Interview: Peter Jones of Tiger Moth Tales

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One of the first albums I reviewed this year was Peter Jones‘ album Cocoon, released under the name Tiger Moth Tales. The day before this audio interview is published online, he release his second album, Story Tellers Part One.

In the interview, Peter briefly (re)introduces himself, telling how he was playing in bands and plays when growing up, and starting 2 To Go with his friend Emma Paine. They played clubs and pubs, which they still do sometimes.

2CD Wallet with Spine.pdf

After releasing a solo album with ‘contemporary adult music’, Peter started writing down ideas he had, which eventually led to the album Cocoon. This album has been quite successful given the niche it was released in 6 months ago, and in the interview Peter tells a bit more about how it came into being and what happened afterwards.

After that, he explains how the quick and largely unplanned successor Story Tellers Part One came to the play, which is quite a surprising story in itself – as story teller Peter will let you hear.

To close it off, we talked about future plans, like new albums, the possibility of touring and a cooperation Peter has with English instrumental prog band Red Bazar.

The audio recording of the interview is included below for streaming, a full written transcript of the interview will appear on Background Magazine within the next few weeks.


Drifting Sun – Trip the Light Fantastic

Drifting Sun are a band that escaped my attention, because their first two albums were released during a period in which I hardly listened to any music apart from what happened to be on mainstream radio. Had they not released a new album this year, I would probably not have missed them for quite a while, because they are not among the bands that are mentioned on a daily basis. Now that they did release an album, and I have heard of them, I may was well tell the world how I feel about it. [acfw id=2]

drifting sun

Listening to the album it is clear that the band knows how to build up a song. The title track Trip the Light Fantastic opens the album with piano and high pitched but clean vocals. It fills up with the other instruments over the first half and becomes more guitar driven in the second half – until the piano returns. A similar build up is found in Five Fever, but here the first half is mainly piano and synths.

Completely different to this are The Wizard (with a 70s hard rock feel in the guitar playing, and matching vocals) and  the Pendragon like Tormented (fiery guitar opening, prominent bass and keyboards in the vocal parts).

Lady Night and The Last Supper are two longer tracks. The former has great vocal work and pulsing keyboard in places, and seems to be mixed slightly different than the rest of the album (bass and keyboards stand out a bit more).

Last Supper also has a pulsing riff at it’s center, but much more prominent than Lady Night. The guitar and organ really work together here, not surprisingly many reviews of this album compare this to old Deep Purple work. There’s a lot more going on in this somewhat haunting track than I want to explain here – it’s ‘hearing is believing’ I think.

A separate mention goes to the four short tracks that separate the longer ones. Peach Blossoms and Sunsets are the first two, which have a slightly classical feel to them. The have to bow for the other two though. Ode to Nevermind has a great (electric and acoustic) guitar and bass interplay, and XXX Forever reminds me in a way of a certain Mr. Hackett and Mr. Banks. Without these short interludes this would be a completely different album.

Summarising, this album is very likely not the most renewing thing in the world of rock. That’s no disqualification though, because I’ve heard more quite appealing ‘retro’ albums over the past six to nine months. Retro is perhaps not even the right word, the band makes music in a style that has been around since early Marillion, Pendragon and other similar bands, but despite an occasional hint to even older times, with a modern touch to it. The compositions work, the vocals are absolutely great and I love the keyboard work. A worthy album to include in 2015s collection.

Moonburn – Null Abstract

Moon burn are an Indian band, which just released their debut EP, entitled Null Abstract. The EP consists of 5 tracks, four of which have a length of around 6 minutes, the last one (the title track) being a little bit shorter. [acfw id=2]


All tracks are build around a guitar tune, and keyboards and the rest of the instruments merge around that. The songs all have something of repetitive theme in them in the vocal parts, which makes them a little boring, and an instrumental midsection in which especially the skills of the guitarists shows through.  The lead vocals are a bit similar on all tracks, and seem to lack bit of emotion, which is only partly compensated by the well performed backing vocals.

