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December 16, 2010

Music Visionary Steve Nardelli Announces Original Music Collaboration with Moon Safari
The Nucleus for a New Album from The Syn

In a major proclamation of musical creativity, Steve Nardelli is promising a progressively innovative new album coming out of 2010 recording sessions of The Syn with Moon Safari. The nucleus for the new album is Sweden's top band of 21st century art-rock music joining forces with one of the iconic players of progressive music history. Nardelli promises to build musical bridges spanning generations by lifting the modern progressive Syn rock sound to yet another creative level with a new album merging the musical talents of The Syn and Moon Safari.

Commenting on the upcoming Syn / Moon Safari super sessions, Moon Safari bass player and group spokesman Johan Westerlund states, 'There is no end to the creative possibilities of this collaboration. Moon Safari's outlook on life begins and ends with ideals fortified in an era in which The Syn was in full bloom, and working with Steve Nardelli will give us a taste of that dream we wish we could have experienced firsthand.'

A big Moon Safari fan himself, Steve Nardelli is proclaiming to Syn insiders that he's very much looking forward to the old guard of '60s mod prog joining forces with one of the genre's rising young groups to
deliver a fresh blend of artistic Eurorock to follow up The Syn's masterworks Syndestructible and Big Sky. Big Sky was awarded the #1 Prog Album of the Year in 2009.

Speaking about this unique meeting of musical minds Nardelli states, 'I first came across Moon Safari when The Syn were on the same bill at ROSfest with them last year and was completely captivated by their musical prowess and brilliant 5 part harmony arrangements; the association will create the perfect platform to build the new Syn album!

Recording started this month in Skelleftea, a small stretch of shoreline in the north of Sweden and will follow up with sessions in London and New York. The album is due out in 2011.

About The Syn
While The Syn has their eyes firmly focused on the future of progressive art rock; their roots go back to the 1960s. One of the precursors of prog rock and adorned with some of the most important musicians of the genre across its remarkable history, The Syn today are a band that operates intently in the modern day world, focused on pushing the envelope of modern progressive rock and moving it in new directions. Their lineups have been littered with musical masters during their long and storied history of constantly exploring new musical soundscapes. A new chapter opens with the collaboration on a new album for 2011 between Syn founder, Steve Nardelli, and the remarkable Moon Safari.

Key members of The Syn history:
Andrew Pryce Jackman, Chris Squire, Steve Nardelli, Gunnar Hakonarson, Peter Banks, Alan White, Gerard Johnson, Francis Dunnery, Tom Brislin

About Moon Safari
Just outside of reach of the deafening buzz from pop culture, in Skellefteå, a small village in the north of Sweden is where Moon Safari manufactures their special brand of music since 2003. The band quickly caught the attention of the musical world with their 2005 debut A Doorway to summer; an album that successfully managed to mix the classical British progressive rock sound with unmistakably American vocal group arrangements and brought the band onto the path from which they've since not strayed. In 2008 they released Blomljud, a conceptual double album that portrayed the search for the last human truth over 100 minutes, to critical acclaim. This year parched critics were once again commanded to the well of beauty and freedom as 2010 saw the release of Lover’s End, the third album from the vocal fashionistas. It is certainly the strongest, the most focused and the most determined work they've mustered up in their relatively short existence and it seems Moon Safari will keep people guessing for a long time to come. It has been suggested though that 'there must be something in the water' along the outer rim of the polar circle.  Visit:

Petter Sandström - Vocals, acoustic guitars
Simon Åkesson - Vocals, piano, organ, mellotron and moog
Pontus Åkesson - Vocals, electric guitars
Sebastian Åkesson - Vocals, assorted keys
Tobias Lundgren - Vocals, drums and percussion
Johan Westerlund - Vocals, bass

About Steve Nardelli
Always on the leading-edge of music innovation, Steve Nardelli is the driving force behind The Syn. His forward thinking sense has transcended The Syn to iconic status with its cultivated artistic collaborations. In music and in business, Nardelli is a well-established pioneer. Beyond music, he founded the P3 Group as a leader in ecological house development. Since The Syn's 2009 award winning album, Big Sky, Nardelli's pioneering spirit has expanded to deliver the first eco-development in England, a 5000 house extension to NW Bicester that was master planned by Sir Terry Farrell as 4 separate revolutionary zero carbon eco villages. Nardelli says, 'I am not a house builder, but I was drawn into this project by the chance to be part of this new concept of creating homes that are harmonious with Nature, you could call it 'prog eco'!


