Ben Craven is a “cinematic progressive-rock singer-songwriter” from Brisbane, Australia.
He likes to make records.
Immersed as a toddler in the era of big prog rock, Craven taught himself guitar and keyboards and joined a series of bands. None of them made it and none of them remotely played the kind of music that had been burned into his mainframe as a kid.
Nonetheless, the songs he wrote accumulated steadily. In 2005, Craven dispensed entirely with the band approach and recorded his debut album, Two False Idols under the name of Tunisia. The result was a work of incredible maturity, with influences ranging from Pink Floyd and Brian Wilson to the likes of Bernard Herrmann and John Barry.
As Craven worked the album it became painfully obvious that the music business was in the midst of a sea change, and most of the old guard didn’t seem to realize they were the cause. Very quickly he took an anti-DRM stance and released the live acoustic EP Under Deconstruction as a high-quality free download.
Craven stepped up a gear for his sophomore album, Great & Terrible Potions. Delivering on the cinematic promise of Two False Idols, Potions went widescreen as Craven blurred the boundaries between conventional songs and orchestral soundtracks. Augmented by a stunning cover designed by legendary artist Roger Dean (Yes, Uriah Heep, Asia), Potions was dense, complicated and unashamedly pretentious – everything a good prog rock album should be! Or, to put it another way, Craven sounded exactly like someone reveling in the creative freedom that came only from not worrying about what others wanted, and delivering what he felt instead.
His 2016 album, Last Chance To Hear, was a stunning triumphant musical masterpiece of progressive rock. The grandness of the album suggested it was performed by a five or six-piece band. Craven explained, “In keeping with the idea of the album as an endangered species, the new album’s title is Last Chance To Hear. It’s another solo album in the true sense of the word where I play just about everything, like on Potions. The difference this time is a much greater portion has turned out to be instrumental. Not that I dislike vocals, but sometimes the music can be strong and emotional and moving enough to stand on its own without them.”
There was also a special appearance on the album by legendary Star Trek actor William Shatner, providing spoken-word vocals for the track Spy In The Sky Part 3!
Craven achieved a great accolade in 2016, winning the MusicOz Australian Independent Music Award for Best Instrumental, for the track Critical Mass Part 2.
Ben’s latest opus is the album THE SINGLE EDITS (2018).
THE SINGLE EDITS showcases Ben’s finest moments from his solo output, both rock vocals, and rock instrumentals, compiled and re-imagined as single edits. A good bet for radio as Ben takes his greatest moments and edits them timewise into bite-sized chunks of sonic majesty. Although a 24-bit, 96kHz lossless download was released in late 2017, in early 2018 a special edition of THE SINGLE EDITS is available on compact disc, complete with folder artwork and multi-page booklet.
Here’s what the press raved about Ben Craven’s previous release:
“Heavy-duty prog rock monster”
– Anil Prasad, Innerviews
“Cracking virtuoso performance by an absurdly talented individual”
– Classic Rock Society
“Craven’s one-man-band production is a prog opus for the 21st century”
“All the drama, thunder, strum, and drang you could want the spiritual grandchild of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson to bring”
– Midwest Record
“Craven’s tremendous ability to combine memorable hooks with complex progressive rock and cinematic orchestral music is astounding”
– Sea Of Tranquility
“Press play and this album does the rest”
“Seriously well-distilled and blended”
– Van Dyke Parks