Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble “The Red Planet”

Our final entry in The 2020 PopCult Gift Guide today is something that you can sample at 3 PM EST Monday on Prognosis on The AIR. Earlier this year legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman released a sprawling, epic, instrumental Prog-Rock masterpiece, The Red Planet.

We go to the PR:

Keyboard Legend Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble has released “The Red Planet” on June 19, 2020. The album features 8 newly composed pieces, especially for this project, and harks back to Wakeman’s critically acclaimed debut album “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” where there were 6 heavy keyboard pieces based around a central subject matter. It is a serious return to “Wakeman Prog”…

Rick has blown the dust off his favourite analogue keyboards and along with his with the latest keyboards, has used the same formula he devised when making his legendary albums The Six Wive’s of Henry VII and Criminal Record.

Upon being asked about the expectations of his Prog Fans, that they are hoping he will have shoved the “Prog Fader” up to 11, he replied, “That could be a problem…. as it’s already at 14!!!”

This is pure Prog-Rock manna from heaven. It’s a return to Wakeman’s glory days in the 1970s when he released albums like The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey To The Center of The Earth and The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table. Wakeman is backed by a full band, with no vocals, and cuts loose on several vintage synths from his collection. The eight pieces on this nearly-hour-long album are all named after physical features of the planet Mars, and it’s pure ear candy for any fan of Wakeman’s virtuosity.

You can order The Red Planet from Amazon, or if the person on your gift list is a huge fan, you can visit Rick Wakeman’s webstore for a variety of signed editions on vinyl or CD. You’ll also find a ton of gems from his vast back catalog there, too. Amazon has a very limted number of the short-run of CDs with the pop-up Astronaut.

Check out this preview track from The Red Planet

And remember that at 3 PM EST Monday you can hear another track from The Red Planet opening this week’s episode of Prognosis, which is devoted to music by former members of YES. You can listen to Prognosis at The AIR website, or on this embedded player…

You can hear replays of Prognosis Tuesdays at 7 AM, Wednesdays at 8 PM, Thursday at Noon, and Saturday at 9 AM.  As a bonus for fans of Mr. Wakeman, we will be running an overnight marathon of Prognosis episodes that feature his music Monday night, beginning at 11 PM.