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Prog Round-up: March 2011

Geoff Barton on new releases from Areknamés, 21st Century Schizoid Band, Borean Dusk, t and Robert Schroeder

Areknamés: In Case Of Loss...

If Van Der Graaf Generator had formed in Milan rather than Manchester, they’d likely sound a lot like Areknamés. For a start, the playing style of band leader, organist Michele Epifani, clearly owes a lot to VdGG keyboardist Hugh Banton. The jazzy distractions, the jarring finger-stabs, the gently subversive tinkles: they’re all here for your delectation. The VdGG vibe is heightened by some parping David Jackson-esque saxophone work on a track called Alone. But don’t get the wrong impression – Areknamés also have a cool style of their own, so there’s plenty of Armani amid the angst. The undoubted highlight of In Case Of Loss… is the 21-minute closing track, The Very Last Number. It’s a morbid, mesmerising marathon that really rams home the central theme of (you guessed it) loss. The feeling of isolation is exacerbated by the somewhat disturbing CD cover, which shows a beached whale carcass that washed up on a Florida shore way back in 1896. The dead creature is huge, gnarled and mysterious – much like this Italian band’s music, in fact. (810)

21st Century Schizoid Band: Live In Japan

The CD companion to a DVD of the same name, this was recorded in November 2002 in Tokyo. Even though he’s the only non-former King Crimson member in the band, guitarist/singer Jakko Jakszyk is the star. His vocals are full of precise Greg Lake-style phraseology, particularly on KC’s ace ballad Formentera Lady. (710)

Borean Dusk: Borean Dusk

Comin’ atcha from Bridgeton, Missouri, Borean Dusk decided not to recruit a singer so they could concentrate solely on earth-trembling instrumental prog metal, interwoven with elaborate acoustic interludes. Dig the great track titles: Blood On The Hoar Frost and Scarab Wings And Scorpion Eyes. Hell, BD are already one of the bands of the year – and it’s only January. (810)

t: Anti-Matter Poetry

The mysterious ‘t’ (actually Thomas Thielen) is notorious for fronting German prog maestros Scythe. This, the third solo effort from the self-styled ‘multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and control freak’, was four years in the making. A 68-minute brain-buster, if Alan Parsons (of Project fame) recorded an album of Zappa covers, it would sound a lot like this. (610)

Robert Schroeder: Galaxy Cygnus-A

”I am happy!” exclaims schroeder in the CD blurb. “Happy, because this re-recording is much better than my [1982] original.” If you’re a Jean Michel-Jarre fan you’ll be happy, too: this galactic keyboard epic sounds exactly like the flamboyant Frenchman. The music utilises noise signals from a galaxy 1.05 billion light years away, recorded via radio telescope. No shit! (610)