Whenever Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas get together for Transatlantic, you're quick to use superlatives. This time, however, the prog supergroup has taken it to the extreme once again. Because "The Absolute Universe" is nothing less than the wet dream of every prog fan: a concept album in three different versions
Transatlantic relations are no longer what they used to be, thanks to the Trump administration. In music, however, they still work splendidly. Separate yet united - we bring three of the four prog protagonists to the big eclipsed interview table for you. In our extensive title interview Neal Morse, Roine Stolt and Pete Trewavas talk about the different album versions and the genesis of "The Absolute Universe" as well as about visa problems, the Corona pandemic and good food. Plus: memories of the first sessions over 20 years ago!
"Islands", the 14th album of the Flower Kings, is already the sixth double-decker of the Swedish prog formation - and according to band mastermind Roine Stolt this is completely unintentional. As he explains in the interview, the ambiguous title was created on a trip to Africa.
The Flower Kings have been around for a quarter of a century. If you consider that band boss, singer and guitarist Roine Stolt also has or had his nimble fingers in various other projects such as Kaipa, Transatlantic, The Tangent or The Sea Within, 14 studio albums in this period are a remarkable number, even if he obviously can draw from a veritable cornucopia of musical ideas. Despite the Corona crisis, the slag from Uppsala, Sweden, is "doing brilliantly", as he emphasizes during the phone call: "So why should I cut back when I enjoy being in the studio almost every day and working on new ideas?
It's not easy getting Roine Stolt on the phone. The busy 63-year-old is too busy with his various bands and projects. Most recently he recorded new pieces with Transatlantic. When the phone call finally comes through, he is - of course - in his studio in Stockholm.
eclipsed: Can you announce anything new from Transatlantic yet?
Stolt: It's not quite certain yet. But we hope that we will have a new album in about a year.
eclipsed: You have so many bands and projects. You know, when you get up, it's usually just about what's on that day
Stolt: Not really. Today, for example, I had a long phone call with the record company about Transatlantic. Then we had a talk with the promoters of the Flower Kings about our upcoming Japan tour. And now we're talking on the phone.
eclipsed: Then let's get to "Waiting For Miracles". It's a double album.
Even if the Flower Kings, one of the most important retro-prog bands of the nineties, no longer exist: Creative head Roine Stolt is as active as ever. Under the somewhat unwieldy project name Roine Stolt's The Flower King, the Swede has drummed together several (ex-)flower kings as well as colleagues from other groups for "Manifesto Of An Alchemist". With them he has recorded an album that is as varied as ever, the lyrics of which often reflect the world situation.
At the time of the interview, Roine Stolt is in the middle of preparing for the tour rehearsals that will take place in his hometown of Uppsala. The 62-year-old talks relaxed about the current album, but also about why the Flower Kings have reached a dead end. "Manifesto Of An Alchemist" can therefore also be understood as an artistic statement with which Stolt wants to revive the virtues of the original flower kings.
When a prog obsessive like Roine Stolt joins forces with a scene icon like Jon Anderson, you can expect great things. Many Yes fans hope that this collaboration will be no less than a worthy album in the tradition of the Prog pioneers. The fact that he was booted out of "his" band may not have completely wound Anderson yet. But he's been looking for ways to keep making yes music. One of these ways brought him together with Flower King boss Roine Stolt. eclipsed talked to both artists about this surprising, but somehow also logical cooperation.
eclipsed: Recently you were on stage with Steve Hackett, now the album with Jon Anderson. You obviously like to surround yourself with legendary musicians?
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eclipsed is a music magazine based in Aschaffenburg and has been on the German market since 2000. It is aimed at friends of sophisticated rock music who want to go on a new acoustic voyage of discovery month after month.
eclipsed deals in detail with the rock greats of the 60s and 70s in the areas of art rock, prog, psychedelic, blues, classic, hard rock and much more as well as with the current scene in these areas.