Progtopia

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Synopsis

A podcast dedicated to progressive music in its various forms, including interviews with the musicians themselves.

Episodes

  • Episode 170: The Five From...2020

    Episode 170: The Five From...2020

    29/12/2020 Duration: 58min

    It's the end of a long and trying year, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't plenty of great music to be found in 2020. You'll hear Mark's picks for the top five albums of this year, plus five honorable mentions, all of which are worth your time. Bands/artists featured (in alphabetical order): Circuline Simon Collins The Cyberiam Days Between Stations Fish Glass Hammer Haken Mark Kelly's Marathon Silent Skies Rick Wakeman

  • Halloween 2020 Special Part 2

    Halloween 2020 Special Part 2

    29/10/2020 Duration: 01h05min

    For the second part of our Halloween 2020 special, we delve into the heavier side of progressive tracks with spooky titles and themes. Listen to songs from the Fierce and the Dead, Within Temptation, Odd Logic, Braindance, the Murder of My Sweet, Voyager, To-Mera, Venturia, Hemina, and the Cyberiam. To hear interviews and features with many of these bands, go to the Archival Episodes tab at www.progtopia.com. If this episode is too scary for you, check out Part 1 for some "lighter" fare!

  • Halloween 2020 Special Part 1

    Halloween 2020 Special Part 1

    29/10/2020 Duration: 01h07min

    In the first part of our Halloween 2020 special, we highlight some of the (dare we say?) lighter progressive songs with creepy-sounding titles or themes. Hear tracks from Francis Dunnery, the Alan Parsons Project, iamthemorning, the Flower Kings, Edison's Children, Anathema, Atomic Rooster, Djam Karet, Darryl Way, In Continuum, Adam Rabin, and Tom Slatter. Many of these artists have been featured in past Progtopia episodes, so go to www.progtopia.com to hear from them. Check out Part 2 for some heavier tunes!

  • The Five From...Mike Rutherford

    The Five From...Mike Rutherford

    17/10/2020 Duration: 37min

    With Genesis founder Mike Rutherford's recent 70th birthday, we thought we'd have a listen to five tracks from his non-Genesis output. That includes solo albums and, of course, his side band Mike + the Mechanics. Some of it's prog, some of it's not, but you can't deny he can write the kind of music many people enjoy listening to. Here's to you, Mr. Rutherford! To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

  • The Five From...Eric Woolfson

    The Five From...Eric Woolfson

    28/09/2020 Duration: 41min

    The late Eric Woolfson spent the 70s and 80s as the silent but equal partner of Alan Parsons in the rock band named after the producer. Having penned hits like "Games People Play" and "Time," and even singing several of them himself, Woolfson eventually moved on from rock radio to writing scores for musical theatre. His subjects included historical figures like Sigmund Freud, Antoni Gaudi, and of course Edgar Allan Poe. With five such productions out there, it only follows that instead of spotlighting well-known Alan Parsons Project tracks, we take a look at one song from each of those musicals. Among those, you'll hear some updated takes on APP songs from years past, and Woolfson himself singing his own words once more. Find Woolfson and APP merchandise and music at www.ericwoolfsonmusic.com. To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

  • The Five From...Voyager

    The Five From...Voyager

    04/09/2020 Duration: 39min

    Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, Voyager have spent the better part of two decades creating their signature blend of prog metal with hooks aplenty in every instrument and some of the slickest production around. Alex Canion, Ash Doodkorte, Simone Dow, Danny Estrin, and Scott Kay have been the lineup for the past few albums, the most recent of which -- Colours in the Sun -- was released in 2019. And to make it even harder to choose which five songs from their seven-album discography make the cut, we placed the further restriction that none of the Five here can have an official MTV-style video. That leaves out a lot of great tracks, but the good news is there are plenty more standouts to choose from. Did we get it right? Tell us what you think! Find the band at https://www.voyagerau.com/ and their Bandcamp page: https://voyager.bandcamp.com/ To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

  • The Five From...Glass Hammer

    The Five From...Glass Hammer

    16/08/2020 Duration: 46min

    Under the consistent guidance of Steve Babb and Fred Schendel, American proggers Glass Hammer have been around for close to 30 years without interruption and with quite a sizeable discography to show for it. Members have come and gone and come back again, and many styles and epic tracks are strewn through their catalog. But with such varied output as albums inspired by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis through more accessible and hard-driving tracks, what five sub-10-minute songs will be chosen as representative of the group? Your intrepid host takes a shot. Do you agree with the choices? Visit the band at www.glasshammer.com for merchandise and albums like the brand new Dreaming City and the Ultimate Middle Earth Download. To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

