London-based genre defying band Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate release Nostalgia For Infinity, their fifth album.
With every choice made, the range of possible futures narrows. The future of the past is closer to infinity than it ever will be again. Sometimes the future paths closed are ones best confined to history, sometimes their optimism is endearing but ultimately unenduring.
One of the major themes of this album is the fragility of human civilization. Many of the tracks explore this from a science-fiction perspective. Seven of the twelve tracks are inspired by novels by one of the great science fiction authors of our era, Alastair Reynolds. Reynolds’ background in astrophysics provides the science underpinning his world-building, and world destruction.
The first two tracks are set in the world of Reynolds’ ‘Century Rain’, and sung from the perspective of Wendell Floyd, an unsuccessful musician living in Paris in an alternative 1950s, in which the Nazi invasion of France failed, but fascism continued to rise unchecked. He is hired by a landlord to investigate the death of Susan White, a tenant with an unusual record collection. During his investigation, Floyd meets Verity Auger, an archaeologist from another Earth three hundred years in the future. In her world, life on Earth has been destroyed by weaponized nanotechnology – the nanocaust. As well as telling a story about saving mysterious copies of the world, the underlying theme is our ability to dehumanize each other despite second chances to avoid the mistakes of history.
The third track, Ark, follows the history of the Ark Royal, a British aircraft carrier that played an important part in the defeat of the Nazis in the Second World War.
Nanobotoma is a word that, as far as I am aware, I created to describe a tumor formed of autonomously self-replicating nanobots, for a story idea. The protagonist, a scientist working on medical self-replicating nanobots, has a slowly progressive but incurable leukemia. They are supposed to identify and destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, as they built to self-replicate, there is an inherent Darwinian selective pressure on them escape the regulatory controls with which they were created. In the story, the protagonist initially feels much better, but then starts to notice signs that the nanobots are proliferating out of control, becoming mechanical cancer.
A nanobotoma that is restricted to one host is an evolutionary dead end. The protagonist is supposed to be in isolation during the medical trial of the device, but he notices that the nanobots are affecting his behavior. They have evolved to be transmissible by respiratory secretions, and are making him feel uncontrollably lonely, making him want to be physically close to other people (which would help spread the nanobot tumor to other hosts).
We then shift to Chasing Neon, a retro-futuristic, largely electronic instrumental.
Tracks six to ten make up the Redemption Ark suite. These are all inspired by Reynolds’ Revelation Space novels. In this universe, humanity has fractured into competing factions defined by their relationship with technology, but all threatened by the Inhibitors, ancient machines aiming to preserve life in the long run, by destroying civilizations that become too intelligent. The suite begins with Glitterband, which follows the history of the decline of a ring of 10,000 diverse, semi-autonomous habitats following the spread of a nanotechnological plague.
This is followed by an instrumental portrait of the Conjoiners, a faction committed to the direct connection of human minds. This group is known by other factions, disturbed by the perceived loss of individuality by those enmeshed in a directly connected group mind, as the Spiders.
The following instrumental portrait is of Scorpio, one of the genetically engineered human/pig hybrids created by humans as slaves. Escaping from his role as prey in a sadistic hunt, he initially is full of hatred for humanity but rises above this to become a compassionate, but still an irritable and unpredictable leader.
We then move into a soundscape portraying the Inhibitors. The only instrument used in this track is electronically manipulated flute.
The suite ends with Nostalgia For Infinity, named after the spaceship which becomes fused with its captain through the effects of the Melding Plague. As ship and captain progressively merge, it becomes architecturally more unpredictable and organic. The ship/captain, equally plagued by guilt at his past actions, withdraws from contact from his crew. The song is sung from the perspective of a character persuading the elusive captain to re-engage with humanity, by acting as an ark to preserve the species from the Inhibitors.
The penultimate track is Voyager, a gentle instrumental inspired by the journey of the spacecraft Voyager 1. It was launched in 1977 to explore the outer solar system. Now approaching fourteen billion miles away, it is the most distant man-made object. It is expected to continue its mission, sending data back home until it runs out of energy in 2025.
The album ends with Sixth Extinction. This is the most aggressive song on the album. It is about the risk to civilisation of rapid anthropogenic climate change. We’ve had five previous mass extinctions in the fossil record. We are currently causing the extinction of species at an unprecedented rate.
Our predecessors survived five previous periods where most other species died. We may even have benefitted from the ecological niches subsequently left vacant. We are the first species to develop both the capacity to cause global catastrophe and the capacity to avert this.
