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Woebot
23-11-2004, 10:38 AM
This time last year (http://www.woebot.com/movabletype/archives/000488.html) me and a couple of mates (stand up jwd and blissblogger) had a bit of sport with the Prog genre. I have to confess i emerged from the episode pretty satiated and haven't really dipped in much more (though I'm sure I'll remember a whole variety of indiscretions since that date).

However, I couldnt help but notice that Simon at least has continued checking stuff out (with Dale it's a certainty), I'm just about to get a whole stack of Goblin CDs from him, which he's been loving. So i wonder, what's the state of the affairs with Prog-love? What are people "feeling"?

Diggedy Derek
23-11-2004, 10:47 AM
King Crimson rule, as always. As hard as Shellac, with a shards of of mid-prog improv. Red, Earthbound and The Nightwatch are all great.

Hawkwind rock, mysteriously omited from The Wire's top riffs of all time, but then they aren't really prog, are they.

carlos
23-11-2004, 02:53 PM
of all prog bands the one that i still listen to with any sort of regularity is King Crimson- especially their early albums- the mix of acoustic instruments with mellotron and fuzz guitar i find amazing. yes they are pompous and excessive (it's Prog!) and possibly ridiculous but i love them nonetheless.

also- one of the most unexpected things i've ever seen in a movie is in Buffalo 66, where christina ricci tapdances to Crimson's "moonchild" in a bowling alley. that sort of sums it all up i think. Buffalo 66 makes great use of Yes in the soundtrack also...

Woebot
23-11-2004, 03:57 PM
Buffalo 66 makes great use of Yes in the soundtrack also...
gallo is a huge fan of yes's.

polystyle desu
23-11-2004, 05:48 PM
aah yes, Prog love .
Caught some of those last posts and passages on prog' ,
and here i think it's a slo bubbling interest , not a bursting nova rating mag interest.
Why any interest ? because some of the music is quite great deserving a wider listen then when tucked under/filed/dismissed as 'Kraut Rock' ...

This past summer Amon Duul 2 came over and played in SC Fest. i think it was,
didn't hear much fdbk on that , was hoping they would head up here.
In Europe they did a show with other groups like The GroundHogs.
Amon's Chris Karrer and Renate still carrying it on

Rodelius from Harmonia came over to The Austrian Institute earlier in the year as well

The remastered 1975 -'76 Nazgul record (Psi- Fi PSCD0005) was nice to find,
got my friends kids excited when they heard Gandalf played on it ,
turned out to be ok , not a time tired joke , but ethnic instrument jam - wise ultimately not as memorable as it's titles (the dead marshes' , mount doom')

King Crimson , yes Red's "Elegy" still works for me every time i'm in that mood (John Wetton voice mood),
but i tried to listen to "Lark Tongues In Aspic" the other day and didn't get so far till i pulled it .
First rock show i saw - Alexis Korner Blues Band, King Crimson w/ Carl Palmer , Boz Burrell , Humble Pie @ Alexandria Roller Rink , jeez must a been 1972 ...

So from here , a prog interest rolls on .
Considering what all Bowie ripped from it , what B Eno uh , co- habited,
Neu's 20 & 21st c children and Kraftwerk's continued high esteem (they did crawl out of prog matrix /campus)
seems that prog luv is all around ...

francesco
23-11-2004, 06:26 PM
This time last year
oh no it's that time of the year again :eek: ? i thought that astonishing Simon's Progmetheus Unbound
http://blissout.blogspot.com/2003_10_19_blissout_archive.html (http://blissout.blogspot.com/2003_10_19_blissout_archive.html )
http://blissout.blogspot.com/2003_11_23_blissout_archive.html#10696522666757505 1 (http://blissout.blogspot.com/2003_11_23_blissout_archive.html#10696522666757505 1)
vaccinus had worked like, you know, just expose youself to a little not too nasty dose of the virus and you will be saved from it ad vitam


I have to confess i emerged from the episode pretty satiated and haven't really dipped in much more
oh, it worked...


