Derbyshire based progger Ian Neal has streamed a new track, Holst's Hollows, whilst bringing Prog up to speed with his first solo album, Barkston Ash, his first since 2013's Astro.
"I've been making sure and steady progress on the fourth album Barkston Ash with tracks being released in a drip feed fashion so as to keep fans' appetites whetted," says Neal, who previously featured in the Limelight section of Prog. The most recent track, Holst's Hollows draws on a choral piece in 6/4 time, Psalm 86 by Gustav Holst (of The Planets fame); but, also, there are tinges of early Mike Oldfield sprinkled in.
"Progress on Barkston Ash had slowed a little of late, because, In the background, there has also been some work helping produce a young indie-pop Sheffield band, The Azenas, with their debut album. Their title track Brickwork Fantasy and several others received some Ian Neal treatment with Mellotron and psychedelic detailing, as the band had mentioned a liking for late Beatles and tracks like Tomorrow Never Knows. Producing another band's work has been insightful and rewarding and was really done as a favour; but, time marches on and there is a need to re-focus on Barkston Ash.
"As the new track Holst's Hollows shows, there is a return to the acoustic flavour of the first two albums, while retaining the signature lush orchestrations, nods to classical music and 1970s prog icons. Not unlike other tracks in the Neal oeuvre, there's a quiet introduction, gradual dynamic increments in the middle, leading to a bloody big massive ending."
You can hear Holst's Hollows below, and you can purchase Neal's previous solo albums, All In The Golden Afternoon, Out Of The Woods and Astro, and purchase a higher quality version of Holst's Hollows (for a mere £1.75), from Neal's bandcamp page.