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Episode 100 : Breaking the Speed of Sound with Thomas Dolby
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September 14, 2016 07:02 PM PDT
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With this milestone episode of the show, it's only fitting that we mark it by inviting to the program one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. Thomas Dolby is often pigeonholed by those who haven't delved into his output as a one-hit wonder, new wave technogeek, but when you get past "She Blinded Me with Science," you'll hear an artist who has dabbled in almost every style of popular music there is. Having taken a hiatus from music of nearly two decades to start a tech company and become the music director for the TED talks, he burst back on the scene in 2011 with an album and interactive online game called A Map of the Floating City. Since then he's taken a position as professor in the arts at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, following in the academic footsteps of his parents and siblings. Host and long-time fan Mark Ashby talks with Dolby about his formative years listening to prog rock bands (and which soon-to-be-famous youthful comrade of his later insisted punk was the real deal), the doors that his most well-known hit opened for him, how he creates his own sense of home away from his actual homebase of East Anglia, and his upcoming memoir The Speed of Sound. You can locate him online at www.thomasdolby.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"I Love You Goodbye"
"Hyperactive!"
"Hot Sauce"
"Nuvogue"
"A Jealous Thing Called Love"
"The Toadlickers"
"Airhead"
"The Key to Her Ferrari"
"She Blinded Me with Science"
"Flying North"
"Neon Sisters"
"Spice Train"
"Oceanea"
"Cloudburst at Shingle Street"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Photo credit: Laura Weyl

Episode 099 : A Free Fall with Profusion
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September 04, 2016 09:49 PM PDT
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If you combine "progressive" with "fusion," the resulting word you would come up with would probably be "Profusion." And the band in this episode certainly takes both of those words seriously. Hailing from Siena, Italy, band members Vladimer Sichinava (drums), Gionatan Caradonna (keyboards), Davide Pepi (guitars), Jury Maccianti (bass), and Luca Latini (vocals) combine many styles on their three albums, the most recent of which is 2015's Phersu. With influences including traditional music from Georgia, where Sichinava has roots, Profusion challenges and excites with their brand of Rock Progressivo Italiano. Host Mark Ashby taled with Caradonna about why they enjoy American prog so much, their support of AIMA (the Italian Alzheimer's Disease Association), and how a little bit of alcohol (or maybe a lot) can create some fun in the studio. Visit the band online at www.profusion.it.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Free Fall"
"Vanity Fair"
"Chuta Chani"
"Nomen"
"Forgetful Hero/Wrinkled Maiden"
"Forbidden"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 098 : Dream the Electric Sleep Under the Good Night Sky
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August 17, 2016 09:49 PM PDT
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They've played festivals like RoSfest, although they don't wear their progginess on their sleeves. Dream the Electric Sleep (l. to r. Matt Page [guitar, vocals], Joey Waters [drums], and Chris Tackett [bass]) has three albums out in the world, including their most recent called Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, and their sound might best be described as falling somewhere on the overlap of the Venn diagram of prog, grunge, and AOR. Perhaps like host Mark Ashby, you'll get so caught up in the hooks in their music that you don't even notice that the songs you're listening to aren't in 4/4. You'll hear from Page about how photographs from the 1930s informed the concepts behind the songs on the newest album, how Tori Amos and other women singers are influential to him, and what it might take for them to become more of a fixture on the touring scene. Find them online at www.dreamtheelectricsleep.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Drift"
"Flight"
"Headlights"
"Culling the Herd"
"The Good Night Sky"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 097 : Entering the Light with Earthside
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July 25, 2016 10:56 PM PDT
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Maybe it slipped under your radar, too, but Connecticut's Earthside (Frank Sacramone [keyboards], Jamie van Dyck [guitar], Ryan Griffin [bass], and Ben Shanbrom [drums]) released what might have been one of the most powerful albums of 2015, A Dream in Static. In the process, they earned themselves a nomination for Prog magazine's Vanguard award. While they resist the term prog metal in favor of cinematic rock, you'll find plenty to like here if you're into the heavier stuff. Using vocalists from bands like Tesseract and Sevendust as well as the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra, they've got a good thing going. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Sacramone about the band members' musical educations, writing for orchestra, and their upcoming tour with Leprous. Check them out online at www.earthsideband.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Entering the Light"
"Crater"
"The Closest I've Come"
"Mob Mentality"
"A Dream in Static"
"Skyline"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Photo Credit: Ian Christmann - Catalyst Photography

