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"Prog" bands of days gone by: analog space music from Europe, America, the moon, and everywhere else.
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la_biesta
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Post 2009-06-04 18:43   [Quote] 
Got some hints at a ZPZ-show from some French guys coming from Nancy and Marseille!

Frost : http://www.frostmusic.net/

GONG : http://www.planetgong.co.uk/

Faust : http://faust-pages.com/

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scoobie
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Post 2009-06-04 18:51   [Quote] 
drdork wrote:
scoobie wrote:
The Deviants remind me of a "better" 13th Floor Elevators

Do they have a jug player?


No jug.. just a crass sense of humor (the Elevators took their music rather seriously, I think). The music's drive and attitude reminds me a bit of the Stooges, the Fugs, and the Elevators.

At any rate the Deviants are a ripping good band with at least a few LPs that I know of and I'd hardly call them a "prog" act.. which is a word I don't like, anyway. It's a label that describes what the music should be when really the music speaks for itself in all kinds of weird ways that leap outside of arbitrary genre boundaries. That's what I was trying to get at with this thread, that there's all these bands that grew out of a mid-to-late 60s "rock" context. They defy description by those problematic popular genre headings, but largely cut their teeth on the same records from the same era. It's amazing how many different ways the music could go, given these common origins... mixing up all the ingredients and coming up with all sorts of new textures and ideas.

It's understated in the rock press the impact that the "unsung" groups had. The influence of German Oak and the early incarnations of Omega on Julian Cope, for instance. Or Syd Barrett's undeniable influence on bands as diverse as Blur and the Soft Boys. Taking them all together, artists like Robert Fripp and Brian Eno -- formerly very unique in my mind -- start to appear as similarly minded contemporaries of these other, lesser known artists. It puts their work into perspective. Fripp, Eno, et al stand out against a backdrop of ELP and Led Zeppelin, sure, because they're nothing alike. But when you stand their work next to Gong, Faust, Can, Egg, Ashra Tempel (nothing alike, all totally wild) then they emerge as different crayons in the same box.


Last edited by scoobie on 2009-06-04 21:06; edited 1 time in total
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Drew51
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Post 2009-06-04 19:38   [Quote] 
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It's amazing how many different ways the music could go, given these common origins


I kinda disagree I think the 60's and early 70's had much more going then anything today. I guess one forgets catagories like "rock" were brand new. Talk about different!!! In the 80's and since music seems to be a funnel that is getting smaller and smaller. You have to remember Fripp was going where none have gone before, and not a slight deviation but a huge one. The next generation expanded on it but nowhere near as many new genres created that were clearly different.
I would say Fripp, Barrett and thier ilk, have their own crayon box, and the other lesser groups, pale in comparison. Not that interesting. But in a way i agree, it's all pretty boring now. New directions are needed. I think Prog has kept variation alive, and still are experimenting and going in small directions, but the huge branches formed by their peers is a rare thing. Rock was a catagory for contemporary music at the time, and it had such a wide variety, today rock is not diverse in any sense of the word. King Crimson and The Beatles in 1974 were both under Rock.
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scoobie
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Post 2009-06-04 21:25   [Quote] 
drew51 wrote:
Quote:
It's amazing how many different ways the music could go, given these common origins


I kinda disagree I think the 60's and early 70's had much more going then anything today. I guess one forgets catagories like "rock" were brand new. Talk about different!!! In the 80's and since music seems to be a funnel that is getting smaller and smaller. You have to remember Fripp was going where none have gone before, and not a slight deviation but a huge one. The next generation expanded on it but nowhere near as many new genres created that were clearly different.
I would say Fripp, Barrett and thier ilk, have their own crayon box, and the other lesser groups, pale in comparison. Not that interesting. But in a way i agree, it's all pretty boring now. New directions are needed. I think Prog has kept variation alive, and still are experimenting and going in small directions, but the huge branches formed by their peers is a rare thing. Rock was a catagory for contemporary music at the time, and it had such a wide variety, today rock is not diverse in any sense of the word. King Crimson and The Beatles in 1974 were both under Rock.


I wasn't remarking that music of today is more diverse than that of previous generations. I was marveling at how diverse iit become in the 1970s when so many of the musicians - from groups large and small -- grew up listening to the same R&B and early rock and roll (plus whatever else that was unique to their particular experience, like folk jazz or classical). It's quite a journey from Chess Records and Motown, to krautrock and the Canterbury scene. This had a serious influence on everything coming after it, even for a short time in the mainstream.

