Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt: The story behind new album Invention Of Knowledge
Two of progressive rock’s most creative minds – Jon Anderson and Flower King Roine Stolt – team up on new album Invention Of Knowledge
“With The Flower Kings,” says Jon Anderson, “the last thing I heard from them seemed to stem from King Crimson and Yes, but then spread its musical wings outwards, bound for other paths of expression. It was wonderful. I got the feeling I first got from Vanilla Fudge, where they expanded and extended music ’til they changed it and it evolved into something else. Going to work with Roine, I found that feeling came back.”
Invention Of Knowledge sees two emperors of different eras of prog come together to bounce ideas off each other and spring towards entirely original terrain. Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt first collaborated in 2014 in the live context of the Progressive Nation At Sea cruise. After Anderson had agreed to play a 20-minute set with Transatlantic – Stolt’s other baby – he emailed a suggestion that they should also play The Revealing Science Of God, side one of Tales From Topographic Oceans, together. Surely that was quite a stretch for Stolt and the band to learn in a hurry?
“I know – bit of a stretch for me too, to perform!” laughs Anderson. “It was midnight! It was so much fun rehearsing it, then by the time we’d done our own shows, we whispered, ‘Do you think we can really do this now?’ But we were committed. It was exhausting. It’s not an easy work. Like climbing a mountain! But I went through so many ups and downs with Tales… – through a lot of pain and frustration – so all these years later, to perform it with Roine was heaven, was magical. Musically, it still works. We did something in the 70s that still works, 40 years later. And that music taught me never to worry whether something’s a hit – people will find it if they find it.”
So how did the Invention Of Knowledge album come about?
“How did I come to create music with somebody I’d met once – on a cruise? Well, the record company guy [InsideOut’s Thomas Waber] is a big Yes fan. He suggested that we two could record something together, something which could be really important. ‘Okay, let’s try,’ I said. I sent Roine some ideas and lo and behold! He liked what he heard and I liked what he did with it, reorganising, colouring. It had a number of different moods, with a prog rock feel just here and there. Roine has so much taste. It rang true to everything I hold most dear to me.”