However, I couldnt help but notice that Simon at least has continued checking stuff out (with Dale it's a certainty), I'm just about to get a whole stack of Goblin CDs from him, which he's been loving.
maybe not so well...
... on a personal note hi Simon and Jon sorry if I have promised you to send more stuff on CD-R when possible, but i was drowned in work and other problems. Anyway thanks for the CD-R you sent me, wonderful stuff, absolutely blinding.

ciao da francesco

redcrescent
23-11-2004, 07:28 PM
Rodelius from Harmonia came over to The Austrian Institute earlier in the year as well
I only found out recently that Roedelius has been living in Baden, just south of Vienna, since quite a long time, a fact unnoticed by most of the world. He's a fascinating character and a living legend who pops up every so often to play records in bars, then disappears again.
He's done some amazing things during his adventurous life, among them:

-the Kluster albums Klopfzeichen , Zwei-Osterei and the live Eruption , with Moebius and Conrad Schnitzler (an ex-student of German Aktionist Joseph Beuys), inspired as much by Cage and Stockhausen (Roedelius, though, thinks Karlheinz is too stiff and typically German - he prefers Ligeti, who's got "more paprika") as by UK psychedelic music (e.g. Hapsash and the Coloured Coat) and your standard Velvets, Fugs and Beefheart. Kluster once even opened for Hendrix, on Jimi's last German gig!

-Harmonia's Musik von Harmonia ("Sehr kosmisch", to use one of the track titles; Harmonia = Cluster + Michael Rother of Neu!) from 1974. If you like Neu!, you might appreciate Harmonia's De Luxe from 1975, too (which features Roedelius, Moebius, Rother and Guru Guru's Mani Neumeier on drums) - it's now been reissued, I believe.

-the Cluster albums (now without Schnitzler), especially Cluster II, Zuckerzeit, Cluster & Eno (these last two I really rate) and After the Heat, again with Eno (and a cameo on "Tzima N'arki" by Holger Czukay)

-participated on Guru Guru's Mani und seine Freunde album from 1975, as did probably half of the Krautrock scene

-several dozen other things, solo work and work with Moebius, movie soundtracks (e.g. Frederick Baker's recent "Imagine Imagine")...

Roedelius/Kluster/Cluster/Harmonia have definitely inspired lots of things, from Eno (obviously), David Bowie's Low, Eno & Byrne's My life in the bush of ghosts, and Suicide's debut, to Stereolab's Transient..., Arto Lindsay, Norway's Salvatore, 'pastoral electronica' (Boards of Canada, etc.) ... and even Air, I suppose.

jimbackhouse
23-11-2004, 07:53 PM
Roedelius came to Kosmische to play his favourite records about a year ago and was sooo charming. He was chatting inbetween each track. That was such an amazing evening.

Also I just got sent a new 12" of his : it's all remixes tho' :-(

Cluster (1,2, Zuckerzeit, the 2 Harmonia albums...) are some of the most sublime albums ever: and the 2 harmonia albums sound AMAZING on the new remasters (Although they're not really PROG are they??)

Would definitely recommend anyone and everyone to checkout Magma: esp. 1001 Centigrade or Mechanik Destruktiw Kommandoh: jaw dropping all the way.

Heldon are well worth checking out too, French Prog wise: especially the first album, with guest vocals from Gilles Deleuze!

heiku
23-11-2004, 08:13 PM
I've a continued adoration of 310's debut Prague Rock. The Pink Floyd tribute is somewhat predictable but their choice of loop for the Jethro Tull piece is brilliant. And the KC title, "Pipeless And Smoking Crack", is kind of meritorious.

On Van der Graaf's Peel Session from 24-10-77, their version of "The Sphinx In The Face" (which closes the VdGG boxset) is astonishing. Potter's fuzzbass and holyshit, Guy Evans on drums! I swear that Hammill's apparent x-over at this time to the punk environs (or at least a greater sense of economy) produced his finest moments.

Jay Vee
23-11-2004, 09:00 PM
After having seen the "classic" lineup perform this past summer, my Yes love has come back full speed. No apologies. And I'm getting into seriously Cluster/Cluster & Eno at the moment.

jwd
23-11-2004, 11:35 PM
Much like Matt, I found myself pretty satiated after the prog-nosis of last year. These days prog seems to turn up as an element of certain things I listen to, but by no means an overarching concern. These days it's a bit too blustery and non-pleasurable for me.

Having said that I still regularly blast the Franco Battiato CDs that Francesco sent me last year. Speaking of which, hi Francesco, drop us a line!

