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IAIN JENNINGS

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Iain Jennings picture
Iain Jennings biography
Born in ? (York, UK)

Known for having been the MOSTLY AUTUMN's keyboardist from the beginning to 2005 (and rejoined in 2008), is already featured on PA for his solo project BREATHING SPACE, which was also the name of his first solo album, a thing that causes a bit of confusion.

His albums, as well as those released as Breathing Space, usually feature elements from Mostly Autumn: Bryan Josh, Olivia Sparnenn and Anne-Marie Helder between the others.

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IAIN JENNINGS discography


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

3.53 | 15 ratings
Breathing Space
2005
3.96 | 9 ratings
My Dark Surprise
2013
3.86 | 7 ratings
The House
2017

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

IAIN JENNINGS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Iain Jennings, The Classic Rock String Quartet, Angela Goldthorpe - The Pink Floyd Chamber Suite -
2003

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

IAIN JENNINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 My Dark Surprise by JENNINGS, IAIN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.96 | 9 ratings

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My Dark Surprise
Iain Jennings Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I deeply enjoyed Bryan Josh, when he founded Mostly Autumn and blessed us with their first three spectacular recordings but as soon as he took over the entire direction, they have sputtered, in my opinion. The reason is that Josh cannot make attractive prog-pop music because he is better at writing epic soundtracks. All along, save for a brief moment, was perennial keyboard and composer Iain Jennings, a true master of the ivories who began his solo career with a debut album called Breathing Space, introducing a new band by that name that featured the magnificent Oilivia Sparnenn. She subsequently became MA's lead lung, replacing the cocky Heather Findlay and fit in nicely upon Breathing Space's abrupt ending. Iain has rejoined the Josh train and Olivia has now married Mr.Josh ! His second solo album is most welcome as it's just a newer, more modern version of Breathing Space. What I do not get, is that Iain's work (4 albums in all) is way beyond the current Mostly Autumn, a spinning wheel band that has lost its original identity. I guess Jennings was keeping his best material for himself, since Josh kept rejecting them, preferring his own gravelly arrangements.

"Take Control" is as apt a title to kick off this jewel, a tremendously appealing track that has a way more urbane feel, recalling the finer neo-prog acts in recent memory, whilst showcasing a new talent in lead vocalist Mark Chatterton, hitherto unknown to this reviewer but with a definite Ray Wilson feel. There is a certain brash confidence that exudes from the groove, a dense, monolithic barrage of sound, screaming guitars, brooding bass undertow and wild drum patterns. Taking control, indeed!

"Change the Shape" just takes the next step a tad forward, mentioning "computer control'' and "creating chaos" within a driving chorus, bashing forward with unmitigated sheen., all players clearly involved in gelling. The fast and furious metallic tinges illustrate a very futuristic sound, a new found version of power-prog, relentless, moody and aggressive. A whistling synth solo defines the author as a studied soloist and not just a clever composer.

"Hidding My Fears" is ballad territory, a brief respite "far beyond the madness", vocal and piano intertwined in a common embrace. There is a palpable propensity towards sheer emotion and passion, when presented in the simplest vessel can only be successful if the delivery and the message are utterly believable. This is just plain beautiful, no other words are needed.

The killer track here is the robotic, dance-vectored, power-pop extravaganza title track, flashing hints of Ultravox, Depeche Mode, OMD, Kraftwerk all thrown into the pot, with a magnetic trance-like intro that winks at recent Galahad. A stretched out Roxy Music-like saxophone floating in its exotic juices spices up the flow, choir wailings resonate deeply. The glorious vocals from newcomer Mark Chatterton are soulful yet also wrapped in a veil of ennui that is quite intoxicating. Very cool indeed, Ferry, Gahan, Ure and company would be proud.

"Stand inside the Shadow" is raunchier rock with Blue Oyster Cult styled histrionics, punchy, groovy and delirious. The fret boards are front and center and certainly call attention to themselves. The spirit is liberated from any constraint, which only provides even more quality to the melodies and the playing. The hypnotic onslaught is further enhanced by another welcome sax blast (a wonderful but rare prog detail) and a gloomy effect-laden voice. The mid-section jam elicits comparisons with Ozric Tentacles, as the players just converge towards some unseen goal, wailing female backing vocals take this into the stratosphere. Bloody brilliant!

The riveting "That's Why I fly" is brooding, desperate, highly addictive, this could be a 'hit' in a better prog-oriented world. Sentimental, malaise-ridden and decidedly European, the clanging piano lead introduces another strong vocal, the chorus soaring into the heavens and ensuring the theme's placement into one's pleasure zone. There is also a cinematographic quality that is undeniable.

The next two tracks are good but nothing comparable to the other material presented here: "A Choice to Make a Change" is a track that required a few revisits as I really missed the point the first two times. Not that it's terribly complicated, it just has a different feel, more urgent and poetic though the lyrics impressed from the get-go. "Nowhere in my Head" is the only track I did not enjoy, too close to Josh's recent gravelly style and as such sounds more like MA than anything else. Iain delves into some interesting synth patches (a slight Celtic tinge) but the vocals just do not do it for me.