Looking at the individual tracks, I think Sono Luminescence works best. On this track, the balance between the instruments works best, and it has the best structured instrumental midsection of the five. Wonderlust on the contrary seems to be a rather simple rock song in the end, the attempt to build a ‘soundscape’ is overpowered by the guitar and doesn’t work for me. The title track is shorter and also musically different from the other tracks. With spoken rather than sung vocals, and a somewhat psychedelic keyboard tune over a pulsing guitar and drum rhythm it works really well. A bit more variation in the other tracks would’ve made this a better debut, but the listening to the individual instruments and the crisp mix, this band certainly has potential.

The album is available from iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and more online stores.

Corvus Stone – Corvus Stone Unscrewed

The unexpected sometimes happens at the most unexpected moment. I guess that’s the nature of the unexpected… After two years, Corvus Stone came up with a new album in September last year, which proved to be a step up from their first. Unexpectedly, they show up now now with  a a new album again, only 9 months later: Corvus Stone Unscrewed. Not an entirely new album in terms of music, but a combination of new tracks, extended versions of tracks from the first two albums and remixes of some more. The remixing has been an effort by Colin Tench, who spent months getting the sound he was looking after hearing the bands own works so often.  [acfw id=2]

corvus stone unscrewed

A great sound – unlike some album I reviewed earlier this year, the music is not compressed, all instruments are easily heard and distinguished, and the balance in volume across tracks is never lost.  Forgive me if that sounds like trying to sell the album, I was in the position to hear some early mixes and comment on those, and I really do like the sound of this album. Note that in reaction the loudness war, Colin made sure this album is everything but loud and has a dynamic range of 13.

One thing is clear from these new mixes, that may have gone slightly unnoticed on the first two albums. Corvus Stone has an amazing bass player in Petri Lindström. He is very much present on this album, without ever dominating the sound, but playing much more than standard bass lines at the same time. This is most clear on Horizon and Joukahainen without Chips.

As said, the album is a mix of remixed, revised and new tracks. Amongst the remixes we find Horizon and Moustaches from Massachussetts, two tracks that breath energy albeit in a slightly different manner. Horizon  is a bright, energetic rock track with nice percussion and an uncountable bass led midsection, while Moustaches is, being almost danceable, probably the predecessor of Scandinavians in Mexico from Corvus Stone II. In both cases, comparing the old and new mixes is worthwhile and will end in favour of the new mixes I’m sure. The same applies to the uncontrollably weird composition JussiPussi, with Murky Red master mind Stef Flaming as the main composer and performer.  After Solstice was also remixed, and the drums were re-recorded by Robert Wolff, creating an improved version of this track on which the instruments seem to go everywhere but always stays together.

In the revised and new sections, the most outstanding tracks are Early Morning Calls and Scary Movie Too.

Early Morning Calls, is an extended version of Early Morning Call, with changed guitar parts and extended with vocals – by Sean Filkins and Phil Naro. These changes make it into a different, possibly better, but still recognisable version of this waltz in 6/8.

Scary Movie Too, an extended version of Scarie Movie is so far my favourite on this album. It’s not all that much better than the rest, but it stands out because it sounds as if it’s recorded by a band playing together in a studio. That is impossible in case of Corvus Stone, due to geographical issues separating Mexico from the rest of the universe, but somehow the band managed to get that feel into the track. A feel that mixes well with the slightly haunting atmosphere of of the movie. An atmosphere also portrayed by the crow on the cover, an other MSPaint (!) masterpiece by covergirl Sonia Mota.


Lost and Found revisited, with Blake Carpenter, which now is much longer than on the original album. The new mix, the marching drums and the vocal melody provided by Blake are a very tasty combination. The split in two of Cinema (Petrified in the Cinema Basement and Cinema Finale) are remixed really well, and the real drums by Robert are added prove to be a good move. The hint to the name of the bass player in the first of these two tracks is no accident either.

