Skip to main content

Posts

Patchwork Cacophony / Ben Bell, England

News: Currently, Ben Bell is playing keyboards for a prog folk / neo prog band called Gandalf's Fist, who I'm not familiar with even though they have no less than 7 releases already under their belt. Patchwork Cacophony's second album Ace of Cups was released in 2016. I do have it here and have heard it, but haven't put down any notes as of yet. It's a bit more "poppy" if I can use that word, a bit more towards Alan Parsons Project maybe. Still very good. I need more time with it to be sure. 

Website Samples Facebook
Location: London

Overview: Keyboard man Ben Bell was the driving force behind the Fusion Orchestra reunion album of 2013. Since that time, he's released two successful progressive rock albums somewhere between Mike Oldfield, Supertramp, Alan Parsons Project, and yes, Fusion Orchestra.

UMR notes
Recent posts

La Bocca della Verita, Italy

News: The band is active and playing the odd festival and concert. No word on a new album as of yet.

Facebook Samples
Location: Rome

Overview: La Bocca della Verita are a fine neo Italian progressive band. Their debut album was recorded in 2009, but not released until 2016.

UMR Notes

Electric Orange, Germany

News: Electric Orange have announced their latest album EOXXV, as a 3LP Deluxe Box and as a 2CD set. They state: "6 longtracks, recorded in the Studio Fleisch between 2013-2017, the band presents their interpretation of modern, electronically-driven Krautrock. As usual the album was mastered by Krautrock legend Eroc."

Website Facebook Samples Location: Aachen
Overview: Electric Orange are the preeminent Krautrock revivalists, having reborn the style going back to 1992 They experimented with electronica early in their career, but since 2001's Abgelaufen! album, Electric Orange have stayed true to the cause.
UMR notes

Unreal City, Italy

News: New album was released as promised on Sept. 10 and is titled Frammenti Notturni.

Website Facebook Samples
Location: Parma, Emilia-Romagna

Overview: Unreal City are yet another band from Italy who are recreating the classic style of the early 1970s. And honestly, there cannot be too many bands in this style as far as I'm concerned.

UMR Notes

Corima, USA

News: The band are active, and playing some "CD new release" shows, some 8 months after the release. That's a good sign! I managed to get some notes down for the new album as well. See UMR link below.

Facebook Samples
Location: Los Angeles (formed in El Paso, Texas)

Overview: For my tastes, perhaps the best Zeuhl group since the glory days of Eskaton!

UMR Notes

Vespero, Russia

News: Vespero is still very active and have two new LP's out, or coming out soon, as part of their Liventure series. No word on a new studio album.
Website Samples Facebook
Location: Astrakhan

Overview: Vespero are a space rock band from Astrakhan, a city on the northern shore of the Caspian Sea in Southern Russia, near the border of Kazakhstan. So, in effect, miles from anything familiar. And yet there are few bands today - or perhaps none - that have captured the European spirit of space rock, Krautrock, and progressive rock like Vespero has. Their music is at once exotic, and yet familiar. Somewhere between Korai Orom, Ole Lukkoye, Hidria Spacefolk, 60's Pink Floyd, Can, Ash Ra Tempel, and a yet-to-be-identified group from Kazakhstan.

UMR Notes


Hooffoot, Sweden

News: Their debut album has finally been issued on CD! Something I plan on picking up. And references to a second album have been mentioned as well.

Website
Samples
Facebook
Location: Malmo

Overview: Hooffoot are a fantastic new retro prog band from Sweden. As of this writing, their debut album is the highest rated for 2015 on Gnosis!

UMR Notes

Purson, England

News: Well... It appears Purson has broken up. One band member (George Hudson) has now hooked up with a new project called Flare Voyant. OK, let's see where all this goes. Bummer though, as Purson had enormous potential. Perhaps a reformation will happen. 

Facebook Samples
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Overview: The Circle & The Blue Door was an homage to 1971 England, whereas Desire's Magic Theatre seemed more geared toward 1969. They're going in the wrong direction for my tastes, but still intriguing enough to leave as an A-lister.

Reviews (click on album covers)


Viima, Finland

News: There's been talk of a 3rd album for a few years now. The good news is the band has clearly been resuscitated and are playing live next Friday night at a local prog night in Turku! So hopefully they are back and ready to go.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Turku

Overview: Viima play a UK styled symphonic folk, but with Finnish female vocals. The second album featured male vocals and was more progressive rock oriented.

Reviews (click on album cover)

Redshift, England

News: No news on the Redshift front. I've fallen terribly behind here. I own all their albums through Turning Towards Us (2008) and then inexplicably stopped for no good reason. Other than their albums have always been to tough to source at a good price (I can't think of a time they've been stocked in the States except Eurock for a brief while). That never stopped me before... In any case, I'll be updating this page for some time I think. I have missed out on their last 3 albums including one from 2015!

Facebook (fan based) Samples Fan Website
Location: London

Overview: Redshift, in my mind anyway, are the premier Berlin School revivalists from the UK. They started as a quartet led by accomplished synthesist Mark Shreeve, and their blueprint is Baumann era Tangerine Dream. Nobody does it better, and it seems Redshift picked up where Tangerine Dream left off after Stratosfear.

Reviews (click on album cover)


Minimum Vital, France

News: Not a whole lot to report since their latest release in 2015 (Pavanes). Minimum Vital continue to be musically active, and have also remixed their debut album. I own all their albums going back to the beginning (1985!), and will hopefully be updating this page in the near future.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Bordeaux, Aquitaine

Overview: Minimum Vital were, and still are, a highly original progressive rock group coming out of France. The basic formula is take a medieval or traditional French folk melody and add jazz plus rock influences over the top. Digital keys, programmed primarily to the brass sounds, along with ferocious guitar soloing, are the trademarks of Minimum Vital's sound.

