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ESP

Crossover Prog • Multi-National


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ESP biography
Founded in Wendover, UK in 2015

ESP are a temporary (maybe one-off) collaboration rock project with musicians from King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, Procol Harum, GTR, Landmarq, Lifesigns and more ... advocated by Tony LOWE (guitars, voices) and Mark BRZEZICKI (drums, percussion, voices) in 2015. The other collaborators are as follows; David JACKSON (saxophones, flutes), David CROSS (violin), Steve GEE (bass), Phil SPALDING (bass), John YOUNG (keyboards), John BEAGLEY (voices), Pat ORCHARD (guitars), Alison FLEMING (voices), and Yumi HARA (electric harp). Such a gigantic rock commune have finally launched a creation titled "Invisible Din" in the following year.

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ESP discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ESP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 33 ratings
Invisible Din
2016
3.81 | 50 ratings
22 Layers Of Sunlight
2018
3.53 | 15 ratings
The Rising
2019
4.05 | 14 ratings
Phenomena
2020

ESP Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ESP Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ESP Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ESP Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Cloud Distortion (Radio Edit)
2016
5.00 | 1 ratings
Riding the Thermal (Radio Edit)
2016
4.50 | 2 ratings
22 Layers of Sunlight
2018
3.00 | 1 ratings
Gunshot Lips (Entropy Mix)
2018
4.00 | 1 ratings
22 Layers of Sunlight (Dream Mix)
2018
3.33 | 11 ratings
Three
2019

ESP Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Phenomena by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 14 ratings

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Phenomena
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars ESP PROJECT is Tony LOWE's solo project which started in 2015 and which is releasing his 5th CD here. Well, I just knew by name but hadn't made the effort to listen to it yet. It was therefore with a clear mind that I put an attentive ear, knowing that originally we could meet members of KING CRIMSON, GTR, LANDMARQ or LIFESIGNS. Imaginary, captivating, exhilarating and symphonic atmosphere with a touch of dark dramatic nostalgia for the 70's? while giving by its breaks a note of hope, this is a bit what Tony's music gives; original melodic rock mix all tinted with symphonic typed breaks, pieces flowing gracefully over the voice and instruments, this is what we can find through these 7 different pieces.

"First Flight" begins the album with a characteristic sound mixing between PINK FLOYD and BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, slow tune, fine melodic chord and enhancement of the soaring guitar, worthy of a soundtrack for a mysterious side then a musical break atmospheric, progressive bordering on science fiction, which puts the ear on the alert before a melodic return and mixed aerial voices. "Before Saturn Turned Away" is more melodic, still reminding me of the layers of Stuart John Wolstenholme or those of APSARAS, that is to say the hovering side that emerges from them; slow mid-term synth section returning to nostalgic tunes bordering on religious if a voice was integrated, a more complex piece than it seems. "Telethesia" denotes a stronger, more energetic rhythm, always melodic however, it's halfway that it becomes enjoyable with a hovering side, almost ethereal voices then bam the good old church organ that makes you shiver ; then combat of mellotron and synths before a classic recovery. "Fear Of Flying" does more in the conventional, monolithic rhythmic tune that still seems to serve as a heating for the progressive digression with a meaty synth forward, well in the notes of BANKS of the 80s. "Living In The Sunrise" surely has the most beautiful spleen and meditative intro of the album and leads us to a sound in the lineage of a RIVERSIDE, then the chorus is more ambient, more on RADIOHEAD, syncopated and mysterious; beware, the riff is latent and repetitive, the well-placed synths providing significant musical coverage; the end starts with Genesisian atmospheres like "Burning Rope" all in finesse. "Sleeping Giants" is coming darker, slower, a little bit of ESP there! From the middle we wait for an orchestral break a bit jazzy then it becomes again very fruity, melodic, basic then more progressive with a friendly battle between the keyboard and the guitar, I perceive a little of ALAN PARSONS and the meteorological finale. comfort. "Seven Billion Tiny Sparks" ends this album with the longest track GENESIS could have released before "Duke": there is still emotion with the emphasis on keyboards; then a typical Crimsonian break on the "Discipline" period guitar; It is not until 2/3 that Alison takes the voice for a calm, bewitching and spatial part, a beautiful ballad followed after by one of the most beautiful guitar solo filled with spleen and nostalgia. A piece that melts and leaves a musical void, the white after which is still there.

ESP Project releases a pure progressive rock album in the lineage of a MANFRED MANN with song then orchestral drawer in the second step; full of creative energy with the ethereal Damien voice counterbalanced by Tony's varied, progressive, symphonic, melodic and nostalgic musical chords. A very pleasant surprise that reminds us that progressive rock is definitely not buried and risks our happiness to live for a long time with musicians of this talent.

