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Prog / Art Rock

I actually hate musical labels. They speak of categorizing what cannot be categorized because music is one of the most personal forms of expression. And I especially have come to hate the prog rock label. What is still progressive about a musical form that after an early period in which almost everything indeed was possible has gone the same way as any other style? Nowadays progrock has become repetitive and seems to exist only for people who lust after one early Genesis imitation after the other.

So why use the term at all? Good question. I'dd sooner like to call my certain brand of rock and pop Art Rock, but that is an even vaguer label indeed. And I do like classical influences and bombastic sounds. Symphonic Rock would be a better term but only few people know what that might entail. So prog rock it must be.

The following projects contain my attempts to combine this form of popular music with my personal vision on it. I have tried to renew the style and keep it up to date.

Notwithstanding certain flaws, mostly stemming from limited resources, I am still very proud of this stuff. Do not ask me what album I like most. Every one off them has it's strengths and weaknesses. It would be easier for me to put together a virtual "best of" album.

For those who cannot do without comparisons: Think about a mix between Pink Floyd (minus the Floyd's typical blues structures), later Genesis, Vangelis and bombastic 1980ties synth pop (Trevor Horn). See, hardly any typical progrock references at all. Have a listen!

Oh, and one more thing. Please be aware that all the artwork on my albums was based on my own concepts, paintings, photographs and designs. To me an album is true "Gesamtkunstwerk". (an all encompassing work of art). That's probably also why I still love older, lesser virtual formats like LP records and CD's.

       S.G. / Monolith (2006)

       Turbulence (2001)

       The Reading Room (2000)

       Inferno (1997)

       Pawn (1993)

       Sand, Water & Heroes (1988)

       On Collaboration

S.G. / Monolith

(2006 - previously unreleased)

Turbulence CD cover

This is the one that got away. Would I have reached the status I once aimed for in my adolescent optimism this would have been the mythical last album that was never released. It's availability on this site counts as a premiere.

By consciously setting myself some limits I think I actually produced my best rock project to date. The basic idea is just as simple as it is overbearing. How would my take on the ultimate super-band sound? So S.G. actually stand for Super Group.

And why the acronym? That is actually intended as a take on the name of English band U.K., my favorite all time supergroup. They released two albums, "U.K." and "Danger Money" on which prog was brilliantly mixed with fusion jazz (As I already explained it's never true prog with me). If you listen to them you'll be able to detect their influence on this project. But this still also is very Brassé indeed.

Why was this never released? Because I had become totally disenchanted with the prog scene. I more or less invented the S.G. acronym because I had found out that my actions as a "money grabbing label boss" (should I laugh or cry here?) was actually badly influencing the honesty with which my own music was reviewed in the prog scene press. So I wondered if hiding behind a band label might actually lead to a fairer chance for my music within that scene.

But in the end I decided against releasing it anyhow. Not only had the neo prog scene become a sad place, the music industry in general and the bad taste of the typical music consumer where other nails in my rock coffin. Furthermore music as a marketable product has become some sort of alien concept. To me that says a lot about human nature but life goes on and here I am embracing the modern media myself.

In strict musical terms I consider the project to be one of my very best. Somehow the fact that I consciously reduced the sound palette to what was available to a band say pre 1980 led to a more focused result. And by giving extra attention to the performance aspects this project probably contains my best musicianship anyway. One could call it my first post-MIDI album. Sequencing still played an important role but it was not dominant anymore. Brassé had learned to rock at last.

Pity that times had moved on so much while I was trying to achieve a musical level that modern productions seem to lack anyway. But at least I was able to lay down my remaining doubts about my qualities as a composer. That's why the last track has such a cynical title. At last I had become able to say: Take it or leave it!

As always (see entries about the earlier albums below) Maarten Huiskamp was the intrepid guitarist who gave my idea's the extra edge. By this time he did not actively contribute as a composer anymore but few people would have been able to give the solo's the sort of Allan Holdsworth / Jeff Beck twist I was looking for. Here's to you again Maarten.

