Ian Neal: Offers pastoral symphonic prog in a 1970s vein.

Ian Neal – Barkton Ash

Ian Neal offers pastoral symphonic prog in a 1970s vein and have now released his fourth album entitled Barkton Ash. On that album Neal plays a lot of instruments but is supported by Evgenia Papamikrouli that handle vocals and narration. Barkton Ash is the follow-up to 2013’s Astro, which Neal has been working on over the past eight years. This must guarantee fantastic music due to so much effort and spent time!?


1. Fair Winds (9:51)

2. Ash Phrixus (8:30)

3. Barley Harvest (2:07)

4. Holst’s Hollows (5:19)

5. The Vale Of Linden (12:40)

6. Come Harvesting! (10:00)

Total Time 48:27

Neal says, «A beautiful album fashioned in the spirit of mid-70s progressive rock, . Think Genesis, Tony Banks, Camel, Yes, Steve Hackett, Pink Floyd. And the sounds of choice? Well, nothing post-80s here, rather, soak up the marriage made in heaven of Mellotron, 12-String, Hammond Organ, string synthesizers, Polymoog, Arp Quadra, electric and acoustic guitars fed through phasers, chorus and delays».

«Sink back into your cozy armchair perfectly positioned in relation to your Celestions powered by your brushed aluminium mid-70s power amp and drift into the alluring world of Barkston Ash».


Ian Neal: keyboards, guitars, vocals, virtual mellotron, organ, piano

Evgenia Papamikrouli: vocals and spoken narration (5)

Hailing from Derbyshire England, multi-instrumentalist Ian Neal learned the keyboards by playing Hammond organ. The music study became serious at age 12 when he began formal training. This was supplemented with his own version of home schooling by copying Genesis solos and like material. This led to looking closely at classical music and the rudiments of harmony and orchestral composition.

As with most young musicians Ian Neal offered his talents to a few bands early on. In Sheffield he was a member of an acoustic oriented outfit and even an alt-pop band. The urge to go it alone grew especially in the aspect of creating more grand compositions. Staying true to musical principles was also a deciding factor. By adding guitar to the arsenal his music blossomed into fully rounded instrumental pieces. As technology advanced it became possible for Ian to do exactly what he wanted. The dream was realized when his first album was released in 2005.

Vangelis once stated, «What we need today, more than anything else, is to invest in beauty».

Ian Neal’s inspiration comes from the masters of prog, electronica and classical music. He blends familiar synth and mellotron sounds with modern production and aesthetic. The goal is to create music that is exquisitely constructed, intriguing and will not tire of being played again and again. Of course that is for the listener to decide. Certainly an artist with such aspirations and this kind of background should intrigue most prog fans.

Total Time 48:27


About Ulf Backstrøm (7437 Articles)
Mitt hovedfokus er musikk som er basert på progressiv tenking. Jeg er på ingen måte ensporet innen musikksmak, i likhet med intensjonen bak prog. Sjangerbegrepet er egentlig temmelig uinteressant annet enn til å gi en pekepinn om hva slags musikk det er snakk om i en anmeldelse. Jeg søker god musikk for å utfordre meg som lytter. God musikk til å trigge mine musikalske smaksløker, og til å sette i gang mine refleksjoner. Da er sjansen stor for at jeg utvikler meg og lærer, noe som bør være drivstoff for et hvert menneske. Fordi det å lære og utvikle seg er noe som tilfører livet en nødvendig porsjon "krydder". Slikt krydderet finner man blant annet i musikk. Ikke overraskende mener jeg at progressiv musikk har den fineste "smaken". På den annen side kan musikk med eller uten progressive elementer være godt nok til hverdags. Til fest derimot holder bare rendyrket prog! Må jo også få med at jeg rimelig kritisk, og jeg mener at det lages mye prog som er i beste fall uinteressant, og faktisk mye som er pinlig dårlig. Heldigvis oppveies dette av ekstremt dyktige aktører som for eksempel: Flower Kings, Mostly Autumn og White Willow, for å nevne noen tilfeldig valgte.
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