Twelfth Night’s Smiling At Grief Revisited gets confirmed track listing and release date

In a piece of very welcome news for fans of 80s prog, the legendary Twelfth Night are set to release a new version of their classic ‘Smiling At Grief’ album entitled ‘Smiling At Grief…Revisited’ in March.

The reworked material, set to have new instrumentation, new mixes and vocals features contributions from some of the current prog scene’s most important figures, including Steven Wilson, The Tangent’s Andy Tillison, and Camel’s Peter Jones.

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BIG BIG TRAIN – Welcome To The Planet

For even the greatest bands, there’s rarely such a thing as overnight success. This was certainly true for British prog band, Big Big Train. They spent the second half of the 90s and the early noughties recording independent albums that clicked with a small core of people, but remained largely hidden from the prog world at large. Works like ‘Goodbye To The Age of Steam’ and ‘Gathering Speed’ set out a rich musical stall that showed a love of Anthony Philips, and despite changes in line-up and sound, their music retained a very pastoral, very English heart that inspired all who heard it. Despite cult adoration, genuine success often seemed elusive; it wasn’t really until the release of their sixth proper album, 2009’s ‘The Underfall Yard’, that the band started to gain the kind of attention they’d long deserved.

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After spending years honing their hugely atmospheric post rock sound, Spanish prog/rock band Toundra hit something of a career high with their 2018 album ‘Vortex’. With its huge soundscapes of clean, shimmering guitar and crushing, yet melodic riffs, it came close to post rock perfection; more accessible than the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and more focused than The Bloody Mallard. Obviously, the instrumental stance meant those listening rewards weren’t always immediate, but the best riffs eventually crawled into the subconscious in a really cool way. The follow up, a recording inspired by Robert Wiene’s Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, showed a more adventurous approach via its longer pieces, but continued the band’s natural musical ascent.

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ESKINA – We Are The Moon

Following on from 2019’s ‘Everything Is Coloured’, ‘We Were The Moon’ is another fine, mellow yet complex work from Dutch instrumental act Eskina. Its ten ambient oriented pieces have very strong roots of chamber music, with a dominant cello and viola used effectively throughout, and by twisting through arrangements with slight overtones of prog and plenty of massive soundtrack-like moods, the musicians create something that’s both rich and rewarding.

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Mysterious Pink Floyd bootlegs appear on streaming services

In a bit of unexpected good fortune for the discerning prog fan, a selection of Pink Floyd bootlegs dating from 1971 have appeared on streaming services.

Spotify and Amazon Music began hosting a range of live recordings from the ‘Meddle’ era, in varying quality a few days ago. Some of the recordings have long been well known to bootleg collectors – such as the ‘Screaming Abdabs’ recording from Quebec, featuring the classic Gilmour/Wright/Waters/Mason line up showcasing a couple of new ‘Meddle’ tunes as well as providing the often overlooked ‘Embryo’ with a live outing, and the full set from Montreux ’71 – but the opportunity for the more casual listener to stumble upon these archive treasures will surely be welcomed.

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