2014 Prog Critics' Top 20s: Part Two

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2014: a year in prog that began with Transatlantic and Synaesthesia, brought us gems from Mastodon and Sólstafir, and ended with Faust and Flying Colors. Here the Prog team of staff and writers, and some of our favourite prog musicians, pick the very best of 2014…

DOM LAWSON WRITER

1) PETER HAMMILL All That Might Have Been (Fie!)

2) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN O))) Soused (4AD)

3) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

4) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

5) STARS IN BATTLEDRESS In Droplet Form (Believers Roast)

6) MOULETTES Constellations (Navigator)

7) PETER HAMMILL & GARY LUCAS Other World (Esoteric)

8) MOETAR Entropy Of The Century (Magna Carta)

9) SEVEN IMPALE City Of The Sun (Karisma)

10) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

11) DEVIN TOWNSEND Casualties Of Cool (HevyDevy)

12) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

13) GAZPACHO Demon (Kscope)

14) SUNN O))) AND ULVER Terrestrials (Southern Lord)

15) LUNATIC SOUL Walking On A Flashlight Beam (Kscope)

16) FAUST Just Us (Bureau B)

17) TIN SPIRITS Scorch (Esoteric)

18) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

19) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

20) PERFECT BEINGS Perfect Beings (My Sonic Temple)

PAUL LESTER WRITER

1) SCHNAUSER Protein For Everyone (Esoteric)

2) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

3) NINETAILS Quiet Confidence (Pond Life)

4) KITTEN PYRAMID Uh-Oh! (kittenpyramid.co.uk)

5) YES Heaven & Earth (Frontiers)

6) THE FIERCE & THE DEAD Spooky Action (Bad Elephant)

7) CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX White Light Generator

(Cool Green/Mascot)

8) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

9) JOHN HARLE & MARC ALMOND The Tyburn Tree: Dark

London (Sospiro)

10) SYD ARTHUR Sound Mirror (Harvest)

11) GOAT Commune (Rocket)

12) CYNIC Kindly Bent To Free Us (Season Of Mist)

13) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

14) THE WAR ON DRUGS Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)

15) ENGINEERS Always Returning (Kscope)

16) MOTORPSYCHO Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)

17) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

18) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Mascot)

19) MOGWAI Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

20) ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)

JOHN WETTON – ASIA

“My choice is Peter Gabriel’s Back to Front, Live in London. This guy’s been around as long asI have, but has been way more consistent. This is a superb overview of his monumental work – he’s still at the top of his game.”

DAVE LING WRITER

1) THRESHOLD For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)

2) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

3) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

4) IAN ANDERSON Homo Erraticus (Kscope)

5) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

6) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Music Theories Recordings)

7) TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope (InsideOut)

8) MOSTLY AUTUMN Dressed In Voices (Mostly Autumn)

9) SAGA Sagacity (Ear Music)

10) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

11) IQ The Road Of Bones (GEP)

12) JOHN WESLEY Disconnect (InsideOut)

13) ASIA Gravitas (Frontiers)

14) GONG I See You (Madfish)

15) ENCHANT The Great Divide (InsideOut)

16) LEE ABRAHAM Distant Days (Independent)

17) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

18) DON AIREY Keyed Up (Music Theories Recordings)

19) NEAL MORSE Songs From November (InsideOut)

20) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

ALEX LYNHAM WRITER

1) EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO Tree of Tongues (Mediaskare)

2) ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY Droids (Superstar Destroyer)

3) BRONTIDE Artery (Holy Roar)

4) LITE Installation (Blood And Biscuits)

5) CLEFT Bosh! (Self-Released)

6) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third Day (Kscope)

7) AXES Glory (Big Scary Monsters)

8) TROJAN HORSE World Turned Upside Down (Bad Elephant)

9) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

10) MAYBESHEWILL Fair Youth (Superball)

11) F.O.E.S Ophir (Self-Released)

12) CINEMA STAFF Drums, Bass, 2(to) Guitars (Pony Canyon)

13) NINETAILS Quiet Confidence (Pond Life)

14) ADEBISI SHANK This Is The Third… (Sargent House)

15) …TRAIL OF DEAD IX (Superball)

16) SLEEPMAKESWAVES Love of Cartography (Monotreme)

17) UCHU CONBINI 染まる音を確認したら (No Big Deal)

18) THIS WILL DESTROY YOU Another… (Suicide Squeeze)

19) LOST IN THE RIOTS Move On, Make Trails (Lonely Voyage)

20) 0EDIT NeoTokyo GDSF/NSF (Self-Released)

ANTHONY PHILLIPS

“By a very short head, as there’s been so much good stuff, I’m going for the Nick Magnus album N’Monix. Being a bit of an old softie, I am a sucker for those lovely melancholy chord sequences.”

