I have loved Art-Rock and what many now call Prog or Progressive Rock since the late ’60s. I can still recall the day and place I discovered my first Art-rock band it was the summer of 69 I was listening to a pocket-sized AM radio while visiting relatives when I heard a song called White Bird by San Fransico based band “Its a Beautiful Day”.
Soon I would discover many other Art, Prog or Psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Traffic, Procol Harum and Jethro Tull, by the ’70s it was Electric Light Orchestra, Barclay James Harvest, Supertramp, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and in the 80s I was into all styles of music from The Art of Noise,Alan Parsons Project, Tears For Fears, Kansas, Marillion, IQ, It Bites and the story continues today. Yes, I was a fan of the staple bands: Yes, Rush, Genesis, however, I seemed to have gravitated to and built a strong love for all things Melodic.
Which leads me to Pattern-Seeking Animals a fantastic new US melodic Art-rock band formed in 2018 by John Boegehold songwriter and guest musician on many Spock’s Beard albums. Starting with Feel Euphoria (2003) and including Octane (2005) Spock’s Beard (2006) and finally X (2010). Spock’s Beard not only is one of the most important US prog bands, but also one of my favorites. Pattern-Seeking Animals is rounded out by Ted Leonard, Jimmy Keegan & Dave Meros all of whom have been involved with Spock’s Beard or still are.
Boegehold comments: “My goal was to produce music that’s progressive and intricate while keeping things immediate and melodic. Whether a song is four minutes or ten minutes long, I didn’t want more than a few bars go by without some kind of instrumental or vocal hook.”
So what’s in a name? According to my wife and a google search “Humans are pattern-seeking animals and we are adept at finding patterns whether they exist or not” I have to say this seems to fit the debut very well indeed.
I will not give you a play by play of each track, but I can tell you there are no fillers on this album, the album is filled with brilliant fretwork and tasty hooks, stunning Vocals & Harmonies that remind me of the heyday of Styx, ELO as well as Flying Colors, and Spock’s Beard, the album is chalk full of memorable lyrics that you will want to sing along with: and if that’s not enough the album is rounded out by lush and majestic keyboards and a top-notch rhythm section.
As I said before, there are no fillers on this album but there a few tracks that really sealed the deal for me like; Orphans Of The Universe, These Are My Things, No One Ever Died And Made Me King, or We Write Ghost Stories
1 – No Burden Left to Carry (9:38) 2 – The Same Mistakes Again (5:10) 3 – Orphans of the Universe (10:28) 4 – No One Ever Died and Made Me King (3:54) 5 – Fall Away (4:47) 6 – These Are My Things (4:52) 7 – We Write the Ghost Stories (3:22) 8 – No Land’s Man (5:35) 9 – Stars Along the Way (10:20)
Line-up: John Boegehold (synths, keyboards) Ted Leonard (vocals & guitar) Dave Meros (bass) Jimmy Keegan (drums & vocals)
I listen to a lot of music nowadays so its sensory overload, that said… it’s refreshing when something comes across the desk that makes me go OMG what is this? P-SA is a must-have for any respectable music collection. ★★★★★ Un-qualified-Kritic
EXCALIBUR IV is the widely anticipated fourth NEW STUDIO ALBUM in the Celtic Rock Opera series, following on from the GOLD and PLATINUM selling original trilogy. EXCALIBUR IV was played live in its entirety to 12 ARENAS in Germany in December 2016 and will be touring again in 2018.
Released by Babaika Productions, via Cherry Red Records, the album features appearances by:
Michael Sadler (Saga)
Jesse Sibenberg & John Helliwell (Supertramp)
Martin Barre (Jethro Tull)
Moya Brennan (Clannad)
Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth)
Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep)
Sonja Kristina (Curved Air)
John Kelly (The Kelly Family)
Maite Itoiz (Elfhental)
Excalibur – the legendary rock opera is back!
After a thousand years of imprisonment, Merlin – the wizard – finally escapes from Morgana’s spell. Initially intrigued by the beauty of the new world that he returned to, he soon discovers the decay of knightly and sublime virtues, which once had been so bravely defended by King Arthur’s roundtable. An enraged Merlin casts his biggest spell over this world and brings the mighty dragon to life. An epic return of the legendary Celtic rock opera on to German stages, a new chapter in the saga around the sword Excalibur – this is “EXCALIBUR – The Dark Age Of The Dragon”.