 Phenomena by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.05 | 14 ratings

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Phenomena
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The two man group of veterans Tony Lowe (music & instrumentation) and excellent vocalist/lyricist Damien Child come through with a collection of very enjoyable Neo Prog songs.

1. "First Flight" (7:28) an excellent two-part song with the first being of rich, atmospheric, top quality Neo Prog and the second being a drum-led outro with a PINK FLOYD-like palette. A top three song for me. (13.75/15)

2. "Before Saturn Turned Away" (7:58) gorgeous vocals over some pretty simple and straightforward music. Another two-parter. The first part reminds me of the José Maria Blanc (Pablo El Enterrador) album that came out in 2018 if it had some lead singer from and old Mike Rutherford or Steve Hackett album. Also a little of TONY PATTERSON. (13/15)

3. "Telethesia" (7:51) sounds like a cross between TONY PATTERSON's Equations of Meaning and something by FISH or DAVID GILMOUR (solo). Lots of voice samples and annoying organ in the middle until the full-scale church organ is unleashed--then the song really takes off. It sounds like something off of Genesis Duke--but then it slows back down for the vocals to reenter for a bit before kicking back into drive. Interesting dynamics and chord structure. (12.75/15)

4. "Fear of Flying" (6:32) opens in full form with cool bass play and guitar arpeggi. The vocal is, at times, a little too impassioned for my tastes--like something from a stage musical, but the music is interesting enough to keep me fully engaged. Again, very interesting (unusual) chord progressions used throughout. Again, there are strong suggestions of Genesis Duke (and ABACAB) in this. (8.75/10)

5. "Living in the Sunrise" (6:38) For Tony to try to replicate oboe/clarinet/or cor anglais with a keyboard was unfortunate for this song's intro. In the second minute, it kicks into full speed with a very thickly textured wall of synth washes and Damien's fairly tempered vocal. Again, the unusual chord choices make for some very interesting textures and weaves. My third top three song. (8.75/10)

6. "Sleeping Giants" (6:08) That Joe Payne comes to mind as I listen to the vocal performance on this gorgeous Neo Prog song. My favorite song on the album. (9/10)

7. "Seven Billion Tiny Sparks" (9:00) another multi-part song, the first of which just plods along a little too trudgingly. The second section is better, followed by a weird kind of time warp before things clear out for a sensitive vocal from guest Alison Fleming over some spacey, then atmospheric TONY PATTERSON-like music. Could be a Kate Bush ballad. Gorgeous electric guitar solo in the final minute. (17.5/20)

I am intrigued by Tony's chord sensibilities as well as Damien's ability to find a fitting though often edgy and distinctive melody line with his beautifully modulated voice. Definitely and album and duo worth revisiting.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of well-formed progressive rock music.

 Invisible Din by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 33 ratings

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Invisible Din
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by Agnenrecords

4 stars ESP is basically a two-man band comprised of guitarist/producer/multi-instrumentalist Tony Lowe and drummer Mark Brzezicki, ably supported with a stellar cast of collaborators. Lowe first came to my attention as the guitarist for the live launch of the 2015 David Cross and Robert Fripp CD Starless Starlight (which Lowe produced) where his understanding and appreciation of one of the most classic and memorable progressive rock melody lines was on display. Along with Cheryl Stringall he's also the co-founder of Sunn Creative, their socially aware record label (it operates on ethical business principles which include a commitment to environmental and social issues.)

Brzezicki is best known for his work with Big Country, though prog fans will associate him with Procol Harum; he's well regarded in drum circles and boasts an impressive session CV. These two musicians assembled some great names from the prog scene to play on the album including early exponents and more recent practitioners; they all made guest appearances at the live launch gig in London in a line-up enhanced by keyboard player Mickey Simmonds because Lowe, who played keyboards on the recording, confined himself to guitar.

Simmonds cites some classic prog influences and I recognised his name from Camel's Harbour of Tears album (1996). Also on stage were bassists Steve Gee and Phil Spalding, each performing roughly half the set; vocalist John Beagley; David Jackson on saxes and flute; Yumi Hara on harp; and David Cross on violin.

Lowe explained that the concept behind Invisible Din was that "the songs evoke a man's childhood memory of illness and a ghostly, healing presence of beauty as he ventures into the realms of the astral world. The music and lyrics encompass the yearning we have for that elusive other, the dream partner, crossing the line between reality and fantasy as he ventures into the unknown." On repeated listening it's obvious the concept stands up really well. There's a Floydian feel to some of the material, partly down to the exacting production values but also because the work is remarkably melodic; something that was less noticeable during the live performance.

