Changing Seasons is the first official promo video by Southern CA, progressive rock band AmuZeum from their critically acclaimed debut new beginnings. AmuZeum has an impressive pedigree that goes back more than a decade. The five members have crossed paths many times through the years in LA studios and playing in different bands such as Mars Hollow, Ten Jinn, Gabble Ratchet, and Heliopolis, all of which had various degrees of success.
Changing Seasons is basically about living a life to its fullest. To take chances even though sometimes it might feel a bit overwhelming. There is a meaning to it all and if you believe in yourself, you will find your drive, passion and purpose. Remember, we’re only here for a very short time.
Album // “New Beginnings” Released // April 17, 2020 Music & Lyrics by AmuZeum Produced by AmuZeum Mixed By Billy Sherwood Mastered By Mike Bozzi @ Bernie Grundman Mastering Group Shot Photography by Joseph M. Garcia Video Clips: pexels.com/
AmuZeum is a Southern CA progressive rock band with an impressive pedigree that goes back more than a decade. The five members have crossed paths many times through the years in LA studios and playing in different bands such as Mars Hollow, Ten Jinn, Gabble Ratchet, and Heliopolis, all of which had various degrees of success.
In 2017 Jerry, Matt, Michael, and Scott turned the page on the Heliopolis chapter and took a short hiatus until early 2018 at which point, they began a new project with the addition of Ten Jinn’s Mark Wickliffe. Mark is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter with his own solo career. Rehearsals started and as the creativity flowed, they knew that they had much to offer. The result of their first effort is aptly titled “New Beginnings” and will see a release in the early part of 2020.
“New Beginnings” is Produced by AmuZeum and mixed by the legendary Billy Sherwood who is best known for his work with Yes and Circa among others. The album was mastered by GrammywinnerMike Bozzi at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The foundation of the music is based in progressive rock; however, each member brings a unique style, a vast array of influences and skillful songwriting chops.
Sonic landscapes, interwoven melodies, soaring harmonies, dynamic rhythms, and insightful moving lyrics all combine to create a tapestry to engage the listener and compel them to embark on a journey ……..destination unknown!!
In a statement from the band: “We are beyond excited to be part of the MRR family. MRR’s love, passion, belief and commitment to their artists and the music they create transcends the typical record company. It’s a perfect fit for us and we really look forward to what the future will bring. We can’t wait to do our part for the Melodic Revolution.”
AmuZeum is: Michael Matier – Guitars Matt Brown – Keyboards & Vocals Mark Wickliffe – Bass & Vocals Jerry Beller – Drums & Vocals Scott Jones – Voice
Two years ago to today on January 10, 2016, David Bowie aka David Robert Jones died from liver cancer just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, in his New York City apartment. According to information on the internet he had been diagnosed18 months prior but the news of his illness was not yet made public.
The loss of David Bowie struck a nerve around the world many still cannot believe he is gone, his music was not just the voice of a generation, but it was also the soundtrack to our lives since the 60’s.
John Strauss was one such person that was profoundly affected by his death, according to Strauss. During the time we were working on the most recent Ten Jinn release, Sisyphus, came the very sad news about the passing of David Bowie. At the time (though we were very busy with working on the album and dealing with the upcoming release in 2017)
I suggested to the other Ten Jinn members that as soon as Sisyphus was completed, we should record a David Bowie tribute record before preparing for live shows or recording the next Ten Jinn Record, Worlds (the Four Worlds of the Hopi).
While I was very excited about the prospect of playing live again and getting on to Worlds (I even completed the first draft of the score) I felt very strongly about taking this detour in order to pay my respects to an artist, who was probably the single most important influence in my development as a musician in general and vocalist in particular.
Choosing the songs for the record was not an easy thing (as there are so many great Bowie tunes) but one thing we decided on right away was to avoid any of the major hits from the 1980s or things we thought a lot of other people might do.
