Colouratura – Unfamiliar Skies – Melodic Revolution Records

So I had this playing in the background, but when it started with a corner shop quartet from the Forties I thought I must have put on the wrong playlist. But, what it did do was make me stop whatever else I was doing and concentrate on this, and I am so very glad indeed that I did. What we have here, boys and girls is a progressive rock album in its very truest sense that is designed to drive despair into the heart of anyone brave or stupid enough to try to write a review of it. I’ll leave you to ascertain which camp I fall into, just don’t ask my wife. Progressive rock, by sheer definition, is music that is refusing to sit within any preconceived boundaries, and will not be pigeonholed. Why? Because IT’S NOT A PIGEON!

So let’s start by hanging some labels on this thing, shall we? People like labels. So, there’s some Zappa, yes definitely Zappa, jazz, psychedelia, funk, krautrock, oooh Cardiacs, mustn’t forget Cardiacs, folk, um, kitchen sink, cuddly toy. Must have missed something somewhere. But, the joy of this album is that when it is being played it all makes total sense, and all I want to do when it is finished is to put it on again! It may be incredibly diverse, but not in the way that these guys have pulled it together. Apparently, this is the second release from the band, who comprise just Nathan James (voice, keyboards, bass, horn) and Ian Beabout (flute, editing, sound design, and production) and some assorted guests, which includes Dave Newhouse from The Muffins among others. The use of brass instruments of different types work incredibly well, and there is a passion, lightness, and sense of fun throughout this album which makes it a real joy. This is music with no preconceived ideas or formula, just being taken where it needs to go. If I had my arm twisted behind my back and was asked for a simple subgenre then I would have to plump for crossover prog, but as it is meant to be defined, as there are a real musicality and melody that pervades the whole album.

Available in multiple formats, this is a delight, and the fractured beauty of “Photograph” is required listening for anyone who is fed up with created pop stars. In some alternate universe, it is #1 on the charts.

9/10 – Kev Rowland

Buy Unfamiliar Skies
https://colouraturamrrartist.bandcamp.com/album/unfamiliar-skies

Follow
https://www.facebook.com/colouratura.album/ 
http://mrrmusic.com/colouratura/

Colouratura’s sophomore album Unfamiliar Skies now available for pre-order

As a thank you for all pre-order of Unfamiliar Skies, Colouratura’s new CD will be shipped prior to the actual release date of May 17th 2018

About The Album
Unfamiliar Skies is not a ‘theme’ album or a concept album, though almost all of the songs flow from one into the next. A few themes do crop up, such as those of air and water (as the artwork suggests), the long and winding road, the obsession of a lover scorned and questions of faith and individuality.

Musically, we did want to capture something of the art rock vibe of XTC, early Alan Parsons Project, Frank Zappa, Bent Knee, 10cc, Cardiacs, Tears for Fears, Black Sabbath, and so on … while the work doesn’t particularly sound like any of those, great care was taken to follow the lessons we learned from studying these great artists. No moment was wasted on the final recording, and we worked hard to trim the fat to make something that hopefully engages the listener from stem to stern.

Pre-order link:
https://colouraturamrrartist.bandcamp.com/

Colouratura is:
Nathan James – voice, keyboards, bass, horn
Ian Beabout – flute, editing, sound design and production

Featuring performances by
Pavlic (Van Gilder)
Eric Holskey (Sabo Cat, Plus Many Others)
Dave Newhouse (The Muffins, Diratz, Moonmen, Proletarians)
Brandon Collins
Damon Waitkus (Jack o’ the Clock)
Michael P. Dawson
Nathan Lestini
Chris Kuskey
Bret Harold Hart (Diratz, Moonmen)

1. Corner Store
A tale of seedy characters in the backdrop of a small-town convenience store. As read by the Blind Blue Barber Boys of Baltimore.

2. Parallels
An epic, four movement suite blurring the lines of jazz, rock, progressive, ambient and punk rock. Themes of individuality in the face of the machine that is modernity. How do we keep true to ourselves?

3. Photograph
Sometimes obsession boils to the brim. A Poe-ish tale of being haunted by the image of a former lover.

4. Nautilus
The one in which we battle the giant squid.

5. Unfamiliar Skies
Suburban heartbreak, and dreams of the stormy skies ahead.

6. Kerouac
On the road, and with a passenger. What do the rocks have to say?

7. Vesuvian Tidepools
The stuff kicks in – and we take a psychedelic head-trip

8. Faith
Questioning the ‘lines the blur the vision of God.’ Do we really have any of the answers?

About Colouratura:
Colouratura traverse an emotional journey on Unfamiliar Skies, charting the far reaches of rock, jazz, psychedelia, krautrock, folk, metal and electronic.

