One of the issues of being known as a reviewer, plus also taking some years out of the scene to concentrate on collating some books, is that material can build up. In the end I decided to keep up to date with the most recent material and delve into the older material when I had time. Due to multiple reasons neither of these approaches have worked, and I now find myself in a position where I still have albums to review which were sent to me years ago as well as being somewhat behind on the more recent albums (although I have committed to reviewing every single album ever sent to me). One way of slowly dealing with this is that when I am sent an album by a band, and I have yet to review the old one, then I do both at once. That is what has happened here, as I am pretty sure keyboard player/singer Mike Visaggio sent this to me nearly 7 years ago but given I have recently received the new live release, I dug this out of the vaults and put it into the pile, which led me to discover this is a real delight and I definitely should have played it sooner!
This was the debut album from the quartet, released in 2009, and as well as Mike features Todd Russell (guitars), Tony D’Amato (bass) and Michael Murray (drums, backing vocals). There have been quite a few changes in the band over the years since then, and only Mike and Michael are still involved. I have no idea why there was a six-year gap between this and the second album, ‘Travelog’, but during that period a decision was made for Mike to drop lead vocals and concentrate on keyboards, which to my mind is a shame as vocally he is very strong indeed. This album is built around the keyboards, and I found myself having internal debates as to whether this section or that sounded more like Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, as his use of Mellotron is reminiscent of both. There are times when the music does sounds as if could have come from the Seventies, that is mostly due to the keyboard sounds being deployed, and for the most part this is a very modern sounding album indeed. The keyboards and use of piano are indeed evocative of Procol Harum, yet there are also plenty of others when it is more like 3 or a fresher Flower Kings.
Melodic and incredibly accessible, this is progressive music which has much in common with classical in the way some of the keyboard string arrangements are set, and one can imagine songs such as “Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart” having a major live presence, building from an emotional keyboard-led vocal into something far funkier and more dynamic. Overall, this is an incredibly polished and enjoyable progressive rock album which just gets better the more it is played.
After three studio albums, a decision was made to record a gig at the famous venue My Father’s Place in October 2019. Somewhat unsurprisingly the line-up is the same as that on the ‘The Face of Life’ album earlier that year, namely Mike Visaggio (piano, organ synth, harmony vocals), Saint John Coleman (vocals), Peter Matuchniak (guitar), Mark Tupko (bass) and Michael Murray (drums, harmony vocals). Now, I enjoyed the previous album, and I was looking forward to this, and in some ways, I was certainly not disappointed, while others very much so. Musically this is a complex outfit, with a rhythm section that provides multiple patterns and elements so that the two lead instruments can go off and play, although both drums and bass also push their way into the limelight when the time is right. Peter Matuchniak is one of my favourite guitarists, seemingly able to play in whatever style is required, which makes him such as in-demand session man as well as releasing his own material and in being multiple bands. Here he is allowed to really push his melodic soloing, and is relishing having a melodic foil to pitch against as Mike is keyboard player who is not afraid to take centre stage. The use of different keyboard sounds and styles also makes this for an interesting battle. So far, so good.The issue I have is with the vocals. I have no idea if Saint John Coleman was having an off night, or if there was an equipment issue so he could not hear himself, but to me the vocals are sharp throughout the whole performance. This means that when it is just the band (and there are plenty of lengthy instrumental sections) I have one opinion of the album, and when he is singing, I have another which is quite different. This is a real shame, as musically this is a great release, yet I cannot look past that. However, like every review I ever write, this is just my opinion and others may not share that view, but I would suggest this is one to listen to before purchase. If you like the vocals, you will find this to be an amazing release and one you should seek out. Kev Rowland 6/10
The live album was recorded during the band’s east coast mini-tour in late 2019 at My Father’s Place in the Roslyn Hotel, Long Island, New York. “Live From New York” features 75 minutes of music, including two songs from each of their last two albums and one brand new song Chasing the Lesser Light.
All purchases of the new album come with an immediate download of the (MPEG-4) concert filmed In New York during the recording of the live album.
Kinetic Element goes ECO-friendly with the new album. The CD is housed in ECO-friendly CD packaging called a Digipack Lite™ made from recyclable and post-consumer recycled materials. This is not the first time our label has used this type of packaging… It has also been used for releases by Allison vonBuelow, Aethellis, AmuZeum, Bomber Goggles, Colouratura, Darusso, Lisa LaRue, Murky Red, Potter’s Daughter, Scarlet Hollow, Sonic Divide, Ten Jinn and Transport Aerian have all released special eco- friendly CD packages, + the label has released 5 eco- friendly promotional CDs.