Not trying to undermine the contributions of Fripp and Co. either. Quite the contrary, by listening to other groups making similarly minded music, or groups that had a similar aesthetic, the frame including Fripp at various points in time becomes sharply focused and the context of his peers at these various points makes his music that much more interesting. Because Fripp had peers, and ears. He listened to other music, his external environment, the gestalt of art music at any given time in his career but especially the early years, was contributed to by many people. For various reasons, many other careers were cut short or never became commercially successful, not for lack of quality either. This is lamentable because a lot of this music was really unusual and ahead of its time but goes without mention because it never sold in the numbers witnessed by rock's super-selling stadium acts. Their work makes the work of some of the larger bands commonly lumped together in the "prog" genre seem more thin and banal.
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cookie_manager
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Post 2009-06-06 20:42   [Quote] 
I don't know how one could get the impression today's music is not diverse... even less diverse than it was in the 60s.

What I find when surfing around alone on MySpace is retro stuff of all kinds of styles we had in the past plus sometimes very very amazing fusion approaches of all that, and stuff thrown in one even didn't know existed! (not talking about the mass of things I don't even check out).
Sure, getting commercially distributed gets harder and harder, lots of what I refer to is semi-pro. But anyway, the do-it-yourself spirit is in full bloom... that applies to the production of music on a relatively high technical level as well as to the distribution of the self-created stuff.

I doubt music ever has been more diverse than today. Tomorrow it will be even more diverse.

(well, okay - if you guys refer to the all-around, commercial mainstream stuff, than my post probably is a little out of perspective)

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rushomancy
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Post 2009-06-07 02:07   [Quote] 
brainpang wrote:
scoobie wrote:
[The Deviants remind me of a "better" 13th Floor Elevators


Oh, my! I was interested in this thread until I read that.


Yeah I'm not a huge Elevators fan but I definitely wouldn't put the Deviants ahead of them. I do like Mick Farren's take on "Mona" but that's about it- I'm more into the Mayo Thompson thing... but we're really far afield from prog rock now, how about Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company?
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youngpumpkin
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Post 2009-06-08 05:42   [Quote] 

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Post 2009-06-08 18:36   [Quote] 
The Bastard Son wrote:
I like Magma, Gong and Wisbone Ash.

Shall we include Gentle Giant as well on the list? If yes, then they are my favourite prog band

cheers


Now you're talking, mister! Gentle Giant is THE prog band band of all times. Full stop. End of argument. I mean it. I know where you live. I know where your children go to school.

OK, back to Planet Normal. GG minus the Minnear brothers are back together as Three Friends (que DaD). And we'll have the pleasure of both Gong and Steve Hillage in Z20.

Happy days.

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scoobie
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Post 2009-06-08 19:11   [Quote] 
Quote:
. . . And we'll have the pleasure of both Gong and Steve Hillage in Z20.


headbanger

Gong fucking rules! Everything they did and do. I think their name should be spelled with all capital letters, "GONG."

Hillage not bad either, I like Fish Rising for being a concise while mildly esoteric and interesting listen. Someone else may have made an album that was 3 hours long and broken up the continuity into boredom. It is also very nicely produced while still sounding like a rock album. You can hear the guitar textures really well.
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progrockfan
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Post 2009-06-13 00:56   [Quote] 
TheEvilPrince wrote:
I am patiently waiting for progrockfan’s response to this thread.

Okay, you asked for it…

I finally got a free evening in which to bat out a proper reply to this thread, and this is what spewed forth from my exhausted brain in one great frothing gush.

In his book Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock 1968-1978, Bill Martin defines prog thus:

Bill Martin wrote:
1) It is visionary and experimental.

2) It is played, at least in significant part, on instruments typically associated with rock music.

3) It is played, in significant part, by musicians who have consummate instrumental and compositional skills.

4) It is a phenomenon, in its core, of English culture.

5) It is expressive of romantic and prophetic aspects of that culture.

Taking this point by point:

It is visionary and experimental.

Experimental, sure, that’s a must — but ‘visionary’? I don’t know about you, but to me, ‘visionary’ connotes either a) pretentious or b) stoned. Neither, in the context of this discussion, is desirable,

It is played, at least in significant part, on instruments typically associated with rock music.

