Tag Archives: Maschine

Summer’s End announce 2017 Lineup

Summers EndWith the Friday night headliner still to be confirmed, Frost* will headline on Saturday night, with The Tangent and Karmakanic co-headlining on Sunday.

The bill also includes Franck Carducci, Maschine, Southern Empire, Elephants of Scotland, Midnight Sun, Half Past Four, Karobow and Weenbo. If you haven’t heard of half of those, neither have I, but that’s the whole point of Summer’s End. It’s not one of those festivals with a predictable lineup heavy with heritage acts; it’s all about new discoveries, and brings in bands from Australia and the US who seldom perform in the UK

The festival will be held on October 6th to 8th 2017 at The Drill Hall, Lower Church St, Chepstow.

More details on the bands at the The Summer’s End Progressive Rock Festival website.

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Best Albums of 2016 – Part One

It’s that time of year again, when music bloggers go through the year’s releases and highlight the best of the year. The usual caveats apply; these are the best records of 2016 I’ve actually had the chance to hear. I only have a finite CD budget, and even though I’m a part-time music writer, not every record company sends me free promos.

We’ll start with 25 to 11. Except that they’re not ranked in any order, because that would be next to impossible.

Update Because I missed out one record by mistake, this year’s list now goes up to 26. You will have to guess which one it was yourselves.

Continue reading

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Maschine – Megacyma

A track from Maschine’s second “Naturalis” album, due out on November 18th.

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Rob Reed launches Kiama

Rob Reed, leader and keyboard player of Magenta has announced a new supergroup featuring Luke Machin of Maschine and The Tangent on lead guitar, Dylan Thompson of Shadow of the Sun and formerly of The Reasoning on lead vocals, and Andy Edwards of Frost* on drums.

The album is due on January 18th, and you can pre-order it now from the Kiama website right now.

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Georgia leaves Maschine

Maschine at the 2011 Cambridge Rock Festival

Maschine have announced the departure of keyboard player Georgia Lewis

The rising-star prog outfit say Lewis wants to concentrate more fully on her folk music career, and describe their new member as an “elegant” addition to their lineup.

Luke Maschin’s outfit say: “Georgia has been a major asset and has played an important part in all of our achievements to date. Unfortunately, her energy cannot stretch as far as the role currently requires, as her true identity and full attention lies within her folk music.

The band’s new keyboard player will be Marie-Eve de Gaultier.

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Haken and Leprous announce co-headline tour

Haken, Leprous and Maschine

Haken and Leprous have announced a tour of the UK and Ireland in late October and early November, taking in London, Bristol, York, Manchester and Edinburgh, among others, with Maschine as special guest.

While there’s a still time and a place for two-and-a-half shows with room for everyone’s favourite songs, shows with two or three bands each playing tight focussed sets and pulling out all the stops makes for a great gig, and gives audiences value for money.

Here’s a taste of Haken. Yes, they really do look like that…

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2013 Albums of the Year – Part One

It’s end-of-year list time again, when every music blogger is compelled to go back through the year’s record releases and try to pick out the best of them,

Let’s get the obvious disclaimers out of the way first. This is not intended to be a definitive list of the very best albums released in the year. For starters all preferences are personal and subjective. And secondly and more importantly, it’s restricted to those records I’ve actually had the chance to hear. There are no doubt a great many awesome releases I haven’t heard yet.

After many repeated listens I’ve managed to whittle the list down to 21 (Why 21? Why not?). The fact that it turned out to be very hard to restrict it to just 21 speaks volumes about how great a year it’s been. One or two big names ended up not making the cut.

So, without further ago, here’s the first half of my list,  Had I not abandoned trying to sort them all into meaningful order as an impossible task, they would be 21 down 11. As it is, they’re sorted alphabetically.

Big Big Train English Electric Part Two

English Electric Part 2The second half of English Electric follows in a similar vein to the first, with their very evocative and very English brand of pastoral progressive rock. The storytelling lyrical focus shifts to northern England and the twentieth century with tales of railwaymen, coal miners and shipbuilders, and it all sounds far more authentic than much 80s-style neo-prog.

Black Sabbath13

Black Sabbath 13Neither quite the masterpiece some hoped for nor the trainwreck some feared, the reunion of Ozzy Osborne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler still delivers a very solid piece of work that proves they still have something to say after all these years. If this does prove to be their final album, it’s a worthy addition to their legacy.

The Computers Love Triangles, Hate Squares

The Computers Love Triangles Hate SquaresThe best no-nonsense old-fashioned rock and roll record I’ve heard all year, by a band who sound as as though they have one foot in 1958 and one in 2013, full of short and punchy tunes that hit you right between the eyes. The end result somehow ends up reminding me of some aspects of very early Blue Öyster Cult.

CosmografThe Man Left In Space

Cosmograf - The Man Left In SpaceAn evocative and atmospheric album from multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Robin Armstrong. Though there are guest appearances from Matt Stevens and Nick D’Virgilio amongst others, Robin plays most of the instrumentation from guitars to drums to keys. The haunting title track is a standout, perhaps one of the songs of the year, and there’s a lot to like across the rest of the album.

The Fierce and The DeadSpooky Action

Spooky ActionMatt Stevens and his band in full electric mode mixing progressive rock, post-punk, indie/alternative and metal resulting in the instrumental record of the year. Narrow genre definitions cannot contain this record; it’s the sort of thing that ought to have a huge crossover appeal way beyond the narrow confines of the Prog world.

