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Orpheus Nine

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Orpheus Nine Transcendental Circus album cover
4.14 | 61 ratings | 9 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Of Zygotes And Grace Notes (1:18)
2. Eightfold Way (6:47)
3. Fetish (8:31)
4. Hand Of Make-Believe (5:33)
5. No Illusions (4:24)
6. Age Of Rhyme And Reason (6:27)
7. Transcendental Circus I: Barcarolle Of Bedlam (5:31)
8. Transcendental Circus II: Hallowed Playground (4:14)
9. Transcendental Circus III: Intergalactic Clown Festival (3:00)
10. Transcendental Circus IV: Swimming In Our Four O'Clock Tea (2:51)
11. Transcendental Circus V: Not Within The Memory Of Elephants (3:01)
12. Transcendental Circus VI: Freak Tent Mausoleum (2:55)
13. Reaper's Carousel (3:47)
14. Sandcastles (6:01)
15. The Fall Of The House Of Keys (10:45)

Total time: 75:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Jason Kresge / keyboards, lead vocals, arranger & producer
- Matt Ullestad / guitars
- Tony Renda / bass, backing vocals
- Mark DeGregory / drums, percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Giordano Aita, Alswart, Captain Black, Sergey Nivens, Rolff Images, Elena Schweitzer

CD Prog Cabin Records ‎- O9PCR001 (2017, US)

Digital album

Thanks to rivertree for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ORPHEUS NINE Transcendental Circus ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ORPHEUS NINE Transcendental Circus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
4 stars This is my first casual encounter with a transcendental circus! Obviously all went well so far. Eh ... I'm quite sure about that. Content-wise one will be faced with established figures like elephants, dragons, clowns, ghosts, wizzards and so on. Well balanced. No need to worry therefore. ORPHEUS NINE evolved from a solo vehicle, started by keyboarder/singer Jason Kresge, into a real band. Based on a heavy prog fundament their songs are showing diverse musical influences. And so it all developed into the approach to record an album which will offer a rock opera somehow. Which generally should live from, maybe let's say, entertainment, diversity, twists and turns, joy of playing ...

The album runs all around the epic title track, this visually appointed by the nice prog typical cover art. That song represents the planned core. And, not always with guarantee, you know, in this case the masterly highlight in the same way. Moreover one can say it's Jason's showpiece in particular, while being a Tour de force regarding his keyboard playing. A prominent cinematic respectively opera attitude, equipped with ambient and jazzy impressions, swirly synths, symphonic and classical sequences. Tricky! I would highlight the lovely excerpt Hallowed Playground first and foremost here.

One song may top this, in terms of more accessibility at least. Eightfold Way marks THE strong contender for spreading the word via diverse radio and internet broadcasts. A rather virtuoso finish, The Fall Of The House Of Keys then appears with classical and symphonic roots again. Excellent starter! While listening I'm feeling rather comfortable when occasionally visiting that intergalactic playground with all those festivals, mausoleums, carousels and sandcastles given. Sounds similar to Styx, Saga, Red Bazar in parts, but also further, I mean more eclectic bands in the vein of Tiles, Zip Tang for example. Now have a go at it!

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars A band that names the title of his album "Transcendental Circus" and where you can found some strange and funny titles in some of his songs must have a sense of humor that can only reflect in his music and lyrics. It starts with some bass lines and some upfront keyboards lines from master Jason Kresge. Then the music goes into an AOR/Neo-Prog vein before developing into more complex structures. We can hear many special effects coming from the keyboards. "Fetish" start like an acoustic Hackett style guitar just before bringing some guitar metal riffs with some classical arrangements. "Hand of Make Believe" has some guitar Rush/Tiles influences with some jazzy intrusions and again we are treated with some keyboards magic from Jason. "Age Of Rhyme And Reason" has some furious instrumental parts with a slow break that deliver some inspired Dream Theater parts. But the fun part of the album begins with that 22 minutes of "Transcendental Circus". The special effects of what we can hear in a circus are used and also the special keyboards sound of Geddy Lee in the song "Camera Eye", it can only be intentional... In this song, the band is trying to have the most fun possible by showing their craft and versatility with their instruments. We can hear tons of rhythms changes and Jason taking inspiration from Nathan Mahl, Glass Hammer, Keith Emerson depending on which sections the song is. There are some catchy riffs and some captivating drums fill throughout this epic and a music that goes to different moods from the dark side of metal and the lighter side of Jazz. Part V " Swimming In Our Four O'Clock Tea" brings again that acoustic Hackett guitar influence and some Hamydryad/Gentle Giant multi-part vocals style. The last song "The Fall of The House of Keys" is the only song where you feel that the band has slowed the pace down to take his time to develop the melody which gives more emotion to the music in this 10 minutes song. This is a strong debut from a band that has a lot of potentials, just hope for some more music soon.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Transcedental circus is the debut of american band Orpheus Nine and is one great release in today's progressive rock scene. I was connected from the first to the last song of the album who came out in 2017. This type of music can listen all day, symphonic prog with excellent vocals and top musicianship. From the great art work, fine booklet all is almost perfect here. What stroke me at first listning is the amazing ease musicians play, the keyboards are more then excellent, diverse and inventive, recommended pieces Eightfold Way , Age Of Rhyme And Reason, or thew magnific 22 min epic tune title track divided in 6 parts. This is symphonic prog with similarities in parts with lets say Rush or Saga, even the voice of Jason Kresge remind me of Saga - Michael Sadler in places . In the end, I like the attitude, I like the musicianship, I like the vocals, the art work , all is more then great on this release. Strong virtuosic playing , but with hooks and melodic lines. Definetly for me one of the best albums from last year. For fans of Saga, Heliopolis, Cell15, etc 4 stars for sure and recommended.
Review by kev rowland
5 stars One thing about being around the scene for one or two years is that every so often I get tracked down by people who think I may possibly be interested in hearing their latest album. Sometimes it can lead to real gems, others not so much, but I always respond in the same way, which is to let me hear it and I will give them my opinion. I get offered a lot of music from multiple sources, but if someone has made the effort to seek me out then I will always do the best I can in giving them a fair hearing. That is the case here, when keyboard player and lead singer Jason Kresge asked me if I would like to hear the 2017 album from his band Orpheus Nine, and boy I am glad I did.

