While on the subject of more calm and peaceful music, here is another one for ya. Probably new to many, Riverland is the combination of singer Mikko Heino (Minutian, Montage) and Roni Seppänen (Tracedawn, Devil I Know, Montage) on guitars. But it is not new to them, as they have been playing folk festivals, coffee-houses and bars in Finland since 2008.
The idea of this album is the concept of people helping each other, taking care, and falling in love. And while the music was written by the duo, they brought in Aki Väkevä for the programming of drums and the mix of the final results.
Style wise this is a hybrid of sorts. Modern pop, some folk, and some progressive and psychedelia to balance it all. And if that sounds strange, the music is not. With 7 tracks clocking in at just over 21 minutes it might not be a full album by nowadays standards. But they surely succeeded in creating a very moody and atmospheric album. Surprisingly there are a lot of keyboards present as well, something not mentioned in the biography. All in all a nice way to get to know the band, and if you are into relaxing music, this is surely something to hunt down. Pleasant!
Dutch ambient progressive rock project Forest Field has just released it´s first song: the 32 minute ambient soundscape Floating On Air. On the site you can find a streaming version of all the parts that make up the song, but you can also enjoy the first 7 minutes with a video:
Okay here we go! Soundtrack music for gamers, geeks and freaks that have nothing better to do. And you should take some of that quite literally as this album is obviously inspired by the mine craft game that is all the rage in the gaming community right now. And like on his first album, 16 year old (at the time of recording) Wil Grisack shows a keen sense of humour with his song titles: Welcome To My Mind, And I Say To Myself What A Beautiful Cube, In Love With My Skins, Beats The Minecraft Soundtrack (month 3) or Carpal Tunnel Begins To Set In (year 4)…
Many songs on offer here could easily be used in the actual game (or any other for that matter) as they share that same, simple midi based sound and structure. Other efforts are more elaborate and again make clear Pod Persin is an inventive and musical person. He shares the hard working ethic with his father, kids rocker Mr. Billy (famous for a.o. his 12 cd´s in 12 months quest) since this new release comes hot on the heels of his first CD and rumour has it he has already started with work on CD 3. Well, his website is online now, so maybe somewhere in between he finds time to update that as well . Remarkable quality for a guy of his age and something anyone into soundtracks, and ambient or new age should check into.
American musician (guitars and keyboards) Jeff Hamel serves up another tasty bite of what is maybe best described as ambient progressive rock. And it is not that my project Forest Field operates in about the same field, that I like this. No, Jeff has been releasing albums for quite some time now and this double disk shows how accomplished he is. Together with Mike Kosacek on drums and percussion and vocalists David Cagle, Tara Morgan, Chris Hodges and Celine Derval, these two compact disks feature a wide range of songs with a lot of shifts in style and moods. Short songs or epics, all material is as good as it sounds.
And where I sometimes complain that epics feel patched, Hamel´s body of work always is organic and logical. Which is absolutely not the same as predictable. Despite of all the mood shifts and influences I got sucked in right away. The quiet parts are often hauntingly beautiful and send shivers down your spine. And it does not matter if it is instrumental or vocal! Also the more rocking bits still fit the overall feel of the album. It is just as if all this variety takes you on a journey and makes you dream of distant shores (or whatever your favourite destination is) and you just never wanna leave…
So very impressed by this music and I fully recommend it to people into progressive rock and or more ambient sounds.
Steven Wilson is a genius. There I said it! So expect a very biased review of this Grace For Drowning double disk. If you are one of those people ignorant of this man and his music, let me try to guide you a bit.
First should anyone into progressive rock and metal be familiar with his band Porcupine Tree. Awesome band, pick up their albums. Next is this: you try combining ambient piano and vocals (Grace For Drowning), classical guitar (Belle De Jour) with progressive workouts like Sectarian, combine elements from various genres and make them work (Index), write epics for breakfast (23 minutes of Raider II) and still come up with enough feel, groove and musical ideas to put about everything that sits high in today’s charts to shame. And if that is not enough, produce, write and perform with a lot of other people and still make everyone look good.
Okay, still don´t think I am being reasonable here? Then you have my permission to just go sit under a rock somewhere and miss out on this beautiful body of work. But never say I did not try to warn ya! Fabulous release (another one I might add). Awesomeness just got another name…
What do you think the typical 16 year old would do with an iPod touch? I am pretty sure among the things you´d come up with the answer “record an album with so called graphic novel soundtrack music” is not high on the list…
Yet that is what this guy has done. Pod Persin being the pseudonym for Will Grisack 4, son of children rocker (Mighty) Mr. Billy. So it kinda runs in the family I guess, as I happen to know that Will is a regular contributor (on drums) on his fathers live shows.
The description of graphic novel soundtrack can be extended to film and new age / ambient typed music. All kind of moods, but fitting to these genres. Very humorous, with titles like Any Princess Movie, I Robot Grammar Bad or Tim Burton Should Hire Me. Rather short songs, but sounding pretty mature already. At least, that is how I feel about it. And the fact it is done by someone of his age, and on the iPod, only serves to proof my point. Room for improvement? Yes, in some details like the sound of the drum cymbals, not regarding his musical ideas!
Too bad the link mentioned on the back is not working, but it does give me the opportunity to point you to CDBaby, where this can be bought in digital or physical format.
In my earlier post on a Scott Mosher album, I already mentioned the uncommon combination of ambient, sometimes dance music inspired aural extravaganza of this multi instrumentalist with some progressive rock overtones.
This album, albeit some years older, is of the same calibre. And while I can imagine some people being put off by words like “dance” or “extravaganza”, I truly admire Scott´s work for being so damn original. To make it sound like a logical set of songs, is even more proof of his abilities to blend styles that are so far apart from each other. True, not everything is instant, but from my point of view that is actually a bonus. For what it´s worth, isn´t this what progressive music should be all about?
Though limited in appearance, my previous comment about the vocals also applies to this album. Not bad, but a more commanding performance would render him more credibility. Then again, the combination works, so why bother.
The bad news is, his website is still running, but information about his musical adventures is hidden so deep I can´t find it. The artwork design is his also, but nada musical info. Perhaps he has given up on convincing people this works. A pity, as I feel this could appeal to a broad audience. Or should! A Season Of Fire being a prime example.