Matt, how 'prog' did you find those Sun City Girls discs? Not very I'm supposing, it was a bit disingenuous of me to include SCG on the prog discs I sent you eh. Trying to slip one in there unnoticed and all :-)

blissblogger
24-11-2004, 03:23 AM
i was actually planning to do a Progmetheus #3 (another vast defecation of data) and a Progmetheus #4 (in which i'd actually essay some kind of aesthetic response/evaluation of all this stuff i'd been listening to for the first time ever)... but the moment passed. maybe next year, if the onslaught of woe abates sufficiently.

still buying the stuff here and there, when it turns up cheap... out of all it, including things people kindly burned, the most revelatory things were Guru Guru (almost too hard rocking and wild to be prog maybe), Magma. Comus... Goblin are ridiculously entertaining (almost disco-prog at times)... Gong can be

but almost all of it's interesting to listen on the level of "what were on earth were the cultural conditions that made this seem like a good idea!?!?". i got that sensation most powerfully listening to Gentle Giant

nonightsweats
24-11-2004, 07:39 AM
i still listen to Henry Cow every month or so. they still do it for me every time, from the canterbury influenced Leg End through to the hard edged bombast of Western Culture (although the later is very heavy going indeed).

i went on a R.I.O. search this last month getting things by lesser known bands who were heavily influenced by HC - 5UUs, Science Group... basically all the stuff you can find on the ReR label. a lot of it's too much like Western Culture, rather than the more interesting early - mid period HC. like all the prog i actively dislike (Yes, ELP) it all seems focussed on the musicianly chops of the players rather than a complete musical idea carried through. still and all, there's many good tracks in there.

and don't forget all that eastern european stuff too - especially plastic people of the universe (easily the best of the lot)

Woebot
24-11-2004, 10:20 AM
but almost all of it's interesting to listen on the level of "what were on earth were the cultural conditions that made this seem like a good idea!?!?". i got that sensation most powerfully listening to Gentle Giant entropy?

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Woebot
24-11-2004, 10:24 AM
Matt, how 'prog' did you find those Sun City Girls discs? Not very I'm supposing, it was a bit disingenuous of me to include SCG on the prog discs I sent you eh. Trying to slip one in there unnoticed and all :-)
I'm still working my way through the cassettes (looking for that great track you put on the prog comp you made) it's all good so far, side three i'm not so keen on (bit messy). I'm not entirely sure how proggish they are, remember that remark you made after the special you did, to the effect that your selection veered into psych? Well SCG strike me as being "Art-psych", which isnt a bad thing to be on the face of it :-) Other "Art-psych" bands might include The Residents, but certainly shaggsters like The Animal Collective.

hamarplazt
24-11-2004, 01:55 PM
Well, where to start? Maybe with a Simon Reynolds quote to put things in perspective: experience has taught me that when all right-thinking people agree something is beyond the pale, utterly devoid of merit, that’s precisely when you should start paying attention. Now that was about gabber, but it could just as well be about prog. Recently I’ve come to like prog more and more, not least because of the perverse pleasure I feel defending it against the rock’n’roll-purists. Compared to the uninhibited megalomania of prog, punk and all other kinds of retro rock just seem utterly dull and uninspired.

The punk-saved-rock-from-prog myth is sadly still alive, passed on from generation to generation of rock critics using prog as a way to avoid anything that doesn’t fit their dogma of songwriting and guitar feedback. If something is “like prog”, the case is closed, because obviously it’s too absurd to think that something can be prog and good. I think this is part of the reason most rock is so lame today. No one dare to be ambitious or extravagant, because then they might be blamed for being prog – what disgrace! Something like post rock seems to be an attampt to make “tasteful” and “subtle” prog - prog without all the things that made prog great. Like neurofunk to progs ‘ardcore.

What made people think prog was a good idea? Pretty much the same things that later made people think rave was a good idea: idealism, the belief that anything was possible, the ability to find joy in ridiculously exaggerated pomp and circumstance. Under all the concepts and self indulgent lyrics, most prog was also very much about sheer sensation. Mad rhythms, extravagant bombast, amazing sounds and textures. When listening to the farthest out ‘ardcore, say Hyper-on Experience or Biochip C, in many ways I hear prog. To make that kind of music you’d have to be a virtuoso before sampling and sequencers. Technology made it possible for everyone to be Rick Wakeman. And yeah, Wakeman – the most agreed-upon-devoid-of-merit of all prog rockers – is great. He’s all tastless surface, all sensation-for-sensations-sake. Check out his Rhapsodies album. If tracks like “Front Line” and “March of the Gladiators” isn’t ‘ardcore, I don’t know what is. I rate this insult of an album much much higher than any 60s garage punk classic. Todays music simply lack Rick Wakemans shamelesness.

