Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Lifesigns "Cardington"

 The Closet Concert Arena welcomes you once again fellow progheads!  As the fall foliage begins its rapid descent into the prog garden, I am reminded of how colorful is the music of the prog garden.  To highlight the natural beauty this time of year brings out, the search for all things prog takes an unexpected trajectory this week.  The mission was simple; seek out a band that captures the essence of the season.  Despite New England's reputation as "the place where foliage was invented," I took The Closet Concert Arena to a different backyard; the United Kingdom and some splendid listening with Lifesigns and their latest release, "Cardington.".



Lifesigns captures the spirit of the Concert Closet's mission; seek out new, lesser-known, and/or under the radar prog bands that push the boundaries of the genre.  Lifesigns is a band with a stellar pedigree...current and former members along with guests and friends who are headliners and A-listers in their own right coming together to create one more prog garden beauty.  Immersing myself now...

...and starting out with "N."  The song opens as if you are taking a joy ride on horseback across a wide open meadow and your stallion is gaining steam...the energy level pushes the needle to the red--without splitting your ear drums.  As the tempo settles into its own, you can still feel the energy flowing through your veins.  Top notes of The Strawbs and perhaps a shot of Camel explain the majestic keyboards layered throughout this piece.  Soothing and exhilarating all at once; this is turning out to be an "E" ticket ride...

Next up on the carousel is "Touch."  Another upbeat cut that dances a high-step across the prog garden.  Lifesigns moves into a different realm here; I detect top notes of an early Yes incarnation blended with the skillful playing of Marillion.  The canvas is filled with bursts of color in rapid-fire  succession as the sounds enter your auditory sensors and flow through your entire being...music that caresses the soul...

Liner Notes...started originally circa 2008, Lifesigns was the light bulb in the minds of  John YoungFrosty BeedleSteve Rispin, and Nick Beggs.  Despite hands and heads in many other projects, they were able to complete the first album for a February 2013 release.  As if the original four weren't genius enough, they enlisted the talents of friends Steve HackettRobin BoultJakko Jakszyk, and Thijs van Leer.  Niko Tsonev signed on for the ensuing tour, and Nick Beggs--the man of 1000 bands--was ultimately replaced by Jon Poole.  Add to an already crowded stage Dave Bainbridge and Menno Gootjes and my earlier reference to a stellar pedigree and all that nonsense about headliners and A-listers is starting to seem blatantly obvious I bet...

Lifesigns released a live DVD and double audio CD during the hoopla and touring, and also managed to release their second studio album "Cardington," in 2017.  With performances at Cruise to the Edge and a UK tour, Lifesigns has been busy indeed with no plans to slow down...a new CD and extended tour are in the works now... 


The final serving on this prog feast is the title cut, "Cardington."  These guys are as comfortable as your favorite sweater; they feed off each other so effortlessly.  A jazz cafe sound as smooth as a silkworm's finest effort...I detect top notes of Transatlantic and Asia with perhaps a touch of District 97.

However; there is enough of a prog and rock pedigree running through this band  that comparing them to another is almost unfair.  Suffice to say Lifesigns brings more to the prog garden than it takes, leaving cuttings in several sections to nurture those coming after.  Learn more about Lifesigns and purchase their music at their website Lifesigns and bandcamp.  Peel back the curtain at Facebook and follow the band on Twitter @Lifesigns_uk.

Your earworm for the week is a bit of a teaser; a taste of each cut to lure you in...rest assured you will not be disappointed.  Lifesigns hits the canvas with an array of colors that blend splendidly together...much like folding caramel and black cherries into dark chocolate; there is never too much and you're always in the mood.  Once your ears are wet, buy the entire catalog...         

                

Once again the clock on the wall says time is up for this week fellow progheads.  Minutes seems to be in warp speed as we trudge through the final quarter of 2018, fixated on the ribbon stretched across the finish line.  But there is still plenty of harvest left in the prog garden and there is no need to rush through it hastily.



