New Music!"Four Named Narratives"
"...this guy is really onto something here and is helping me (and any other heavy music fan willing to check this album out) to prove yet again that guitars aren't the only way to get it done" — Prog Metal ZoneGet yours
"The Barbarian (ELP Cover)"Some friends and I recorded a tribute to the late, great Keith Emerson. Our version of "The Barbarian".
Click here to listen.
Featuring Tom Hipskind on drums and Shawn Sommer on bass, the EP is comprised of four new, long-form instrumentals and two bonus tracks.
Special guests Mirko Borach on fretless bass and Daniel van den Berg on guitar and composition are featured on Dan's excellent "Veils in the Serpent Wind, Part II"
May 2 2016
Tribute to Keith Emerson.
February 12 2016
A new collaboration with Daniel van den Berg and Mirko Borach.
October 4 2014
An improvised, multi-musician song from this summer.
During the summer, I set up an experiment with the talented bassist Steve Lawson. "Lets improvise", I said, "asynchronously. I'll
send you some tracks, and you add your things, and we'll see what comes of it."
Once I had our tracks, other musicians offered to add their voices! What started as two musicians sending files back and forth turned into a full band on a cinematic track that starts gently and builds into a tempest.
Jason Rubenstein - Piano and Keyboards
Steve Lawson - Bass and bass effects and bass noises
Tom Hipskind - Drums and Percussion
Brian Kahanek - Moog Guitar, Mixing and Mastering
Jill Kahanek - Flute
September 25 2014
I love this review from Lady Obscure.
Excuse me, but I think I dropped something… MY JAW! There’s a thousand words that I could say to explain you why New Metal from Old Boxes, by Jason Rubenstein is a must have. But let’s save time. Call your mama and ask her to make some room on your proghead’s sacred wall for this album, and meanwhile I’ll give you my (almost) thousand words. Yes, I have counted my words, and yes, you can thank me for the heads up later.
If you are a progressive music fan of my age, with this album you’ll have a great chance to sneak into what the big bosses created on the old good days and now progheads treasure as classics. And if you are older and, same as Jason, you have probably been raised into legendary prog (King Crimson, ELP), this will surely be a great opportunity to revamp your musical passion. And finally, if you are a keyboard, piano, organ and/or synth player/fan, well… I’m not here to judge man, but not getting this album must be a crime for someone like you. And prog police has no mercy. Just saying.
Read the whole thing!
September 06 2014
I was interviewed by Prog Metal Zone.
We recently reviewed the new album from keyboardist Jason Rubenstein, New Metal From Old Boxes and we were more than impressed by Rubenstein’s take on heavy progressive music with only keyboards and the use of his extensive knowledge of technology to create one of the coolest and most unique albums we’ve heard in a long time...We recently sat down with Jason and got to hear a lot more about his music, influences, how he juggles two parallel careers and his (very knowledgeable) thoughts on the state of the music industry. (At the end of the interview you can check out New Metal From Old Boxes via Rubenstein’s BandCamp site.)
Read the whole thing!
Thanks very much to Andy Read, host of DPRP Radio. This week, he's played "Walking On Hot Sand" along truly great music from The Pineapple Thief, The Bob Lazar Story,
Opeth, North Atlantic Oscillation, and others. Hearing a heavy progressive rock song, or in this case a heavy progressive rock/jazz fusion song, alongside established
progressive-rock bands is wonderful. It's great to know that the heavier sounds work well in the context of a wider range of programming.
It's a great program of music, and you can hear the whole thing here.
August 5 2014
NMFOB Gets 9/10 From Prog Metal Zone!
One of the things that I've always loved about much of early progressive rock was not only how adventurous it was but also how damned heavy it could be. The music often had as much to do with Jimi Hendrix as it did with classical music. I ain't talking about Yes's flights of fancy or the pastoralism of Genesis but more along the lines of King Crimson's angularity or even the early grittiness of Emerson Lake and Palmer. Yeah, I hear 'ya, ELP??? Sure, just give a listen to that first album of theirs way back in 1970 and tell me that Knife-Edge, The Barbarian and Tank wasn't some damned heavy shit! And heavy without being metal and often the heaviness came from the keyboards – mostly just Moog synthesizers and Hammond organs. The Italian bands from that era (remember Goblin?) also relied on keyboards to really knock you on your ass and many hard-core rockers from that era dug ELP as much as they loved Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. So why do I bring this up now? Well giving a listen to keyboardist Jason Rubenstein's new album (and first in over 10 years), New Metal From Old Boxes has not only struck a heavy prog chord in me but has really made me realize how great it is to hear an all-keyboard album be one hell of a great and totally heavy instrumental experience.
Check it out.
It's a detailed interview, and Nick asked some excellent and smart questions. We talked not only about New Metal From Old Boxes
and how it was created, but also about how the process of making music has evolved, the challenges of doing all of the parts myself,
and the future of progressive and heavy rock.
Check it out.
