OK, here’s some music that various members of the Prog team have been grooving to this week…
Yes, it’s our weekly round up of the things we’ve been listening to. Some stuff we think you might like, others we want you to know are on our radar, and in the case of our Art Editor Russell we selected something for you because you’re off, and despite leaving the office crowing “Don’t worry, I’ll send my track in so you can’t choose something embarrassing for me,” you didn’t. A regrettable error, we think you’ll find. As always, we hope there’s something worth your attention among our weekly picks. So, from the Editorial team and one of our esteemed writers (this week it’s Isere Lloyd-Davis), here’s a mercurial selection of sonic delights to ponder over the weekend. Please do tell us what you like too (especially let Russell know)…
EDITOR: JERRY EWING
Gong - Perfect Mystery/Est-ce que Je Suis
I can’t let the sad death of Gong and Soft Machine lynchpin Daevid Allen pass without honouring him again in Tracks Of The Week. From the first time I heard Soft Machine’s Love Makes Sweet Music (the band’s debut single, when both Allen and the equally mercurial Kevin Ayers were in the band), I’ve been intrigued by Allen’s music. With Gong he found the perfect foil for his sound, in Angel’s Egg perhaps his finest hour. True, I was happy to follow the jazzier Pierre Moerlen-fronted Gong, but in recent years it was a delight to see Allen and guitarist Steve Hillage reunite to create some of their best music since the early 70s. This clip from French TV captures the hippie idealism and the anarchic approach Gong always took with creativity perfectly. This is a man who will be much missed. R.I.P. Daevid Allen.
HANNAH MAY KILROY: DEPUTY EDITOR
Barren Earth - On Lonely Towers Featuring members from the likes of Amorphis, Moonsorrow and Turisas, this new Finnish supergroup blend melodic passes with progressive death metal, and do it damn well.
RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER: ART EDITOR
Terry Wogan - The Floral Dance
Rus is always up for a laugh, as is Terry. In 1978 - when Rus was 32 and the rest of the office a mere twinkling in their parents’ eyes - he hooked up with the Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band, and hit the charts with this little ditty. Indeed, it remains a highlight of the TeamRock annual party when Russell, clad in finest polyester suit, takes to the stage to sing The Floral Dance.
NATASHA SCHARF: NEWS EDITOR
K-X-P - Precious Space Time
Following on from last week’s flirtation with PBM, I’ve really been getting into K-X-P’s infectious Finnish groove machine. Precious Space Time is taken from their new album III Part 1, which is out through Svart at the end of this month. It’s hooky as hell and sounds like the unholy union of Hawkwind and Suicide with a bit of Screamadelica-ear Primal Scream thrown in for good measure.** **
GRANT MOON: REVIEWS EDITOR
Karda Estra - Strange Relations 5
The starter for ten here is that Karda Estra are on Kavus Torabi’s elite oddball label, Believers Roast. This British band’s beguiling album Strange Relations is such an accomplished listen, laden with avant-jazz, psych and fusion, Zappa-like twists and Canterbury-esque turns. If you do try to dance to Strange Relations 5, please send us the video…
JO KENDALL: LIVES & MANAGING EDITOR
Steeleye Span - We Shall Wear Midnight
When Steeleye Span knocked on Terry Pratchett’s door and asked if he’d like to collaborate on Wintersmith - an album based on his novel - he must have felt like a kid on Hogswatchnight, what with Steeleye being his favouritist, favouritist band ever. The record emerged as a folk fantasy par excellence, the perfect soundtrack to witchy heroine Tiffany Aching dancing the Dark Morris and fighting off the icy clutches of the titular scoundrel. Watching them perform it live at The Barbican in December 2013, this track was a gorgeous and lip-trembling stand-out, a fitting tribute to the wonderful imagination of the inspirational man with a hatful of dreams. RIP, Terry. The End.
Enslaved - One Thousand Years Of Rain
One Thousand Years Of Rain is a powerful track from Enslaved’s thirteenth, prog-influenced album In Times. Opening to the sound of falling rain, it is a whirlwind of melancholic rage featuring a continuous prog riff shadowed by growling vocals. The song develops into a chorus of victorious Norse-like chants and blazing guitar solos, culminating in the lyrical chant: ‘Winter is closing in, like the grip of a war within’. A perfect reflection of Enslaved’s mythological interpretation of prog’s darker side.
A Formal Horse - Rosensage
Described in the latest issue of Prog as “dense, adrenalised, Crimson-esque complexity” colliding with “string melodies and smart wordplay”, here we have Southampton quartet A Formal Horse, captured live in Holland at ’t Blok. Enjoy…