  • The Five From...Anubis Gate

    The Five From...Anubis Gate

    02/08/2020 Duration: 47min

    We're back with a new, and hopefully more sustainable, format for the program: "The Five From...". The rules are: 1) Choose a progressive rock, metal, or electronic band or artist with at least five releases; 2) Choose five of their songs that represent aspects of their output that are worth highlighting; 3) None of those songs can be over ten minutes long; and 4) Explain why these tracks were chosen. This is to force your host into making some difficult decisions in reducing what might be decades of material into only five songs, as well as create discussion among listeners about what they might choose instead. We hope you'll join in the debate -- respectfully, of course! Danish prog metallers Anubis Gate were our first guests on Progtopia back in 2012 and have been featured twice since, so naturally it made sense to place them first here, too. With several albums, three lead singers, and a box set to their credit since 2004, what five tracks make the cut? The choices include an eastern-influenced tour

  • Episode 144 : Lobate Scarp - Spirals and Portals

    Episode 144 : Lobate Scarp - "Spirals and Portals"

    18/09/2019 Duration: 43min

    Named after an obscure topographical feature, California-based Lobate Scarp has been sharing their brand of theatrical prog with the world for close to a decade, and while they haven't had a formal release for a few years since their debut Time and Space, they're back with an EP called Spirals and Portals. The release is a prelude to an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their second full-length album, to be formally announced in October. Host Mark Ashby speaks with singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Adam Sears about that odd band name, their crowd-funding successes and shortfalls, and their addition to the bill for RoSfest 2020 in Florida. You can learn more about them online and get their music at https://www.lobatescarp.com/. Featured songs/excerpts: "Nothing Wrong" "Time and Space" "And We Tried" "Beautiful Light" To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and follow the show on Facebook (www.facebook.com/progtopia).

  • Episode 143 : Once There Was - Breathe, Be, Bleed

    Episode 143 : Once There Was - "Breathe, Be, Bleed"

    31/08/2019 Duration: 36min

    Some prog metal fans will know the name Jessica Lehto from her involvement in the bands Factory of Dreams (Episode 044) and Beto Vazquez Infinity. But there's a softer side to this Swedish singer/songwriter with the angelic voice, and that is reflected in her solo project, Once There Was. The style of music under this name has been fluid over the years, but the most recent release Breathe, Be, Bleed is being called "electro pop opera." Whatever you describe it as, it contains haunting vocals and harmonies, with synthesizer accompaniment ranging from driving to quietly symphonic. Host Mark Ashby speaks with her about how Once There Was has changed over the years and how it differs from other albums she guests on, why she's content being mostly a studio musician, and how digital-only releases suit artists like her. Find her online at www.jessicalehto.com. Featured songs/excerpts: "Blue" "Heartbeats" "Anywhere" "Black" "Unknown" "Fading" To hear previous archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com, and fol

  • Episode 142 : Hemina - Night Echoes

    Episode 142 : Hemina - "Night Echoes"

    15/08/2019 Duration: 46min

    We obviously can't get enough of Sydney's Hemina, who have been supporters of this program since its very early days (check the archives at www.progtopia.com if you want proof). So with the release of their fourth album Night Echoes, it's only right that we check in with band members Doug Skene and Jess Martin and see what it's all about. They talk about the chances they take with diverse influences from funk to pop to 80s retro stylings mixed in with their trademark brand of progressive metal, how a song like "What's the Catch?" and its associated video were formed and fashioned, and which country seems to be surpassing all others for streams of their music. You can order all their music at http://hemina.bandcamp.com. Featured songs/excerpts: "One Short" "We Will" "Flicker" "What's the Catch?" "In Technicolour" "The Only Way" To hear previous episodes featuring Hemina, as well as all archival episodes, go to www.progtopia.com.

