1. Rocktimes (Germany)
2. Progressive Music Rules (New York, USA)
3. The Prog Files (Chicago, USA)
4. Progressive Area (France)
5. Bootleg Magazine: November 2007 (Wilmington, USA)
6. Prognaut (Los Angeles, USA)
7. Sea of Tranquility (New York, USA)
8. Space Rock (United Kingdom)
9. Random Brainwave (Australia)
10. Bruce Soord (Band: The Pineapple Thief)
11. ProGGnosis (Minnesota, USA)
12. Peter Banks (Bands: Yes, Flash)
13. Planeta Rock (Argentina)
14. Progwereld (Holland)
15. Progressive Ears (NJ, USA)
16. Ragazzi (Germany)
17. iO Pages Magazine: Issue 78 February 2008 (Holland)
18. Rock Area.eu (Poland)
19. Sinarchive (Iran)
20. Sal’s Corner (Germany)
21. Progressia (Paris, France)
22. Gnosis (Toronto, Canada)
23. Eufonia (Mexico)
24. ProgPlanet (Denmark)
25. Tarkus: Issue 44 March 2008 (Norway)
26. BabyBlaue (Germany)
27. Koid9: Issue 65 April 2008 (France)
28. Hooked On Music (Germany)
29. Nightwatcher’s House of Rock (USA)
30. Proggies (Switzerland)
31. Aural Innovations (USA)
32. MLWZ (Poland)
33. House of Rock (Germany)
34. Gondolin (Poland)
35. Get Ready To Rock (UK)
36. Le Rock Progressif (France)
37. Music Waves (France)
38. Progression Magazine: Issue 53 May 2008 (USA)
39. Music in Belgium (Belgium)
40. Let It Rock (Israel)
41. Musikzirkus Magazin (Germany)
42. Classic Rock Magazine: Issue 119 June 2008 (UK)
43. Harmonie Magazine: Issue No. 63 July 2008 (France)
44. ProgressoR (London, UK)
45. Music Street Journal (USA)
46. Rock Revival (Australia)
47. Prog Archives
48. Rock Report (Belgium)
49. Progressive Newsletter (Germany)
50. BlogCritics Magazine
51. Bill’s Prog Blog (USA)
52. Sound Base Online Magazin (Germany)
53. Imagine Echoes (USA)
54. Yes Weekly! (USA)
55. DPRP (Holland)
56. Blogger News Network (UK)
57. Progressive Rock Files
58. Musikreviews (Germany)
59. ProgRock (Poland)
60. eclipsed Rock Magazin: Issue No. 111 May / June 2009 (Germany)
Label: Bright Orange Records
Review from August 7, 2007 by Uli Heiser
Days Between Stations was founded in 2003 by the guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboard player Oscar Fuentes. The Californians named themselves after the novel by Steve Erickson and devoted themselves to, as they say, Art Rock and Post Prog.
And it fits somehow or other. And already the “opener” “Requiem for the Living” makes clear that an extraordinary (concept) album turns in the player. We can hear dominant, from spherical sounds masterfully surrounded keyboard clangs with embedded moaning in the presentation of Sepand’s uncle Jeffrey Samzadeh. Jeffrey usually sings traditional Iranian music and his lamentation brings a pertinent portion of exotic in the piece. In the second half, we can hear a mixture of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream.
The band’s music is exciting and never predictable. There is a sweetish and solemnly hammering piano rapidly and brutally overpowered by the both guitars with their psychedelic riffs. Hollie Shephard intonates vocal interludes almost wordlessly and brings the piece in always higher spheres. (“Either / Or”). Naturally, electronics may not be absent in this type of music. And so the sound waves roll from the chips and transistors, dimension always new waves and let the listener float with them in the music-cosmos.
The short third track offers snatches of movements here, gloomy moods there – everything in the cooperation of acoustic guitar and light traces of classical music.
“How To Seduce A Ghost” starts mystically, almost agreeably scary; for this atmosphere provides keyboard mainly. Lonely and sadly sounding keystrokes predominate. Guitars float over the whole thing while bass and drums rule the ground like lead balls. Also the “Radio Song” starts similarly, becomes then through percussion and robot-like, squeaky keyboard almost comic. Estranged and not distinguishable vocals mix in the whole thing. When the wind section marches in lively, one has to hand a proper drive to the song.
The “Laudanum”, comprising of several parts, is undeniably the high point of the record. It is impressive, when a lonely saxophone in front of towering sound walls performs its drive. Colosseum meets Pink Floyd and a director has crowned his film with a fitting end. The keyboard takes command; but immediately afterwards it competes with saxophone which spreads the best spirits. The sax wins clearly. Now, the cymbal comes in and a bass, grumbling as if from long distance. On this bass and the tenderly stormy cymbal put on guitar and saxophone. The wind takes over also here very fast. A psychedelic ambience spreds out. It reminds remotely of a type of Mexican wind music. Somehow like this I imagine a patient in coma, to whom music is being played. The music of Days Between Stations stretches one’s imagination heavily, when one admits it. Dreadfully nice, with masterful keystrokes dies the piece down.
A great record.
Sepand Samzadeh (guitar)
Oscar Fuentes (keyboards)
Jon Mattox (drums)
Jeremy Castillo (guitars)
Vivi Rama (bass)
Jason Hemmens (saxophone)
Hollie Shepard (vocals)
Sean Erick (trumpet)
Kevin Williams (trombone)
Jeffrey Samzadeh (vocals -#1)
Progressive Music Rules (New York, USA)
First let me tell all of you listeners and readers that the band has gone through a very difficult and very personal traumatic event during the making of this album and you will be able to hear, sense and feel the struggles the band has went through during this time. I want to be one of the first to congratulate the band on sticking together and seeing the creation of this album through to the end. You should be extremely proud of the accomplishment.
The band took its name from a novel written by Steve Erickson, after researching the reviews of this novel I came upon the following description for the book:
“Steve Erickson’s hypnotic, first novel is a dreamscape where imagination and reality collide and merge.”
With that review in mind I took the cd given to me and began my listen. I had not read any reviews of the band nor a description of the music style the band performed prior to listening to the cd. As soon as I finished with the first listen of the cd the first thought that came into my mind was what a wonderful combination of Peter Gabriel’s Eastern Asian and African influence, along with Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Then I go online to see that these are the groups that the band is compared with. They definitely display the influences of these artists in there music. However, as I have stated several times in my previous reviews I never like to compare a new band with the likes of such well established giants in the music industry and will not do so here. I make reference to these bands as a reference point for the listener as to what style of music the band is portraying. With that said the band has successfully created a sound, feel and emotion that is truly their own.
As for the CD I will begin my review with the review of the novel, the music “is a dreamscape where imagination and reality collide and merge.” This seems to be a fitting description of the first impression of the music, especially the term dreamscape. However, after listening to the CD several times I was blown away with the extreme amount of emotion that the instrumentals depict. The CD brings the listener into a dark world of pain and suffering of the human spirit, but not so dark as to be overbearing or depressing. The sound is extremely intricate and wonderfully performed. The band achieves the ultimate in instrumental music by telling a story without expressing themselves with words but rather letting the music describe the emotion. The titles to each song are fitting to the mood that the song is portraying. The CD begins with the 13 minute plus song entitled “Requiem for the Living”. This is an outstanding emotional roller coaster of a song. It is packed with ups and downs and is powerful yet melancholy at that same time. It is a great listen, so much so that the listener will be tempted to re listen to the song before moving on to the next song, however, I strongly recommend you listen to the entire CD at least once and probably several times before you start listening to the songs on an individual basis. This CD is truly an epic journey that must be taken in as a whole and not by its parts. Once you resolved yourself to listening to the whole CD during one listen you will find that each song is so intergraded with each other that you will want to listen again and again. On the second track entitled “Either/Or ” the band shows its Pink Floyd influences extremely well and one can almost imaging it being a sequel to Shine on You Crazy Diamond. This track is exceptional and possible my favorite tract on the CD. The CD has two moments that the band refers to as Intermissions and they provide great transitions to the next phase of the CD. The band shows is lighter side with the fifth track entitled “Radio Song” and is a wonderful uplifting song for the CD and fits perfectly with the sound the Band is portraying at that moment on the CD. The CD is brought to a climax with the 22 minute epic Laudanum, which is in turn performed in four parts, each part interwoven into each other for a very ambient sound and listen.
In closing I would recommend this CD and the band to any person who finds enjoyment listening to very intricate instrumentals packed with emotion and looking for an extreme sensory ride through the sounds created by the band. The band is for all those who love early Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer.
I enjoyed the several listens that I have listened to and will continue to have this CD in my collection for a long time to come. I thank the band for honoring me with a copy of the pre-released version of the CD and wish them the best on the CD and their future endeavors.
Progressive Music Rules (New York, USA)
The Prog Files (Chicago, USA)
Days Between Stations is a new band, with a soon to be released self titled debut album from the indie label Bright Orange. The album is engineered by Evren Goknar, who worked with the Capitol Mastering team (Queensryche, Heart, Sammy Hagar, Red Hot Chili Peppers).
This is an instrumental album with the taste of classic progressive rock / avant-garde era. I can sense the band members were highly influenced by Pink Floyd, King Crimson and some parts even made me think of Alan Parsons. I do not know the story behind the album, and I might be way off with my interpretation but from the song titles I can picture this story: Pain and struggle that one goes through after the loss of a loved one. The album as a whole sounds very much like a soundtrack in this sense.
The opening song “Requiem for the Living” starts with intense synthesizers with the slow addition of keyboards. The sound is very emotional, you can picture a movie’s beginning, even before the first scene, with this kind of intro you know something is not right and you are about to witness a dramatic situation. And soon enough, you hear this male voice, sort of singing an eastern funeral song. The second part of the song is mostly the part that makes me think of Pink Floyd. The bass during this part is literally singing. The title makes it very clear that this song reflects the pain and struggle of the living since the ones who are gone can no longer feel anything.
“Either / Or”, the second song on the album continues in the same direction and I see how these two connect together. Since the first song has a very down tempo and sad beginning, I picture a scene of a very recent death, the pain has not subsided yet for the one who is left behind, but as the hours go by, the reality hits and that’s why we hear the sad and screaming voices.
From the title of the song “How to Seduce a Ghost” I already know we are not talking about bad ghosts. It still has a chilling beginning but builds up to be a soft “one last possible try” to reach the dead. “Radio Song” is the one that sounds closer to the contemporary electronic music, however it still has a new wave feel to it, until you hear the end with the sax and trumpet.
The last song “Laudanum” has 4 parts: A Long Good-Bye, Everyone is Here But You, Nowhere and The Wake. At this point the album turns into something more avant-garde still with psychedelic roots. The most interesting thing about this long song is that each instrument has its own different rhythm and melody lines, and you can identify each one of them perfectly because they don’t overlay on each other and this brings richness to the sound. Third part of the song, “Nowhere” is haunting. You will hear long single notes that hang forever, and this really gives you the feeling of “emptiness” or “nothingness”. “The Wake”, last part of “Laudanum” is like the calm “after” the storm, with the feeling of “life goes on although it doesn’t make much sense, so I will get up in the morning and get a cup of coffee or something and try to survive”.
I really like this album and can easily picture these guys making a movie soundtrack. Special kudos to the bass player.
Hande BURDG Rating: 5/5 Stars.
Progressive Area (France)
Review from October 6, 2007 by Priam.
A new discovery on MySpace, one we will hear more about for sure. The American band, from L.A., is made up of two musicians, one (SEPAND SAMZADEH) is a guitarist, the other (OSCAR FUENTES) a pianist. They met in 2003 and founded “Days Between Stations.”
No need to say that the two main instruments are the guitar and the piano, supported by a rudimentary group : « the others » …
If you are a fan of PINK FLOYD or MARILLION, and you haven’t played a CD of theirs in a while, you’re in luck because here is the CD you should listen to.
The band has strong influences, and they inspire SEPAND throughout the CD. As for OSCAR, the “20-fingered and 15 keyboard” man, he overwelms us, and never stops playing. “Requiem for the Living” sets the pace with its 13 minute length. It oscillates between “Ambient” at the beginning and “Pop Rock”, in the style of the Norwegian group AIRBAG, with a climax like we enjoyed from GILMOUR. Fasten your seat belts, you are going for a ride.
« Either/Or » won’t bring you back to Earth. Get used to this for the duration! PINK FLOYDish with a hint of HOLLIE, influenced by CLARE TORRY (vocally, like on “The Great Gig in the Sky”). A monument! Everything matches a new PINK FLOYD sound and atmosphere.
So, even if there are strong influences, we can’t deny it is well made. “Intermission 1 and 2” follows the lead. An appetizer…and then surprise: “Radio Song”. Initially it is shocking: nothing to do with « Progressive Rock ». It has a fast robotized rhythm, like a “New Wave” track, from beginning to end. A grunge guitar, SEPAND’s vocoder-modified voice, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone join in for a collection of loud aggressive sounds. The ending of this song will scar your ears for 4 minutes. Faint hearted should pass.
The apex is reached with « Laudanum », where a Tenor Sax jumps in; “A long Goodbye”, where RAMA’s bass is very progressive and the moods remind us of PORCUPINE TREE or a certain PINK FLOYD era, “A Momentary Lapse of Reason;” as well as a fourth piece very high with a mix of acoustic guitar, trumpet and trombone. A tribute to MARILLION, from whom OSCAR takes his inspiration playing the same theme found on the piece “Easter” from “Season’s End”.
The band gives their best on the last piece. Thumbs up for this young American group, DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS, who, even if they are not developing a new style, deserves the credit of doing this music well. The sound is great in the Digipack version: treat yourselves.
Bootlet Magazine (Wilmington, USA)
Review from Issue No. 28, November 2007 by Brian Tucker
This self-titled debut is like a movie soundtrack but ten times larger in scope and depth than needed for a film. Its haunting melodies and gorgeous construction are the work of Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes and a list of musicians who’ve created an album of material that sounds familiar in more ways to count yet breathes life into something new, opening up a chasm of musical ideas, that easily, can be listened to over and over.