Lifesigns steers your mind back to the beauty that is the prog garden; serenity wrapped in excited joy.  This is a band quite comfortable in its own skin, playing not for something to prove but rather something to enjoy.  The search for all things prog has brought us a treasure that is best shared.  Of course the journey must continue...until next time... 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ancient Veil "Rings of earthly...Live"

A brisk autumn hello and welcome to The Closet Concert Arena fellow progheads!  Traveling back from Athens and the metal sounds of OH. got me thinking...since I'm in already in the Mediterranean, why not maximize the travel miles?  So this week the Concert Closet is taking the search for all things prog over to Italy to visit with Ancient Veil and check out their latest release, "Rings of earthly...Live."


As much a prog band as a fusion group bringing modern and ancient sounds together, Ancient Veil brings a unique resonance to the prog garden that bleeds with emotion and tranquility.  So with a nod to composed excitement, let the journey begin...

I chose to open with "Rings of Earthly Light."  An opening as soft as a rain forest greets you; feel the moisture wash over your entire being like a light summer drizzle drenched in sunshine...nice.  As your stress melts away, your appreciation for woodwinds and piano increases tenfold.  Ancient Veil caresses your mind with this piece.  Top notes of Big Big Train and early Genesis manage to seep through with each note.  The guitar/flute duel is soothing in its own right, and carries the song along beautifully.


Moving farther along the disc, I become enveloped in "Creature of the Lake."  Once again Ancient Veil flows through the headphones as calming as a shallow waterfall.  Flute takes center stage for a while as it carries you like Aladdin's magic carpet across the prog garden like autumn leaves floating to their final resting place...even the vocals are soothing.  Ancient Veil waltzes gently through the prog garden; think Atlas Volt with a Victorian slant.

Liner Notes...hailing from Genoa, Italy, Ancient Veil is Alessandro Serri on vocals and guitars; Edmondo Romano the woodwind master on sax, clarinet, and flute; and Fabio Serri on keyboards and piano.  The band is essentially a trio although credits also include bass player Massimo Palermo and Marco Fuliano behind the drum kit.

Ancient Veil spent many years in the minds and hearts of its creators before coming to life.  Circa 1992 Alessandro and Edmondo left their original band to create Ancient Veil, releasing their first album in 1995.  The catalog looks to have eight releases credited to the band and several solo works along with music from their previous groups.

You can find out more about Ancient Veil at their website Ancient Veil.  From there you are able to connect with the band on Facebook and Twitter @ancient_veil Ancient Veil records on the Lizard Records label and you will find their catalog, not surprisingly, at Lizard Records as well as iTunesAmazon, and Google play.  Lots of options, so please support this wonderful band...


My final spin in the CD carousel pushes "Night Thoughts" through my headphones.  This song bring the ancient into the mix with an opening reminiscent of the Paul Winter Consort...very moving...
Ancient Veil paints with subdued colors on a large canvas, filling the room with a sound that is refreshing without being overpowering.

Italian prog is often ornate and "over-the-top;" music that fills the room and leaves very little space for anything else.  However, Ancient Veil manages to come across as minimal while still giving you that "full-to-overflowing" feel.  Here is a band that swims against the tide, giving you not only room to breathe, but also space to move around and savor the sound.

My ear candy for you this week is a delightful piece called "Dance Around My Slow Time."  Gentle vocals riding an acoustic guitar roll back the curtain on a song that embraces you like an innocent child hugging their favorite teddy bear.  Ancient Veil is the friend you rely on without realizing it; always there with a firm yet familial hug...you know you're among friends as you fall gently into the prog garden's embrace...

                        

So fellow progheads, our time this week winds down as smooth and serene as a still lake reflecting  moonlight.  Ancient Veil unites the sections of the prog garden nurtured by the standard bearers with those of the modern day.  While walking to the precipice of ambient sound, Ancient Veil is careful to stay on this side of the ground stake, allowing you to walk freely among the different sights and sounds.