“With Unfamiliar Skies, the band definitely decided early on that they wanted to do something a bit more focused than the first album,” said producer Ian Beabout. “So a couple of decisions were made. For one, we wanted a more rhythm oriented work, so we made sure to use a more or less consistent rhythm section and tried to feature the bass, guitar and drums more.”

“We also wanted to highlight Nathan’s (James) skills as a composer, since so much of the previous effort was constructed via focused improvisation. Unfamiliar Skies is very deliberate, very calculated and very fully realized album,” Beabout said.

Utilizing local talent, Colouratura have crafted a powerful and modern art rock statement.
From the opening, multi-movement prog rock pastiche ‘Parallels’, Colouratura combine Zappa-esque guitar licks with horn-rock statements on a journey through territories of punk, ambient, and jazz, backed by Dave Newhouse’s gorgeous woodwind arrangements. On ‘Vesuvian Tidepools’, Colouratura craft a trippy, CAN-influenced soundscape around Eric Holskey’s drum loops, backed by Bret Harold Hart’s synesthesiac guitar. On the title track, James’ dreary and haunting lines are backed by expressive flute and ocarina. On ‘Kerouac’ James teams up with songwriter Chris Kuskey for a headtrip funk jam about traveling ‘on the road,’ while ‘Nautilus’ finds Colouratura in deeply groovy Black Sabbath meets King Crimson territory with dizzying time changes and ripping lead guitar from Derek Pavlic.

“It’s always a fun challenge to see just how far we can push the definition of what Colouratura can and should and will be,” composer Nathan James said. “I like to push my own limits and comfort zones as a writer.”

What’s being said about Unfamiliar Skies
“The sophomore offering from West Virginia-based Colouratura is comfortably familiar and yet surprisingly fresh. My impressions run from prog rock inspried moments ala Zappa or King Crimson (I even flashed on Camel at one point) to the art-rock of artists like Todd Rundgren, XTC or Brian Eno, but every listener will likely have a different experience because, like all great singer/songwriters, Nathan James has absorbed a plethora of influences and internalized those lessons to bring life to his creations. “Unfamiliar Skies” is a diverse and satisfying listen from beginning to end.” – Steve Roberts (Ut Gret, ZNR Records)

By combining a large variety of styles while maintaining a recognizable sound throughout the album, we can safely declare that the band succeeded in reaching the ultimate goal: creating music for music’s sake.” – Jacopo Muneratti (Danze D’Architettura, Radio Voce nel Deserto)

Colouratura Signs with Melodic Revolution Records

Please help Melodic Revolution Records welcome Wheeling, WV (Enter Genre Here) band Colouratura to our family of musicians.

    

We will be releasing Colouratura’s sophomore album Unfamiliar Skies in early May 2018 with eight brand new songs that also feature many guests, some well-known others not so well known or new ones on the scene. The CD will be presented in a beautiful 6-panel digipak designed by Eric Kearns (Diratz, Stop Motion Orchestra)

Colouratura Is:
Nathan James – voice, keyboards, bass, horn
Ian Beabout – flute, editing, sound design and production

Guest Musicians On Unfamiliar Skies
Derek Pavlic (Van Gilder)
Eric Holskey (Sabo Cat, plus many others)
Dave Newhouse (The Muffins, Diratz, Moonmen, Proletarians)
Brandon Collins
Damon Waitkus (Jack o’ the Clock)
Michael P. Dawson
Nathan Lestini
Bret Harold Hart (Diratz, Moonmen)
Chris Kuskey

In a Statement from the band
“On the strength of Unfamiliar Skies, Colouratura has signed to Nick Katona’s long-running Melodic Revolution Records label, which will release the album this May (?) (TBD).”

“We’re obviously quite excited to have joined this great progressive label,” said Beabout. “One of the goals with Unfamiliar Skies was we wanted to expand Colouratura’s audience and reach, and having the support that a label provides will in no doubt help us reach our goals.”
 

“MRR is an eclectic label with a 10-year history of great artists, such as Marco Ragni and Colin Tench. The family atmosphere and team effort will surely help Colouratura grow and thrive.’