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September 23rd, 2009

Review: The Syn ~ Big Sky
by Peter Mcguiness, MUSIC VISUAL since 1975 Big Sky

1 BIG SKY...ok all cards on table with opener, a stirring uptempo number with Dorrie Jackson's haunting back vox,Steve's husky vox, Brislin brilliant on whistling synth,francis strumming like a monster...catchy chorus "can you hear
me?,i'm calling"...theme is basically "embrace the big sky"...dare to live your dreams...uplifting,strong melody. A winner...sweet, dreamy coda..."open your eyes to the big sky"..."i won't give up if you don't give up"....

2...DEVILS AND DEMONS...nice vibey, rootsy opening which suits Steve's low key register, kinda urban electric folk...."and my heart is beating like a big bass drum" cue 3 big bass drum beats...hahahaha...simply it's a bit of a"f*ck you" track as Steve says nay to the naysayers....nice change of dynamics...elastic bass..."I'll keep
searching for the days of wonder".......great song with strong chorus. Florid catholic imagery...more of this..

3 NEW REALITY....ok, standout track, spookily treated percussion and keys, spidery guitar,questing lyrics...suddenly we're in film noir territory (great spooky,treated back vox by Francis)...kinda Bowie meets the blue nile...very euro feel, sophisticated,understated... "got to find a solution,got to find a way"....strong melody,synths...suspense
keeps building...very synth led with understated guitar...Steve's vox warm and heartfelt...
and then breakout chorus, "are you standing in the garden of eden?" cinematic moment and total rush and totally unexpected
mood from the band..dark, suspenseful, modern.

4 UNIVERSAL WITNESS again acoustic, rootsy opener that kicks in with hilarious back vox as if suggs from madness has stormed into the studio (I imagine it's Francis droppin his aitches---East London style ??!!!) strong ripper of track, imagine madness meets the moody blues...strong florid catholic metaphors abound,blood, rust, rivers, angels, saints, devils, demons......nice change of dynamics...Steve continues to sing simple strong melodies, very heartfelt......"if you're not afraid to lose, you will never fail"..."head full of scorpions" (nice line, small poisonous thoughts)...

5 KINGS,CLOWNS,CARDINALS ...rootsy acoustic opening...again...suits Steve's husky voice...another FU song,"people comin' at me ,secret sarcasm"...basically he's saying he'll go his own sweet way....nice keys again from Brislin. Brilliant...takin swipe at web critics but maybe also at deeper authority figures...though it could be all a hall of mirrors/metaphors...nice electric piano..Dorrie's sweet back vox...great track...again dreamy interlude till "shine on, shine on" section...great change of dynamics, mood...Dunnery, take a bow. G
reat production...horns, excellent drummin, lord, this rocks.

6. MILO hhahaahhahhaha MILO downunder is a chocolate malt drink so giggles aside, tis wonderful Beatlesque track/feel....simple strong melody simply arranged to deliver message of a special child and after so many
angels, demons, kings, cardinals, milkmen. It's nice to see Steve write a song about a specific person, an ode as it were...very heartfelt, great melody...Noel gallagher dreams about liam being able to write such ballads for the last 3rd of OASIS albums...steve should sub contract...."let the bells ring"...very english,very Sgt. Pepperish.

7 RUNNING OUT OF TIME wooo, someone's given Francis some angry pills...rockin' toon, monster strumming with poised counterpoint...could be track of the album...great back vox...a warning song delivered with URGENCY repeated
lyrics..."there is a bigger sky"...time for renewal....incandescent lead guitar, squalling but not overlong, again folky acoustic, great shifting dynamics,"somethings gotta give" great shuffling section.."like winds across the prairies, like smokin cigarettes"....time for action.

8 MADONNA AND CHILD just lovely, a song of refuge and renewal...again Gallagher, Martin, Ashcroft would kill to write this ballad...a chorus you can take to the bank...these are just great simple melodies simply arranged to
deliver their message, no noodling, quasi Floydian head trips...just great timeless songs...another personal song with specific locations, Steve's house...George Martin + numerous associated saints up in heaven would be diggin'
this right now...very cool English melodic rock that only the blasted poms can ain't fair.

9 THE REASON piano led intro...great tender Beatleseque melody, layered vocals, splashy drums --all to serve the chorus "love is the reason we're alive,love is the reason we survive" nice key change into "I'm calling" repetition of lyric and then a nice heartfelt lyric "I'm falling down and I don't even know where I am"...nice...honest...back to chorus, no sentimental bullshit, just back to the uplifting chorus...sweet finale (last third of album chock full of quality ballads...)

