2015 in review – and not my top 10…

Yes! Here it is, not my top 10! I have been thinking about creating one, and even posted something on Facebook earlier this year that resembled a preliminar top 5. And now I decided that I’m not going to do it. I will give an overview, but there will be no ranking.

A moment of surprise with Daniel Gildenlöw...

A moment of surprise with Daniel Gildenlöw at the Night of the Prog festival…

The reason for that is very simple. I have not been able to listen to everything that was released in 2015.  Eveneven if I had, my personal tastes and mood of the day would have led to a different top 10 depending on when I posted it. So, instead, I’ll settle for an overview of albums that I really enjoyed, and a list of albums that I enjoyed less, with a short motivation.

The order? Random.

The motivation? Totally subjective.

The intention? Get the word out on the music.


3Degree – Ones & Zeros Vol. 1

So, let’s start with the album that I reviewed most recently, 3Degree’s Ones & Zeros, Vol. 1. This is an album that I’ve been enjoying for a couple of months, after getting a review copy from founder Robert Pashman. A concept album in the traditional sense, telling about a world where a company called Valhalla Biotech has taken control over people’s health, by having them buy-in to technological life extensions on subscription basis. A dark theme, supported by layered guitar and keyboard melodies, thundering bass and intricate mulit-vocal arrangements. With symphonic rock, folk and occasional hard rock influences, a great album, that keeps the listener focused, as the downside of Valhalla’s offering becomes clear. ‘We regret to inform you, your father has been… deleted’. I’ve known the band since 2008, and this is easily their best album so far.


Franck Carducci – Torn Apart

Then, the first 2015 release that I reviewed, Franck Carducci – Torn Apart. Franck released his first album Oddity in 2011, encouraged by his idol Steve Hackett. The album got him a name as a Genesis fan, and contained music in that vein, but more modern. On 2015’s Torn Apart, surrounded by a real, fixed band line up, he departs from somewhat from that, focusing more on guitar oriented rock, with still a strong progressive edge to it. The album rocks, but is far from a 13-in-a-dozen rock album, and it still contains hints of other progressive and classic rock acts. In my review I referred to BootcutGenesis and Deep Purple for example. My favourite tracks on the album are the combination of the sweet, beautifully sung Girlfriend for a Day and the heavy rock track Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. Interviewing Franck was a nice bonus later this year.


Corvus Stone Unscrewed

The album that got me actively into reviewing music again, and eventually in playing it on internet radio as well, was Corvus Stone II, released in september 2014.  The band also released an album in 2015, that has spent quite a bit of time in my ears, entitled Corvus Stone Unscrewed. This album was released in digital download form only, and provided for free to all buyers of the first two albums of the band. On it, we find remixes of some tracks from Corvus Stone, the debut album and a series of new tracks, including the little gems Brand New Day (a melodic rock piece with a thumbing choo-choo train guitar rhythm and great melodies), and Landfill, a jazz rock piece in Corvus Stone style. Also worth mentioning is Early Morning Calls, a new version of the instrumental Early Morning Call with vocals by Sean Filkins and Phil Naro. Corvus  Stone do things their own way – with melodic guitars, surprising twists and without any regard for sticking to a single style. The remixes also show how much one man, Colin Tench, can learn about producing and mixing in a few years.


Gekko Projekt – Reya of Titan

In the world where science fiction and music come together, I did not only find 3Degree this year, but also the wonderful Gekko Projekt, who released the album Reya of Titan. This album tells the story of Reya, an asteroid miner, who after an accident ends up stuck on Saturn’s moon Titan, for 26 years (and the rest of her life afteward). This story is accompanied by music that has roots in both symphonic rock and strong influences from jazz rock, with the experienced Peter Matuchniak on guitar, Vance Gloster on keyboard, Rick Meadows on bass and Alan Smith  on drums. For this album they took on board female vocalist JoJo Razor – with great results. The guitar is jazzy at times, Genesis like at others, while the keyboards mix the sounds of the 70s with everything that came after. All supported by  very solid drumming and often Rush like bass.  JoJo, and sometimes one of the other band members lay out the story on top of that. My favourite tracks on this one are the jazzy Frienda and This is Now Our Home.

