Robert Illesh is very pleased to announce the release of the ‘To Horsenden’ album on the Opal Flame label. Quirky progressive folk containing a melange of old and new recordings spanning four decades, To Horsenden represents a return to music for Robert after a notable absence since 2012. Some proceeds will be donated to the Horsenden Allotment Society.
Robert says: To Horsenden is another one of those albums that I have been meaning to do for years. It is essentially a modern Hobbit-like tale of going out into the world and coming back - a culmination of the songs I wrote while growing up, and also while travelling the world.
To Horsenden has been quite a journey, as the impetus to get up and finish it were the deaths, in close succession, of three very important figures in my life in late 2014 and early 2015.
Download the To Horsenden album press kit here. Listen to an audio sampler of To Horsenden here. Buy the album here.
14 September 2013
Robert Illesh is very excited to announce the archive re-release of the Blim Zero / No Frills albums. Blim were a 1990s psychedelic prog band on the Birmingham underground scene - the brainchild of Andy Read (left) and neil Spragg (aka DJ Sir Real). Go to the Blim website www.blimmusic.co.uk
Robert says: This is great news and a long time in coming. Playing with Blim was a bit like Bill Bruford leaving Yes to join King Crimson - a significant light year step up the artistic ladder. Although my joining the band was a little more pragmatic: At the time (end-1992), we were all physics and biochem and other high-voluted students at Birmingham University. I had my little bands. Andy and Blim were already moving waves (mostly of the minor harmonic and diminished variety) and I think at one point grew into a 9-piece off the back of their acclaimed “Zero” album, released on tape. (That’s a double joke ‘cause to physicists, zero is a very important concept and it was also the name of Andy’s beloved cat!).
So, anyway, Andy and I were both nursing a pint one day in the Mermaid bar at the uni (when it still had carpets). BJ had announced he was leaving Blim and my bass player, Paul was leaving uni en route to Plymouth and a proper job. Andy had a brainstorm: “I’ll play bass in your band if you play bass in mine!” Andy fulfilled his obligation for a while in my “Totally Colourful Jazz Band”, a totally insignificant contribution to jazz in a bunch of colourful jumpered hippies mutilating jazz standards. We even got paid for gigging which was a surprise.
I took up my role in Blim, quickly learning the repertoire - which if you listen to Zero, was no mean feat. Learning the notes was easy. Learning to play bass like a bass player was harder. We immediately got into writing, the culmination being the No Frills album. The sound was a little more stripped down, has been described as “harsh jazz”, but nevertheless is full of complicated stuff. The complexity hits you in the face with the opening number “The Noup”. “Vector”, on the b-side is a bit of physicist’s joke with its ever decreasing time signatures. But, I was very proud of what we achieved. Then, as quickly as we emerged, the band folded, went back into the underground from whence it has only just re-emerged.
Blim Zero / No Frills 20th Anniversary Editions is available from all the usual places as a lovely glossy gatefold CD or as downloads.
In a drastic sideways turn, Robert Illesh has announced a suspension of live activities for the time being, to concentrate on other aspects of life and music. Robert has relenquished his positions in Fragile and Yessongs Italy and will not be announcing any live work for the foreseeable future.
Robert says: I have made the decision, from 2013, not to play live. My reasons are personal and professional and I will leave it at that! I would like to thank everyone who has supported the various bands I have played in over the years, all over Europe. I would like to thank all the outstanding musicians I have played with.
A few notes about Fragile, as it is probably the longest duration I have spent with any band - I could have never imagined, 13 years ago, as I tentatively hoofed it on the tube to a rehearsal room in Deptford, that we would create such a legacy and brand: breaking it internationally, touring for 3 years with Steve Howe. And then after surviving the first major break-up: Richard and Judy with Rick Wakeman, Alan White in Liverpool and then sustained collaborations with Roger Dean. And of course, our original offspring Aquaplanage. But, nostalgia aside, and it is a great portfolio of nostalgia, in a sense, for me, the job is done and has been done for a while for me, time to close and move on. I have been in close contact with the guys to ease the transition and handover (e.g. of all my guitar parts) to my successor. Max is rebuilding the band this year in what will no doubt prove to be a musical and visual extravaganza with a few twists up its sleeve.
Of Yessongs Italy - well that has been a blast. Probably the most perfect band anyone could walk into. We have spent 2 years travelling around Europe - and we did finally make it to UK - playing the entire Yessongs album on all the vintage gear. But as with all things immersed in time, we too feel the need for change and it was timely that I pull out while they think about the next phase. Oh, and I re-emphasise that we never had a single rehearsal.
Of the future? I will be using whatever spare time I have to continue writing - there is a good album’s worth of new original material that Messrs Carney, Bastable and Dawe will help beat out of me!
Not the end... just the significant closing of a chapter...
