Archive for the 'music' Category

Happy New Year 2017 !!! ~bandcamp 50% off sale~

January 11th, 2017 | Category: downloads,Mastermind,music,News,website

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017!!

To start off the new year the entire Mastermind discography is now on sale on bandcamp at a special 50% discount when you purchase the entire catalog. Full fidelity audio or choose from several audio formats, FLAC to mp3, it’s quite a bargain for $37 USD! Simply click on any album and purchase info is below the album price. Take advantage of this deal now!


In other news, Mastermind guitarist Bill Berends has set up a new bandcamp music store called BENVALIA MUSIC to make solo works and other non-Mastermind recordings available. Both Benificial to the artists and of Value to the discerning listener, please take a moment to check it out and like Benvalia Music on Facebook while your at it. Thanks! 🙂

“Benvalia Music showcases works performed, produced, and/or curated by resident musician/producer Bill Berends. Home to a careful selection of styles, bands and artists, it was set up to bring quality music to fans world-wide.”

Titles on Benvalia Music include BIll’s 1988 solo new age electronica EP Life Cycle, pianist brother David Berends’ prog-pop band THE NAME, prog keyboardist Micheal West, and other carefully selected artists Bill has worked with or produced over the years. More interesting music and more Bill Berends solo material both new and old is coming in the near future.

That’s it for now! Please join the Berends Music Mailing List if you have not already.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year!

ps: the Broken EP will be added sooner or later along with other vintage live recordings and various oddities and out takes. So much to do, so little time, please check back often!

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Brainstorm live (complete) video

August 15th, 2016 | Category: Mastermind,music,video

Recently uploaded a video of Brainstorm live from our 1997 US tour with Fish. Enjoy.



Mastermind live at the Odeon, Cleveland, Ohio

Bill Berends: guitar, MIDI-guitar, vocal
Rich Berends: drums & percussion
Phil Antolino: bass, MIDI-pedals

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Keith Emerson 1944 – 2016

March 15th, 2016 | Category: blogging,music,News

Keith Noel Emerson (2 November 1944 – 10 March 2016)

Deeply saddened by the tragic news of Keith Emerson passing. An influence and inspiration, his music will be remembered.

“He was a man. Take him for all in all.
 I shall not look upon his like again.”

RIP Keith.


Keith Emerson

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Mastermind: Insomnia – 5 years on

February 23rd, 2015 | Category: history,Mastermind,music,video

February 19th, 2015 marked the 5th anniversary of Mastermind’s 7th full length studio album release – Insomnia – featuring vocalist Tracy McShane’s album debut and Jens Johansson returning for his third outing with the Berends brothers progressive rock outfit. The darker, heavier sound is something of a departure from previous titles, but continues an evolution that began with the explosive instrumental fire of Excelsior, morphing into the female fronted symphonic prog-metal of Angels of the Apocalypse, and evolving yet further into something unusual and quite unique. This was a 21st Century Mastermind for sure, yet many elements of the Berends signature sound are still present and identifiable.

However, Insomnia almost never saw the light of day. After a long and arduous search for a suitable new label, the album was eventually released worldwide by Lion Music in Finland, run by Swedish guitarist Lars Eric Mattsson. Changes in personnel, changes in the record business, broadband internet, the global economy, all contributed to the delay. Most of the recording was done years earlier between 2002 and 2004 with two songs released as a preview on the Broken EP of 2005 along with several live tracks. Almost a full album in itself. The band gigged often during the early 21st Century building a receptive new audience on the live circuit, so a lot of the material road tested and gaining traction with new fans.



Some of the older prog fans didn’t really follow, but overall the album was well received and critically accepted (reviews) with many folks applauding a fresh new approach and some even calling it the best Mastermind album to date. Things being as they were, however, with departing members and frustrations with the business side of things, the band had ceased performing live by early 2007 and the album was released without proper live support even though the songs were being performed live during the preceding years.

It was never intended for this to be the last of Mastermind’s album output, but without finding suitable new players and no real support from the outside, Mastermind slipped into a coma of sorts and has been on indefinite hiatus since 2007. Bill and Rich continued to perform as The Berends Brothers Band and Bill Berends stepped out on his own with an instrumental solo album in 2012 and continues to create new music, some of which was – and yet may still be – destined to become Mastermind VIII. This my still happen at some point.

