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Thread: The Flower Kings - 2020 recap and look ahead to 2021

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    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    The Flower Kings - 2020 recap and look ahead to 2021

    Annual TFK recap and speculation thread - will the World of Adventures slow down or stop due to a global pandemic? Of course not! Another busy year with plenty of TFK projects and music to talk about. Here we go - in the order they showed up in my mailbox:

    January:
    Hannah Svensson - Places and Dreams - (TFK Connection: Zoltán Csörsz drums)
    I think Zoltan's primary musical passion is still jazz and fusion. This is a wonderful album of mostly original tunes. It has a real late night jazz club feel, and a romantic feel. Zoltan has kept somewhat of a low profile lately, cool to see him back doing what he loves, while we wait with anticipation his return to prog as a new member of Lifesigns. Here is a link to one of the covers, the Fats Waller standard Honeysuckle Rose. Zoltan shines here and it will give you a good taste for how the album sounds and is mixed.

    Jordan Rudess - Wired For Madness (TFK Connection: Jonas bass on Perpetual Shine)
    Actually released in 2019 but I didn't get until later. Roller Coaster of styles. Not just technical show off playing which I thought it might be. Melodic and diverse album. Song based too. Nice surprise

    March:
    Randy McStine - Adopted Son - Live In Vancouver (Jonas fretless bass on bonus track)
    This live album Adopted Son is an electrifying performance captured from McStine’s first North American solo tour as support act for The Pineapple Thief. Exclusive to the CD is Randy’s interpretation of the Tears For Fears classic, “The Working Hour,” featuring Jonas Reingold on fretless bass. Randy's version surpasses the original, imo.

    July:
    NDV - Invisible (TFK Connection: Jonas plays Bass/Fretless Bass on 5 songs)
    Arriving as this did in early July this was my main album and soundtrack during the early days of the quarantine. This album now will always remind me of this time in history. Oddly it seemed to fit the mood perfectly, capturing the alienation, worry, sadness in some of the lyrics but ultimately hopeful and uplifting. Life finds a way. Loads of guests including Tony Levin, Randy McStine, Jordan Rudess, Paul Gilbert, Rick Nielsen and Jem Godfrey to name but a few. It is a diverse album with flavors of funk, rock, prog and soul.

    Michael Lehrmann - Immer Nicht Ewig - (TKF Connection: Felix Lehrmann on drums)
    An album from Felix's Father. How cool is that! All instrumentals, Michael is an accomplished guitarist and these original compositions range from blues/rock to jazz to acoustic. All with son Felix on the drums. This is their second offering together , the first album "Three Words Later" came out in 2012. Here is one video, it doesn't feature Felix but can give you an idea if this might be something you would like

    Neal Morse - Inner Circle July 2020 "Covers & Encores" (TFK Connection: Roine, Jonas, Hasse, Tomas, Felix)
    I recently rejoined Neal's Inner Circle in anticipation of a likely Transatlantic demos release. And I was pleasantly surprised to see the first release I got was this one also with a Transatlantic connection. "Covers & Encores" includes 4 covers (all Pink Floyd) and 2 encores. The first encore is from the Alive Again tour and the second encore is from the 2013 Neal Morse Band / The Flower Kings tour where both bands joined forces at the end and played a Transatlantic medley. This 'encore' is over 30 minutes long of greatness. and includes: Full Moon Rising/Whirlwind/A Man Can Feel/Rose Colored Glasses/Stranger In Your Soul. Jonas takes the place of Pete here.
    In Neal's telling "we are putting the finishing touches on the new Transatlantic album! For this reason, I decided to include a recording of a Transatlantic encore. When we toured with the Flower Kings in 2013, with 75% of Transatlantic there, we played a 30-minute encore of that material, with guest spots from various Neal Morse Band and Flower Kings members, ending with a cast of thousands onstage!"
    I'm familiar with the official live albums so this was really cool to hear the differences and how the songs are added a little more Flower Kings flavor with Hasse doubling on some of the vocals and Tomas soloing in some spots.