The prog garden has an abundance of artists that blur the lines of the genre, but not many that unite them.  Take the time to savor all there is to appreciate here.  Meanwhile the search for all things prog continues its perpetual journey.  More pleasantries on the horizon...until next time...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

OH. "Metallia"

October is here fellow progheads, so pile into The Closet Concert Arena as we take the search for all things prog up a notch (or two) and head into the home stretch of 2018!  This week the journey circles back around to Greece to check in with a prog metal artist that has been attracting serious attention in the prog garden.  Said garden is under-represented by women so when I hear of one tilling acreage in the metal section...well, that is a siren I cannot ignore...and welcome to the world of OH.



Finding it easier to simply use her initials, OH. is in actuality Olivia Hadjiioannou, a one-woman prog metal force.  Her latest album, "Metallia," was released in July so I guess it's been marinating long enough; let's have a listen...

The opener to this metal feast is a powerful piece called "Red Lion."  The song opens with a quick acoustic burst that leads the listener into a fierce encounter with Olivia and her shredding abilities...I do believe John Petrucci would admire her stylings.  With top notes of Dream Theater and the intensity of Liquid Tension Experiment, Olivia takes the listener on a dark yet vivid journey that intersects the mind of Edgar Allen Poe and the imagination of Stephen Gammell.  This is going to be a wild, blustery week indeed...

Moving across the disc I find another fiery blast, "Androgyny."  An angelic, church choir-like opening belies a metal storm waiting behind the curtain.  OH comes at you full force, filling your head with guitar riffs that tie themselves around a searing vocal, penetrating deep into your cranium.  The solid drum work solidifies what is already a cement foundation, allowing the guitar to echo back and run circles in your mind...until she cuts out.  The song ends abruptly and you get a minute to catch your breath...

Liner Notes...calling Athens, Greece home, "Metallia" is the seventh release by Olivia Hadjiioannou.  Her debut EP "Sleeping World" hit the streets in 2013 and a full-length LP "Synemotion" came out in 2015.  Add four ballad singles and she has put together an impressive resume thus far.  OH. stays busy in the recording studio playing guitar, violin, bass, and drums...and she lays down the vocal tracks.

OH is a hybrid of sorts; I detect aromatics of Steve Vai, John Petrucci, and Joe Satriani in her guitar playing, blended with Kate Bush and Anneke Van Giesbergen in style and range.  OH. doesn't just dabble in the metal section of the prog garden--she takes up full residence.

Learn more about OH. and purchase her music by visiting  her website  Olitunes and also at  olitunes.bandcamp.  Of course she has Facebook and Twitter @olitunes  for you to keep up with all things OH, and a YouTube channel  olitunes YouTube  allows an aural glimpse behind the curtain.

Last song to tear through my headphones this week is "Resurrection."  This cut opens with strong drum work that is quickly overrun with Olivia's explosive guitar.  She may wear many hats as an artist, but guitar seems to be her first love--and she remains loyal to her first love.  OH. is a refreshing kick in the cerebellum, her thumping guitar taking aim via your auditory sensors.  The music unfolds as a cacophony of searing sound, finally coming to rest with the drums and guitar battling for supremacy and crashing to a halt.

The sound explosion I chose to placate your metal fix this week is "Triumph." OH. runs right at you here, wielding her guitar like Thor's hammer.  The vocals hearken to being caught in a sound warp where everything comes at you in short fiery bursts.  Olivia hits the canvas with some of the brightest dark color scapes the metal section of the prog garden has to offer; think Peter Marx with a gothic bent...play it loud, but keep away from open flames...


                     

Another week winds down to a screeching implosion fellow progheads.  The prog garden has been set ablaze these past seven days by OH.  We stand in a vast musical playground with enough acreage to satisfy  the many different tastes of the prog genre.  I admit to not spending much time hunkered down in the "barbed wire" area of the garden, but when I do I am reminded as to why prog music is so all encompassing.

As is the norm, the journey continues on as the search for all things prog makes its way through the final turn toward the horizon in the road race that is 2018...until next time...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Electric Mud "The Deconstruction of Light"

Welcome to The Closet Concert Arena fellow progheads!  As always it is a pleasure and honor I don't take for granted to be able to bring you the best in new and lesser-known prog music.  After a raucous week in LA, the mood settles just a bit as the search for all things prog makes a return trip to Germany and a follow-up visit with Electric Mud and their latest release, "The Deconstruction of Light."