Glass Castle Recordings GC4159
General Release Date 6 May 2020
Available for pre-release purchase from Bandcamp
Redemption Ark Suite
10) Nostalgia For Infinity
12) Sixth Extinction
Music was written by –
Tracks 1,2,10,11 – Malcolm Galloway, Mark Gatland, Kathryn Thomas
Tracks 3-6,8,12 – Malcolm Galloway, Mark Gatland
Track 7 – Malcolm Galloway/ Track 9 – Malcolm Galloway and Kathryn Thomas
Lyrics by Malcolm Galloway
Malcolm Galloway – vocals, guitar, keyboards/synths, programming.
Mark Gatland – bass guitar, additional guitars,
keyboards/synths, Chapman Stick.
Kathryn Thomas – flute (tracks 1,2,9-11), vocals (track 10)
Cover artwork ‘A Sense Of Emptiness’ © Mrs White Photoart
Booklet image of Nostalgia For Infinity © Alastair Reynolds
© Glass Castle Recordings 2020
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate are an eclectic band, combining progressive/alt-rock, classical, experimental, electronic, and metal influences. Their performances are passionate and charismatic.
They were recently highlighted as Prog Magazine Limelight feature artists.
They stepped in at the last minute to replace an injured band on the main stage at Hard Rock Hell’s Prog Festival in November 2017, one of the world’s leading indoor progressive rock events. Performing to over 1000 people, opening for Magnum, Focus and Carl Palmer, they were described by Hard Rock Hell magazine as ‘unlikely stars who stole the show’, and by eFestivals as the ‘highlight of the festival’.
Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate are Malcolm Galloway (vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer) and Mark Gatland (bass, backing vocals, keyboards, and co-producer), on their own, or with Kathryn Thomas (flute). Kathryn is the flutist of the award-winning BBC New Generation Artists The Galliard Ensemble (wind quintet) and is also married to Malcolm.
They have regularly broadcast on a wide range of radio shows internationally, ranging from shows focused on metal to ambient stations.
Their music has been recommended by Steve Hackett (“I particularly enjoyed this album and I thoroughly recommend it”) and won many awards including:-
- Prog Magazine Readers’ Poll Top 10 Unsigned Bands
- Beasties Rock Show’s album of the year award (shared with Alice Cooper and Roger Waters)
- Bandwagon Network Radio Song Of The Year
- Banks Radio Australia’s best album and best producer category shortlist
- Radio Wigwam Single Of The Year shortlist
- Metal Mayhem Radio band of the month
- American Veterans Radio artist of the week
- NewEARS Album Of The Month award
Malcolm Galloway is also a contemporary classical/minimalist composer, whose 2019 release ‘Transitions’ was included in Sid Smith’s selection of the year’s best releases for Prog Magazine. He is a former consultant neuropathologist and honorary senior lecturer at UCL Medical School, where he teaches about brain anatomy, evolution, music, and the brain, and science fiction and medicine.
“Vocals that drip with passion and longing, ethereal flute and the achingly bluesy low-down guitar. Unashamedly progressive in its outlook… gets under your skin with its elegant music and heartfelt vocals… an engrossing musical experience. ‘Broken But Still Standing’ is a brilliantly perceptive and original work of art that enthralls with every listen. Taken as a whole it is an utterly immersive musical experience that will captivate and enlighten the listener, Hats Off Gentlemen Its Adequate has to be one of the most creative and innovative artists out there today.” Prog Radar
Reviews of the EP release of Ark
- “Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate “Ark” is nothing short of a brilliant masterpiece that depicts a truly remarkable piece of World War 2 history. I am in awe of its magnitude and of its glory. The epic splendor and tragedy of war is depicted here through the musicianship and the storytelling of Malcolm Galloway, Mark Gatland, and company. A lot went into this 3 song EP. The story behind it is fact-based and documented from the flight logs of Richard Galloway, the grandfather of Malcolm Galloway. The Ark Royal, a British ship, is the focal piece of this 3 song EP, and it was an aircraft carrier pivotal in its contributions to sinking the battleship Bismark, the most powerful ship in the German Navy on May 27, 1941.
The soundtrack is absolutely stunning and the 11 minute, a 47-second track that kicks things off, “Ark”, has some of the best music I have ever heard. It takes you upon the journey of The Ark Royal from its first inception to its ill-fated sinking. I have to say that the passion for the bands playing has never been more heartfelt. The second track, “Chasing Neon”, picks up where the first leaves off with some of the most eloquent and beautiful melodies.
