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"They stand on the shoulders of giants and build their own tower"

Peter Skov, The Prog Archives

 

"More left turns than the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn"

Stephen Humphries, Prog Magazine

 

"A perfect definition of progressive rock. I get the feeling that this is the start of something big"

TC, Classic Rock Society

 

"A mature and confident work that shows growth on every level"

Mike Flavin, USAProgmusic

 

"II" makes a strong case for Perfect Beings as one of the top acts among prog’s next wave"

Jason Warburg, The Daily Vault

 

"With "II" Perfect Beings have clearly positioned themselves right next to the best melodic Prog bands of today"

Marc Roy, ProgGnosis

 

"Perfect Beings bring exitement to Prog"

Angel Romero, Progressive Rock Central

 

"They continue to build an impressive body of work"

Gary Mackenzie, Prog Magazine

 

"Absolutely stunning"

Paul Rijkens, iO Pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

full reviews

 

Warren Barker - Progression Magazine 4-25-2015

In this bleak modern musical terrain heavily littered with "been there, done that", a beacon of light emerges in Perfect Beings' pop/prog debut. Don't be deterred by this tag as the California quintet's marriage of Radiohead, 10cc and Death Cab for Cutie with symphonic prog is exquisite. Early Ambrosia and Product are the closest comparisons but this is its own entity.

Founded by guitarist Johannes Luley and vocalist Ryan Hurtgen, the group boasts pristine sound hammering home compositions loosely based on Suhail Rafidi's sci-fi tome TJ and Tosc. Opening cut "Canyon Hill" (reminiscent of Klaatu's Hope)and the more rocking "Helicopter" introduce the proceedings in two short poppy bursts before heading down a more progressive trail. Tracks lenghten with extended solos, ambient passages and symphonic crescendos - all performed with one foot firmly set in tasteful modern rock, dodging a neo or retro progressive approach. Hurtgen's warm Tenor is a welcome relief from vocalists dredging ghosts from the past.

The varying styles shouldn't disturb box heads' demands for a band's defining "sound". What makes this release progressive is that it's too good to be classified as anything else. 15/15

Olav Martin Bjørnsen - House of Prog 1-28-2015

US band PERFECT BEINGS was formed at the tail end of 2012, instigated by Johannes Luley (guitars) and Ryan Hurtgen (vocals). When the music and lyrics had been noted down, Dicki Fliszar (drums), Jesse Nason (keyboards) and Chris Tristram (bass) joined the band who started rehearsing the material, concluding in a three week long recording session. The end result was the album "Perfect Beings", which was released in early 2014.

I have to admit that I'm impressed by this production, and on a number of different levels too. Here you have a progressive rock band that appears to deliberately focus on the lead vocalist for starters, that creates material that showcase the strengths of a high quality singer and choose to dampen the instrumental escapades for just about every vocal section, unless the instruments are used to create specific effects. In terms of creating progressive rock with a stronger commercial appeal this is brilliant. That this may lead to some purists writing the band off as pop prog is probably an easy pill to swallow if it shifts a few hundred more copies and makes an impact beyond the relatively confined waters of the hardcore progressive rock crowd.

But while this aspect of the album does make it more accessible, these guys haven't forgotten some of the key features of progressive rock. The compositions tend to twist and turn, themes are explored and repeated and given variations on a subtle and not so subtle level, and tose with a keen interest in instrument details will have a plethora of themes and motifs to enjoy, especially underlying instrument motifs supporting or contrasting the main dominating one is rather bountiful here unless my ears deceive me a lot in the late evening hour I'm writing this down. Organ, keyboards and guitars in particular impress by way of variation, subtle alterations and smooth, dramatic shifts taken in stride. And while the sound is modern and there's a certain emphasis on the lead vocals, unlike most progressive rock bands of note, my main impression is that the spirit and approach of the classic bands from the 70's is distinctly present. In keyboard, guitar and bass sounds and performances, as well as in how drummer Fliszar will toss in some jazz-tinged drum details here and there.

I'll also note down that this album is a clever one. Yes is stated as a direct influence by Perfect Beings, and there are plenty of nods in that direction by way of firm bass guitar, keyboard details and especially vocal harmonies, but there are plenty of references to other bands incorporated here as well, by accident or by design. Fans of Genesis, and at least to some extent Camel and Pink Floyd too, should find the overall sound of this production vaguely familiar due to that. At some point what sounds like a direct nod in the direction of Focus appears, and certain guitar details here and there also brought bands like Rush and even Hawkwind to mind. If this is due to clever design or merely an accidental feature I don't know, but a direct result is that this album will have a subtly familiar feel to it from a fairly widespread crowd amongst the progressive rock audience. Which will lead to direct results in form of sales, and as this album is about a year old now I guess I should write presumably have lead to an increase in sales I guess.

All in all "Perfect Beings" comes across as a solid product. Clever, charming and intelligent, in a manner that will give it an appeal beyond the regular progressive rock crowd but maintaining enough of the spirit and approach from the heyday of this type of music to have a strong appeal even to veteran progressive rock fans. A well made album that is easily recommended to fans of both the golden age bands of progressive rock as well as to those with an interest in a more contemporary sounding project, although I suspect that at least a certain fascination for the giants of old will be needed to truly enjoy this production.

My rating: 82/100

 

Vish Iyer - Daily Vault 8-29-2014

The idea behind Perfect_Beings is a bit old fashioned in this day and age of quick and easy gratification: band leader Johannes Luley had the intention to create an album that honored the style and live musicality in traditional prog rock mediums…yawn! The kind of human with the musical palette to appreciate a fine prog rock album is a dying breed.

And if this wasn't enough, Perfect_Beings is a concept album based on
TJ & Tosc: A Field Guide For Life After Western Culture, a science fiction novel written by little-known author Suhail Rafidi about an artificial intelligence who was once a human being. It doesn't get more geeky, fraught, and just plain uncool than this.

However, this is just on paper.

There is one thing – and a pretty huge one – about Perfect_Beings that actually makes it quite an amazing and cool record: it is built on a foundation of pretty tunes. One doesn't need a sophisticated musical taste to appreciate pretty music; it is as primal as one's affinity for sugar. Perfect_Beings could be any genre, and it still would be an awesome album. This trait is what makes the detours and complications on some of the disc's lengthy numbers seem like a walk in a maze of beautiful flowers on a bright sunny day – the twists and turns seem more inviting than intimidating.

The prettiness in this album's music comes mostly from their psychedelic pop nature in all its fanciful and beautiful glory. In fact, this album owes as much debt to the influence of The Beatles and the Beach Boys as it does to classic prog rock. And with singer Ryan Hurtgen's cordial and soothing vocals, this Los Angeles prog rock outfit could be easily mistaken for an eccentric – although well-mannered – Britpop band.

Even though Perfect_Beings is a soundtrack, recasting TJ & Tosc into music, it never feels stuffy or burdened by the novel. This album can just as well be enjoyed without any knowledge of this book or its story. Music always takes precedence over the narrative here.

Unlike the pomposity that the genre of prog rock is known for, Perfect_Beings is one prog rock album that actually wants to welcome the masses into its abode with wide open arms and win their hearts with a smile.

 

Martin "Progradar" Hutchison - Lady Obscure 8-19-2014

"There are some moments in life where we never want to let go and hold on to it, even if it's just supposed to be a withered memory, like many others. There's always this urge to think it is real, like walking into a framed photograph, and living a life in there. Introspection is one thing, and living in the past, another." – Usha – Smiley Side Up.

What a great, bold and far reaching statement. What triggered this in my mind? Well, we all know that one of the pioneering bands of the progressive rock, one of the founding fathers in fact, Yes, have released a new album this year, 'Heaven & Earth', to rather lukewarm, in fact downright mediocre, reviews. This has invited a flurry of defensive comments about the band and a lot of music fans pointing out that there are much better bands out there that can produce what the 70's behemoths have done in a decidedly more impressive fashion. Bands like Druckfarben, Glass Hammer and Perfect Beings.

This got me thinking, isn't this just damning these other artists with faint praise? Instead of comparing them to the past legends, shouldn't we as 'progressive' rock fans be looking forward and actually progressing? I think we should be taking each band on its own merits and not harking back to the glories of the original progressive rock period. To take Usha at his own word, stop living in the past and start looking forward.

I am going to start by looking at Perfect Beings and their debut, self-titled release. L.A. based, the band was formed by Moth Vellum founder, guitarist, and great solo artist in his own right, Johannes Luley. In November 2012 he had approached songwriter, pianist and vocalist Ryan Hurtgen, recently arrived in L.A. from Nashville about collaborating on a concept album. Loosely based on Suhail Rafidi's sci-fi novel 'TJ and Tosc', the novel's themes of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world were a perfect fit with the music.

They added drummer Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickenson band) to the ranks and then enlisted Jesse Nason (Fliszar's former bandmate) on keyboards and Chris Tristram (ex Slash) on bass. Perfect Beings are all about the interplay of five forces, each bringing their individual styles and talents to the plate, combining them into one big musical feast.

So then folks, it is time to listen to the music and see if it can stand tall on its own merits or whether it will stay in the shadow of the acknowledged greats like some pale imitation.

Well, to be honest, the start of the album is rather inauspicious. The first two tracks The Canyon Hill and Helicopter are firmly in a sort of alt-rock pop stance that is quite underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, it is well done, the vocals quiet and understated on the first track but it is very unfulfilling and leaves you wanting more. Helicopter tries to add a bit of wackiness to proceedings but just comes across as a lightweight Red Hot Chilli Peppers with the short, sharp guitar riff and over-emphasised vocal delivery. It has been done before and done a lot better in my opinion. There are some nice touches like the break in the middle with the nicely harmonised vocals but, at this moment in time, I am left wondering who these guys' actual influences are?

All is not lost though as the intro to Bees and Wasps promises a lot more. A decidedly funky 70's prog bassline and tinkling piano are what I really want to hear. The track builds on this foundation, the vocals kick in earnestly and everything just hangs on the edge a tad. Nice little guitar interludes and the classy percussion show that this band do know where they are going as they blend modern with classic. Odd time signatures abound as you would expect and a coruscating guitar section adds a hint of mystery. This is intensive, thought provoking music with attitude, not the youth oriented pap of the first couple of tracks and leaves you wondering if they were accidently left on the final master. The delicate piano and keyboards are a nice touch and my opinion is very much starting to change, the way the vocals build towards the end of the track is sublime showing the power of Hurtgen's voice, let's see if this is a total change of direction or just a shining light in the abyss of bleak normality. Well, things definitely seem to be on the up with a continuation of classy music. Walkabout is an acoustic delight, the gentle guitar and beautifully harmonised vocals play with your emotions and leave you with a feeling of contented wonderment. The bass is used as major player rather than just a rhythm aid and is captivating. The song construction is complex but totally accessible. The section in the middle where the keyboards are given free rein is excellent and then, when the guitar is allowed to blast off with a Duane Eddy vibe, you just can't help but smile. This is where the golden era influences begin to seep out and show their classic style, the song being over nine minutes long but never feeling like it is impacting on your time, you are happy to immerse yourself in it and let it wash over you. Dicki Fliszar is almost allowed to get away with a drum solo in the middle of the track as the song takes a laid back interlude in a wholly mesmerising fashion before coming to a mellow, unhurried close.

The next track on the album, Removal of the Identity Chip, lulls you into a state of stasis with its congenial, unthreatening introduction, a whole jumble of guitar, drums, bass and keyboards meanders along amiably like a casual wander through an unfettered soundscape. The tide turns with the introduction of a powerful organ note and a guitar sound that harks right back to the progtastic 70's. It is quite superb and really pulls on the emotions, Johannes Luley's playing is masterful and the little signature bass sound as the song comes to a close is a nice touch. Program Kid begins with a keyboard note and vocal tone that really brings The Eels to mind for me, gently psychedelic in its composition. Gentle and unimposing is dances along the edge of your psyche, almost melancholy in its delivery. Once again, the delicate vocals are central to the track's allure. There is a short pause and then the blue touch paper is lit and off we go with a quite glorious instrumental section led by the animated bass playing and chiming guitar. This really does bring to mind classic Yes, I have honestly been trying to keep away from the comparison but here it is just brilliant execution that cannot help but remind you of that band in its heyday. The way the track finishes is just superb.

Remnants of Shields begins benignly and considerate with a gently strummed acoustic guitar and lush keyboards. The percussion is just in the back of your mind as the vocals begin smooth and mellow. It is almost transcendental in its delivery, dreamlike and serene. You just kick back and relax and the world and its worries drift away. A nicely harmonised vocal leads in Fictions before the soaring guitar takes centre stage transfixing you. There are elements of modern pop intertwined with the classic progressive guitar sound and hushed, flowing keyboards. The band are looking forward but always tipping their metaphorical hats back in a nod to the greats of the past. On this track Johannes Luley really lets rip with a vintage guitar note that bleeds passion, spellbinding in its intensity.

Primary Colours begins with a repeated piano note and a funky guitar riff before the vocals begin in an undulating fashion. That guitar note leaches into a familiar prog edge and the off beat drums and bass hold everything in sway. This song is short, sweet and quite delightful delivering beauteous sounds for your aural pleasure. The last song on the album is, quite possibly, the most straightforward, prog led track. One of Your Kind begins in a quite uplifting way, the vocals being low and luscious, flowing over you. The tempo is deliberate and steady as the track opens up a musical vista in front of you. Acoustic guitar interludes that dance along with infinite grace and humility are just one of the sumptuous ingredients in this smorgasbord of sonorous delights. It is like the shackles of restrainment are off and the band are let loose on a stylistic progressive jam of fast paced keyboards, incredible drumming and a guitar that literally talks to you. The amazing range and quality of Ryan Hurtgen's vocals are fully on show as he leads the song along. Just sit back, forget about the outside world and let this musical journey seep into every pore as it reaches the heights. It is like the whole album has built up to culminate in this track, everything perfected as the record comes to a poignant close.

Well, what can I say, after a rather lacklustre beginning Perfect Beings have delivered an excellent album that, whilst taking all that is good from the annals of progressive music, is proud to forge its own path. The influences are there but they are not the main focus of the music, the band have created something that is wholly progressive and forward facing whilst never forgetting the musicians who began the genre 4 decades or more ago. Definitely worth investing in and the future can only be bright for this talented group.

 

Scott Adams - Metalasfuck.net 6-29-2014

Smooth prog that'll hit all the right notes with discerning ears...

Prog rock. Of course when applied to 'true' prog music the term progressive is now a massive anomaly, as 'prog' as we like to think of it hasn't actually progressed at all since about 1974; consequently the music most 'prog' fans love to listen to is actually incredibly backwards looking indeed, and mostly centred around the recorded output of bands like Yes and Genesis at the start of the seventies.

Thankfully there's little or no evidence of Genesis on this album from Perfect Beings, though there's a hefty dollop of Yes in the mix, especially in the roving basswork of Chris Tristam, who really goes to town all over this self titled nugget of prog goodness. Y'see, I am a prog fan, so, for all my semantic carping, the fact that this is nothing more than a trad prog album is actually rather comforting. So what you get for you money here is a rather nice, laid back amalgam of some of the usual suspects; a quick mouthful will give you notes of latterday Beatles, the aforementioned Yes, moving through the years to incorporate some Steve Hogarth-era Marillion and It Bites before coming to rest squarely in the quieter part of Spock's Beard's sonic territory. It's a genteel smorgasbord of well-polished virtuosity, a late night, reflective type of album that never resorts to bombast when filigree and finesse will get the job done equally well.

The result of a meeting of minds between guitarist Johannes Luley and vocalist/pianist Ryan Hurtgen, Perfect Beings won't fail to captivate fans of the sort of music that held sway over student bedrooms worldwide during the immediate pre-punk era, but you needn't feel excluded if bucolic, pastoral daydreaming doesn't usually float your boat – there really is something here for people of any musical stripe to enjoy, given a preparedness to leave prejudice at the door and an ability to embrace plain, straightforward musical excellence. Turn the lights down low, sit back, and prepare for immersion – Your ears will thank you for your trouble.

 

> > > Interview with Alexandra Mrozowska - Hard Rock Haven 7-07-2014

 

"DP" in Classic Rock Society 7-05-2014

During downtime from playing bass with Slash and Marjorie Fair, Chris Tristram went back to his musical roots, posted an online video of himself playing 'Roundabout' and was spotted by Moth Vellum's guitarist Johannes Luley, who was just finalizing his new band's lineup. And the rest, as they say, will be history. Or it should be, if they maintain and accelerate the potential they display in this stunning debut.

First things first, the other band members are Ryan Hurtgen (vocals), Dicki Fliszar (drums) and Jesse Nason on keyboards, and they sound a seasoned and experienced band already.

This was one of those rare experiences of hearing something new and special for the first time. Comparisons in this instance are futile, as each listener will draw their own references. For me, there are merest whiffs of McCartney, XTC, the Yes masterpiece Awaken and more than a sniff of Field Music.

Their stylistic breadth is remarkable, their musical touch deft, and you remain spellbound, wondering what innovation and creativity will emerge next. Apt band name indeed. This is a shoe-in for the best new band best debut for 2014.

