The Gift on Surrey Hills Radio
8th March 2015
On March 2nd, The Gift appeared on Surrey Hills Radio. Here's what the radio station had to say.
"After their album reached 22 in the Surrey Hills Radio Top 50 Prog Albums of 2014 Chart with the 'Land of Shadows', members of London based symphonic progressive rock band The Gift joined Tom Gillitt live in the studio. Mike, Dave and Graham sat in for a chat with the 21st Century Prog Show host and Adam Riches (from the Bingo Gravy Show) and discussed the creative process needed to make an albums. They also played some great tracks from the album!"
A good time was had by all. Thanks Tom for having us.
Listen to the show on Surrey Hills Radio
The Gift’s new EP planned
6th March 2015
The Gift are delighted to announce that we shall be releasing an EP in the autumn. Since cementing as a five piece after the release of 'Land Of Shadows' last year we have had a big shot in the arm in the writing department, with Samuele Matteucci (keys) and David Lloyd (guitars) contributing great ideas to go along with Mike Morton's output.
2016 promises to be a big year, with developing plans for a full album, which may well be a concept (more of which later). However, in the meantime, a number of tracks have evolved which seem to flow well together. The band are currently working on these tracks. Watch this space for more details!
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce...
3rd March 2014
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce that Land of Shadows, the much-anticipated sophomore release from symphonic prog masters The Gift, will be released on 5th May 2014.
Mike Morton, principal songwriter and vocalist with The Gift, said...”We are genuinely thrilled about ‘Land Of Shadows’. The Gift don’t do things quickly, but even by our standards this one was a long time coming. Part of the reason was our determination not just to remake ‘Awake And Dreaming’, which we could so easily have done. The new album is still very much us. We’re still telling tall tales and mixing up vintage with modern sounds, but this time around things are more ‘imminent’; more ‘live’. We’ve stripped back the layers and focused more on the song. But as card carrying proggers we still couldn’t resist throwing in a 20 minute beast about a near death experience... For those who like their music emotional, complex and occasionally grandiose, it’ll be right up your street.”
BEM’s CEO, David Elliott, said...“Releasing an album by The Gift is the fulfilment of a long-standing personal dream. Awake And Dreaming is one of my favourite albums from the start of the progressive rock ‘Renaissance’ of the mid-Noughties, and it’s a shame that Mike wasn't able to consolidate on the critical acclaim that the album received - due to circumstances beyond everyone’s control. With this new album - and a new lineup which will take The Gift’s vision to the stage in 2014 - we’ll finally see what this remarkable band can do.”
Pre-orders will open on 31st March - more details will follow soon. The release will be preceded by a digital single, The Willows, which will be available from the Bad Elephant Music website from 10th March.
Read the article on BadElephant.co.uk
The Gift’s definitive line-up
18th Jan 2014
After an exhausting round of auditions, the band has finally appointed a new drummer and bass player. Joseph Morton left a larger-than-life hole when he vacated the drum stool for his studies back in September. Finding the right replacement was never going to be easy, but the inimitable Scott Tipler (from the wild and eclectic ‘Fuzzy Nautilus’) is more than man enough for the task, bringing swing, power and panache to the band’s sound. Stefan Dickers is a wonderful bassist and a very good chap. This line-up is built to last, and the band are now rehearsing diligently for a series of important gigs throughout 2014.
‘Land Of Shadows’ released in April
18th Jan 2014
We can now report with utter certainty that our long, long delayed ‘Land Of Shadows’ album will be released in early April. It is currently being mastered, and thereafter begins a 2 and a half month promotional period before BEM unleashes it onto an unsuspecting world. Watch this space for details of pre-ordering and digital availability.
‘Resonance Rock Festival’
18th Jan 2014
After losing his mother to cancer, Mike became engaged with MacMillan’s Cancer Support. The organisation had made her last days in hospice peaceful and safe. They had also helped her to die with hope and joy in her heart. To repay them, and to raise funds and awareness for the cause, we have launched ‘Resonance’. It will be a 4 day music festival with all proceeds going to MacMillan’s. The event will take place from Thursday 31st July through to Sunday 3rd August at the Bedford in Balham: www.thebedford.co.uk The line-up will feature progressive, hard rock, fusion, eclectic and acoustic acts. There will be 3 separate stages: The Progressive Stage, The Power Stage (rock) and The Peace Stage (acoustic/solo). Acts will include The Enid, Caravan and other 70s masters. A very respected Swedish band is tipped to play, too, as are It Bites and other more modern luminaries. Younger bands, including Synaesthesia, Maschine and Crumbling Ghost, will keep it youthful. Some very famous faces have promised to show up and support the cause. Watch this space for final line-up and ticket details. ‘Resonance’ is shaping up to be one of THE musical events of the year.