While I work on the next album (planned for release in 2015), I've been recording some "singles" throughout this year. There are
a few in the works, and this is the first one. "Walking On Hot Sand" is a composition written by drummer Tom Hipskind. We invited bassist
Shawn Sommer and guitarist Brian Kahanek to record their tracks - and the result is a rocking, screaming fusion song.
New Metal From Old Boxes is now
available at Nightmare Records for sale and for distribution.
Nightmare is one of the last "REAL RECORD COMPANIES" out there
that champions quality music over trends. Nightmare is the best location
to find the worlds finest in rock and metal music.
There's more about them here.
June 26 2014
A gleaming review from Progarchy music blog.
"Almost effortlessly, Rubenstein employs classical jazz, noir jazz, prog, metal, classical, and jazz fusion. If I had to label it, I'd called it "Cinematic metal prog." At times, it's downright frantic, always extravagant, but never campy or over-the-top. While this is certainly Rubenstein's creation, he is never shy about borrowing styles from those he clearly admires. I hears lots of The Tangent, ELP, King Crimson, Cosmograf, Cailyn, Tool, Dead Can Dance, and even Wang Chung (only from their spectacular To Live and Die in LA soundtrack)."
June 22 2014
Want to hear a great mix of progressive rock?
Check out "Experiments In Mass Appeal", program #118.
You'll hear a great mix of classic and new progressive rock. This program features a great block of instrumental songs.
June 5 2014
A gleaming, insightful review of the album.
Check out this insightful, fantastic review of "New Metal From Old Boxes" by the blog of Unsound America.
"...a calculated aural assault with something to say (clearly, with perfect annunciation) before it bashes your head in."
Read it here. They really get what this album is. If you want a track-by-track detailed review, you have to read this.
"New Metal From Old Boxes", Eleven original songs and one cover, recorded last October, mixed in January by the amazing Niko Bolas and mastered by Capitol Mastering's Ron McMaster. Listen to them all here.
There is a digital download (with PDF versions of the liner notes) and there is a physical CD, designed by the brilliant Toshi Onuki.
Apr 13 2014
I've got a couple of great things going on right now.
The first is that one of the songs from my new album will be included on the next Progstravaganza compilation, titled "Transforma". Man, I can't tell you how excited I am. The previous compilations are excellent, and to be included with some of the best progressive rock and progressive metal bands in the world is an incredible feeling. Check out the progstravaganza website for more information this and next month.
The other huge news is that my new album "New Metal From Old Boxes" (a.k.a. NMFOB) will be released at the end of May. Pre-orders are open now, and there will be physical CDs available. The album of 12 tracks was mastered for CD and it sounds great. I'm freakin' excited -- this is my first complete album release in a long time, and I couldn't be happier. It sounds great: epic, loud, angry, noisy, and intense as hell.
The last news for now is that I've started working on the next album. I'm updating the blog with work-in-progress missives, so please check it out. Leave a comment -- I'd love to hear from you.
That's it at the moment. If you follow my Soundcloud page, you'll be able to hear (and comment about) the music I'm working on, experimenting with, etc. It's completely free, so what's the worst that can happen?
"Rubenstein's music is credible and inspired, and it has all the spark and sizzle that made the progressive era so exciting in the first place."— Babysue.com, @babysue
"Powerful, aggressive prog-rock that puts viciously articulate piano, synthesizer, and organ in your face... a calculated aural assault with something to say (clearly, with perfect annunciation) before it bashes your head in."— Unsound America, @UnsoundAmerica unsoundamerica.wordpress.com
"In terms of sound quality, this album is perfection itself...its production is immaculate. Even the packaging is a work of art. Like the music, it is dark, brooding, and industrial."— Brad Birzer, progarchy.com
"...this guy is really onto something here and is helping me (and any other heavy music fan willing to check this album out) to prove yet again that guitars aren't the only way to get it done"— Jeff Stevens, Prog Metal Zone
"A Burden of Secrets is one track that stands out to me with some beautiful piano solos and brilliant melodies. The skillful playing by Jason on this album is impressive!"— Jeff Nixon, Can This Even Be Called Music? canthisevenbecalledmusic.com
"What I enjoy most about this @jasonrubenstein set is how melodic and listenable it is, while being both heavy and proggy... This one demands you to turn it up."— @LinerNotes, Musings on Music
"Cool progressive music!"— Metal Topics, @MetalTopics
Behind the epic music.
Jason Rubenstein is a progressive rock and ambient keyboardist. Influenced by heavy progressive rock and old synthesizers, Jason creates modern, heavy instrumental music. The influences of King Crimson, ELP, Philip Glass, NIN, and Moog synthesizers are clearly heard. The style is loud, heavy, melodic, complicated, modern.
Jason RubensteinKeyboards, computers, programming
Jason Rubenstein has been writing and producing music
since 1995. His latest release, "New Metal From Old Boxes" is
a return to his progressive-rock roots with a loud, heavy,
energetic and modern suite of instrumentals that evoke King
Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Nine Inch Nails, and classical music.