 

"GMM" in Classic Rock presents Prog 7-02-2014

Highly promising debut from this sophisticated new US band. Perfect Beings manage a tricky combination on their self-titled debut album, acknowledging prog tradition while remaining fresh and contemporary. Imagine a collaboration between Yes, XTC and Muse. Based loosely on Suhail Rafidi's sci-fi novel TJ and Tosc, every track uses a number of sections to convey the narrative. This approach can be frustrating at times: Walkabout starts beautifully with a feel and delivery that could have come directly from Nick Drake, but then heads into other musical areas never really returning to this starting point. Helicopter kicks off with a jaunty excentric vibe (anyone remember quirky 90s popsters Jellyfish?), but then it seemes to give that up before meandering into another area entirely. The multi-section approach works better elsewhere, as on Bees and Wasps and Removal of the Identity Chip (which should please fans of yes circa Going For the One). Developing sympathetically, Fictions will have you singing the vocal opening refrain from the off. Not quite a perfect being then, but with smart tunes and strong playing (notably from guitarist Johannes Luley) this debut is sophisticated, considered and richly promising.

Matthew Brady - Metalmouth.net 6-28-2014

Perfect Beings: well, I don't even know where to begin with this band. This is a début from LA prog upstarts like no other.

Dealing with life in a post apocalyptic world and a search for identity and love. And not just that – it's bat sh*t crazy!

The Canyon Hill is the first peek of this record, and from its circus-like vocal and marching band style drumming the freaky begins. Its classic sound mimics that of The Beatles in its cheery and bright existence before slipping into Helicopter, a dramatic two part affair that is split between a swirling brightness that seeps from the previous number into a pleading harmony that begins to sound dreadfully ominous.

Bees And Wasps proceeds just how you'd expect a song with that title to begin; with a pulsing wing beating rhythm and a buzzing piano cradled by whimpering guitar delivery. Removal Of The Identity Chip continues with a jazz guitar pattern and some tribalistic drum fills that capture the attention and imagination as it laps gently over you.

Remnants Of Shields brings in a tranquil breath of fresh air amongst the complexity with a basic beat lapped by a ukulele that slips graciously into Fictions,with its repetitive words and laid back approach. That then is followed up by Primary Colours which is as its title would indicate, colourful and bright. Guitar licks rise and fall amongst the vocal interjections.

One Of Your Kind finishes up Perfect Beings in a flourish of shoegaze majesty. There are injections from an acoustic guitar passage that in any other album would seem out of place but with this album even the weird becomes somewhat normal. Sliding into what I can only refer to as a 'mass prog assault', wavering synths meet with bewildering drums and disoriented free flowing guitars that finishes with the same 'act and react and react' vocal pieces that it began with what feels like a long time ago.

Perfect Beings are, for want of a better word, perplexing. Its unwillingness to stand still and their free flowing harmonies make for enthralling aural pleasure. Its storytelling only comes as a second to its musical intensity that is also astounding.

Perfect Beings does everything a début album should, and showcases the talent of a band that can create some of the most interesting prog rock of recent times. Despite occasionally falling for its own charms it really is a well rounded mission statement for a band that have it in them to go far.

 

Ron Schoonwater - Peek-a-boo Magazine 6-24-2014

When the Beatles ('The Canyon Hill'), Pink Floyd and, especially, Yes would have decided to work together in 2014 you would get "Perfect Beings" as a result. This is an album where a song can start in a folk/ singer songwriter traditional (hello, Simon and Garfunkel) but end in an experimental part with strange drums, a trippy guitar and voice ('Walkabout').
Although the sound of PERFECT BEINGS is typically progressive rock we all know and love, the band isn't falling in the trap of overcharging themselves in long and rudderless songs. Most of them clock around the five minutes mark.
The band around Chris Tristram (Slash/ Marjorie Fair) doesn't need extensive songs to show how good they are. Musically it sounds perfectly in balance and the song writing is truly superb. All songs have resourceful tempo breaks without losing the soul of the complete song. The only exception to the rule is the quiet, but lovely, ballad 'Remnants Of Shields'. The mix between guitar, keyboard/ organ, bass, drums and the clean singing voice fits perfectly as well. "Perfect Beings" is a glorious trip back into the seventies with the modern knowledge and possibilities of today.

 

> > > Interview with Angel Romero of Progressive Rock Central 6-14-2014

> > > Interview with Lady Obscure 6-13-2014

 

Jordan Blum - Rebelnoise.com 6-11-2014

5 stars *****

As much as I adore progressive rock, I have to admit that too many modern incarnations emulate a specific period—the first half of the 70s—a bit too closely. Sure, their work is always intricate, appealing, and colorful, but they usually rely too heavily on tricks made famous by heavyweights like Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson. Few acts in the genre take notable pages from other eras and styles, and even fewer do it as well as Perfect Beings. Its eponymous debut is a wonderfully diverse, joyous, and complex journey that managers to meld vintage traits with contemporary vibrancy and superb, unique songwriting. It's a really great album.
Formed less than two years ago by guitarist Johannes Luley and vocalist/pianist Ryan Hurtgen, Perfect Beings set out to "create an album that honored the style and live musicality in traditional prog rock mediums" with this initial collection. In addition, the album is based on the novel TJ & Tosc by Suhail Rafidi, as its "themes of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world" seemed an ideal match for their musical vision. Even without knowing how it was made or what it's about, Perfect Beings satisfies immensely as a work of significant variety, innovation, humility, passion, and density.

"The Canyon Hill" is a wonderfully fanciful, inspiring, and original way to start. Hurtgen sings with the quirky cadences of Ray Davies, and the instrumentation is a hypnotic and robust journey from a subtle, carnival-esque arrangement to an enticing buildup that carries the same blithe spirit and dazzling timbres as the music of Syd Arthur. Fortunately, "Helicopter" launches that sequence into a proper rocker with lovely transitions and catchy, heartfelt melodies. There's an essential British essence about the combination that makes it quite endearing too.
Trickier rhythms and an emphasis on structural changes make "Bees and Wasps" stand out like the sublime offspring of Super Furry Animals and The Great Depression, while "Walkabout" ventures into a surprisingly different direction, with psychedelic tones and a pensive, spacey atmosphere offering a philosophical vibe. Hurtgen layers his vocals exquisitely, adding a bit more emotion to the playing field. "Program Kid" begins on a similarly quiet and reflective note but soon piles on the prog rock virtuosity and madness, with horns, frantic percussion, and equally spastic guitar work showcasing just how eccentric and ambitious they can be.
The disc ends with arguably its most daring piece, "One of Your Kind." A mournful yet smooth and classy introduction eventually dissolves into an acoustic guitar sculpture akin to something Steve Howe, Steve Hackett, or Alan and Neal Morse would craft. From there, the psychedelic vibe comes back with a faint ominous vengeance, as well as slight touches of Canterbury greats like Caravan and Camel. Naturally, they echo the opening of the album for a bit near the end, which, while obviously a trademark of the genre, is still very cool. All in all, it's probably the most multifaceted track here, revealing every side of Perfect Beings in one magnificent package.
Honestly, I could go on and on about Perfect Beings, praising every moment of every song for being so damn confident, enticing, adventurous, and hearty. It really is a record that exposes more and more brilliant nuances with each listen, and although the music has clear hints of past inspirations, Perfect Beings, unlike so many of their contemporaries, manage to avoid blatant emulation by decorating, rather than suffocating, their formula with them. It's a wise and tricky balance that allows the LP to feel charmingly familiar yet also extremely valuable and original. Perfect Beings is easily one of the most impressive debuts I've ever heard, and it's guaranteed to appear on many 'Best of 2014' lists later this year. I can't wait to hear what the band does next.

 

Brad Hardisty - The Nashville Bridge [plus interview with Ryan Hurtgen] 6-02-14

While Perfect Beings played it safe at first by posting the more ballad oriented "Walkabout" to YouTube, this only eludes to the multi-textured beast of greatness that goes from "Helicopter" with its "Going For The One" modern arena prog rock that could touch a lot of fans of the genre in the sweet spot of the ears that has been missing in music for thirty plus years to the 2112/Neil Peart style of ideas within the mammoth "Removal of The Identity Chip" which could be a modern take on "Watcher Of The Skies".

Founded upon the nucleus of guitarist, Johannes Luley [Moth Vellum] and vocalist / songwriter, Ryan Hurtgen [Rene Breton], Perfect Beings does not disappoint on their freshmen release with like minded musicians, Dicki Fliszar [Bruce Dickinson] on drums, Jesse Nason on keys while Chris Tristram [Slash, Marjorie Fair] manages some Chris Squire – Rickenbacker Bass squawk on some lines.

Although it is easy to reference some of the original prog era giants, Perfect Beings manages to hit some touchstones without sounding retro. It sounds fresh in 2014 and has been reviewed all over the web with very favorable quotes and every review, so far, on Amazon has given the album five stars.

To be honest, this will be the greatest prog album this year not only because they will make happy ears among die hard adherents, but, in fact, this is a great performance album that can sit on the top shelf with the above mentioned works as well as maybe Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here and it's "Welcome To The Machine" motif.

Vocalist, Ryan Hurtgen is well known in East Nashville circles from a couple of years ago with his Rene Breton project. He made the move to California and in the end it has proven to be a really productive time. Maybe it's because he gets to surf quite often, or maybe it's the So Cal attitude that works well. In any case, Ryan caught up with The Nashville Bridge to talk about this latest project and the meaning of music in these tumultuous unknown times in the music business.

 

Alexandra Mrozowska - Hardrockhaven.net 5-28-2014

Although not easy to digest for everyone, progressive rock is a form of music that requires both technical skill and artistic sensitivity – and yet, because of complexity, elaborate form and distinctively cerebral nature of the genre, it's often thought of as "pompous" and accused of being "style over substance." Can a band maintain their progressive sound, but at the same time offer something that is not overloaded with the excessive amount of musical embellishments? Can prog rock be kept relatively simple? Perfect Beings, L.A.-based prog rock act put together by the experienced and renowned musicians, prove it's possible to cross the borders between progressive-infused, rich instrumental passages and easy-listening melodies. They do so with their newly released self-titled album, which sees the light of day via My Sonic Temple label.

The album starts with the Beatle-esque, slightly psychedelic melody of "The Canyon Hill." The next track, "Helicopter," blends progressive influences and Pink Floyd overtones with a well-crafted melody – if prog rock was ever to go radio-friendly, that could be the possible result of such a fusion. "Bees And Wasps" and ballad-ish "Walkabout" enchant a listener with instrumental wizardry and the complexity of the composition, making the band's progressive inclinations even more clear.

"Removal Of The Identity Chip" is a synthesizer-laden, slow-ish track with a breathtaking instrumental coda, followed by somber, bass-driven "Program Kid." The album ends with a couple of charming, slow pieces, among them "Fictions" enriched with a wailing guitar sound and, as for a grand finale, a nostalgic ballad "One Of Your Kind."

Perfect Beings' debut album unveils the progressive nature of their music and there's no doubt about the likes of Pink Floyd or Yes being their major influences, making this self-titled record a must-have in every prog rock aficionado's album collection. And yet, the unique feature of their works is that their soft spot for charming melodies makes their sound more accessible and enjoyable for these who are likely to accuse prog rock of being the 'style over substance' kind of thing mentioned above. Perfect Beings crosses the line drawn between the mercilessly complex progressive arrangements and melodic radio-friendly tunes, taking a place right there in the middle. This, plus the musicians' undeniable musical refinement and skill, make their first album a very interesting release altogether. Recommended.

 

Jerry Lucky - Jerrylucky.com 5-16-2014

Much has been written about how the internet has changed the world of music promotion and distribution. But it's also had a significant impact in how bands can be created. It was through the internet, specifically YouTube that the band Perfect Beings came into being. The five member band is made up of Ryan Hurtgen (vocals), Johannes Luley (guitars), Dicki Fliszar (drums), Chris Tristram (bass) and Jesse Nason (keyboards). This is an American band that pays polite homage to a wide range of Prog and Art Rock bands of the past as they craft a very uplifting symphonic prog on their first self-titled release.

More correctly identified as perfect_beings with all small letters and an underscore, the album's lyrical content is inspired by the 2013 sci-fi novel 'Tj and Tosc' by Suhail Rafidi and its themes of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world. And yet for all the "heaviness" of the lyrical content the music provides a distinctly upbeat arty counterpoint. If I might generalize in the interest of describing,Perfect Beings sound like 10CC and Electric Light Orchestra coming together to make a distinctly symphonic prog album influenced by Yes. So what we have here are the major chord structures of the Art Rock subgenre combined with the intricacy of Symphonic Prog and I love it. Not overly long at just fifty-one minutes, the ten compositions are an assortment of tunes as short as 2:28 and as long as 9:21. The sound is equal parts acoustic and electric, pastoral and yet bold in perfect measure. At times the musical performance will revolve around lovely hummable melodies and then might just as easily jump to complex Yes-inspired guitar solos most notable on "Removal of the Identity Chip" [5:43]. Sprinkled throughout these compositions are wonderful little musical motifs that serve no other purpose than provide a transition from one musical theme to another. This gives the musical pallet a broad panoramic feel where there's always some fresh and inviting musical element to be enjoyed. Whether it's a shorter well-crafted melodic tune or a more involved composition with long and winding passages of instrumental virtuosity, it's all on display on perfect_beings.

I'm quite sure fans of the bands mentioned will find much to enjoy here. Perfect Beings offer an instantly enjoyable sound given its variety and depth. The band's appeal will easily cross over from the Art Rock crowd to the Symphonic Prog crowd. It's a wonderful disc with all the little elements prog fans have come to look for. The band have really done their homework and come up with a winner. Highly recommended.

 

Matt Di Giordano - Progulator 5-11-2014

In a country that seems mostly oblivious to prog rock, Los Angeles based Johannes Luley has managed to piece together a group of quality musicians bonding under a sound that is distinctively modern without ignoring where prog has come along the way. The band is Perfect Beings, and their debut record of the same name has certainly created a nice stir in the community, ranking high among the 2014 prog releases on progarchives and coming as highly recommended by many. With the vision to pay homage to traditional prog while injecting a fresh sense of melody and lyrics, the Moth Vellum founder along with Ryan Hurtgen have certainly made an album that spans a broad musical palette. Out of the albums I've heard as of late, I definitely see this as a record that apart from appeal to prog fans, has the possibility of appealing to a broader audience of indie and pop fans.

On the catchy side, Perfect beings has a knack for melodies that are simple, modern, and attractive. Several pieces come to mind, such as the opener, "Canyon Hill" and "Walkabout." Both of these songs scream out the 2010′s with their strong indie leanings. "Canyon Hill" hits that retro/vintage vibe with it's simple vocal line and repeating keyboard motif before an eventual variation fueled by fuzzy bass and Hammond. " "Walkabout," on the other hand, hits the upbeat folk pop direction, which honestly isn't really my taste, but surprisingly develops into quite an interesting prog piece full of fun bass playing, clever use of atmosphere, and solid melodies. The song is quite a tour of different sounds and moods, going from pop to prog as it presents lots of cool synth bells and pads, nicely layered vocals, and even a brief Howe-esque guitar moment. Overall though, the song has sort of that KScope feel while avoiding the trap of sounding like Perfect Beings is trying to imitate other bands. Also along more poppy-lines would be songs like "Helicopter," which includes a nice dreamy section in the middle that makes good use of a vocal and piano combination and even breaks out with some Floyd-like chord changes. Lastly, I'd like to make mention of "Program Kid," a song I feel like I should totally hate but somehow ended up loving everything from the cheesy sci-fi lyrics to the clever use of synthesizer modulation to represent the computer themes embedded within the piece. Finally, perhaps one of the pinnacles of Perfect Beings' ability to make smart pop is manifest in "Removal of the Identity Chip." This piece really shows a knack for taking key melodies and developing them from instrument to instrument in an enjoyable game of motif-catch over gorgeous atmosphere that marries the modern elements with guitar parts reminiscent of Howe throughout and a bit of Gilmour at the end.

On the more proggy end are songs like "Bees and Wasps" and "One of Your Kind," my personal favorites on Perfect Beings' debut. Fittingly, "Bees and Wasps" begins with a buzzing swarm of insects that molds and shifts into a fantastic intro that is soaked in grippingly dark tension as the piano plays tremolo over brutal chord changes and devastating drum hits. Suddenly the tonality gets less grim and we move into nicely delivered vocals that are catchy and upbeat while maintaining just enough uncertainty as to maintain the seriousness of the intro. The piece grows through instrumental sections where the drummer really opens up and rocks with fills before a haunting vocal processor leads us back into the verse and to an eventual closure featuring a nice bit of tron and a triumphant melody on the vocals. If there's one thing that really stands out though, it's Chris Tristam's constantly musical bass lines that permeate the piece. "One of a Kind," the final track on the album, perhaps ends up being the most serious of all the songs in terms of music, leaning most towards what the die-hard proggers would expect. With everything from synth solos to classical guitar interludes, this piece really grooves and sings all around. On the guitar end we get loads of melodic interjections that remind me a bit of something off Relayer, there's also lots of variety on Hurtgen's guitar playing that can go heavy at times and whisper crystalline swells at other moments. Fliszar's drumming is powerful, and Tristram's bass once again cannot be ignored as his fingers walk us all around the neck and provide constant interest. Offering wonderful vocals and an otherwordly atmosphere, it is on this track that Perfect Beings really creates the perfect sythesis of modern music and classic prog as they spin out a song that is clearly 2014 while holding true to the spirit of doing something fresh.

