Progtopia Archives

Six years ago, multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barone was on the program discussing his conceptual work Conversation Pieces. He's back this year with a somewhat heavier and, in his words, more "to the point" collection of songs titled Acquiescence. With echoes of the likes of Devin Townsend and even some musical theater, this eclectic album covers topics from his ambivalent relationship with the city he came to and later left -- New York -- and how he hopes his children will turn out all right, among many others. Hear some insights into his inspirations and influences in his chat with host Mark Ashby. Lady Obscure editor Lacy Mucklow and her concert-going pal Dave Perrussel (also a LO contributor) have a first-person report of their journey from their homebase in Washington, DC, all the way to Anubis Gate's home country of Denmark for one of the gigs on their "Shortest Tour Ever." And our Triple Track Special uses the theme of Babylon in three songs from prog artists present and past. Find the artists featured here at www.geoffbarone.com and www.anubisgate.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Something Beautiful" (Geoff Barone)

"Faded" (Geoff Barone)

"Precious Pieces" (Geoff Barone)

"Headhunter" (Geoff Barone)

"6:33 to Babylon" (Geoff Barone)

"In These Waiting Arms" (Geoff Barone)

"Babylon" (Glass Hammer)

"Blackest" (Anubis Gate)

"Erasure" (Anubis Gate)

"Babylon" (Aphrodite's Child)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 11 May 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_128_Acquiescing_with_Geoff_Barone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am EDT

It's been many years since the original electronic-music duo Wavestar of John Dyson and Dave Ward-Hunt got together -- about 35, to be somewhat precise. And although Dyson has produced several solo albums since then, it's been many years since the last release with the Wavestar name came out. Now with Paul Ward and Stefan Whitlan bringing their keyboard and compositional skills to the fold, the band is retagged Wavestar II, and the long-awaited album Nightwinds is now available. All three of the guys chat with host Mark Ashby about the olden days of Wavestar, the importance of the Korg Sigma to the trademark Dyson sound, and how this album went from being a Dyson solo project to a group effort. In the Prog Squad, Cliff, Jason, and David join Mark in discussions about the upcoming Frank Zappa hologram tour, awesome album openers, and bands they were behind the times in appreciating. You can order Nightwinds from www.groove.nl or www.cd-services.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"I.F.O." (John Dyson)

"Voyager" (Wavestar)

"The Velocity of Dark" (Wavestar II)

"Track of Time" (Wavestar II)

"If I Were the Wind (And You Were the Rain)" (Pendragon)

"King of the Tyrant Lizards" (Mothertongue)

"Script for a Jester's Tear" (Marillion)

"Red" (King Crimson)

"Eldritch" (Wavestar II)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 20 April 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_127_Wavestar_Part_Deux.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

New York's Circuline is going live -- on CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray, that is. The band first heard from on Progtopia in Episode 094 is making the first of two planned concert products available this May, two years after their appearance at RoSFest in Gettysburg. Dubbed Circulive::Majestik, it chronicles that show in both video and audio form, and if you jump in on their Pledge Music campaign by April 17, you can get some neat perks along with it. Hear from keyboardist Andrew Colyer and drummer Darin Brannon about the process of creating the video version, the planned second live release later this year, and why they won't be touring again until 2019. In the Prog Squad, all four panelists are miraculously present to talk about the rumored demise of iTunes in favor of fully-streaming platforms, whether Gizmodrome truly is a super group, and if music videos still have a place 30-plus years after TV showed them regularly. Finally, Mark makes a plea for recognition of Webber and Rice's musical Jesus Christ Superstar as a progressive masterwork. Circuline is on the web at www.circulinemusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Hollow" (Circuline)

"Summit" (Circuline)

"Stereotypes" (Circuline)

"Man in the Mountain" (Gizmodrome)

"Trial before Pilate" (Jesus Christ Superstar cast)

"Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)" (Jesus Christ Superstar cast)

"One Wish" (Circuline)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 6 April 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_126_Circuline_Is_Majestik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EDT