So it is somewhat with mixed emotion that we view things 5 years on. We made a good album that not enough people heard and it’s a shame we couldn’t manage to go out and support it live. For those who have listened and purchased a copy, we thank you for your support. Everyone else, get listening! As for the future… anything is possible.

Mastermind: Insomnia on CDBaby

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Happy Holidays 2014

December 26th, 2014 | Category: interviews,Mastermind,music,News

Season’s Greetings and happy holidays!

Mastermind’s Fearless Leader Bill Berends has posted a new holiday video on his web site. Of particular interest to Mastermind fans is the second half of the video is based on a demo for a possible potential 8th Mastermind album.  youtube.com/watch?v=it0eiZAeN7M



If you missed Bill’s FNP interview back in November (see below), the show is now archived so you may listen on demand: Friday Night Progressive: Bill Berends interview and award show. Mastermind fans may find some of the commentary enlightening.

That’s it for now. Bill continues to write new music and everyone else is doing whatever it is they do. Be sure to bookmark billberends.com and join the mailing list for future updates.

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season!

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Mastermind III: Tragic Symphony 20th Anniversary

November 20th, 2014 | Category: history,Mastermind,music,News

November 2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of Mastermind III: Tragic Symphony, the band’s third studio album. First released in Japan on Nov. 9th, 1994 on the Zero/EMI label, and a few months later in Europe, the USA, and Korea by various labels, Tragic Symphony was the first Mastermind album licensed and released worldwide, bringing the band to a much wider global audience. For many, this was their first introduction to Mastermind.

Twenty years ago today, on Nov. 20th, 1994, the original trio line up presented the premier live performance of the album in its entirety at ProgScape ’94 at Stephens Hall in Towson, MD to a receptive and enthusiastic audience. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this album a milestone in the history of Mastermind.

Home movie teaser of the Stephens Hall performance, 20 years ago today.




click for larger image

PS: The possibility of future lives shows is not out of the question, however, regarding the previous blog entry, the promoter was promising more than they could deliver and nothing came of it. Unfortunate, but never say never.

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New & Improved Mastermind Webstore

October 10th, 2013 | Category: downloads,Mastermind,music,News,website

Since the demise of Mindawn as our digital distributor, several Mastermind catalog titles have been officially unavailable anywhere online. This unacceptable situation has now been rectified by adding several new titles to our new & improved Mastermind Nimbit Webstore.

As physical CD’s released by Inside Out (Europe/USA) and Avalon (Japan/Asia) the discs have been out of print & sold out for some time with all rights reverting back to us. Thanks to the internet working for us for a change, the albums are again available as digital downloads.

We’ve made some pretty cool albums that still not enough people have heard! And since we’re not exactly competing in the trendy popular music charts, release dates are almost irrelevant for the most part. The music is timeless and could have been released yesterday.

Our Nimbit Webstore sample clips will give you a good overview of an album, but we’ll also be making albums available streaming in-full on youtube so you can enjoy them and fall in love with them. If you already know these albums; we love you! Now anyone can listen to them anywhere, whenever they please. Mastermind worldwide… for free! You can’t beat that.

The first featured album is Angels of the Apocalypse ….




http://youtu.be/Fj_WwpwJ6BY


Angels of the Apocalypse was a dramatic shift for us, adding a female vocalist and moving in a decisively more metal direction. It’s risky and experimental, powerful yet nimble, and quite unique sounding. Give it a listen and decide for yourself! Such wonderful performances from vocalist Lisa Bouchelle and Jens Johansson on keys are truly outstanding. I haven’t listened to this for quite some time now and have to say, it’s making my Mastermind juices flow. Mastermind juices… hahah. eww. Anyway, I am proud of this work, the music, and all the people we worked with in making it happen including my bro’ Rich Berends who’s feet were on fire making this one! Also remembering bassist and departed friend Bob Eckman. R.I.P.

The early Mastermind trio albums are all up on mastermind.bandcamp.com streaming in-full along with some exclusive digital-only releases. Our newest album Insomnia (2010) is under contract with Lion Music. Also check out Bill Berends new solo album In My Dreams I Can Fly.

Listen free! -> Love!! -> *purchase* <- thank you!!! ps: please sign up to the mailing list for exclusive updates & more.