While my level of enjoyment varied somewhat (some moments were admittedly a bit too poppy for me), I must admit that Luley and his collaborators have put together a very solid record that has many moments that really hit the sweet spot. I honestly think that just about everyone will find some aspect of Perfect Beings that will tickle their fancy and get them giggly excited. When the final keys of "One of Your Kind" faded and the album came to a close I certainly couldn't help but sit back and think, wow, that was really cool. It certainly is nice to know there's guys in my neck of the woods not only doing prog, but sounding distinct and fresh at that.

 

Warthur (Prog Reviewer) - Progarchives 5-09-2014

5 stars *****

This impressive debut from the Perfect Beings finds the band display an impressive knowledge of progressive rock precedent whilst at the same time sounding distinctly modern. Rather than jumping back in time to the 1970s or 1980s to directly transplant and update the sound of classic bands like Yes or King Crimson (or neo-prog revivalists like Marillion or IQ), it really feels like they take into account the entire sweep of musical development in the prog scene here to produce something which displays not a hint of nostalgia but instead builds on innovations in prog spanning the last 45 years. These beings may or may not be perfect, but they've got an unblemished batting average so far.

 

Angel Romero - Progressive Rock Central 5-08-2014

The highly anticipated self-titled debut album by Perfect_Beings reveals one of the most exciting progressive rock releases of the year. This new band from the Los Angeles area, spearheaded by Moth Vellum founder Johannes Luley presents a charming, modern mix of state of the art symphonic progressive rock with a handful of pop elements. Although some music critics have described this new group as Yes-inspired, the primary Yes influence is in the form of Johannes Luley's guitars that at times channel the musical spirit of Steve Howe.

The first two short cuts on the album, 'The Canyon Hill' and 'Helicopter' have an elegant pop-rock feel. As the album moves on, the focus gets more progressive. The band's vocalist Ryan Hurtgen has an impressive voice. A good vocalist is essential in progressive rock and Perfect_Beings have found a fabulous singer, who enhances the music with admirable solo vocals, engaging overdubs and occasional distorted vocals; and best of all, he doesn't sound like a Jon Anderson or Peter Gabriel clone.

On 'Bees And Wasps' we get to appreciate the full range of the band, with a dazzling display of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.

'Walkabout' is one of the highlights of the album. It's also the longest track. The piece begins with a delightful folk-rock atmosphere that develops into full blown symphonic rock with various dynamic sensibilities and hypnotic undercurrents.

Johannes Luley exhibits his splendid guitar skill on 'Removal of the Identity Chip' with a series of outstanding guitar solos supported by the majestic organ played by Jesse Nason.

'Program Kid' has an introspective beginning that transforms into rapid-fire instrumentation.

The acoustic guitars intro reveals 'Remnants of Shields,' perhaps the most exquisite song on the album with beautifully sculpted vocals on a spacey layer of synths.

On 'Fiction' Johannes Luley demonstrates that he's one of the greatest performers in the current progressive rock scene with a series of epic lap steel guitar solos.

Vocals and guitars interweave very nicely on 'Primary Colors.' The album concludes with another lengthy suite titled 'One of Your Kind.' Again, the full band showcases its talent in this serpentine piece. Keyboardist confirms his dexterity with a remarkable synth solo.

The lineup on Perfect_Beings includes Ryan Hurtgen on lead vocals, guitars and piano; Johannes Luley on guitars, vocals, percussion; Dicki Fliszar on drums; Chris Tristram on bass; and Jesse Nason on keyboards.

Perfect_Beings is loosely based the album on the 2013 sci-fi book 'Tj and Tosc' by Suhail Rafidi with topics of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world.

Perfect_Beings is an ambitious, beautiful progressive rock album. One of the most significant releases of the year.

 

Scott "Evolver" Gold (Special collaborator) - Progarchives 5-08-2014

5 stars *****

Perfect Beings? I'm not sure.

Perfect crossover prog album? You can't get much closer to perfection.

The album starts off with two songs, The Canyon Hill and Helicopter that set the listener up for an XTC-like quirky pop experience. Now I enjoy XTC quite a bit, and these tracks drew me in, but for a masterpiece of prog, staying on this course would not have led there.

Bees And Wasps introduces a 10CC-ish reggae sound, with 10CC-ish inventive sounds. Nice. Another art-rock band that I love.

But the album takes off with Walkabout, which starts out somewhat spacy, but transitions with a Johannes Luley guitar lick that sounds exactly like Steve Howe, in both tone and form. The compositions build into a more definitive prog as well, with Chris Tristam's Squire-like bass lines and Jesse Nason's mix of Tony Banks' simplistic but tasteful keyboard lines and Rick Wakeman's soaring synths. And did I hear a Mellotron?

At it's heights' the album is reminiscent of Yes circa "Going For The One", but there are also pieces that bring to mink Pink Floyd and even Mike Keneally.

This album has been on my continuous playlist for a couple of months now, and should be my primary "driving with the windows open and the stereo turned way up" disk for the summer.

Easily the best new album I've heard this year.

 

Kev Rowland (Senior collaborator) - Progarchives 5-01-2014

5 stars *****

When Johannes Lulley (Moth Vellum) told me that he was working on a new project I was instantly intrigued, as not only did I enjoy the music he had undertaken with his previous outfit, I was also a fan of his excellent solo album. When the recording was completed he sent me a digital copy and asked me what I thought, and to be honest I wasn't quite sure what to say. From the very beginning it is obvious that here is an album that is daring to be different in so many ways, and yet is also familiar and reassuring. I have seen elements of this album likened to XTC, The Beatles, Genesis and Pink Floyd and I would agree with all of these, but somehow that misses what this album is about for me.
To my ears the guys have decided that they are going to perform in a pop/prog format, which at times is much more the former than the latter, yet never loses the complexity within all the apparent simplicity. Musically there is a great deal going on, with some significant performances from everyone involved, yet at times they come across almost as if they were Coldplay, or The Byrds, or a band founded in the psychedelic era. The music is timeless, and the production is quite superb, allowing the listener to fall into the sonic landscape they have created knowing full well that the multi-layered notes will catch them and transport them away. There is a small drum fill during 'Walkabout' which only lasts a few seconds, yet the way it has been treated in the mix really allows it to shine through and create a very different feel.

The harmonies are superb, the hooks constant, yet there are sections where they allow themselves to remember that they are a prog band at heart and throw in different styles and complex musical motifs. One could argue that this is a prog album for those who would never say that they were progheads, as there is plenty on here that could well get radio play, but they do forget themselves a couple of times and allow themselves to have a stretch out to more than eight minutes on a couple of numbers, But, there are also a couple that are under three including opener 'Canyon Hill' which is pure English classic pop. More than happy to change time signatures during songs if the mood takes them, let no-one con you by saying that this is a pop album with prog pretensions, but rather is something that is carefully crafted and has feet firmly in both camps and the result is something that will be enjoyed by many. My first 5* album of 2014.

 

Mike Flavin - Usa Progressive Music 4-29-2014

One of the most interesting aspects of my work with USAProg (indeed, following music in general) is seeing how various artists' careers grow and develop over time. There are quite a few artists who put out a terrific album and then get stuck in repeat mode, others who move in new directions with less impressive results, and then finally there are the rare few who do both successfully.

Johannes Luley is such an artist. With only a few albums to his credit, the quality of the work he's been involved with has been stellar. Each of his previous releases (2007's Moth Vellum and his 2013 solo album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove) would probably be considered career-defining for many musicians.

Which brings us to 2014, and perfect_beings. Over the past year or so, Johannes teamed up with vocalist/songwriter Ryan Hurtge for a concept album they decided to base around the futuristic sci-fi novel "Tj and Tosc" by Suhail Rafidi. Teamed up with musicians who had previously performed with hard rocking acts like Slash and Bruce Dickinson, they entered the studio to fulfill their collective love of progressive rock.

The resulting self-titled album is simply stunning – not only a terrific debut, but one of the finest new prog albums I've heard in quite some time. Perfect Beings keeps a hand in classic prog stylings, but adds a songwriting approach that keeps the material fresh.

From the opening piano/vocal intro of "the_canyon_hill" and vaguely psychedelic "helicopter" to the closing of "one_of_your_kind", perfect_beings follows the search for humanity in a future when one's identity is defined and controlled by technology. The combination of Luley and Hurtgen's compositional skills is especially strong, and the arrangements are expansive without overpowering the underlying melodies.

If you turn to prog for majestic crescendos, impeccable musicianship, along with a nod to the classic prog of yore, Perfect Beings is the album and group you need to hear.

 

Daniel Fox - Metal Temple 4-27-2014

9/10 points. PERFECT BEINGS is a new Prog band from California, putting a modern, jazzy and catchy twist on classic Prog Rock in the vein of PINK FLOYD and GENESIS, with what I can hear is a little AOR thrown in, and the odd FOCUS sensibility. What we have in their self-titled is an intriguing duality between technical and evocative Prog, and the catchiness of radio-friendly rock.

"Helicopter" is an interesting track; a Prog backbone, carrying the upbeat jump and jive of 60's and 70's Rock 'n' Roll in the first half with catchy and spacey keyboard melodies with alien guitar licks, and beautiful, light-headed vocals. The second half, interestingly enough, is stripped of almost all of its timbre down to soft and jazzy noodling between guitar and piano, with easy-listening and mesmerising vocals. "Walkabout" is the longest track, at over 9 minutes, delivering a catchy, but deceptively technical and deep arrangement with beautiful, evolving melodies. As it progresses, the track moves in and out of the PINK FLOYDian rocksections and smokey interactions between drum rolls and atmospherics.

"Program Kid" begins as one of the more mellow tracks on this album, subtly and simple with peculiar vocal melodies, which soon picks up the pace with a racey roller-coaster of intriguing riffs and a strong, bass-heavy mix. In fact, the bass tracking is the highlight of this song. A crash-and-tumble brings the track to a dramatic halt. "Primary Colours" is one of my favorite tracks on this release. The piano work is stunning, with intricate and creative arrangements that compliment the guitars and vocals perfectly.

Progressive Rock is a genre that has grown on me a lot as of late, especially due in part to bands such as PERFECT BEINGS, making perfect Prog.

 

Geoff Feakes - Dutch Progressive Rock Page 4-20-2014

9/10 points. Perfect Beings is the latest project by songwriter, guitarist Johannes Luley who originally hailed from Frankfurt and is now based in Los Angeles. As founder of the short-lived Californian band Moth Vellum he was largely responsible for their excellent 2008 self-titled album that resonated with the vintage sound of Yes, Genesis and Camel amongst others. More recently in 2013 Luley released his debut solo album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove which focused on Jon Anderson as a source of inspiration.

For Perfect Beings (an inspired name for a band) Luley has recruited the all-new line-up of vocalist Ryan Hurtgen, drummer Dicki Fliszar, keyboardist Jesse Nason and bassist Chris Tristram, who is known to YouTube viewers for his nifty line in Chris Squire covers. This, their self-titled debut album has been picking up mostly glowing reviews across the worldwide web.

A term I rarely use, 'crossover-prog', is usually reserved for bands that are difficult to pigeonhole and as such can be readily applied to Perfect Beings. Sounding at times like a Beatles/Yes hybrid, the emphasis is on strong vocals and equally strong melodies. Hurtgen's engaging singing is supported by some of the most creative harmonies I've heard for some time. There is also a quirky leftfield side to the band, perhaps due to the contrasting musical influences of the individual members and the writing partnership of Hurtgen and Luley.

The opening song, The Canyon Hill, clocks in at a crisp two-and-a-half minutes. It leaves little room for instrumental indulgence with a simple but catchy rhythm and a compressed vocal style that immediately brings The Beatles to mind along with Trevor Horn's singing on Video Killed The Radio Star.

At roughly the same length, Helicopter is based around a strident chorus with cascading keyboards and slide guitar, which contrasts with a dreamy middle-eight worthy of The Beach Boys in their prime. Bees And Wasps appeared on the recent Progstravaganza 17: Progression compilation to generally positive reviews from the DPRP team. It's a punchy and vaguely jazzy affair with a solid bass riff, busy drumming and a jagged guitar style influenced by Topographic Oceans-era Steve Howe. A touch of rustic Mellotron makes way for an unexpected and grandiose vocal finale.

So far so very good but there's even better to come including for me the album highpoints, Walkabout, Remnants Of Shields, Fictions and One Of Your Kind.

Just shy of 10 minutes, the longest track, Walkabout, is divided into three distinct but complementary sections. The wistful opening song, with its mellow acoustic guitar and sampled birdsong, tips its hat to Paul McCartney's performance of Blackbird, whilst the mid-section is dominated by inventive bass work and a lively guitar break. The lengthy and ambient outro is centred upon an hypnotic, five-note piano motif with unexpected drum solo embellishments.

Removal Of The Identity Chip is considerably shorter in length but somehow manages to recreate the soaring finale from Yes' Awaken, complete with celestial organ and slide guitar. Program Kid goes even further back in time with a manic guitar-organ section that recalls Van Der Graaf Generator, before concluding with the mock drama of vintage Genesis circa-Nursery Cryme.

The acoustic Remnants Of Shields has a warm, mellow ambiance with subtle keys and a lilting vocal, which this time brings Steven Wilson to mind. Fictions is perhaps my favourite song with the first half in particular containing some of the most beautiful counterpoint harmonies imaginable (all created by Hurtgen). The second half is also noteworthy thanks to a searing slide guitar break that on this occasion owes more to Trevor Rabin than it does Steve Howe.

On first hearing I was ready to write-off Primary Colors as lightweight album filler but with each successive play it reveals hidden depths, particularly a pop-prog sensibility that harks back to Tears For Fears' The Seeds Of Love album, right down to the airy Curt Smith style vocal.

The concluding One Of Your Kind similarly takes time to grow on the listener with a gentle guitar, piano and vocal intro blossoming into a delightful melody with more Howe-flavoured guitar atmospherics. At the two-and-a-half minute mark it morphs into a pastoral acoustic guitar solo. One minute later we have a robust synth-led proggy instrumental with bass and guitar battling out for second place. It returns to the main song, this time sounding more upbeat before concluding with a gorgeous guitar theme which builds to an emotional peak before a gentle Musical Box-like fade.

Perfect Beings is inspired by the futuristic, dystopian novel TJ & Tosc by writer Suhail Rafidi. Although familiarity with the story may well enhance your appreciation of the lyrics it is not essential for your enjoyment of the songs. In fact listening to the album for the first time is rather like embarking on an unfamiliar journey. The opening song gives no indication of what is to come. To Luley's credit, it also sounds nothing like his previous band Moth Vellum or his solo album, with the possible exception of the Steve Howe influences that is.

Whilst Perfect Beings have forged a unique sound, the heady combination of superb but not overpowering instrumentation, stunning vocals and infectious melodies will appeal not only to admirers of those mentioned above, but also fans of Moon Safari and Big Big Train. I know it's still early days but so far for me this is the album of 2014.

 

Jeff B., Sea of Tranquility 4-09-2014

4 stars **** The entrance statement from American progressive rock act Perfect Beings strikes an impressive balance between catchy, pop-infused melodies and intricate prog compositions, all while taking the listener on a dreamlike journey through time and space. Especially considering that this self-titled 2014 release is only the band's debut, Perfect Beings has an unbelievably commanding sense of style and sophistication in their music. Their songs have a somewhat surreal atmosphere, and even though the compositions can get quite busy at times, the moody vocals of Ryan Hurtgen, powerful soundscapes from Jesse Nason, and Gilmouresque guitar work from Johannes Luley keep the music on the dreamlike side of things.
I also appreciate the band's wide range of influences; although bands like Yes and Genesis surely figure into Perfect Beings' inspiration, their music does not sound even mildly derivative of the seventies' symphonic prog giants. Perfect Beings almost sounds like a cross between The Beatles (you can especially hear this on "The Canyon Hill"), Hogarth-era Marillion, and Lunatic Soul. That really doesn't do Perfect Beings any justice, however, as their music is too multifaceted to be pigeonholed by a few comparisons. On the whole, this is a debut album that stands tall when examined from any perspective, and even though some listeners may be turned off by the inevitable "pop-prog" label, Perfect Beings is an example of that genre delivered impeccably.