I noticed that during last years blog prog phase, everybody seemed eager to point out that even though there were some few great prog nuggets to dig out, and even though some brilliant music was made in that era, they definitely DID NOT like “prog proper” – Yes/ELP/Tull/King Crimson etc. Well, maybe they have just been told so many times (and have told others so many times) that this music is WRONG, that they can never get any pleasure from it ever. A shame, really, because some of the greatest prog is exactly these groups, the real deal. I love most of them, and often for different reasons (Yes and Jethro Tull, for example, is two very very different things), so let me just single out Yes’ Close to the Edge for praise. Amazing surges of energy caught in ultra focused patterns, an expolsion of light. And no, instrument ability isn’t the focus of this album, it’s simply a means to the end. There isn’t a single superflous note on Close the the Edge, just like there isn’t a singel superflous snare on Renegade Snares. This is music that is meant to be exaggerated. That’s why it’s so great.

Woebot
24-11-2004, 02:53 PM
I noticed that during last years blog prog phase, everybody seemed eager to point out that even though there were some few great prog nuggets to dig out, and even though some brilliant music was made in that era, they definitely DID NOT like “prog proper” –
That's certainly what i said. True.

heiku
24-11-2004, 03:14 PM
Simon Reynolds quote to put things in perspective: experience has taught me that when all right-thinking people agree something is beyond the pale, utterly devoid of merit, that’s precisely when you should start paying attention.
At risk of taking Simon's quote out of context, I do agree that there's some utility here, particularly when used as a mechanism to explore new areas of music-- a reverse logic of sorts. But I don't agree that these general notions of acceptability are purely dogmatic. It's possible that the so-called "right-thinking people" simply may have similar reactions to different musics. Which is why many of us would, for example, be more intrigued by obscure brazillian protest music from the late 60s than say, the latest Elton John lp. It's likely not so much to do with a shared attraction to the arcane but rather with which neurons are being tickled.

Of course, there's the additional risk of "liking" something precisely because it's so profoundly disdained by others. This ain't nothing more than a boring appeal to contradiction, a brand of irony that has a very short shelf-life (ie. the Thurstons & Jims professing their love for Styx.)

appleblim
24-11-2004, 03:15 PM
all about

Yes - "close to the edge" (listened to in its entirety-fought against this for years, gave up a few years ago and just admitted it was funky, absurd, and lush all at once.....killer!)

Magma - pretty much any of it (tho deffo do 'udu wuddu' for some early drum machine/glisteneing rhodes style biz, and the awesome double live album......) saw em a few years back and the place was transfixed! Julian Cope, Paul McCartney and Steve Davis in the audience too! can't say fairer than that! Plus Chrisian Vander and one of the bass players once had a 'psychic battle' across the valley that separated thier two homes/prog castles! Brrrrrrrap! )

Henry Cow - everything - I know u probably don't want to like em, but if they were german they'd get props! (*flinches expecting flood of outraged responses!*)
but listen to "bittern storm over ulm" off Unrest and tell me it isn't as funky and out-there as anything by the krauts.....

IQ - "Beef In Box" - got to big up Irish Al and Max Tundra for turning me onto this, disco prog at its most insane....time-changes, wibbly synth noises, and even insane female rapping! recorded on 4 track for a Melody maker unsigned comp! baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad tune! seek it out!

Cardiacs - Ok gonna cop a lot of flack for this, but all y'all who give Yes, Devo, Magma, XTC, and Faust props you have to give this lot a go.... try the later stuff like 'Sing To God'....trans-psychedelic baby!

johneffay
24-11-2004, 05:09 PM
Cardiacs - Ok gonna cop a lot of flack for this, but all y'all who give Yes, Devo, Magma, XTC, and Faust props you have to give this lot a go.... try the later stuff like 'Sing To God'....trans-psychedelic baby!

This is clearly an understatement. Tim Smith is a Rock God and Cardiacs are better than anybody on your list. Not that I'm criticizing anybody on your list (well, apart from XTC ;) ).

blissblogger
24-11-2004, 05:49 PM
>Mad rhythms, extravagant bombast, amazing sounds and textures. When listening to the farthest >out ‘ardcore, say Hyper-on Experience or Biochip C, in many ways I hear prog. To make that kind of music >you’d have to be a virtuoso before sampling and sequencers.

luvvit, that's a neat conceptual swerve. yeah a lot of those Hyper-On tracks have this multi-segmented thing, going through six or seven distinct phases (rather than caning an intro, groove, a bridge/breakdown, like most dance tracks) which is distinctly maximalist and proggoid and song-suitey. and seeing Hyper-On as crypto-prog would help explain the directions later taken in EZ Rollers and Flytronix, bland fusionoidizm with pretensions to spirituality (and horrible horrible record sleeves)

also "Lords of the Null Lines" and the sleevenotes on some of those Hyper-on eps you can see they're some science fiction reading dudes

and you can tell the Hyper-On guys have some serious musicality going on, they know keys, they know arrangement, i expect they were in bands before getting into sampling and Cubase

but on the whole the difference of ethos/sensibility is profound i think -- hardcore in the main doesn't have the sense of Grand Artistic Statement From On High/pomposity/sense of entitlement that runs through the whole prog era -- i doubt honestly if Rick Wakeman saw himself as this shallow sensationalist showboating type, i honestly fear he was trying to Say Something. There was that whole spate of records like Alan Parsons Project's EA Poe inspired album and the records by David Bedford like Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

the Terminator EP and Ghost EP though are pure hardcore-as-prog -- complete with sleevenotes on Ghosts -- and perhaps cyberpunk cinema functioning for Goldie as literature did for the prog guys, post-literate culture innit.

mostly though the spirit in your classic era of ardcore is antipretentious, there's no overblown conception of what they're doing as Art. i do see the main spirit of ardcore as very 60s small p punk, Lester Bangsoid -- and then the split then occurs that mirrors what happened to the garage punks, one lot going psych/prog, and the other lot going metal -- and that split would be roughly equiv to drum'n'bass versus happy hardcore

>Yes

actually when i listened to some of their early stuff i was surprised how aggressively played and tight it was -- i still didn't luv it, though. i think the problem relates to the pomposity/profundity-aspiration thing as mentioned above -- which is more or less summed up in Yes' case in the name 'Jon Anderson'. his high spiritualized vocals consistently irritate.

i suppose the radical move would not be to say "oh prog isn't that bombastic/selfindulgent/showoffy actually" but to revalorize those terms. for instance, listening to goblin every so often my inner punk would say 'i'm really enjoying this but it's a bit slick and flashy innit' and then i'd think 'well who says 'slick' and 'flashy' are bad qualities'. in many other areas of music -- say 70s funk -- those are good things to be.

polystyle desu
24-11-2004, 07:02 PM
Rding bk on the Progmetheus links , the prog blog phase , all good fun

* When Simon discussed Roy Harper and how long it took him to find and enjoy the Roy ,
in part due to preconditioning against liking that kind of music - i was reminded of how i used to run the other way when I heard the term 'Krautrock' and how that got in the way of me enjoying , let alone ever picking up or seeking out groups lumped under that term.
And having just rerd "Hammer Of The Gods" the Led Zep story - another part of brain processes
Roy as part of a Jimmy Page (and so , Led Zep) - 'Magick music' A.Crowley / Page's "Lucifer's Rising" Sdtk -
Roy Harper's 'one man and his acoustic guitar' prog /progressive genre ref. over sweep

* Enjoyed again the prog and 'progressive' section , many good points, right on Bliss

* There IS often a point where listeners say 'yes, that's good stuff ' while another group gets an 'oh no - not that' response .
I guess it's natural and takes into consideration where they are , where they were brought up ,
what they heard when they were kids , what mags , weeklies they rd , many factors .

Here in US , groups like Dust ( possibly the group from which Mark , later drummer of The Ramones sprang from , didn't ck it right now but somehow recall) were on college 'underground radio' in early - mid '70's,
and we rocked to them alongside others, but looking bk they were 'progressive' - in trying to have a new sound and 'taking heavy music (a millimeter) further along' .
Dust could be heard on alt' radio station almost every day , with other DJ's playing cuts from Henry Cow,
M Mantler , Wyatt, Eno , Kraftwerk, Roxy, Bowie etc. .

More recently a group like NJ's Old , who had a time in mid 1990's there ,
seem to have at least partially influenced a whole load of new 'math' art rock guitar based units .
I can guess Jim Plotkin of Old was not thinking about his spawn (and they are not ONLY his) bk when he was doing it , probably like some others in prog'/punk/postpunk categories , he was just doing what he heard in his head/ did what he could do with what he had in his hands - and that now that sound makes sense to a new audience .

Prog and punk are often posed as polar opposites , but isn't it all part of bigger process .
It wasn't a long line/amount of time from say , Buzzcocks to Howard Devoto's Magazine or from Pistols to PIL as punk artists moved to post punk, itself (sometimes , hopefully) inherently 'progressive' ...
a action/reaction/regroup - next action cycle.