3 January 2012
Robert Illesh wishes all a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year. There will be more Fragile and Yessongs Italy in 2012 (including a special show in Rome) - keep an eye out for an annoucement of tour dates. There will also be a new live project with some current Fragile members and other musical friends in what promises to be something massive and pompous - more on this as it emerges...
The end of last year saw a great review of Fragile in the Newbury local press (click to enlarge):
And some great new youtube clips of Yessongs Italy performing in Belgium (check out Yessongs Italy’s youtube channel):
27 October 2011
Robert Illesh will be joining Yessongs Italy for 2 further dates this year in Europe, at the Universum Bünde and Spirit of 66 Verviers. Full details on the tour page.
A general shake-up this month - Fragile date at the Brook moved to 13th November (it was always this date - so sorry for the error!). And what happened last month! Yessongs Italy did not make it to the UK due to an administrative fiasco with an EU identity card. The lads got held up in Calais and were not allowed to proceed further!
20 September 2011
Yessongs Italy are to tour the UK this month! The Romans are coming! Tour dates here, more info on the band’s website here. Following the highly successful work throughout Europe this year, the band will be playing in Scotland and in Birmingham. Robert Illesh will be playing guitar, as before, for the whole show.
Later in the season, Fragile will be playing again, for the third time, at Trading Boundaries in conjunction with Roger Dean who will be hosting an art exhibition. This always proves to be a special event, with Roger appearing in the week and a chance to get close and here some stories from the edge.
8 August 2011
For your entertainment and amusement, Robert has dug out some photos and found some youtube clips from the Jethro Tull tour he did back in ‘98.
Robert says: “Oak” is the brainchild of Jerry Cutillo. Back around ‘97, I responded to a scrawled paper note up on the board outside Andy’s Guitars on Denmark Street, London. I tentatively went to a north London house full of weird arty types and met Jerry. I also met keyboardist Gonzalo Carrera. After a fruitful jam, we obviously hit it off musically. Nothing much happened until early ‘98 when Jerry, who had gone back to Italy, phoned up out of the blue and asked if we wanted to tour Italy, accompanied by none other than original Tull bassist Glenn Cornick. Of course! Gonzalo and I prepared for the tour in the UK, while Jerry and drummer Andrea Ruta did likewise in Italy. It all came together and we all shared a villa just outside Rome for the summer of ‘98, performing a series of what Jerry calls “mighty shows” in and around Rome and in the north.
This meeting proved fateful. After the shows, we all went our separate ways. Gonzalo disappeared off the radar going back to northern Spain. However, 2 years later, around the millenium, I got another out of the blue phone call from Gonzalo, asking if I wanted to join a Yes tribute band called Fragile! The rest is history - funny what transpires from a scrawled up note on Andy’s music board...
On the first clip below, I feature from about 1.40 to 6.20, covering the searing classic “New Day Yesterday” and also something more arty off “Benefit”. The second clip I think is Jerry’s multi-dimensional humour coming out - in a top of the pops moment, I feel like a befuddled Tony Iommi, who was briefly drafted into Tull after Mick Abrahams departed... Enjoy.
Before we get too stuck back in the past, the autumn Fragiling season will be starting soon. Visit the tour page to check out Fragile dates and some UK dates with Yessongs Italy - the Romans are coming!
As a post-script to the Jethro Tull Oak story, Robert says: both Yessong’s drummer Carlo Fattorini and bassist Gabriele Ferrari have found themselves in Jerry Cutillo’s Oak at some point in the past... Spooky.
18 July 2011
Steven Reid Feature
Robert Illesh Golden reviewed in Fireworks Magazine
“Beautifully written, beautifully constructed and beautifully performed, ‘Golden’ is simply... beautiful.” Steven Reid
Steven has been doubly helpful in first reviewing the Golden album on the Sea of Tranquility pages earlier in the year, and again in the July/August edition of Fireworks (issue 46).
Robert says: while every review is welcomed, the work Steven Reid has done goes above and beyond. I especially like what Steven has written, because instead of giving the ubiquitous track-by-track-this-bit-sounds-like-that, he has given his in-depth impressions of the album and he has eloquently described the range of feelings conjured by the album. Without getting too girly, Steven has perfectly captured, in words, what I was was trying to achieve, in music, with Golden.
Read the Fireworks review here, weblink to review here. Read the Sea of Tranquility review here, weblink to review here.
Finally, a bit of casual web browsing has revealed that Robert Illesh - Golden is on guitarist Tim Walker’s “inspired” list. Many thanks Tim!
16 June 2011
Robert Illesh has just completed a short European tour with Yessongs Italy, performing the classic 1973 Yes masterwork in its entirety. The lads passed through Reichenbach and Aschaffenburg in Germany and Verviers in Belgium. What a fantastic reception at all the shows! Robert thanks his new international brothers for the opportunity. Big thanks and hugs also to Paula and the Yesfocus crowd from Holland and Belgium for coming to see us and not Asia! Great little bootleg video clip here. Thanks to Suzie for the excellent photos.