Two albums that I like a lot because they are completely different from other releases (as well as from each other), and rooted in the artist’s own past are Amadeus Awad – Death is Just a Feeling and Transport Aerian – Dark Blue.


Amadeus Awad – Death is Just a Feeling

Amadeus Awad has been through a lot in his still short life. He’s seen relatives die, relationships end and at some point attempted to end his own life as well. Looking at how he approaches his works a hyperactive musician nowadays, he seems to have found the way out of misery. Death is Just a Feeling is the story of his suicide attempt, packed in symphonic and metal influenced music. The album is fairly short, but lays down the right atmosphere to tell about all the things the artist has gone through – translated into guitar riffs, and massive leads, but also subdued acoustic pieces. On vocals, he made use of the services of the angelic Anneke van Giersbergen,  Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen and his good friend Elia Monsef. Narratives in the low, mesmerizing voice of Dan Harper complete the picture. A gloomy album, but beautifully executed heavy progressive rock. As said, I don’t do a top 10, but this one would have been very close to first place, if not on it.


Transport Aerian – Dark Blue

A man that also has gone through a lot, but in different ways, is Transport Aerian’Hamlet. Moved from a former Soviet country to Belgium, he is a scientist, but also a musician. One who is very much looking for different sounds, and with a dislike for anything that is ‘only for the money’. On his album Dark Blue, he cooperates with German vocalist Rachel Bauer. Here, I’m just going to quote from my review earlier this year, as it best sums up the music. “This album for sure is what the title suggest, dark, but not pitch black (although Jim Morrison’s work with The Doors is almost white compared to this). The music is haunting and minimalistic (Sand Horizon), experimental at times (Black), leaning towards industrial in places (Full Body Acces), while building almost psychedelic soundscapes in others (Epitaph) – and then there is something close to hard rock or metal as well (Crossbreed).” Like other albums in this list, this is also a concept album, “a one-piece musical diary that tells a surreal love story, which is being recited throughout the album’s temporal and spatial space from the face of two main characters” – in Hamlet’s own words.

2CD Wallet with Spine.pdf

Tiger Moth Tales – Story Tellers Part One

To avoid going on forever, I’ll just add one more detailed description here. Peter Jones, under the moniker Tiger Moth Tales surprised us in 2014 with Cocoon, a modern day homage to the progressive rock giants of the seventies, with Peter himself on all instruments, and with a dash of brilliant humor added to the music and lyrics. He repeated that in 2015, with Story Tellers Part I, which is worth mentioning here not only because it is a continuation of the concept of Cocoon, but also because it was conceived in only 28 days – in February of this year. Peter wanted to participate in a contest where you are allowed only to spent one month on an album, but his record company found the result so good that they decided not to participate, but release it as an album just before summer. Once again, a hint of 70s, a lot of Peter Jones typical musical and lyrical humor and a joy to listen to. If you need a single track to sample what I mean, listen to the 6 minute A Kid’s Tale, which tells a kids tale indeed, in a humoristic way, and ends with a wonderful instrumental. Peter Jones saw his breakthrough in many areas this year, and will hopefully around much longer (we need Part Two!!).

Now there are a lot of other albums that I listend to and really enjoyed, but I can’t go into details on all of them. Here’s a list of albums that are definitely worth a listen:

  • Murky Red – No Pocus without Hocus A massive and progressive leap forward from their debut Time Doesn’t MatterDeep Purple meets Pink Floyd and The Doors


    Murky Red No Pocus without Hocus

  • Kinetic Element – Travelog A trip back to the giants of the seventies, with great keyboard and guitar work. Go retro, without sounding dated
  • Drifting Sun – Trip the Light Fantastic Not the most renewing, yet also not retro, a must listen if you like 70s rock in a modern jacket
  • Anuryzm – All is not for All Progressive Metal form the United Arab Emirates. Very well executed, but I’m not metal head enough personally to play it often
  • Echolyn – I heard you listening Symphonic rock, meets folk rock, meets great musicians. A great album, but not their best ever.
  • hfmc

    Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion – HFMC

    Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – HFMC The former Flower King singer set up his own band. Recommended to Flower Kings fans for sure.

