Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Letters From The Labyrinth’ [Review]

Trans Siberian Orchestra - Letters From The Labyrinth

Comparing albums to rollercoaster rides is one of the greatest reviewers’ clichés of all time. But when it works, it works. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first full-length set of new material since 2009 is nothing if not riddled with twists, turns, loops and breathtaking tangents.

At the same time, the rollercoaster cliché doesn’t completely cover it. Think of Letters From The Labyrinth as an entire theme park, and you’re closer to the mark. For the first time in Trans-Siberian Orchestra history, this album’s overall theme is shrouded in mystery – although it has been revealed that it’s based on previous album Night Castle, as well as “…a dialogue between the wisdom of the past and the hopes for the future, via a correspondence between a child and an old friend of the child’s grandfather.”

The overarching theme of Letters From The Labyrinth is intended to be revealed through Read more…

Posted on 29 November 2015

Portico (ft. Jono McCleery) / Sea Stacks / Matt Emery [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 13/3/15]

portico press shotThis past Friday night, Guildford’s residents were offered a prime opportunity to catch three fascinating acts in the act of creating incredible music. It’s rare to experience a gig crammed this full of uncategorizable music – but then, the Boileroom isn’t your average venue. Kudos first has to go to the booking brains behind this show; that kind of talent isn’t Read more…

Posted on 14 March 2015

TMMP’s Top Albums Of 2014

The “death of the album” has been declared many times in recent years – but nonetheless, musicians keep making them and are showing no signs of stopping (and thank God for that!). Almost a decade and a half into the twenty-first century, there still exist bands and artists capable of composing immersive, engaging, and fully satisfying collections of songs that stand up to repeated, unshuffled listens. Here are fifteen of them. Read more…

Posted on 29 December 2014

ERIKA – ‘Onna-Bugeisha’ [Review]

erikaTurning a first name into a brand name can be a risky proposition. On the one hand, it’s great for solo artists as it’s more personal than hiding behind a pseudonym – but on the other, it makes it very difficult for people to search for you online. There are many Erikas in the world – especially on Spotify, where you can find Erikas playing everything from acoustic folk standards to dark, brooding electronica, lounge jazz, and even six albums worth of accordion music. Google “Erika music” and the top hits are for a dermatology consultant (Dr Erika N. Music – I kid you not), a YouTube video featuring Nazi military music, and a list of still more artists named Erika who are, annoyingly, not the ERIKA (full caps) that we’re looking for. Read more…

Posted on 23 May 2014

Yuval Ron & Residents Of The Future – ‘Residence Of The Future’ [Review]

yuval ronOpen any book on increasing your productivity, and you’ll find this ubiquitous piece of advice: “Never check your email in the morning.” It’s often backed up with a statement along the lines of “Email is the mind-killer.” Not just any mind-killer, but the mind-killer.

Perhaps my inbox is unique, then. The messages it contains consistently offer me the opportunity to expand my mind, not blunt or damage or kill it. This is, definitely, partly due to Gmail’s super-effective spam filters (no more “COLLECT YOUR NIGERIAN LOTTERY WINNINGS” subject lines), but it’s mainly due to messages from musicians like Yuval Ron.

Yuval Ron’s music manages to make you listen and think without draining your mental energy. It’s complex, multifaceted and intricate, yes – but there’s something refreshing and cognitively nourishing buried in there. An appreciation of the need for space, a permission given for the music to breathe and really come to life. Read more…

Posted on 14 May 2014

Júlio Stotz – ‘Suspended In Reverie’ [Review]

Julio stotz suspended in reverieOne of my favourite things about the Internet is easy access to music from across the world. Here at TMMP, I’ve been honoured to hear music from the UK, the USA, Belgium, France, Israel, Japan, and many other territories besides. Júlio Stotz hails from Brazil – and his debut EP Suspended In Reverie is a confident, flamboyant, and solid-as-concrete construction. Read more…

Posted on 16 April 2014

Key of the Moment – ‘The Switch’ [Review]

Sometimes a little research goes a long way. I first discovered Key Of The Moment while researching TMMP’s Guide to Project RnL, a near-exhaustive look at one of the prog scene’s most promising up-and-coming acts. Featuring the guitaristic talents of RnL’s Alon Tamir alongside a cast of brilliant instrumentalists, The Switch presents the kind of turbulent melodic metal that takes me back to my days as an avid Nightwish fan. Read more…

Posted on 27 January 2014

The Best Pessimist – ‘Love Is…’ [Review]

According to the greatest Facebook page ever, the term ‘alexithymia’ refers to “An inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner”. Although this definition only scratches the surface of alexithymia’s psychological repercussions, it serves perfectly well to describe my state of mind when listening to Love Is…. Read more…

Posted on 20 January 2014

Hazlitt – ‘Battlecat’ [Review]


One of London’s best-kept secrets, Hazlitt is an artist with a very unorthodox history. Following a decade-long stint as part of experi-punk outfit Tiger Force came Requiem For Little Bird – a complete 180-degree creative turn encompassing classical influences, lyrics in Latin, and a violin in place of her formerly treasured guitar. Since that gutsy debut Hazlitt has attracted a wide variety of followers, including eclectically inclined Strapping Young Lad frontman Devin Townsend,  shared a stage with said legend, and thrown herself into a range of collaborative projects.

Battlecat – Hazlitt’s second solo album – has its own unconventional tale to tell. For the past year Battlecat has only been available to the people who paid for it to be made – an arrangement facilitated by crowdfunding platform Pledge Music, and necessitated by the destruction of Hazlitt’s home and studio in the 2011 London riots – but as of now it is up on Bandcamp to be enjoyed by the rest of the music-loving world. I’ve lived with this album for twelve months, and it still sounds as fresh and invigorating as it did on that hotly-anticipated first listen. Read more…

Posted on 09 December 2013

Fenix: ‘Paper Wings’ [Review]

FenixlogoAs the product of a collaboration between YouTube art-makeup maven Klaire de Lys, a pair of immensely talented local musicians (in the form of Natassja Saliba and Silvija Vil), and YouTube guitar guru Rob Chapman, it’s safe to say that this social media-loving symphonic rock group’s debut release has some considerable expectations to live up to…and I’m happy to report that those expectations have already been met in style, straight out of the starting gate. Read more…

Posted on 04 August 2013

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