 

Lucas Biela (Honorary collaborator) - Progarchives 3-28-2014

5 stars ***** Perfect Beings is a musical project involving five talented musicians from various musical horizons but sharing the same passion for progressive rock. Somehow, the 5 "fantastics" avoid falling in the trap of playing complex music just for the sake of skills' showcase, by putting a strong emphasis on melodies and by building fascinating atmospheres. The opening track, "The Canyon Hill" is in an Beatlesque mood, with its cheerful beat like a marching band and its veiled voice like recorded in the 1930's (the whole bringing to mind "I am the walrus"). It segues into a festival of Yes-like sounds with majestic Hammond, frenetic drums and canon vocals. "Helicopter" is a split song where the first half with splashy swirling keyboards, blaring organ supported by aggressive imperial drumming and eccentric voice, contrast with the second half where smooth pleading voice, light guitar and piano touches give a meditative and dubious vibe to the music. "Bees and wasps" is a multi-layered track with a first section featuring a buzzing piano, a second section with Squire-like bass, throbbing voices, relaxed drums and mesmerizing guitars, a third section in a jamming mood with disoriented drums, distorted guitars and robotic voice, transitioned via a Prefab Sprout-like passage to a floydian fourth section with soothing voice, segueing in turn, after a mellotron interlude, into a fifth section with passionate vocals and anthemic organ/guitar interplay. "Walkabout" is another multi-layered track, that starts off in a pastoral mood with acoustic folk guitar and birds singing in the background. It goes on in a pop vibe with repetitive piano, shy drums and a catchy chorus. Bells-like keyboard sounds are backed by bells shaken like in a Christmas carol, before syncopated drums bring the band back on the prog rock railways. A minimalist repetitive piano with acrobatic drums rolling like a solid Joey Baron solo in a John Zorn project mark the transition to an intriguing world where drums move carefully forward and vocals are delivered in a dreamy way. "Removal of the identity chip" starts with tribal drums and light sharp guitar licks a la Steve Lukather, accompanied by aquatic rhodes. Guitar licks are morphing into mischievous Steve Howe- like solos when drums turn punchier with their jazz-rock pattern. The music is then reminiscent of Genesis' "back in NYC" but the Yes influence, already present in the guitar, is reinforced when organs join. "Program kid" opens in a soft melancholic way where the voice is first alone with a discreet rhodes, then joined by relaxed drums and ghostly keyboards. The song turns suddenly more aggressive, bringing back to mind the italian prog rock bands of early seventies with daring guitars, overpresent Hammond B3 and a sense of urgency in drumming. "Remnants of shields" is a laidback song retaining an exotic flavour in the use of ukulele. The voice is like floating in the air and adds to the relaxed mood. "Fictions" is a song where insisting repeated words "far away", "changes", "fictions" are like a call to join a better world. This invitation is supported by cheerful and smiling guitars. "Primary colors" is a balad with a slowly building "colourful" melody and vocal work akin to the likes of elizabethan era composers like Dowland. "One of your kind" opens with meditative guitars evoking the grand canyons, followed by ritual native American percussions, then Steve Howe-like mischievous guitar accompanies the melancholy of a shoegazing band. An acoustic guitar passage that could have been sampled from a Sergio Arturo Calonego album is soon followed by prog madness with explosive drums, cheerful keyboards, and disoriented guitars - that become more controlled when the grandiloquence of Steve Howe meets the modesty of Jerry Garcia, together ending in laughing accents. With its blend of syrupy melodies, a dash of melancholy that Radiohead wouldn't deny, and the floating spirit of early Yes in its dynamics, Perfect Beings' self-titled album is a compelling journey across ever-changing seas.

 

John Baggs - Cuter Than Pie (blog) 3-27-2014

What do you get when you take some Genesis, add some Yes, a dash of Pink Floyd and top it off with a pinch of Marillion? You get Perfect Beings, a band out of Los Angeles. They just released their debut self-titled album, that is receiving heavy praise both nationally and internationally. A few have already dubbed it the Best Album of 2014.

I too can attest that this is a solid album throughout. One way I like to gauge an album's strength is to go to track 7, where most albums start to falter and break apart, and see how strong that track is. This one did not fail in anyway whatsoever. If you are a headphones album listener, such as myself, this album is magical in every aspect.

 

rdtprog (collaborator) - Progarchives 3-26-2014

5 stars ***** From the first 2 songs, you think that you are listening to some pop rock songs, melodic with nice vocals. But things open up in the progressive territory were technique leave the space to the melody despite some more complex instrumental experimentation at times. Each song is very different and if the style and sound are reminiscent of bands like Beatles, Genesis and Yes, the band have their own style and all the songs works with a lot of cohesion. The music is a breath of fresh air that contains some nice surprises and always some beautiful vocals. The guitar of Johannes Luley will bring you back to Steve Howe and some keyboards parts are similar to Big Big Train. The band has succeeded with this almost perfect CD to seduce the listener with an original fusion of pop and progressive rock never too complex and never too simple.

 

Jlomheim - Progarchives.com 3-15-2014

5 stars ***** I am not a progressive rock fan. However, I honestly can't find a negative criticism about this record. The reason? These guys have a few fundamental key aspects of musical maturity present: Taste and an undeniable sense of song. As a result, the incredible level of musicianship exercised on this record is never boring? it always serves a larger purpose in the thematic development of their songs.
The writing is brilliantly, the melodies always engaging, and the attention to tone and overall audio production displays their depth and maturity. All this being said, it's easy for me to say it's the best album I have heard so far this year.

 

Brian "Slartibartfast" Lindsey, Prog reviewer - Progarchives.com - 3-15-2014

5 stars ***** A perfect album to start out 2014 with. This is one of those albums that will mark the year for me.
From the first song, which I heard on free streaming - canyon_hill, I detected a heavy 80's post English Settlement XTC influence. helicopter did little to change that impression. bees_and_wasps.- more interesting lyrics with excellent instrumentation. They kind of part from being XTC like in that they do have one eight minute song that wraps up the album, one_of_your_kind, and are not a duo that takes turns with song writing/lead vocals.

As much as I hate to describe a new band in terms of other bands they also remind me a lot of The Tea Club and progressive Umphrey's McGee stuff.

And as much as I hate to write a review that mentions progarchives (joke), this will probably be in the top ten collaborators favorites for 2014. But don't take me for my word, go to their website and check them out.

Progressive rock is alive and well.

Excellent quote in the CD package - some people say that the end of the world is nigh consider instead_for a moment_that the world already ended and today is what remains a new world_unfamiliar_emerging from the detritus of the old

 

Henri Strik - Background Magazine - 3-15-2014

4 stars **** In May 2013 I did an interview with former Moth Vellum guitarist Johannes Luley (see interview) as a result of the release of his fantastic first solo album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove (2013, see review). When I asked him about his future plans, he told me to be 'super excited about Perfect Beings', his new Los Angeles based prog band. They had just begun to record the debut, which should be due around Christmas 2013. Now the eponymous album has come out; it has been recorded with drummer Dicki Fliszar− who used to play for Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and who was once a member of the British rock band Skin − bassist Chris Tristram − who played with Marjorie Fair and the Canadian band Artok − lead singer Ryan Hurtgen and keyboard player Jesse Nason.

The album was recorded in the spring of 2013 at Johannes Luley's My Sonic Temple Studio; the lyrics are loosely based on a science fiction novel called Tj And Tosc by Suhail Rafidi. This book deals with subjects like transformation, identity, technology and love in a post-apocalyptic world. Well, after receiving a copy of the album, I can now fully understand why Luley was so excited about his new band. What he and his fellow musicians achieved on this record is of an incredible high level. The ten tracks demonstrate the strong musicianship of all band members.

Perfect Beings consist of several band members who love the music of Yes, so it's not surprising that this band has left its mark throughout the album. Especially the guitar parts performed on the lap steel, acoustic and electric guitars are reminiscent of Steve Howe. However, it not only applies to the guitar sound but also to the bass parts, which have clear touches of Chris Squire's way of playing. And finally it's hard to deny that the lead and harmony vocals are quite similar to the vocals of this great British prog band. Personally I think that the music of Perfect Beings is principally in the vein of the Yes albums Going for the One (1977), Tormato (1978) and Drama (1980).

However, every now and then the music also tends towards post-rock or folk-rock. I couldn't help thinking of bands as Anathema or Gazpacho. These are mostly the mellower parts which work very well next to the Yes-like progressive rock tunes. Although it isn't easy to mention any favourites − since the level of compositions is very high − I have a slight preference for the tracks Removal Of The Identity Chip and One Of Your Kind. These pieces contain beautiful lap steel guitar parts which made me think of the well-known excellent Yes piece Awaken .

Being a musician you have to be satisfied with the kind of debut album Perfect Beings recorded. So I have to compliment all the musicians who were responsible for recording this terrific album! People who read this review thoroughly must come to the conclusion that this album is also a must have for Yes fans!

 

Wildhairstudio - Progarchives 3-14-2014

***** Five Stars PERFECT BEINGS! YESSSSSS!!!!
For man, the term 'prog band' conjurs a flurry of thoughts that aren't always good ones. Prog can be amazing (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Beck's 'Blow by Blow') or it can be REALLY bad - the genre has branched into a broad and diverse landscape, however, and this album has a rare appeal that will please most fans of the genre AND the general music listening crowd.

Perfect Beings just released their self titled debut and it is outstanding! I don't know where to begin as I will need to absorb it for a while longer (many exciting layers of depth here), but I will say a few things upon my initial listen (in no particular order): 1. Phenomenal singer 2. Sick musicianship (not the masterbatory type, but tasteful playing AND great tone. Everything is in it's right place) 3. They have songs - beautiful melodies you will sing along with. The instrumental sections go on just long enough before vox comes back in, making it totally accessible to both musicians AND non-musicians alike. 4. I wouldn't normally comment on this, but the arwork on the CD is fantastic and easily makes the physical copy a worthy purchase

I'm rating this a strong 5 because I can find no complaint or negative criticism. Truly an excellent album. Well done Perfect Beings!

 

> > > Interview with Nikola Savic - Progstravaganza 3-12-2014

 

ExLibrisPetri - ProgArchives 3-12-2014

***** Five Stars! This beautiful album took me completely by surprise. It's not often you're confronted with such an odd amalgam of familiar elements, that, together, transcend every attempt at classification. Well, put this one down for "unclassifiable". Never heard anything like it, and, again, heard it many times before. A Jungian unconscious collectivity. According to the credits, this album is loosely based on/inspired by TJ&TOSC, a novel by Suhail Rafidi (check out his website), telling a story against the background of an Orwellian post-apocalyptic cyberworld. Quote: "Some people say that he end of the world is nigh. Consider instead, for a moment, that the world already ended. And today is what remains. A new world, unfamiliar, emerging from the detritus of the old." Just listen to the lyrics, and it will start to make perfect sense. The PA classification is "crossover prog", but you certainly don't need to be a die-hard proggy to love this album. Even my wife turned her head when i put the record on, and asked "Who's this?". That's her way of saying she likes it (and she certainly doesn't like prog ;-) It all starts off with a Beatlesque/ELOesque new-wavy ditty called "Canyon Hill", very likable, getting your attention, waiting for whatever will be next ... sliding into the equally new-wavy "Helicopter", I guess the title song of the album. Ending in the lovely lyrics: "perfect beings, immaculate ... good will recruited you, why do you worry?". Grappling for comparisons, the next one, "Bees And Wasps" gave me a clue. I would have sworn that's Barry Adamson (Magazine) playing the bass. This one's certainly one of my favorites, ending in proggy harmonies ... seamlessly crossing over into the folky "Walkabout", soothing, hard not to like, until there's this transition into very odd drum rolling. Then it gets extremely "what the hell is this?", have to listen to it again. The only other comparison I would dare to make is Radiohead, impression-wise, remembering how OK Computer took me by the same surprise. "Removal Of Identity Chip" certainly is another point in case of Thom Yorkian phrasing. Fifteen, fifteen. Lovely Luley guitar playing. This is really impressive stuff! "Program Kid" starts off again like a Beatles' one, although I feel an affinity with Sparklehorse, halfway through getting into some mean rocky stuff, hahahaha (evil laughing). Did I already say I love the voice?! Now I did! Listen to the love song for Appalachia called "Remnants Of Shields" with all jangly guitar strumming. Opening to the far-out, far-away "Fictions", glissando's and what have you. "Primary Colors" starts with an interesting play on rhythm between drums, piano and voice. Gives me an eighties feel (in a good sense). How do you end a perfect album? With a perfect song, I guess. "One Of Your Kind" starts like an easy soft-jazzy interplay ending in a Spanish mood, until, at the 3-and-a-half minute mark, there's an abrupt transition, and I mean really abrupt. Synths washing all over the place. I'm not sure yet, but it feels like a summing up of the whole album (lyrically and musically). Leaving you in bewilderment "what happened here?". Let's play it again. That's what I have been doing anyway since the CD arrived, act and react and react act act and react. Da capo ad infinitum. I know you have to use 5 stars scores sparingly. But really, a perfect album deserves a perfect score. Perfectly composed, perfectly played, perfectly disturbing, perfectly awkward, perfectly beautiful. "Oh brave new world, that has such perfect beings in it".

 

Jean-Christophe Le Brun - Neoprog.eu 3-07-2014

"Perfect! Maybe 2014's top prog album."


> > > Interview with Lady Spitfire - IndieAuthority 3-04-2014

 

Maarten Goossensen - Progwereld.org 3-04-2014

"Wow, it's so brilliant! Their creativity and ingnuity seems endless. This is top shelf symphonic rock featuring instrumental passages that make your blood flow faster. Pay attention to the phenomenal throbbing bass playing of Chris Tristram. It's otherworldly. This album is downright addictive!"

 

Bob Hopkins - RV Carcass 2-28-2014

"Musically rich and sonically beautiful. I will listen to this over and over again."


Marc Roy - ProgGnosis.com 2-24-2014

I'm already familiar with Johannes Luley's work, since I reviewed for ProGGnosis his very good Yes/Jon Anderson inspired album: Tales From Sheepfather's Grove (2013).

Now, just about one year later, he is back but as a member of a band called perfect_beings, and they just put out their first eponymous album, that is very much positionned in the Progressive Rock genre.

Obviously, Mr. Luley holds less responsabilities for this CD than he did on his solo album. He is the band's principal guitar player, does backing vocals and shares a good part of the compositional tasks with keyboard player/lead vocalist Ryan Hurtgen, who has one of the best singing voice I have heard in quite a while, somewhat a mixture of Paul McCartney and Eric Stewart (Wow!!). They are both joined by three other very talented musicians on bass, keyboards and drums. Because of that, one of the main features of this album is the excellent musicianship and also the very dynamic and creative playing. I must also add that the production of this CD is at par with projects having much higher budgets, so listening to perfect_beings is a great audiophonic experience.

There is no obvious reference to be made with other bands. Sure, if one scratches his head quite a lot, at times names like Yes, 10CC, Genesis, Marillion can pop up, but this is never obvious and anyway, it's the case with just about any band past or present. Quality wise, perfect_beings can also be compared to these bands.

One thing is for sure, this album offers 10 very good pieces of music, varied in style (acoustic, spacey, heavy, short, long...) but the band manages to keep a common thread between them that makes perfect_being a real album, not just a collection of songs.

In conclusion, perfect_beings have produced an album that is an early candidate for my "Best Prog" album of 2014. Messieurs Wilson, Hackett, Rothery... better be in great form if they want to top this one with their next CD.

Please check out this band. Use the link on our website to go to their band page and listen to some of their music. You can also go to Progstreaming and listen, for a while, to the whole album. If like me you are a Progressive Rock fan, I'm pretty much sure that you will be blown away by what you hear. I sure was.

perfect_beings gets my highest recommendation indeed.

 

Progstreaming.com on their Facebook page 2-23-2014

"Perfect Beings is Johannes Luley's (ex-Moth Vellum) STUNNING new band. It's a sure contender for the best album of 2014. Too early to tell? Clearly you haven't listened to it!"

 

Ron Kraajkamp - Progstreaming.com newsletter 2-19-2014

Coming up very soon, the debut of Perfect Beings, with Johannes Luley from Moth Vellum and solo. This debut is beyond good. Can't wait to spam you with this.

 

TheOrganizm - iTunes review 2-19-2014

Prog lives! *****
The greatest prog transcends the "music for musicians" barrier and delivers musicality even the least musical among us can enjoy. Perfect Beings do exactly this. You don't need to know what they're doing to enjoy it, but if you do, th epleasure is all the greater. Support new prog!

 

Denis Longo - Progressive Area 2-19-2014

"I think this is the best album of the beginning of the year…. sincerely !!!"

 

Randy Redroad - Filmaker 2-18-2014

"Perfect Beings are amazing. So beautiful and majestic, brilliantly played. Even when the arrangements are challenging, I still feel connected melodically and am not taken out of the story."

 

Peter Thelen - review Exposé.org 2-18-2014

As far as band names go, this is a hard one to live up to, even if we all had the same idea of perfection. That said, this Southern California five-piece packs an impressive punch on their first time out, combining a lot of familiar flavors from the worlds of prog, pop and rock into something new, yet informed by a fifty year history of rock's evolution from the mid-sixties to the present. The band is led by multi-instrumentalists Ryan Hurtgen and Johannes Luley, who also share the majority of the compositions. Hurtgen (primarily lead vocalist and keyboardist) is a Nashville transplant with some solo albums to his credit, as well as recordings under the pseudonym René Breton (which performs live as a four-piece band). Luley (primarily the band's guitarist) we know from his solo album Tales From Sheepfather's Grove, as well as his previous band Moth Vellum. The band is rounded out by drummer Dicki Fliszar, bassist Chris Tristram, and keyboardist Jesse Nason, who also shares backing vicals with Luley and Fliszar. The opening track "Canyon Hill" sets the stage with a McCartney-esque composition with supporting multi-part harmonies that would have fit nicely into the first Klaatu album from 1976, launching directly into the harder rocking "Helicopter" with its shifting arrangements and Steve Howe-like steel guitar figures. "Removal of the Identity Chip" is primarily an instrumental excursion, strongly Yes influenced with some unusual futuristic oriented lyrics, while "Fiction" fuses wonderful multi-part harmonies into an arrangement that could be referencing equal parts 10cc and late-70s Yes. "Remnants of Shields" explores a more acoustic based arrangement that might have fit nicely on Luley's solo album, but it's Hurtgen's vocals that power the tune. "Walkabout" is another acoustic based piece, that finds plenty of changes, vocal harmonies and stylistic shifts over its near ten minute duration, often launching into some powerful instrumental sections with solo spots, other times moving into introspective textural settings reminiscent of the quieter moments of early-70s Genesis. Each one of the ten tracks here are all around superb, and perfect enough, I'm sure most would agree.

