no need guessing what this one is about. A 12+ minute epic about how progressive rock bands of the 70s were considered pretentious by the press, but to their fans were something completely different. Contains everything the prog bands of yonder days brought to play: loud keyboards, crazy riffs and tunes, flute, multi vocal choruses. Sometimes feels like ELP, then like Yes, and maybe even as Jethro Tull when the flute comes in, but always it feels like The Tangent. Best to have a good listen, this is sub titled ‘a love song‘ for a reason, and Andy’s lyrics explain it perfectly, he still loves his old heroes – or does he? Just keep in mind the closing verse ‘The critics said “pretentious”, my God they were so wrong…. (They were probably right about the rug)”. To the point, sarcastic, and with reference to a short description of an ELP gig at New Castle Hall, in which it is mentioned that ‘Greg stands on a nice rug’.

To calm down after already almost 20 minutes of great music, the album continues with Clearing out the Attic, a song about that somehow brought Caravan’s Golf Girl to mind when I first heard it. Jazzy, but rocky at times as well, and with a relaxed vocal that sings lyrics that are not easy to pin point, but show at least some sarcasm – seemingly about Andy’s own fiery words toward others, that put him in the ‘plastic bag’ of his own niche. A wonderful piece of jazzy progressive rock.

This is followed by an instrumental tribute to Pink Floyd’s Careful with that Axe Eugene, fittingly called Aftereugene. A well performed piece that has acoustic guitar in the intro, then builds a psychedelic landscape with organ, percussion, electric guitar and flute – followed by a very well executed, but somewhat scary, saxophone solo to top it of… ‘careful with that sax…’

But, an album by classic prog lovers, and certainly Andy,  as The Tangent are, needs a really long epic. This we find in The Celluloid Road, which in four different parts guides us through America, but with only references related to movies and TV shows. The music underneath goes from dreamy guitar music, through rocking soul, back to guitar tunes and once again to ‘brass and bass’ – an eclectic ride through the land of the free and the home of the brave, that ‘looks alright in the TV light’. Wonderfully build up and the lyrics are a brilliant way to describe this piece of the world.

Alas, after that 20 minute trip, it is time to return to the title track, with Spark in the Aether Part 2. This is a largely instrumental piece, once again with a bit of a jazz feel to it, until half way the organ comes in to build up a stage on which the jumpy, bouncy keyboard riff of the opening track can shine once again. Also, at this point the vocal return to repeat the chorus of the title track.

That would’ve been a fitting end, but The Tangent has added an encore, by putting a ‘radio edit’ of San Fransisco, one of the parts within The Celluloid Road, on the album. This is (almost) danceable, with a funky, soulful bouncing rhythm and melody. Would this get The Tangent airplay perhaps? Probably not, but on the right station it would work for sure.

This is among the best albums I’ve heard so far this year, and I reckon it will come out on top. Andy Tillison is a great musician and lyricist – and combining his talent with those of Jonas Reingold (bass, The Flower Kings), Theo Travis (sax, flute, Robert Fripp), Luke Machin (guitar, Machine) and Mogan Ågren (drumsKaipa) makes The Tangent into a wonderful and very powerful band.

To avoid going really over the top, I’ll leave it at this. I love this type of music, and I hope you readers can love it too.

P.S. Thanks to Andy himself for providing a review copy of this album. I ordered the signed vinyl nevertheless, because the band needs and deserves support (and money) for a follow up to this.

Steam Theory – Asunder (album review)

Where the 1970s were an era of classic prog bands, the 1990s of prog metal bands, it seems  the 2010s are the time of the one man projects that may or may nog grow in to bands. Last week I posted a review for Oliver Rüsing’s Karibow, earlier I also had a review for Marco Ragni’Mother of the Sun, and (Robin) Taylor’s Universe. now it’s time for Steam Theory, a one man project of multi-instrumentalist Jason Denkevitz. Meanwhile, the list of pending reviews has a few additional ones (Tiger Moth Tales, which is Peter Jones) and Kalle Vilpuu’s Silver Ligning to name two).