Then there are four completely new tracks on the album, starting with the opening track Brand New Day, with a pulsing rhythm guitar joining the drums and a melodic baseline. The track Joukahainen without Chips (how’s that for a typical CS title) has a guitar in it that reminded me of Gary Moore’s track Dunluce, which predates his blues escapades. Long, whining notes combined with short melodies, over a once again flawless bassline and a mattress of keyboards by Pasi Koivu.

Landfill, just like Joukahainen with guest drummer Paul Marshall, has a synth and guitar opening that makes it almost a ballroom dance tune. However, soon enough it becomes clear that all the funny noises that the band is so proud of come together in this track. Go find an list them all, there may be a prize involved…

To close if off, Pack up your Truffles is a slightly different beast, an island off peace to end the album (if not counting bonus track Moustaches). A guitar lead that stays low key, limited percussion and other accompaniment show the jazzy side of Corvus Stone.

So, with 4 new tracks, 9 revised tracks and a playing time of just under 50 minutes, Corvus Stone have managed to produce another album within 9 months from the previous release. One very much worth getting. Even if not every track is new, they all sound new and fresher than on the first two albums. The album is available from the band’s bandcamp page from  June 29th, for free to those who have bought the first two albums. From July 28th, it will be on sale to the general public. Go get it – this is a good introduction to a somewhat special (in many ways) band.

Pendragon – Men who climb Mountains

When I first heard Pendragon, they had just released Kowtow. A good album, but not all that exciting to me at the time. Years later, they made (and I heard) The Masquerade Overture, and I was more interested. In 2007, I saw them at Symforce, a festival in Tilburg in The Netherlands, and I enjoyed their show quite a bit – not in the least because the band breathed energy on stage. However, I didn’t really follow them, and apparently they changed their style a bit – or rather, band leader Nick Barrett changed his style quite a bit. On 2014’s Men Who Climb Mountains, the openness and energy of earlier albums has been replaced by a darker form of music that is still interesting, but very different from what I’ve heard in the past. Yet, I like it. [acfw id=2]


The opening track Belle Ame is a shorted electric guitar and vocal piece, with a dark touch to it. It becomes a bit more melodic near the end and functions as an intro to the follow up Beautiful Soul. At the start of that track, the tempo is increased and the other instruments join the guitar into a song that wonders about the future of a beautiful should (‘Who’s going to save you?’). The keyboards of Clive Nolan seem to play their own, fitting tune in the background, and the multi-layered chorus adds to the atmosphere.

On Come Home Jack, the intro is again a picked electric guitar, and the vocals are full of melancholy and emotion. This melancholic feeling flows into a guitar solo half way, with a prominent bass and drum joining in. From there, things speed up, until at 2/3 of the song we slow down again and go back to only the picked electric guitar. The keyboards join in at the end, to close up the final verse.

On In Bardo, the mood changes to a more postive, less dark feel. The track is more rocky and contains a keyboard and (Gilmouresque) guitar solo, both played by Nick Barrett himself. Actually, a lot of keyboard work on this album is played by him, with keyboard wizard Clive Nolan only filling in the remaining parts (and happily so, according to the band blog).

Faces of Light start quietly with only a piano, and gradually builds up to a full rock track. The multi-layered chorus (a Pendragon treat) works really well, but the song as a whole doesn’t really stick with me. It’s counterpart Faces of Darkness does, building up from keyboard and piano to a more metallic sound, with a bit of jazz metal influence in it and a few fitting guitar solos.

What is unclear is whether these Faces of Darkness are the faces of zombies, but they do appear in For When the Zombies Come. The keyboards start and are joined by a guitar lead that reminds me briefly of the ‘surf’-sound, but with a less happy feeling attached. The music goes into a slighly psychedelic mode, with slow, melodic vocals. It breathes admiration for David Gilmour, one of Barret’s favourite guitarists apparently. Again a track that sticks with me.