Days Between Stations plays like one long story, aching and stunning but uplifting. ‘Requiem’ opens silently, building on itself slow and lovingly. A warm melody creeps in, then layered with Moby-like piano notes and beautifully haunting vocals only to be eclipsed by effects laden guitar playing. It closes with a building tension that suddenly erupts at the finale with triumphant keyboards.
‘Radio Song’ is playful and childlike. The jumping beats and tinkering keyboards are plaintive and endearing, as though the adults have stopped playing their instruments for a coffee break and the kids come in and grab them. ‘How to Seduce a Ghost’ begins with reverberating keyboard, like something alien is on the prowl, setting the mood as if Michael Mann were directing Portishead’s musical ideas.
At twenty-two minutes ‘Laudanum’ is tour-de-force, comprised of keys, smoky saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion and voice effects. The bass lines spiral within the song structure, alongside piano and airy symphonic notes. It’s the type of song that will be incredible to see and hear performed live, a towering wave of music washing over a crowd.
The layers of musical range on Days Between Stations is sheer joy, an experience to be enjoyed indefinitely. It switches tone and style as a person’s mood may. Its indescribability is it strength, the inability to place the album into one category is its armor.
Prognaut (Los Angeles, USA)
I was approached via MySpace from a band called Days Between Stations to review their self titled debut which is on the indie label Bright Orange. The music is primarily instrumental with some voices throughout and based in the classic progressive space rock sound. Imagine a mix of Pink Floyd, King Crimson and newer bands like Ozric Tentacles, Oresund Space Collective, and you get a basic idea of what Days Between Stations’ sound is like.
The songs “Requiem for the Living”, “Either/Or” and “Laudanum” (to me) are the highlights of the album. They all show the band’s talent in creating well written and executed progressive based music. The rest of the songs are important but these just stick in my mind. For you space rock fans, the final track is worth the album price alone!
For a debut, Days Between Stations ranks up there with the best of them. I’d go as far to say it could be deemed a modern classic progressive rock album. It’s just a wonderful listen each time. I know this will be on my “favorite releases of 2007”. Mind you this is not retro or neo, just something in between. I highly recommend this to fans of the classic era prog rock and the aforementioned bands.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 17th, 2007
1. Requiem For The Living
3. Intermission #1
4. How To Seduce A Ghost
5. Radio Song
6. Intermisson #2
Sea of Tranquility (New York, USA)
Days Between Stations are a progressive rock band from Los Angeles, founded by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboard player Oscar Fuentes, and named after the novel by Steve Erickson. The duo are the core of the group, although they do have a cast of musicians who contribute parts to the album as well. Stylistically, you can hear bits of early Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Tangerine Dream throughout this self-titled CD, all of which come into play on the sprawling opening cut “Requiem For the Living”, a 13-minute tour-de-force of menacing progressive rock, highlighted by Fuentes’ array of spacey keyboard sounds, layered guitar tones from Samzadeh, and scorching slide guitar from guest Jeremy Castillo. Samzadeh’s blistering lead work on “Either/Or” recalls early 70’s David Gilmour, and with haunting Fender Rhodes and bubbling synths from Fuentes, you could swear this cut was a lost track from Animals or Dark Side of the Moon.
Ripples of effects laden guitar & keyboard washes permeate the space rock gem “How To Seduce a Ghost”, while the new wave-meets-prog “Radio Song” provides the CD’s most upbeat and bouncy arrangement. “Laudanum” is the album’s closing 22-minute multi-part epic, and a pretty sinister one at that. Kicking off with some smoky sax lines from Jason Hemmens and a mix of jazz & metallic guitar leads from Castillo and Samzadeh, this one combines space rock, jazz, heavy rock, and prog for one long and adventurous ride. Fuentes puts his array of synths to good use on this one, creating plenty of haunting soundscapes and chilling atmosphere.
The colorful and informative digipack lists all the musicians on each track, and what instruments & effects they used, making for an interesting read as you try to decipher all the neat sounds that are floating around this mostly instrumental release. Days Between Stations have put together a very stimulating debut here, one that should be a much talked about prog release here in the latter part of 2007.
1) Requiem For the Living
3) Intermission 1
4) How to Seduce a Ghost
5) Radio Song
6) Intermission 2
Part I: A Long Goodbye
Part II: Every One Is Here But You
Part III: Nowhere
Part IV: The Wake
Added: November 24th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Space Rock (United Kingdom)
So, do you fancy some intricate, lengthy, instrumental melifluous progressive rock? Well, move right along because guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, who are the Californian act Days Between Stations, brand themselves ‘Art Rock’ and ‘Post Prog’. Right, I’ll get me coat.
You may have spotted their names on the credits for The Pineapple Thief’s “12 Stories Down” album where Bruce Soord used some of their improvised material as the basis for the song ‘Saturday’, but this, their debut album, is where they get to make their first big pitch for the majors.
But if you hang around and pretend that they’re actually a progressive rock outfit, then you will find a tremendous amount to enjoy here, if your tastes point you towards the mid-period Pink Floyd output, early Porcupine Tree and even some Quarkspace, then this is very much a CD for you.
Especially on the thirteen minute opener ‘Requiem For The Living’ and on the twenty three minute (count ’em) closer ‘Laudanum’, which is split into four parts, and the place where the band get downright experimental.
The shorter songs are less worthy, as they are definitely at their best when stretching out, and some of the more ‘commercial’ material is a bit flimsy – the obviously titled ‘Radio Song’ being the wrost offender. But there is a tremendous amount of talent, inspiration and ambition on display here, something we always commend round our way.
Added: December 9th 2007
Reviewer: Stuart A Hamilton
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Random Brainwave (Australia)
DBS are a far more straight forward prog-rock band with hints of Tangerine Dream and Dream Theatre. The tracks range from spacey Gong-like keyboards, right up to radio friendly rock (on the excellent Radio Song). On the last track, the album kicked into an unexpected jazz solo before settling on a fantastic groove, which is one of the major strengths of this album. The scope for instrumentation is huge, and although it is less challenging than Random Touch, it’s probably more rewarding. This album won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re used to more mainstream rock (think Pink Floyd) then this album comes highly recommended.
Added: December 12th 2007
Reviewer: John Surname
Bruce Soord (Band: Pineapple Thief) (UK)
All in all, it’s a journey that needs a few listens to fully appreciate
(like all good albums). ‘Requiem for the Living is a really bold opener
and immediately sets the tone – this is not some sell out album for mass
appeal. The tremolo on the guitar is a nice effect and it’s good to hear
so much ebow on the album (if i’m not mistaken!). The highlight for me was
the introduction of the male vocal, totally unexpected, bold but it works.
Also unexpected was how it changed so much at 7mins. It felt like a
totally new song.
The guitar and drums work really well at this point.
Overall, the thing that hits the spot for me is the free spirit evident in
the structures and instrumentation and at times it took me away in a
trance. Yeah, track 2 is very ‘floyd’ and the distorted
bass gives it an edge floyd never had. The intermission has some smooth ebow work and the
bass and guitar on ‘How to Seduce a Ghost’ are excellent. And as I said
before, Laudanum is a really nice, hypnotic journey. The keys at 13 minutes are cool. I love the
analogue sounding presets…
Added: Decemeber 14th 2007
Reviewer: Bruce Soord (from Pinepple Thief)
ProGGnosis (Minnesota, USA)
Fortunately, once in a while it happens. On an uneventful day, I contemplate a strange new CD about which I knew nothing. The jacket shows a strange green character looking at footprints on the ground in a park at night. I put it on my computer, the music slowly began in the media player, with the random alchemy on, and it absolutely blows my mind. Whoever has said that there was no good new progressive rock band? Gee, it must have been me, but I was wrong. Days Between Stations eponymous first album is the proof that hope must rule the world, even if nostalgia and sadness permeate this opus. I’ve listened to it many times now and it’s always a renewed pleasure.
When I was preparing my review, I read many commentaries on this CD, and it strikes me that most commentators tried obstinately to pin down a style or a precise influence in their music. The group itself on his website acknowledge many influences. Except for the piece “Either/Or” that I will comment later, I think the group offer us a unique contribution and an original one at that. So, it’s different from all the other progressive groups but still strangely familiar, a kind of smooth sailing with many influences but still an original result. How? They speak an emotional language with musical instruments. It seems that the group encountered many problems and personal tragedies in the process of creating this CD that almost sunk the project. We are lucky they persisted.
The group describe his style as art rock and post-prog. Perhaps, but its main force is the melodic ambiance created which is, in my view, more space rock, almost mesmerizing and trance inducing. Their music is never heavy or metal sounding. The intricacy and complexity of the composition with the choice of instruments (real great sax!), makes this debut album an instant classic.
The first piece “Requiem for the living” subtly introduces us to the pain and mourning underlying most of this album. Its slow beginning creates and conveys a real sadness and later in the song, the feeling is accentuated when we heard what seems to be a funeral lament. Sometimes the living are worse off than the departed. But the show must go on and, as the song evolve and change, we perceive that their may be light at the end of the tunnel; after the mourning, hope can inspire new things. All in all, what a great beginning!
Even if it has a real Pinkfloydian sound, with vocals seeming to emerge directly from the Dark Side of the Moon, “Either/Or” is, from my point of view, a great tribute piece. It shows also that progressive rock is not dead and from a common background great new things can be achieved. It takes guts to revisit a monumental classic and offer in his spirit a song of equal stature as the original. Another homerun…
In hearing the next piece, my first thought was great, but too brief. Then I said to myself, ok it’s an “Intermission part 1” so it achieved its ends, provoke a brief change in mood but nevertheless be in tune with the spirit of the project.
The next piece “How to seduce a ghost” has a superb ethereal feel. I literally float listening to it. A real ambient piece for the lover of Tangerine Dream, Brain Eno or Air. When the guitar enters its magical.
This is the commercial piece of this CD, the song that can be played on commercial radios. Thus, “Radio song” is a pop song with a good, almost «danceable», beat. The group has chosen it for publicity but it’s not a good sample of their work for this song is too cheerful in tone, a kind of playful old «new wave» beat. Nevertheless, it is a good song which offers another facet of their talent.
I prefer longer intermission but still with 1:36, it’s a great “Intermission part 2”. It guides us to one of the most amazing piece I heard in a long long time.
The last piece, but certainly not least (with 22:14 minutes of pure pleasure), is “Laudanum”. For the terminally ill? Maybe, but still, it’s the masterpiece of this album, soothing the unbearable pain. It is subdivided in four parts: A long goodbye, Every one is here but you, Nowhere, The wake. Sounds like the story of a personal tragedy. I’m almost speechless of admiration. It worth buying the CD for this piece alone! Great sax! At the same time weepy and smoky. This song is haunting. You must try it for yourself. Each instrument contributes to the overall impression that the song is narrating a true and profoundly sad story, however painful it may be to do so. They wonderfully complemented each other. But like all great work of art, it seems to me open to many interpretations. The common ground is the intensity of the emotions everyone could hear. Near the end, the piano, the guitar then the other instruments opened, in my perception, a door on something else; we can now raise and look ahead. Life goes on; we may be stronger than we thought. We may even had learned something to better us.
Some commentators have proposed that this CD sounded like a film soundtrack. I’m absolutely against that idea. This project stands on its own. It can inspire a film, not the other way around. For me it’s a very strong debut album which is for now at the top of my best CD list for this new year. At each listen, I find it more fantastic.
Peter Banks (Bands: Yes, Flash) (UK)
“Music, which is really the only true abstract artform, is always open to forms of subversion, diversion and sometimes sheer perversion, which this duo mostly avoid. Days Between Stations (Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes) offer an inventive, eclectic mix of electronics; sometimes relaxed sound-washes interspersed with a rhythm-driven force used to a clear and precise ‘pop’ effect; Kraftwerk meets Tortoise with Brian Eno as referee. The subtle textures are played with a refreshing honesty and openness underpinned with an authentic transparancy of sound that avoids most of the pitfalls and potholes of scary ‘prog’.”
Added: January 30th 2008
Reviewer: Peter Banks
Planeta Rock (Argentina)
Days Between Stations is the self-titled debut album from these Los Angeles natives, a North American band which was formed in 2003 by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes. Their name comes from the novel by author Steve Erickson, and they label their music as Art Rock or Post Prog, even having been labeled by some as the “new Pink Floyd.” The sound engineer who mastered the album was Evren Goknar, who has worked with bands of the stature of Queensryche, Heart, Sammy Hagar, and the Red Hot Chill Peppers.
DBS comes in a digi-pack version, and it is an entirely instrumental album, with the exception of Either-Or, which is very similar to Great Gig in the Sky from the Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. Another great composition is How to Seduce a Ghost, where, again, Samzadeh’s guitar and Fuentes’ atmospheric keyboards shine.
Definitely, regardless of the style employed, do not be afraid: we are talking about an album which is very accessible and enjoyable. They are not among the many groups that trail in the shadows of Floyd, giving us obscure, somber, and nearly unlistenable works. On the contrary, these Californians are worthy of our attention. A very good job!
Added: Decemeber 29th 2007
Reviewer: Alexis L. Berman
Take a guitarist named Sepand Samzadeh, who likes to play art rock. Next, take a keyboardist named Oscar Fuentes, who prefers post-prog. Add a few other musicians, among whom a true brass section. Name yourself after a Steve Erickson book, stir gently, et voilà, you have Days Between Stations.
The biography of this band, formed at the end of 2003, is crammed full of references and inspiration sources pointing to what the music should sound like. These include Pink Floyd, Marillion, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream and Genesis. After reading this, I put the biography aside and proceeded to listen to the album, because experience tells us this is often the best way to make sense of a piece of music.
To properly experience the music requires quite a lot of effort on the part of the listener. After all, it’s anything but easy listening fodder. The dark music is mostly warm and atmospheric, somewhat strange but enjoyable nonetheless. Compare, if you will, to the surrealist paintings by Salvador Dalí or René Magritte in a museum, because those would also be called at least ‘strange.’ You might walk past these works without paying much attention the first time, only to return later and spend some more time studying them.
Therefore, it is easily understood and forgiven if some people will give up on this album halfway through the first song, Requiem for the Living, or at latest at some time during the second song, Either-Or. The music as such cannot be held responsible for this, because as a fan of aforementioned groups, you’re bound to be pretty safe here. The wordless vocals in these songs are more to blame. Many a person will want to replace that double “o” with a double “a” after hearing this for the first time – such was my initial instinct as well. After some time and giving it a few more spins, you’ll certainly learn to appreciate this way of singing.