 

Dylan4ever - iTunes review 2-16-2014

Perfect album *****
I downloaded this after reading TJ&Tosc. Now reading it while listening to this: bliss!

 

Markwin Meeuws - Progstreaming.com 2-16-2014

"It's STUNNING. Neither Moth Vellum, [Johannes'] solo-album, both whom I love and admire, didn't prepare me for this."

 

Dan Brown - Eastwestsounds.com 2-11-2014

"Nice work Perfect Beings. That's $9.90 well spent on iTunes."

 

Marc's Muse - blog [marcsmuse.wordpress.com] 2-07-2014

There is no such thing as perfection… life is flawed… but being at an incredible radio station with some amazing people and randomly meeting someone who sends me a kick ass record is pretty close. Life works out that way sometimes. I have seen the other side of it. This is the good stuff.

I'm an '80s guy… Prog Rock is in my blood, despite the odd block the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame seemed to have for too many years. Seems like they finally got over that. Good thing.

According to the band's bio Johannes Luley, founder of Moth Vellum, was looking to put together a new project. So you have Chris Tristam, who has played bass with Slash and Marjorie Fair…
Yeah… I am sure y'all know Slash. Frickin' amazing… But Marjorie Fair's Self Help Serenade is one of my FAVORITE albums. The band has long since broken up, but I just saw the CD at Amoeba, so run. RUN!

Ryan Hurtgen, my new KCRW buddy, was a songwriter from Nashville, and he and Johannes "envisioned an album that would honor the style of traditional prog rock, while infusing it with a fresh take on melodic lines and lyrics, and by doing so, catapult the genre into our present time."

Drummer Dicki Fliszar "joined them in the late writing stages", and with Jesse Nason on keys… the album was recorded this past spring at Luley's LA studio, My Sonic Temple. Totally dig that name… It sounds like a good place to pray… or party… or both!

"They loosely based the album on the 2013 sci-fi novel 'Tj and Tosc' by Suhail Rafidi – its themes of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world were a perfect fit with the music."

Man I guess I need to read more. Do not know that book or the author, but the themes hit home… hard. And they come through brilliantly in each tune, but also as a cohesive, musical whole. This record is really a stunner.

My favorite, standout tracks are the Beatles/Maca influenced opener "The Canyon Hill"… "Helicopter", the gorgeous "Walkabout" and "Fictions"… lyrically, this one hit me hard… "These things we do… these chains we cling to… Fictions we love… Do you know my fictions, we love… fictions we love…"

But I have to say, I dig this all the way through… and then hit replay.

All the usual suspects are here… Yes… Genesis… Dream Theatre… Porcupine Tree and Dredge, both of whom I was just talking about with my buddy Jason Wednesday night… but this is no ordinary line up. This really is something unique… modern prog rock!

It was fortuitous meeting you, Ryan. Thanks to you and the boys for a great listen… actually several listens so far!

 

Rick Henry, Manager and DJ at HouseofProg.com 2-03-2014

"I have been listening over and over again to this album and I love it. Amazing composition and production! I start to hear some influence of other artists, but then you guys seem to make unexpected twists. Instrumental and vocal layers are sweet. Wonderful production, layered melodies and sparkling vocals make this album a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Great Stuff! A totally fresh sound! Great Job Guys."

 

Taojones229 - iTunes review 2-02-2014

Great album! *****
Beautiful songs, great guitar solos and singing. Fans of many genres will enjoy this - it's not only for prog rock people. Guitarist Johannes Luley is especially fine. Woohoo!

 

Paul Rijkens - review in "iO Pages Magazine" 2-02-2014

In my opinion, the exiting and challenging thing about progressive rock is often that the listener is put on a wrong track: you think the music goes in a certain direction but than it changes. This is often the case in the music of the new American band Perfect Beings. For me, their most well known member is guitarist Johannes Luley from the group Moth Vellum and his fantastic soloalbum Tales From Sheepfather’s Grove, my album of the year for 2013. The other musicians are the great singer Ryan Hurtgen, drummer Dicki Fliszar (who played with Bruce Dickinson), keyboardplayer Jesse Nason and bassist Chris Tristram (who was in the band of Slash). There are some elements of postrock and some of modern progressive rock in the music of Perfect Beings but I also hear pure symphonic rock. And sometimes these things come together within one composition. This is a beautiful quality of this band. Take The Canyon Hill. It begins a little like pop and than it flows into an excellent piece of symphonic rock with a spicy edge.  Bees And Wasps could have come from Ulver. It has a great dissipation on Mellotron and an euphoric ending that reminds me of Spock´s Beard. I think the best track is Walkabout. It begins somewhat like Elbow and it works to a Yes-like climax with excellent guitarwork from Luley that has traces of Steve Howe. The second part of the song has a guitar riff that has a similarity with the track Queen Of Spades of Styx. Yes and Styx are two of my favourite bands so I am good. Fliszar’s drumwork is very strong. Removal Of The Identity Chip goes in the direction of Awaken by Yes, including church organ sound and steel guitar. After the progressive firmness, there is the calm Remnants Of Shields. A Yes influence is again heard in Fictions and One Of Your Kind in which Luley plays acoustic guitar. This songs bursts out in a wonderful prog arrangement. What a breath of fresh air this album is! I cannot say enough how much I admire this special music. 

 

Hammyman - iTunes review 2-01-2014

Bravo *****
Such a great album. In the world of such pop crap, there are these. People write their own music and play their own instruments. This is a spectacular journey of sound. Strap on your headphones and drift into this musical journey you are about to go on.

 

Rick Dashiell, host of "The Rickterscale", Delicious Agony Prog Radio 2-01-2014

"Love the sound [...] I have a feeling it will take several listens to completely sink in - it's extremely well produced and sounds great."

 

Paul Rijkens - iOPages.nl 1-06-2014

"I have listened to the album once now and I am impressed. It is special music because it has a lot to offer. I like to be challenged listening to music and that is what happens on the album. Sometimes I thought I was hearing rock or post-rock but next in the same song it changed to big symphonic arrangements and I started having the feeling that I was expierencing a new Yes-composition. I really like the track "Walkabout". The second part of this song is absolutely fantastic! In my opinion you have done very well mixing elements of prog, rock and modern elements on the album. Excellent!"

 

International reviews

 

Christoph Lintermans - DaMusic 10-02-2014

Geen genre waar het label 'supergroep' zo gemakkelijk gebezigd wordt als in de progrock. Maar als we Perfect Beings met het epitheton beladen, doen we dat zeker niet omdat we te diep in het glas gekeken hebben. Alles zit gewoon euh… perfect op dit debuut. Nochtans kunnen deze vijf Amerikanen inmiddels een indrukwekkende portfolio met adelbrieven voorleggen.

Wanneer Chris Tristram geen bas speelde met Slash of Marjorie Fair, vroeg hij zich af hoe het zou zijn indien hij naar zijn muzikale roots terugkeerde. En zo vonden we hem in een selfmade filmpje waarin hij met de Yes-klassieker Roundabout meespeelde. De video werd bekeken door zo'n 100.000 fans, onder wie gitarist Johannes Luley (Moth Vellum), die toen een line-up bijeenzocht voor zijn nieuwe project Perfect Beings.

Een halfjaar eerder had Luley songwriter Ryan Hurtgen benaderd om samen te werken op een conceptalbum. De traditionele progrock wilden ze aan een infuus hangen van frisse melodieën en teksten, om het genre naar de eenentwintigste eeuw te katapulteren. De plaat werd losjes gebaseerd op de sciencefictionroman 'Tj and Tosc' van Suhail Rafidi, met thema's als transformatie, identiteit, technologie en liefhebben in een post-apocalyptische wereld. Drummer Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson) vervoegde de band in een later stadium van het schrijfproces.

Eens de grote lijnen van het album uitgezet waren, begon de zoektocht naar een toetsenist en een bassist. Fliszar bracht zijn voormalige groepsmakker Jesse Nason mee, terwijl ook Tristram een keuze verheven boven elke twijfel bleek. In de lente van 2013 werden de basistracks opgenomen in Luley's studio My Sonic Temple in Los Angeles.

In Perfect Beings draait het allemaal rond de interactie tussen vijf formidabele krachten, die elk hun eigen stijl inbrengen. De som overtreft de individuele leden. Opener The Canyon Hill is een tijdsprong naar de Canterbury scene en The Beatles, terwijl ook eighties artrock om nostalgische redenen wordt bezocht (Helicopter). Duidelijker progressieve invloeden (Yes) detecteren we in de sublieme opbouw van Bees and Wasps, de zinderende finale van Removal of the Identity Chip, en de harmony vocals en Steve Howe-gitaar in Fictions.

Program Kid (een reminiscentie naar Porcupine Tree's A Smart Kid) en de prog extravaganza van One of Your Kind bewijzen dat deze band het talent heeft om op enkele vierkanten centimeters een amalgaam van ideeën in een symbiotische relatie onder te brengen. Dat dit alles ijzersterk en homogeen klinkt, mag een klein wonder heten.

Het nummer waarvoor we helemaal plat gaan, is het epische Walkabout. Na een pastorale intro ontwikkelt zich een mirakel voor onze oren. Een winterse stemming met heuse sleebellen, percussie en plechtstatige zang transcendeert de luisteraar naar een hoger liggend niveau waar een mystieke ervaring mogelijk wordt.

Verschenen op Johannes Luley's label My Sonic Temple, zorgde de man op 'Perfect Beings' voor een gloedvolle productie. Luley moet aan de Grand Canyon gedacht hebben toen hij alles in reliëf goot. Het geluidsbeeld is dynamisch en 'stunning', zoals de Amerikanen zeggen. Perfect Beings? Nomen est omen. Perfect record.

 

Mallis Franck, lagrosseradio.com 6-12-20

Pari audacieux : dépoussiérer le prog des glorieuses 70s, celui des Yes, des Genesis, des monstres sacrés qui ont donné au genre ses plus beaux chefs d'oeuvre, et l'ont également condamné à stagner. Devant tant de virtuosité mise au service du talent, les nouveaux venus, une fois les années 1980 passées, n'ont bien souvent pas su renouveler le genre, qui semblait avoir déjà atteint son paroxysme. Que reste-t il à faire en prog ? Si les métalleux ont eux parfaitement su développer le genre, que ce soit via Dream Theater ou Cynic, niveau rock, malgré les efforts de Steven Wilson, c'était bien plus vide. Pourtant, les artistes intéressants, qui démontrent qu'il est possible d'éviter de jouer les clones tout en restant fidèles à la tradition, se multiplient. Avec son premier album éponyme (disponible le 30 juin chez My Sonic Temple), Perfect Beings répond à tout le monde de la plus simple des manières : pourquoi ne pas faire du rock d'aujourd'hui, écrire des mélodies modernes, tout en s'autorisant de grandes envolées typiques du prog ? Et l'auditeur de rester, à écouter ces 10 titres, l'air niais et le regard vide...

Parce que c'était tellement évident qu'on se demande pourquoi personne ne l'a véritablement tenté jusqu'à maintenant. Cela étant dit, le mérite en revient bien sûr aux musiciens, capables de pondre des mélodies pop imparables ("The Canyon hill", l'intro de 'Program Kid", "Fictions") et de grandes envolées planantes typiques du prog 70s pour des morceaux dont les durées varient, certains n'atteignant pas les 3 minutes, quand d'autres tutoient les 10, le long d'un album varié et addictif. Certains pourraient avoir un peu peur, mais qu'ils se rassurent : quand on parle de pop, il ne s'agit pas de pop insipide, et si la brit-pop ultra médiatisée a eu tendance à saouler beaucoup de monde, l'angleterre a également une longue tradition dès lors qu'il s'agit d'écrire des mélodies simples mais terriblement touchantes.

Tout juste pourra-ton reprocher quelques passages prog un peu téléphonés, si certains fonctionnent très bien, d'autres s'avèrent un peu trop 70s justement, qui sont certes appréciables, mais qui n'apporteront pas beaucoup d'eau au moulin des amateurs des grands anciens. Cela étant, ils pourront également prendre un grand plaisir à écouter un groupe de jeunes qui ont parfaitement assimilé les figures de style imposées du genre, tout en parvenant à se démarquer suffisamment pour éviter la redondance abusive. En somme, un groupe très intéressant, dont la musique réussit ce que peu d'autres sont parvenus à réaliser auparavant : remettre au goût du jour le rock progressif, celui que l'on croyait condamné à être mort et enterré une fois que ses figures de proue auraient cessé leurs activités. Mais que ce soit sur un terrain plus sombre (Philippe Luttun), plus métal (Exivious) ou inclassable (Stamp, sikala), le prog et l'aventurisme musical n'ont tous ces derniers temps de cesse de nous montrer qu'ils ont encore de beaux jours devant eux.

 

14Iacopo Mezzano - rock-metal-essence.com 5-23-2014

5 stars *****

Completata con qualche affanno la line-up, e superato a pieni voti l'approccio con il pubblico in sede live, i progster losangelini Perfect Beings hanno pubblicato il loro album d'esordio omonimo a inizio febbraio 2014.

Originariamente guidato dal bassista Chris Tristram e dal chitarrista Johannes Luley, questo quintetto ha trovato la quadratura del cerchio nel genio compositivo del cantante Ryan Hurtgen, autore di un songwriting prog rock di pregievolissima fattura, che da un sound alla Aeon Spoke o alla ultimi Anathema si evolve in melodie ariose e in passaggi di tecnica tipici del passato più settantiano del genere d'appartenenza. In questa musica, le chitarre si mantengono per lunghi tratte leggere, silenziose, per poi esplodere di energia in accelerazioni prog di grande classe, supportate da un tappeto di suoni di tastiere magistrale e da una ottima e curata sezione ritmica. La voce carismatica di Hurtgen muove su melodie ariose, rese nitide e freschissime da una produzione in studio degna soltanto dei grandi nomi.

Una musica dunque silenziosa e rilassante, di compagnia, che regala a chi ascolta una serie di sensazioni avvolgenti e positive che curano realmente l'animo. Nella tracklist, è da segnalare in particolare l'inusuale motivetto quasi pop della opener The Canyon Hill, e poi la vorticosa e a tratti stoner Bees and Wasps, che anticipa la soleggiata e ricamata Walkabout. Sugli scudi poi Program Kid e Fictions, quest'ultima una delle più belle tracce prog rock da tramonto ascoltate negli ultimi anni, fino all'epica chiusura ricca di cambi di tempo di One of your Kind, che corona ancora di più il pregievole lavoro compositivo compiuto da questo gruppo americano.

 

Olivier Pelletant/Bertrand Pourcherand - Cosmos Music, big Bang Magazine 5-15-14

Guitariste de Moth Vellum, dont le premier disque éponyme publié en 2007 avait produit une très forte impression dans le microcosme progressif, Johannes Luley n'a pas baissé les bras lorsque son groupe a rapidement implosé en plein vol pour cause de divergences artistiques. Il a ainsi sorti en 2013 un excellent album solo intitulé Tales From Sheepfather's Grove, illustré par une pochette digne du meilleur Roger Dean, et il revient aujourd'hui sur le devant de la scène rock avec sa nouvelle formation, Perfect Beings. Bâti autour de dix compositions ambitieuses (de 2 à 9 minutes), cet opus (orné pour le coup d'une pochette assez tristounette) nous propose un menu varié et consistant dont les saveurs renvoient, à bien des égards, aux petits plats délectables mitonnés avec amour par les maîtres à rêver des seventies. Anti commercial à souhait malgré son évidente accessibilité formelle, ce disque gambade ainsi avec insouciance au coeur de paysages mélodiques raffinés où claviers
analogiques, guitares inspirées et chant aérien fleurissent en abondance. Evoquant à de nombreuses reprises le meilleur de Yes et de Jon Anderson en solo ("Remnants of Shields" en premier lieu), ce millésime 2014 ne plonge pour autant jamais dans le plagiat éhonté. Loin de toute obsession mercantile, Perfect Beings verse plutôt dans l'hommage sincère et désintéressé (les
parties de piano à la Rick Wakeman et les séquences de basse à la Chris Squire sur "Bees And Wasps") et cherche avant tout à
se faire plaisir.
Perfect Beings est un groupe singulier car il parvient à unir une jovialité formelle à une profondeur thématique, le tout avec un naturel assez incroyable. Cette dualité, qui aurait pu être rédhibitoire pour les fans de prog que nous sommes, est ici l'expression d'une démarche parfaitement cohérente et souhaitée par le groupe. Les compositions de Perfect Beings sont ainsi nourries d'un groove mélodique assez jouissif, qui leur offre une imparable fluidité. La formation se joue ainsi
des codes sonores habituels du courant progressif, en les abreuvant d'un nappage sucré qui, loin de susciter l'écoeurement chez l'auditeur, lui offre au contraire quelques saveurs inédites dans un tel contexte. On évoquait plus haut le lien nourricier reliant Perfect Beings à Yes, un lien qui se ne dément jamais au fil des morceaux mais qui n'est pour autant aucunement le corollaire à un quelconque et stérile mimétisme. Le combo californien parvient en effet, un peu à la manière de The Watch vis à vis de Genesis mais avec davantage de personnalité encore, à capter l'essence progressive de son glorieux aîné, sans se cantonner à une période précise. Le Yes "visité" est ainsi tout autant celui de Drama ou Going For The One (les 6 minutes de "Removal of the Identity Chip" ne sont pas sans rappeler "Awaken", mais avec une touche plus typiquement américaine), mais aussi celui de Talk (disque mésestimé, du fait notamment de quelques point faibles et d'une production ampoulée). Au final, comme Perfect Beings est une formation unie et soucieuse de voir ses membres aller dans la même direction, sa musique devient bougrement attachante. Voici un album joliment réussi, fruit d'une démarche intègre, intelligente et inspirée. Que dire de plus, sans avoir l'air d'en faire trop et de vous priver de la découverte (sans trop la déflorer donc) de cet opus, soucieux de voir danser tout autant vos neurones que vos jambes peu habituées à tressauter au rythme de notre musique favorite...

