Monthly Archive: March 2014

Prog Rotation Part 2 – Eclectic Prog from Texas’ Herd of Instinct – Conjure!

The other instrumental prog rock band that has been in my listening rotation over the last week or so is the Texas eclectic prog band Herd of Instinct. I have listened to their second release Conjure. The band’s self-titled first release was released in 2011 and was four years in the making. Flashback to 2007 – Wow- that was a long trip – the band 99 Names of  God had disbanded after ten years on the Texas Music scene as an Art Rock band – yeah right?? How do you get beer drinking into that music! But I digress back to 2007 where drummer Jason Spralin and WARR Guitarist Mark Cook are trying to form a new band. Soon they joined forces with ex-Nervewerks guitarist Mike Davison and got down to work!!  Four years later they produced that self titled album (hum about two times as long as the gestation period of the elephant) Anyway, critics praised the album and comparisons were made to King Crimson. The band’s music is drawn from a variety of influences including: multi-cultural music, literary clues, Horror and cinematic film scores, and obscure elements of Rock, Avant-garde, Electronic, Prog, and Psychedelic music. (Horror films and Psychedelic music may survive on the Texas Music scene, no wait – psychedelic music is that hippie music!)

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Crossover Prog from Canada’s AsZension – Biosphere!

One of the albums that has been in my prog rock listening rotation over the past several days is Biosphere the sophomore release from the Canadian Crossover Prog band AsZension. The band is currently a studio-based band but there are plans to make it a live band. The band was founded by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Thiessen after he completed his studies in Contemporary Music and Technology, audio engineering, production and guitar at Selkirk College in Nelson B.C. After finishing his studies Thiessen set out to find like-minded musicians. First he met and then added guitarist and engineer Calvin Shiu, a martial arts practitioner and at the time, a recording arts student at the University of Lethbridge to the band. Shiu brought with him  his ”Shamisen”, a Japanese fretless lutelike instrument. This led to inspire Thiessen to use more world instruments in his miusic. In today’s recording era this is accomplished through “Virtual instrument technology or Vst’s. The final member of the band drummer Kyle Sheppard was an easy choice for the band since he had worked with Thiessen and was a life-long friend of Shiu’s. Their self-titled debut album won rave reviews and was nominated for Best Début Record at the 2012 ”Prog Awards” The Web World Awards dedicated to Progressive Rock.

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The Safari Explores the Music of the Brazilian Progressive Metal band Angra!

So the other day, Spotify suggested that I listen to the song “Reflective” from the album Sounds of Innocence by Kiko Loureiro. Since the name looked interesting and he appeared to be a guitarist I downloaded the album onto the iPhone and it became the soundtrack for my ride to the Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. I discovered that Kiko is a very, very talented progressive rock guitarist and a member of the Progressive Metal band Angra. So after listening to Loureiro’s solo album, I downloaded Angra’s latest release Aqua and gave it a listen! Both of the albums are very good, but I think I prefer Aqua. Sometimes solo prog rock guitar albums seem a little boring to me. So here’s what I discovered about Angra.

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Sunday Thoughts about Pete Seeger, Abiyoyo and grandbaby Oliver Edward Karn

AbiyoyoSo sometime this month, my wife and I will become grandparents for the first time, when my son Andrew and his wife Meaghan have their baby, Oliver Edward Karn!! Well, it’s actually Meaghan doing all the work right now and Andrew just gets the congratulations!! A couple of weeks ago, they had Meaghan’s baby shower.and Oliver’s gifts from Andrew’s brothers and sister and my wife and I were books and not just any books, but ones that were special to us.The kids picked ones that were read to them and my wife and I picked either ones that were read to us or ones that we read to the kids! After my wife, whose idea it was first announced the idea. Peter immediately said “I’ll get Where the Wild Things Are” – though Bossy Boots may have been a better choice! What surprised my wife and I, was the first book that Elizabeth picked, which was Abiyoyo! The picture book based on the Pete Seeger song….

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The Safari Explores the Classical Side of Progressive Rock’s Jordan Rudess – All That is Now!!

The question of the day is: Can a prog rocker create beautiful classical piano music? My answer to that is a resounding yes – especially if that rocker entered the Julliard School of Music Pre-College Division for classical piano training at nine years old, like rock keyboard artist Jordan Rudess did!!. I think that the prog rock world is glad that in his late teens Rudess became increasingly interested in synthesizers and progressive rock music and left the classical world behind and set out to make his way as a solo progressive rock keyboardist!!

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