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JOHANNES LULEY

Crossover Prog • United States


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Johannes Luley biography
Born in Hamburg, Germany

US composer and musician Johannes LULEY is probably best known as the driving force of US band MOTH VELLUM, who released a highly heralded debut album in 2008 and then more or less disappeared. The band formally disbanded in 2010, and since then Johannes has been hard at work contuning his musical escapades as a solo artist. His first solo album "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" appeared in January 2013.

See also: PERFECT BEINGS

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JOHANNES LULEY discography


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

3.82 | 86 ratings
Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
2013
4.03 | 52 ratings
Qitara
2017

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JOHANNES LULEY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Qitara by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.03 | 52 ratings

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Qitara
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Johannes Luley finally realizes his jazz-self while still retaining some of the melodic sensibilities of his progressive rock output with Moth Vellum and Perfect Beings. As usual, Johannes has collected a posse of top notch jazz musicians to help him fulfill his dream of producing a high-quality album of songs that seem to pay tribute to some of the giants of the 1970s Jazz-Rock Fusion movement.

Favorite songs: the brooding, dulcimer-based psychedelia of 4. "Sister Six" (5:33) (9.75/10); the amazing, full-on tribute to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, 11. "Agni Rahasya" (4:49) (9.25/10); the piano and horn PAT METHENY GROUP- like 2. "Upness" (6:27) (9/10); the gorgeous foundational music and more-plaintive solo electric guitar--more Hiram Bullock or Allan Holdsworth in style--of 8. "Faces in Reflection" (3:38) (9/10); the other, bluesier Jeff Beck (and, perhaps, Larry Coryell) tribute, 9. "Hot Sands" (3:53) (8.75/10); the schizophrenic 1970s John McLaughlin-like opener, "Doer" (5:10) (8.75/10); the William Ackerman-like acoustic 3. "Seconds" (1:42) (4.5/5); the Larry Coryell/Steve Howe-like 5. "Solilloquist" (2:58) (4.25/5), and; the dirty Jeff Beck-like guitar sound over the mellow smooth jazz of 6. "Moonlight Mesa" (4:40) (8.5/10).

Weaker, but still interesting and remarkable: the bastardized variation on "Watcher of the Skies," 7. "Red and Orange" (5:25) (8.25/10), and; the more obtuse melodies of the acoustic and electric guitar duet of 10. "White City" (3:23) (8/10)

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of jazz-rock fusion--a beautiful tribute to some of the finest J-R Fusion guitarists of the all-time.

 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars My bad. 7 years ago Johannes Luley asked me to review his new album, then I totally forgot about it. Now, reading back my inbox I've found his request, and luckily his album is still available on soundcloud so I've had the possibility of listening to it and wirte this review, just "a bit late". While the Moth Vellum debut sounded like a Genesis tribute, this one has a lot of connections with one of my favorite albums. It's derivative, and it may be considered a bad thing, but Jon Anderson has never been able to repeat himself at the level of his masterpiece Olias Of Sunhillow. Johannes Luley, instead, has created what may be considedred a follow-up to the Anderson's masterpiece.

It features percussions ,bells high pitched vocals, choirs, almost all the ingredients of Olias, but has something that Jon doesn't have; classical guitar skills. In this sense, Guardians Of Time is an excellent track which takes some distance from Olias. The vocal harmonies of Kristina Sattler and Luley in the first part are replaced by a relaxing instrumental part.

The 12 strings guitar on Moments sounds a bit more closer to the Rabin's period of YES with a little touch of Parallels from Going for The One. So if you like YES, why not giving this album a try? Also the sleeve design is clearly reminding to them. It's clear that Luley wanted deliberately to sound this way. If this was the purpose, he totally succeded. Give and Take is clearly divided in two distonct parts: the first solar, with the guitar sounding like Howe, the second darker based on percussion and more in the vein of Olias.

It's not Mood For A Day, but the acoustic guitar played like a classical is one of the typical Howe's things. Luley does the job very well, and the melody is consistent, not just a guitar exercize.

We Are One: let'ìs joke a bit: with Anderson you are two. If I didn't know what I'm litening to, I would guess that there's a Jon Anderson's album I hven't listened to yet...

Atheos Spiritualis is Latin, and as many may have guessed, it means spiritualistic Atheist. It's mainly a bolero without the crescendo and the repetitivity of the famous Ravel's one, neither as the Abbadon's by EL&P. It has a classical feeling and is based on major chords. It reminds me to Rossini. at least until percussion, vocals and steel guitar bring us back to Olias' world. The third part of this track is darker and, probably because I have Anderson in mind, I recall Kitaro's Dream. The keyboard here sounds like Vangelis, that's another artist that I personally like a lot.

