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Band of Rain: Interviews/Reviews

The Dust of Stars

Six years after his last release (‘Sun In VIII’ – 2011) British composer and musician Chris Gill put together a team of bandmates, artists, and technical helpers for the finest recording yet by Band Of Rain. While some might call it progressive rock, I’d add a very liberal dose of world fusion to the description of this ‘Dust of Stars’ platter. While it does have a couple of slight nods to the heavier moments of Porcupine Tree, it adds many textures that may remind listeners of the floating tunes of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and even a touch of Alan Parsons Project. But that’s just a taste of it. The last cut made me think of an exotic post rock band with Vangelis on keyboards.

Band members featured are Micha Steinbacher, Ria Parfitt, Gordo Bennett and of course Chris Gill. You may remember the female vocalist Ria Parfitt from previoius BOR projects and she does a wonderful job on a couple of tracks here. She reminds me of a cross between Kate Bush, Happy Rhodes, and Toyah Wilcox, if you can imagine that. I understand from Chris that Micha Steinbacher did a tremendous amount of contribution to the compositions, production, mixing, and overall overseaing, to get this labor of love to market.

A major plus about ‘The Dust of Stars’ is all the changing textures in each song. The beginning of the album has a celestial intro, then crunchy guitar. ‘Dark Sun’ (track 7) even has throat singing which sounds fantastic.   Surprise developments using a host of instruments like sax, sampled tabla, plenty of keyboards, very fluid guitars and a hodgepodge of atmospheres, allow the ebb and flow to be perfectly balanced. From beginning to end, this is a pleasure to become engrossed in.  A big applause to everyone who was involved with this creation and a hat’s off to Chris Gill for putting the right people together. RECOMMENDED.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson 11-3-17

Lee Henderson - artrock (Nov 6, 2017)

Space und Krautrock passen zusammen wie Po auf Eimer und einen der aktuelleren Beweise hierfür liefert die BAND OF RAIN. Abgesehen davon, dass der Name eventuell den Herbstblues suggerieren mag, bewegt sich das Projekt um Bandchef Chris Gill und Neuzugang Micha Steinbacher, beide jeweils an mehreren Instrumenten zu hören, in aufgeräumter Manier weitläufig um diese beiden Bereiche herum. Und zumindest mit Gills Hintergrund, in den Siebzigern mitunter auch mit HAWKWIND gejammt zu haben, stimmt auch schon mal das Portfolio. Immerhin heißt es in der Biografie auf der Homepage der Band: “I played at The Bath Arts Workshop in 1973, where I met up with Hawkwind. We jammed for hours in an abandoned hotel“.

In diesem Album findet man prinzipiell ein eher der Atmosphäre zugetragenes Werk, das sich viel lieber subtil in das Unterbewusstsein seiner Hörer schleicht, anstatt mit Pauken, Trompeten und dergleichen auf direkte Tuchfühlung zu gehen. Hierin steckt natürlich immer die Gefahr, Kompositionen zu entwerfen, die mit all ihrer wirkungsorientierten Stimmung ins Leere laufen. Das ist besonders angesichts der langen Spielzeit von über einer Stunde eine reelle Bedrohung für das Hörvergnügen. Es stellt sich also die Frage, ob die BAND OF RAIN dieses Problem zu umschiffen weiß. Die Zeichen hierfür stehen zumindest gar nicht mal schlecht dank enormer Abwechslung, mit der die Grundzutaten des Gebräus angereichert werden. Hoch im Kurs stehen vor allem Ambient, Electronica, Weltmusik, natürlich der klassische Prog und Psychedelic Rock.

Stimmungsvoller Rock – aber da ist noch mehr

Tatsächlich gelingt der Band diese Gratwanderung. Man ist zumeist instrumental unterwegs mit nur sporadisch einsetzendem Gesang oder Gesangssamples. Doch für die Songs “Toys” und den Titeltrack erhebt Gastsängerin Ria Parfitt ihre Stimme. Und hier darf auch mal hart und geradlinig gerockt werden. Diese beiden Tracks sind entsprechend auch am ehesten als songorientiert einzuschätzen und heben sich als solche prägnant von der Trackliste ab. Hier regiert der Rock mit all seinen Ecken und Kanten. Groovende Riffs, deren Fokus eindeutig auf rhythmischem Spiel liegt, untermauern das gemächliche Drumming. Parfitt sorgt indes mit ihrer an Kate Bush gemahnenden Darbietung für ein paar wohlige Schauer und thront dank der differenzierten Produktion souverän über dem Geschehen. Interessant sind hier aber auch die ganzen ornamentalen Clean-Gitarren und Synths, die gerne mal einen Hauch Orient durch die Songs wehen lassen. So erlebt man hier im wesentlichen Songs, die ein bisschen an AMPLIFIER denken lassen, wenn diese mit einem Hauch THE TEA PARTY gewürzt werden.

Doch ihre eigentlichen Muskeln zeigt die BAND OF RAIN in den übrigen Stücken. Wenn sich Gill und Steinbacher nicht das songorientierte Korsett anlegen lassen, haben natürlich die Instrumente das Sagen. Und die haben tatsächlich viel zu erzählen. Das ganze ist wie eingangs erwähnt in spacig-krautige Klänge eingebettet, deren Intensität natürlich variiert. So erlebt man in “Ancient Electric” die putzmunter drauf los frickelnde Gitarre von Gastmusiker Gordo Benett, die scheinbar vor lauter Effekten ihrer Bodenhaftung verlustig geht. Bei eröffnenden “Gurdjeff” dagegen schleichen sich Gills deutlich zurückhaltendere Riffs von weitem an. Was aus einiger Distanz noch wie ein breitbandiges Black-Metal-Riff anmutet, nimmt aus nächster Nähe die Form eines klassischen, einfach nur schweinisch rockenden Heavy-Riffs mit dezentem JUDAS PRIEST-Flair an.

