Dr. Bernie Quiroga, PhD
Wonderful album. Could this be the Stick Men's best so far? Possibly, even with the tough competition it faces with Midori, Soup and Absalom. A handful are instant classics <3
Favorite track: Schattenhaft.
With riveting performances by the modern prog-rock legends Stick Men – Tony Levin, Markus Reuter and Pat Mastelotto – , "Prog Noir" is ambitious, achieving and immediately essential. Cinematic themes, towering grooves and intricate arrangements are all on tap, and shower down in abundance. Proving conclusively that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts, this herculean effort exceeds any perceived limitations of the trio format -- satisfying even the most devout and demanding of listeners.
Long-time fans of Stick Men and King Crimson will revel in ecstasy, as the three sonic adventurers gleefully waltz to the outer fringes, while remaining sure-footed through every scene. The chemistry of Levin and Mastelotto has never been more evident, keeping a solid, propulsive undercurrent flowing beneath the soaring presence of the ingenious 'mad scientist' antics of Reuter. ... and a profound presence Markus Reuter does prove himself to be. One could be quickly forgiven for mistaking his avid, searching, convicted playing for that of Master Fripp, if administered under blindfold!
The album's ten compositions showcase Stick Men at their most versatile and enterprising; there's even some superb vocals (and vocal arrangements). While most of the large following the band has amassed will undoubtedly be surprised by the more structured and preconceived nature of the tunes, the revelation is a pleasant one. The album triumphantly succeeds on every level, with the group even displaying a playful sense of humor, clearly enjoying and savoring the moment.
From the overpowering to the sublime; from an organic, instinctive avant garde, to intricate, Crimsonesque tapestries, to rich cinematic themes and potent melodies, the album embodies the go-for-it, pioneering spirit that fans of the genre have long savored. A modern prog epic!
released October 21, 2016
Written by Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto
Tony Levin: Stick and Voice
Markus Reuter: U8 and AU8 Touch Guitars and Voice
Pat Mastelotto: Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Percussion
Mix and post-production by Benjamin Schäfer and Markus Reuter for Unsung Productions
Mastered by Lee Fletcher
Recorded at Unsung Productions in Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany, at Pat's Studio in Austin, TX, USA, and at Tony's studio in Kingston, NY. Additional drum recordings at Mike McCarthy's studio in Austin, TX.
Recording engineers: Benjamin Schäfer, Mike McCarthy, Machine, Bill Munyon, Adrian Benavides
Artwork by John Bergin
Band photography by Kai R. Joachim
Layout by Bernhard Wöstheinrich
Another stellar release from this long-lived ensemble. Though the King Crimson influence is obvious & that comparison unavoidable, these guys have made many great recordings that can't be categorized as 'mere copies'. The perfect balance of aggressive riffing and serene soundscapes. Stephen Roberts