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Progressive Rock 101: Why PROG is essential for the Evolution of Mankind.


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This is posted to provide a home base for lovers of Progressive / ProgRock to air their love and devotion.

PROG has become a dirty word in some areas, but it as at it's most pervasive and influential era ever. The Euro PROG scene is vast and throws up bands from the most obscure places. The American flag is flown high by the likes of Dream Theatre, the U.K. , the birthplace of all that is PROG,is nurturing Porcupine Tree and a wealth of reforming vintage bands.

There is even a brilliant magazine dedicated to the genre .

All genres bleed at the edges, so let's see what gets name checked. if your passion is for a ripping Krumhorn solo, if you get a chubby listening to Siberian Khatru, if you drift to Hamburger Concerto, let your freak flag fly!

Naysayers can stay home for the day.

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So spent a long time today with some classic prog and rock.   A bottle of Shiraz, some chips, chocolates and no work!!!!    

Steven Wilson ~ The Raven That Refused To Sing  



I'm not a huge fan of the genre, but out of certain sentimental reasons I love this band's debut... I always wondered how do people without any historical connection to it find it...

Jan, I like it. There is a good feel and groove to it. Love the hammond organ. Then again as I like my prog this is right down my alley.

Is it hard to get?

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ZM, you're talking to one of the biggest fans of prog in the whole galaxy here amigo.

I live and breathe this stuff every waking hour of the day.

There's hardly a prog band I haven't heard of or have collected although these days it's getting hard to keep up with many of the newer, lesser known Euro bands.

I know Patjoy, Steve Batty and Emsebee are big prog fans as well but there are quite a few of us here on SNA that delve into this intriguing genre.

Some people pass on this style of music as being too self indulgent etc but I couldn't give a toss what they think. It works for me and has done for over 40 years so why would I not persevere with it.

Here's a link to what sort of stuff is on my radar.

http://rateyourmusic.com/~progladyte

Edited by progladyte
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I can't help it, I equate Prog Rock with the 1970s when more bad music was made than in almost any other decade in history. I also immediately think of the quintessential Prog Rock bands - Yes and ELP :(:sorry: The 1970s, especially the second half of the 1970s, has a lot to answer for. MTV, Fusion (with some exceptions), Disco, Prog Rock, ABBA, The Partridge Family, John Farnham.

I am probably the only person I know who lived through the era as a music fan and didn't own a single Yes or ELO album.

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I can't help it, I equate Prog Rock with the 1970s when more bad music was made than in almost any other decade in history. I also immediately think of the quintessential Prog Rock bands - Yes and ELP :(:sorry: The 1970s, especially the second half of the 1970s, has a lot to answer for. MTV, Fusion (with some exceptions), Disco, Prog Rock, ABBA, The Partridge Family, John Farnham.

I am probably the only person I know who lived through the era as a music fan and didn't own a single Yes or ELO album.

What???...............did you miss the '80s ????? :nana

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ZM, you've inspired me to have a Pink Floyd evening. Currently playing the Pulse album. DSOtM sounds pretty darned good, but SQ of some of tracks on side one not so good.

Have memories of many of the bigger UK prog bands of the 70s. Saw quite a few live, and believe it or not I actually remember the 70s!!! Gasp ... Obviously didn't take ENOUGH of the mind-enhancing goodies that were doing the rounds then. Just enough to have some 'interesting' experiences!

Brumby ... Get back in your box ... Who said you could come out??

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I can't help it, I equate Prog Rock with the 1970s when more bad music was made than in almost any other decade in history. I also immediately think of the quintessential Prog Rock bands - Yes and ELP :(:sorry: The 1970s, especially the second half of the 1970s, has a lot to answer for. MTV, Fusion (with some exceptions), Disco, Prog Rock, ABBA, The Partridge Family, John Farnham.

I am probably the only person I know who lived through the era as a music fan and didn't own a single Yes or ELO album.

Did you mean to say that more 'bad' music was made in the 70s, or bad prog. music was made in the 70s?

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I can't help it, I equate Prog Rock with the 1970s when more bad music was made than in almost any other decade in history. I also immediately think of the quintessential Prog Rock bands - Yes and ELP :(:sorry: The 1970s, especially the second half of the 1970s, has a lot to answer for. MTV, Fusion (with some exceptions), Disco, Prog Rock, ABBA, The Partridge Family, John Farnham.

I am probably the only person I know who lived through the era as a music fan and didn't own a single Yes or ELO album.

brumby, you've got me stumped. The period of approx 1967 - 1975 produced some of the best music imho. Things certainly started deteriorate in the second half of the 70s. As for the 80s don't go there.

Anyway, back to the subject matter. Big fan of most of the music that Steven Wilson puts out. His recordings are always A1 which is a bonus.

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What???...............did you miss the '80s ????? :nana

The 80s had the most OVER-PRODUCED sound for almost EVERY album that came out during that time!!

Shame on the 80s technology (which at the time was 'cutting edge')!