 

Massimo Salari - Nonsolo Progrock 5-11-2014

E' passato un terzo di questo 2014 e di grandi sorprese sonore francamente ne ho avute ancora poche. Come sta ad esempio il Progressive Rock? A tastargli il polso si direbbe che si ascolta, ma non lo si acquista, questa è una grave pecca tutta italiana. E si, perché all'estero almeno la voglia di ascoltare c'è. Questione di cultura e qui andrebbe aperta una parentesi, ma non tonda, non quadrata, ma bensì graffa! Per cui, tralascio questo compito e mi riallaccio al preambolo, poche sorprese, ma buone. Si va a Los Angeles in America per poter godere di un album quantomeno gradevole e se aggiungiamo che si tratta di un esordio, la faccenda acquista risonanza. Si, un esordio, quello dei Perfect Beings che comunque sono una band composta da artisti che di musica vive già da anni. Ecco dunque Ryan Hurtgen alla voce (Rene Breton), Johannes Luley alla chitarra (Moth Vellum), Dicki Fliszar alla batteria (Bruce Dickinson), Chris Tristram al basso (Marjorie Fair, Slash) e Jesse Nason alle tastiere (Deccatree, AM).
Una elegante custodia cartonata con tanto di libretto esaustivo all'interno accompagna il prodotto in questione, contenente dieci tracce di buon Rock Progressivo. Si delinea subito all'ascolto del primo brano introduttivo "Canyon Hill", la capacità della band di assimilazione, così nella musica rappresentano al meglio tutti i concetti del genere assorbiti nei decenni della propria esistenza. Come una spugna i Perfect Beings sembrano assorbire l'essenza di questo astruso genere, ma in esso scaturisce anche passione per i particolari, fattore che soltanto i più pignoli di voi potranno captare. La qualità sonora è buona, gli strumenti sono bene equilibrati e l'effetto stereo, specie nella batteria è gradevole. Lo stile che propongono è comunque personale, miscelando anche della Psichedelia all'interno di alcuni passaggi. Non mancano importanti tasselli di riferimento, come ad esempio i Beatles per alcune scelte melodiche, lo si evince soprattutto in "Helicopter".
Ma i giochi cominciano a farsi seri con "Bees And Wasps", brano prettamente progressivo, con tutti gli ingredienti giusti al posto giusto. Si dimostrano ottimi strumentisti, con intelligenza e senza strafare, ascoltate l'assolo di chitarra e capirete. Con un inizio Folk e bucolico, "Walkabout" è uno dei momenti più alti del disco, piccolo capolavoro ricercato e delicato sotto molti punti di vista e per le coralità vicine ai Porcupine Tree. Possono mancare i cambi di tempo? Ovviamente no. I Loop di piano fanno poi scorrere alcuni brividi sulla pelle e questo lo dico ai fans del genere di vecchia data.
Tutta la musica dei Perfect Beings si basa molto sulle ritmiche non convenzionali di Dicki Fliszar, spezzate, tirate, rullanti… in un solo termine "accattivanti", ed un esempio lo si ha anche in "Remnants Of Shields". Si fanno avanti gli Yes nell'assolo di chitarra in "Program Kid", per tornare nel mondo dei Porcospini con "Remnants Of Shields". Due righe anche per la buona interpretazione vocale di Ryan Hurtgen, duttile e malleabile a seconda delle esigenze. Ma non voglio rovinarvi tutte le sorprese.
Quindi anche nel 2014 si può fare Rock Progressivo con intelligenza, cogliendo si gli spunti dalla storia, ma amalgamando il tutto con la propria personalità. Questa sembra oggi una cosa impossibile, vista la recente carenza di buone uscite, ma per fortuna qualcosa si muove, poi come il genere lo vogliamo etichettare non ha importanza, per me è ottimo "Progressive Rock", i puristi storceranno il naso…lo so. Complimenti ed attendiamo nuovi sviluppi. (MS)

 

Jordi Costa - Sinfomusic.net 5-06-2014

Johannes Luley lo ha vuelto a hacer. Este hombre, este progman californiano, ha vuelto a crear una nueva joya de bella factura con todos aquellos elementos que hacen vibrar al aficionado al sonido del progresivo de raíces Yesianas. Perfect Beings es un proyecto eléctrico, así como el último disco del señor Luley se impregnaba de una base acústica, este cuenta con todos los elementos de gran banda con toda su potencia y todos sus botones de electrificación masiva. Johannes (guitarra), se ha hecho acompañar por músicos de contrastada relevancia como el bajista Chris Tristram (Slash, Marjorie Fair) o el batería Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson), para sacar de ello una creación de alto vuelo. El excelente vocalista Ryan Hurtgen y el maestro de las teclas Jesse Nason acaban de configurar la banda. Perfect Beings, a mi entender, hacen aquello que nos hubiera gustado que hubieran hecho unos Yes de verdad en estos últimos 20 años, canciones con descarada experimentación, pasajes llenos de épica y melodías muy cuidadas. Todo esto es lo que consiguen este super grupo, una fresca bocanada de elegante musicalidad con reminiscencias evidentes pero sin caer, ni mucho menos, en la recreación.
El tratamiento de los diez temas que conforman el trabajo es del todo variopinto. La entrada del álbum es vocal y sencilla con "Canyon Hill" para dar paso a "Helicopter", directa y elegante, con todo el potencial de unos instrumentos que se reservan para más adelante. "Bees and Wasps" muestra bien la calidad interpretativa y compositiva de la banda, con tiempos que ya distorsionan una pieza de base templada. "Walkabout" es una gozada, una composición potente con delicados toques de teclados, con líneas de bajo muy marcadas y sobretodo la guitarra de Johannes, con una parte inicial minimalista, una sección central épica y un desenlace hipnótico. "Removal of the identity chip" es otra delicia que hará disfrutar a los amantes del sonido clásico, con una guitarra soberbia y unos teclados que lo inundan todo. Destacar como grandes instrumentistas al batería y teclados, dos genios que dan un nivel muy alto a todo el paquete. "Program kid" es la pieza más experimental, "Remnants and shields" todo lo contrario, una plácida y vocal composición acompañada de una guitarra acústica y teclados envolventes. Los cortes transcurren con rapidez al no tener ninguno de ellos grandes minutages. "Fictions" es otra maravilla, me recuerda tanto a las secciones más melódicas de Relayer, sobretodo por la parte de Mr.Luley y su slide guitar. "Primary colors" es una pieza más directa con grandes líneas de bajo, un puente hacia "One of your kind" un final épica con melodías exquisitas, con secciones semi-acústicas y otras de una potencia brutal con fuertes arranques de parte de teclados y guitarras. Uno de los grandes trabajos de este año, imposible de dejar pasar.

 

Richard Guay - Quebec Audio & Video 5-06-2014

Perfect Beings est une nouvelle formation originaire de Los Angeles et composée de musiciens expérimentés dont Johannes Luley (Guitares), connu pour ses projets solos de même que pour sa présence dans le groupe Moth Vellum, Ryan Hurtgen (voix), Dicki Fliszar (batterie), Chris Tristram (Basse) et Jesse Nason (claviers). Sans surprise, le quintette opta pour le studio de Luley, « My Sonic Temple » de Los Angeles, pour mettre au monde leur premier bébé qui semble causer tout un émoi au sein de la communauté du rock progressif; les critiques sont unanimes et toutes aussi dithyrambiques les unes que les autres! De courant « crossover prog », l’album, assez léger, plutôt rythmé et très mélodieux, reste d’une certaine complexité et regorge de clins d’œil malicieux à plusieurs groupes fétiches qui ont hanté notre jeunesse, pensons à Yes pour les guitares ou Genesis et Supertramp pour les arrangements. Malgré toutes ces sources d’inspiration fort honorables, ce nouveau venu nous livre une musique sans reproche et d’une personnalité déjà bien campée, tout au long de ses 10 pièces assez différentes les unes des autres et jamais ennuyantes. Extrêmement ludique et ce du début à la fin, la musique de Perfect Beings nous réjouit et nous rafraîchit, de quoi rendre de bonne humeur le plus grincheux d’entre nous!

 

Denis Boisvert - Radio Profil Quebec 5-02-2014

Voici l'histoire d'un groupe américain qui attire l'attention avec sa première offrande. PERFECT BEINGS nous donne un album concept basée sur un livre de science-fiction d'un jeune artiste Suhail RAFIDI : 'TJ and Tosc'. Un humain criminellement téléchargé dans un ordinateur qui utilise son arrière petit-fils pour prendre sa revanche. Sur cette trame futuriste se joue les thèmes habilement rendus musicalement par Johannes LULEY, un Allemand qui avant de tenir le flambeau pour le regretté groupe Moth VELLUM, a bossé avec un professeur de guitare jazz en Hollande. Pour ajouter au mythe, Chris TRISTRAM, lui s'est fait connaître par son interprétation très juste et énergique de Roundabout de YES pas virale mais un peu infectieuse sur YouTube. Il est venu se greffer à ce groupe californien qui inclura Ryan HURTGEN de Nashville, compositeur et vocaliste, Dicki FLISZAR, batteur et Jesse NASON claviériste, tous deux ex- Bruce Dickinson.

L'idée était de faire un album prog mais avec une bonne dose de mélodie dans un genre tout à fait 'crossover'. Ils ont réussi, croyez-moi. Un amalgame assez fascinant de guitare, de mellotron mais surtout de délicatesse et de sensibilité vous attend. Les comparaisons sont difficiles, par moment on pense aux BEATLES à d'autres, les meilleurs moments de KLAATU ou de Pat METHENY. Les pièces se suivent mais ne se ressemblent pas. La guitare électrique jazzée garde le cap mais les chansons sont bien roulées et de petits bonbons individuels. Un son moderne, jeune qui représente bien le potentiel néo-prog. Des paroles et harmonies soignées. 'Walkabout' est remarquable, 'Program Kid' est du prog pur, moderne et innovateur. 'One of a Kind', l'autre pièce un peu plus longue termine l'album sur un autre motif jazz qui se marie naturellement aux envolés de claviers et reprend le 'Act, Act, Act and React' thématique de la première pièce 'The Canyon Hill'.

Une belle surprise pour 2014. Mon seul regret c'est de n'avoir pas de longue pièce mais plutôt un plateau de canapés savoureux qui annoncent le festin qui ne suit pas. Dégustez et attendons la suite.
Cote 4.5/ 5

 

Jordi Costa - Sinfomusic.net 4-30-2014

***** Johannes Luley lo ha vuelto a hacer. Este hombre, este progman californiano, ha vuelto a crear una nueva joya de bella factura con todos aquellos elementos que hacen vibrar al aficionado al sonido del progresivo de raíces Yesianas. Perfect Beings es un proyecto eléctrico, así como el último disco del señor Luley se impregnaba de una base acústica, este cuenta con todos los elementos de gran banda con toda su potencia y todos sus botones de electrificación masiva. Johannes (guitarra), se ha hecho acompañar por músicos de contrastada relevancia como el bajista Chris Tristram (Slash, Marjorie Fair) o el batería Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson), para sacar de ello una creación de alto vuelo. El excelente vocalista Ryan Hurtgen y el maestro de las teclas Jesse Nason acaban de configurar la banda. Perfect Beings, a mi entender, hacen aquello que nos hubiera gustado que hubieran hecho unos Yes de verdad en estos últimos 20 años, canciones con descarada experimentación, pasajes llenos de épica y melodías muy cuidadas. Todo esto es lo que consiguen este super grupo, una fresca bocanada de elegante musicalidad con reminiscencias evidentes pero sin caer, ni mucho menos, en la recreación.
El tratamiento de los diez temas que conforman el trabajo es del todo variopinto. La entrada del álbum es vocal y sencilla con "Canyon Hill" para dar paso a "Helicopter", directa y elegante, con todo el potencial de unos instrumentos que se reservan para más adelante. "Bees and Wasps" muestra bien la calidad interpretativa y compositiva de la banda, con tiempos que ya distorsionan una pieza de base templada. "Walkabout" es una gozada, una composición potente con delicados toques de teclados, con líneas de bajo muy marcadas y sobretodo la guitarra de Johannes, con una parte inicial minimalista, una sección central épica y un desenlace hipnótico. "Removal of the identity chip" es otra delicia que hará disfrutar a los amantes del sonido clásico, con una guitarra soberbia y unos teclados que lo inundan todo. Destacar como grandes instrumentistas al batería y teclados, dos genios que dan un nivel muy alto a todo el paquete. "Program kid" es la pieza más experimental, "Remnants and shields" todo lo contrario, una plácida y vocal composición acompañada de una guitarra acústica y teclados envolventes. Los cortes transcurren con rapidez al no tener ninguno de ellos grandes minutages. "Fictions" es otra maravilla, me recuerda tanto a las secciones más melódicas de Relayer, sobretodo por la parte de Mr.Luley y su slide guitar. "Primary colors" es una pieza más directa con grandes líneas de bajo, un puente hacia "One of your kind" un final épica con melodías exquisitas, con secciones semi-acústicas y otras de una potencia brutal con fuertes arranques de parte de teclados y guitarras. Uno de los grandes trabajos de este año, imposible de dejar pasar.

 

Phenomena - Music Waves 4-15-2014

***** "Incontournable". Perfect Beings est le nouveau projet de Johannes Luley, ancien guitariste de Moth Vellum. Au cours de 2012 et 2013, accompagné du chanteur Ryan Hurtgen, Luley et son instrument aux sonorités très teintées Yes ont composé et orchestré le projet avec l'aide du batteur Dicki Fliszar, du claviériste Jesse Nason, et du bassiste Chris Tristram. Les cinq musiciens ont commencé à répéter les chansons et à enregistrer un album live de la même façon que les groupes de Rock Progressif de l'âge d'or. En Avril 2013, avec l'aide de l'ingénieur David Julian, le groupe a enregistré 'Perfect Beings' en l'espace de 3 semaines à l'atelier Sonic Temple de Los Angeles. Avec un tel titre de groupe et d'album, inutile de dire que la troupe était attendue au tournant !

Selon les crédits, cet album est inspiré par 'TJ & TOSC', un roman de Suhail Rafidi et se place dans le contexte d'un monde virtuel post-apocalyptique Orwellien. A titre d'exemple, afin de vous plonger dans l'histoire, je cite : « Certaines personnes disent que la fin du monde est proche, considérons pour un moment, que le monde est déjà fini. Et qu'aujourd'hui, ce qui reste est un monde nouveau, inconnu, émergeant des détritus de la veille".

Perfect Beings nous livre un premier album original avec beaucoup d'éléments musicaux variés, un luxuriant et magnifique opus assez proche des Beatles. Leur musique respire la fraîcheur, la légèreté et s'inspire de groupes tels que Supertramp, Genesis, King Crimson, Big Big Train, tout en y ajoutant des textes très lucides sur notre société. Ce n'est pas souvent que l'on est confronté à un tel amalgame d'éléments familiers qui, ensemble, dépassent toute tentative de classification. Musicalement, c'est très technique et maitrisé, mais absolument jamais dans la démonstration.

Tout commence avec "The Canyon Hill", un titre très Beatlesque / ELOesque glissant vers "hélicoptère", sans doute le single de l'album. Les harmonies vocales sont de la partie sur "Bees and Wasps" alors que "Walkabout", long de 9 minutes, propose un passage de batterie astronomique et du space rock bien ficelé. Le combo continue de surprendre avec sa rythmique sur "Removal of the identity Chip" déboulant sur un instrumental avec guitare et claviers qui force le respect. "Programme Kid" repart comme un digne successeur des Beatles et "Primary Colors" propose un rythme intéressant entre les tambours, le piano et la voix. Enfin le dernier morceau long de 8 min, "One Of Your Kind", débute sur jeu soft-jazzy pour se terminer dans une atmosphère espagnole, en passant par une transition brutale.

Perfect Beings a ajouté du sang, de la sueur et des larmes dans son voyage musical. Posez vos oreilles sur cette musique et retenez bien le nom de ces musiciens inspirés qui la délivre. Un album tout simplement parfait !