  • 0216tem_en_de.pdf

    The Tangent – A Spark in the Aether

    The Tangent – Spark in the Aether Andy Tillison is still around, despite having a heart attack earlier this year. Great music, just not as good as Not As Good As the Book

  • Unreal City – Il paese del tramonte Bombastic, Italian, with great keyboard, guitar and mellotron work, but the vocals are an acquired taste among rock fans
  • Sylvium – Waiting for the Noise Good music, and well executed live. I was at the CD presentation in March. Just a little too much Porcupine Tree, need to get their own identity
  • Light Damage – Light Damage A symphonic band rooted in 70s and 80s prog, looking for a more modern sound. Good, but not there yet, although good enough to tour with Franck Carducci
  • And many more… sorry if I haven’t listed you all.

Steven Wilson – Hand.Cannot.Erase


Lonely Robot

But wait… no Steven Wilson? No Lonely Robot? No Gong? No Arena? Indeed. None of those are listed. For three reasons. First of, I focussed mainly on the so called ‘little ones in the shadows’, as was always the intention of this blog. Not the big bands. Second, because I simply have not heard everything, although I did hear the four I mentioned. And third, and most important, because I was not very much impressed by the work of the so called ‘big ones’. Steven Wilson is a brilliant producer, and a great musician, as he has proven many times in the past. However, although the music is well executed and the production is great, I was simply completely unimpressed by Hand.Cannot.Erase. I heard almost nothing that wasn’t done before, which is a disappointment when coming from the man who accuses others of not being progressive enough (no matter how right he may be as far as these others are concerned). The same holds for the Lonely Robot album, an effort by Arena’s John Mitchell. Again, well executed, but nothing really new – a lot of *Frost and It Bites. What also didn’t help in this specific case was the production. The vinyl sounded ok, although I got somewhat annoyed by the synths, on the CD the dynamics were completely gone. It simply didn’t work for me, and I hardly played it after the first three listens.

I could go into detail on more examples, but I won’t, except that I have to mention that I have both Pink Floyd’s – The Endless River and David Gilmour’s Rattle That Rock and both give me the feeling that sometimes we should be careful to not stretch things too long.

I’m looking forward to 2016 already, because I met a lot of new people, in real life and online, and all related to the great music this blog is about. Let’s see if we have another year of great music ahead, I’d love to be unable to create a top 10 again next year. Provided it is for the same reason of course – too much good stuff to choose from.

3RDegree – Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1

I missed the live gig of 3RDegree at ‘t Blok in The Netherlands earlier this year, unfortunately. Would have loved to finally meet Robert James Pashman, who contacted me at ProgArchives in March 2008, asking if his band qualified for inclusion in the site. At the time, the band just released Narrow-Caster, their third album, and the first one since 1995 at the time. Since then, they released two more – The Long Division, which I missed at the time (2012) and this years Ones & Zeros: Vol. Iwhich is the subject of this review. [acfw id=2]


First thing I noticed when listening to this album, and refreshing my memories of the initial contact with Robert, is that the common musical interests we had at the time (Rush and Marillion for example) are not the main influence in their music. Instead, many elements from progressive rock since the early 70s till today can be heard on this album, in an original mix defined by 3RDegree. I’ll leave it up to the listener to make up his mind about what comes from where. I myself spotted hints of Gabriel era Genesis (wonderful keyboard work on Circuit Court and More Life), as well as bits of Rush (the bass is not at all a copy of Geddy, but has the same impact on the music), vocal arrangements akin to those of Echolyn (and and one track (Life) that has a hint of 70s singer/songwriter material, not unlike the older works of one David Bowie.

