After a five year wait, I just discovered that the new album from Days Between Stations will be released on May 15th. For me this will be a much anticipated album after their eponymous debut was so full of promise.
The album, entitled In Extremis features a number of guest musicians, such as Billy Sherwood, Tony Levin, Rick Wakeman, the late Tony Banks and Colin Moulding.
Interestingly, the artwork for the album was done by Paul Whitehead, who did the artwork for some of the classic early Genesis albums such as Foxtrot, Trespass and also Pawn Hearts by Van Der Graaf Generator.
Here's a snippet from the forthcoming press release:
Days Between Stations 'In Extremis' in some ways retains the dark
somber mood of the group's first album (released to great acclaim
in 2007), in other ways the music is completely different. Says Sepand,
“There are four clear distinctions between the two albums. The first, is
that we are five years older. Which means we have grown as players and
have higher expectations of ourselves. The
second, which is most noticeable is that we have vocals (with lyrics) on
this album. The debut album provides landscapes and layers of sound
that allow the imagination to run free. One negative aspect of having
vocals is that the mind mainly focuses on the
rhythm and lyrical content and often times constrains the music. We
wanted a healthy marriage between the two. Even so, there are several
instrumental tracks on this album, one in particular is 'Blackfoot'.”
Oscar continues, “It wasn't really a conscious decision
to add vocals to this one – I mean vocals with lyrics. It's just how the
writing went. Sometimes a song tells you what it needs. So that's
different. Also, the album is more thoroughly composed or let's say it's
more structurally thought out. Although Sepand
and I entirely wrote the music, the lyrics were written collaboratively
with Billy Sherwood, who was invaluable in bringing more focus to the
whole theme, and who in some cases took the idea in a different
concludes, “I feel the third difference on the new album is the
extensive use of classical and exotic instruments; a full orchestra was
employed on the first track, 'No Cause For Alarm', an instrumental
overture that weaves together many of the main themes from the album.
While the track 'Waltz In E Minor' is performed by a string quartet, the
full orchestra returns (along with an unexpected
Barbershop quartet) on the closer, 'In Extremis', a 21-plus minute
multi-part epic that also features founding YES guitarist Peter Banks.
Additionally, a Persian lute called a Tar is featured on the track
'Eggshell Man', a song that also features a blistering
Moog solo from YES maestro Rick Wakeman. In fact, on 'Eggshell Man' Rick
Wakeman, Billy Sherwood and Peter Banks play together. This brings me
to my final point; when all these legends came together to contribute on
this album, we developed a certain obsession
to be at our best. Sadly Peter Banks passed away during the making of
'In Extremis', making these recordings even more meaningful and special
And here's the album's first review by Nick DeRiso:
http://somethingelsereviews.com/author/nderiso/" rel="nofollow -
In a strange and beautiful coincidence, Days Between Stations was
working on an album about birth, life and death with Peter Banks in the
time just http://somethingelsereviews.com/2013/03/12/original-yes-guitarist-peter-banks-1947-2013-an-appreciation/" rel="nofollow - before Yes’ co-founding guitarist passed . But the truth is, In Extremis would have been a triumph, anyway — and a curt rebuke to those who say the best days of progressive rock are behind it.
Working primarily again in an instrumental format, keyboardist Oscar
Fuentes and guitarist Sepand Samzadeh (who founded Days Between Stations
in 2003) paint a stirring, deeply impactful narrative, using broad
musical strokes that connect across prog, ambient and orchestral
traditions. The results are, at times, memorably beautiful, at others
unbearably sad — like a life lived fully.
The difference between In Extremis (to be available for
pre-order beginning on April 23, 2013) and Days Between Stations’
well-received 2007 debut is a greater focus on lyrical content, courtesy
of a writing and vocal assist from guest Billy Sherwood. That serves to
ground the emotional In Extremis within the tangible world of love and loss. A http://somethingelsereviews.com/2011/10/12/something-else-interview-billy-sherwood-formerly-of-yes/" rel="nofollow - member of Yes in the 1990s ,
Sherwood makes a dramatic first appearance, after the album’s lengthy
instrumental introduction, with “Visionary” — which also features a
layered, virtuoso performance on the stick by Tony Levin, http://somethingelsereviews.com/2011/09/21/something-else-interview-rock-bassist-tony-levin/" rel="nofollow - the do-anything performer who has worked with Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, King Crimson and John Lennon, among countless others.
Days Between Stations, named after Steve Erickson’s cult novel,
expands to include Sherwood’s fellow Yes alumni Rick Wakeman and Banks,
on “Eggshell Man” — a song whose brilliantly twilit chorus of “so alone,
so alone” is offset by a sweetly plangent lute. Meanwhile, former http://somethingelsereviews.com/2012/08/13/one-track-mind-colin-moulding-rick-wakeman-and-billy-sherwood-check-point-karma-2012/" rel="nofollow - XTC stalwart Colin Moulding
is featured on the hooky “The Man Who Died Two Times,” an utterly
addictive pop-prog moment that rivals anything issued by Genesis, the
Moody Blues or Yes in their 1980s hitmaking period.
The album’s heart-breaking emotional centerpoint, though, is its
multi-suite title track, which expands to more than 21 minutes behind
some of the final musical statements from Banks, a deeply underrated
early progressive-rock architect. He recaptures, across this stirring
track, everything promised on Days Between Station’s thrillingly
old-school cover — created by Paul Whitehead, who earlier handled the
artwork for http://somethingelsereviews.com/2012/12/26/something-else-interview-genesis-co-founder-anthony-phillips/" rel="nofollow
- Genesis’ Trespass, Nursery Cryme
In keeping, “In Extremis,” like the album it’s named after, evolves
into an elaborate musical set piece of the first order, a throwback in
the very best of ways, a fitting example of Banks’ still-resonant craft —
and the perfect ending to a project that aspires to a level of
inspirational wonder that was once thought lost.
I'm pleased to have purchased the first ever copy of this CD! Just waiting for it to be delivered now.
Open the gates of the city wide....
Check out my music taste: http://www.last.fm/user/TakeshiKovacs/