Mit BAND OF RAIN auf Entdeckungsreise

Da zieht “Across A Starlit Night” aber schon andere Saiten auf und bietet stimmungsvolle Klänge nach PINK FLOYD’scher Art, die etwa an “Time” oder “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” denken lassen. Auch das schlicht betitelte “Bob” hat sich ein Scheibchen jener PINK FLOYD-Ära abgeschnitten und lässt dank der gesampelten Opernstimme im Hintergrund ein bisschen an “The Great Gig In The Sky” denken. “Indian Summer” fügt dem Namen gemäß indische Einflüsse hinzu und hätte sicher auch problemlos auf eine der neueren Steve Hackett-Platten Platz gefunden. Unterdessen schleudert “Dark Sun” den Hörer mit gesampletem Kehlkopfgesang und einem dichten, pulsierenden Synth-Geflecht voll ins Kraut – Nebenwirkungen garantiert. TANGERINE DREAM lassen hier ebenfalls herzlich grüßen. Man kann dazu förmlich mit BAND OF RAIN auf Prog-Safari gehen, denn es gibt unter der Oberfläche viel zu entdecken. Am offensichtlichsten tritt das noch beim Rausschmeißer “Lydian Flight” zu Tage, wenn die Synths mit der Gitarre geradezu ausgelassen um das Geschehen herum tänzeln. Wer dazu aufmerksam hinhört, der darf sich über eine waschechte Fripp-Gitarre freuen. Und wo wir gerade bei KING CRIMSON sind, hat der Song gar etwas von “Islands”, speziell im letzten Drittel. Auch ganz zarte YES-Anklänge lassen sich hier heraus hören.

Mehr Variation im Tempo wäre zwar wünschenswert gewesen, die Stücke marschieren fast ausnahmslos im gemächlichen Midtempo und stehen manchmal gar an der Schwelle zum Doom, speziell wenn die Gitarren mal etwas rauer aufspielen. Doch abgesehen davon macht “The Dust Of Stars” ordentlich was her. Die songorientierten Stücke eignen sich wunderbar, um mit dem Sound der Platte warm zu werden und danach fließt sie praktisch einfach nur so dahin, elegant und grazil. Das Album eignet sich im Grunde perfekt für die kalten Tage, die uns bevorstehen: Kopfhörer auf, Musik an, Welt aus und abheben.

 

Michael Klaas - metal.de (Nov 4, 2017)

After a 6 year hiatus, Band of Rain are back with another album of haunting, ambient – largely instrumental – rock music.

This time built around the talented duo of long-time band leader Chris Gill (guitar / multi instruments / programming) and Micha Steinbacher (bass, flute, sax, multi-instruments, programming, vocals), the album features 9 tracks of hypnotic, trance-like music, treading a line where progressive rock and psychedelic music meet – often reminiscent of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd and very early Porcupine Tree. Two pieces – “Toys” and the title track – feature the excellent, quirky vocals of Ria Parfitt.

Listen out, also, for Gordo Bennett’s superb guitar solo on “Ancient Electric” and the inventive flute work over the Eastern rhythms of “Indian Summer”. This is an album of lush, and otherworldly beauty, cemented by some remarkable atmospherics and haunting soundscapes.

Track list:
Gurdjieff
Toys
Dust of Stars
Across a Starlit night
Ancient Electric
Indian summer
Dark Sun
Bob
Lydian Flight

Line-up:
Chris Gill – Multi Instruments/ Lead Guitar/Programming
Micha Steinbacher – Multi Instruments/Fretless Bass/ Programming and vocals
Ria Parfitt – Vocals: vocal melodies and performance of vocals
With:
Gordo Bennett Guitar solo on Ancient Electric

Der Lebenslauf des musikalischen Leiters von Band of Rain Chris Gill kann einen neidisch werden lassen, falls man bisher nur in einem einzigen Land gelebt hat. Gill begann 1968 im Alter von 13 als Bassist, und zwar in der Gegend von Bedford, UK. 1973 traf er mit Hawkwind zusammen und jammte mit ihnen. Ab November 1975 lebte er einige Zeit in den USA, danach verbrachte er sechs Jahre in Deutschland, bis er 1985 nach Großbritannien zurückkehrte. Dort arbeitete er einige Jahre für die BBC und lernte nebenbei Gitarre spielen, bis schließlich die Begegnungen mit Adrian Belew und Nick Mason zu der Entscheidung führten, sich nach langer Pause wieder ernsthafter und intensiver mit der Musik zu beschäftigen. Er brachte sich selbst bei, wie man die Musikaufnahmen erstellt und produziert, so dass er 2002 Band of Rain gründen und 2004 das Erstwerk „Deep Space“ aufnehmen konnte.

Aus den oben beschrieben Begegnungen könnte man eventuell schließen, dass Hawkwind, Pink Floyd und King Crimson zu den wichtigsten Inspirationen von Chris Gill gehören. Falls man die ausgeprägte Neigung zum atmosphärischen, mit schleppenden Rhythmen versehenen Artrock heranzieht, dann könnten die Vergleiche mit den späteren Pink Floyd stimmen. Hawkwind und King Crimson scheinen bei Gill keine bleibenden Spuren hinterlassen zu haben.

„Dust of Stars“, die sechste Scheibe von Band of Rain, bietet einen facettenreichen Artrock, der zwischen Jam-artig und spacig entspannten Passagen, gemäßigt rockigen Einfällen und cineastischen Klangwelten wechselt. Die letztere können auch sehr unterschiedlich ausfallen, nämlich mal verträumt und meditativ, mal bedrohlich und eindringlich. Öfters auch mit starker elektronischer Schlagseite versehen. Von mancher Seite werden der Musik auch Goth-Einflüsse nachgesagt.

Viel seltener wird das Gebotene von Sax- oder Flötensolos von Micha Steinbacher gekrönt. Ob die Geigen- und Glocken-Klänge in dem mehrteiligen „Lydian Flight“ von echten Instrumenten stammen, lässt sich im Sampler-Zeitalter nicht sagen. Die wortlosen Damengesänge scheinen schon mal echt zu sein. Jedenfalls ist das Stück für die Verhältnisse von Band of Rain vergleichsweise straff strukturiert und reichhaltig arrangiert ausgefallen. Vielleicht deswegen ist mir das Stück derzeit das sympatischste auf dem Album.