Also thanks to Jo Jansen, who was willing to help me re-record all the lead vocals in his own home studio. Nothing dramatic was changed but to have someone with an independent ear and clear opinions was a real plus.

Scenes Of Eternity
Suffocating Part 1
Suffocating Part 2
The Trial
Hole In The Ground
For Life
The Show
Via Male
What Use Is A Jewel In The Land Of The Blind?
total time:  47:48

All compositions and lyrics: Marc Brassé,
Marc Brassé: Lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass, drum programming
Maarten Huiskamp:
All guitars
projected fake band member aliases:
Homer Dudley: Vocals
Chris S. Eighty: Keyboards
Alan H. Camp: Guitars
Martin "Shortneck" Eco: Bass
Yah "Lefthand" Maryannson:
The CS-80 Polyphonic Synthesizer is by Yamaha and not virtual
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Apeldoorn (NL)
Additional vocal recordings engineered and recorded by Jo Jansen, Urmond (NL)


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Turbulence CD cover

This album was the 10th to be released on LaBraD'or Records, my own prog rock label. This time I stepped a bit away from an all too clear concept. This album is loosely based on the chaos theory principle and the way in which fate influences the human condition. In that respect the album prolongs the thread introduced by Inferno.

"Storm" with it's length of more then 20 minutes is my take on the unavoidable epic prog rock track. A very kind reviewer called it my master piece and maybe it is fitting that it is almost the last track on the last album that was released in an official hardware form. May the future be kinder to my music.

"Turbulence" could be seen as my last attempt to fight the windmills of pop stardom but in the end even my increasing frustration could not bring me to leaving music alone. Wasn't it Kieth Richards who said that Music is a beautiful but dishonest lover?

Besides trusty Maarten Huiskamp a lot of people contributed to this album, all of them being connected to the label.

Musically thing where getting more refined still so I have few qualms with the actual compositions on this album. Also typical: 3 songs ("Trickster", "Song", "Bonny Marlene") are actually updated versions from my very first, never released project.

In hindsight I am however not totally convinced about the mastering, although this time I myself was to blame for any deficiencies. Well, there is always something you would have done better afterwards. But in the end it's the total that counts, isn't it?

Is this album superior to "Inferno"? I used to think so but I am not so sure anymore. What do you think?

Storm (extro)
The Eye Of The Storm
Sinful City
Fairground Knight
Greedmaster - Enter The New Romans
Greedmaster - Do You Sleep At Night
A Selection Of Short Lovesongs - Song
A Selection Of Short Lovesongs - Bonny Marlene
A Selection Of Lovesongs - Travelers
In My Blood
total time:  58:40

All compositions and lyrics: Marc Brassé,
Marc Brassé: Lead and Backing vocals, keyboards, EWI, drum programming
Maarten Huiskamp: All guitars
Lenny Caanen: Female lead and backing vocals
Bert Heinen: Bass, acoustic guitar, lead vocals on "The Eye Of The Storm" and "Trickster"
Hans Boonk: Drums
Frans Hermans: Lead and backing vocals on "Sinful City" and "Fairground Knight"
John Poloyannis: 2nd guitar solo on "Trickster"
Peter "Pietje Lifeson" Heinen:
3rd guitar solo on "Trickster"
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Apeldoorn (NL)

This music has been remastered by talented audio engineer Marko Vlasic. You can contact him directly via:


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The Reading Room


The Reading Room was a project album I specifically conceived for LaBraD´or Records. It was the 7th release on the label. The album contained songs based around a central concept which where written and performed by several bands.

In a fictitious library somewhere in time and space one humble person has to carry the books from and to the shelves. The readers that visit are too preoccupied by their reading but he becomes aware that the paintings filling the walls between the bookcases are alive. He steps into one picture after another and lives through several adventures.

This was the opening track that I composed myself. It set the stage for the rest of the album and the contributions of the other bands. These bands where among the most capable in the neo/prog scene: Aragon, Final Conflict, Like Wendy, Galahad, Galleon, The Night Watch, Cliffhanger, Maryson, a Maarten Huiskamp track under the name "Jacob's Ladder" banner and yours truly.