Mr Martin is overlooking the principal ingredient of prog’s tone colour, which ain’t rock instuments; rather, it’s the manipulation of sound in the studio: alteration of speed, pitch, and direction; tape saturation, echo, and decay; room size, the placement of instruments within the room, the relationship of instruments to one another; control of the stereo spectrum; und so wieter. The studio itself becomes the most dominant instrument in prog; and since it is not a instrument that can be ‘played’ at will, then, as Stockhausen observed, the tape itself becomes the score; music is created that cannot be reproduced faithfully outside the domain of the master recording reel itself.

It is played, in significant part, by musicians who have consummate instrumental and compositional skills.

Agreed.

It is a phenomenon, in its core, of English culture.

If by “core” Mr Martin refers to the historical roots of prog, i.e., who first conceived it, then sure. If he means the geographical origin of the most popular prog bands, then again, sure. If however he seeks an all-embracing definition of the core of prog’s sound, or the philosophical basis of its authorship, then I’ll point to modern bands like Colorado-based Thinking Plague, which have no relationship whatsoever to English culture, English ethnicity, or English bloody fish and chips. Prog is not defined geographically; it’s defined sonically. Still, he may just be talking about ‘68-’78 here, so we’ll give him a pass.

It is expressive of romantic and prophetic aspects of that culture.

Sadly, there’s a lot of truth in this assertion… still, I wish I had an emoticon that could express, in graphical terms, the deep groan emitting from my lips…

It is precisely this characteristic that gives prog such a terrible name. “Romantic and prophetic”… hmm, sounds like a dime-store novel about a psychic in love… sure doesn’t sound like the core characteristic of the prog I enjoy. Let’s try this on for size as a definition instead — bearing in mind that not every prog band or prog album need necessarily display every single characteristic enumerated here:

Technically proficient musicians playing complex, experimental electro-acoustic music with non-standard harmonies, rhythms, tone colour and lyrical subjects, altered via studio manipulation to a form that cannot be reproduced with precision in a live setting.

On to the music: I once stumbled upon an essay purporting to name the eight most important and influential prog bands. I do not agree entirely with this list, but it’s as good a place as any to begin the discussion. The bands so nominated: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes. (I note, with pangs of discomfort, that Mr Martin’s “romantic and prophetic aspects” definition scrapes uncomfortably close to the bone with this list…)

Taking them in turn:

Pink Floyd


I’ll spend some time on Floyd, since they’re so well liked by so many ‘Teers… Probably not ‘progressive’ in the strictest sense; more psychedelic, I suppose — they’re not virtuosos (with the possible exception of Gilmour in the late 70s, after he took over bass-playing duties from Waters — Dave did make one helluva bass guitarist), and only Syd’s songs evince the Magical Fairy qualities often sought by hard-core prog fans and despised by the rest of humanity. I do like ‘em though, for three basic reasons: they’re highly experimental, they treat the studio as an instrument, and their lyrics are dark (to say the least).

My favourite Floyd is Syd’s opus Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, but they have many worthy titles. My initial love was for the ultra-experimental, anti-commercial period from Piper through Obscured By Clouds; it took me till my late thirties to appreciate the qualities of Dark Side Of The Moon, which I now regard as a conceptual black masterpiece.

Sadly, Waters’s departure prompted Gilmour to turn the band into an ugly parody of its former self — an act which has long puzzled me; his first, self-titled solo album is excellent, probably the only good solo disc by any member of the Floyd. Perhaps age, material craving and cocaine abuse conspired to turn this once important guitarist and songwriter into a cliché machine.

Pink Floyd shares with Yes and Gentle Giant the distinction of having an exceptionally well-mastered CD catalogue. The Web is cluttered with discussion about which Floyd CDs sound the best, but don’t be distracted by this. With the possible exception of The Wall, which was treated to an excellent, flat A -> D transfer from the original master reels for its very first Columbia CD release, just get the common, inexpensive, mid-90s Doug Sax masters of every album, and you really can’t go wrong.

King Crimson


I can’t call myself a hardcore fan — for whatever reason, their music, with one major exception, just misses the mark for me, I’m not sure why. However, let me say some very nice things about this very important band:
  • They’re amazing musicians, in all of their many incarnations.

  • They’ve never sold out, not even a little bit, and that makes them absolutely unique among the popular prog bands.

  • Their music is consistently original.

  • They are probably the best improvisers among the popular prog bands.

  • Everyone should hear In The Court Of The Crimson King as a basic component of their musical education.

  • Crimson’s 2004 swan song The Power To Believe is, for me, one of the three best albums of the new millenium (Lumpy Money is another; the third is mentioned a bit later on).