„Indian Summer“ ist dem Titel entsprechend stark fernöstlich geprägt und ist damit wohl als Ethno-Artrock zu bezeichnen. World Music-Elemente gibt es auch reichlich in dem von Obertongesang veredelten „Dark Sun“, das gegen Ende an bedrohlich wirkender, schamanenhafter Intensität gewinnt. Auch das mit unheilvollen Stimmungen aufwartende „Bob“ zeigt die intensive Facette der Musik von Band of Rain.

Zwei Stücke („Toys“ und „Dust of Stars“) des ansonsten instrumentalen Albums warten mit dem Gesang von Ria Parfitt auf. Die beiden Stücke bieten stilistisch eine jenseits aller Genregrenzen angesiedelte Mischung aus Alternative-, Art- und Poprock, zwischen rockenden Gitarren und atmosphärischen Klangbildern. Vielleicht könnten da Vergleiche mit Porcupine Tree noch eventuell hinkommen.

Wer ungewöhnlichen, zwischen meditativ und intensiv wechselnden Artrock mag, der sollte Band of Rain mal antesten.

Sun in VIII

For this 2011 release Chris went back to basics, in that this is actually a solo effort (apart from vocals and narration by Ria Parfitt on one song). Chris has used sound effects in places to enhance the overall sound, a vocoder in others, and has created an album where the songs are actually quite different to each other as well as being very removed indeed from the previous album. Not only is this instrumental, but often the guitars are much more in your face than before, and "Ghost Planes of the Peak District" actually turns into a Wishbone Ash number with strong twin melody guitars before Chris decides to let that slowly drift away and instead make the keyboards the main lead. There is a real sense of adventure in this album as Chris looks back much more to what was happening in 'Garlands' than 'Art', creating something that contains space rock, psych, gothic rock and so much more.

 

 

The two albums are actually so different that they feel as if they are from separate artists, and in many ways they are as Chris has move from the band format with an external producer to one where it is simply states 'written, recorded and produced by Chris Gill' in small print on the rear cover. In many ways this album is more broad in that it contains so many styles, but the earlier one is more focused and more of the sort of thing that I would listen to for sheer pleasure. But, why not go to Chris's site at www.bandofrain.com and find out for yourself as it is possible to stream songs from each album and here is an artist well worth discovering.

Sun in VIII Review
Chris Gill may best be known to readers of this forum as the vocalist on Mooch's "Dr Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band," "1967½," "1968a" and "The Pagan Year" albums, but his main group, Band Of Rain, have released three albums since their debut in 2004, with "Sun In VIII" being their fourth. Band Of Rain tread a fascinating tightrope that links gothic rock, progressive and spacey synth rock, with "Garlands" being their most popular work. The new music harks back to that album as it wends its way through a varied and compelling series of cuts. Opening with the mesmeric, vocoder-infused 'Automaton,' Chris Gill's unique style of guitar playing, merging and melding solo lines together, is much in evidence, as it is on 'Dragonsacre,' which at nine minutes is the longest track on the album. This cut adds Ria Parfitt's vocals to the mix, to great effect, while the guitar work at the end is superb: classic Chris Gill. 'Ghost Planes Of The Peak District' begins with eerie radio effects and other sounds, before a slow, stomping, synth-infused rocker emerges, emphasising heavier guitar styles. 'I Appear To Be Floating' is a brief, floaty delight that echoes the early Band Of Rain style but which is a little beauty in its own right. 'Rhiannon' is a curious, part Celtic, part Oriental instrumental cut with loads of synths and keyboard instruments, before the gothic lope of the title track comes along, with multiply tracked guitars and spectral synths; another great cut. 'Girl From Space' emphasises the spacier, experimental side of the band, while 'The Flying Dutchman' is heavy - almost metal-heavy - with wailing guitars and epic synths; and some very nice bass. 'Twilight Fayre' is more uptempo and continues the gothic mood, with a great mix of lighter, synth based sections and heavier acid guitar work-outs; an album highlight. 'Windchimes 1944' closes the album with sound effects, weird guitars and keyboards in atmospheric style. For fans of this excellent band "Sun In VIII" will be welcomed, while those who like their spacerock varied and synth-heavy, though with the appropriate level of psychedelia and more than a touch of the gothic, should definitely check the album out.
Steve Palmer - Terrascope Online (Aug 20, 2011)
Interview with Chris Gill

Reviews

Martin Hudson CRS review of Arts & Allurements.

Rarely these days does a new album and new band come through the letter box that really impresses to such a degree that I am excited enough to say "Lets get 'em to play"This is one of those albums.Sharon Leslie on lead vocals who brings to life some of the most alluring vocals I have heard in a while.Touches of Sonja Kristina?Yes,I think so.
Chris Gill played the keyboards,guitars and vocals.Billy Fleming Drums.
So much atmosphere on one album isn't right.File under mysterious prog!
Martin Hudson.
Thank you to Tom De Val of DPRP for this review


When I reviewed the first two albums by Band Of Rain – essentially then a space-rock project from multi-instrumentalist Chris Gill – one of my suggestions for progress was that they hire a dedicated vocalist. Well, that’s what Gill has done here, in the shape of one Sharon Leslie. However, I must admit that I was caught unawares by the style of vocals employed by Leslie, and the distinctly new musical territory that Gill and Band Of Rain are now exploring.

Leslie has a low-pitched, throaty and powerful vocal style that, whilst perhaps lacking in range, does have some authority. And there’s little doubt that it suits the band’s new style, as Gill’s songs have taken a distinct turn into Goth rock territory here. By this I don’t mean the new generation of female fronted ‘gothic metal’ bands led by Nightwish and Within Temptation; no, this is (at times) a much closer cousin to eighties bands such as Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission and Siouxsie And The Banshees.

The first few tracks are mid-tempo stompers which chug away amiably enough, with Gill’s distinctive, sinewy lead guitar work and some spacey synth washes being the main link with the past. Yet the feeling I get with these tracks is that they do perhaps outstay their welcome, and the monotony of vocal delivery and song structure meant that I was looking at my watch on more than one occasion.