1. THE WINGS OF THE DRAGON
4. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE
5. CALLING FOR YOU
6. DON’T BE AFRAID
7. SILVER MOON
9. THE LAST LAMENT OF A FAIRY
10. THE NEW TIMES
11. FORGET YOUR SORROW
12. THE FIFTH SEASON
13. THE PASSION
14. I WILL BE FOR EVER
15. BEHIND THE MIST
16. YOU DON’T KNOW
17. YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE
18. THERE IS SOMEONE
19. DUN AENGUS II
London – Alan Simon is a French folk-rock musician and composer best known for his rock operas which are performed with collaboration from other noted rock musicians. Simon is associated with Breton Celticism, and his most ambitious works are typically on themes linked to Celtic myth and history. Simon has also branched out into film-making. Alan Simon is the creator of the legendary EXCALIBUR: THE CELTIC ROCK OPERA.
This 40 TRACK collection, released on Cherry Red, features a cross-section of Alan Simon’s work from his various projects and rock operas.
“The 40 songs on the compilation are all personal selections from my rock operas and concept albums: ‘Excalibur (the quadrilogy)’, ‘Gaia’, ‘Anne de Bretagne’, ‘Tristan & Yseult’, ‘Captain Kid’ and various soundtracks…Some of these tracks fans may know already and other tracks offer a deeper insight into my work! ‘Songwriter’ a sentimental and personal collection which also includes a comic strip of my journey.” – Alan Simon
This collection features songs with guest appearances by:
Members of Supertramp
This collection was previously vinyl only and is now being given its first mainstream CD release.
1. CELTIC RING (Feat. Alan Parsons)
2. LES CAVALIERS DU VENT
3. WORLD (Feat. Brankica Vasic)
5. THE ORIGINS PT 1 (Feat. Moya Brennan)
6. THE KINGS
7. LETTRE À YSEULT (Feat. Christian Décamps)
10. AD LIBITUM (Feat. Carlos Nũnez)
11. CELTIC LAND
12. BELTAINE (Feat. Fairport Convention)
13. SKYE (Feat. Skilda)
14. CASTLE ROCK (Feat. Fairport Convention)
15. DUN AENGUS (Feat. Martin Barre)
16. THE END
17. IN THE WIND OF THE CELTIC DREAM (Feat. Konan Mevel)
18. THE VISION (Feat. John Wetton)
19. ADELA (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg)
20. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg And John Helliwell)
1. NO MAN’S LAND (Feat. Midnight Oil)
2. COME (Feat. Jesse Siebenberg)
3. THE ELEMENTS (Feat. Roger Hodgson & Dan Ar Braz)
4. DANCING HEART (Feat. Roberto Tiranti)
5. CIRCLE OF LIFE (Feat. Jon Anderson)
6. FAME AND GLORY (Feat. Fairport Convention)
7. PEACE ON EARTH (Feat. Heather Small & Billy Preston)
8. ANGEL’S TEARS (Feat. Jeremy Spencer)
9. WHERE IS THE WAY (Feat. Billy Preston)
10. ON THE ROAD (Feat. Justin Hayward)
11. JANGADERO (Feat. Cesaria Evora)
12. EVIL DAY (Feat. Roberto Tiranti)
13. SECRET GARDEN (Feat. Maddy Prior)
14. WORLD (Feat. Zucchero & Anggun)
15. MOTHERLAND (Feat. Jimmy O Neill)
16. SAMAN (Feat. Les Holroyd & Mick Fleetwood)
17. MARIE LA CORDELIÈRE (Feat. James Wood & Fairport Convention)
18. LUGH (Feat. John Wetton & Martin Barre)
19. DESIRE (Feat. Les Holroyd)
20. A PRAYER FOR MY LOVER (Feat. Siobhan Owen)
Forthcoming on November 3, 2017!
Alan Simon’s EXCALIBUR IV is the widely anticipated fourth NEW STUDIO ALBUM in the Celtic Rock Opera series, following on from the GOLD and PLATINUM selling original trilogy. EXCALIBUR IV was played live in its entirety to 12 ARENAS in Germany in December 2016 and will be touring again in 2018.
This new album based on the legendary story of KING ARTHUR features guest appearances from:
Alan Stivell, Michael Sadler (Saga), Jesse Sibenberg & John Helliwell (Supertramp), Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Moya Brennan (Clannad), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep), Siobham Owen, Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), John Kelly (The Kelly Family), Maite Itoiz (Elfhental)
There is a reason why Excalibur is visiting Germany in winter 2016. The heartwarming legend of knightliness and honor lightens up the cold months of the year and entwines the soul into the mythologies of the story. In the biggest venues of Germany you can listen – side by side with thousands of like-minded people – to the rock-opera-saga of the sword of swords, which destroys the darkness of late evening hours with Celtic sounds and roaring pyrotechnics.
Even the start of the new show will be spectacular: From the moment of December 1st when the dragon illuminates the Olymphiahalle, Munich and enchants thousands of fans with the fight of Good and Bad. After the Excalibur shows in Basel, Nurenberg and Freiburg the rock opera even pays a visit to the highly modern convention centre of Erfurt, which is well known for its fabulous acoustics and wide array of international stars like Depeche Mode.
After Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Dortmund, Excalibur finally – with one of the last shows during this fantastic journey – reaches the Mercedes-Benz-Arena in Berlin, our capital. The arena along the Spree river can hold up to 20,000 Excalibur fans and is sure to impress the audience with modern sound engineering, which will add to the show around King Arthur. After some more shows in Bremen and Hamburg the rock opera’s final curtain will fall in Leipzig with a fantastic finale and one final performance of the roundtable’s destiny.
On musical trails
Whoever feels called out to prove that the virtues of knightliness are still waiting for their awakening deep within the hearts of mankind, should book a ticket right away. The Celtic rock opera Excalibur brings the medieval myth with Merlin, Arthur and singing knights, to top notch venues around Germany and is a widely interactive show. You can make yourself a part of the saga. There is no doubt that this folk-rock-delicacy, led by the luminary Michael Mendl as Merlin, will stick in your mind for a very long time…
Moya Brennan (Clannad), Michael Sadler (SAGA), Eric Fish (Subway to Sally), John Kelly and Maite Itoiz (Elfenthal), Bob & Jesse Siebenberg and John Helliwell (Supertramp), Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Maggie Reilly (Mike Oldfield), Dun Aengus (Roberto Tiranti), Siobhan Owen + Special guest and band and Michael Mendl as Merlin.
Michael Mendi – A Merlin like no other
Merlin smirks and mocks, considers and acts. He himself stands by the knights of the roundtable and supports their attempt to re-awaken the six virtues of knightliness. It’s not an easy task and therefore only Michael Mendl – one of the biggest character actors in the German drama and theatrical world – can become the great wizard of the rock opera Excalibur.
A life for the stage
In his early student times Michael Mendl, residing in Vienna and Essen at that time, studied theatre and drama play and soon after started his career as an actor at state- and national theaters throughout Germany, reaching from Berlin to Munich. In the 1970s and 1980s he began to engage his energetic acting with TV appearances and got discovered by a whole new audience.
Even back then his performances in “Derrick” and in the “Tatort” were honoured by newspapers, before he completely subscribed his life to film and television in the 1990s. He distinguished himself amongst others in “Kleine Haie” under the direction of Sönke Wortmann and keeps on delighting the public with character roles like in “Der Untergang” and “Soweit die Füße tragen”. His acting as the character of German chancellor Willy Brand in the documentary “Im Schatten der Macht” earned him a Goldene Kamera (German movie award) as best German actor.
A Merlin that nobody has seen before and that nobody ever forgets…
Michael Mendl’s wizard in Excalibur is not a passive spectator or even the wise guy in the back. Instead he is a very complex and active character, who can make you see into the depths of medieval soul at any time during his acting.
Mendl presents his character with energy and dynamic, without losing the gratitude and dignity of the legendary Celtic fairytale figure. It’s a great achievement that couldn’t be performed by any other actor than him. Excalibur is his story. It is the story of wizard and the knights of the roundtable. It is the story of the audience – and you will find yourself involved in the charming and frightening spells of an ancient world.
Orchestra and The Band in perfect symbiosis
As soon as Merlin and the knights of the round table enter the stage, in order to take away the audience to foreign lands of the Arthur saga, you will not only be taken through one of the biggest legends of all time with rock music, but also via the classic string notes of the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Martin Sanda. Where the rock music represents the harshness of the Celtic middle ages, the Symphonic Orchestra will enchant their listeners with the airwaves of myths and stories.
16 years of music
When the Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Prague was founded in the year 2000, nobody knew what journey lay ahead of those educated, classic musicians.
From the beginning, the Orchestra has been able to prove their high standard of professionalism, with both the full cast of 70 musicians and a small chamber music ensemble.
The orchestra demonstrated their vast diversity in interests and their devotion to art by performing classical works from Mozart to Antonin Dvorak, with music of the Czech pop sensation Iveta Bartosova over to film- and gaming-soundtracks or musicals to stage adaptions of Jeff Waynes “War of the Worlds”.
The passion for rock music was demonstrated in the years of 2010 to 2015 with their engagement at “Rock meets Classic”, they had the chance to tour with the central masterminds of legendary rock acts such as Deep Purple, Status Quo or Alice Cooper. During that time they created breathtaking new interpretations of some of world’s biggest rock
Roger Hodgson, Legendary Singer-Songwriter, formerly of Supertramp.
Hodgson composed and sang the majority of the band’s hits, including “Dreamer”, “Give a Little Bit”, “Breakfast in America”, “Take the Long Way Home”, “The Logical Song” and “It’s Raining Again”. Hodgson is recognised for his tenor voice and distinctive melodies which became a trademark of his former band Supertramp.
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