It's evident that the band is a really tight-knit outfit, with densely layered lines of largely instrumental prog of the highest order. There are three lead instruments available at any one time playing over a solid, busy rhythm section. The lyrics are concise but well constructed and the vocal delivery, by Lowe, Brzezicki and Beagley is sympathetic to the storyline and pitched to convey appropriate emotions: reflection; elation; longing. The keyboard patches are accurate reproductions of 70s analogue sounds and I can detect influences as varied as early Genesis, post-Gabriel Genesis, UK, a little Pawn Hearts-era Van der Graaf Generator and maybe some 10cc art-rock. I'm not suggesting the sound is derivative in any way and if I were to suggest a sonic comparison, I'd plump for one of the modern Italian symphonic prog acts because of the use of the flute.

With the launch of Invisible Din in 2016, I thought that ESP represented a new standard-bearer for symphonic progressive rock. Subsequent releases have veered more into post- or alt-rock territory though they have maintained good-sized chunks of symphonic prog, the content perhaps reflecting the changing line-ups; all are worth adding to the collection though Invisible Din is the one any symphonic progressive rock fan would enjoy.

Four and a half stars

 Three by ESP album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2019
3.33 | 11 ratings

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Three
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars ESP is a musical project started by Tony Lowe, who has played in the past for "Fripp & Cross", "Simon Townsend", and "Bram Stoker". He has released 2 LPs and several EPs since 2015 with differing band lineups, or guests. This time around, he has released a 4 track EP that has a duration of just over 30 minutes. Each track lasts around 7 - 8 minutes. Tony has said this EP is released in advance of a new album that will be released hopefully this autumn (2019). Joining Tony, who plays keyboards and guitars, is vocalist Damien Child, Greg Pringle on drums, and bassist Pete Clark.

"Before the Fall" starts off the EP with some lush keyboards and a nice mid-tempo song. Damien's vocals start quickly, and he has a full, emotional voice which reminds me a little bit of Tim Bowness from "No-man". The keyboards are quite prominent on this track supported with guitars adding atmosphere. There is a symphonic edge to the music. Later, a passage led by guitars give things a slight Floydian feel.

"All the Way to Heaven" feels a bit darker, but continues with the overall lushness of the first track. The chorus is a bit brighter and more solid feeling and this alternates with the soft, darkness of the verses. A nice bass break leads the way for a atmospheric guitar solo followed by fluttering synths. But, even at 7 minutes, nothing really stands out.

"Wings to Fly" has that Alan Parsons vibe to it, pop/progressive, but the melody doesn't lend itself to anything catchy or emotional until it gets to the bridge at which point it starts to soar and is followed up with a much better guitar solo, but things don't build off of that as it loses it's steam with a somewhat meaningless section that goes nowhere other than to add time to the track. Even when things slow and the drums and bass drop off signaling what could have been an emotional guitar solo, we only get a substandard solo and then more pointless wandering. The guitar acts like it wants to go somewhere, but it doesn't.

"Coming Back" is the last track, and it has a heavy plodding beat with solidness in both the guitar and keys. Damien returns to the Tim Bowness feel again and you get a more emotional delivery here. There is a longer instrumental break here, with some guitar passages that seem to want to rise above the overall average-ness of the songs, but nothing really pays off here. It's all stuff we've heard many times before.

The songs here pretty much come across as being mostly average. Many times they threaten to become something greater, but seem to be restrained keeping them from advancing to being what they aspire to be. Everytime you think you are building up to something, nothing much happens. The music is pleasant enough, but doesn't really rise above anything other than being symphonic-lite, making sure it stays accessible and mediocre.

 22 Layers Of Sunlight by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.81 | 50 ratings

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22 Layers Of Sunlight
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by Agnenrecords

4 stars I am a big fan of the original Tony Lowe ? Mark Brzezicki ESP collaboration and after the launch of the debut album Invisible Din (2016) I pronounced that I wanted to hear more from them. A year and a half later 22 Layers of Sunlight is the product of a more settled outfit, with Lowe and Brzezicki being joined by Peter Coyle (ex-Lotus Eaters) on vocals plus bassist Pete Clark and keyboard player Richard Smith; ESP Invisible Din was more of a collective which though showcasing the talents of a variety of guest musicians including David Cross and David Jackson (whose collaboration CD Another Day coincidentally arrived on my doormat the same day as 22 Layers) and vocalist John Beagley, would have been a nightmare to organise as a touring entity.