Voya is the closer. It's another song in some ways mimic of Anderson and Howe, but I think to hear some "external" influences: in some passages I hear the influence of Simon and Garfunkel. Not too strange if you think to the YES debut.

So, it's a good album. Derivative, but probably it's what the artist wanted to do. Again, my bad. 7 years for a review of less than 600 words. Apologies to the artist for my delay.

 Qitara by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.03 | 52 ratings

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Qitara
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album really surprised me. I know of Johannes Luley's work in Moth Vellum, whose one and only album shows a lot of Yes and Steve Howe influences as well as some eighties pop. This album sounds nothing like it.

I have his solo album, 'Tales from Sheepfather's Grove' which sounds very much inspired by Jon Anderson's 'Olias of Sunhillow'. Except for some of the acoustic guitar tracks, this album sounds nothing like it.

I have all three Perfect Beings albums, and though there are some parts on this album that could have been considered for inclusion in Perfect Beings' music, this album honestly sounds nothing like it.

The album is said to be a jazz album and there's even a review on a jazz music web site. This shouldn't be surprising as Johannes was trained by a famous Dutch jazz guitarist. The surprise should be that it took him this long to record and release a jazz album.

At first, though, the jazz is not quite so apparent. The opening track, 'The Doer', captivates with some acoustic guitar before changing into a tense rocker with some excellent lead work by Johannes. This track alone is unlike anything heard on other Johannes Luley albums. Perhaps only a track or two from 'Perfect Beings II' comes even close to rocking out this hard. But then the track closes out with something vaguely reminiscent of something from a Steve Vai album with a melodic guitar synthesizer solo (okay, it might not be a guitar synthesizer but it does remind me of Steve Vai).

The second track, 'Upness' is where the jazz reveals itself and includes great solos on guitar ' both acoustic and electric, organ, and trumpet. But the opening doesn't sound jazzy at all and once again most closely resembles a Perfect Beings track.

The album includes two more mostly acoustic guitar tracks and only one vocal track with 'Sister Six' which to my ears takes us closest to Moth Vellum. It is a peaceful and moving song that has a flow like waves.

After this, the jazz theme sets in a little more obviously in some of the tracks, though there is some pretty wild, experimental guitar and some very energetic prog in tracks like 'Red and Orange', 'Hot Sands' and 'Agni Rahasya'.

My overall impression of this album is that Johannes Luley must have set out to record an album with a little more force and hard-hitting music than what he usually puts out with his other bands. Of course there are more gentle and laid back pieces, but it's the contrast of the faster, hard-hitting music that makes one appreciate that Mr. Luley has the talent and ability to play beyond what he normally gives us.

I guess the biggest surprise is that as a solo album, this one is so different from his previous offering, 'Tales from Sheepfather's Grove'. This album has tension, weight, force, and suspense. For me, this is one of those albums I probably never would have known about had it not been for the fact that I like all that I have heard from Johannes so far. It's a very pleasant surprise and I'm thrilled to have it in my collection.

 Qitara by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.03 | 52 ratings

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Qitara
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Sometime approximately a million years ago, Johannes contacted me to let me know about his band Moth Vellum. These days he is probably more well-known for being in Perfect Beings, but somehow he has also found time to release his second solo album only five years after the first. Now, I was a big fan of that when it was released, so was intrigued to hear what the new one was going to be like, so somehow managed to delete the files he sent me and it was only months later that I realised that I hadn't reviewed the album back in October when I meant to! So, here we are on the last day of March, and I am finally sitting down to put some words against what this album actually means.

This is a long way from what I would normally expect to hear from Johannes, either solo or in a band format, as here he has gone back to his roots, as apparently he grew up with the Canterbury sound. His father, an avid jazz lover, turned him on to George Duke and John Abercrombie, and these two heroes of Johannes' are honoured with the cover tracks "Faces in Reflection" and "Red and Orange". Again, this album is mostly instrumental, but there are some vocals, which do include one Ryan Downe, so two members of Moth Vellum are back together again. This is an album that has been heavily influenced by fusion, and also world music, so much so that one never knows what the next track is going to bring. This is a real voyage, as one moves through the music with Johannes as a guide, sometimes playing acoustic, sometimes electric, sometimes driving the music forward and sometimes letting the brass take the lead. This is incredibly eclectic, yet it all somehow makes sense as well. It is one of the most deep, reflective, and energising albums I have been lucky enough to come across, and yet again shows what an incredible force he can be.