RACHEL MANN WRITER

1) LUNA ROSSA Secrets & Lies (Firefly)

2) KAZ SIMMONS Signs (Fast Awake)

3) PANIC ROOM Incarnate (Firefly)

4) PETER HAMMILL & GARY LUCAS Other

World (Esoteric Antenna)

5) MOSTLY AUTUMN Dressed In Voices (Mostly Autumn)

6) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

7) SUNN O))) AND SCOTT WALKER Soused (4AD)

8) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

9) STEVE ROTHERY The Ghosts of Pripyat (Steverothery.com)

10) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

11) TROJAN HORSE World Turned Upside Down (Bad Elephant)

12) JOSEF VAN WISSEM It’s Time For You To Return (Crammed Discs)

13) ASIA Gravitas (Frontiers)

14) MATT STEVENS Lucid (Esoteric Antenna)

15) PLANK Hivemind (Akoustik Anarkhy)

16) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

17) I AM THE MORNING Belighted (Kscope)

18) MASTODON Once More ’Round the Sun (Reprise)

19) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

20) SUNN O))) & ULVER Terrestrials (Southern Lord)

CHRIS ROBERTS WRITER

1) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned… (InsideOut)

2) ELBOW The Take Off… (Fiction)

3) EAT LIGHTS BECOME LIGHTS Into Forever

(Rocket Girl)

4) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (Inside Out)

5) STEVE ROTHERY BAND Ghosts Of Pripyat (Steverothery.com)

6) PERE UBU Carnival Of Souls (Fire)

7) COLIN EDWIN & LORENZO FELICIATI Twinscapes (Rare Noise)

8) DAVID SYLVIAN There’s A Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight (Samadhisound)

9) LUNATIC SOUL Walking On A Flashlight Beam (Kscope)

10) STANLEY CLARKE BAND Up (Mack Avenue)

11) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

12) DYLAN HOWE Subterranean… (Motorik)

13) PETER HAMMILL & GARY LUCAS Other World (Esoteric)

14) SCHNEIDER KACIREK Shadows Documents (Bureau B)

15) ROBERT REED Sanctuary (Tigermoth)

16) CARAVAN The Paradise Filter (Caravan Recordings)

17) IQ The Road Of Bones (GEP)

18) PAUL SMITH & PETER BREWIS Frozen… (Memphis Industries)

19) IAN ANDERSON Homo Erraticus (Kscope)

20) SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN O))) Soused (4AD)

STEVE HACKETT

N’Monix by Nick Magnus is exquisitely written and presented. A track I played on, Eminent Victorians, is a particularly inventive song which also has a great video. The whole album has beautiful and varied music, with thought provoking words by Dick Foster.” Photo credit: Kevin Nixon

PAUL SEXTON WRITER

1) MIDGE URE Fragile (Hypertension)

2) MISHAPED PEARLS Thamesis (Misshapen)

3) MALOJIAN The Deer’s Cry (Twenty30)

4) RUU CAMPBELL Heartsong (Full Fill)

5) PHIL BURDETT Dunfearing And The West Country High (Drumfire)

6) THOMPSON Thompson (Decca)

7) ELBOW The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Fiction)

8) WOODEN WAND Farmer’s Corner (Fire)

9) JOHN McLAUGHLIN & THE 4TH DIMENSION The Boston Record (Abstract Logix)

10) THE GLORIOUS FOOLS Poor Heart Glad (Glorious Fools)

11) IAN ANDERSON Homo Erraticus (Kscope)

12) LUNA ROSSA Secrets & Lies (Firefly)

13) RICHARD THOMPSON Acoustic Classics (Proper)

14) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

15) IAIN MATTHEWS The Art Of Obscurity (Fledg’ling)

16) MARTIN BARRE Order Of Play (Edifying)

17) KAELA ROWAN Menagerie (Shoogle)

18) FOCUS Golden Oldies (Cherry Red)

19) JENNIE ABRAHAMSON Gemini Gemini (Sweetsound)

20) THE SEA THE SEA Love We Are We Love (The Sea The Sea)

JOHNNY SHARP WRITER

1) Cosmograf Capacitor (F2)

2) KITTEN PYRAMID Uh-Oh! (kittenpyramid.co.uk)

3) IQ The Road Of Bones (GEP)

4) Tiny Fingers Megafauna (Rosh Keves)

5) …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD

IX (Superball)

6) MoodoÏd Le Monde Möö (Disques Enterprise)

7) Pallas Wearewhoweare (Self-Released)

