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ANDERSON / STOLT

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Anderson / Stolt biography
One-Off (?) collaboration released in 2016

The idea of putting together Jon ANDERSON and Roine STOLT came from owner of Inside Out Music, Thomas Weber in February 2014. The two were brought together on the Progressive Nation Cruise Sea, when Mike PORTNOY suggested TRANSATLANTIC to do a couple of songs with Jon. The tow began exchanging musical ideas via internet in a period of six months. Then the album was out in June 2016. Jon said to Roine that he didn't want to do a traditional Progressive Rock album, but only a Progressive music album. He wanted to take inspiration from various musical heritages and not only on the "Rock world". Roine worked with Jonas REINGOLD (bass),Felix LEHRMANN (drums), Tom BRISLIN (Keys), and others special guests on backing vocals.

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3.64 | 203 ratings
Invention of Knowledge
2016

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ANDERSON / STOLT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

2 stars I've never been a fan of Jon Anderson's solo albums, but was intrigued by what a combination of writing skills of Anderson and Roine Stolt would achieve. Jon Anderson achieves his best work collaborating with other talented artists like Steve Howe, whose song writing idol is Bob Dylan, or with Rick Wakeman, whose classical background allows the structure and form for Jon Anderson's ideas to breathe. Unfortunately, I think Roine Stolt is too enamored with Jon Anderson's standing and reputation in the prog community to involve himself in the writing of the album and limits his involvement to his guitar playing skills. Other great artists contribute to the playing as well ' Jonas Reingold on bass, Tom Brislin on keyboards, Michael Stolt on bass and Moog and Felix Lehrmann on drums. And Jon Anderson hasn't lost any of the power and range of his amazing voice, despite an age pushing 70.

With such incredible musicians and an array of instruments out of prog paradise you'd think there would be enough to appetize the listener, but the luster of the instrumentation fades after about the second song. One doesn't know when one song finishes and the next starts and there is nothing memorable which sticks in the mind. There just aren't the key shifts in the music and the modulations that distinguishes one verse from the next and gives the music its tonality. I found myself persevering with the music to a point where I just found it too plodding to continue with. This is one of the very few albums I was unable to get to the finish listening to it.

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Better than most Jon Anderson solo albums.

Many reviewers have suggested this album comes across as a parts Olias of Sunhillow and Tales from Topographic Oceans, and I would not, on the whole, disagree. However, it is missing key elements of both albums that pushed them into 'excellent' territory. On the positive side, all the music on this album is highly listenable all the way through, which can't be said for most Jon Anderson solo albums (which often have duds that must be skipped over, except Olias of course), and all of the pieces here are solid even if not highly memorable. Jon Anderson's lyrics here are also pretty good - better than a lot of his more cheesy lyrics on some of his solo albums, and his voice has kept well - he sounds pretty darn good for a 70-year old! So, good on these scores, and worth picking up for these reasons. On the negative side, the vocals are too constant, with insufficient instrumental breaks. While I generally love Jon Anderson's vocals, too much of a good thing can be a bit tiring to listen to - there is not sufficient time to wander off into the music before perking up one's ears again for the lyrics. Related to this, while the music behind the lyrics is excellent, it is not sufficiently the focus of the album. Often the excellent playing is too low in the mix (leaving the vocals always up front and centre), and the musical interludes are too short. Among the great thing about Yes (and the Flower Kings and Roine Stolt's solo work) was/is the high degree of musicality in their instrumental sections, and you can hear right away the potential for this in this album too, but alas there are no extended instrumental pieces (not even extended new-age-y ethereal tails like on Olias) - AND there are not enough guitar solos! Roine Stolt is a fantastic player and on a duet album one would like to hear him play the guitar some more (there are a number of short solos, but most are more like bridges or transitions than real solos). Saying all this, I don't want to give a bad impression of this album - it is actually very good for what it is and worth hearing. I have listened to this about 10 times now, and I find a number of sections quite musical, and nothing is off-putting. But it is not quite 4-star material. I give this album 7.7 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by BunBun

3 stars When I read that Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt would collaborate, I thought 'Why hasn't this happened sooner?' Well, after returning to this album several times over a period of half a year, I can safely say that I'm thoroughly disappointed with the outcome. Now, this is not a bad album but it is neither great. The problem is the lack of diversity within the album. Each song blends seamlessly into the next and it's hard to know that you are on track four when it still sounds like track one.