Things do perk up as the album progresses however. Drusilla is a gentler, acoustic-led tune where Sharon Leslie puts in a fragile but more expressive performance, the song benefiting from her not belting out the lines as before. The song has a haunting feel, and Gill puts in some nice understated lead work. The title track kicks off on the familiar plodding groove prevalent in the opening numbers, but here it’s the little things going on in the background that catch the attention, not to mention an unusual but effective spoken word segment. Gill has fun with his effects box towards the end of the track.

The Innocence is a short but sweet rocker, with a little more oomph in the riffs; it also sees Leslie taking a more varied approach to her vocals, light in the verses, heavier and more commanding in the chorus. By contrast, Pan opens with some mellow, ambient chill-out style soundscapes before an interesting drum pattern slowly drags the listener into the main body of the song (as a side note, the addition of a proper drummer is definitely a welcome development). Here, Leslie’s almost ethereal vocals float over a subdued but melodic backing, with Gill letting fly some tasty Gilmour-esque guitar licks. Once again, the song is perhaps overlong, but it gets by on atmosphere. Its possibly a stronger piece than the album’s epic, the nine-minute plus Monument, but this too has its highlights – in particular the interesting juxtaposition of whispered vocals and psychedelic atmospherics with marching rhythms and grungy guitar riffs, whilst the chorus and Gill’s extended solo are also strong. The album closes out with the ambient instrumental The Deep, which is probably the track that most strongly brings to mind Band Of Rain’s earlier work.

Well, it was touch and go for a while, but repeated listens have just about won me over to Arts & Allurements. Sharon Leslie is certainly a powerful new presence in the band, and there is more of a sense of direction than before – although they now seem a little undecided if they’re a prog, space-rock or goth band, it’s the songs that blend elements of all three that work best for me. The band’s website does indicate that Band Of Rain are going to aim for an even more gothic direction on the next album, which may take them away from the interests of this site, but for now Arts & Allurements is worth seeking out if you’re after a slice of slightly dark, goth-influenced rock with touches of psych and prog, and it will be interesting to see how the material comes over in the promised live shows.

Conclusion: 7 out of 10

TOM DE VAL
From The Dutch Progressive Rock Page
written by Tom De Val

Deep Space
Garlands

Despite the name, Band Of Rain is really more of a solo project (at least on these two studio offerings) for one Chris Gill. Gill has by all accounts lived a pretty interesting and adventurous life, and was apparently inspired towards his latest venture after meeting two well known giants of the progressive rock world, Nick Mason and Adrian Belew.

The first of those names, and indeed the title of Band Of Rain’s debut, Deep Space, should give you some indication of where Gill is coming from musically, and a couple of minutes listening to the opening track, Cloudburst, confirms it. Yes, we’re deep into the territory commonly known as ‘space rock’ here, with a steady rhythm and spacey synths providing the backdrop for lots of Gill’s fine guitar playing; he tends to alternate between carving out some solid, fuzzed-up riffs, playing some more restrained melody lines and (most prevalent of all) some lively lead guitar playing, some of which seems improvised. Common reference points throughout the album are scene leaders such as Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles, early Pink Floyd and even Porcupine Tree in their earlier incarnation (Sic Itur Ad Astra could almost be an outtake from PT’s epic Voyage 34 opus). Gill does at times incorporate a bluesy feel to his playing, which definitely adds something to the mix.

A few of the tracks contain vocals – the strongest probably being the rather dark and ominous A Room Where Time Stands Still, and Castle Walls, which incorporates hysterical laughter, tribal chanting and a chilled-out ambient section to create an unsettling atmosphere. To be honest though the best tracks are probably the instrumental ones, where Gill is free from the rigid verse-chorus-verse structure and lets his guitar do the talking – Last Wave Goodbye is a good example of this (even though three minutes of someone reading out the meteorological forecast tests the patience somewhat!).

Garlands is Band Of Rain’s second and latest effort, and appears to feature a few more outside musicians. The cover art (and indeed album name), to me, seems to suggest that a more folky album is in store (in the vein of, say, Mostly Autumn) but to be honest this isn’t really the case, although its fair to say that Gill has spread his net a little wider on this one. On the one hand, tracks like the opening Ghost Town, Voyager (something of a giveaway title) and the wittily-named Flying Sorcerers continue to plough the space-rock furrow, but elsewhere there’s some new ingredients added to the mix – All Moonlit Through The Trees has some female vocals (quite good, although I’m not sure they fit the song); Beneath The Tree is a mellow, psychedelic number with some extremely laid-back vocals (sounding like the singer’s had one too many!); Moon On The Mountain is a laid back pop-rock track with a bluesy flavour (including a touch of harmonica) that actually had me thinking of Chris Rea’s material as a point of comparison, whilst the title track is quite spare and stripped back with simple acoustic work and piano giving the piece a New Age-y feel.

Overall then, two pleasant and fairly enjoyable albums. I wouldn’t say that I’ll be playing them a great deal in the future, but for fans of the space rock genre they’re definitely worth checking out. Of the two, I personally found Deep Space a little stronger and more consistent, but Garlands does at least show that Gill is exploring some new musical horizons, and I have no doubt this will continue with the forthcoming album due later this year, set to feature a heavier female vocal presence.

Conclusions:

Deep Space - 6.5 out of 10
Garlands - 6 out of 10

TOM DE Val
© 1995 - 2006 : Dutch Progressive Rock Page
Our thanks to proGGnosis for this review
Band of Rain is the baby of Chris Gill,a multi instrumentalist from Wales. The band started out in 2003 and Arts and allurements is the band's third release. Here Gill is joined by newcomer Sharon Leslie on vocals and Billy Fleming on drums along with band members Andy Whitfield, bass & vocals; Graham Elks on guitar.
On their first album Deep Space (2004) and on their second; Garlands (2005), Band of Rain sounded like a spacerock band with ethereal/Gothic leanings. This was especially true of Garlands which really put the band onto the map as a promising band to watch out for. This new effort from Band of Rain shows steps in a new direction; a more complete and heavier rock sound.

While Chris Gill was very much Band of Rain of their early days, this is very much a mutual band effort. References to the sound may be Patti Smith, Siuxie and the Banshees, U2, Danielle Dax and Ann Wilson of Heart to mention but a few. Sharon Leslie has a strong, nice dark voice and there are certainly good instrumental passages and good songs on this album. Chris Gill's characteristic guitar and keyboards playing fits really well in with the vocals from Sharon Leslie.

