The Raven That Refused To Sing

Steven Wilson's solo career apart from Porcupine Tree, is for this listener, far more interesting.  Whereas PTree currently skirts the line between rock and metal, his solo work fits squarely in the progressive rock arena.  The Raven That Refused To Sing (and other stories) is easily his magnum opus.  The musicianship is stellar - he recorded with his touring band: Nick Beggs (Stick), Guthrie Govan (guitar), Adam Holzman (keys), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Theo Travis (flute, sax).  Mr. Wilson has also dug two things out of mothballs - King Crimson's Mellotron and Alan Parsons.  It was Steven Wilson's wish to one day work with Alan Parsons, who came on board as engineer.  I can't tell you who is responsibile for what but I can tell you that the production is impeccable.  The opening epic "Luminol" drips with the holy 'tron sounding like a cross-generation blend of King Crimson eras.  And so it goes through out the album.  Some utterly fierce playing on this album.  From beginning to end a stunning effort.  BUY OR DIE!

Product Review

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Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
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One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
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Product Review

[email protected]
Wed, 2013-02-27 10:26
Rate: 
0
One of the finest recordings in the last ten yeares. If your jaw doesnt drop after the first listen, its wired shut. mw
You must login or register to post reviews.
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  • First time on CD of this rarity from the Cybotron catalogue.  This one's been in my collection for decades so its nice to finally see it in the digital domain.  If you are not familiar with Cybotron, they were more or less Australia's answer to Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel.  The band features Steven Maxwell Von Braund and Geoff Green on a variety of instruments.  Back in the day Sunday Night At The Total Theatre was an "official bootleg" that the band gave away at gigs in order to drum up interest.  Pure cosmic bliss out music.  Comes with a bonus track and beautiful packaging.  Highly recommended."Firstly there’ a man in a cape on the cover of this obscure 1976 semi bootleg from the groundbreaking Australian cosmic Kosmische duo Cybotron. Secondly there are a whole bunch of cool looking analogue modular synths. It’s common knowledge in music circles that a cape alone is a guarantee of great music, but if you add modular synths to the mix then you’re approaching almost divine intervention.Make no mistake, there is definitely something quasi spiritual about this live recording. The label calls the pieces ecstatic mood ragas and it’s hard to disagree. These are definitely pieces that are all about worship, yet it’s not organised religion that’s the focus here, rather it’s the synthesizer that is the deity.Consisting of Steve Maxwell Von Braund and Geoff Green, Cybotron were heavily influenced by German electronic sounds from the early 70′, and would go on to release 3 studio recordings with an assortment of collaborators before finally disbanding in the early 80′. For this brief period in the mid to late 70′ Cybotron were the mainstays of the cosmic electronic music movement in Australia and did much to develop electronic music in this country.This is electric drone music, large beautiful synthetic slabs of electronics played out across an entire side of an album, thick semi improvised highly repetitious oscillations approached with a rare kind of patience. Here the journey is more important than the destination. There’ tranquillity to side one, which is taken up by the piece Parameters of Consciousness, where it’s not until a quarter of the way in that a beat slowly makes its presence felt. It all happens in such a gradual manner that it’s really only the change in their synth melodies that alert you to its presence. This is space music, experimental synthetic wig outs, and it’s probably more relevant today than it was then.Side 2 is Vulcan, which goes straight for space with seemingly improvised high pitched squiggles of sound accompanying some lower end noodling. It doesn’ really seem to know where its going, though just as there’ a moment of clarity the drum machine beat is brought in high in the mix and suddenly the squiggles turn into riffs and we’re part of a peculiar wrong almost pop stomp. It’s beautiful, chaotic and despite being one of the more musical elements on this recording, still quite experimental. Whilst this takes up much of the side, there’ also a super rare cut Ride To Infinity that was originally released on a 7inch, which is a much more carefully constructed sequencer heavy Tangerine Dream influenced tune of space electrics.The live recordings were originally recorded by 3ZZZ and were released just after Cybotron’ self-titled debut a year earlier. It’s a pretty incredible set. Even on a recording 37 years later it’s still an overwhelming near mystical experience. It feels so right to re release this material now (on vinyl), as here’ one of the almost forgotten pioneers of synthesizer music in this country and they actually sound better and more relevant than most of the music being made today." - Cyclic Defrost
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  • "Iridule pushes on the most abstract language derived from the avant-garde music of the Twentieth century (Ligeti, Xenakis, Nancarrow), but also on a typically rock rhythmical drive, thanks to a more aggressive drum-and-bass section and to heavier and multi-faceted sound, on the edge between Henry Cow, King Crimson and Frank Zappa, with the further novelty of the voice. You won’t miss, as in Labirinto d’acqua, great dynamical ranges, a scrupulous tymbrical research, an even more articulated and stratified rhythmical detail. Important guests as Elaine Di Falco, Dave Willey, Mike Johnson, Dave Kerman (practically speaking, the whole of Thinking Plague!), Guy Segers (Univers Zero), Michele Epifani (Areknames) and others make a kaleidoscopic and astonishing album."
