Syndone — Mysoginia
(Ma.Ra.Cash Records MRC074, 2018, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-21Over their last few albums, Syndone has risen to the upper echelon of current Italian progressive rock bands, presenting music that is firmly grounded in classics like Banco and PFM but has a modern edge. Mysoginia is another solid entry in their catalog, full of what makes this band so good. “Medea” opens the album with a kick-ass instrumental blast of vintage keyboards, complex rhythms, flashy guitar-like sounds, and orchestral support. It’s a statement of intent — the intent to seduce listeners into a world where prog rock never succumbed to the lure of 80s pop or hair metal. The album is full of brilliant moments, like the orchestral beginning of “Caterina,” which slips into a sad piano backing emotive vocals. The arrangement is masterful, building to peaks with the full band, pausing a moment for flute and piano, then building back the intensity. With “12 Minuti” they bring in another flavor, which features a touch of old-time music hall, and might even remind listeners of something Queen would have done in the mid-70s (“Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon” or “Seaside Rendezvous”), though with Italian lyrics, no backing vocals, and a different kind of build-up. Singer Riccardo Ruggeri has a beautiful, strong voice, capable of delicate passages and high-intensity rock wailing. He’s the real standout on the album, followed by leader / composer Nik Comoglio’s keyboards, which touch all the bases you expect in Rock Progressivo Italiano. It is noted in the credits that there is no guitar on the album except a guest appearance on one track of Luigi Venegoni — several other tracks feature what sounds a lot like electric guitar, but that must be Comoglio on some kind of keyboard. There is no shortage of great music coming out of Italy these days, and Mysoginia affirms that Syndone is in the top echelon of bands.
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more