Friday Random Ten, May 8th

  1. Gordian Knot, "Singing Deep Mountain": As frequent readers of my FRTs may have figured out, I'm not typically a big fan of instrumental progrock. Most of the time, I find it to be
    cold, sterile stuff - technically impressive, even amazing - but utterly devoid of meaning,
    emotion, or feeling. Gordian Knot is one of my favorite counter-examples to show that it's not
    the vocals that I'm missing; GK manages to create instrumental music that's got
    both incredible technical virtuosity and real feeling.
  2. Jason Ricci and New Blood, "I Turned Into a Martian": a few weeks back,
    a commenter on my last FRT suggested that I might like Jason Ricci and New Blood. He
    was absolutely right. One YouTube video I found describes Ricci as "a cross between
    Muddy Waters and Frank Zappa". That's a pretty dead-on description. Ricci and New Blood
    play incredible blues, with a mixture of other influences, which would be pretty
    decent stuff just by itself. But then Ricci is a nearly supernatural harmonica player.
    The things that the guy can do with a harmonica are just astonishing. And the rest of the band aren't exactly slouches. Highly recommended. (YouTube clip at the end of the post.)
  3. Spock's Beard, "The Slow Crash Landing Man": Decent neo-prog. Not a particularly
    special track, but not bad.
  4. Riverside, "Before": Riverside is a band I recently discovered via E-music. They're
    a phenomenal neo-progressive band. Their sound is hard to describe; somewhere between
    Marillion, King Crimson, and Porcupine Tree.
  5. Mono, "mere your pathetic light": another really fantastic post-rock ensemble,
    very much in the "godspeed" vein. Really excellent stuff.
  6. Frost, "Welcome to Nowhere": Yet another new neo-progressive band for me. I was
    ordering some CDs, and threw this in on a whim. They're quite good - a bit on towards the
    poppy-end of neo-progressive. If you like Marillion, there's a good chance you'll like these guys. In particular, they're good at the same kind of wonderful transition that Marillion is known for.
  7. Steve Hackett, "Omega Metallicus": Hackett is always terrific.
  8. Marillion, "80 Days": speak of the devil, Marillion pops up. As much as I like some
    of the new, Marillion influenced neo-progressive bands, when Marillion comes through the headphones, it's just different. There's just a depth to them that not many bands can
    match. Spock's Beard, Frost, Jadis - they're good. But they're not in the same league as
  9. Tony Trischka Band, "Haunted Hand": Tony Trischka's first album with his jazz band. I'm a bit biased here, because I know Tony personally, and he's one of the most genuinely
    nice people I know. I love his band, and Tony playing jazz on the Banjo is even
    better than Bela Fleck.
  10. The Flower Kings, "The Melting Pot": and if you want to make even Marillion sound
    like a bunch of pikers, just put on the Flower Kings.

More like this

The Flower Kings, "The Truth Will Set you Free": One of the superlong Flower Kings opuses - in fact, the first thing by the Flower Kings that I ever heard. Solas, "Pastures of Plenty": a stunning version of the old Guthrie song, played by one of my favorite Irish bands. It's a brilliant cover -…
John Corigliano, "Fantasia on an Ostinato": Corigliano is absolutely my favorite modern composer. He writes stunningly beautiful music. This is a wonderfully subtle piece: unaccompanied solo piano. Just incredible. Isis, "Not in Rivers, But in Drops": The transition between the last one and…
Explosions in the Sky, "Yasmin the Light": beautiful post-rock. Kansas, "Miracles Out of Nowhere": Old Kansas - great stuff. The Flower Kings, "Starlight Man": People who've read my FRTs know that I pretty much worship the ground Roine Stolte walks on. Even a short, simple ballad like this,…
Porcupine Tree, "Kneel and Disconnect": New Porcupine Tree! It's always great to get new stuff from these guys. It's good, but it's not up to the quality of their last two albums. (But given that their last two were utterly amazing, that's not much of a criticism.) Mind Games, "Royalty in…

I'm listening to Gordian Knot right now -- it's good stuff. I grew up listening to this kind of music, but I eventually became a fiddler playing old-time American and Irish dance tunes. I still return to prog-rock from time to time, though! I agree that Jason Ricci is quite amazing. A commenter on my blog told me about him.

I was just listening to the new Mono the other day and thinking I should tell you that you'd like it :)

Hey, as the guy who posted the Jason Ricci video, and the one who has been writing about him for years at the Mercury News until I got laid off, I'm glad you picked up on it. I was a lone voice in the wilderness for a long time....I always wanted someone at Google to notice..



Mark, if you haven't already, you might want to check out Cynic's latest album, Traced In Air. Sean Malone (mastermind behind Gordian Knot) is their bass player. Ostensibly a death metal band, the latest offering is very listenable even if you're not into the genre.

Nice comments about Jason, spot on. I echo Brad's frustration, but there're many of us in this wilderness, and Jason's slowly getting the recognition he deserves. This song is on his new album, "Done With The Devil". For those who want to hear/see more, there are a bunch of videos at . He also has 50 or so live shows up at