The album, by means of advertisements in between the songs, and the very appealing voice of George Dobbs,  tells the story of Valhalla Biotech, a company that promises people the way to a longer life by means of technology – the way to ‘a longer you, a better you‘, in the not too distant future. People get biometric clothing, digital glasses, possibly even implants – and if they can’t pay their regular fees, these things will be disabled for a certain amount of time (presumably until payment is made). Throughout the album, the flaws of this system, and real failure leading to death of people become apparent. With the digital, bio and gen technology developments of recent years, and the money hunger of modern multi nationals in mind, not a very far fetched scenario. A scenario that 3RDegree manages to capture in lyrics as well as music. The gloom of this future is expressed in the music, that is sometimes uplifting (reflecting Valhalla’s commercial voice), to gloomy (The Best and Brightest, about the rat race between countries and companies), and culminating in the right out frightening We Regret to Inform You, which’ ever darker and mostly instrumental sections are interleaved by ever more worrying computer voice messages about the status of someone’s father in treatment. The closing message leaves the listener with goose bumps: ‘We regret to inform you, your father has been.. deleted’.

In summary – I love the (scary) story line, the bass and drums, the keyboards (with three keyboard players on board they’d better be good), the guitar leads and the vocal arrangements. Not much to dislike there, unless you are not into (progressive) rock at all, or if you don’t like occasional folk like acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements. Highly recommended.

The Prog Files and Angelo’s Rock Orphanage charity shows (part 2)

In two days, it’s December 23rd, and time for the second charity show I run this year on ISCK Rock Radio.

In this second episode, amongst the regular tracks, we’ll be playing music from the following list of charity related publications. Hope to see you all there!!


Various Artists – Spirit of December Vol. 05
Whole album is sold for Music for Relief, who spent their donations on three programs currently: Nepal Earthquake, Ebola Prevention and Mangroves and Ocean Protection.

Info: http://mrrmusic.com/music-wanted-for-2015-holiday-charity-release/
Sales: http://thereishoperecords.com/album/spirit-of-december-vol-5
Charity: http://musicforrelief.org

Tiger Moth Tales – Wassail Song


Proceeds of The Wassail Song and Selling England for a Pound go the UK Guide Dogs organisation, which trains guide dogs and won’t stop until every blind adult and child in the UK has the possibility to use a guide dog.


Info: http://www.tigermothtales.com

Sales:The Wassail Song / Pete Jones Plays Genesis – Selling England For A Pound

Charity: http://www.guidedogs.co.uk


Kristoffer Gildenlow – Pass the Torch


All proceeds go the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which uses it to protect and raise orphaned baby elephants.


Info: http://www.hulshout.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Press-Release-BES-EN.pdf

Sales: iTunes, or via the links in the info above

Charity: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org


Times Up – Meat to the Bone


The band supports St Davids Hospice in Newport, Gwent, South Wales….It deals with  terminal illness, both in their hospital and through a home visit scheme


Info: http://www.timesup.co.uk 


Charity: stdavidshospicecare.org


Steve Hacket et.al. – Spectral Mornings 2015


Proceeds go the UK Parkinson organisation, supporting research and relief for this disease.


Info:  http://shop.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=5026 

Sales: http://shop.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=5026 

Charity:Parkinson’s UK – Homepage



Dave Brons – Based on a True Story
Dave Brons, inspired by events in Paris and other things happening in the world decided to give all proceeds of his t-shirts and album until end of this year to charities supported by Giving What We Can.

Info: http://davebrons.com/change-your-world-and-change-theirs-as-well/
Sales: http://davebrons.com/merch/
Charity: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/

How Major Tom dealt with copyright floating around his tin can

Copyright on music is an issue, as we all know. Of course, in the first place, copyright was invented to protect the original author of a work, e.g. a writer, a painter or a musician. Without that, the original author would probably loose a significant potential income. Over time, this has proven not to work exactly as intended, with copyrights being transferred to record companies and book publishers at virtually no cost to them. Just think of the The Beatles‘ rights being owned by first ATV, then Michael Jackson and now Jackson’s heirs. The ‘virtually nothing’ part is probably not exactly right in Jackson’s case, but it is in ATV’s. Just imagine Paul McCartney having to pay royalties to the Jackson family every time he wants to perform a track by The Beatles…

However, I didn’t start this post to debate whether or not this way of buying and selling copyrights is good or bad. In the end, writing and composing has a business component to it, and it’s up to the author or composer to protect his own rights or give up on them.