12 April 2011
The Robert Illesh Golden album has an excellent review on the illustrious Dutch Progressive Rock Pages. Click here to read the full review by Geoff Feakes. Excerpts below:
Illesh’s first recorded solo outing is exactly that, one man and his acoustic guitar (or rather several acoustic guitars) played with impeccable timing, technique and feel. Like me, you could be forgiven for expecting the playing to be heavily influenced by Steve Howe but that’s not the case. Illesh doesn’t feel a need to indulge in a multitude of generic styles like jazz, blues, country or folk, instead the focus here is on light, but beautifully evocative melodies.
Listening to this collection it’s clear that this has been a labour of love for Illesh and suggests that he’s a romantic at heart... This is music for reflection, meditation or just simply enjoying.
Following the immensely successful appearance by Robert Illesh with Yessongs Italy at de Pul, Uden in Holland in February, the lads have asked him to oblige their next three dates in Germany, Germany and Holland respectively. Go to the On Tour page for dates and details.
A rather interesting development in that Golden CDs are available in Belgium from Els Timmerman at www.lightness.be or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Els is a renowned complementary practitioner in Physical Therapy, motor rehabilitation, Hedrickx Method (no, not the famous guitarist..!), Aqua Wellness and Transformational Techniques. Expect to hear Golden being played during Els’s sessions!
One US radio station of note is Moses Talbot’s Progpositivity at http://progpositivity.com/wordpress/ where both Golden and Aquaplanage are on the rotation. Thanks to Moses of course and what a brilliant name for a radio station! Read the Mission Statement.
Robert visited Holland a couple of weeks ago and guested with Italy Yessongs. There is a little snip of the gig on youtube here - slide show & bootleg audio, but, what a gig. Many thanks to Paula Jakobi of Yesfocus and Henri Strik of Background Magazine for their support & pics. While I mention Yesfocus, if you visit their “Universal Garden” page, there is a nice feature on Golden, in Dutch.
A few initial words of praise for the Golden album, we will post reviews as they emerge:
Paula Jakobi (Yesfocus, Holland) We are truly impressed by Golden. It’s wonderful to hear beauty and virtuosity at the same time. You use your skills to create beauty and serenity. It feels good and sincere. We thank you very, very much for that and we will certainly tell the world.
Lut Op de Beeck (Belgium) This music has Respect, it also has Fire...
Richard Summersby (UK) I am BOTH HUMBLED AND STUNNED. JUST BEYOND INCREDIBLE.
Finally, see Robert Illesh in action with Fragile on the Spring 2011 leg of the “High Vibration Go On” Tour, dates here. This is possibly one of the most ambitious Fragile sets to date with no less than 2 epics, all the usual flamboyancies, more guitars and some seriously high falsetto by Robert.
Robert Illesh is very proud to announce the worldwide release of the Golden Album. Weaving delicate webs and stories, this intimate original music is classically and sacred inspired. It is performed exclusively on 6-string nylon and steel strung acoustic guitars, with just a hint of string and vocal accompaniment.
As a special gesture - the first 100 CDs sold here from Robert Illesh Music will be signed with a personal uplifting message from Robert Illesh. Get one now before they become collectors items!
Robert says, “I am pleased to be sharing this music with the world. It has already been received well and uplifted small audiences. It is the product of a lot of years of composition, often only fitted in interludes between busy schedules. Last summer I had some time to myself so I decided to finally get it down ‘on tape’ and out there. The green was delicate and the sparrows were chirping - perfect! The signing idea, although not original in itself, came specifically after the story in Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret about gratitude stones. In the story, little stones become a very powerful symbol and perhaps more than a symbol for the gratitude expressed for good in our lives or for the altruistic actions of others. So in this way, I want to energise the CDs and thank you, the listeners, for participating in my music”
Golden album audio CDs are on sale here at Robert Illesh Music. MP3s are on sale at CDbaby. We will inform you when other sources become available.
Older News Items
4 February 2011
Exciting times! The Golden Album is out to manufacture. Full press release here.
5 January 2011
Can now reveal that the new Robert Illesh solo album will be titled Golden and will comprise 9 instrumental tracks. New audio sampler from the mastered audio here. * New pictures on the gallery here. * New tour dates posted here.
22 October 2010
Very pleased to announce involvement of Marius Michael-George who will be completing the cover art for the new Robert Illesh solo album. Marius Michael-George is a classically trained visionary artist and art teacher who specialises in Sacred Art. Find out more and view Marius’s spectacular and illuminating artwork at www.mariusfineart.com.
6 October 2010
New audio sampler of forthcoming Robert Illesh solo album put up here.
25 September 2010
Fragile begin their Autumn 2010 activities with a show at Trading Boundaries for the Roger Dean art exhibition. Read more here.
1 September 2010
Robert has just completed 24 dates at the Edinburgh Fringe festival with Steve Grant’s Barockestra.