I doubt that very few will be lucky enough to come across this album, but those who are that fortunate will all agree that this a real gem, something very special indeed.

 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars Is this a groundbreaking album? A Must record in your collection? Of course not, but It is a pleasant one nevertheless, the one You hear in the evening by yourself and with a tall glass of lemonade to quench your thirst. It is a cross between the folk side of MIke Oldfield and the sound of Jon Anderson and Vangelis, not a bad mix in my book. New ageish a little bit. So if You like the sweet sounds of pastoral, yet electronic, prog this is the album You need tonight to wash away your day. So, Mr. Luley. When do We expect your next production? Cannot wait.
 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'll admit that "Olias of Sunhillow" has never really grabbed me. I love Yes and I love Jon Anderson in Yes. But "Olias", for all its wonder and creativity and vision, as of yet still hits the target only near the edge for me. Now Johannes Luley's bands Moth Vellum and Perfect Beings I really like. So without knowing much about "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove" I reckoned that I would probably like this album, too.

I read the CD notes first. Johannes had an old cuarto, and hatched the concept of an album on which he would play almost every instrument. Because he's not a drummer, Johannes decided to forgo the drums and use only percussion. One look at the impressive list of instruments and you can imagine the effort and no doubt joy that went into creating the music, music entirely by his own design because Johannes has his own studio. He receives assistance from only a few select guests such as Stephanie Bennett on concert harp and female vocals by Sianna Lyons, Robin Hathaway and Kristina Sattler.

Now with Johannes handling nearly all of the instrumentation (various stringed instruments, synthesizer, percussion) and supplying his own vocals which are soft and high like Jon Anderson, the "Olias of Sunhillow" comparisons become apparent right from the first track "Stab the Sea". But though I said I haven't warmed up to Jon Anderson's solo classic, I quickly took to "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove". There are some distinctly important reasons why.

First of all, the state of the art modern recording techniques capture Johannes' music with such warmth and richness that each instrument is clear and present. I find "Olias" lacks that warmth and sounds a little flat though that may be because the CD version I have predates modern remastering techniques. Maybe Steven Wilson should have a go at it.

Another thing is that even though Jon Anderson is a brilliant creator of musical concepts and a wonderful vocalist and persona, he is not a gifted musician in particular. That doesn't mean that he didn't do a stellar job on "Olias"; he most certainly did in that respect. But Johannes is a very talented musician and indeed a multi-instrumentalist.

It didn't take long before I completely forgot about the Olias comparisons and simply came under the spell of the music of "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove". Others have pointed out similarities to Steve Howe and Jon Anderson / Vangelis collaborations as well as Enya. The soft, relaxing and meditative atmosphere of the album also reminds me a little of Devin Townsend's "Ghost". "Tales" however is a shorter album, wrapping up in around 44 minutes, making it an easy album to absorb and actually seemingly over too soon.

Johannes Luley has created an immensely pleasurable collection of acoustic songs with electric instruments added only for atmosphere, colour, and, as one reviewer on the Net put it, the icing on the cake. The melodies are beautiful and positive or mysterious and mystical or even cinematic. A special mention goes to the first part of "Give and Take" with the harp. The music is just so beautiful that I must say for me this is a moment where music's arrow has struck the bullseye of my soul. I immediately think of a few deep souls with whom I would love to share this.

If you can appreciate this kind of music, I highly recommend it if you haven't heard it already. It's not complex and tricky prog. Sweeping and transcendental would be more accurate terms to describe it.

Now I think I should go back to "Olias of Sunhillow" and give it more attention.

 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Sometimes I have problems with new music, when it just feels new, not new with the meaning innovate, but new as an opposite to the music I like. This music does not have that problem, not at all friends. Johannes Luley has done a (partially) lovely album with soft glittering landscapes with echoes from Mike Oldfield and some Steve Howe. Johannes Luley is an American guitarist who earlier has played in the symphonic band Mott Vellum and now has released his first studio record 2013. "Tales from Sheepfather's grove" has a wonderful cover picture which plays in the same high as Yes' covers, with the difference that this is darker. The title give me thoughts of "Tales from topographic oceans" but apart from the title and the cover there's no more similarities. The albums features Johannes Luley himself playing all instruments but harp which Stephanie Bennett plays. The singers are Robin Hathaway, Kristina Sattler and Sianna Lyons.