Sweden isn't just a land of top-quality prog metal; you'll also find some great electronic-based prog there, too. Xanima's newest album Planet Hope was released in late 2017, and you'll hear from singer Jade Ell and keyboardist Pelle Händén about their many influences and how they conceptualize their works, as well as why they incorporate spoken word and dance elements into their live shows. Also, Prog Squad panelist David Elliott joins us for a one-on-one to talk about the ins-and-outs of running his label Bad Elephant Music, including the types of demanding journalists that bother him the most. Finally, a Potentially Unpopular Position segment from Mark about why maybe some folks need to tone down their fetish with Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. Websites to visit include https://xanimamusic.bandcamp.com and www.badelephant.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Planet Hope" (Xanima)

"Eternal Truth" (Xanima)

"Ode to Creation" (Xanima)

"Spooky Action" (The Fierce and the Dead)

"Earthbound" (Mothertongue)

"Flaming" (Pink Floyd)

"Bike" (Pink Floyd)

"False Moon" (Astral Dance)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 15 March 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_125_Xanima_Travels_to_Planet_Hope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EDT

Featured in this episode of the show is our interview with three of the four members of Chicago's The Cyberiam. Comprised of Tommy Murray on drums, Keith Semple on vocals and guitar, Brian Kovacs on bass, and Frank Lucas on keyboards, their self-titled debut album is now out, and with their respective groundings in genres within and beyond prog, it's a fully-formed recording that sounds more mature than most bands' first outings. You'll hear about the making of the album and a lot more besides. Plus, we hear from Yes expert and broadcaster/podcaster Roman Guzman with his and Mark's thoughts about the reissue (with new vocals) of the band's 2011 album Fly From Here. And there's a theme of nostalgia running through this show, with three tracks all dealing with that particular emotion in their own ways. All that and a 30 Second Sales Pitch from Poland's Pinn Dropp! www.thecyberiam.com https://pinndropp.bandcamp.com/releases

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Juxtaposer" (The Cyberiam)

"Don't Blink" (The Cyberiam)

"Nostalgia" (The Cyberiam)

"Fly from Here" (Yes)

"Nostalgia" (David Sylvian)

"Nostalgia" (Yanni)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 2 March 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_124_The_Cyberiam_Doesnt_Blink.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10am EDT

Marillionaires. Freaks. Denizens of The Web. They've gone by many names over the years, but one defining characteristic of Marillion's fan base is that they're a family. Intensely loyal, unfailingly generous to each other, and passionate about their favorite band, we spend this special double episode examining these curious folks, of which host Mark Ashby proudly counts himself as a member. With their short US tour in February beginning on the Cruise to the Edge and ending in Dallas, Marillion is swinging through North America for the second time in less than two years including neglected areas in the south, and you'll hear pre-concert views and opinions from some enthusiasts, excerpts from Progtopia's interview with Pete Trewavas from 2016, and a rant/plea from your host about proper concert etiquette and what we all can do about breaches of it.

To hear the Backstage Pass interview with Pete, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/progtopia-backstage-pass-5-marillion-risks-melting-their-guns-as-a-show-of-strength

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Goodbye to All That"

"Whatever Is Wrong with You"

"Most Toys"

"The Sky Above the Rain"

"After Me"

"White Russian"

"The New Kings"

"This Is the 21st Century"

"The King of Sunset Town"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 18 February 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_123_Whatever_Is_Wrong_with_Us.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

Australia's prog scene is by all accounts booming, and one indication of that was the Progfest show held in Sydney on the 20th of January. Several-time guests Hemina were part of the Poseidon Stage there, and guitarist/singer Doug Skene checks in as a correspondent about the bands that were part of the festival -- most of which are new to us at Progtopia. Jason, David, and Mark chat in the Prog Squad about a UK pub's policy of not booking female-fronted bands and other subjects. Finally, Mark debuts the Potentially Unpopular Position (PUP) to explain why he thinks it's all right that Tangerine Dream pressed onward without their late founding member Edgar Froese.

