JASON BLAKE: Chicago Warr Guitarist Presents Candles Burn Prog/Classical EP Featuring Cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne Via Former King Crimson Member Trey Gunn’s 7D Media; Teaser And Preorders Posted

photos by Amy Schwartz

Prolific Chicago-based Warr guitarist JASON BLAKE has teamed up with cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne to create a modern string duo album unlike any other on the Candles Burn EP, set for release April 5th on 7d Media, the label operated by former King Crimson member Trey Gunn.

When not performing and recording with his progressive metal band Aziola Cry, JASON BLAKE is extremely productive as a solo musician, having released nearly a dozen solo titles over the past three years alone. His first solo release of 2024 comes in the form of the succinct and absorbing Candles Burn EP. Evenly split between progressive rock and classical chamber music, Candles Burn tells a tale of redemption, with the unique and mesmerizing sounds of his touchstyle Warr guitar style intertwined with the skillful work of cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Leprous, Musk Ox, The Visit).

JASON BLAKE began composing material for what was going to be the follow up to 2023’s Subsequent Ruins album which saw him paired with drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist) when he realized that this music could be something different. He elaborates, “I really liked how the music had a natural flow to it. It told its own musical story. I also thought that it sounded interesting by itself and only needed the addition of a single instrument. Being a fan of cello music and specifically the work of Raphael made it an easy choice for the direction the album should take.”

For the three-song EP, JASON BLAKE used his semi-hollow Artisan Warr guitar in order to match the acoustic tone of the cello. His guitar parts were recorded and engineered by Amery Schmeisser at Gravel Road Recording in Chicago, who also mixed the album using Raphael Wienroth-Browne’s cello contributions which he self-recorded at home in Ottawa. The tracks were mastered by Andy VanDette (Rush, Porcupine Tree) and the record was completed with artwork by Robert Booth and design by Fumihito Sugawara / Fumanstudios.

BLAKE elaborates, “One of my first bands was a string trio and I have always wanted to return to this sound. This music is an exciting closer step into the world of classical chamber music. Working with Raphael was perfect because he was able to match the exact mood that I heard for these songs.”

When asked about his participation in the project, Wienroth-Browne states, “On the monumental Candles Burn, JASON BLAKE synthesizes elements of instrumental prog and metal and expertly orchestrates them on a single instrument, the Warr guitar. This piece is a testament to both his creativity and virtuosity, traversing a wide range of musical landscapes over its runtime. Candles Burn is a multi-movement work that should appeal equally to fans of modern prog and contemporary classical music.

“I had the pleasure of composing and performing cello on this record and felt inspired by Jason’s playing to create melodic lines reminiscent of Indian classical music as well as aggressive syncopated rhythms, wild improvised solos, and Opethian harmonies. Collaborating with Jason on Candles Burn stretched me as a player and composer and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with him on such an epic and exciting piece.”

A brief teaser for the Candles Burn EP is now playing RIGHT HERE.

Candles Burn will be released on CD and all digital platforms through 7d Media on April 5th. Find preorders HERE. Watch for videos and more to post over the weeks ahead.

Candles Burn Track Listing:
1. Dredged Memories
2. Rift And Reckoning
3. Leaving Only Embers

JASON BLAKE has also been nominated in the 2023 Progspace awards for Performance Of The Year: Non-Traditional Rock Instrument, interestingly enough alongside Raphael Weinroth-Browne in the same category. Cast your vote HERE.

Candles Burn acts as a bridge between Subsequent Ruins and what BLAKE has in store for his next progressive rock album, which is likely to be released later this year amidst additional solo material and a new Aziola Cry album.