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Kalin Tonev

Heavy Prog

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Kalin Tonev Machine Years album cover
4.15 | 7 ratings | 4 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Human Not Machine (5:32)
2. Short Story About Tanks (5:19)
3. The Shortcut (4:09)
4. Beings (6:55)
5. Dust (4:35)
6. Mad Dancer (7:02)
7. Late Again (3:44)
8. Human Not Machine II (3:13)
9. News From Nowhere (7:57)
10.Step 4 (4:17)
11.Garden (2:15)
12.This Empty Space (7:19)
13.Later Than Usual (2:46)

Total Time 63:03


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Kalin Tonev / keys, samples, programming
-Nenko Milev / guitars on 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,12,13
- Daniel Eliseev / guitars on 4,5
- Biser Ivanov / guitar solo and riffs on 9

Releases information

Digital self-released, January 27, 2017.

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KALIN TONEV Machine Years ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(71%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KALIN TONEV Machine Years reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Kalin Tonev is not a newcomer to the music industry being in many bands. He was the leader of Travelhouse who did a very good album of fusion prog with electronic soundscapes, metal, and jazz. "Machines Years" is his new project of instrumental prog with guitarist Nenko Milev on most of the tracks. Kalin is handling the keyboards and the drums programming. The songs have many hooks and solid melodies dominated by some synths and vintage keyboards. The sound of his synths are sometimes spacey and sometimes more heavy in the Derek Sherinian and Jason Rubenstein styles. The song "Dust" is one of two quiet songs with some beautiful ambient atmosphere and fine guitar playing. "Mad Dance" bring the ELP type of sounds before getting in a heavier mode. If prog is not popular in Bulgaria, you can count to Kalin Tonev to help gives to this genre more recognition, because this is some high-quality music to check out.
Review by Rivertree
4 stars I'm sure it's okay to notice, that Bulgaria is not really the center of prog when it comes to Eastern Europe. There are many more genre bands coming from Hungary, Czech Republic respectively Slovakia ... and of course Poland most notably. So much the more it's a pleasure for me to introduce KALIN TONEV again, certainly an important figure in his country concerning this genre. So for example he drives an acclaimed radio prog rock show, which is part of the Bulgarian National Radio programme. And he had appearances in more than 20 bands in the meanwhile while being underway in many different styles.

Kalin is already known to me due to the fact that he has been the mastermind of the band TravelHouse some years ago. They released one album under this moniker in 2008, called 'Mindmapping', which is mirroring a quite diverse stylistical journey. Now 'Machine Years' sounds ... different, yeah, unique. A powerful statement most likely, and heavily keyboard-laden. Although supported by three guitarists on nearly all the 13 tracks, this album can be seen as a solo effort with reason, as he is responsible for the song writing as well as production and substitutes the regular bass and percussions. I'm quite sure, that the drum programming as such emerged into a great challenge, caused time. The implementation is tricky overall, not easy to recognize that an acoustic drum set won't play a role here.

The album is an instrumental one, opens with a speech sample anyhow. I would say immediately pointing to its main philosophical theme, as Kalin is obviously dealing with the relationship of humans and machines in general. Both Human Not Machine parts are heavy in execution, featuring a bombast feel, somewhat representative for the album's flow, surely a centerpiece. Furthermore, just emphasizing Beings or Dust for example, you can't deny a strong symphonic essence too. And then again This Empty Space and Late Again are drifting into a more spacey and even downbeat/lounge orientation.

Released in January 2017 KALIN TONEV offers an enjoyable album with 'Machine Years'. I can hear glimpses of Atomic Rooster, ELP, Rick Wakeman ... one or two may detect other influences of course. Initially this sounded a bit single-tracked to me, in the meanwhile though I'm effectively convinced. And this is not least the merit of the collaborating guitarists too, which means Nenko Milev first and foremost. It's worth it to take your time in order to bring this songs into effect really.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars

Kalin is a "new" musician to me, but he has been involved in the progressive scene in his native Bulgaria for some years, both in bands and by running a regular radio show. What we have here is an instrumental album, with Kalin providing keyboards and drum programming, and then he has been joined by three different guitarists. But, it must be said that this doesn't sound like a solo project, but much more like a band. Kalin relishes in a filthy keyboard sound, providing chords and passages that wouldn't sound out of place on a Keith Emerson album, if Keith was in his darkest and foulest mood as opposed to his honky-tonk sideshows. The best way I can think of putting it, is that if Chris Squire played keyboards instead of bass then he would have a sound like this.

Although there is a darkness to this album, it is complimented by plenty of light and brightness and is full of invention and dynamics. There are very little "Look at me and see how quickly I can play" moments, but rather this is an incredibly well-arranged album where there are times that he links into the guitar as if it is Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, or Ken Hensley and Mick Box. This isn't a keyboard solo album, but a progressive rock album with plenty of guts and balls, where the lead instrument is often (but not always) the keyboards. Now I've heard this it has got me wondering what his "real" band albums are like, and when we're going to get the next solo release. But for now, I'll just keep playing and enjoying the wonderful album that is 'Machine Years'.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Having previously been the main force behind Bulgarian instrumental prog outfit TravelHouse, keyboardist Kalin Tonev recorded Machine Years as his first solo album, which I find to be a very impressive effort. Machine Years is an instrumental prog album, the only vocals present being in the for ... (read more)

Report this review (#1724727) | Posted by Replayer | Sunday, May 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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