Prog Round-up: March 2011

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

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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)

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.