Art Rockin' Magazine

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Crayola Lectern – Happy Endings (2018) review

In the glorious fashion of late Cardiacs, like an aquatic ghost choir atop the golden German Baden-Band Organ at a predawn amusement park located in no man’s land, comes the sophomore release from a brilliant and highly inventive band fronted and formed by Chris Anderson (using the name Crayola Lectern). Gathering a huge talent pool of mates include ex Cardiacs members Jon Poole (keyboards, subotron, harmonium, bells, timpani and spacecraft)/ Bob Leith (drums)/and Christian ‘Bic’ Hayes , who left Cardiacs to play in Levitation (electric guitar on Lingeron, Lux, (No More) Happy Endings and Finale)

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Solju – Odda Aigodat – New Times (2018) review

Solju is the mother/daughter duo of Ulla Pirttijärvi – vocals, yoik, and Hildá Länsman – vocals, yoik along with members Samuli Laiho – programming, synths, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, and Teho Majamäki – percussion, vibes, hang drum. Also appearing on the release are guest artists Czech National Symphony Orchestra – strings, Paavo Lötjönen – cello, Mikko Neuvonen – throat singing, and Janne Puurtinen – synth bass, synthesizer. Ulla and Hilda are from Utsjoki, Lapland (a nothern part of Finland). They are Sami musicians who are keeping their ancient native culture alive. The unique vocalizations are called yoik. There is also more common use of singing included among the songs.

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Garnotte – EP I (2018) review

From Montreal, Quebec, (Canada) Garnotte is a 5 piece French Canadian band using 3 extra vocalists for harmonies on this debut release in the form of a 9 song EP. The surprising mixture of classical, classic rock, blues, pop and progressive (in the same sense that The Sweet era ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’ got classified as progressive rock), takes you on a multi textured, many changes ride. All the songs connect to each other and the track ‘Scutigeres’ is divided into 4 parts. If you took a long list of late 60’s and early to mid 70’s bands like The Guess Who, Rare Earth, early Steve Miller, Iron Butterfly, Santana, Neil Young, Ten Years After, early Deep Purple, Cream, Uriah Heep, and The Kinks, and made them all one package, then this is what Garnotte sound like on this release. Call it prototype progressive but whatever you call it, it is extremely well done.

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Grice – The Grey of Granite Stone (2017) review

Some musicians show the fans a large variety of their talents in styles over the years, but Grice has displayed the mastering of each niche he has covered. His inspiration for this Ep was to get away from the heavy electronic production elements and present another side of his musical persona. With ‘The Grey of Granite Stone’, Grice shows an exceptional skill at creating a mixture of 60’s/70’s psychedelic summer of love classic pop with lush sparkling 1980’s slightly sombre music.

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Ben Levin Group – Our Place (2018) review

Herculean composer, guitarist, poet, vocalist, inventor, and great thinker, Ben Levin has a new release called ‘Our Place’ (2018). Trying to describe him as a musician is tough due to his prolific output and ability to join together such a variety of styles (to the range of bands like Motorpsycho) like progressive rock, metal, avant rock, art pop and much more.

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Aum Grand Ensemble – You’ve Never Listened to the Wind (2017) review

An opulant blend of poetry, theatre, classical chamber, gamelan, ambient, sacred and otherworldly glory that I have rarely heard in my lifetime. Such a mix of styles that sometimes surprises the senses, Aum Grand Ensemble, led by Julien Pontvianne (who composes all the music) from France, creates textural works that occasionally reminds me of Popol Vuh’s (Florian Fricke) more sacred soundtrack works such as ‘Sei Still, Wisse Ich Bin’ The group have two previous recordings (‘Jail Poems’ – 2010, unreleased but download is available, and then ‘Silere’ – 2014, which is with the same elements but based on ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau).

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Nathan- Era (2018) – review

This is an Italian progressive rock group who began as a tribute band of music from Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Supertramp. Their 2016 debut `Nebulosa’ featured original songs all sung in Italian, and in the vintage progressive world of Le Orme and similar bands. Now in 2018, their second release is happily in the Aqua Fragile/Genesis sphere, with strong similarities in both the instrumentation and Lanzetti/Gabriel-like lead vocals (thanks to Bruno Lugaro). The sound quality is excellent with balanced solos between keyboards (Piergiorgio Abba) and some Holdsworth/Hackett guitar work (Daniele Ferro). The rest of the band is very strong as well, which includes Fabio Sanfilippo on drums and Mauro Brunzu on bass. Monica Giovannini, who also appeared on their debut, does an amazing job on choirs and backing vocals.

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Mark Wingfield – Tales from the Dreaming City (2018) review

A new Mark Wingfield album is always one to have both great anticipation and expectations for. ‘Tales from the Dreaming City’ is so exceptional it cannot be fully appreciated or taken in with one listen. A heavy weight trio, plus guest Dominque Vantomine on keyboards (tracks 3,5,9,10), Mark Wingfield (guitar, soundscapes), Yaron Stavi (fretless bass), and Asaf Sirkis (drums) create a wonderful world of starlit jazz fusion that Allan Holdsworth would have been absolutely proud of.

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Spoke of Shadows – II (2017) review

A simply beautiful second release from Texan progressive rock/ambient/fusion and soundscape artists Spoke of Shadows. More of what their first release had, but a bit more expanded, the band is primarily two members (Mark Cook, famous for his work with Herd of Instinct, Hands, and Liquid Sound Company, on Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitars, keyboards, & programming, and Bill Bachman from Neal Morse, who is a first class drum author & educator, on drums/percussion). This release includes Bob Fisher / flute (2,3,8), Michael Harris (Vitalij Kuprij) / guitar solo (4), Mike McGary / synth (6), and Shannon Wickline / piano (6). A very nice collection of musicians.

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Flav Martin & Jerry Marotta – Soul Redemption (2018) review

From the promo sheet “Soul Redemption is a harmonious blend of modern adult rock and traditional world music” one might be a bit misled. The harmonious modern adult rock is exact but the traditional world music is limited to latin and Italian pop and folk. The other surprise for some might be the fact of this not having a single stitch of progressive rock style, seeing that Peter Gabriel’s old rhythm section (Jerry Marotta – drums/percussion and Tony Levin – bass) are on it throughout. Flav Martin wrote all the songs and Jerry produced the album. Also backing up the duo are their long time friends Peter Primamore (piano), Thor Jensen (guitar), Marc Shulman (guitar), and Gary Schreiner (harmonica/accordion).

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