While i'm not looking for new sounds or interesting offshoots in the 21st century's null space reflected between say, Interpol, Radio 4 , Black Dice or 'Liquid Liquid produced by DFA',
music 'progress' and the 'something you haven't heard before' factor was there/ is there in the German prog' of the first few Amon Duul 2 and Harmonia's Immer Wieder" for example.

Sorry mates , rambling now
'prog' musing on a rainy day here ...

hamarplazt
24-11-2004, 08:15 PM
It's possible that the so-called "right-thinking people" simply may have similar reactions to different musics. Which is why many of us would, for example, be more intrigued by obscure brazillian protest music from the late 60s than say, the latest Elton John lp. It's likely not so much to do with a shared attraction to the arcane but rather with which neurons are being tickled.


To some degree it is a matter of (shared) taste I'm sure, but that can't be all the explanation. A lot of prog actually had big audiences during the 70s. Today, most rock consumers buy into the Stripes/Strokes/Hives-thing. So the question is: why is the shared taste so different now? Why isn't retro prog the hippest thing around? I'd say the way a lot of rock journalism is centered around the Lester Bang mythos is very much a part of this. The winners wrote the history books, and their view is what the new generations will learn when they try to investigate what happened in the past. I've heard the rethorics of punk-vs-prog used by people far too young to ever have been part of the battle. Would they have the same taste if they had tried everything without anyone telling them what was cool and what wasn't? Some probably would, but I doubt it would be all.

Personally, I was lucky enough to get into very different kinds of music - anything from prog to harcore techno - pretty much on my own, before I started reading about it. When I did start, I actually got doubts about my own taste. So many authorities told me that a lot of the stuff I loved was crap. Maybe it was? Well, some of it really was, but most of it just remained great and I kept listening to it until I was able to put in words why I thought it was great. I'd certainly not recommend to try to love something just to be different, but I do enjoy reversing the rethorics.

hamarplazt
24-11-2004, 08:55 PM
and you can tell the Hyper-On guys have some serious musicality going on, they know keys, they know arrangement, i expect they were in bands before getting into sampling and Cubase.

Reminds me of an interview with Martin Damm (Biochip C/Speed Freak etc) where he said that he was brought up to be something like a wunderkind, and played organ in a local church as a child. And then he said that later, when he started doing techno, he had to unlearn it all because you didn't need to have any musicality to make techno. Almost like he wanted to hide his ability. But obviously, this must be a big part of why his music is so complex and varied and melodic compared to most other gabber and 'arcore (a bit like with Liam Howlett).



but on the whole the difference of ethos/sensibility is profound i think -- hardcore in the main doesn't have the sense of Grand Artistic Statement From On High/pomposity/sense of entitlement that runs through the whole prog era -- i doubt honestly if Rick Wakeman saw himself as this shallow sensationalist showboating type, i honestly fear he was trying to Say Something.

He he, not on Rhapsodies he wasn't. But yes, the ethos was in many ways very different (though in both cases I think there was a lot of utopian idealism and positivity at play). I wouldn't try to argue that prog='ardcore, just that there's some shared aspects. As with the 60s punk thing, there's similarities, but also differences. I'm generally very much against the idea that the developments of rave music can be analogized by the developments of rock, that every point in techno histroy will have a mirror point in rock history. Yes, in some ways 'ardcore was like 60s punk, and in some it was like prog, and in some it was like a lot of other things.



i think the problem relates to the pomposity/profundity-aspiration thing as mentioned above -- which is more or less summed up in Yes' case in the name 'Jon Anderson'. his high spiritualized vocals consistently irritate.

Ah, no disagreement about the awfullness of Andersons lyrics. But lyrics in rock music usually mean absolutely nothing to me. If they're good it's a treat, if not I can ignore them. I don't think I've ever really registered Andersons words while listening. I didn't like his voice to begin with either, but I've come to like it. And if there's a rock singer sounding like a helium diva, it's him.



i suppose the radical move would not be to say "oh prog isn't that bombastic/selfindulgent/showoffy actually" but to revalorize those terms. for instance, listening to goblin every so often my inner punk would say 'i'm really enjoying this but it's a bit slick and flashy innit' and then i'd think 'well who says 'slick' and 'flashy' are bad qualities'. in many other areas of music -- say 70s funk -- those are good things to be