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I can't help it, I equate Prog Rock with the 1970s when more bad music was made than in almost any other decade in history. I also immediately think of the quintessential Prog Rock bands - Yes and ELP :(:sorry: The 1970s, especially the second half of the 1970s, has a lot to answer for. MTV, Fusion (with some exceptions), Disco, Prog Rock, ABBA, The Partridge Family, John Farnham.

I am probably the only person I know who lived through the era as a music fan and didn't own a single Yes or ELO album.

The early 70s were terrific, so much great music came out of those few years. Things did start going off the rails in the late 70s. No doubt some will point to punk and new wave as a progression, but that was really just old-fashioned rock and roll dressed up a bit differently. Things got worse in the 80s with all those awful 'bad haircut' bands, and has just been going downhill ever since. Now we have to endure rap, hip-hop and programmed beats in just about everything. No wonder my musical tastes have taken a sharp turn and gone off in different directions these days.

Now, I was a great fan of prog rock in the early 70s, along with good old blues based rock. So, along with Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Free etc, I also listened to a lot of Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Focus (were they prog?) and, of course, Gryphon (did I mention them before somewhere? :) ). At the time, I thought of prog rock in terms of experimentation and innovation, and for a time it seemed like the way forward. However, after a while it seemed like things had become somewhat stagnant and formulaic. At the time, Yes were probably my favourite prog band (until I discovered Gryphon). I really liked 'The Yes Album, 'Fragile' and 'Close To The Edge', and still do. However, when I rushed out to hear 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', I remember feeling quite underwhelmed by it. That was when I started to look in different directions, but still I didn't buy all the marketing hype about punk being the way forward and prog bands being dinosaurs.

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure. I think what I'm trying to say, in a rambling sort of way, is that I think that it is unfortunate that we tend to pigeonhole everything into genres. That is what bothers me a bit about about modern prog rock. If prog rock has just become a label which means bands are meant to look and play in a certain expected way, then it is not progressive. True progressive music doesn't constrict itself to labels and genres.

Edited by emesbee
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I do like what you said emesbee, but there is no escaping labels!

Punk IS punk, Blues ARE the blues, Rap IS rap, etc etc those and some other genres ARE just what they are, that's why you either love em or you don't .

Prog is just another term to define 'anything that doesn't conform o the straight rock style', or 'anything goes' type of music. Little regard for MELODY, which I rate as the biggest factor in 'listenable' music.

True music (I agree) doesn't constrict itself to 'genres'. BUT when you hear 'prog' rock, punk, rap, hip-hop, classical, metal, you cannot escape the fact that all those (and more genres), fit very well into their own catagories!

True 'rock' with 'melody' is the most universal form of music IMO. That's where it can NOT be catagorised because it fits 'numerous' genres.

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Very thoughtful comments , and I agree in many ways. PROG became a dirty word, and was relegated to the margins for so long. Does anyone remember the priceless THE YOUNG ONES episode when hippy Neil had to defend MARILLION ( who should be beatified IMHO) to the rest of his flatmates. That really set the agenda for the next two decades. But out in the margins, in the privacy of their own rooms, thousands of Progsters were keeping the flame burning.

It is for them/ us I thought this thread might be liberating.

So, emesbee thanks for your input.

P.S - yes FOCUS were most definitely Progressive.

Also, a big shout out to one of Americas best, but almost unknown experimental PROG outfits - DJAM KARET. Google THE SHAMAN DESCENDS for starters.

Edited by Zen Mister
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Ah, I think you've hit on a point there surfpurple. That often neglected element of music, melody! And there is certainly melody in a lot of what we call prog rock. If you don't believe me, I implore you to have a listen to some Gryphon. 'Red Queen To Gryphon Three' is probably a good place to start. (Actually, I implore everyone to listen to Gryphon! ;) )

Edited by emesbee
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Focus, one of the LOUDEST bands I EVER heard (apart from Tony Williams Lifetime at same venue!). Brilliant band.

Venue was a small club in Wardour St in London's West End, forgotten name of place now. About same size as Ronny Scott's ... what a real estate agent would call 'intimate'!

I saw many good progressive bands evry Sunday at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm. Saw Yes and Pink Floyd (seperate gigs) at the legendary Rainbow Theatre (although acoustics at back of stalls was woeful!)

I will never forgive myself for getting on a bus, at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, hearing Jimi Hendrix in the distance playing Star Spangled Banner from the stage. No one knew he'd be dead 2 weeks later! I'd celebrated (a bit too vigorously) my birthday the day before and I was VERY hung over.

Edited by GraemeB
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In one word wow, what the ***k is all this :)

Well done for trying Kunal. That is Lightning Bolt. I grew up listening to my Dad's prog so artists that still embody what was cool about prog IMO - like long songs that 'go places', mad skills and a sense of adventure - really appeal. Although Lightning Bolt & Ruins (Japanese guys) certainly carry a DIY punk aesthetic the audacity of their compositions and prodigious skills place them as heirs to the Prog tradition.

