‘Appearance in perception as different from its ‘real’ nature’
‘phenomena’ is the fifth release from Tony Lowe’s ESP Project and was written, arranged and performed by Tony, between January and June 2020. The album also features Damien Child who wrote the insightful and imaginative lyrics once again, and added the vocals at the end of May, with a special guest appearance by Alison Fleming on vocals on Track 7. This album has all the hallmarks of ESP with alluring melodies and stirring arrangements. Tony’s guitar and synth play haunting themes, weaving over symphonic rock at its most dramatic and uplifting, all interspersed with strange altering scenes and soundtracks that suggest dark and fascinating interiors to this music. ‘phenomena’ is rhythmic and captivating yet strong and hopeful in all the right places.
Resident reviewer, Dr. Rob Fisher, will take us on a voyage of Progressive Discovery with the latest album by Tony Lowe’s ESP Project!
“Tony Lowe is a first-rate composer with a keen sense of composition that like his previous albums, this one hides treasures that are just waiting to be discovered or rediscovered.” Daniel Sebon – Amarok Magazine 2021 – Translated PDF
From Tony Lowe’s featured interview with Alain Succa at Big Bang Magazine – “it’s a matter of building something from the imagination, and in a way the music then tells me what it needs. I follow where it leads me.” – English Translation – Big Bang Magazine – France – Dec 2020 Issue – Thank you also to Olivier at Cosmos Music France
Phenomena “is glorious, it is embracing but it is always and forever shifting. You never hear the same album twice. Different things resonate with each listen, emphases shift, different elements and aspects stand out depending on mood, attentiveness and the listener’s disposition. To my mind, this is what makes it a truly absorbing and deeply fascinating album.” – Full Review – Rob Fisher – Progressive Aspect
“Phenomena is a much needed boost of an album, powerful, challenging symphonic rock that refuses to rest on its laurels and proving yet again that the ESP Project is full of class, musicality and great, thoughtful writing.” – Full Review – Andrew Cottrell – Background Magazine
“Phenomema” keeps all its promises with a superb musicality… In short, great class and the full of positive energy!” – Full Review – Pierre from ProgCritique
“…a mix of original melodic rock, all tinged with symphonic-typed breaks, pieces flowing gracefully through the voice and instruments…” – Full Review – Brutus from Prog Censor
“Tony Lowe (music & instrumentation) and excellent vocalist/lyricist Damien Child come through with a collection of very enjoyable Neo Prog songs.I am intrigued by Tony’s chord sensibilities as well as Damien’s ability to find a fitting though often edgy and distinctive melody line with his beautifully modulated voice. Definitely an album and duo worth revisiting. B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of well-formed progressive rock music.” – Full Review – Bruford Freak – ProgArchives
“The album is crammed full of accessible, symphonic rock music with some nice progressive flourishes and effective snatches of experimentation…bolstered by Lowe’s precise layered instrumentation and sumptuous production…some great playing, thoughtful lyrics, and the definitive ESP stamp make PHENOMENA another class album.” – Full Review – Gareth’s Prog Blog
“It’s an absolutely superb album from Start to finish!!!” Garry Foster – Prog Rock Files Show – wcrfm
“Here’s the Prog you’ve been looking for! – Phenomena is a tour de force of contemporary prog.” – Brian Talgo (Gentle Knife) – Review below
A taste of phenomena
“A new ESP album is something I always look forward to. Tony Lowe has in both his solo and ESP work constantly delivered an excellent eclectic mix of original rock and melodic prog music. His signature sound manages to recall the glory of classic prog, while avoiding sounding derivative, unlike many other prog bands these days. Clearly a first-class musical producer, the high production values shine throughout as a key factor on all his releases.
It was with some trepidation that I noted on this latest ESP release, Phenomena, that he was credited for ‘Music & Instrumentation – All tracks’, with only lyrics and vocals being handed over to others (The excellent Damien Child collaborating once again, and a guest performance by Alison Fleming on a remake of Tony’s lovely ballad ‘Seven Billion Tiny Sparks).’ My worries would prove to be entirely unjustified.