Since I was the one doing the lead vocals on the record, the band mostly supported me in the suggestions I made. At one point I thought it would be really cool to do a version of Blackstar, but since it was from Bowie’s last album, it seemed perhaps a bit disrespectful to do so soon after his death. In the end, we decided on material mostly from the 1970s with a couple of tunes from the late 1990s thrown in. All of the songs on this record have deep meaning for me and, in no particular order, include:
1) Aladdin Sane 2) Future Legend 3) Diamond Dogs 4) Life on Mars 5) Fame 6) I’m Afraid of Americans 7) Dead Man Walking 8) Rock and Roll Suicide
The album Ziggy Blackstar (A Tribute to David Bowie) was released October 5th2018 at ProgStock a very new prog festival in Rahway, New Jersey. The album featured 2 singles to date, Life on Mars and I’m Afraid of Americans the album has since received much high praise from the critic, rad and even the fans of David Bowie.
The first Video for Ziggy Blackstar (A Tribute to David Bowie) will be “I’m Afraid of Americans” track 6 on the album
Ziggy Blackstar Album Credits:
The Band: Ten Jinn John Paul Strauss – lead and backing vocals/keyboards. Mark Wickliffe – drums/bass/electric guitar/backing vocals. Ken Skoglund – electric and acoustic guitars. Mike Matier – electric guitar.
Matt Brown – piano solo (Aladdin Sane). Joe Geiger – fretless bass (Dead Man Walking). Helena Skoglund – backing vocals (Life on Mars/Fame/Future Legend). J.T. Holmström – saxophone (Diamond Dogs).
Album Production Credits
Arranged by: Ten Jinn. Produced by: John Paul Strauss, Mark Wickliffe, and Ken Skoglund. Mix engineers: Ken Skoglund (Sound Control Sweden). John Prpich (Radd Studios, Los Angeles). Mastering engineer: Ken Skoglund (Sound Control Sweden). Cover Art by Nick Katona, Revolution Studios, Orlando, Florida Vocal editing by Steve Deutsch.
What the critics are saying
Ten Jinn have done a splendid job of doing an album entirely of Bowie cover songs. They struck the right balance between tribute and originality. Kev Rowland Power of Prog and Prog Archives
Formed in 1991, many progheads became fully aware of Ten Jinn with their second album, 1999’s ‘On A Darkling Plain’. Lead singer/keyboard player John Strauss moved to Sweden in 2001, and although Ten Jinn released their third album ‘Alone’, in 2003, that was also the year of their final live show at Draken Theater in Stockholm. John returned to the States in 2004, but then undertook a Master’s degree program for music theory/composition, and it took a long time for Ten Jinn to become operational again. But, in 2017, a mere 14 years on from their last album, Ten Jinn were back. Joining Strauss was drummer/bassist Mark Wickliffe, and guitarists Ken Skoglund and Mike Matier, so three of the quartet have been there since the debut while Skoglund was in the band for the previous album so this is very much a continuation as opposed to a brand new band trading under an old name.
‘Sisyphus’ is an eight-part programmatic work that tells the story of the founder and King of Corinth after whom it is named. Because of affronts to the gods, while alive, Sisyphus was condemned in death to spend eternity in Hades rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down each time he completed the task. It was originally conceived as a classical work (for string orchestra and piano), and was then reworked to include rock instrumentation and vocals so that it tied in with earlier albums. The band then started working on shorter songs to get it all up to album length, when the idea was mooted to undertake an instrumental mix which would be more indicative of the original concept. So the album contains just two songs, 26 minutes long each, with one being the instrumental version of the other.
Many bands have attempted, with lesser or greater success, to combine orchestra with rock music, but generally, these are approached from the rock side first, with orchestra then added to it. Here the reverse is true, as it was originally a classical piece with rock added. There is no doubt that of all rock bands, the one they have most in common with is The Enid, but there is less pomp, more piano. Also, the vocals are very strong indeed, and the result is something that is modern classical, progressive rock, singer-songwriter, symphonic metal, all these things and so much more. For all its complexity, it is also an incredibly accessible album, one that feels wonderfully light even when though there is a great deal happening within it. Strange to think that there were 14 years between this album and the previous one as the band are tight, focussed, moving through multiple styles and facets with ease.
Since this release, the band has produced the wonderful ‘Ziggy Blackstar’ album, which is a tribute to Bowie, and John tells me that he has almost completed writing “Worlds: the Four Worlds of the Hopi Cosmology” which is in four movements (worlds) total running time about 60 minutes. Whether they soon get back into the studio or hit the festival circuit, is a matter of current debate. Whatever happens, Ten Jinn is back and very much making up for lost time.
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