It is followed by Explorers of the Infinite which features acoustic guitar, keyboard and again a layered chorus. On this one, Barrett sings at what seems the edge of his reach, but without going out of key. The bass, a picked electric guitar and drums work really well here. The acoustic guitar comes back at the end to close things off, before we go to Netherworld. That is a slightly bombastic, almost symphonic track, with yet again a keyboard solo by Nick Barrett. Looking at the fact that the man wrote all songs, and played all important guitar and keyboard parts, this may be considered a Nick Barrett solo album – but as he says himself on his web site, it’s more convenient to use the Pendragon name. After all, he co-founded that band in 1978 and stayed with it until today.

This, as I wrote in the beginning, is not what fans of The Masquerade Overture or other older works of Pendragon may expect. The differences that are present between those albums and this one apparently started appearing on 2008’s Pure and 2011’s Passion, which I haven’t heard so far. Still, I find this a album worthy of listening and definitely a good item in the Pendragon catalog.


Yuko & Chronoship – Dino Rocket Oxygen

Progressive rock and rock music in general are quite popular in Japan. If American or European bands can’t find audience on native ground, often there still is an audience in Japan. However, Japan also produces some good artists and music by itself. A good example is Yuko & Chronoship, an ensemble headed by keyboard player and vocalist Yuko Funakoshi, who surrounds herself with a band consisting of bass player Shun Taguchi, guitarist Takashi Miyazawa and drummer Ikko Tanaka. [acfw id=2]

This album, which will get a successor in 2015, after a succesful crowd funding campaign, consists of three different ‘suites’: DinosaursR is for Rocket and Oxygen.
The first suite consists of 3 tracks. What was there first, the Dinosaur or the Egg? is a short keyboard soundscape, underneath a dino heartbeat, with a short, but fast guitar lead at the end. That is the intro to Dance with the Dinosaurs, which has a slightly jazzy bass line to it,  but clearly puts the keyboards in the lead.

YukaChronoshipDinoRocketOxygenWhile the dinosaurs dance, there’s a bit of room for guitar and bass to show what they can do – before the guitar ends the track in a true dino roar. After that roar, Ruler of the Earth kicks in, on which Yuka shows she can play piano as well – followed by keyboard, until after a closing chord we are back at the heartbeat that started the suite. A true homage to our distant ancestors.

After this the album looks at the future, R is for Rocket takes us into the era of space travel. Starting in Cutting Gravity with a countdown, the rocket starting up being mimicked by keyboards and heavy guitar, we prepare for a space trip. After launch, the guitar gives a feel of speeding up (Alex Lifeson anyone?), while the drums and bass image the pounding of an engine. When we enter space, things quiet down, and the music becomes more relaxed. The ending is a nice build up, starting with drums, to which bass, guitar and keys are added in sequence.

The story continues in Skygazer, which has a guitar and keyboard intro I noted down as ‘nutty’, and a drum rhythm that invites clapping. The keyboards move into something that could be intro music to a TV series, followed by drums and guitar working together, until the keyboards return in Vangelis style. At the end, the guitar keeps the rhythm, while the keyboard plays a children’s song – every listener should make his own story to this track I guess.

Then An Arrow of Glittering Music seems to bring us back to earth – with the sound of doors and bad speakers, then a a guitar being tuned. After tuning, a finger picked guitar plays a tune that sounds like classical music on a home recording. This grows more modern and moves into professional recording sound, At the end, a helicopter takes us straight into Blue Astronaut Helicopter. A piano joins the helicopter sound, followed by a guitar with a big chorus on it, over a heavy drum and bass beat – making it all sound like electronic dance music. The music takes over the whirring of the helicopter, then moves into a quitter soundscape – a little bit psychedelic rock like. As the beat returns, there’s a little flashback to 80s TV series Blue Thunder, before we switch to the final track of the suite Beyond the Fence, on which Yuka sings a short wordless melody.