 

Jose Arias - madeinmetal.es 4-02-2014

Debut discográfico de esta banda asentada en California, con muchas influencias del progresivo de los setenta, e incluso si lo escuchas sin tener conocimiento del año de producción, podrías pensar que se te escapó alguna de las grandes bandas de esa época por desconocimiento e ignorancia.

Ya sea la influencia de Pink Floyd en la extensa "Walkabout", los recuerdos a la música de Steve Hackett en "Removal of the Identity Chip", los primeros Yes en "Helicopter", las locuras de un joven Peter Gabriel en "Program Kid" e incluso aires Beatlescos en "The Canyon Hill ", todo en el disco respira clasicismo.

Los músicos tienen buena experiencia, por ejemplo el bajista Chris Tristram estuvo en la banda de Slash y Marjorie Fair, pero siempre soñaba en tener su propia banda de prog, y de hecho hace unos años se grabó a si mismo haciendo una versión al bajo de "Roundabout" de Yes y lo puso online. Su trabajo con otras bandas le sirvió de base económica para hacer su grupo.

Entre los que vieron ese video estaban el fundador de Moth Vellum, Johannes Luley, quien se unió a Chris para formar Perfect Beings. Asi comenzó la banda.

El baterista Dicki Hliszar estuvo un tiempo en la banda de Bruce Dickinson, mientras el tecladista Jesse Nason viene de las filas de bandas menos populares pero igualmente buenas como AM y Deccatree. El vocalista proviene de las filas de Andre Breton: Ryan Hurtgen posee una voz dulce, apropiada para el camino que Perfect Beings está tomando.

El disco está inspirado en la novela de ciencia ficción titulada Tj y Tosc, escrita por Suhail Rafidi, que trata sobre la transformación, la auto identidad, la tecnología y, por supuesto, algo que está de moda, un mundo post-apocaliptico.

No es una banda del todo original, en cada surco podemos encontrar reminiscencias e influencias. Lo agradable de este disco es que las han sabido combinar y hacer de esta mezcla lo que se conocerá en un futuro como otra maravillosa banda de rock progresivo.

Si no te gusta el progresivo y su historia, desde Yes a Genesis, Camel o Gentle Giant, este no es tu disco. Si eres un principiante en esto del progresivo, el CD te alentará a buscar más en toda la historia de este estilo musical que los ignorantes consideran aburrido y quizás no sea para fiestas, pero si para disfrutar de la música tanto en soledad como en compañía.

 

Walter Sehrer - Eclipsed 3-28-2014

Perfect Beings sind eine neue Progtruppe aus den USA. Ex-Moth-Vellum-Gitarrist Johannes-Luley suchte nach seiner Soloplatte wieder nach einer neuen Band und fand sie in virtuosen Musikern und dem Sänger Ryan Hurtgen. Herausgekommen ist ein spannendes Stück Prog, welches ähnlich wie Transatlantic geschickt auf den klassischen Vorbildern aufbaut. Das Konzeptwerk bezieht sich auf einem Sci-Fi-Roman, der in einer postapokalyptischen Welt voller Identitätsprobleme spielt. Der Opener "The Canyon Hill" klingt wie eine Mischung aus Yes und den Beatles. Mit dem schnellen "Helicopter" geht's danach voll in den Yes-Kosmos (ca. "Going For The One") hinein. "Bees And Wasps" baut sich wunderschön auf und entfaltet eine instrumentale und kompositorische Vielfalt wie beste Yes-Stücke. "Walkabout" gönnt sich sowohl ruhige Beatles-Momente auf der Akustischen als auch abgedrehte psychedelische Mentalreisen. "Remnants Of Shields" ist herrlich balladesker Folk-Prog-Stoff. Im mächtigen Schluss-Opus "One Of Your Kind" ertönt zu Beginn eine floydige Slide-Gitarre im Gegensatz zu den ansonsten sehr Steve Howe verwandten Phrasierungen. Das Album bietet ein schönes neues Prog-Wunderland, das es zu entdecken gilt.
Top-Track: Walkabout

 

Jochen König - Musikreviews.de 3-25-2014

Fast genau ein Jahr nach seinem hörenswerten Solo-Ausflug "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" präsentiert sich Johannes Luley mit den PERFECT BEINGS in Höchstform. Das gleichnamige Debüt dieser Deutsch-Amerikanischen-Freundschaft erweist sich als so leichtfüßiger wie schwergewichtiger Ausflug ins breitgefächerte Areal des Prog-/Art-Rocks, der Emotionen und Intelligenz gleichermaßen umschmeichelt.

Leichtfüßig ist die Musik, die nie überladen und doch volltönend klingt, ohne in fade, altbeackerte Schlager-Tristesse abzurutschen. Hier treffen der Einflüsse der BEATLES, YES und ein bisschen GENESIS aufeinander, werden um jazzige Momente und weitere musikalische Spielarten ergänzt, um dennoch ein homogenes, autarkes Ganzes zu ergeben.
Mit dem jungen Autoren und Musiker Ryan Hurtgen (aka Rene Breton) haben die PERFECT BEINGS einen exzellenten Frontmann am Mikrophon, dessen geschmeidige Stimme ganz eigenen Charme entwickelt, der sich angenehm von den GABRIEL-, FISH- und ANDERSON-Wiedergängern unterscheidet.

Instrumental agiert die Band mit traumwandlerischer Sicherheit; beherrscht das große Arrangement wie die (kleinere) Solo-Exkursion. Verspielt (nie kindisch) zu klingen und gleichzeitig präzise Ökonomie zu betreiben, gelingt den PERFECT BEINGS nach- und eindrücklich. Ob es lauter zugeht, die Orgel im mächtigen "Awaken"-Modus anschwillt oder mit Bedacht nur die akustische Gitarre gezupft wird, "perfect_beings" (das Album) ist eine wohlaustarierte Klangreise.

Schwerer präsentiert sich die lyrische Seite. Denn – wie gerade eben RPWL – haben PERFECT BEINGS wenig mit Weltflucht und dem erzeugen von Fantasy-Welten am Hut. Das Album basiert auf dem dystopischen Roman "TJ and Tosc: A Field Guide for Life After Western Culture" von Suhail Rafidi (nicht auf Deutsch erschienen), in dem es um Kybernetik, Identität, globale Verbrechen und das Bewahren der Menschlichkeit geht. In seinen ‚transformatorischen' Momenten geradezu ein galliger Kommentar zu den diffamierenden "Halb-Wesen"-Äußerungen der Autorin Sibylle Lewitscharoff, die künstliche Befruchtung betreffend. Menschlichkeit macht mehr aus als die, wie auch immer geartete, Erzeugung.

FAZIT: Die PERFECT BEINGS bieten auf ihrem Debüt eine wohlklingende, nachdenkliche Entdeckungstour, die im klassischen Progressiven Rock fußen mag, aber mit Wonne darüber hinausgeht. MOTH VELLUM bleiben dabei in freundlicher Erinnerung, aber PERCET BEINGS sind schon was ganz Eigenes.
Ein Album, trotz bzw. auch wegen seines düsteren Gehalts, zum Liebhaben!

 

Volkmar Mantei - Ragazzi-music.de 3-18-2014

Moth Vellum veröffentlichten 2008 ihr selbstbetiteltes Debüt und verschwanden von der Progressive Rock-Landkarte. Gitarrist Johannes Luley machte daraufhin solo weiter: "Tales from Sheepfather's Grove" (2013).
Die nächste Station 2014: perfect_beings. Johannes Luley (g, Moth Vellum), Ryan Hurtgen (voc, Rene Breton), Dicki Fliszar (dr, Bruce Dickinson), Chris Tristram (b, Marjorie Fair, Slash) und Jesse Nason (keys, Deccatree, AM) brauchten nicht lange, die ausgereifte Produktion vorzulegen.
perfect_beings wird beim ausgefuchsten Publikum wohl als Progressive Pop wahrgenommen, der klassische YES-Gene in die DNA einbaute. Die Bass-Arbeit ist ebenso YES-typisch wie partiell der Einsatz der Gitarre. Sobald perfect_beings sich ins Instrumentale aufmachen, setzt sich knackiger, komplexer Rockfaktor durch, der überwiegend auf die YES-Schule setzt.
Chorgesänge erinnern mich an frühere Pendragon, wie insgesamt die samtene, lyrische Atmosphäre starke Neoprog-Parallelen auffährt.
Sehr angenehm ist die kompositorische Struktur der Songs. Neben gewisser edler Patina ist da raffinierte Extravaganz zu finden, die für vitale, eindrucksvolle Arrangements sorgt. Überhaupt stecken in den Songs viele überzeugende wie überraschende Ideen, die einmal für kurze, knackige, frische Komplexschübe sorgen, andererseits ambiente Symphonik episch verstreichen lassen. Da sind grandiose Passagen zu hören, etwa in "Walkabout", in dem ein verträumter Moment von jazzigem Schlagzeug unterhoben wird, während die Stimmen sanft über dem leichten Keyboardschönklang liegen: alle Achtung! Überall sind sie: aus eingängig sanftem Motiv bricht der Rickenbacker zu einem Kurzausflug auf, der die ganze Band mitzieht und ein starkes Stück Musik gebiert. Das Schweben des liedhaften Gesanges hat die Lyrics absolviert, die Instrumente rücken an den Bühnenrand und mal zart, mal hart bricht ein frappierend schöngeistiges Symphonik-Kabinettstückchen auf. Überall sind diese Extravaganzen. Sobald diese Instrumentalpassagen ausgespielt sind, kehrt der lyrische Gesang in liedhaft poppiges Arrangement zurück.
Johannes Luley und Ryan Hurtgen konzipierten das Album. Ihr Ansatz: die Tradition des Progressive Rock aus aktueller Perspektive umzusetzen. Die Story ist lose um den Science Fiction Roman "TJ and Tosc" von Suhail Rafidi angelegt, der thematisch von Transformation, Identität, Technologie und Liebe in postapokalyptischer Welt handelt (Texte im Booklet).
Im 10 Songs umfassenden, 51:52 Minuten langen 'perfect_beings' überwiegen lyrische, harmonische Passagen bei weitem, mancher Songs ist sehr sanft, kann im Radio funktionieren und wird Freunde komplexer Musik deutlich unterfordern. Wer NeoProg mit Yes-Bezug bevorzieht, kann in diesem Album vollends versinken.

 

Rinco Ennema - Progstraat 3-18-2014

Perfect Beings maken perfecte CD

Stel: Je bent bassist en je speelt met een artiest als, laten we zeggen, Slash. Niet verkeerd, toch? Af en toe treed je ook op met Marjorie Fair (indierock uit de USA) maar toch ben je niet helemaal happy. Je mist de progressieve kant van je hobby en werk…

Dan pak je een nummer van Yes en speelt mee met de muziek en ach, waarom zou je dat niet meteen ook op film vastleggen.
Vervolgens zet je die video op het internet en dan blijkt dat dat niet onopgemerkt blijft: Johannes Luley (de oprichter van Moth Vellum) keek ernaar en had zijn bassist gevonden.

Luley had namelijk het plan opgevat om samen met Ryan Hurtgen, een nieuwkomer in de muziekwereld, een progressief rockproject te starten. Beiden voelden er wel iets voor om een album te maken in de traditie van de traditionele progrock, geïnjecteerd met een frisse kijk op tekst en muziek. Het werd een project op basis van een sci-fi-verhaal waarin thema's als verandering, eigen identiteit, technologie en liefde. Later in het schrijfproces werden Luley en Hurtgen bijgestaan door de drummer van Bruce Dickinson's band, Dicki Fliszar.

 

Toen het idee en de lijnen zover mogelijk waren uitgezet kwam de inbreng van de bassist uit de intro van dit verhaal, Chris Tristram, aan de beurt. Jessen Nason, de toetsenist uit de vorige band van Fliszar werd aan de line-up toegevoegd en Perfect Beings was compleet.

Perfect Beings speelde een aantal shows in januari en op 1 februari kwam dan het zelf-getitelde album uit op het My Sonic Temple label. Het is een album geworden dat inderdaad recht doet aan traditionele progrock. Toch kun je merken dat de heren daar hun eigen visie op hebben losgelaten, want ouderwets is het zeker niet. Hier en daar klinken de nummers zó logisch, terwijl je weet dat je ze nooit eerder hebt gehoord. Ook geen lange, epische nummers op deze plaat, al zijn 'Bees and Wasps', 'Walkabout' en 'One Of Your Kind' zeker geen korte tracks.
De CD begint met een 'Beatles-achtige' opener en eindigt met een allesomvattende song. En weet je: Die acht nummers ertussenin zijn ook prima!

 

Denis Longo - Progressive Area 3-24-2014

Nous avions laissé Johanes LULEY (ex MOTH VELLUM) avec son superbe album solo "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" que beaucoup de monde avait très apprécié. Nous le retrouvons à présent avec joie sur un autre projet se nommant PERFECT BEINGS. C'est donc un nouveau groupe qui nous vient des states et qui a été mis en route par LULEY (qui tient les guitares) et Ryan HURTGEN, un chanteur compositeur jouant des claviers, le mec étant très talentueux, auprès d'eux on trouve trois autres musiciens tout aussi balaises. Perso je ne les connais pas plus que je ne connais Ryan HURTGEN. L'album a été enregistré au printemps dernier à Los Angeles dans le but précis de réaliser une œuvre ambitieuse, tout en se référant à des thèmes archis mélodiques, cette prouesse a été largement accomplie sur les dix titres présents car aucun n'est à dédaigner. Les deux musiciens ont envisagé cet album qui se veut dans un style "pop prog rock" du meilleur cru, et dès le départ on notera de fortes influences BEATLES mais plus précisément celles de Mc CARTNEY à qui PERFECT BEINGS rend un vibrant hommage (conscient ou inconscient) tout en insufflant au disque de nouvelles lignes mélodiques. Je confirme que cet album est un régal de bout en bout, nos deux compères se sont escrimés à composer de magnifiques pièces comme ce " Bees And Waps", qui commence à donner une dimension différente à l'album, à partir de ce titre PERFECT BEINGS prend réellement son envol vers des contrées nettement plus "prog" - et là tout devient passionnant. Les influences yessiennes de Johannes (omniprésentes sur son album solo) réapparaissent sur l'excellent "Walkabout", et on appréciera le timbre vocal de Ryan qui colle parfaitement aux arpèges de LULEY, vraiment du beau boulot que ce titre qui bien heureusement n'est qu'une pépite parmi les dix joyaux qu'on trouvera dans ce disque. Les parties de claviers sont elles aussi de grande qualité et s'insèrent parfaitement dans cet univers à la Steve HOWE (surtout sur "Removal Of The Identity Chip"), PERFECT BEINGS étant la synthèse parfaite entre un YES et un Mc CARTNEY qui aurait viré sa cuti dans le prog. Il faut revenir sur la voix très veloutée de Ryan HURTGEN qui coule doucement au milieu de ces mélodies tout en finesse que nous propose PERFECT BEINGS qui place cet album parmi les plus belles réussites de ce début d'année. Ce disque est à conseiller à tout amateur d'harmonie et de compos plutôt suaves, accouplées avec des orchestrations plus que fouillées - le superbe titre qui conclue ce grand album "One Of Your Kind" étant l'archétype de ce que l'on peut faire de mieux dans le genre. La réussite est totale, on en redemande, mais c'est déjà fini, ces cinquante deux minutes sont passées comme un éclair, elles ont été un ravissement.

 

Bertrand Pourcherand - Claire & Obscure 3-15-2014

Quasiment chaque semaine éclosent des talents progressifs de toutes sortes. Il y a bien entendu les groupes qui œuvrent dans un registre classique ou traditionnel. Mais, à côté de ceux-là, il y a les défricheurs, les combos aimant emprunter des voies musicales plus originales ou personnelles. C'est le cas de Perfect Beings, un excellent quintette américain composé de Ryan Hurtgen au chant, de Jesse Nason aux claviers, de Johannes Luley à la guitare, de Chris Tristram à la basse et de Dicki Fliszar à la batterie. Difficile de classer cette formation dans un casier particulier, de lui coller une étiquette : Perfect Beings se comporte en effet comme un aimant qui attire à lui des éléments mélodiques venant de tous les horizons pour en faire, durant dix titres, une synthèse des plus originelles. On tient là un formidable creuset dans lequel se mêlent toutes sortes d'influences. Citons, entre autres, Yes pour la guitare magique de Johannes Luley, Big Big Train pour les claviers travaillés de Jesse Nason et Keane pour le chant magistral de Ryan Hurtgen. Nos cinq gaillards ont manifestement trouvé la formule magique qui leur permet de fusionner tous ces éléments (et bien d'autres encore, comme la basse crimsonienne de "Bees And Waps" par exemple) pour parvenir à une forme d'équilibre et à une véritable quintessence. Ils ont ainsi atteint une alchimie qui semble dépasser de loin la simple addition des individualités. Du coup, malgré le choix d'un chemin musical pas forcément évident et d'une ambition artistique exigeante, le combo parvient à demeurer accessible : technique et virtuosité ne virent jamais à la frime et à la démonstration, la recherche artistique ne se perd jamais dans des élucubrations fumeuses et absconses. La formation cherche avant tout à faire plaisir à ses auditeurs, avec beaucoup de fraîcheur, de jubilation et d'enthousiasme, sans pour autant galvauder son propos. Une bien belle surprise !

