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Simon McKechnie biography
UK artist Simon McKECHNIE is a composer and musician that have been active and visible since sometime around the millennium. He has composed music for BBC Television, wrote a musical with author Gary Waterman, was the founder and leader of fusion band Azul and is the guitarist of the backing band of Portuguese artist Nuno Silva. McKechnie made his debut as a solo artist in 2011 with "London Reborn", where he covered old London folk songs. In 2013 he expanded his repertoire to include progressive rock with his second album "Clocks and Dark Clouds".

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
London Reborn
4.67 | 3 ratings
Clocks and Dark Clouds
3.50 | 2 ratings
Newton's Alchemy
3.05 | 2 ratings
From My Head To My Feet
3.00 | 1 ratings

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 From My Head To My Feet by MCKECHNIE, SIMON album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.05 | 2 ratings

From My Head To My Feet
Simon McKechnie Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A solo project of top notch progressive rock music from Simon McKechnie. Along with playing all of the instruments except woodwinds and drums (played by Adam Riley and recorded masterfully), Simon's powerful and clear voice shows signs of either some classical training or Broadway musical experience--which is a plus. This is a voice that is refreshing to hear yet is sadly only truly accentuated in the first two songs. Simon also has quite an obvious attraction to historical themes for his lyrical compositions.

1. "Hymn of Apollo" is a beautiful, dramatic song constructed around the poem of the same name by Percy Bysshe Shelley. There is a certain familiarity to Simon's wonderful singing voice--very much akin to that of NOEL McCALLA. The music of the song itself even has the feel of the MIKE RUTHERFORD album Smallcreep's Day on which Noel sang lead vocals. My second favorite song on the album. (9/10)

2. "Jane Wenham's Trial" sounds quite like GENTLE GIANT and the CARDIACS. Some nice chinky bass and awesomely fresh guitar sounds (African/Caribbean sounding) woven together with the flutes, drums and vocals. Some nice ANDY PARTRIDGE energy and quirkiness to this one. My favorite song on the album. (9/10)

3. "Year of Light" sounds like an instrumentalized Part 2 to the previous song. Nice layers of multiple guitars--some sounding like DAVE GREGORY (XTC, Big Big Train) (8/10)

4. "From My Head to My Feet" is an obnoxiously poppy in the vein of YES' 1980s output. A disappointing turn in the album. (6/10)

5. "Melita" sounds very much like it could have come from the 2014 KNIFEWORLD album, The Unravelling, former Cardiacs' guitarist Korvus Torabi. (7/10)

6. "Once Upon a Time" is jazzy, multi-culturally influenced instrumental with African-influence guitar-play being the prime feature. (8/10)

7. "The Harpists' Song" has quite a Noel MCCALLA/MIKE RUTHERFORD feel to it--as if it could have come straight from the 1980 Smallcreep's Day album. Interesting but ultimately quite forgettable. (7/10)

An extremely talented musician, singer and composer, this album is only deserving of three stars for the sake of inconsistent composition and engineering, and inconsistent display of this artist's talents (his dramatic voice). I love the affinity for old historically based stories, the more theatric vocals, the drumming, and the multifarious choices for guitar sounds--oft-times layered on right over the other. But the songwriting, recording and entertainment value are widely disparate over the course of the album. Still, Simon's talent is such that I will most certainly be backtracking to try to hear his previous albums.

 Clocks and Dark Clouds by MCKECHNIE, SIMON album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.67 | 3 ratings

Clocks and Dark Clouds
Simon McKechnie Crossover Prog

Review by Aeolus

5 stars Rarely does an artist appear in the progressive world so suddenly out of nowhere and create such a stir within the progressive world. 'Clocks and Dark Clouds', in 2013, is one of those cases.

But first, who is this SIMON MCKECHNIE? This London-based Scotsman has lead and played bass in the Latin Jazz group AZUL. He has also showed his classical guitar skills playing with Portuguese Fado singer ' performer NUNO SILVA. Then in 2011, he released his first album, 'London Reborn', a modern interpretation of old London folk songs. The latter shows a skilled musician, a versatile composer with a voice starting from lower ranges and reaching a high falsetto. However, none of these previous releases and collaborations could have prepared us for this Monster of an album!

'Clocks and Dark Clouds' includes 7 songs, all 7 minutes and longer. Although that is usually a problem for the flow of an album, it is not the case here. Each part blends effortlessly into the next one, never staying too long, while the main theme of each song reappears slightly differently ' that is what makes our favourite prog epics so great. You won't find any verse ' pre-chorus ' chorus structure here.

I would describe the music as eclectic prog. Themes and melodies come and go, always accompanied with a dissonant counter-melody or a different rhythmical part. There are also these little surprises, where a tone or melody is presented, only to turn into part of another tone, like the beginning of the song 'Mother and Daughter'. The presence of different rhythmic metres and the frequent rhythmic changes are so prevalent that it makes you wonder if Simon has become allergic to 3/4 and 4/4! It is as if the composer has purposely decided to take all defining aspects of progressive rock and overdo it. The result is a musical product that will definitely not appeal to the masses, but will come as a delight to prog fans of all genres.

All instruments apart from drums have been recorded by Simon McKechnie, lying down on the floor of the studio due to a spine problem. Contrary to what one could expect from the density of the music, there is no heavy guitar here. Simon has been a fan of prog for enough years to know how long or how overbearing a guitar part or solo should be, and the result is amazing! The production and mastering at 'Close to the Edge' studio in London helps the end result to breathe out and all the little details to show. The drums were recorded by professional jazz drummer Adam Riley. Not only has he managed to come through the difficulties of the rhythmic complexity, but he has also left his own mark here.

As for the vocals, it seems that most of the hard work and experimentation has taken place here. As mentioned before, Simon is a skilled singer; able to express any feeling required. At times it seems that the music has been written to accompany the lyrics, and not the opposite. It is a feeling I have experienced with Jogi Kaiser's vocals on SIEGES EVEN's 'A Sense of Change' album ' in both cases there is a liquid versatility in the lyrics, as if they have tried ' and managed ' to break free from the strict rhythmic confinement. The similarities don't stop here. In both albums, the key word is 'abstract', not to mention that you don't know what to expect at the next moment.

There are various lyric themes throughout the album, but there is a tendency towards dark themes, mythology and Lovecraftian end- of-the-world apocalyptic scenarios. However, the overall feeling of the songs is more dissonant rather than doomy or pessimistic.

All in all, this album is something completely fresh, deserving all the praise it has already got. On his first effort at progressive rock, SIMON MCKECHNIE delivered a masterpiece, following all the guidelines of the genre, yet unlike anything you have heard before. It is one of the albums of 2013 that is going to be remembered dearly for long. I am really looking forward to listening to his new album, 'From my Head to my Feet', to be released later this month.

This review was originally written for

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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