It was but three years ago The Closet Concert Arena first discovered Electric Mud, and summing up their sound as "post-progressive rock" doesn't quite touch all the bases.  While the sky overhead may be filled with dark ominous clouds and the atmosphere hangs heavy, Electric Mud walks many a mile through the prog garden, delving into sections labeled ambient, metal, and avant-garde just to name a few.  This is a band that crawls inside your head just to see if they fit, so perhaps we best get to it...

The opener this week is a bit dark and dreary; "Suburban Wasteland Blues."  The opening guitars are tangibly heavy--and that is a good thing.  Electric Mud does a bit of a bait-and-switch here as this song just bleeds the blues...but prog elements leap off the disc at the same time.  Think Adrian Belew jamming with John Lee Hooker and you're close.  If your feet ain't tapping as this song climbs over, through, and around time and tempo changes, check your shoes to see if they're empty...

Next up on this calorie laden buffet is "Heads in Beds."  A sultry guitar leads you down a dimly lit corridor as the song opens.  Waltzing through domes of light cast by overhead streetlamps you alternately  disappear in darkness and reappear as if walking a lone desolate avenue on a rainy night.  The top notes are reminiscent of The Strawbs and  Tangerine Dream while the guitar work has just a hint of a Mark Knopfler influence; elegant and brooding while at the same time extremely minimal...in a word, fantastic.  The music continues to walk the prog garden in search of fellow nyctophiles; Electric Mud is haunting in this piece without crossing into the macabre or evil--just floating on this side of the darkness...


Liner Notes...hailing from Springe in the district of Hannover, Germany, Electric Mud was founded by bass player and sound conceptualist Hagen Bretschneider.  The band, now an official trio,  also includes Lennart Huper on rhythm guitar and Nico Walser on guitars, keyboards, percussion, noises...and sound alchemy.  Manfred Lohse is credited for video production...these credits alone should be a sliver of light shining on the depths to which Electric Mud will dig to capture the essence of their sound.

"The Deconstruction of Light" was released in April, the band's third full length album.  Paying homage to the prog standard bearers that tilled the garden early on, Electric Mud doesn't just echo the sounds of the past, rather they sift the many layers and add a touch of their own DNA, creating a unique sound amongst the familiar.

To learn more about Electric Mud and make a purchase check their website Electric Mud.  Links there will take you to bandcamp, soundcloud, Amazon, and other music sites for listening and buying--with an emphasis on the latter.  There is also Facebook and Twitter @Electricmudd  to keep up with all the latest band information.

Final selection for review this week is "Through the Gates."  Electric Mud is extremely good at giving the listener a macro view of the inner workings of a determined mind, allowing you to glimpse a private world not usually on display.  The percussion in this piece is deafeningly restrained; you feel the blows in your conscious but no physical harm is done.  Music to contemplate by...


I chose a reprise of sorts for your listening pleasure this week; "Black Dog." The opening riff lifts the top of your skull and rains down all over your mind...aromatics of Deep Purple burst through the thick outer shell encasing the song as the tempo and mood swing back away from the sun.  Electric Mud manage to say quite a bit without once uttering a lyric, filling the canvas to overload.  As you sit back and allow the music to swallow you whole, you realize the ride down is as fulfilling as it is mesmerizing...dim the lights...

                   

Yet one more trek through the prog garden has yielded a hearty bounty for the week.  Electric Mud takes you on a joy ride through a cavernous section of the prog garden; dark and eery at times but never letting go of your hand.  The post-progressive section of the prog garden has a reputation for being ominous and gloomy, but don't be fooled; Electric Mud has the power to light up a seemingly impenetrable darkness--and you'll want to be there when the beacon burns through the haze...

So the search for all things prog moves forcibly ahead as the Closet Concert Arena moves on.  Electric Mud has shown another side of the prog garden, allowing a dark hue to wash over the sun soaked dunes...and the result is magic.  The journey continues...until next time...   