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  • "Refreshing, powerful, and extremely melodic – the adjectives I’d use at a push to describe Teramaze‘s 5th album. I have to admit I pretty much consider this their sophomore release as I was not party to their releases throughout the 90′s, with my first introduction to the band with their 2012 powerhouse ‘Anhedonia’ which quite ironically generated feels of anything but anhedonia. There has been an undeniable buzz around this release and I have found it virtually impossible to escape the widespread word and hype around this album anywhere I look online; generally I wouldn’t necessarily see this as categorically positive as it can taint your expectations unintentionally. Thankfully for the most part, my expectations and hopes with this album have been realised to the point that I welcome any melodic, thrash, progressive or otherwise metallically inclined music fan to check this 79-ish minute thematic conceptual monster.The initial impressions I have when comparing this with ‘Anhedonia’ is a development away from the slightly more thrash-oriented direction that I suspected was the impact of the members growing up in the era where that particular sub-genre beared its greatest fruits. I use the term development as I believe it has very much naturally progressed as compared to what I would consider a departure. The addition of more progressive structures and more varied layering works exceptionally well in Teramaze‘s favour to create a soundscape of in your face riffs, contemplative and brooding moods, earworm choruses, and timeless unity across the entire album.Without doubt one of the things that will grab listeners’ attention is the astonishing fretboard wizardry of band leader and Dean Well’s who treats us to undeniably wondrous smorgasbord of head nodding animosity (special mention to the riff at 2:02 in ‘Line of Symmetry’ – that will get you nodding with the mania of Jack Black), and emotive, creative, delicious lead playing that is akin to guitar heroes aplenty (Petrucci, Sfogli, Skolnick – just to name a few). The balance of great lead playing and rhythm work is a pleasure with nothing inappropriately overstated like one can sometimes expect of the genre. As a special addition, the tones are simply incredible on this album and it is glued perfectly with the bass and bonded by the fairydust keyboards that emerge to keep the sonic palette interesting (courtesy of Circadian Pulse keyboardist Dave Holley).The production is another point of veritable quality with all the instruments presented in a crystal clear state whilst maintaining vibe and not losing out to sterility which is a sad by-product of the self-produced musical climate of 2014. The only complaint I really have is that the mastering is a little hot which is noticeable after the first track (which was mastered in my ideal sweet spot). It sits at DR6 across the whole album on average which is nothing out of the ordinary for this day and age but it occasionally gets fatiguing especially over such a long record. Thankfully moment of distortion are kept to a minimum, however there are some trace elements of weakened transients and the occasional buried vocal that loses intelligibility.Vocalist Brett Rerekura is a joy to listen to and I am appreciative of the fact although his voice pushes the aggressive edge to fit the setting of the music, it is rich in melody and characteristic timbre and is not sabotaged with growls. Long live the singer in a metal band, I say! I detect glimmers of Layne Staley, Sebastian Bach and the rhythmic phrasing of James Hetfield. My only beef is the occasional “Aussieisms” I hear in some inflections which I am hyper-sensitive too (even though I’m Australian myself), however this doesn’t detract too much from what is a splendid vocal performance across the board. There are moments of supreme delicacy especially in ‘Bodies of Betrayal’ which I would have liked to have heard more of as well as a bit more of that delicate side to the band overall to give this album the dynamic curve it deserved. This is of course only a minor criticism.The album’s concept, while not narrative based centres around the experiential nature of deception; especially by that of governing bodies and the powers that be. I think the title of ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ is perfectly apt as this is not the viewpoint or mindset of everyone and best kept as the worldview of a particular minority of people. I think for some the lyrical approach could border on conspiracy but I like the exploratory nature of them and what is truly the harm in questioning some of the taken-for-granted “truths” we hold in this ever-changing world. Kudos to Teramaze for honestly and whole-heartedly fusing their beliefs with such hard-hitting music in a way that I see as completely lacking pretence.For me the standout tracks are ‘Bodies of Betrayal’, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’ (6:53 in this gives me goosebumps), and ‘viii In Vitro’ as I believe they hold the most profound emotional connection with me due to the individual moods they build. I have to admit the only track that I am not particularly keen on is the one with the guest vocals as I feel as though it breaks the flow of the album in a way that was superfluous to requirements. It came across as guests for guests sake which is probably my most direct criticism of the record.This is an exceptional release that stands up to my extremely critical ear and was only let down by perhaps a slight lack of expression with regards to dynamics (mastering and songwriting) across such a long album. Its length to some may indeed be a bit hard to swallow in single listens, however this is par for the course for me as a fan of long form writing. For fans of Metallica, Dream Theater, Alice in Chains and anyone who wishes to have a boot up the bum and an electrode to the brain from an ambitious and highly satiating album." - Metal Obsession
