Ep. #341 featuring Rikard Sjoblom

Rikard SjoblumBefore I talk about our featured album, or any of the exciting music coming out in the next few months, I must first talk about a tragic loss, and very early end to a bright light. On February 21st we lost Piotr Grudzinski of Riverside, and with him some of the most soulful and graceful guitar playing in the genre. I add this programs voice to the chorus that is shocked by his loss, and with them we send our hearts out to his friends, family, and fans around the globe. Below I will share words from Mariusz Duda, posted earlier today on his facebook page.

One of my favourite mischievous remarks I liked to tease Grudzien with was reminding him the day before his birthday that he’s half a year older than me. Just before he turned 40 I said, “Do you know how old I will be on March 15th? Still 39, and you?”

We listened to the same music. We would play Solar Fields or Hedningarna at parties and dance with our eyes closed around an invisible bonfire. In the old Progresja club we would lie on our backs on the small stage in the corner and listen to Archive from the speakers. And to the cool solutions we came up with in “In Two Minds”. We would compete with each other as to who was the more loyal Dead Can Dance fan, who loved the band more. I lost ignominiously when I realised that all of his tattoos were connected with Dead Can Dance graphic designs. And that he paid over PLN 500 at an auction for “Into The Labyrinth” vinyl.

We subscribed to the idea that three perfect sounds are more meaningful than twelve played around the guitar neck. We were excited by this emotional approach. I composed songs in such way that he could fill them with those perfect few notes. We completed each other. Right from the beginning of Riverside I knew he was a special guitarist whose playing was made for painting musical landscapes. He had his own original style, and that has always been more important for me than technical contortions and circus tricks. Most of all, he was modest, humble and he knew exactly what he was capable of. And you could hear all that in the way he played. It was incredible and fascinating.

He couldn’t disguise emotions. When he was happy, he showed that, jumped for joy, goofed around, and when he was in a bad mood, he couldn’t pretend even when he was on stage. He was peeved and everyone could see that. We would then go backstage after a gig and tell him, “f**k, Piotr, people can see that you’re pissed off, when will you finally learn to play a bit for them?” And he would shout back, “But that’s the way I am and I can’t help it!” And indeed that’s the way he was. Painfully honest. He played what he could the way he could, he never faked anything. That’s the kind of man he was. But we were growing up together. And during our last tour, we were surprised at how many positive emotions we were able to inspire in each other. Especially when we looked and smiled at each other. And that idea to lean back to back while playing “Feel Like Falling” charged our batteries for the entire gig. We were becoming as one on stage, a true band. And it was thanks to him that I wanted us to continue as a band in spite of my solo aspirations.

We learned from each other the most important things. To always remember that, first and foremost, you have to be a good person. To cherish the most valuable characteristics in us. To live a full life and never put it off for later. Whenever I was lost, he was the reason I was able to find myself again. That’s the way we influenced, inspired and helped each other. We were like brothers. Sometimes closer, sometimes further apart, but we could always count on each other. We were connected by so much more than music. We were connected by the ability to talk about what most people don’t want to talk about, emotions and how we felt, and why we reacted the way we did, and why we were the way we were.

It must be a joke, a grim twist from the damned “Game of Thrones”, which we were reading avidly at the same time, checking furtively how many pages the other one had got left to read. A terrible blow as if a baby learning to make its first steps was swept away by that big wrecking ball. And all that’s left is a huge black empty hole with remnants of dead flesh around. I feel as if half of my heart was ripped out of my chest, as if half of my soul was taken away from me. I keep crying and I can’t get a grip. I feel an immense sea of sadness and pain inside me. Yes, sometimes, to balance things out, I get a glimpse of black humour. Sometimes, I’m simply pissed off. But the truth is, I miss you, Piotr, and I don’t know how to cope with it. A lot has ended when you died, a lot has faded, vanished, fallen to pieces. I am simply devastated. I feel as if tides were crashing me against rocks and with every wave it’s getting worse. I don’t know when the pain will pass but it looks like for now it has to be a part of me. Just like you have been a part of my life.

Farewell my beloved Friend. See you somewhere on the other side.

Now let us move to some more positive news, started with our featured album this week, The Unbendable Sleep from Rikard Sjoblom. The album is immediately identifiable as coming from the same man who heads Beardfish and Gungfly, but doesn’t follow directly in either of those paths. The man continues to release music with one moniker or another year after year, and somehow continues to manage to deliver quality along with his quantity. Easily one of the top creative minds in the genre at this point, he has released this album himself, so please visit his site to support him and buy the album here.

Next up, a new special video from our friends in Jolly. I’ve been talking about this video since November, so watch and enjoy already!

Then of course there is tons of new music coming out. First off we have a new video from Redemption, who are releasing The Art of Loss on February 26th. Buy the album here.

Next up we have Tiles, who are releasing Pretending 2 Run on April 15th. Screw your taxes, just buy their new album here.

Messenger also has an April release set, dropping Threnodies on the 22nd. I’ll get everyone some order info for that in a later show.

Finally, Knifeworld has a teaser out for their new album, Bottled Out of Eden, out April 22nd, which also will get some info on a later show.

Then of course there is some other news. Edge of Reality released the artwork and track listing for their 2nd album, Vicious Circle! You can check that out in their facebook post here. And a reminder, you can get an early listen to two of those new tracks by listening to the February Music Mixer here!

Next up, the new Section A album, Wall of Silence, made its debut on the show tonight. It’s out now and you can order it here. We’ll of course be letting you hear some more over the next few weeks.

Leprous are preparing for a live album/DVD, and are asking for your help to make it happen. You can hear from the band on their plans and support them in their endeavor here.

Finally, saving some of the most exciting news for last, Neal Morse has announced that the next MorseFest will include all members of Spock’s Beard, past and present, and they will be playing  in full for the first time ever! A huge moment for fans of the band. You can get info and tickets here.

Riverside – The Same River
Rikard Sjoblum – Rhyme and Reason
Messenger – Balearic Blue
Section A – Wall of Silence
Riverside – Conceiving You
Redemption – The Art of Loss
Jolly – You Against the World
Knifeworld – Send Him Seaworthy
Spock’s Beard – Wind at My Back
Leprous – Rewind
Edge of Reality – Ilerminaty
Riverside – Rainbow Room
Tiles – Shelter in Place
Rikard Sjoblum – Anna-Lee
Pink Floyd – Bike
Iron Maiden – The Book of Souls
Time Machine – Desert of Souls
Riverside – Egoist Hedonist
Inior – Stain of Steel
Powerworld – Evil in Me
Lee Abraham – Distant Days
Riverside – Feel Like Falling
Rikard Sjoblum – Love and War Part Two: Lucky Star
Lee Abraham – Distant Days
Genesis – The Cinema Show
Riverside – Time Travellers

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