Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Progfest '95
(Musea FGBG 4180.AR, 1995/1996, 2CD)

by Henry Schneider, 1997-05-01:

Progfest '95 Cover art

For those of you not able to attend the festival in Los Angeles in November 1995, here is your chance to experience the highlights of Progfest ‘95. Opening the festival and this 2CD set is Ars Nova, a female Japanese trio of keyboards, bass, and drums. Progfest was their debut performance in the US and their three crowd-pleasing instrumentals "Morgan," "Jihad," and "Danse Macabre" clearly demonstrate their Goblin influenced music of hard-driving, dark keyboard progressive rock. Next we have three Landberk songs: "Kontiki," "Dream Dance," and "Time." This Swedish band’s music has a dark edge to it very much like Joy Division and Fra Lippi Lippo. Musea rounds out the first disk with four songs from the Italian band Deus Ex Machina: "Exordium," "Respublica II," "Ad Montem," and "Si Tu Bene..." Deus Ex Machina is a six-piece band consisting of drums, bass, guitar, strings, keyboards, and vocals. Their music also has a hard edge to it mixed with driving rock, jazz, and chamber elements.

Disc 2 opens with two songs by Norway’s folk-rock phenomenon band White Willow: "Lord of Night" and "Cryptomenysis." Sara Trondel’s angelic voice propels the band through these 17 minutes of excellent music. Next we have one song by, at the time, the relatively unknown US band Spock’s Beard. "The Light" is 16 minutes of fairly raucous 70s-styled prog rock that intermittently mellows out, reminding me of Wind and Wuthering era Genesis. Then closing this set are four songs by the Hungarian band Solaris: "Apocalypse," "Oz," "Hungarian Danse," and "Solaris." Solaris reformed especially for this festival after not having performed together in over five years. The results are not disappointing. Solaris play a folk influenced symphonic rock that was both the highlight of the festival and this 2CD set.

Musea has done a wonderful service by capturing in crystal clear detail Progfest ‘95. If like me, you have not had the pleasure of attending the festival nor hearing these bands this set is an excellent introduction to their music.


by Peter Thelen, 1997-05-01:

Well, it's finally here. This 2CD package was definitely worth the wait, even that two of the featured bands (Solaris and Spock's Beard) have already released their entire Progfest performances on CD, and one band that played at the event (Pendragon) isn't even featured herein (the story is that the sound was so distorted that the tapes couldn't be salvaged — see this writer's Progfest writeup in issue #9 about Pendragon and people running from the theater with their ears covered...) At any rate, the remaining six bands (in case it's been so long that you forgot, they were Ars Nova, White Willow, Deus Ex Machina, and Landberk, as well as the aforementioned two) are all featured herein. The sound quality is nothing short of outstanding, due in part to the engineering efforts of the late Kevin Gilbert, to whom this package is dedicated. Especially noteworthy are the live performances by Ars Nova, Deus Ex Machina (yes, you can really hear the keyboards now!), and Landberk — all of whom sound better now in the final mix than they did in the original live setting. The playing order of the bands on the discs is altered slightly from their original live playing order, with Spocks and Landberk sandwiched between the bands that played on day one. As usual, Musea has done an excellent job on the packaging. In all, this collection definitely captures the spirit of the event, while smoothing some of the rough edges.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 12 , 1996 releases, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Ars Nova, Spock's Beard, White Willow, Deus Ex Machina, Landberk, Neal Morse, Various Artists, Solaris, Nick D'Virgilio (NDV)

More info

Latest news

2019-03-03
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

2019-02-21
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

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Flower Kings - The Sum of No Evil – Best I can figure, this is around the twelfth album by Sweden's Flower Kings, and across all those years they have pretty much maintained a course of prog-rock purity that stays the straight and...  (2008) » Read more

My Sleeping Karma - My Sleeping Karma – My Sleeping Karma are four guys living in the middle of Germany hard at work crafting and playing minimal retro-psychedelic music that can easily stand up to Harmonia’s Krautrock masterpieces...  (2008) » Read more

Stella Maris - To the Promised Land – It can be difficult to review something like this latest offering from Germany’s Stella Maris. The musicians sound so sincere and believe in what they’re doing, and put a great deal of craft and...  (2005) » Read more

Yes - Keys to Ascension – Yes fans arrived from the furthest corners of the U.S. and on the night of March 5 this formation of Yes hit the stage for the first time in 17 years. Over three nights the band performed a set of...  (1997) » Read more

Ergo - Multitude, Solitude – A trio of drums, electric piano and synths, and trombone, although trombonist and bandleader / composer Brent Sroka spends at least as much time creating and processing sounds on the laptop, which for...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues