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Rory Ridley-Duff from England North
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Artist History

Rory Ridley-Duff started musical life as the keyboard player in the English progressive rock band Protos. Recently, he also became a solo artist after releasing Passing Decades and A Question of Expression (available from iTunes music store). In 2006, he formed a music publishing company New Horizons Music with Steve Anscombe (guitarist in the band Protos) to start new musical collaborations and projects.
Rory Ridley-Duff Blog
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 20 Oct 2007 12:32 AM

In 1982, Sussex-born Rory Ridley-Duff and Stephen Anscombe released One Day a New Horizon, now acknowledged as one of English progressive rock’s ‘hidden treasures’.  Popularised by Japanese, UK and US record collectors, a misunderstanding led to hundreds of advance order requests pouring into Protos’s web-site from Japan.  With such interest, the band quickly established New Horizons Music at Rory's new home in Yorkshire to re-issue their original album on CD.


25 years on, Rory and Stephen have produced another stunning contribution to the genre.


The Noble Pauper's Grave (released 18th October 2007) tells the story of a man born to privilege who rejects his upbringing.  Drawn to the plight of the poor, he helps to organise and rally support for their cause whilst finding love amongst them.  A tale of humility, tragedy, courage and affection conveyed through ambient narratives and rock music.


The album opens with Born a Bit Blue, an upbeat blues number depicting the energy of youth.  This is followed by Travels, a lilting melodic number in 5/4 time that portrays the noble sailing away to a new life.  Next comes The Rally, one of two tracks on the album that exceed 10-minutes in length.  This powerful rock track intersperses a march with reflective and melancholic passages.  The Final Dawn is a tuneful reprise communicated through a subtle arrangement for guitar, saxophone, flute, acoustic bass, piano and strings.  The fifth track, Outcry, has a dark and moody opening before breaking out in another powerful rock track.  The central section depicts a dance that leads to an erotically charged love‑scene.  The finale, echoing the track’s opening theme, paints a picture of the noble’s emotional turmoil as his lover departs.  Aftermath, another upbeat rock number captures the mood of the noble as he faces the retribution of his followers.  Departures closes the album with a beautiful portrayal of the noble’s funeral and ascent into folk lore.


The album is being released in two versions.  The retail CD contains 13 tracks: music and narratives dovetail seamlessly into a continuous 51-minute performance.  It will appeal strongly to choreographers looking for dramatic new dance music.  The digital store release contains only the 7 music tracks.  This will appeal to those who prefer to download music for MP3 and iPod playlists.  The album will initially be available as an MP3 download from CD Baby - www.cdbaby.com/cd/protos4 - the world’s leading independent music distributor, before appearing in digital stores and specialist retail outlets in Japan, France, Sweden, UK, Eastern Europe and the USA.

The Story So Far…

PRESS COMMENT up to October 2007.

“Congratulations on one of the best Prog Rock albums made
-          Dave Martin, Whitchurch Prog Rock Festival Organiser, England


“Totally original…best amongst the British progressive rock bands”

-          Yasushi Tsurutu, Orange Power Prog Rock Magazine, Japan (Tokyo)


“I am amazed it never garnered more success. Protos is one band that begs to be listened to again…”

-          Gregg Kovach, Prog Rock DJ, USA (Chicago)


“This collection really is a surprise to me as it opens the doors into a world where symphonically tinged prog rock lives in eternal splendour; it's beauty and magnificence never fading away.  I recommend without reserve.”

-          Fabio Rancati, Progressive Rock Reviewer, Italy


“…one of the most important albums of this particular sub-genre and in my opinion is one of the best…”

- Maribor, Progressive Ears Review


“There’s no denying the musical genius here…it has all the elements that make the genre so appealing: stellar musicianship, soaring melodies, complex passages, virtuoso solos, and that vintage sound....”

-          Peter Pardo, Sea of Tranquility Review


“This is a long lost classic… it combines everything I love about the genre…”
-          Ron Fuchs, Prognaut Review


Passing Decades (the album that ‘accidentally’ revived interest in Protos’s music)


“… a fine testament to a very talented musician and composer…”

 -          Peter Pardo, Sea of Transquilty Review, USA


“Variations, Tempest and The Maiden, are each a fully-fledged art-rock creation, the former being the absolute winner in my eyes…..”

 -          Vitaly Menshikov, Russia


“I enjoy all the tracks on this CD, but I’m always drawn to Tempest and Space every time I’ve listened to it.”

-          Ron Fuchs, Prognaut Review.


“The best is saved till the end, where Space, a 12-minute stunner wraps up this interesting album.  Ambient and soundtrack music lovers are in for a treat.”- -     Eddie Lascu, Gnosis Review.



  Ding Ding - Round 2...
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 14 Oct 2007 01:17 AM

A year to the day after One Day a New Horizon was issued on CD, a second album by Protos The Noble Pauper's Grave arrives in the UK.  All music on the new album has been written and arranged by Rory Ridley-Duff and Stephen Anscombe. 

The new album is now available from CD Baby and SoundClick in MP3 form (7 Tracks, 46 minutes).  The Retail CD, with additional narrative tracks and story-related sound effects, is a complete performance that will appeal to dance, theatre and drama groups looking for creative opportunities.  It will be making its way to stores and reviewers over the next few weeks.

And what a journey it has been.....