The album, mastered by Evren Goknar, known for his work for Queensrÿche and Heart, is filled to bursting with atmospheric and often double layers of keyboards, on which Richard Barbieri has such a magnificent patent. It’s like those double layers of paint by our friends, Dalí and Magritte. No, this is not music being played, this is music being painted. Every now and then, wonderful melodic guitar solos will pass by, like in How to Seduce a Ghost. These take care of the canvas’ colourful accents.
The whole becomes more frenzied in Radio Song, which contains relatively heavy guitar work, as well as an incredibly contagious and repetitive keyboard tune. It’s clear that the creation of this painting required something of a fight between paints and canvas.
If you’ve made it to the closing piece Laudanum, then you’re in for the most beautiful, 4-panel painting. This song begins in a dreamy, jazzy sort of way, with a saxophone slowly but surely seizing the initiative (A Long Goodbye). I can recommend this to even the most seasoned saxophone hater. Every One Is Here But You is the epitome of sadness, and shows a wonderful duet of guitar and again that great saxophone, accompanied by casual piano playing. The fascinating image prevents you from looking at the rest of the painting, no matter how much you’d like to. When in Nowhere the entire brass section decides to make themselves heard, a wondrous Avant-Garde spectrum of colour unfolds. You can only just release your mind to experience the closing piece, The Wake. Here, you meet the same jazzy picture as at the beginning, only now with trombone, trumpet and guitar. You’ll be left speechless.
The guard taps you on the shoulder, the museum’s closing for the night.
Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes can really be considered as the surrealist musicians of the twenty-first century. Enter their gallery and be surprised!
Added: January 3rd 2008
Reviewer: Hans Ravensbergen
Progressive Ears (NJ, USA)
The L.A. duo of multi instrumentalists Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes have been making musical waves since ’03 or thereabouts, but this eponymously titled mostly instrumental CD is their first official release.
Naming themselves after a Steve Erickson novel, Days Between Stations’ jamsy, oft-hypnotic self described “post prog” will invariably ring the space rock bell for us 40+ (i.e. me) crowd. Now, I realize that Mssrs. Feuntes and Samzadeh aren’t particularly comfortable with certain stylistic comparisons, but when my sixtysomething mama teeters in and ejaculates, “is that Pink Floyd?”, well, there’s obviously some validation to the idea, isn’t it? From the powerful extended vamps, the bluesy trans-galactic guitar, and overall dark shadings, Days Between Stations proudly don their chief influence. Sepand’s grandfather, a master of Persian classical music, contributes agonized wordless vocalizations on the opening track “Requiem for the Living”, and Hollie Shepard gives Claire Torrey a run for her money on “Either/Or” (after Soren Kierkegaard’s famous tract on Existentialism). Dublin’s own Jason Hemmens chips in throughout with Dick Parry-like tenor sax breaks.
Days Between Stations is a true international / multi cultural effort, comprising of musicians from Ireland, Iran, Argentina, as well as America—yet, the “world” potentialities of this particular recording are kept, for the most part, under wraps.
All in all, Days Between Stations gives us a well rounded take on “young” space rock (or post-prog, if you please) with a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of scenario and orchestrations. Reassuring to see that the genre is passing into competent hands.
Days Between Stations, the duo from L.A., gathered nine guest musicians for their debut album, to create the multifaceted sounds and structures that constitute the complete creation. Sepand Samzadeh (g, b, synth) and Oscar Fuentes Bills (p, synth, acc-g, b) state that they play Symphonic Rock, more precisely Post-Prog, or Art-Rock. That is mainly in line with what Neoprog-Fans expect. In parts it goes far beyond that – and especially for conservative, narrow minded fans it takes time to get used to.
The first 6 minutes of the instrumental opening “Requiem For The Living” are a mélange of electronic sounds and religious, Asian singing. As if the muezzin is calling for prayer, these onomatopoetic chants are standing far above their soft harmonies; as already mentioned: 6 minutes. The following 7 minutes sound like a mix of late Pink Floyd, ambient minimal music and symphonic progressive rock. Although this onomatopoetic chant is not reoccurring, the suspense is kept up.
Subsequently the duo, along with their guests playing excellent drums, and by including sounds, voices, bass, saxophone, trumpet and trombone, is moving forward much more ‘fan-oriented’ and do not alienate any more with the untypical part for the genre, which was placed at the beginning of the CD.
This crew is very brave. However, Days Between Stations do practice some idea heavy influence which, especially in the second piece “Either/Or”, displays quite the edge of it. Everyone who has heard the name Pink Floyd knows of “Dark Side…” and of this very typical, eccentric, celestial, onomatopoetic female chant, which is significant for this album. In “Either/Or” the duo does not copy the vocals, but its style in general. Melodically and dynamically it is very close to the original.
This is not the end of surprises though. “Radio Song”, certainly as such only for an experimental DJ, brings out brass instrument structures that celebrate vital, hungry Jazz, harmonic Jazz – on a Heavy Metal Pop basis. On the steady rhythm, which is based on guitar at first and subsequently taken over by vocoder-controlled synthesizer, the creaking/groaning sounds develop peu-a-peu a decent character – a vital, over-excitedly elated character; of course non-chalantly. Great song and with almost 5 minutes it also is not too long.
After the second Intermission, the main creation of the band follows. The 22 minute-long “Laudanum”. A lot of aspects are united here. Ambient sounds meet late Pink Floyd, softrock, neoprog and new artrock sounds. Minimalistic harmonies intervene with epic saxophone solos (“Dark Side…”) and pleasant space-sounds. They are accompanied by a round, complex rhythm including excellent bass work. One would love this song to be twice as long.
The compositions of this duo are complex in tone and harmony, never too fiddly in rhythm or too elaborate melodically or technically. The flowing structure lulls and carries away into far spaces, where the astoundingly adept bass playing is of a special quality and energetic importance, even though in the mix the bass was sorted “behind” the sound of the keys.
The song starts epic, leads across minutes with a jazz-symphonic rock-structure and terrific brass elements into an ultra long ending, where one gets frightened here and there that everything will collapse all of a sudden just before the end; that’s how delicate and breakable some intrusions into the melancholy and the silence are. Now that is impressive!
In between, “Laudanum” does have its lengths here and there, but considering the entire achievement, this is not dramatic at all I would say. The one who struggles past the first 6 minutes of the CD, the one who starts to feel the rhythm of the music and to love the warm, soft, sweet and fine harmonies will experience a smart composition, which combines things usually unheard of in neoprog; for example the excellent drums, the terrific bass, the adorable brass, the unobtrusive jazz parts. This way, the ambient sighs, electronic draughts and esoteric dreams, including the influence of Pink-Floyd, is acceptable.
Added: January 6th 2008
iO Pages (Holland) -Issue No.78
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS
Days Between Stations
Who can tell when borrowing becomes stealing? Where lies the balance between class and cheap imitation? These are questions you can’t answer, but of which you can sense somehow.
It’s all a matter of balance and Days Between Stations is a master on the tight-rope.
Guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboard-player Oscar Fuentes met each other in 2003 in Los Angeles. Together with a couple of respected musicians they went into the studio, to put a debut on the world which is far away from the average group.
The album opens impressive and melancholy with Requiem For The Living. It is a track which gets you glued to the stereo from the first notes on. The Requiem is being carried by the great synthesizer-sounds from Fuentes and a guitar-solo from which David Gilmour would drool over. The traditional Iranian vocals from Samzadeh’s uncle gives the whole thing an exotic bias.
With Requiem For The Living the mood is being set down: a lot of keyboard-stuff, many guitar-solo’s and a lovely mixture of symphonic rock (Pink Floyd, Genesis), ambient (Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno) and post-rock (Godspeed You Black Emperor). Next to this the band has influences from the jazz-rock, classical music and world-music. The Americans offer the listeners a fascinating trip in which there’s no conversation: the complete album is instrumental.
The interior of the vehicle looks like it’s from the seventies, but it’s nowhere worn. Even better, it looks polished, fresh and new.
With Either/Or Intermission the train gets stick to Pink Floyd for a while (Great Gig In The Sky), but after that we go in the direction of Radiosong: a electro-pop-song which would have done well on a CD by Air. The train journey ends with the dreamy Laudanum. This epic needs some time to come to mature, but turns out to be one of the most balanced tracks.
How will the journey from Days Between Stations elapse? Of course we can’t predict this, but one thing is clear: with first rate debut like this standard you’ll reach the main station on time without any doubt.
Added: February 26th 2008
Reviewer: Martinka van Noorloos
Rock Area.eu (Polland)
I shall start from a funny situation with the art cover of the album “Days Between Stations”. Once my three year old son saw the cover he said “Daddy, look, it’s Shrek!”. What I’m going to say about this album next will not be that funny as “Days Between Stations” represents a quite distinguished approach to music.
The album from Days Between Stations includes 7 tracks. The first and the last songs are difficult listening. These two songs are difficult firsly, on account that they are long pieces (first lasts 13 minutes and the last 22 minutes) and secondly the climatic build-up takes some time.
It is important to listen to this album with the real conscience of its contents, then this music can give us a pleasure of listening. Many people who will listen to this music in a regular record shop will be unsatisfied. So at this moment I have to give minus to the band for lack of strategic approach to track order.
The fact that the album, from Days Between Stations, is all instrumental makes the music much more difficult to listen too. But on the other hand, fans of the music can find a lot of very interesting motifs. There are many improvisations, and it’s what makes their music much free and filled with variety. On these motifs, Days Between Stations can build really beautiful songs.
About the guitars they are playing a little bit too loud. But the keyboards are really good and they appear in Days Between Stations music as a common instrument and it layers the background (they present themselves in the very artrock way).
DBS also plays very atmospheric music. Most of the progressive rock fans should start from the second track. Is much more concrete and sounds like a normal track, compared to the others songs. Track 2 to Track 6 sounds more progrock (even Marillion would like to have that good songs like these in their discography).
The self-titled album from Days Between Stations is really interesting but also very demanding, it is for patient people and who like to find pearls in the music.
Added: February 25th 2008
Reviewer: Piotr “Piospy” Spyra
Well it was last year just about this time, when I first heard about Days Between Stations in one of those days searching for new bands on MySpace. What caught my attention first was the name of the band, which was the same as the first novel by Steve Erickson (American magical surrealist writer,) and secondly it was the name of their guitarist, Sepand Samzadeh, which makes every Iranian curious. Back then, listening to the songs they had on their MySpace and their website, I was interested to see how the album, which wasn’t released at that time, would turn out.
DBS are a Californian duo and if you’re familiar with Steve Erickson’s work, you know how they take place in parallel universes of real and fantasy, somewhat similar to works by Carlos Fuentes (who shares the same last name with Oscar Fuentes, band’s keyboardist.) After listening to the album however, this similarity to Steve Erickson’s novel may seem like a delightful coincidence. The emotional and somewhat delusional space created by their music magnifies this belief. However the female voice talking on the third track “Intermission #1” touches on another point. “It’s like you have one period of your life and you have another period of your life and the days between that two periods. It’s like you’re going to that next period.” It seems like the band is literally using this intermission for introducing themselves to the audience.
But if the listener has passed the first two tracks, they somehow unconsciously might have a sense of this movement. And it shows the band has been successful in engaging the mind of their listeners (me in this case). Perhaps even from the first minutes of the first track on the album, “Requiem for the Living.”
While in recent years, post rock and progressive bands have been trying to develop new approaches to make their music more distinct (from Sigur Ros’ use of “Hopelandic” language that is used as an instrument to accompany the music to iLiKETRAiNS’ last year album in which they used lyrics with British history themes to give it a sense of location,) for DBS this distinction comes in a very natural manner. When in “Requiem for the Living,” you surprisingly run into the sad voice of the male singer singing in Persian traditional music style, a unique sense of space/location forms. And perhaps this is what suddenly offers a new sense to the title of the track for the Iranian listener. “Requiem for the Living.”
Moving on, this progress is followed not only in space but in time as well. Whereas some similar bands borrow the progression of drum rhythms from German kraut rock, DBS tends to use progression in guitar and keyboard to create atmospheric music similar to kraut rock’s British contemporary, progressive rock. This is most evident in “Either/ Or,” in which the voice of the female singer deeply resembles Pink Floyd’s “A Great Gig in the Sky.”
“How to Seduce a Ghost”, one of the greatest tracks of the album, again manifests the musical excellence of the band, while “Radio Song” shows their happier and in a way more commercial side, in which they, using guitar rhythms and elements from minimalism, create a music similar to 80s new wave music and then by adding saxophone and trumpet, they mix it with a Herbie Hancock’s like jazz funk. And yet instead of imitating those sounds, DBS uses inspiration and makes it their own. It seems like as they mentioned in “Intermission #1”, the album is their autobiography on these past couple of years and whatever influenced them in a way.
“Laudanum”, the last song on the album, might as well be one of the best instrumental pieces I’ve heard in years. It consists of 4 pieces, 22 minutes all together. In its first part, “A Long Goodbye,” again the atmospheric presence of saxophone allows the creation of different moods, sometimes sad, sometimes romantic, and sometimes melancholic (a melancholy which reminds me of Robert Wyatt’s 1974 masterpiece, Rock Bottom.) progressing to the next parts, “Every One is Here But You” and “Nowhere,” the song changes its form and gradually becomes more ambient. And by the time you get to “The Wake,” you are lost completely somewhere in time or space (or even better neither.) And at the end maybe it’s the listener who is the strange creature on the cover art, following the footprints of the band during their passage. Perhaps that creature is Sepand and Oscar themselves, looking back at how they got here, who knows?
Reviewer: Sina Fazelpour
Posted: February 22nd 2008
Sal’s Corner #70 (Germany)
The Los Angeles-based duo Days Between Stations (named after the debut novel of the U.S. author Steve Erickson) is the creative collaboration of Sepand Samzadeh (guitar, pedals, synthesizer) and Oscar Fuentes (keyboards, synthesizer, bass), supported by a handful of guest musicians. Samzadeh calls the Music ‘Artrock’, Fuentes describes it as ‘post-prog’, and exactly in this (time) tension move.