The other massive prize is the whimsically unpredictable "A Mirror of Me", a soothing foray into dream atmospherics, highly evocative and drenched in sad melancholia. Elegant piano leads the arrangement, slippery synths and intense vocals entering through the reflective corridor and expanding towards the heavens. Punishing drums courtesy of the stellar Gavin Griffiths (Karnataka, Fish, Panic Room and of course Mostly Autumn)! "Just your Genetic" ends this little jewel on a high note, Iain caressing the piano keys with superior restraint, the massed guitars bruising a hallowed path, painted with obvious fresh tendencies. Powerful and bombastic, the grandiose elements that make this such a joy to listen to are all highly apparent. The pummeling bass bashes along devilishly.

This rewarding release seeks to highlight a more urban feel, certainly miles away from the predictable pseudo-pop Mostly Autumn fare, suggesting perhaps that Josh should rely more on Jennings' overt talent for melody and atmosphere. As such, my mind is made up and Jennings will always be one of my prog heroes. By continuing his solo vision, Iain just provides my needed Breathing Space.

4.5 shadowy disclosures

 Breathing Space by JENNINGS, IAIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.53 | 15 ratings

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Breathing Space
Iain Jennings Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars British keyboardist and composer Iain Jennings belongs among the important figures of Mostly Autumn, being part of their most productive period and popularity's peak.In 2005 Jennings decided to record and release privately his first solo album ''Breathing space''.All musicians particapting in the album were current or future members of the Mostly Autumn line-up: Olivia Sparnenn on vocals, Liam Davison on guitars/bass, Bryan Josh on guitars and Andrew Jennings on drums.

Jenning's first solo output sounds like a less-symphonic and-folk flavored version of MOSTLY AUTUMN, where accesible melodies lead the music to very memorable atmospheres with a nice instrumental background, a bit like PAATOS and PANIC ROOM.And that's because the album contains also lots of electronic loops next to the natural instrumentation.Compositionally the album is varied still very consistent with Jennings offering from synth-drenched instrumental themes and grandiose, melodic rockers to melancholic ballads and modern Electronic soundscapes.The guitars deliver some lovely melodies, not far from CAMEL's recent works, while Sparnenn's vocals are absolutely fantastic, suiting perfectly with the very atmospheric music.A few pop sensibilities are also thrown in for good measure, but basically ''Breathing space'' is a pure Progressive/Art Rock album with a flexible and at moments impressive instrumental depth and a very balanced sound.The last couple of tracks, which are also the longest ones, are excellent examples of Jenning's composing talent, a mix of spacey soundscapes with melodic Symphonic Rock and Electronic Music of high quality with very limited vocals and extended instrumental textures.

A work of full beautiful melodies, different emotions and varied stylistic expressions.A must have for all fans of the accesible side of Progressive Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Breathing Space by JENNINGS, IAIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.53 | 15 ratings

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Breathing Space
Iain Jennings Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars As a general rule, I dislike labeling, tagging and classifying even though I work with accountants professionally. I guess the element I admire most in prog is the rebellious tendency to go beyond the norm and the doctrinaire, searching for the musical chameleon that will light my fire. Some have anointed this as barely prog, a moniker which I find surprising in view of the wide girth progressive rock has been given. This debut solo album from former Mostly Autumn keyboardist Iain Jennings has evolved into a band project that parallels the mother ship only through its members (drummer Andrew Jennings, guitarist Liam Davison and hot singer Olivia Sparnenn), as the material relies a great deal on Iain's dexterous keyboard tapestries. Frankly since his departure from MA, my interest level has dipped somewhat, leader Bryan Josh preferring a more commercial sound that is hit and miss with me. So what's this album like, you may ask? The contemporary artwork reveals little of the content inside, a distant wink at Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark debut but with different colors. A few masterful tunes such as the epic instrumentals "Escape", a colossal foray that recalls the moody expanses of "Distant Train" off the Mostly Autumn Passengers album and the ultra-modern "Man Made Circles" with its loads of current beats and some fine tortured guitar playing. These two pieces are worth admission price alone, absolutely memorable and atmospheric. Where some might get a tad lost in the process lies with the vocal pieces, certainly more tune-oriented material that recall the Karnataka/Magenta/ The Reasoning realm of estrogen voiced propulsion. "Shades of Grey" is very cool with its lilted chorus and extended sweeping synth solo and "Belief" supplies a whopping Josh guitar rant. The lengthy "You Still Linger" has some nice orchestrations within very familiar MA territory, giving Olivia room to stretch her lung tissue and supplying a raging finale with blistering key and fret board expressions. The other tracks are pleasurable pieces that flirt with commercial rock, at times anthemic ("I've Been Thinking"), romantic ("No Promises") and falling within the confines of classic rock balladry ("Wasted All the Time"). In all, half of this album is pure genius and the other more mainstream, with no hint of tin whistles, uillean pipes, fiddles or such to be found, one wonders what musical breadth Breathing Space will aspire to conquer in the future. In the meantime, the tremendous "Escape" remains a personal fave that seemingly finds itself in all my playlists. Hmmmmm! 4 air pockets.
Thanks to octopus-4 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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