  • Episode 141 : Edisons Children - The Disturbance Fields

    Episode 141 : Edison's Children - "The Disturbance Fields"

    23/07/2019 Duration: 50min

    Edison's Children are no strangers to Progtopia, having been featured twice already, but this is their return to the program after a few years' absence, with their fourth album The Disturbance Fields freshly released in mid-July. Begun as the duo of Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Eric Blackwood of Blackwood & Foti, they've added members like Rick Armstrong (son of astronaut Neil), Lisa Wetton, and Henry Rogers to create a soundscape of darkened moods and messages of warning. Those warnings on the new album are for the climate changes happening around us all with alarming speed, and with the albums single track "Washed Away" spread over 14 parts, the band tells a tale of peril at the hands of a wrathful Mother Nature. Trewavas stops by to talk about the band's recent gig in Florida supporting Alan Parsons, how likely he thinks a scenario like the one depicted in the album could be to really happen, and...all right, a little bit about his *other* band, too. Find them online and get the album at www.edisonsch

  • Episode 140 : Zonder Wehrkamp - If Its Real

    Episode 140 : Zonder Wehrkamp - "If It's Real"

    10/07/2019 Duration: 47min

    Drummer Mark Zonder and guitarist/keyboardist Gary Wehrkamp are familiar names to progressive metal fans who listen to the likes of Fates Warning, Shadow Gallery, and Warlord. So it may come as a surprise to learn that their first album as a duo, If It's Real, leans to the introspective, melodic side. Still displaying the high-quality musicianship they're known for, Zonder and Wehrkamp take listeners down some darker trails, but with a message that if you're feeling down, this doesn't have to be the end of your story. Host Mark Ashby chats with them about the pros and cons of releasing their album independently, how they deliberately chose a more scaled-back approach on the majority of the 10 tracks on If It's Real, and how they might continue this collaboration. They're online at www.zwband.com. Featured songs/excerpts: "Too Late" "I'd Do Anything" "Where Are the Children Going?" "If It's Real" "The Next Big Thing" "It's Not the End" To hear all archival episodes, visit www.progtopia.com, and www.faceb

  • Episode 139 : The Gift - Antenna

    Episode 139 : The Gift - "Antenna"

    23/06/2019 Duration: 40min

    Back with their fourth album, Antenna, on Bad Elephant Music are UK sextet The Gift (Mike Morton [vocals], David Lloyd [lead and rhythm guitar], Leroy James [guitar], Stefan Dickers [bass], Gabriele Baldocci [keyboards] and Neil Hayman [drums]). This release sees the band keeping true to a progressive sound while pushing their own personal boundaries from their usual 70s-based aesthetic into new territory. Host Mark Ashby chats with Morton about the liberating feeling that comes from not feeling the need to produce epic tracks, how the band has meshed over the course of the past two albums, and the intimate motivations for the beautiful track "Snowfall," which is played in full here. Find the band online at http://http://thegiftmusic.com/ Featured songs/excerpts: "Wild Roses" "We Are Connected" "Far Stranger" "Long Time Dead" "Snowfall" To hear previous episodes featuring The Gift and all other archival episodes, visit www.progtopia.com, and www.facebook.com/progtopia to follow the show on social media.

  • Episode 138 : The Mariana Hollow - The Abandoned Parade

    Episode 138 : The Mariana Hollow - "The Abandoned Parade"

    01/06/2019 Duration: 01h02min

    It's been several months since the last episode of the show, but we're back in a big way with long-time friends of the program, London's The Mariana Hollow. In this interview with members Richie Walden (rhythm guitar), Gabriel Moreira (lead guitar), and Rebecca Stanley (vocals), they talk about The Abandoned Parade, their first full-length album since 2012's Velvet Black Sky, as well as amusing names they give their songs in the demo stages, the evolution of the band since their 2009 debut Coma Heart, and the recent departure of bassist Scott Chesworth. After the interview, Mark explains the reasons why he took an eight-month break from production and what you can expect from the podcast in the future. Find TMH online and order their music at http://themarianahollow.bandcamp.com. Featured songs/excerpts: "Swear to God" "Chambers and Valves" "Protocol" "Girl Overboard" "Tides" "Damage Limitation" "The Abandoned Parade" To listen to the previous episodes with The Mariana Hollow, go to these links: http://p

  • Progtopia Planetary Premiere 12 October 2018 : Adam Rabin - Trains That Never Come

    Progtopia Planetary Premiere 12 October 2018 : Adam Rabin - "Trains That Never Come"

    12/10/2018 Duration: 01h12min

    The Vermont-based prog darlings Elephants of Scotland (Episode 055) might be on something of a hiatus, but luckily for us all, keyboardist/singer and founding member Adam Rabin hasn't gone into hiding. In fact, his solo album The Badger Flies at Dawn is set for release on the 26th of October, and ahead of that, he's been kind enough to grant Progtopia an exclusive premiere of the contemplative track "Trains That Never Come." Hear in his interview with host Mark Ashby about the metaphor embodied in the lyrics for this song as well as the wild idea behind the title track, why he feels like going it alone is AOK for now, and where the Elephants stand at the moment. After that, you'll hear reaction audio of Mark's first listen to the rare Vangelis soundtrack from 1970, Sex Power. How does it stand up to the Greek giant's other works? You can pre-order The Badger Flies at Dawn and learn more about Adam Rabin at his website http://imadeitup.com. Featured songs/excerpts: Adam Rabin-"One of a Kind," "Mistakes," "The

