Modest Midget - Partial Exposure (2009)
There is hope for progressive pop with this EP (a full CD to be coming soon) from the Netherlands. The pretty melodies are surrounded by an intelligent design that is at times ethnic and then can suddenly sound almost classical, with classic prog guitar soloing and wonderful instrumental passages. I can't wait to hear the whole CD. http://www.modestmidget.com/
Steven Wilson - Insurgentes (2009)
The leader of Porcupine Tree gives us a solo album that is brilliant in it's sound and style. Ripping through anthems, techno blasts and pure evil and beauty, Steven creates a dark, passionate sound-scape. Don't download this CD. You must pick up the combo back with the DVD and 5.1 version. OMG! What a treat!
Cannata - My Back Pages Volume 1 (2009)
I'm not one to get into cover albums, especially when the idea is to just make the original sound better instead of making it your own. But that is what Cannata does, and... well... it's a fun ride. There are over a dozen tracks on here that you should know by now; everything from Bowie to Tull to Donavon. And truthfully, they do a great job of recreating the songs. The production is top notch and the vocals often are spot on. This was, as I said, a fun ride. I will probably put one or two of these tracks on the stream.
Cannata - Mysterium Mganum (2006)
This is really what Cannata is about: Classic 70's prog rock with solid vocals, big arrangements and soaring solos. Had I come across this in the late 70's I might have ignored it for being too commercial. Today I see the value in softening the edges of prog sometimes. To find out more about this solid CD go to http://www.cannatamusic.com/
Yes - Symphonic Live (2002/2009)
If you were lucky enough to see the Yes tour back around the turn of the century with an orchestra, I don't need to tell you how good this double CD is. Yes, lots of great live Yes, with most of the songs augmented with a full orchestra. "The Gates of Delirium" alone makes it worth the price.
Renaissance - Dreams & Omens (2008)
I don't think there can ever be enough Renaissance CDs. This live CD from 1978 is Renaissance at their peak. Too bad it is only one disc.
Gnidrolog - In Spite of Harry's Toe-Nail / Lady Lake (2004)
This double LP set (both albums were recorded in 1972) on 1 disc was recommended to me by one of my listeners. Like Van der Graff or Gentle Giant, this bands vocals were never about sweet melodies, but instead were just another instrument that defined the sound. The first LP is more psychedelic and disjointed. The band really picks up steam in the "Lady Lake" half, bringing home the instrumental intensity that we so loved from our early prog bands.
Gentle Giant - The Missing Piece (35th Anniversary Edition) (2005)
Gentle Giant was being forced out of the music biz by punk rock, but they weren't going without a fight. This under appreciated disc starts off in fairly commercial fashion, but after a blistering attack on the punk movement, "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It", they return to more classic GG material. This CD has held up very well over the last 30 years.
Fripp & Eno - No Pussyfooting (2008)
This 1973 release has been augmented in ways that only Fripp and Eno can do. Two songs are reversed and the other is at half speed. If you've never experienced ambient music, this is a great place to start. This is really music to do other things to. Listening intently is nearly impossible without serious drugs.
Peter Gabriel - Passion (1989)
This soundtrack for the Scorsese film was a nice diversion for Gabriel, allowing him to stretch in ways he hadn't before. Only rarely do you hear pieces that sing out: This is a Peter Gabriel track. The sound is very electronic with lots of Middle Eastern themes thrown in.
Peter Gabriel - Us (1992)
You really just can't have enough PG, can you? This CD could be subtitled, "Peter going through therapy", and with that comes some of his best lyrics ever, as Peter struggles with life, sex and relationships. Come on, kiss that frog.
Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean (1977)
The great thing about being a college DJ in the seventies, was not having to worry about labels. Was Ponty Jazz or rock... or both. It didn't matter. This was a new form of music and we loved it. Jean-Luc Ponty's jazz based violin influenced countless numbers of violin players and epic adventures like this LP were why.