YES! I've only recently accepted that I adore things that are bombastic and pompous, but having come to that conclusion is a great relief, and it makes me love it even more. I think the fear of bombast is a lot like the fear of cheesyness (well, in a way bombast is cheesyness), it's inhibiting and the cause of far to much dull, ever-so-humble music.

xero
24-11-2004, 10:31 PM
yeah a lot of those Hyper-On tracks have this multi-segmented thing, going through six or seven distinct phases (rather than caning an intro, groove, a bridge/breakdown, like most dance tracks) which is distinctly maximalist and proggoid and song-suitey. and seeing Hyper-On as crypto-prog would help explain the directions later taken in EZ Rollers and Flytronix, bland fusionoidizm with pretensions to spirituality (and horrible horrible record sleeves)


I believe this is what some call 'through-composed', including Dizzee Rascal in a recent interview - prog grime: bring it on

Diggedy Derek
25-11-2004, 06:38 PM
Technology argument- a lot of prog was how it is because of the golden age of hifi stereos- it didn't matter how it good it was, as long as it had that fidelity that would test out your system. And of course the system was big, expensive, so it was only fitting that the cover-art should be lavish, coffee table style. This is what they used to do in the 70s- sit around the gleeming stereo, discussing Jethro Tull over a glass of Blue Nun. I can imagine the classicism of prog seemed a great idea in these circumstances, until it became unbearably stale.

Talking of which, why did more or less all prog suddenly become awful in 1975? It was actually very like the DnB scene- so much territory had been explored, and suddenly the "progressive" ideas that artists boasted of going into stunningly pointless territory. The "danger" of prog had disappeared, just as the "rhythmic danger" of DnB suddenly vanished with the relentless march of 2-step.

johneffay
25-11-2004, 07:11 PM
This is what they used to do in the 70s- sit around the gleeming stereo, discussing Jethro Tull over a glass of Blue Nun.

As one of a generation of teenagers with a shitty mono record player followed by a slightly less, but still very, shitty stereo who spent the mid-70s listening to Tull et al., I feel that I should point out this is absolute bollocks (no offence!).

Don't even get me started on your 1975 claim...

Diggedy Derek
25-11-2004, 07:27 PM
Ha. Yeah of course it was bollocks in many ways. I think a lot of prog was influenced by the sound-utopias that hifi stereos offered, but weirdly there was another axis of interest in prog which was more akin to a heavy metal audience- at home in the bedroom, listening through shitty speakers, trying to imagine what the lyrics are about.

But as for 1975- there are some marked declines in some groups around then, I reckon. Genesis- from Lamb to Trick Of The Tail; King Crimson- from Red to USA (and then a long break until Discipline). Even Jethro Tull, who I hate with a passion, seemed to loss some sense of noble purpose inbetween (check the album titles) Minstrel In The Gallery and Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die!.

But to be honest, all I know about prog I've got second hand from my mate in the next office, for whom every Friday night is prog night. He whistles along to 25 minutes harpsichord solos, that sort of thing.

kek-w
25-11-2004, 07:29 PM
On Van der Graaf's Peel Session from 24-10-77, their version of "The Sphinx In The Face" (which closes the VdGG boxset) is astonishing. Potter's fuzzbass and holyshit, Guy Evans on drums! I swear that Hammill's apparent x-over at this time to the punk environs (or at least a greater sense of economy) produced his finest moments.

Saw Van der Graff in '78, I think, and they played 'Louie Louie'...

Are they Prog? I've never quite been convinced.

johneffay
25-11-2004, 07:58 PM
but weirdly there was another axis of interest in prog which was more akin to a heavy metal audience- at home in the bedroom, listening through shitty speakers, trying to imagine what the lyrics are about.
Shit, I didn't realize you'd met me in real life :o

Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die! is a fine concept album and even has a comic strip on the inside of the gatefold. You're wrong about Genesis (Wind and Wuthering is very good), but you're right about Crimson. This is the bit where I'm supposed to come out with a long list obscure post '75 albums to prove you wrong, but I'll leave that to other people.

However, I'd just like to mention Zappa. Surely people consider huge slabs of Zappa to be prog? Replies along the lines of 'He was really great until he split the original Mothers' are ruled out of court on the grounds of being patently ridiculous :p

kek-w, Van der Graaf Generator are archetypal prog: Thousands of screaming Italians can't be wrong! The '78 line up was admittedly a bit different, but they were still playing 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' live. Let's just remind ourselves of the lyrics (http://lyrics.rare-lyrics.com/V/Van-Der-Graaf-Generator/A-Plague-Of-Lighthouse-Keepers.html), shall we?

heiku
26-11-2004, 02:33 AM
kek-w, Van der Graaf Generator are archetypal prog: Thousands of screaming Italians can't be wrong! The '78 line up was admittedly a bit different, but they were still playing 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' live.