The whole thing might have its flaws (should I have let somebody else do the narration?) and sadly the project was perceived more as a sampler then the original selfcontained project it was. But I am still proud of it.

Compositions and lyrics: Marc Brassé,
acoustic guitar interlude composed by Maarten Huiskamp
Marc Brassé: Lead and backing vocals, keyboards, bass, drum programming
Maarten Huiskamp: All guitars
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Apeldoorn (NL)


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Dante's Inferno


Dante's Inferno CD cover

If you want things done the right way better do them yourself. When the label on which "Pawn" was released went bust I decided it could be done better. And so I started up my own new label, originally together with a business companion that I will not name here because he did not prove to be a trustworthy partner on the long term, later I pressed on alone. This was the first album on the LaBraD'or Label , later to be followed by 17 other titles by differing artists.
But that is another story indeed.

Again I went for a concept. Another of my favorite albums of all time is Jeff Wayne's version of H.G. Wells's "War Of The Worlds". Inspired by this example I went searching for a literary concept that was not too similar to that but still had a time honored relevance.

I ended up taking Dante's Divina Comedia as my inspiration, the "Inferno" part being the immediate subject of the album. So there would have been room for sequels but off course "Inferno" is the most juicy bit of Dante's writings anyway. My version of "Inferno" is not a very literal adaptation though. I used the original as a starting point for some personal contemplations about the fact that humanity seems to insist on shaping our world into another kind of Inferno that is not as far removed from Dante's version as we like to think. That's probably why this part of the trilogy still speaks so much to us nowadays anyway.

Musically this is one of my most balanced attempts which partly is due to the fact that this is the most collaborative of all my projects. Maarten Huiskamp and singer Lenny Caanen had a strong influence on the result: Maarten actually contributed a few compositions again. One track, "Lucifer - No Guarantees", was even based on an ad hoc improvisation by the three of us.

To compensate for the lack of recognition for Maarten's true role on "Pawn", another hardly comprehensible trick the old label played, I decided to give the compositional credits to the whole "team". One can only wonder what a field day lawyers would have had with that description if there really had ever been serious money to be divided in the end. I would probably have given about 2/3 of the royalties away.

One embarrassing little fluke: On the back side of the booklet I made a spelling mistake in the only quote from the original Italian work. Well, at least it taught me to be more thorough in my research in the future.

Another "mistake" is that the bottom of the pit is frozen over in Dante's original and I still decided for a fiery depiction. But at least that was a case of intentional artistic license.

Oh, and before you grab your Italian lexicons: The artwork on the download link has been corrected. You didn't think that George Lucas is the only one who keeps rewriting history, or did you?

Introduction - Love & Hate
Virgil – A Stranger In the Forest
The Gate (instrumental)
Follow Me Down
Inferno (instrumental)
Dante – the Pit
Paola & Francesca – Who Could Blame Us
Sack Of Gold (instrumental)
River Of Blood (instrumental)
Sharks & Herrings
Ice (instrumental)
Lucifer – No Guarantees
Beatrice – The Fifth Season
Inferno II – Strength Through Weakness
Purgatorio – You Show Me (instrumental)
total time:  62:42

All compositions and lyrics: Marc Brassé,
"Love & Hate" music and lyrics by Maarten Huiskamp / Lenny Caane
"Virgil – A Stranger In the Forest" music by Marc Brassé / Maarten Huiskamp
"Heretic" music by Maarten Huiskamp / Marc Brassé
"Ice" music by Maarten Huiskamp
"Lucifer – No Guarantee" music and lyrics Marc Brassé / Maarten Huiskamp / Lenny Caanen
lyrics by Marc Brassé / Lenny Caanen
Marc Brassé: Lead and Backing vocals, keyboards, EWI, drum programming
Maarten Huiskamp: All guitars, keyboards on "Love & Hate", "Virgil – A Stranger In the Forest" and "Heretic"
Lenny Caanen:
Female lead and backing vocals
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Apeldoorn (NL)

This music has been remastered by talented audio engineer Marko Vlasic. You can contact him directly via:


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Pawn CD cover

This one suddenly progs it out quite severely, though still within my own personal broader vision of the style. If I would have to name one single inspiration it would have to be the Alan Parsons's Projects first album "Tales Of mystery And Imagination" about the life of writer Edgar Alan Poe.

