WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED, The Best of New Progressive Rock / Volume 1, July 2017

WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED is the new entry in Guerinos’ series of 30 minutes mixtapes with the best songs that have been released in the last few months. This series is dedicated to the magical world of Progressive Rock and each volume collects the best and newest tracks from both major bands and minor but valuable groups.

I hope it may be an opportunity for most of you to listen to what’s been published in the recent times, or just a companion to the best moments of your days.

The first volume of the series features songs from the new albums by Roger Waters, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Amplifier, and Galahad. A few info on these albums are provided after the widget. Enjoy!

The first two tracks of the mixtape comes from the last and long awaited work from prog master Roger Waters. The British artist, universally acclaimed as the co-founder and conceptual leader of the Pink Floyd where he played until 1985, released on last June the album Is This The Life We Really Want? , which arrived on the shelves 25 years after the previous LP of his solo career. The tracks included in the playlist shows how Water’s music is clearly reminiscent of the sounds and sonorities that made him famous in the 70s, but with enough new elements to make his work to be appreciated even without comparing it to his past productions.

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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are a prolific psychedelic rock band from Melbourne, Australia, which announced earlier this year the ambitious project to release a total of five studio albums in 2017, each one addressing a specific kind of experimentation. The first LP of this challenge, named Flying Microtonal Banana, was dropped on last March and impressed me a lot. The album deals with microtonality, i.e. the adoption a special musical scale which requires special instruments and generates interesting sounds and effects, but beyond this technical aspects it’s packed with many energetic and definitely enjoyable progressive and alternative rock songs. The second chapter of the five-piece project, named Murder Of The Universe, was released by the band on last June and it’s shaped as an epic rock opera, an uninterrupted sequence of tracks connected together as a single suite. From a musical point the album is good but doesn’t offer the same freshness and variety as the previous disc, evidently the conceptual design of the disc makes the tracks a little too homogeneous. And as expected the rush to produce so much music in such a short time (even if I see it very difficult to achieve the goal of publishing 3 more albums in the coming few months) inevitably leads to some concessions in terms of quality and originality. I’ve taken a couple of songs from the LP and put them in the mix, you can enjoy by yourself the craziness and brilliance of the music from these funny Australians.

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Track no.6 of the mixtape is taken from Trippin’ with Dr. Faustus, the sixth album from Amplifier, the English rock band originating from Manchester. In my opinion their discography has been characterized by ups and downs, but fortunately their last effort is positioned among the best things they publised in their 12-year long career. The song selected for the mixtape, Freakzone, is a long and interesting mix of old-school prog & alternative rock, and it’s at this time my favourite song of their recent album.

amplifier

 

The concluding song of the mix comes from Quiet Storms, the last production by English progressive band Galahad. The piece which I selected for the playlist is a curious piano, violin and vocal version of Rammstein’s Mein Herz Brennt, and it’s one of the two cover songs that are present in the album (the other one being John Grant’s Marz). The peculiarity of the last release from this band is that the sounds are today definitely different from the heaviness of their previous works, and the song of the mixtape is a valid example of the melodic and relaxed approach they put in recording this LP.

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