Bb

progressive metal, progressive rock, jazz-metal, acid rock

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911

September 11th, 2013 | Category: history,Mastermind,music,News,video

September 11th, 2001… I will never forget that day. Ever. I was awakened by the sound of Tracy McShane screaming out of my answering machine “Billy, Billy!! Turn on the TV!!!” I turned it on just in time to watch the second plane slam into the south tower. No words can describe how I felt as I watched the towers collapse, live on TV. Absolute horror.

Much of the Insomnia album was written and recorded in the time between that fateful day and the “shock and awe” attack on Bahgdad which I also watched in horror, live on TV. The days that followed were very surreal and unsettling. I tried to put it out of my mind.

Listening to this music takes me right back to that time and in many ways I feel like I have ignored it because of that – still wanting to put it all of it out of my mind. For those who never made the connection – and surprisingly, not one single review ever did – that is why the twin beacons were included on the inner sleeve artwork. It was the zeitgeist, the dark shadow that malingered over everything. We went as a band to ground zero not long after the attack, saw the beacons, witnessed the destruction up close. It felt… personal.

Although this piece of music Last Cigarette wasn’t written specifically with 911 in mind, it was always in the back of my mind. Looking back, I think it probably best captures how I was feeling at the time and even though it’s been 12 years now, it’s still hard for me to listen to sometimes. Along with some other personal issues, it was a very difficult time. I didn’t want to deal with it and because of that, combined with dramatic changes in the music business, it took years to see the album released.  Insomnia almost never saw the light of day.

Musically speaking, this is my personal favorite on the album. The guitar solo-turn-duet with Jens Johansson’s brilliant counterpoint is probably my favorite musical moment. Looking back now with some objectivity, I still think we made a good, solid album. Life goes on.

-Bill Berends 9/11/13

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Video archives – Electric Factory with Joe Satriani

June 20th, 2013 | Category: history,Mastermind,music,News,video

Some video from back before the digital revolution, a few clips from the Electric Factory concert in 1997 opening for Joe Satriani. The playlist should run thru all four videos for you.

More to come. Enjoy!

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2013 – Bill Berends solo album “In My Dreams I Can Fly”

January 28th, 2013 | Category: downloads,Mastermind,music,News

It’s been a while since things have been updated here. We all hope everyone had a nice holiday season and your 2013 is off to a good start!

We’re kicking off 2013 here with some new music from Mastermind guitarist Bill Berends. The Kickstarter campaign to fund the release (see previous blog entry) was a resounding success and Bill’s new solo album In My Dreams I Can Fly is available now. You can check out music samples and purchase CD’s or downloads on CD Baby and a variety of other sources.

Lots of melodic tunes and guitar work on this album, and although it’s more straight forward rock compared to Mastermind releases, so far feedback from Mastermind fans has ranged from positive to highly enthusiastic. Read the first review here for a more objective view and stop by CD Baby to hear some samples.

Prog-rock fans may know Jason Gianni, the drummer on this album, from his work with the Neal Morse Band. Jason is a real powerhouse and gives the album a different feel, making it more of a ‘solo album’ rather than a reworked Mastermind release. It’s generally an upbeat and positive sounding album… “Joyful” was the word Keiko Kumagai of Ars Nova used to describe it when she heard it. It’s also a good album to play in the car! It just may get you where you’re going a bit faster, so check it out.

In Mastermind news… there is no news really. There is a new album in the works, but it seems to be painfully slow going for a variety of reasons. But it will come, sooner or later. There is lots of new music written. The Berends Brothers Band has been playing a few old Mastermind tunes in their live set, but that doesn’t always go over so well in mixed company. Rich Berends has been playing with the Philly metal outfit “Frost Giant”, his son-in-law’s band, and Bill is gigging with Treasures of the Spirit Mahavishnu tribute, but there are currently no concrete plans for any future Mastermind shows. That could change.

If there was a good reason to get Mastermind up and running again it could be done. We could have a concert set ready to go in a fairly short period of time… make us an offer! But playing out locally as a progressive band, in all honesty, there isn’t much of a demand for it. So we will continue to make recordings and see where the road leads us. Never say never. Thanks for reading, check out the links above, and best wishes for 2013! -Bb

ps: Mastermind’s 2010 release Insomnia is also available on CD Baby now.

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