Formed in 2017 by English vocalist/guitarist John Payne and American keyboard player Erik Norlander, the Prog AOR band Dukes Of The Orient will release their second studio album, Freakshow, in August 2020.
“Working on this album has been a very cathartic experience,” states Payne. “The addition of Alex Garcia [guitar] and Frank Klepacki [drums] was a positive move for a more signature, cohesive sound. As with the previous album, we continue our rich analog keyboard approach layered with guitars by myself and Alex. Mixed and recorded on a traditional board with vintage outboard, we wanted to create an echo to the past and write songs with strong melodic content.”
Norlander comments: “‘Freakshow’ is much more focused both in concept and in sound as it was written and recorded in a single year with a tight group of musicians. Our debut album came out fantastically, but it was recorded over the course of a decade with many different contributing musicians, and in many ways it sounds like that. ‘Freakshow’ has the cohesiveness of vision where the same five musicians performed all the material that was written expressly for this album. I also think our writing on this album is more focused for the same reasons. After working together for so many years, I can write a vocal melody for John, he can write a keyboard part for me, and the parts just work right out of the gate.”
The origins of Dukes Of The Orient lay in 2007 with ASIA featuring John Payne, a band that continued after ASIA keyboardist Geoff Downes had left in order to re-form the original 1982 lineup. Payne recruited Norlander for tour dates in North America, thereby sowing the initial seeds for their partnership. Eventually, ASIA featuring John Payne would record Seasons Will Change, which was released as a video in 2013 and eventually found its way onto the debut album by Dukes Of The Orient.
Following the death of original ASIA vocalist John Wetton in 2017, Payne and Norlander decided that other recordings they had been working on should instead give birth to a new band, out of respect for Wetton and also for clarity with the Downes-led ASIA. However, Dukes Of The Orient are the legitimate successors of John Payne’s Asia.
1 The Dukes Return
2 The Ice Is Thin
4 The Monitors
5 Man Of Machine
6 The Last Time Traveller
7 A Quest For Knowledge
8 The Great Brass Steam Engine
9 When Ravens Cry
10 Until Then
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