    August:
    The Tangent - Auto Reconnaissance (TFK Connection: Jonas Reingold bass)
    I loved this CD - probably my favorite since their first one. Everything works on this one . The nearly half hour "Lie Back and Think of England" is without a doubt the best epic of the year I have heard. One of Andy's best songs. I teared up during sections of it. As years later the UK is still dealing with Brexit - the emotional plea for understanding between people was so moving. The uilleann pipes, the call back to "In Earnest" from "A Place in the Queue" and the closing section where Earnest repeats his plaintive "I beg you in earnest for nothing more" - What an amazing composition and album.

    September:
    Pain of Salvation - Panther (TFK Connection: Daniel Gildenlöw)
    First off this comes in a super nice Double CD Media Book - Big booklet with lots of comic book style artwork. Wonderful design and packaging. Follow up to 2017 In the Passing Light of Day - the very successful collaboration with Ragnar Zolberg. After their falling out Daniel has firmly taken control back of his band with this album and pretty much plays everything here, including drums on one track. Johan gets the albums only guitar solo on "Icon" but I think every other instrument except drums is played by Daniel. Great album with all the hallmarks of PoS (raw emotions, anger, sadness, energy in the lyrics and music) "Wait" seems like a semi-sequel or companion piece to The Sea Within song "Time".

    October:
    Steve Hackett - Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live At Hammersmith (TFK Connection: Jonas Reingold bass / Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy)
    Before it was hard to keep up with the Hackett live albums but now who knows when we will ever get another one. So with live music on hold we are thankful to get this one. This is the second one with Jonas on bass and the first one with Craig Blundell. Enough different songs here to make this well worthwhile "Epping Forest", "More Fool Me" "Deja Vu" "The Virgin and the Gypsy" and new album songs like "Under the Eye of the Sun" Nicely filmed, great sound, bonus footage backstage with all the band.

    The Backstage - Isolation (TFK Connection: Jonas Reingold, Roine Stolt guest on one song / Lalle Larsson (Agents of Mercy) guest one song
    Tons of guests on this one - others are Steve Hackett, Andy Tillison, Marco Minnemann, Randy McStine, Tom Brislin, Nick Beggs, Luke Machin, Pat Mastelotto, Theo Travis, Carl Orr, Roger King - Mixed by Chris Lord Alge
    With no Hackett touring to keep them busy Jonas, Rob and Craig did this cool project. Taking their backstage jam sessions and sound check jams and converting them into an album of 70's style jazz fusion. Very cool stuff here and the huge parade of guest stars allows for plenty of top soloing. Modern production of vintage fusion sounds. This was an independent release by Jonas so if you collect any of these musicians you may want to get this sooner rather than later. When it is gone it will be gone. The CD is pretty unique too in that it looks like a mini vinyl lp.

    The Flower Kings - Islands (Roine, Hasse, Jonas, Zach, Mirkko)
    Only a year removed from Waiting for Miracles we have another TFK double. This sounds nothing like the prior album. Even more song based and focused album. And sonically it feels totally different. Recorded separately in each persons home studio. But it all depends on if the songs are good and in this case they certainly are. And Zach is contributing some really strong material again as we start to see a more developed Stolt/Kamins writing partnership. The instrumental "A New Species" is one of the standout tracks on the entire album. I'm still absorbing this one but Disc 1 is strong from start to end. Time will tell where this ranks in their catalog, I do miss some of the long extended instrumental excursions - "Solaris" is an exception here. It is a tough call for album of the year for me. Between this and The Tangent one. And a year later I recently revisited WfM and found I loved it even more than I remembered.

    November:
    Transatlantic - Inner Circle November 2020 "Live at Wetlands Preserve NYC 2000" (TFK Connection: Roine Stolt)
    an audience recording from the very first Transatlantic tour. It’s a bootleg, but because this was a small club, the performance is very clear. You can hear some audience chatter in the background. Same setlist as "Live in America" except for a little longer Genesis medley (including the only attempt at "Back in NYC," given they were in NYC) plus the closing medley of TFK, Spock, Marillion and Dream Theater because their own catalog of music wasn't big enough to fill out a setlist - they have no such problem now! Great piece of history here.