Written, performed and produced by Jason, it is a change in style from his previous mixed-genre CDs. "I love progressive rock.", Jason said, "I grew up on it, and I was in a prog-rock band in the 80s, back when prog really was not cool. Recently, I needed to hear new music that carries forward the heavier, 20th-century-classical progressive-rock sound. It was a challenge; nothing felt quite right to me. For "New Metal From Old Boxes", I just wrote what I felt, and used a limited set of classic textures: piano, Hammond B3, huge drums, Oberheim and Moog synthesizers, and bass & guitar."
"New Metal From Old Boxes" features classic, loud rock production and a movie-like tension-filled soundtrack vibe. Imagine if King Crimson, ELP, Wendy Carlos, and Philip Glass got together to score the soundtrack for a heist movie.
Jason Rubenstein's music has been heard on National Public Radio, NBC Television, Soma.fm, and in the film "Replicant". In 2000, he was featured in an EQ magazine article "Adventures in Sound Design", and his sound design was used in ABC's television series "Lost". In March of 2014, Jason released an EP titled "This is Not a Love Letter".
"New Metal From Old Boxes" is his sixth release.
Rubenstein, who'd previously worked as a software engineer at Google and at Pono Music, suddenly found himself unemployed in late 2013. He started working on "New Metal For Old Boxes" the next day, writing one song per day for 30 days. "I'd been running the engineering for Pono Music for three years when the whole project hit its nadir. We all got laid-off. The very next day, at 7am, I fired up my home studio and started writing music. No wasting time. I wrote one song every day, not worrying about whether it was any good - I just wrote whatever I wanted to hear. Every day, I literally asked myself 'What do I want to hear? What am I feeling right now?' and I went and wrote whatever that was.", Jason said. "A lot of the process for writing came from the process for writing genre fiction: 'What happens? And what happens next? And what happens after that?'. Every song tells a story of some sort, regardless of whether it has lyrics. My songs don't have lyrics, but they're either stories, or a series of vignettes, or a scene. For example, there's a story about a heist in there, and one about a barbarian horde storming-in from the steppes. I'm a genre-fiction geek, what can I say. And I didn't give a damn what anyone else thought about the music. As long as I liked it, I was happy. I trust my taste in music - I figure that if I like it, there will be others out there who will as well."
The music is heavy, cinematic, relentless. There is not one ballad or slow-moving track on the 12-song album. Even the breakdowns are heavy, like moments of Steely Dan with King Crimson's terrifying rhythm section. "The mix engineer, Niko Bolas, called the project 'Jason-R-Schizo' on the first day of mixing. My everyday personality doesn't match the music. It's a divide - there's my meet-me-on-the-street personality where I try to be as decent a human being as I can, and my musical personality, which is heavy, dark, brooding, angry. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't make this music, my personality would start to corrode. I'd be a short, angry man yelling at clouds and dogs and minivans."
Jason's history is uncommon for a child of the 1970s. He discovered computers at the same time he discovered synthesizers. "While that's common for children these days, in 1975 both computers and synths were rare.", he said. His elementary school had an IBM computer terminal where he and his friends taught themselves FORTRAN, a computer programming language. A neighbor owned an Arp Odyssey monophonic synthesizer, and a school field-trip brought Jason face-to-face with a giant Moog modular synthesizer. "When I was 4 years old, I discovered my parent's stereo and an LP of "Switched-On Bach" by Wendy (at the time Walter) Carlos. It blew my little mind. So coming face-to-face with the type of machine that made those sounds was life-changing. I knew right then that I needed to make music with one of these monsters." The combination of technology and music came naturally to him, and the local record store became a source of education. He bought and borrowed LPs by Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, ELO, ELP, Rush, Yes, Jean-Luc Ponty, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Steve Miller, Kraftwerk, Bruford, Allan Holdsworth, King Crimson, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel. Then a degree in computer science, a gig with a Chicago-area progressive rock band ("We sounded too much like Rush and not enough like ourselves"), jobs as a consulting programmer for Fortune-500 companies, and music school at night. "I'd hang out until 4am with the jazz & rock students from school at Chicago jazz clubs. How the hell I made it to work the next morning is still a mystery to me.", Jason said. Finally leaving Chicago for Los Angeles in 1995 after failing to get traction in the local music scene, he produced his first CD in 1996, and the second in 1998. These were eclectic, downtempo rock/electronic/jazz projects that immediately opened doors for him to produce music for television and film.
It took ten years for Rubenstein to get back to creating music and produce "New Metal For Old Boxes". "For a long time, I wasn't writing music for myself", he said, "and it turns out that was a problem. For a few years I was writing what I thought other people wanted to hear, or writing what a media producer needed for a deadline. And the music I was writing had nothing to do with what I was feeling, or with what I loved to hear. So I got away from it in 2004 and started a software company, and then moved to San Francisco, and then had the opportunity to work at Google, and then with Neil Young on Pono Music. It was an incredible experience to do all of that, but now it's time to have new experiences creating new music. Through all of that geekery I learned to just write the music that I wanted to hear and feel. I need to keep getting it out of my system, and it turns out that I'm simply unable to quit music. A ten-year break was too long. It's either I keep creating music like this, or I start standing on the streetcorner and yell at the clouds and the passing hipsters."