What really triggered me into writing this post was a beautiful Youtube video by Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield. He was in space in 2013, as part of the ISS crew, and recorded his own version of David Bowies Space Oddity. Smart as he is, he didn’t just do this impulsively while in space – he actually prepared it very well. He worked with lawyers and with David Bowies publishers to get permission for not only recording the video (which has nothing to do with copyright), but also to have it published to the general public.


That wasn’t only smart, but also very necessary, given that laws in space aren’t exactly simple. The ISS, the International Space Station, is owned by NASA and the European, Russian, Japanese and Canadian space agencies. Different modules of the station are owned by these organisations, and in each of these, the laws of the owning country (or European law in case of the European part) apply. That was originally done to protect the Intellectual Property rights of the participating countries (a form of copyright (!) on the works of scientists). On top of that, broadcasting the video (via Youtube) in different countries makes the video subject to copyright and publication laws in the countries where it can be viewed. That, and the way different copyright owners look onto this subject, is the reason Youtube has been pulling videos off the net over the past couple of years – or subjected them to being accompanied by advertisements to pay for the copyright fees.

So, Hatfield did a good job preparing this, and he obtained the rights to publish the video on Youtube for one year and consciously removed it himself when that year was over. Meanwhile, the video had gotten over 20 million views, which led Hatfield and his son to pursue prolongation of the video. Successfully, so that 6 months later, just over a year ago, the video reappeared on Youtube for us all to enjoy another two years. A video David Bowie himself described as “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.” Major Tom went to space, but his name was Chris, and he came back with an awesome video that should stay around for much longer than three years.



The Prog Files and Angelo’s Rock Orphanage Charity radio shows

On Wednesday December 16 and 23, The Prog Files / Angelo’s Rock Orphanage on ISKC Rock and Web Radio will give attention to a number of artists who are donating proceeds of music and merchandise to charity.
Their music will be played on the show, next to the regular programming, with a short announcement explaining where the proceeds of the songs go.

Below are the charities for the show on December 16th.


Various Artists – Spirit of December Vol. 05

Whole album is sold for Music for Relief, who spent their donations on three programs currently: Nepal Earthquake, Ebola Prevention and Mangroves and Ocean Protection.

Info: http://mrrmusic.com/music-wanted-for-2015-holiday-charity-release/
Sales: http://thereishoperecords.com/album/spirit-of-december-vol-5
Charity: http://musicforrelief.org

Armonite – By the Waters of Bablylon

Single sold for charity. Armonite and Children’s Hospital Trust in Cape Town coooperate in this. Proceeds go to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s hospital.

Info: http://www.armonite.com/By%20the%20Waters%20of%20Babylon.html
Sales: http://www.armonite.com/By%20the%20Waters%20of%20Babylon.html
Charity: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/your_gov/149

Yak – Quest for the Stones

Whole album sold for charity, all proceeds to the Towerhill Stables Animal Sanctuary, where ‘unwanted’ pets and animals find a new home.

Info: http://www.yaksongs.com
Sales: http://www.yaksongs.com
Charity: http://www.towerhillstables.com/

Dave Brons – Based on a True Story

Dave Brons, inspired by events in Paris and other things happening in the world decided to give all proceeds of his t-shirts and album until end of this year to charities supported by Giving What We Can.