"Pawn" is a fantasy concept album that is actually based on a book I wrote myself (though I never found the courage to try to get it published). The story is not very original but at least there is a twist at the end that sets it apart from the typical fantasy cliche template.

It was released on SI-Music, a dutch prog label that had quite a bit of repute within the neo prog scene then but folded a few years later.

The result is an album that might technically not be my best (read on below) but that I still consider to be among my most evocative work. There is an atmospheric touch running throughout that I still like a lot.

It should be noted that a person who would become a steady ally in my search for the ultimate prog album entered the fray on this album: Maarten Huiskamp. Without his guitaristic excellence and occasional input as a composer this project and the others to follow would not have reached the same level of competence.

Most of the vocals where sung by Jens van der Stempel, then known in the prog scene as the singer of dutch prog band Egdon Heath. He had a beautiful voice. His very prominent Dutch accent however always made me grate my teeth but I was able to dampen that a bit by making him more aware of this. It's a pity Jens quit music soon after that to pursue a more lucrative commercial career. He probably never looked back but as far as I was concerned he could have become a permanent project member.

For this site I have remastered my demo mixes, which are vastly superior to the released product. The record company insisted on a remix to a ridiculously tight budget.

It became my best selling album in spite of its limitations. Which proves that it's more about how you sell things then what you have to sell, I guess.

Pictures Of The City
The Tree I: Black
Into The Dark Realm
War Visions
In The Presence Of The Entaur
Free At Last
The Tree II: White
We Bid You Welcome
Clouds Over Isthnar
The Tree III: Green
No Single Man
total time:  57:09

Story and Lyrics: Marc Brassé
All compositions: Marc Brassé
"The Tree I: Black" Maarten Huiskamp & Marc Brassé
"War Visions", "Indrisha" and "The Tree III: Green" Maarten Huiskamp
"In The Presence Of The Entaur"
Gregor Theelen
Marc Brassé: Keyboards, EWI, drum programming, backing vocals, lead vocals on "We Bid You Welcome"
Jens van der Stempel: Lead vocals
Maarten Huiskamp: All guitars, keyboards on the "Tree I: Black", keyboards and drum programming on "War Visions" and "Indrisha"
Gregor Theelen: Vocals, keyboards and drum programming on "In the Presence Of The Entaur"
Alex Frerejean:
Demagogic rap on "Clouds Over Ishtnar"
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Schalkwijk - Houten (NL)

This music has been remastered by talented audio engineer Marko Vlasic. You can contact him directly via:


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Sand, Water & Heroes


Sand, Water & Heroes CD cover

Sand, Water & Heroes was my first album. To be honest it is more connected to 80ties synth pop with Kate Bush / Peter Gabriel influences then prog rock but thus it actually shows where I am really coming from. Despite being inspired by the then common trends it still counts among my most original material, especially because I was not yet trying to fit in a certain niche with it's own typical restrictions.

Musically this is among the more accessible material I have composed. Although it would be easy to be dismissive about this album after all these years I am still proud of it. Especially when one considers the minimal means with which it has been made it does stand the test of time very well. And in spite of the occasional fluke it it still contains a few of my all time favorite compositions. I see my output as a continuous process with it's own highs and lows. So this is part of that as much as anything. It's the first expression of a vision that has persisted throughout the years in spite of many setbacks, however naive I might have been when I recorded this. In that respect the "Because Dreaming is an Art" subtitle on the inlay still rings through.