Not to belittle the past albums, all of which I’ve enjoyed, but from the initial track, ‘First Flight’, and onwards, I realized this was a different ESP; a darker, edgier version, with a seasoned musician truly finding his métier. Perhaps it’s because Lowe had more or less full control of the project, from writing and arranging to performing and producing, he has been able with Phenomena to bring his artistic vision to a new level of fulfillment. For whatever reason, Phenomena is a tour de force of contemporary prog.” – Brian Talgo – Gentle Knife
Garry Foster for featuring phenomena on Prog Rock Files – wcrfm
Shaun Geraghty for featuring phenomena on The Progmill – Progzilla Radio
Bob Prigmore for featuring phenomena on the The Prog and Rock Show
Jan Bracke for featuring phenomena on Raven Radio
Quiet Days Louder Nights
The ESP Featuring series is live on Bandcamp – No 1 – ‘Quiet Days Louder Nights’ features the unmistakable sound of David Jackson in this new instrumental version of ‘Quiet Days’ from ‘Invisible Din’. Previously unheard parts by David Jackson on Saxes and Flutes and Tony Lowe on Guitar, Keys and programming.
“When David sent me parts for the album, he always included several different takes, and for that version I used the parts that supported the song as it was then. Some of the parts were so strong that they really deserve to be heard and LOUD. So here is ‘Quiet Days Louder Nights’ Featuring David Jackson.” – Tony Lowe
THE RISING -11th OCTOBER 2019
“The Rising is ‘an extraordinarily accomplished album, symphonic in scale, while retaining a freshness and urgency.’ An Album ‘that demands urgent attention, not just from prog fans, but from anyone who appreciates thoughtful, well-constructed songwriting.’” Review – Andrew Cottrell – Background Magazine
“Tony Lowe’s songwriting is completely intoxicating. Delicious soundscapes are interwoven around sophisticated and carefully designed structures. All the melodies on this disc are seductive and resonate with intense and changing rhythms.” Review – English Translation – Daniel Sebon – Amarok Magazine
The sheer scale and extent of the musical vision is mesmerising. This is an album brimming with invention and imagination, where exceptional instrumental artistry embraces a rich lyrical poetry to create tantalising musical sketches to surprise and delight in equal measure. Highly recommended.” Review – Rob Fisher – The Progressive Aspect
Listen to Rob Fisher’s eloquent review on Progressive Discoveries – the Prog Watch 704 Podcast
“The Rising will without question lift your spirits towards the sky, injecting both pace and energy at exactly the right juncture. It’s a real pleasure in this age…that the likes of ESP Project are still crafting well considered albums that flow and engage both through each individual song but also from the mood they create as a cohesive whole.” Review – Sea of Tranquility
The ESP Project began in 2015/16 with ‘Invisible Din’ featuring well-know prog guests. Followed in 2018 by ’22 Layers of Sunlight’, a collaboration between Tony Lowe & Peter Coyle. ESP albums have been given over 26, 4-4.5 star reviews by music press, voted into the top 10 Prog Rock albums of the year and top 10 albums of 2017/2018/2019. In 2019, the ESP Project moved forward with co-writers Tony Lowe and Damien Child releasing ‘three’ a ‘stunning’ mini-album in January and a new album, ‘The Rising’ the 11th of October. See About
Back with a sharp rise in temperature, the new ESP Project album, THE RISING, is upbeat and powerful. This tight four piece band roars through a landscape sculpted by the powerful and moving music of Tony Lowe, coupled with insightful and heartfelt lyrics of Damien Child with his versatile and poignant vocals. With guitar and keys by Tony Lowe, the passionate grooves of Pete Clark’s bass, underpinned by the intense energy of Greg Pringle’s drums, this album takes the listener to another level in the ESP catalogue. PRESS RELEASE
ADDITIONAL REVIEWS of THE RISING
“There may be a few doing this, but not to this depth; the concept, the soundscape, the organic playing, this band have delivered from the beginning…luxurious, hypnotic…” – Review – Steve Swift – FIREWORKS
“…the whole album sparkles with musical, lyrical and vocal delights. Lowe and Child seem to have both drawn each other’s talents and created the most rounded, enjoyable ESP album to date.” – Review – Jason Ritchie – Get Ready to Rock