I may not be a raving fan — but Crimson has my attention and my respect, 100%.

The Moody Blues


With the sole exception of Days Of Future Passed — definitely one of the best-recorded albums of the 1960s (direct to 35mm), employing a nice, slightly pompous but creative combination of poetic readings, orchestra and rock band — apart from that one exception, wow!! does this band grate on my nerves. Muzak with pretensions.

Jethro Tull


Tull started as an electric blues band and mutated into a blues- and folk-inflected prog monster, which gave them a unique take on what ‘progressive rock’ ought to sound like. Everyone knows Aqualung, and they should; it’s an important record, poorly recorded but with phenomenal lyrics; but their prog rep really stems from their album-length works, Thick As A Brick and the sadly underrated A Passion Play.

For a time, Tull was as daring and unique as anybody around, and then, in my view, they kind of lost their way; but they left their mark with a priceless run of studio albums from Benefit through Heavy Horses. Tull is probably the closest marriage of prog, blues and folk ever conceived; you really should give them a try.

Emerson Lake & Palmer


Well, okay, I do own Tarkus, and I do own Brain Salad Surgery, and I do enjoy Emerson’s Piano Concerto #1 (where is #2? — the world wonders). I admit it. And yes, Keith Emerson is a truly great keyboard player on a technical level, like Rick Wakeman and a few others who, like Keith, have far more technique than taste… you can see where I’m going with this… there’s only so much pomposity I can take before I react negatively on a cellular level…

…and also, when Carl Palmer split on them, E and L did hire Cozy Powell, the very best drummer in the whole wide world whose last name, um, started with P…

…and also, they did cut an album called Love Beach, which, er, maybe if I were really, really, really high on cocaine, like they clearly were when they cut this record, I might enjoy a little more… but, well, I seriously doubt it…

Had they avoided the above enumerated miscues and cut an acoustic album, which their chops absolutely demanded, I could take them a bit more seriously. As it stands: Pass.

Genesis


Started as a Pink Floyd-type space band but without Floyd’s imagination, instrumental talents or improvisational ability, cutting a series of (for me) boring, repetitive discs; evolved into a much more melodic version of same, with reasonably innovative lyrics by Peter Gabriel, and cut Selling England By The Pound, a really good record, and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a record that frankly baffles me but is probably also really good; and then… Phil Collins… creative death… six trillion burgers sold. Pass.

Gentle Giant


Now here is a band I dig — and so did FZ; check out his Flower Hour interview for some laudatory comments. All of their first eight studio albums are tasty little suckers, especially Octopus (regarded by many as their masterpiece), In A Glass House, The Power And The Glory, and Free Hand (for me, their true masterpiece). Personally, I rank those last three with any prog ever recorded.

Why? I’m glad you asked. Because:
  • They’re not all virtuosos — but Ray Shulman is easily the best rock violinist I’ve heard and a helluva bass player to boot, and Kerry Minnear is a freakin’ monster on the vibes… and the rest of them, well, they don’t exactly suck… now, add this to the fact that all of them but the drummer play five or more instruments each and can sing in perfectly-tuned counterpoint… I expect some arguments about this, but I’ll advocate GG as the hottest band on this list, and by far the most versatile. I acknowledge Crimson as much the better improvisers — but for grinding out the dots… I think GG could’ve served as FZ’s house band, and I wouldn’t make that claim for any of the other groups listed here. Hell, FZ wouldn’t even have needed to add horns or percussion; the boys in the band could literally have played any five-part rock or jazz chart he chose to hand them.

  • Their music doesn’t sound like anyone else, any time, anywhere. Their songwriting is absolutely unique.

  • Their songs are crowded with odd harmonies, intricate counterpoint, and other genre-stretching tools of advanced musical composition.

  • They never cut a track that ran as long as ten minutes. Not once. Boy, does that set them aside from the rest of the prog-rock world. They completely skipped the repeats and extended solos and aimless noodling that plagues a lot of prog, and concentrated on songwriting.

GG do have to take responsibility for a couple of incredibly bad albums at the end of their career (I’ll exclude their very last, Civilian, from this critique, since it does have a unique sound and a limited number of devotees). Like every band on this list other than Crimson, they too were bitten by the Sellout Bug — in their case, bitten fatally. Fortunately they cut enough quality records prior to this point to pass the smell test.

As for sound, grab the Vertigo paper-sleeve remasters of their first four, the DRT remasters of their next four, and, if you’re willing to go that far, the old One Way release of Civilian… accept no substitutes, and for God’s sake do not buy The Missing Piece or Giant For A Day! — or, at least, don’t blame me if you do.