‘Land Of Shadows’ now released in the new year (2014)
30th Sept 2013
On 11th September, Mike Morton lost his mother. After a long and dignified battle with cancer she passed away peacefully and surrounded by love, plus her hope that the next world would be full of light. She was the 'song in my soul', according to Mike. The Gift have decided to delay their forthcoming album's release from November until early next year so that they can record a song in tribute to her.
Thank you all once again for your unstinting patience.
‘More lineup changes’
30th Sept 2013
Joseph Morton has had to vacate The Gift drumstool in order to pursue his studies at University. The Gift are currently auditioning his replacement. By the time they play DanFest3 on November 23rd their new sticksman will have been through some mindbending rehearsals. This is because the band has decided to play the whole of their 40 minute magnum opus 'Awake And Dreaming' as well as selections from the forthcoming album 'Land Of Shadows'. No sleep 'til Leicester!
‘The Gift is a 6 piece’
10th June 2013
It is seven years since ‘Awake And Dreaming’ was launched into an unsuspecting prog scene. The Gift’s debut album was created by a line-up which disbanded almost as soon as it formed. For Mike Morton in particular, this was profoundly frustrating, as he always had a vision for a full, concept-driven live show. In 2010, Mike joined forces with David Lloyd, and together they created The Gift’s second album, ‘Land Of Shadows’ (to be released later this year). In order to fully realise both albums onstage, the band is now a 6-man live unit.
Its members are:
- Mike Morton: vocals, flute and acoustic guitar
- David Lloyd: lead and rhythm guitar
- Gary Lucas: lead and rhythm guitar
- Franz Vitulli: bass
- Samuele Matteucci: keyboards
- Joe Gadian-Morton: drums and percussion
This new line-up spans 2 generations of ‘proggers’. Mike, David and Gary were there in the 70s (more hair - smaller waistlines), whereas Joe, Sam and Franz are young upstarts whose awakening came in the 90s with Spocks Beard, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree etc. They then rewound avidly through older collections (in Joe’s case, his Dad’s!) Having discovered the joys of Genesis, Yes, Crimson and co., their musical fates were sealed. So the new live sound will be a heady mixture of vintage and contemporary. Watch this space...
‘The Gift sign to BEM’
10th June 2013
On Friday 31st May, The Gift officially signed to Bad Elephant Music. The label, brainchild of David Elliott and James Allen, is already home to The Fierce And The Dead and Shineback, so the band find themselves in prestigious company. BEM is devoted to truly progressive music, and it really does ‘do it for the art’ - a claim often made but seldom fulfilled. The band is delighted, and assure us that there will be a much shorter gap between ‘Land Of Shadows’ and its follow up. We hear dark mutterings that it will be a double concept album (!) provisionally titled ‘Pandemonium’. More of which anon....
‘Land of Shadows’ released in November!
10th June 2013
To those patient souls who have been drumming their fingers for over a year now, as multiple deadlines came and went, we praise your forbearance. The wait is finally over. The Gift’s sophomore release will be available in CD and digital formats in November this year, with presales starting in September to coincide with Summers End. We hope you think it’s been worth it...
New engineer, new mix
10th June 2013
Due to personal circumstances, Simon Godfrey will no longer be re-mixing ‘Land Of Shadows’. He was enjoying the challenge but has to focus his efforts elsewhere for the time being. Our new helmsman will be the wonderful Tim Lawrie, a brilliant young engineer who has already earned his stripes with Manning and Shineback, so we are very excited about the potential result. The initial fruits of his labour will be showcased on a ’Prog’ cover CD before the nights start drawing in. We’ll keep you posted...
‘Awake & Dreaming’ re-released In January 2013
21st November 2012
The Gift's first album has been reappraised and remastered to bring it up to the same sonic level of Land Of Shadows. The band are so pleased with the results that they have decided to re-release it in conjunction with the new album. This means that on January 2nd 2013, fans will receive 2 late Christmas 'gifts'! Both albums will now be available through Cyclops Records (who were so impressed with the new work that they resigned them, despite having vowed previously to release only the back catalogues of famous prog bands).
