TRANSATLANTIC Guitarist ROINE STOLT Talks New Album - "We're The Rather Odd Combination Of Characters, And That's Probably A Strength"

February 8, 2021, 4 months ago

news transatlantic heavy metal roine stolt mike portnoy neal morse pete trewavas

TRANSATLANTIC Guitarist ROINE STOLT Talks New Album - "We're The Rather Odd Combination Of Characters, And That's Probably A Strength"

Ultimate Guitar caught up with guitarist Roine Stolt (Transatlantic, The Flower Kings) to discuss the new Transatlantic record, The Absolute Universe, which is out now. Following is an excerpt from the interview.

UG: What was it like working with Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse, and Pete Trewavas again for the first time since the last album, 'Kaleidoscope,' in 2014? How did it turn into essentially two albums?

Roine: "We have certainly found a method of working - and we always end up with a great result. The creativity is indeed stunning, we're the rather odd combination of characters - and that's probably the strength. We've become a team over the years - however geographics and the difference in our personalities also means that we may not be the natural 'hang' while not working together - but as Transatlantic, we're indeed a strong and magic team."

The 'long version' was the initial recording - what we started working on, in September 2019 - that went on until summer 2020 - then Neal felt that the album was 'too long.' But myself and Mike wanting to keep the long version - 'Forevermore' because it was just brimming with crazy and cool ideas - while Neal and Pete felt we should do a shorter more digestible album 'The Breath of Life.'

So it was Mike who suggested, 'Let's do both' ... let us do two albums at once! Crazy, right?"

UG: For those of our readers who are new to the Prog genre, what are five essential prog records they should listen to?

Roine: "Oh, that isn't easy... all depending on taste and what you classify as 'Prog.' "I would say King Crimson, Red; Yes, Relayer; Frank Zappa/The Mothers, Live At The Roxy; Soft Machine, Bundles - with Allan Holdsworth; and Jon Anderson, Olias of Sunhillow.

I know these are not really into the more metal side of prog - these are all truly classic old school and daring music with fantastic playing and inventive writing."

Read more here.

Transatlantic - the prog supergroup featuring Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Roine Stolt & Pete Trewavas - released their fifth studio album, The Absolute Universe, on February 5th. Below is a clip from "The Making of The Absolute Universe," available on the Blu-ray and the Ultimate Edition.

Representing the band’s first new music since 2014’s Kaleidoscope, with The Absolute Universe the band have done something unique and created two versions of the record: The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version) & The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version).

Each album will be available on CD, LP & digitally. But there will also be what has been called The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition, which collects both versions together in one lavish package that includes 5LPs, 3CDs & a Blu-ray that contains a 5.1 surround sound mix with visuals & a behind the scenes documentary. All editions have unique artwork created by Thomas Ewerhard featuring the airship by Pavel Zhovba.

As Portnoy explains: “We've got two versions of this album. There is a two CD presentation, which is 90 minutes long, and a single one - that's 60 minutes. However, the single CD is NOT merely an edited version of the double CD. They each contain alternate versions and even in some cases, new recordings. We wrote fresh lyrics and have different people singing on the single CD version tracks as compared to those on the double CD. Some of the song titles have also been changed, while others might remain the same, but compositionally what you'll hear has been altered. You must appreciate that what we have done is unique. We revamped the songs to make the two versions different.” Pete Trewavas adds: “We did write some new music for the single CD, what's more, there are also differences in the instruments used on some of the tracks across the two records.”

The full list of formats is below, and you can pre-order here

The Absolute Universe: The Breath Of Life (Abridged Version):
- Special Edition CD Digipak
- Gatefold 2LP+CD
- Digital Album

Tracklisting:

"Overture"
"Reaching For The Sky"
"Higher Than The Morning"
"The Darkness In The Light"
"Take Now My Soul"
"Looking For The Light"
"Love Made A Way" (Prelude)
"Owl Howl"
"Solitude"
"Belong"
"Can You Feel It"
"Looking For The Light" (Reprise)
"The Greatest Story Never Ends"
"Love Made A Way"

The Absolute Universe: Forevermore (Extended Version):
- Special Edition 2CD Digipak
- 3LP+2CD Boxset
- Digital Album

Tracklisting:

Disc 1:
"Overture"
"Heart Like A Whirlwind"
"Higher Than The Morning"
"The Darkness In The Light"
"Swing High, Swing Low"
"Bully"
"Rainbow Sky"
"Looking For The Light"
"The World We Used To Know"

Disc 2:
"The Sun Comes Up Today"
"Love Made A Way" (Prelude)
"Owl Howl"
"Solitude"
"Belong"
"Lonesome Rebel"
"Looking For The Light" (Reprise)
"The Greatest Story Never Ends"
"Love Made A Way"

The Absolute Universe: The Ultimate Edition:
- Limited Deluxe Clear 5LP+3CD+Blu-Ray Box-set – contained within a foil-finished lift-off box with extended 16-page LP booklet & 60x60cm poster

Blu-Ray tracklisting:

"Overture" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Reaching For The Sky" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Higher Than The Morning" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"The Darkness In The Light" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Take Now My Soul" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Bully" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Rainbow Sky" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Looking For The Light" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"The World We Used To Know" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"The Sun Comes Up Today" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Love Made A Way" (Prelude) (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Owl Howl" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Solitude" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Belong" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Lonesome Rebel" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Can You Feel It" (5.1 Surround Mix)
"Looking For The Light" (Reprise) (5.1 Surround Mix)
"The Greatest Story Never Ends "(5.1 Surround Mix)
"Love Made A Way" (5.1 Surround Mix)
The Making of The Absolute Universe (Documentary)

"Looking For The Light" video:

"The World We Used To Know" video:

"Overture / Reaching For The Sky" video:

Trailer:



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