Reviews (click on album cover)


Free System Projekt, Netherlands

News: We now have a date - April 29th (Thanks Bas)! A new 2 CD album will be released in 2017 (titled Five Suns). This will be the first studio album (not counting collaborations and live recordings) since Moyland from 2005! 

Website Samples
Location: Huizen (east of Amsterdam)

Overview: Of all the current bands playing in the retro Berlin School of sequencer based electronic music, Dutch ensemble Free System Projekt may be the closest in imitating the original pioneers. Especially the Tangerine Dream variant circa 1976 to 1977.

Reviews (click on album covers)


Gösta Berlings Saga, Sweden

News: Their 4th album Sersophane was released at the tail end of 2016, and has garnered excellent reviews to date.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Stockholm

Overview: On their first couple of outings, Gösta Berlings Saga could be considered the perfect modern Swedish progressive rock band. They look inward towards their own country for melodic inspiration, rather than the UK/US style of groups like The Flower Kings. Recently the band has moved into Post rock / avant prog areas, which moves a bit outside of my enthusiastic zone. I haven't heard their latest, but I'm very tempted to try it anyway.

Reviews (click on album covers)


Wolf People, England

News: Wolf People are currently touring Europe supporting their new album, the massively brilliant Ruins, which is one of the best neo psych albums I've ever heard.

Website Samples Facebook
Location: Bedford, Bedfordshire

Overview: At the beginning of their career, Wolf People were one of the best of the 1971 styled retro prog acts. With their new album Ruins, Wolf People can stake a claim as the best neo psychedelia band going today.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Hellwell, USA

News: Hellwell's second album is to be released on April 17, and its titled Behind the Demon's Eyes. And Randy Thrasher Foxe is on the drum kit this time! I didn't see that coming. His work with Manilla Road in the 1980s was astounding.

Website
Location: Wichita, Kansas

Overview: Hellwell is a side project/second band for Mark Shelton of Manilla Road. In effect, Hellwell is a return to the epic 80s Manilla Road sound (think Open the Gates) with synthesizer accompaniment. Their debut from Beyond the Boundaries (2012) is excellent.

Reviews (click on album covers): None yet

Accordo dei Contrari, Italy

News: "We are very proud and happy to announce that our fourth album Violato Intatto (11 tracks, 70+ minutes of new original compositions) will be officially released on April 21st, 2017.

Accordo dei Contrari is:


Giovanni Parmeggiani: organ, fender rhodes, minimoog, arp odyssey, mellotron

Marco Marzo Maracas: acoustic and electric guitar
Cristian Franchi: drums
Stefano Radaelli: alto and baritone sax, bowed zither

Guests:


Alessandro Bonetti (Deus ex Machina): violin

Gabriele di Giulio: tenor sax
Patrizia Urbani: vocals

Recorded live in studio, with some overdubs, at Loris Ceroni's Le Dune (Riolo Terme, Italy), July 16-23, 2016. Recorded by Loris Ceroni. Mastered by Udi Koomran."


Website
Samples Facebook Location: Bologna

Overview: Accordo dei Contrari successfully blend retro styled Italian prog with a mid 70s jazz rock mindset. An exciting band with an impressive run of albums and multiple live shows.

Reviews (click on album covers)



Atomic Simao, Ukraine

News: Hot off the press, Cosmic Eye of Greece have just announced they will be releasing the latest album from Atomic Simao on vinyl. Release date set for April 4th. Label says: ""Echo" is the second album from Kiev's ATOMIC SIMAO and we're privileged to issue it on vinyl, as a follow-up to their successful first LP "Nōdo" of two years ago.

On this sophomore effort, the band abandons the Hendrixian jamming of their debut and takes a long head-dive into funked-up spacerock. The style on this release is a complex instrumental mix of acidic guitar, psyched-out electronica and Middle-Eastern influenced laid back space-jazz feel. A multitude of rhythms are swirling everywhere, funky jazz grooves spice up the recipe the Funkadelic way, and a soaring sax brings the compositions to Gong's "Shamal" era territory and beyond. Adjectives to describe the listening experience: trippy, complex, eclectic, intense, surreal...

Overall, "Echo" is no…

Elephant9, Norway

News: Not a lot of recent activity from the band, though they're still around!

Facebook Samples
Location: Oslo

Overview: If you like overdriven Hammond organ and Rhodes piano - completely fuzzed out to the maximum - all immersed within interesting instrumental compositions, then Elephant9 are for you. Their last 2 albums feature former Landberk / current Dungen's guitarist Reine Fiske, and have started to move into a 1970 era jazz rock meets Krautrock hybrid that is entirely fascinating.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Puppet Show, USA

News: About once a year, Puppet Show pop onto Facebook to inform us that they're still around and determined to release new material. So if they'll do that, then I'll put up a band page. Why not? I'd likely buy any new album from them.

Facebook Website Samples
Location: San Jose, California

Overview: Puppet Show are band that combine the early 90s style of neo prog with that of classic mid 70s Genesis. A very fine group that have found a small niche in a crowded marketplace.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Synaptik, England

News: Synaptik's second release Justify & Reason has just been released as of yesterday!

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Norwich, Norfolk

Overview: Synaptik  is the 3rd iteration of the Inner Sanctum/Fifth Season technical metal genealogy and comes 17 years after their last studio album. Imagine Watchtower but with those irresistible blazing Mekong Delta riffs propelling it all forward in an exciting way.

Reviews (click on album covers)