The Twentieth Century (instrumental)
Deserts & Dreamlands
Technicolor Dreaming
Why Don't You Go (The Power Song)
The Eyes Of The Dragon
Ticking: When the Day Is Done
Ticking: The Room
From The Outside
Still Black Man Crawls
The Personal Apocalypse
Nevermore (instrumental)
Into the Desert
total time:  55:57

All compositions and lyrics: Marc Brassé
"Technicolor Dreaming"
Alex Frerejean
Marc Brassé: Lead vocals, keyboards, drum programming, guitar, bass, hyper-kazoo
Marie-José Soons: Vocals on "Technicolor Dreaming" and "Into The Desert"
Raimond Herveille: Additional drums on "Technicolor Dreaming"
Alex Frerejean: bass synthesizer on "Technicolor Dreaming"
Peter "Pietje Lifeson" Heinen:
guitars on "From The Outside" and "The Personal Apocalypse"
Special guests (in order of appearance):
Humphrey Bogart from the motion picture "Sahara"
John Wayne from "Back To Bataan"
Edward G. Robinson from "The Seawolf"
Marylin Monroe from "Love Happy"
Croucho Marx
from "Love Happy"
Produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by: Marc Brassé at Cycles Productions studio, Sweijkhuizen – Schinnen and Geverik – Beek (NL)

This music has been remastered by talented audio engineer Marko Vlasic. You can contact him directly via:


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On Collaboration

If the electronic music page, and almost all the other material on this website for that matter, is about Marc Brassé as a singular artist this section is all about collaboration.
While classical and experimental music might be the reserve of the individual, rock and pop seem to get to their highest level if people work together.
Here I want to thank the people who collaborated with me on my Prog / Art rock projects. The results where surely dominated by my own vision but the cream on the cake was often whipped up by people who where better musicians then me. Apart from some first rate performances, which took my concepts up to a higher level, their contribution also was important in an more indirect way: While I was constantly walking along the cutting edge of my abilities most of these persons where way ahead of me in mastering their instruments. I then took a close look at how they did their thing and then was able to integrate the experience into my own output.

Some persons that I would specifically like to mention here are:

1. Sjoukje van de Laar

How can I ever say enough about Sjoukje. She is the love of my life and although she has only contributed the odd spoken line or sample to my music she is the most important person in my life. Her patience and dedication have simply kept me alive. What more must I say. The rest can better be told by that extra bit of spirit she has injected into everything I have done since we are together. Just listen to some of my more romantic lyrics and you will understand.

2. Maarten Huiskamp

The Huiskamp. If there has been a constant contributing force to rock output it has been Maarten. Except on the very first one, Sand Water and Heroes, he was present all over my band oriented projects. Maarten was talented, dexterous and patient. I almost always gave him the freedom to come up with his own arrangements. So most of the time he just came in, did his thing and conquered.
There has been many a moment when he elevated a good basic idea to a higher level by adding something simple but really effective. He always listened with his musical ear and never with his ego, which is rare in a lead guitarist. Not that the did not also savor every opportunity to really shine. An shine he did!
Maarten also was a regular contributor in the compositional department. He wrote some excellent tracks which on average seemed to hit a nerve with the more conservative listener. Every time a typical prog-fan mentioned a track as his favorite they tended to be the ones written by Maarten, which of course pissed me off immensely. But truth must be told: Maarten just knew how to sling out a tune while still keeping track of accepted harmonic conventions. I must admit that I sometimes especially called on him to tackle a certain musical subject when I was not yet sure enough about my own abilities. So I especially learned a lot from him.
Man, we once discussed one single dissonant note in the intro of Virgil from Inferno that I insisted upon. He wanted that note to be in the same key as the rest of the music but I wanted to hear the extra dissonant tension. Some years later he told me I had been right from the start, without any invitation I must add.
That was Maarten. He could be quite grumpy some times and was always ready to defend his opinion but also not to proud to take a step back when it was not "his" project.
I actually often proposed to him to start working on his own solo project and one track was indeed added to the Reading Room CD under the Jacobs' Ladder project name. Maarten, in spite of all his talent, however never had the confidence to go all the way. I guess that he always shied away from having to face up to the possibility of not being accepted in his own right. What a pity. Later he decided to go to the United States with Lenny Caanen and we have rather lost track of each other. I guess he nowadays has more important things to do.
So Maarten, please forgive me for so often calling you a culture barbarian. These respectful words should for once and all prove that I didn´t really mean it. …. Well, at least not all the time.

