Mike Batt launches new prog rock concept album

Mike Batt
(Image credit: Press)

Record producer, director and conductor musician and arranger Mike Batt has announced the release of a brand new prog rock concept album Songs From Croix-Noire on August 1, with the release of brand new single A Whole New Day through Madhouse Rag Records. You can listen to A Whole New Day below.

The album is part of an entire concept which takes the form of a 140-page graphic novel, a game hosted on the ROBLOX platform, a full-length music album and a graphic novel which will be released in seven monthly comic issues, and see Batt working with writer David Quantick, singer-songwriter/entrepreneur Jean-Charles Capelli, legendary Marvel/DC comic artist Mike Collins (Spiderman, Superman, Dr Who) and executives from leading online games corporation DUBIT (Disney, Brit Awards).

Wombles band creator Batt is no stranger to the world of prog and concept albums, with Schizophonia (1976), The Tarot Suite (1977), The Hunting Of The Snark (1987) and Arabesque (1995) all finding favour with prog fans, whilst he recently worked with Hawkwind on their 2018 album The Road To Utopia, and members of Steeleye Span donned Wombles costumes for at least one Top of The Pops performance!

"Ace Hansel Jr is a fictitious, B list, capeless superhero," says Batt of the concept's hero. "He lives in and looks after a dark and dangerous world based on a real French red light district familiar to Jean-Charles."

"Everyone has a place they return to in their dreams. It might be real or imaginary. It might be a mixture of the two. You might spend the rest of your life trying to work out why you keep going back there. For me, Croix-Noire is that place," says Capelli who voices Ace Hansel Jr. "Every song on the album is either about, or inspired by someone in my life, either just as they are, or as developed in David's novel. At the same time, David was feeding off our album ideas to write the novel. It was a fascinating process."|

To give fans just a taste of the graphic novel before its full release, a flipbook of the first 13 pages is currently available for £3.99 in tissue 110 of Shift Magazine available here.

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Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.