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Machines Dream (Canada): Superb Neo/Crossover Prog

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yam yam View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 05 2014 at 15:37
Every now and then I come across something new and wonderful and think to myself "how the Hell have I not managed to find this until now...?"

Well that certainly applies to Machines Dream. I first heard them just the other day on Shaun Geraghty's 'Prog Mill' show on Radio Stafford and was instantly blown away.

The only reference to them on the site I could find was a spot on another radio show back in October 2012 - Globegig Radio, the Aurovine independent show: http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=90045.

So...Here we go:

Machines Dream are a Canadian Progressive Rock band (based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) with the goal of balancing the atmospheric and cinematic side of prog with the power of heavy rock and the universality of well-crafted songs.

Let's start by copying a bio provided by the band to Jorge Rittatore for This Strange Blog (and used here with their permission): 

"It wasnít supposed to be a band.

Craig West was fed up with trying to make music other people liked. Heíd been a guitar player, a bass player and a singer, but he hadnít yet figured out that when you try and do what you think will please others, youíre simply chasing the proverbial carrot on a stick.

Brian Holmes was cooling his heels rather than playing his keyboards or bass guitar. His bands were on indefinite hiatus and so he turned his attention to video games and relaxing with friends. Little did he and Craig know that their paths would soon cross, and their musical destinies inextricably linked.

The two first worked together, helping out British progressive rock band IT with some Canadian dates, as well as playing on ITís Departure album and DVD. That was 2006. Both musicians greatly enjoyed the experience, and took the opportunity to get to know each other better.

Ken Coulter played the drums every day, rehearsing relentlessly. Not because he played in a group, but because he simply loved music, and (very) loud percussion in particular.

The set of circumstances that brought the three together went something like this; Craig had a gig booked at a local bar with a group that had just broken up. To keep the commitment, he called Brian and guitarist Shayne Wigglesworth and asked if they would play this one show. Both agreed, however the makeshift group had no drummer and no material. Craig had met Ken through a mutual acquaintance and knew he played the drums, and although he had never actually heard him, Ken just seemed like the kind of guy who knew what he was doing, which turned out to be the case.

The gig was a smashing success! The non-band played a strange assortment of cover songs by artists ranging from Roxy Music to David Bowie to Peter Murphy. Having enjoyed the experience, the quartet concluded that they should keep playing together but decided they would rather just free-jam than learn other peopleís music.

It still wasnít supposed to be a band; just a group of friends getting together a few times a week and making some noise for fun. They added Marco Pierucci on bass guitar, freeing up Craig to play guitar and concentrate on singing. Incoherent jams became recognizable jams and eventually became songs; all the while, a style began to emerge. Having freed themselves from any expectations, simply creating the kind of music that felt right, the group soon realized their sound would best be described as (gasp) Ö Progressive Rock!

Marco exited, and Craig switched back to the bass guitar. They began recording, largely because Craig had a home studio and they felt they had created a batch of songs worth documenting. Shayne exited next and was replaced midway through recording by Keith Conway, a virtuoso whose group were recording a live album, conveniently with Craig engineering.

The name Machines Dream comes from an unreleased song written by singer/songwriter Chris Belsito. Craig had played lead guitar for Belsito on and off for a decade and had heard the demo of the song Machines Dream, which Chris had not planned on recording. For the record, the demo is now in Craigís custody and has been transferred from four track tape to hard drive for posterity. Interestingly, no one else in the band has heard the song, but the name seemed to suit the groupís style.

If you ask Machines Dream about their early influences, theyíll proudly state that they found inspiration in the progressive music of the past, in the same way Eric Clapton was inspired by American Blues.
Yes, they listened to groups like Pink Floyd, old Genesis, Marillion, King Crimson and Tool; you can still hear these influences at work in their music today.

However Ö that's just the bandís starting point. Their goal is to compose new music, experiment with new sounds and create meaningful songs that are far more than just tributes to the prog bands of yesterday. They want to build on the progressive music they enjoy, reflecting it, but not treating it like dogma.

The bandís first album was released in March, 2012, a collection of songs touching on themes such as mental illness, alienation, the importance of communication, and the desire to find a place in the world that is safe.
In 2013 Keith exited, and Craig, Brian and Ken began working on new songs in the studio with Craig playing guitar, bass and singing, Brian playing keyboards and bass, and Ken drumming. As the recording progressed, the group decided to add not one, but two new members to help finish the album, and play live.

