What do you get when you match a Brit from London who loves American AOR with an American from California who grew up on British Prog? Dukes of the Orientis the masterful pairing of vocalist John Payne (ex-ASIA, GPS) with keyboardist Erik Norlander (Last in Line, Lana Lane, Rocket Scientists) who now present their eponymous debut album, ten years in the making. Payne’s powerful arena-seasoned vocals carry soaring melodies and lush harmonies over the sea of classic synthesizers and keyboards artfully painted with Norlander’s signature sonic palette.
Payne says of the album, “With Dukes of the Orient we have dug deep with analog soundscapes, superlative musicians, and song-driven epics. Add to this the masterful artwork of Rodney Matthews and a journey that started with the supergroup ASIA, we give you the next chapter, one we are extremely proud of.”
The two are backed by a world-renown ensemble of top musicians including Jeff Kollman, Guthrie Govan, Moni Scaria and Bruce Bouillet on guitar, Molly Rogers on strings and Jay Schellen on drums. Payne provides bass guitar and additional lead and rhythm guitar parts to complete the audiophile production. The album was mixed on a traditional analog console to preserve and enhance the natural depth, clarity, and soul of the tracks with great care taken to avoid over-compression, extreme equalization, and distortion.
Dukes of the Orienthas its origins in 2007 as “ASIA Featuring John Payne,” a band that continued on after ASIA keyboardist, Geoff Downes, left the band to re-form the original 1982 lineup. Payne recruited Norlander to join Guthrie Govan and Jay Schellen for tour dates in the US and initial recordings, some of which endured to appear on the Dukes of the Orient album here. Govan left the band to form The Aristocrats and was replaced by guitarist Bruce Bouillet followed by Jeff Kollman and Moni Scaria. The final lineup resulted in the track, “Seasons Will Change,” released as a video in 2013 and also now appears on the Dukes of the Orientalbum. Following the death of original ASIA vocalist, John Wetton, in early 2017, Payne and Norlander decided that these recordings should give birth to a new band, both out of respect for Wetton and for clarity with the Downes-led ASIA.
John Payne grew up in Luton, England. Upon moving to Harpenden, England in his teen years, he started his first band. His love of music started long before, though. As a young teenager, he taught guitar at school and also played into the early hours of the morning at clubs in a local cover band. Tired of playing other people’s songs, he formed a three-piece called Moonstone. With influences such as Santana, Hendrix, Trower and Deep Purple, Moonstone toured both locally and around the UK rock circuit. With encouragement from Jim Rodford of The Kinks and Rod Argent, the music bug would not let go. John went on write, tour, session (both as a vocalist and guitarist), record and produce. Moving to London gave him his first break singing backing vocals for Roger Daltry of The Who on the album Under a Raging Moon. This started much session work leading to purchasing The Wall, his first recording studio, which would be one of many. Between session work, Payne was invited to Power Station recording studio to record vocals for the group ELO at the invitation of drummer Bev Bevan and producer Jim Steinman. When legal complications regarding the name arose, Payne made the decision to return to London, where he was invited to join Asia in 1992.
Payne has since toured as “The Parson” in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, toured and recorded with GPS, co-created and co-wrote the Las Vegas musical Raiding The Rock Vault, and formed The Rock Pack, hosting a plethora of iconic classic rock vocalists. His love of music and analog recording has taken him on a journey as multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, scriptwriter, studio engineer, and producer.
Erik Norlander was born in Hollywood, California and went against the tide of 80s Sunset Strip pop metal, instead learning the craft of progressive rock keyboards inspired by the founding fathers of the movement, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Eddie Jobson, Patrick Moraz and others, many of whom became friends as Norlander’s career developed. Both Emerson and Wakeman even wrote liner notes for Norlander’s early solo albums. As part of his indoctrination into the genre, he became obsessed with synthesizers and classic keyboards of all kinds, learning the subtleties of sound design and the inner workings of these arcane instruments including his own 1967 modular Moog synthesizer famously dubbed the “Wall of Doom.” This led Norlander to actually work on the design of synthesizers including the legendary Alesis Andromeda analog hardware synthesizer and IK Multimedia Syntronik virtual instrument among many others. Norlander has released 10 solo albums, 7 with his prog-rock band, Rocket Scientists, and 10 albums with his vocalist wife, Lana Lane. He also works with the Bob Moog Foundation to forward the legacy of the maverick inventor.
Dukes of the Orient to release their eponymous debut album with stunning cover art by Rodney Matthews on February 23, 2018, with select tour dates to follow.