The band itself started as a solo project until 2005 when he met up with drummer Daniel Nydick, and they started working on developing their style of progressive rock. By 2011, the group was now a quartet with bassist Tony Renda and guitarist Matt Ullestad, before Daniel left in 2012 to be replaced by Mark DeGregory. This is the line-up which recorded this album, and I can only hope that it isn't going to take too long before we hear the next one, as this is a delight from start to end. I have spent many hours trying to think of the best way to describe this, and the best I can come up with Saga meeting Kansas who then attempt to bring in elements of Spock's Beard. I do also need to make progheads aware that there are times the guys inject humour into their performance, deliberately so. I know this sort of behaviour shouldn't be tolerated in progressive rock, as musicians are expected to be bunched over their instruments and not making eye contact, let along enjoying themselves as much as Orpheus Nine obviously are.

This doesn't sound like a debut, as it is performed with panache and confidence. It is often based around the keyboards, with Jason moving between piano and multiple synths with ease, yet Matt is a strong guitarist who understands when the time is right for acoustic, or gentle picking, or straight forward riffing. This is a progressive rock band who know how to combine complex musical and melodic lines into songs which are immediately accessible, moving from ballads to out and out rockers with harmony vocals that are bang on. Tony can often be found playing a third melodic line behind Jason and Matt, leaving it to Mark to keep everyone on track, also adding flourishes and nuances when he needs to. Jason is at times reminiscent of Michael Sadler, with great control and range, and his voice combines with the music to make an album which is enjoyable the very first time it is played.

Symphonic American-styled progressive rock rarely sounds as good as this, especially on a debut. Let's hope the next one isn't far away.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Much modern prog is a stale remnant of bygone eras. Orpheus Nine is not. Their opening statement to the world, Transcendental Circus, is a triumph. Right from the off you'll be mystified by Jason Kresge's keyboard playing. But all of the musicians are extremely talented, and the songwriting is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1936377) | Posted by MoreTorres | Friday, June 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amidst the sprawling garden of progressive delights sown in 2017, it is quite conceivable that I was most gobsmacked by discovering Transcendental Circus, the maiden voyage of American ensemble Orpheus Nine. These four lads hatched from the obscure ether to unearth a genuine tour de force that is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1870974) | Posted by Voyage-de-la-vie | Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Orpheus Nine - Transcendental Circus The scattershot tapestry of melodies that opens this album tells you all you need to know about what's in store: regal, anthemic hooks that weave in and out of constantly evolving strands, unexpected refractions of what began as almost familiar ideas that ch ... (read more)

Report this review (#1852892) | Posted by Greg Jones | Monday, January 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The era with no newbies. The days when pupils successfully jump directly from diapers to a professor's chair, while founding fathers seem to be still in diapers. The vocals better than Gabriel's, the drumming better than Mason's, the guitar playing better than Howe's... but those all were (and s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1841574) | Posted by proghaven | Thursday, December 14, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I hate writing reviews but this is an underrated band that deserves more attention. A friend told me about their CD saying I would love the keyboards. I've heard enough shredders and figured I didn't really need another one in my collection, so I blew it off. Then a couple weeks later some guy o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1838927) | Posted by IStanBull | Monday, December 4, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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