The vocals are always out front, and Anderson's vocals are still good considering his age, but I was hoping Stolt would at least contribute one vocal track to the album. It would have adding some needed change. Then there is a distinct lack of instrumental sections. Where is the energy? There is one short jazzy instrumental section at the end of 'Everybody Heals,' yet after about ten listens over the past half year, I was hoping for more than two memorable minutes from the album.

And that sums up the experience for a me. A nice, mellow, uplifting album but utterly forgettable. 2.5 stars from me because two stars seems a bit too low so I'll just round it up to three.

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Tales From Soporific Oceans...

On paper it couldn't miss: a collaboration between YES icon Jon Anderson and guitarist Roine Stolt of THE FLOWER KINGS, in a return to the sort of long-form Symphonic Rock not heard from Anderson in decades. The finished album was advertised (in a big sticker smack-dab on the CD cover) as "new music in the spirit of early works such as Tales From Topographic Oceans & Olias of Sunhillow" ...strictly sales talk, but the comparison caught on, in a textbook model of autosuggestion.

Reviews so far have been glowing, enough to warrant a dissenting opinion. And here it is, from a reluctant spoilsport old enough to recall when the music of Jon Anderson and Yes really did strive toward "The Revealing Science of God".

As a bridge uniting two generations of Progressive Rock, the new album is built of flimsy stuff. The original "Topographic Oceans", keep in mind, found its genesis in the ancient Hindu shastras described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his autobiography, famously introduced to Anderson by maverick King Crimson percussionist Jamie Muir. "Invention of Knowledge", in contrast, was born poolside aboard a luxury Prog Rock cruise ship sailing the Caribbean, with free food, fine drinks, and a casino belowdecks.

The so-called collaboration was ersatz from the start. Jon Anderson would email ideas to Sweden, where Stolt force-fit them onto older, unreleased music of his own before sending them back to California for more amendments (and still more lyrics) by Anderson, working alone on his home studio computer. The only time the two were actually in the same room was during a promotional photo shoot.

All a sign of the times, in this Brave New World of web-linked music production. But still a lousy way to write and record an album. It's no wonder the outcome resembled a lesser Flower Kings effort, featuring a celebrity guest vocalist who sounds like he wandered into the studio by chance and began singing about Ley lines before anyone could stop him.

Maybe Stolt was reluctant to assert himself over material developed (suggested, really) by an obvious idol. We could have then been spared this tepid collection of uninspired soft-prog, certainly effective in spots, but with a numbing uniformity in tone and tempo over its 65-minute length. Olias of Sunhillow? Try Olias of Sleepy Hollow instead...

Mine is a minority opinion, to be sure. But no way is the album worthy of comparison to classic Prog, sounding to this Grinch more like something the Whos of Whoville would sing while carving their holiday roast beast. Quoting Jon Anderson himself, from an earlier and more enlightened age of Progressive expression: What happened / To wonders / We once knew so well?

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Back in the 1980s, Jon Anderson was invited to sing in what was to become that decade's version of Yes. Along with Chris Squire and Alan White, as well as Yes alumnus Tony Kaye, and driven by Trevor Rabin, this version of the band played a much more pop driven style, dancing around the fringes of prog. But Anderson was not completely content with that. He eventually assembled old friends Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Bill Bruford into a more traditional Yes-sounding band.

More recently, during an extended bout with illness, Anderson asked the Yes of that day for a break from touring. Instead of either putting Yes on hiatus, or finding a temporary replacement singer, the group unceremoniously fired him. In the years since, Yes has recorded two fair, but mostly unremarkable albums with two different replacement singers. While these albums again have hints of that old Yes spark, they are missing some key ingredients of what Yes was about.

