Pendragon — Passion
(Snapper Music SMACD971, 2011, CD+DVD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01Passion marks the conclusion of a trilogy of records that started with 2005's Believe, followed by 2008's Pure. Each was part of Pendragon's "five year plan" to present a new and re-energized sound to the public. Probably one of the smartest moves made was to hire drummer Scott Higham whose metal technique gives the hotter parts of the arrangement a serious kick in the ass. With him on board it's not much of a surprise that a harder edge is all over the music, plus an attention to production details and textures that gives the songs added depth and binds the longer pieces together. Notwithstanding superb performances all around (though Clive Noland's keyboards seem more subdued), Pendragon has never been about instrumental showboating. Instead, the heat in the arrangements propels the emotion in the lyric and melodies, enhancing what was already Pendragon's core competency. I don't know if it's a mid-life crisis but the entire band are shredding paint on songs like "Feeding Frenzy" and "Skara Brae," sounding more like Rush than the 70s prog reference points they are most often associated with. Fans of the old Pendragon will take solace in songs "This Green and Pleasant Land" and "Your Black Heart" that would have been at home on The World, but for the most part the band and producer Karl Groom have made it their mission to transport Pendragon into the modern era and to my ears they've arrived in good shape. A two-disk edition also includes a DVD documentary about the making of the album, with Barrett, Higham, Nolan and bassist Peter Gee discussing the recording process and their thoughts about the new music.
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, Oregon, and British Columbia. [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
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more