Steam Theory Asunder

In case of Steam Theory, we are talking about a one man project, as said by Jason Denkevitz, who released his first album in 2010. On that album (Enduring Delirium), and 2012’s Helios Rider, some drummers and a keyboard player were playing their part – on the new album Denkevitz played all instruments himself. In the mean time, he has assembled a four-piece band though, to take the material to live performances.

On this album, which lasts almost 90 minutes, we are treated to 13 tracks, 3 of which are over 9 minutes long. The music of Steam Theory is described on the band’s web site as ‘Attempting to fuse several genres together, the goal was to maintain a priority on strong themes and melodies’. In that, Denkevitz has surely succeeded. Just looking at the notes I took while listening to the album, I come across the words ‘classic prog’, ‘movie sound track’, ‘prog metal’, ‘jazz rock’, ‘classical orchestration’ and even ‘psychedelic or space rock’ at various points. That, combined with the length of some of the tracks and the album itself, shows the strength as well as the weakness of this album: the music is heavily orchestrated, arranged in a non-trivial manner and very diverse. That makes it challenging and interesting to listen too, but also at some point almost impossible to grasp and to stay focused on. But I managed, and if I can do it, there must be more people who can.

So, what do we find on this album? From the opening, it is clear that orchestration, in an almost cinematographic way is an important piece of the music. Not a surprise for those who have read the announcement of the album, and certainly not bad. The first track, title track Asunder, starts like that, and gradually moves more into a rock feel, until exactly half way a visit is paid to jazz rock country, with a fretless bass and a shifting drum pattern as our guide. After this, the track goes off in an almost space rock direction.

The rest of the album shows more of the same heavy, sound track like orchestration, but still every track has it’s own merits. Adrift, which starts with an acoustic guitar with a mediterranean ring to it, later develops into a rockier piece with a guitar lead that borders on metal, and an instrumental part that is almost a classical orchestra. In a similar vein are the tracks Toys, Intar and Escape Velocity. The latter is a lot heavier than the former though – more metal like.

Completely different then those are Fireflies – which could be inspired by either one of the well known pieces The Typewriter, In the Hall of the Mountain King or Sting of the Bumblebee – and Shyft, which is a weird kind of Kraftwerk meets metal. Then, different again, is No Such Thing, which starts with a heavy, low, bass intro and builds up to a piece in which heavy rock and an orchestra compete for the lead. Heavy rock wins, with a biting guitar solo at the end.

The end of the album is marked by the 11 minute Saga, a true movie sound track, that is like a roller coaster ride. To difficult to explain, has to be experienced. Only thing left after this ride is Rejoinder, which indeed rejoins the listener with real life. An acoustic guitar and a (synth?) cello lead us back to reality in a calming way.

An interesting ride, that kept me busy for a while. I admire people like Jason Denkevitz for being able to play all instruments on albums like this. It is always clear though which is their main instrument, the acoustic and electric guitar playing are what makes most of the tracks really shine – even if, according to the liner notes, the main focus was on orchestration. For those who are into complex music (and most prog fans are) this is a recommended roller coaster ride, but be aware that it should be consumed in pieces, or on a long evening alone.


Track of the Day: Karibow – The Cry (Radio Edit)

German band Karibow, headed by Oliver Rüsing, are a German band that create music right on the edge, and beyond it on both sides, of prog and AOR. I reviewed their latest album Addicted earlier this week, but no track was available online to complement that review with a well deserved track-of-the-day. In the mean time, a video for The Cry was created and put online, so here goes…. Enjoy, like the people who awarded Karibow best progressive rock act of Germany did.


Karibow – Addicted (album review)

A perfect candidate for Angelo’s Rock Orphanage. That is what Oliver Rüsing delivered under the name Karibow on the album Addicted. There is a tendency amongst progressive (or symphonic) rock fans to dismiss everything that is ‘not prog enough’. As such, the band is missing amongst the list of bands and albums on many prog web sites, despite their bio states that they are influenced by (next to pop) rock and (neo)progressive rock, and they got the German Rock & Pop Award for Best Progressive Band in 2014. Exactly the type of band that led me to come up with the name Rock Orphanage.