The third suite, Oxygen, consists again of three tracks – O, O2 and O3, which are also the three forms of oxygen in nature (atom, oxygen molecule and ozone). Going through these three, we see that is entered around a fiery guitar and whirling keyboards, clearly mimicking the fact that oxygen atoms try to form molecules when let loose. These molecules are formed in O2, when the slightly sterile chemistry sound of is replaced by more lively O2,  breathable air. As the keyboard and organ take the stage, Yuka again sings a little bit – in a quite bombastic song that begins and ends more quietly with just piano.

The finale of the suite, and of the album is O3, which brings at first long synth notes and percussion that give the impression of something dripping. Then the rest of the instruments join in full force, to create a wall of sound that only stops for a brief piano interlude. A piano over which Yuka sings in a voice that resembles Kate Bush, quite surprising and surreal. The wall of sound returns, and the whole pattern, including the piano and singing is repeated once more – and then everything comes together. To close it off, keyboards and percussion go back to the ‘dripping’ impression, accompanied by a mellotron choir – until a single dinosaur heartbeat ends the album.

Before reviewing this album, I had only heard the name of the band, never the music. I’m glad I do know them now. Yuka is a great composer and musician, and she has found a band that fits her ideas. I’m looking forward to the next album while enjoying this one.

Glass Hammer – The Breaking of the World

Glass Hammer have been producing records since 1993, and have always been leaning on 1970’s symphonic rock. There’s a risk in that, in the sense that new material may sound out dated or repetitive, but Glass Hammers seems to work around that by rolling in the necessary jazz (rock) and not letting the keyboards cover everything as happens so often. [acfw id=2]


That, plus the fact that three band members each contribute separate tracks leads to sufficient variation and freshness, to my ears at least. One thing I do notice though – the band has been said to sound like Yes, and that is true in places. The voice of Carl Groves sometimes resembles that of Jon Anderson, and the tracks written by bass player Steve Babb sometimes show a Squire-esque bass presence. That only adds nicely to the mix, I’d say.

The opening track of the album Mythopoeia (written by Babb) is a good example of the above: the guitar and drum opening is indeed an intro to a bass heavy track, with Yes-like vocals, but after about a minute it becomes more jazzy, only to return to the previous mode when the vocals start. The second par of this 3-part song is only acoustic guitar and vocals, and in part three the keyboards finally get a chance to whirl it to an end. Variation and a thought out structure go hand-in-hand there.

Equally (or even more) varied is Third Floor, subtitled A Play in One Act, which is a mini-opera about a relationship between an man and a woman – forming and destruction of it, with the ‘Voice of Reason’ joining in to talk sense into them. Slightly bombastic at first, then heavy on guitar, a sweet melody – even a flute, it’s all there.

The following Babylon is once again a Babb composition, so heavy on bass and keyboards, with nice guitar work in the opening. The keyboards really do play a big role this time though, which makes it stand out nicely against the opening track.

And then A Bird When it Sneezes explains where the jazz influences come from – written by guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh, it is a really jazzy guitar and keyboard piece. Pity it lasts only 34 seconds, I’d love to hear more of this.

More peace is brought to the listener by Sand, which features a piano, only later on joined by keyboards, drums and a little bit of electric guitar at the end. Carl does sound like Jon here, but I can stand his voice better than Jon’s, so no way is this copy cat work.

Bandwagon is perhaps my second favourite track of the album – it’s jazzy but still rocks, with a strong bass and a slightly ‘hopping’ feel to it. The guitar lead half way makes the song for me, and marks a switch to acoustic guitar, which in the end gives way to whirling keyboards again.

This is followed by Haunted, which is all the title suggests – slow, dark, with melancholic female vocals by Susan Bogdanowicz. The classical guitar in the closing verse complete the feeling.

