Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, 1997-05-01:

Progfest '95 Cover art

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.


by Henry Schneider, 1997-05-01:

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.


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), Reine Fiske, Jacob Holm-Lupo / Telepath

More info

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tone Bearer - Millennium – Tone Bearer is a San Jose six-piece cut squarely from the Marillion and Pendragon mold of neo-prog. The lineup is your standard 5-piece with an additional percussionist and the vocalist doubling on...  (2000) » Read more

Scenic - Spheres – I haven’t heard Scenic’s previous releases, but from the descriptions I found on the net (“Ennio Morricone meets modern chamber music and Middle Eastern influences”), this CD EP is atypical....  (2001) » Read more

Radio Massacre International - Rain Falls in Grey – I was initially concerned that my lack of experience with RMI’s back catalog might be a hindrance to writing a useful review. I needn’t have worried, since this release is a drastic departure from...  (2009) » Read more

California Guitar Trio - Echoes – CGT are back to what they do best: arranging covers of classic rock in their own inimitable style. Doing up the classics is part and parcel for the ensemble with two of Beethoven’s well known...  (2009) » Read more

Flyte - Dawn Dancer – This six-piece from Holland had been together since the early 70s, yet their first and only album wasn't to be released until '79. Plagued by setbacks, poor distribution, and lack of record company...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover

Heatwarmer new album out



Print issues