Spotlight: Anderson / Stolt – The Invention Of Knowledge (2016)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
How cool! Co-founder and original lead singer of Yes, Jon Anderson, has joined forces with prog-rocker Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings, and together as Anderson / Stolt, are releasing a new studio release called; Anderson / Stolt – The Invention Of Knowledge. Comes out the 24th of June, via InsideOut Music.
News of the project been out for a while before I got wind of it. Being a music reviewer, I have made a reputation for myself focusing on progressive rock music. Because of already being a fan of Jon Anderson, and Roine Stolt, I’m excited finding this out, and immediately began emailing around to see how quick I could acquire an advanced copy. The idea, so I could do a write up, and have it published the first week the Anderson / Stolt new collaboration was out. Ends up I scored, so now all I have to do is give it some listens. Something I’m looking very forward to doing.
My average music review, from the time I first begin listening to whatever it is, to editing and then being published, takes about two to three weeks on the average. Results have been good, so I don’t try to rush the process any. As a rule, I only write when inspired. I have to be keen on the subject matter, or the writing thing just don’t happen. I gave the new Anderson / Stolt two consecutive plays, and decide I can work with it. But I don’t have three weeks to spend on the new Anderson / Stolt album. As it stands now, it’s coming out in less than a week, and here I am, just getting into it. I again tell myself that it be nice to have a write up on it, the first week of release. With that in mind, I accept the challenge I made with myself.
If one reads my reviews on a semi regular basis, one will notice that a lot of times, I like to give some background on my experience with whoever the artist is, that is the focus of the analysis. As if to give credibility to the write up. A part of my style / writing characteristics. I do feel it’s important. For how good can a book on baseball be, if the author never played the game? Along the lines of the more familiar one is on an topic, the better in substance the evaluation might be.
For the record, I became aware of Jon’s unique sounding vocals, and his uncanny musical abilities, before I even needed to shave everyday. Having no musical talent of my own, and lucky I could even play a radio, I would try when attempting to sing, to sound like Mr. Anderson (insert heavy laughter). To this day I am shaking my head as to why I would even do that, and especially while in public. For a decade, this is what I did. My first wife would elbow me in the ribs while in church and say; “Stop trying to sound like Jon Anderson.” Finally taking her advice, it really was for the best. The fact was, I’m a lousy vocalist. So I quit doing that. Now when in the mood, I just kind of hum quietly to myself.
Back to Jon’s vocals, I find his singing abilities not only a means of vocalizing / projecting the lyrics a song has, but to add yet another pleasing layer of sound to what whatever the musical composition already has to offer. The music Mr. Anderson involves himself with, his singing is akin to adding icing on a already yummy cupcake. I’ll confess. Having just about everything Jon has done in his musical career in my music collection, there are times when playing music Jon is performing on, that I don’t have a clue as to what Jon is really singing about. I could guess, or pretend to. I concluded years ago when already a devoted follower, that it really doesn’t matter the words, as long as it sounds good. With Jon, it usually always does.
Musician Roine Stolt I first saw in concert with The Flower Kings, back in 1997. They came on stage after The John Wetton Band, at a progressive rock festival that was held in Los Angeles, California, that was called; Prog-Fest ’97. The band impressed everyone there lucky enough to witness their performance. I have stayed a casual fan of the band ever since. Was happy to see Roine as part of the prog-rock super group; Transatlantic. Fantastic band! And it’s because Transatlantic backed up Jon on a rock n’ roll cruise back in 2014, that we have this cool collaboration between these two brilliant musicians. With the help of InsideOut Music. Kudos to them.
Uncle G Discusses … Anderson / Slolt – The Invention Of Knowledge.
While getting to know the new album (The Invention Of Knowledge) a little more, I turn on the computer, and go online to do some research. I come across a couple quotes from Jon Anderson, and Roine Slolt included in a press release about the project in which I like to share:
Jon: “…..Music is always the driving force in my life…working with such a wonderful musician as Roine Stolt made the creation of this album very unique. We are very excited with the release of ‘Invention of Knowledge’.”
Roine Stolt adds: “It is not aiming at being new Yes music; just new music, modern and classical, rock and ethno, tribal and orchestrated, grooving and floating. Hopefully in the true spirit of “progressive” – leaning forward, surprising and also comforting with familiar run-arounds. We’ve been “inventing” as we go along – Jon is an endless source of new ideas. We’ve been bouncing ideas back and forth for months and as a result there are probably dozens of versions of these songs. It’s been a very interesting and rewarding time and the result is just insanely detailed.”
“I worked with The Flowers Kings duo of Jonas Reingold on bass and Felix Lehrmann on drums, with Tom Brislin on keyboards. Tom had done the Yes Symphonic Tour, and I knew him well. It was important for me to be comfortable with the musicians at this stage, because that way I was more relaxed about telling them how we wanted it all to sound. If I had been in the studio with people who were strangers, then I might have felt more restricted.”
“I also did some of the backing vocals,” reveals Stolt. “But none of the lead ones. Jon did all of those, as well as writing the melodies and lyrics. And he was happy with me to work with the musicians I chose in the studio. He trusted my instincts.”
Roine Stolt on guitar. Other musicians that played a part were Nad Sylvan, plus Pain Of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlow both on backing vocals, joined by female singers Anja Obermayer, Maria Rerych and Kristina Westas.
With Jon’s lyrics / vocals, and this fabulous bunch of musicians behind him, they succeeded in creating not only something new and vibrant, but also music that if knowing Jon’s and Roine’s previous work, has some familiarity. ‘Invention Of Knowledge’ in my opinion compares favorably to any of Jon’s solo projects, or any other project where he joined forces with others of equal talent. If I imagined what a proper Yes record might have sounded like should Jon have participated in one after 2001’s Magnification, I might very well in my head, hear Jon Anderson & Roine Stolt – Invention of Knowledge. Certainly not intended to sound like Yes of any era, progressive music made by seasoned musicians who knew Jon’s style, and complemented his every contribution. Spearheaded by Roine, who did a phenomenal job!
Anderson/Stolt – Invention Of Knowledge (2016)
1. Knowing 17:45
2. Everybody Heals 13:20
3. Invention Of Knowledge 23:10
4. Know 11.20
Uncle G Rates … Anderson/Stolt – Invention Of Knowledge (2016)
Using the one to five star rating system in which one star means to skip it, and five stars being the possibly best it could be, Uncle G rates Anderson/Stolt – Invention Of Knowledge (2016)… 5 stars! It’s what I consider real progressive music. A perfect vehicle for both Jon Anderson, and Roine Stolt. My favorite song out of the four is; Everyone Heals. Every composition is solid, and grows on you with each and every listen.
Anderson/Stolt – Invention Of Knowledge, a pleasant surprise. A smashing success to these ears. Sure to make my own and others Top 10 lists at the end of the year
For additional information, please consult InsideOut Music: http://www.insideoutmusic.com/