Can This Even Be Called Music? May Edition

I’ve got to be honest with you. May has been a tough month for me: multiple deadlines and a general lack of energy meant that I didn’t discover and write about as much music as I would have liked to. However, I’ll be making an effort to catch up to my previous pace in June and snap my fingers until I get the Disco digit. That being said, there’s been quite a few interesting and some mind-blowing finds this past month, in retrospect. So, let’s see what the tides brought us.

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If May 2018 had a slogan, surely it would be this. Another way to remember May, however, is through music–that is the very reason why you and I are here, after all–, and one album that surprised me but didn’t get the chance to write about on my primary blog is Fifth Species‘ sophomore, Life in the Punch Line.

The Greensboro, North Carolina, trio take most of their influences in a pool of revered prog rock bands from the 70s. Bands like Gentle Giant, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and early Genesis all resonate through this modern reincarnation. The result is something akin to Canterbury prog with an updated but analog-sounding production with upbeat keyboard staccati, male and female vocals with intertwining melodies over contrapuntal instruments, and a general and understandable fondness of uneven time signatures. The trio format is squeezed to its limit, as all three members sing and play multiple instruments. Their sound is more like that of a quintet or sextet, so I’ve got to commend them on that!

It’s a fun album and quite a throwback to the golden years of prog!


Something from the Past

Calgary, Alberta’s premium progressive death metal band Super Massive Black Holes just uploaded their 2014 album, Calculations of the Ancients, on bandcamp! Rejoice! Their sound is modern and technical, and they also include some jazz fusion for good measure. Think of it as somewhere between Cynic and Gojira, perhaps. This is a fine album.


What the Future Holds

高円寺百景 (Kōenjihyakkei) is back, baby! The masters of the Japanese school of Zeuhl have announced a new album, Dhorimviskha, for the end of June! I’m super excited about this, as it’s their first release in about 13 years! For those unaware of the band or musical current, think of it as “super-prog”, if you will. I often mourn the lack of experimentation and the non-progressive character of most “progressive” rock and metal bands, but it seems that this sentiment still exists in another genre: Zeuhl. The name was given by French band Magma, but has since evolved out of the bounds of this band alone.

Kōenjihyakkei use complex rhythmic signatures and patterns as well as unfamiliar modes and operatic singing in constructed languages. I’m certainly excited for this album, for which I already made a spot on my album of the year shelf.

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