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  • A funny thing happened on the way to the studio...The Budos Band are a 9 piece ensemble from Staten Island.  Their stock in trade is instrumental afro-beat music.  They are signed to Sharon Jones' Daptone Records label and are extremely successfully, touring worldwide and appearing on countless TV shows.  For their fourth album the band took a left turn.  The band upped the psych and prog factor by a quantum-fold.  Ripping fuzzed out guitar leads are maxxed and wicked organ breaks are prominently featured in the sound.  There is something about the marriage of a Gibson and a wah wah pedal that makes my arm hairs stand up.  Sure lots of horns but that just imparts a Swingin' London feel.  The resulting album, Burnt Offering, sounds like an instrumental cross between Black Sabbath, Goblin, and Fela Kuti.  If Black Sabbath recorded the soundrack to The Abominable Dr. Phibes it would sound something like this.  Highly recommended. 
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  • New "encore edition" included 3 bonus tracks (one of which is unreleased), new 3-D artwork, and 3-D glasses.Insane instrumental tech metal project from former Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi. The album was engineered by Misha Mansoor, the equally adept guitarist for the (amazingly) unsigned band Periphery. Mansoor contributes some guitar parts and is responsible for the drum programming. While I strongly prefer an actual drummer, its a marginal distraction from this intense guitar album. Abasi plays 7 and 8 string guitar and the solos are pretty sick. The whole thing has a Spastic Ink meets Canvas Solaris vibe. I understand that Abasi has a live version of the band. The album is pretty crazy - I can only imagine what the live band is like. Highly recommended.
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  • Phil returns (and sings).
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  • Edison's Children is a collaborative project between Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas and American guitarist Eric Blackwood. The music has a laid back, melancholy feel going more for emotional slam that cerebral intricacies. The supporting cast is worth taking notice - all the members of Marillion are here as well as Andy Ditchfield of DeeExpus as well as Fish's guitarist Robin Boult.
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  • "The Esoteric Antenna label is pleased to announce the release of the new album by internationally acclaimed British saxophone and flute player and composer Theo Travis 'Transgression' his first solo album in eight years, with his band 'Double Talk'. Theo Travis - who has worked with many artists in the Prog, Jazz and Rock worlds such as Gong, Soft Machine Legacy, The Tangent, Bill Nelson, Keith Tippett and with Robert Fripp in Travis & Fripp - has put together a band of progressive jazz stars for the record. Travis is well known for his collaborations with Steven Wilson, appearing on all four of his solo albums as well as recordings with Porcupine Tree and No Man and he has been touring internationally with the Steven Wilson Band from his first solo tour in 2011 up until the current tour. Transgression was recorded in January at Koolworld Studio and Steven Wilson applied his studio skills to the album as he mixed and mastered it in his own studio, just before launching his own 'Hand Cannot Erase' world tour. The album reflects many of Theo's inspirations, being instrumental and powerful bluesy progressive electric jazz with a strong 1970s influence. With influences of King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as late Talk Talk, and ECM artists such as Terje Rypdal and Palle Mikkelborg apparent, TRANSGRESSION is a unique album. The presence of musicians such as Nic France on drums (Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning album, David Gilmour's Live At The Royal Festival Hall DVD and Kate Bush, Robert Wyatt, Alan Holdsworth, and Working Week), Mike Outram on guitar (Steven Wilson, Herbie Mann, Carleen Anderson, Jacqui Dankworth) and Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ (John Etheridge, Nigel Price, touring member of The Wonder Stuff and Catherine Wheel), ensures that TRANSGRESSION is a milestone in modern Progressive Jazz."
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  • New edition of the excellent debut CD from this Italian "band" who's musical stylings are heavily influenced by Steven Wilson's various projects - the most obvious one being Blackfield. Another band that comes to mind would be Blow Up Hollywood. Nosound is essentially the work of Giancarlo Erra, a multi-instrumentalist. The music has a lush, dreamy feel with underpinnings of synth and Mellotron. You can feel yourself drifiting away, lost in an obscure movie sountrack. A beautiful and intelligent work."The audio CD will feature completely new digitally restored and analogue mastered audio from the original 2005 album, plus three extra re-mastered tracks (clocking in at 78 minutes of music!).

