Posts Tagged ‘Please Come Home’

THE BEST SO FAR OF 2015 (i.e. My “Faves”)

July 5, 2015

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for several weeks now. I was jostled out of my vegetative state by a couple of recent posts on the premier web site for all things prog: PROGARCHY: Pointing toward Proghalla (the only site you REALLY need to be following! http://progarchy.com/ ) I am constructing this list without the benefit of reading PROGARCHY’s own “The Best So Far” list for 2015 (even though it’s a list for primarily prog metal).

By way of embarrassed admission I must plead lack of funds for not yet owning the new Neal Morse album, Grand Experiment, and the new Steven Wilson album, Hand. Cannot. Erase. Although I have heard most of Wilson’s magnum opus one time from YouTube and other on-line sources, out of fairness to these discs I’m not going to rate them yet…I need proper and extended time with music before making “best of” lists.

sparkAETHER

As it now stands the two runaway albums for me are THE TANGENT: A Spark In The Aether (the genius work of Andy Tillison), and LONELY ROBOT: Please Come Home (the genius work of John Mitchell).   These two albums are almost sure to be in a neck and neck horse race photo-finish as December 31st looms closer and closer. Look for these to be in the 1 and 2 top spots.

Lonely Robot 2

And now, in no particular order, and without any real reviewing comments, I would add the following:

BIG BIG TRAIN: Wassail (sure it’s an EP, but I don’t care…it’s just that darn spectacular and it IS BIG BIG TRAIN…nuff said)

GLASS HAMMER: The Breaking Of The World

THE GENTLE STORM: Diary (the stunning collaboration between Lucassen and van Giersbergen will be near the top 5 I’m betting)

ARGOS: A Seasonal Affair

BEARDFISH: +4636 Comfortzone

ARENA: The Unquiet Sky (great music but also a great weird story inspiration)

JOHN CARPENTER: Lost Themes (I’m a sucker for Carpenter’s stuff but this disc probably will fade out of the top ten and maybe even out of the top 15 or 20; and it’s not really prog is it?)

KARNATAKA: Secrets of Angels

SANGUINE HUM: Now We Have A Light (a sleeper; darkhorse)

MAGIC PIE: King For A Day

My Top-Ten list for 2015 will no doubt have some, or most, of these wonderful slabs of sonic bliss. I can’t wait for the next 6 months of new releases. I can’t wait for the money to actually buy them.

Mellotron set to 11

ALBUM REVIEW: LONELY ROBOT (John Mitchell), Please Come Home

February 28, 2015

Lonely Robot 2

“Lonely Robot is a gloriously ambitious sonic adventure, produced and performed to perfection.” – – Steven Wilson

When one of Prog’s reigning demi-gods writes the above about an album there’s not much more to be added—but I will because the Prog muse is constraining me to yell from the rooftops BUY THIS ALBUM…IT IS A MASTERPIECE!

I would not have known of this album this early (it’s set for an American release on March 10th) were it not for the ‘first-look’ shout-out it received from Progarchy reviewer “Nick” in his “First Impressions” blog post of 25 February (http://progarchy.com/2015/02/25/february-first-impressions/)   But the web-site PROGSTREAMING, which allowed me hear the complete album, sealed the deal. Steven Wilson was telling the truth: PERFECTION indeed!

With more “hooks” than a Bass Master tackle box, incredible musicianship, glorious melodies everywhere, and some of the most intelligent and sensitive lyrics to ever grace a song-set, John Mitchell has released an impressionistic, tone-poem, themed song cycle, of absolutely epic proportion. This is a concept album for the ages.  I do not exaggerate. Mitchell has penned and recorded his own Hamlet or Macbeth; he need write nothing further to be enshrined in Prog’s Valhalla, or upon its Mount Rushmore (Olympus) alongside Close to the Edge, Dark Side of the Moon, and Selling England by the Pound.

The themes of alienation, origin, loss, identity, and transitoriness, are woven together in an exquisite tapestry of existentialist aural magic.  And not to be dismissed is the very clever and apropos cover art to the album featuring a photo which includes the iconic Robby the Robot from the (also austere and existentialist) 1956 classic movie Forbidden Planet (which had its own groundbreaking Prog score—the totally electronic gem by Bebe and Louis Barron).

This album is so entrancing the passage of time stops and one is left wanting to re-listen to every track and then wondering ‘what happened to my afternoon?’ when the disc is over.

Every track receives my highest “A+” rating and I would have gladly purchased the album after having listened to only track 1 Airlock!  A detailed song by song analysis would be enjoyable for me but tedious for a reader—this has to be a blog post and not a thesis or novella.

The composite experience is so united and cohesive I even have a difficult time choosing my favorite song or two. Oubliette just melts your brain with beauty and the title track, Lonely Robot is simply the best pop-Prog tune I’ve heard; in a truly just and decent world this song would be a Top Ten constant radio play Platinum seller! But to try and pick favorite songs on this sonorous cornucopia would be like trying to choose your favorite children in a family of eleven saints.

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Airlock 3:51
  2. God vs. Man 5:41
  3. The Boy in The Radio 4:51
  4. Why Do We Stay 5:15
  5. Lonely Robot 8:09
  6. A Godless Sea 5:28
  7. Oubliette 5:20
  8. Construct/Obstruct 5:46
  9. Are We Copies 6:18
  10. Human Being 5:34
  11. The Red Balloon 2:04

Special accolades to Heather Findlay who sings an ethereal and transcendent duet with Mitchell on track 4, Why Do We Stay—sublime!  In fact, musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer John Mitchell (performing now under the moniker LONELY ROBOT) has himself a simple, clear, earnest, and captivating voice. Kudos also to Mitchell’s entire backing cast: Kim Seviour (another soprano song-bird), guitarist Nik Kershaw, Jem Godfrey on keys, and the rhythm section of Nick Beggs (bass) & Craig Blundell (drums).

I kept thinking as listening “how good can this get…it just keeps getting better!”  The album’s ends last track, The Red Balloon, ends with the haunting theme of bittersweet departure shrouded in the hope to meet again some day.   This is now my request to John Mitchell, that he returns to the studio at the earliest possible time.

A soaring, moving, musical experience like this does not come often. This is a “Desert Island” album and I officially declare it to be my FAVORITE ALBUM of 2015 (that means SOMETHING as I type these words on 28 February).

An A+++ rating, wherein A+ is the highest there is.

Mellotron On!

jww

Sites worth checking:

INSIDEOUT Music http://insideoutmusic.com/newsdetailed.aspx?IdNews=15288&IdCompany=8

PROGSTREAMING:

http://www.progstreaming.com/_wb/pages/play-album.php?activeAlbum=01098 – Lonely Robot – Please Come Home

SEA OF TRANQUILITY interview with John Mitchell:

http://www.seaoftranquility.org/article.php?sid=2978

John Mitchell’s cool FACEBOOK page:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/johnchristianmitchell


The (n)EVERLAND of PROG

Searching For Lost Chords

Stormfields

Christian Humanism in a Post-Modern World

Progarchy

Pointing toward Proghalla