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SPECIAL COLLABORATOR: Honorary Collaborator

Member since: 4/24/2004 • Forum posts: 250 • Last visit: 10/14/2009 10:16:47 PM EST

Progressive Biography

Age: 54 (January 17, 1950)

My story with progressive rock music:
I was hooked on Rock from the tender age of five, listening to ELVIS PRESLEY, BILL HALEY and CHUCK BERRY on AM radio while in the background, my mom practised her Chopin on the piano. The 60's came and went without much ado but lo and behold, the 70's stormed in with PINK FLOYD, LED ZEPPELIN, ELP, DEEP PURPLE, KING CRIMSON, JETHRO TULL, FOCUS. But it wasn't until 1973 that I really had my prog epiphany...

I had fallen asleep one night with the headphones on, tuned in to a Montreal FM Rock station, and I had this incredible dream: I was walking in a pastoral scenery, a sunny country lane flanked on both sides by gigantic sunflowers; flowers so tall they made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. But something very powerful suddenly pulled me from my dream and I awoke. To my utter amazement, the magical feeling still lingered: I was wide awake and still soaring! It is then I realized that the fine thread linking my consciousness to the dream was the music still piping through my headphones. I truly had never heard such heavenly sounds before and I listened to the entire track, totally mesmerized - what had actually prompted the dream were the opening notes of "The Cinema Show". That night, I fell for Prog and have never looked back since.

Although I've become quite fond of a variety of prog styles over the years, my first encounter with the old symphonic masters is perhaps the reason why I still favour melodious Prog. Maybe it's a female thing but I especially seek music that moves all of me: brain, body and soul. I yearn for the total experience. As for lyrics, I consider them a nice addition provided they enhance the mood conveyed by the music and the vocalists are charismatic enough. In general, however, I consider lyrics rather secondary, preferring by a long shot the language of music itself.

Two basic qualities I look for in music: it has to (1) have substance and (2) be well dressed.

(1) Substance: music that says something and gets somewhere (the antithesis of New Age). This is where the artists' compositional abilities come into play. Numerous theme, chord and tempo changes are often what makes some musical trips worthwhile, but they needn't necessarily be numerous to move me: as long as they are the right ones. As for music getting somewhere, I tend to favour long epics as they give artists room to develop meaningful musical stories and then close the loop in high spirits. But again, length is not automatically synonymous with 'genius' in my books. As for long guitar solos, they are sometimes a true gift from the gods (for example, some Steve Hackett and Andy Latimer solos are simply 'orgasmic'). Jamming for its own sake, however, may be a lot of fun for the musicians involved but I find them rather sleep-inducing at best, spurring some teeth-grinding fits at worst.

(2) Well-dressed music means a clean production, good musicianship and tasteful arrangements.
Personally, I have trouble appreciating music that offers good substance alone. Call me superficial
if you like, but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit I cannot easily get into many '70s recordings
unless they are exceptionally well recorded (try to imagine having to watch an epic movie, say, 'Lord of the Rings', on a 14-inch black and white TV). I also value good musicianship (which isn't hard to find in the realm of Prog) but have been known to "look the other way" in some cases. Finally, tasteful arrangements provide the finishing touch and enhance the whole listening experience. Snippets of acoustic guitar, a few sparse keyboard notes or the right bass line at the right moment are often the magic ingredient that makes some prog moments so seductive.

For all these reasons, you will find many Neo-Prog (post '80s) albums getting my favourable review. Although Neo-Prog takes its inspiration from the old masters (sometimes shamelessly so), it has rekindled a lot of interest into Prog and I believe will keep on evolving until the line between the two eventually fades - although the debate itself isn't likely to ever be settled.

Whatever the label, I know what I like and if some music moves me, rest assured you'll be the first to know.

Personal collection:
I have replaced practically all of my prog vinyls with CDs, presently numbering 500 +.

My favourite Prog/Neo-Prog bands are:
GENESIS (+ solo projects), CAMEL, ARENA, IQ, PENDRAGON and AFTER CRYING. I also have a soft spot for many Dutch bands (AYREON, BRASS╔, COLLAGE, CLIFFHANGER, FOCUS, LIKE WENDY and ODYSSICE).

My favourite albums are:
GENESIS - Selling England by the Pound
ARENA - The Visitor
CAMEL - Harbour of Tears
PENDRAGON - The Masquerade Overture
LIKE WENDY - The Storm Inside

My pet peeve: rap infested airwaves.

COMMENTS:
The Internet came about just in time to save Prog from extinction and I'm ever so grateful to a reputable site such as PROG ARCHIVES for giving me the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with you progsters. Although my knowledge is far from extensive (and I tend to review the better albums I already own, thereby giving them a rather high rating), I sincerely hope that my reviews will enlighten you a little, perhaps even prompt some of you to check out some of the most inspiring music on the planet these days. Who knows, maybe in a generation or two, universities and colleges will move on from jazz and dare offer "Prog 101" to their music students...

My love to you all :-)

Reviews distribution by sub-genre


 Sub-genreNb of reviewsAvg rating
1 Neo-Prog353.69
2 Symphonic Prog203.75
3 Crossover Prog72.71
4 Eclectic Prog63.67
5 Psychedelic/Space Rock43.50
6 Progressive Electronic33.67
7 Heavy Prog23.00
8 Progressive Metal14.00
9 Rock Progressivo Italiano11.00
10 Various Genres14.00
11 Jazz Rock/Fusion14.00
12 Experimental/Post Metal14.00

Reviews and Ratings of NEO-PROG

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