To complement the new sound of Awake And Dreaming, the CD artwork has been redesigned. Back in 2007, the band admired the simplicity of its look but thought that if their baby was to be reborn, it should be wearing new clothes!
The brains behind both CDs' look is a brilliant young designer called Brian Mitchell. It is fair to say that Brian is not a prog aficionado, so his triumph in the visual department is even more impressive. He has added subtlety and grace to both booklets, as well as a fair splash of much needed colour on Awake And Dreaming. So don't just buy the download! Whilst we are on the subject, many thanks and praise to Richard Pocock our webmaster, who is not only a wizard coder but also a very fine imagineer himself, as this site clearly shows...
New Album ‘Land Of Shadows’ released In January 2013
21st November 2012
After five years, The Gift are finally close to releasing their long anticipated follow up to 2007’s ‘Awake And Dreaming’. Their first album caused quite a stir in the prog community back then, attracting comparisons to Spocks Beard, The Flower Kings and even the golden greats, particularly Genesis and Pink Floyd.
Their sophomore release will be born into a radically different musical landscape, which now embraces progressive rock in all its forms. Young and old ‘active audiates’ are soaking up all sorts of sounds ranging from the flutes and finesse of Tull to the intense attack of The Mars Volta.
When The Gift appeared from nowhere in 2007, the prog genre was still very much an underground phenomenon, suffering from the media indifference and/or hostility which had plagued it since 1976 and punk’s supposed ‘revolution’... Back then The Gift’s pastoralism and melody was a shot in the arm for a scene which had all but succumbed to the technical metal showboating of Dream Theater. Porcupine Tree alone seemed to be forging a new path, but very few UK progressive bands were mixing baroque tunes, Mellotrons and Hammonds with ambience and modern stylings.
The Gift did. Now it seems as though the scene has caught up with them, as bands like Haken and Big Big Train blend 70’s sounds with a 21st century aesthetic.
The enigma will soon be over. Land Of Shadows will thrill and entrance you as much as its predecessor did. This time, however, there will be even more darkness, drama and delight...
The Gift Play Danfest In November!
28th June 2012
Quietly, over the last couple of years, Leicester has grown into a bit of a ‘Prog Mecca’. Danny Mayo, a spirited and compassionate local music lover, has been steadily turning the city’s friendliest, most musical of venues into a haven for progressive rock lovers. The Musician club is tucked away in the city centre, and - despite being smaller than the original Marquee - has a very large appetite for adventurous music. When it comes to promotion, Danny is no slouch. In recent months he has attracted Focus, Eloy, Wishbone Ash and other established bands to the venue. All have been met with affection, enthusiasm and loud cheers.
Last year Mr Mayo launched DanFest; his own (modestly titled) event! DanFest was a progressive rock weekender styled in part after Stephen Lambe and Huw Lloyd-Jones’ ‘Summer’s End’. In November this year the second festival will draw the faithful to The Musician once more, and The Gift will appear on the Saturday. This is no mean feat. Several well known names are in the lineup, and Mr Mayo has been inundated with more who want to play, but the bill is now full.
Watch out for the first ever live airing of the ‘Awake and Dreaming’ suite. At 40 minutes long, this will take up a lot of The Gift’s stage time. Fear not, however, as the big hitters from ‘Land Of Shadows’ will also get a live airing...
The Gift To Feature On Prog Magazine CD (Issue 28)
28th June 2012
For some time now, Jerry Ewing and his team of stalwarts at ‘Prog’ magazine have been championing ‘astounding sounds and amazing music’. In fact, it is no overstatement to say that he is one of the architects of the UK media’s new interest in progressive rock. Some might say that the ‘Prog’ team have helped rebuild the market. In 2005, The Gift were effectively discovered by Nick Shilton, erstwhile author of ‘Classic Rock’s monthly prog column ‘Hemispheres’. Back then, his enthusiastic articles were virtually the only exposure this type of band could hope to get in the UK press. Now times have changed, and it is great to know that the offspring of Classic Rock - Prog magazine - will be helping The Gift ‘step into the light’ once more. You will be able to sample their second album on Prog magazine’s next CD. The first two parts of their 20 minute epic ‘The Comforting Cold’ will give readers a taste of what’s to come. Wonderful symmetry, eh?...