Track 1: Their mistake 5:30 - a good track that may recall U2 meets Sad Lovers & Giants. Good guitar playing by Chris Gill is backing Sharon's voice.
Track 2: The devil's debts 5:09 - Very similar to first track. One may recall Siuxie Sue here.
Track 3: Stars beneath the sea 5:23 - Kind of a Gothic feeling with heavy riffs in the back.
Track 4: Vampires 6:14 - It's obvious that Sharon Leslie introduction to the band added a new dimension and contributed to a richer and more rockier sound. Kind of a new direction.
Track 5: Drusilla 6:02 - A nice,quite calm song with a catchy lush sounding guitar. Good vocals.One of the best tracks.
Track 6: Arts and allurements 5:33 - the title track has a Gothic,rocky feel. Another strong song.
Track 7: The innocence 3:49 - Siuxie & the Banshees-like vocals again. Good electric guitar playing.
Track 8: Pan 7:31 - One may recall Cocteau Twins here. A Gothic eternal sound again.
Track 9: Monument 9:23 - The longest track on the album has Patti Smith feeling. Heavy guitar riffs give a fresh sound.
Track 10: The deep 3:02 - an instrumental guitar tuning track ends it all.
A good release in direction rock,eternal Gothic. Not very progressive and not as spacey as previous albums from the group , but it will surely meet many expectations.
Our thanks to Duncan Glenday for this review.



Funny - the title track is one of the shortest pieces on the record, at just three-and-a-bit minutes. It starts as a hard instrumental rocker, then develops into a vocal-driven piece that would have been at home on the stage of Woodstock '69. More important - that song is representative of the rest of the music on the CD, and it heralds the direction that Chris Gill has chosen to take his music.

Band Of Rain used to be a spacey, ethereal outfit, somewhat typical of one-man projects. Pleasing music but somewhat unsubstantial. The new record is different: Gutsy, fronted by a powerful female vocalist, and bordering on a goth-rock sound. Think Pink Floyd meets Heart.

New singer Sharon Leslie has stamped her authority on Arts And Allurements. Remember the new vocalist for Flamborough Head, Margriet Boonsma? The singing is similar to her timbre - not much range, it even gets a bit gruff in places, but it's a wonderfully strong low-register contralto, melodic, and played through just enough reverb to make it rich and appealing. Think modern-era Porcupine Tree fronted by Lana Lane singing in her lower ranges.

But is isn't all about the vocals. Chris Gill has injected a heavy dose of testosterone into this album. Listen to "Monument", the 9-1/2 minute mini-epic. It has a constantly shifting structure, heavy in parts, restless, and led by those appealing vocals and strong but lazy guitar work played over an insistent, dynamic rhythm. Even the fast sections of the long guitar solo toward the end somehow seem languid.

There's a sort of Floydian vibe to this music. It doesn't sound like Pink Floyd, but it fits into that general mold: Clean instrumentation that runs from hard-rocking to lazy and ambient, nicely played, some electronica - but not too much, not enormously complex but with song structures that constantly shift and develop over the length of each track. Progressive tendencies, bordering on approachable.

Band Of Rain has progressed beyond a man with a studio and an idea to a band with a mission and the balls to achieve it. The new direction is pleasing, and it will be rewarding to watch where they go from here - 'cuz you can be sure the next record won't be anything like this one. This is nod-your-head, tune-in, zone-out stuff that insists on multiple replays.



Track Listing:
1. Their Mistake
2. The Devil's Debts
3. Stars Beneath The Sea
4. Vampire
5. Drusilla
6. Arts & Allurements
7. The Innocence
8. Pan
9. Monument
10.The Deep

Added: May 31st 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score: 4.5 stars

Language: english
By Duncan Glenday - Sea of Tranquility



Ozric Tentacles is the elder statesman of space music, and were instrumental in developing the style of lost notes floating around in space looking for a home but never finding it. Unlike traditional forms of music, the point of spacey music is to create a vibe, a sonic backdrop for the spaced out. It's a relatively unstructured format characterized by meandering sounds, melodic but without melody, and you can imagine yourself zoning out to the ambient tones and the moods and the atmospheres.

Think of it as the soundtrack to your dreams.

Garlands fits that mold, but thankfully it has more substance to it and many of the songs actually seem to have a purpose to them - vague though it may be in places. There's a lot of reverb with much of this music, and the mastering blends most elements into the broad soundscape of a spacey ambience, with just the guitar powering its way through occasionally providing an interesting feet-on-the-ground contrast.

The first impression you get when listening to Garlands is the synthetic beat at the beginning - a synth-pop beat that starts 5 seconds in, and it's there - on and off - all the way through the CD. Then the synth keys provide a spacey backdrop to the simple yet elegant sound of well played guitars, and the stage is well set for the rest of the record. The rare vocals on "Ghost Town" will recall Chris Rhea, or J.J.Cale.

In "Voyager", that repetitive synthetic percussion does little to ground the synth and guitar-generated textures and the formless ambience that has little melody or purpose - it's a low-energy flow that rarely seems to build up. Yet the next song" introduces strong guitar sounds, and rich mid-ranged female vocals, yielding a pleasing piece that bears several revisits. And on "The Flying Sorcerer" there's an aggression, and the oft-repeated motif from the song's intro is in a style that could have come from a Charles Brown record. Still - even this track is about mood rather than melody, sonics rather than structure.

With its gutsy guitars and the wonderful - if rare - female vocals, Garlands stands apart from most space music and will have appeal to a wider audience. Give it a try.

Track Listing:
1. Ghost Town
2. Test Pilot
3. Voyager
4. All Moonlit Through The Trees
5. Magnetic South
6. The Flying Sorcerer
7. Lady Evening Star
8. Beneath My Tree
9. Sun On The Mountain
10. Garlands
11. Clouds

Added: July 14th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score: * * * *
By Duncan Glenday Sea of Tranquility

This record's title describes the music far better than its somewhat pedestrian, terrestrial cover art does. It is indeed deeply spacey.