The debut album “Days Between Stations” then logically also includes influences from different genres. We hear references to the classic progressive rock of the 1970s and 1980s by bands like Pink Floyd, Marillion and King Crimson, the electronic experiments of Brian Eno and early Tangerine Dream, the dark new wave of bands like Killing Joke or New Order to the sound of post-rock bands Sigur Rós and Godspeed You Black Emperor.
The good news is: The resulting sound, despite the many influences, is totally unique and, unlike other elegiac projects in the recent past, musically very varied and full of surprising twists.
Without any doubt: “Days Between Stations” is an excellent debut, not least because of his musical maturity and diversity convinced.
Posted: March 10th 2008
Progressia (Paris, France)
Days Between Stations formed in 2003 in Los Angeles by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes. The name comes from a novel by Steve Erickson that was published in 1985.
The bands signature, revealed in this work, is a deathblow executed with a very delicate touch.
Coming out of nowhere, the duo offers a hard rock that will catch the attention of the purists who are into progressive rock from the 70s. It will also appeal to the fanatics of 80s ambient dark, and to the avant-garde of the end of the century.
Exclusively instrumental, with agility and no complex, the music plays the role of a guide inside a ghostly museum where Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Divine Comedy, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Air or Anathema stand next to one another.
With a touching modesty and a disturbing humanity, the musicians act like experienced pilots. They invite us to take a seat in this train of life, for an internal journey, using a rhythm displayed with an impressive regularity. The melodic and fantastic atmospheres of the landscapes are like surreal paintings with various tones. Every note is a drop of water that falls into a dark lake with pure reflection. It is a remarkable initiation for a neophyte who would like to battle with the old ones: it’s a skillful mix that the connoisseur will appreciate. A brilliant and touching piece, that vibrates at a high artistic rate of sensibility.
All those words are still not enough to express all the emotions created by this music, which gets to your guts and oppresses your heart so much you could die with pleasure.
This kind of band catches your hear in any situation.
Reviewer: Antoine Pinaud
Posted: March 10th 2008
Gnosis (Toronto, Canada)
When I received this album in the mail I looked at the cover of the CD, still shrink-wrapped, and I said to myself: “Oh great, another one of those unlistenable techno/industrial-noise albums”. The name of the band did not look familiar so I put the CD on the pile of things without a definitive playing timeframe. A few weeks later, while sorting through new material, I found it again and decided to give it a try. Boy, was I stunned. My jaw dropped instantly and I couldn’t move until the album made it to the final seconds of the last track.
Days Between Stations is a project of two musicians established in California: Sepand Samzadeh (guitars) and Oscar Fuentes (keyboards). The name of the project was taken from a novel written by Steve Erickson. The band was founded in 2003 and released the debut album in 2007. The album was delayed by numerous unexpected events, some tragic, that have influenced, nonetheless, the dark, moody feeling of the music.
The music is described by the founding members as something between art-rock and post-prog. This is a very large area, so let me narrow it for you by saying that it sounds very Pink Floydish to my ears, maybe early Porcupine Tree, as the songs are mostly instrumental, with very few vocals here and there.
The duo of Samzadeh and Fuentes does employ a slew of musicians to help them on this project, some notable ones being Jeffrey Samzadeh, Sepand’s uncle, a professional traditional Iranian classical music singer which adds some heart-stopping laments on the first track, “Requiem for the Living”, singer Hollie Shepard or the wonderful saxophonist Jason Hemmens.
Things are opened up by what is, undeniably, the best song of the album, “Requiem for the Living”, a 13-minute piece that will take you on a trip through several musical styles, from ambient, electronic music and soundtrack for a non-existing movie to guitar-driven psychedelic rock. Although the song starts off with some low drones, that is quickly replaced by a piano theme, a background for Jeffrey Samzedah’s wails. Here is introduced the rhythmic section that will allow for the constant intersection of guitars and keyboards that follows.
The second track is “Either/Or” and here the highlight is the wordless vocal contribution of Hollie Shepard. This sounds a lot like what Claire Torry did on “The Great Gig in the Sky” – yet another parallel with Pink Floyd. The song is closed by a very long synthesizer solo that can only prove the versatility of Oscar Fuentes.
The third and sixth songs (Intermission 1 & 2) are short etudes, both including dialogs from what sounds like movies. In fact both tracks could easily be part of a soundtrack, fuelling to the general feeling that this guys could also write music for film.
“How to Seduce a Ghost” is up next, another gem on this album. It is Sepand’s turn to shine, his dreamy, spacey guitar solos are chilling and haunting.
The fifth song exhibits the “lighter” side of the band. Somehow this new-wave song doesn’t fit along the profound ideas in the other tracks and for me represents the low point of the album. However, the band chose “Radio Song” to be their lead-off single. The song was also included in the accompanying soundtrack for a recently-released independent movie.
And this leads us to the last song, Laudanum, a 22-minute epic in 4 parts. Jason Hemmens’s impressive jazzy sax takes command allowing the intermission of numerous sonic effects, yet always returning to lead the song into the next intricate phase. There are so many things going on in this song, but we tend to stay close to the emotional, melancholic dreamscape that is so present throughout the entire album. Guitar and piano are continuing their dialog within the hypnotic space created by the surrounding spiralling drones.
Days Between Stations is a wonderful discovery. It will please every sophisticated or casual Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Djam Karet and Marillion fan. Paraphrasing Zappa, this is the best album of 2007 no one has heard about.
Reviewer: Eddie Lascu
This Los Angeles-based duo offers quite a trip. You start out with six minutes of ambient where you get all the feel of post, with the added anguish of listening to an anticlimax, in spite of the excellent entrance of the bass, and where what you barely hear are Iranian laments (and don’t get me wrong: this really keeps you waiting for what follows, and I don’t say that in a negative tone: on the contrary, the track manages to keep you in suspense for six minutes without ever wanting to fast forward it – sensational!) then it changes and you start to think you’re listening to the American version of Pure Reason Revolution, until you get to the last couple of minutes and its little Grand Finale…and this is only the first track: Requiem For The Living. Truly, from the first sounds of the album you realize you hold something important between your ears (and, certainly, in your hands as well – the physical presentation of the album is also very good.)
Oscar and Sepand apparently had to sweat bullets to manage to get this material out and I can say that, both for them and for you, the reader, every gram of effort has been worth it. This album has an impact. It takes you through various sub-genres, as I already mentioned, from post, traveling on occasion through psych rock passages a-la-Floyd, shades of progressive (listen to the psych-bathed rock of Either/Or) and much, much, much rock. As a curious fact, on my first few listens to the album I didn’t know how to classify it, and the closest I got (and this maybe in the first track) was Pure Reason Revolution, but there was post, there was psych, there was progressive…I checked the definition that these musicians themselves give their style and, well, one of them says it’s art-rock while the other defines it as post prog…in the end these are labels, but I was glad to coincide. Despite the handling of various subgenres on the album, however, the band still achieves a consistency throughout. As musicians, the duo has done a very good job, and on this release they are accompanied by relatives and musical friends that one feels are part of a years-long labor: everything seems perfectly chosen for the final result: everything sounds cohesive.
The album is practically entirely instrumental with some voices (Intermission 1) the aforementioned laments on the first track and other vocalizations (Hollie on Either/Or, who does a heartrending job like in a Floyd concert). The mood on the album is, for certain, fairly dark, although this is perhaps the last thing you notice amidst so much aural energy.
The spare and effective use of winds (trumpet, sax, and trombone) on Radio Song lets us see that the band is capable of integrating other types of sounds and won’t stay on the simple side. Things sound very interesting on a track that has more electronic-type components (“simple” use of the keyboard and vocoder) and keeps growing and growing and you don’t expect the contribution from the previously mentioned winds near the end of the track (pay close attention also to the last two minutes of the final track, Laudanum, where these instruments acquire another – and, to my taste, more fitting – dimension.)
After the second intermission we arrive to “THE” track from the album: the 22 minutes of Laudanum, with its four movements, is a track that gives the feel of elegant simplicity. This is easy to say, but it is one of the things I consider to be most difficult to achieve. The combination of lacerating guitars (though not necessarily explosive, over-virtuosic, or “protagonistic” – and frankly this would be the last thing to expect here: this is not a solo guitarist’s album, this album is truly a group effort), with the tranquil sounds from the pianos and a solid rhythm section (keep an eye on the bass) with drums that travel more in jazz in sections, the percussion and the use of sax, the section where the winds do their bit, you even hear – maybe courtesy of the guitars – something reminiscent of Jorge Reyes’ Ek-Tunkul…frankly this suite is a delicacy…you don’t want it to end.
An album with impact. The bar has been raised high for the follow-up album. We hope they can reach it so that we can keep enjoying what Days Between Stations does.
I have read many enthusiastic reviews (like Ciro’s) about this album and it is with great pleasure that I can confirm that the rumors are true, we have before us a great album. What surprises me even more is that this comes from a band made up of two musicians (plus guests) and that, besides, it’s a type of music that it is difficult to like initially.
Let me explain: this is predominantly instrumental music that also has a visual or cinematic content that’s rare nowadays, all of which demands more of the listener because it forces one to try to associate what he is listening to with some image or idea. Add to this that this is just their first album and then you understand that the promise they come from is – at the least – a gigantic compromise. Like a cherry on a cake, Oscar is proudly Mexican and he takes care to remind us that talent knows no geography.
We could say that the music has elements of contemporary progressive rock, like the modern sonic textures of Porcupine Tree (in their spacier moments) and some retro instrumental elements in the style of Camel’s Lunar Sea or Great Gig In The Sky from Floyd (and of both in the precious Either/Or, which is my favorite from the album). But it doesn’t rest there, fleetingly incorporating – in a playful and humorous way — techno elements in Radio Song, where we may have an excellent example of danceable prog (Gulp! I can’t believe I said that!).
I could review this song by song but I think my eufonico comrade has already done it in an unsurpassable way, which is why I will only say that I highly recommend this album. I think it would hold a very important place in the homes of melomaniacs who nostalgically yearn for times past but who want to live in the present, with elements from the present. It would be too much to give it a perfect rating because this is only their first release, and that half note they need to reach the perfect rating should be reserved for those who do it time after time, without fail (it is, then, a product of tireless effort).
Even so, damn! What a good start. We’ll be waiting – starting NOW – for their next work…
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Reviewers: Ciro Velazquez (Top Review) & Jesus Diaz (Bottom Review)
Published: March 06, 2008
Label: Bright Orange Records
Days Between Stations has to one of the more exciting progbands I’ve heard in many years! Don’t be fooled by the somewhat strange cover art, this is a pure magic progressive rock album opening with the mesmerizing beauty of “Requiem for the Living” with waves of keyboards, piano, male chanting and great E-bow guitar…smoothly growing (after ca. 6:30) into a tighter theme, though still at slow pace, sporting some excellent slide guitar (a la Gilmour) as a matter of fact, this track could have been from a Floyd album “Dark side of the Moon” period. But very much with DBS´s own identity, its 13: 20 minutes of pure joy!!
Track #2 : “Either/Or” follows that path, lavish keyboards, superb arrangement and a high flying non lyric female vocal (Hollie) that again brings Floyd to mind. Great stuff!
The album comes in a nice gatefold cardboard cover, I dont really like the cover art, but who cares this is perfect in any other department you care to mention. The inside cover has an each track run-down of specific musicians and which instrument, effect´s etc. they used. What a great idea!!
I recently got this gem from my mate and I must say it grows with every listen (and they have been many)…needless to say im so glad I got it, the cover art might have prevented me from checking it out, when roaming through the many records stores and progressive departments I usually frequent. Enuff said!!
So please treat yourself to this fine “new” US prog band, and their debut album filled to the brim with excellent progmusic,
it comes with “ happy smile on progface” guarantee!!
Published: March 26, 2008
Tarkus Magazine Issue 44, March 2008 (Norway)
Days Between Stations saw the light of day in 2003 as a collaboration between guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes. Their common interest in ambient music, progressive rock and psychedelic music had a chance to flourish during this time. Their name was derived from a novel by Science-Fiction writer Steve Erickson, and their music shows a heavy retro-futuristic space-rock influence.
Their debut album is clearly inspired by bands such as Pink Floyd (ca. ’70-77) and Tangerine Dream, but at times they almost sound like jazz-rock, which helps the music stand on its own and not sound like a hopeless copy of heroes of old. It seems as if Fuentes and Samzadeh have let their heroes become a platform they can build upon and supplement with the music they have themselves absorbed throughout the years. A healthy attitude if you ask me.
On the whole the music is often very clean and proper, but it remembers to create the necessary contrasts by throwing in an upsetting guitar-line, an unexpected synth-sound, or a subtle but effective break. Electronic instruments play a big role in the sound, both as traditional synths and as atmospheric electronic sounds, as do traditional sounds from guitar, bass, drums, and organs. All of these sounds, work together to create a varied and dynamic sound. The use of wordless vocals is a good inclusion, despite it sometimes sounding a bit Pink Floyd-ish. In the end there is more original music out there, but Days Between Stations ability to mix innovation and tradition gives them a very distinguished sound. Not bad in an age of similar sounding music.
Reviewer: Trond Gjellum
Translated By: Nicholas Frickelton
Published: March 2008
Days Between Stations formed in 2003 and this duo is based out of Los Angeles. It consists of the guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes. The two describe their music as art-rock or post-prog. For their title-less debut they fetched 9 guest musicians (including drums and horns).
Predominantly an instrumental album, keyboards dominate, and it is a mixture of neo-prog and new Artrock and we cannot deny some inspiration from Pink Floyd. For example, in Either / Or this inspiration is very clear, will say: The structure of the song was brazenly emulated: the first part sounds like Obscured by Clouds, the latter exalted women’s vocals is reminiscent of Clare Torry’s vocal acrobatics on The Great Gig in the Sky.
This is the only case in which the duo act as a clone, otherwise the rest of the album does not sound Floyd inspired.
Fuentes (keyboardist) on his impressive keyboards (each track listing the keyboards used) produces floating landscapes of sounds reminiscent to that of electronic music and lead guitarist Samzadeh’s style is similar to Gilmour / Latimer.