Rory's writing / recording started in March 2007.  He laid down the basics for all 7 music tracks.  Next came two intensive weeks recording Steve Anscombe's guitar contributions in June and August.  Lastly, Nigel Rippon added electric cello.  Rory and Steve visited the place they reheased their 1982 album (Little Hayes, West Wittering) to record the very last guitar part - it just seemed right to them to pay tribute to the venue in this way. 

The album features both old and new material, combining, for example, a 1978 version of Outcry with material from Rory's solo album Passing Decades, plus new material composed throughout 2007.  Already called 'the most emotional and erotic track I've listened to for years' by an early listener, Outcry stands as the centrepiece of the album.  It is Steve's favourite track.  As for Rory, he has a soft spot for The Rally.  This was a particularly challenging track to play live (see Into the Mouth of the Tiger).  On this album release, less inventive material has been replaced with a virtuoso track that was written and rehearsed in the early 1980s.  It's release is long overdue.  Lastly, there are tracks like The Final Dawn, based on a piano piece that spawed The Fugitive (released on One Day a New Horizon)This has been restored to its original form and rearranged it for piano, guitar, flute, saxophone, percussion and strings.  It is a delightful melodic reprise between the album's two 10-minutes rock epics.

This is one album that you will enjoy!

All the best

  New album by Protos announced....
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 30 Jun 2007 02:04 PM

Rory (and Steve Anscombe) have announced the name of Protos's new album.  The Noble Pauper's Grave will be released on 18th October 2007.  Watch this space for more details as they appear.

  And Now For Something Completely Different...
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 31 May 2007 09:46 AM

Welcome to the June edition of the New Horizons Music newsletter.  What happened to May, you ask?  There was the small matter of student assignments and exam marking....

Normal service has now resumed.  This month's main article "And Now for Something Completely Different...." takes a fresh look at what to expect when you send your music for review.  Secondly, we continue our series of artist interviews with Rob Fowler of Digital Chemistry to see what progress he's made with his debut album Machine Made Man.  Lastly, we launch a 'Quick News' section for progressive musicians with something to announce.  With no more ado, let the rhethoric begin....


  Summary of Album Reviews
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 19 May 2007 02:09 AM

Click below to read a summary of album reviews for Passing Decades and A Question of Expression:


  Progressor Review of Passing Decades
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 17 May 2007 12:42 AM
Variations is an absolute winner in my eyes...

Rory winkles everything possible out of his synthesizers, so the recording's sonic palette is rich in sounds that imitate various brass, chamber and string instruments. Passing Decades is subtitled "Jazz / Rock" and two of the tunes, Passing Decades and London-125, suitably fit the requirements, both standing out for their 'slap bass'. The title number combines natural symphonic and quasi-improvisational patterns and is generally more intriguing than London-125. Variations, Tempest and The Maiden, are each a fully-fledged art-rock creation, the former being the absolute winner in my eyes. As to allusions, Variations is beyond comparison; Tempest in places resembles Genesis, The Maiden ELP, and Hunting Extremely Large Animals, Rick Wakeman's late-'70s work. The influences, however, are usually transitory and originality is one of this recording's main virtues.

--Vitaly Menshikov, www.progressor.net/review/rrd_2006.html, 14th May 2007.

  Passing Decades lauded by Sea of Tranquility rock site
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 07 Apr 2007 02:56 AM

Popular progressive rock site Sea of Tranquility has recently posted a full length review of Passing Decades, Rory's progressive jazz/rock CD.  With descriptions and evaluations of each track, it concludes:

" ... let's give kudos to Rory Ridley-Duff for newly mastering this fine CD and making it available to the prog rock enthusiasts. Passing Decades is a fine testament to a very talented musician and composer..."

Read the full review at www.seaoftranquility.org

  "Passing Decades" review by RadioIndy
POSTED BY: xavierpersad POSTED ON: 06 Mar 2007 06:32 AM
"Passing Decades" is a great mix of distinguished instrumentation that features Rory Ridley-Duff's mastery of the keys. Rory creates many different and memorable keyboard/synthesizer sounds throughout the CD and pieces them together into impressive arrangements. The album's title piece is a symbol of Rory's craftsmanship. The rythmic bass bounces in time. The break before the sax is an unexpected treat. He continuously adds just the right amount of flavor to keep your interest peaked throughout this great song. Another song from Passing Decades, "What Did I Drink?" is a crisp arrangement of symphonic sounds with excellent forward motion. Its melodies are swaying and mischievous in 6/8 time. If you love symphonic rock pick up a copy of Passing Decades. You'll be glad you did!
-RadioIndy.com Staff
Check out Rory Ridley-Duff's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites

  Progressive Rock for a New Generation
POSTED BY: NHM POSTED ON: 20 Feb 2007 03:58 PM
Hello music lovers, Rory established himself as a keyboardist/composer in UK progressive rock band Protos. At 19, he enrolled on one of the first jazz/rock courses in the UK before studying classical music at London University in the 1980s. He graduated in 1986 as a specialist in composition and orchestration. In the 1990s, he set aside his musical ambitions to raise a family and establish his career as an innovator and writer. Recently, a career switch gave him more scope to pursue his artistic ambitions. In 2006, he released two albums of progressive rock (Passing Decades) and classicial music (A Question of Expression). These rekindled interest in Protos, the progressive rock band he established in the 1970s. As a result, New Horizons Music Ltd was established to develop markets for progressive music. To date, Rory (and life-long friend Steve Anscombe) have released five albums through New Horizons Music. More projects are planned. Click 'Read More' to see the first published review of Rory's debut album Passing Decades. Best wishes New Horizons Music

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