It probably would have been difficult, circa 1978, for fans of the Police's bouncy, ska-inflected new wave to conceive that Sting, circa 2006, would release an album of madrigals written in the late 1500s and early 1600s by Renaissance composer John Dowland. Yet Sting has always been musically adventurous and possessed of highbrow notions, as his eclectic solo career in the intervening years demonstrated. In a way, Sting's musical journey to Elizabethan England comes as no surprise.
Casual pronouncements are made every so often that the lute songs (the lute is a plucked stringed instrument, an early cousin to the guitar) and madrigals of Elizabethan and Jacobean England were the popular music of their day. And Sting, who alludes to the likes of Vladimir Nabokov in his lyrics, is hardly uneducated in the legacy of fine arts, and he has a certain cerebral, inward sadness that matches the dominant mood of English music around 1600 well enough…
…Sting has accomplished something that really has never been done before, and perhaps he'll show some of his own fans that Renaissance music is more than an accompaniment for silly jousting competitions – it is a labyrinth that leads us toward the roots of our own culture.
Electronic Dope Records' first release is the debut album of Psyknights, "A Faint Light from the Depth". Psyknights is a freestyle downbeat project formed by Lorenz Nenntwich (Mind D., Psyborgs, Knights and Borgs, K.A.O.S) and Danijel Galir (Liquid 9, Knights and Borgs). They worked almost 2 years on this amazing debut release. "A Faint Light from the Depth" shows a diversified fusion between many different soundstyles like Electro, Psy, Trip Hop, Trance and many other styles. The tracks reach from beautiful melodies to brain smashing acids and from slow downbeat grooves to ground breaking freestyle beats and crazy electronic weirdo tunes, all merged with fantastic new techniques. In order to get a real freestyle fusion, they mixed it also with various classic and cultural influences and added some known elements from videogame- and movie music.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music.
SONGS FROM THE WOOD, from 1977, is one of my favourite Jethro Tull discs, and represents a brilliant return to form, after the previous year's disappointing TOO OLD TO ROCK AND ROLL. Singer/songwriter Ian Anderson, in keeping with the recording's title, revels in his folkier side here, with terrific, spot-on accompaniment from his band (comprised of Martin Barre on guitar and lute, John Evans on keyboards, Barriemore Barlow on drums and percussion, and John Glascock on bass and backing vocals). Additional keyboards and "portative organ" are provided by frequent collaborator David Palmer, who eschews his polished orchestral arrangements this time out, to further reinforce the session's "rootsy" atmosphere.
Letters From The Labyrinth is TSO's first full-length album since 2009's Night Castle. The overall concept is based on TSO's "Night Castle" (2009) and a dialogue between the wisdom of the past and the hopes for the future, via a correspondence between a child and an old friend of the child's grandfather. On "Letters From The Labyrinth" TSO deals with subjects as broad as humanity's journey through the ages ("Time & Distance"), and as specific as bullying ("Not The Same"), the fall of the Berlin Wall ("Prometheus") and the world banking controversies ("Not Dead Yet")…