Coyle brought the concept with him, an original, cautionary tale of global tech-monopolies and AI that has increasing relevance in modern society. It was good to hear the instrumental layers are all still there, with the opening track God of Denial and its subsection The Code shifting seamlessly from angular post-rock guitar riffs to a couple of bars of lead synthesizer that wouldn't be out of place on a proggy Steven Wilson album and then to orchestrated soundscape, all neatly tied together by Coyle's clever lyrics.

Algorithm contains some post-Hackett Genesis drum sounds and a dual vocal passage that strongly reminds me of Sigur Rós, then the title track has a cinematic orchestrated movement that gives way to a quality prog workout before reprising the chorus and main melody, though overlain with some gorgeous guitar soloing.

Ride through Reality allows the players to let rip, it's an instrumental with a little vocalising, partly jazzy but also reminiscent of Lamb Lies Down-era Genesis instrumental blows, brief but not short on quality. Smiling Forever is another post-rock composition, laden with Mellotron string patches before it also goes full-Floyd with beautiful, tasteful slowburn guitar and after a vocal reprise blends into the laid-back Don't Let Go section of the longest track on the CD Butterfly Suite with flute Mellotron patches. Traveling Light is the excellent instrumental part of this track, harking back to the sounds and complex rhythms of Genesis circa 1973 with some great synthesizer and organ work and more tasteful guitar, which eventually resolves into a very Hackett-like, disturbing riff before Sensual Earth continues with similar sounding themes, alternating analogue synthesizer lines and expressive guitar.

Gunshot Lips is a more modern-sounding track, its urgency dissolving into trance grooves before the driving beat resurfaces, though it retains the multiple layers of the more cinematic and prog pieces. When he introducing the song at a gig at the Half Moon in London, Coyle confessed he didn't know why it was called 'Gunshot Lips'. Final track Ballad of Broken Hearts is an orchestrated, melodic piece with a deceptively pop-y structure overlain with harmonic splashes of guitar and lead synth. It's quite optimistic sounding until about three quarters of the way through when it slows and becomes more proggy and reflective as Coyle sings 'is this all I can hope for?'

You can tell it's an ESP album ? there are certain similarities in quality of voice between Coyle and his Invisible Din predecessor Beagley ? with the same degree of originality and a greater feeling of consistency on 22 Layers, though there are probably more excursions away from the undeniably symphonic prog feel of Invisible Din. It's certainly a worthy sophomore effort, expertly crafted with excellent writing and musicianship, impeccable production and once again, a beautiful presentation.

I think of ESP Invisible Din as a Lowe/Brzezicki band but after seeing ESP 2.0 live, where Coyle may have played the part of front man, the group appeared to be more democratically organised than its predecessor. Invisible Din would get an easy 4 stars from me because it's something I played quite a lot shortly after its release. 22 Layers of Sunlight still gets 4 stars although I think it's less proggy than Invisible Din

 Invisible Din by ESP album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 33 ratings

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Invisible Din
ESP Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars

On the cover the album is credited to Tony Lowe and Mark Brzezicki (Big Country, Procol Harum) and special guests, and on closer inspection, it can be seen that these guests comprise David Cross (King Crimson), David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator), Phil Spalding (Steve Hackett, Mike Oldfield), Steve Gee (Landmarq), John Young (Lifesigns), Pat Orchard, Alison Fleming (Tony Lowe), John Beagley and electric harp from Yumi Hara (Daevid Allen, Hugh Hopper). So, quite special indeed. David Cross only adds his violin to a couple of songs, but David Jackson is there with a sax and flute for five, but while the guests do add to the overall album, this very much the work of Tony (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Mark (drums, vocals).

The best way to describe this album is to think of the more laid-back prog of the Seventies, as many of those bands had an impact here. Imagine if you will 'Octoberon' era Barclay James Harvest combined with Alan Parsons Project, Steve Hackett, and possibly just a touch of Pink Floyd. It is a delicious delight, perfect for late nights, and for drifting away on. There are layers upon layers, and it is all about the arrangements: it is exactly the type of music that punk was supposed to get rid of, and failed. Symphonic prog, which has managed to stay on just the right side of being produced to death, so that each instrument can be clearly discerned and the complexity of the music can be appreciated, yet always it seems almost simple in its beauty and approach. Highly accessible, this is a wonderful progressive rock album that will delight many fans of the genre.

Thanks to Formentera Lady & dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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