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lobate Scarp "Time and Space"

Hello fellow progheads and welcome to another week here at the The Closet Concert Arena!  The summer flew by much too quickly, so in an effort to slow the gravitational pull of Mother Earth (or at least make it feel that way), the search for all things prog stayed on one continent this week, hunkering down in California to check out a relative new comer to the prog garden, Lobate Scarp.


Referring to their sound as "Progressive Space-Opera Rock," Lobate Scarp put themselves on my radar; always looking for bands that view the prog garden through a different lens.  So diving right in, I drop the laser on the title cut and let the headphones fill my cranium...and the sounds they emit are quite the mind show.  As the song opens you feel as if you're listening to the background music while credits roll on a classic 40's film noir marathon.  Then just as sudden and unexpected as snow in July, color splashes across the canvas and Lobate Scarp comes at you full force.  This terrestrial aura comes through on some fine guitar work and percussion.  The mood swing is a bit jazz fusion at one point as I find myself waiting for David Sanborn to break out one of his trademark sax solos.  The week starts strong as I am sated for fifteen minutes plus...

Moving across the disc I discover a piece that opens in a nostalgic frame of mind then quickly punches up the drums, "The Contradiction."  Once again an ominous cello forces itself onto your auditory sensors like a prelude to darkness.  However, Lobate Scarp is simply doing what they do best--toying with your emotions the way most operas do...even the progressive space-rock kind.  There is a taste of ELO and The Flaming Lips in the music here as the tempo floats like a swinging pendulum.  Lobate Scarp seems to enjoy a "quick intro" as the song starts to emerge from the headphones, only to inundate you with a roller coaster ride of emotion and style...

Liner Notes...in addition to being from Los Angeles CA and into quantum physics, Lobate Scarp sports a left-handed guitarist/vocalist in Nate Olmos and bass player/cellist/vocalist Andy Catt (unless the photos are backwards).  The other current members of the band are Adam Sears lead vocals and keyboards, Andrea Whitt on electric viola, and Dustin Prince on drums.  The band originated in 2007 releasing "Time and Space" in 2012.  They also have a single, "Beautiful Light" that hit the airwaves in 2016.

Lobate Scarp is a melange of sorts; many ideas and influences brought together to create a driving sound that resonates across much of the prog garden.  The ornate boldness of Queen, the "not taking ourselves too seriously" approach of Dreadnaught, and the mellow smooth attitude of Phish make for a canvas splattered with color and character that is a truly unique blend...

Learn more about Lobate Scarp at Lobate Scarp and purchase their music at
Lobate Scarp bandcamp.  You can also connect with the band via Facebook and on Twitter @LobateScarp.  Their catalog is relatively small while still in the "construction phase."

The palate cleanser for this prog gala is "The Mirror."  Channeling David Gilmour as the curtain is peeled back, this song is an extension of what Lobate Scarp is about; emerging slowly as they fill your mind to overflow with sights, sounds, and bursts of energy.  Top notes range from Pink Floyd to Asia and the Red Hot Chili Peppers...yes, Lobate Scarp likes to fill the entire picture frame... 

Your ear candy this week is a tune called "Jacob's Ladder."  This song brings a funky edge to the forefront...think Spock's Beard meets Wishbone Ash meets Cake.  The guitars carve out a groove that gets your foot tapping one minute and your mind swirling the next...of course the drum work thumping the back of your neck helps keep you focused.  Lobate Scarp seems to enjoy making the most of their time in the prog garden and sharing a twisted groove with friends... 

                          

And another week has walked briskly by the picture window.  Lobate Scarp seemed the right elixir as we witness summer's annual fade to gray, her strut across the prog garden deliberately alluring.  However, the prog garden is a landscape for all seasons and bands like Lobate Scarp have nurtured some impressive acreage.  As their resume grows and the catalog fills, I anticipate the envelope being pushed and the prog garden continuing its expansion.

As for The Closet Concert Arena, the search for all things prog continues to stay on course...until next time...   

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Hollow Moon

Greetings once again fellow progheads!  As the unofficial final days of summer flash by the rear view mirror, the search for all things prog continues its forward motion.  This week The Concert Closet carries a passport to check in on both sides of the pond investigating a band starting to build its own portfolio...welcome to the sounds of The Hollow Moon.