Oh dear, it appears that I parted with my copy of Vital when it was far too early in the game. Hammill's vox were wretched on that one, IIRC. But to now try imagine how "Plague" sounded with violin subbing for Jaxon's sax and Banton's keys... well, 'tis boggling.

Further to Woebot's confirming to not liking "prog proper", I'm suspecting my own tastes similarly tilt toward some concept of "improper prog." But are we speaking of a glorious degeneration of the genre (ref. the prog/punk interface, Nadir's Last Chance, Exposure, etc.) or just a breed that might be casually accreted onto prog (ref. krautrock, acid folk-- man, check the genre scope at GEPR for some crazy inclusiveness)?

And re. Zappa, I'm still convinced Ian Penman has uttered the last necessary words. Sorry.

Woebot
07-12-2004, 11:03 AM
isnt it extremely strange how the prog groups have such an aura of import and scale!

compare something like van der graaf generator to say scritti politti. how do vdg appear to be of such bombastic imensity? ok there's the instrumental prowess, the "cosmic vision", the steep gap between perfomer and audience member.... also i wonder if (post beatles) what amounts to the indie music circuit was selling a greater number of records... but essentially there's not a vaste difference between two bands like that is there?

and yet.

blissblogger
07-12-2004, 04:13 PM
there's a lot of similaries between Scritti and Hatfield and the North -- not just the Wyatt-esque vocals either -- and apparently that was something they listened to in the Camden Scritsquat

oh yeah there was a bigger albums market in the post-Beatles era, late sixties to just prepunk, people like kevin coyne, john martyn, roy harper could do well pretty well without ever having a hit -- and labels in those days allowed their maverick minstrels to make loads of albums without ever going mega. c.f. the mid-list author that publishers used to let carry on doing book after book whereas now they have a blockbuster mentality and will pay silly money for first novels that they think have sensation-potential)

and the major labels signed up so many groups, whenever i go digging i'm always surprising how many groups i've never ever even heard of from the 1967-75 period will still crop up. the industry was fat with cash back then.


but that econimically worked well in the early 70s for singer-songwriters, with the big prog bands the overheads from "staffing" (lotsa members) and touring expenses led to big debts for many -- hence when Fripp came back circa 78 after retiring and closing down Crimson he was touting the "small, mobile, intelligent unit" concept -- basically one man and his machines.


but going back to what matt said, that's what interests me about prog is the sense of entitlement they had in terms of making Big Statements, and the gigantism of the expression -- thinking nothing of hiring a cathedral to record in, or huge choirs.

droid
07-12-2004, 08:54 PM
Im expecting to be laughed off the board for my lack of prog knowledge - but one act I'd recommened as 'nu-prog' is Ambulance, who released a debut LP on Planet Mu in 2002. Its an excellent Album - more classic' Mu than any of the new mashed up drivel... but the interesting thing about Ambulance, is that their production technique mainly involves building complex interlinked software tools to generate their tunes.. so all their tracks are like drawn out jamming sessions, heavy on the melodies... kind of a cross between supercollider and 'old' Autechre...

Anyway.. thats a bloody awful description.. but check out the LP.. Its called 'The curse of Vale De Lobo'

JimO'Brien
08-12-2004, 09:35 AM
but going back to what matt said, that's what interests me about prog is the sense of entitlement they had in terms of making Big Statements, and the gigantism of the expression -- thinking nothing of hiring a cathedral to record in, or huge choirs.

I think this hits the nail on the head in regard to the greatness of Yes. There is something heroic about a lorry driver from Accrington writing huge concept albums based on Indian Scripture. Anybody with the slightest amount of common sense would realise this is a terrible idea but they did it anyway.

massrock
27-04-2010, 12:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVRTJNffuhQ

RIP Bo Hansson.

BareBones
27-04-2010, 11:25 AM
my dad was mates with John Anderson. When i was about 4, he (JA) hired out a whole swish hotel (or maybe just the floor, i can't remember, but whatever, it was pretty big-time) for his daughter's birthday party. It was fancy dress; i went as spider-man.

I know nothing about prog.