    <continued>

  2. #2
    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    Transatlantic - Inner Circle November 2020 "Live at Sweden Rock 2014" (TFK Connection: Roine Stolt, Daniel Gildenlöw)
    DVD from the Sweden Rock festival from 2014 which is well-filmed but the audio is a bit overloaded. Transatlantic have only very rarely played festival shows, and this was also the first time they had played in Sweden. That gave us the bonus of having Daniel Gildenlow join them on stage to sing his vocal part from "Into The Blue," and he stayed on stage for the rest of the show, joining Ted Leonard who was the fifth member for that tour! Oh, and then it started to rain! Some audio shortcomings but a cool DVD of a unique show in their career with the only time we had a 6 member Transatlantic

    Pain of Salvation - The Perfect Element, Pt 1 (Anniversary Mix 2020) (TFK Connection: Daniel Gildenlöw)
    Hard to believe but it has been 20 years since their 3rd album came out. As described in the liner notes the goal with this remix was to strictly keep the fingerprint of the original, but make it bigger, deeper and more defined. No new edits or drum samples, no big surprises. Just enhanced. Includes the "Epilogue" bonus track and also comes with a 7 track bonus disc with live performances of 4 songs from 2017/2018 tour. Has different artwork.

    December:
    The Prog Collective - Worlds on Hold (TFK Connection: Roine Stolt on "Solsbury Hill")
    https://theprogcollective.bandcamp.com/
    Billy Sherwood project gathering tons of prog superstars together. Mostly cover songs. Roine and Billy cover "Solsbury Hill" here. Roine singing and playing guitar. This was a really cool cover version imo. I liked the way Roine sang this.

    Other things of note:
    Sarah Connor - Hör auf deinen Bauch (Live in Hamburg) - CD and DVD (Felix Lehrmann drums)
    This is an artist that is obviously very popular in Germany. So maybe we can blame her for the reason Felix is no longer in The Flower Kings. Until TFK can pull these type of crowds that is. You can watch one of the live songs with Felix here

    Also the last few years I've been totally remiss in not mentioning Felix with Martin Miller. All of these are on youtube. There is a whole "Ultimate Medley" series that is awesome. These have over a million views each. There are Queen, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Police, 80's medleys. It really shows what a great drummer Felix is. I'll point to two in particular I think people here would like. Toto and Genesis - check these out - lot of fun and what a talented group of musicians.

    Zopp (co produced by Andy Tillison who also plays some keys on it) very very Canterbury in tone

    Sebastiaan Cornelissen - The Holdsworth Reinterpretations
    Featuring Lalle Larsson on keyboards

    The Pain of Salvation Documentary concluded with Season 6
    The last two seasons focused on a tour where mishaps and bad luck occurred on a near Spinal Tap level. It is not easy being a touring musician. This was a fascinating look into the inner workings of a band. It concludes just as Ragnar joins the band.


    So what's up in 2021??

    The very first thing we should see in this new year is the new album from Lifesigns called "Altitude" and it will be Zoltán Csörsz long awaited return to prog drumming. I'm not familiar with this band so not sure what to expect. Zoltan was also shown working on a song with Peter Lazar (Timecode Alpha) and David Cross (King Crimson)
    He was on Timecode Alpha 2019 release called PLACE DU MARTYR - not familiar with this band either, I think it is progressive metal.

    Then of course the big one in Feb is TRANSATLANTIC - THE ABSOLUTE UNIVERSE - (I think if any title demands all caps it is this one)
    Everyone knows about the two (or three) versions of the album. Preview tracks sounded excellent to my ears. So there will be much more to say about this one.

    What else might be on tap for Roine? - let's let him speak for himself:

    Lotsofmuzik: Can you tell us what else you’re planning for 2021, if at all? What projects do you have in mind?