Featured song excerpts:

"Moonlight Bride" (Hemina)

"The Fragile Serene" (Voyager)

"Proton Bonfire" (Tangerine Dream)

"It Is Time to Leave When Everyone Is Dancing" (Tangerine Dream)

"When Isis Starts to Cry" (Breaking Orbit)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 January 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_122_Sydneys_Progfest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm EDT

Our first episode with the new format features host Mark Ashby's interview with keyboardist, guitarist, and singer/songwriter Adam Wakeman. Last heard from in Episode 030, Wakeman is releasing a new album with Headspace bandmate Damian Wilson (interviewed in Episode 107 last year), their second. Hear about the Kickstarter for the album and its unique perks, how he went about booking their tour, and exclusive first listens to excerpts from tracks from their sophomore effort. Next, Lady Obscure editor Lacy Mucklow checks in with her report on the Galactic Cowboys reunion and album release show in Houston on December 1st. Then, the roundtable Prog Squad returns to the airwaves with Mark, Jason Spencer, and David Elliott discussing Big Big Train, the Security Project, and veteran bands they do and don't necessarily need to see live again. Finally, a call to all bands and artists out there for our 30-Second Sales Pitch segment. We want to hear from you so that the world will hear from you, too! Adam Wakeman's websites: www.wilsonwakeman.com, www.adamwakeman.co.uk

Featured song excerpts:

"Blackpool Clip Joint Racket" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"Kill You with Kindness" (Headspace)

"Always the Lonely One" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"In the Clouds" (Galactic Cowboys)

"Hate Me" (Galactic Cowboys)

"Merry Christmas" (Big Big Train)

"I Have the Touch" (The Security Project)

"On This Battlefield" (Wilson/Wakeman)

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 11 January 2018

Direct download: Progtopia_121_Adam_Wakeman_Galactic_Cowboys_and_Big_Big_Train.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EDT

"Rocktronica" is the preferred term for the brand of music created by singer/songwriter Matt Warneford and the band he fronts, (Iam)warface. Drawing on influences as diverse as film scores, grunge, hip hop, and progressive rock, Warneford has forged something that sounds like music you'd hear at the club but would also enjoy in the dark over headphones at home. The industrial bombast combined with incisive lyrical content is not to be missed in the singles they have released so far, including their latest on 17 November, "U Don't Love Me Anymore." Host Mark Ashby spoke with Warneford about where that odd-looking name comes from, how those disparate influences come into his songwriting (or not), and the support they received from a well-known 80s electronic rocker on their shared tour dates. They can be found online at www.iamwarface.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Trigons"

"Golden Army"

"Bleed Out"

"U Don't Love Me Anymore"

"Say My Name"

"Closer"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 13 November 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_120_Say_Their_Name_-_Iamwarface.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm EDT

Despite being separate by a time zone or two for most of the year between Virginia and Colorado, the members of Iris Divine (Kris Combs [drums and keyboards], Navid Rashid [guitar and vocals], and Brian Dobbs [bass]) are a healthy, happy prog metal trio that is continuing to gain fans and favorable critical reception. Their second, crowdfunded album The Static and the Noise was released in early October, and their sound has evolved since debut effort Karma Sown to become simultaneously more technical and more melodic when both approaches are needed. Making a repeat appearance on the show, Combs chatted with host Mark Ashby about how the recording and writing for the second album required open communication over such long distances when they couldn't jam together, why they've so far stayed away from long, so-called "epic" albums and songs, and why his and Navid's differing personalities combine so well on record and in life. They're online at www.irisdivineband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"The Acolyte"

"The Static and the Noise"

"Taking Back the Fall"

"We All Dissolve"

"Like Glass"

"Catalyst"

To hear the previous episode featuring Iris Divine, follow this link: http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-076-sowing-karma-with-iris-divine

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 16 October 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_119_Iris_Divine_Takes_Back_the_Fall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm EDT

They're a Chicago-based band with an American Idol for a singer, but trust us: District 97 is as prog as they come. With three studio albums under their belts, the group (Jonathan Schang [drums], Tim Seisser [bass], Leslie Hunt [vocals], Jim Tashjian [guitar], and Andrew Lawrence [keyboards]) has been critically-acclaimed by the likes of Bill Bruford and John Wetton, with whom they collaborated on their own songs and classic King Crimson material. They're setting out this October on the Static Vaults tour with their friend Dave Kerzner and his band, so host Mark Ashby caught up with Schang for a discussion about that Idol connection, how the band has moved from being largely made up of his compositions to a group effort, and how Wetton impacted them in many ways. Find the tour dates online at www.district97.net.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Snow Country"

"All's Well That Ends Well"

