FUCHSIA Fuchsia (Prog Folk, 1971)

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother — Taking their name from Lady Fuchsia Groan of the 1940's novel `Titus Groan', Fuchsia were a British progressive-folk group made up of students who delivered a single cherished little album that has since picked up quite a legendary underground status over the last few decades. Comprised of charming and sprightly folk tunes with lush orchestrated instrumentation and keen pop melodies, it almost sounds like a cross between early Pink Floyd and the Syd Barrett solo albums, Electric Light Orchestra and a pinch of Gentle Giant, Caravan and Fruupp, making for a whimsical, energetic and sweet psych-lite folk gem. The group is directed by lead singer and guitarist Tony Durant, who fleshes out Fuchsia's acoustic/electric sound with a predominantly female band on violin, cello, viola, harmonium and piano. Opener `Gone With The Mouse' is softly energetic and lively, propelled by forcefully jangling plugged-in guitar strums, sighing plaintive backing vocal longings from the girls and lightly proggy orchestral-like violin interludes that soar gently with confidence. `A Tiny Book', one of the more ambitious pieces at eight minutes, is a mini-suite of subtle reprising passages that seamlessly move in and out of each-other, darting through everything from frantic electric bursts, wearily wistful ballad ruminations and regal-flecked pomp in the finale that would make Gentle Giant green with envy! Pay close attention to this track - Tony's likable voice here often sounds like the results of a lovechild between the Floyd's Syd Barrett and the nasally Steven Wilson of the early Porcupine Tree works! But moving on, `Another Nail' is bookended with violin-fuelled whimsy that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Caravan albums like `For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night' before crashing into a politely wilder vocal psychedelic runaway rocker with a touch of Pink Floyd/`The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's `Astronomy Domine' to it! The B-side's `Shoes And Ships' is one of the strongest tunes on the album, a fragile yet elegant folk-popper with frequent orchestral reprises in place of a vocal chorus and a longer instrumental acoustic guitar outro, and it almost sounds like a template for a million indie-pop/folk bands ever since. The playful and loopy `The Nothing Song' practically screams Syd Barrett and his `Madcap Laughs' and `Barrett' albums, and along with some darker little traces locked in, there's a deliciously bent and slightly `off' quality to it all! It's a psychedelic romp that throws in everything from big percussion crashes, rumbling drums, dramatic orchestration, with shambling acoustic guitars alongside manic and mischievous electric guitar soloing. `Me And My Kite', a favourite amongst fans of the album and group, is a gorgeously twee pop-charmer with a sweet and achingly simple chorus, and the dreamy bluesy guitar bends of closer `Just Anyone' again reminds of the earliest Floyd works.

Sadly, sparse advertising and failed touring opportunities lead to the premature demise of the group soon after, until a compilation of unreleased and related pieces entitled `Fuchsia, Mahogany and Other Gems' emerged in 2005, and more excitingly a revamped modern line-up assembled by Mr Durant, now based in Australia, delivering a well-received proper follow-up `Fuchsia II: From Psychedelia...To a Distant Place' in 2013. But for over forty years now, this charming self-titled work has been Fuchsia's defining musical statement, one that holds an effortlessly melodic crossover quality that would also likely appeal to non-folk fans, and it has retained its infectious and precious charm ever since.

Four stars.

Read more

STEVEN WILSON Insurgentes (Crossover Prog, 2008)

Review by The Crow — Before the breaking-up/hiatus of Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson released his first album under his own name giving us an enjoyable
but not really memorable experience.

Wilson managed to reunite a bunch of great musicians to help him recording this album. The legendary Tony Levin on bass, the
habitual Theo Travis, the gifted Porcupine Tree's drummer Gavin Harrison, Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess... Impressive, just like the
great sound of the album achieved by Steve Wilson himself.

Read more

The Prog Report announces new book ‘Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums'

The Prog Report is pleased to announce the first book dedicated to the resurgence of one of music’s most enduring and underrated genres. Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums: Images and Words Behind Prog’s Most Celebrated Albums 1990-2016, authored by Prog Report editor Roie Avin, shines a light on the important albums of the modern progressive rock era. The book features more than 50 albums from the last quarter century of Prog, with each chapter dedicated to one album.

Read more

PORCUPINE TREE Nil Recurring (Heavy Prog, 2007)

Review by VianaProghead — Review Nº 127

"Nil Recurring" is an EP of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. This mini-album is composed only of four
tracks and was written during the recording sessions of their ninth studio album "Fear Of A Blank Planet" and it was
completed over the same year of 2007. Of all the four tracks on it, all were composed for "Fear Of A Blank Planet"
album. However, later they were dropped from the final track list. So, these are leftover tracks from that album.

Read more

PORCUPINE TREE Fear Of A Blank Planet (Heavy Prog, 2007)

Review by VianaProghead — Review Nº 126

"Fear Of A Blank Planet" is the ninth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. Steven Wilson has
mentioned that the album's title is a direct reference to Public Enemy's album of 1990, with the same name. Public
Enemy is an American hip hop group and they're better known for their politically charged lyrics and criticism of the
American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community.
However, while Public Enemy's album was about race issues, Porcupine Tree's album was about coming to terms
with the 21st century technology, the technology which is generally used massively by all Western world civilization.

Read more

Vinyl Review – Cosmograf – The Hay Man Dreams – by Progradar

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
― Michael J. Fox

Surely every musician strives for perfection on every new record that they are working on but perfection cannot be attainable otherwise what else could they seek to achieve? When you follow an artist across their album releases you accompany them on this journey to a perceived nirvana of musical enlightenment, every release opening another door into their soul for clearly that is what every musician leaves with their music, a piece of themselves?

Read more

Sounds That Can Be Made #100

Edition 100 of Sounds That Can Be Made is now available as a podcast!

Playlist:

Uriah Heep – I’m Alive (from Fallen Angel)
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb (from The Wall)
Jethro Tull – Elegy (from Stormwatch)
Genesis – Cul-De-Sac (from Duke)
Barclay James Harvest – Just a Day Away (Forever Tomorrow) (from Ring of Changes)
Electric Light Orchestra – Bluebird (from Secret Messages)
Black Sabbath – Angry Heart (from Seventh Star)
AC/DC – Meanstreak (from Blow Up Your Video)
Blue Öyster Cult – Imaginos (from Imaginos)
Deep Purple – Love Conquers All (from Slaves and Masters)
Rush – Heresy (from Roll the Bones)
Yes – Children of Light (from Keys to Ascension II)
Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man (from Brave New World)
Marillion – When I Meet God (from Anoraknophobia)
Magnum – Everyday (from Breath of Life)
Radiohead – Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased) (from Hail to the Thief)
Asia – I Will Remember You (from Phoenix)
Mostly Autumn – Glass Shadows (from Glass Shadows)
Porcupine Tree – Remember Me Lover (from The Incident)
Dream Theater – Lost Not Forgotten (from A Dramatic Turn of Events)
Nektar – Talk To Me (from Time Machine)
Devin Townsend – Z² (from Z² Dark Matters)
Archive – Axiom – Reprise (from Axiom)
Muse – The Handler (from Drones)
Foo Fighters – The Neverending Sigh (from Saint Cecilia EP)
Big Big Train – Mudlarks (from Wassail EP)
The Pineapple Thief – No Man’s Land (from Your Wilderness)

Read more