On a personal level 2014 for me has been an Annus Horribilis as our noble queen once said. Though to quote local hero John Miles “music pulled me through”. Sometimes when things are hurting and dare i say it, skies are gray, it becomes easy to turn to things that may make you worse like alcohol, dugs or worse. I am very lucky indeed to have an on-board facility which allows me to immerse myself in another dimension, meditation with a faster heart rate you could say. Escapism is nothing new, many people lose themselves in a good book, TV programme or DVD i would much rather listen to something interesting in the form of a good album there by giving my other senses a well earned rest.
I would have to say that as far as my preferences go that Prog has been a bit of a slow burn in 2014. This may have a lot to do with two things, firstly by head has been so far up my own back side with life’s tribulations that i could see my own tonsils and the other is that there were so few Prog albums that truly inspired me. This is reflected in the fact that i didn’t review as many albums throughout the year as i would have normally. This is reflected in my top ten albums being trimmed down to five this year. I am pinning my hopes onto a bumper harvest next year (2015). I have already received a copy of Andy Tillison’s Multiplex album which has whet my appetite for a new Tangent album.
There have been some disappointments for me this year musically, one of them being Ian Anderson’s Homo Irraticus album and the Sunday school type production which he took out on the road of which i lasted all of half an hour before seeking refuge in a local pubarama. The offering by Yes also left me a little cold and wanting too whilst the final album by team Floyd faired slightly better though failed in innovation to make it into my top five. Elsewhere travesty ruled in the form of the reviled BBC Genesis documentary which i found infuriating. I spoke at length about this to Steve Hackett following his Genesis Revisited show in York recently.
On the positive notes 2014 seems to be ending well. It has to be said that Northlands won my album of the year spot by quite a large margin and rightly so. It did what only a handful of albums this year did which was captivate me. made me think and saved me from the humdrum. As did N’monix by Nick Magnus a musician whom i class a friend as well as a legend. To add some vim and vigor to the proceedings IQ gave us the dark an sinister Road Of Bones which served as a pleasant contrast to many of the albums i have enjoyed this year. It was great to see Tim Esau back in the band and contributing to the seismic darkness.
2014 has been rich in live performances which more than made up for the lack of output throughout the year highlights for me were seeing Camel at Sheffield City Hall, Steve Hackett in York and most recently Peter Gabriel at Newcastle Metro arena. In this respect it was a very pleasing year indeed. I have also found it uplifting promoting the art of listening to music via good quality audio equipment by organising the North East Bake Off (NEBO). These events have become quite popular and although they are quite demanding to organise and stage it is very rewarding and become a source of enjoyment for me.
Well, there it was,2014. That was my life in Prog and in many respects a year i will remember. I will as ever light a candle this new years eve to remember absent friends and celebrate a fresh canvass to paint on. now that the fog is clearing and i can see a horizon i will endeavor to be more pro-active in 2015 though my ethos remains the same with regards to bringing those not given an audience by the establishment a platform whilst supporting the vanguards of Prog. A big thank you to those who contributed Pictures this year and for those who offered support and understanding. Thanks to to my many Facebook friends. What of 2015? there looks like there’s some great stuff in the pipeline from Steven Wilson, The Tangent, Patterson & Eyre, Riversea and of course Progmeister patron Steve Hackett. I will be continuing my endeavors to promote the use of good quality audio with NEBO 5 if for know other reason they make me smile and it’s also a great way to hear new music. I would like to thank Marco at The Art Of Sound for his continuing support and to the myriad of bands and artists who contact me and share their work. Have a great Progmas and a very happy new year to all who visit, contribute and enjoy Progmeister.
K.H. Petch 1930~2014
In memory of my mum Kathleen Herring Petch who was stolen from us in June. Peace after pain xxxxxx