Listen, GG is an acquired taste. Either you’re gonna like ‘em or you’re not. Personally, I give ‘em a rousing Thumbs Up. Have a listen and decide for yourself.

Yes


Ah, I can hear the screaming already… No other band on this list inspires the emotions stirred by these dinosaurs of prog. I like ‘em (at least through their first eight studio albums) and am not ashamed.

They can play. They have their own sound. Yeah, their lyrics are dribble, but whaddya expect when you’re listening to the musical equivalent of a mushroom trip? You’d dribble too.

I can’t say I care for their records after Going For The One — there are high points scattered here and there in the catalogue, but no discs that stand out for me. But my oh my, Fragile is a defining moment in prog. Start there, and if you like it try The Yes Album and Close To The Edge — and if you’re still with ‘em after all that pretentious nonsense, spin Relayer for a jar to the senses. Avoid the first two discs and Tales From Topographic Oceans unless you’re a devoted Yes masochist — I like ‘em, but then, I also like damp hamsters.

The later albums all have their qualities I suppose, and none of them exactly qualifies as a sellout, except that 90125 and Big Generator actually kinda do; irrespective of their musical merits — precise playing, excellent production — Trevor Rabin did take them in a radio-friendly, repeat-driven, catchy-chorus direction, from which their reputation was never quite to recover. Personally, I’d stick to the first eight.

Or not. Yes-haters of the world unite!

* * * * *


Let’s see… to sum up: Pink Floyd yes, King Crimson yes, The Moody Blues no, Jethro Tull yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer no, Genesis no, Gentle Giant a big yes, and Yes, ironically, yes — hmm, five out of eight ain’t bad. Still, individual albums and GG’s early catalogue aside, I can’t help thinking that the best prog falls outside this list almost entirely.

Not a comprehensive list by any means—but here’s a few prog-rock and prog-jazz albums with potential entertainment value by artists other than those we’ve talked about so far:

Jon Anderson – Olias Of Sunhillow; The Art Bears – Hopes & Fears and Winter Songs; David Axelrod – Song of Innocence (probably the first true fusion album); David Bagsby – Transphoria; The Beach Boys – Smiley Smile (don’t laugh till you’ve heard it); The Beatles – well, we all know about them (or should); Carla Bley – Escalator Over The Hill (wonderful stuff); Kate Bush – Never For Ever and The Dreaming (this last title being my pick as the strangest popular album of the 80s); Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician; Mont Campbell – Music From A Round Tower; Cardiacs – Songs For Ships & Irons; Wendy Carlos – Beauty In The Beast and Tron; Miles Davis – Bitches Brew; Delia Derbyshire and White Noise – An Electric Storm (wowie zowie!); Fred Frith – Gravity and The Technology Of Tears (this last highly recommended for Synclavier fans); Godley & Creme – L; John Greaves / Peter Blegvad / Lisa Herman – kew.rhone (a freakin’ masterpiece); Trilok Gurtu – Usfret; Steve Hackett – To Watch The Storms; George Harrison – Wonderwall Music; Hatfield & The North (self-titled); Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (grab the Experience Hendrix remaster); Steve Hillage – Fish Rising (hugely underrated and hugely worth a listen); Steve Howe – The Steve Howe Album (very tasty); Jazzanova – In Between (funky prog? — um, yeah); Mike Keneally – Hat and Nonkertompf; Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire; Paul McCartney – McCartney II (easily his strangest and least commercial album); Menudo – The Heart-Throb Years (just kidding, wanted to see if you were awake); Charles Mingus – Let My Children Hear Music (that rarest of beasts — a true progressive jazz album; my highest recommendation); Virgil Moorfield – Distractions On The Way To The King’s Party; Steve Morse – High Tension Wires; Mr Bungle – California (some prefer their first disc, but I’ll take this Beach Boys-meets-FZ mashup); National Health – Missing Pieces (I like this bits-‘n’-bobs collection better than any of their albums); Michael Nesmith (yes, that Michael Nesmith) – The Prison (listen before laughing); News From Babel – Work Resumed On The Tower and Letters Home (available together on one CD; if you like the Art Bears, check it out); The Alan Parsons Project – I Robot (I’ve got a real soft spot for this one); Prefuse 73 – Surrounded By Silence; Bobby Previte – Empty Suits (an oddball favourite of mine); Vernon Reid – Mistaken Identity; Screaming Headless Torsos (self-titled); Shadowfax (self-titled – very, very mellow); Ladislav Simon – Requiem; The Soft Machine – Volume Two; Simon Fisher Turner – soundtrack to Edward II; U Totem (self-titled – a must-hear), and also Strange Attractors; Steve Vai – Flex-Able and Passion & Warfare; XTC – Skylarking; John Zorn – Naked City.