 The DVD features a brand new 10 minute video for Sol29, plus the original three ambient/experimental audio video tracks included on The World Is Outside DVD-R. As an extra for fans who missed the first release, the Kscope edition will also include all the original mixes of Sol29 as they were released on 2005 album version. This will be the final and official Sol29 release, collecting all the Nosound early studio material in one single release."
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  • One of the great Vertigo releases and certainly one of the great folk rock albums of the 70s. Tudor Lodge was the trio of Ann Steuart, Lyndon Green, and John Stannard. They all sing and play guitar, with Ms. Steuart also playing flute. They are augmented by a number of musicians, including the great Danny Thompson on bass, Tony Coe on flute, and many others giving them a full band sound. Its a beautiful, upbeat and dreamy album focusing on the vocal harmonies of the trio which remind a bit of Peter, Paul and Mary but the music is far more developed. This new Esoteric edition comes with the usual detailed liner notes as well as one bonus track.
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  • "Guitar legend Neal Schön has joined forces with bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Hardline) to create a unique body of work with jazz and blues-inspired virtuosic hard rock playing, entitled SO U. The new album features Schön, Mendoza and Castronovo splitting vocal and writing duties, with many of the tracks also co-written by Night Ranger/Damn Yankee's songwriter, singer and bassist Jack Blades.Best known as founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, Neal Schön has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n' roll's top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time. Beginning his career more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, the 15-year-old guitar prodigy left home to join Santana. Schön moved on in 1973 to form Journey. With Journey and other projects, he has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 platinum and gold albums, was awarded the prestigious 'Legend Of Live Award' at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was individually inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall Of Fame in 2013. As the only member to record on all of Journey's albums, Schön continues with the band today in its latest incarnation."
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  • "It's a bit surprising that Pantera waited until 1997 to release a live album, considering how brutal and powerful the band had been in concert. At an average Pantera show, it would not be unusual to see security evicting overzealous fans, and club bathrooms filled with bloody wads of paper towels from mosh pit injuries. Official Live 101 Proof captures the group in its natural, violent element, combining abrupt, barbed riffs with pulse-pounding beats and furious vocals. The record spans Pantera's career, from the classic guitar lick of "Cowboys from Hell" to the fuzzbomb fury of "Suicide Note Pt. 2" (from album The Great Southern Trendkill). As an encore, the band offers album buyers two new studio tracks, the bluesy bonecrusher "Where You Come From" and the grinding piledriver "I Can't Hide." As the fortress of alternative rock continues to crumble, Pantera stomp vindictively through the rubble, their metallic legacy intact."--Jon Wiederhorn
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  • "Are we being manipulated? Who would benefit from us, to follow pre-established rules? Careless. As sheeps. Political parties? Religious organisations? Commercial companies? TV networks? Beware of everything, even NEMO...NEMO is one of the leading Prog Rock bands in France, and after 13 years of existence they conquered the world community of Prog lovers with their previous albums (Si, Barbares, R€volu$ion…). Their 8th studio album is about every kind of manipulation. On 2 CDs, 12 songs, they warn you about everyone, even them! Musically you will hear a varied and strong blend of what Nemo is all about, featuring a big dose of experimentation and new exploration. Beware of this album, you will succumb to its charms! "CD1:01. Stipant Luporum 2.0102. Trojan (Le ver dans le fruit) 8.5303. Milgram, 1960 5.5904. Verset XV 7.5505. Un pied dans la tombe 7.1106. Neuro-Market 6.3407. Le fruit de la peur 9.43CD2:01. A la une 5.0802. Triste fable 7.4603. Allah Deus 5.0804. Opium 9.1005. Arma Diania 17.19
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  • Quite fine new album from Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Knight. If you haven't heard Blackmore's Night before, essentially it's Blackmore's English folk/Renaissance meets rock band with his wife's gorgeous vocals on top. There are a few cover tunes sprinkled through out including a cover of Deep Purple's "Child In Time", Ralph McTell's "Streets Of London" but my fav is their reworking of Rainbow's "Street Of Dreams". This is the US edition which basically takes the bonus tracks from the more expensive Euro deluxe edition and includes them as well. One of the 3 bonus cuts is yet another version of "Street Of Dreams" but with Joe Lynn Turner. I'm a Blackmore fan and really enjoyed the disc - highly recommended to the similarly inclined.
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