10...BIG SKY REPRISE some synth stuff. (not enough churchbell!)

ok washup---pleasantly surprised by the more rootsier,introspective vibe---great production of layered back vox, Tom always tasteful on keys and Francis just audacious and funny with back vox/arrangements/guitar...nice repitition of
certain phrases throughout CD...uplifting messages/nice turn of phrase ("head full of scorpions"?---do we owe this to someone or is it original ?)...Steve has to be admired for his determination plus simple strong melodic songs, simple as that...if I can sing snatches of them as i work and commute and shop and stand at taxi ranks, anyone can....would love to see THE SYN on jools Holland and especially givin' it the full welly at the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL (Sydney) sometime soon.


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April 24th, 2009

Review: K2 ~ Live In Hollywood

April 2009 – After the unexpected success of Book Of The Dead (the CD which was reviewed in iO Pages nr. 59) Ken Jaquess wanted to give shape to this project live too with his band K2. As an appropriate replacement for Shaun Guerin, who died just after the recordings were finished, he found Josh Gleason, who is just like Guerin a singer in a Genesis-tribute band (The Waiting Room). Allan Holdsworth’s place was filled in by Karl Johnson, Jaquess’ colleague in Atlantis. Without violin-player Yvette Devereaux, but with Ryo Okumoto and Doug Sanborn the band hit the stage on February 13 2006 and with the DVD(R) Live In Hollywood the home-public can watch this show now too. The band started with the first three Chapters of the concept-album about the world of the ancient Egypt, from which the opening-track Infinite Voyage can be called revealing. The music is clearly based on the symphonic rock from the seventies (Genesis, Yes), but there’s a lot of room for jazz-rock-like, ambient and freaking passages. Gleason is capable to give a good rendition of the difficult singing-melodies from the strongly narrative concept, despite his somewhat unaccustomed aura (maybe caused by the absence of Peter Gabriel’s veiling constumes), while his deep voice sounds a bit like Neuschwanstein’s Frédéric Joos’ voice. Johnson often plays along with the singing-lines, weaves complete solo’s right through them and demands with his regular, great slurring and virtuoso solo-spots a considerable contribution in the group-sound. Of course he has to share that contribution largely with Okumoto, who produces many Moog-, organ- or piano-solo in an inspired way. Apart from that the band plays, after the Chapters mentioned and Forest Cathedral from the Atlantis-album Pray For Rain, an overwhelming version of the instrumental Free Fall from his Coming Through-CD and after the epilogue Cloak Of Antiquity follows a modest rendition of the Spock’s Beard-song Beware Of Darkness as an encore. The stereo-DVD has been shot with hand- and steady camera’s, as a result of which a lot of details can be seen. For instance, the a-typical, almost jazz-like drumming of Sanborn (who also plays in the ska-band The Untouchables) and Jaquess’ performances on bas, keyboards and bass-pedals are being showed very good, just like the sober décor of the modestly illuminated stage. The extra’s which have been added to this DVD are amongst others a kick-off from the tour, filmed with one camera and featuring Chapter 3: The Edge Of Light, a look behind the scenes in the rehearsing room (where you can see a Mellotron, which wasn’t used during the show though) and a photo gallery. Live In Hollywood definitely gives judgement to the studio-album and forms the upbeat to a next chapter in the history of K2.


Published in iO Pages nr. 86 (April 2009) – website
René Yedema

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April 21st, 2009


April 21st, 2009, New York – Right on schedule for its April 21st debut, The Syn’s Big Sky disc is available right now for immediate digital download exclusively at In addition, a special package that includes the immediate album download + a ticket to any tour stop of your choice (excluding RoSfest) is available as well. The physical disc will be available on the Internet and in brick and mortar stores everywhere within days. Featuring a core lineup of cofounder/band leader Steve Nardelli, Francis Dunnery (of It Bites and The Robert Plant Band fame) and Tom Brislin (keyboardist on Yes’ Symphonic tour; Spiraling), Big Sky moves The Syn’s Prog Mod sound to the next level.

Big Sky has generated excitement among both prog rock and indie fans for months now in pre-release. Steve Nardelli, The Syn’s co-founder, lead singer and songwriter, has given both current Syn fans and new listeners alike an album full of songs with lyrics that matter, music that stirs the emotions, and playing that brings the adjective ‘world-class’ quickly to the lips of any listener.

Robert Silverstein of 20th Century Guitar says, “Big Sky offers a unique, 21st century mod-prog rock recording that’s just as inclined to draw on electronica, acoustica, World Beat, jazz and lyrical, Dylan-esque folk. With ten tracks clocking in at 54 minutes, on Big Sky many musical treasures can be discovered on a big musical canvas.”

