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NEOGRASS

Eclectic Prog • Norway


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Neograss biography
If you imagine a band that wanted to play country/bluegrass covers and then suddenly changed into prog rock when started writing their own music, and if you think such an idea might be interesting, then I present you NEOGRASS. And you're right - it is an interesting concept indeed.
There are not many bands heavily utilising banjo in the prog rock realm. One might think of BELLA FLECK AND THE FLECKTONES, but NEOGRASS sounds nothing like them, since this Norwegian band is much more homogenic.

NEOGRASS are from Tromsø, formed in 2006 by Tore Morten Andreassen and Emil Bekkevold which were soon reinforced with Åsmund Wilter Eriksson and Aleksander Kostopoulos (bass and percussion respectively).

Emil sings and plays banjo. TMA is on guitars an Mellotrons. They proved that symphonic/country mutant between Mellotron and banjo works more than fine. Not all of their music sounds like a Symphonic Prog Rock + banjo, and such description won't do them justice. The guys are not hiding their love for bluegrass and rock 'n' music. Some of their releases sound more accessible, poppy, even new wave-y. They're also at ease with Krautrock and Prog Folk moments.

Highly recommended for an open-minded musical enthusiast.


Moris Mateljan, 2012.

Sources:
neograss.net
rateyourmusic.com/artist/neograss

Neograss official website

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NEOGRASS discography


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

2.48 | 8 ratings
The Sea of Tranquility
2010
3.52 | 14 ratings
Atlantis
2011
3.60 | 5 ratings
Overtru fra Yttersia
2012

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Lost World
2012
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Tromsø 2012
2012

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

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

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Smokey Reeds the Bandit
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Future Soundscapes (Holistic Remix)
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Legenden (Holistic Remix)
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Snowman
2013

NEOGRASS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Atlantis by NEOGRASS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.52 | 14 ratings

BUY
Atlantis
Neograss Eclectic Prog

Review by The Mystical

4 stars "Atlantis" is a very unique prog album.

It would be fair to say that Neograss is one of the most unique prog bands around. It seems that they are overlooked in the progressive scene due to their bluegrass roots, but to dismiss this record would be a tragedy.

"Atlantis" has a very unique sound. The band is excellent, a blend of deep vocals, banjo, drums, and synth (most notably mellotron). The captivating cover art is a good representation of the music; fresh, ambient and beautifully surreal. The symphonic texture of the record is ambient and beautiful. The album is a concept album based upon the mythical city of atlantis, and the music effectively portrays the story...in fact, I think that this is the greatest merit to the album. The musicianship is brilliant; all the musicians are very talented to say the least.

"Atlantis" is an excellent addition to a symphonic prog collection, and it should not go unnoticed. ☮

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 The Sea of Tranquility by NEOGRASS album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.48 | 8 ratings

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The Sea of Tranquility
Neograss Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Neograss from Tromso, Norway started in 2006 as a pure Bluegrass act, led by banjo player/singer Emil Bekkevold and multi-instrumentalist Tore Morten Andreassen.Having also an admiration for 70's Progressive Rock they decided to mix the two styles with the help also of bassist Asmund Wilter Eriksson and drummer Aleksander Kostopoulos.The result of their efforts was the three-part suite ''The Sea of Tranquility'', released in 2010.

Clocking at almost half an hour, this composition goes through different variations, exploring the fundamentals of Bluegrass and the vintage atmosphere of 70's Progressive Rock, but while the description is quite charming, the result is not very conveincing.The opening melody with the smooth rhythm section and the orchestral Mellotron is the best part of ''''The Sea of Tranquility'' and actually this one is repeated a few times until the end.The more Bluegrass-oriented themes though are rather boring.Very calm, almost exclusively played on banjo, and strongly based on Bekkevold's American-styled vocals, these are too long and mellow to overblow the grandiosity of the proggier passages, while the two styles also seem not very tightly connected to each other.The vocals are also an acquired taste and very far from what the prog listener is used to.The ending part ''Recapitulation and Coda'' is possibly the more interesting one.Here the groovy banjo jams of Bekkevold stands nicely next to the sound of Mellotron and flute strings, the opening lovely melody is repeated once again and these minutes never loose their unique mood.

It seems a long way for Neograss to compete with the monsters of modern Progressive Rock, despite their semi-original style.Too many relaxed Bluegrass moments are not the best idea for original but still energetic sound.Maybe a tighter blend like on the closing part should seal the deal...2.5 stars.

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 Atlantis by NEOGRASS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.52 | 14 ratings

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Atlantis
Neograss Eclectic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is something different!! A bluegrass band turned prog when they decided to write their own material? Well, that´s the description you get when you read their biography on PA written by Moris Mateljan. The group´s line up is compromised of banjo, acoustic guitar, double bass, drums and... mellotron! And, believe it or not, it works! Thanks to the strong songwriting and the fine musicanship of all members involved, the music inside is really creative, melodic and quite symphonic (the ones who love mellotron sounds will have a field day here). Although the instrumentation is quite limited (I guess there is also some synthesizer played besides the mellotron), their songs are pleasant and there is not even a hint of bluegrass music per se, at least on this album.

As you all might have guessed, this is a concept album about the hypothetical lost continent. Nothing new, since that theme is/was the source of inspiration for dozens of bands like Eloy (Ocean) or Earth And Fire (Atlantis). However, the approach is quite particular and interesting: lots of mellotron waves and banjo solos, excellent and versatile rhythm section. Vocals are average: Emil Bekkevold (vocals and banjo) has an ok voice and his delivering is almost spoken, which gives it a unique flavor. Not great, nor bad, but unique anyway. Production is excellent. While their limited array of instruments make the CD a little too long for such ambitious undertaking, I enjoyed it much more than I had expected. Oddly enough, my CD has the Atlantis Suite played twice: one divided in 5 parts, and the other played as a whole piece, but they are the same. I´m still wondering why they did it (a 48 minute CD would be much more fitting).

Rating: that´s very difficult album to rate. The music is surely good and their approach is at least bold and creative. I guess I´ll have to listen to their other CDs to have a bigger picture of their overall work and possibilities. Here that is limited only by the few instruments used. So 3.5 stars is the more fitting.

Recommended to anyone who wants to listen to something different, but not too spaced out or freaky.

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