Usually music coming from the speakers is deceitfully aesthetic as a whole, and there is usually a sharp risk of boredom and monotony. However, here on this CD, this is not an issue! Not only because there are great sounds but with “Radio Song”, for example, we suddenly have a piece with snappy harder guitar riffs, fast jazzy horn playing and a regular rhythm as a counterpoint. Other tracks are full of variety, mostly solemn sounds.
In particular, the final Laudanum shows this masterfully: as resistant to change, you will hear ambient-like passages, jazz saxophone solos and Floydesque guitar solos, but the piece works as an organic unity.
It should now be clear that the two address complex rhythms, rather than the “atmosphere” is looking for. This is now a somewhat adverse term, but here they really can pull it off. With the music, the listener is immediately pulled into higher spheres and yet never led in gentle and constant and monotonous background music, their music blows you away. A fine debut, and we desire for more!
Reviewer: Jochen Rindfrey
Published: March 14th 2008
Koid9 Magazine (France)
First contact: this strange cd cover, a bit naïve, already puts us in a melancholic mood. What is this enigmatic character waiting for in the night? Or who is he waiting for? And to whom belongs those foot prints? You’ll know if you listen to this CD. Actually no, you won’t know but shouldn’t we let our imagination run wild?
Flash back: LA, 2003. It is pitch dark, the night is cold. Sepand, the guitarist, and Oscar, the keyboard, are in a boat. The first one fell in the water… Actually no, they just meet each other, but let’s just pretend they were on a boat and that the night was dark and cold.
Why not, after all… Their objective is to work with styles not well defined, such as Art Rock, and Post Prog. Let’s just say they don’t want to be doing what everyone else is doing. And that the length of a piece should not be a constraint. They decide to call themselves “DBS”, from a novel by the surrealist Steve Erickson (who is also not doing things like everyone else).
The album has various influences. We can even say that these Americans don’t stray far typical style. Very smart: it is impossible not to be seduced right away by one of their style.
You’ll recognize “Krafwerk” but also “Pineapple Thief”, with whom they co-wrote “Saturday” on the “12/10 Stories Down” album.
Our friends surrounded themselves with a nice team. Drummer, bass, sax, trumpet, trombone and even a female singer. She vocalizes in the same style found on “The Dark Side of the Moon”. Some sax intervention and the guitar complaints bring us back to our dear “Pink Floyd”. But only for brief moments (“Either/or”)
The album starts with a 13 minute “Requiem for the Living”, very high, highlighted by Eastern singing, from Sepand Iranian uncle, reminding us of the Pakistanis “Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan” who worked with “Peter Gabriel” on the “Last Christ Temptation” soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the simplistic keyboard style, repeated sequence played with two fingers in the background, reminds us of “Aaron”. Fortunately the tension in the finale is much more convincing. This first piece, a bit long, gives the impression to be their first composition. But it doesn’t reflect the rest of the album, which totally convinced me and which I enjoyed very much.
“How to Seduce a Ghost” contains very moving guitar theme. “Radio Song”, with its electronic style and robotic voices, brings “Kraftwrek” right away to mind (What can we say: their album is called “Radio Activity”). This would make a perfect single.
Of course, I would have preferred to hear a more imaginative bass, less linear, and that throughout the disk. We conclude on a 22 minute “Laudanum”, very well done. Sometimes adventurous, mixing acid guitar and ambient tonalities, without being hermetic or minimalist. The brass section really takes off.
A tour is planned for 2008, they are already working on the next album, and they are preparing a mini album made of left over and demos. Movie soundtrack could be part of their plans as well. Luc Besson, if you are reading this, you know what you have to do…
Reviewer: Michael Fligny
Published: Issue 65, April 2008
Hooked on Music (Germany)
A long tracking shot over a big city street at around 3:30 in the morning. Pictures of blinking lights, a couple of lonely cars. Cut. Views from a train window in the November rain. Pole by pole, but for you, they keep track of the time. The time between the stations of departure and arrival. The time between yesterday and today. Between hope and despair.
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS have selected a very picturesque name. The melancholy that I felt as soon as I read the name is also in their project. Wonderful, melancholy, picture painting Big City Melancholy. The kind of melancholy that lets you breathe afterward, because this kind of inner catharsis simply must be every once in a while, in order to face all of life’s idiocy.
The six and a half minute intro into the first piece already seduces the listener with a mystical atmosphere that one must feel from within in order to savor the secret of the band. The big elegy, caught in the string sounds, is carried slowly and irrestibly into the album. A cinematic epic without every bombast and yet with the great gesture. Requiem for the living fits as a title like Faust fits the eye, because all the creatures that crawl around us in our mind-emptying media world can only be considered though a beautiful requiem. And this is accomplished with these fantastically beautiful sounds.
What follows is the inescapable comparison that one cannot get around when listening to atmospheric albums. Watersgilmourwrightmason was the godfather for Either/Or. Either the Animals or The Great Gig In The Sky – this is where I see the inspiration coming from in this fascinating piece of work.
But not just big paintings are part of this plan. To be perfectly honest – Radio Song is the name of the song and it is one. It would have been one, back around 1982 as a Wave-Sound. The Wave signature from back then, the good sound of today…..should we hope that it will be a radio hit in 2008? A very successful style and atmosphere break here on the album and that can not be credited greatly enough to the two gentlemen in a time when everything in the market is served up to us in a uniform format, just so we listeners will not have not to be awakened from our preprogrammed expectations. As far honesty goes, Intermission is an interlude and one finds that too in both titles. Riddled with speech samples in Number 1, electronically gloomy in Number 2 .
Laudanum (Opium dissolved in alcohol) was a very popular means to use drugs in the 19th century. Some authors let themselves be inspired by this, reached this thanks to excessive use, and thereby brought their creativity to a standstill. Laudanum is the longest piece here. Not drug-induced, but also not harmful and taken one last time from the vat of creativity. The last epic that shows itself with a jazz spice through the use of wind instruments, only to lose itself in passionately increasing guitar solos, before it stops and raises itself to the sun’s light with postmodern trumpets and acoustical guitars.
Fuentes und Samzadeh present here a cornucopia of sound with this first instrumental piece of work. This music screams for use in good movies. Clever psychological thrillers or intelligent science fiction films could profit from these strongly visual sounds. Until the first director understands this, everyone who enjoys Art-Rock should add this to their collection. Would enchant the atmosphere of one’s evening, guaranteed. Hollywood will never be this good.
Following PINEAPPLE THIEF’s new work, the next great album of 2008. Lovers of the first album should not hesitate here.
P.S: As I have done often in the past, I would like to address the album cover. Sepand Samzadeh has reached out to the paint brush here himself and by doing so has given his cliché-free face to a truly ambitious musical piece.
Reviewer: Jürgen Gallitz-Duckar
Published: March 27,2008
Nightwatcher’s House of Rock (USA)
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, progressive rock band Days Between Stations on their debut album have created a sprawling prog rock epic which recalls pre ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ Pink Floyd in its sound, experimentation and spirit. Consisting of largely instrumental compositions, this is one for the truly progressive minded music fan, full of long, spacey soundscapes which draw the listener in, as such one of the most impressive of this sort released in recent memory.
Consisting of guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, augmented by a host of additional musicians, this isn’t for the pop music inclined music fan. With tracks spanning over 20 minutes, in this ADD addled generation who want instant gratification in all things, there’s going to be a large percentage of the population who simply won’t have the patience to fully appreciate this. But, that’s their loss. For in not giving this album a chance in favor of commercial tripe, they’re missing out on a piece of pure art. True, the band have included a short track “Radio Song”, with its upbeat rhythms and catchy melody featuring a Vocoder not unlike Anathema’s “Closer” clearly their only concession to airplay, this is clearly a band who want to be taken at their own terms, preferring to do things their own way rather than conform to what may or may not be a hit.
Although the band bristles slightly at The Floydian comparisons, the inclusion of a female vocalist simply monikered “Hollie” wailing somewhat orgasmically ala “The Great Gig In The Sky” on “Either/Or” only serves to draw in such parallels. Throw in the fact that guitarist Samzadeh sounds similar to a young David Gilmour in tone and phrasing, and it just reinforces the similarities. While not a Pink Floyd clone by any means, still, with that band in limbo, and even if they were to reunite they certainly wouldn’t return to give more of what transpired before their massive world wide fame, this is as close to that style that one is likely to find. Very cinematic at times, atmospheric, full of haunting melodies and well thought out instrumentation, if you’re one who longs for the free thinking days of the golden era of progressive music you’re sure to find much to enjoy here.
Published: April 22nd 2008
Not bad, not bad. Instrumental music with a dash of electronics, something much more ambient and Pink Floyd. That would be a rough description of Days Between Stations. Behind the name, are the two musicians Oscar Fuentes (keyboards, programming) and Sepand Samzadeh (Guitars, Effects, keyboards). They are supported by other musicians, including a drummer, the risk of canned drums has been virtually banned.
Actually, it is just 7 beautiful compositions to listen to. I like the melodic aspect particularly. And I appreciate very much that this album is not like many others which are useless garble. The music provides entertainment, a lot of atmosphere and the compositions are plenty in scope to unfold. They, especially, managed to find the excellent selection of key tone colors.
From time to time, it is almost embarrassing to determine how close the band are similar to their idols. In Either / Or is the inspiration of Great Gig in the Sky, this cannot be denied, even if the song musically is in a slightly different direction, the final part hints of Porcupine Tree in their early years.
In Radio Song we are greeted with the New Artrock and shimmer elements of jazz. The crass counterpart is followed by Intermission 2: Electronic music with a lot of synthesiszers.
The highlight is the 22 minute final track Laudanum. A piece of all the strengths of the formation is once again demonstrated here. Dramatic, spherical, melodic, electronic and also experimental landsacapes.
Conclusion: A CD for fans of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream or early Porcupine Tree
Reviewer: Daniel Eggenberger
Published: April 25 2008
Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008) (USA)
Days Between Stations is the duo of guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, along with numerous guests, most notably Jon Mattox on drums and Vivi Rama on bass rounding out the band. Their debut is a set of beautifully atmospheric rock instrumentals that, despite the band’s insistence to the contrary, seem to be heavily influenced by Dark Side of the Moon/Wish You Were Here era Pink Floyd.
Samzadeh and Fuentes say that Pink Floyd was barely in their mind-set when the album was conceived, but the atmospheric soundscapes have a very Floydian feel to them. Samzedah’s fluid guitar phrasing also bears a similarity to David Gilmour’s and the histrionic vocal solo by Hollie (no last name is given in the credits) on the second track, Either/Or bears more than a passing resemblance to Clare Torry’s famous vocal on The Great Gig in the Sky. Unlike Floyd, however, the music has no lyrics (vocals are all wordless), and Fuentes focuses more often on solo’s with his arsenal of modern synths (to great effect I might add…his lengthy solo near the end of Either/Or is simply superb). In fact, I’m not drawing this comparison to be critical of the band or the album. I’m saying it because I think Floyd fans (of which I am one) would love this album, because it has all the qualities we love about Floyd, but it is distinctly different enough as well to be something fresh and original.
The album opens with the 13-½ minute Requiem For the Living, a very slowly building piece that exudes melancholy. The soundscapes of this piece are very symphonic in nature, almost classical sounding at times, with some very cinematic piano runs propelling them forward. Jeffery Samzadeh provides an almost tortured vocal in the early part of the song, a melodic moan that is in line with piece being a “requiem”. Halfway through, the piece shifts to more of a rock bent, with lovely slide guitar (by second guitarist Jeremy Castillo), and shimmering, complex melodies.
The aforementioned Either/Or is one of the standout pieces on the album, a 7-½ minute compostion that flows through three distinct parts; it’s dramatic instrumental opening (with dazzling guitar from Samzedah), Hollie’s vocal solo in the middle, and Fuentes atmospheric synth solo closing out the piece.
A series of shorter pieces follow, including two brief, atmospheric “Intermissions”, the sometimes spooky, sometimes beautiful How to Seduce a Ghost (again with excellent guitar work from Samzedah, joined once more by second guitarist Castillo), and the perhaps tongue in cheek Radio Song, the most un-Floydian piece on the album, an upbeat, motorik rocker, with plucking, staccato synths, vocoder and a peppy brass section!
The lengthy Laudanum closes the album. Clocking in at over 22-minutes, it opens with complex atmospheric textures, dextrous bass and drum rhythms, shimmering piano runs and some Dick Parry-esque sax by Jason Hemmens. There is one thing I will say here, that although the sound seems influenced by Floyd, the arrangements and performances are much more complex in nature than Floyd usually was known for. All the musicians are superb players, and none of them shy away from solos that are usually expressive and very moving. The dynamics of Laudanum give a chance for every musician involved to shine without being show-offy in any way. The lushly atmospheric passage that begins in the second half of the piece is beautifully constructed, with rich layers of synth drones, haunting guitar shrieks, and slow, throbbing percussive rhythms, alternating between slightly more minimalist sections and swells of more melodic and symphonic parts. It takes us all the way to the end of the piece, closing out the album with the striking addition of some poignant horns (in a section subtitled The Wake…perhaps echoing the Requiem of the albums opening?).
Floyd influenced or not, Days Between Stations have cut a very excellent debut full of passion and with some terrific performances. Well worth checking out.
You can visit the band web site at: http://wwwdaysbetweenstations.com
Visit the record label web site at: http://www.brightorangerecords.com
Reviewed by Keith Langerman (Nightwatcher)
Published: #39 (May 2008)
MLWZ (Poland)[[ Will be Posted Once Translated ]]
Reviewed by Artur Chachlowski
Published: April 09 2008
House of Rock (Germany)
It starts harmlessly, but yet also secretly. Quietly, with atmospheric Synthesizer-Sounds, soft voices (it stays with this; this is about an instrumental album) and melodic sequences, which the listener is inclined to quickly accept. And it only takes a few minutes, until we hear a rumbling and growling bass, which imbeds itself well into the swaying music of DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS. In addition, the piano and clear sounding guitars trade off here and there and give the whole beginning track Requiem For The Living, with its playing time of over 13 minutes, its own mood.
The guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and the keyboard player Oscar Fuentes started this band in 2003 in Los Angeles. They are consciously trying to create their own sound. Having said that, they don’t deny, that bands like PINK FLOYD have left a lasting impression on their musical careers. In addition they have been influenced by the neoprogressive iconic MARILLION and also have a love for bands like NIRVANA. In that respect , the two of them get their ideas from a very broad spectrum.
In order to put the whole thing into action, they have obtained all kinds of support for themselves. As already mentioned, this is about an instrumental album, because the vocals that are delivered come across as background music and have no leading character. As regards content, melancholy themes are handled. From this vantage point the debut piece of DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS can be seen as a concept, which contains the themes of death, sickness and forlornness.
Besides the guitars, the electronics play an important role. And now, whether consciously or unconsciously, the synthizer interludes remind one of the big stars of the Berlin School, Klaus Schulze and TANGERINE DREAM. Anyway, we also find his piercing runs in Either/Or, which put a quick end to the Floyd –like impulses. Intermission 1 + 2 are filler, in order to get the whole conceptual character.
The main players label their presentation as “Art Rock”, but that would be too simple. A number like Radio Song is hard to accommodate in this previously described segment. Moreover, we find ourselves moving in a kind of New Wave, where the progressive attitudes are brought forward by the woodwind interludes. And then we are finally offered the four part long track Laudanum with over 22 minutes of playing time. That belongs in Progress Rock as a matter of course, but here is where the dangers often lie. However, DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS conquer these hurdles in an appealing way. The wind instruments shine through the tangle of sound and for the rest of the piece, they are affected by several highs and lows…And according to the band, another album will soon be following. The foundation has been set, and in addition, they named themselves after a novel and so they are set for further album concepts. This album is already very good, has its own character and should allow for a great change of pace. It is being distributed in Germany through the mail-order company Just For Kicks
Reviewed by Ralf ‘Jogi’ Ruhenstroth
Published: May 10, 2008
Gondolin (Poland)[[ Will be Posted Once Translated ]]
Reviewed by Ralf ‘Jogi’ Ruhenstroth
Published: May 05 2008
Get Ready To Rock (UK)
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS Days Between Stations
Bright Orange Records BCD-1067 (2008)
‘Days Between Stations’ is both the name of the band and the name of a progressive rock masterpiece. For an album that opens with a ‘Requiem for the Living’ and closes with ‘The Wake’, the music is not quite as sombre as the titles might suggest.
Indeed in just under an hour the listener is taken on magical musical journey comprising different sounds, textures, moods, imaginative aural sculptures (not forgetting Sepand Samzadeh’s stunning cover painting) and spiralling solos that make this album one of the groundbreaking moments of the year.
That said, ‘Days Between Stations’ is by no means perfect and for those of us with a sense of musical history there are some obvious musical reference points such as the hugely derivative ‘Either/Or’ which is a thinly veiled reworking of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’. The song unashamedly comes complete with an evocative vocal from Hollie Shepard who reworks Clare Torry’s original voice as instrument sequence.
But happily there is enough originality in the composite work of joint composers Oscar Fuentes (keyboards) and guitarist Sepand Samzadeh to overcome such awkward connections. And while there are some Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream style moody synth moments and some later beautifully toned sax parts courtesy of Jason Hemmens on ‘The Long Goodbye’, the first part of the closing ‘Laudanum’, which recall the early West coast synth and horn experimentation of Beaver & Krause, seen as a whole ‘Days Between Stations’ embodies its own artistic integrity.
In fact, as if to head off any criticism at the outset, the band’s web site helpfully references some of the above, as much you suspect to give the unsuspecting listener a sense of context with which to deal with this startlingly beautifully constructed album.
The project was apparently several years in the making with external events playing a significant part in the eventual shaping of the music. Oscar Fuentes and Sepand Samzadeh seem to be a pair of musicians whose musical vision has been enhanced by the judicious choice of additional musicians as each element seems to add a new dimension to their prepared pieces, be they the eastern style chanting of Jeffrey Samzadeh on the sombre opening track ‘Requiem for the Living’ or deft use of Sean Erick’s trumpet parts, most particularly in the end part resolution of ‘The Wake’, the final quarter of the closing ‘Laudanum’ suite.
Were these 7 musical pieces to be taken in isolation the whole project might be considered more problematical if only for the previously mentioned musical influences. But throughout the album (and this is a good old fashioned concept album), there’s an organic feel at play born of magical grooves, searing solos, gentle keyboard motifs, delicately toned slide guitar – particularly on the climactic finish to ‘Requiem’ – and synth solos, especially on the second half of ‘Either/Or’, that bring a welcome sense aural diversity and breathe fresh life into each piece.
Then again Steve Miller fans might complain that he was doing that in 1976, circa ‘Fly Like An Eagle’. But if you take the album as a whole there’s enough originality, imagination and emotion here for the project to confidently stand up in its own right. Musically, there’s a constant sense of a core dynamic as evidenced in the light and shade provided most obviously by a mix of voice collages, synth noodles (‘Intermission 2’) and songs such as ‘Radio Song’, which employs a synth and vocoder mix that works well in the context of the album, if not on its own.
Given that it is nearly four decades or so since the introduction of synthesizers in popular music, perhaps the greatest plaudit that can be offered to this album is that is captures the imagination, pulls you in wildly different directions, evokes contrasting moods and opens up a musical landscape that demands repeated listening.
Reviewed by Pete Feenstra
Published: May 14 2008
Le Rock Progressif (France)
Here is an album without a title that refers to gliding works such as those conceived in the early 60’s and 70. The entirely instrumental music, except the misty voices takes place in many parts.
The hypnotic album, which is dominated by instruments, has been initated by two musicians: Oscar Fuentes (piano, synths and rhythmic programming) and Sepand Samzadeh (tampering with the guitars and and impressive panel of effect pedals). We think sometimes the production of Pulsar or Tangerine Dream and of course the cosmic music of Pink Floyd, which is probably the main inspiration for this album.
Either / Or, under the second track, for example, is directly connected to the feel of The Great Gig In The Sky, centerpiece of Dark Side Of The Moon. In the role of Claire Torry, the young singer Hollie LA (Los Angeles which is also the original group) against a backdrop of piano sounds of the jazzy intonations, sounds quite convincing, and recreating, with deep nostalgia, some ecstasy caused by DBS’ illustrious model.
However, Days Between Stations (named after the ambiguous and surreal first novel of Steve Erickson) also introduces to their approach more modern influences within the music; in the style of Eno and especially an multifaceted idiom and loosely defined contours appointed by Post-Rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Sigur Rós.
A sprinkling electronic appears over the tracks while taking in other colors (Hawkwind on Radio Song) and new tones are integrated as the saxophonist Jason Hemmens (A Long Goodbye), trumpeter Sean Erick or vocalist of Jeffrey Samzadeh (Sepand’s uncle), a specialist in Iranian classical music, comes to haunt the beautiful Requiem For The Living.
But on the whole, ambiences remain atmospheric, introspective and dark, and the summit of this is attained on the very successful How To Seduce A Ghost, squalid and supernatural clean, nagging modern fusion of gliding rock and rhythms to be bring back souls from beyond that are in torment.
Reviewed by Pierre Dulieu
Published: May 17 2008
Music Waves (France)
Behind this enigmatic name, which is from a novel by Steve Erickson, are two American musicians, namely guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes.
There is much to confess, I was rather impressed by this first album which came out of nowhere. The least we can say is that Days Between Stations knows how to create moods. Alternately melancholy, electronic, pop or progressive, from their music emerges a real sense of freshness and a good assimilation of varied and diverse influences (Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Sigur Ros, Steve Reich or Kraftwerk ).
From the first song “Requiem for the Living,” we feel that the will of the group is to install a climactic musical both serene and disturbing (we believe in a film by David Lynch). A repetitive motif in the piano then comes to settle, and singing as it if calls the ghost of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The piece begins taking off only from the seventh minute, put together it has already boarded us on their ship (or its station if you prefer).
“Either / Or” the next track, is more clearly inspired by Pink Floyd, vocalizes women recalling significantly “The Great Gig in the Sky”. But the attention does weaken by then, provided that no voice has yet been made. Follows a short instrumental interlude (“Intermission 1) before one of the best song of the album begins …
“How to Seduce a Ghost” has a melody line to the very catchy guitar while the piano a reminds us of “Tubular Bells”, but without this, it would detrimental to overall consistency.
The aptly named “Radio Song” could pass without problem on the large waves alongside the singles from Air, adding brass at the final part of the song almost makes the song up-beatish.
“Intermission 2” serves as a preamble to the epic “Laudanum” which closes the album at the top of its 22 minutes. The saxophone, very powerfully conscious, brings us back once again on the lands of Pink Floyd and jazz rock with a more melancholy and sensitivity that can be found in the best works from Pineapple Thief and Lands End.
Not being particularly attracted by the instrumental albums, one must admit that the Days Between Stations has many strengths to convince septic post-rock and the environment. Music lovers warned, this album while finesse it deserves our full attention.
Reviewed by Aladdin Sane
Published: May 15 2008
Progression Magazine Issue #53 May 2008 (USA)
Sound: 4/4 Composition: 3/4 Musicicianship: 3/4
Performance: 4/4 Total rating: 14/16
This Los Angeles duet warns against any undue comparative
references. However, Oscar Fuentes (keyboards) and Sepand
Samzadeh (guitars) wear the Pink Floyd influence a bit too
proudly to avoid what will almost inevitably be a listener reflex.
Which is not to slag Days Between Stations as merely
derivative. The band’s self-styled “post-prog” achieves escape
velocity via its own takes on the timelessly powerful extended
vamps (the 23~minute closer “Laudanum” is a study in this).
The bluesy trans-galactic guitars and overall dark textures of
their mentors also stand in stark relief. It helps quite a bit that
this essentially is an instrumental effort, with Hollie Shepard and
Samzadeh’s grandfather contributing haunting wordless vocals
(on Either/Or and “‘Requiem for the Living” respectively). Chris
Hemmins also frequently chips in with taut, Dick Parry like tenor
Overall, Days Between Stations is abalanced. well-rounded
take on next generation space rock (er, post-prog – sorry!), with
a perpetually shifting kaleidoscope of shades, orchestration and
scenario. It’s reassuring to see that the genre is passing into competent hands.
Reviewed by John Patrick
Published: Issue 53 May 2008
Music in Belgium (Belgium)
Based out of Los Angeles and formed in 2003 by guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboardist Oscar Fuentes, the group chose to name from a novel by Steve Erickson. Their music? ….They call it Art-Rock and Post-Prog. Their diverse influences permeate this first album.
The duo leading the boat is surrounded by a few musicians and vocalists to complete the first album. There are seven tracks, some are just short interludes. A voice bathes the first part of “Requiem For The Living”, its tones are Middle East, the the track shifts into a repetitive progressive styles and a little intense Floydian ending, however one can also hear Marillion. The start of the second track “Either / Or”, is Pink Floydian. Then the voice of Hollie heartens that of Clare Torry. Very daring … but even if the result is not the same level, it’s pretty good. Then the first interlude, “Intermission 1” is shifts the album.
“How To Seduce A Ghost” begins in an atmosphere worthy of a reminding us of Tangerine Dream. The guitar then began a long solo on slick keyboards, very utopian. “Radio Song” is more electronic synthesizers in its arrangements. There is a bit of Kraftwerk which is even confirmed by a repetitively and use of the vocoder, it is only the electric guitar and brass that make the track stand on its own. It’s time for the second interlude, “Intermission 2”.
“Laudanum” is the centerpiece of four movements completing this opus. It is probably also the most successful track. The colors vary from one space rock to jazz tones. Besides the sax and trumpet take their end, there are many beautiful interventions throughout this epic, which is more than twenty minutes of musical happiness. The bass is also very alive in this groovy away.
With this first instrumental album (only a few sounds on some tracks), the duo at the controls of Days Between Stations show their music is very emotional. Without doubt one or more singers would have been able to provide the icing on the cake, but both guitar and brass already carry this opus. Their donation to develop the themes would undoubtedly perform well also beautiful soundtracks.
Rating 3.5/4 stars
Reviewed by Jean-Pierre Lhoir
Published: June 4th 2008
Let It Rock (Israel)
There are many ways to success but furrowing in the direction of your own choosing is hardly one of these. Not that it bothers much guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and keyboard player Oscar Fuentes who’ve been doing their thing since 2003 when the two clashed their respective cultures for the first time in LA. Since then, the duo’s improvisations served as a basis for THE PINEAPPLE THIEF’s “Saturday”, but it’s only now that DBS realise their vision on a full-scale aural tapestry.
It’s dark, starting with “Requiem For The Living” where a multi-layered guitar melds with Iranian wail courtesy of Samzadeh’s uncle before the grand picture unfurls, while Hollie’s dramatic vocalise in “Either / Or” takes a listener to the great gig in the skies, PINK FLOYD-way, and further on – with space-rock synthesizers spreading the mind-boggling waves. “Laudanum” charts the jazzy territory through the sax-blown mists, and if the “Radio Song” rocking electronica sounds as triumphantly retro-futuristic as the KRAFTWERK works, it’s hard not to be haunted by the captivating piano figure of “How To Seduce A Ghost”. There’s a lot going on on this album, so it requires a spin after spin to explore it in full, but every new listen feels delightful.
Rating 5/5 stars
Published: June 10 2008
Musikzirkus Magazin (Germany)
Days Between Stations – Same
Bright Orange Records (2007)
(7 Songs, 56:19 Minutes Playing time)
Days Between Stations is the name of the Progressive Rock group from America, whose debut occurred in 2007. The band was started by the guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and the keyboardist Oscar Fuentes back in 2003. They came up with the name for the band from a novel by Steve Erickson. They describe their music as a combination of Art and Post Progressive Rock. A whole series of musicians have influenced their music, especially Marillion, Genesis, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson, Radiohead, Brian Eno, Nirvana, Porcupine Tree, but also musicians like Debussy and Bartok.
Seven instrumental tracks with playing times between 1:36 and 22:13 are on the CD. It begins with the 13-minute long “Requiem For The Living”, which starts off with orchestral string sounds and piano. The song moves back and forth between orchestral and progressive rock and the vocals give it an eastern touch. The piece really gets started after six minutes because that is when the bass ,guitar, keyboard and drums add a necessary exclamation mark. Sepand makes the guitar sound like Floyd in some spots during this piece. And at the end of the piece, there is some awesome string banging going on.