The band is launching a North American tour on the 25th of this month that includes performances at Philadelphia’s very popular RoSfest progressive rock celebration, in Chicago, in San Diego, and as the opening night show for the Berkeley California World Music Festival. The Syn are also doing an unprecedented two-night stint in southeastern Virginia on the Chesapeake Bay as a benefit fundraiser for music, arts, and media education at rural Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Virginia.

Formed in 1965, The Syn was a direct precursor of the legendary prog rock band Yes, with that band’s bassist Chris Squire as one of The Syn’s founding members. At various times, The Syn has included Yes alums Peter Banks and Alan White in their lineup. Now the core lineup of Nardelli, Dunnery, Brislin is augmented on the tour by Paul Ramsey and Brett Kull (both of Echolyn).

The Syn’s ‘Big Sky Tour 2009’ is shaping up to be the musical event of the spring season. Catch them live in a town near you.

On the net:
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February 18, 2009


February 18, 2009, New York – Progressive rock band The Syn will show off a new lineup and a new vision with their latest CD Big Sky and an extensive North American tour that includes a performance at the world famous progressive rock festival in Philadelphia, RoSfest. Stops also include Baltimore’s famed Orion Sound Studios, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and much more. The group will be also be doing two full evenings of fundraising performances in Virginia with all proceeds to be donated to music, education and the arts.

Formed in 1965, The Syn was a precursor of the band Yes, with that band’s bassist Chris Squire as one of the founding members. At various times The Syn has also included Yes alums Peter Banks and Alan White in their lineup. Now The Syn continues forward with a core lineup of Steve Nardelli (founding member, songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist), Francis Dunnery (of It Bites and Robert Plant fame – guitars and vocals) and Tom Brislin (Spiraling – also keyboardist on Yes’ Symphonic tour – keyboards and vocals). The lineup is augmented for the tour by Paul Ramsey (Echolyn) providing drums and other percussion and Brett Kull (also of Echolyn) on guitar.

Much of the Big Sky tour will be filmed. The footage will be released as a documentary of the tour. This film will be available in both digital and physical formats. For more details you can find the Syn on the web (and get a full listing of tour dates) at

Peace Frogs, a leading US manufacturer of ecologically responsible, sustainable living, and green-themed clothing is sponsoring the tour. A jointly-designed authentic branded Syn merchandise line will be available for sale at all of The Syn's live performances and selected in-store appearances and promotions.

About Umbrello Records: Umbrello Records is a leading independent record label and part of Umbrello Music Entertainment. Umbrello Records is home to a diverse family of artists. In addition to progressive music leaders The Syn, the roster includes talented artists Julie Felix (in a collaboration with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin), K2 featuring Allan Holdsworth (U.K., Level 42), Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), Ken Jaquess (Atlantis), violinist Yvette Devereaux and drummer Doug Sanborn (The Untouchables).

On the net:

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January 30, 2009


New York, January 30, 2009 — Umbrello Records is very proud to present the new album from legendary folk singer Julie Felix featuring John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on mandolin.

Julie Felix, a stunningly beautiful woman with an equally beautiful voice, was a star of the magnitude of Joan Baez in the UK in the 1960s and has been associated with some of the world's most important musicians including Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and Jimmy Page.

In 1966, Julie played with Bob Dylan at the immortal Isle of Wight concert. Now, over 4 decades later, she presents her first American album of Dylan songs.

Entitled Masters of War, the album includes Julie's stirring interpretations of eight Dylan classics including Mr. Tambourine Man, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Hard Rain, and I Shall Be Released.

Joining Julie Felix and John Paul Jones on Masters of War are some of the finest musicians in the UK, including Kiki Dee (additional vocals), Danny Thompson (bass guitar, featured guitars), and the John Renbourn String Quartet.

A complete track and musician listing can be found at:

Julie has always been passionate on the subject of war and remains so up to the present day, stating: “War is ugly. War is cruel. War claims the lives of thousands of innocent children and leaves in its wake broken dreams and broken lives including those of thousands of refugees. It deals devastating blows to Mother earth causing ecological disaster. It leaves deadly poisons in the soil and in the lungs of both soldiers and civilians.”

All songs on the album Masters of War were composed by Bob Dylan and were produced by Julie Felix.

The Tracks:
01 Masters of War 4:13
02 Mr. Tambourine Man 6:17
03 Sad Eyed Lady 8:11
04 Subteranean Blues 3:11
05 It's Alright 7:15
06 Hard Rain 8:14
07 The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll 5:00
08 Gates of Eden 6:26
09 I Shall Be Released 4:02

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