 

> > > Interview with Maarten Goossensen - Progwereld 3-11-2014

 

Daniel Eggenberger - Proggies.ch 3-09-2014

Das aus den USA stammende Quintett Perfect Beings besteht aus Sänger/Keyboarder Ryan Hurtgen, Drummer Dicki Fliszar, Bassist Chris Tristram, Keyboarder Jesse Nason sowie dem aus Deutschland stammenden, aber in den USA lebenden Gitarristen Johannes Luley. Luley dürfte zudem auch bekannt sein als ehemaliger Gitarrist von Moth Vellum sowie Solokünstler (Tales From The Sheepfather's Grove). Das selbstbetitelte Debüt will einfach nicht mehr aus meinem Player heraus. Selten hab ich Musik aus dem Progressive Genre gehört, die sich nicht so einfach definieren lässt. Bei diesem Album wird man gefordert aber nicht überfordert. Es mischen sich ruhige Momente mit wilden Ausbrüchen voller Wahnsinn, um mit leicht poppigen, ja sogar beatlesequen Melodien um die Gunst des Hörers zu streiten. Dass Luley ein grosser Fan von Yes und insbesonders Steve Howe ist, beweist sein Gitarrenspiel auf eindrückliche Weise. Er hat viel von Howe gelernt und macht seinem Meister alle Ehre. Ich erkenne in den Kompositionen viel Witz, aber auch viel Können und ein Talent, auch einem kürzeren Stück mit interessanten Gimmicks etwas Spannendes abzugewinnen. Es sind natürlich versteckte Zitate auszumachen, die die Vorliebe für Bands wie Yes und Genesis hervorheben, aber nicht immer sind sie leicht zu finden. Was ich sehr an Perfect Beings mag, ist das sie nach retro klingen, aber nicht die x-te Ausgabe einer Band wie Genesis oder ELP darstellen wie man es z.B bei Glass Hammer vorfindet. Als ein grosses Plus empfinde ich zudem die Stimme von Ryan Hurtgen. Das ist mal ne tolle Stimme irgendwo zwischen dem jungen Greg Lake und Tom Chaplin (Keane) mit treffsicheren Tönen. Eine Wohltat.

Fazit: Perfect Beings haben mit ihrem Debüt ein ganz tolles Album eingespielt und bieten beste Unterhaltung während rund 50 Minuten. Ich weiss es ist ein Widerspruch in sich, aber bezeichnen wir das Album mal als innovativer RetroProg. Kauftipp!

 

Jean-Christophe Le Brun - Neoprog.eu 3-07-2014

***** Perfect Beings nous livre un premier album étonnant. Leur musique respire la fraîcheur, la légèreté, tout en empruntant de ci de là des motifs complexes aux dinosaures du genre.

De Supertramp à Genesis en passant par King Crimson, l'album regorge de clins d'œil malicieux. Son atmosphère générale n'est pas loin de Big Big Train ou encore de Keane, c'est à dire une pop progressive légère, où sur un ton presque enjoué, prennent place des textes très lucides sur notre société.

La guitare de Johannes Luly flirte avec Yes, le piano et les claviers à la Big Big Train joués par Jesse Nason, la basse claire et sublime de Chris Tristram, le chant de Ryan Hurtgen qui vous porte aux nues et juste ce qu'il faut de batterie avec la bonne dose de technique de Diski Fliszar pour que cela soit parfait, voila Perfect Beings.

Chacun des dix morceaux vous fera penser un instant à un groupe connu, par une rythmique, un riff, un solo de basse, le chant où les claviers. Rien qu'un léger parfum, il ne s'agit pas de cover loin de là mais d'une sensation fugace et délicieuse comme ce petit air de Simon & Garfunkel au début de Walkabout.

Musicalement, pas de doute, c'est technique et maitrisé, mais sans étalage. La technique sert la mélodie et non l'inverse, les titres se boivent comme du petit lait.

Le groupe arrive sur la scène progressive avec un premier album à couper le souffle. Aucune faute de goût, les dix morceaux se suivent sans de ressembler et restent très cohérents entre eux. Le son est limpide, la musique vous caresse agréablement les tympans et laisse dans votre cerveau une empreinte durable de beauté. L'album peut sembler léger au premier abord mais vous découvrirez vite qu'il n'en est rien, derrière l'apparente facilité musicale, se cache des trésors.

The Canyon Hill commence comme du Spertramp alors que Bees and Wasps fait dans le King Crimson avec sa basse , Walkabout nous offre un passage space rock doublé d'un solo de batterie magnifique. C'est d'ailleurs le titre le plus long de l'album avec plus de neuf minutes qui passent si vite. Removal of the identity Chip étonne par sa rythmique atypique qui laisse place à un fabuleux instrumental où la guitare et claviers font merveille. Ce ne sont que quelques impressions jetées en vrac au sujet de cet album que je n'avais pas envie de décortiquer comme à mon habitude, écoutez-le, un point c'est tout. Le coup de cœur du début d'année 2014.

Merci à Denis Longo de Progressive Area pour la découverte. Tu as raison Denis, une pure merveille !

 

Artur Chachlowski - MLWZ (PL) 3-05-2014

Jonathana Luleya pamiętamy jeszcze z dobrze zapowiadającego się, aczkolwiek nieistniejącego już niestety zespołu Moth Vellum (grupa rozpadła się tuż po wydaniu zaledwie jednego albumu "Moth Vellum" w 2008 roku). Znamy także wydaną przed rokiem jego solową płytę "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove". Kilka miesięcy temu sformował on swój nowy zespół – Perfect Beings – do którego dokooptował wokalistę Ryana Hurtgena, klawiszowca Jesse Nasona, basistę Chrisa Tristrama i perkusistę Dickiego Fliszara. Ci dwaj ostatni zostali wyciagnięci z zespołów towarzyszących na koncertach odpowiednio Slashowi (Tristram) i Bruce'owi Dickinsonowi (Fliszar).

Piątka tak ciekawych indywidualności nadała muzyce skomponowanej przez Luleya i Hurtgena odpowiedniego szlifu i trzeba przyznać, że nagrała album o ogromnym potencjale, i to zarówno muzycznym, jak i literackim. Jego koncept opiera się na książce z gatunku science fiction "Tj and Tosc" autorstwa Suhaila Rafidiego i opowiada historię ludzkości w postapokaliptycznym świecie po totalnej zagładzie, w świecie, którym rządzą nowe technologie wymuszające na bohaterach całkowicie nowe podejście do uczuć, emocji, a nawet własnej tożsamości. Muzyka, którą słyszymy na płycie Perfect Beings doskonale pasuje swoim klimatem do tej futurystycznej historii. Ale nie dlatego, że słychać w niej ślady supernowoczesnych zdobyczy techniki realizacji dźwięku. Wręcz przeciwnie, grupa Perfect Beings raczej niechętnie sięga po "kosmiczne" efekty. Swoim stylem, brzmieniem oraz wykonaniem przybliża się raczej do klasycznych "złotych" czasów dla koncepcyjnych opowieści. Chylę za to czoła przez Amerykanami, bo z jednej strony ilekroć słucham ich debiutanckiego albumu, mam wrażenie jakbym przeniósł się w czasie w lata 70., a z drugiej – ani przez moment nie brzmi on archaicznie czy staromodnie. To duży plus tego wydawnictwa.

Na jego program składa się dziesięć kompozycji. Dziesięć dobrych, a nawet bardzo dobrych kompozycji. Utrzymanych w spójnym stylu, ale na swój sposób dość zróżnicowanych (są wśród nich utwory cięższe, jak i półakustyczne, dłuższe, jak i wyjątkowo krótkie, bardzo złożone i proste). W muzyce Perfect Beings pobrzmiewają delikatne echa twórczości Genesis, Marillion, ale przede wszystkim Yes (to głównie za sprawą gitar. Wyraźnie słychać, że idolem Luleya jest nie kto inny, a Steve Howe!). Co ciekawe, wśród stylistycznych inspiracji dość łatwo doszukać się konotacji z brzmieniem The Beatles i 10cc. I znowu, z jednej strony jest to zasługą stosunkowo prostego i przystępnego brzmienia (szczególnie w krótszych i mniej rozbudowanych formalnie utworach), a z drugiej – dzieje się tak za sprawą barwy głosu Ryana Hurtgena, który długimi chwilami do złudzenia przypomina Paula McCartneya, Johna Lennona i Erica Stewarta razem wziętych.

Debiutancki album grupy Perfect Beings to rzecz godna uwagi każdego szanującego się fana dobrej, progresywno-rockowej muzyki. Dojrzałe brzmienie, szczerość artystycznej wypowiedzi i bezbłędne wykonanie. Do tego łatwo zapamiętywalny i miły uszom klimat całej płyty. Czyż czegoś trzeba więcej? Wszystko to sprawia, że wpisuję Perfect Beings na moją prywatną shortlistę najciekawszych debiutów ostatnich miesięcy. Podoba mi się ta płyta. Jeżeli ktoś po przeczytaniu tej recenzji ma jeszcze jakieś wątpliwości, może posłuchać tego albumu albo za pośrednictwem strony internetowej zespołu lub za pomocą portalu Progstreaming. Polecam.

 

Maarten Goossensen - Progwereld.org 3-04-2014

You Tube is niet meer weg te denken uit het dagelijks leven. Waarbij mensen bij de lancering nog de wenkbrauwen optrokken en zich afvroegen wie hier iets aan zouden hebben, zouden velen nu nog moeilijk zonder kunnen. Bedenk een onderwerp en er is een filmpje over. Daarbij blijkt het ook een perfect medium om jezelf in de picture te spelen. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan de Nederlandse zangeres Esmee Denters. Zo ook bassist Chris Tristram (Slash). Hij wilde graag iets doen met zijn geliefde genre symfonische rock en zette een filmpje van zichzelf op You Tube waarop hij mee bast met Roudabout van Yes. Het filmpje is inmiddels bijna 100.000 keer bekeken. Ook Johannes Luley zag het filmpje en zag in hem de perfecte aanvulling voor zijn nieuwe band Perfect Beings.

Johannes Luley is een man om in de gaten te houden. Eerst maakte hij al indruk met zijn band Moth Vellum en in 2013 leverde hij het magistrale soloalbum "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" af,dat mijn persoonlijke nummer één van 2013 werd. Met Perfect Beings slaat hij trouwens een andere weg in dan het geluid van eerder genoemde albums. De creativiteit en vindingrijkheid van deze man lijkt eindeloos. Nu zou het niet eerlijk zijn om hem alle credits voor dit album te geven, want de andere bandleden die bijna allemaal meeschreven aan het album staan overduidelijk ook hun mannetje. Ze vormen een hecht collectief dat speelt in dienst van het geheel.

Het moge duidelijk zijn dat dit ervaren vijftal symfonische rock van de bovenste plank maakt. Maar buiten dat zijn het ook geweldige songwriters. Alle nummers hebben een kop en een staart en staan stuk voor stuk als een huis. 'Songgerichte symfonische rock met een dun 80's laagje', dat is misschien wel de beste omschrijving voor dit briljante album.

De band trakteert de luisteraar regelmatig op puntige instrumentale passages die je bloed sneller laten stromen. Zoals bijvoorbeeld op het afsluitende One Of Your Kind. De toetsen gieren hier door je speakers. Let vooral ook op het fenomenale ronkende basspel van Chris Tristram. Het is soms niet van deze wereld wat hij laat horen. Samen met drummer Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson's band) vormt hij een indrukwekkende ritmesectie. De tot nu toe totaal onbekende zanger Ryan Hurtgen is eveneens een schot in de roos. Hij heeft een prettige stem die uitstekend bij het geheel past.

Het is geweldig hoe veelzijdig dit album is. Een nummer als Program Kid had zo op een album van MEW kunnen staan, maar het instrumentale tussenstuk doet weer aan het oude Yes denken. Remnants Of Shields is dan weer meer een popsong met heerlijk akoestisch gitaarspel en ook Fictions, met meerstemmige zang, is een track die zich moeiteloos in je hoofd nestelt om daar de rest van de dag te blijven rondzingen.

Dit album is ronduit verslavend! Ik wil de heren geen perfect beings noemen, maar ze hebben wel het perfecte album gemaakt.

 

Klaus Reckert - Gaesteliste.de 2-28-2014

Perfect Beings haben einen Underscore-Tick (alle_Titel_sind_so_geschrieben), eine spannende Besetzung (s.u.) und, jede Menge Anspruch: das Konzeptwerk beruht lose auf dem SF-Roman "Tj And Tosc" von Suhail Rafidi auf und soll das Genre des Progrock "ins Heute katapultieren". Abseits der Waschzettelprosa ist es aber ein starkes, interessantes Album geworden. Dafür verantwortlich sind Johannes Luley (guit; u.a. Moth Vellum), Ryan Hurtgen (voc; Rene Breton) Chris Tristram (bss; u.a. Slash), Jesse Nason (key; u.a. Deccatree) und Dicki Fliszar (drms, Bruce Dickinson). Gemeinsam gelingen ihnen weich ineinander fließende Songs, die von beatlesk ("The Canyon Hill") über anspruchsvollere Keane ("Helicopter") bis hin zu einem recht einzigartigen Mix aus Komplexität und fast radiotauglichem Wohlklang reichen ("Bees And Wasps" - der Titel verbindet ein Gitarrensolo zwischen Holdsworth und Beck mit wunderbar knurrigem Bass und Vocoder-Passagen).
Sogar Akustikgitarre und Vogelzwitschern begegnen uns ("Walkabout", "One Of Your Kind"). Und die Gitarrenparts von "Fictions" sollte unter anderem Yes- und Pink Floyd-Fans begeistern können. Das attraktiv gestaltete Booklet vom Digisleeve enthält neben vielen "_" auch sämtliche lesenswerte Texte.

 

Jürgen Meurer - Babyblaue-seiten.de 2-16-2014

Nachdem sich Moth Vellum nach (leider) nur einem Album aufgelöst hatten, begab sich Mitbegründer Johannes Luley auf die Suche nach Mitstreitern für sein neues Projekt. Im Frühjahr 2013 hatte er dann seine Truppe zusammen und begann in seinem My Sonic Temple Studio mit den Aufnahmen zum Debütalbum, das lose auf einem Sci-Fi-Roman mit dem Titel "Tj and Tosc" aufbaut. Dies dreht sich um Themen wie Transformation, Identität, Technologie und Liebe in einer postapokalyptischen Welt.

Es stellt sich schnell heraus, dass es sich hierbei nicht einfach nur um Moth Vellum Reloaded handelt, sondern um eine leichte, aber nicht unerhebliche Neujustierung. Perfect Beings hat zwar erneut immer wieder mal deutliche Yes-Bezüge, wirkt aber im Gegensatz zum Vorgänger moderner, lockerer, abwechslungsreicher.

So geht es zunächst einmal eher poppig los, die Art der Präsentation im Opener erinnert mich ein wenig an die Buggles. Und es wird schnell deutlich, dass Sänger Ryan Hurtgen mit seinem eher Prog-untypischen Gesang für eine besondere Note sorgt. Das geht dann auch schon mal in Richtung Stackridge.

Ein gutes Beispiel für die These, dass man sich vom Moth Vellum Sound losgelöst hat, ist der Titel "walkabout". Es geht recht friedlich mit Lagerfeueratmosphäre los, die Gesangsarrangements erinnern mich hier kolossal an Amazing Blondel zu Mulgrave Street Zeiten. Doch im Laufe des Songs ändert sich die Atmosphäre, es geht dann eindeutig in Prog-Gefilde. In eine Keyboardschleife mit sphärischer E-Gitarrenbegleitung mischt sich Schlagzeuger Fliszar ein. Sehr interessanter Song.

Dass Johannes Luley offensichtlich ein Yes-Fan ist, ist unüberhörbar. Auch wenn einige Songs schon fast Radiokompatibilität besitzen, so ist doch auch bei Perfect Beings ein starker Yes-Einfluss zu spüren. Das äußert sich zum einen in immer wieder mal an Squire erinnernde Bassläufe. Was nicht weiter verwundert, denn Luley entdeckte Bassist Tristram auf YouTube, wo dieser sich mit einer Präsentation von "roundabout" vorstellte.

Doch noch prägnanter spiegelt sich dies im Gitarrenspiel von Johannes Luley wider. Da sind immer wieder mal Einlagen zu hören, die an allerbeste Steve Howe Zeiten erinnern. In "removal of the identity chip" beispielsweise steuert man eindeutig einem Höhepunkt in typischer "awaken"-Manier entgegen, was in diesem Fall dann auch die Art des Keyboardspiels betrifft.

Aber diese Yes-beeinflussten Parts stellen nur eine Seite von Perfect Beings dar. Die kontrastreichen Songs sind in einer Art zusammengestellt, die mir echten Hörspaß bietet. Als ich erste Schnipsel im Internet gehört hatte, gefiel mir das noch nicht so, speziell der Gesang. Heute, nach mehreren kompletten Durchläufen, muss ich feststellen, dass mir gerade auch der Gesang sehr gut gefällt, der hervorragend ins Gesamtbild passt. Ein absolut gelungenes Debüt und, wie bereits erwähnt, defintiv keine Moth Vellum Kopie. Und es stecken übrigens jede Menge schöne Melodien drin!

 

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