Go on guys - watch my vids. Should Prog be about new and crazy ideas?

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Now listening to Steve Hackett 'Please Don't Touch', with Richie Havens and Randy Crawford on guest vocals. Didn't Genesis provide a launch-pad for some very talented artists?!

The music world would have been poorer without them. "What about Phil Collins?" I hear you say. Well, he was a very good drummer, and the Brand X album I have is testament to his non-singing drumming ability!

Edited by GraemeB
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Focus, one of the LOUDEST bands I EVER heard (apart from Tony Williams Lifetime at same venue!). Brilliant band.

Venue was a small club in Wardour St in London's West End, forgotten name of place now. About same size as Ronny Scott's ... what a real estate agent would call 'intimate'!

I saw many good progressive bands evry Sunday at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm. Saw Yes and Pink Floyd (seperate gigs) at the legendary Rainbow Theatre (although acoustics at back of stalls was woeful!)

I will never forgive myself for getting on a bus, at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, hearing Jimi Hendrix in the distance playing Star Spangled Banner from the stage. No one knew he'd be dead 2 weeks later! I'd celebrated (a bit too vigorously) my birthday the day before and I was VERY hung over.

I went to see a lot of bands in the early to mid 70s. Saw Yes, Focus, Jethro Tull, among others. Also saw Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1975, and they were brilliant. Their latest album at the time was 'Visions Of The Emerald Beyond', and they played most of it at the concert as I recall. The interplay between John McLaughlin's guitar and Jean Luc Ponty's electric violin was a joy to behold. Mahavishnu Orchestra are usually labelled as Jazz/Fusion, but if anything was progressive, this was.

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Ahh, emesbee, I could do a shameless namedrop re Mr JMc (aka Mahavishnu) but I won't! ;o)

Just let it be said that the last time I saw him he wasn't happy to see me, as I reminded him of a time past. Still sad about that.

Through him I met George Martin and sound engineer Geoff Emmerick, then at AIR Studios. Plus a few other 'interesting' muso-type people. Ahh, dem woz the dayz!

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I'm a big fan of the prog........but like all genres.......there is a lot of crap around too.

(could be a personal taste thing too)

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Of course under that prog umbrella sits a number of sub prog genres such as symphonic, canterbury, prog-metal, space-rock, etc etc. I have always has a soft spot for Italian prog especially from the 70s - eg PFM and Le Orme.

Le Orme from their 1971 album "Collage"

After a hiatus of about 8 years Le Orme released a nice cd last year called La Via della Seta - nice symphonic guitar/melodies with floating synths.

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brumby, you've got me stumped. The period of approx 1967 - 1975 produced some of the best music imho. Things certainly started deteriorate in the second half of the 70s. As for the 80s don't go there.

I can't help but agree with this.

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This duo are American but have a couple Japanese dancing girls - be brave, poor SQ but insane band

Awesome, I'm picking up what you're laying down Houdini, what are the albums to get?

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Ah, I think you've hit on a point there surfpurple. That often neglected element of music, melody! And there is certainly melody in a lot of what we call prog rock. If you don't believe me, I implore you to have a listen to some Gryphon. 'Red Queen To Gryphon Three' is probably a good place to start. (Actually, I implore everyone to listen to Gryphon! ;) )

Ah that's the one we had a taste of at Batty's? I remember it being very good MSB

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Ah that's the one we had a taste of at Batty's? I remember it being very good MSB

That one was their 5th and last studio album 'Treason' from 1977, after some lineup changes. Very good sound quality on that album too. Their first album was more acoustic and folk oriented. They became more electric with each recording, sounding rather Yes-like on their third album. They sound a bit different on each album, but still recognisably Gryphon.

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Mention of Gryphon stirred memories of a contemporary band called THE AMAZING BLONDEL. These guys fashioned their music around traditional English forms of music, and utilized ancient instruments, as well as a few of their own invention. They actually had a very successful career, releasing many albums, up to and including a reformation album just a few years ago.

Reference wise, they sat right in the midst of the Progressive movement, but I guess you would call it Psych-Folk- Progressive, - see what I mean about genres blurring around the edges.

Choice albums would be the self titled first, and the better known, still enjoyable, EVENSONG from 1971.

From across the channel, I wanted to flag that deranged bunch of German miscreants who served many brilliant albums on an unsuspecting world, the rather scary AMON DUUL These guys evolved from the commune ethic.

The early few albums are the ones to look out for, starting with"PHALLUS DEI" (Gods Penis, if you will), " YETI", with it's iconic cover art, up to 1972s "WOLF CITY".These guys mixed politics, drugs, derangement and great musicianship into a sonic mix that still sounds avant-gard today. It takes a big system to reproduce this often dense and challenging music, but it is very fulfilling when it clicks for you. perhaps not for the faint of heart.

Edited by Zen Mister
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Who needs a house number? this is the front of our house when I had the prog n Grog GTG.

I later moved it to the front door as brick and blu-tak are not friends.

post-109729-0-28943800-1337476616_thumb.

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