Info: http://davebrons.com/change-your-world-and-change-theirs-as-well/
Sales: http://davebrons.com/merch/
Charity: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/

Il Ballo Delle Castagne – Live Studio

The Austrian (and according to some Italian) band Il Ballo Delle Castagne is the brain child of singer Vinz Aquarian and guitars/keyboard player Marco Gargegnani. They founded the band in 2007 and released four studio albums since then. The album under review here, Live Studio, is the fifth, and was recorded live (in band setting) in the Nadir studio in Genua, Italy. [acfw id=2]


Il Ballo Delle Cassagne is considered part of the Rock Progressivo Italiano (RPI) movement within progressive rock, but is more fittingly described as Dark Italian Prog. Unlike most RPI bands, they don’t copy the sound of the progressive rock acts that Italy brougth forth in the 1970s (PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Museo Rosenbach), but rather create their own mix of styles. As a result, this album contains a mix of Italian prog, krautrock, space rock and even a little bit of jazz influences, creating a foundation for the dark, mysterious vocals of Vinz Aquarias and guest vocalist Marina Larcher. Her chants add a druidic feel to some of the tracks, lie Tema di Gilgamesh and Il Viaggio.

Musically, the album is varied, with a solid rhythm section (Diego Ranchero does seem to have some jazz background in his playing, just listen to Il Trema), space rock like guitars and enough from for some good old fashioned organ playing.

The album, which is released as a limited edition CD (108 hand numbered copies and a few also hand marked promo copies) contains three covers of the band’s own idols. The most interesting one for me was their rendition of Appearance of the Voice by Eloy. The track’s lyrics were replaced by Italian lyrics, and Vinz really shines on this one. Next to this, the covers are Areknames by Italian Franco Battioto and Fire in the Sky, by Ya Ho Wa 13. Both bands I don’t know, but the way Il Ballo Delle Cassagne  plays their works makes that they are now added to my list of acts to check out further, together with Il Ballo themselves.

The darkness of the bands sound may not be something one wants to hear on a daily basis, but at the right time and in the right place this is certainly worth listening – and listening attentively as well. Recommended!



IZZ – Everlasting Instant

IZZ have been around since the 90s, and were founded by American brothers  Tom (keyboards, vocals) and John (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals) Galgano. Over time, the band became known for incorporating different styles into their music, and for combining four vocals: the two brothers, and female vocalists Laura Meade and Anmarie Byrnes). They’ve been getting more attention since their fourth album My River Flows (2005), and released their seventh, Everlasting Instant in 2015. [acfw id=2]


For me, this album was the first I heard of IZZ, another band I had heard about but never got around to listening until this year. I got hooked quite quickly, exactly because of the aforementioned characteristics. The mix of styles means that every track is different in nature, but still fits what is apparently the IZZ sound, and the vocal arrangements are often simply mesmerising.

The opening track Own the Mystery, has such an nice vocal arrangement in its ‘choruses’, that makes for a nice addition to a soft, almost pop piano and keyboard based track. The change to Every Minute is surprising. This is  a short instrumental which introduces the bass of John Galgano, which proves to be a constant factor throughout the album – a bass that is not there for support, but to drive the music and provide it’s own melodies and riffs.

Riffs like the one Start Again, which is interleaved with very melodic vocal parts. The interleaving builds into a question answer pattern, with male vocals on the bass driven parts, and female vocals answering in the quieter more melodic sections. The second half of the track has more power and the male vocals become Sting like, but more powerful… Guitarist Paul Bremner seems to play two guitars over each other on the instrumental too.

The more jazzy If It’s True has yet again a very clear bass line, crisp bass line, with guitar and keyboard melodies moving in and out – supporting the female vocals. The synth noises at the transition from verse to chorus give it a slightly more experimental feel, and the short instrumental mid section briefly rocks before going back to the beginning.

And so it continues, with new elements in every song. The Three Seers starts with a mysterious piano and male vocal part. The first half of the song is like a 21st century minstrel telling a story accompanied by piano, while the darker, keyboard heavy second part is more desperate, and emotional.

The title track has an electronic beat, which is answered by a counter melody from a female voice, singing an almost Celtic piece. It develops from there into  more folk rock like track, then to keyboard and organ driven symphonic rock, going back to the Celtic feel in the end. If not proven already, this track shows how IZZ use vocals not just as a carrier for lyrics, but really as an additional instrument.