By definition, space music is a series of textures and wide sonic landscapes, ethereal and without substance, often without rhythm or melody or conventionally sung vocal components, leading to a floating ambient sense of consciousness. It's easy to imagine space music in movie soundtracks - and you've probably heard a lot of space music in that context. On its own, it sometimes challenges the patience, which probably explains why the genre has a somewhat specialized audience. Think Ozrics and Hawkwind.

That space music definition describes many of the elements on Band Of Rain's debut CD, but fortunately for most of us, many sections on most tracks rescue Deep Space from being too spaced out. With occasional singing, nice guitar work and good bass lines, it's a tad more approachable than most space music. There's plenty of electronica here, but the band injects enough analog components to give it character. Despite an insistent percussion, "Casanova Of The Cliff Dwellers" is 4 minutes of repeated soft electronic lines, an interesting but repetitive guitar riff, then on to more electronica with a repeated piano motif and a series of odd effects, all far back in the mix. Yet the very next song has a pleasing dual guitar line that rescues the record it from the formless waffle that is the trap of so much space music. The first 3 minutes of "Last Wave Goodbye" features a British maritime weather and conditions report laid over formless ambient music, and the rest of the track follows that stream-of-consciousness kind of sound that goes through various changes but never really develops into anything stronger. There are places in the record where it seems you can actually hear the start and end of the loop, and the programmed percussion might frighten some listeners off.

"Cloudburst" is the standout track here, going through several clearly defined sections with well managed tempo changes, a good 'groove' and an underlying theme that guides the piece through its full 4 minutes. "War and Peace" is quite fun as well, with control of the song alternating between war effects played over crunchy power chords and blazing lead guitar, and an elegantly peaceful motif. Rather progressive, somewhat spacey. There is singing on four of the tracks, with the voices being soft and relaxed and somewhat folksy.

Songwriter and founding member Chris Gill claims influences from '60s psychedelia and '70s prog, and given the style of this music it's no surprise that he confesses that his favorite bands are Gong and Ozric Tentacles.

Band Of Rain has completed their second CD, and we already have a copy for review. Early indications are very favorable, so watch this space...
Feedback Fanzine no 88 Magazine reviews by Kev Rowland July 2006


Band of Rain Deep Space

Band of Rain Garlands.

One could argue, and quite convincingly, that the debut album from Band of Rain is space rock but that would in no way manage to convey just how good this (mostly) instrumental album is. One problem with space rock is that most people initially think of Hawkwind and then attempt to capture that sound, or something very close to it, but that is not the case here. Apart from vocals from Andy Fisher on two songs, the whole thing has been performed by Chris Gill who often appears to be approaching the music from a bassist’s point of view, which gives the music a quite different angle. There are also fewer keyboards than one might normally associate with the genre, and also when Chris decides to hit the power chords this album really works. Yes there is a feeling of improvisation and there are times when the music does wander but it is soon pulled back in again and the feeling of a very tight album with strong production (something else not always associated with the genre).



The second Band of Rain album came out in 2005, and again (although this time I could very well be wrong) this is the work just of Chris Gill. Unfortunately the CD does not detail the players, although there does now appear to be a band but I am not sure if that is for the third (currently unreleased) album. Anyway, solo or band, this is a strong continuation of the first album. Again what impressed me immediately is the strength of the production – the sound is very good indeed and that definitely adds to the album. Those who feel that space rock should be virtually unlistenable should be sent this as an example. There are feelings of Gong and possibly small amounts of Ozrics but yet again Chris has gone his own path and is producing music that is of a consistently high standard without really sounding like anyone else.


Both of these albums prove that this genre can be a much wider style than one may normally expect and if you are into prog, psyche, space rock or just music to expand your own consciousness then these are a good place to start and Chris is British so support him and Band Of Rain!. www.bandofrain.com where you can hear complete songs, not just samples
Kev Rowland - Feedback Fanzine (Jul 19, 2006)
Er zijn albums die onze burelen bereiken en weinig of niets met progressieve rock te maken hebben. Het voorliggende album “Arts & Allurements” van Band Of Rain uit Wales is daar een voorbeeld van. De voor mij volkomen onbekende band(naam) en het artwork van het cd-hoesje maakten niet een bepaald euforische stemming bij mij los. Nee, dan wacht je met recenseren liever tot de zon doorbreekt.
We hebben hier eigenlijk te maken met het éénmansproject van gitarist Chris Gill. Van de biografie op de website word je niet veel wijzer. Een keur aan muzikanten, daar niet van. Slechts twee daarvan werken mee aan dit album. Genoemde Gill en zangeres Sharon Leslie. Chris Gill heeft zijn sporen in de rockmuziek aardig verdiend, althans dat blijkt uit zijn samenwerking en contacten met muzikanten als Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) en Adrian Belew (King Crimson). Zangeres Sharon Leslie heeft een ver verleden in de punk-rock. Voor dit album heeft Gill verder gebruik gemaakt van de drumdiensten van Billy Fleming. Het trio lijkt op dit moment de vaste bezetting te zijn. Als bassist werd Jason Illidge ingehuurd, terwijl Mile Leivers ook nog een klein deuntje gitaar mee mag spelen.

De muziek van Band Of Rain is erg donker. Er hangt eenzelfde sfeer als op “Judgement” van Anathema. Het neigt op enige momenten zelfs naar gothic-rock. De gothic-typerende zang blijft gelukkig achterwege. Verder kenmerkt de muziek zich door het toepassen van veel galm en het aanhouden van tonen en akkoorden (sustain). Muzikaal komt het regelmatig dicht in de buurt van The Mission. De zang van Sharon Leslie roept bij eerste beluistering een zestigerjaren gevoel op. Een associatie met Grace Slick, voormalig en thans gepensioneerd zangeres van Jefferson Airplane en dito Starship, gaat hier zeker op. Ondanks dat Leslie een krachtige en prima stem bezit, gaat de vele zang op dit album snel vervelen. Op die momenten betrekt de lucht en gaat de zon schuil achter een dikke regenwolk.

Zware gitaarriffs klinken in het openingsnummer Their Mistake, The Devil’s Debts en The Innocence. Met name in deze nummers doet de vergelijking met The Mission opgaan. In de rustige nummers Stars Beneath The Sea en Drusilla komt de stem van Leslie het beste tot haar recht.