Episode 096 : No Supermen, but Tilt Is a Super Band
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July 10, 2016 09:17 PM PDT
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It's a veritable feast of consequences. A couple of blokes who have worked with ex-Marillion frontman Fish, Steve Vantsis (bass) and Dave Stewart (drums), have recently recruited guitarist Paul Humphreys and singer PJ Dourley to create a band called Tilt, in homage to the medieval hero Don Quixote. After having produced an earlier EP with a plethora of guests, they've kept the cameo appearances to a minimum on their debut full-length album Hinterland, just out at the end of June. With all the hallmarks of Fish's best output, you know you're in for a treat with this one. Host Mark Ashby speaks with Stewart and Humphreys about the way the band came together, why this may or may not be a prog album, and how Brexit might affect a band like them -- part English and part Scottish. They're online at www.tiltband.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Bloodline"
"No Superman"
"Growing Colder"
"Hinterland"
"Strontium Burning"
"Disassembly"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 095 : The Surreal Soundscapes of Erik Norlander
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June 28, 2016 09:56 PM PDT
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Digital synthesizers are all well and good -- who doesn't love a nice Korg Wavestation, am I right? -- but there's just something warm and reassuring about that old analog sound that we grew to love in the classic 70s prog and electronic music. If you're a fan of that sort of thing, and if you don't already know about Erik Norlander, you'll probably want to check him out after hearing this episode. One-third of the previously-profiled Rocket Scientists (Episode 067), the prolific Norlander has just released his latest solo album, Surreal, and he's here to talk about it. Host Mark Ashby discusses his evolution as a songwriter, why the definition of progressive music might actually mean you can't do a short "prog" song very easily, and what two instruments he might take with him to a magical desert island with electricity. He's on the web in many places, but you can try www.eriknorlander.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"The Party's Overture"
"Unearthly"
"The Galaxy Collectors"
"Surreal"

To hear the Rocket Scientists episode of Progtopia, go to http://progtopia.libsyn.com/episode-067-refuel-and-regenerate-with-the-rocket-scientists

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 094 : On Circuline's Forbidden Planet
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June 17, 2016 02:29 PM PDT
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New bands aren't all 20-somethings searching for their musical identities. Some recently-formed groups are made up of veterans who have performed with rock heavyweights and even musical theater and have the same attorney as King Crimson. That's the case for New York State's Circuline, comprised of singers Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown with Andrew Colyer on keyboards and vocals, Darin Brannon on drums, Beledo on guitars, and Paul Ranieri on bass. Last month they appeared as part of RoSFest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as releasing their sophomore effort Counterpoint. You'll hear in the interview with host Mark Ashby about how they came together out of some of the members being in a cover band called Downing Grey, their recent nomination for Prog Magazine's Limelight Award, and some insider dirt on each band member, so even you hardcore fans won't want to skip this one! They're online at www.circulinemusic.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Stay (Peter Frankenstan)"
"Forbidden Planet"
"Return"
"Who I Am"
"Nautilus"
"Inception"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 093 : The Rube Goldberg Machine Is Not Background Noise
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May 28, 2016 08:35 PM PDT
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His name became synonymous with making simple tasks extremely complicated. Sounds like progressive music at times, too, doesn't it? Well, in the case of the late Rube Goldberg, his name and concepts live on in the UK band The Rube Goldberg Machine (Elliot Coombs: Guitars, keyboards, lead vocals; Dan Bowles: Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals; Jordan Brown: Bass, keyboards, backing vocals). Their debut Fragile Times was released in April on Bad Elephant Music, and if you're a fan of the lighter side of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, you have some idea of where the band's prog/pop comes from. Host Mark Ashby spoke with Brown and Coombs about the strong reason behind the band's name (and cover art), the songwriting process and the yin-yang personality types that inform different tracks on the album, and something we'll only refer to as the Mother of Pain. They're online at www.trgmachine.co.uk.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Times Square"
"The Captain's Blackjack"
"Fragile Times"
"In Symmetry"
"Background Noise"
"Little Funerals"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 092 : Life, Lore, and Odd Logic
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May 09, 2016 09:49 AM PDT
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Progressive rock and metal lend themselves perhaps more than any other genre to the telling of stories across the arc of an album. For Odd Logic, from the state of Washington, that's been the approach from the beginning. With albums like the two-part Legends of Monta, Over the Underworld, and the brand-new Penny for Your Thoughts, Sean Thompson (guitars, keys, vocals) has crafted tales that range through fantasy and science fiction and satisfy on a musical level, as well. After having been a solo project for years, Thompson has now brought on Mike Lee on bass and Pete Hanson on drums to create a true band that has even managed to play some live dates. Host Mark Ashby talked with the trio about the literary approach the band employs, where the unique album ideas come from, and if the Seattle area can support progressive music. Look for them and the new album on their Bandcamp page: http://oddlogicrock.bandcamp.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Secrets"
"Court of Ancient Rulers"
"Not Anymore"
"Life, Lore, and Love"
"Lighthouses"

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

Episode 091 : Slouching Towards Redemption
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April 21, 2016 10:45 PM PDT
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From Los Angeles comes a blended prog metal band that has been storming through speakers everywhere since 2000 with a series of consistently powerful releases. Led by Nick van Dyk on guitars and with Fates Warning's Ray Alder behind the microphone, Redemption has recently come out with their newest album The Art of Loss, and in it they cover territory ranging from straightforward hard rock to cover tunes and 20-minute-plus epics. Host Mark Ashby spoke by phone with van Dyk about the thematic elements that pervade Redemption's albums, health issues that he and guitarist Bernie Versailles have been facing, and how he looks back on the music he created in the wake of his cancer diagnosis several years ago. They're online at www.redemptionweb.com.

Featured songs/excerpts:
"Slouching Towards Bethlehem"
"Love Kills Us All/Life in One Day"
"Walls"
"The Art of Loss"
"Love Reign O'er Me"
"Hope Dies Last"

Photo by Stephanie Cabral Photography

"Like" Progtopia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Progtopia and www.facebook.com/groups/1380357308874546/) and follow Progtopia on Twitter (@Progtopia) to send a message about the show and to receive news about current and upcoming interviews. Thanks for listening!

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