Keep Away is best described as ‘contemporary jazz rock’, with a ‘jumpy’ bass line, which both contrasts and supports the slow melancholic vocals, keyboards and guitar. When a second female vocal joins half way, goose bumps are guaranteed.

The two most complex tracks on the album Can’t Feel the Earth Part IV and Sincerest Life sandwich the more accessible, Illuminata. Where that track starts with a happy, thoughtless feel, brought on by an acoustic guitar and then developers into a slow neo prog track, the other two are less clearly defined. Can’t Feel the Earth starts with bass and percussion, but builds in a few steps into a 70s symphonic rock track, with a big organ and guitar sound, and a very present bass. And of course, with a great goal arrangement again.

Hardest to get into is Sincerest Life, which goes from piano piece to a wailing guitar and keyboard lead, then to a more jazzy mood, then to a shuffled rock rhythm and an intricate vocal arrangement again. Here, even more than on the rest of the album, the off the trodden path drum work also helps confusing attentive the listener.

After all this, the mellow rock track Like A Straight Line, which has a nice layering of melodies and is almost completely instrumental is a fitting end.

As I like an album more, my reviews tend to get longer, and this one is no exception. The only words missing are ‘highly recommended’, although given what others old me, the three albums preceding this one may even be slightly better.


Seconds before Landing – 2

Composer, singer, drummer and midi player, that is the description John Crispino’s name has on the album IIthe second release of his personal project Seconds before Landing. On the album he gets the assistance of Steve Schuffert on guitars, JD Garrison on bass, Jamie Peck on piano, saxophone and fluteand Maurice Witkowski on acoustic guitar. [acfw id=2]


With a line up like that, there is a hint that this could be a jazz rock influenced release, which was also the indication the first track Big Train gives. However, besides the opening track, the only one that confirmed my expectations was Silent Bird, while the rest of the album has a more electronic and midi ring to it. That is not necessarily bad, but also not entirely my cup of tea – I prefer interplay between instruments over midi sounds.

However, there is still a lot to be found on this album for people who have a different taste than mine, and quite a few of those exist. The track Hey Dad for example is clearly influenced by Pink Floyd, think of tracks like Hey You or One of My Turns. Interesting detail in this respect is that the engineer who joined Pink Floyd at the release of The WallAndy Jackson, also took care of production for this album.

Two other highlights are The Great Deceiver and My Perfect Girl. The former is a rocky track, with a pulsing bass and a frantic guitar, with vocals that contain a slight hint of Alice Cooper in the vocals. The latter is darker and more industrial, reminding me of Transport Aerian.

Other tracks are more electronic, even ambient, and as said, not really my thing. This type of music has the habit of becoming slightly repetitive and makes me get distracted from it. However, this style does have its fans, so with a ‘try before you buy’ stamp on it, I’m sure this will still reach many satisfied listeners.

After a short break – on to 2016

Today I realised it’s been over a month since I posted anything here, and the last post wasn’t even a review. I have been reviewing, for other sites, and I’ve been busy with other music related activities (more on that in future posts). This year, 2015, was a bit of a special year for me, in many ways.


A year in which I had a lot of time to spend on music and other things that are supposed to bring joy and happiness. Not entirely because I wanted to, but some rebalancing was in order. Now that that is almost behind me, it’s important to maintain the balance I have found. Therefore, next year will still see me reviewing albums and writing (about) music, but the number of reviews and posts will be limited. Before Christmas, I’ll try to catch up with about 10 reviews and 1 or 2 articles I want to finish this year. After that, I will limit my reviewing to one album per 2 weeks, so 26 at most in 2016. For the time being, this is what I do next to work and all the other chores live comes with, and limiting my reviews in that way will allow me to make the reviews more useful, and it frees up time to work on other things, like background articles, my own musical endeavours and (gig) photography.

So, over the next two to three weeks, a bunch of reviews will appear, as well as the articles I referred to, and after that – you’ll see what happens, but I will be here at least once every two weeks with something new.