Joining up now with Roine Stolt and a band of Stolt's cohorts, Anderson has now proven that he is the keeper of the soul of Yes.

Their first (I do hope this band continues) album is an inspired suite of four linked songs, split into nine movements, with underlying themes, lyrically and musically, that weave throughout the album. It is an uplifting, spiritual piece that sound more like Yes than anything the present members of the group have come up with.

I compare this album favorably with "Tales From Topographic Oceans", another full-album concept piece.

Stolt takes care to deliver the Yes sound, crafting his guitar to simulate Howe's unique technique, both in phrasing and tone. And both bass players that perform here, Jonas Reingold and Michael Stolt, do a fine approximation of Chris Squire's outstanding melodic bass lines.

Anderson's lyrics are in the classic Yes vein, positive and spiritual, without focusing on any particular religion or dogma.

On the whole, this album revives the Yes experience better than anything any of the members have released in decades. If I could give any advice to the remaining Yes, it's "Do whatever you can to get Anderson back!!!!"

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 2016 finds a certain Prog God in marvellously rude health and top form. The aforesaid award for Jon Anderson was, in my opinion, thoroughly well deserved. There is a tour, long promised, with fellow Yes cohorts Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman, which, to all accounts, seems to have been extremely well received. And, to start off the year, this collaboration with Roine Stolt, he of Flower Kings fame, with more than a little contributed by a stellar backing band, including the marvellous Jonas Reingold, Stolt's Kings collaborator on bass, and the wonderful Tom Brislin on keys (whose piano work especially on Chase and Harmony is clear and uplifting), this marking a return to working with Anderson.

The album was created over the Internet, Anderson's preferred method of recording, with vocals and musical ideas and compositions sent to each protagonist over the ether. The idea started when Stolt and the Transatlantic boys had Anderson singing Yes classics with them on one of those prog cruise trips which are in vogue at the moment.

Structurally, the album is, understandably, an attempt to recreate the feel of Yes classics from the Topographic symphonic heyday, although, perhaps more than many others who have commented on the album, I feel that Stolt and his unique Flower Kings sound and feel is also stamped over the work. It is not a collection of songs, as such, but a group of suites joining together to segue into a whole body of work. I also think that the Topographic comparison was, in reality, a clever marketing ploy to bring us classic Yes fans on board. They needn't have bothered, because the album stands up more than well enough on its own as a symphony of modern progressive rock, utilising the latest technology and loving production to bring a vision to life.

Does it work? Undeniably, yes. Those who do not buy in to Anderson's mystical view of life, the universe, and everything, will probably not be converted by this, because it is very much his lyrical creation, in keeping with many of his better solo albums. I do buy into this, so it is not a problem for me.

For the first few listens, in fact, you do feel that he is in danger of drowning out the music lyrically and vocally. It is not the case, however, when you become familiar with the album and allow it to wash over and influence you, for example allowing the sheer lifting beauty of We Are Truth, with Anderson sounding better than he has in years, accompanied by a choral backdrop, and the most beautiful soaring symphonic noise, extremely reminiscent of Stardust We Are period Kings (Knowing, by the way, could easily have fitted on that exceptional album), then you know that what you have here is classic progressive rock played by its leading proponents, classic and modern.

Listen to the orchestration on Everyone Heals, and then recoil at the power of Stolt's riff, before Anderson introduces the vocal with a fragile power one thought had been lost to us forever.

Some of Stolt's guitar work really is to be treasured (the delicate sounds produced on Knowledge with the sounds of the ocean waves lapping over it are simply wonderful), and Reingold has his fret fingers working as if it is the last thing he will ever do, and wants to go out on a high.

Both of them have promoted this album with vigour, and it quite clearly is a work of some importance to them. I heard Anderson on BBC Radio on more than one occasion, and he is clearly revelling in the autumn of his career. Given that it is only a few years since he almost died, I thank God that he has survived to carry on his musical legacy to the world. I also wonder what would have been had Squire and Howe showed just a little bit more patience, and allowed him the recovery time he needed, because one thing is for sure. This is a far better, rounded, and genuine "Yes" album than the debacle that was Heaven and Earth, or Fly From Here, as much as I enjoyed the suite on the latter.