The Hollow Moon is one more prog band that touches two continents as the members reach across the Atlantic to bring their sound to the prog garden.  Time to peel back the curtain and look inside the workings of The Hollow Moon...

Starting with the song "King of Yesterday" I find myself swept up in a touch of nostalgia.  The mood is quite somber as the yearning for days gone by drips from the lyrics like raspberry vinegar; the desired sweet is soothing, just enough to temper the acidic bite.  There are top notes of Marillion and a hint of Keane wafting through the entire production; the keyboards are soft yet able to penetrate deep into your pores.  Feels like a reflective week coming on...

Moving to the next single, I drop the laser on "Everything in Balance."  A more upbeat tempo greets the auditory sensors as strong keyboards wash over like a cool breeze on a humid afternoon.  The drum work gives a foundation to the guitars riding across the top.  Aromatics of Yes dart in and out of the music, poking your skull.  I sense a Godley and Creme vibe as well; the logic minded depth of the lyrics wrapped in deep thought, begging to be unwrapped.

Liner Notes...The Hollow Moon is the blend of two musicians hailing from two continents.  Jon Farley lives in Moray, Scotland and along with composing for the band plays piano, keyboards, drums, guitar, and provides vocals.  Darren Selesnow calls Los Angeles, CA home and he also composes while  providing bass, electric and acoustic guitars, as well as keyboards.

Darren and Jon bring well over a half century's experience to The Hollow Moon from their respective musical upbringing.  Each has been playing, writing, and recording music on their own as well as with with other bands.  Darren's alter-ego has been part of The Edwardian Look for the past ten years while Jon is the lone member of Checking for Echo.  The Hollow Moon currently has five singles out with their first full length album due soon.  The LP will consist of the existing singles along with new music presently being mixed, arranged, and going through all the necessary machinations required to bring it to fruition.  So the prog garden expands its boundaries...

My last song for review here is "Don't Forget Me."  The Hollow Moon is a very introspective band; these are songs that penetrate deep into your conscious, lifting the lid on your cranium and stoking the thought process.  I sense aromatics of Porcupine Tree in this cut; the percussion brings out the strength of the vocals and guitars gain momentum toward the end of the song.  The haunting voice-over carries you across the threshold from present to a perpetual, fading eternity.




Learn more about The Hollow Moon  at The Hollow Moon Band.  They also have a Facebook page Hollow Moon FB and Twitter @TheHollowMoon .  Both will keep you informed as to the release of their debut album and other information about the band.  You can purchase all the singles now at iTunes and Amazon; links on the website.  Get in on the ground floor so you can say you knew them when...

I chose the clip below, "Falling Away," as your ear candy this week.  The signature melancholy piano lead-in pulls the curtain back slowly on a coming-of-age realization about what really is important and how fast time slips through your fingers--no matter how tight your grasp.  The Hollow Moon fills the pallet with subtle strokes from a somber brush; delicate though it may be, the song pulls on your emotions without drowning you in sorrow.  The tempo gains just enough momentum for the song to float through your mind and carry you to that peaceful place...pour a single malt and dim the lights...

                                    

OK fellow progheads, seven days closer to the end of another busy year in the prog garden.  The Hollow Moon is an apropos way to draw the curtain on summer; watching the sunset while enjoying a fresh crispness in the air.  The prog garden brought forth a lot of exciting new bands and artists this year as well as witnessing some old favorites continue their upward trajectory.

With a debut album coming soon and side projects to use up any possible free time, Darren and Jon appear  to be riding The Hollow Moon to new acreage here in the prog garden.  And of course  the search for all things prog continues the hunt for even more new and exciting entries...until next time...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I Am The Morning "Lighthouse"

Another seven days have passed and  I welcome you back fellow progheads!  The search for all things prog has brought me to some fascinating places and unearthed many wonderful discoveries; the band I am reviewing this week scores high on that list.  My journey has not taken me to Russia very often--I believe my passport is stamped but twice for stops in Alaska's  neighbor.  However; I Am the Morning has convinced me to bring The Closet Concert Arena this way more often.