3. Lenny Caanen

Lenny, Maarten Huiskamp´s partner, contributed all the female vocals to Inferno and Turbulence. She could hardly be called professional in her approach but had a great voice. I for instance remember clearly how I had to time-shift every single sentence in Storm from the Turbulence project because she could not cope with the sometimes rather adventurous timing of the lines I had come up with. The original recording session of that material is the only one I ever actually ran out off in anger. However: If Lenny was in the zone she sounded as good as best of the female rock "bitches". How fitting the lyrics to that very last contribution where. Lenny Caanen. Just another uncontrollable force of nature!

4. Bert Heinen

He sang and played bass on Turbulence. Just as with Hans Boonk his contribution transformed good basic material into a real breathing rhythm section. Bert was a very good composer himself and a very talented performing musician. He also was the most successful artist on the LaBraD'or record label. He was one of the few people I encountered who always seemed to be able to outdo me at every musical level. If sheer talent alone would be enough Bert would now be an internationally acclaimed star. Alas raw talent often seems to be the least important in this world. Surely a major source of frustration for both of us.

5. Gregor Theelen

He only contributed one single song to the pile (In The Presence Of The Entaur on Pawn) but has for many years been a constant force in the background. Not always a positive one, mind you, but even when not present he always stayed an early example I was trying to surpass and thus drove me on. He also deserves to be mentioned as the person who in general opened the world of pop and rock and the possibilities of the studio environment to me.

6. Hans Boonk

He drummed on Turbulence and once even accompanied me live. If a touring Brassé band would have been formed he would be the first one I would have asked. Thanks for showing me the power of snare drum diddles, Hans.

7. Peter Heinen

Peter played guitar on my earliest projects. We never really got close but his musicianship was always undisputed. When he was in the zone his guitar would sing like a lark.

8. Jens van der Stempel

People often complained on about the character of my singing voice, although I never actually got complaints about my technique as such. One is born with a pleasing voice or one isn't, I guess. Furthermore: The only accepted way to do rock in the 80ties and 90ties was to sound like a wailing, tight trousered, hardrock prima donna. Nowadays voices are allowed to be a bit more diversified and suddenly my voice seems to get less "bad press". To cut a long story short: Jens van der Stempel did the main part of the lead vocals on Pawn. Let's put it this way: Nobody complained about the vocals on that one. Sadly enough he decided to quite singing after this to concentrate on a carer in sales. Not my fault I hope.

9. Marko Vlasic

Marko has remastered all old projects (including the electronic ones). As a mastering engineer he has become a late but important addition. All my material has been recorded on period budget equipment and not being a natural mixing engineer I have always been painfully aware of the fact that the last little bit of potential always stayed obscured by the auditory limitations. Marko has been able to lift this "blanket". Much of my stuff now sounds like it was recorded in "real" studio's with much more expensive stuff and mixed by a better engineer. So the potential was apparently already there in the original mixes, which actually is a bit of a consoling thought after the fact for this perfectionist. Marko has now pulled that lingering potential fully to the front. So never ever underestimate the value of good remastering.

Of course there are others still (see the individual liner notes per project, and I hold everybody dear in some way or another, not the least because all these people contributed their diverse talents and time with out ever getting a dime for it.
The sad thing is that, bar Marko and Sjoukje (of course!), I am not in direct contact with any of these people anymore. That's what life does I guess. It brings people together but just as easily makes them drift apart again.
To all of you still out there I would like to say one thing still: I am sure I often came across as difficult and demanding. To be so result oriented one simply has to expect one is going somewhere. Well, life deals us all its blows and my arrogance has been called. No fame and fortune have been forthcoming. I do however hope you all still carry a small torch for what we did so many years ago. It´s one of the reasons why I am so eager to keep this stuff alive. Against all the odds!

All rights reserved Marc Brassé