Circa — Circa: 2007
(Purple Pyramid CLP 0357-2, 2007/2013, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01The continuing saga of Billy Sherwood finds him following up his efforts on Yes albums like Open Your Eyes and his collaboration with Chris Squire (Conspiracy) with an album of songs that sounds a lot like both. The Yes connection is solidified by the presence of Alan White on drums and Tony Kaye on keyboards, plus longtime associate Jimmy Haun proves himself the best Steve Howe imitator going today. To top it off, both Sherwood’s bass work and singing echo Squire’s characteristic sound. Those familiar with Sherwood’s work in and out of Yes will instantly recognize his trademark compositional style that blends complex rock riffs and intricate arrangements with soaring melodies and rich harmonic textures. It’s an approach that can be extremely powerful, as demonstrated by tracks “Trust in Something” and the epic “Brotherhood of Man.” The wall of sound backs off a bit on “Look Inside” with Tony Kaye offering up some nice organ work, though he’s largely transparent otherwise. However, as often as I was mesmerized by the music I also found my attention drifting away and too often the arrangements lacked a discernible through-line or sense of thematic backbone. Rockers like “Cut the Ties” solve this by using a bass riff to propel the song along, though songs like “Life Going By” seem little more than exercises in multi-track vocal mixing. Circa has great potential, but I just wish Billy Sherwood would step out of Yes and Chris Squire’s shadow. So far that has yet to happen.
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more