There are more, lots more, but that’s a starting point. Please keep adding your own candidates to this thread — I’m always open to new sounds.

Now, for the real gems:

Henry Cow


What a band. Leg End, In Praise Of Learning and Western Culture are three of my favourite albums of all time. Literate, intricate music with genuine passion.

Thinking Plague


In Extremis is an ultra-dark, ultra-complex masterpiece, and A History Of Madness — the third of my favourite albums of the new millenium — is as close as rock has come to Phaze III complexity. Bandleader and songwriter Mike Johnson is one of the great guitarists, totally unrecognized as such, an absolute fire-breathing monster.

And then, of course, there’s that Zappa guy.

That’s it for now from this reporter. Feel free to heap commentary & scorn upon my shoulders. It’s one man’s opinions, and I’m stickin’ to ‘em.

Love - progrockfan

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Ob
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Post 2009-06-13 00:57   [Quote] 
Oh for fuck's sake!

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scoobie
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Post 2009-06-13 04:02   [Quote] 
Quote:
Okay, you asked for it...


My wedding is in [checks watch] seven days, so in nine days I should have the necessary brain cells available to process and respond to such a frothing gush.

In the meantime... awesome use of the words "frothing gush"! It sure beats a frothing discharge!
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zeeker
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Post 2009-06-13 06:25   [Quote] 
"beats a frothing discharge" beats "a frothing discharge"
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Post 2009-06-13 15:09   [Quote] 
I wish Tim Leary was still around to point out that massive article to be a classic product of a hyperactive 3rd circuit mind Smile

Cheers, Conzo


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Post 2009-06-13 15:29   [Quote] 
Bill Martin wrote:
1) It is visionary and experimental.

2) It is played, at least in significant part, on instruments typically associated with rock music.

3) It is played, in significant part, by musicians who have consummate instrumental and compositional skills.

4) It is a phenomenon, in its core, of English culture.

5) It is expressive of romantic and prophetic aspects of that culture.


By the way, what a load of pompous horse manure ! Do you call that a 'definition' ?????

1) Until the day a visionary-and-experimental-o-meter is invented that you can point at a piece of music, I refuse to believe that Frank Zappa was more visionary than the guy who invented house/dance music.

2) Which are of course rigorously proven, codified, classified and neatly stacked by law. Who the hell decides what instruments are 'typically associated' with rock music. Many instruments besides drums, bass, guitars and keyboards (which is by itself not really defined as an instrument, since it's supposed to be a tool to create all sorts of sounds) can be made 'typically associated with rock music' if you have enough patience to dig up the examples of what constitutes your particular view.

3) Is that to mean the people who can do stuff that sounds astonishing to you ? Or the people who can play all the etudes flawlessly ? Or the people who can play any riff in any key on the spot ? Or the people who stand 'above' their instruments and have a direct creative-brain/fingers connection, or just the people of whom other 'consummately instrumentally and compositionaly skilled people' say they're good ?

4) Does English culture exist ? How are we sure we have the right English culture ? Can only English people recognize progrock as a "phenomenon, in its core, of English culture" ? What's the need for this point, if you are more or less sure to include any non-English band at leisure and at whim ? Again, give me a Brit-o-meter to point at a band that measures their 'English culture-ness' and maybe I'll give you a cookie.

5) What on earth are romantic and prophetic aspects of English culture supposed to be ? Is there a concensus among sociologists and cultural historians (with regard to the 'culture'), religious scholars and mystics (with regard to the 'prophetic') and artists, school kids and adolescents (with regard to 'romantic') as to what this should consist of and how it all relates to each other and to music ? Does anyone even care to spare thoughts about such a meaningless, vague sentence ?

Mr. Martin seems to me mostly to use a lot of words to say nothing at all in order that he can have a nice, scholarly (and did I mention pompous) sounding set of noises that anyone can make anything he/she happens to like fit into, in order to prove that 'our taste is so much more sophisticated then theirs, because we have jargon'

Someone please teach this man what 'operational language' means...please !

Cheers, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, Conzo
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