CD & Shipping outside the USA is $20.00 CD & Shipping in The USA $15.00
Recorded Live in October 2019 at “My Fathers Place” Rosyln NY
1. War Song 19:21 2. Into The Lair 09:00 3. Chasing The Lesser Light 20:45 4.Epistle 06:36 5. The Face of Life 19:26
Performed by Mike Visaggio (keyboards) Michael Murray (drums) Mark Tupko (bass) John Coleman (vocals) Peter Matuchniak (guitar)
Peter Hedeman – Video and Production Manager John Fig – House Audio, Don Gabis Monitor, and Mixer. Marc Greene – Stage Manager
Having released four solo albums (2 studio and 2 live), Peter has turned his attention to working with other musicians’ projects and bands such as Kinetic Element (USA), The Steve Bonino Project (USA), Marco Ragni (Italy), Bomber Goggles (USA), Transport Aerian (Belgium), Lobate Scarp (USA), The Steppes (USA), and Gekko Projekt (USA).
“I have a lot of new material, for at least two or three more solo albums, but I wanted to work on other projects to develop myself further as a guitarist and musician. So I took on a lot of session work with several artists around the world covering over 30 songs. At the moment I am finishing up my second album with Kinetic Element – Live in New York and my upcoming 3rd studio solo album.
About Peter Matuchniak favors a progressive style of guitar that features melodic solos and graceful chording, clearly influenced by the likes of Steve Hackett (Genesis), Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Andy Latimer (Camel) and Mike Oldfield. Always drawn more to composition and melody above pure technique and over-indulgence, Peter Matuchniak lets sounds and textures guide the music first and foremost.
His compositional style draws from the varied genres he was exposed to at home: a brother into jazz-rock, a sister listening to the latest radio hits, and parents who raised them all on classical music. But the basic element is always progressive rock, and Peter Matuchniak has played with a number of bands in this genre that have garnered attention and reviews, both in London where he grew up as well as in his adopted Southern California home.
Peter has received enthusiastic reviews from around the world (the latter winning a Grindie Award from RadioINDY). Back in the 1980’s Peter was part of the so-called neo-progressive rock movement with Janysium and Mach One (that were represented by Keith Goodwin, press agent for Yes, Marillion and Rod Argent. He also wrote and recorded jingles in Bombay for commercials that were aired on Indian TV with high-profile artists and accounts, with one such ad winning a CLIO award for public safety.
Discography Solo Album / TBA (2020) Kinetic Element – Live From New York 2020 Kinetic Element – The Face of Life (2019) Bomber Goggles – GyreLand (2018) Marco Ragni – The Wondering Caravan (2018) Transport Aerian – Therianthrope (2017) Marco Ragni – Land of Blue Echoes (2016) Peter Matuchniak – A Live Destination (2015) Peter Matuchniak – A Live Destination Video (2015) Free with CD Gekko Projekt – Reya of Titan (2015) Peter Matuchniak – Destiny (2014) Peter Matuchniak – Uncovered Live in L.A. (2014) Gekko Projekt – Electric Forest (2012) Peter Matuchniak- DVD Uncover Me CD (2012) Evolve IV – Decadent Light (2007)
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 @ 12:00pm (noon) US Eastern time
Due to popular demand single-day passes will be available two full months earlier than planned!
Starting Tuesday, July 2, 2019, you will be able to purchase a ProgStock 2019 Regular 3-Day Pass at the ProgStock Box Office by selecting any available seat within the areas set-aside for three-day pass holders. This three-day pass to the festival also provides you with these additional perks:
Access to all artist meet-and-greet sessions on each day
Access to all late-night events on each day (as capacity allows)
The price of a ProgStock 2019 Regular 3-Day Pass is $195 USD. These passes will only be available at this special low price until Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
Also starting Tuesday, July 2, 2019, you will be able to purchase a ProgStock 2019 Single-Day Pass for any day of the festival at the ProgStock Box Office by selecting any available seat within the areas set-aside for single-day pass holders. This single-day pass to the festival provides you with access to the artist meet-and-greet sessions on that day only, and access to the late-night events that occur after the mainstage performances on that day only(with priority given to three-day pass-holders when capacity is limited).
The prices of ProgStock 2019 Single-Day Passes are as follows: $75 USD for Friday, $105 USD for Saturday, and $115 USD for Sunday.
Now for the moment many of you have been waiting for… Here is the daily schedule for ProgStock 2019!
Friday, October 11th 2019 3.2 featuring Robert Berry Salem Hill Phideaux Special set by Rachel Flowers and Chris Clark of Brand X Late-night: Progressive Coffeehouse at The Waiting Room Restaurant featuring Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella
Saturday, October12th, 2019 Brand X IO Earth Discipline Rocket Scientists Jane Getter Premonition Special set by Rachel Flowers and Robert Berry Late-night: Randy McStine and Last Call Live on the Mainstage at UCPAC
Sunday, October13th, 2019 SAGA Nektar Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius The Cyberiam Special set by Rachel Flowers and Michael Sadler of SAGA Late-Night: Kinetic Element at The Waiting Room Restaurant
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