8) Engineers Always Returning (Kscope)

9) Pendragon Men Who Climb Mountains (Toff)

10) PLANK Hivemind (Akoustik Anarkhy)

11) Synaesthesia Synaesthesia (GEP)

12) Philm Fire From The Evening Sun (UDR)

13) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

14) KingBathmat Gravity Field (Stereohead)

15) Mike Oldfield Man On The Rocks (Virgin)

16) The Enid First Light (Operation Seraphim)

17) Peter Hammill & Gary Lucas Other World (Esoteric)

18) Transatlantic Kaleidoscope (InsideOut)

19) Flying Colors Second Nature (Mascot)

20) ROBERT REED Sanctuary (Tigermoth)

MARK KILMINSTER – TIN SPIRITS

“I’d have to go with Behind The Sun by Motorpsycho. From start to finish, a great prog record that really rocks yet contains much beauty within its melodic tendencies.”

SID SMITH WRITER

1) THE KNELLS The Knells (New Amsterdam)

2) KNIFEWORLD The Unravelling (InsideOut)

3) SONAR Static Motion (Cuneiform)

4) SUSANNA & ENSEMBLE NEON The Forester (Susannasonata)

5) A FORMAL HORSE A Formal Horse (Aformalhorse.com)

6) PETER HAMMILL & GARY LUCAS Other World (Esoteric Antenna)

7) GARY HUSBAND & ALEX MACHACEK Now (Abstract Logix)

8) INTERSTATIC Arise (Rarenoise)

9) SUPERSILENT Supersilent 12 (Rune Grammofon)

10) TIM BOWNESS Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (InsideOut)

11) STARS IN BATTLEDRESS In Droplet Form (Believers Roast)

12) SHIVER #2 (Bandcamp)

13) DYLAN HOWE Subterranean (Motorik)

14) ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI ADC (Altrock)

15) ARVE HENRIKSEN The Nature Of Connections (Rune Grammofon)

16) JENNY HVAL & SUSANNA Meshes Of Voice (Susannasonata)

17) I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Chapter One (Moonjune)

18) CAKEWALK Transfixed (Hubro)

19) DARKROOM Gravity’s Dirty Work (Burning Shed)

20) ALVARET ENSEMBLE Skeylja (Denovali)

RICH WILSON WRITER

1) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

2) THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Magnolia (Kscope)

3) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

4) NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION The Third

Day (Kscope)

5) STEVE ROTHERY The Ghosts Of Pripyat (Steverothery.com)

6) SYNAESTHESIA Synaesthesia (GEP)

7) YOSSI SASSI Desert Butterflies (WARNER)

8) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Mascot)

9) IQ The Road Of Bones (GEP)

10) JOHN WESLEY Disconnect (InsideOut)

11) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

12) PINK FLOYD The Endless River (Parlophone)

13) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

14) AEON ZEN Ephemera (Aeon Zen)

15) AMPLIFIER Mystoria (Superball)

16) MATT STEVENS Lucid (Esoteric)

17) COSMOGRAF Capacitor (Cosmograf)

18) TIN SPIRITS Scorch (Esoteric)

19) THOM YORKE Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (Self-Released)

20) TUSMØRKE Riset Bak Speilet (Svart)

TIM BOWNESS

“Pink Floyd’s gentle and elegiac The Endless River gets my vote. Fusing elements of the band’s past (Echoes, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, The Division Bell), it plays to the strengths of the band’s more atmospheric music.”

HOLLY WRIGHT WRITER

1) MASTODON Once More ’Round The Sun (Reprise)

2) PALLBEARER Foundations Of Burden (Profound Lore)

3) MESSENGER Illusory Blues (Svart)

4) SKYHARBOR Guiding Lights (Basick)

5) FLYING COLORS Second Nature (Music Theories/Mascot)

6) ANATHEMA Distant Satellites (Kscope)

7) ELECTRIC CITIZEN Sateen (Riding Easy)

8) SÓLSTAFIR Ótta (Season Of Mist)

9) OPETH Pale Communion (Roadrunner)

10) DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT Z2 (InsideOut)

11) BIGELF Into The Maelstrom (InsideOut)

12) LUNATIC SOUL Walking On A Flashlight Beam (Kscope)

13) MONUMENTS The Amanuensis (Century Media)

14) VOYAGER V (Sensory)

15) TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope (InsideOut)

16) CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX White Light Generator

(Cool Green/Mascot)

17) THOMAS GILES Modern Noise (Metal Blade)

18) TALANAS Asylum (Eulogy)

19) JOHN WESLEY Disconnect (InsideOut)

20) THRESHOLD For The Journey (Nuclear Blast)