Ronduit vervelend is het nummer Vampire. Ondanks dat dit nummer wel iets meer variatie kent – zo horen we een Porcupine Tree-achtige klanktapijt - wekt de zang wederom irritatie op. Toppunt van verveling is het refrein. Herhaaldelijk word je met verveelde stem herinnerd aan de titel van het nummer. Monument kent een psychedelische intro die doet denken aan het oude Pink Floyd. De instrumentale afsluiter The Deep is volstrekt overbodig en valt volledig uit de toon. Het is alsof naast regen ook nog eens een koude wind opsteekt. We horen in dit nummer niet meer dan wat soundcapes met daaroverheen wat gefröbel op gitaar. Het album heeft in Pan toch een lichtpuntje, noem het maar een zonnestraaltje. Ook hier muzikaal weliswaar duister en donkerheid troef, maar dit nummer kent tenminste nog een fraaie opbouw. De mooie klanktapijten en ritmische ondersteuning geven je hier de aandrang om zingend door de regen te gaan.

Productioneel zit het ook magertjes in elkaar. Het drumwerk klinkt hol en is vrij simpel. Teveel nummers ontberen een goede opbouw en gaan nergens heen. Dat is erg jammer want de zang van Sharon Leslie verdient een betere ondersteuning. Of deze band écht kwaliteiten heeft zal een eventuele opvolger uit moeten wijzen. Vooralsnog is het zeer twijfelachtig of de gemiddelde bezoeker van Progwereld op een dergelijk album zit te wachten. Ben je desondanks toch nieuwsgierig, beluister dan eerst wat samples op hun website. Wacht daarbij dan wel op een regenachtige zondagmiddag.

Hans Ravensbergen
Hans Ravensbergen - progwereld/Holland (Aug 1, 2007)
Fanzine de réactions aucunes 88 revues de Revue par Kev Rowland le 2006 juillet

La bande de Pluie Espace Profond

La bande de Pleut des Guirlandes.

L'un pourrait se disputer, et tout à fait avec conviction, que l'album de début de la Bande de Pluie est le rocher spatial mais cela gérerait nullement pour transmettre juste comment bon ceci (surtout) l'album instrumental est. Un problème avec le rocher spatial est que la plupart des gens au début pensent à Hawkwind et alors la tentative pour capturer que solide, ou quelque chose très proche à lui, mais cela n'est pas le cas ici. En dehors de vocal du Pêcheur de Andy sur deux chansons, la chose entière a été exécutée par la Branchie de Chris qui a l'air d'être approchant souvent la musique d'un point de vue du bassiste, qui donne la musique un angle tout à fait différent. Il y a d'aussi moins clavier que l'un normalement pourrait associer avec le genre, et aussi quand Chris décide de frapper les cordes de pouvoir cet album ces vraiment travaux. Oui il y a une sensation d'improvisation et il y a des temps quand la musique erre mais il bientôt est ramené en arrière dans encore et la sensation d'un album très tendu avec la production forte (quelque chose d'autre toujours n'a pas associé avec le genre).

La deuxième Bande d'album de Pluie est sorti dans 2005, et encore (bien que cette fois je bien pourrais avoir très tort) ceci est le travail juste de Branchie de Chris. Malheureusement le CD ne détaille pas les joueurs, bien que maintenant a l'air d'être là-bas une bande mais je ne suis pas sûr si cela est pour le tiers (actuellement unreleased) l'album. De toute façon, le solo ou la bande, ceci est un prolongement fort du premier album. Encore ce qu'a impressionné m'est tout de suite la force de la production – le son est très bon en effet et cela ajoute sans aucun doute à l'album. Ceux qui se sent que le rocher d'espace doit être pratiquement unlistenable devrait être envoyé ceci comme un exemple. Il y a des sensations de Cloche et les probablement petites quantités de Ozrics mais encore Chris sont allées son propre chemin et produisent la musique qu'est d'un régulièrement bon niveau sans vraiment semble comme n'importe qui d'autre.

Les deux de ces albums prouve que ce genre peut être un style beaucoup plus large que l'un peut prévoir normalement et si vous êtes dans prog, la psyché, le rocher d'espace ou juste la musique pour augmenter votre propre conscience alors ceux-ci sont un bon endroit pour commencer et Chris est britannique le soutient si et la Bande De Pluie !. www.bandofrain.com où vous pouvez entendre des chansons complètes, les pas juste échantillons

Kev Rowland - Fanzine de Réactions (19 juillet 2006)
(Jul 19, 2006)
Man könnte sagen und aus gutem Grund, daß das Debut-Album von Band of Rain ist Space Rock, aber diese Beschreibung würde keineswegs verdentlichen, wie gut dieses (meistens) instrumentale Album ist, daß die meisten Leute zuerst an Hawkwind denken und dann versuchen, diese Musik zu machen –aber hier ist das nicht der Fall.
Außer Andy Fishers Stimme für zwei Lieder, wurde das Ganze von Chris Gill gespielt, der oft die Musik von dem Gesichtspunkt eines „bessistâs anzugehen scheint, was der Musik eine andere Färbung verleiht. Auch gibt es weniger Keyboeards als man normalerweise mit diesem Genre verbindet und auch wenn Chris sich entschließt die Kraftsaiten zu schlagen, funktioniert dieses Album so wirklich. Dennoch gibt es hier ein Gefühl von Improvisation und abund zu verläuft sich die Musik aber sie wird schnell zürückgeholt und man gewinnt den Eindruck eines Straff gespannten Albums mit solider Produktion (noch etwas, das nicht immer mit dem Genre verbunden wird).


Zweite Band of Rain Album kam im Jahr 2005 heraus und wieder (obwohl ich mich dieses Mal täuschen könnte) ist dieses auch nur die Arbeit von Chris Gills. Leider gibt das CD keine Information über die Musiker, obwohl jetzt scheinbar eine Band besteht, aber ich bin nicht sicher, ob das für das dritte (noch nicht herausgebrachte) Album ist.

