The music post

An astounding year for music so far, and we’re only in February! First up, I was delighted to find that a relatively new discovery of mine released a new album in January. These fellows hail from Manchester and are called Dutch Uncles. Prog-pop is the description they’re most tagged-with, and I suppose it suits. Think a joyful amalgam of 80s King Crimson, Talking Heads and Sparks. Some fantastic odd guitar figures, shimmering keys and a unique vocal style from leader Duncan Wallis. Excellent. The latest album is called Out Of Touch In The Wild and I recommend it.

The next piece of musical excitement for me this year was the long-anticipated debut prog-tastic release from Lifesigns. John Young has written a blinder here, also singing lead and covering all keyboard duties most impressively. There are some wonderful solo lines flying over this album along with some splendid piano. John has an impressive list of credits to his name and it’s clear he knows exactly what he’s doing, with exceptionally strong vocals and a fab sense of knowing where to take each tune. John is joined by two music veterans: Nick Beggs does an amazing job on Chapman Stick (check out the intro to the album’s closer, “Carousel”) plus bass and backing vocals and Frosty Beedle is on drums—again, really giving it some on “Carousel”! The album also features performances from guitarists Jakko Jakszyk, Robin Boult and Steve Hackett, plus the shimmering flute of Thijs Van Leer (Focus)—quite a prog pedigree for this album!

And then there’s Riverside. This Polish outfit are on album number five with their latest, Shrine Of The New Generation Slaves , and I love it. I only possess one other Riverside album, Second Life Syndrome. Now that one’s good, but S.O.N.G.S. (geddit?) is just excellent: a few plays and you’re hooked. There’s some Deep Purple-esque Hammond-laden wonder (“Celebrity Touch”), some jazz-proggery (“Escalator Shrine”) and just general relentless riffing. Oh yes, also some excellent sax from Marcin Odyniec (“Deprived (Irretrievably Lost Imagination)”). A great album, they’ve really come into their own, and Mariusz Duda’s vocals are excellent.

Last, but not least, we come to one of my all-time favourite artists, Steven Wilson. The man’s a machine, and his third solo album, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories), is imminent. The album was largely recorded live in Los Angeles under the watchful engineering eye of no less than Alan Parsons. Wilson tracked it with his gigging band, made up of Theo Travis, Nick Beggs (yep, him again!), Marco Minnemann, Guthrie Govan and Adam Holzman (rather than regurgitate what all these chaps have been up to, just look at their sites. Amazing musicians all of them). I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on this—going to see him live next month too—but in the meantime I shall leave you with the video to the album’s title track, The Raven That Refused To Sing. This doesn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye, it’s such a beautiful track, and the animated video by Jess Cope and Simon Cartwright really does complement it wonderfully:

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.