This is an excellent album, which all lovers of genuine symphonic prog will want to own. For the PA rating system, four stars, but 4.5 if we had such a rating. I, for one, would like to see this collaboration continue to see where it takes them. To the stars, I think!

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The prolific Jon Anderson has been quite a busy man lately, having recovered from illness with a new found energy and passion, a trait that disproves the long held misconception that rock music is the governance of the young and only the young. Beyond 71 years of age, he continues to voyage into unfamiliar territories such as his long delayed cooperation with Jean-Luc Ponty, a thoroughly successful venture that yielded the aptly named 'Better Late than Never' album and subsequent well-applauded tour. Here, he has teamed up with Swedish mastermind Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings and Transatlantic fame, to create a very Yes-like opus that proves only that the creative juices that inspired him in the glory days of progressive rock, still has a resonating voice and audience today. Sadly, the judgmental universe that we now live in will give way to some unfair and foolish criticism from shameless detractors who need to fuel their pill-fed apathy (to stay awake at the keyboard at the very least) by puncturing this symphonic opus with brazen detritus. Well, like they say at the hardware store: screw them! If you no like, move the hell on!

Gathering a rather stellar crew of familiar faces from both the FK, such as bassist extraordinaire Jonas Reingold, drummer Felix Lehrmann and former FK bassman Michael Stolt) and from the Yes side, Tom Brislin, whilst including the supremely talented Swedish keyboardist Lalle Larsson, the two protagonists certainly have aimed precisely at what they wanted to achieve, a classic sounding Progressive Rock album. Both Anderson and Stolt have never sounded better and more confident, and truth be said, you can hear the enthusiasm displayed throughout. Let us be honest first of all, this collaboration has more musical width and breath than anything spewed by Yes since , my goodness' since Relayer!

That being said, the nine tracks do flow into one another rather seamlessly, a very linear sounding series of arrangements within each piece that get busy one moment and quite atmospheric the next, as on the end of 'Knowledge', where the swirling effects really take hold. As with the Ponty collaboration, the music is totally uplifting, spirited if not necessarily overtly spiritual, spiced by occasional bursts of energetic gusto and dazzling playing by all instrumentalists. Roine can carve with the best of them, a talented guitarist who can infuse a variety of styles that span the gamut of influences, from Howe, Hackett and Gilmour to more oblique talents such as Allan Holdsworth. He can play fast, controlled and delirious when prompted. While Squire has always been a giant, Reingold is one hell of a player, seeing him live seals the deal. A monster.

I also cannot help noticing that three songs contain the sound NO (as opposed to'Yes) in Know, Knowledge and Knowing. Coincidence? Nah, must be my meds. Yeah, I know (no). In fact, all the titles have a positive spin and message. Eat that Steve Wilson!

The glorious track 'Knowing' is an 11 minute celestial epic that reeks the most of 'Close to the Edge', owner of a skilled melody and some complex orchestrations, Lalle's divine grand piano, screeching synth swirls and a fully determined vocal performance that is easily among the very best ever captured by a microphone. The two follow up pieces 'Chase & Harmony' and 'Everybody Heals' are equally masterful expressions of musical craftsmanship and passionate delivery. Shorter ditties offer hope and salvation, 'Better by Far' and 'Golden Light', a lovely diversion that goes straight to the owner of lonely Heartstrings and pulls on them delicately. The jazzy, windswept and airy 'Know' is an 11 minute tropical paradise of topographic ocean breezes, Jon's voice a warm zephyr that soothes the soul and medicates the mind, a beach with grandiose piano, shuffling bass, brushed cymbals and a laid back, laissez-faire attitude. 'An answer to a promise that delivered you' as Roine swirls his guitar like Carlos Santana. Totally delicious.

I enjoyed the whole enchilada, an album that will need made more listens and new details to discover, so dense this is. I was expecting something a bit lamer I guess and I was wrong. The cover artwork, booklet and inlay are truly first-class and worth the eye candy.