In a Statement from the label
“I first discovered Colouratura through a friend at House of Prog, a popular internet radio station that I DJ for a few days a week. However, I was aware of one of the talented guys (Ian Beabout) in this project who has been a guest musician on a few of our releases. Once I  after hearing the pre-masters for Unfamiliar Skies I knew this band had something to offer the world that was just a bit different than what was already flooding Spotify and the like. This album will appeal to all age groups and breaks all the rules when it comes to defining a genre, yet the album Unfamiliar Skies feels fresh and cohesive and I believe it will appeal to the masses rather than the far few and between”
– Nick Katona President @ Melodic Revolution Records

Links:
| Official Website Coming Soon | Facebook | MRR Profile Page |

Media Contact:
Ian Beabout
Beaboutproductions@gmail.com

Label:
Melodic Revolution Records
Nick Katona
nick@melodicrevolution.com

 

 

Marco Ragni, California EP Pre-Orders Now Available

Melodic Revolution Records is excited to announce that pre-orders for “California”, the new EP from Italian Solo Artist, Composer & Multi-instrumentalist Marco Ragni is now available.

Marco Ragni returns to his Psychedelic roots with his upcoming EP.
California is the follow up to his highly acclaimed album Land of Blue Echoes released in March of 2016.

The new 7 track EP will be released in both Digital and CD formats:
The Digital EP will be released on October 29th
CD will be released on November 29th

According to Marco:
A great Californian experience.. I’ve recorded this album thinking of David Crosby, Jerry Garcia and the wonderful Psychedelic Era.
I hope you’ll enjoy it.
– Marco Ragni

DF3_1CDC

Track Listing
1. Big Sur
2. S.L.O.
3. The Giant, the Fool and the Tattooist
4. Good times in San Francisco
5. Chasing the Sun
6. La Sierra
7. Henry Miller’s Library

Pre-Order
US & North America
Europe

Marco Ragni:
Vocals, 6 & 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Ukulele, Lap Steel Guitar Piano Rhodes, and Vibraphone

Guest Musicians:

Ian Beabout: Flute
Claudio Lupo: Hammond Organ
Enrico Cipollini: Lead Guitar
Jeff Mack: Bass
Jacopo Ghirardini: Drum.

Media Contact:
Marco Ragni
markspiders@gmail.com

Melodic Revolution Records
Nick Katona
info@melodicrevolutionrecords.com

Thank You Scientist | Stranger Heads Prevail | Album Review (#56)

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Thank You Scientist | Stranger Heads Prevail

Label: Evil Ink Records
Release Year: 2016
Country: USA
Genre: Progressive Rock/Genre Transcending Rock

Band Members

Salvatore Marrano – Vocals
Tom Monda – Guitar
Cody McCorry – Bass
Odin Alvarez – Drums
Ben Karas– Violin
Ellis Jasenovic – Saxophone
Andrew Digrius – Trumpet

Contact Links

Thank You Scientists Official Website

Thank You Scientist Official Facebook Page

Thank You Scientist Official Twitter

Thank You Scientist Official YouTube Channel

Evil Ink Records Official Website

Evil Ink Records Official YouTube Channel

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Thank You Scientist are a band that come along once in a generation and shatters any preconceived notion of how progressive rock should be made. Their newest album in 2016 Stranger Heads Prevail proves that there are still more frontiers of progressive rock to explore. Thank You Scientist certainly refuse to be pigeonholed with the stereotypical cliche`s that seem to be branded on progressive rock.

Thank You Scientist brings several dynamics to the table. They bring traditional progressive rock, acid jazz, avant garde, some 1940’s big band and even film score soundtrack. Somehow and in some way the band manages to utilize all these genres and more. In the band itself, they present three very distinct and present dimensions. First of all there is the typical progressive rock rhythm section, then there is the multi layered string section of keyboards, guitars and even violin. The last dimension they present is a refined horned section of both trumpet and saxophone present. It is as if they place that all in a audio blender and engineer a soundscape of sheer melodic and harmonic bliss.

Stranger Heads Prevail proves that anything and everything can happen in progressive rock. It is a album that even the most critical reviewer or progressive rock collector can easily acquire a audio pallet if the album is approached with a really open mind and some serious patient time to absorb the many dimensions presented on the album. It is a album that also commands every audio sense of the listener to really begin to appreciate the album. The band certainly knows how to hit every audio nerve in both ears and in the theater of the mind of the listener. Now I am going to discuss some highlights to every track on the 11 track piece.

Prologue: A Faint Applause begins as a melodic handshake for two people that are about to have a conversation. They approach this by tight vocal harmony meshed with the complex instrumental. This track has a well engineered segue into the next track on the album The Somnambulist.

The Somnambulist starts out as if a 1970’s progressive rock band went back to the 1940’s Big Band era recruited a saxophone and trumpet player. They then return to the year 2016. There is so much going on in the intro. You have the full horned section, full stringed section and the rhythm section as tight in melody and harmony as it gets. The drums play on a off time progression however maintaining the integrity of the instrumental melody in harmony with the vocals. The guitars seem to have a slight metal edge to them as well. There are some very warm vocal harmonies as well. This segue’s nicely into the next track Caverns.