In his early days, Rob Coleman worked for the United Nations (no, weíre not making this up) but through a string of circumstances too sordid to recount (ok, maybe we made up that bit) wound up working in the same fluorescent-lit government environment as Ken. The two began jamming with Brian, who suggested Rob might be a good fit for Machines Dreamís lead guitarist position.

Meanwhile, Craig had been working in the studio with Jake Rendell, a session player who had sung all the background vocals and harmonies for the first Machines Dream album. Jake was recording backing vocals for the second Machines Dream album when Craig asked him if he would like to join the band. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, Jake took over on live bass for the band, once again allowing Craig to play second guitar.

The bandís second album, entitled 'Immunity', will be released in 2014 and features a dense and cinematic blend of progressive rock and memorable song writing. The album has five songs, including the 26 minute title track.

At this point, we have to admit that yes, it is a band"
 
 

And a damn good one too!!!

https://www.facebook.com/MachinesDream, where they have just 223 likes

Machines Dream - Machines Dream (2012)



1. Boundaries (4:46)
2. Toronto Skyline (8:00)
3. London By Night (4:53)
4. Unarmed At Sea (7:34)
5. Mad For All Seasons (10:31)
6. Stop Waiting For Miracles (4:16)
7. Locusts (4:22)
8. Colder Rain (5:22)
9. Everyone Says Goodbye (4:00)
10. The Session (11:47)

Total Time 65:31

- Ken Coulter / drums
- Brian Holmes / keyboards
- Craig West / vocals, bass
- Keith Conway / lead guitar
- Jake Rendell / backing vocals, mandolin, other












The album can be downloaded for whatever you want to pay for it (it's actually completely free - but you can of course donate if you wish!) as MP3 (320kbps), FLAC or WAV here: http://machinesdream.aurovine.com/album/machines-dream.  Cool 

Well over an hour of music...and not a single second of filler to be found anywhere. If this had been released this year it would be in my top 10 albums of the year without a shadow of a doubt...even though we aren't even half way through it yet - that's how good I reckon it is!

I reckon team Neo should have a listen to start with, but let's wait and see what the first collab to comment makes of it shall we?  Embarrassed
 
Edit: The band signed with Sonic Vista Music at the beginning of November last year, the new album is currently being mixed, and there is also a remixed, remastered and expanded version of the first album in the works: http://www.sonicvistamusic.co.uk/tag/canadian-prog/.
 
Here's a live video of the band from last year:
 
 
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Edited by yam yam - June 05 2014 at 19:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2014 at 20:11
The bio quoted above has been recently updated by the band, and has been kindly provided to me via facebook:
 
"Itís easy to see that Machines Dream listened to groups like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion, King Crimson and Tool, and you can hear these influences in their work. That's just the bandís starting point. The goal of Machines Dream has become to compose new music, experiment with new sounds and to write meaningful songs that are far more than just tributes to the prog bands of yesterday.
 
But weíre getting ahead of ourselves. Letís go back a couple of years. It wasnít supposed to be a band!
 
Craig West bought a bass guitar when he was 16, but it took a couple of decades before he realized if you try and write music that you think other people will like, youíre just chasing the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick. Youíve got to do what you love or itís an insincere waste of time. Brian Holmes was in a metal band that were ďon hiatusĒ and his keyboards were collecting dust. In 2006, Craig and Brian worked together helping out British progressive rock band IT (http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=4767) with some Canadian dates, as well as playing on ITís Departure album and DVD. Both musicians enjoyed the experience, and decided they should continue working together.
 
Ken Coulter played the drums every day, rehearsing relentlessly. Not because he played in a group, but because he simply loved to play. The set of circumstances that brought the three together went something like this; Craig had a gig booked at a local bar with a group that had just broken up. To keep the commitment, he called Brian and guitarist Shayne Wigglesworth and asked if they would play this one show. Both agreed, however the makeshift non-group had no drummer and no material. Craig had met Ken through a mutual acquaintance and knew he played the drums. Although Craig had never actually heard Ken play, he seemed like the kind of guy who knew what he was doing, which fortunately turned out to indeed be the case.
 