4.5 Devices of Awareness

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Wow, a collaboration of Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings and Jon Anderson of Yes! How exciting to see the old school and the not-so-old school (Roine will be 60 later in 2016) working together! Or is it?? That's the question my mind pondered as I fell asleep multiple times while listening to this. Or perhaps the meaning of this music is simply above the ability of my brain to comprehend? Like it was intended for spirits in another dimension to listen to and maybe humans simply have not evolved (at least in my case) enough to understand Anderson's enlightened gibberish.

Let's get the first thing everyone wants to know out of the way. Does it sound like the Flower Kings? No. Does it sound like Yes? Barely. What does it sound like? It sounds like the plodding, slow-moving, new age music Anderson has featured on many of his solo albums (Olias of Sunhillow is one reference point), with an occasional Howe-like nod from Stolt. There really is no prog rock workout here. It plods along at the same speed for over an hour, occasionally reaching minor crescendos in places. The music is by no means simple either. It has some complexity to it in an almost orchestral fashion. And with musicians such as Lalle Larsson, Jonas Reingold, Tom Brislin, and Felix Lehrmann at their disposal, I'm shocked that there wasn't anything worthy enough to provide the "rock" portion of prog rock. The entire album had this folky, new age vibe running throughout; a never-ending "sameness."

Now, maybe there were some interesting instrumental things going on, but they were lost on my ears from the incessant wordiness of this album. Anderson's vocals are nice, but they are forced way above the rest of the mix and there are few moments on the album where he isn't singing. I never imagined Anderson's vocals being "too much" for an album until now.

I can't really comment on the lyrics much as I don't understand them (as I suspect most humans that haven't reached whatever world Jon lives in). There is much repetition, but that still doesn't help me understand them either. I would have better luck understanding the output of a random word generator than this gibberish.

Fans of Anderson's solo career will probably like this; maybe Yes fans that like the softer, sleepier side of Yes. Fans of gibberish will also enjoy this. If you want the rock equation of prog rock, look elsewhere.

 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars Invention of Knowledge is up there with the best Yes or The Flower Kings albums. It is an excellent creation from two of the greatest talents in the history of Progressive Rock. Both Yes and The Flower Kings are favorites of mine, so I was really excited when I heard this was coming out. I did NOT expect it to be this good. It really is a work of art combining that early Yes feel with that modern The Flower Kings vibe. You absolutely can hear both influences at work as Invention of Knowledge unfolds into a masterpiece of modern Progressive Rock. If you are a fan of Yes, The Flower Kings, or Progressive Rock, then this is absolutely a must buy.
 Invention of Knowledge by ANDERSON / STOLT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.64 | 203 ratings

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Invention of Knowledge
Anderson / Stolt Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The remembering

Jon Anderson is one of the more prolific members of the Yes family tree with a large number of solo albums and also several collaborations with other artists over the years, for example with Vangelis in 80's and more recently with fellow Yes man Rick Wakeman and with Fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty in the Anderson Ponty Band. The present album is a collaboration with Swedish musician Roine Stolt. I was previously familiar with Stolt from Transatlantic and I also saw him live with Steve Hackett's band recently.

The Invention Of Knowledge is a vocally driven album, and Jon's vocals are almost constantly to the forefront. His voice sounds very well indeed, better than on other recent releases. The style is what I would like to call "soft progressive Rock". A reasonable comparison in terms of the style here could be to Open, a digital only release from Jon which consists of one 20 plus minute epic piece of symphonic music. Anderson/Stolt is not similar to Yes music, but the closest you get is probably on Tales From Topographic Oceans. The mood of The Invention Of Knowledge is almost constantly uplifting and bright and even though the music is thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable, it is not very challenging. I feel that it never really truly gets off the ground and with a running time of over an hour, it tends to get a bit samey at points.

I like The Invention Of Knowledge. Indeed, I think it is better than most of Jon's solo albums and I would say it is one of his best non-Yes releases. It is well worth having certainly, and a nice listen, but I do not find it terribly impressive.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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