STARING INTO NOTHING: Power

This progressive rock trio hails from Orange County, CA and consists of Steve Rogers (piano, keyboards, lead and backing vocals), Savannah Rogers (guitar, lead and backing vocals), and Kurt Barabas (bass and guitars). The album also features the additional musicians: Matt Chamberlain (drums), David Levita (guitars), Jamie Muhoberac (keyboards), Pop Levi (backing vocals), and Andrea Meli (backing vocals).

With political lyrics and tight musicianship, the band gives listeners an earful that makes repeated listening very easy. You get hints of ‘70s prog mixed with ‘80s and current sounds that make for a nice mixture of sounds that never gets boring. This has so many songs that stand out that it’s hard to pick one or two, it’s like a collection of the best songs or at least a band that put a lot of thought into what they recorded instead of just trying to pack a ton of songs on a release. The one-two punch of “Puritans” and “School Daze” must be one of the best starts to an album that I’ve heard in a long time. So catchy and played with conviction, I had a hard time going onto the rest of the album until I played them a few more times. “The Pendulum”, “Heads And Tails”, and the lead single “Big Brother,” are more of the standouts on the album. There is also an 18-minute opus on the record entitled “Towers” that is an amazing song that needs to be listened to with headphones on to get the full effect. With beautiful production from Mark Needham, this sounds clear, crisp and full of life.

All I can say is that if you need something new to listen to, grab this and ignore your preconceived idea of overwrought prog, this has depth and is brimming with emotion, plus lyrics that will get you thinking…how can that ever be a bad combination?

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/11/staring-into-nothing-power.html

https://staringintonothing.bandcamp.com/

www.staringintonothing.com

https://www.facebook.com/StaringIntoNothing/

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FRACKTURA: Oculus

This progressive rock trio from Cincinnati, OH features Karis Tucker (voice), André Machado (8-string guitar, bass), and Henry Conde (synth, piano). Guest musicians include Julio Oliveira on drums, Ander Peterson on saxophone, Soojin Kim on piano, and with lyrics by Diogo Oliveria. With 2016 being the official start of the band, this new EP continues on and expands from the first single “Reality.”

Oculus is meant to be listened to in one sitting to absorb its power and meaning with the main theme being about reconciling the individual’s outer persona with their inner self-running through the four songs on the EP. Opener “You” starts a capella and then the piano comes in to make a song that reminds me of a Depeche Mode quiet piece. “Gold Spectrum” is an avant-garde jazz piece with wailing and squawking sax and discordant sounds that bring to mind the Contortions. “The Fear Peddler” has a more straightforward sound than the previous song and adds some interesting spaciness in the sound, kind of like drifting in the sky-high above the earth. Finishing with “Identidade,” a quiet, yet powerful song that has sweet vocals and a haunting piano that grabs your ears and pulls you into the depth of the song.

A very interesting EP that will have you putting on your headphones to listen to so that you don’t miss one bit of sound that they have produced here. From beauty to quirky and back to the beauty all in under fifteen minutes, and fifteen minutes that you will no doubt be listening to again and again.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/11/fracktura-oculus.html

https://fracktura.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FrackturaOfficial

https://fracktura.bandcamp.com/

NEGATIVEHATE: Solipsis

Negativehate began in 1995 and have had a lot of ups and downs and especially lineup changes, but the one thing that remained after all of this was the guarantee of music that is challenging and full of emotion and talent. Based in Monroe, NY the band is comprised of Mike Stewart (keys, vocals), Eric Stewart (bass), Chuck Scandura (guitar, vocals), Sergio Sanchez (drums), and Freedom Scheyd (guitar, backing vocals).

The music is a mix of many styles; ambient, prog rock, alternative, and post-metal, but it all seems to work in their favor creating a sound that will astound and confound in places. The songs are mostly long and do have meandering parts like “The Expansion of the Universe (via magnification of the infinitesimal)” does, but you find yourself just going along and floating during those moments and then when it gets heavy and the growled, almost death metal vocals come in, it fits perfectly. The songs on the album are conceptualized after a story of the same name also written by the band, so it has a definite meaning to it and actually makes for a great listen. This is not an album to throw on and party along to, unless you have really weird parties….and I want to party with you! This is one of those listen to it in one shot to get the full effect of the music, even though you will find tracks that stand out more for you like I did with “The Expansion of the Universe (via magnification of the infinitesimal)”. The songs do flow from one to the next without a lot of difference between them, but that’s not a complaint, it just makes the whole thing work in ways that most just can’t seem to do.

Give your ears a treat and freak them out a bit with the time changes, vocal variations and other non-traditional sounds on here and let them grow and evolve into something better than just holes where sound goes in, but turn them into something special and lovely, but demented at the same time. A great listen and one that just seems to get better the more I listen to it.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/NEGATIVEHATE

https://negativehate.bandcamp.com/

AURGANIC: Distant Echoes & Close Encounters

Aurganic is an experimental electronic/alternative studio project of two long-time friends Michael Kossov and Leo Pisaq. Originally high school classmates, they were members in a number of local punk rock bands until life and distance separated them for a number of years. They reconnected musically in 2010 finding a lot of common ground. This time it was electronica, art rock, and jazz that dominated the ideas. The reunited duo recorded instrumental sessions in New York and worked on their completion via internet resulting in a self-titled EP. Rooted in friendship, the project proved its longevity with four independent releases to date. Hailing from the Toronto/New York area, Aurganic’s sound revolves around experimental electronic elements blended with rock, post-rock, progressive rock and indie rock ingredients.