Certainly, the prog influences are clear on this album, there is a lot of keyboard/synth  work that goes beyond standard pop and rock tunes, even though the average track length of just over 3 minutes (not counting the two 8 1/2 minute tracks) makes it hard to build soundscapes or include many tempo (and time signature) changes. Luckily, Oliver Rüsing is very much aware of this – being one of those musicians that create the music they like (in this case already since 1997), without trying to fit a certain pigeon hole. As he told me himself: those who like AOR are as much an audience for Karibow as those who like progressive rock – with the track The Cry (Radio Edit) on the album as illustration. A radio ready rock track in the vain of perhaps Toto or Survivor, transferred to the 21st century – with vocals that contain a hint of Sting here and there.

16 tracks on a single album is a lot, and I won’t do a track-by-track on such a lot anymore, as it makes reviews a pain to read. Instead, let’s have a look at some highlight. First of all, there is indeed a lot of music on this album that is perhaps only borderline progressive rock, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Certainly not to those who have a soft spot for bands like Toto, Survivor or even Styx (all in their better days). Tracks like the ballad Primeval, or Place to BeAlways There and Something will not disappoint in that respect.

On top of that, there are more complex and rocky tracks that are certainly part of the progressive rock landscape, with the instrumental F8 Al Ba6 and the varied 9/16 as best examples. For F8 Al Ba6 I wrote in my notes “This is what is all about, a layered instrumental with a keyboard driven tune, nicely supported by the bass and a beautiful lead guitar”. 9/16 is the track that comes closest to what we could call an epic, as it falls apart in different pieces, each with their own characteristics (rocking guitar at the start, keyboard driven melancholic middle…) and tempos. Not to mention a slow, melodic guitar solo.

Also there are small surprises here and there – like the Styx-like keyboard leads in Place to Be and Something, and the keyboard melody that reminds so much of a certain Vangelis track in Always There.

A final word on the production of this album, because after the mix was done by Oliver Rüsing and the mastering by Eroc (former drummer and producer of Grobschnitt). Because the mix is very dense on this album, Eroc tried to find a good balance between dynamics and loudness, and found it by applying mastering settings he had used in the past for mastering Maria Callas albums. That adds a nice anekdote to a fine album, that is certainly worth listening to for AOR fans, and for any rock fan who is in need of good melodies, nice vocals and balanced mix of more and less complex tracks. This one will spin more often in my house for sure.

Most popular posts since March 5th

It’s been a little over a month since I posted an overview of most popular blog posts here. So here’s the new set. I left the home page in this time, because it belongs in the list. After all, from there people click further. Also there are less tracks of the day in the list this time, because they appear only twice a week, to create more room for album and gig reviews.

Happy reading, if you find something here you’ve not seen before.

1. The Gentle Storm @ De Melkweg, March 26 2015 460 reads in the first 24 hours!
2. My life will never be the same, thanks to lonely Lisa (album review) The review that started me rolling last year
3. Home page / Archives
4. What to find inside? This Raging Silence – Isotopes and Endoscopes (Album review) Easter review
5. Colin Tench December 2014 interview  An interview that took 2 months to edit and publish 🙂
6. Elephants of Scotland – Execute and Breathe (Album Review)  Yesterday’s review, quite popular from the start!
7. Sylvium and Arena at Rock Ittervoort 28-3-2015  Pictures from a gig I visited. Gentle Storm pics will follow.
8. Track of the Day: Steam Theory – Asunder Great track, album review pending
9. Night of the Prog, Part 5: Let’s add Neal Morse and Lesoir! Best festival line up I’ve ever seen. Aiming for a press card there.
10. Manning – Akoustik #2 Album review, of an interesting acoustic album that everybody seems to be ignoring
11. Track of the Day: Jukka Tolonen Band – Carnival  Brilliant Finnish jazz rock track