"The Perfect Young Man" (featuring John Wetton)

"On Paper"

"Death by a Thousand Cuts"

"The Thief"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 1 October 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_118_Through_the_Snow_Country_with_District_97.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39pm EDT

They were our first featured band ever. They gifted us with a world premiere a couple of years later. Of course we love Denmark's Anubis Gate, and so do tens of thousands of other prog metal fans the world over. Through three changes in lead vocalists, the band currently consists of Morten Gade Sørensen (drums), Michael Bodin (guitars), Henrik Fevre (bass, vocals), and Kim Olesen (guitars, keyboards), and their newest album Covered in Black is a descent into some even heavier territory than they've gone through in the past -- call it the analogue to Pink Floyd's Animals album. With subject matter inspired by Olesen's personal struggles, it's perhaps the most intimate Anubis Gate album yet. You'll hear Olesen discuss those inner demons and his rise above them, the Orbits box set which came to fruition in 2016, and some possible new directions the band might want to investigate. They can be found on the web at www.anubisgate.com.

 

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Too Much Time"

"The Combat"

"Hear My Call"

"Black"

"Operation Cairo"

"Psychotopia"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 18 September 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_117_Anubis_Gate_Goes_Black_Blacker_Blackest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35pm EDT

In the heart of Tornado Alley in the United States, a trio named after a mentally-ill Dutch painter has been creating quite a few storms of their own for nearly a decade. Oklahoma City-based Vangough is comprised of Jeren Martin on bass, Clay Withrow on guitar and vocals, and Kyle Haws on drums, and their latest album Warpaint was released back in March of this year. With elements of Tool and Opeth, they've crafted a gritty, down-to-earth brand of progressive metal that has gotten them supporting slots for Fates Warning and Pain of Salvation. Host Mark Ashby talked with Withrow about the reasons behind the band's name and altered spelling, where musical inspiration comes from, why rabbits are such an important part of his creativity and life in general, and why they might leave the album format behind with forthcoming releases. They can be found on the web at www.officialvangough.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Morphine"

"Black Rabbit"

"Christmas Scars"

"Schizophrenia"

"Dust"

"Knell"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 28 August 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_116_Vangough_and_the_Tale_of_the_Black_Rabbit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

In a Brazilian artist's depiction of progressive music's Last Supper, among the likes of Ian Anderson and Roger Waters, the placid figure at the center of it all is the owner of perhaps the most soaring voice in the genre: Annie Haslam of Renaissance. Since the early 70s, Haslam and the band have been delighting audiences with their brand of symphonic rock that features her five-octave vocal range. While still an active musician who will be touring with the band this autumn, Haslam has branched out into the visual arts, as well. Host Mark Ashby speaks about those endeavors as well as the process of adding a 10-piece chamber orchestra to four dates on the upcoming eastern US jaunt, what advice she gives younger musicians, and the recent moment in Rio de Janeiro that nearly brought her to tears on-stage. Visit her and the band online at www.renaissancetouring.com and www.anniehaslam.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Can You Understand?"

"Spare Some Love"

"Mother Russia"

"At the Harbour"

"Turn of the Century" (w/Steve Howe)"

"Going Home"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 15 August 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_115_Spare_Some_Love_for_Annie_Haslam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29pm EDT

They're a UK band that spells their name in a Russian way, but make no mistake: Prospekt is full-on progressive metal that is neither formulaic nor derivative. With their second album The Illuminated Sky just released, band members Lee Luland (guitars), Rox Capriotti (keyboards), Phil Wicker (bass), Black Richardson (drums), and Michael Morris (vocals) have crafted a science-fictional framework to guide the ten songs within it. Luland speaks with host Mark Ashby about influences ranging from Dream Theater to John Williams, the changes in personnel and style between albums 1 and 2, and how he got one of his favorite artists to do a guest spot on the new album. Catch up with them on social media at www.facebook.com/ProspektUK.

Featured songs/excerpts:

"Ex Nihilo"

"Akaibara"

"Dissident Priests"

"Alien Makers of Discord"

"The Illuminated Sky"

"Beneath Enriya"

 

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Originally posted 26 July 2017

Direct download: Progtopia_114_Illuminating_the_Sky_with_Prospekt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25pm EDT

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