“Either/Or” begins next, very progressively, only to change in one part, that sounds like David Gilmour Art rock is playing, because the guitar work is harder in some spots than Pink Floyd’s. Hollie’s vocals in this piece remind one a little of Clare Torry, who earned respect with “The Great Gig In The Sky” in the legendary album “Dark Side of The Moon”. The keyboard part is also laid down in the style of Floyd in this piece. The following piece “ Intermission 1” with its vocals that sound as if one is eavesdropping on someone’s phone call, presents a two minute interlude.
The following “How To Seduce A Ghost” shines with its very beautiful melody and quite Floyd-like structures that have Rock ingredients. “Radio Song” begins with futuristic keyboards that remind me of old science fictions films. But then the picture changes and the song heads in the the direction of Art Rock with Pop keyboards, distorted guitars and wind instruments. The vocals, distorted by a vocoder, take the piece in the direction of Art pop/Rock with a wild mix of the most diverse styles (I even hear New Order in some spots). I can imagine it playing well on the radio.
„Intermission 2“is again a short interlude with its play of one and a half minutes before the album ends with the long track “Laudanum”. “Laudanum” is 22 minutes long and has four parts, which cannot be individually selected. Here they again show what they have going on, from progressive, jazz, rock to celestial, psychedelic parts that are full of ingenious solos, it is all there. Most unusual here is the use of wind instruments.
Days Between Stations is a true find in the realm of Progress music. A debut that links the various styles of music with each other. If your interest has been awakened, you should definitely go to their web page at www.myspace.com/daysbetweenstationsband and listen to the sound bites there.
Reviewed by Stephan Schelle
Published: June 16 2008
Classic Rock Magazine Issue 119 June 2008 (UK)
Reminiscent of Pink Floyd at their most bleak and impenetrable, the LA band add doses of Gabriel-style ethnicity to fine effect. As keyboardist Oscar Fuentes says, this ain’t an easy listen: “The theme is about illness, death and loss, and trying to find the meaning in the aftermath of this loss” Crikey.
Reviewed by Geoff Barton
Published: June 2008 Issue 119
Harmonie Magazine Issue 63 July 2008 (France)
Days Between Stations
Self-production – USA – 2007
The project Days Between Stations began with the meeting of two American musicians: keyboard player Oscar Fuentes, of Mexican descent, and guitar player Sepand Samzadeh, of Iranian descent.
On this eponymous first album, however, they invited a few other musicians when needed. Drummer and co-producer Jon Mattox, and bass player Vivi Rama, held the rhythm section. Vocalists Hollie and Marjory Fuentes, Kevin Williams at the trombone, Jason Hemmens at the saxophone, Jeremy Castillo for additional guitars, came to enhance the sonority.
Going against the current climate, in times of ephemeron and urgency, one enters gradually into DBS’ music which expands calmly and slowly.
The first title theme, Requiem for the Living, is obviously no incentive to cheerfulness and nonchalance; but all the characteristics of DBS’ uniqueness are already there: a quiet opening almost like a tiptoe, then a progressive ascend towards quite unreal weightless states – with maybe the exception of Radio Song were the drums seem to pull us back down to some mundane reality.
The music evolves unnoticeably with recurrent light strokes in the midst of guitars and keyboards layers’ superposition without getting monotonous at all.
Their inspiration seems to come from some of the Electronica Masters such as Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk (Radio Song), as well as Pink Floyd (with the female vocals on Either/Or or the saxophone choruses over keyboards on Laudanum, the more than 22 minutes pièce de résistance.
A sensation of fragile and melancholic grace seems to emerge from this music conducive
to meditation and day-dreaming.
Knowing the bereavement that afflicted one of the musicians, one can only respect the ability to translate pain into this ethereal music that forges a link with Transcendence.
This album is deeply moving if you give time to the music to
infiltrate the most intimate corners of your sensibility.
Reviewed by Philippe Gnana
Published: July 2008 Issue 63
ProgressoR (London, UK)
1. Requiem For the Living 13:26
2. Either / Or 7:33
3. Intermission-1 2:13
4. How to Seduce a Ghost 4:55
5. Radio Song 4:24
6. Intermission-2 1:36
7. Laudanum 22:14
Oscar Fuentes-Bills – pianos, synthesizers; bass; programming
Sepand Samzadeh – guitars; synthesizers
Jon Mattox – drums
Vivi Rama – bass
Jeremy Castillo – guitars
Jason Hemmens – saxophone (5, 7)
Kevin Williams – trombone (5, 7)
Sean Erick – trumpet (5, 7)
Hollie – vocalization (2)
Jeffrey Samzadeh – vocalization (1)
Marjory Fuentes – voice (3)
Prolusion. The moniker of this American project, DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS (DBS hereinafter), proves that its founders, Oscar Fuentes and Sepand Samzadeh, are very deeply impressed by Steve Erickson’s debut novel of the same name (issued back in 1985 and presented as an “intellectual bestseller”, it still has a cult status in some sci-fi lovers’ circles and beyond). This, self-titled, DBS debut album indicates in its turn the outfit’s preferences in music, to say the least.
Analysis. The seven instrumental tracks here are all to a greater or lesser extent marked with (usually very distinct) signs of the influence of Pink Floyd, and although two of them, How to Seduce a Ghost and Intermission-2, structurally suggest so-called space music rather than conventional Space Rock, neither is an exception to the rule. To be more precise, both represent a kind of electronically-programmed take on the English band’s early work (which also typifies Tangerine Dream for instance), with a simple drum beat underlining synthesizer drones as well as effects elicited by the musicians from their instruments and – rarely – real solos. Another obvious influence here is Eloy, the German symphonic space rock masters, who are also followers of it’s clear whom, though at times I’m reminded of Hawkwind as well. The album begins in a very promising way, offering lush symphonic Ambient with a sense of classical music and some male muezzin-like vocalizations-incantations along the way, which, besides being imbued with a mysterious aura, has a striking identity to its sound. Soon, however, it turns out that the opening track, Requiem for the Living, is in reality compiled of two different compositions, and somewhere in the middle of this 13-minute track the music transforms into a balladic, basically monothematic space rock tune that repeats the Great Gig in the Sky from “Dark Side of the Moon”. What especially surprises me is that the next two tracks, Either / Or and Intermission-1, both come across exclusively as the sequels of the opener’s second half, the appearance of (the very characteristic) female vocalizations even stronger increasing the resemblance between this stuff and Pink Floyd, particularly with their aforesaid song. That being said, Oscar Fuentes and Sepand Samzadeh both really succeed in imitating the playing of David Gilmour and Richard Wright, respectively. All in all, the first third of the recording finds DBS for the most part strictly following their mentors, in terms of both composition and performance, and so delivering what comes across as overly derivative, on all levels. Like those described first, the two tracks featuring guest brass players, Radio Song and Laudanum, also contain some sections with a slow-building textural layering typical of German e-music school (I cannot bring myself to follow most of my brothers in pen and call it Krautrock, since this ‘term’ means nothing other than German Rock, i.e. is too general to be a definition), but who would dispute that the implied style appeared due to its originators’ keenness on Pink Floyd? Overall, however, these are fairly diverse and generally decent compositions where the others’ ideas (think all the aforesaid bands) adjoin the group’s own discoveries. Well, Radio Song is highly impressive only during its third movement where DBS go heavy, somewhere in the Eloy style, whilst otherwise this piece reminds me of a cross between mid-to-late ’80s Hawkwind and The Alan Parsons Project: partly because of the presence of vocoder and sequenced solos as well as simplistic chords on the part of the brass section. In the end, the 22-minute Laudanum is the only track here where plain arrangements more often give way to complicated ones than vice versa and where the brass players from time to time venture on genuinely jazz improvisations, even though only some of their corresponding moves are positively wild (like those by Hawkwind’s Nik Turner for instance), while the others are as polished as those in Pink Floyd. There are also some strong passages from both Fuentes and Samzadeh, as well as most of the other musicians involved on the epic, but on the other hand some of the calmer movements are overextended. Generally, although it’s long, this composition doesn’t leave a sense of being a true, always logically developing, suite: it lacks of cohesion in places, some of its segments sounding like they were artificially introduced into its body after it was completed.
Conclusion. No doubt, fans of conventional Pink Floyd-style music will find this disc to be an essential listen. Personally I only can appreciate derivative stuff when those behind it are in all senses on a par with their benefactors. In other words, I would have been more enthusiastic about DBS if they had presented their version of “Animals”, but… None of the Pink Floyd wannabes (whose name is legion) had even made an attempt to do something in the vein of that, the legend’s most progressive as well as technically complex effort, since it’s just over their heads.
Published: July 12 2008
Music Street Journal (USA)
This is really an intriguing album. Days Between Stations have created a unique sound that certainly exists within the realms of progressive rock. That said, it’s unlike any prog rock you’ve ever heard – or at least I’m willing to be that. This music seems just as happy to sit in space territory percolating with undercurrents that never reach the surface as it is to soar in fusion-like territory. A lot of the music has jazz elements, but they have some common ground with Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. This is definitely unusual, but it’s also great.
Track by Track Review
Requiem For The Living
They open the album with the first (and shorter) of two epics, this piece that weighs in at almost thirteen and a half minutes. It rises up gradually with textural layers building upward. At around the one and a half minute mark it starts to become more melodic. Piano creates a lovely backdrop and other sonic elements merge over the top. This gets a bit noisy at times, but it’s also quite lush. Shrieking keyboards punch up here and there later in the track and when they go away we get something that sounds like a non-lyrical mournful moaning in terms of vocals. At around the half way mark the cut is completely deconstructed and reassembled. A low rumbling sort of sound creates a rhythmic texture and then other music elements skate across the top. This holds it for a time until they explode out into one of the more melodic passages of the cut. It is powerful prog. This shares some common ground with Pink Floyd. When guitar emerges over the top that Pink Floyd comparison is even more valid. After running through in that vein for a time they drop it back down to the mellower motif that lead to this guitar segment. They keep it there for a time before the guitar feels the need to shine again. This moves almost towards the metallic (reminding me a bit of Tool for some reason). They climb higher and higher on this until it suddenly changes to a keyboard oriented progressive rock flourish that ends the piece.
This comes in fairly slow and moody. It shifts towards Pink Floyd sounds for a time and then moves out into a completely different jam. This is part metal, part jazz and all strangeness. Female non-lyrical vocals dance around this arrangement. As they work through some thematic variants this segment feels more like Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd. This eventually shifts out to a keyboard dominated section. The keyboards really shine here in a powerful extended solo. They take this out into weird space for a short time and then end it.
Although this piece is less than two and a half minutes in length, it has some of my favorite music of the whole CD. It starts with ambient keyboard sounds that serve as the background for a sound bite of a woman talking. Then it shifts out in a lush and powerful balladic format that holds the rest of the piece.
How To Seduce A Ghost
The music that opens this is suitably ghost-like, warbly and spacey. After a time like this some percussion shows up in the mix. Then they fire out into a strong instrumental movement that has a harder edged, but still packs a lot of melody into it. As the guitar solos this again resembles Pink Floyd. They drop it back to a dramatic and pretty keyboard dominated After a time these two elements are merged and they carry onward. They turn it out to weirdness before they end.
Strange ambient textures start this. Then percussion joins and soon this becomes a faster paced jam that feels a lot like Hawkwind to me. Robotic vocals, kind of like Kraftwerk are placed in this mix. They take the song through a few reworkings and recreations as they carry it forward. This turns extremely jazzy – at times feeling like early Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears before they finally close it out.
This starts out more hard rock oriented, but then shifts after a time to weird space sounds. Sound bites (bits of movies) come in as this ends.
They close the disc with another epic. This one is a massive twenty two plus minutes in length. An uneasy, but still sedate motif leads us off here. As this grows piano enters and seems to want to lead the way, but the disquieting elements remain and eventually outlive this piano segment. Jazz stylings enter as they move forward and the song begins to feel a bit more welcoming. This becomes quite a powerful fusion jam as they carry on. Still bits of Crimsonian weirdness come up here and there and space elements remain in the mix. They move it towards a louder and quite melodic journey later. They shift out to space a few minutes in and then various melodic elements move across this backdrop. After a time this grows back out to more soaring territory and the guitar solos over a wonderful keyboard based motif. The next change is out once again to more pure jazz. Eventually sharp jabs of guitar come over and coalesce into a soaring jam. We’re pretty fully into fusion meets Pink Floyd territory and keyboards provide a joint soloing effort with the guitar. They shift the emphasis to those keys for a time before the guitar roars back in. Eventually this gives way once more to ambient space and they start to rise gradually back up from there. This becomes noisier again and then crescendos with only a hum sound remaining. That sound holds it for a time but then other sounds coalesce around it in textural atmosphere as they once again begin rising back up. They bring it to boiling and then drop back down once more. Piano brings in a melody and then after a time fusion guitar takes it. Acoustic balladic guitar joins and then they move this out into another fairly pure jazz treatment. It becomes quite pretty as they keep working through this. That section takes the song, and the album, out in a very satisfying way.
Reviewed by Gary Hill
Published: Aug 1st 2008
Rock Revival (Australia)
The Kings of Leon bring Lynyrd Skynyrd, Electric Wizard brings Sabbath, Spock’s Beard brings Gentle Giant, Wolfmother brings Uriah Heep… but spare a thought for Pink Floyd and Genesis, who is going to bring them into the 21st Century !
One band that just might do it is ‘Days Between Stations’ , an LA band whose debut album is a pretty special find……
Think Ozric Tentacles doing Pink Floyd’s Animals, Mogwai doing Kayleigh, bring back the prog guitar solo and you just about have it…..