Calling themselves a "Chamber progressive rock duo...mixing prog with classical music and writing songs about death" is a calling card I cannot ignore.  "Lighthouse" is the fifth album from I Am The Morning, released on KScope records. With album number six due in the fall, I thought this a good time to stop by for a listen.  To paraphrase John Soule, let us "go west" across the Bering Strait...



The album opens softly with "I Came Before the Water Pt I."  Gentle waves lapping at the shore greet your auditory sensors while vocals as delicate as a linen shawl float over the top...and the song seamlessly bleeds into "Too Many Years."  An intense piano introduces vocals elegant as  lilacs...gentle to the touch yet the scent completely fills the room.  The piano continues to waltz through the entire piece as strings come around the perimeter and draw everything together.  Top notes of Brian Eno's ambient best folded with the melancholy of Keane, aromatics of Doville Lee, and a hint of the darkness that envelopes Tuesday The Sky.  Yes, there is quite a bit happening in the prog garden at the moment...

My next selection from this "classic" buffet is the title cut "Lighthouse."  As tender as a mother's touch, the piano flows through the headphones guiding lyrics soft as a down filled pillow through your head.  I Am The Morning is a walk through the first snowfall on a hidden meadow; tranquility holding your hand and guiding your steps.  The images are Victorian and ornate while the music is simple and genteel.  This song is as unique as a piece of driftwood washed up on shore...admired for its beauty and appreciated for the treasure it is.

Liner Notes...I Am The Morning hails from St. Petersburgh, Russia and is Gleb Kolyadin on piano and keyboards and Marjana Semkina on vocals and backing vocals.  They do include many guests on the album; Mariusz Duda on vocals, Vlad Avy on guitars, Colin Edwin on bass, Andres Izmailov on harp, and Evan Carson on bodhran and percussion.  Playing drums is one Gavin Harrison...must be that Porcupine Tree and King Crimson aren't enough to keep him occupied.

I Am The Morning have five albums on their resume and number six due in October, complete with
Blu-Ray.  Factor in Gleb Kolyadin's recent solo release and this duo have been caretakers to quite the acreage in the prog garden.  Different musicians appear on each album, which is recorded in a different location based seemingly on its association with the theme or history of the album and its music.  I Am The Morning leaves nothing to chance or circumstance when putting an album together; everything--from cover art to mixing--is as meticulously attended to as anything Steely Dan ever did.             

Selection number three is "Chalk and Coal." This time Marjana's vocals pierce the headphones with some oomph; the darkness implied by the title hits the canvas like an impending storm...all the while building an intensity that breaks through without destroying the landscape.  The top notes are reminiscent of The Strawbs in a more macabre mood.

Learn more about I Am The Morning and purchase their music at IATM bandcamp.  For those so inclined, you will find links to soundcloudiTunes, and KScope where you can also pre-order the new I Am The Morning album "Ocean Sounds."  Follow the band on Facebook IATM Facebook and Twitter @themorningband.

I chose the song "Matches" as your gateway to the beauty that is I Am The Morning.  The piano opening takes you to a quiet nightclub and the vocals float on top like cotton candy strands taking flight from a vendor's machine at the fair.  This piece, however, moves right into that "sweet spot" in your mind, allowing you to drift away like a message in a bottle...washing up on a desolate island and basking in the solitude...

                     

Once again fellow progheads a week has fallen off the calendar as easily as morning dew dripping from a rose petal.  I Am The Morning has broadened the perimeter of the prog garden and added a  stunning view.  The passion expressed in the music makes "Lighthouse" a must-have for those with a fondness for prog beauty.  The band walks the emotion laden section of the prog garden, a la Moody Blues.  Yet it is Marjana's voice that lures you deeper into the abyss...

The search for all things prog continues on, and bands like I Am The Morning make the journey so worthwhile.  With so many sub-genres under the prog umbrella, a find as refreshing and unique as I Am The Morning is always a pleasant discovery, and of course the search continues...until next time...