“An album that promises to deliver on everything that the band has previously worked on and more.” Review – The Median Man
“It’s a prog rock fans dream…a great performance by new vocalist Damien Child…with Lowe’s guitars and keys tastefully dominating…there’s nothing to dislike on The Rising” – Geoff Wootton – Powerplay Oct 2019
“Yet again Tony and Damien lead a great ensemble through a splendid set of tunes. This pair are looking VERY strong. Too early to have a real favourite yet. ESP Project has been causing ripples in the “prog” firmament, now they are making waves.” Mike Ashton
“The Rising album launch – another beautifully crafted addition to the canon from Tony Lowe’s ESP Project” – Gareth’s Prog Blog
“…an album of poetic finesse chiselled on topical themes of our planet and our everyday life…the album is a great artistic success that will surprise and delight…” Review – Jipé Yoda – Prog Critique
“To experience the soaring, experimental, epic musical investigations of their new album, alloyed with essential choices from its previous incarnations, ESP proffers an expanding musical pathway ahead. From the opening synth pulsations of ‘The Rising’ they unlocked a new musical door, the new release’s symphonic prog highlights entrancing the room.” – Complete Review – Paul Davies – Record Collector
“I’d urged prog fans to get to see ESP after the performance marking the launch of their debut, Invisible Din in November 2016, highlighting them as new standard-bearers for 21st century symphonic prog; three full-length albums and one EP in, I stand by my words.” See live review from Gareth’s Prog Blog
ESP Project – three (19/01/19)
Four new outstanding symphonic prog tracks from Tony Lowe’s ESP Project
Tony Lowe’s ESP Project is back with four great new tracks. Titled ‘three‘, the new EP contains over 30 min of progressive rock and is out on 19th January. ‘three’ has all the hallmarks of the first two ESP releases, with Tony’s symphonic compositions and arrangements weaving in and out of evocative and passionate vocal sections, delivered with both sensitivity and power in all the right places by Damien Child, an accomplished actor and singer with many years experience in TV, Radio and West End Theatre.
With Greg Pringle on Drums and Pete Clark on Bass this is a formidable combo of accomplished musicians playing with heart and soul. Threaded through by Tony’s unmistakeable guitar and keyboard playing, a must for anyone who liked the previous two albums, which together were given over twenty-six, 4 – 4.5 star reviews by the music press and voted into the top 10 Progressive Rock – albums of the year as well as in top 20 albums of 2018.
Tony and Damien are working on a new album for an autumn 2019 release; in the meantime, as an introduction, ‘three’ is available on Bandcamp as a CD and digital download from 19th Jan, and then the usual digital outlets, see the MP3s and CDs page or the sidebar for links.
Comments from Radio Presenters and Media
“‘three’ – 4.5 / 5 rating. If you enjoy great vocals, melodies, lyrics, compositions & talented musicians, then ESP Project is definitely for you. Check them out ! We haven’t heard the last of ESP“ – Denis Champagne (Prog Core Live) progcoreradio.com (Montréal)
“ESP is an evolving musical project, involving Tony Lowe and a series of collaborators. The latest three EP, also featuring Damien Child, is really excellent, ESP’s best so far. Really looking forward to the next album.” – Paul Grunill – The Last Outpost, Harborough FM
“…Lowe’s guitar poses elegant notes. In addition, the singer Damien child has the timbre of voice that perfectly suits the composed music…much as this disc is of a beautiful fluidity. If you like melodic rock and progressive rock this disc is made for you.” 8.5/10 Eric Berger – Progtime Music
ESP – ‘three’ – Background
In 2019, Tony is joined by vocalist/lyricist Damien Child and another dimension is reached with soaring melodies alongside heartfelt passionate vocals over a weave of strong rhythmic drums, percussion and bass, often reaching new heights in this combination of symphonic prog rock and classical music that is stirring, uplifting and joyful in places, but equally strange and dark in others.
Damien Child began working in the entertainment industry at the age of 10 as an actor and singer. Work included lead roles on TV, radio and West End shows in a career that spanned 16 years.
When he isn’t immersed in music you can find him lurking around the horror section of the nearest bookshop.