Set the controls for the Red Planet, the latest full-scale progressive rock album from legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman. This 2020 release includes eight new compositions from the former Yes keyboardist. Wakeman jokes about the idea of pushing the “prog fader” up to 11, saying “That could be a problem, as it’s already at 14!”
Wakeman produced The Red Planet with Erik Jordan, featuring a blend of analog and modern keyboards. He has revived the backing band name “the English Rock Ensemble” which had been used on several of his earlier records. The band includes guitarist Dave Colquhoun, drummer Ash Soan and bassist Lee Pomeroy. The latter recently toured with Wakeman as part of his iteration of Yes alongside Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin. Wakeman, Anderson and Rabin formed their own version of Yes in 2016, staging multiple tours, which included a 50th-anniversary set of shows that wrapped up in the fall of 2018.
The Red Planet is Wakeman’s first rock-oriented solo project since 2003 when he released “Out There.” Most recently he has released a trio of piano-based albums: 2017’s Piano Portraits, 2018’s Piano Odyssey and 2019’s Christmas Portraits.
The album is available to pre-order in multiple formats, including download, CD, vinyl and deluxe editions with a bonus DVD that is was originally slated to contain a surround sound mix. However, the surround mix is delayed and possibly will be issued at a later date. A special “pop-up” package is limited to 2,000 copies worldwide, and at the time of this writing it is unclear whether or not this is a limitation for the CD + DVD bundle. Presently pre-orders are only taken through his site at the button link below.
Re-scheduled for release May 23, 2020.
CD + DVD special limited edition reported to contain a surround version of the album.