Caverns opens up with a 6 string guitar shred fest that is also running side by side with the horned section. This allows for depth and a unique distinctive sound to emerge. In the first minute or two the rhythmic section of drums/bass is very thunderous while the horned and stringed sections interchange in and out of multiple time signatures and passages. The fact that the band are never predictable really works in their favour. There are many hooks and chords like a winding road. You will find a lot of this executed throughout the album. There is a delightful guitar solo towards the end of Caverns. This leads into their next track titled Mr. Invisible .

Mr. Invisible opens up with a Steely Dan style horned section. I feel like I am listening to Aja. The track soon takes a very alternative progressive passage. With a tight instrumental section the band starts to really expand their range of vocal harmonies between the lead vocal and backing vocals. From there it is a full on progressive jazz rock track taking various time signatures and turns. Once again the listener has no time for boredom. The band manages to keep all audio and psychological progressions allowing for the listener to remain busy in those internal channels. There is even a jazz funk passage towards the end. This leads into the next track A Wolf in Cheap Clothing .

A Wolf in Cheap Clothing begins with a beautiful harmony between keyboard and the horned section. Soon they drop off and the drum/bass rhythm section perfectly compliments the vocal in harmony. This track takes a very early Chicago style especially with 25 or 6 to 4 . The band even perform with a illusion of sounding djent while not crossing that line. Like the rest of the album, this track certainly has its fair share of various hooks and signatures. This leads into the next track Blue Automatic.

Blue Automatic begins with a thunderous rhythmic melody that stands quite well in harmony with the vocal. The rhythm section sounds like a more traditional progressive rock track. The horned and stringed section are utilized tightly as to continue with the bands very unique and distinctive sounds. The harmony in the vocals is very spot on with every other of the six other instruments. This track continues the series of assets that Stranger Heads Prevail bring to the table. The end if this leads the way wonderfully to the following track Need More Input.

Need More Input begins with a deep tuned down bass intro matched by the guitar and drums. Soon the horned and other portions of the stringed section create such vivid melodic atmospheres where the warm vocals can easily take the track on a mini journey. About the 1:00 mark the entire track explodes into a almost jazz metal fusion atmosphere. At the 2:26 mark the track settles down and the story continues. When they go up tempo from here it is not as overwhelming to the listener as the first time in the track itself. The rest of the track takes on very traditional progressive hard rock with a horned section blended in with it. This leads into the next track Rube Goldberg Variations.

Rube Goldberg Variations begins totally as a old school jazz standard that soon progresses to a very jazz based. It continues and weaves in and out of several time signatures and progressions. It is a semi instrumental that is met by a choral vocal section towards the end. This leads right into the following track Psychopomp.

Psychopomp begins as if the listener is transported to a vacation island resort in The Caribbean or French Riviera. It has a heavy percussion in the beginning . This is one of the more aggressive and heavier tracks on the album. It is also one one the most melodic in the vocal harmony. Once again the band goes into new frontiers and territory that is not currently present among their peers today. The guitar solo is very much in the vein of Steve Vai. The horned section even presents a dynamic along with the guitar solo. There lies in a very strange spoken word narrative towards the end. The spoken word narrative is some out of science fiction like Carl Sagan or Rod Sterling with the Twilight Zone or even vintage Art Bell from the long running Coast to Coast AM overnight syndicated show. This leads into the next track titled The Amateur Arsonist’s Handbook.

The Amateur Arsonist’s Handbook begins as a straight away progressive jazz rock intro. This track tightens up the entire project. Melodically it is a summary of everything the band used in the crafting of the album. This also allows both regular fans of the band to newcomers like myself to really absorb what I just experienced over the duration of the last hour or so. This leads to the final track …. Epilogue: And the Clever Depart.

…..Epilogue: And the Clever Depart ends the album with a really intelligent barbershop quartet singing with a slight and modest jazz atmospheric passage.

Thanks to Ian Beabout and his show Prog Rock Deep Cuts With Ian Beabout at House of Prog for the introduction to this great pioneering band. Yes I said pioneering, they opened another door in progressive rock, what that door is well that is remained to be seen. Thank You Scientist have brought back some serious intelligent progressive rock that has seemed to of been lost over the years since Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Jon Anderson ex- Yes and Peter Gabriel. They allow for no complacent listening or close minded preconceived typical stereotypical notions that sometimes plague progressive rock. Thank You Scientist Stranger Heads Prevail gets a strong 5/5. This is also serious Album of 2016 material as well.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv1ypynSLzY?wmode=opaque]

Video Courtesy: ( Evil Ink Records Official YouTube Channel )

by Robert Brady