    Roine Stolt: The only thing I know for sure that we started talking already about is a Flower Kings follow up. So I think people already started writing for that one. And this is something that will be ongoing most of springtime, I would guess. But there isn’t a release date or anything set up. It’s more like we go working on something and it’s ready when it’s ready, as we say, it will take time, but the plan is to make more like something that is a bigger piece. Something like we did in the early days, like the bigger songs – 30-minute songs or 60-minute songs, and possibly also orchestrated, with real strings or wind instruments and stuff like that. So that’s the plan for The Flower Kings. Besides that, as you mentioned, a second album from The Sea Within can happen. And I’m hoping we can finish the second album I started with Jon Anderson. It’s halfway done, but that could go anywhere really. I feel the material is really strong, so I think it’s just hard work. We just need to find a form to get all the tracks recorded properly with drums and bass and all that, and decide who’s gonna play what, etcetera, etcetera. So these are the possible three projects for me, personally, that I can see.
    So WOW - is this 1999 again? We might have 3 years in a row with a new TFK album? And one with nothing but epics!?! After the shorter song format of Islands and Wfm I think this is a good idea and I am very interested to hear what Stolt/Kamins/Reingold writing a long form piece would be like. The Sea Within would be welcome too, one has to wonder if Daniel would be on the second one, or maybe the roles would be reversed with Casey doing most of the vocals and Daniel doing just a song or two. One thing I'm surprised not to see even mentioned as a possibility is a Kaipa Da Capo album. I would have guessed with the pandemic limiting travel it might be easier for Roine to record with his brother and the other Kaipa guys locally.

    Anderson / Stolt 2 - It is the usual 'halfway done' status for many years in a row now. I wish an interviewer would follow up this answer with the obvious question: "Has Jon lost interest in the project?" "Are you not getting feedback from him?" It is hard to imagine that the delay is on Roine's side considering his work rate and the sheer number of albums he has released just in the last few years alone. There is supposed to be a re-release (with extras) of the first album at some point as well.

    HFMC - there will be a new album this year. Hasse has shown clips of recording sessions already. Looks like summer time release

    Zach - AES is back! They did release one video of a playthrough of one of their older songs "Sun of Pearl". New album in the works but is in early stages. So probably end of year or following year.

    Jonas - Karmakanic was mentioned as being in the writing stages. Also maybe another Backstage album? Could also be something with The Tangent. Andy will have a solo/Kalman Filter project called "The Moons of Neptune" out this year. And of course Hackett touring for him whenever that can start. Kaipa - good chance we will see a new Kaipa (Hans Lundin version with Jonas) this year

    Mirkko - drumming on Nad's new album. Also a new melodic metal album THE GRANDMASTER- with Nando Fernandes and Jens Ludwig. Also will be on Vivaldi Metal Project new album. Couple of other projects to come that hasn't been revealed yet

    Nad Sylvan - New album "Spiritus Mundi" out in April. We don't know who all the players are but Mirkko is drumming on it and was on the first preview track "You've Got to Find a Way" (with Tony Levin on bass)
    After concluding the Vampirate’s trilogy, Nad now changes course on his upcoming fourth album by converting the poems of WB Yeats into music. The new album, entitled “Spiritus Mundi”, is due for release in early April 2021. “You’ve Got To Find A Way” will be a bonus track on the new album. The track functions as some kind of link between the trilogy and the new work. It’s a standalone track, not related to Yeats”s poems, but it very much showcases the new musical direction Nad has chosen to take.

    Michael Stolt - Released a few more singles from upcoming album "Dödsdansen" - so perhaps this year the album will be released. All preview tracks have been really good, not really prog style but lot of friends and proggers guesting on songs.

    Tomas Bodin - There has been some activity on his soundcloud page. Teasers and sound clips for what could be a new project and some long ambient / electronic style pieces. That this would turn into a finished album or anything like that seems unlikely.