“Signs” has multi-layered vocal harmonies, intelligently placed electronics, and some crunchy guitar drives and starts off the album on a definite high. “Empires” has a Muse feel to it, but without sounding like a copycat with the electronics and guitars creating a great mix that makes the track stand out. “Invincible (In The Shadows)” has strong harmonies and continues the high quality of the previous songs. “Levitate” is a fantastic electro-pop song and is one of the best tracks on the album filled with great tracks. “Distant Echoes” has a slow melodic vibe that gives a nice change to the album, and also has great guitar playing. “Shaman” is a ballad with vocals electronically treated, acoustic guitar and very able drumming. The closer “Close Encounters” is an all-instrumental track that shows off the progressive leanings of the band and makes for a great ending to a fun album.

With various styles and textures, this album really gives the listener something to sink their teeth into and an exciting listen that makes you want to hit the play button again. Go out and give your ears a treat and pick this one up.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/aurganic-distant-echoes-close-encounters.html

https://www.aurganic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Aurganic/

PATRICK GRANT: A Sequence Of Waves (Twelve Stories And A Dream)

Patrick Grant is originally from Detroit, now living in New York City, he studied at the world-famous Juilliard School and worked with Billy Joel and Quincy Jones on an international project for the Millennium, and in his work with Robert Fripp (King Crimson, Brian Eno, and David Bowie) & The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. The musicians on the album include Patrick Grant on guitar, bass, viola, piano, keyboards and percussion; John Ferrari on drums, mallet instruments and percussion; Nick Didkovsky on guitar; Dan Cooper on 7-string electric bass; Lynn Bechtold on violin; and Dan Barrett on cello.

A thirteen track, all instrumental album that has many moods and feels, like a soundtrack to an exciting movie that you want to keep listening to. With some rock, classical and progressive, you have a mixed bag with more choices than going out to a buffet. “Lucid Intervals” opens the album with strings, chimes and hand drums and sets you off on a great start. “Driving Patterns” has great electric guitar playing, piano, peppy percussion, and a fun drum beat. “Seven Years At Sea” has a field recording of echoed and looped vocals from the Hoffpauir sisters (Elita, Mary, and Ella), which was recorded in Louisiana in 1934. I have only touched on a few tracks here, but really, you can’t go wrong when you hit play, just pick a track and it will thrill you and take you away on an exciting trip.

Grab a copy and visit somewhere else, a place you may not have any idea where or when it is, but you will definitely enjoy the trip. A collection of songs that will keep you coming back for more and listen to over and over again, and keep a smile on your face at the same time.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/patrick-grant-sequence-of-waves-twelve.html

http://www.peppergreenmedia.com

https://www.facebook.com/patrickgrantnyc

MAVARA – Consciousness

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Mavara is Iran’s first and premier progressive rock band, now based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the name Mavara translates to “beyond everything you think.” The band was formed in 2001 by composer/keyboardist Farhood Ghadiri and over the years has had a fluid line-up of members, but currently Mavara is comprised of Ghadiri along with Ashkan Hamedi (vocals and guitar), Sina Khodaiefer (bass), Anis Oveisi (keyboards), and Jim Welch (drums).
Starting off with spoken word, “Invasion (636 Gregorian Calendar)” has an 11:39 running time that grabs you and gives you a look at how good they are at playing, as well as where the album is heading. The album has a flurry of dynamic vocals, shape-shifting rhythms, and technical guitar work and really gives the listener a lot to ingest as a first track. “Love for Centuries” begins with a haunting piano line, a great melody and just a great flow of emotions followed by the emotive vocals of Ashkan Hamedi. “Living the Fast Life” there are some truly soulful moments on this song, such as the fantastic guitar playing accompanied by terrific drumming. “High on Power” is almost a ballad and has a strong vocal performance that really stands out. “Consciousness” closes out the album the piano playing really impressed me, the additional keyboards and swirling guitar effects make this a monumental song.

With so much talent and the ability to grab your ears, this band really takes you on a journey and makes you want to hear more from them. With three other albums out there, this is proof that bands from countries you never think about can rock your ass off.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/09/mavara-consciousness.html

https://www.facebook.com/mavaraband

http://www.mavaraband.com/

https://mavara.bandcamp.com/album/consciousness

JACQUI L: PLANET PARALLEL 5

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Australian prog artist Jacqui L has released her debut album that is a conceptual piece that has ten tracks of intriguing music that will capture your attention. She states that she is a scorpion/alien from the planet PP5, but let’s not hold that against her.

Starting with an a capella that did nothing for me, I thought that this was going to be a hard listen, but then comes the first song with its Middle Eastern sound and then it started to happen, “Frankenstein” got into my head and I had to hear more. “I’ll Covet” has a great chorus and is a pretty heavy track that I just loved from the start. As I continued to listen, the songs became better and better, maybe this alien was corrupting me through her music, you never know. With great songwriting and tight playing, this was continuing to draw me in and then I got to “Cold” which had a great ‘70s vibe to it and almost a Supertramp sound to the keys.

I was thinking that this was going to be some sort of pretentious tripe, but it really was a fantastic album from start to finish. The people from planet PP5 are coming, and they can take me as their slave, as long as I can listen to this over and over again.

Also posted at: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/09/jacqui-l-planet-parallel-5.html

http://www.jacquil.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PlanetParallel5/

https://jacquil.bandcamp.com/releases