King BathmatOvercoming the Monster

KingBathmat - Overcoming The MonsterA powerful combination of grungy guitar riffs with progressive rock textures and melodies, sounding like what you might get if you combined Black Sabbath with Spock’s Beard. The end result is a record with a very contemporary feel despite its use of organic 70s sounds, old-school progressive rock reinvented for the 21st Century.

MaschineRubidium

Maschine - RubidiumThe long-awaited début from Luke Machin’s band combines some stunning instrumental virtuosity with a very mature approach to composition. Their complex and ambitious songs are a seamless blend of metal, jazz and rock into, with great use of dynamics and an ear for a good melody. This is the sound of a band from whom we can probably expect great things over the coming years.

Mr So and SoTruth & Half Lies

Mr So and So - Truth and Half LiesThe fruit of a successful Pledge Music project, Mr So and So’s fourth album is by far their most impressive to date. It’s a hugely varied record with some strong songwriting that uses their distinctive dual male/female lead vocals to great effect, and the harder-edged guitar-driven sound strongly captures the power and energy of their live performances.

RiversideShrine of the New Generation Slaves

Riverside - Shrine of the New Generation SlavesRiverside have always been one of Poland’s finest bands, and with the combination of 70s Deep Purple style hard rock riffs and Porcupine Tree style atmospherics they have delivered what might be their best album to date. They may wear their influences on their sleeves to some extent, but they have more than enough creativity of there own to be any kind of pastiche.

Rob Cottingham Captain Blue

Rob Cottingham - Captain BlueA solo album from Touchstone’s keyboard player, aided and abetted by a strong supporting cast including Touchstone guitarist Adam Hodgson and former Mostly Autumn vocalist Heather Findlay. It’s a concept album with a Gerry Anderson flavour, with music reminiscent of Touchstone’s early days, plus the occasional excursion into disco-pop.

Thea GilmoreRegardless

Thea Gilmore – RegardlessAn album of Americana-tinged songs with stripped-down arrangements that emphasise the fragile beauty of the Thea Gilmore’s heartfelt vocals, enhanced this time by a string section to add some extra colour.

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Maschine – Rubidium

I first saw Maschine at the 2012 Cambridge Rock Festival, when they played as the opening act on main stage on Sunday. Despite being a member short and playing as a four-piece they went down a storm to an audience whose average age was probably twice that of the band.

At the time they had no merch to sell, so anyone wanting to buy their music just had to wait. Almost exactly a year later, the band have finally released their debut album, “Rubidium”.

From the spiralling guitar at the very beginning of the album the dominant sound is Luke Machin’s fluid lead guitar. Luke also handles the majority of the lead vocals, with keyboardist Georgia adding harmonies, and some very sparing use of so-called Cookie Monster for effect.

The album displays a remarkable variety over its seven tracks. The jazz-flavoured “Cubixtro” features a dub-reggae section with some soulful vocals from Georgia. “Invincible” with it’s fluttering flute solos goes pastoral folk-prog. “Venga” and the two-part album closer “Eyes” combine atmospheric passages with full-on metal sections, both featuring some jaw-dropping soloing from Luke Machin.

Maschine at the 2011 Cambridge Rock Festival

Unlike some younger prog bands whose songcraft lags behind their instrumental ability, Maschine have the compositional skill to match their fearsome virtuosity. They don’t go in for anything resembling conventional verse-chorus-middle-8 song structures, but their ambitious numbers show strong use of dynamics and a keen ear for melody. The album is full of extended instrumental passages, the sort of thing that could easily have turned into formless jams in the hands of a lesser band. But Maschine have honed the arrangements to make things flow beautifully. A great example is the build-and-release moment at the climax of “Eyes” when a series of riff-based passages gives way to a beautifully expressive solo at exactly the right moment.

Rubidium is certainly an impressive début in a genre where bands usually don’t start produce their best work until several albums into their career. It represents contemporary progressive rock at its best, mixing metal, jazz, rock and all sorts of other styles in a seamless blend that, aside from the occasional nods to Frank Zappa and Opeth doesn’t betray any obvious influences, and manages to avoid sounding like a copy of anything else.

It’s been a long wait for this album, but it’s well worth that wait.

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Maschine announce debut album “Rubidium”

Announced on Maschine’s Facebook Page.

The young and hotly-tipped UK-based progressive rockers Maschine have announced the release of their debut album entitled ‘Rubidium’ on the 29th July 2013. After being in the studio for several months, the band are ecstatic for the album to finally see the light of day, and band leader Luke Machin had this to say about its release: “I am extremely happy with the way this album has come together, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We cannot wait to bring this album to the stage and start performing this material at live shows in the near future, it’s gonna be killer! An album is a documentary of ones life at the present time and finally I can now share this experience with you all on record.”

The track-listing for the album is as follows:

1. The Fallen
2. Rubidium
3. Cubixstro
4. Invincible
5. Venga
6. Eyes Pt.1
7. Eyes Pt.2

Maschine made a very strong impression at the 2012 Cambridge Rock Festival despite being one member down and playing as a four-piece. I know a few people were disappointed that the band had no merchandise on sale, since their album was still a work in progress at the time. Their wait will be over on July 29th.

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