    Lalle Larsson will be on Terry Syrek new album - w/ and Marco Minnemann, Bryan Beller

    That's what I got - What a year! What were your favorites? Did I miss anything? What are you looking forward to this year?
    Cheers

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    I was at TransAlantic's gig at Wetlands in NYC, and even recorded it. Scott McGill's Hand Farm supported. I understand that club has long since closed down.
    Calyx (Canterbury Scene) - http://www.calyx-canterbury.fr
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    Canterbury & prog interviews - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdf...IUPxUMA/videos

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    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRS View Post

    Also the last few years I've been totally remiss in not mentioning Felix with Martin Miller. All of these are on youtube. There is a whole "Ultimate Medley" series that is awesome. These have over a million views each. There are Queen, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Police, 80's medleys. It really shows what a great drummer Felix is. I'll point to two in particular I think people here would like. Toto and Genesis - check these out - lot of fun and what a talented group of musicians.
    Huh. I'm a big fan of Martin's videos and had no idea that his drummer worked with TFKs. Very talented guy. Really talented band, Martin has. I'd like to hear him do another album of originals.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

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    Forgot to mention Tomas Bodin played on Ellesmere's latest LP, Wyrd. One track but it's amazing.
    Prog's Not Dead

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Thanks, SRS, for that geat overview! It's surprising how many wormholes you can send us down in one post. I hope you didn't do all that work just for us!

    I ordered the Backstage CD - that's a pretty cool project, and I hadn't heard anything about it. I have a nice little collection now of albums themed around how Covid fucked things up, or simply made during/because of lockdowns! The Backstage album has a few tracks with Covid-themed titles. Good times.

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    随缘 SRS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    Huh. I'm a big fan of Martin's videos and had no idea that his drummer worked with TFKs. Very talented guy. Really talented band, Martin has. I'd like to hear him do another album of originals.
    Yeah two albums Banks of Eden (2012) and Desolation Rose (2013) and both tours. Here is some cool footage of Felix banging out "The Truth Will Set You Free" Mike Portnoy looks impressed!

    Quote Originally Posted by miamiscot View Post
    Forgot to mention Tomas Bodin played on Ellesmere's latest LP, Wyrd. One track but it's amazing.
    Oh Cool - Thanks! I totally missed that one. I'll check it out. Nice to see him back playing in any capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Thanks, SRS, for that geat overview! It's surprising how many wormholes you can send us down in one post. I hope you didn't do all that work just for us!

    I ordered the Backstage CD - that's a pretty cool project, and I hadn't heard anything about it. I have a nice little collection now of albums themed around how Covid fucked things up, or simply made during/because of lockdowns! The Backstage album has a few tracks with Covid-themed titles. Good times.
    Thanks - I figure this is the only place such obsessive fandom seems normal The Backstage is a cool album! hope you enjoy it

  8. #8
    Backstage is a top 5er for me for 2020.

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    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post
    I was at TransAlantic's gig at Wetlands in NYC, and even recorded it. Scott McGill's Hand Farm supported. I understand that club has long since closed down.
    I was there as well. I may have soundboard DATs of both bands.

    Wetlands was a great little club. If I recall correctly Ozric Tentacles first US shows were there. Hard to remember since everyone was stoned into oblivion.

  10. #10
    Thanks for the detailed TFK information.
    2020 was a special year in my own little TFK history, because for the first time since 2007 (TSONE), I purchased a new Flower Kings album. All these years I kept an open mind, but felt I didn't need more TFK music in my life.
    When I read the reviews of "Islands" on this board, it made me feel this might be the Flower Kings album I had kept an open mind for - a song-based album. Having listened to it, I'm pleased. It is obviously a FK album, but it feels fresh and focused. And it has a kind of delicacy and elegance that's welcome in these troubled times.

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    Thanks for the rundown!

    Regarding ANDERSON/STOLT, I do ask Roine about that every time I interview him. He added a few more potential tidbits this time, towards the bottom of this transcribed interview. I'll include the whole interview, as it holds a wealth of info about the upcoming TA album and other mentions (like an epic piece for the next TFK album):

    https://www.sonicperspectives.com/in...e-roine-stolt/

    Enjoy!

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