No wonder keyboardists Oscar Fuentes calls it “post-prog”, there’s even a reconstituted version of Great Gig in the Sky thanx to vocalist Hollie Shepard, plus the hums of Steve Reich and Orb-type ‘fluffy-cloud’ moments that send it into a more ambient mode than classic prog…
If you think i am alone in my praise check what others have said:
“The group describe their style as art rock and post-prog. Perhaps, but its main force is the melodic ambiance created which is, in my view, more space rock, almost mesmerizing and trance inducing. Their music is never heavy or metal sounding. The intricacy and complexity of the composition with the choice of instruments makes this debut album an instant classic.” Proggnosis
“All in all, Days Between Stations gives us a well rounded take on “young” space rock (or post-prog, if you please) with a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of scenario and orchestrations. Reassuring to see that the genre is passing into competent hands.” Progressive Ears
“… a ghostly museum where Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Divine Comedy, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Air or Anathema stand next to one another… with a touching modesty and a disturbing humanity, the musicians act like experienced pilots. They invite us to take a seat in this train of life, for an internal journey, using a rhythm displayed with an impressive regularity.” Progressia
“Days Between Stations has to be one of the most exciting prog bands I’ve heard in many years! … this is a pure magic progressive rock album… “ ProgPlanet
This one’s for Rock Revival’s Top 10 Contemporary Albums of 2008
Reviewed by Paul Rhodes
Published: Aug 5th 2008
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS – a suitable name and label for this music. It’s not unrealistic to imagine you’re riding a train – for example I think of Siberia/Russia because I’ve been there last year – watching the endless nature, speculating about mankind’s future and – for the perfect background – listening to this album which has a very nice melancholic flow. Above all the two long tracks are taking enough time to evolve and – after some rounds – really unfold their beauty. This is dreamy mellow in the whole what the band delivers with many psychedelic and ambient elements plus some nice brass contributions.
Even if the long tracks are the album’s specials it’s strongly recommended to hear this album in its entirety. And then at once you will hit upon one piece which differs a lot. Radio Song provokes as if it is made to a radio friendly track for leering at the charts. I don’t think this was the intention of Sepand Samzadeh and his friends – but who knows? Anyway – this is something like a Kraftwerk output preparing the new wave style mixed with a portion of Robert Smith’s The Cure and seems to be incoherent at a first glance. The band members know the deeper sense – for me it doesn’t matter at all – it’s even very interesting with excellent brass instrumentation coming up as a special change or interlude demonstrating the band’s variety.
The album starts off wonderful melancholic with Requiem for the Living . A contradictory song title – an interesting pun at least. Samzadeh’s parts are diverse, multilayered, and he sometimes plays his guitar with a special squeaky technique. Oscar Fuentes provides a compelling piano input which leads the song on its way meandering between the stations together with synth strings in the background serving also a classical touch. A good example for their musical sense after working together for some years. On top of it all Samzadeh’s uncle is integrated with mysterious wailing vocals based on iranian traditionals I assume.
Reminiscences of Pink Floyd are coming up with Either/Or – the guitar style, but first of all the female vocals, are remembering much at ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ – just a deep bow I imagine and valid of course. How To Seduce A Ghost shines as another highlight – very psychedelic once more with nice ethereal electronic goodies and magical guitar/piano parts. Divided in four parts the epic Laudanum appears as the ultimate art rock classic track later on with excellent work by bass player Vivi Rama by the way! More than twenty minutes – the wonderful grooving first half dominated by saxophone, sparkling piano and guitar, the second part provided with a more oppressive chilling dark atmosphere – soundscapes, extensive brass and acoustic guitar contributions included.
Well done – my compliments – not overproduced like some other albums of the genre. All-rounder Sepand Samzadeh has illustrated the cover art reflecting the atmospheric, gripping mood of the songs. An essential one – haunting sentimental art rock with psychedelic roots and avantgarde bordering – should be checked out – don’t miss the train for the ‘Days between Stations’ …
Reviewed by Uwe Zickel
Published: Aug 25th 2008
Rock Report (Belgium)
DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS
Days Between Stations
� 2008�Bright Orange Records �(BCD-1067)�
7 tracks – TT 56:00
Again one of those records that come with a biography that makes me lose the will to live. And I quote: �Indeed, on different tracks from their upcoming self-titled debut album, one can hear influences ranging from progressive rock (Pink Floyd, Marillion, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, King Crimson) to post-rock (Sigur Ros, Godspeed You Black Emperor!) to ambient (Brian Eno, early Tangerine Dream) to jazz-rock (think Miles Davis� early seventies output) to post-punk (Sonic Youth, Magazine) and even contemporary classical (Philip Glass, Steve Reich). The constant here is the band�s commitment to create a unique sound and to turn a deliberate blind eye to the passing whims of the mainstream.�
The only part of this I can stand behind is the last sentence as we indeed have here a �band� that is quite unique. Just look at the line-up and you�ll no doubt see for yourself that this is not your average rock-band. They call themselves art-rock but I�ll stick to the progressive rock template. The true to the bone progressive rock for that matter, not the copycat-club like the one�s going on in the so called prog-metal world these days.
�Days Between Stations� very adequately collected their name from a surrealistic book writer, Steve Erickson, who wrote the novel of the same name in 1985. And that�s how the duo�s music sounds: surrealistic, with no eye for conventions whatsoever, one moment I thought I could glimpse some mainstream rock structure in the distance only to be cut-away the next moment by some weird voices, a screeching guitar solo (think 70�s David Gilmour on acid) or some trumpets blowing away jazzily; happily minding their own business.�
Strange music, for strange people, I guess. Start to investigate it if you�re intrigued or else, stay clear and on the yellow brick road.�(KVK)�
Progressive Newsletter (Germany)
Guitarist Sepand Samzadeh and Keyboardist Oscar Fuentes worked about
4 years on their debut , until their vision of atmospheric Art Rock/
Post Prog slowly took form. Even if one quotes the influences that
are on the MySpace website, which are pretty broad based , and which
reach from Progressive/Art Rock over to Pop and on to Jazz and Avant-
garde, then having said that, the two musicians combine atmospheric
Rock ( among others, Floydian ties –parts of “Either/Or” reminds
one very strongly of “The Great Gig in The Sky” ) with Athenian
ambient elements , as well as with Space Rock influences.
The duo, who met in Los Angeles, give their harmonious sounds a lot
of room to breathe. Floating sounds let themselves be slowly yet
vividly unfolded, while the world goes by in slow motion in one’s
mind ; Above all, euphoric, yet melancholy sounds are elicited from
the guitar. But instead of persisting with some kind of structured
sadness, the duo succeeds in bringing their instrumental songs to a
logical and emotional closure through a slowly building climax. The
keyboards weave a tasteful tapestry of sound and the soft tones are
especially noticeable in the foreground, and analog sounds alternate
with very moving guitar solos like Soundscapes. The musical
accompanists, the bass, drums and guitar, also contribute to this
atmospheric foundation. Only with the “Radio Song” is there more
straightness and space-waviness, while “Laudanum”, the final 22-
minute track of the album, actually breathes out jazz like pulses.
Days Between Stations doesn’t play music to flip out with, but rather
one can push the everyday type of worries to the side and let the
melodious, but by no means, banal river of sound wash over you.
Simple, melancholic and wonderful sounds to dream by, even if a
nightmare drifts by once in a while- great discovery!
Reviewed by KS
Published: May 2008
Days between Stations: S/T
Epic soundscapes that evoke Pink Floyd, this album is art rock and ambient sometimes all at the same time. The track “How to Seduce a Ghost” could come on any one of later Pink Floyd releases. The thing that makes this album so intriguing is that despite the fact it’s instrumental, it keeps your attention, and never gets dull. Normally, this sort of release tends to drift into the background and become a soundtrack to whatever you might be doing. The material on this album does not really need lyrics as the music is so rich that singing would seem almost superfluous. “Radio Song” is very much an anthem for the digital age with its digital bleeps and distorted sounds. The song is the sort of space rock that rather reminded me of Planet P Project, Tony Martin’s mid-80s band.
While one song “A Long Goodbye” is 22 minutes long and thankfully ends the album that does not mean it ever gets dull or tired. The focus of the band is Sepand Samzadeh & Oscar Fuentes; who are its two main members. Call it post-prog, art rock or simply progressive, it works on all levels attempted. Might not be the most accessible release reviewed here but still rather rewarding.
Bill’s Prog Blog (USA)
REVIEW: Days Between Stations (s/t debut)
So a day or three ago I mentioned that I’d gotten in a batch of discs to listen to and review. I’m still working my way through them, but wanted to take a few moments to talk about one which has gotten quite a little bit of play here the past few days.
The band is Days Between Stations, and I am currently on what must be my tenth or twelfth listen to their self titled debut release. I’m not sure what keeps me coming back to it, and I’ll be honest…I’m not sure I want to dig that deep. One never (well, not never, but perhaps shouldn’t) questions how a magician performs their feats of illusion and prestidigitation, and I think there’s a little bit of that magic sprinkled throughout this album.
Days Between Stations is primarily the creation of Sepano Samzaden and Oscar Fuentes Bills, with a rotating cast of musicians that includes horn players, various guitarists and bassists employing a variety of instruments and styles, and vocalists mostly providing wordless vocalese in a manner that makes the voice more an instrument than an agent of lyrical delivery. Musically…wow. There are so many elements that come into play here that it is a bit difficult to point out specifics. I’ll give you a list of bands I hear in their music:
Perhaps a touch of Godspeed You ! Black Emperor
A bit of a current fave, The Ascent of Everest
There’s a constant sadness/sombreness pervading most musical nooks and crannies in much the same way Pink Floyd’s best material evoked a detached sense of alienation and loss, tempered with a bit of the glistening darkness that Robert Smith’s best work with the Cure shows. The songs are lengthy…the album opens with a 13-minute opus titled “Requiem for the Living” and closes with a 4-part 22-minute epic under the aegis “Laudanum.” Those titles, more than anything, should give you an adequate idea what kind of musical waters we are exploring. I love the band’s diverse use of keyboard sounds…ornate, spiritual organ tones create pillars of sound, around which synth tones (including some very nice sounding Moog patches done on digital synth) wind and hum and buzz. “Either/Or” is a great example of this, with female vocals out of the Claire Torrey/”Great Gig in the Sky” school giving way to some of the fattest sweeping Moog tones I have heard in quite some time.
I’m going to suggest skipping track 5, “Radio Song.” It’s a pleasant enough track, but it is so different from the rest of the album that it stands out in a way that is far from positive. Gone are the mellow, sustained synth lines, the bluesy Gilmour/Latimer-esque guitar chords and bent notes. Replacing them is a jaunty digital synth line and a beat that could only be described as perky. It’s probably a fine enough track, but sandwiched between “How to Seduce a Ghost” and the closing double shot of “Intermission 2”/”Laudanum,” it simply doesn’t work at all.
(EDIT: OK, I am still going to say skip track 5. But I will add this…I absolutely love the horns on this song, which take me right back to the Byrds and Hugh Masekela and “So You Want to be a Rock & Roll Star.” So yes, there is certainly some good stuff in the track. But I still think it stands out in a not-quite-positive way.)
But that’s a small quibble. When you have songs as solid as “Laudanum” and “Requiem for the Living,” filled chock-a-block with impressively restrained playing allowing for solos and breaks to feel even more passionate and powerful as a result of that restraint, you have a recipe for musical success. I am even more impressed that this is their debut release…it’s almost frightening to consider what their second album can do to surpass this.
Highly recommended. And I don’t say that lightly.
Published: November 13 2008
Sound Base Online Magazin (Germany)
The duo of Oscar Fuentes and Sepand Samzadeh offers a tasty but not
quite easy to digest taste of food with the help of many guest
musicians on their self titled debut album “Days Between Stations”.
Upon looking at the cover, which seems to have sprung from a bizarre
children’s book, one does not have any idea where this musical
journey will lead, and so the direction of this march becomes clear
after listening to a few opening bars of “Requiem for the Living”.
Art Rock, reminiscent of the works by the legendary Pink Floyd, is
on the program here. An atmospheric tapestry of sounds, upon which
wonderful melodies develop, are offered up here. The strongest
affinity to the above band (Pink Floyd) can be discovered in the CDs
second song, “Either/Or”, which reminds one strongly of “Obscured by
Clouds” until guest vocalist Marjory Fuentes inserts vocals, which on
the one hand is reminiscent of “The Great Gig in The Sky”, but which
on the other hand can keep up nicely with this presentation. But the
impression should not be given, that wild passages from other artists
are copied here, because the boys present us with a lot of their own
ideas, which are really very pleasant to listen to.
Result: Even though the debut “Days Between Stations” was out in
October of 2007 in the States via Bright Orange Records, it is now
making its way across the great pond. In the future, if Days Between
Stations wants to continue, where they started with this record, then
they should quickly advance to Art Rock greatness. One should be
curious about it. 9 ½ points
Published: November 30 2008
Imagine Echoes (USA)
Lush and haunting sonic landscapes. Screeching Gilmore-esque solos. Instrumental masterpieces. Progressive deliciousness. Songs that tell stories without lyrics. That is just a little bit of what you’re getting with Days Between Stations. When I was listening to this album for the first time, I immediately thought to myself, “Now this is one of the best albums of the year.” But wait! It was released in 2007, I’m a year off. Where I have been all this time? And why has it taken me so long to discover one of the greatest things to grace my very ears in such a long time?
The album can best be described as instrumental symphonic prog– not too different from the likes of Pink Floyd, touching on all eras from the early days, to the golden age, to the Waters dominated section, and the late Gilmore years. The self titled debut opens up with a haunting piano line with eerie vocals and synths dancing around it. The song continues to travel along lasting over thirteen minutes in length, and every second is precious. “Either/Or” sounds like Days Between Stations’ take on Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky”. It features soulful female vocals wailing with intensity, which don’t quite touch Clair Tory’s, but effectively purvey a sense of urgency. The song closes down with a nice touch of spacey synth making for one enjoyable ride.
The eerie theme which runs throughout the album becomes a distant memory once “Radio Song” arrives. The song appears to be a little out of place amongst all the dark chill, but on its own, it’s a bright little ditty which feels a little like Muse’s “Knight’s of Cydonia” once the trumpet takes control. Then comes the finale to a record that is marked by epicness (It’s probably not a word, but for the sake of this review, it has been momentarily added to Websters Dictionary.)
“Laudanum” is a four part, twenty two minute song, which is in the same vein as the opening track, leading the listener in a complete circle. It’s the kind of son