The non-band played a strange assortment of cover songs by artists including Roxy Music, Pink Floyd David Bowie and Peter Murphy. Having enjoyed the experience, the quartet concluded that they should keep playing together but decided they would rather just free-jam than learn other peopleís music. It still wasnít supposed to be a band though - just a group of friends getting together a few times a week and making some noise for fun. They added Marco Pierucci on bass guitar, allowing Craig to play guitar and concentrate on singing.
 
Having freed themselves from any expectations, incoherent jams became recognizable jams and eventually became songs, meanwhile a style began to emerge. Marco exited, and Craig switched back to the bass guitar. They began recording, mostly because Craig had studio and they felt they had created a batch of songs worth documenting. Shayne exited next and was replaced midway through recording by Keith Conway, a virtuoso whose own group were recording a live album, with Craig engineering.
 
The name Machines Dream comes from an unreleased song written by singer/songwriter Chris Belsito. Craig had played lead guitar for Belsito on and off for a decade and had heard the demo of the song Machines Dream, which Chris had not planned on recording. (For the record, the demo is now in Craigís custody and has been transferred from four track tape to hard drive for posterity.)
 
The bandís first album was released in March, 2012, and is a collection of songs touching on themes such as mental illness, alienation, the importance of communication, and the desire to find a place in the world that is safe. In 2013 Keith exited, and Craig, Brian and Ken began working on new songs in the studio. Craig played guitar, bass and lead vocals, Brian played keyboards and bass, and Ken drummed. As the recording progressed, the group decided to add not one, but two new members to help finish the album, and play live.
 
Rob Coleman worked in the same fluorescent-lit government building as Ken. The two began jamming with Brian, who suggested Rob might be a good fit for Machines Dream. Meanwhile, Craig had been working in the studio with Jake Rendell, the session player who sang all the background vocals and harmonies for the first Machines Dream album. Jake was recording the backing vocals for the second Machines Dream album when Craig asked him if he would like to join the band. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, Jake also adds an extra set of hands for guitar, bass, mandolin, triangle or whatever the moment calls for.  
 
The bandís second album, entitled Immunity, will be released in 2014."
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rick Robson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2014 at 20:40
Hey yam yam, you're absolutely right, Machines Dream is one of the bands that nicely surprised me recently when listening to the Shaun Geraghty's (@shaunontheair) and Jim Lawson's (@DinosaurDJ) prog shows, the others were Flamborough Head, @Proud_Peasant and @Huisbandprog.
 
As I'm looking forward to know them, thank you for the Machines Dream link you provided, I think this band is another brilliant revelation from the nowadays modern prog rock scene.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mind_Drive Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 06 2014 at 15:44
very good finding! and very nice band Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cwmachinesdream Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 06 2014 at 18:25
Hi ... I'm Craig from Machines Dream. I want to say thanks for the review, and thanks for listening. Nice to meet you all. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 09 2014 at 06:17
Welcome to progarchives Craig! Hug Here's hoping that either the Neo or Crossover team will check your music out very soon... Embarrassed 
 
Note to the evaluation teams: I added the band to progfreak to save you guys one little chore anyway: http://progfreak.com/Machines-Dream-159156.html. Smile
 
Note to everyone else: For a very interesting video interview with Craig about the origins and ambitions of Machines Dream, plus his thoughts on progressive rock in general, check out this link: http://www.local2.ca/ssm/viewarticle.php?id=14415. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2014 at 07:35
The Crossover team are having the first stab at this: http://progfreak.com/Machines-Dream-159156.html?path=pa/recent. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2014 at 04:45
And cleared...Three straight 'yes' votes. Approve  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tszirmay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2014 at 12:00
I am waiting for the album to arrive (Internal Canada mail is pretty bad) to review and perhaps add to PA as well. The lads on the team had an easy decision . Stay tuned 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 15 2014 at 13:29
Added!  Current band pic isn't the best in the world though - more aeroplane visible than musicians...How about using this instead?:
 
 
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Edited by yam yam - July 15 2014 at 13:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 16 2014 at 14:31
I am finally giving this album a listen.  I had downloaded it from Aurovine last September and than proceeded to forget about until all of the recent activity.  I like what I am hearing so far. Thumbs Up
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