Samuel Beckett’s play Not I finds the stage immersed in complete darkness apart from a single spot of light covering an actresses’ mouth, which utters a four part monologue. Then the play ends. I am a huge fan of Beckett’s novels (I also love Waiting for Godot – I just haven’t read or seen any of his other plays), but even reading about Not I makes me wonder: would I enjoy this play? I might admire Beckett’s continual honing of his singular, existential idea down to something as small as a light on a woman’s mouth, but am I literally going to enjoy sitting in a theatre, watching a play comprising of just that?
I wrote a feature article for the website Echoes and Dust on a band I thought could use a little more attention, the avant-garde Belgian group Univers Zero. I look over some of their key albums over the years, and it was a lot of fun (albeit an odd, creepy bone-chilling sort of fun) going back through their discography.
You can read the entire article here.
If you’ve not heard the work of Marco Minnemann, I strongly recommend you check him out. He drums for pretty much everyone awesome, but also is one of those people I’m incredibly envious of; he has an ability to play every instrument ever at the highest level.
Originally written for Prog Zone Magazine in April 2013.
While many progressive rock bands owe a debt to the classical and jazz music that came before, few were as successful at combining both styles simultaneously as the French band Magma. Their unique sound arose from the brain of drummer, vocalist and main composer Christian Vander in response to the death of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Coltrane’s themes of spirituality and transcendence (most obvious in his later albums A Love Supreme, Ascension and Meditations) persist throughout all of Magma’s works, even as their sound changed to further incorporate classical and operatic influences – those of Carl Orff in particular. Vander unified these influences with an ambitious sci-fi concept that lead to the most controversial aspect of Magma’s sound. All the albums (excluding a one-off flop in the 80s) are sung in Vander’s invented language: Kobaïan.
I originally interviewed Tony Levin (King Crimson, Liquid Tension Experiment, Peter Gabriel) back in September 2013 for Prog Zone Magazine. He took time off his tour with Peter Gabriel to answer a few of my questions about his latest album – a collaboration between Levin, Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater and Marco Minnemann (whom I recently interviewed), titled Levin Minnemann Rudess. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to pick the brain of one of the greatest bassists around, only to be topped a month ago when I actually met Tony and several other King Crimson members during their tour of The Crimson ProjeKct.
Back in August 2013 I interviewed Steven Wilson for the (sadly now defunct) Prog Zone Magazine, to promote his upcoming Australian tour of The Raven Refused to Sing (And Other Stories). That concert may have come and gone now (and what a show it was!) but there’s still some interesting stuff to be found in this interview.
For those not aware, Steven Wilson is musician, producer and all round prog-rock polymath. Looking back at his body of work – his solo material, his original band Porcupine Tree, collaborating with Swedish prog metal titans Opeth and remastering old progressive rock classics – it’s not too surprising the man has a lot to say and it was a pleasure to be able to have a chat with him.