November 12, 2011

Transatlantic, Karmakanic, Steven Wilson

So, I noticed this week that Santa Claus is already situated at his yearly spot in the middle of the mall. It's still a little bit too early for his jolly, cherub face, though I will admit that I have already completed the bulk of my Christmas shopping. I always like to get a jump on it so I can avoid the stores in December. Anyway, this week I bought three new CDs which I am considering to be an early present to myself. It has been a very long time since I've felt really excited about any new rock music, so for me to come across three good discs at the same time is a gift indeed.

The first album that I want to talk about is "The Whirlwind" by Transatlantic. I'm coming a little bit late to the party for this one as it has actually been out since 2009. It is a progressive rock masterpiece and a journey for the senses. Lush orchestration. Impeccable musicianship. Sweeping anthems. After two listens, I was completely hooked on the sound. Transatlantic is a supergroup made up of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), and Pete Trewavas (Marillion).

The second album is "In a Perfect World" by Karmakanic. Finding this CD was a real treat because I had never heard of it prior to hearing the music. This group features some excellent vocals and songs that are absolutely infectious. The inclusion of fretless bass and stellar acoustic piano makes this album a must-hear for prog rock fans. It is serious music, yet with a very playful edge as can be heard on the Latin-flavored romp "Can't Take It With You." Great stuff. Very refreshing. Highly recommended!

The third album that I picked up is "Grace for Drowning" by Steven Wilson. Involved in many creative ventures including bands Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, and No-Man, as well as his successful solo career, Wilson is easily one of the most prolific artists in music today with a reputation for striking gold with everything he touches. This two-CD set features an eclectic mix of soundscapes that range from the atmospheric to the heavy to the experimental to the psychedelic to the recondite to the sublime. An amazing musical voyage. This very well may be the album of the year!

"For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, 'Do not fear;
I will help you.'"

~Isaiah 41:13