Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CD Review: Former Asia Bandmates Team-Up And Current Asia Guitarist Releases Debut Solo Album

British musician Geoff Downes has been busy in the studio recently, producing two new albums, one with fellow Asia bandmate Greg Lake and the other with his own band, Downes Braide Association. Downes was a former keyboardist for eighties new wave band The Buggles ("Video Killed The Radio Star"), classic progressive rock band Yes and pop/rock supergroup Asia. The new release from Greg Lake & Geoff Downes is anything, but new as it features six songs (and one alternate mix) of songs that the two have recorded together for other albums. Two of the songs appeared on the Emerson, Lake & Palmer album "Black Moon," another appeared on the Asia album "Aqua," one was featured on a compilation and the other two have been previously unreleased. Now for the first time, these songs have been collected together for the newly released album "Ride The Tiger." These two amazing songwriters create some outstanding songs as in the rock ballad "Love Under Fire" and the harder edged "Street War." The duo return with the rock ballad "Blue Light," before the album closes with an alternate mix of "Love Under Fire" that features less of Downes keyboards than the original. To find out more about "Ride The Tiger," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

The other new release from Geoff Downes features his new collaboration with English singer/songwriter/producer Chris Braide in the Downes Braide Association. They released their first album together back in 2012 ("Pictures Of You"), which received rave reviews and they returned with their anticipated follow-up "Suburban Ghosts." The new album is a story of loneliness in a small suburban town as the dozen pop/rock songs that make up the album are lead by Braide's inviting vocals. Beginning with "Machinery Of Fate," Downes keyboards motor the song's quick steady pace. The three parts of the song "Suburban Ghosts" take you on a roller coaster of feelings as the song switches between tempos. The emotional piano ballad "Vanity" is stunning and Downes leads the way on the keyboard driven rocker "North Sea." The album finishes with the progressive style of "Dreaming Of England" and the up-tempo keyboard instrumental "Finale." To find out more about the Downes Braide Association new album "Suburban Ghosts," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

While we are on the subject of the rock band Asia, current Asia guitarist Sam Coulson recently released his first solo album titled "Electric Classical." He puts his guitar skills to the test, taking on the challenge of arraigning these classical pieces of music for the electrical guitar. He begins with the familiar "Ave Maria," which turns into a beautiful guitar solo that should get incorporated in his live shows. His gentleness is felt in the plucking of the strings for "BMV 1007 Prelude" and "Op 35 No 22." One of the greatest tracks in this set his "Moonlight Sonata Blues" as Coulson flexes his skills on the guitar with this emotional delivery. The short ten-song release finishes with the gentle touch of "Romance." To find out more about Sam Coulson and his new solo album " Electric Classical," please visit samcoulson.com.

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