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Crossover Prog • United Kingdom

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Bulbs biography
Hailing from Liverpool/UK BULBS is a new band initiated by Neil Campbell, a classically trained guitar player, who is always on the run to expand his musical scope. He already had a bunch of collaborations and is responsible for several music productions in the meanwhile. Probably best-known might be the Neil Campbell Collective with two highly appraised prog albums in the back. He also has been working with YES vocalist Jon Anderson on a series of large scale choral works over the past five years.

The label BULBS stands for both a musical concept and a real band which aims to marry adventurous music-making with information and sound samples chosen to challenge the audience to look around them at the world in which they are living. It aims to 'switch on listeners like light bulbs' to question conventional wisdom and corporate media propaganda. The band specialises in creating atmospheric and consciousness-expanding experiences for the audience while presenting live performances with syncronised projected visuals.

For BULBS Neil Campbell has teamed up with bassist Andy Maslivec, Joey Zeb (drums) and Marty Snape who cares for samples, loops and other electronic effects. Released in June 2013 the debut album 'On' represents a challenging effort featuring complex cyclical rhythms and deep underlying thematic structures.

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3.91 | 15 ratings

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BULBS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 On by BULBS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.91 | 15 ratings

Bulbs Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK quartet BULBS was formed in 2011 and is based out of Liverpool. Their stated goal is to "bring together adventurous music-making with information and sound samples chosen to challenge the audience to look around them at the world in which they are living", a goal they have mainly sough to reach while performing live within a multimedia context, if I understand the band's description correctly. "On" is their debut album, and was self-released in June 2013.

Neil Campbell is a high quality guitarist and a skilled composer to boot. His excellence on the acoustic guitar in particular is given lots of room to shine on this production, paired off with subtly or sharply contrasting themes where the electric guitar, keyboards and electronics are given more room. With a high quality rhythm section backing him the end result is an intriguing one, difficult to place within a defined subgenre context but well worth checking out by those who tend to enjoy innovative progressive rock in general, especially those amongst that loosely defined audience that have an affection for plucked acoustic guitar details.

 On by BULBS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.91 | 15 ratings

Bulbs Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

4 stars This band was initiated by guitarist and composer Neil Campbell, who is equipped with a classical background. He already attracted my attention with his NEIL CAMPBELL COLLECTIVE some years ago - the project had released two albums in 2005 respectively 2008, but does not exist anymore. The experimental and eclectic approach still marks a real asset to my prog rock collection. Now BULBS features prolific musicians again, though yet provided with a more common rock music instrumentation. Apart from the acoustic guitar here and there, this album certainly sounds less classical, orchestral oriented. However, again, there is a melting pot of influences to state. The music does not serve anything for the mainstream, to make it clear.

At a first glance I was inclined to say that Neil Campbell clearly dominates 'On' with his multiple and multi-layered guitar contributions. Acoustic and electric moments are given in a relatively balanced manner - definitely virtuoso and varied, since he covers the entire spectrum from melancholic heartfelt right up to metal riffing. With delay though ... gradually ... when listening closely, samples and electronics, presented by newest member Marty Snape, are also pushing forward, including lots of spacey patterns and other restrained, but well-appointed spots. And it might be also important to mention, that credits for composition and production are assigned to the complete band - touche! Drummer Joey Zeb and bassist Andy Maslivec are doing a great job here too, that's for sure.

Well, this finally means, because resulting from a fruitful teamwork (I'm sure about that), the full package sounds rounded, yes! Let me recommend to listen in one go, to consider this an epic. Although not clearly designated as a concept album 'On' bears some sort of golden thread. Some evidently nice themes/melodies are repeatedly given throughout the album, a recognition value which plays a part in contributing to a pleasurable feeling after a while. The short Lament is a duet featuring spheric synths amd melancholic guitars. Some songs like Future Cities are celebrating a heavy rocking pace. Furthermore you can also detect King Crimson adopted impressions on USA.

My personal highlights (at the moment) are the charming They Control The Weather as well as the groovy Illuminate - conducted by a driving bass, mysteriously lurching between a dramatic and relaxed mood. At the moment ... that means, this CD will definitely enter my player again in the future - there's still something undiscovered, I'm sure. 'On' is a successful effort with a unique flavour, represents a new piece of sophisticated rock music, compelling, challenging, melodic and accessible at once. In short - substantial food for prog gourmets.

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition.

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