The sheer musicianship of these extremely talented individuals shines on all three of the tracks on this sure to be a masterpiece! “She Moved Through The Fairway” is a wonderfully fitting piece and concludes the EP. I was left feeling as if I had been to a powerful and thought-provoking movie after finishing “Ark”. And I felt so close to this band whom I’ve reviewed twice before. Closer to them than I’ve felt before. After all, this was something near and dear to them, not just a part of history.
Immediately afterward, I watched the video for “Ark” and was touched even more as the music took to the vision and the spirit to journey. In a word, “Ark” is breathtaking in every sense of the word. Once again, my hat is off to the band for creating something that is truly special and for sharing a part of history that will forever be remembered in this moving musical testament! God Bless Richard Galloway, his family, his memory, and the families and memories of all who served on The Ark Royal!” – Lee Miller, Bandwagon Network Radio
- “… that love and attention to detail are more than apparent in the music. A dense, near twelve-minute prog-rock epic, wonderfully illustrates the awe, tension and unavoidable loss that no doubt many active soldiers saw during that time. The anthemic piano and guitar melodies in the first movement of the piece captures that feeling of soaring above the clouds aboard a plane and is a genuine joy to listen to. The more rock-driven sections serve to rack up the tension, before concluding with a borderline tear-jerking variance of the intro piano line. If you compare the start and the end of this track, one can see how far of a musical journey HOGIA has taken the listener on, and doing all that with just instrumentation is truly commendable. In all Ark is an emotional and historic musical journey.” – Astral Noize
- “This is quite an excellent EP and will definitely inspire the listener to want to seek out other material for the band. The centerpiece track” – Prog Archives
- “These days, it’s pretty rare to get something actually different from the usual genres and while we cover a fair amount of music, it’s actually pretty cool to receive something actually very different from the usual. With Hats Off Gentlemen, It’s Adequate’s new EP, we actually have something which is just that” …. “striking and sumptuous vocals” … “gorgeous sonic landscape, chock full of melodies”. “In short, whilst this EP may only comprise of three tracks, one a cover, it shows a strong depth of both songwriting and technical musicianship, with the layers being arranged to a very high standard. It would be highly recommended for anyone into their prog, singer/songwriter and electro-rock, or for anyone into generally stunning musicianship. An excellent introduction for myself to this band and one I shall keep an eye on for future releases.” Uber Rock
- “It’s strange when you come across certain bands that, up until now, have escaped your attention, especially when you subsequently learn what an impact they are making in the UK progressive rock scene, even to the point, I might add, where they have been highlighted as a band to watch by Steve Hackett. This is certainly the case of the London duo with the unusual moniker “Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate””. “This entire military operation has been beautifully captured and set to music in the form of seven distinctly separate symphonic movements” … “a succession of graphic soundscapes that eventually terminate with a glorious and moving finale”….”She Moved Through The Fair is a beautifully atmospheric rendition of an old Irish folk song… the refined delivery of ‘Malcolm’s striking vocal skills”… “exquisite flute so very stylishly played by Kathryn Thomas, a sound that washes majestically over the proceedings adding interest and dimension.” Prog Planet
- “…Spanning from soaring Pink Floyd-like soundscapes, and more abstract passages that would sound right at home on a King Crimson record”… “Galloway/Gatland master both the classic style of progressive rock, as well as that with a more modern approach”… “strong Marillion (with Hogarth) influences… the contrast is heavenly.” … “they prove to be a very dynamic ensemble with the ability to discover and explore new directions in their music. The three tracks on this release are great proof that this British duo can create vibrant and texturally varied music with tons of atmosphere… I feel that HATS OFF GENTLEMEN IT’S ADEQUATE’s music has the kind of integrity that should make them stand out in the crowd of creators of artistic rock music. 10/10 Stars” – Subterranean Rock
- “Literally left us amazed… complete musical versatility… travels between prog and neo-prog and that subtle classicism that distinguishes the duo” … “Imbued with Marillion influences but totally personalized by these fine musicians.” … “Don’t miss it.” – Psychanprog (Italy)
- “Very, very good indeed.” The Prog Mill
- Featured on The European Perspective podcast, The Lost Art, Midlands Metalheads Radio, The Prog Mill, Bandwagon Radio Network, Progzilla, and many other radio shows and podcasts