Pre-order for the album will go ‘live’ at the beginning of January (along with a video release of the title track) with the cd units ready for shipping by the end of February…
The track listing is:
1 THE TIDE
4 YOUR LAST DAY
5 DROWNING IN VERTIGO
6 STRANGE LAND
7 THE DESIGN
8 FALL OUT WARNING
9 GOODBYE MY FRIEND
10 TO THOSE THAT ARE LEFT BEHIND
12 THE TIDE (reprise)
We are very pleased to finally be sharing our album with the world and we can’t wait for you all to hear it…
The debut solo album from the virtuoso Iamthemorning pianist featuring an impressive list of guest performers.
Following the success of two highly-praised albums with Iamthemorning, Russian virtuoso pianist Gleb Kolyadin affirms his musical authority with his debut, self-titled album on Kscope. The record features a staggering whos-who of performers, including: Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree) on drums; Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) on bass; Theo Travis (Robert Fripp / Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson) on flute and saxophone; the unmistakable voice and lyrics of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) alongside Mick Moss (Antimatter); and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on additional keys.”the single greatest pianist I’ve ever met in my life.” Daniel Cavanagh (Anathema).
Gleb Kolyadin is an emotive exploration of self-identity; a story of two parts with interweaving leitmotifs. The album’s central concept weaves through an elaborate tonal and thematic structure, built around the extraordinary rhythm section of Gavin Harrison and Nick Beggs, which is accented at its focal points by guest appearances from Steve Hogarth, Jordan Rudess, Mick Moss and Theo Travis.
The album is a collaborative piece with each musician recording their own parts separately, starting with Gleb recording himself on a grand piano in Moscow Winter-Spring 2017 at the famed Mosfilm studio. The album was mixed and engineered by Vlad Avy, who also previously worked on the two Iamthemorning records. Gleb Kolyadin will be released on CD / LP and digitally.
“Gleb Kolyadin is a beautiful pianist and a great musician. I was invited to collaborate on his new solo album and my mind was made up as soon as I heard the music.” Steve Hogarth (Marillion)
“Gleb is an extremely rare talent as a pianist and as a composer. His compositions are very inspiring as he breaks new ground on the instrument.” Gavin Harrison (King Crimson / Porcupine Tree)
“Gleb Kolyadin is a rare talent. A virtuoso classical pianist with tremendous compositional skills… believe you will find the listening experience quite breathtaking.”Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson)
Tracklisting Insight Astral Architecture (featuring Mick Moss) White Dawn Kaleidoscope Eidolon Into The Void The Room Confluence (featuring Steve Hogarth) Constellation / The Bell Echo / Sigh / Strand Penrose Stairs Storyteller (featuring Jordan Rudess) The Best Of Days (featuring Steve Hogarth)
In a career that has spanned in excess of 30 years and during which they have sold more than eight million albums, two-time Grammy-nominated US progressive-metal band Dream Theater has never done the predictable. This was evident with the release of their ambitious 2016 concept album ‘The Astonishing’ and the elaborately-produced tour that followed.
Now Dream Theater is pleased to announce that they have signed with Sony Music Entertainment worldwide, through Sony’s leading progressive music label imprint INSIDE OUT MUSIC, for the release of the band’s forthcoming 14th studio album. They join an impressive roster of bands, many of which wouldn’t exist without Dream Theater blazing a trail before them, and inspiring young musicians since the early ‘90s.
The band comments: “We are all really excited about signing a brand-new record deal with InsideOut/Sony! We’ve known Thomas Waber for a very long time and it’s great to finally get a chance to work together. Thomas’ enthusiasm, energy, music industry expertise and positive outlook towards the future of DT’s recording career has been incredible to witness, and we have no doubt that being part of the InsideOut/Sony family will be an amazing creative and professional experience for all of us!”
InsideOutMusic Label Head / A&R Thomas Waber adds: “This is what the term ‘coming full circle’ was invented for. We’ve followed the band closely ever since they started touring in Europe in 1993, and there has been a lot of history and friendship between DT and us for close to 25 years. Stepping up to the plate to join with them for this next important chapter in their career feels like the natural and right thing to do. I can’t wait to get started!”
Sony Music Germany CFO Philip von Esebeck continues: “This is an important signing in our goal to support and grow the InsideOutMusic label as a brand, and we are very excited at Sony Music to welcome Dream Theater to our roster of top-tier artists!”
Since completing the theatrical stage presentation/fifteen-month touring cycle for ‘The Astonishing,’ Dream Theater have been circling the world in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the band’s much-loved and gold-selling record ‘Images & Words,’ their breakthrough album which spawned the Top 10 hit “Pull Me Under.”
Beginning in February 2017, the band has played in Europe, Japan, Australia, India, South East Asia, and the Middle East and just finished up their tour in North America.
For almost 25 years, InsideOutMusic has been one of the leading labels worldwide for progressive music and is part of the Century Media Label Group, a division of Sony Music.