Northwind then explains why the band is marked as symphonic rock. A bass melody, follow by an organ and a guitar lead – accompanied by great drum accents. The vocals are put over a bass melody and short guitar and keyboard riffs, reminding of early Marillion. There is a lot going on in this one that makes it worth listening without distraction.

But, my favourite track is the closing Nothing, Everything, with a jazzy piano and guitar opening, and then that now familiar pulsing bass again. The vocal parts are 70s symphonic completely, but the instrumentals return to the jazz feel of the intro. Then, the end is full on symphonic, no holding back – a crescendo ending of a great album.

Track of the Day: Corvus Stone – Mr. Cha Cha

It’s been a while since I posted a TotD, but now I have to. I’ve been playing this all week, since the video was released. There’s more going on in this track than you hear at first listen, and there’s more to see in the video than you expect at first sight. I don’t think the countless hours out into the music and the video are wasted – on the contrary, this is one of my favourite ‘young’ bands. Enjoy!



Long Distance Butterflies

They met on the forum in the middle of the square,
She told him her passions, brushed her hand through her hair
He smiled and replied, they had something to share
They really could tell there were butterflies there

A taste in music, a taste in art
They were searching together,
They talked and they shared, hardly ever apart
And neither had ever felt better

Always around was that magical feeling
The feeling of wings, a tickle inside
That feeling of dreaming with eyes open wide
A belly full of life butterflies

butterfliesThey’re days passed like rapids, the nights oh so short
Enjoying each other through many a night
While half of the world had long gone to bed
They’d be connected, online on the net

One time, way down in the depth of the night
They played a game not to be taken light
The truth was an answer, not important as such
The dare was a meeting, they both wanted so much

A taste in music, a taste in art
They were searching together,
They talked and they shared, hardly ever apart
And neither had ever felt better

Always around was that magical feeling
The feeling of wings, a tickle inside
That feeling of dreaming with eyes open wide
A belly full of live butterflies

And so their meeting on the square
Became the outcome of the dare –
Their talk right there, it was the start
Of a race through music and for art

For weeks upon, they roamed the town
In art and music they would drown
They sought and found, had little sleep
Joy was all they sought to reap

And then one day they figured out
By going on, nothing would sprout
Both at home, they longed to be
End this blaze of mad insanity

A taste in music, a taste in art
For months they were together,
Talking and sharing, hardly ever apart
And neither had ever felt better

Always around was that magical feeling
The feeling of wings, a tickle inside
That feeling of dreaming with eyes open wide
A belly full of life butterflies

She’s back at her house now, and out on the deck
She talks to her dog, and her hand strokes its back
She feels really happy, while she’s looking back
Butterfly belly, goosebumps in her neck

A taste in music, a taste in art
For months they were together,
Talking and sharing, hardly ever apart
And neither had ever felt better

All that is left now,  the fluttering feeling
The feeling of wings, a tickle inside
She can almost feel him as she silently lies
With her long distance butterflies

Roland Bühlmann – Aineo

Some things work, some things don’t. Roland Bühlmann is a Swiss guitarist, who released this solo album in 2014, after playing a lot with other musicians, and apparently working on his own material for about 20 years. [acfw id=2]


The result is an instrumental album, where guitars and string instruments play the lead role (next go electric and classical guitar, Bühlmann plays bass and mandola on the album). The accompanying drums are ‘from the can’, taken from – which shows all to clearly on some of the tracks.

A pity, because Roland’s guitar work is definitely not bad – he is a skilled musician, and knows how to play a good guitar solo or melody. The album contains traces of rock, on the opening track Breakthrough for example (which starts with a massive riff played on a Les Paul), but also jazz and psychedelic influences – Medlilorn for example is just a huge soundscape.

All in all, varied, but at the same time, the fact that it’s all instrumental, canned drums and loads of effects on the guitars also makes this album a long winding experience. I had a hard time hearing it out every time I played it – and quite a few times I simply switched it off well before it ended.

Musically, from technical perspective, this is definitely a good effort, but it lacks feeling and action – although guitar fans might think different.