Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble have announced that they’ll release a new prog album titled The Red Planet later this year.
The keyboard wizard is joined in the lineup by guitarist Dave Colquhoun, bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Ash Soan and it'll take the form of “a keyboard heavy” prog rock instrumental album.
It’ll be released on April 3 and feature eight newly composed pieces and is said to hark back to Wakeman's debut album The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
Wakeman, who confirmed he was working on a prog album in January says on his website: “The basic tracks are already recorded and that includes contributions from the musicians named above and I am thrilled with the results so far.
“I still have a lot to add to each track and that will be done throughout this month before Erik Jordan starts his task of mixing it all so it ends up sounding like it should!
“There are great plans afoot for a very special playback session and other surprises too. It’s been great fun getting back to prog and I think the period away from recording such an album has contributed greatly to making The Red Planet sound extremely fresh.”
Wakeman adds: “The album is very much taking up all my time for the coming weeks, hence no other appearances anywhere or trip away, but they will soon start appearing once the album is delivered.”
Asked about the expectations of prog fans who are hoping to see the “prog fader turned up to 11,” Wakeman replies: “That could be a problem as it's already at 14!”
The Red Planet will be released on LP and CD, with the first 1000 vinyl units pressed on 180g red double vinyl, which will be signed and numbered and presented in a ‘pop-up’ cover.
The first 2000 CDs will also be autographed and numbered and feature their own ‘pop-up’ cover.
In addition, there will also be a playback event at the National Space Centre in Leicester on April 4 from 6pm. Only 150 fans will have the chance to attend, with each ticket coming with a “bag of goodies, signed event programme and signed CD/DVD.”