Auf jeden Fall, allein oder als Gruppe ist das eine starke Fortsetzung des ersten Albums. Was nicht wieder sofort beeindruckt hat, ist die solide Produktion-der Klang ist auch sehr gut und trägt zum Album bei. Den Leuten die finden daß Spacerock fast ünmöhlich zu hören sein soll, sollte man dieses Album zuschicken. Auch gibt es Anklänge an Gong und vielleicht etwas von „Ozrics“ aber wieder ist Chris seinen eigenen Weg gegangen und proziert Musik von beständig hohem Niveau, die wie keine andere Musik ist.

Diesen beiden Albums beweisen daß dieses Genre ein viel unfassender Stil sein kann als man gewöhnlich erwatet. Wenn man sich für Prog-, Psyche-, Space Rock, oder einfach Musik begeistert, um das eigene Bewusstsein zu erweitern, dann stellt dieses Album .
Kevin Rowland (in to German) - FeedBack Fanzine (Nov 5, 2006)
La Band of Rain è un altro buon esempio di perseveranza e passione musicale, nata da un'illuminazione del chitarrista e compositore inglese Chris Gill, un personaggio carismatico guidato dalla sua fede incrollabile verso il rock... Sin dagli anni settanta Gill ha mantenuto viva la sua passione attraverso diverse esperienze, musicali e non, a cavallo fra gli States e l'Inghilterra; solamente dopo diverse vicissitudini musicali ed alcuni incontri importanti, Nick Mason ed Adrian Belew tra gli altri, Gill ha trovato la convinzione di formare il suo gruppo, la Band of Rain, e scrivere la propria musica. In realtà "Deep Space", uscito autoprodotto nel 2004, è del tutto un disco solista di Gill, impegnato a suonare ogni strumento presente, con l'aiuto dell'amico Andy Fisher per le parti vocali: "Deep Space" è un disco piuttosto caratteristico e singolare, in gran parte strumentale... Il titolo e la copertina alludono ad una musica che gioca con le suggestioni psichedeliche e space-rock (gli Hawkwind più crepuscolari, Ozric Tentacles...) eppure, diversamente da quanto è facile immaginare, si respira a tratti un'atmosfera decadente e cupa, sono rimasto quasi sorpreso dallo stile di brani come "A Search for My Forgiver", "Castle Walls", e specialmente "A Room Where Time Stands Still", l'impressione forse involontaria è quella di una musica che oscilla fra i Pink Floyd ed alcune delle tendenze più gotiche e sinistre del rock. Comunque, in questo disco d'esordio le idee sono ancora leggermente sfocate, in diversi momenti la mancanza di un vero gruppo di musicisti si fa sensibilmente sentire. Chris Gill nonostante tutto ha scritto un album coraggioso e di buon livello: grande spazio è riservato ovviamente alla sua chitarra, heavy, blues, acustica, a tratti ipnotica ed acida (interessante il trance-rock tribale di "Cassanova of the Cliff Dwellers"); le parti di tastiera sono intelligentemente misurate e di buon gusto, spesso utilizzate come sfondo ambientale e cosmico, giusto per dare un senso opportuno d'infinito, oppure malinconicamente sinfoniche. Incoraggiato dal buon risultato raggiunto con "Deep Space", Chris Gill ha pensato bene di formare per il suo secondo album una band vera e propria, composta in totale da otto musicisti, Gill compreso. "Garlands", dunque, non è più unicamente il disco solista di Gill ma si può considerare come il primo effettivo lavoro della Band of Rain. Rispetto all'esordio, di cui è la naturale continuazione ed evoluzione, "Garlands" inevitabilmente ha un piglio meno ingenuo e più professionale, la Band of Rain ha così in buona parte ordinato o limato alcune delle peculiarità precedenti. Heavy-psychedelic electronic rock, così si potrebbe definire "Garlands", almeno all'ascolto di brani affascinanti come "Test Pilot", accostabile ad alcune cose dei The Gathering ed in equilibrio fra aggressività e raffinatezze elettroniche, la ballata sci-fi per vocoder di "Voyager", la drammaticità solenne di "All Moonlit Through the Tree", cantata dalla voce folk di Genever Morgan, oppure l'introspettiva ed emozionante sinfonia della title-track. In altri brani la Band of Rain percorre la strada del blues-rock fantasioso e seducente tanto amato da Gill, come in "Moon on the Mountain" ,"Ghost Town", oppure nella trasognata "Beneath My Tree". La Band of Rain rappresenta quindi una piacevole quanto inaspettata sopresa, per avere la piena conferma del talento visionario di Chris Gill ora dobbiamo solo aspettare l'uscita imminente del loro terzo disco, "Maidens & Madrigals", prevista per la fine del 2006...
Carlos Vaz Progressive Rock website Brazil
Garlands Best band and record January 2006.

We are starting a new year and, I´m very happy to introduce a special band. The Band Of Rain has a big heavenly orchestral sound and another example of pure Music - played and written at it's heart. The guys on the band play an incredible Symphonic Progressive Rock music, adorned with Hard Rock textures, blending elements from many sources such as Electronic Space Rock, Heavy Metal and Classic Rock, and even modern chamber music into a cohesive whole. The musical elements are extremely well balanced, all the instruments are clear, audible, with delicate arrangements, the main highlights on the songs are the killer guitar sounds, sometimes symphonic and sometimes heavy, driven by precise and very dynamic rhythms, while the floating synthesizer and orchestral keyboards add a touch of symphonism to all songs. In fact, the members on the band are highly talented musicians, who do not focus on one style, but show on their works how versatile they are. It´s hard classify the influences from Band Of Rain but, I can say that, they sounding like a hybrid of "Pink Floyd", "Mike Oldfield", "Yes", "Flamborough Head" and "Porcupine Tree". Band Of Rain is definitely recommended to Progressive Rock fans around the world. Brilliant and magnify absolutely recommended discovery, highly recommendable...
Paul Baker of ARFM Radio has put our second album GARLANDS in to the top ten Prog albums of 2005.
ARfm Radio - Paul Baker (Dec 7, 2005)
review of the Garlands album.
Deep Space Review/Comment
Anita Bhatia - Proggnosis (Feb 23, 2005)

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