This is actually a record really worth acknowledging. Don't mind the first bland track(4/10) but listen to the second. Here in "Stab the Sea(II)" perhaps you wonder if it's Mike Oldfield. It has a cozy feeling anyway(7/10). Luley's role as a master guitarist is certain in "Guardians of Time" where he plays fantastic and the vocal duet is lovely(8/10). "Moments" doesn't even make anyone disappointed when the voice is bright(7/10). Then it becomes very much New Age, a nice soundscape but not interesting in "Give and Take(I)"(6/10) and "Give and Take(II)"(6/10). "The fleeting world"(9/10) is my favourite here. The track is instrumental and shows wonderful acoustic guitar. "We are one" would I hardly consider interesting(5/10) and "Atheos Spiritualis" fails with the second half which becomes very ambient; the first half is Asian and classical(5/10). Closer "Voya" has a nice end with good instrumentation and here I can hear Howe-inspirerd guitar(6/10.

I am mostly positive to this record. It contains a nice musical landscape with a lot of great acoustic guitar and the vocalists do a praiseworthy job. I wonder though still if this music is unique enough. Sometimes I feel it's a pale copy of Mike Oldfield. But don't mind, the music is still very nice and I recommend at least some of the tracks. Listen to those I marked seven or more. Good work!

 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Last week I received a private message from Johannes Luley in the Prog Archives Forums asking me to listen to his album, so I did it. Although Johannes Luley doesn't give very much detailed information about himself in his personal website, in his Soundcloud website or in his Facebook page (other than he is from Los Angeles and that played in a Progressive Rock band called Moth Vellum before recording this solo CD), I think that his music has a lot of influence from European Progressive Rock music and even some New Age and Folk music influences (influences are inevitable), particularly from artists like Steve Howe (in some of his guitar playing), Jon Anderson's solo music, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis (in the use of some keyboards atmospheres and percussion instruments and patterns), and Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips (in some guitar playing techniques and atmospheric sounds). He plays all the instruments and sings all the male vocals and he is a good singer. Among the instruments he played in this album are a lot of guitars (mainly acoustic), some keyboards and some percussion instruments, with the exception of a harp which is played by Stephanie Bennett. I think that he is mainly a guitarist but he plays very well the other instruments he uses in this album, although the keyboard sounds are used more for the creation of sound atmospheres and moods, even making the listener to imagine that he is playing his music in a forest because he uses some 'wind sounds' in the background. There are some singers (Robin Hathaway, Kristina Sattler, and Sianna Lyons) who sing very well, mostly doing backing vocals. Some of the backing vocals arrangements are influenced by Mike Oldfield and Jon Anderson, in my opinion. In general, the music is very melodic and atmospheric, and very optimistic in content. I can't say if this album is a conceptual album or not, because I'm not a native English language speaker, and I couldn't find the lyrics in his websites. Anyway, this album is very good, with 'happy moods' most of the time. It is very well recorded and mixed, and with a lot of sound variations and track transitions which work very well as a whole. I think that this album was done very professionally and maybe it took him a lot of time to plan it and to make it. The cover design is well done, and it really reflects the style of the music which the CD contains.
 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This one is tough to give a rating to because it sounds SO MUCH like a few other albums/artists (JON ANDERSON's Olias of Sunhillow, ENYA, MIKE OLDFIELD, and YES/STEVE HOWE) and yet it has such great sound, compositional facility and production.

Favorite songs: I like the acoustic guitar work on 7. "The Fleeting World" (8/10) and the first and last thirds of 3. "Guardians of Time" (8/10); 6. the ADIEMUS-like multiple drum rhythms and the deep bass chord pulse on "Give and Take (Part 2)" (8/10); and the lead guitar on the album's best song, 10. "Voya" (9/10), sounds EXACTLY like mid-70s Steve Howe, start to finish, note for note, sound/style for sound/style!

This is a solid four star album, maybe even higher, despite the familiarity. It's because, IMO, Luley has taken the sounds, styles and feeling of the above-mentioned artists, merged them, and produced music that is BETTER than the original artists. Though I love and miss MOTH VELLUM, it is nice to hear music still coming from at least one of its members. Also: Cool artwork on the album cover.

 Tales From Sheepfather's Grove by LULEY, JOHANNES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 86 ratings

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Tales From Sheepfather's Grove
Johannes Luley Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On Tales From Sheepfather's Grove, Johannes Luley offers up a range of melodic light-prog numbers spiced up a little here and there by moments reminiscent of the folkier turns of Mike Oldfield. It's a slickly produced and enjoyable album, though at points it meanders and loses my attention, so the compositions could probably do with tightening up a bit. Still, if you are fond of Luley's work in Moth Vellum then you could do a lot worse than giving this a try, and the mildly New Agey vibe that worms its way into some of the more minimalistic moments on the album is admittedly interesting.
Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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