  • Episode 137 : Dialing It In with Shineback

    Episode 137 : Dialing It In with Shineback

    29/09/2018 Duration: 53min

    We devote the entire episode this time to musical gadabout and Englishman-in-Philadelphia Simon Godfrey and his Shineback project. With a cavalcade of guest musicians from bands like We Are Kin and Echolyn, among others, Shineback's latest album Dial is receiving the same sort of acclaim its predecessor Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed received five years ago as the first release of the Bad Elephant Music label. We thought it only fitting to have Simon and host Mark Ashby be joined by BEM's boss and frequent Progtopia guest David Elliott for something of a retrospective look at their relationship, as well as discussions about the new album, and why Shineback exists best as a collective of collaborators. Music can be streamed and purchased through https://shineback.badelephant.co.uk/. Featured songs/excerpts: "Bedlam Days" "Is This the Dream?" "I Love You from Memory" "Let Her Sleep" "Dial" "Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follo

  • Episode 136 : ProgPower Prep with Lux Terminus Glenn Harveston from the Archives

    Episode 136 : ProgPower Prep with Lux Terminus; Glenn Harveston from the Archives

    03/09/2018 Duration: 01h14min

    It's only a few days from the annual installment of ProgPower USA, and although your humble host won't be in attendance this year, he's still in the spirit by speaking with someone who will be shifting from attendee to performer this time. Vikram Shankar's dance card is quite full at the moment, because not only will he be on the ProgPower stage with stalwarts Redemption as their new keyboardist, he and his band Lux Terminus have just released their debut album The Courage to Be. In his chat with Mark, he runs through how Tom Englund's enthusiasm for his piano cover song videos got him the Redemption gig, his many upcoming projects, and why he wanted the only song with vocals on the new album to be voiced by his favorite singer, Anneke van Giersbergen. Then we go back to the archives with an interview with ProgPower promoter Glenn Harveston from 2015, in which he goes into detail (often forcefully!) about the challenges surrounding visas and how much he appreciates his staff and fans of the festival for su

  • Episode 135 : The Plagued Ravens Wrath 50 Years of Yes and Fast =/= Best

    Episode 135 : The Plagued Raven's Wrath; 50 Years of Yes; and Fast =/= Best

    24/08/2018 Duration: 01h09min

    The Plagued Raven's music isn't easily boxed into a word or two, but the one-time solo guitar project of Raven Kyle has branched out with its third album Celeste to add the vocals of Katie Thompson (of Chiasma, from Episode 081) to its moody soundscapes. The resulting short tracks are perhaps best described by the artistic term chiaroscuro (the contrast of light and shade), and they're probably not what you think of when you hear that only guitar and voice are involved. Kyle and Katie both describe to host Mark Ashby the circumstances that brought them together, how their creative flow is achieved since they live six hours apart, and what they tell people their music is intended to evoke. Yes-expert Roman Guzman stops in next to trade questions with Mark about various common and obscure topics relating to the band (such as which band member once provided real-time DVD commentary to Roman). Finally, a Potentially Unpopular Position that encourages you to think emotion over technique when considering who is

  • Episode 134 : Head with Wings Soars Night of the Prog Report and Sky-High Tracks

    Episode 134 : Head with Wings Soars; Night of the Prog Report; and Sky-High Tracks

    03/08/2018 Duration: 01h13min

    Head with Wings is the sort of band you might want to set aside time to concentrate on, as with their debut full-length album From Worry to Shame, they tackle heavy topics like tragic and senseless death, coping with loss, and forgiveness. Guitarists Joshua Corum and Brandon Cousino enlisted their friends from Earthside Frank Sacramone and Jamie van Dyck for production duties, and the result is a riveting work that's timely and poignant. Corum talks with host Mark Ashby about the emotions he mined to create this work and what sorts of people he senses gravitate toward it. Next, correspondent Andrew Bennett gives his report as an American making his first trip to the Night of the Prog Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany, telling us his highlights from the shows, what to expect if you're a first-timer, who he met, and what he'll do differently if he's able to return. And our Triple Track Special has three songs all with the theme of "sky." Head with Wings' Facebook page is www.facebook.com/HeadWithWingsba

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