Updated: Jul 25
I put out an appeal on PROGRESSIVE EARS for new releases in 2023 that I should be listening to, and a lot of the respondents suggested the Ryan W Stevenson project ZOPP, with the additional assistance of drummer Andrea Moneta; guest vocalists, tenor sax, flute, and French horn. There are seven tracks ranging in length from 2 to 14 minutes invoking pleasant memories of Canterbury legends like Hatfield and the North and, in the trickier bits, Egg; also a touch of Zappa in the guitar. Ryan is a talented multi-instrumentalist from the lovely city of Nottingham (a real shame about recent events there) - as it happens, Benedict and I were there twice last year to take in gigs at Peggy’s Skylight Jazz Club amongst many other things. Among Ryan’s array of instruments are a Hammond organ, mellotron, Hohner pianet and Korg synth, and he also weaves some field recordings expertly into the music. ‘Dominion’ oozes class from start to finish, and I was particularly taken by Ryan’s replication of Mike Ratledge’s famous fuzz organ sound; it will surely feature prominently in ‘best of 2023’ prog listings. The special edition digipak CD is already sold out, but a nice digipak with eight page booklet and handwritten lyrics is still available on Bandcamp for the reasonable price of £10.50 or more.